20th Anniversary True Family Values Banquet Keynote Address
Sun Jin Moon, International President of FFWPU, gave the following personal remarks prior to reading True Mother’s address at the True Family Values Ministry Awards Banquet on December 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.
Respected and beloved government and civic leaders, and especially the members of the clergy who represent not only the Christian family of faiths but also the wider family of religions!
It is my honor and privilege to be with you today for this True Family Values Banquet, convened here in Chicago, and celebrating 20 years of the True Family Values ministry.
I want to acknowledge the members of the ACLC (the American Clergy Leadership Conference) who are here today, as well as representatives of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, UPF (Universal Peace Federation) and other NGOs.
If you are like me—and I am sure you are—there isn’t a day that goes by when you don’t wonder where our world is headed. It sometimes seems like our world is falling apart. On the one hand, we are facing the impact of climate changes that threaten the viability of the planet, including the quality of our air, water and the food chain. In addition, the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and the terror attacks in Europe, here in our homeland, and other places are threatening global order and global stability. And, in the communities and on the streets of America’s cities there are cries for justice as gun violence and shootings darken the headlines.
Sometimes the challenges of life can seem almost too much to bear. However, if we reflect on the power of love, faith, benevolence and goodness, we open up to the light. We begin to appreciate heroes among us who, by their example, their vision and their words, show us the way out of the darkness and lead us to the light. They give us hope. To all of the heroes in this room—men and women and families of faith, love, and goodness who serve a higher purpose and live to create a world of peace and one family under God—today I thank you all for being our American heroes of peace.
There have been two major people in my life who have always inspired me, even in the darkest times. They are my parents, and to the worldwide family our True Parents have lived a sincere life of absolute faith in God, lived with an unwavering will to serve humanity and instill a global consciousness of good, with fearless determination, absolute love and selfless devotion for the sake of humankind and creation. There is no other person on this earth who can match my father’s life example—may God bless him—since his ascension three years ago. But if ever there was a woman of absolute pure love, devotion, faith and goodness that was his balance, his counterpart, the complete harmony of true love in life—that would be my mother. She has devoted her life, family, and served over 50 years in their public mission to serve humankind. She is my light and amazing example of true love. She is my hero.
Despite losing her husband of 52 years and the father to their 14 children; despite being now in this physical world without the irreplaceable half that makes her whole; and despite losing her one and only true love, my mother, True Mother, never stops to focus on, or complain about, her own difficulties. On the contrary, she always looks to ease the pain of others, giving out love and hope, and calling us all to embrace a victorious future, building one universal family under God, our Heavenly Parent.
I know that when my parents and my family came to this nation, they had the highest hopes that this nation would be a light unto the world and an exemplary nation that served as a loving elder brother to the community of nations around the world … a superpower of justice, peace, faith and widespread prosperity—north, south, east and west.
In order for America to achieve this goal, they promoted interreligious dialogue, good governance, and soft-power approaches to peace. They initiated character education programs for youth, worked to empower women and girls, advocated renewal and reform of the United Nations, developed businesses guided by ethical principles, and invested in the development of responsible, objective media institutions.
They believed that this quest for peace was the most important task of our time.
At the center of this effort was the family. This is why their entire ministry was centered on the Blessing, to build God-centered marriages and families. They always taught us that the primary school for teaching ethics, justice and true love is the family. If we build marriages and families of true love, and we expand that realm of true love, we can build communities, cities, nations and a world of true love. We become brothers and sisters who love and care for one another.
This is Heavenly Parent’s ideal, and this is True Parents’ ideal. We need to build loving families and communities based on the principle of true love, forgiveness, unity and compassion. Gathered here with all of you, our brothers and sisters, our heroes of faith, I know this ideal can be realized in this great nation. With the warmth and cheer of the holiday season, I pray that you and your precious families can all be abundantly blessed and joyful, and may this nation find that we are all one family under God and we should all celebrate each moment with love, faith and gratitude. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Aju!
