The Words of Zin Moon Kim
Rev. Zin Moon Kim
Since January 22, 1985, Rev. Zin Moon Kim has served as the regional director of the Southeastern Region of the United States, based in Atlanta, Georgia.
I was born on October 23, 1938, according to the Korean lunar calendar, near Taegu in southeastern Korea. At that time Japan still controlled Korea. My grandfather was a renowned patriot and very anti-Japanese. He did not want to register my birth, for I would then be considered Japanese. My father and my grandfather quarreled about this. It was two years later that my birth was officially registered. Thus my official birth is January 2, 1940, by the solar calendar.
My grandfather also didn't want to let me go to school, because most of the highly educated Korean people were agents of the Japanese government. I entered elementary school when I was 11 years old. Other children my age had already graduated from that school. My family was very poor, so even now I don't care about where I sleep, what I eat, or what I wear. I can sleep anywhere and eat any kind of food. I think this was wonderful training, especially for our church.
When I finished elementary school, I moved to Taegu because that city had many kinds of educational institutions. So from middle school through college I stayed in Taegu. In my senior year at the university I made contact with the Unification Church. I had already been a member of the Presbyterian Church for 10 years, so I knew something about Christianity and the Bible, but I had many questions about the Bible and Christian life.
My lifestyle was not typically Christian -- I hardly ever went to church. Whenever I did go, I asked the ministers many questions, but they did not give me very convincing answers, so I just started quarrelling with them, and I would ultimately come home in complete frustration. They would usually tell me, "You are asking these questions not because you want to become a believer, but just because you want to fight with the ministers." I replied, "No, absolutely not; but I don't think they believed me.
In 1964, the year I met the Unification Church, I must have looked like a crazy person, because I concentrated only on the Bible and Christianity and on nothing else. I didn't like girls, I didn't even like my family -- I only concentrated on understanding the Bible and Christianity. I seldom cut my hair, and I was always dirty.
On May 4, I was in a park in Taegu. A small group had gathered around an old tree trunk. As I watched, one old woman hung a small blackboard on the trunk and wrote on it "Resurrection" in Chinese characters. I thought it must have been connected to Christianity. She started to teach about the spirit world descending to earth, and I was very interested.
Just after she finished, I called to her, "Come here, come here!" I don't think I was very polite -- I was sort of yanking at her. I had already prepared some questions on paper, and she said I could ask them. (She became my spiritual mother, and is now in the spirit world.) My first question was: "If God is almighty and all-knowing, if God is love, and is good, then He must have made human beings completely good. But as you know, you and I are not completely good persons. Why?" She tried and tried to make me understand, but I couldn't. I told her, "This is not good enough. Is there anyone who can explain this better than you?" This is also very impolite according to Korean custom. But at that moment I didn't care much about being polite. She said, "Yes, there is a young lecturer here, a Mr. Choi." (He became one of the 777 Blessed Couples. He was a very young man, so his blessing took place later than mine, but he actually joined the Church three or four years before I did.)
Mr. Choi explained the answers to several questions until I understood them better, but still I felt it wasn't enough. So I asked, "Do you have another lecturer?" "Yes, we have more advanced lecturers," he replied. "Okay," I said, "I will go to your center. Please draw me a simple map so I can find it." He made it, but as it was already very late, I promised to go early the next morning.
That night I was too excited to get a sound sleep. Very, very early in the morning I went to the church, but the door was locked. I pounded on the door and a sister came out and asked, "Who are you?" I said, "I want to know the church's Principle, so you must let me in." "You came so early -- we're glad you came, but it's too early," she said. "What shall I do -- go back home again? My home is too far away." "Please wait." About ten minutes later the sister came out again and opened the door, and I entered.
At that time the Taegu church leader was Rev. Yo Han Lee. I was a university student, so I had a school badge. Rev. Lee saw it from a distance and said, "You are a university student, aren't you?" I said, "Yes." "I think you'd better go back home, because if you come to the Unification Church, you may have to give up your studies and that might be very difficult. Please go back home." But I said, "To give up or not give up is my decision, not yours. I want to hear your theory; this is my purpose in coming. Anyway, I can't go back, I must hear something." He smiled and shook my hand. Rev. Yo Han Lee liked this kind of person. From that time on, for one year, he was my central figure.
