Messiah - My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon Volume II - Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 17 - Twentieth-Century Crucifixion: Maneuvered Into Prison [Part 5/6]
The Move to Danbury Prison
On July 20, 1984, the day Reverend Moon was to enter the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, he had to report in by 11 o'clock at night.
Before departing from his home at the East Garden estate on the banks of the Hudson River in upstate New York, Reverend Moon and his family enjoyed a family dinner together. It was my good fortune to be included.
His manner was the same as usual. His twelve children were there, from the grown-ups to those still in their infancy. Reverend Moon spoke as he caressed their heads.
I have to go away for a while. I want you to listen to what your Momma says. Make sure you study hard at school. That way, I'll he sure to bring some great presents when I get back.
His manner was just what it would be if he were departing on an overseas trip. The elder children thoroughly understood their father's heart. Their father was smiling, so cool and composed, but the elder children hung their heads, crying all the while. "You take care, now," he said. Then he asked, "Are the Unification Church members gathered outside yet?" and walked outside.
About a thousand members were waiting to send off their spiritual leader. All of them had gloomy faces, and they could not help crying.
Reverend Moon stood before them. I took my place beside him to translate. I have never had a situation as difficult to translate in as this. My throat was so dry that I could hardly speak.
Reverend Moon scolded me, saying, "You mustn't be like that now." Then he started speaking in his usual powerful voice.
Are you sad today? What kind of faces are these I see? I'm happy. I'm glad. I've never been as hopeful as I am today. Don't you know that all the things that God sent mc to America to achieve, all those things are going to be accomplished by me going to Danbury? Today, I'm moving the global headquarters for the Unification Church to Danbury, Connecticut. I can see a new hope just beyond the hill where the Danbury prison stands. A new heaven and a new earth are waiting for me. When I think of all the miracles and heavenly grace that Heaven has in store, I feel like I can't contain my excitement. I'm looking at the mysterious and profound providence of God, and I'm eager and ready to depart.
But what kinds of faces do you have on today? It seems like you're not thinking about things with the focus on God's Will. You are thinking about the situation focused on human beings! Have we lost? Have we won? (Yeah! We have won!) Have I given in to America, or has America given in to me? (America has given in to you.) Then that's all we need to worry about.
Today, I want you all to send me off as a heavenly victor. You should be bold and fearless. Fight on with the highest of spirits. "As is the master, so are his men." (Translator's note: A Korean proverb; literally it means, "A brave general has no weak-kneed soldiers.") Got it?
The members answered in one loud voice: "Yes!"
As Reverend Moon got into his car and left, the members cheered, "Hananim Mansei! Cham Pumonim Mansei!" (Three cheers for God! Three cheers for True Parents!) As I got into the next car to follow him, I started weeping bitterly.
"Even though he says that, still, it's our Father who is going to jail. It's so unjust, so unwarranted! Heavenly Father, please forgive us." But my tears were those of repentance, not sorrow.
The drive from East Garden to Danbury prison takes about one hour. Reverend Moon arrived at the prison in the hot air of the summer's night. He took his wife's hand, then held all of our hands before calmly walking into the prison with a smile on his face.
The prison staff was lined up to politely welcome this important guest. Even at this late hour, all the inmates also showed up and welcomed him with applause. Everyone knew about his fight, thanks to the media coverage. The whole prison had been awaiting this day, as if it were a festival or celebration. For them, it was exciting to get a glimpse of such a famous person.
Reverend Moon was incarcerated at Danbury on July 20, 1984, and released on Aug. 19, 1985. His term amounted to 396 days, or precisely 13 months.
Messiah Behind Bars
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, incarcerated at Danbury on July 20, 1984, was released from prison on August 19, 1985. His term amounted to 396 days, or precisely 13 months.
The sentence he received had been 18 months. So why was he released after only 13 months? The truth is, Reverend Moon became a model prisoner. Although he was the oldest inmate at sixty-four years of age, he became an example for the younger prisoners. This is what he said about it.
