What Does “Begotten” Really Mean? How Misunderstanding Words Can Lead to Unnecessary Division


By Franco Famularo

ro.vis1b_3343.famularo.f51The English word “begotten” is problematic for Unification teaching both within the Unification family and in efforts of Unificationists to reach out beyond Unification circles – especially, but not limited to, Christians. This article seeks a mediating position.

There are too many lessons from history that demonstrate how one letter, one word or one phrase led to divisive misunderstanding, and in some historical and exceptional cases, violent conflict.

For brevity, consider that the Christian church in the third and fourth century eventually split over the use of one letter.

Was Jesus “homoousios” (ομοούσιος) or “homoiousios” (ὁμοιούσιος)?

Without knowing Greek, it is easy to miss the nuances. However one of the main issues at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. was whether Jesus was of the same substance as God (homoousios) or of a similar substance (homoiousios). The letter “i” made all the difference.

This led to the split between Arius, who believed Jesus was of a similar substance but not God himself and Athanasius and those who eventually aligned themselves with Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea and concluded that Jesus was of the same substance — God himself.  In the view of Nicean Christianity, Jesus is God.

Later the question was whether the “Holy Spirit” proceeded from the Father only or from the “Father and the Son.”  The “Filioque” crisis along with other issues eventually led to the split between what we now know as Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox Church based in Constantinople.  The words “and the son” made all the difference.

“Unificationists” view resolving differences as one of the founder’s major objectives – indeed Reverend Sun Myung Moon is widely known for his efforts to bring harmony and cooperation among representatives of different religions, races and cultures – and among Unificationists of different persuasions!

The word “begotten” is used in some English translations of the Bible – especially the King James version of 1611. The most well-known verse is John 3:16. One also finds the word “begotten” in John 3:18, John 1:14, John 1:18, and 1 John 4:9.

The word “begotten” generally suggests the idea of originating or produced by someone else and, more importantly, a being begets someone or something like itself.

C.S. Lewis wrote about “begotten” in Mere Christianity as follows:

“We don’t use the words begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean. To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set – or he may make something more like himself than a wireless set: say, a statue.”

However, the Greek word used at the Council of Nicea is “monogenes” μονογενής (monogenes literally means “only”, “of the same kind” or “unique”). The Greek word is an adjective compounded of μονο “monos” (only) and γενής “genes” (kind). Latin, the other major language used in the early Christian period, originally used the word unicus  and is identical in meaning to the Greek monogenes.  It was later incorrectly translated into the Latin unigenitum by Jerome which changed the meaning of the Greek. The Greek word gennethenta means unigenitum or begotten.

The word in question was used in the formulation of the Nicene Creed and is drawn from the biblical verses mentioned above (John 3:16, John 1:18, 1 John 4:9).

Interestingly, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible used in the Divine Principle text does not use the word “begotten.” The biblical verses mentioned above simply use the word “only.”

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, RSV)

Rev. and Mrs. Moon have been addressing the issue of Jesus’ uniqueness for decades and more recently Mother Moon’s use of the word “begotten” has led to much controversy. Is it really so controversial as to cause schisms within the “Unification” family? Referring to Father and Mother Moon’s words as expressed in Korean may be helpful.

When the late Father Moon spoke in Korean he used the word dok saeng ja: 독생자 (獨生子). It means only-born son: 독 (獨) = only, 생 (生) = born, 자 (子) = son.

Mother Moon uses dok saeng nyeo: 독생녀 (獨生女). It means only-born daughter: 독 (獨) = only, 생 (生) = born, 녀 (女) = daughter.

It is significant that the words used in Korean are closer to the original Greek (monogenes) and Latin (unicus). The word “begotten” used in some versions of the Bible in English does not capture the original meaning intended in the Greek and Latin used in the early Christian period.

Differences between Christian and Unification views

Of course, the complexities that emerge are not restricted to linguistics. There are also thorny theological issues that arise with the use of the word “begotten.”

Since the Council of Nicea, Christians, for the most part, generally accept that Jesus was not only born through divine intervention but also stress that Jesus was not born through physical conception as is stated in the Nicene Creed: “Begotten, not made.”

The view is held by all major Christian denominations – Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Churches of the East, Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, and most mainline Protestant Churches.

Christian doctrine concludes that Jesus was not conceived by natural conception between a man and woman. Indeed, Jesus, in the traditional Christian view is God himself.

