By Won Pil Kim
This is the 6th installment in a series of Rev. Won Pil Kim’s testimonies about his experiences with, and observations of, the beginning of True Parents’ mission—the mission of the Messiah—and how it unfolded from the first years of Father’s public ministry.
There were perhaps just six members, including Won Pi Kim, who followed Father during the time he was teaching in Pyongyang, North Korea, and then managed to stay with True Father as he continued his ministry in South Korea (of course later together with True Mother). The following account of Father’s early ministry in Pyongyang from 1946 to 1948, which we will present as a series over the next few weeks, is compiled from a series of talks Rev. Kim gave to participants of a I20-day workshop in New York some 40 years ago.
The key role spiritualists played in churches
Many people who visited Father and became members had held leadership positions in one Christian church or another. Among these were the spiritualists. People who could heal people or foretell the future formed an important part of the fundamentalist Christian churches, because their spiritual power drew others to the churches and the ministers were able to witness to them and multiply the membership. Thus, these spiritualists were major leaders in the Christian churches.
For years, people had unhesitatingly received their ministers’ words as God’s words. But then the spiritualists began to receive by revelation that Jesus’ crucifixion had not been God’s original plan. Since the ministers had always taught that the crucifixion was God’s plan, the spiritualists thought they would be pleased to hear the new revelations, so they went and shared the news with their ministers. However, the ministers denied the revelations. Since the revelations were contrary to what was written in the Bible, the ministers said they must have come not from God, but from Satan. You can imagine how painful it was for the spiritualists to be told this.
So the spiritualists would pray to God and ask what to do. The same revelations would be repeated. Thus, the spiritualists were faced with the dilemma of deciding whether to follow their ministers or their revelations from God. They were in a kind of midway position. According to the ministers, the revelations were contrary to the Bible. Moreover, when the revelations were given, no biblical basis or explanation accompanied them.
So the spiritualists would stop going to church, but eventually, having nowhere else to go, they had to return. Still, they were always looking for the true answer. Whenever they heard of the arrival of a new missionary or a new teacher, they would immediately go to hear him speak. Also, they would go to the mountains to pray.
In those days, the Christian churches were to some degree built on the foundation of the spiritual power of the spiritualists. Thus the spiritualists were pillars of their churches, and of course, their families as well, since the whole family would usually attend church together. When someone became sick, he would go to one of his relatives who was a spiritualist and quickly recover. Whenever someone had a problem, he would go to the spiritualist among his relatives and get some good advice. Thus, the spiritualists were always respected and valued by their families. Deep inside, however, these spiritualists lived in great conflict.
Then the rumor spread about a young man had arrived from South Korea and was holding services with God’s spirit and truth, so they came to see him. Father could answer all their questions, such as the reason why Jesus’ crucifixion was not God’s primary plan. After hearing Father’s explanation, they became confident of the validity of the revelations they had been receiving, and their hearts were satisfied. Not only this question, but all their questions were answered by Father. Imagine how happy they were!
Their immediate thought was to share this new discovery with their ministers. However, although they could understand Father’s explanation as they listened to him give it, when they went to talk to their ministers, they were unable to explain things as clearly as Father could. Also, they tended to witness directly about the conclusion, without being able to support it from the Bible. The ministers knew the Bible much better than they did, so you can imagine how frustrated they would become when they tried to convince the ministers based on the Bible. They went out witnessing full of enthusiasm, but they received so much persecution. When they returned to Father, he would comfort them and explain things to them again.
These spiritualists were major leaders, core members and the best witnessers in their churches, but once they met Father, they wanted to stay with him and not return to their churches. The churches were not supported by the government but by donations from the members, including these spiritualists. Not only did the spiritualists leave their churches to follow Father, but they inspired others to join Father’s church as well. Therefore, the financial situation of the Christian churches became more difficult. In addition, the ministers could neither understand nor accept the revelations the spiritualists talked about. The ministers who lost their core members became very angry with Father and began to organize a campaign to oppose him.
