More on Liberty University and the Unification Church

James Duncan at Pajama Pages has another article today with more information on the historic links between Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church and Liberty University.  Specifically, he focuses on Ron Godwin, LU’s Provost who has a long history with the Unification Church. The beginning:

Liberty University’s current provost, Ron Godwin, was appointed by Rev. Sun Myung Moon to take his teachings and use them to revive and resurrect American Christianity. Moon knew Godwin intimately, and repeatedly praised him publicly for his usefulness in taking the Moonie message to the American Christian church.

I don’t know where Godwin is today with all of this. I can’t find any material where he disavowed his relationship with Moon but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. In addition to Duncan’s post, you can many references to Godwin’s affiliation with Moon at TParents.org. According to this write up of a Moon sermon delivered in 1992, Godwin was one of the “heavenly musketeers” who would represent Moon in America. Sometimes Moon spoke about himself as “Father”:

Father sees the presence of Dr. Ron Godwin, Dr. Bob Grant and Dr. Don Sills as very precious. Father looks at these precious three collaborators, supporters and members of this great movement almost like Jesus’ three disciples. The three of them are really accomplished giants in our world. By uniting with Reverend Moon’s ideology they will become even greater. Each of the three has very special characteristics. They are very different characters, as much as Jesus’ three major disciples were different from each other.
[Speaking to these three men.] Father said you are lucky. If you fulfill your mission, fine. If you don’t fulfill your mission, that is fine too. The reason is you are responsible for the first generation. The second generation is already mine, I claimed them already. But I don’t want to see the first generation become like Moses’ flocks who perished in the wilderness. It is very difficult to wipe out the concepts initially implanted in the first generation. Even Bob Grant, a great preacher and Don Sills, a great preacher and Ron Godwin, a great Christian leader, have been reading the Bible which says the Lord is coming on the clouds. That is the concept they have. Billy Graham has been preaching the Lord is coming on the clouds. For you the important thing is not the Washington Times or AFC or the Coalition for Religious Freedom. Wherever you go, that is your house, your podium. Your podium is not only your church. Wherever you are standing or wherever you meet people that is your podium.

Those three champions, just bring them and work them day and night. If they can’t keep up with the schedule and they run away that is alright, I will bring somebody else. But I think those three strong men won’t run away. Father invited Ron Godwin to join in this great crusade not because he is such a great business man. He is, but more importantly Father is concerned about Jerry Falwell, who represents the great Southern Baptist Christian community. He is not fulfilling his responsibility, so Father would like to see if Ron Godwin can fulfill it. Unless he knows me now, Jerry Falwell is in the position of a foreign person. Jerry Falwell cannot become president himself, he should come together with Father and make the spiritual and moral foundation for a God-chosen man to be President of the United States. We have to have a righteous God-centered president in this country, not just anybody.
The Washington Times is a side activity, the prominent mission is a spiritual mission. That is basically what Father is saying. This is very important: the Washington Times is secondary. As far as Father is concerned your primary mission is a spiritual mission and the revival of Christianity is crucial.
The AFC alone cannot save the country. Christianity must be rejuvenated. All Christian ministers must be re-educated. They must become new Christians. Unity with Reverend Moon is of vital importance. Without it, no matter how much they do, God will not be on their side. You should be a champion for the teaching of the Divine Principle. You should be able to teach them and testify to them much better than anyone else because you have that background.

I abandoned Korea and came to the United States because of the importance of working on the world level. This is a key important statement: an alliance between Christianity and the Unification Church is absolutely vital. It is a life or death matter for this country’s future. It is not easy because of public opinion and the media, but this is God’s will and it can be done. These three most Abel-like champions will spearhead this work. I think you are here, not because of your own will, but because this is God’s will. You have been divinely ordained, hand-picked by God to be here and represent each a different segment of Christianity. For that reason you have a crucial role to make that alliance between Christianity and the Unification Church. Do you follow?
I know those words are harsh and difficult to hear. But I am registering this as a testimony to God and the world. I’m not embarrassing you at all–again, I am doing it with a parental heart. Nobody else in the entire world would say anything like this to you. But Reverend Moon, with absolutely no personal ambition in it, is saying this to you because he is living with a parental heart.
Christianity in the United States has done the most evil against me; you know that. But I have no grudge or vengeful feelings. I have only sympathy. I only want to bring life to this country, that is my sole desire. However, my departure for Asia is immanent. Therefore I want to have some champions in the United States to take responsibility and move this country. You three can do the job.
You will be like the three disciples of Jesus. Each one of you will put your self in Jesus’ position and multiply three disciples of your own. Then your number will grow to a team of twelve. With twelve people of your character and determination, at this level, you will be invincible. Your catch phrase will be the that American Christianity needs resurrection more than revival. Let us resurrect American Christianity. It is crucial to the survival of this nation and the world.
New York is a rotten place, you know that. 42nd Street is a living hell. Father would like to have 8th Avenue up to 42nd Street cleaned up. Only by resurrection of the Christian spirit can this be accomplished. You follow, right?
[At this point, Dr. Grant, Dr. Sills and Dr. Godwin stood up and grasped their hands together, holding them high. Father waded through several rows of members to himself grasp the clasped hands of the three, making four.]
Reverend Moon is going to go up and have a little meeting with Mrs. Moon. Father will come down shortly but Father would like us to proceed with the testimonies of these three men.
[Dr. Ron Godwin gave his testimony talking about the USA activities and his part in it. Afterwards Dr. Pak gave a testimony about Dr. Godwin and his first meeting with Father at Danbury. Father returned, and Ron Godwin made a presentation to Father on behalf of the Washington Times family. It was a large drawing of an Atlantic salmon.
Dr. Pak then introduced Dr. Robert Grant as a man with a deep spiritual connection to Father. Dr. Grant then spoke about his work for God and the direction of the USA activities. Finally, Dr. Pak introduced Dr. Don Sills, who has completed a forty day workshop under Reverend Ahn. Don Sills spoke about his growing relationships with the Korean elders and how he came to work with our church. He ended by offering himself completely to Father’s service.]
Father spoke again:
Time has passed very quickly, but Father is very satisfied and fulfilled in his heart because Father has been assured that the three heavenly musketeers will do the job. Father looks at them almost as heavenly locomotives pulling the train of America in the right direction. They are locomotives, but not electric ones, they are choo-choo trains. Father likes that sound. Don Sills said wake up America. What is a better way to wake someone up than by making a locomotive noise?
I feel very confident that even though I may not be here all the time, if you trust these three musketeers and unite with them and join with them and work together toward the goal, I am sure you will fulfill a great victory here in America.

