The Words of the Self Family
I was brought to Reverend Sun Myung Moon in February of 1975. I say “brought to” because I felt then, and still feel now, that God’s forces were bringing me along, preparing me, in my sometimes intense search for “Truth,” for something... something Big. That “something,” as it turned out, was not a big “something.” It was a big “someone,” a very big someone... the True Father, Reverend Moon.
And I did meet him in person, in a beautiful, quiet place called Barrytown, New York. For me, this meeting was an explosion of major proportions. After graduating from my university and spending two years in the U.S. Army (one of the last of the Vietnam draftees), my thirst for “Truth” had led me to the counter-culture world of hippiedom. So, on that fateful morning in ’75, I was at my “hippest,” especially in appearance. I had long hair down my back, big full beard, granny glasses, faded blue jeans, and union suit underwear shirt. I was described by some as looking like “John Lennon at his hairiest.”
After having heard the Divine Principle 2-day workshop in North Carolina, I had made the trek to Barrytown to hear the 7-day and to hopefully meet the “Fully Actualized Man,” as I had labeled Father at the time. True Father had come to speak exclusively to the 120-day workshop participants, who were actually the original American missionaries, preparing to go out to the world later that spring. Somehow, to the obvious shock of David S. C. Kim and the security fellows, I found myself (looking as described above) sitting in the middle of a large classroom of “elders,” all of whom wore suits, ties and had very short haircuts. I was totally entranced by the words, persona, spirit, and LOVE of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
Father, looking at the crowd, saw this one rather long-waisted, long-haired “freak” sitting in the middle near the back, totally taking in everything that he said. Father seemed so happy to see me. I KNEW that I was happy to see him! Father began to make jokes about hippies in America, and I laughed so hard, knowing what he was saying was totally true. In spite of my appearance, Father could somehow know that my heart was completely his, and he poured out so much love to me. This wasn’t brain-washing, but it was certainly “heart-washing” at its best! It was the greatest day of my life when True Father invited me into the realm of his heart.
Since that first meeting, I have been so blessed throughout my nearly thirty years in the movement to have been in Father’s presence hundreds of times in all types of settings and situations.
My missions... Victory Over Communism pioneer, Tiger Park’s assistant, Dr. Seuk’s assistant, American Freedom Coalition with Dr. Pak, Mr. Joo and now Dr. Yang, working with Jin Hun Nim, and with Hyun Jin Nim Moon in World CARP... all brought me to many meetings with Father. Also Father came many, many times to the Unification Theological Seminary while I was a student there. He personally taught us how to make the nets and do all types of fishing, to dig out the large pond with shovels, to plant and harvest ten acres of potatoes that we delivered to the hungry in Harlem, to level the soccer field (twice!) and on and on. When I graduated, I went to London for nine months, pioneering Home Church. Father was there with us for most of that time. There also, Father matched me with my wife Chieko in a comparatively intimate matching and Holy Wine ceremony of two hundred couples.
As any member can tell you, each meeting with True Father is a story in itself. There is no such thing as a boring encounter with him and True Mother. Father is a whirlwind in himself. There are always so many levels of activity and connections going on around him, all of the time. He is indeed a living miracle. His scope of activity and attention is enormous in scale. He is the one universal man that people from all over the world, all races, can experience as their True Father.
Truly, Father was born to speak, to express God’s feelings on every kind of subject from the minute to the cosmic. He is like a bubbling spring when he begins speaking.
I was there in the garage at Belvedere when he set his own personal record of speaking continuously for over seventeen hours, without once repeating himself! Dr. Pak was translating, and he certainly deserves the crown of “King of the Translators.” After Father had spoken for about twelve hours, standing the entire time, Mrs. Eu slipped over behind Father and placed a chair behind him, hoping that he would sit down and rest his extremely tired legs. After a little while, Father turned his head slightly and saw that the chair had been placed behind him. Like a tiger pouncing, Father turned and with all of his might, kicked the chair completely across and off of the stage! Without saying a word about it, he then turned and continued speaking, for another five hours! He was determined to set a record condition that day, and saw the offer of a chair, even though presented with so much love, as an attempt to weaken his steely resolve.
