Daily and incessant prayers
"Several other things of importance I could put you in mind of, but I will not so far wrong your godly minds as to think you heedless of these things, there being many among you well able both to admonish themselves and others. These few things, therefore, I do earnestly commend unto your care and conscience, joining therewith my daily incessant prayers unto the Lord, that He Who has made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all rivers of waters, and Whose providence is over all His works, especially over all His dear children for good, would so guide and guard you in your ways, as inwardly by His spirit, so outwardly by the hand of His power, that both you and we also may praise His name all the days of our lives. Fare you well in Him in Whom you trust, and in Whom I rest."
"An unfeigned well-willer of your happy success in this hopeful voyage,
Pilgrims - passionate but disciplined
The Pilgrims were not a soft-spoken people. They were passionate and sometimes argued with each other but always they prayed for self-control and to be united and never complain.
They did not complain ever.
They realized their sins and shortcomings every day. They knew that God so arranges matters that his faithful have to pass through hard and dangerous experiences. When this happened, it prompted them to carefully reform themselves. They were always coachable and listened to those who were wise.
Originally, the Pilgrims left England on two ships. God reduced it to one the Mayflower. The other ship was named the Speedwell. Perhaps it was a Cain/Abel split with the Mayflower being like a holy Noah's Ark. Bradford and all the others were quick to see providential meaning in everything. Twice, the Mayflower and the Speedwell had sailed from England and both times the captain feared she could not make it. The Speedwell did not live up to her name. They decided to take only one ship - the Mayflower. Again, we see the number three. They finally left successfully on the third try.
The Pilgrims understood that God often begins with one person or small group and then slowly builds a big movement or nation from that humble seed. In the Old Testament God deliberately reduced Gideons army from tens of thousands to 300 men and then won the battle against many thousands. Gideon was of the chosen people of God. God was on his side. God loves everyone, but He is always on the Abel side. Bradford and his friends knew they were Gods chosen people who were called to pioneer a new nation to be founded on Gods principles. They saw that their course was similar to the Israelites going into Canaan after wandering in the desert. The Pilgrims accepted their mission. They were completely fearless, even though they were only a handful of people persecuted by many. They knew, as all men of God should know, that God is looking for dedication and commitment from his champions, not masses of wishy washy weak people. Before the majority accepts Gods truth, a minority must persevere to teach even though they are mocked, beaten and jailed.
Bradford wrote that those who stayed behind were those who had "discontent or fear ... and the most unfit to bear the brunt of this hard adventure .And thus, like GIDEON'S army, this small number was divided, as if the Lord, by this work of His Providence, thought these few too many for the great work he had to do."
Bradford proves his point by writing that the Speedwell was really seaworthy, but it was a way God worked to weed out those who were not serious, "But here, by the way, let me show, how afterwards it was found that ... she made many voyages." The ship had minor flaws, but the spiritual commitment of some was not great enough for God to use. God even had to weed out some from an already tiny group of this chosen few. The foundation of America had to be as solid as Plymouth Rock itself. America's greatness is based on the foundation of absolute dedication of those final few pilgrims who landed in Massachusetts in 1620.
Bradford said those who did not come lacked "heart and courage." Elder Brewster described themselves in this way, "it is not with us as with men whom small things can discourage or small discontents cause to wish themselves at home again."
The final result was that there 40 pilgrims making this historical exodus. There are different numbers given for the exact number of Pilgrims on the Mayflower such as the number 44, but all agree that it was around 40. Robert Loeb, Jr. in Meet The Real Pilgrims says it is exactly 40: "Of the passengers, forty were Separatists and sixty-two non-Separatists" or as the Pilgrims called them "strangers." The number 40 is often used in the Bible. It is a symbol of separation from Satan. Some of those on the Speedwell went to the Mayflower and others had to stay back. Some stayed back because they wanted to. Experiencing the pain of the boat even for this much time was enough for some to lose heart. Those who finally left were ready to tough it out.
