The Words of Won Pil Kim

History of the Seoul Church

Won Pil Kim
September 1982

Father left Pusan for Seoul in the year 1953, on September 17, and he returned again to Pusan for a visit on December 24, Christmas Eve, of the same year. In addition to teaching members in Pusan, Father went to Taegu and visited Mrs. Kang who was pioneering there, and also went to visit the holy mountain where people went to pray. Father did this kind of itinerary work, visiting members and encouraging them. Also, of course, he visited all the members in Pusan.

Mr. Eu Joins

While Father was away in Seoul, the members witnessed very hard and restored many people. Among the ones they met was the late Mr. Eu, who became the first president of HSA-UWC and was among the first 3 blessed couples in 1960. Mr. Eu was kind of a genius, but because of his illness he had to quit his university studies. He was searching for truth and spent much time studying theology. But he had suffered from illness for a long time. Many times he was about to take his life and commit suicide, but then he would remember his mother's prayers during his childhood. These prayers consoled him and he persevered.

He was in despair and was without hope. In that situation, he met our members. Two middle-aged ladies witnessed to him; they could not speak a word, but just cried. Moved by their attitude, he went to the church with them. There was no one who could give a lecture except me, so I gave him a lecture. At that time, my lecture ability was not adequate for someone as highly educated as Mr. Eu, so in the beginning I was hesitant, but because I believed in Father, I was able to give them the lecture.

Mr. Eu's character is like burning fire, but my first impression of him was that he looked like a very kind person. Because of his kind appearance, I had the courage to give him a lecture. Whatever I said he wrote down. After several days, he gave me his questions. Since he had studied science, he was a very logical person, and he had difficulty understanding the spiritual fall. He thought it was impossible for the fall to take place between spiritual entities and people with a physical body. If I had been able to substantiate my explanation with Biblical quotations, he would have been able to accept it, but I didn't know how. But I had the strong 'conviction that Principle comes not from man but from heaven. With this strong conviction, I told him, "If you pray about this point, an answer will be given to you." He obeyed my suggestion and prayed.

From spirit world he was given a very clear answer. When he heard that Father wrote the original version of Principle, he wanted to borrow it. He read it through from beginning to end. He had been desperately searching for the truth but unable to find it, and had almost taken his life. At this point he met the members, heard Principle, and read Father's version of the Principle. In this way, he was able to totally believe in Father. So he wrote Father a letter, explaining his heart to him.

21 Day Revival

When Father returned to Pusan on December 24, Father held a fellowship meeting with the old members and then the new members, centering on Mr. Eu. He gathered them together and held a revival meeting. Father started the revival meeting in the small house of one of the members, and the meeting lasted for 21 days. The schedule went like this: first a lecture by Father, then testimonies by members, etc. We continued until very late at night, for each of the 21 days. Father continuously gave lectures, introducing new aspects of the truth.

Members sometimes wanted to go to the toilet, but Father gave lectures continuously, and they didn't want to miss anything. When they reached the point they could no longer stand it, they would rush outside to the toilet and return as quickly as possible. They thought that if they went to the toilet, they would miss some key point of Father's lecture. Also, nobody fell asleep.

While Father was giving lectures, even brand-new members would receive revelations. Among them was one university student who was receiving revelations. The atmosphere was very high; it felt like burning fire. Every word that Father spoke was written down, without missing a single word.

Three of the physical brothers of the late president Eu also joined the church (they were all blessed among the 36 couples). His younger brother had been a very heavy smoker. This younger brother knew Principle and realized that after joining the family he could never smoke. When he heard that Father was coming on December 24, he gathered together all the cigarettes he had and smoked them all -- his last chance to smoke! Thus the new members prepared for Father's coming. When the revival meeting started, they received many blessings from God. During this revival meeting, ten members joined. Those ten people all became leaders in the existing churches.

Teaching Principle In Seoul

After the revival meeting, Father returned to Seoul. Mr. Eu recognized his mission, and decided to join the family. He gave up everything and went to Seoul, determined to witness on the two famous Christian university campuses in Seoul. As you know, he was lame and could not walk without a cane. Even when giving a lecture, he could not stand up, so he had to lean on something to give a lecture.

