Messiah - My Testimony to
by Bo Hi Pak
Chapter Eight - Why I Became A Unificationist
Why did I become a Unificationist? This is probably the most important question that I can answer in this book. My spirit cries out that I was guided to this church by God. I found something for which I had been thirsting all my life.
I doubt, though, that the reader will be satisfied with just this explanation. Most likely, the reader will want to see something more logical and objective. Although I am not confident that I can fulfill this requirement, I have a responsibility to try.
In this chapter, I will try to explain my reasons for becoming a Unificationist. In doing so, I will include some points from my present perspective of having been a member for more than forty years. I will do my best to be clear and concise.
Reason 1: To Follow the Lord of the Second Advent
Once I heard the Unification Principle, and understood clearly that this was the word of God proclaimed by the Lord of the Second Advent, what was I supposed to do? It was my primary responsibility, my special right, and my glory to follow the Lord who had cone. What greater blessing can anyone hope to receive in this life? Even a diamond as big as the earth itself could not measure up to the value of this blessing.
I was like the fishermen who one day suddenly met Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus said to them: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Mark 1:17] The simple men who followed him became the disciples who went on to construct the history of the New Testament. For what reason I don't know, but I was called by God to he like those fishermen.
I resolved to dedicate my life to the holy task of attending the Lord. In no way am I entitled to be a disciple of the Lord. My only qualification was that I was pure-hearted.
As I have already made clear the only reason I am alive today is that some mysterious power has extended my life. I wanted very much to fulfill the pledge that I made on the bank of the Changchon River. After my encounter with the Unification Church all the doubts that I had harbored up until that time were resolved. I received my calling, and it was the highest of all possible callings. God had consistently and steadfastly led me to this point.
There was only one way for me to respond. It was to say: "Yes, God, I understand. You have permitted me to meet the coming Lord. I will dedicate my life to following him"
This is how I became a member of the Unification Church. It was with a heart filled with gratitude, pride, and anticipation for the future.
Reason 2: Deep-Rooted Contradictions Were Resolved
People of the scientific age in the twentieth century want to see logic in all things. A major reason for the declining interest in religion among young people around the world is that religious reasoning tends to be unscientific. We are past the age when people can be expected to follow in blind faith.
What, then, had been the greatest contradiction in logic that I encountered as I attempted to grow in my personal faith? The greatest obstacle was the apparent contradiction between belief in an omniscient and omnipotent God of goodness in the face of the reality of today's miserable world. If such a God existed, why did He create a world so filled with evil and falsehood as we see today, and why would He leave the world the way it is? In other words, when I tried to justify God as omniscient and omnipotent, as well as good, I could not explain the reality of today's world. If I explained reality, then I could no longer maintain that God was omniscient and omnipotent. The two seemed to he in an eternal contradiction.
Wasn't this the same contradiction that the philosopher Camus struggled with? Seeing the evil and cruelty of the world, he questioned the existence of a benevolent God and concluded that life itself was "absurd."
Many people have struggled with this obvious contradiction. How many are there among our young students? I was just such a person, but I found that the Unification Principle showed me how to resolve this contradiction. And what a crystal-clear resolution it was!
By means of the Unification Principle, I became able to distinguish between God's original world of creation and the fallen world. I came to understand that the fallen world we live in today was not created by God and is not governed by God. Satan rules this world. That is why evil has its way, and selfishness is rampant.
Humanity has lost God, but God is working to return the fallen world to the world of the original ideal. In the Principle, this is referred to as the Providence of Restoration. The ideal world of God's original creation will be accomplished, and all humanity will be brothers and sisters under God as the Heavenly Father and Mother and will live for each other in a relationship of interdependence and mutual prosperity.
From this perspective, it becomes possible to believe in Goofs omniscience and omnipotence and. at the same time, to understand the reality of our world.
Thus, the Principle was clearly explaining to me the most important questions regarding God and the Bible. How could it not be the word of God expressed through the returning Lord? The deep will of God and His heart were being revealed to the human world for the first time. It was unthinkable that I might ignore this truth and go in some other direction.
Reason 3: I Came to Know God
A person who thinks in a logical fashion might agree that the ultimate contradiction was resolved under Reason 2, but there is another problem: Why was an omniscient, omnipotent, good God not able to prevent the Fall of the original human ancestors, Adam and Eve? If God is omniscient and omnipotent, doesn't this mean that He can do anything He pleases?
That would seem to make sense. Being all-knowing and all-powerful means there are no excuses. The human Fall seems to imply a failure on the part of God. He should not have allowed it to happen. Before my encounter with the Principle, this was a difficult stumbling block for me, and I wanted very much to find a clear answer. I found it in the Principle.
In a word, the answer lies in the fact that God is a God of love. To what extent does God love humankind? He loves us to the extent that He wants us to be like Him. To some Christians this may sound blasphemous, but God wants human beings to be equal to Him or even better than Him.
Think of it: God is a parent. No parent in the world would want his children to be inferior to him. This is the parental heart. There is a saying that when a younger brother surpasses his older brother, the older brother is downhearted, hut when a son surpasses his father, the father rejoices. This is the parental heart.
God is the parent of humankind. God created human beings as His own children. If even the worst parents in the world want their children to surpass them, then surely our Father in heaven would not want His beloved children to he anything less than what He is.
If we are God's children, then we must have the same characteristics as God. There is, however, one fundamental way in which we can never be like God. God is a creator, and we are His created beings. Nothing can change this fundamental relationship. However, the creator God loves us, His created beings, so much that He wants us also to he able to stand in the position of creators. As His children, created in His image, God planned for us to be co-creators with Him.
This is why God gave us free will. What is the connection between free will and becoming co-creators? He created human beings in such a way that each person has the ability to create his or her own fate. In other words, God gave us free will so that we can participate in completing ourselves, co-creating ourselves. This involves a great deal of risk on God's part. Depending on how free will is used, it can lead to the perfection of human character or to the human Fall. God's original plan contained both possibilities: the possibility of perfection and the possibility of the Fall. God took the very risky step of allowing humans to he responsible to determine whether they would reach perfection or fall.
