The Tradition, Book One
Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
Births, Birth Ceremony
One of the most precious relationships is that experienced between
husband and wife. The purpose of God's creation is love -- as a
personal experience, not only as a philosophical theory.
As the Principle explains, people encounter three stages of love --
parent's love, spouse's love, and love for children. We first learn
about love as we receive love from our parents. Upon that experience,
we climb to the second stage and more completely open ourselves by
giving and receiving the love of one person. This love is essential in
the process of procreating children as we complete the four position
Husband and wife have many ways to express love to each other, but the
most precious is the intimate marriage relationship. Heavenly Father
is always involved in the giving and receiving of this love. Even
though in the fall love was taken and completely dominated by Satan's
false control, it is still in accord with the Principle that God is
present to some extent in every giving and receiving action.
When husband and wife generate real harmony, God wants to work with
them. Unlike animal sexuality, conjugal love relationships among
humans are not simply for the purpose of procreation. The love human
beings can experience in conjugal communion is extremely precious and
meaningful. As it develops, love becomes deeper and deeper.
In this sense, all new life relates directly to God. God's involvement
in the love shared between a husband and wife can produce a child.
Thus we can say that God is our Parent. A child's life is precious to
the parents because the child is a living testimony of their love. God
and the child are actually both special participants in the love
According to the Principle, any kind of intimate relationship without
the participation of one's spouse is unthinkable and totally against
the original ideal of God. Spouses are to reach complete unity
centering on true love. They would never be tempted by other people
because they have the potential to feel complete fulfillment of love
in their marriage.
Unification Church View on Contraception
Father has made several references to birth control in various
speeches to blessed couples. Father views the creation of each new
child as a most precious event which will bring eternal blessings.
Father views children as a blessing which we would not want to deny
God or ourselves. However, he does not stress a negative attitude by
considering the use of birth control a sin. Theologically, within the
blessed marriage the Unification Church considers marital relations
apart from the purpose of procreation as holy. Artificial forms of
birth control, however, are not favored. Blessed couples are
encouraged to use the most natural methods of birth control for
special circumstances such as health problems.
Father has often encouraged blessed couples not to eternally regret
limiting their families but rather to view children as blessings from
Unification Church View on Abortion
According to the Unification viewpoint, love and life are incredibly
precious and to be valued above all else. God personally attends the
creation of new life. The relationship of love between the parents and
child is part of the law of the cosmos.
It is our fundamental concern that the order of the cosmos not be
interrupted. According to the Principle, the spirit self is not with
the embryo in the mother's womb. The mother's womb grows only the
spirit base, not the spirit itself. Abortion destroys that spirit
base; therefore, the Unification view is that abortion cuts the
relationship this unborn child has with God and God's divine love.
When Abortion Is Not Acceptable
for Unification Church Members.
Economic situation. We do not have the authority to interrupt the
physical order of the cosmos based on lack of finances. Economic
considerations can never be compared with the value of life. We
cannot presuppose God's will. Perhaps God has special plans for that
particular child to influence future history.
If a couple has financial problems, it is their responsibility to
exercise the most natural methods of birth control.
Lack of harmony.
Abortion should also not be considered if couples feel that their
relationship at the time of conception was not very loving.
When Abortion Is Acceptable for Unification Church Members.
Mother's health endangered.
If carrying a child full term endangers the mother's health, abortion
is acceptable. The life of the mother is considered more precious
because she does possess a spirit, whereas only the spirit base has
formed in an embryo. In this sense, we do not view abortion as a sin,
as it relates not to a violation of the spirit self but the physical
It is important to ask what one's doctor would do if he or she needed
to choose between saving the mother or child due to complications at
childbirth. According to the view contained within the Principle, the
mother should always be saved because, again, she is the only one of
the two beings possessing a spirit body. The Principle explains that
it is essential to have a physical body for the spiritual body to
grow. As mentioned earlier, while in the womb, the child does not have
a spiritual body; God imparts the spirit with the first breath.
Child's health endangered.
If certain tests (e.g., amniocentesis or chorionic samples) confirm
that the unborn child has irreversible deformities that would
seriously inhibit life (i.e., spina bifida, Down's syndrome, etc.) it
is appropriate to abort; however, the decision rests with the parents.
Abortion is appropriate if the child was conceived through rape,
incest, or any circumstance involving a break in the spiritual order.
