Unification Sermons and Talks
Black Heung Jin - The Victory of (All You Need Is) Love
A freezing rain had fallen on already icy New England roads that night in December as I drove the shivering fundraising team back toward the seminary after our three-week stint hawking sound-activated mechanical dogs shop-to-shop. Suddenly a gust of wind hit the Dodge van broadside and blew it into the oncoming traffic lane. I fought vainly against the skid for what must have been several hundred yards, attempting to maneuver the van back to the right. Only the lucky fact that no cars were coming from the opposite direction prevented a tragedy. I reduced my speed fifty percent and crept carefully along until we reached a motel. The next day, we arrived in Barrytown to hear the tragic news that Rev. Moon's faithful teenage son Heung Jin had not been so fortunate. His car had slammed into a jackknifed truck a few miles down the road toward Poughkeepsie. He remained in a coma long enough for his parents to return from a speaking tour in Korea. Then he died.
At Heung Jin Nim's funeral, or "Seung Hwa" (Harmonious Ascension) ceremony, Rev. Moon declared that his son's death had not been in vain. It was, in fact, a vicarious atonement for the sin of the American Unification Movement, whose failures had resulted in the unjust imprisonment of Rev. Moon for tax evasion in Danbury prison. Heung Jin Nim, he declared, now sat at the right hand of God in the spiritual world together with Jesus. Kings and presidents, sages and saints, even Jesus himself had submitted themselves to his authority. His ascension into the spiritual world had created a turning point in the struggle between good and evil. From now on God's providence world move foreword rapidly. And the spiritual world, centering on Heung Jin Nim, would cooperate in an unprecedented way with the Unification movement on earth. Heung Jin himself would be able to communicate freely between the two worlds. Revelations were to be expected. A new Church holiday, the Day of the Victory of Love was initiated.
The next three years indeed witnessed a flood of spiritual communications from "Lord Heung Jin," delivered through numerous U.C. members throughout the world and culminating in the "incarnation" of Heung Jin Nim in a member from Zimbabwe. The publication of a compilation of these revelations by HSA-UWC in the new book Victory of Love, marks, I believe, a milestone in the Church's history, the significance of which I shall explore below.
The book's title derives from the Church Holiday initiated to commemorate Heung Jin's sacrifice. It is a collection of transcripts of reported communications from Heung Jin Nim (the term "Nim" is a Korean honorific roughly equivalent to "Lord" in English).
Perhaps most interesting of all is the inclusion of a mere two communications from the Zimbabwean source. This spokesman -- no mere channel but an actual temporary "incarnation" by Heung Jin, according to Church officials -- preached for well over a year in every major Church center in Europe, America, Japan and Korea. He held lengthy workshops, heard confessions, meted out penance, forgave sins, arranged adoptions for childless couples, healed marriages, even solemnized divorces. Yet a mere three years later, his revelations merit a mere 50 pages out of 264.
I for one consider this a happy decision by the editors. They have done the Church a service, in one sense, by not admitting to the institutional memory such foibles as the infamous "List of Sins" each member was required to renounce before completing one of the African Heung Jin Nim's conferences. It turns out that many of the acts for which we were pronounced guilty were not really sins after all. Yet thousands of faithful Unificationists publicly humiliated themselves in renouncing them.
Foremost among these were a list of alleged misdeeds apparently resulting from the African Heung Jin's penchant for the micromanaging members' sexual lives. Everything from birth control to oral sex to the use of any posture other than the "missionary position" was forbidden. Thankfully, Rev. Moon himself later offered a corrective to this mis-guidance, at a conference for international missionaries during the Seoul Olympics in the summer of 1990 (1988? df). Since the speech was never reproduced in the U.S., it is important here to quote the relevant passages at length:
"Ask all the creations of the universe, your eye, your ear, your nose. Which do your lips like better, your own lips or your lover's lips? Even teeth. They are rough and hard. They usually bite food. But that isn't their main purpose. Bite the lover!...
"Did you bite your lover's hips. Did you?! [Audience: "Amen!" Laughter.] The most mysterious kind of joy or peace will be given when you use your mouth or teeth to bite or lick the most precious part of your lover...
"What part of your lover would you like to touch? Hair, hands, face, leg, palm or what? When you touch your lover's hips or bosom, she might say "Oh, I haven't bathed yet. It's smelly." But to me it is a perfume. [Laughter] Your laughing means you share a common experience. Did you? I did experience this!...
"So freedom -- of hands, ears, lips, eyes, etc., all five senses -- freedom is given. But how to be used? To engender True Love and True Freedom. When Father looks at you -- your faces, eyes, ears, nose -- knowing that nose loves True Love, he doesn't feel like saying "you rascal, get out!" He feels tenderness toward you, knowing your senses love true love."(1)
Mrs. Moon explained the apparent contradiction between Rev. Moon's standard of True Love and Heung Jin Nim's list of sins by reminding the missionaries that Heung Jin had died at the tender age of 17 without ever knowing the bliss of sexual union. Such a "Puritanical" attitude, she explained, is appropriate for a teenager, but adults understand that God wants blessed couples to feel free to express their True Love for one another as their hearts direct them. (2)
Yet, while I am grateful to the editors of Victory of Love for their choice of which material to include, I also believe that the time has come to speak openly and directly about the Heung Jin phenomenon. In this sense, the book misses the mark.
I do not believe we should ignore some of the teachings and practices which Heung Jin -- or rather, which the "African Brother" in the name of Heung Jin -- carried out. Foremost among these was the extensive use of violence and intimidation.