It is only when humans reach perfection within the context of these two choices that we become fundamentally different from the rest of creation. That is, we become the only existence to have participated, even partially, in our own creation. We will still be created beings, but because we participated in our own creation and perfection, we will be able to stand in the position of creators. In other words, we will become co-creators with God.
This may be difficult to understand at first, but it is really quite simple. Let me give an example. Let's say that a father and son are laying a hundred bricks to build a wall. The father lays the first ninety-nine bricks, but the wall is not finished until the one remaining brick is laid. The father takes the final brick, hands it to his son, and tells him to finish the job. It is possible that the son will drop the brick, but when the son successfully lays that brick in its proper place, the father can point to the brick wall and say, "This wall is our joint project. We built it together." The father will bless his son, saying, "Because we built this wall together, you are a co-creator, just like me."
Human history has been analogous to what would happen if the son were to drop that final brick. This contingency was already incorporated into God's planning from the beginning. It does not mean that God has failed. No matter how many attempts it takes, God will endure, wait, and lead humankind until such time as we are able to accomplish our portion of responsibility. Even if it takes ten thousand years, this would still he a very short period in comparison to eternity.
God loves the world so much that He was willing to suffer in order to give humans free will, and He endures until such time as we humans are able to participate in our creation by bringing about our own perfection. What incredible love this is! This is nothing other than true love and is the reason that God could not interfere in the human Fall. He observed as the Fall took place, but He did not interfere, because He wanted human beings to he created in His complete image. To accomplish this, He suffered the immeasurable pain of watching His children commit the Fall.
God created humans to he His object partners in love. Love must necessarily he spontaneous. Only love that rises out of a person's own free will can be said to he true love. Love that is coerced can no longer be called love. If God had created humans as mere machines, He could never hope to experience the highest level of joy from His creation. If God were to seek fulfillment by creating "children" with no free will, He would have done better to abandon His work of creation. This is the reason that God had no choice other than to create human beings who are endowed with free will.
In the Bible, we see that God told Adam and Eve, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die," 'Genesis 2:16-11 He forewarned them that if they ate the fruit, they would die. If this were a situation where God could intervene, there would be no need for such a warning. He could simply keep an eye on Adam and Eve and if it looked like they were about to eat the wrong fruit, He could simply stop them by saying, "Wait, no. Not that one. Eat anything except that one." What is the meaning of God's forewarning to Adam and Eve? The act that He gave them such a warning implied that if they broke His commandment and ate of the fruit, He would not he able to intervene. This illustrates clearly that human beings have been endowed with absolute free will, which we can use to determine our own destinies.
This explanation was one of the most exciting parts of the Unification Principle for me. When I heard it for the first time, I couldn't help but let out a gasp of surprise. This was the solution to all the remaining questions I had. I felt as if I had been shown the ultimate meaning of the Bible. I didn't know how I could have claimed to believe in God up until that time without having understood this essential point. How could I have thought that I understood God's heart?
I felt grateful, and I felt excited. I wanted to spread the news of what I had just heard far and wide. I wanted to give it to all the people who were hungry and thirsting for God's truth. I felt that this was what I was meant to do with my life.
The first step for me was to join the Unification Church. Then, I spent time learning everything I could about this new expression of God's truth. Next. I put it into practice in my own life and the life of my family. Then, I began to teach, even unto the ends of the earth.
Reason 4: I Saw How People Could Be Reborn
We often hear about people wanting to bring about fundamental change in their lives or in their characters. How can people experience such change? No one has put forward a comprehensive plan for this. The roots of evil in the world, whether the evil of world wars or murder or theft or rape lie in the hearts of human beings. Whether we are talking about evil acts committed by large groups or by individuals, they are all manifestations of some aspect of the human character.
So what aspect of our characters is it that leads us to evil? Selfishness. It is selfishness that is the foundation of all evil in human society. The problem, then, is to find a way to remove the root of evil from where it lies deep in the heart of each individual.
Throughout the course of history, the major religions and many saints and temporal rulers have tried to bring about such a fundamental change in human character. At times, particular saints achieved partial success as individuals. Even they, however, could not expand their individual success so that human society could be transformed on the levels of community, nation, and world. The Unification Principle presents us with the possibility for fundamental change in human beings on a scale that could never be achieved before.
There is no one who does not love himself or herself. No one goes through life without ever doing anything in their own personal interest. If selfishness is defined in such a way that it encompasses any action taken in one's own interest, then we would have to say that human beings were created as selfish beings. The problem, though, lies with a particular type of selfishness that has infected fallen humans that can be called blind selfishness.
How can people who are blindly selfish be transformed into people who act totally in the interest of others? There is only one way: bring people to the realization that acting in the interest of others is, in the long run, actually in their own interest as well. True selfishness is, in actuality, identical with altruism. If a person wants to act in his own true self-interest, then he must act in the interest of those around him. Past religions have not been successful in their mission to bring people to this understanding. They failed because they did not have the absolute truth.
For people to understand the overlap between their own true interests and the interests of others, they need to realize two things. First, our lives are not limited to the time we spend on earth. We need to realize that there is life after death for everyone. We should not think that our success or failure in life can be determined just from the few decades we spend on earth. Just as God is eternal, so also life is eternal, and the final accounting for our lives will be made in the context of eternity.
The decades we spend on earth may seem like a long time, but in comparison to eternity they are shorter than a flash of lightning. Yet, the hard truth is that the way we live during this relatively brief period on earth will determine how we live for the rest of eternity.
Also, life after death is not like what we often hear in ghost stories or horror movies. Every human being has two bodies: the physical body that we can see and another body that exists for eternity. The Unification Principle refers to this second body as our spirit self. The spirit self is not some ghostlike entity. Instead, it is a full second self that is even more complete than the physical self and has its own spirit mind and spirit body.
