The Contents of our Mind:
Over-Stocked, Under-Stocked
and Back-Ordered

Rev. Neil Salonen
Washington DC Family Church
November 14, 1999

Good morning. It's nice to see all of you.

Before I actually begin I want to tell you that my wife and I talked a while and we had trouble -- or I had trouble trying to decide what would be an appropriate reading for what I want to share. And even on the way down I brought both of the readings with me. So I'm not going to read you the second reading, but I am going to recommend it because I think it's one of the best ones.

In "Earthly Life and Spirit World - 2," which is volume 12, there is a section on page 78 called True Parents' request. I'm not quite sure why they called it that because they never do mention what is True Parents' request. But it's something which reveals a great deal about Father's personality, something that especially members who haven't had an opportunity to be with him personally on a daily, routine kind of basis may not have had an opportunity to see. But in this story, when he's quite a bit younger he was asked to be a groomsman in somebody else's wedding. They prepared the clothes because Korea was very poor at that time, and these are clothes that don't fit very well because they made them for a different size person. He said he was a little bit bigger than the average Korean.

He talked in very precious terms about how incredibly humiliating and painful it was to go through that whole thing wearing clothes that didn't fit, and how we didn't want to be people who would get to the spirit world in clothes that don't fit. Please read it. I think you'll find something very precious there.

As long as I've been in the movement, there have been certain perennial questions that come up, and the reason they keep coming up is because they don't have an absolute answer, though you could make your own list, I'm sure. The one I was thinking about is, when we're really busy with public activity and there's an incredible number of incredibly important things going on right now, from time to time people feel exhausted and someone will say, how come we're not taking care of our members. Why aren't we taking care of their hearts? Why aren't we taking care of their problems, why aren't we helping them, why aren't we loving them?

The point makes everybody uncomfortable when it comes up because there is enough truth in it that we can't just say, we're not supposed to take care of people. That's not the answer. We're too busy, we'll do it later. When? We know that we have to get certain things done before we go to the spirit world or it becomes much more difficult to get them done at all. It makes people uncomfortable.

On the other hand, there have been times when the pendulum has swung in the other direction and people turn inward so much that they don't do anything outwardly. You spend all of your time thinking about how to be a better person, and what you really become is an incredibly self-absorbed person, self-concerned person. That doesn't really do a lot for others.

Finding Balance

How do you find the balance and what would be the reason that you'd want to look for a balance like that? If we just focus on public missions, we become victims ourselves. We become dry and we are no longer like the person that you thought you were on track to become when you first invested yourself in the movement. If you just focus on personal development, then even if you succeed, it's development for what? Who's going to appreciate this beautiful self-actualized person you've become, since you no longer have any friends, no commitments, you're not involved in any organizations, but you're thin and beautiful or something like that.

In trying to think about striking the balance, you've been hearing a lot these days, I'm sure, as we come to the end of this year, as we come to the end of the century, the end of the millennium -- whether that is at the end of this year or the end of next year, or if we celebrate it for a whole year -- the point is things are definitely at a moment of incredible change. It's obvious that our movement has accomplished certain things and that the rate of accomplishment is accelerating. So all of the things that Father's personally asking us to do, and I think are very important for us to do, you're hearing a lot about that.

I'm sure you're hearing about the hoon dok hae conferences, bringing people from all over the world, the progress on the blessing of 400 million couples, so let's not talk about that today. Not because I don't recognize those things as being the priority. I just assume you're hearing a lot about that. Today I would like to ask you to reflect on taking an inventory, and in the process of doing all these things, what type of person have you become?

There have been several waves of concern or shocks that have gone through our movement in the last year or two. Most recently it's amazed me to see the reaction or the strength of the reaction that many members had to the events surrounding the passage of Young Jin nim to the spiritual world. I don't know how many members knew him. I know that we always felt a sense of connection because he was born in Tarrytown Hospital at the same time as my wife was there giving birth to my son. So they were within a few days of each other, and there was a sense of linkage. Other than that I don't know a great deal.