A close reading of the Divine Principle chapter on Christology leads to the Unification understanding that stresses Jesus was conceived of a man and woman. Father Moon explained in numerous speeches that Jesus had a literal father and mother. Jesus was conceived through a relationship between a physical man and woman. Furthermore, the Unification view is that Jesus was not God himself, but rather the son of God. Yet Jesus was divine and the mediator between God and human beings.

Therefore, when Father or Mother Moon’s words dok saeng ja: 독생자 (獨生子) or dok saeng nyeo: 독생녀 (獨生女) are interpreted or translated “begotten” son or daughter, an English-speaking audience is faced with both a linguistic and theological challenge.

As mentioned above, the words used in Greek (monogenes) and Latin (unicus) mean “unique” or “only”. The Korean words used by Father and Mother Moon emphasize “only” born son or daughter or “first” born son or daughter.

It is interesting that the interpreters and translators of Father and Mother Moon’s words have chosen to use the word “begotten” found in the King James Version (KJV) of 1611. It is not widely known that 90% of the KJV is identical to the earlier Tyndale version of the early 1500s. The 10% that is not identical includes references to “begotten.”

Here are some versions of the Bible that do not use the word “begotten” in John 3:16: Common English Bible (2011), Contemporary English Version (1995), English Standard Version (2016), International Standard Version (2014), New American Bible (Revised Edition 2010), New International Version (2011), Revised Standard Version (1952), New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (1993).


Recent challenges to Mother Moon’s use of the word “begotten” have caused some to disassociate from her. Families have been split. Long-time friendships have ceased. Vitriol has spread through social network sites and other channels on the web.

Mother Moon was declared to be co-founder, co-messiah and co-True Parent by Father Moon. Regardless, some challenge the very core of Unification understanding of Deity, Christology and the very purpose of Unification teaching itself.

The issue can be easily resolved when one clearly understands the meaning of a few simple words and interprets and translates them correctly.

Father and Mother Moon were not born directly from God as Christians believe of Jesus. Father and Mother Moon were born of a man and woman. They both had physical parents.

When Father and Mother Moon use the word dok saeng ja: 독생자 (獨生子) or dok saeng nyeo: 독생녀 (獨生女), they both are saying that they are the first to have fulfilled their responsibility and are thus the first born as God’s son or daughter.

It is also important to note that theirs is not an exclusive state. They continuously encourage each and every child of God to become a “true” son or daughter of God as well.

Consider the following words of Rev. Moon:

“Dok saeng ja means the first son who can receive the first love and the dok saeng nyeo means  the first daughter who can receive the first love.” (Rev. Moon’s sermon #203, June 27, 1990)

“Dok saeng ja is the one who is connected to the fullness of God’s first love for an individual.” (Jan. 24, 1986)

“It is the goal of all of us to become the dok saeng ja and the dok saeng nyeo.” (#41, Feb. 15, 1971)

“The most important thing is how to reach the position of the dok saeng ja and the dok saeng nyeo.” (#52, Dec. 30, 1971)

“It is our task to become the dok saneg ja and the dok saeng nyeo in order to liberate God.” (#94, June 26, 1977)

“Blessed families need to become the dok saeng ja and the dok saeng nyeo so that God says ‘You two are the ones I love most.’” (Sept. 29, 2002)

Clarification of words and their meanings should lead to a mature faith practice.

It seems the current spat within the Unification family is between apologists for the “begotten” daughter and those that consider the very concept of Mother Moon as a begotten daughter to be cause to establish a new movement. There are of course serious issues and future consequences theologically, providentially and practically.

The current schism will not easily be resolved since religious disagreements historically have rarely been solved. Can Unificationism be different?

If the fulfillment of God’s providence in the Completed Testament Age is the establishment of the “True Parents,” and if, after 57 years, one of the established True Parents is perceived to have failed, it will be extremely difficult to persuade a new audience that a new set of “True Parents” will succeed.

On the other hand, if the existing and established order lacks flexibility and the ability to admit mistakes, reconciliation will prove increasing difficult, if not impossible.

The future of the movement founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon in the 1940s is at stake. Will it flourish and fulfill the dream of world restoration? Or will the Unification Movement devolve into several factions causing efforts to influence society at large to fizzle?

Misunderstanding of one word could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.♦

Rev. Franco Famularo (UTS Class of 1994) lives in Montreal, Canada, and serves as Secretary-General of the Universal Peace Federation, Canada. He is also Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Unification Theological Seminary. The views expressed herein are his own.

