The Words of the Lowen Family

Individual -- A Code for Life

Sandy Singleton [Lowen]
June 1970
Washington DC Center
From "New Age Frontiers," June, 1970

Man has several great deeds. He wants to be loved and accepted, revered and respected. Looked up to, popular. He wants to appear wise among his peers. He wants to "fit in". No man wants to stand out as being "odd" or different, even when the need to stand apart is very great. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego typifies the need men have -- to conform.

Three men chose to live according to the law that they knew came from God -- three men out of a nation of several hundred thousand, who thought it better to give in to the pagan demands of their captors than to risk death because of their beliefs. To those hundred thousands the attitude probably was, "Oh, well. So I believe in the living God, and I know it's wrong to worship idols. Yet, is it better for me to risk my life? Or should I just bow to this idol?"

The captors of the Israelites were very accurate judges of human nature. They knew that men they hated held God's law in such high esteem that nothing would keep them from obeying His law -- not even Nebuchadnezzar's decree.

So they were seized. But God loved them for keeping His laws, He sent Protection to them, even in the month of the furnace. When Nebuchadnezzar saw, by their survival, that they were preserved, he perceived where the real blame lay, and murdered their oppressors.

The habit of standing out -- of being an individual -- of doing what is good, even when it is prosperous to do evil, and far more expedient, is difficult.

Take Czechoslovakia, for instance, just prior to World War II. When stronger powers feared to speak out against Germany, this tiny nation launched a war it could not even hope to win. Other nations stood by like sheep and baa-cd Czechoslovakia. Only later, when their skies grew dark with bombs, their people lay buried beneath piles of rubble, and words of unbelievable hatred rang in their ears did the French, the English, and the Polish, and even the Soviets realize that they had chosen Barabbas. And Czechoslovakia, crushed beneath a yoke of tyranny, became a latter-day nation of heroes.

Or take Saul. His conversion became for him such a compelling thing that, knowing the punishment that awaited the confessed Christian, he followed after Jesus, fulfilled the mission of spreading Christianity to the Gentiles, and died a martyr at the hands of the very men whose cloaks he had held as a younger boy while they stoned the first Christian martyr, Stephen.

Or take this case just a bit more than a year old. A cabinetmaker took pride in his work. He had learned it from a master craftsman, who taught him the value of quality production. He was hired by a company producing stereo cabinets, where he was happy for a time. Then his case came before a foreman. One of his workmen was not producing enough cabinets to meet the daily quota. The cabinetmaker was brought before him. "You are not making enough cabinets", he was told. "Sir, I cannot rush in making a piece that people will be proud to have in their homes", he replied. "Then you must make more cabinets like the other men here -- they don't have to be sound -- they have to be made fast." "Sir, my integrity as a representative of my craft will not allow me to do that," That man, last I heard, was drawing unemployment compensation.

Few people are willing to be lonely. I laugh when I hear people say, "I gave up everything to come into this Family". What have you given up? I'll tell you what I gave up: a hostile environment where I was lonely and mistrusted for one where I was comparatively free, surrounded by people and above suspicion. I still have my books, my clothes, my guitar, my record collection, everything that made me happy, except my Teddy Bear, and I can get him if I wish.

We are willing to experience Father as a group. But to be alone with Him! We pray in teams, witness in teams, teach in teams. But we are so afraid to have to form that circuit all alone. So we don't witness alone. If there is no one to teach Introduction when we are on for Chapter I, we panic. And our prayer is what takes place during the flight time of our plunge into the sack. For many God is still a God of fear and trembling. So we don't feel the power that He gives to one. Miss [Young Oon] Kim was right. God does not guide us to do so strongly in a large gathering. He leads the group, and we follow. But what if you are the group? You alone? Why, then He can give all His love, His guidance, His attention to you. He becomes your prayer partner, your Witno captain, your teammate, your roommate. Even your husband or wife. Whatever, you have given up in His name, God comes to you in your hour of greatest need.

Where does the greatest seed for failure lie? It is within him who takes no stand, but tries to please everyone. So we have the story of the Japanese man who took two wives, one young, one middle-aged. He spent the first part of his week with one and the latter part with the other. He pleased them both, except for one small thing. Neither liked his mixed grey hairs. So his young wife, to make him look younger, would pick out his grey hairs. When he went to his older wife, she would pick out his black hairs. And do you know what happened to that poor man, who let his individuality become governed by popular whim? Who let his status as a man be governed by others, instead of establishing an identity? Why, he got his desserts. Inside six months he was picked as bald as a billiard ball, and so he remained.

People respond interestingly to groups. I used to go to symphonies every Wednesday night. And I'd watch people go into absolute raptures over a piece -- and when it was over, they wait to see who'd clap. Sometimes there was a long wait, because no one wanted to appear to be a peasant clapping when no one else had liked the selection. If you've read the short story, Dry September, by Faulkner, you go through the agonies of a man who finds himself in the center of a mob, composed of his friends, bent on lynching a man whose guilt is only circumstantial. Though the protagonist is convinced of the man's innocence, he too kicked and accuses the captive man, because he feared his "friends" wrath. The answer of many soldiers at the alleged My Lai Massacre trials to why they did not act in a humane way toward the Vietnamese women and children was an expression of fear as to what their superiors would do to them. This was an echo of the Nuremberg trials, at which the phrase, "I was only following orders" became such a pat answer to the interrogators' questions of why the atrocities had taken place that the phrase became an international phrase. In the Old Testament, God expressed less hatred for the real, dyed-in-the wool evildoer than for the "lukewarm' person who responded neither yet nor nay. "I will spew them out of my mouth", He said, because role-playing, to stay in everyone's good graces only leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

Often I have expressed an opinion to people and had them say, "0 yes -- it's exactly that way. I've always felt that, you know. Sure." Then I walk off and hear them say about the same opinion expressed by someone else, "That's stupid. You shouldn't even think that way." That person gets a reputation for being wishy-washy, and like Shultz's wishy-washy of all wishv-washies, Charlie Brown, winds up with no one's respect--not God's, not man's, not even his own.