So I was amazed that people who perhaps knew even less were overwhelmed with very strong feelings and concerns, not all of them positive, not all of them constructive. And sometimes people felt the need to defend things that they didn't have information to either defend or explain. And I wondered why. Why did that particular episode generate so much energy? I thought it's because it's tapping into an underlying, subconscious sense of unease that many members have. They're uncomfortable about some things and haven't had an outlet to express it, so any issue that comes up is suddenly like puncturing a balloon or a tire, and all the air comes out at that point. I don't think it's healthy, but suppressing it is not any healthier.

You can make a list of how you take personal inventory about what type of people we've become. I used to hate it when my parents and grandparents would tell me how things used to be, so I presume you're not really interested in hearing me say anything good about how things used to be in our movement, but I'm going to. And you're free to feel about it how I expect you to feel.

When I first joined the movement, it was very small, like being in a kindergarten or -- the times were different. But there were several positive elements that I think God intended to remain within the movement, and we will need to have if we are ever to become a total success as a movement. We were thrilled about being in the movement. We were truly thrilled. It was easy to talk to other people and witness to them because we honestly, to our bones, believed that the best thing we could do for them was to get them in the movement, absolutely believed that. And we loved each other. We were so proud of each other that the most impressive thing you could do was bring somebody home for dinner so they could meet the other brothers and sisters. Do we all still feel that way? Well, maybe. Not all the time, that's for sure.

One day I was thinking about that. We got busy. We got busy and so we didn't have the energy, I guess, or the focus to sustain some of those things. We got very busy. We started making excuses for taking shortcuts. We'd do things without necessarily making sure other people understood because we had to do them in a hurry, etc.

I was sitting at East Garden one day thinking about some things, probably not in a very positive way at that moment, and Father, who is far more perceptive than any of us realize -- if you think he's perceptive, he's more perceptive than that. He said, "don't sit there thinking about the good old days." I didn't say a word. He said, "because they weren't really good." He said, "these are the good days because they're on the way to the best days. They're on the way to the really best days, so you're that much closer to the really good days."

Be careful what you think around Father.

So I want to make a list of things that I reflected on. You can make your own list, you can expand it, but I think it's valuable to try to step back from what we're doing every day and find out if in the process we are also remembering to keep trying to become the kind of person that we want to be, that we know we should be, and I think that will have an easier time being successful in the tasks of our movement.

For those of you who play golf, it takes a lot of energy and you'll come home with sore muscles if you hit the ball poorly. A slice or a hook, or just topping it off when you're exhausted, but if you have a sweet shot, hit it just perfectly -- which I certainly don't know very much about -- but I have done it occasionally, it's almost effortless. So when you get things exactly right, it's so much easier than to be trying to get them right and doing something wrong in the process.

While we focus on all of our public responsibility, let's make sure we remember to be becoming the kind of people that we want to become when we get there. Father in some other speech talks about how in the spiritual world there are many different levels. He's going right to the top and he's just worried about us, where we're going to end up and what he's going to be able to be. He wants us to join him. That's his motivation in a great deal of what he says.

Well, I could come at it many different ways. But when you take inventory, some things are out of stock. Where is the sweetness? The other day Mother was sitting there talking, and she was just at that moment about to eat a piece of candy, and Father had done something kind of cute. I said, Father is so sweet. And she said, Father is sweet as chocolate, and she put it in his mouth. Her basic image of Father and how sweet he is. I don't know what your basic image of Father is, but how sweet are we? How nice are we to each other?

When you go to Chung Pyung Lake, one of the things they tell you to reflect on is whether or not you've hurt somebody else's heart because that's a serious burden. Some people have had dreams of the spirit world of people who are stuck in little rooms and can't get out until everybody they've hurt has forgiven them for what they've done. There is room, the reading said, for mercy, but you have to repent, you have to do something about it.

In the 12-step programs, whether it's for alcoholics, drug addicts or overweight people, one of the things you have to do, if you follow them exactly, is make a list of everybody that you've hurt and do something to make amends for it.