I received awards for being a model prisoner even in the North Korean prison, where life was just like hell. Compared with a North Korean concentration camp, an American prison is like paradise. I wouldn't be much of a leader if I couldn't become a model here.
Reverend Moon digested the prison lifestyle in prayer and by practicing his faith. From start to finish, his prayers were always the same: expressing gratitude to God.
The other prisoners were truly surprised by his humility. Since he was so well known, they had expected something entirely different. But when they came into contact with him, they were all struck by his attitude. Prison rules forbid any proselytizing or preaching. But there wasn't any need for that. Reverend Moon's lifestyle and behavior were witness enough to his faith. A good number of prisoners began to have "strange," mystical dreams and to feel drawn to him, just as had happened in the North Korean concentration camp.
Other prisoners would volunteer to do the work that Reverend Moon had been assigned to do, but he wouldn't allow it. His chores included preparing meals, washing dishes, and cleaning the kitchen, dining area, and toilets. In other words, he had to do the most menial work. And he did it without so much as a frown.
Mr. Kamiyama, who had gone into the prison on the same day, could hardly bear to watch his teacher do such incredibly menial, humble labor. He was distraught to see this situation. "Father, let me do it," he would say, as he tried to grab a broom or a wiping cloth so that he could do it instead. But Reverend Moon would refuse, time and again, so that all Mr. Kamiyama could do was stand by and cry as he watched.
Reverend Moon finally said to him: "Hey, Kamiyama! I'm really happy that God is letting me do these things. If I did not come into jail, when or where would I have the chance to do this kind of work? When I make the dinner and feed the inmates, I just think about how I am feeding God's children. Or when I clean up the dirty toilets, or the kitchen, I just imagine that I am cleaning up America. Thank you God, thank you. You let me feed my people, and You make the way for me to clean up my house, and to clean up America." This was Reverend Moon's credo in jail.
For twenty-four hours a day, he lived with the heart of the parent of humankind. He saw everything from the position of a parent, and he approached everyone with a parent's compassion. There was no prison for Reverend Moon, no hell. Everywhere was heaven. Heavenly Father was with him, and that's what heaven is: the place where God always dwells.
He spent each day in gratitude and an atmosphere of peaceful calm. Looking at him, even these unfeeling, hardened inmates were moved.
Church at Three O'clock in the Morning
Reverend Moon usually went to sleep about midnight. But he would be up again at three in the morning, praying on his top bunk (he had asked Mr. Kamiyama to sleep on the bottom bunk). When praying, he would bend over with his knees tucked under him and his forehead pressed against the bedding. In many instances, the prayers were filled with tears of compassion. He was praying as the True Parent for a suffering and fallen humankind. At five o'clock, he would go to the kitchen and get the morning meal ready for the rest of the inmates.
One day, the prison chaplain, Reverend Graham, came to see Reverend Moon. "I suppose you also celebrate a service on Sundays in your church, too. At that time, please feel free to use my chaplain's office and the chapel. What time would you like to use them? I'll draw up a schedule."
Straight off the bat, Reverend Moon replied, "How about three o'clock?"
"Sure, that's fine," Reverend Graham said, writing it down in his schedule, "No problem. Reverend Moon, 3 PM." In a fluster, Reverend Moon corrected him. "No, no. I mean three o'clock in the morning!"
This time Reverend Graham was surprised. "Three in the morning? What on earth are you doing at that time?" he asked, a bit skeptically.
"We pray at three o'clock. Then we have our service at five," said Reverend Moon. Then, with a playful smile, he added, "In America, not many people are praying at that time, right? So God will be sure to listen to my prayers if I pray then, don't you think?"
Reverend Graham was moved to admiration. He sensed that he had met a true religious leader. "Of course," he said. "Sunday at 3 A.M. I'll just leave the door open. Make yourself at home," he added, and left.