He began giving lectures, drawing diagrams on paper. Early in the morning, he started giving lectures, continuing until very late at night. Following the lectures there would be a testimony meeting. Then he would sleep, and early the next morning he would resume lecturing. The people who went through three days of his lectures could never leave the church because they were so wonderful.

In 1954 in Seoul, Mr. Eu rented a house and Father came. Together they started the church and began witnessing. From that time on, famous university professors and university students began visiting our church. Mr. David S.C. Kim was witnessed to at that time. Noted people in religious groups began to have contact with our church. But the number of members was not so great at that time.

From spring until October of 1954, Father established a prayer condition. In those days in Korea, there was a curfew from midnight until 4 or 5 a.m. But even before that hour, Father would go to the mountains to pray. Usually government officials would not allow people to go outside at that time, but knowing that we were going to pray, they did not interfere with us.

Seven or eight members stayed in the same small room, sharing the only three blankets we had. We ate from the same bowl, shared the same meals, slept together in the same room -- everything we did together.

During these times, Father used to tell us that after October many members would join. In the mornings, we would do our prayer condition, and then go witnessing in earnest, even though our numbers were small at that time. We had one favorite song which we sang in those months, "Jesus walked this lonesome valley." Once, twice, even 20 or 30 times a day we would repeat that song. The song is about Jesus, two thousand years ago walking the lonely path, a path which no one can walk for us. Finally, I myself have to go this way. The song gives a sense of loneliness, but it encouraged us and gave us a strong determination to follow this way.

University Students And Professors

When October came, just as Father predicted, many professors and university students began coming to church.

However, this created a problem at the university. The same problems that occurred in Pusan (and Pyongyang) were repeated in Seoul. People came to the church and stayed for very long periods of time, without returning to their homes or families. One school teacher, for instance, came to listen to Principle, and continued listening without returning to school. This created a problem at the school.

Three days is a very important period of time. If people were to return home after the first day of Principle lectures, surely some difficulty would arise, in their families or circumstances, preventing them from returning. This was a clear pattern: when- people returned to their family or school, some kind of problem would emerge which would keep them from returning to our church. So when people came and listened to Principle, we would plead with them to stay overnight and continue listening the next day. When they were about to leave, we would really beg them to stay, because we felt that if they left, they would be in danger of spiritual death. We felt very serious about their danger. Those who remained and listened to lectures for three days would become members.

When spiritual parents had guests, they would set many conditions, such as prayer conditions, cold shower conditions, and many different kinds of conditions.

Mr. Eu gave most of the lectures. At lunch, we shared our meal, and the next lecture began. At dinner time, we shared our meal together. Afterwards we held a testimony meeting, with testimonies given by the center members.

When Mr. Eu was giving a lecture, Father always sat beside him and listened. If his explanation was not adequate or if he could not answer a question satisfactorily, Father would explain.

In Pusan, when I was drawing pictures, Father was always beside me, helping me, so Father was raising me up. He did the same with Mr. Eu, staying by his side when he was giving lectures and helping him. In this way, Father raised up Mr. Eu.

New people thought that Mr. Eu was the teacher, or the greatest master. They had no idea that Father was the master. For one thing, Mr. Eu was six years older than Father, and moreover, Father dressed very casually without a necktie, and he seemed to be just an ordinary member. But after attending lectures for one or two days, guests could observe Mr. Eu's attitude toward Father and recognize that Father was greater than Mr. Eu.

University students were coming and listening to lectures. The professors who came and listened to lectures were highly respected by the students, some of them being excellent professors and quite famous. One teacher who had been seeking for truth in Christianity, and communism, was unable to find any of the answers he sought, then he came to hear Principle. He was so deeply moved by the lecture. Sitting beside him during the lecture, I could observe his attitude; he was so joyful that he kept hitting his leg! Until that time, he had never had any spiritual experiences, but while hearing Principle, he began to feel a burning fire, like electricity, entering his head and spreading even to his fingers. Even though it was a spiritual experience, his fingers were actually burned.