How marital troubles arose among members
Next door to Father’s church lived the daughter of a very famous Christian minister. She met Father and soon joined. Her husband was a very avid hunter, and he often threatened to shoot the founder of the church she was attending. In spite of such persecution, she joined, because she felt God’s presence with Father.
She had a disease which no doctor or hospital she visited could cure, but immediately after meeting Father, the disease left her. Of course, she was really moved by the cure. At night she would refuse to have sexual relationships with her husband, but her husband would force her. Whenever that happened, however, the following day she would hemorrhage, and it would not stop. She became really worried. As long as she did not have a relationship with her husband, she felt spiritually clear, but whenever she did, she felt very oppressed.
The people who became members at that time did not want to continue to have sexual relationships with their husband or wife, not because anybody told them not to, but because of their intuition or spiritual guidance. So husbands began to suspect their wives, and wives began to suspect their husbands. One grandfather came to hear Father speak, and even his wife began to have doubts about her husband’s fidelity. The leader of the church was a man, not a woman, so why would the wife worry? She was troubled because there were many young women of all ages, and it occurred to her that her husband had become attracted to one of these younger women and no longer loved her.
My aunt’s experience
My aunt and uncle were a typical couple affected by our movement. A devout woman, my aunt was very faithful in serving her husband. However, once she met Father, she wanted to stay with him, and often she did not return home to cook dinner. She changed in many ways. My uncle heard that she was going to listen to a young man speak, so he began to distrust his wife. Before she started going to this new church, they had had a good relationship, but now they had little personal time together.
Knowing the Divine Principle, you can understand her predicament. When her husband approached her at night, she felt as if a snake were coming towards her, and it made her feel uneasy. No one had instructed her to refuse her husband, but her intuition told her not to respond. Her husband, of course, felt very upset as well, not knowing the reason for her reaction. Thirty-five years ago, nobody except Father knew how to explain this.
Such situations between husbands and wives were very private, so they could not confide in other people. In the West, people may be more open in discussing these topics, but in Korea at that time, there was no one with whom people could consult.
My uncle could forgive his wife for coming home late at night, but he could not forgive her for refusing intimacy with him. So he began to have strong doubts about Father and suspected there was some kind of relationship between them. Thus he told his wife not to go to the church. However, whenever my aunt had a chance, she would slip away and come to the church. When my uncle discovered where she had gone, he would become violent toward her. The stronger the persecution she received, however, the deeper my aunt’s desire to go to the church became. She wanted to fortify her faith by meeting Father and receiving guidance from him; also, she longed to be with the other members, who were going through similar situations and thus could understand her.
My aunt came from a very strong Christian family, so my uncle went to visit her parents and report these events to them. In the Korean tradition, once a woman marries, she should not get a divorce; thus, even though she may not get along well with her husband, she has to be obedient to him. Eventually, my aunt’s husband and father both united to try to stop her from going to the church. Her father had never struck his daughter before, but because of this situation, he also violently tried to stop her. None of this had any effect on her, because once she clearly understood the way to God, nothing could stop her.
My aunt’s father then visited his minister, who offered to accompany him to see this young man from South Korea and try to persuade him to renounce his errors. But this minister did not have enough confidence to confront Father alone, so he called on several other ministers to accompany him.
This situation persisted for many years, but my uncle and aunt never filed for a divorce; they continued living together.
My uncle’s changed attitude
After 25 years of persecuting his wife and the church, my uncle was finally able to understand the truth about his wife. In his present position as dean of a famous university, he tells his students, “If you want to have faith, please go to the Unification Church and learn from them.” Also, he always praises his wife to his fellow professors and tells them, “Please learn about faith from my wife; she can teach you to have faith in God.”
So my uncle has now become a very effective witnesser for the Unification Church. All five of his children have joined, and three of them are blessed; the others, although they have not yet received the Blessing, are strong and dedicated members. He is now quite old and his physical health has been deteriorating.
Once when I was talking to my uncle he said, “I am old now, and soon I will go to the spirit world, but when I die, please bury my body in the Unification Church cemetery. I really wish you could do this favor for me.” He always tells his children, “After I die, please follow Won Pil Kim, even though I am older than he is. Whatever he says, please listen to him.”
Continued next week….