The Words of Kook Jin Moon
Kook-jin nim, accompanied by Ji-yea nim, spoke to a mainly Japanese audience at the "Original Divine Principle Workshop" on June 15 at the Chung Pyung Heaven and Earth Training Center. What follows are extracts from what he said that day.
Hello brothers and sisters. It's very good to see you today. Yesterday I had the chance to go to Changwon to visit our church there to present "thank you" awards for the Cheon Bok Gung donations. There has been a big improvement in that church. In a very short time (a year) it has grown substantially. The congregation has doubled in size and donations have increased by a similar amount.
The atmosphere was full of life. The church was overflowing. I was very happy to see such an improvement in such a short time.
Our international president began his ministry in Mapo, Seoul. This was the start of our church reform in Korea. His ministry has been very successful in a year and a half. He soon moved to the Headquarters Church, which he has grown to more than five thousand registered members.
Some other church leaders have been saying that they can't create that kind of success here in Korea. After looking at how much the church in Changwon has grown because of the change in church policies, though, those church leaders and other members can no longer say that. If our church is well run and our church leaders are ministering well, our church can grow here in Korea successfully. The Changwon church is a good example.
As you know, we have been doing some very difficult restructuring in the Korean church. We have been encouraging the smaller churches to merge and unite, so that we can create viable churches; these would have a greater economic foundation, greater ability to provide better services for the members, to provide education for the second generation and to create a better church environment, as well as better church meetings. That policy as a whole is working.
Recently we had another round of mergers in the Korean church, which we encouraged, and that is having a very positive effect. I know that a number of our church leaders were very concerned about the changes in the organization. We really appreciate their ability to look at the overall welfare of the church and to think about the church as whole. Because they have looked at it from that perspective, they were able to accept the changes and cooperate in building a more successful church.
You may only see that these mergers are reducing the number of churches, but the result is not that we have fewer church members. More members are coming to church. This is a very important thing to understand. We are doing this restructuring to prepare the foundation for growth and development, and for the future prosperity of the church. As a result, we are seeing very good indicators that our church will become more successful. We are therefore optimistic about the future.
We have also introduced the video center education system that has run very successfully in Japan for many years. Our leaders here were saying that that system cannot work in Korea because the Japanese and Korean cultures are different.
When I came to Korea, I was told that many times, but I didn't think it was true, so I decided to build a Japanese-run video center in Korea. Instead of picking a Korean leader to run it, we picked Japanese leaders. Mrs. Erikawa is responsible for that organization, and under her is another Japanese sister who is the head of the video center. The staff is Japanese, but the lecturers are Korean sisters.
Since we started this system, it has been working. Our courses are fully booked. There are two hundred people going through the program right now, even making donations to Cheon Bok Gung... these are Koreans! [Applause]
As we build Cheon Bok Gung, we are also going to open another video education center, in Cheon Bok Gung itself.
As it is a very effective education system, we will continue to educate our church leaders and members in Korea about how the system runs and why it works, and how to run it properly to bring results. So, once the system is properly started here in Korea we can continuously grow and develop the church. With the church reform we are implementing now, with the reorganization and the introduction of the witnessing system, there is a great deal of hope for the future of the Korean church.
As you know, our businesses here in Korea have gone from losing quite a bit of money to being profitable. The management structures here have improved quite a bit, and so the organizations in Korea have become stronger and sounder than they have ever been. These are good and positive signs.
We are hopeful that we can achieve the vision we have given to our brothers and sisters in Japan and all over the world that through the Cheon Bok Gung providence, building the new headquarters church in Korea, that we will be able to gather up to twenty-one thousand members. Actually the church will have the capacity for almost forty thousand registered members. So we can build, with the current facilities, quite a large church here in Korea, and when we move to the completion stage and build completion-level Cheon Bok Gung for two hundred and ten thousand members, we will have the largest single church in Korea. When we have accomplished that, we will have built a church foundation through which we can directly pursue the creation of Cheon Il Guk. That is the mission of witnessing to the entire nation of Korea. As we build an institution, a church, that is so significant in size, we will be in a position whereby we can communicate directly with the nation of Korea through the media, to explain True Parents' teachings and the meaning of inheriting the true love of God. So we see the great potential to fulfill our providential vision here in Korea, and that is really our hope for the future.
You know, every time God blesses us, He also gives us a very big challenge. In the Korean church things have changed quite a bit and now the organization is functioning. Yet in Japan we face some quite serious challenges, and we have done a lot of work to try to fix our problems there. But as a result of those challenges, our ability to conduct some of our activities in Japan has been reduced.
There are organizations in Japan that are very dedicated to trying to persecute our church, especially anti-Unification Church attorneys. Their purpose is not to have us fix the problems, which we are sincere about doing, but their goal is to destroy the Unification Movement. We want to persuade them that, yes, we want to fix our problems, but that it is not okay to persecute our church. Our Japanese brothers and sisters are very good people who have a very good motivation to serve God and the nation. All of you have truly led very sacrificial lives. The faith that we hold as Unification Church members is a profound one. We are a religious institution and we have been living religious lives. No one in society can say we are not. Those who insist on attacking us by saying we are not a religious institution are carrying out religious persecution. That is going too far. We cannot accept unfair persecution. Where we have areas to improve, we can accept that criticism and better our organization, but to persecute us to the extent of saying we are not a religion is unacceptable.
Our brothers and sisters in Japan have lived very devoted lives. Our opponents -- anti-Unification Church groups -- have been violating our human rights quite extremely. They have been kidnapping our brothers and sisters and even torturing them. From what I understand, nearly five thousand of our brothers and sisters were kidnapped over the past twenty years. Yet the police department has done little to address this gross violation of our human rights and of the rights of our members to believe what they desire to believe and what they know to be true. We have begun to look into this problem.
We have started to collect testimonies of some of our brothers and sisters who were kidnapped. They have gone through tremendous trauma...
Yet, this is our mistake too, because we have not made society clearly aware of this issue. We need to be more vocal about our rights as human beings. We need to express to the police, "Okay, if you find some problems in our organization, we'll fix them. But why don't you deal with the criminal behavior the anti-Unification Church groups are perpetrating? Why do you only listen to their accusations about our church but not stop their criminal kidnapping of our adult Japanese members?"
This is a serious problem. We need to become aware of those forces in Japan who really want nothing other than to destroy our church. This is something which together as a community we have to make clear to the Japanese government and to vocalize. Step by step within our church we have to discuss these very serious issues. We need to organize and find the best way to represent our sincere religious convictions to society. This is so that although they may not agree with our beliefs, they can understand we have basic human rights and the right to believe in the religion we choose.
Brothers and sisters, we have some great challenges in front of us, but we cannot let these challenges overwhelm us, nor can we sit by and let people falsely accuse us without protesting against them.
With the help of God and the help of our faith and love for all our brothers and sisters -- our love for each other, and for God and True Parents -- we will overcome these difficult challenge and build in Japan a new Unification Movement, where we truly fulfill the promise our True Parents have given us to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth, including in the nation of Japan, by restoring -- through witnessing -- all of the nation's people.
Thank you very much.