USA: Light of the High Noon Summit Shines Clear and Bright
The first ever High Noon Summit, a meeting of Unificationists stepping up to engage in authentic conversation about our community’s current struggles with pornography and hopes for sexual integrity, was held from April 7-9, 2017 at the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) in Las Vegas.
Organized one year after the Set Free Global Summit that prompted its creation, High Noon brought together some 230 Unificationists from across the United States and around the world, with individuals or delegations from six continents among its audience. The age demographic of the attendees covered a wide range, with approximately half of those present under the age of 40 and several families attending together.
The international and intergenerational draw to the High Noon Summit can perhaps best be explained by two factors: the predominant challenge that internet pornography presents to the creation and sustenance of a blessed family culture both within and beyond our movement today and the opportunity the summit, itself, presented to address that challenge in the liberating, “high-noon” light of compassion and community.
What is “High Noon”?
The name of the summit was derived from a teaching about the qualities of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth frequently referenced by True Father in later years of his life. As cited by the summit website, True Father described the state of “high noon” as a life without shadows: “When the mind and body become one, the shadow disappears. When a couple becomes one, the shadow disappears….A shadow can be cast in any of the four directions. However, at high noon, when you stand at the very center, there is no shadow. You should have such relationships with your parents, spouse, children and siblings. Only then can God be positioned as the owner of the eight stages of love.”
David Wolfenberger, founder of Pure Mind Online, one of the primary organizers of the summit, shared that one of the summit’s main purposes was to provide access to “freedom from bondage to sexual sin” by openly acknowledging pornography’s hold on many young Unificationists who feel they are prevented from doing what they want to do in life, developing their faith, or participating in the Marriage Blessing due to their attachment to pornography. As David shared, “Addiction is born in secrecy but dies in community. Until now, our Unification community was the last place that people struggling with sexual sin wanted to confess their problems. Our vision for high noon culture, however, is that this is exactly the right place.”
John Williams, director of Pure Mind Online, elaborated on this theme of openness and liberation in community, explaining, “The light of High Noon is not just the harsh light of truth but a light of warmth and of love. The young people who came here trusted that they would be met with compassion in their vulnerability; they believed that they would experience love and forgiveness of sin, which opened the way for the older generation to experience that, too.”
At the Summit
High Noon was collaboratively organized by Pure Mind Online, a grassroots organization dedicated to the development of a broad culture of sexual integrity and heavenly intimacy through enhancing community, accountability, and honesty, the Blessing and Family Ministry (BFM), and many other organizations currently leading the campaign against pornography, such as Fight the New Drug, Covenant Eyes, Bravehearts Mentoring Solutions for Sexual Integrity, and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
Throughout the weekend summit, participants learned about the tragic statistics of the modern pornographic epidemic, including its increasing availability via smart phones and the internet, as well as the porn industry’s attempts to normalize their products and gain access to ever younger audiences. They also had opportunities to hear testimony about fellow Unificationists’ struggle to overcome pornography’s hold on their lives or the lives of loved ones.
“During the fundraising call, I was so moved by one brother who came up to share, by how vulnerable and honest he was. He broke down in tears … as he shared about his own struggles with pornography. I really feel that True Parents wanted that healing—not pressure or oppression but the liberating and freeing healing that everyone deserves. By his sharing, that brother gave permission to everyone else to open up and be honest with God.” –David Young, Project Manager, Pure Mind Online
“A highlight for me was the Friday night testimonies. Three second-generation, young-adult Unificationists who were 100% vulnerable shared every aspect of their struggle. They felt fully supported by the audience and helped to set a precedent of love and openness at the summit, encouraging many others to share openly and honestly. I really feel God working in this environment to open the door and to heal the burdens that people have been carrying on their chests for a long time.” –Andrew Love, Community Outreach Educator, Pure Mind Online
A Path to the Blessing
High Noon is the first meeting to take up and adapt the mission of the original Set Free Summit, attended by over 850 faith leaders in April 2016, but to no one’s surprise given the central importance of marriage and family to the Unification faith and the clear threat pornography poses to the development and preservation of both.
Marjorie Buessing, curriculum developer and matching committee chair of the BFM, shared on the significance of the summit, “The implications of pornography on our matching and the Marriage Blessing are huge. It’s so important to have a culture of sexual integrity and to support one another to achieve that, but modern technology, the God-given curiosity of our youth, and the targeted and insidious efforts of the porn industry to entrap young people in shame and addiction to pornography has really hurt many of our young people and pulled them away from the Blessing. That’s why the BFM is so concerned about this issue.”
Similarly, Cheryl Roth, web editor and writer for Pure Mind Online, commented, “The developing High Noon movement is in many ways a precursor to the Blessing movement. It’s hard for people to embrace the ideal of marriage and family when they have become stuck because of realities like pornography. A lot of education is needed, not only to help people overcome the control of pornography but to help them understand what the ideal of heavenly intimacy really is. We’re offering that as a path to help people and to support the Blessing movement.”
What You Can Do
“God’s grace is needed to establish the Kingdom. In that way, the summit provided a powerful moment of Tribal Messiahship: to see an atmosphere of True Parents’ love truly manifesting in our Unification community creates a natural and vibrant witness to True Parents….Offering healing within our movement is essential to healing the suffering of those outside of our movement.” –John Williams
With the success of this first summit now under their belt, the High Noon team is looking to expand their numbers and their efforts to offer healing by creating a network of support to build a culture of sexual integrity. At Pure Mind Online, you can become informed about the issues, seek out an accountability partner to help you overcome a pornography addiction, receive training to become a sexual integrity mentor, invite Pure Mind educators like Andrew Love to come to your local community, or donate to support the cause.
“Many young people felt an honesty here that they’ve been looking for forever. The experience at the summit of realizing how much I could care for someone else and be cared for was incredible.” –Jessica Sattinger, Couple Care Coordinator, BFM
Video from the summit will soon be posted on the High Noon Summit website if you’d like to learn more about the first summit and catch the incredible spirit of the event yourself.
Join the High Noon movement today and become part of the solution by offering the hope and honesty needed for our community and others to be liberated from the grip of pornography and by creating a legacy of sexual integrity and heavenly intimacy for the generations to come.
- “The bravery of these people was powerful beyond words. As it was later said on Sunday…we don’t experience unconditional love without standing out of the shadows and revealing the failing to make the grade of our faith. They were each deeply moving and set the stage for anyone to feel safe to share or face what is within.”
- “Disarmingly honest, touching.”
- “Thank you. I want to take with me all that I’ve learned and experienced, and awaken the community at home. God needs us to shine a light on the problem of pornography and importantly to invest all that we can in making great blessing relationships.”
- “It was heavy to know so many people were affected by porn, and so many people are suffering. I feel hope that there is a way to heal people who are suffering. I feel that we can work together with other denominations for the same purpose, to protect our children and protect our marriages.”
- “I am recommitted to help heal others’ marriages, as well as those preparing for marriage.”
- “I was impressed by the quality of the program. From the quality and variety and deep content shared by the different speakers, all the way to the banner and the very well made program you had designed. I feel there are now so many opportunities to work hand in hand with brothers and sisters from other faiths and would like to invite some to a future conference. I was very moved by the openness and honesty of the sharing, and, even though I did not realize the prevalence of porn in so many lives, I feel there is a lot of hope.”
- “Overall, the conference has been excellent because of 1) level of honesty, 2) providing solutions, 3) providing resources, 4) sharing with others, 5) I am not alone/we are not alone, 6) opportunity to help the younger generation/provide them with tools I did not have.”