From that time on, Reverend Moon would go together with Mr. Kamiyama to the chapel office every Sunday. There, he would take up the same position in prayer, on his knees on the floor with his head bent down, almost curled up like a shrimp. At five o'clock, he would offer "Kyeung Bae Shik" to God [a short "Ceremony of Respectful Obeisance" where the participants offer full Korean-style bows before God, a long-standing Unification Church tradition. It was this that Reverend Moon was referring to when he told Reverend Graham that he has his service at 5 A.M.].
After a short time, this practice became known to the other inmates. Some of them asked the Reverend if they, too, could attend this Kyeung Bae Shik.
Reverend Moon replied, "Sure, you can come, but I do my praying in Korean. It would he better if you came to the service time during the day."
But the inmates were not persuaded. "°That's OK," they said. "We don't need to hear what you are saying. We'd just like to come and be there with you."
So beginning the next week, at five o'clock every Sunday, a number of inmates took turns participating in Kyeung Bae Shik with him. Copying his actions, they did full Korean bows beside him, then listened to his tearful prayers. To them, Kyeung Bae Shik with Reverend Moon was an honor. In this manner, the Danbury prison Unification Church was founded spontaneously,
There was another notable incident at the prison. A young Jewish man who had been imprisoned for a drug-smuggling offense hanged himself from a large pine tree in the yard behind the prison. Reverend Moon was quite upset about the incident. As Mr. Kamiyama told us later, Reverend Moon spoke to him about it. "If I had talked with that young man before he did this, I could have changed his mind... Ah, what a loss. I really wish I could have spoken to him before this happened."
That is the parent's heart. As the True Parent of humankind, how could he feel anything but pain over this tragic loss?
The Danbury Correctional Institute was divided into two different locations. One section housed those convicted of relatively serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, fraud, or robbery. The regulations were very strict there. The second prison, situated atop a grassy hill, was a minimum-security facility. There were no bars or guards. This section contained those convicted of less serious crimes, where there was no real concern that they might attempt to escape. This second prison, which housed about two hundred inmates, was where Reverend Moon spent his incarceration. In back were a beautiful forest and mountains. Whenever he had the time, Reverend Moon would go outside and walk around the grounds. His favorite spot was sitting under one particular tall tree, with Mr. Kamiyama reading to him from the volumes of his published speeches. Hours would pass this way. Though he was listening to his own words, he still found a lot of inspiration from hearing them read.
One time, he turned to Mr. Kamiyama and said, "I've already said everything that I have to say to humanity. Everything that God wants to say through me has been said. The reason I keep going on is just that you [that is, everyone] haven't gotten the message yet."
Mr. Kamiyama later told us that when the sun went down and it became too dark for him to see the pages anymore, Reverend Moon would reluctantly call a halt to the reading and move inside.
Reverend Moon always lives his life surrounded by the words of Heaven. In fact, he himself is the substance of those words, the full manifestation. During his time in prison, all he thought about was what he was going to do to restore life to the world once he was out.
The Faithful Hak Ja Han Moon
As far as the Unification Church is concerned, the place where Reverend Moon resides is the global headquarters. So when Reverend Moon said that he was moving the world headquarters to Danbury, it was quite true; that is exactly what happened. From Danbury, he carried out all the important tasks of leading the international movement.
Apart from Tuesdays and Wednesdays, visiting was allowed every day from 8 A.M. until 3 P.M. The visiting room was nothing like what one sometimes sees in the movies, with iron bars and the visitors talking through tiny little holes under the stern gaze of fearsome-looking guards. At first glance, the Danbury visiting room seemed more like the lobby in a cheap, rundown hotel. Comfortable chairs were scattered around, and there were vending machines dispensing drinks, sandwiches, hamburgers, and the like. The only sign of it being a prison visiting room was one guard sitting at a desk.
During visitors' hours, Reverend Moon's family or church staff members would go up to the guard's desk, show some identification, and give Reverend Moon's name. An announcement would promptly be made: "Visitors for Reverend Moon."