The use of violence by the African "Heung Jin" was defended by some Church leaders as equivalent to acts of penance and contrition in the Catholic Church. This rationalization may have had merit, if all we were talking of were a slap on the face and the imposition of conditions of fasting and prayer -- and in most cases, that's all it was. But in other cases -- not just isolated cases, but nearly everywhere this African Heung Jin preached -- acts of serious violence were carried out.
In Washington, D.C. the Church's doors were locked to prevent people from leaving. Members, both men and women, were handcuffed to radiators. Several were beaten strongly, not just slapped. In Barrytown, one member's nose was broken; another was sent to the hospital with broken ribs. In New York, a member was beaten so severely that he spent a week in the hospital with severe head and body injuries, and later required surgery. In Japan, several more members were sent to the hospital. "Heung Jin" also walked around armed with a pistol and threatened severe punishment, including death (to be executed by God, not himself) for those who failed to unite with him.
I realize the use of violence has been condoned even lately, by Church leaders. Rev. Moon's living son Hyun Jin, for example, states that:
'When Heung Jin Nim came in the black brother's body, you thought, "that can't be Heung Jin Nim." And some of you were upset about him beating you... If I got hit by Heung Jin Nim, I would say "great." Physical pain will go away. But the failures you have in life could stay with you for eternity." '(3)
The fact remains that if the principle of institutionalized violence -- even in the name of True Love -- is left unchallenged, we are leaving a very dangerous precedent for future generations. The violence which the African "Heung Jin" did to the members of the Unification Church is a blot on Rev. Moon's record which can only be erased, in my opinion, by a frank recognition by the True Family that it was wrong -- if not in principle at least in the actual degree to which it was carried out.
In fact, Rev. Moon himself came close to doing this when, in 1990, he dispatched the "African Brother" back to Zimbabwe, told "Heung Jin" to work from the spiritual world from now on and instructed Church leaders that any future incarnations or channels would not be legitimate.
The Zimbabsdean's name, incedentally, is Cleopas Kundioni. But he did not refrain speaking as Heung Jin when he returned to Africa. After Church leaders reprimanded him for this and attempted to curb his power, he eventually formed a splinter group, taking some of the Africa's senior members along with him, including my own spiritual son, Greogory Novalis. He now reportedly claims to be Heung Jin no longer, but a Christ in his own right.
With that history behind us, the publication of Victory of Love takes on a new light. It is certainly a valuable source book of inspirational readings, which succeeded in bring several tears to the eye of even this critical reader. But for me it is best understood as an expression of the spirituality of the channelers. It's authority as a collection of actual communications from Heung Jin has been forever tainted for me by those dark days of fear and confusion when a man of violence was loosed upon the Church in Heung Jin's name.
The book is presented as authored by "Heung Jin Moon." Yet it includes no example of words or writings actually spoken or composed by Heung Jin Moon while he lived on earth. Most of the communications were received through channeling. The chanellers are not identified, except when referred to by "Heung Jin" during the communication. Even then only initials are given. This convention makes the book less useful than it could have been. We are able to tentatively identify the channeler "J" as probably Jim Stephens, who received numerous communications from Heung Jin while coordinating seminars for Christian clergy in Korea. And the source of the last two chapters -- based on abridged texts of conferences for "Second-Self Wives and Second Self Husbands" -- bears the unmistakable handwriting of the Zimbabwean source. But other revelators are not easily identifiable.
The use of initials is also carried over when "Heung Jin" speaks of or to specific individuals. This, too, prevents clarity. Rev. "A," referred to as the leader of a 40-Day Training workshop, is undoubtedly Rev. Ahn, director of education in New York. But is "Rev. K." who appears several times, actually Rev. Kamiyama, Rev. Kwak, or one of the innumerable Rev. Kim's?
Lest the reader think me ungrateful, I should point out that in many ways, Victory of Love inspires me and gives me hope for the Church's future. It has captured numerous beautiful expressions of "Heung Jin's" commitment to True Love. It has indicated that the Church apparently does not wish to canonize those aspects of the African Heung Jin's ministry which I personally found abhorrent. And it has clarified that on one at least one issue, about which I had been worried (see below), I can now rest easy.
My anxiety resulted from the "revelation" which had been posted on the Seminary bulletin board back in 1986, in which "Heung Jin" instructed members never to sing popular songs while witnessing, but to sing only Holy Songs. I remember my own anguish reading this, for I, just two nights previously, had received my own (and only) revelation from Heung Jin, in which his spirit came to me during the airing of the popular song "Love Is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar. The Heung Jin who hated popular songs appeared so different from my Heung Jin, who had loved even Heavy Metal while alive. I remember telling a friend at the time: "This tradition of channeling for Heung Jin is going to lead to trouble."
But now that revelation from the Heung Jin who hated popular music has been forgotten. In Victory of Love, we find instead:
This is the key. It is so simple. Love one another. The Beatles have a song they sing, "All You Need Is Love." You can sing this song. It can become our anthem.(4)
And to that I say "Amen."
1. Conference for International Missionaries, Summer, 1990. The passages were transcribed by the author from a video tape. The translator is Dr. Bo Hi Pak. It should be noted that Dr. Pak, in other speeches, often uses the word "hips" as a euphemism for a woman's sexual organs.
2. Reported to the author independently by a witness, who declined to be identified.
3. Hyun Jin Moon, "True Parents' Tradition," published transcript from unofficial notes of sermon given in Washington, D.C., May, 17, 1992.
4. Victory of Love, p. 22.
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