Painting at top: A depiction of the First Council of Nicea in the year 325 A.D.

33 thoughts on “What Does “Begotten” Really Mean? How Misunderstanding Words Can Lead to Unnecessary Division

Add yours

  1. Hello Franco!

    Thank you for the interesting clarification of this terminology. I agree with your approach to see this issue in the context of the “infighting” in early Christianity, which unfortunately led to the deification of Jesus. You are rightly stating: “The current schism will not easily be resolved since religious disagreements historically have rarely been solved. Can Unificationism be different?” This “infighting” has already led to substantial results theologically and organizationally. It is thoroughly described and analyzed in Dan Fefferman’s presentation at the CESNUR Conference in Seoul (June 5-10, 2016) “Schism in the Unification Church” with the open conclusion “…it is likely that the current schisms in the Unification movement will continue indefinitely”.

    I welcome your effort to draw attention to the fundamental understanding of the DP on Christology in the same chapter. I am convinced it is our collective responsibility to protect and at the same time develop the revelations and teachings of TF given to us through the DP. And one of the cornerstones in the teaching of the DP is the understanding of God Himself and His relationship with us, human beings including the Messiah/TP, what you clearly illustrated with different quotes. TF expressed his view on this in the CSG (2006): “The role the Messiah must carry out when he comes to this earth is the role of the True Parent. Then, who is the True Parent? He is the horizontal parent with horizontal true love, who stands in place of the vertical true father. Christianity says that the Messiah is God and God is the Messiah, but this is wrong. God is the vertical true father. There is only one. You cannot see this any other way. The Messiah is the horizontal True Parent.” (186-40, 1989.1.24; Cheon Seong Gyeong English version, 2006)

    1. Thank you, Peter, for your comment.

      Clearly understanding the relationship between God and human beings is essential to understanding the Messiah, True Parents and their role. When global restoration is the goal, descending into petty disputes won’t help the cause. Thankfully, there is still time.

  2. Thank you. This is a reasonable explanation, with an excellent point about the problem of translation from Korean as well as the biblical usage. I also agree with your conclusion and admonition to those who profess to unify.

  3. Franco, thanks for raising this issue.

    So many religious divisions have been based on different interpretations of words. All words are labels, stereotypes, or signs for things we observe or conceive; and since their meaning to each of us depends on perceptions that have been conditioned by society and experience, no two people see the world exactly the same way. This is why discussion and dialogue about the meaning of the words is perhaps more important than a “clear definition.” Perhaps the only absolutely clear definitions are mathematical. On words like “begotten,” to make a definition adequately clear might take a lot of adjectives when you turn the term into a theological or spiritual definition. In common parlance, the term generally referred to the male progenitor, but analogies give the term second definitions related to the origin of power. It is obviously confusing if one person thinks the theological definition refers to the literal offspring of God, or has some authority or power that comes from God.

    Therefore, any defense of the use of a word like this has to explain the meaning and purpose for the use of the word in the mind of the one who uses it, rather than simply stating someone or something is begotten, and defending a term that refers to something in the user’s mind that is not what the term means to the hearer.

    1. Gordon thanks for clarifying how important it is to be precise. Theology, philosophy and other fields require a healthy marriage with the scientific study of language to effectively communicate the essence of a message. Nicea was the result of several attempts to clarify the nature of God and Jesus. Unfortunately, strong political forces steered the dialogue that eventually led to the Nicean Creed. The need for dialogue and discussion to arrive at a clear understanding is undoubtedly important at this time. It is not too late.

  4. Thank you Franco. You reminded me of a Confucian text:

    Zi-lu said, “The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?”
    The Master replied, ”It is necessary to rectify names.”
    “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.
    If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
    When affairs cannot be carried on to success, art and music do not flourish.
    When art and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.
    When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
    Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.”

    Confucius, Analects XIII, 3

    In this particular spat I think people are searching for reasons to accuse each other and that is the deeper problem.

    1. Thank you, William, for sharing Confucius’s wisdom, and for sure we need to find a way to get beyond searching for reasons to accuse. I think we all agree that the founders taught us to live for a greater cause, seek harmony and ways to reconciliation and find ways to unify as one world under God.

