The Words of Hyung Jin Moon From 2009
A letter to our International President Rev Hyung Jin Nim Moon:
Dear Respected and Loved Elder Brother Hyung Jin Nim,
I have no words to express my deepest love and respect for you and the reform you are bringing to us all. From your words and spirit I feel nothing but God's Love and Truth. All members in Australia and Oceania feel the same way. I was in Korea at True Parents birthday and in Las Vegas and I was so moved by you and all the True Children.
I had the chance to be with Kook Jin Nim when he visited us on the tour and went for a walk with him when I was the Secretary General of Oceania. We talked for two hours. It was such a beautiful meeting I will not forget.
I am so sorry to express what I am about to because your standard of heart is so above mine and perhaps if I had your heart I would not be writing it. The fact is, however, that I feel impelled to write this to protect our region and its members and especially the second generation from what I see is something which goes completely against the spirit of transparency, accountability and fairness and the spirit of CIG that True Parents and you have promoted.
As I write this, I know that if gets back to the Continental Director of our region this could mean the end of my present mission. But I am beyond that now. I pray for the courage of Martin Luther at the eve of the reformation. "Here I stand". I do this for you because if this kind of situation continues it might, it will reflect on you and I never want that to happen.
I write this reflection in the hope that whoever among our international leadership can read it can begin to take action about a very serious situation in Oceania.
I was asked to become the Secretary General of UPF Oceania and work with our former Continental Director, Dr. Chung Sik Yong's as his assistant. I recently was asked to be the National leader of Australia Jan 2009 by our present Continental Director, Dr. Dong Woo Kim. I have been in leadership for a long time and I am personal friends and am in contact with many of our top western, Japanese and Korean leadership many of whom I have worked with in the states and in different countries of the world. I say this obviously not to toot my own horn but to say that what I am about to share is unfortunately a very common experience.
Although many of us felt inspired to work with Dr. Yong our Continental Director in 2003 as True Father focused so much on the potential of Oceania, there have been so many self-created setbacks and self-inflicted wounds and disasters initiated by the present Korean leadership, in the last 5 years, that has affected especially in the relationship between Korean and Oceania leaders and members that our movement is seriously drowning in its own whirlpool. To add to this toxic mix, the financial devastation heaped upon this region by the poorly thought out and extremely risky financial investments of the former and current Continental Director has caused a mass exodus of the most talented leaders and members. In a region as small as ours, we cannot afford such an exodus and withdrawal. Morale has sunk to its lowest point and many of us are worried about the near future especially about our second generation and what they are going to inherit.
Many of my colleagues and I feel very disenchanted and dismotivated by the corporate culture created by the last three Continental Directors. We see it as inept, dictatorial, extremely self-centered and feudalistic leadership style. The result of years of such leadership and bad management has created a disempowered, disengaged membership that has become jaded, even cynical and which has distanced itself as much as possible from most activities that are constantly undermined by leaders who demand absolute obedience in a personal form to them, change things literally at whim and are never held accountable for disastrous decisions they make. This situation seems impossible to change from below or within without the support of our international headquarters.
Continental Directors look like CEOs that have no restraints or brakes on them from above whatsoever. Though we admire the new culture of transparency and accountability that you and the other True children are promoting, they don't seem to understand it, believe it or even want to pretend to practice it. Our current Continental Director said, at our HSA-UWC board meeting, derisively that this concept of "boards" deciding things is a western phenomena. He said: "We have boards in Korea but they have no power". We all shook our heads in disbelief. It is so clear to all of us that he sees boards as a necessary western evil but he does not intend to work by consensus. It has created a very uneasy feeling as you can imagine among us as he/we know he can change things as he wishes.
Though I did not know the first Continental Director of Oceania personally, stories abound about his tantrums and persecution of members he saw as "enemies". He had his "spies" (members he recruited) that would report to him about everyone he didn't trust until they themselves were suspected of being enemies. He recklessly and spontaneously bought properties at a very high price (against the advice of most leaders) only to sell them at the lowest market price when they couldn't be maintained, financially devastating our region. Members had to fundraise en masse for two years straight to pay for the loss incurred.
A few years ago he was given a new mission by True Father which he refused to do (National Messiah of Lebanon) and stayed here in Sydney with his family doing all the things he warned members not to do. He doesn't attend Sunday Service, doesn't tithe and does not participate in any public activity. His life is the living perfect antithesis of all the sermons and guidance of his own sermons and ravings over the 15 years he was in power. This was the first Continental Director whose reign lasted 15 years. The members here were subjected to a horrible leader with no protection from above.
The dysfunction and illness of our leadership culture continued to the second Continental Director. An incredible ineptitude and callousness to members' hearts and paranoiac neuroses pervaded his reign. On the positive side, all were impressed that he woke up early and bowed 500 times! Many of us tried to follow his example. Later many of the leadership began to notice a "messiah complex" he had developed. He thought he could do no wrong. He would look at us and say "Do you know who you are sitting across at this very table? Do you know the value of the Continental Director. If you serve me like True Parents do you know what blessing will come to you and your family?"