Are we really nice to people? When I first got married I was very impressed with what a romantic and wonderful husband I was. I was so impressed with that. And I have someone here who might have a slightly different point of view. I would bring flowers for my wife, and I just thought I had this idyllic relationship. I thought that for years and years and years, and many years later she said, you know, after the first year you never brought me flowers. I had this image of someone who always brought flowers and candy and was just wonderful, and I just did it a few times, and that was the image. That wasn't the reality. I got busy. I was very busy doing very, very important things. Oh, they were important. I don't remember what they were right now, the important things I was doing, but my wife does remember that I didn't bring flowers all of those other years.

Are we as nice to others, as sweet to others as they might need us to be in order to have the juice to be what they need to be?


Voluntarism. When Father first announced these hoon dok hae conferences, we had to put the first one together just a few months ago. We had about two or three weeks. It was crazy. We had to get people from all over the world, and the staff, which we scrambled together, didn't even have time to meet. We had to hit the ground running based on knowing what they knew. There were some things that didn't go perfectly. There's always a way to improve, but there was a very nice spirit because we were so proud that we were able to jump in and do something on the last minute notice. It required people to stay up incredible hours. They had to push aside and defer a lot of other commitments. But they rose to the challenge. They voluntarily rose to the challenge.

The second conference was a little more difficult because now we began scheduling people for these incredible sacrifices, and so it's sort of like squeezing the orange one more time and maybe a third time. We're using a tea bag too many times.

What we give out of our own voluntary commitment has a certain kind of magic to it. What is squeezed out of us because it's scheduled or presumed or taken for granted doesn't taste as good and there isn't as much there. It doesn't work as well either.

Does that mean slow down, let's do less? I don't mean that. I think we have to remember to find ways to continue to make our offerings voluntarily. I think in the past I've talked about that. It's very important that you take ownership of your offering. So if something is asked of you, if you can't give it in the right way then maybe you shouldn't be the one giving it at all. Maybe you can find somebody else who would be able to do it. Maybe you could suggest something else that you could do.

But we've got to make sure that whatever we're doing we're really glad to be doing because everybody else will be able to feel the difference. And if they don't feel that we're glad to be doing it, why would they want to join something like that? It's like joining some kind of a pressed labor camp. How can you truly recommend, oh come over here and we'll squeeze every last drop out of you. We really don't want to convey that. We'd rather convey that we're inspired to want to give everything for the things that we're doing, and make sure that we do.

Candor - Withholding information

Another point is candor. I don't think people tell the truth any more. Rev. Lee had a wonderful meeting a couple of months ago and I was really inspired because people said what they were really thinking. They were really upset about some things, but you tend to defer artificially to the hierarchy, so if a leader, and especially if it's from a different nation, says something and you don't agree, you might once or twice try, but that didn't work well. So most of the people just don't say anything.

It's not that they change their mind. They just don't say anything. That's poisonous. That is automatically an impediment to true unity. Much better to say it, to say that you don't agree, find a way to say what you really feel. Because if you're wrong, you need to be enlightened, and the leader can never do that if he doesn't have the benefit of knowing what you really think. If you're right then the policy needs to be changed. And if the policy is not changed, it ought to at least be that everybody knew. They teach families where a member is alcoholic about co-dependence, but they also talk about enablers. It becomes a great secret. The whole family hides certain things, but it is destructive for that family.

What I liked about the meeting Rev. Lee had was that -- there was no gap between what people said and what they really felt. It was healthy because out of it all people came up with a realistic plan that might actually work and accomplish certain things.

We shouldn't lose our candor. We shouldn't be afraid to say what we really think. If we do, then who is guilty -- the leader who is making decisions when not having the benefit of your opinion and information, or do you share in that guilt because you haven't offered your perspective, your insight? It's not always easy. I know sometimes some leaders don't appear to welcome it, but it's always the right thing to do.

There was an opportunity when I was working a long time ago with one leader and I was really upset with another person. He said, "have you gone to this other person in tears, have you prayed for 40 days, have you fasted. I said, no, that wouldn't work. But you don't know that won't work if you haven't tried. You have to do it. It has to not work, and then you're justified in going to somebody else."

Criticism - Lots of Opinions

So much for the things that are out of stock. What do I mean by overstocked? We have certain things in oversupply. Evaluation, or you could call it criticism. Father said that people who criticize are just trying to find a way not to take responsibility. People have loads of opinions in our movement. Some of them are right, I'm sure. Some of them must be because we have so many opinions.