"We have a very wonderful lecturer here," he said, "and you can hear him His name is Mr. Kwak." Rev. Kwak! In the church there was a very big blackboard, and a lecturer would teach even if only one guest had come. I heard Introduction and chapters one, two, and three, continuously for 6 hours. Rev. Kwak spoke the whole time, just to me, shouting in a very loud voice. After these six hours I was so moved, because the lecturer had put so much into teaching me: this attitude made me very excited. Already, my heart belonged to this church. Also, many of my questions had been answered.
I then said, "I want to know your Principle more deeply, so may I borrow a Principle book?" He gave me a book explaining the Principle, a version we no longer use. After I went home it rained all night, and I couldn't sleep. I just read, very excitedly, and in that one night I finished the whole book. The next day I joined.
I then became a center leader for seven years, and for two years I was the secretary general of the VOC Institute. After this I became the World Mission Department director. Many times I had two or three missions simultaneously. After this, I went to work for a ginseng company; because of the foreign trade, they needed people who knew some English. I was in that company three years. During that time I visited America, Europe, and other countries on business for the ginseng company. After that, I returned to Korea and served at the church headquarters for six months. After that I worked for a construction company. The president of the company had been one of Father's classmates, Mr. Ang. Three years later, I became an itinerary worker (IW).
February 1982. During a visit to an African village Rev. Kim partakes of "Zam Kam," a drink symbolic of respect.
Often when a student joins the church full time he gives up his or her studies, but Father suggested that I go to graduate school. I had already graduated from college, so I went to night school to gain my master's degree. Forty days later, however, Father asked me to go to Africa. That was in December 1981. I visited all the Asian countries and African port cities until last January 22, when I came here.
My basic mission in Africa was to encourage the missionaries. But in fact I couldn't do only this. I had to take care of other members, PWPA, CARP, everything.
Question: How did you go about it? Did you have a basic plan or strategy?
Yes, my basic strategy was to help members to more deeply understand the Principle and to apply it in their daily lives. Most of the people who have severe problems in our movement don't know the Principle deeply. Actually, this is a big difficulty. If we don't understand the Principle, Father is just Mr. Moon. It is because of the Principle that we call him Father.
Now Father is in prison. Therefore we must comprehend that Father is internally crying, while externally he is helping members to be brave. When Father sings a song, we must understand that his internal heart is crying. Many members don't understand this. This is a big, big problem. Father is a very lonely man, a suffering man, and a miserable man. But many Western members think of Father only as a great man. We must know Father's lonely side. Many people who have problems in the church concentrate on themselves -- they don't think about Father. True Parents and Heavenly Father have had many kinds of difficulties, but they never talked about them. If we want to be good children, we should never complain about difficulties when we confront them. We should just carry on.
When Father was in jail in North Korea, he never prayed to Heavenly Father: "Father, help me." He never said this. Instead he prayed, "Father, don't worry about me. I am very sorry that whenever You look at me, You feel sorrowful. But I will manage this situation. Please go and help other people." This has always been Father's prayer. We need to cultivate this kind of prayer, but in fact we usually pray something like, "Help me, bless me." We have no right to do this. Also, when morning comes, many members say, "Good morning, Heavenly Father." But Heavenly Father does not have a good morning -- every morning is a sorrowful morning, not a good morning, for Him. Heavenly Father is a very, very sorrowful, suffering father. To a father who is burdened down with suffering can you lightly say, "Good morning"? We must first repent: "Father, because we are not such good children, You are still suffering. We are very sorry." This ought to be our first thought.
If we had done Home Church consistently during the past five or six years, as Father asked us to many, many times, he would not have needed to go to jail. In New York everybody would have known through our Home Church movement that Rev. Moon was a wonderful man. Even the jury would have known that Father was a good man, and so would not have been so easily swayed against him. But during all that time we were thinking about our spouses, our children. After the Blessing, we often become selfish, and after having babies, we become even more selfish. Therefore many members don't respect blessed couples. This is a serious problem. We must love our members more than our own husbands, wives, and children. This is the course of restoration.
If you stayed at East Garden you would see that every morning, one by one, the children come to Father and say, "Good morning," and give Father a kiss. All the children give him a kiss, and the young ones hug him. Father says, "I love you, but I cannot spend time with you." A child may ask, "Why do you love the members more than me? I am your child." Father then becomes serious, and says, "I love you, but this is the course of indemnity. I must love the members more than you. The members will love you." This is Father's life. If Father had taken care only of his children, Heung Jin Nim would still be in this world. Father is busy taking care of the members. We must follow this pattern. But many members don't want to do this.