I have read many of Moon’s “sermons” and I can’t really make much sense of them. Some of this is probably because they are translations from Korean (seems odd that the Messiah didn’t speak English well). In any case, the point is that Moon wanted some kind of revival of Christianity in his image and he called on the “heavenly musketeers” to lead the way.
These ties are just a few of many between Moon and religious right figures. You can see an all-star team of them in this video. This event marked the transition of Moon’s movement from a church to what he called “The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.” As remarkable as it seems, key religious right figures such as Gary Bauer, Maureen Reagan, Jack Kemp, Beverly LaHaye, and George Bush I were there to give Moon a huge platform.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvYHi-pOXdA[/youtube]

President Obama's Aunt graduates from Unification church seminary

In news you might not see elsewhere…
President Obama’s Aunt, the Rev. Margaret Obama from Kenya, graduated recently from the Unificationist Theological Seminary according to a statement on the church’s website.

Rev. Margaret Obama (right)Friends, family and fellow students enthusiastically applauded as twenty-two students received their diplomas at the 35th commencement ceremony of the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) at its New York City campus on Thursday, May 19, 2011. The 15 students receiving their Masters in Religious Education included Rev. Margaret Obama from Kaisumu, Kenya, U.S. President Barack Obama’s aunt, who wrote her thesis on “Religious Education to Support Orphaned Teen Girls in Kenya: a Curriculum.” Rev. Obama has told friends that she will spend the coming year doing pastoral care in service to her local church, the Church of the Incarnation, in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“I learned so many good things at UTS,” Rev. Obama told Familyfed.org. “Many churches concentrate on taking care of their own, but the Unification community focuses upon serving those outside their own group,” she said. “They [the Unificationists] cherish family values, making husbands, wives and children the priorities, and I believe that by promoting family values, they are building world peace, because peace in the family easily extends to the larger world,” she told familyfed.org in a telephone interview. Rev. Obama says that she became involved with Unificationists after attending seminars of the Women’s Federation for World Peace in Kenya in 2005.

The Church of the Incarnation is an Episcopal church. The Unification church describes itself as follows from the website:

The Unification Church is comprised of families striving to embody the ideal of true love and to establish a world of peace and unity among all peoples, races, and religions as envisioned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Members of the Unification Church accept and follow Reverend Moon’s particular religious teaching, the Divine Principle.

Unificationists believe that Rev. and Mrs. Moon are the true manifestations of the masculine and feminine elements of God.
After the election of the President, high level Unificationist touted meetings between Moon (True Father) and Obama, and even said Michelle Obama was involved in their movement. One follower claimed this on a Unificationist website:

Rev. Yang came on the second last day and explained about Father’s life, concluding with some exciting new information. The newly elected United States’ president, Barack Obama, has been attending ACLC conferences and has apparently met with Father on several occasions. Even just before the elections, he attended a prayer breakfast. His wife is involved with our movement as well. This is a new revolution, now that Obama has become president; Father wants to eradicate all barriers between races.

I should add that there is no confirmation that any of those claims are true. Unificationists are keen on political connections and once used the Dirksen Senate building as the site of the coronation of the Moons as the King and Queen of Peace. They then use these real and implied connections as means to paint a skewed narrative to the faithful. I suspect the graduation of Ms. Obama will be added to the narrative of the Obama’s as supporters of the Moon’s place as True Parents.