I often felt sorry for Father, as had Mrs. Eu, because he has always mercilessly pushed his own body, no matter how sick or tired he might be. True Mother has also endured such incredible physical trials in trying to keep pace with him. I observed that for Father, this is his way of life. It is his God-given nature to push himself beyond all limitations. He seemed to have offered his entire life as one long indemnity condition, composed of an endless myriad of conditions, offered as sacrifices for furthering God’s will on the earth. But to live more comfortably is totally alien to Father. He explained to us once at the seminary while we were at the river fishing, that every day, before he stops to eat a meal, he will push to do one more accomplishment for Heaven, complete one more task for God, before taking any form of rest or sustenance. He does that for every meal. He lives like that every day. Father is famous for his “iron will”; steel would be more like it! Father’s mind and will have total dominion over his body.
One story that I feel encapsulates his lifestyle was told by one of my favorite brothers, Rev. Kevin McCarthy. Kevin was the Western brother in charge of a rather large workshop of leaders at a training workshop in Kodiak, Alaska, at North Garden, with True Father. Father’s usual schedule for that time was to get started at 3:15 AM. Everyone usually went to sleep around 11:00 PM. Kevin, having some responsibilities to fulfill, was up later than the others one night. At 12:15 AM, he looked up to see Father walking down the hall, fully dressed in his fishing clothes. “Time to go,” said Father, “It’s 3:00 o’clock!” Kevin, looking at his watch, said, “But Father, it’s not 3:00; it’s 12:15.” Father had mistakenly mixed the hour and minute hands of his watch, seeing 3:00 instead of 12:15. Father looked at his watch and realized what he had done. Then he threw his head back and laughed long and loud, as if the funniest joke had just been played on him, and then went back to his room. Father’s mind had told him that it was 3:00 AM, and no matter how tired his body was he completely dominated it, and was going out for his condition of fishing, no matter what. His body must have protested mightily, since it had received only an hour or so of sleep, but that protest had no chance against his mind and will. That story is just one of a multitude that reveals his total domination of the mind-body relationship, and his total dedication to liberating God.
Coming to know True Father is a continuous, unending exercise in discovery. It is impossible to put him into any known “category,” as the media, to its chagrin, has found. He is routinely described by the media in such an array of personas: “evangelist,” “businessman,” “empire builder,” “brainwasher,” etc. It is not all that much easier to really “know” him for those of us who have been blessed with being with him so many times through the decades. He sometimes has said, “Even True Mother doesn’t really understand me.”
My latest personal “meeting” with True Father was in December 2004, just before Christmas. There were many people there at his home, East Garden, in Tarrytown, New York. Father had just completed his speeches in Washington, D.C. at both a three thousand person breakfast “summit” and an equal- sized dinner event (both on the same day, December 13!). To our surprise, he chose sixteen of the organizers and leaders involved in those events and announced a “lottery” in which the sixteen each drew an envelope containing the flag of a nation from his hand. These were the sixteen nations that had supported South Korea in the Korean War by actually sending their troops to shed their blood on Korean soil. With these sixteen, Father was initiating a new worldwide organization, the Inter-religious and International Peace Kingdom Federation. I drew South Africa.
Father Moon is totally serious about helping God to build His Kingdom... on the earth. Going from one huge effort and victory to another larger and even more challenging task is his way of life. All of us are greatly blessed by that precious life.
Howard C. Self was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He has held a number of leadership roles in his thirty years in the Unification movement. Currently, he serves as the National Executive Director of both the American Family Coalition and IIFWP-USA. He resides with his wife, Chieko, and son, Franklin, in Lanham, Maryland.