By Won Pil Kim
We are presenting 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). This account of Father’s early ministry in Pyongyang from 1946 to 1948 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 effects of rumors
I am telling you these stories in detail so you can explain to others how the rumors about the Unification Church began. My uncle had serious doubts for a long time, but finally, after 25 years, he discovered that they were not true. Then he came to Father and apologized and repented in front of him. It was enough for him to do that, but from Father’s point of view, what were the results of the accusations people had made against him?
These negative rumors had started with just a few people, but they multiplied and spread throughout North Korea, to South Korea, to Japan, America, Europe, and all over the world. The negative rumors from these few people became so big, too big for these persons to indemnify by themselves. If you cause one person to have doubts, you can indemnify it, but these rumors have affected all humankind, in a sense, preventing them from going God’s way.
In principle, these people should pay indemnity for these results, but Father took that indemnity upon himself. In those days, Father’s life was very severe; he was always shedding tears, blood and sweat, and his life was full of pain. In the place of his accusers, Father is carrying the cross on his shoulders. We can learn so much from this example.
The atmosphere in Father’s church
The pattern of Father’s church was much different from that of other Christian churches. Members would come and stay until late at night, men and women together in a small room, sometimes even dancing together.
During Sunday service, members would realize how much pain they had given Heavenly Father, and they would repent deeply. All those in attendance would cry, although some tears were tears of repentance and others were of joy or gratitude, for God’s blessing and love. Each person’s expression was different, even though they were all crying. Some would beat their breast in repentance, others would tremble, others would shout. One grandmother just stood up and began to dance with her eyes closed. In traditional Korea, women were not allowed to sing or dance in public; this old woman did not plan on dancing, but her ancestors made her dance. Another man was so full of joy that he began to clap his hands.
To get an impression of the setting, imagine the singing or noise at a drunken party. When you are intoxicated, you cannot keep quiet; you sing, you dance; for some people, singing is not expressive enough, so they must dance. Other people cry when they are drunk; some people shout, others keep silent.
God’s ideal is the place where people become intoxicated in God’s love. Because of the Fall, this original nature of man is misdirected, but people get drunk on alcohol because this element still remains in their nature. I am explaining this because there may be no apparent external difference between people who are drunk on alcohol and people who are drunk on God’s love. There is, of course, a vast difference in direction and focus.
Thus, in the early days, those who came to see Father became completely intoxicated in God’s love. The neighbors thought these activities were strange. During the day there would be people singing and dancing at the church, and when people returned home at night, they did not want to have sexual relations with their husband or wife. So people thought our church was practicing adultery.
If this had happened in your country, the reaction might not have been so serious, but 35 years ago in Korea, it caused an uproar.
Why Christians began to oppose us
Christianity came to North Korea before it came to the South; therefore, Christianity had more of a foundation there. Furthermore, Pyongyang was the center for Christianity in North Korea. Many famous ministers and theologians gathered there, and many people received revelations that Pyongyang was the second Jerusalem. On Sunday mornings, the whole city rang with church bells. This was the environment Father found when he arrived from the South.
Customs were quite strict in those days. It was very rare in Korea for men and women to sit together in the same room and talk for long periods of time. The Christian churches also followed this restriction. Thus, the churches were constructed so that the men would sit on one side and the woman on the other.
The minister in front could see both the men and the women, but there was a partition down the middle, so neither side could see the other. Our gatherings, of course, were completely open.
Also, in the Christian church services, only hymns could be sung. Christians would feel guilty if they sang any Korean folk songs in church. But Father introduced Korean folk songs as part of the services at our church [the melodies of some of our holy songs are Korean folk songs]. This was quite revolutionary. Father’s attitude was that if your heart is filled with God’s love, any kind of song is acceptable to sing to God. The Christians, of course, misunderstood this point.
Christian ministers would come to argue with Father, but before they arrived, Father already knew the questions they were planning to ask. So he would greet them warmly, recite the questions they had in mind, and give the answers. Of course Father gave explanations based on the Bible, so the ministers could not object to anything. At the end, they could only say, “Oh, you are really working so hard,” and they would get up and leave.
So among the ministers, the following conclusion circulated, “We can never defeat Mr. Moon by discussing the Bible.” They realized that calling this young man a heretic was not sufficient to stop their members from going to him. The financial state of the Christian churches became more difficult when their core members went to Father’s church. So they had to do something to stop this situation. Finally, they agreed on a strategy of circulating stories of things that happened in our members’ families.
They heard how even newly-married couples with a loving relationship faced challenges when the husband or wife came to the church and then began to neglect his or her spouse. So people thought there was some kind of magic at work. People knew Father had studied electrical engineering, so they thought there must be some kind of electrical machine that could brainwash people. How could they be expected to understand what was going on?
They called our church the church that breaks up families and also accused Father of setting out to destroy the other Christian churches. Finally, they concluded that this church was trying to create disorder in the whole of society. The communists also picked up on this point and were afraid that the church would also destroy communist society.
Once some Christian leaders came as a group to see Father and persecuted him by grabbing at him and pulling his hair. But Father did not resist them. He stayed calm and persevered through it. When the members saw Father being attacked like that, they physically threw out the Christian leaders.
The stronger came the opposition, however, the deeper was the faith of the members, who were instructed by revelation how to deal with these events.
Continued next week….