Digest: Moon, Obama, Cohen, Povia, Weinland

I have been looking into several things of late, some of which may develop into a post. For now, I’ll just a few spots (not sure if they are high or low, maybe just strange).
-According to Unificationist websites, Barack Obama has been friendly with Sun Myung Moon front groups, the American Clergy Leadership Conference and True Family Values since before Obama became a Senator. One highly placed Moon follower and official related that Obama’s wife may be involved in Unificationism in some way. See this page for more on that topic.
-Speaking of Unificationism, Richard Cohen’s interview on Universal Peace Television (MoonTV) appears on the Unificationist YouTube account of Kevin Pickard (UPDATE: Scrubbed within 30 minutes of the post, see below). Also, Cohen has been active on YouTube of late with account IHF2008. Looks like he is putting the archives up for view with past appearances on O’Reilly Factor, Paula Zahn, Larry King and local news. I wonder if we will see his appearances on Jimmie Kimmel, the Daily Show and the 2006 Paula Zahn Show?
-We had an English translation of Luca Era Gay here, if not first, pretty close to it. Now, You can listen to it on YouTube. It is kind of catchy…
-Did you know that nuclear explosions might rock the US by March? If you are a follower of Ronald Weinland, you are getting ready for the end times. He claims to be one of two end time prophets with the Kingdom coming in by 2012. If you are interested in how religiously-based mind control groups operate, you can read a bit on this discussion blog for those who are believers in Weinland and those who are on the fence.
That is an odd lineup…
UPDATE: In what is the quickest scrub job I can recall, the Cohen video has already been taken down from Kevin Pickard’s YouTube page. Here is a screen capture of the page and the video from a couple of days ago. I suspect next will be the same interview on Universal Peace Television.

More on the Unification Movement

In reviewing the websites involving the IHF personnel and the Unification Movement, I have become interested in this perspective. The Unification teachings are clearly distortions of orthodox Christian theology but could sound familiar and even appealing to many Christians.

Here are a couple of websites that are associated with the Unification movement and “Blessed Families”:

True Parents OrganizationThe page defines True Parents as follows:

Who are True Parents Page

This web site is dedicated to Heavenly Father (God) and True Parents (Reverend and Mrs. Moon). Adam and Eve should have been the True Parents of humanity. A physical and spiritual ideal world (Kingdom of Heaven) should have stemmed from them. However, they fell by sexual sin.

Heavenly Father worked with fallen man to make a foundation to send a Second Adam, Jesus. Jesus, the Second Adam, should have fulfilled what Adam did not. Jesus should have grown to maturity, married a Second Eve, had children, and established a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and in Heaven. However, he was not received by those prepared to welcome him, resulting in Jesus going the way of the cross. The cross gave spiritual salvation, but could not solve the entire problem of sin.

Since, Jesus could not fulfil his entire mission, Heavenly Father had to rebuild the foundation for True Parents, by sending the Third Adam, Sun Myung Moon. Rev. Moon fulfilled the mission of True Parents that Adam and Jesus had failed to fulfil. By uniting with Rev. and Mrs. Moon humanity can fulfil their purpose of creation and enter the Kingdom of Heaven both spiritually and physically.

The Unification church is perhaps best known for the mass weddings of followers who are matched by Moon himself or by parents within the movement. The website Absolute Love provides online guidance and application forms for young people seeking to receive advice on being matched in marriage – something called The Blessing. Rev. Moon offers advice to young people and there are numerous articles on the details. On one page, Assistant Director of the International Healing Foundation, Hilde Wiemann, provides commentary on a young lady’s beliefs about being too young to match.

The Church also hosts Blessing Candidate and Parent Workshops to provide information about the Blessings, such as this one attended by Mr. & Mrs. Wiemann. Recall that Mrs. Wiemann indicated that she left the church in 1995 and that these workshops were not done on a volunteer basis, but that the church hired her for her expertise in working with families.

I am writing about this because it interests me and to benefit those who are looking for a specific approach from those they work with in sexual identity ministry. What any of the above means regarding the IHF or those associated with it is not clear to me as yet. I am committed to preserving space for all to seek resolution of sexual identity conflicts within their worldview. I also believe in informed consent so that vulnerable folks can find help in line with their expectations about their helpers.

UPDATE: The following links have been altered on the AbsoluteLove.org website:

On one page, Hilde Wiemann provides commentary on a young lady’s beliefs about being too young to match.

If you click them now, they take you to a page that says: “You are not authorized to view this resource. You need to login.” I assume the page still exists since the page still lists the title of the article as “Too Young! A letter to Parents about the Matching. (With Responses).” Here is the page prior to the change. Posted in September 2006, Mrs. Wiemann’s reply to Jessica Cohen’s article urging Unification Church parents not to match their children before age 20 is below.

Wiemann

Other changes to the Absolutelove.org site have been made also. The page on the Absolutelove.org site describing a 2002 workshop has been altered. Here is a clipping from the Unification News paper that names Hilde Wiemann and her husband as being leaders at the 4-Day Blessings Candidate and Parent Workshop in Washington DC. Comparing the two you will see that they are alike except the Wiemann’s names have been recently removed from the Absolutelove.org version.

The tparents.org site has also been altered. Here is the “Too Young!” article now and here it is a couple of days ago. In the comments section, a reader in comment 52543, referred to a workshop that appears to refer to Richard Cohen. That website has now been altered as well.