Young Jin nim's situation is exactly the perfect case. The reality is that probably nobody in this room really knows anything. They really don't. One thing we can be sure of is that anything that happens to the True Family has deep significance and will eventually be explained and will be revealed. So the need to kind of obsess on it ahead of time isn't healthy. It may be for different reasons that people have done it, but we don't have to evaluate everything. Some things you hold. Some things you wait.

Passing the Buck Upward

The other thing is, passing the buck upward. We have an oversupply of what I would call artificial deference to the hierarchy. Let somebody else be responsible. Since the leader decided it, I know it's not going to work, but let it be his fault. It will be his or her responsibility. We have that in an oversupply.

Follow Through

And what do we have that's back-ordered? You can add your own to these lists. I come up with three. Follow-through. We all went out the first time to get 185 people that were going to be in our tribe and we're supposed to be with them forever. Do you remember all their names? Do you talk to them weekly, monthly? Did you talk to them this year? I'm not throwing a stone at you. We've gotten in touch with some of ours, not with others. That was before you had 10,000. But have we done as much as we could do in terms of follow-through?

What would be the benefit that we make everybody perfect if we don't stay in touch, we don't know them, we're not trying to help them? We're supposed to have a practical relationship. You can wait for the church to have a program, but you don't have to wait for that. It's our personal responsibility. You may be the inspiration that will actually cause the church to have more, but we don't have a church. It's a federation. Our federation will have more of a program.

Personal Dreams

Secondly, what's back-ordered? Our personal dreams. Most of the people that have accomplished great things, or when they came to the movement, it's because they believed in trying to save the world. They wanted to help the poor. They had a social consciousness. Most of the people in the wide world who do that usually do so almost single-handedly. You don't have to wait. Something happened. People joined the church, and they became part of a group and so they no longer think they're allowed to take individual action. I don't know who made that rule. I think that is what will make a difference, and that is what will make us vital. So we've back-ordered our dreams and it's time for us to think about whether we want to keep it like that.

Learning Korean

The third one. It's unbelievable to me but I've been a member of the church 32 years. The year that I first joined the church, I went to the missionary at that time and asked, should I learn Korean? And I think I told you all once before that she said, "Well, it would have been good if you knew it, but it's too late now." So I believed that for a couple of months. We thought everything was going to get wrapped up rather quickly.

We need to learn Korean. If you see the difference between the words when they're translated by someone who's really skillful, when you hear someone translating it live, as we did recently in Korea with Lynne Kim, then Father's personality and his real meaning come out. We're not going to be able to fully digest his words -- and I haven't done it. Why haven't I done it? Is it the only language in the world that takes more than 32 years to learn? It must be. It's really important. Father said it. Nobody's ever excused us. We haven't done it.

Now, Mrs. Marshall, please excuse me. Koreans are the worst teachers of Korean, as far as I can see. Not necessarily Mrs. Marshall, but I've had many people. There was one who was going to teach it to us by drilling in the pledge, which has all the grammatical structures you could ever want.

It is time to take inventory.

I want to leave you with one thought. We need to take inventory on ourselves, make sure we're becoming the kinds of people that we really want to be, the kinds of people we want to be around, the kind of people who would want to be here with us. Think about what has to change, put it out on the table, be open about it, and I think our movement will have more energy to do its public responsibilities. When you go out to witness to 400 million couples, if you're dried up as a prune, unhappy in life and have no thoughts of your own, you're critical of everything you see around you, then who would be inspired to join a movement of people like that? I would worry about the people who would join a movement like that.

Go back. Think of the happiest moment that you ever were, whether it was your blessing day, the day your children were born, the day you joined the church, the first day you met the True Parents. Recapture that feeling and build on things from there.

Take inventory, and make sure that in the process of doing all of these things -- and there are some very impressive things happening -- that we are also becoming a movement of brothers and sisters that we really are proud to be around, proud to introduce others to, and happy, so that when we go to the spirit world, our clothes will fit. Thank you very much.