The Words of the Jones Family

The Spiritual Climate in New York City - A Personal View

Betsy O'Neill [Jones]
March 1970

Betsy O'Neill [Jones]

Your family in New York is situated on the upper West Side of the island of Manhattan. The island is built on a rock. In fact, on the surface, many of the hearts here resemble a rock. They almost seem hardened; lifeless and unyielding at times. Our task is to penetrate, to soften, to melt and, as the song goes, to move the hearts of the American people and those in New York in particular.

One fact about this city which greatly affects the stability and therefore the civility of its occupants is the overpopulation problem here. Many articles written on cities in America make note of their problems with air pollution and water pollution, etc. Manhattan, the heart of New York, where we are located, is noted most specific for its people pollution.

To give you an idea of the numbers here I'll quote some statistics; the population density of Manhattan is 73,839 people per square mile. This compared to 86,073 in Calcutta, 37,533 in Brooklyn, New York, 16,451 in San Francisco, and 12,442 in Washington, D.C. So, as you can see, it's crowded here. I remember one time when Mr. Kuboki from Japan was here, he took the 5 p.m. subway. As he was being pushed along by the pressuring crowds, he laughed and said, "It's just like Tokyo!" So you get the picture -- people, people everywhere!

How does this "people pollution" affect Father's work here? It just makes it more mandatory that we act more fervently and quickly. Why? Because of this overcrowding, the tension is mounting to the breaking point. People, when experiencing conflict, can find little escape from the noise, the people, the demands.

Current reports indicate that one out of five people suffers from some significant impairment of mental health. In my work as psychiatric nurse, I sec people daily who are suffering spiritually and physically without purpose. Besides discovering how the Divine Principle can create order within us and in our center life, I discover how impossible it is to live without it by going to work every day. It is here that I see faces and listen to heartbreaking stories of human beings that live spiritually deadening lives because of their ignorance of the Principle.

People often come into the hospital lamenting about their past destructive actions. They describe how they felt an impulse to make a suicidal gesture to get the attention, love of a spouse or loved one. They describe how they felt driven by voices to harm another person or themselves. They say, questioningly. "I don't understand how I beat up my children. I never meant to kill them." Patients and staff at this hospital question and won- der what makes people cat the way they do. Only a few at this point can accept the influence of spirit as part of their view of man.

Only the Unified Family can offer a solution to the overpopulation and other problems in New York. Only in the Family can many types of people live so closely together and blend so harmoniously. If the people in New York City had an awareness of the Principle, they could begin to work out their own conflicts and therefore have more energy left over for creating positive human relationships no matter how close together they are.

Religions have tried hard to accomplish this, to center men more on God and on other men rather than on their own selfish desire. It's clear that although New York has the famous Riverside Church, Union Theological Seminary, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Patrick's Cathedral, numerous Buddhist temples, many Christian denominations, Jewish synagogues and numerous cults and communities like Astrologists, drug-based mystics, New Theologians, Thihardians and even "Witches", none of these "religious" situations are able to bring man back to an active communication with other men and with the living God.

To gain a victory by New York Family

Man still does not know how to live and the purpose behind it all. Many people in New York are asking these ultimate questions; what is the purpose of our life on earth? What are we doing here and where are we going? They have been dissatisfied and disillusioned by the present structure of churches and religions to deal with the spiritual crisis created by a chaotic everyday life. So they ask their questions through their art, literature, music dance, dress, and life style. We find these prepared people in coffee houses, on the streets, in museums, on campuses in subways, at lectures, everywhere!

New York then, because of its concern with the ultimate, with where it's all going, is really a microcosm of the religious situation in America today. A recent article confirms this view.

In a book edited by D. Cutler called the Religious Situation in 1969, there is an article entitled "The American situation in 1969" by M. Marty. It states that the books on religion a decade ago could be confined almost exclusively to three spheres: 1. Judeo-Christianity, 2. Sects and cults derived from them, 3. and a few "They also believe" groups.

It concludes that the definition of religion in American in the 1960s has significantly enlarged in scope from the traditional views and structures of religion. It highlights a trend, a movement towards defining religion more in terms of the ultimate concerns of men. He makes a most interesting point. The author says that Yeats's poem The Second Coming which prophesizes these times of instability and lack of coherence is coming to be the most quoted serious modern poem. The final question in this poem is also becoming popular and can only be answered fully by us:

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

We know that this longing, lonely, questioning heart of the New Yorker is the heart of every American, of every man. It is only now that men are asking ultimate questions so intensely because this is the time that men can know that the hour has come round at last.

We Feel Somewhat Like Noah's Ark Ready for the Flood

We, the New York Family, really want to make 1970 a dynamic year. We want to introduce our heavenly way of life to as many people as possible. Some of our plans include a much stronger, more direct witnessing approach. We have tried an infiltration method in various churches and groups in the last six months but realize that this can only be a small part of our work. The desperation and urgency of the situation are too clear from the pain all around us. We cannot let fear keep us beating around the bush. We must be direct.

Right now we feel somewhat like Noah's ark ready for the flood. Physically we are shaped like an ark with three decks. We have three apartments in one building as our center. When Our Leader was here in 1969, he asked us to find many different Kinds of people. We want to be broad enough and open enough to be able to embrace many kinds of people here so that our center will contain at least two of every kind. We hope we can soon find a place that we can rent with the option of buying. There is much more, but our plans for 1970 center around one thought that Miss Kim gave us on God's Day in Washington: We can act freely and mightily only if we act passionately with united spirit in full dedication."

We unite with you, dear brothers and sisters across the world. We send our love to each of you, and especially to Our True Parents.

In Their Names,

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