The Words of Kook Jin Moon
True Parents stand with International President Rev. Hyung Jin Moon (far left) and Rev. Yeon Ah Lee Moon (far right) in front of Cheon Bok Gung.
Kook Jin Nim on Thursday met with six members of the Busan Unification Church board of elders who have declared their loyalty to the Kwak group. He met them directly for about three hours before going on to another appointment. Members of his staff stayed for another two hours to answer additional questions.
But first some background for those who may need it. My report of the actual meeting will follow in a separate note.
The Busan church is experiencing difficulty following a decision by its former minister, Jin Tae Choi, to reject the leadership of International President Hyung Jin Nim established by True Parents and to be loyal, instead, to Hyun Jin Nim. Choi revealed in recent remarks to a Kwak group gathering that he made this decision about two years ago.
For two years, Choi worked to convert his congregation away from True Parents. He did not pass on to his congregation any of the information sent out by the World Mission Department or Korea headquarters regarding the Kwak group's rebellion against True Parents. Instead, he had members of his congregation participate in Kwak group education events in Southeast Asia and Mongolia. His sermons were based on Hyun Jin Nim's words.
Choi managed to convert his assistant pastor and the two paid staff of the Busan church. He also converted several members of the board of elders. Still others chose to take what they called a "neutral" position. In this instance, though, a "neutral" position simply meant they stood by and did nothing to stop a crime.
During the spring and summer of 2011, an increasing number of members in Busan complained to the regional leader and the Korea headquarters that their minister's words and actions were inappropriate. Headquarters investigated and called Choi to Seoul on three separate occasions in an effort to convince him to change course. Choi obeyed the instructions to travel to Seoul, but he did not change his course. Headquarters staff also visited Busan to speak with various members there.
Headquarters finally acted in late September. Choi, his assistant pastor, and the two paid church staff were fired. This came as a shock to some members, because Choi and his staff had prevented them from knowing the facts that led up to this action. Choi sought to rally the congregation around himself and against the leadership established by True Parents. A statement against headquarters was published, and it was claimed that 100 or so eventually signed it out of a congregation of more than 300.
A check by headquarters revealed that more than half the people whose "signatures" were on the statement had not actually signed. Many were not even aware their names had been attached to the statement. Others said their names were signed by a parent or parent-in-law against their own vigorous protest.
Choi preached his last sermon on Oct. 2, but he did not go quietly. He again sought to rally the congregation around himself and against headquarters. He failed. On Oct. 9, Rev. Myung Jung Lee was installed on a temporary basis as the new minister. Rev. Lee will serve until a new full time minister can be installed.
Following his termination, Choi has opened an office of the Kwak group in Busan, and is continuing his efforts to convert Unification Church members and Ambassadors for Peace away from True Parents. The fired assistant pastor and eight of the 25 members of the Busan church board of elders are working with him. By their own choice, they have not attended services at the Busan church since Choi's departure.
The overwhelming majority of the Busan congregation have rejected their efforts and remain loyal to True Parents. Hyun Jin Nim recently visited Busan in an apparent effort to shore up the Kwak group's position there. Choi and others sent text messages to all Busan members encouraging them to attend Hyun Jin Nim's event, but only a handful responded. The Kwak group had to bus in supporters from other areas of Korea to inflate their head count.
On Thursday, Nov. 10, Kook Jin Nim visited Busan. He spoke in the morning at the Busan Chamber of Commerce building to a gathering of Ambassadors for Peace. In the afternoon, he spoke at the Busan Unification Church to a gathering of members. Then in the evening, he spoke to a small group that included six of the eight rebel elders.