A Unificationist’s Reflection on the Legacy of Rep. John Lewis

By Lorman Lykes

I am one of the early black members of the Unification Church in America, joining in 1973.  But as I reflect on my identity, I am the product of conflicting messages regarding my true value in the United States vs. the guiding light message of hope, love and truth which shaped me in the Unification Movement.

Unfortunately, there were times when I could not distinguish which message was the loudest.  After many years in a leadership capacity in the movement, I became inactive, preferring to focus on personal spiritual growth.

However, since 2020 has so far proven to be a transition year for enlightening people in America toward understanding the heart of black people, I feel I must express my opinion.  Especially, I want to touch on the intersection of race and the Unification Church.  I see this time as an opportunity not only for the racial reconciliation of America but also for the fulfillment of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s vision for this country.

I begin with a statement many are familiar with by Father Moon. When asked in a 1976 interview who was the greatest American leader of the 20th century, he answered: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  What was the justification for such praise?  His wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, speaking at the 1985 acceptance speech for Rev. Moon’s honorary doctorate presentation, noted, “At a time when many oppressed people wanted to return hate for hate, Dr. King said, ‘We must return love for hate.’” This was a momentous occasion because it was a Historical Black College that bestowed the honorary doctorate upon Rev. Moon — Shaw Divinity School.

Was it a coincidence that the founder of the international Unification Movement, the embodiment of love for all people, received his honorary degree from a black college founded by ex-slaves? I think not.  Black people have had to overcome hate, fear and suffering to learn the lessons of true love, so it foreshadowed things to come.

What can we learn about love from Dr. King, John Lewis and Rev. Moon?

Rep. John Lewis, the great civil rights leader who passed away last month, said many times that his mentor was Dr. King. He learned the secret that loving your enemies is mightier than any opposition, even death.  The logic of non-violent struggle as a tactic is not new.  It is based on the spiritual concept that in all of us is “the good” placed there by God. It can be awakened when the conscience meets an undeniable righteousness.  This is how unconditional love wields its power.  The self-sacrifice of the Freedom Riders and others during the 1960s awakened a nation one individual after another this way.  This eventually forced the federal government to outlaw Jim Crow laws and over the years led to the softening of restrictions in schools, the media, housing, etc., as integration took hold.

However, even when laws were written to open society they didn’t necessarily open hearts. The transformation of the loving heart is the next process in the renewing of America.  Dr. King was assassinated before the non-violence strategy could run its course and a new strategy could emerge to mend the American hearts of blacks and whites together. Where do we start in this process?

The most important lesson Rev. Moon taught was valuing and giving true love in everything you do. Dr. King taught us how by incorporating non-violence thinking as we view the race issue.  In 2020, non-violence thinking is non-prejudice thinking.  Today we understand everyone has implicit bias that resides in the unconscious undetected.  We act upon it every day without knowing it.  This is the source of much of the division in America. Implicit biases create distrust in blacks and whites as well as a lack of empathy for blacks, immigrants, or anyone considered an “other.”  Churches are not immune from implicit biases.  Love cannot flourish under these circumstances.

My time in the Unification Movement was well-spent learning the ways of love.  My Holy Blessing in 1982 led to a happy family with four wonderful children.  Then in 2006 when my lovely wife succumbed to cancer, I began to question my life, my purpose and my legacy.  In 2010 I entered a comfort blessing with a wonderful widow. This was again an interracial marriage but with a European woman this time.  We have many common bonds, but one, in particular, was our love for history.  She came to the U.S. to study black history because of empathy for the plight of slavery and the struggle for social justice today.

The passing of John Lewis as a historical leader in the civil rights movement over the last 60 years provoked us to ponder, “What would America be like without a saint like him?”  When you listen to Lewis speak, especially over the final years before his passing, the wisdom of his life’s journey delivers a common message.  The power of love is the foundation for his calling, civil disobedience and dedication to people.  “In life, people are afraid to say I love you, but love is strong,” John Lewis would say.  This strong love was the underpinning of the civil rights movement and it kept the non-violence ideology and tactics relevant and resilient in the face of beatings, spitting, slander, and foul language.