During our lives on earth, we nourish our spirit self so that it can mature. Nourishment for the spirit self, however, is different from the food and other forms of nourishment that the physical body needs to grow. The spirit self grows on love. The spirit self takes its nourishment from altruistic love. My spirit self receives nourishment when I do good, when I sacrifice myself for others, and when I live for the sake of my neighbor, my country, and the world as a whole.
When we go into the next world, we cannot take with us those things we acquired in this world. We can't take money or power or degrees. Even external knowledge does not have the same value in the next world. A person may have acquired some position of importance in this world, but he can't take that with him either. We come into the world with no possessions, and we leave it in the same way.
There is just one thing that we can take with us, and that is the love that we have practiced in our lives. Love is my only eternal asset. It is what will determine whether I will be rich or poor when I am in the Kingdom of God in the spirit world. A person who goes to the spirit world and discovers that he has lived his life on earth in a wrong way may want to return to earth and build up his store of love. It will be too late, though. Once a person is in the spirit world, there is no way to return to life in the physical world.
When people go to spirit world, there is no one standing there who decides whether they go to heaven or to hell. Instead, we are judged by our own accomplishments on earth. It is not God or anyone else who passes judgment on us. We pass judgment on ourselves. Anyone who understands this truth realizes that this is something we need to take very seriously. Ultimately, the best way for a person to serve his own interest as an eternal being is to use his time on earth in a comprehensive exercise of altruistic love.
Buddhism teaches, "To benefit yourself, give benefit to others." This means that whatever one does for others will ultimately benefit oneself. This teaching contains a very profound truth.
Second, a person cannot bring about a revolution within his own heart from blind self-interest to altruism unless he can fully comprehend the truth about the Kingdom of Heaven in the spirit world. We still live in a state of ignorance with respect to life after death, that is, the spirit world. How many people in today's society actually believe that there is a spirit world? As long as people know so little about the spirit world, it will he impossible to create a momentum that is strong enough to bring a true revolution of the heart. The reality is that the spirit world exists. Whatever people may say, no one can escape the clear reality that the kingdoms of heaven and hell both exist in spirit world. The Kingdom of Heaven is so wonderful that no paradise on earth can even compare.
The scientist Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) is known for having traveled freely between the physical world and the spirit world during his later years. He published a series of extraordinary books, including Arcana Coclestia (Heavenly Arcana) and De Coelo et ejus Mirabilibus et de lnrerno (On Heaven and its Wonders and on hell). These were honest records of his observations during his journeys into the spirit world. Even Swedenborg, though, was not able to enter the most fabulous part of the spirit world, which is the Kingdom of Heaven. This was because the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven had not yet been opened. I grew to understand this deeply in the course of my study of the Unification Principle.
Swedenborg's descriptions of hell cannot he dismissed as figments of his own imagination. They are accurate. Each moment in hell is endured only with great difficulty. Imagine, then, how it must feel to have to endure such an existence for eternity. It must he so excruciatingly painful that we cannot even imagine it.
The Unification Principle helped me to understand two things. The first is that life on earth is intended to be a period for us to prepare ourselves for eternal life in the spirit world. Second, the Principle helped me to understand the dire reality of the Kingdom of Heaven and of hell in the spirit world. Knowledge is power. Once a person truly understands these things, it will bring about tremendous change in his life. His view of life will change, and he will have a much clearer understanding of the world around him. Also, he will understand history clearly. He will understand what he must do during his life on earth to really benefit himself.
Then, this person will no longer remain in darkness. He will come to live in the light. Ignorance leads people to evil, but the Unification Principle liberates us from ignorance and leads us into the light. Here I see actual examples of people who experience such a revolution of heart toward altruism and succeed in bringing about change in themselves. It is the birth of a new human being.
The only remaining task is to work as quickly as possible to evangelize the whole world with this new expression of God's truth. This is something that is well within the scope of human ability. People are naturally attracted, as if by some magnetic force, toward that which will truly help them to live better lives. The Unification Principle is just such a magnet. People all over the world will be pulled by this new expression of God's truth, because it possesses a life-giving force.
In bringing about change in a person's life, the most important thing is to bring about a revolution from blind selfishness to true selfishness, that is, a dedication to living for others. This can only be brought about by the complete truth. The Unification Principle is this complete truth.
I am one of those in whom this truth has brought about a revolution of heart. This is generally referred to as being born again. I was born again by this truth. Further, I am certain that this truth will bring about a similar change in the lives of anyone who comes into contact with it. I consider becoming a member of the Unification Church to be my special right and my glory, and I have found the Unification Church to be a gathering of people who have been born again by the truth.
Reason 5: It Gave Me Hope for Universal Salvation
The Unification Principle has given me hope that all people in the world can receive salvation. This is not something that I say lightly merely because it sounds good. No matter how I look at it, I cannot deny, that the six billion people who make up our world today are headed in the wrong direction. I could see it in 1958, when my experience of the world was limited to my homeland and two short visits to the United States.
Now, forty-some years later, I have had a chance to visit just about every corner of the world. I have met and interacted with people of numerous races and ethnic groups. In particular, I have been involved in many projects in the United States. All this experience has fortified my original belief that the Principle offers hope to all people of the world and the solution to all our human problems.
Let me use America as an example since my many years in this country have given me at least a better than average understanding of America. As I described earlier in this book, when I first stepped on American soil in 1952, America looked to me like paradise on earth, or perhaps even heaven itself. Small houses in idyllic settings were homes to families that overflowed with love. On Sundays, the sound of congregations singing hymns could be heard in every community. Even comic books such as Superman were filled with America's righteous fervor for standing up against injustice in the world. The skyscrapers in New York symbolized America's strong national power. Americans were warm and kind. They considered it a virtue to sacrifice themselves to help others. Indeed, they took pride in doing this. When I came to America in 1952, I found a country that clearly had been blessed by God.