One Christian who never had any spiritual experiences in the Christian church was lifted up by a strong spiritual force while listening to Principle and carried for some distance! These were the kinds of phenomena that were occurring at that time.

There were professors and students from Ehwa University coming to our church and joining. Ehwa was a Methodist-run university and the largest women's university in Korea. Women students usually stayed in the dormitories, and in order to come to the church, they would have to make some excuse, such as going to the public bath. Mrs. Won Bok Choi, Miss Young Oon Kim, and Mrs. Yoon joined the family from those days. Many women who became wives of the 36 blessed couples joined at that time.

Odd Rumors About Our Church

The people who came to the church and joined were very respected members of their families, churches and communities; but once they joined our church they never returned. This began to stir doubts and opposition towards the church since people didn't return, once they came to the church. People began to suspect that since Father had studied electrical engineering, inside the house there was some kind of electrical gadget which could brainwash people.

The editor of the Christian newspaper visited our church, having heard the rumor that our church brainwashed people, and once anyone entered our house he would never come out. He had been told that we took away the shoes of people who entered our house. Before coming to visit, he prepared two pairs of shoes, expecting something like this to happen. He came in, listened to Principle, and was able to understand its contents. Afterwards, he gave his testimony and told us this story. Through that testimony we could understand what people in general were thinking about us.

The church had begun in Pyongyang, went down to Pusan, and then to Seoul. Rumors followed this same route, from Pyongyang, to Pusan, to Seoul. Rumor that our church was a church that practiced fornication or adultery spread through these cities. Rumors become exaggerated with each telling. There is an old Korean saying that if you pass a rice cake from person to person, it will become smaller and smaller (each person taking a bite from the cake). But if you pass a rumor around, from one person to another and so on, it will become bigger and bigger, in a kind of snowball effect. Do you have a similar saying in your country?

Rumor said that there were three different kinds of doors in the Unification Church: when you went through the first door you had to take off your jacket; upon entering the second door you had to take off more; and after passing through the third door you took off all your clothes and then committed adultery or fornication.

One very courageous lady who was searching for the truth visited our church. She had studied Buddhism, Christianity, etc. Although she had heard these rumors, because she was very brave, she determined to visit our church; but she came prepared, wearing three different layers of underwear! She figured that even if her outer clothes were taken off, still she would have enough underneath that she could escape! She visited the church, filled with fear. Actually we did have three doors in the church, but she went through all three without anything terrible happening. Then she listened to the Principle and discovered that what people were saying was untrue. Moreover, she discovered that this was the very church for which she had been seeking for so long. The day after joining the family, she testified to one of the sisters about this story. She showed the sister her layers of clothes, demonstrating the preparations she had made because of the rumors.

In America, similar kinds of rumors have spread. If you participated in tuna fishing, you know many stories. Professional fishermen may go for a week without catching a tuna, but these Moonies were catching tuna every day. They could not understand why the Moonies caught tunas. They knew we were using the same bait and same instruments. They began to think and finally concluded that we were brainwashing the tuna, and when we were putting out the chum (pieces of fish used to attract tuna to the bait) we were doing some kind of chant which would brainwash the tuna! Because they couldn't understand, they invented many explanations.

You can then imagine, 30 years ago, people creating rumors to account for events which they could not understand.

Imprisoned With Father

In 1955, on July 4, Father was taken to jail. Four members, including myself, were put in jail with Father. When I was in jail with Father, I was able to observe his prison life, and in that way I could imagine how he was able to survive prison in Hungnam.

While Father was in prison the faith of the other church members was deepened. That situation gave our members strong stimulus.

Also at this time, God testified through a 12-year-old boy. This boy died and three days later he was came back to life. When the boy's family was preparing for the funeral, the boy was resurrected out of the coffin. During those three days, the boy had gone to the spirit world, to heaven and hell. He saw John the Baptist in a very miserable condition there. Also he told about the Lord of the second coming. Through this boy's testimony, God made us unite very strongly and encouraged us very much.

