The Words of the Zahedi Family
After some hesitation to attend the alumni event at Barrytown, I finally decided to go. The reason for hesitation was my misunderstanding that UTS Alumni Association was "a church related organization". But it was clarified by Robin Graham as being independent. I did not join a church in 1976 in Iran, rather I joined the "Unification Movement" that claimed to unify all churches and all religions. That is the reason that I offered my suggestion on the nature of the Unificationism, as a new movement or a new religion as a discussion topic. I was pleased when Robin responded that it was an excellent topic and put it in the agenda.
I do not have much connection with the unification movement because of increasing superstitious ideas and practices such as a possessed African member physically abusing members/leaders around the world, ancestor liberation practices, and preaching of superiority of Korean culture, to name a few. However, my belief in essence of unification philosophy is not deterred.
The topic was welcomed by large number of the attendees in the alumni event at Barrytown. I expressed my concern by mentioning my motivation in joining the UM in Iran. Before joining, I attended a conversational English class of the American missionary, discussing a variety of topics including religions. When asked which topic we liked, I responded that the idea of religious unity was most interesting to me. By this response, I became a target to become a member and I did! However, when I came to America, I noticed that the idea of unifying religions was not the purpose. In fact, we became a competitor with other churches and religions instead of facilitating to unify them.
The sessions went very well and the comments by the participants were interesting. I noticed that everyone is concerned about the future of the UM from different points of view. Some expressed sadness about the broken blessings, some emphasized the value of true parents, the messianic nature of the UM and salvation and the change of blood lineage. Some expressed that it is not so important to discuss how we refer to the church or movement, but it is important to attend true parents. There were some participants who agreed that we shouldn't be limited to a church and religion, but should embrace anyone without trying to change their beliefs. One thing that all agreed upon was that eventually it is love that can bring unity and peace for all.
Some of the views indicated that we (as a religious movement) are doing great from the evidence that we have brought so many ministers/religious leaders, professors and other dignitaries to many conferences and they accepted true parents. This could have been the consensus of a weary group in denial, or the belief that for some the status is just fine.
Honestly, I expected more progressive views, to look at our practices while critically asking ourselves, is this movement with such a powerful idea and message in the state that our ideals aspired to? If so, why do so many talented, energetic, intelligent members of the 70's have nothing to do with the movement now?
So, what is my (wishful) thinking for the future of Unificationism? Hopefully, a modern age Saint Paul figure will appear, take the unification message, brush away all the external, cultural and superstitious practices, and then to take the core message and make it, truly and honestly a universal movement. Such a figure might be able to move beyond the limited cultural and religious beliefs and superstitious practices and fulfill the original ideal of God.