Whenever he came into the room, all those waiting there would show some expression of respect. Some would stop their conversations for a moment and look at him. Sometimes the guard would stand up and position himself as if he were assigned to protect Reverend Moon. The Unification Church leader would walk over to his family and hug his wife and children. Next, he would shake hands with the church staff and take a seat at the head of a table to get started on the day's work.
During the time of his incarceration, one of his main sources of strength, comfort, and support was his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon. Throughout this period, she exhibited the qualities of a faithful wife. From the day her husband entered Danbury, she never missed a single day of visiting him.
She was particularly concerned about the protection around her husband and the kind of food he was getting. At her urging, Mr. Kamiyama would sleep while Reverend Moon was still awake, then get up at midnight and keep a vigil until dawn. After Mr. Kamiyama was released from prison on December 4, 1984, a number of the inmates who had become Reverend Moon's disciples took over this duty in turns.
Since Mrs. Moon was not permitted to bring food for her husband, she settled for bringing a few vitamin pills every day, along with some traditional Korean tonics.
But her most important support for her husband during his stay in Danbury was the earnest way in which she expressed her complete devotion. When it was time for the morning visit, Reverend Moon would he standing outside waiting for her car to arrive, and when it was time for her to go home in the evenings, he would see her off and watch her car drive into the distance.
Every morning, after finishing his prayer at five o'clock, Reverend Moon would go to the public phones and call his wife. The relationship these two have is what one would expect to see between two young lovers, head over heels in love. This testifies to the fact that their relationship as a true husband and wife is not a fleeting thing.
During the long visiting times, Mrs. Moon never diverted her attention from her husband. Speaking in a soft, gentle voice, she would go to pains to ensure that her husband was always comforted and supported. In this way, she defined the atmosphere in which innumerable items on the agenda were reported and then decided in our meetings.
I was fortunate enough to be able to report about the religious freedom rallies that were happening all around the world, and so, in a small way, bring some satisfaction to Father. But throughout his ordeal as well as after it was over, he never said anything critical about the U.S. government. He never grumbled about his situation, nor did he ever suggest that he felt any resentment due to his appointed lot. He never complained that the trial was unfair or commented about the way the government conspired to hurt and imprison him.
An Unexpected Birthday Celebration
One day, as I was leaving the prison after having said good-bye, Mother (Mrs. Moon) whispered to me, "Come by East Garden for a moment, will you?"
I had no idea what she wanted but thought it might be very important, so I hastily drove my car to the East Garden estate. When I stepped into the house, I got an enormous surprise. A splendid banquet had been prepared, and all of True Parents' family was gathered.
A thought flashed into my mind, "Aha! That's it. It's one of the children's birthdays. There's the 'Happy Birthday' banner on the wall."
Mother invited me to sit at the head of the table, a place of honor. Only Father and Mother Moon's places were more honored. Everyone sat in their places, and Mother turned to the children and spoke. "Today is Mr. Pak's birthday. Mr. Pak has been doing more than anyone since Father's trial began, as well as since Father went to Danbury. So today I got this special dinner ready so that we can all show him our gratitude and give him our support. Of course, it's a shame that Father can't be here."
I was so moved by this totally unforeseen situation that tears streamed down my checks. ("This is what true love is like. This is what Mother's love is like. Here I am, a sinner who sent the Messiah to prison, and Mother has understood my heart. She prepared all this to comfort me. I am so lucky, so incredibly blessed.")
I was so choked up with tears that I couldn't even man-age to say, "Thank you, Mother."
Mother stood up and offered a tearful prayer. One thing I regret is that because the situation was so impromptu, a recording was not made of her prayer. That birthday prayer was precious. It is one thing I will never forget in my entire life.
When it came time to cut the birthday cake, the children all sang "Happy Birthday, Colonel Pak" in strong, loud voices. After the cake, Mother presented both my wife and me with presents.
In my heart, I made a pledge. "Mother, forgive this unfaithful son. It is all my fault that Father is now in prison.
Thank you for giving so much love to this unfaithful son. I'm sorry I have only one life to give in attending you and Father. Even if I gave every second of one hundred lives, it would still be far too little."