Unification Church View on Circumcision
The Unification Church takes the position that there is no spiritual
reason for circumcision. It is not the customary practice in many
nations throughout the world, although Western hospitals offer the
option of circumcising male children. Medical reasons given for the
practice usually relate to hygiene; however, recent studies question
Since there is no spiritual reason to do this, many members have
chosen not to circumcise; however, this decision should be made by the
parents themselves. Throughout the church as a whole, there is a
strong tradition not to circumcise.
The tradition of burning Birth Candles during the delivery of a baby
was begun at Ye Jin Nim's birth. As well, with her birth began the
tradition of having close friends or family gather to pray during the
Because of the True Parents' course of restoration, all Unification
Church members have the opportunity to receive new life. In fact, we
are the only generations in all history able to receive the Blessing
directly from the True Parents. We must express our gratitude for the
fortune and privilege of embracing heavenly blessed children;
previously there were no children whom Heaven could claim. Yet blessed
children are born in impure environments. Holding a prayer ceremony
and burning Birth Candles during delivery creates a condition to make
a holy environment for each new blessed child.
Prayer During Delivery
Notification of Participation.
Any number of friends (members of one's trinity, if possible) of the
couple may gather to pray during the birth. Traditionally, members
have gathered to hold such a prayer service after receiving
information that the mother has gone to the hospital and/or into the
labor or delivery room.
If possible, the parents-to-be should contact their trinity members
and other members close to them some time before the baby is due,
requesting their participation in such a ceremony.
In some cases, the doctor or midwife may permit this ceremony to be
done in the hospital (although away from the actual delivery room). If
this is not possible, the ceremony may be held at the couple's home or
another convenient location.
If some people contacted are too far away to join the group gathering
to pray, they may pray individually at another location. It is
appropriate for members in this situation to burn a Shimjung Candle if
desired and convenient.
Before the birth of their first child, a couple must personally
inherit a Birth Candle and Birth Matches from a
church elder or elder blessed couple. This "seed" Birth Candle must be
multiplied either before storing it directly after the inheritance
ceremony, or shortly before the baby is due. (Refer to chapter 16,
Birth Candles, for details.)
If possible, the parents should sanctify the area for prayer with Holy
At the time the parents go to the hospital, all those who will
participate in the prayer ceremony should be contacted.
Before leaving for the hospital, the parents should prepare the
candles for those who will gather to pray. The "seed" Birth Candle
should be placed in the middle position of a candelabra or in the
center of seven individual candle holders on the altar. The multiplied
candles should be placed in the other places in the candelabra or
other candle holders. (Refer to diagrams 19.1 and 19.2 for two
possibilities of how the candles might be placed on the altar.) Birth
matches should be placed near the candles.
Designate one representative the responsibility of lighting the
19.1. Suggested placement of candelabra of Birth Candles on altar
19.2. Suggested placement of seven individual Birth Candles on altar
Format of the Ceremony
If possible, near the time of the actual delivery, one of the people
who accompanied the mother to the hospital should try to telephone
those gathered to pray in order that they may light the Birth Candles.
Lighting the candles.
It is not advisable to light the candles the very moment the mother
goes into labor because it is not possible to determine how long her
labor will last.
The seven candles may be lit about five minutes before the baby is
expected to be born and extinguished about five minutes after the
birth. (Refer to chapter 16, Birth Candles, for instructions on both
lighting and extinguishing the candles.)
Format of Prayer Service.
There is no specific format for prayer. Each person may wish to offer
a prayer or several people may pray representative prayers followed by
unison prayer. However, if desired, all people may pray in unison the
There is no set time to pray either before or after the birth.
If the Time of Birth Was Missed
If the ceremony must be carried out at a time other than during the
actual birth (before or after because, for example, there was no tele-
phone to reach those who gathered), a special prayer should be
offered. One representative should pray, "Even though we were not
the accurate time of birth, we pray that our prayers can relate to the
accurate time and circumstances of birth."
If The Tradition Was Not Known
If this tradition was not known, it is suggested that as soon as a
couple learns about this custom, they arrange to inherit a Birth
Candle, multiply it according to the instructions in chapter 16, Birth
Candles, and hold a prayer service.
Prayers should focus on the idea that even though this tradition was
not followed at the time of the birth, through the lighting of the
Birth Candle now, the strength of the prayers may connect to creating
a blessed environment for this child.