What kept John Lewis going in the face of such adversity?  His faith in the goodness of people and the promise that God’s love will win overall.  He encouraged others by saying, “It’s already done.”  He visualized the outcome of a nation filled with peace and love for all people in the midst of persecution.  His motto was to “make good trouble.”  This is a perfect motto in the process toward lasting change because it defines the status quo as an intolerant and recalcitrant culture that denies the freedom for all God’s children.

This description of the opposition to authority as a course of action also describes the life of Rev. Moon.  His path to glory was similarly associated with jail, beatings, torture, and false accusations.  The first generation of Unificationists are well-versed in “good trouble” since we learned it from Father Moon.  Unfortunately, in the early years of the American movement, black lives didn’t matter as much as white lives and the great commonality of unity in suffering with the black community was lost in favor of winning the loyalty and cooperation of white Christians and politicians who didn’t want any black trouble.  Meanwhile, the great masses of potential black church members who loved Rev. Moon and came to his rallies were lost.

Today we can remember along with John Lewis the many unsung saints who had a loving heart and sacrificed to unite America during turbulent times.  To them, Dr. King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC, was a mission: “One day little black boys n’ girls and little white boys n’ girls will walk hand in hand singing, free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we’re free at last.”  These black people yearning to be free, their children and grandchildren, are still waiting to see a new movement that will live this dream and make it real. Who will welcome them?

How can the Unification Movement facilitate the inclusion of non-white people?

This is a 400-year-old question that was pondered by the Jamestown colony in 1619 when the first blacks came ashore as slaves.  Their servitude was bearable because they were part of a grand opportunity to build a new community free and slave but together with the promise of one day working off their chains as promised after seven years.  History tells us that after more slaves arrived and the older ones were freed, it became clear that when slaves were liberated as agreed it was not as economically advantageous as keeping the slaves. More money had to be spent to buy new ones.  The period of servitude was increased to 10 years, then 15, until eventually it became indefinite. Thus, greed and selfishness were the new imperative in the New World. Economics mattered more than justice for the good of the colony — a white colony.

Fast forward to the present. We are still living the remnants of a dichotomous dilemma.  The Civil War decided not only the end of slavery in the U.S. but also what side you were on after the war.  Today some people are still picking sides for issues based on race, religion and gender. What is God’s side?  Economy vs. justice or is it something else?  Love makes this argument irrelevant. When people love, there is no side; it’s not who is right or wrong. It’s “what works.” What will work for the Unification Movement toward an agenda that facilitates non-white membership?

Love is the determining factor toward an applied practice of inclusion of non-white individuals. The steps in giving and receiving love are predetermined based on a proportional scale of achievement.  The levels of love necessary for obtaining parity between the races is a factor equal to the disproportionate level of dissatisfaction of the other side.  Put simply, the satisfaction of one side is in response to the satisfaction of the other side.  This is based on psychological studies that show happiness achieved by a giver is proportional to the effect it has upon the receiver.

Similarly, once a receiver’s index for happiness increases, positive emotions like gratitude, kindness and acceptance are demonstrated.  As a result, the receiver is now inspired to be a giver. This cycle continues; if sustained, it will lead to the aggregate satisfaction of the group.  The size of the group is not limited to the scale of the giving for happiness to grow in a positive net sum gain.  A net sum loss occurs when happiness is interrupted by greed, selfishness or envy.

Happiness can be qualitatively and quantitatively measured by the satisfaction metrics developed in the field of positive psychology.  Lack of happiness is a major contributor to dissatisfaction in life.  Dissatisfaction leads to escalating feelings of frustration, anxiety, abandonment, danger, fear, and hate.  The first sentence of the Divine Principle informs us about the importance of happiness. “Everyone, without exception, is struggling to gain happiness. The first step in attaining this goal is to overcome present unhappiness… Every person feels happy when his desire is fulfilled.”