When I returned to America in 1961, I was dismayed to see how America had changed in just nine years. And now, to see the America of the 1990s - In today's America, crimes involving the use of firearms are committed every nine seconds, and murders are committed every fifteen seconds. The beautiful cities of Washington and New York that so impressed me have become places of decay, fear, violence, drugs, and crimes of every kind. All across America we hear of babies being dumped in trash cans, schoolchildren shooting their classmates, and AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases running rampant.
This decay is not unique to America. Every place in the world where Western civilization has flourished is now encountering something similar. On March 20, 1995, a group of people belonging to the Japanese religious sect Aum Shinnkyo carried out the command of their leader to stage a satin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system. Twelve people died and more than five thousand others were injured. When we see that the people who participated in this attack were all graduates of Japan's most prestigious universities, it becomes obvious that this incident is a clear indication of the state of Japanese society overall.
Wherever we go in our world, we are faced with horrifying illustrations of the fact that we are living in the Last Days. Public morality has declined about as far as it can go. Selfishness is at an all-time high. Many people had hoped that world peace would follow the end of the Cold War, but instead we find a series of ethnic and religious conflicts breaking out in various parts of the world.
Why has the world come to this? In a word, the cause lies in a loss of values. More specifically, it is the loss of values that are centered on God and the spread of atheism.
According to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, all ideologies founded on atheism are doomed to self-destruct. This was communism's fate, and capitalism is now running headlong down the same path. Humanism, which is as deeply rooted in atheism as communism, is certain to lead to the downfall of the capitalist world. The loss of God-centered values has resulted in the loss of an absolute standard of good and evil. There is no absolute measuring stick by which we can determine right and wrong.
The late Professor Allan Bloom of the University of Chicago wrote in his book The Closing of the American Mind that American universities are no longer places that raise up dedicated and patriotic leaders who will he responsible for the future of the country. Instead, they are turning out a "mob" of people who seek only to learn specialized knowledge that will enable them to pursue their own happiness. He says that the highest American elite, such as the graduates of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale have lost the ability to tell right from wrong. Professor Bloom was right on target with this analysis. If the best universities in America are only turning out a "mob," then where can we turn for hope?
We are witnessing the collapse of all standards of morality and ethics in human society. The world has turned away from spiritual values, and desires of the flesh run rampant. There is no happiness to be found either in this world or in the next. If God's truth and commandments are ignored, then human beings become no different from wild animals, just the thought is enough to make one tremble.
It is particularly disturbing that this tragic development is taking place in a world where four major religions are thriving. Christianity, for example, is helpless to stop this loss of God-centered values even though its illustrious history of two thousand years has resulted in a billion believers worldwide. If the answer is not in established religions, then the world has no way out of this situation, except through Gods direct intervention.
In fact, God has intervened directly for our salvation, He sent the Second Advent of Jesus Christ to the Korean peninsula. This is nothing other than the greatest miracle that humanity could hope for. The expression of truth revealed through the Second Advent will surely make God's existence clear to every eye. The existence of God will he a matter of knowledge rather than belief. His absolute values will be established. This will mean a recovery of ethics and morality in human society. In order to judge right and wrong and to separate justice from injustice we need to be able to view the world from God's standpoint.
This is the hope that I find in the Unification Principle.
Reason 6: Pure Love Movement Restores Families
Another important reason for me to join the Unification Church was that I was convinced that this church's pure love movement was capable of reversing the trend of family breakdown in modern societies. A healthy society must he based on the foundation of strong families. Yet, the breakdown of families is identified as one of the most serious problems in almost every country. The problem is particularly serious in the so-called developed countries, just as a building cannot be built without a solid foundation, so also societies and nations cannot continue to exist in the long run unless the families that are their building blocks are healthy.
Let's look at the United States, again, as an example. The divorce rate in America is now more than 50 percent, and it continues to increase. In California, it is close to three out of four. Why is this so, when the partners in these marriages choose their mates completely on their own through an extended process of dating and falling in love?
Think about the children who are born into these marriages. These days, not many children have the luxury of being raised by the same parents who brought them into the world. A majority of children are raised 1w stepfathers, stepmother, or foster parents, and they live with siblings with whom they share only a partial blood relationship at best. In the past, it was taken for granted that children would grow up under the loving care of both their natural parents, but the chances of this are slim.
Children raised in families without the love of two parents who love each other face severe obstacles. In addition, child abuse has become a serious social issue in America today. Children beaten by parents suffer bruises, broken bones, and, sometimes, even death.
There is more to the disturbing state of today's America. There is also the issue of teenage pregnancies resulting from sexual promiscuity among young people. Each year, more than a million children are born out of wedlock. They don't know who their real father is. Schools are seeing a sharp increase in the number of children who cannot name both their parents.
Even crueler are the cases where the mother deserts the child immediately after giving birth. Babies today are found in trashcans and toilets, thrown away by their mothers. If they survive, these children are orphans at birth. Incidents like these have increased to the point where they barely make the news. We are becoming numb to such callous acts.
God created human beings on the ideal of one man, one woman that is on the ideal of monogamous heterosexual marriage. This is the fundamental reason that human beings are the greatest among God's creation. Human beings are the only creatures who place importance in preserving their blood lineage through a sense of ethics and morality.
The reason maintaining sexual purity is among the most important moral virtues in human society is that without purity we cannot accomplish God's ideal of true love. What is taste love?
Put simply, it is a love that maintains sexual purity. It is a love whereby one man comes to know one woman, and one woman conies to know one man. It is the means by which a pure blood lineage can be maintained.
This is why God disapproves of adultery. In fact, "disapprove" is much too soft a term. At the beginning of history Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden because of their adultery. Adulterous love has been called the "scarlet sin." Among the seven sins in Dante's The Divine Comedy this "scarlet sin" is said to be the worst. God considers adulterous love to be the most serious of all sins, and He will never condone it.
