The Words of Kook Jin Moon
Kook-jin nim spoke on July 29 at the headquarters church in Seoul after meeting the members in churches all over Korea.
Good morning, beloved members. I see many familiar faces today. I met many people on my tour; meeting the members deeply touched me. I am embarrassed to speak after such a good speech by church president Rev. Hwang. It's been almost two and a half years since Father told me to speak here. Many people were concerned, but I honestly did not have the experience. When I first came to Korea, I could not speak Korean well. I spoke like a three-year-old, didn't I? [Laughter]
In any case, I came and Father wanted me to take charge of the Foundation. I had run a business for ten years, so I knew something about business. Yet, our Foundation is not just a business; it is also connected to the church. I feel that church affairs are important.
Until recently, my family and Family Federation members have not had a lot of time to spend together, so we haven't gotten to know each other. I am grateful that I was able to get to know you all during the last two and a half years. I was also able to learn a lot by seeing what my parents have been doing through the churches. Thank you.
However, there is still much to do if we are to develop the Korean church. That is why I wish to explore ways with you of making our churches better. I want personally to know what our members are thinking, feeling and wondering about. It's not easy for a person in the position of a church president or a company chairman to actually hear the voices from the field. Once you are in the position of holding overall responsibility, you can hear what you want to hear constantly. If you want to hear only what pleases you, even if it is unrelated to reality, many people who will provide that for you.
As someone in charge, if you really wish to produce results, the most important things for you to hear are what you don't want to hear. I think that is the most important aspect of being in charge. I heard many things as I went around the churches. Not everything I heard was nice. I met people who weren't fond of me. (Even now, I think there are some people here who don't like me.) Yet, I think that's legitimate. Everyone has his or her own opinion. Leaders must guide and lead others. If they do a good job, they are praised; if they do not, they are punished. I was able to talk to people and came to understand them. I am grateful for the fact that we can understand each other. I know that your position is not an easy one. Yet, I too was not comfortable, because my job involved many difficult situations.
When Father first called me, it really was a burden to me. I came to Korea, went around our businesses and was concerned by what I saw. There wasn't a single company in our Tongil Group that was making money. That reality was hard to swallow. When I first came here in January 2005, I began to tour all our companies. We had thirty-four companies, but nearly 70 percent of the companies were doing poorly, and as a whole, the group was not doing well. Visiting the companies, I could feel the weight of what I had been entrusted with.
My shoulders were heavy whenever I had to report to Father. Yet, despite the fact that our companies were losing money or were not doing well, the people who were entrusted with these companies were comfortable where they were. It was disturbing to see that they did not feel accountable for what was going on. I got rid of the companies that were losing the most money. In two years, we disposed of eleven companies. We had to close down or sell them; some went into bankruptcy; we sold off others, but it was difficult. That was just the beginning.
The companies that remain are still weak. From that point, we began to restructure companies. This is not an easy task. Has anybody here ever been in charge of a company? Some people here have. If you want to take charge and protect a company, you have to have a sense of ownership toward it. What is an owner? He is someone who takes care of his employees before receiving anything himself. In other words, an owner is like a slave. He is a slave that lives for the sake of the company employees. He should only do the difficult work.
Have you ever had to terminate someone's employment? You might think it is bad for a leader to dismiss people. You might wonder how a person could be so cruel or how anyone could make others suffer so much. But dismissing people as a part of restructuring a company is not done to make them suffer; it is done to keep the company alive. If the company fails, all the employees go down with it. If you can't save 100 percent of the company, you may have to dismiss thirty of the employees to save even 50 or 60 or 70 percent of the company. That is why I fired people.
Some cried; others were furious. But you have to actually be in a position where you fire people to understand how that feels. I don't know if the people in charge of the church-related companies were able to feel their responsibility. They lacked a sense of accountability. The companies have improved since then, but they are still weak. For the sake of the companies, and because there was no other way, I dismissed people. I did it without sentimentality. Yet, because we did that, our companies improved.
Take Segye Ilbo for example. For years it was losing money. Each year, it was losing more than W30 billion. Segye Ilbo is one of the companies that Father treasures; it is central to the providence. People said that Segye Ilbo was untouchable; and it had its own labor union. People told me the way it was being run was the only way because it isn't' easy dealing with the reporters and their people. I kept on hearing people say that Segye Ilbo was untouchable because the labor laws in Korea are so complex.
When I first went to the district headquarters and met the president of Segye Ilbo, I told him that I was compelled to do a restructuring of the company; there was no other way. He told me it wasn't possible, and I shouldn't do it. As it happened, Father directed that the president be changed, and that's when we began the difficult task. The result was that we dismissed 100 people, and the deficit is half of what it was. From W30 billion, it is now losing 15 billion. We also greatly reduced the printing expenses, but our advertisement sales figures went up. We were able to increase sales while cutting costs, and the quality of our newspaper did not drop. We also won awards. Segye Ilbo has improved to a certain degree.
Take Ilhwa for another example: for thirty consecutive years, it was in the red. When I came in 2005, it was losing money. I was so busy restructuring and selling other companies that I was unable to take a good look at Ilhwa. A year passed; it lost more than W6 billion in 2006. It kept losing money so I created the Ilhwa Task Force Team (TFT) to do something about it. I sent this restructuring team to Ilhwa, and they went in and examined the company. The result of their investigation showed the situation of one particular department was hopeless, so we had to reorganize it.
We let go of 120 people in the first phase of the restructuring. Through restructuring the company, Ilhwa is no longer in the red; it's now in the black.