The hubris was simply astounding. But we members were trained to pray for, to forgive, to give the benefit of the doubt towards someone like this. He saw this as weakness, perhaps. A cult of personality was enforced. (Here we go again). He would change members because of a dream he had about them. He would publically chastise members and humiliate them in front of others. Our leaders got together and told him that "this was enough" and pleaded with him not to do this. He continued. Who could we report to in those days? I did speak to Dr. Tom Walsh and he was aware but what could he do? Perhaps his own relationship with his CF was the same? That is how western members survived in this toxic soup. The situation was becoming unbearable. Even the faithful Japanese missionaries were tiring of his trips asking for money. No one knew where to turn.
I had to deal with Dr. Yong's brutal treatment of many national messiahs and national leaders that were not part of his "dream team" or personality cult. The National Messiah and National Leader that refused to play his weird game of personal worship were discredited and rumored about. I refused to play this game and so then eventually I was isolated and fell into his black book as well. It was painful to see how my fellow brothers and sisters allowed themselves to be intimidated to do this until they all without exception became victims of this dangerous game. It reminded me of the stories of abusive families where everyone is quiet as the abuser goes, one by one, after every member of the family.
Then everything hit the fan. He came up with a plan to "save our region" from financial disaster. He began to speak of a plan of investing in Japan and he promised a 5% month return. He directed all leaders to give $50,000 - $100,000 US dollars of their own personal money. We were all incredulous. First of all, we are church leaders and we are barely surviving. We didn't have $50,000! He said "All leaders in Korea have money, what kind of leaders are you?" (The gap of mindset was mind boggling). We were pressured to do it but luckily none of us except one poor soul had the money to invest. He pushed us to borrow the money from relatives and then ordered a large portion of the public money from True Father, meant to buy Peace Embassies in the islands, to be invested in this plan. I warned Dr. Walsh [Thomas G. Walsh] about this impending disaster and danger that would befall us but his advice was astoundingly disappointing: "First", he said "our movement is not a democracy. Whether we like this or not, this is a kingly system and the Continental Director is in that position in our region". He said "Let him do it and hopefully Dr. Yong will learn from his mistake".
"Second", Dr. Walsh said, "you could resign if your conscience will not allow you to support his policies". The irony that I might have to resign because the Continental Director was investing recklessly was shocking and disempowering, to say the least. How did our movement sink this low? The feeling of abandonment was strong. What kept me going was my wife (I thank God and True Parents for her!) some friends and colleagues. When I spoke about this to other Secretary Generals I realized they were all in a similar situation. Some even worse!
"Lastly", he said "I could report this all to Rev Kwak [Chung Hwan Kwak] but this may not go anywhere". Well that didn't seem like an option because the circle of unity between Rev Kwak and the Continental Directors was very tight. Rev Kwak himself thought Dr. Yong's idea was good, Dr. Yong told us, and he was thinking to invest himself and they were getting other Continental Directors getting involved in this new panacea. I could imagine, maybe Rev Kwak publicly criticizing our Continental Director chastising him and him knowing exactly where that info came from. I would then be fired and then who would stand up for our region? I am sure you will find if you ask member all over the world VERY similar stories. Some times worse. I have lived in America, Russia, Ecuador, New Zealand and now Australia. It is the same story with different characters playing the lead roles.
The end of the story is not a happy one. Dr. Yong lost at total of 4.5 million dollars. Some was from the monies destined for Peace Embassies, some from one western leader who gave his entire inheritance and the rest from Japanese missionaries assigned to Oceania. When it all hit the fan, Dr. Yong was changed to Asia. He was warned by all of us about what the consequences would be of the "investment" (Ponzi scheme) he was making but he did it anyway ignoring all advice and warnings from his closest circle of leaders of which I was the closest.
That became my first window into the pervasiveness of the internal dysfunction of our region and our movement. After his big mistake was disclosed publically he was "forgiven" and still kept in his position. Maybe "forgiven" is not the right word. We heard that Kook Jin Nim was so angry about all this when it was reported by Dr. Kim but he felt he couldn't fire him because there were no policies and guidelines in place before hand by which he could be judged. That is true and that has been the problem. But one must wonder why do we keep such inept, dysfunctional people in such positions of unchecked power? How long will this system go on? The idea of keeping them to 2103 is unbearable and dangerous.
Meanwhile, our region was devastated and many people who trusted him are in serious debt and even divorces have occurred because Dr. Yong pushed some Japanese sisters to donate hundreds of thousands even without their husbands knowing it or against their wishes.
Many of our leaders are thinking out loud that if things in the Unification Movement are this highly dysfunctional should this dysfunction be supported or allowed to continue or is it better to it let it collapse to allow something new to take its place. I am sorry to utter such words but I don't see another way. A slow reform at this point in time means a rapid death, I'm afraid.
Inept foreign middle management which has no idea how to plan for the future and is completely unconcerned about members' hearts and families is our present situation. Due to their lack of ability to work with western members and due to their narrow mindedness and personal insecurity, they have created an unhealthy culture of "obedient " followers (yes men) who only pretend to follow and basically suck up to them. This is common knowledge and conversation among most western members, though they may never tell you that. Or maybe they do, I don't know. None of us intended to join a cult such as what we have become led by inept, power hungry Korean Mafioso's.