The Unification Movement is at the threshold of a new era.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  To grow and develop, it is necessary for the new organization, now known as the Heavenly Parent Holy Community (HPHC), to initiate education and training that will expand satisfaction in its members that creates happiness. This would be the best demonstration for future guests and members that God is building His kingdom for all people. This is more than a marketing strategy — it’s the promise of God.

In the Scriptures, the role of Simon of Cyrene is of a man from Africa (eastern Libya) who carries the cross for Jesus.  Rev. Moon said this is a foreshadowing of the mission in the Last Days of the black clergy for the Lord of the Second Advent.  The black clergy did indeed uplift Rev. Moon during his most difficult trials in the 1980s with the U.S. government and afterward for religious freedom.  However, how did the black community benefit from the support of the black leaders and clergy?

Now is the time for a reciprocal response to the love and loyalty given by them to Rev. Moon.  What would be the best gesture of gratitude —  free trips to South Korea, trucks donated to feed the hungry or tickets to a national gospel concert? All these things have been done in good faith before, but they mostly served the purposes of the Unification Church and did not address the heart of Rev. Moon’s vision — the liberation of God and the freedom of all people from fear.

What do black people need most from Rev. Moon and his followers? True love.  Now that Rev. Moon has ascended, who is going to represent his gratitude to black people?  How is that love going to be manifested?  Today we face a great opportunity stemming from the convergence of two complementary circumstances — the struggle for the end of racism in America and the promise of a new beginning for the Unification Movement in America (UMA; in a subsequent article, I will make recommendations for a new UMA). Will the UMA be part of the solution to racism in America?

How can the UMA evolve to mend America’s hearts and emulate John Lewis?

Imagine in a dream you were standing in a pool of loving light after having died and gone to spirit world.  Before you are four saints: Jesus, Moses, Mohammad, and Buddha.  One at a time they show you what they had done to save humanity when they were on earth and ask how did they do?  As you look at them, you suddenly respond, “Why do you ask me this question?” Jesus steps forward as the spokesman for the group and says, “Because everything we did, we did for you.”

Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon delivered the acceptance speech on behalf of her husband, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, of the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity awarded by Shaw Divinity School, Raleigh, North Carolina, May 11, 1985.

Today, we can ask ourselves, “How did we do?”  Are we individuals who were committed to a spiritual life which we endured to the end?  Or did we take what was given us and made it better?  This is the question before the FFWPU as it contemplates the new era of HPHC.  Rev. Moon has ascended and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon is 77 years old. The future of the movement is literally in our hands as the inheritors of the vision. John Lewis’s final message, which appeared in The New York Times on the day of his funeral, summarized his legacy as one who believed that love was the highest virtue.  Just like the four saints who did everything for future generations, we have to think out of the box to understand the responsibility our love gives us to elevate America’s heart today.

First, it is necessary to end the old structures that have been perpetuating the status quo. Status quo amounts to more of the same — no changes, no challenges; no growth, no racial diversity.  Just like the declared end of the colonial charter with England begat the Declaration of Independence, the HPHC needs to promptly declare an end to the old era of church. The HPHC is not just a name change. It should be a new way of thinking about the path to the Heavenly Community.  Just like the dream of John Lewis and the civil rights participants of the 1960s who had a love for unity, today the UMA should take that dream to the next level with next-level love as its core. That mission will not be easy, but it will be rewarding because unity is its own reward.

But before unity we must have love.  Love like Jesus, Rev. Moon and Hak Ja Han Moon have.  This is the ultimate goal of true peace seekers.  How the UMA measures up to the challenge will depend on how much of its resources it puts in teaching its followers to love unconditionally. Only then can we say that Dr. King, John Lewis, Emmett Till, George Floyd, and many others didn’t die in vain. 2020 will go down in history as a transition year for many reasons.  We can make it our year of the break from the old to the new.