Again they had to make sad partings of those who went back with the Speedwell. Several of the women were pregnant and even though they had heard of the terrible hardships of Jamestown, they went anyway. God's pioneers always risk everything.
When the Speedwell turned back it meant that they would also have up even more material things to make room for the additional passengers in the Mayflower. This is the tradition in human history that those who seriously searched for God lived an ascetic life. The personal possessions they left behind were things they treasured. Because of the fall, mankind centered on the physical, instead of the spiritual. Fallen man has its priorities upside down. They focus on the treasures of the earth. Physical is primary to fallen man - not what is spiritual. People focus more on planning their vacations than in planning for spirit world, our eternal home. God wants us to enjoy good food, nice clothes and luxurious homes, but in restoration God's champions are required to give up these pleasures and emphasize the spiritual. Pioneers are balanced people. They travel light and this alone upsets most people.
Historically, followers of spiritual leaders get less and less spiritual, but the earliest followers are red hot to witness and preach. Spiritual champions of God have to give up everything and not have any resentment about it. Later, people can settle down and have some nice things, but the start of building a movement for God, everyone is called to be a fanatic. An analogy would be like getting a plane to fly. To get off the ground the pilot has to floor the accelerator and push the engine to its very limits to get it off the ground. After the plane is in the air, he can level off and cruise at a more reasonable pace. People like Bradford in the 17th century, Thomas Jefferson in the 18th century, Joseph Smith in the 19th century or Sun Myung Moon in 20th century America were workaholics for the vision God gave them. Rev. Moon and his true followers are on fire. To others this looks like sadism and masochism, but everyone who has ever built anything great gave it everything they had. The richest man in the world is Bill Gates. When he was 18 years old he was the same age as many who worked day and night on Rev. Moon's witnessing and fundraising teams. Bill would would around the clock also. He slept, as his buddies did, next to their new fangled computers. When Steve Jobs, one of the founders of the computer, went looking for money he had long hair and looked like a hippie. These went on to become bigger than the previous giant IBM.
God is asking us to work hard, hard, hard. Satan is a real to a Unificationist as it was to a Pilgrim. We are living in the final battle of good and evil. Unificationist face their own special terrors. They have to fight against a culture that is so degraded that a President befriends the homosexual community and invites America's leading lesbian, the TV star, Ellen Degeneress, to the white house. They are attacked by the government, parents, former members, ministers, and the media. Someday the kingdom of heaven will come to earth, but it won't come without a fight.
God's champions sell everything and follow him
The pattern throughout history is that God's pioneers begin their course with only the shirt on their back. From Abraham to Jacob to Joseph to Moses to Jesus to Paul to Christian saints and Rev. Moon and his early followers, God's vanguard wore rags. Jesus told the rich man to sell his things and then follow him. Rev. Moon has walked in the same footsteps as all those spiritual leaders have done before him. Rev. Moon did not first concentrate on earning and spending money on nice clothes and houses for him and his early disciples so they could look impressive before they started witnessing. He sent them out wearing old clothes. He spent many years wearing thrift store clothes. And when money came in it was always given to church projects. In the 70s when Rev. Moon became famous from his speaking tours in America, he once talked to a small group of us at a church center I was staying in that was far from his home. He constantly travels and speaks to the members. He said that day, as he often says, that he is accused of brainwashing young people to give him money so he can live in luxury while they work 16 hour days as slaves for him. He said he works harder than any member. And he is right. He says he has sacrificed more than anyone. And he is right. He told us he only has a big house and a limousine because he has to talk to Presidents of countries and other leaders in every walk of life and he knows we would want him to entertain them in as nice place as they have. He personally doesn't care and lives a simple life in private.
I remember vividly that day as he explained that he rarely even went home. He told us where he had bought every piece of the clothing he was wearing that day. Mostly they were from J.C. Penny and he said he only buys clothes that are on sale, not the regular ones.
