Depending on the circumstances, the Il Shim ceremony can be the conclusion of a longer workshop or can be held on its own.
Before the ceremony
- Include some spiritual content – It is nice to integrate some Il Shim content into the program to set a reflective mood and to give some internal points to the participants. Someone could give a lecture on the topic of purity, or elder BCs could give testimonies about their experiences and choices.
- Reflections – We encourage including some reflection time into the day, preferably before the pledge, during which participants can reflect about their lifestyle and their choices for the future. This reflection time can be followed up by a reach-out session, in which participants have a deeper sharing with their parents (or a BFD representative if needed). We don’t recommend a ‘confession’ among peers since peers usually do not have the maturity to provide the right type of guidance.The goal of reflecting and sharing is to open up towards one’s parents and be honest with them about one’s feelings and thoughts. Thus, if a participant gets to the conclusion through reflection that they are not ready to make this commitment, they should not be forced to do so nor scolded, but loved and encouraged to go forward on their journey, at their own pace.
Below you can find a rough outline of the main components of a purity pledge. It is, however, nice to add other components, such as a reading, a testimony by participants, or any other things that may set a serene mood.
Guidelines for the ceremony
- The participants, as well as their parents/parental figures, are present during the ceremony. If desired, one can also invite other family members or friends to be part of the celebration.
- Everyone is requested to dress up nicely since the ceremony is a sacred event and an important milestone in the participants’ lives. One can also choose to decorate the room, to make the ceremony feel more special.
- Each participant should be provided with a purity ring*.
Purity rings serve the purpose of reminding the participant of the promise they made during their Il Shim ceremony. People sometimes associate them with engagement rings, since they symbolise promising oneself to a future spouse. Some nations have specific rings they like to use. In other nations, participants are free to choose a ring they like. Some people like engraving a short message into or onto their rings, such as ‘WAIT’ or ‘True Love Waits’. If participants do not want a ring, they can also choose another object, such as a bracelet, watch, or necklace. The object does not matter, as long as the participant is reminded of the promise they made.
Example of an Il Shim ceremony
- Setting the mood with some Holy Songs.
- An opening prayer by a parent or organiser.
- Bow to True Parents and Heavenly Parent.
- Participants offer a symbolic tithing to God / receiving Holy Items
- A short message by an elder, about the meaning behind the purity ring.
- Blessing the rings together with Holy Salt by an elder
- The participant(s) stand facing their parent(s)/ parental figure, who represent True Parents and Heavenly Parents, offer a half-bow towards them, and recite or read the pledge.
- The participants receive their purity ring* from their parents – one by one.
- An offering prayer.
- Congratulatory remarks, receiving certificates, group photo, celebration cake etc.