Unification News for January and February 2001

Witness to the Word Incarnate

Review by Bob Selle

Messiah: My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Volume I (published by University Press of America, 405 pages), by Dr. Bo Hi Pak

In Messiah: My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Volume I, Dr. Bo Hi Pak undertakes a first- ever autobiography that provides a wealth of heart-touching descriptions of never-before-heard details about the lives of Dr. Pak and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. It frequently had me in tears. In fact, I find the book to be eminently suitable for Hoon Dok Hae reading.

Volume I of Messiah is entirely different in content and character from Dr. Pak's previous two- volume work, Truth Is My Sword, which is a collection of his speeches over the course of four decades.

One of the anecdotes in Messiah relates the tale of a young lieutenant of the Republic of Korea army’s Ninth Division, 28th Regiment who visited a house of prostitution in Seoul during the Korean War, after the Chinese army had been pushed north of the 38th Parallel.

Such a visit was hardly unusual, for streams of soldiers on leave were constantly cycling in and out of South Korea’s capital city to take their pleasure in the profusion of bars and bordellos that had sprung up since the war's onset.

The young lieutenant, who had been ordered by his superior officer to come with him and a group of other officers to the kisaeng house, participated with the group in a sumptuous meal in a warm, multi- room house, one of the relative few that remained standing amid the rubble of Seoul. Then the lieutenant was ordered by his boisterous commander to go to a private room with the prostitute who had been assigned to him.

The kisaeng and Lt. Bo Hi Pak—for the young officer was indeed the future Dr. Pak, who would become translator and special assistant for decades to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon—retired to a room together. The woman tried to coax the young man into an intimate relationship, but he had taken a personal vow to remain pure until he could offer his virginity to his future wife.

That night, the two slept in the same bed but didn’t touch each other.

This is just one of a parade of fascinating stories told by Dr. Pak in his new book.

He starts with tales of his youth—his life on a farm, his relationships with his mother and father, his occupation as a schoolteacher, and the miracles it took for him to enter the Korean Military Academy.

Then he tells of the horrors of the war and the marvels that surrounded his wartime life. He says it all prepared him to hear and understand the Divine Principle of the Rev. Moon.

Dr. Pak relates how he was introduced to the Principle through meeting Miss Young Oon Kim, a former theology professor who worked as a secretary on Dr. Pak’s military base, and the thunderbolt experience it was for him to hear the new teaching. He provides a running account of the ways in which Miss Kim taught him, the teaching itself (from the Principle of Creation through the proof that the Lord of the Second Advent is on earth and that he is none other than Rev. Moon), and the excitement and thrill it stirred in him.

The author gives a capsule biography of Rev. Moon to acquaint the reader with the high points of the religious leader’s extraordinary life.

Then Dr. Pak moves on to how he experienced the "miracle" of being chosen as the assistant military attaché in the South Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. He describes the support and sendoff he got from Rev. Moon as the young army major went off to the embassy in America's capital city.

Once settled in his embassy duties in Washington, Dr. Pak began to hold lectures on the Divine Principle in the basement of his home. The room soon became crowded with listeners. This eventually stirred controversy in the American Christian community, which spilled over into the Korean Embassy and then into the press in Korea itself. But Dr. Pak was able to come through it all unscathed. His evangelizing laid the foundation for the Unification Church to be established in the eastern part of the United States.

After a three-and-a-half-year tour of embassy duty, Dr. Pak, then a lieutenant colonel, retired from his beloved military. But he soon returned to America and Washington, this time as a full-time Unification Church missionary.

Dr. Pak gives amazing behind-the-scenes details about Rev. Moon’s first American visit in 1965 (Father stayed three months in Dr. Pak’s home in Arlington, Virginia), Rev. Moon's arrival in the U.S. on December 18, 1971, his 1972-1974 speaking tours, and the providentially pivotal rallies at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, the Washington Monument, and Moscow.

The author translated for Father during his public addresses -- and, indeed, for most of his private talks to Western church members as well over the course of 25 years. Of his trials as a translator, he says: "Because Reverend Moon was not using prepared texts, there was no way for a translator to prepare for one of his speeches—except to pray. Honestly speaking, the first time I translated for him, at the ‘Day of Hope Banquet’ in Baltimore, I doubt that I was able to convey even as much as half of Reverend Moon’s message. I could not stop sweating." Over the course of his two-and-a-half decades of translating, he says, the perspiration he shed could probably have filled several big barrels.

Dr. Pak also gives an in-depth account of what went on in private during Rev. Moon's involvement in the Watergate crisis and in his meeting with President Nixon.

The waves of persecution set off by Father's Watergate stance are also spotlighted in Dr. Pak's book. They culminated at one point in former Congressman Donald Fraser's attempt to demonize the Unification Church and use this action as a stepping-stone to greater personal political power. Dr. Pak relates in some detail the "crucifixion" Fraser put him through in forcing his appearance before his House Subcommittee on International Organizations to answer ludicrous charges that the Unification Church was a creation and tool of the Seoul government.

The book closes with Fraser's ignominious exit from national politics. Dr. Pak ends the volume by saying, "The Lord is my shepherd," an apt motto for his entire life.

Volume II of Messiah, due out later this year, will provide an insider's report on such milestones as the founding of The Washington Times and Father's meetings with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and North Korean President Kim Il Sung.

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