How will mutual benefit occur from a black agenda going forward in the HPHC?  I have already laid out the providential, historical, and biblical reasoning for a shift in priorities from an elite-centered restoration (top-down) to a grassroots-centered restoration (bottom-up).  The descendants of slaves have been on the bottom since emancipation in 1864 except for some of the black middle class which is a minor percentage of the overall U.S. population.  However, African Americans, despite being 14% of the U.S. population, have an inordinate influence on American culture.  In politics, sports, entertainment, art, and academia, blacks have striven toward the top successfully.  But these people will not be interested in being tokens to any movement that does not have a plan and promise to “uplift the least of these,” as Jesus proclaimed.

Now is the time to put Rev. Moon’s plans for a “loving world community” into practice.  Just before I joined the Unification Church in 1973, it had been known as the Unified Family.  How do we include blacks into that family? The opportunity is here for True Father’s vision of a united world of peace and prosperity to be achieved.  Since Foundation Day in 2013 we have enjoyed the liberation of living in a world of all possibilities without accusation.  We can do it together: black, white, brown, and Asian.  We are ready to work together.  Let’s start now.♦

Rev. Lorman Lykes (UTS Class of 1981) was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1949. He graduated with a B.A. degree in history from Wayne State University and joined the religious movement of Sun Myung Moon in 1973. He served as a missionary, pastor and teacher of the Divine Principle for over 40 years. He has traveled extensively in search of the true meaning of life, love and death.  After the transition of his wife, Laura, in 2006, he has taken a special interest in researching and studying neuroscience, metaphysics and the evolution of sentient beings. 

GRAPHIC AT TOP:  A depiction of Rep. John Lewis at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama, on March 14, 2018.

20 thoughts on “A Unificationist’s Reflection on the Legacy of Rep. John Lewis

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  1. Thanks for your insights.

    I would just add: As you know, in 1984, 250 motor homes and 250 trucks were purchased by TP to serve and help America spiritually through the video system installed in each motor home and physically through food, clothing and other services “free of charge” for churches and civil associations. In Atlanta and surrounding areas we delivered tons and tons of food and clothing. I still have with me the words of gratitude given the ICUSA-IRFF for the services provided to the black community and other communities.

    Now is the time to put Rev. Moon’s plans for a “loving world community” into practice! We did so in the 1980s and did a good job, too.
    Unfortunately the idea was not completely understood by FFWPU-USA.

  2. Thank you for your heartfelt critique. I am looking forward to your future article promised to give us recommendations for action.

    I’m sorry you don’t feel included in the movement.

    My time outside the US has surprised me as to how many people feel excluded from the communities of nationalities that exist in our movement, in some ways. But I’ve never doubted their love.

    I’ve also been amazed by the communities that exist. When I started attending the International Sunday Service in Seoul, it was mostly European descended people from various nations. Today it is mostly African. And I find Africans to be quite different from African Americans. I love both groups, but they are different (and Africans are hardly one monolithic group, anymore than European descended peoples are, or Asians for that matter)

    We remain separated by language and culture. We have one unifying vision of true families and tribes and nations united by co-prosperity, interdependence and mutually shared universal families.

    It is sometimes difficult to look at how much we hoped for when we began decades ago that yet seems so far, and yet realize how far we’ve come. There’s no magic that can make more progress in the future, only hard work.

    I miss you, Lorman. Looking forward to your next article.

  3. Lorman,

    Thanks for your contribution to the AU Blog. Many of us were attracted to the Unification Movement because of the ideal of a world based on True Love; and Rev. Moon, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis all stood for these ideals. However, the reality is that the movement does not reflect these ideals as well as it can because we, having “fallen nature,” don’t live up to these ideals ourselves. I think you have expressed many of my own thoughts, not about how I have been treated as a black because I am not black, but how the movement, leaders, implicit biases, and lack of perfection have impacted me and my brothers and sisters in many ways.

    Many of us have experienced frustration because the movement and its leaders often did not seem to live up to the ideals it espoused. Some of us have taken a break and others have been sidelined. Some react to these events with anger and others with love and forgiveness. Ideals are just that — ideals — they are not reality. As you indirectly implied, our movement is a microcosm of the larger society. Today we are in a period where many Americans voice a similar frustration that our society does not embody the ideals we believe necessary to make it a good, just and ideal society.