Unfortunately, our world today is colored bright red with this scarlet sin. The Old Testament, in Genesis 19, tells the story of how God gave the judgment of fire and brimstone to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because the people there became awash in sexual sin. What about the United States today? What about Korea? What about Japan? Do the sins of any of these amount to something less than that of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Our world today is in a state where we deserve to receive the judgment of fire and brimstone at any time. For many people, this is cause for despair. It appears that nothing can he done. None of the world's major religions seems to have any ability to stop the tidal wave of adultery.
Parents of teenagers today have a common problem. They believe they can't tell their children not to date, and when their children date, they can't give them sufficient reason and principle to convince them not to have sex.
"Why shouldn't I date?" the children ask. "Why is it wrong to see what it's like to have sex, as long as it's with someone I love?" Parents don't know how to answer questions like these. I found answers to these questions in the Principle of the Unification Church, particularly in the chapter titled "The Human Fall."
God did not forbid human beings to make love. In fact, the opposite is true. God wanted to see perfect love bloom. This was the reason that He gave us the laws of love, and He made them quite clear. Both men and women are to absolutely maintain sexual purity until marriage. After finding our ideal spouse and entering into the bond of marriage with this spouse, we are to experience ultimate love within the context of this relationship. The dream and happiness of true love can be experienced only in the context of families that maintain such purity and discipline.
These laws of love that God has given to humankind are comparable to the laws of the natural world. For example, if a person jumps off the top of a fifty-story building, he will surely die the instant he hits the ground. His death would be the result of disobeying the laws of nature. In the same way, a person who disobeys God's Laws of love will also bring about his own death, that is, spiritual death.
That is why God warned Adam and Eve, saying, "for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." The moment that Adam and Eve took the fruit and ate it, that is, the moment that they engaged in illicit sex they died. The result of adulterous love is spiritual death. This means that our world, which has become steeped in adultery, is a world of death. The consequences of adultery and illicit love are very serious indeed.
The Unification Church is the only religion in the world that can successfully carry out a movement for pure love. The Unification Church teaches God's laws of love and considers pure love to be a matter of life and death. The international holy Blessing ceremonies sponsored by the Unification Church are religious rites in which men and women pledge their pure love to each other.
The Dana Farber Institute of Harvard University has released a study that predicts that by the year 2010 more than one billion people in the world will be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Such a large number of people with AIDS would virtually mean the end of humankind. There is no cure.
People should recognize that the claim that condoms prevent HIV infection is a dangerous myth. In America, the failure of "safe sex education," which encourages the use of condoms as a means to prevent pregnancy and HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, is becoming apparent. Some school districts have found that the pregnancy rate actually rose in districts that conducted safe sex education or distributed condoms.
If encouraging the use of condoms leads to an increase in pregnancies among teenage women, then it follows that it also leads to an increased risk of HIV infection. In Washington, DC about one in sixty-five teen mothers tests positive for HIV, and AIDS is now the leading cause of death among young men ages twenty-five to forty-four in the Washington and Baltimore areas. HIV infection among middle school, high school, and university students increased from one in a thousand in 1989 to one in a hundred in 1992!
What does this mean? It means that condoms do not prevent AIDS and that a sexually promiscuous lifestyle based on a misplaced trust in condoms has led to tragic results.
Today, we need to work quickly to stop the spread of HIV infection. Condoms are not the answer. Nor will we find the answer in developing a new preventative drug. The only way for us to deal with this disease effectively is to return to God's laws of love. These laws require young men and women to maintain their purity absolutely. Both men and women must maintain strict monogamous relationships and absolutely not engage in extramarital relations.
I have found that the only understanding of marriage that will make it possible for humankind to eradicate AIDS is that of the Unification Church. The church teaches a love by which men and women maintain sexual purity until marriage and, once they are married maintain their fidelity to their spouses for eternity. It is only this kind of family that will remain in the end as a family of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the only sanctuary where AIDS cannot enter.
The pure love movement of the Unification Church is a matter of life and death. I wanted to join the Unification Church and use its expression of the truth to bring about a worldwide pure love movement so as to bring about change in a world steeped in misguided love.
Reason 7: It Made Me Proud to Be a Korean
My seventh reason for becoming a Unification Church member may apply only to myself, although my seventy million compatriots will understand what I mean.
Before meeting the Unification Church, I was extremely pessimistic about my own country, Korea. I felt resentment for Korea's long history of suffering and tragedy. I thought that our people were under a curse that would never be lifted. The Unification Church, however, taught me that God has chosen Korea as the homeland of His providence and that the Second Advent would occur here. 'Ibis came as a tremendous shock. At first, I thought it aright be some kind of joke, and one in very bad taste at that. Once I heard the logical explanation for this claim in the Divine Principle, I was so moved that I burst into tears.
God had not forsaken our unfortunate people after all. When I thought about this, I was so overcome that my whole body shook with gratitude and excitement. God had sent the messiah to my homeland.
This choice, as with all aspects of God's providence, was not determined by vote or by lot and definitely not based on some sort of divine favoritism. God's providence moves according to deep, specific, internal, historical reasons.
"So it's true," I cried out. Over and over again, I shouted, "Thank you, God. Thank you, God."
From that moment, I began to feel a burning sense of mission. The Lord had come to the unfortunate Korean people. This gave me a sense that we Koreans were responsible to understand the will of God and welcome the providence of the Second Coming with open arms. I also felt Koreans should he proud to be the people to whom the Lord would appear and that we should become a model to other nations.
The day the Lord comes to Korea would be the day that all the resentment of the Korean people would be dissolved. It would be the answer to all the hopes and dreams of our people. It would be a day so great that even August 15, 1945, the day of our liberation from Japan, would pale in comparison. On the day of the Lord's coming, our people should prepare a celebration so huge that it would he recorded in history for all time. On this day, God would wipe away the tears of the Korean people. From that day on, no more tears would he shed, and God would resolve all the resentment of our history.