Behind the apathy and complacency of this generation skulk an intensely dis-satisfied and perturbed people who are afraid to speak out, who have no leaders or heroes to speak for them. Can you begin to understand now why individuality, the will to be assertive, is so important to us as a Family?

We are those leaders this world so desperately needs! Yet where are we? At school, trying to appear "normal", at work, trying to "fit in". At home, trying out to appear different. At meetings, trying to appear just like everyone else. God has called us out of the world -- but not so that we can conform to the world. The world must conform to us.

One of the Biblical movies, Spartacus, includes a very tense scene. The Roman legions confront Spartacus' band of slaves and offer to free all of them, except Spartacus. They call out, "Spartacus, don't sacrifice your young men, your women and your children. Come down. Which of you is Spartacus?" From the center of the gathering comes a small voice saying, "I'm Spartacus!" and a shuffling of feet. But before this person can appear, another voice yells, "Hey' you're not Spartacus! I'm Spartacus!" And a third voice bellows, "You're both crazy! I'm Spartacus!" Within forty seconds every man, woman and child in the group lays claim to the name of Spartacus. The Romans have a simple way of solving the problem, of course, they simply crucify every man in the gathering and of course get Spartacus. But after nine years, I still remember that scene most vividly.

No one promises that individuality brings reward even in a lifetime. So we may lose our jobs; be deserted by our friends; lose our prestige -- whatever it is that gets our feelings hurt; gets our pride stamped on, even wind up in a fiery furnace with no angel to save us. So what! Is it better to wake up with the old sweat of fear on our faces?

Our country has been called a nation of sheep. It's a good analogy. The sheep is one of the dumbest animals in creation. In the slaughter house the sheep will walk on to its doom even though it sees other sheep dying. Wolves can divide it from its herd and devour it at leisure. A sheep walks into impossible places, from whence it must be rescued. And before the shearer they baa a bit, but that's about it from the sheep. But give it a good shepherd and the sheep grows healthy, fat and wooly.

The day God called you into this Family you ceased to be a sheep and became a shepherd. It was no longer possible for you to hide out in the flock. The flock looked to you for guidance. And if you chose to ignore them they self-destructed before your eyes. Satan picked them off one by one, demanding their blood and even their lives. They stumbled blindly into every evil, even though they saw, as the sheep sees, the result of their folly. They get themselves out on limbs, in bushes, on ledges, halfway down cliffs, and nobody can help them but you. God has given you your crook in case you have trouble recognizing it, it looks like this -- the Divine Principles and you had better get out there and lead your flock back to the fold, and fast.

Get one thing straight first, though. Being an individual is not barking out orders and behaving like a tyrant. It is not judging other people whose faults you share. One of the most individualistic people I know is Miss Kim. Once this Family embarked upon what I shall call "the Corky affair". Yes would happen But did she throw cold water on our efforts? No, she waited. And when she saw that our program was folding about our ears, she gently gave advise. So to all those who whine about the way others speak, eat, look, part their hair or drive their cars, you are not being individuals, you are being pests.

Yet the individual cannot mince his words or bite his tongue when he sees a serious dilemma developing. So it is foolish for someone to grab the wheel when a driver is a little out of line on a straight empty road. But it is very wise if that driver is in the path of an oncoming truck.

Yet the individual cannot mince his words or bite his tongue when he sees a serious dilemma developing. So it is foolish for someone to grab the wheel when a driver is a little out of line on a straight empty road. But it is very wise if that driver is in the path of an oncoming truck.

The individual does not model himself after public opinion. I read a story once called Marcie. Marcie, a very plain girl, suddenly found out that the nicest boy in the class liked her. So she decided to make herself more attractive for him. She got her hair cut, began wearing hose, took taxis to school instead of riding her bicycle ad she always did, began hanging out with other popular girls, and flirted with the other boys to appear more desirable. She lost the boy, because what had attracted him to her was her uniqueness. I went witnessing with an older member -- older in years -- who kept wondering,

"Oh, is my dress all right? Maybe I shouldn't have worn make up Oh, I don't want to look old. "At the meeting one girl said, "Well, So-and so certainly gives your group stability." God hand-picked us. You are here at this moment because you are uniquely you. Had you been like someone else, he might have picked him instead, and you would have to come in later.

The individual must be willing to stand alone. The Spartacus tale is an exception, not the rule. So expect to get bruised a bit. But though you lose your life, never sacrifice your principles. Yes, there are times when a man must seal his lips and strike at a more opportune moment. But never deny -- and never, never compromise!

So God selected some as prophets, some as teachers, some as preachers, some as healers. But if your mission is just that of standing in a corner and smiling, play your role to the hilt. Smile as no one has ever smiled before. It is all you can do, do it well.

"Above all things, to thine own self be true" says the proverb. We cannot love God and hate ourselves, for if He is in us and trough us, He becomes one with us. We must love ourselves to be individuals. Because there are times when we will have only ourselves and God within us to stand against public opinion.

So a new commandment I give to you: Love God. Love others. And be yourself. Only by being uniquely ourselves can we win a special place in the heart of God. For He will see your merits as individuals. 

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