The only transparency we see is their modus operandi: They try to control western members through an inner circle (usually young Koreans or willing Japanese). If they can't control western members, those western members are simply fired. They have no idea how to work in a pluralistic global world. There may be some exceptions such as Dr. Song [Yong Cheol Song] and Dr. Seuk [Joon Ho Seuk] in Europe. This is not an anti-Korean diatribe. We love those leaders from whatever nation that practice the principles and ethics of our True Parents and True Father.
I love the deep heart of Korea but something happens to these men when they are given absolute power. They think they can manipulate western members "for their own good" through this circle of dysfunctional people that mirror themselves. I say that because some of them have made serious personal mistakes and remain in a trusted position. Western members know this and see that they themselves are not trusted though they have followed True Parents for 35 years but these young, unproven people who waver in their faith are empowered over them. That is as long as they maintain the dysfunction themselves. This is a completely intolerable situation. We don't see any changes coming soon which is very unfortunate since our second generation are becoming aware of the real situation as they are very perceptive.
Our present leader has stayed a total of 4 weeks in 12 months in Australia. He travels who knows where doing who knows what and then comes in briefly for a few days and then barks orders and directions. He is not interested at all in any feedback. He berates us and threatens to fire us in a few months and has managed to alienate all our top leadership and members. There are many people who refuse to come when he speaks because of his crass way of speaking and the lack of foundation heartistically he has with people. He has given a total of 2 Sunday services in Sydney and 1 in Auckland in one year!! He declines to meet our AFP in Australia for some unknown reason. Even though he is in the same building when we have our AFP monthly meeting he has refused to come down even once to meet or even greet them. They notice this and ask me what is wrong. I don't know what to tell them frankly. I have never, in my life, witnessed such an attitude.
When he came to Oceania, he said he had two mortgages that we needed to pay for which came to which amounted to $5,000 US. He then travelled monthly to USA where his family lives once a month which average about $3000 US a month. That is a total of $8,000 US a month. This was double the amount ever paid to any Continental Director in our history and he did this knowing the incredible burden we had financially. The regional finances are now $11,000 in debt a month (of which his and his new Korean assistant is the bulk of). Since the only cushion of regional finances has disappeared, the accountant must use "True Father's Money" (or what is left of it, originally earmarked for Peace Embassies) beginning next month. We have reported this over and over again but Dr. Kim is in denial. He has brought people from Korea here, promised them money but now they will have to fundraise to survive which is illegal given their visa situation. This was another thing we warned him not to do but he again ignored these warnings.
The dysfunction is so rampant that two of his main staff (two Korean second gen) fell with each other 2 months ago and we are dealing with the aftermath of this. I personally warned Dr. Kim that this brother and sister should not go on a trip they planned together to meet "some friend" in Brisbane. Dr. Kim said he saw nothing wrong in their going even though this brother and sister are not matched to each other and both struggling in their faith. This was so obvious to us all but evidently not to Dr. Kim. The present Secretary General, Rev Greg Stone, was also very concerned about it and wrote to Dr. Kim as well. He said to him "if you are so concerned about it, speak to them". But it was too late. They had left with the approval of Dr. Kim, turned off their cell phones for that weekend and then fell with each other. The brother was sent home and now the sister continues to be his secretary. She is suffering tremendously as her role is so public. If this is not dysfunctional leadership, I do not know what is.
Dr. Kim's wife came for a visit in November but we have not seen her since. She does not call anyone or even know our names. True Father said that this is the age of BCF and that each couple should work together. The former Continental Director Dr. Yong kept his family here while he lives in Philippines and travels.
My conclusion is that the present Korean leadership, the Continental Directors, serve no positive function in a managerial role, whatsoever. In the early days the 36 and 72 couples despite all their idiosyncrasies and problems served a very good function in the US as elders. They showed True Father's heart and shared with us stories and insights into his course. I learned so much from them. I still maintain a beautiful relationship with many of them.
But this second tier is completely different. We never heard anything either from Dr. Yong or Dr. Kim about their meetings with True Father. We don't see or feel anything of Father's heart through them. They are like ambitious bureaucrats that are first looking to divide us and wrestle power from us in order to solidify their power base. This is not my personal opinion only but I would say the great majority of leaders and members. Believe me when I say that I am only writing this email because many have asked me to and I feel the situation has come to an unbearable point myself and I fear for the future of our movement.
My respectful suggestion would be that would be better off having approved and capable Korean leaders invited to our region to give a speech about Father's heart or tradition or to pass on the True Children's life style and insight once or twice a year but to continue to have them in such a managing role (kingly role as they understand it) is extremely detrimental to us all and even to them. We all have been following True Parents for 35 to 40 years. Surely with good supervision we could be allowed real ownership. The alternative is not a pleasant one.
Again I apologize for painting a far from rosy picture of our situation, but I feel compelled by conscience to speak on behalf of many of our leaders and members who would find it difficult to express this to you,
I am happy to meet and talk and even pay my own trip to Korea to discuss this with you if need be.
God Bless Your Ministry