The Lord was not coming to give glory to the Korean people, though. It was important to understand this. We were chosen because we have the qualification of being able to shed tears together with God. The Korean peninsula had been chosen by God to be an altar for the salvation of humankind, and the people of Korea were the offering. The offering is not in a position to complain about its situation. The offering must be cut in two. It must shed its blood. It must sacrifice itself. Also, the offering must take the truth of universal salvation that is brought by the Lord and light the beacon of salvation for all the world to see. The Korean people should go and serve the world.
This was the work for which I was called personally and for which all the Korean people were called. By fulfilling this function, we would become known throughout the world and would receive the world's gratitude and respect. We would become the fatherland of faith. On the other hand, if we failed in this role, we could be subjected to ridicule and reproach from the world and be branded as betrayers.
I felt a sense of mission and pride so strongly that it seemed to make my blood boil. I decided that I would stand at the forefront of the Unification movement. I had been called, and it was up to me to answer.
The Dark Clouds of Persecution
When I joined the Unification Church I was like a small child entering first grade. I knew little about life in a church. I was also ignorant about newly established religions.
It didn't take long, though, before I was made aware of the harsh realities. First, I learned that the Unification Church was under twenty-four-hour observation by the secret police, who could be seen wandering about in the neighborhood of the church. One at a time, church leaders were being called to the police station for questioning.
The dark clouds of persecution had become even more menacing from about 1955, when the Ehwa-Yonsei expulsion incident occurred. Ehwa Women's University and Yonsei University, had been established and continued to be run by Christian educational foundations. Syngman Rhee was president of Korea at the time, and his administration was so strongly Christian in character that it would not be an exaggeration to say that the country was under a Christian administration. The vice president of Ehwa University was Maria Park, the wife of Ki Boong Lee, speaker of the National Assembly. Lee, who would later serve as Korea's vice president, was already one of the most powerful men in the country. In this way, the two universities were in the highest echelons of power within the Rhee administration.
Established religions tend to categorize newer religions as heretical. At this time, Christianity in Korea wielded power in much the same way that Judaism did two thousand years ago when it called Jesus an agent of the devil. The Unification Church was preaching the Second Coming of Jesus and insisting that the Second Corning had already occurred. To the established churches, this meant that the Unification Church was even more worrisome than other heresies. To Christians who believed that Jesus was God Himself, the Unification Church was a monstrosity whose existence they could never accept. Thus, they began a campaign of intense persecution with the goal of crucifying the Unification Church.
In addition, Korea's political establishment contributed to the persecution with all its powers, even though the constitution of the Republic of Korea allowed freedom of religion. And even though Ehwa Women's University, Yonsei University, and other Christian schools accepted students who believed in Confucianism or Buddhism, and even accepted atheists, when its young professors and students began to flock to the Unification Church in their search for truth, these schools decided that they had to take action.
The president of Ehwa Women's University at the time, Dr. Hwal Lan Kim, decided to assign someone she could trust to investigate the Unification Church. She chose an associate professor with a strong background in theological studies who was known for her sharp intellect. Her name? Dr. Young Oon Kim. The president expected that once Dr. Kim had heard the lectures of the Unification Church, she would be able to present logical arguments refuting their conclusions and make it clear to everyone that the teachings of the Unification Church were false.
So, at the request of her president, Dr. Kim visited the Unification Church. I later heard her say that she had two objectives in mind. On the one hand, she was confident that she would have little difficulty in exposing the Unification Church and saving the Ehwa students who had become caught up in the church from their erroneous path. On the other hand, she was also curious to meet the man who was at the center of all the controversy and hear the content of his alleged revelation.
Dr. Kim's visit to the Unification Church yielded a result quite different from what either she or President Kim had anticipated. Dr. Kim was profoundly shocked by what she learned about the Divine Principle through the lectures. The fact that she had studied theology abroad in Japan and Canada and was a recognized expert in theology made her surprise all the greater. She found that the Divine Principle opened the way for her to find the solutions to all the problems of life that had seemed unsolvable.
Having been presented with the truth, Dr. Kim followed the dictates of her own conscience. She went back to President Kim and reported everything she had discovered. The president was quite disappointed in her report and told Dr. Kim: "The teachings of this church are inconsistent with the traditional faith of our school. Are you certain that you must accept this new faith?"
Dr. Kim replied, "To me, religion has to do with my eternal life. That means that if I find something to he God's truth, then I cannot turn away from it even it means that I must give up everything else in my life."
The situation was serious. Dr. Kim was taking a stand in support of the Unification Church. From the university's standpoint, the one person it thought it could trust had herself fallen into heresy. Try to imagine the surprise and shock of Hwal Lan Kim and Maria Park. If even Dr. Kim could be taken in by this church then surely the students stood no chance at all. It seemed only a matter of time before the university would be faced with having large groups of students joining the Unification Church.
The author and Mrs. Pak with their baby son. Jun Sun and daughter Na Kyung.
The university felt that it faced a serious threat to its existence. If nothing was done, it was clear that eventually most of the faculty and students would become members of the Unification Church. Ehwa University would become the "Unification Church University."
Hwal Lan Kim and Maria Park discussed the matter and decided that Park should ask for help from her husband, Ki Boong Lee, Speaker of the National Assembly. Speaker Lee immediately went to the minister of internal affairs, whose duties included overseeing and directing all police activity in the nation. It was from this point that the power of the state began to be used against the Unification Church.
In March 1955, Ehwa Women's University issued an ultimatum to all faculty expressing an interest in the Unification Church. They were told they had two mutually exclusive choices. One was to remain on the Ehwa faculty, and the other was to continue pursuing their interest in the Unification Church. The university issued similar threats to students, up until the beginning of May. Such undemocratic and unconscionable methods were employed on the basis of support from the political administration and the police force.