That day was August 18, 1984. I'd forgotten that it was my birthday. But I thought of True Father. In the midst of all his tribulations, when did he have the chance to think about his own situation, his own birthday?
A Japanese Journalist Visits Danbury Prison
In September 1984, a Japanese journalist came to Danbury prison to interview Reverend Moon. The prison authorities issued a special permission so that he could enter and see all the facilities. He could even take photographs freely.
Bo Hi Pak and author Kiyoshi Nasu visit Reverend Moon and Takuru Kamiyama in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut.
There were no other visitors that day, and so we had the entire visitors room to ourselves: Reverend Moon, the journalist, Mr. Kamiyama, and myself.
The first thing the journalist asked was, "How hard has it been for you, Reverend?"
He replied. "I'm quite all right. I feel quite at ease. In fact, I thank the American government because, due to the people from the Justice Department, I can have such a peaceful, restful time here."
I could see that the journalist was really surprised, which is quite understandable. The only reason Reverend Moon was here was that a conniving and unscrupulous Justice Department had put him here, and by means of a contrived prosecution at that. But he was grateful?
Again, the journalist asked Reverend Moon, "But isn't it a bit unbearable? Don't you feel degraded by the government setting a trap for you like this?"
Reverend Moon answered him clearly and unambiguously. "I am here because of the providence of God. I don't have any enemies. I only feel thankful."
I looked over at the journalist. His lower jaw hung open. Reverend Moon continued:
By my coming here to prison, the Unification Church and the traditional Christian churches have become one. From the historical perspective, this is a very meaningful event. Think about it. Christianity and Judaism have walked the path of hostility and persecution toward each other for the last two thousand years.
Even after two thousand years, the rift between them has not been resolved. But by my being imprisoned here, the Unification Church and the older churches have become one. That's an amazing thing. Aren't the ministers out there fighting and demonstrating on my behalf? There are thousands of them, maybe even tens of thousands. It is really a miracle, and it is what I have been hoping for all my life. The providence of God cannot be fulfilled without the older churches and the Unification Church becoming one in unity.
The Japanese journalist was deeply impressed and left rather speechless. He had come to Danbury prison with an image of a Reverend Moon who would lay bare his discontent and complaints against the injustice of his situation. Instead, the reality was totally unexpected.
That day, we were guided around the facilities. For me, it was the first time I had seen them. Starting from his bunk, we visited all over, including the kitchen and dining area where he worked during the day. Both were spotless. People later told us how they had begun to shine from the time that Reverend Moon entered the prison. They were much cleaner and well organized than even a staff cafeteria in a large corporation.
Reverend Moon is warmly greeted by Kiyoshi Nasu, Washington correspondent for Japan's Mainichi Shinbun newspaper.
We were also guided around the grounds behind the prison. The view that unfolds is striking. I couldn't help but be deeply moved as I observed this beautiful scenery, thinking, "Father is actually reviving his spirit here each day by looking out over this magnificent nature."
True Father pointed out the place where he sat with Mr. Kamiyama and read his earlier speeches. He told us that he had read Loyalty and Filial Devotion Are the Source, a special compilation of his sermons, about eight times at this spot.
To the journalist from Japan, Reverend Moon's noble and elevated character was only too apparent in this kind of environment. In his admiration and wonder, he muttered to himself, "I saw a Messiah today, the Messiah sent by Heaven. I saw the Messiah."
The journalist went back to Japan and, before his impression faded, wrote a book about Sun Myung Moon. So it was that Okjungei Kuseju, the book I introduced at the beginning of this chapter, was published on January 1, 1985. The Japanese journalist is of course none other than Kiyoshi Nasu, the renowned commentator on diplomatic and international affairs. Born in 1916, Mr. Nasu has been Washington correspondent for Japan's Mainichi Shinbun, as well as New York bureau chief and editorial adviser for that newspaper. His published works include Munojokaneun Hmikwankye (The collapse of Japan-U.S. relations) and Soryeon Bonkwe (The breakup of the Soviet Union).