    I think that one lesson I have learned from this is that joining an identity group, like the Unification Movement, might be able to help us grow some, but it can’t save us. Even if we could change everything wrong with the movement structurally, it would not eliminate our own portion of responsibility. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek structural change. I have suggested a lot of structural changes to our political processes that would help root out corruption and enable the government to better support everyone achieving the three blessings. In the end, like Rev. Moon, Dr. King, or John Lewis, it is the person who overcomes injustice with love, and not the person who advocates violence and theft, who are themselves loved, admired, and remembered.

    I am inspired that you and a lot of other first gen, like them, continue regardless of the obstacles. We were trained by True Father. John Lewis was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. The world needs more of this and I have to ask myself every day whether I am living up to these ideals and leaving them behind for my children and others in my community and society.

    1. Thank you for your encouraging analysis. To paraphrase MLK Jr., the arc of change is long but it extends upward.

  4. For reconciliation or restoration, conditions toward indemnification are suggested. Establishing these is the task primarily of whites in America. To fully move the hearts of historically and currently offended blacks in America, the conditions should be costly – barely tolerable. This, I believe, is the teaching of the Divine Principle.

  5. Lorman,

    God is speaking through you.

    I didn’t know about the process that transpired in Jamestown. But thinking about it, I realized, hey, there are white people who say “my ancestor came over on the Mayflower.” So there must be African-Americans who say, “my ancestor arrived in Jamestown. And I’m proud of my ancestor.”

    It is notable that this black/white history goes back that long in this “new world.” Now attention is being given to the arrival of Africans as slaves in Jamestown, and words I read from Mother of Peace this morning connected me to this… “It is important to build memorials and educate people about historical wrongs. Still, the higher priority is to release the bitter anguish and anger harbored by those who came before us and who suffered and died unjustly.” (p. 118 — here she is talking about liberation of spirit world)

    Indeed, before unity we must have love — and here, color-blindness is not a handicap!

  6. Each of us is being called in a specific area of outreach… which becomes our tribe. I like this quote from Father Moon: “You must not be like a crowd which only moves when it is pulled by someone. Once you know the Will, you must pioneer your own path, asking God to give you purposes which center upon the Will.”

    For many years, I was standing by the side of our movement. I was still attending Sunday Service, or teaching Sunday School, attending public gatherings, but my heart was like this: as long as the ‘church’ does this and that, as long as they do it ‘this’ way, ways that didn’t make sense to me, my heart was closed and I didn’t get involved.

    Then, I attended a 40 Days workshop at CPLake and oh! how God got me! I heard Heavenly Parent’s voice: “Yes, they may not have understood what you understood, but what were ‘you’ doing while they worked hard doing their best?” This was 1997.

    23 years later, I am still finding myself thinking why do ‘they’ do it this way, but now I know to be careful not to dwell on it, as it would paralyze me.

    When I absolutely completely totally focus my heart, mind and body, 100% on ‘my’ responsibility: reaching out to build my Purity Revolution Tribe, suddenly I feel God’s love in my body, I start feeling alive and I can’t wait to go out and meet people… and the amazing thing is that they respond well.

    It’s a lot of work to build my own tribe. And it’s not easy to expect ‘nothing’ from the movement, but this is where True Life is.

    Recently, while I was listening to Catholic radio in my car, I learned that Catholics go through the exact same issue: “why is my local church doing this or that. They are doing it all wrong. This priest is doing it wrong. As long as they continue doing it this way, I don’t want to get involved.” Wow! I realize that we are not the only ones struggling with what our church leaders are doing. The host’s response was: ‘when you see something you don’t agree with, you let them know. And then, let it go! Focus on ‘your’ responsibility to reach out to the unsaved.”

  7. Thanks, Lorman, for your article.

    I am slightly puzzled about a couple of your remarks. You said:

    “Unfortunately, in the early years of the American movement, black lives didn’t matter as much as white lives and the great commonality of unity in suffering with the black community was lost in favor of winning the loyalty and cooperation of white Christians and politicians who didn’t want any black trouble. Meanwhile, the great masses of potential black church members who loved Rev. Moon and came to his rallies were lost.”