Finally, five faculty members were fired and fourteen students were expelled for deciding to follow their consciences and refusing to sever ties with the Unification Church. In addition to Dr. Kim, who had chaired the social services department, the university fired Professor Yoon Young Yang (music), Professor Jung Ho Lee (Korean literature), Professor Won Pok Choi (student services chair), and Associate Professor Choong Yup Han (facilities manager). The action by the university in this matter remains a major blot on the history of Christianity in Korea. The authorities at Yonsei University took similar action. One professor and two students were dismissed for choosing to defy the university and pursue their own freedom of religion.
The persecution of the Unification Church did not end here. Christian universities, with support from established Christian denominations, lobbied the government of President Syngtnan Rhee to bring the full force of its iron fist to hear against the Unification Church, which resembled the early Christian church in many respects.
It was as if they were using an ax to kill a single flea. The government employed its own public relations machinery and also exerted influence on the media. The objective was to bury the Unification Church.
If the providence of God had not been guiding and protecting the Unification Church, this campaign would have been more than enough to destroy it. The government had already launched a conspiracy aimed at placing Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, in jail.
The building housing the Unification Church was filled with people who were inspired by God's calling and who had come together out of a sense of mission. Day and night the sound of people singing hymns and tearfully praying could be heard emanating from the church. The fervor of faith among the members continued to grow stronger. Young men and women would often stay at the church until late at night, praying and singing. If they were not keeping close track of the time, they would stay beyond the midnight curfew that was still in effect after the Korean War. It was illegal for unauthorized civilians to be on the streets of Seoul between midnight and 4:00 a.m., so members would have no choice but to wait in the church until after 4:00 a.m.
The government used this situation as a pretext to spread outrageous rumors that the Unification Church was gathering young men and women, even women with families, to engage in illicit sexual relations, or that members were dancing around naked. The established Christian churches made certain that these rumors spread like wildfire throughout the country.
The government did everything it could to come up with evidence to back up these rumors so it could arrest the leader of the "immoral" Unification Church. No matter how hard it tried, however, it could not find such evidence. When this failed, the government attempted to find evidence that Reverend Moon and other leaders were guilty of avoiding the military draft. As the next chapter recounts, Reverend Moon was in a prison camp in North Korea during the Korean War. How could the South Korean government expect to prove a charge of draft dodging? A characteristic of dictatorial regimes, though, is that there is no limit to their arrogance.
On July 4, 1955, Reverend Moon was taken into custody on suspicion of having illegally avoided the military draft. Unification Church President Hyo Won Eu and other church leaders were also arrested and charged. All the media in Seoul gave prominent coverage to this fact. (Fortunately, thanks to God's protection and my tour of duty in the United States, I heard nothing about it.) On October 4, Reverend Moon stood in a courtroom of the Seoul district court to receive his verdict. That verdict was "not guilty." God had not been indifferent to Reverend Moon's situation. He had been imprisoned for ninety-three days on trumped-up charges and had suffered great hardship and ridicule. In the end, though, he was released.
South Korea's major media, however, virtually ignored Reverend Moon's vindication. The public knew that he had been taken into custody because he was under suspicion of a criminal act, but they were never told that he was finally found not guilty and released. Only one newspaper, the Kyounghyang Shinmun, reported the news at all. Even here, the story in the October 5, 1955, edition headlined "Reverend Moon Found Not Guilty" was so small that few readers would have seen it.
In this way, the Unification Church became a victim of prejudice and oppression during its early years as a new religion.
I became a member of the Unification Church when it was a flock of people who were on the run. I can't begin to count the times I would clench my fists in frustration. I don't know how many times I cried because I felt sorry for God who had no choice but to place His hopes in a group that was maligned and despised by the rest of society.
After much thought, my wife and I decided to sell our house, which was our only major asset. We had worked hard for this house and poured a lot of sweat into it. Now that we had come to know the incredible content of God's will, however, we felt that we needed to contribute whatever we could to help relieve the church from its mountain of debt. God did not hesitate even to offer His only son for the sake of sinful humankind. How, then, could I hold anything back from Him?
Our house sold for a higher price than we had expected. We used part of the money to rent a room for our family in the neighborhood of the church. I took the entire remaining amount and handed it to President Eu. I told him, "This is money that we raised by selling our home. It is a small offering, but please use it for God's work."
I will never forget how Mr. Eu responded. He said, "This offering means as much to the church as a pint of blood for a seriously injured patient. I believe that God will use the faith of you and your wife as the foundation on which to build the tower of victory of the Unification Church."
It was a small thing, but I felt great joy in my soul.
The Marriage of the Lamb
As I will explain in Chapter Ten, I returned to America on March 1, 1961, in a capacity that I never could have dreamed of, leaving Korea after only three years in the Unification Church.
During these three years, I continued to fulfill my military duties and also worked hard to help the church. My wife was just as committed as I was and worked for the church just as diligently as I did. After we sold our home and moved into a rented room, it became much more difficult for her to take care of our two children. But we were living in joy and hope. Many days, I would go to the lecture hall in Myungdong and give Divine Principle lectures to whoever was interested in listening. On days when I did not do that, we would invite neighbors and relatives to our room and explain the Divine Principle to them, using a sheet of paper on the table instead of a blackboard. Often, these sessions would last late into the night. My wife would prepare meals tie our guests. Even though I was working full time in the military. I was assigned to he a regional leader for the church. I was also the fast person to he appointed to the position of director of witnessing in the church organization.
There was always a lot of activity going on in our home. It was as busy as Seoul's South Gate Market. Landlords tend not to like tenants who have many guests and make a lot of noise. Our family was forced to move four times, each time to a location at a different point of the compass from the church and each time to a room smaller than the last.
Soon, we came to an important day in history: April 11, 1960 (the sixteenth day of the third lunar month). This was the day of the Holy Wedding of Reverend Moon and Miss Hak Ja Han. If they noticed at all, the world at large would have seen this as nothing more than the marriage ceremony of a religious leader. From God's standpoint, though, this was a day of tremendous historic importance.