  5. I’m very much grateful for this insight on the serious point of confusion in our church. There’s a serious point here you said about early division that actually can’t allow new members to believe. The more we divide at this early point, the more TPs foundation loses ground and prolonging world restoration to thousands of years to come. TPs will never appear again as was always said by TF that we have one set of TPs. It’s now however depends on the disciples of Christ/TPs to have one conviction that the words they have received from the messiah will never be said again and TPs will remain forever whether we accomplish our mission or not.

  6. The one thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history. “Can Unificationism be different?” This truly is the crux of the matter, Franco. I sense the noble intent to remind us of the theological crevices that swallowed so many who came before us. Well done.

    1. Thanks, Enrique, for grasping the essence of the piece. I’m reminded of Tertullian (considered the Father of Latin or Western theology) who was the first to develop a doctrine of the Trinity. The mis-translation of some key words from Latin to Greek and then from Greek to Latin led to a number of “mysterious” explanations of the Trinity — a mathematical impossibility. Many are still trying to explain how three becomes one and one becomes three. Tertullian used the Latin word for substance which was translated into the Greek word ousia which means “being.” And the rest is history. Fortunately, the Divine Principle should make it easy for us.

  7. I think it was David Kim who once said that there were many candidates for Messiah. In fact, he thought he might have been one! But he said that Rev. Moon was the only one to get the victory.

    1. Good point, Ray. Thanks for reminding us of God’s arduous struggle to find a man and a woman to fulfill the purpose of creation. Many tears have flowed over this point.

  8. Of note here, largely, IMO, is: “an English-speaking audience is faced with both a linguistic and theological challenge,” but that is perhaps more than enough. Begotten was superceded (or preceded?) by “anointed,” lest we all forget…or does “messiah” mean nothing anymore? And what of our (majority) non-English speaking membership?

    1. Messiah does mean anointed, Edwin. It means a lot to those who appreciate the value of the first and second coming. For many of us, the return of the Messiah was the only reason we got involved in the first place. It was definitely the case for me.

      1. Yes and maybe. My point, however, is simply that words, including theological ones will more often than not get misunderstood, mistranslated, etc., leading to “division” or dysfunction or however one cares to characterize the most essential, underlying aspect; that of actual human interaction.

        And is it unnecessary? How do we really know? I prefer ever to see a process with (true) love underlying the best, most hopeful outcome.

  9. This article seeks a mediating point between two positions. On the one side are the apologists who hold that the True Parents have successfully completed the Providence of recreation — the change of blood lineage, the fulfillment of the three object purposes — conjugal love, parental love and filial piety (child love) and establishing a true four position foundation. And, on the other side, renegade parties are seeking to establish a new church movement. The apologists and renegades are at a momentary impasse.

    Ontological dissent is as old as the linguistic and theological twist of words and meanings found in the cases you have cited. For the same reasons, the early Orthodox Christian church split from Rome; and, the Puritan movement split from the established Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. As already mentioned by William Haines in his comment, the solution or reconciliation lay in the correction of names and the rectification of language that is not in accordance with the truth of things. The providence of restoration through indemnity has been accomplished, pursuant with the goal of establishing the nation(s) of filial piety and unification.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Robert. There are many levels and layers to restoration and all have to be fulfilled. TF often spoke of 8 vertical and 8 horizontal stages.

  10. Thank you for the interesting article. The Council of Nicea was surely a milestone in Christian theology. Even though its conclusion about the nature of Jesus was incorrect, still Christianity flourished. Looking further, three different religions formulate a very different, even conflicting, view of Jesus and yet all of them have survived.

    There is however a huge difference with the Unification movement of today. Its co-founder is still with us! As in the time of Jesus, the matter is not so much in interpretation of the words, but in understanding them. Jesus struggled with it and because he was misunderstood, he was crucified.

    In today’s Unification movement, there is the Divine Principle and Unification Thought, as well as Father and Mother Moon’s words, that are like bone and flesh.

    Different understandings have always existed to a certain degree, due to different experiences or lack of experiences.

    Unificationists regularly recite the Family Pledge. In pledge number 8, we essentially offer our lives to True Parents. The intellectual understanding here is important but not decisive.

    A lifetime can turn here into a single moment, namely, when I am challenged to give up my most precious and offer it to heaven. True Parents have demonstrated this heart when they had to offer their beloved son, Heung Jin Nim.

    True discipleship has to be enlightened with not just intellectual understanding, but be consolidated by experiencing True Parents’ heart and love, making our belief alive. In my life, as well as in many others, when we face hardships, we need to turn towards True Parents and will experience a bond of heart never experienced before. In a sense, we can find heaven at the bottom of hell.