I have been asked by my mother, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, to represent her today and to present her message, which she wanted to share with you. She could not be here, but her heart is with us. Also, my father’s heart is our eternal light and he is always with us. He is looking down on us from the spiritual world. I am sure he is smiling and sending loving blessings to you all.
Please bear with me now as I do my best to present my mother’s message.
True Mother’s Message
Respected ladies and gentlemen from home and abroad. Beloved leaders who have strived to establish true family values. The fulfillment of Heavenly Parent’s ideal of creation is rooted in family values. However, we see that those values are rapidly deteriorating. It was in order to firmly establish true family values and fulfill Heavenly Parents’s will to establish one family under God, that my late husband, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and I began our providential work in the USA in 1971. Since that time, we have devoted ourselves to advocate true family ideals and God’s.
Heaven especially prepared and blessed the US, so we can become a pillar of the global providence of restoration. However, my husband and I can see the tragic deterioration of family values in America. Therefore, in 1996, my husband and I invited more than 5,000 religious leaders from all over America to Washington, D.C. to awaken the nation, teaching them about the absolute centrality of true family values. The content of this education program was to inspire the clergy, who had gathered on that occasion, to resolve to participate in a great movement that could save America by restoring true family values centered on God, our Heavenly Parent.
I know that many of you who are seated here today have dedicated yourselves to this great endeavor. It is through your devotion, your efforts through these many years, that the movement has grown and that now we are able to celebrate this meaningful 20th anniversary. I’d like to offer my heartfelt gratitude for your tremendous work. I’d also like to congratulate today’s award recipients.
We are born in the bosom of the family and we grow within the family. The family is our origin, our starting point, our school of love. The universal truth and values embedded in the family transcend religion, culture, race and nationality. Our Heavenly Parent’s ideal of creation when He created Adam and Eve as the first human ancestors was for them to fulfill His commandments; namely to be fruitful, multiply and have dominion over creation. However, due to the first Fall of the human ancestors, our Heavenly Parent’s ideal of creation was unfulfilled. As a result, our Heavenly Parent was unable to experience the happiness of true love within an ideal family. Furthermore, throughout the course of fallen human history, true family values were trampled on swept away into oblivion.
If we consider the history of the rise and fall of civilizations, we observe the decline of family contributes to the decline of civilizations. For example, we can generally agree that Western civilization traces to Hebraism and Hellenism. As great as these traditions are, they tended to emphasize the individual more than the family. They did not find a clear vision for ideal family, nor a forceful declaration of true family values rooted in Heavenly Parent’s ideal of creation. Eventually as Western civilization increasingly raised individualistic ideals and philosophies, a culture centered on individualism emerged. Contrary to God’s will, the basic unit of all relationships in society and the nation was not believed to be the family. Instead, it became the individual. All relationships, including those between parents and children, came to be defined as a kind of legal or contractual relationship, similar to which that exists between a ruler and citizens.
This was a grave error. Once the relationship between parents and children is fundamentally in terms of a contractual relationship, involving personal interests of the parents and children, parent and child relations can come to not be understood in the terms of heavenly morality, but rather on the terms of human morality. Today, the human family is divided and the throes of war are at every level. We’re fighting with every living being and creation, arming ourselves against eco wars, religious wars, territorial wars, political wars, racial wars, community shootings making our backyard, our hometown, into a war field.
When we witness these heinous crimes against the human family, we are heartbroken and can’t empathize with the devastating pain of God’s heart. Anyone can say that the world we live in today is not an ideal world where we all live in peace and harmony with our global brothers and sisters as one family under God. I believe that the root cause of these problems lies in the loss of true family values. The US was blessed by our Heavenly Parent with the ideal mission of establishing not only one nation under God, but one family under God.