This was the Marriage of the Lamb, being held two thousand years after the crucifixion of Jesus. The revelation that God gave to humankind in the Bible [Revelation 19:5-91 was fulfilled on this day. This was the event that God had been longing to see since He first planned the creation of Adam and Eve.
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Hak Ja Han at their Holy Wedding on April 11, 1960.
It was a day of such great importance that humankind really had no idea how to celebrate it. There was no way for us to understand the full value of this day. From God's standpoint, this was the day of fulfillment for Ills providence to establish the True Parents of humankind on the earth. From the standpoint of humankind, this day marked the end of our status as orphans and the day when we could finally have parents. It marked the day we could escape from the rule of false parents (Satan) and receive our True Parents.
God originally wanted the Marriage of the Lamb to take place in the Garden of Eden with the marriage of the original human ancestors. Adam and Eve, though, fell by committing the sin of illicit love. God's plan ended in failure, and both God and humankind embarked on a fallen history filled with sorrow and anguish. Four thousand biblical years after the Fall, God finally could send his only son Jesus to the earth in an attempt to have the Marriage of the Lamb then. The marriage was delayed again, however, because of Jesus' crucifixion. Jesus, therefore, has to come again, and when he does, he needs to marry.
This historic day had finally arrived.
My wife and I were able to witness this day in person. What qualification did we have to attend the event that Christian saints and sages during the past two thousand years could not witness despite all their fervent prayers and longing? We knew we were not qualified, but we put on our white ceremonial robes and humbly and gratefully took part in this sacred ceremony.
It was a day so wonderful that I kept wondering if I might be dreaming. The ceremony was held in the sanctuary of what was then the headquarters church located in a section of Seoul called Chungpa Dong. It was much too humble a venue, considering the cosmic significance of the event. It brings to mind the ancient saying from East Asia, "History is made at night." It means that the really important events that determine the course of history take place without most people of the world being aware of them. In this instance, the event that was the equivalent of the opening up of the heavens took place without a single word of mention in the news media.
The sanctuary that day was decorated in white and gold. Reverend Moon was quite familiar to me, because for more than two years I had invested my whole heart and soul into attending him. On the other hand, I had never met Miss Hak Ja Han. This was only natural, since she was a high school student who spent most of her time with her studies. At seventeen she was the same age as Eve at the time she committed the Fall.
Members sang hymns as the bride and groom entered the hall. I looked up to catch a glimpse of the bride. I couldn't imagine any bride more breathtaking. She seemed too beautiful to be of this world, as though she had descended from heaven. She was pure as snow and without any blemish. When the two stood side by side and offered a prayer before God, I was so moved that I couldn't stop the tears that kept falling from my eyes.
"We are no longer orphans." I thought to myself. "Now we have eternal True Parents. I have been able to sec this day in the flesh."
"Thank you, God," I said out loud. "'Thank you." I kept repeating these words over and over.
Separate ceremonies were held, one according to Korean tradition and one Western. Then we all sat on the floor of the sanctuary for the reception.
First, the newborn `True Father of Humankind' sang a song. Next, he asked that the newborn "'True Mother of Humankind" sing a song.
Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon sang in a beautiful voice. When she finished, the room broke into wild applause and cheering. Then, Reverend Moon asked her to choose someone from among the members to sing the next song.
The next moment, I had a shock so strong that it almost knocked me unconscious. Mrs. Moon said. "Mr. Bo Hi Pak." She unmistakably spoke my name. It was a totally unexpected honor. Everyone was surprised. They all looked at me and then applauded loudly as if to confirm that I had just received a high honor.
"How did she know my name?" I thought. "Why did she choose me to be the first member to sing?"
I stood up, and said: "I am so grateful for the honor of being chosen by the bride who is the mother of all humanity to sing at God's glorious Marriage of the Lamb.
"I have written a song that is exceptionally appropriate for this day. This is a song that all humanity will sing for eternity. It can be a long song. It could take more than six thousand years to sing all its verses. At the same time, it can be a very short song, perhaps only a second long. In the first place, this song must be sung with tears, but we also sing it with laughter. The words are in Korean, but everyone in the world will be able to memorize the words in just ten seconds. Once they learn the words, they will never forget them for all eternity."
This introduction succeeded in raising everyone's curiosity. They were all trying to figure out what this song could be. Someone called out, "Go ahead and sing!"
"All right, I will begin," I said.
This is verse one: 'Cham Aboji [True Father]!' Verse two: Chanm Omoni True Mother]!'" I shouted out the words with all my might. My voice reverberated in the sanctuary, and my eyes were flooded with tears.
Everyone applauded loudly to show that they agreed with me. I still think that this was the most appropriate song for this occasion.
Some very important words came into being that day, words that are in no dictionary, except for the "Dictionary of Heaven." These words were "True Father" and "True Mother."
This is how the work of God that was so great as to make all heaven and earth tremble came about. No one in Korea, aside from Unification Church members, was aware of what had happened. Clearly, though, God's new history had begun. Now the time was right for those who had betrayed God to be punished.
A week after the Holy Marriage of Reverend and Mrs. Moon, Korea was rocked by what came to be known as the April 19 Student Revolution. President Syngman Rhee, who had used the power of his Christian-dominated government to oppress the Unification Church, was forced to resign the presidency and leave his official residence. His government was overthrown.
National Assembly Speaker Ki Boong Lee and his wife, Maria Park were the ones most directly responsible for the persecution directed against the Unification Church. Maria Park, in particular, had caused students and faculty to be expelled from Ehwa Women's University. Park and Lee's first son was Capt. Kang Suk Lee, who had become President Rhee's adopted son. One day, there was a horrible incident in which Captain Lee took a pistol and shot and killed his birth parents, Park and Lee, as well as their second son, Kang Uk Lee. He then shot and killed himself. This happened on April 28, 1960.
More than any other time in my life, I felt that I could understand the meaning of the ancient saving: "He who follows Heaven will thrive, and he who betrays Heaven will be destroyed…
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