Father was taken to jail first, and the next day I was put into jail, and later the other members were arrested and then placed in the cell next to mine. We did not know about the rules of the prison, so when the members who had just come saw me they were so happy that, without getting permission from the guard, they shared with me some of the food they had brought. Father, who had experienced prison before, worried about this. Later when we were transferred into Seodaemun Prison, we were placed in separate cells and were not permitted to talk to each other.

Before being sent to jail, Father had given us very clear, concise advice on how to act in prison. We were arrested for the same reasons, for being part of the same group, so the guards did not want us staying in the same cells. We were each assigned a number. When the prosecutor or inspector called for us, he called for us by number, not by name. In the morning numbers are usually called out for the prisoners who were supposed to appear for interrogation. So Father told us to remember each others' numbers very carefully. So we memorized our number and those of each other. So even though we were placed in separate cells, when numbers were called out, we would know what was happening to other members.

Mr. Eu and Father were put into different, but adjoining cells. So when Father received food or things from outside, he passed all of it to Mr. Eu. I heard that, during those days in prison, Mr. Eu loved Father very intensely, almost like the devotion between husband and wife. The guard observed such a beautiful relationship between Mr. Eu and Father. He was so deeply moved by it that after Father was freed, he came to visit Father at the church.

The Prison

There were two long buildings facing each other, with a courtyard between for exercising the prisoners. There were cells on both sides of the hallways. In the other building, Father was placed in one room and Mr. Eu in the adjoining cell.

There were four or five prisoners per cell, sometimes six. Prisoners slept in the narrow rooms with their feet towards the center, and their heads toward the side walls.

Across the narrow hallway, I could see cells of the other two members. We could see each other through the doors. Across the exercise yard, I could see the window of Father's cell.

In prison it was prohibited to talk to each other, but when Father wanted to tell me something, he would shout it to me through the window. "Mr. Eu was released today," he shouted one day. With a loud voice, he would give me information about the members, even though talking was prohibited. His attitude was really courageous, for ordinary prisoners never did such a thing.

Each cell had a tiny window, and through this I could see Father and Mr. Eu, maybe 60 feet away. The window was high, so if I just stood up, I couldn't really see Father, so I would climb on top of the toilet. Prison toilets are not like toilets now; rather it was just a round ceramic container, sitting on the floor. There was a cover, a square which fit over the top, so it was this cover I could stand on and see Father through the iron bars of the window.

There were guards at each corner of the building, patrolling the grounds. Twice a day, morning and evening, I was able to greet Father. There was a scheduled waking hour, but I would get up before that time. Looking over to Father's cell, I could see that he was already up, doing some kind of exercise. I would bow to Father, and when he saw it, he would bow to me. When nighttime came, I would again stand up on the toilet and bow down and greet Father. At the same time, I could see Mr. Eu next to Father, and I would greet him and bow to him as well. This was our daily life in prison.

The reason why I am telling you this is because I could gain energy by greeting Father twice a day. After being released from prison, I reflected on prison life and realized that for Father it must have been somewhat difficult to receive bows from me under those circumstances. You might wonder why it was difficult for him, but try putting yourself in his situation, imagining that you are the leader and I am your member. Suppose I greet you twice a day, at 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. You might think it is not so difficult to receive the greetings of a member twice a day. But in order to receive this greeting from the member, you have to wake up before he comes, dress, and prepare yourself to receive his greetings. Sometimes you might feel tired before 11:00, but you know he will come at 11:00, so you cannot go to bed. You know he will come regularly at 5:00, so you must wake up before 5:00. You might have many worries inside of you, but because the member comes regularly and greets you, you cannot show this member a worried face. If this happened just once a week or once a month, you could take it, but if it is repeated every day, how would you feel? Even to wake up at 5:00 a.m. once a week is not so easy, but if it continues every day...

After being set free from prison, I recognized that it is more difficult to receive the greetings than to make the bow. Sometimes Father must have been tired and exhausted, but he was always concerned first about the members, so he always woke up before me and prepared to greet me.