There is one Heavenly Father; therefore there must be one tradition. You know number five in the Pledge of the Children? Centering on God we pledge to uphold one tradition. But people have many different customs and understandings of things and cling to them, rather than becoming embodiments of God's universal tradition.
Whenever members have problems, the leader must take 95 percent responsibility -- as Heavenly Father takes 95 percent responsibility. Even though Heavenly Father didn't do anything wrong, He took 95 percent responsibility after the failure of Adam and Eve. If one of the members under me is causing some problem in a center. I must first repent in prayer to Heavenly Father. Before scolding him, I must scold myself.
Question: What did you encounter in Africa? Did you see a difference in the people there?
Basically, African people are very similar to Oriental people. Many customs are very similar, especially to Korean traditions: family ties, children respecting and following parents -- everything is very, very similar, except the skin color. In the cities the young people have adopted some of the less virtuous mores of the West, but in the country, they are still very pure.
Also, they have been controlled by whites for a long time, mostly by the French and British. These rulers did many bad things, so the black people have a lot of historical resentment towards whites. Actually, our white missionaries who went there suffered very much because the Africans didn't want to believe white people, due to this bitter history.
At PWPA meetings in Africa, some of the professors commented that although many people have claimed that Africa is very primitive, in fact the white people are primitive because they don't appear to know what a human being is. "We are human beings, but they treated us like animals; they can't distinguish between human beings and beasts. In that way, they are barbaric." Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya (which was named after him), wrote a book. In it he said that white missionaries came to Africa and taught people to pray with their eyes closed. When they opened their eyes, there were Bibles in their hands, but their land had been taken away. Actually, the missionaries didn't do this, but just behind the missionaries came armies, and guns.
So when we go to Africa, we must sacrifice more. We must be patient; otherwise we can't make any kind of foundation.
Question: Do you have specific experiences from there that you would like to share?
There are some humorous stories. When I visited Somalia, there was only one missionary, a sister, in the country. In Africa, transportation and communication is very difficult. At the time I didn't understand this, so I sent a telegram three days before my arrival. Three days is usually enough, right? In the telegram I said that I would arrive at the Mogadishu airport at such and such a time, and to please meet me there.
When I arrived, however, there was no missionary. I wrote the address of the missionary on a piece of paper, but nobody knew where it was. Everybody left, and then a policeman started watching me. I felt uncomfortable, so I got into a taxi. I had no idea where anything was, and there was no South Korean embassy in the country, so I opened my African guidebook. The first hotel on the list was the Dubar, so I said, "Please take me to the Dubar Hotel." After I got a room at the hotel, I went up to the roof to look out over the city. On one side was the Russian embassy, on the other side was the Red Chinese embassy, and in the distance was the North Korean embassy. I felt it was a very dangerous place for me to be, because North Koreans often want to kidnap South Koreans to get information out of them. I had been warned to be careful about this before I left for Africa, so I was worried. I think most people don't understand how serious the situation is between North and South Korea at this time.
Lunchtime was during daylight, so I could go out with no problem. But I had to eat breakfast and dinner in the hotel. I went to the dining room and asked, "When shall I come for breakfast and dinner?" The man said, "Breakfast is from 1 a.m., and dinner is from 1 p.m." My English is not so good, so I asked again, slowly and distinctly, but he gave the same answer. I thought that maybe his hearing was not so good, so I asked yet again. Then he became angry. "How many times do I have to tell you the same answer?" I said I was sorry, and I went back to my room and opened my African guidebook. It turns out they have a different way of figuring time. Just after sunrise they begin to count a.m. time, and just as the sun sets they start to count p.m. time. So the answer meant that the meals were one hour after sunrise and one hour after sunset.
There were also some beautiful but very sorrowful moments. South Africa and South Korea have no political relationship. The South Korean government dislikes the racial discrimination of the apartheid system. So I couldn't get a visa to go into South Africa. I wanted to give a speech to our missionaries there, so I went to Lesotho, a small country within South Africa. Within South Africa there are other countries. I had previously telephoned to Cape Town, so one Dutch missionary there came to my place in Lesotho.
But the Japanese missionary had visa problems and could not come. We had to meet at the border. On one side was the Lesotho policeman, on the other side was a South African policeman, and in between there were high iron bars and an iron net. The Japanese missionary and his wife were on one side, with their small baby, and I was on the other side. We could only shake hands between the bars, from one country to another.
