An article in Unification News celebrates the ending of a “30-year lull in church growth in Nebraska" as Amber Lynne Williams, 17, and Mario Salazar, 55, became members of the Unification Church. This is being seen as a breakthrough to many members but it is not at all undoing the deterioration of the church.
It is a sad reality but most second generation are falling away and two new members in Nebraska is not really that remarkable. Though formal statistics do not exist to prove such a decline (and it would be a difficult survey to take for many second generation have complex relationships and views of the church), it is undeniable that this decline is actually occurring in regards to both those who believe in the church and those are who are involved with the church.
Joining the Unification Church has been made a lot easier the past ten or so years, and has been made even easier as the In Jin administration has rolled into the States. For membership becoming so easy, there still has been very little growth. Also, many converts in the United States tend to fade away and disappear from the Moonie scene completely, as they lack community and realize that the majority of those in the Unification Church are not like the young STF’ers that recruited them.
Despite all of that, the Unification Church still celebrates these two members with much joy.
The Nebraska Church, which approximately 11 families and 30 Unificationist-born youth, welcomes these two new members with open arms and much excitement. They are seen as fruits of In Jin Moon’s “Lovin’ Life Ministries” (LLM). Theresa Tsubaki, the Lovin’ Life Ministries (LLM) pastor in Nebraska, credits the “restructured effort in local outreach and the new educational material that was provided by LLM Headquarters for members new and old” for the growth in church membership.
No other denomination in America would see such “growth” as a breakthrough. Two new members for the first time in 30-years in a whole state would actually be seen by most sects and denominations as a tragic sign of the coming death of a religious institution.
Honestly, if I were still an active, believing member of the Unification Church, I would be wondering how the hell is this endangered sect of goofs supposed to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, especially as 2013 approaches. But hey, at least there’s two more members in Nebraska.