Lessons Learned In Prison

When Father was in Hungnam he did morning exercises and massaged his body with a cold towel, so I tried to practice this method in my prison experience. But in order to do that, I had to wake up before the other people woke up. I tried to massage myself with a wet towel, but this action makes a big sound. If you don't believe it, try it some morning. When people are sleeping, when the room is very quiet, it makes a big noise. Also the guards pace the hallways regularly and observe what the prisoners are doing through the windows. So when the guard approached my cell, I had to quickly get in the bed and pretend I was sleeping. Through my own experience in prison, I could imagine how difficult his life must have been in Hungnam.

After about three months, on October 4, Father was declared innocent and set free, along with the other three members. But I was sentenced and I had to continue my prison life alone. Father really worried about me, and he himself came to visit me in prison. He saw my situation in prison, and after that I received a really great blessing: one month after his visit, I was set free. It was on December 25, 1955. Just a bit after midnight, Father came to prison with the other members and offered a Christmas prayer for the other prisoners as well.

The prisoners who had been sentenced were often people who had lied about their age when they escaped from the North.

People who were young enough were conscripted for military duty, so many people reported an older age. Even older people were sometimes called up for military service and formed into special groups. For this reason, people sometimes lied about their age. Mr. Eu had polio in his legs, so because of his physical condition he would have been exempted from military duty. The other members were too old for conscription, but I was not. For that reason, they were released and I was not. That was why I was sentenced.

When Father was released from prison, he moved to the Chungpa Dong Church in Seoul and began to settle down there. From that time on, our church began to develop very rapidly.

Father's Divorce And A Time Of Transition

Father's first wife thought that because the members had been put into prison, and Father as well, the church would stop developing. But on the contrary, when Father returned from prison, the church grew so quickly. Then she began to worry that if this situation were to continue, she would never have any personal time with Father. Her relatives urged her to divorce Father. Her elder brother respected Father very much, but because of his younger sister's situation, he finally suggested a divorce. Father's wife herself requested the divorce.

Sometimes she visited the church and did things like take all the shoes out of the shoe rack and throw them away. But the neighbors around the church were watching all her actions. The members also saw this situation and tried to stop her from doing this. But when members tried to stop her, she would become violent and tear their clothes. Through this we could see that once the direction of her heart changed, she could not control herself at all.

More members joined, but Father's first wife continued causing trouble for the church. Then the leaders of the church suggested to Father that he divorce her. But Father didn't respond to that suggestion. As time went by, Father finally accepted this suggestion, but he never signed the divorce papers; in Father's place, one of the members signed the papers. But even then Father told her, "If you ever have difficulty or are in trouble, please come and visit me at any time."

Father was arrested on the charge of violating the conscription regulations. I was arrested for violating the law of the armed service. Ehwa University was supported by the Methodist Church, and its president was a very intimate friend of the wife of President Syngman Rhee, and she began using her connections to persecute our Unification Church. Utilizing her connections with the Foreign Ministry and the Education Ministry, she tried to influence the mass media and cause us to be persecuted. Other Christian churches joined her in persecuting the Unification Church. One of the main newspapers in Korea, the Tong-A (Daily News) wrote rather positive articles about the Unification Church in the beginning. They wrote that the attitude of the university authorities was wrong, but because of governmental pressures and influence of mass media, they changed their tone.

As you have already experienced, when people write negative articles, the newspapers really sensationalize them and play them up. But when there are good articles reporting on good events, they are downplayed. For instance, when Father was declared innocent and released from prison, this news was buried in small print on the back pages of the newspapers.

In Pyongyang, people joined because of many spiritual experiences; there was not even a written version of the Principle at that time. However, when Father was imprisoned, one by one, they left the family -- not because they didn't like the church, but because they could not endure the opposition from their families and other people. They liked the church but they found nobody in the church who could take care of them.

However, in 1955 in Seoul, even though members suffered really severe persecution, their faith became stronger and stronger. They did not leave the church, but they stayed and endured the persecution.

After Father was set free from prison, many important people joined. From 1957 on, witnessing became very active, and the church became well organized. Four major regions were formed, and these were broken down into 32 sections later, three regions were added to the initial four, and a total of 72 sections were organized. 

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library