We lost consciousness of where we were, and the missionary and I were both crying. Koreans dislike Japanese very much, but in our movement, we are not Japanese or Korean -- just Moonies. If we had tried to speak we would have just cried loudly, so we couldn't even open our mouths. The missionary's wife was already sobbing, and the baby was crying. I couldn't give any sort of speech there, because both guards would have listened, but I wanted to help in some way. I wanted to help them by giving them some money, but as you know, at the border you cannot do that. The money is in different currencies. Still, I wanted to give them some money.
I had 500 francs in French money. I thought, "I must give them something -- even 500 francs. How can I give it?" So I took their baby in my arms. The baby had no visa, but the border guards just smiled. Actually, the baby needed a visa, but it was already in my arms so what could they do? I stuck the money into the baby's clothes -- nobody knew, not even the baby. We never said anything, because if we had, we would only have cried. All we said was "God bless you!" That's all we said. We knew we had to leave each other, but for a long time we couldn't bear to; eventually we parted and went back to our respective missions.
Several days later I arrived in Malawi. At midnight, this missionary's wife called me. "Rev. Kim, when I was changing my baby's underwear, I found some French money- 500 francs," she said. "Is this money from you?" "No, no, no, I didn't put it there," I said. "Yes you did!" "All right, I did put it there. Soon it will be winter and you can buy boots to walk in the snow. Also, the baby needs more underwear." She cried on the telephone. "I can't use this money; we must keep it as our family treasure, our heirloom." But I said, "Please use this money. Later, I will give you some more. You have no winter shoes; please buy them." We cried so much we could hardly say anything. It was a very beautiful and moving experience.
If we understand the Principle deeply, we can understand Heavenly Father's heart deeply. Then we can live together easily; even if we have problems sometimes, we can understand things easier. Blessed husbands and wives are fallen people -- sometimes we quarrel. I have experience! If we at that time concentrate on a common purpose, on Heavenly Father, then our problem becomes easier to solve. In my room, I have Father's speeches, Principle diagrams, charts, and True Parents' pictures everywhere. If my way of thinking becomes strange or I begin to fight with my wife, then I look around and become calm. Even on the ceiling, I have Principle charts -- when I go to bed, I look at the Principle charts and I can sleep. This is a very easy thing to do, even in the toilet -- everywhere. If you come to my region you will see that in every room, including the kitchen and the bathroom, there is something relating to True Parents or the Principle on the walls. Every bathroom has Principle books in it. When we sit in there for a few minutes, we can read the book. Some members once complained, "The Principle book is a very holy book. How can we read it in the toilet?" They don't understand the meaning of the toilet. The bathroom is a very important place -- can you do without the toilet for even one day?
Our lives have come from a very dirty place. Usually we say, "Oh, this part is dirty," but life comes from this part. It's not dirty; it's just a physiological phenomenon. At the time of the Washington Monument campaign, one Sunday morning Father said that even on the toilet we must pray for the victory of the movement. So why can't we read a book in the bathroom? Many members are especially busy in the daytime, working outside fundraising and so on, and they have no time to read. Even if they can just read Principle for five minutes it makes a difference. In the morning, when they are tired, they can get up, go to the toilet, and have a wonderful chance to read. I think this is the right strategy.
I have stressed many times what I call "Internal Principle." What is external and what is internal? I will give one example. In explaining the fall, we can say simply that when the archangel seduced Eve. they engaged in the spiritual fall. This is the Principle, but only an external or superficial understanding of it. If you only give this kind of explanation, people cannot cry. Unless people cry, they cannot understand Heavenly Father's heart.
When Heavenly Father saw Lucifer seducing Eve, when they became nearer and nearer, how difficult it was for Him, how sorrowful it was! We must understand this, what I call the internal Principle. Blessed members especially must understand the internal Principle. Adam and Eve did something wrong and as a result we have fallen nature -- everybody knows this, even the new members can understand it -- but this will not sufficiently prepare us for the Blessing and blessed life.
After having read the Principle thirty times, I have no questions about it. But Father said that after reading it seventy times, then maybe it will become our own Principle. Rev. Kwak has already read the Principle more than 200 times. When he was still in Korea, he had read it more than 100 times. Therefore Father believed in him and gave him many kinds of missions, because Rev. Kwak understands the Principle very clearly and deeply. All of our members must understand the Principle deeply.