    Was this really the case? It is hard for me to believe that we ignored the black community in favor of the white. I was very involved in working with ministers in the Danbury time, and it is undeniable ‘minorities’ — whether black or Hispanic were easier to approach and more supportive. I am no longer in the US, but I understood that we definitely maintained relationships with the black communities.

    And you say referring to the black ministers: “free trips to South Korea…..all these things have been done in good faith before but they mostly served the purposes of the Unification Church.”

    I guess what I am trying to understand is just how much you feel the Unification movement has failed to live up to its ideals in general, and how much has been a failure regarding specifically black Americans.

    1. Dear Catriona,

      I did not say the UCM failed. Blacks have been blessed by the words and deeds of True Parents equally as have all other races and nationalities. However, when I looked around me at all the black and brown faces who attended the rallies, logistically TP’s love that comes from a direct familial relationship with our members was lost. Most of the minorities you speak of who attended events went back to their homes and churches with a book or something but we couldn’t capture their hearts. Over the years, the local family churches tried to love everyone who walked in the door but the church structure was not appropriate for overcoming the many internal and external obstacles the movement faced.

      The future is bright if we graduate from the church era to work as holy community activists, mentors and educators. This will benefit blacks and everybody equally.

  8. Hello Lorman,

    Good see and hear you again.

    The Unitarian Universalists have an axiom, “More important than the creed is the deed.” Of course, this is another way of saying “faith without works is dead.”

    As Gordon Anderson pointed out, we have ideals in our church/movement, but ideals without the substantiation of such leaves us forlorn and without the ability to convince others that we have “the way” to achieve betterment in all human endeavors — governance, social justice, journalism, the arts, education, commerce, etc.

    You referenced Dr. King’s citing the “moral arc” narrative. He cited the “moral arc” narrative in a number of his speeches, however it was first attributed to the transcendentalist cleric, Theodore Parker in 1857. Parker, a dedicated abolitionist and reformer within the Unitarian church, used the “moral arc” concept in expressing confidence that the injustice of slavery could not continue in America. (I wonder if Dr. King knew about Parker).

    However, for that moral arc to bend towards justice requires moral people to act in moral and just ways. That’s our five percent. We put our faith in our Heavenly Parent, but our Heavenly Parent puts his/her faith in us in the hopes that we can respond as filial children and walk the walk of our faith commitment — creed and deed substantiated.

    We know that there have been many failures and injustices in our movement, but True Father’s guidance was always to “invest, forget, and invest again.” He was the champion of that ethic! But that has been challenging for me from time to time because of my frustration with leadership on certain issues. But two years ago in meeting with some cultural leaders in Korea, True Mother said that those of us who went through the frustration and disappointment (for 40 or more years), but held on and didn’t give up, are those who can be trusted by Heaven and reap the benefits for having maintained our faith commitment. That was quite inspiring for me to hear, but also daunting.

    Now, with that trust we have to “invest” even more in our attempts to ameliorate injustices of all types. True Mother also said recently, “Don’t wait to be told what to do,” and, “don’t judge each other because only True Parents have the authority to judge.” Great advice and hopefully we can work together to get that “moral arc” bending toward the justice and true love that we have committed our lives for.

  9. Lorman,

    Your article is timely. I was recently going through letters I had saved from the 70’s, mostly between my wife, Sally, and I between 1979 when we were matched and 1982 when we were blessed. I did find a bunch of letters I received from what at the time we called “our church Moms.” I joined in 1973 as well and went from Wyoming, where I ran a small church-owned restaurant called Deli-On-The Tracks. It made good money and was where new members worked and were raised up after they joined. I traveled from Wyoming to NYC to work on the Yankee Stadium campaign and then stayed East and worked in West Philadelphia for Washington Monument. For Yankee Stadium I spent the entire time going door to door in the South Bronx.