    Absolute faith, absolute love and absolute obedience are not proven by reciting, but by undergoing a test of fire.

    At this time, when True Mother asks us to witness, re-awakening the old days, she essentially includes here that we may experience True Parents’ heart that is always at the frontline.

    1. All very good points, Rohan. Ultimately all the points you make should lead us to oneness in love with God and love for our neighbor. One World Family United has always been the dream our True Parents longed to achieve — an immense but feasible task.

  11. Thank you, Franco, for this insightful essay.

    Since we’re discussing “words” and their etymology, the word “religion” stems from the Latin, ligo-ligare: “to bind.” Re-ligion is supposed to be a vehicle to “re-bind” God and humankind, yet historically it tends to become a polarizing agent rather than a binding one.

    I doubt that many of who have become disciples of True Parents have predicated our convictions of faith on Father’s or Mother’s lineage or “begotten-ness.” For many of us, it was the incredible love of God and humankind that convinced us of their authority as True Parents. Their ability to digest pain and resentment and carry on to do God’s will in spite of all the providential challenges that confronted them is the standard that elevated them to the position of True Parents, is the standard by which we can all become “tribal messiahs.” The degree that we can emulate their example of True Love is, IMO, what we need to focus on.

    In a small gathering of artists in 1980, Father said to us, “Religion and music go hand in hand.” Both are rebinding agents. However, we have our portions of responsibility, and in order to become religious people (and religious artists), it’s up to each one of us to live up to the ideal of True Love that True Parents have manifested.

    * * *

    With regards to William’s citing Confucius, I’m reminded that DP stating that Oriental philosophy has a limitation because it doesn’t view the Godhead as a parent. In fact, Confucianism isn’t a religion per se and doesn’t reference the spiritual realm or salvation.

    That said, theses quotes are insightful:

    “When affairs cannot be carried on to success, art and music do not flourish.
    When art and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.”

    Confucius also stated that “if one wanted to know if a society is well-governed, or if its morals were good or bad, the quality of its music would furnish the answer.”

    It’s interesting to note that True Mother is now initiating a major arts program in Korea under the banner, Hyo Jeong Cheon Won — basically translated “the garden of filial love.” We tend to view beauty as the feminine aspect of God’s nature so it make perfect sense that she is doing this. Creating art with the intention of creating a culture of peace is becoming more central to the providence — a welcome development IMO!

    1. David,

      The American civic philosophy has a limitation because it doesn’t view the Godhead as a parent. In fact, American exceptionalism isn’t a religion per se. The American civic philosophy, the Constitution, and Confucianism share a similar reticence and reluctance to reference the spiritual realm and salvation. Having said that, tuning one’s ear to wisdom will carry us closer to a society that is well-governed; and the quality of its (your) music may furnish the answer.

      1. Robert,

        The one thing that the founding fathers of the United States understood was that freedom comes from God, not other men or the state. In his essay, “On Freedom,” noted Austrian-British philosopher, Karl Popper states:

        “Democracy and freedom do not guarantee the millennium. No, we do not choose political freedom because it promises us this or that. We choose it because it makes possible the only dignified form of human coexistence, the only form in which we can be fully responsible for ourselves. Whether we realize its possibilities depends on all kinds of things — and above all on ourselves.”

        This is in accord with Divine Principle’s precepts regarding freedom, love and our 5% Portion of responsibility.

    2. In response here to the comment of “DP stating that Oriental philosophy has a limitation because it doesn’t view the Godhead as a parent. In fact, Confucianism isn’t a religion per se and doesn’t reference the spiritual realm or salvation,” I must strongly disagree. The Confucianist influence on Unificationist doctrine itself, while not overt, is definitely part and parcel of the whole. The Parent/child relationship is at the very Confucianist core. And some scholars do indeed consider it a religion in itself, possibly the largest in the world, if one considers its root as being “ancestor devotion.” Hence, we find ourselves once more at a precipice of controversy, for example, in the case of some of the “divide” in regards to the burgeoning Cheongpyeong providence.

  12. Good to hear from you, David. You are spot on about the purpose of religion and the purpose of our lives. It really is all about love. It should not be about the issues in the current squabble.

    The other key point we learn in DP is human responsibility. And even the Messiah couple could not avoid that. They have become the unique first born son and daughter because they fulfilled.

    May your music motivate people to want to find the love of God.