Be careful in criticizing
It would be easy to criticize him for pushing himself and the members so hard, but God is in a hurry. It would be easy to say he should have done things differently such as let his young followers finish college, get a good job, buy a nice house and car and clothes and build a career that would make their parents proud. But he took them out of college and make them sleep in sleeping bags and sell flowers and witness long hours. Some enjoyed it and understood what they were doing, but most didn't and left and some wrote books saying how abused they were. And some were. Parents went ballistic and some spent tens of thousands of dollars to have their adult children kidnapped. Pioneering is not pretty. It is messy and confusing and most people are deeply upset at God's little band of gypsies. Later they settle down and act "normal" but in the beginning they are seen as being under the influence of insidious mind control from a megalomaniac charlatan. Jesus walked around and said he was the way and the light with a bunch of guys that looked anything but impressive. The people just couldn't see how spiritual and true he was. Neither has this world seen Rev. Moon correctly. The church will settle down more and more, but its early history matches the craziness of the beginning history of every new church.
The Mormons are a case in point. These "Saints" as they call themselves have an epic history. As usual they went through intense persecution. Many went to jail as Rev. Moon did. Their founder was murdered. They wandered in the wilderness of the west and then built an empire in Utah. There are so many stories of tragedy on the wagon trains that came across the west. One of every ten died in the migration to settle the west. I read one story of a Mormon boy who was 11 years old when his parents died along the trail. He had no time to cry. He had two younger sisters to care for and he led their wagon. Today, the Mormons, have settled down and have a smooth running machine. They are totally organized and everything is neat and pretty. Some day Unificationists will look as impressive and organized and be even more powerful. They will move from being a cult to a sect to a church to the greatest movement in history.
Don't criticize Rev. Moon
Rev. Moon should never be criticized. We have no idea how things would have gone if he had done things differently. He is a religious man and acted in a religious way. Fundraising will end just as the churches communes of the 70s have already ended. The leaders of the church can be criticized. They did their best but they made many mistakes and many people were needlessly hurt, just as the leaders of the followers of Jesus throughout history have not represented Jesus totally right. Some were even criminal. There are countless stories of how priests and ministers have hurt little children. Hollywood has movies that graphically show some of those stories. The Unification Church has, like any church, had some low lifes who have hurt people. But we have to see God's people as being half full, not empty. We can't ignore the wrongs and we must help those who have been hurt or at least feel for them, but we must not give up on being a religious person because of the hypocrisy and cruelty of some. God will judge them anyway or they will judge themselves.
America is a secular culture
I hope in my writings to put Sun Myung Moon into proper perspective. America is not a religious country. It is a secular, materialistic culture. Just watch popular television shows like the immoral Seinfeld and 90210 to see how unspiritual we are. Pre-marital sex is glorified in word and deed by Oprah Winfrey, the richest and most famous celebrity in America. The most popular movie of all time is Titantic that gets a PG rating even though it has nudity and glorifies pre-marital sex. President Clinton gropes women in the Oval Office and his wife is a dedicated feminist working long hours to nationalize health care. Schools are government controlled and atheist so no one really learns about the Pilgrims and what a religious life means. School teachers pass out condoms, not the truth. In this low spiritual atmosphere it is extremely hard for Americans to see the value of Rev. Moon's new pilgrim movement.
God's pioneers are rebels
No one saw the Pilgrims for who they were. All God's pioneers are rebels like Bradford. Be open to God working in mysterious ways. It doesn't get more mysterious than that God is using Rev. Moon to speak through. See Rev. Moon through God's eyes, not Satan's. See the Pilgrims for who they really were. And then have the guts to live as they live. If you can't live this way, then at least help in some way. If you get tired, Rev. Moon says it is o.k. to sit on the sidelines and rest. Just don't leave God. Forgive your enemy. Be pure. Fight Satan's temptations. Make your life a masterpiece of goodness.