Today, this ideal is alive even though the erosion of family values is threatening the very foundation of this nation. Divorce rates exceeding 50% are directly undermining the sanctity of marriage and family. Unprecedented liberal issues about sex amongst teenagers and free sex among young people are seriously shaking the core of this nation. Aware and concerned of this sad reality, Rev. Moon and I answered Heaven’s call to come and heal an ailing America. In 1971, Rev. Moon left his homeland to come to America. Throughout his life, he devoted his life to restore America’s moral and spiritual roots in order to revive this great nation. As he toured the US, from shore to shore, Rev. Moon boldly proclaimed, “God has sent me in the role of the doctor, the role of the firefighter. That is why I have come to America.”
Beloved leaders, what kind of country is the nation where you were born? What kind of nation are you living in? What dreams did your ancestors hold dear when they were on the shores? What ideals did they strive to practice and cultivate in this nation? When the Pilgrim fathers sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, under the most adverse conditions, surviving deadly storms and various setbacks, their only ray of hope was God, their Heavenly Parent. After arriving and settling on the new continent, almost half the Pilgrims died of starvation in the first year. Yet, despite the famine, the Pilgrims thought about future generations and they stored seeds in anticipation for the next growing season rather than eating them.
During these times, their only hope was to connect to Heavenly Parent. Later, the Founding Fathers of this nation risked their lives and fought a David versus Goliath battle for independence against Britain with their hope and trust in God and Heavenly Parent. In their hearts and minds, God was everything. Their resolve and determination to attend Heavenly Parent was truly great and holy. During the war for independence, Britain was a global superpower. The king and British soldiers united and fought for their empire; however, the Founding Fathers loved God their Heavenly Parent above all. They united and fought to advance God’s will. Their sincerity and sacrifice moved the governing of Heaven. As a result, our Heavenly Parent answered the call of his sons and daughters, who were fighting bravely in this great conflict. As a result, the United States of America, the land of religious freedom was born.
America boldly showed the world that, despite having people of many different languages and cultures, it was possible to build one nation under God, and eventually one family under Heavenly Parent. Unfortunately, the holiness that once characterized America has fallen into a decline. Influenced by self-centered rise, a materialistic culture and challenges of the weakening of spirituality and morality, America has grown increasingly secular. As a result, its core foundation has been shaken. Rev. Moon could see that God has become distant in the hearts of people. Even in families, in schools, some churches, it had been difficult to feel Heavenly Parent’s loving presence. God was leaving America.
Looking back, it only seemed like yesterday when, 50 years ago, Rev. Moon and I walked down Manhattan’s 5th Ave with tears in our eyes, and felt that God, the Heavenly Parent, was leaving America. I vividly remember us crying our hearts out when we held onto Him in desperation. With that heart, we pledged our absolute determination to lead a spiritual awakening in this nation. Beloved leaders, what were the founding ideals of America? What ideals of Christianity led to the birth of the US? Two thousand years ago Jesus was born on this earth as the begotten son and Messiah. What were his ideals and what was his mission?
Jesus’s mission was to establish the kingdom of God and to build one great, big global family under Heavenly Parent. As the only begotten son, he was to meet the only begotten daughter prepared by Heaven, hold the marriage of the lamb, and form a family, tribe, people, nation and world that would lead to the fulfillment of God’s original ideal of creation. This world would be one united world with no divisions of culture, race and nationality. It will be a world where Heavenly Parent could fully love and live in oneness with True Parents and all humanity as His beloved sons and daughters. Tragically, due to the faithlessness of the people at that time, Jesus faced great resistance and persecution and was unable to meet the only begotten daughter Heaven had prepared for him. Therefore, he could not hold the marriage of the lamb and the position of True Parents could not be established at that time. Even though Jesus, together with the Holy Spirit, brings spiritual salvation to humanity, the ideal of True Parents, the ideal of the king and queen of peace had yet to be fulfilled.
This is why Jesus had to promise, even as he hung on the cross, that he would come again. Jesus’s profound anguish was expressed when he said in Matthew 23:37, “…how often I have longed to gather your children together as hens gather their chicks under their wings, and you were not willing.” These words still resonate deep within my heart.