    For a kid that grew up in the picturesque and wonderful town of Boulder, Colorado, I had never encountered an environment of such grinding poverty, drugs, burned out buildings and more. And yet, in the midst of all this dysfunction and chaos were “church moms.” They were literally lights in the darkness. I encountered the same in West Philadelphia. They literally sold more than half of our tickets and kept us safe.

    It was these letters I still have. “Now son,” they would say, “you keep away from that corner, there are bad boys there.” This meant there were drug gangs there. And, “honey you give me 40 tickets come come back next Sunday afternoon, after church and I’ll have sold all these for you. If you are working for God, then I am with you.” And they were and they did.

    After the big victory at Washington Monument, we expected one of two scenarios. One, I would return to Wyoming or we would stay in Philadelphia and develop Home Church with and through the many, many people we met. What happened was our team was sent many places. I was sent to St. Louis to be a State Leader. Now I had never even been to a 7 day workshop and had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, through the intervention of Betsy Jones, I was relieved of my duties. In the meantime, our restaurant and center were lost in Wyoming and no one returned to Philadelphia. I was resentful for a while and at some point I had to assume that someone had a bigger plan and idea. After a long time, I came to understand that Father expected to come to a Christian foundation and other religious leaders who could help him quickly do all the things he had in mind. Instead he had me. He could have used those “church Mom’s” but were were always caught up in the march of Providential activities and resulting chaos. And decades later, West Philadelphia is not that different. The boundaries have been pushed around a little, but the same poverty, crime and dysfunction is still there.

    I think the time now may be different and the black community and churches will not only be included in the new Holy Community of believers, they will be and are already central to it. The ACLC ministers are beginning to influence the larger UC culture that is so dominated by Oriental and Korean culture. They grasp and put together seeming seamlessly their own Christian roots and the larger vision of the blessing and True Parents. This is how and why the large churches from LA to South Africa are embracing True Mother’s work. They are not joining the UC, they have their own foundation, they are bringing some key elements into their world and see us as partners in God’s work. So, in this sense, I see the black community benefiting from this partnership and the large UC movement benefiting and finally having a suitable foundation to work upon. So perhaps my meager efforts in places like Harlem, South Bronx, West Philadelphia, East St. Louis, Compton, and Watts will have been useful and the children and grandchildren of all those “Church Moms” will come to fruition and be blessed.

  10. Thank you, Lorman, for speaking to our hearts on these points so relevant to the present tumultuous transitional time for our nation, our movement, and the world. We are listening, and the buds of true love are growing.

  11. Dear Mr. Lykes,

    Many thanks for you’re in-depth analysis of the situation in America. I liked the quote of Tyler from the memoirs of True Mother and his insight as well. David Eaton gives very wise advice here too.

    If I could add as a “Brownie,” I would say any issue (race included) boils down to the quality of give and take action. If in any given situation we keep a positive approach, not to be mistaken for a foolish one, in other words when we transform bad vitality elements into good ones, then, according to DP, compensation or even Blessing is awaiting us. This has been True Parents’ lifelong philosophy, adopted by others in history too, but underpinned by DP and as such systematized for the first time in history. Because of this frustration, on the side of any victim it is like running out of fuel. If we can manage to go through ordeals, Blessing is surely waiting, we do not need to worry about it, this is my lifelong experience within the realm of True Parents.

    Many years ago one African-American National Messiah gave a testimony in the jungle of South America, claiming he had sent 12 people to the Spirit World before he met the church. “The truth shall set you free” is here tested to the core. To tell the truth I had some tense feeling standing near him later on, but I understood what it means to be awakened by the truth.

    In this sense we can and should embrace everybody regardless of anything they might have done or are doing. If after learning the truth still someone does not change, the responsibility on his side has increased, but in no way we should be intimidated or frustrated by this. I learned that True Parents had to go through this kind of betrayal as well and it is the hardest, but they never changed nonetheless.

  12. Brilliant article, Lorman!

    How can the Unification Movement facilitate the inclusion of non-white people?