Now Ilhwa is doing even better. We think that in 2007 it will make somewhere between W33 to W35 billion. It's not just Ilhwa, though. All the companies in our group have improved. The Tongil companies in Changwon had never made a penny in all their history. Yet after our restructuring, they are now beginning to make money. Since it was built thirty-six years ago by the Ssangyong Group [the company we bought it from], Yong Pyong Resort has lost money. In 2005, it lost W20 billion. The resort, too, is now beginning to make money.
We have been very busy. When I came to Korea Father acquired Central City, but we had no profit. The company had a tremendous amount of debt on its balance sheet, but we made W27 billion in 2005, and all our companies got better. We were able to reap substantial results. A third person observer would say that we have produced great results. There wasn't a company whose performance declined. I was criticized terribly.
I wanted to know why there were leaders who were criticizing me while I was improving our movement as a whole. This comes from a problem our church has of not looking at actual results. Some say the reason the companies improved was that they were originally a good purchase; or they would've gotten better even without doing anything. But look at the past. Have our companies ever improved like that? In 1997, our group declared bankruptcy. That was the result of a problem within our church culture.
They were talking gibberish; it was a church problem. From now on, I hope we can focus on results -- on the actual results that are made. Unless we rectify this enduring culture, it's just going to be more difficult. The companies in society that grow do so because their results are continually evaluated. I am also like that. I honestly announce results in front of people. This is transparency. People can think about it and evaluate whether the person in charge is doing a good job or not. Evaluation is important. When we hold these rallies, people can say nice things and make you feel good, but what use is it to feel good for a day but go on without any development?
Actually, I am not such an eloquent speaker. I never had a church ministry. I'm just in charge of two businesses. Yet, the development of an organization does not occur through speaking alone. It develops through actual results. That is the responsibility of the person running the organization. When I manage a company, I actually listen more than I speak. I spend most of the time-about 90 percent of it-interviewing and listening to people talk. We can develop by listening to others. I do not just listen to the people in charge; I go down the chain to the very bottom. That is why I can make the right decisions for the organization as a whole.
From now on, we all should listen to others. I think it would be best if our movement were one where our church and its leaders listened to what others say. Strangely enough, Unification Church leaders are quite talented at giving speeches. Our members are full of passion, but sometimes they are so involved in speaking that they forget to listen to others. How can we become close to one another in this situation? It pushes us away from each other. A church can develop when people feel close to each other in heart. We should be living like family within our church; then people would want to join it. I believe that we should make it into that kind of church. What do you think?
If we are to do that, there are many difficult tasks ahead of us. This is just a beginning; it won't be easy. Yet, if we bring our hearts together and work together -- recognizing each other and listening to one another -- we can grow. The word Father has given us is so precious. In my tour of the churches, I have read Father's speech more than a hundred and twenty times. This short speech has so much depth. I was moved. We always listen to this precious message, yet we must not keep it to ourselves. It is our responsibility to spread it to the entire world. I will now read from Father's speech.
Kook-jin nim reads Peace Message 1, and then continues speaking:
Isn't Father's speech beautiful? Have you ever taken time to delve into his speeches? It's like a poem, isn't it? Poems are short but their content is deep. Father talks about how we should live as an individual and a family; how societies and the world should be. He is talking about Cheon Il Guk. I read this same speech on each stop of my tour. While on the earth, didn't Jesus say, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? Father adds to this and tells us that we should even love our enemies
That is what true love is. Do you know how amazing what Father says is when he tells us that God's essence is true love? Not a single person in history has ever explained God's essence. Yet, Father talks not only about God's essence; if you read his speech, he speaks about the ideal. He explains about God's essence and says that the ideal is for us to be centered on true love and that true love is living for the sake of others and even loving one's enemies. If we can develop our lives with that essence as our goal, we can resemble God. If we live immersed in true love as God does, not living for our own sake, but for the sake of the whole, we can become people who can receive true love.
Not living for one's own sake, but for the sake of the whole. This would be a democratic society with true love at the center. A democratic society, where an individual has a central position. This is nothing other than the nation of Cheon Il Guk. So, if you read these speeches, you are really great! They explain how people are to live as individuals, in a society, in the world and in the kingdom of heaven. The explanation is all there. Father's words of truth are God's words. We cannot help feeling thankful in front of True Parents, can we? We cannot help feeling respect. Isn't it true that because we have received such precious words from them, we cannot help but take responsibility? Thank you.
Our most beloved Heavenly Father, we have gathered here today in our headquarters church in Seoul, Korea, the same place where our True Father has spoken many times, giving light and inspiration to Your people, speaking Your words to the world.
Father, we are truly grateful for all the truths and teachings that You have given us and for Your explanation of Your essence and our responsibility to inherit that love from You, and Your aspiration for all of mankind to become people who can truly live for the sake of one another with a truly parental heart, where we can love all our brothers and sisters as You, our Heavenly Father, would love them, and to create a world and a society where we all pursue the good of all, Father.
We're truly honored and grateful that You have given us the opportunity to participate in this great work at this historic time in the providence. I pray that although in many ways we continue to fail You every day we may at least, with each breath that we take, try to improve our lives so that we can emulate Your love, Father, and so that we can reflect that love to others all around us to create a happier and healthier society for all of mankind.
Father, we are truly grateful for the abundant blessings that you have given us. And I truly pray that you may give our True Parents strength and health, and You may keep them well. For we truly need them here with us for many years to come.
I pray You may be with all of our brothers and sisters who have dedicated their lives and who are working so hard on Your behalf in their public missions; and that you may be with all of our members and all the people of the world that they, too, in their lives, may learn to live a more just and loving life and that they, too, can reflect Your true love to their brothers and their sisters, their neighbors and their children and their relatives. Father, I pray with a grateful heart for all the blessings that I have received and which You have given to all of us. All these things I pray in the name of Kook-jin Moon, central blessed family. Aju