Beloved leaders, my late husband, Rev. Moon, and I clearly understood the suffering and sorrowful situation of Heaven and Jesus, whose death on the cross was not God’s original will. We therefore wanted to comfort and uplift Jesus as he should have been in his lifetime. In 2003, we organized a program in Jerusalem to honor and crown Jesus as the king of peace. We wanted to restore his having been misunderstood and rejected 2,000 years ago. Also, since the cross was a sorrowful reminder that he was not received by the people of his time, we also engaged in a global movement to take down the crosses in the churches. However, these endeavors alone did not completely free Heavenly Parent and Jesus from the historical pain and sorrow. In fact, we now understand that 2,000 years of Christianity has been the providential course to eventually find the only begotten daughter, fulfill the marriage of the lamb, and establish the long awaited position of True Parents.
Dear leaders, in 1960 Rev. Moon and I, standing in the presence of God in the position of the only begotten son and only begotten daughter prepared by Heaven, received the Holy Marriage Blessing as the True Parents. Since that time, by the Holy Wedding, our lives have been focused on following goals to liberate Heavenly Parent who is the cosmic True Parent, restore His lost position as our Parent, and to save the fallen and lost human beings from the realm of death and suffering, and return humanity to the bosom of Heavenly Parent. In order to achieve this ideal, Rev. Moon and I had to overcome unspeakable hardships and innumerable difficulties. Overcoming all these obstacles, we led and carried humanity which had fallen into a state of being like an orphan with no parents along to the path of salvation.
The sayings, “seven failures will lead to success on the eighth” and “risk your life and invest yourself entirely to the cause” accurately characterized the course of the life that we have led. True Father came to this earth as the only begotten son of Heavenly Parent, and he met me, the only begotten daughter who Heaven had prepared for 6,000 years. Together, we strove each day of our lives to embrace all humanity with a heart of True Parents. However, this meant that our life together would never be stable, or serene. It is akin to sailing on a vast ocean during a deadly storm. Nevertheless, Rev. Moon, as the True Father, completely fulfilled his mission, and prior to his ascension he earnestly asked and entrusted all humanity the mission to fulfill their own responsibility as heavenly Tribal Messiahs.
Beloved leaders, at the time of my husband’s third ascension memorial, standing before Heavenly Parent and the entire Unification community, this is what I promised True Father: “True Father, from now on please do not worry. We will absolutely fulfill our responsibility. Please, be free and ascend to your eternal resting place, to comfort God, the Heavenly Parent, who has been lonely until now.”
Beloved leaders, you are witnesses to the kind of life our couple has led, and in order to realize the will of Heavenly Parent, you know the sincere efforts we have made to save and revive this nation that has been blessed by Heaven. I am certain that your truthful eyes and your truthful ears have helped you understand for whom and for what ideals we dedicate our lives.
Beloved leaders, let us stand up for our Heavenly Parent who, for 6,000 years of human history, has anxiously searched for His lost children. Let us remember the Pilgrim Fathers who, with their hearts of the children desperately seeking for their Heavenly Parent, travelled thousands of miles across treacherous Atlantic Ocean and settled in America during the harshest of winters. Let us remember the people who came to this country from all over the world in search of religious freedom. Let us remember how they overcame persecution and suffering, so that America could take root as a land of faith. Let us remember their ardent devotion and sincere faith and their lofty aspirations. God, our Heavenly Parent, abundantly blessed America as a pillar of His providence. Let this beautiful nation once again attend Heavenly Parent. Let us revive and transform America into nation where ideals of family are alive, a nation where Heavenly Parent can freely move, dance and sing together with us.
If you devote yourselves to fulfilling this goal, Heaven and the unified nation of Cheon Il Guk will certainly remember each and everyone of you. I pray that love and blessings of Heavenly Parent be with you and your families. May Heavenly Parent truly bless America. Aju. Thank you.