    This should be a question to ponder and for discourse within this new 7 year period set by True Mother. I would recommend that the question include black and brown people specifically instead of non-white. The Unification Movement in America is still primarily Asian and Caucasian.

    The Unification Movement in the USA has a great potential to create a formula to restore the world but often engages in painful practices.

    For example, although True Father assigned my UTS graduating class as missionaries to the USA, and though many of us tried our best to fulfill this mission, I can testify there were many times my colleagues and I have been abruptly terminated from unpaid missions with reasons given related to who we are, e.g., a “strong African presence” (although some of us have never traveled to Africa and the experience was not universal to non-Black members). Nothing about our attendance to Heavenly Parent and True Parents. Sadly, some of my colleagues have taken hiatus. I hope your article inspires positive thinking to eradicate this historical distortion and lie about God’s beautiful creation of different races, peoples, etc.

  13. Dear Lorman,

    Thank you for writing this brilliant article. I have recently read the biography of Frederick Douglass by David Blight. I had always felt he was a providential person, coming to the fore at a time in America where he was able to challenge and enlighten America. With John Lewis passing this summer of 2020, a very significant year, I realized that he also was a providential figure. His life bridges the civil rights era of the 50’s and 60’s and connects to today’s BLM.

    2020 marks 400 years since the Mayflower, 401 years since those slaves came to Jamestown, and only 100 years since women won the right to vote. Of course, many black women didn’t really benefit until the civil rights legislation of 1964 and there still appears to be an effort being made to limit black votes in the South. I hope Congress will pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

    I pray that we are indeed at a turning point where love and our recognition of one another’s true relationship as brothers and sisters of Holy Parent can become self-evident. I don’t know what practical steps need to be taken by UMA or the HPHC, but I know that each of us needs to awaken ourselves to the truth of the inequities that have existed and really try to chart a new course.

    I read recently a review of Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste and the reviewer quoted a line from Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad. “The Declaration (of Independence) is like a map, you trust that it’s right but you only know by going out and testing it yourself.” We have so far not found our way to the destination that the Declaration promised. I pray that 2020 is the year we set out on the right path and finally reach the promised land of true equality and true love for all.

  14. Today, Dr. Martin Luther King III made this statement at a rally in D.C, commemorating the 57th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, in reference to his father: “And he would gently but intently challenge us not to dwell upon the past, but to live and labor in what he called the fierce urgency of now so if you’re looking for a savior, get up and find a mirror. We must become the heroes of the history we are making.”

    “Get up and find a mirror” sounds a lot like Peace Starts With Me! It’s very first blessing oriented.

    There are allies that we could partner with and we’ve had Dr. MLK III at some of our MEPI events in the past. Time to create substantial alliances. On page 1107 of Cheon Seong Gyeong, Father states that we cannot do this alone and we need “to create a larger framework” and we should seek out those who might align with us to promote Godism. That was the rationale behind the “federation” concept.

  15. Lorman and Denneze:

    Good that you both shared your personal experiences of painful racial discrimination publicly here. Thank you. And, also, Sally, thank you for your thoughtful response. Frederick Douglass is one of my favorites to feature in teaching early American Literature. An amazing fact is how after he became a statesman, and at the end of his career, he visited his former slaveholder and forgave him. He became the “parent” to him in having the parental heart of God to forgive!

    Additionally, there are so many facts of white people and those who aided slaves to become liberated that we were not told in some history texts or public education or even in the Museum of African-American History. Did you know that Howard University was founded by a white, Christian general, Oliver Otis Howard? He was President from 1869-1874. And, he was Director of the Freedman’s Bureau started in 1865 to support and assist freed slaves to get jobs, positions, as well as homes and financial aid. (see Wikipedia on General Howard and also see my essay, “An Open Letter….” printed in the BFA website news link on 7/5/2020 that included two pages of historic facts on how many whites worked to free slaves and to support African-Americans in early American history). Much of this history is also not generally known as American historian, David Barton, documents in his very informative and readable text, This Precarious Moment (2018). And, did anyone know that the NRA was founded to protect freed slaves, and for abolitionist causes? (See this link)

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