  13. Rev. Famularo, thank you for your article. I believe the present schism was not caused by theological differences because it had already occurred several months before this issue of “Begotten Daughter” came about. This theological difference was just one of the additional justifications for the establishment of SC (Sanctuary Church).

    I believe the idea of SC was started by KJN who couldn’t overcome his personal issues with Mother. KJN then instigated H2 to establish the SC as H2 himself also couldn’t wait to become the “second king”.

    From a human viewpoint, it seems that this schism will last indefinitely as was the case in the history of other religions. But for Unificationism, I believe it will not last forever because: (1) schism is not Heaven’s will, but unification, (2) True Parents have been victorious and had accomplished their missions and, (3) based on the viewpoint of “indemnity,” it is not abnormal for such an incident to occur but it will also be resolved through “indemnity” in due course. 

  14. You are correct that theological differences are not the root cause for religious or other divisions. As with early Christianity, there were many other issues. It is clear that Emperor Constantine at the time of the Council of Nicea sided with the view that coincided more with the Roman worldview of the time. The Roman Emperor was considered a god at the time and one issue was that Jesus could not be a “lesser” being than the Emperor. There were other political issues as well. No doubt schisms happen for many reasons. I appreciate your positive outlook on the future and I hope that reconciliation will happen sooner than later.

  15. Thanks for your insightful essay. Much too often we forget the power words have in us; how the simple use of a certain word may bring images into our minds that lead us to react based on negative emotions rather than clear thinking.

    Thanks for your tremendous research and finding True Father’s statements concerning our responsibility to transform ourselves into begotten children. That statement should be enough to clear the misunderstanding of True Mother’s use of the word; at least for those who had problem with it.

    Unfortunately, I think that something deeper than misunderstanding of terms is involved in the decision of many people to disassociate from True Mother. Unresolved resentments have become blinders that prevent people from objectively reading information as helpful as yours.

  16. Thank you for your comment Pedro. You are absolutely correct that misunderstanding of terms is a small part of the reason for the current crisis of faith some experience. Deeper comprehension of the Principle and the way of life of True Parents promoted is essential for a wholesome and mature life of faith. True Parents have set the tone and shown the way of love. It is our mandate to emulate them as best we can.

  17. I appreciated Franco’s interest in helping to resolve this controversy. However, the American movement has bigger fish to fry other than the “only begotten” fish. After 58 years of missionary activities on our shores we are faced with several huge challenges, such as: declining membership, internal division, elderly congregations, ever-increasing marginalization as a relevant presence within the social fabric of American society, and the absence of a strategic national marketing campaign aimed at an identified target market.

  18. Franco,

    I appreciate your article on the word “begotten” from January 2017. I have read it just today thanks to the link sent repeatedly to me by our NL after my sincere confession related to the chaotic situation in our world movement…

    Your competent and very highly educated approach to the case is very helpful for me, as I have been disturbed by this word as many other, esp. elder bb&ss, too.

    I came from the first underground group of UM members in the former communist Czechoslovakia. The whole story of this period can be found in the coming book compiled by Julian Grey on the method of oral history with early members.

    Next to other activities, I also participated on the first translations of DP and TF’s words. I am on one side quite an intellectual person, but on the other side also quite emotional and impulsive one, very fond of art, esp. poetry and literature. So the content or message of the single words and the way how they are bound with each other or used in oral or written communication is very important for me.

    I also participated in translating first version of CSG (2008), and that time I will always remember as the greatest and most exciting adventure. Sometimes I was struggling over one word for hours, even days, feeling a responsibility for the most precise, correct and comprehensive translation for the Slovak readers.

    As you, Franco, write, the misunderstanding also comes from our different social & cultural backgrounds and experiences.

    So, in this very case, I suggest, that anyone of our competent and responsible bb&ss who have close access to our True Mother, could have perhaps kindly asked her to use in her English spoken or translated messages other words or expressions instead of this confusing and not quite precise or correct word “begotten” in the whole expression, “the only begotten son/daughter,” e.g. “the only true son or daughter of God/HP.”

    To other reasons of the “schism” in our movement: I am not going to relate to now, maybe later, when I feel inspired to speak myself out. But sometimes it is better and more useful for me to listen, study and learn from others, esp. our TP. (As TF used to say, There is no perfection in ignorance)

    Many thanks to all for your constant and positive contribution to the reconciliation & reunification of our UWorldFamily!

    Sincerely, from Bratislava, Slovak Republic.

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