Unification News for February 1999
In Prison Again
by Linna Rapkins
It was May 1955 when the fourteen young women were evicted from Ehwa University. Around this time, Won Pil Kim and Grandmother Oak arrived from Pusan to join the group. It was a most interesting time to arrive, because Seoul was in an uproar over Father by this time.
It had started with the events at Ehwa University, and was followed by worse and worse treatment. Now, all Seoul seemed to be out to get Father and his members.
First, the newspaper men had heard about the students being kicked out, and they wanted interviews. They had heard rumors that, once a person goes into Teacher Moon's house, they never come out again. So day after day, they hovered around the church building, badgering the members with questions and trying to snap pictures of Teacher Moon.
"Who is this dangerous fanatic?" they asked again and again.
"Why would you give up your education for a crazy man? Did he lock you up? Did he torture you?"
"Does he hide your shoes so you can't leave?"
"Does he keep all the young pretty girls in a back room?"
"He's an electrical engineer, right? Did he install an electrical gadget that brainwashes people?"
To make their stories more interesting, they often added details of their own. One story proclaimed, "There are three doors at Unification Church. When you go through the first door, you have to take off your shoes and jacket. When you go through the second door you have to take off your outer clothes. When you pass through the third door, you have to take off everything!"
Headlines screamed, "Naked people stay in basement of Unification Church!" It didn't matter to them that no one had ever seen a naked person there or that the building didn't even have a basement!
There was one woman who kept wondering about all the rumors. Were they true? What if they were just lies? What if God DID speak through this man? She really wanted to know. But what if they WERE true? What if she went there and they took off all her clothes? That would be just too terrible.
Still, she couldn't get it off her mind. So one day she gathered up all her courage and prepared to go. Over her long Korean dress she put on a second set of clothes, and over that she put on a third set of clothes. That way, if they started taking her clothes off, maybe she could escape with some of them still on.
Filled with fear, she entered the first door. The members welcomed her warmly. She took off her shoes voluntarily, because that's what you do in Korea., No one mentioned taking off anything else. She went trembling through the second door. Nothing happened. And then the third door. She still had all three sets of clothes on! Then she sat down for the lectures and learned the truth about Unification Church. Soon she was a member.
There were people who remembered Father from Pyongyang or Taegu, and they spread some of the same old lies about him. Negative parents of the students wanted Father arrested and they filed a court case. Things were really getting hysterical.
On July 4, 1955, the reporters were especially annoying. "This must be the Day of Persecution," observed Mr. Eu. In the evening, when two investigators showed up at the rickety door, he knew he was right.
"Where is Moon," they asked. "We want to ask him some questions at the police station. "
Father came to the door. "You can ask questions here," he offered. "Please come in."
The investigators paused a moment, looking around a bit fearfully. "Well, we have our car right here. We can just take you to the station where there is more privacy. We'll bring you right back," they promised.
Father consented, and Mr. Eu and Young Oon Kim went along. They were both thinking the same thing, "He might need us. "
At the station, however, they were not allowed to go into the same room with Father. Soon one of the investigators nudged them toward the door. "You don't need to stay," he told them. "We're taking good care of him. We'll bring him back in our car. "
Mr. Eu and Miss Kim went back to the church and waited with the others. But--Father didn't come back.
That night, Mr. Eu could hardly sleep. "Why, oh why did I leave Sun Sengnim?" he lamented, tossing and turning on his mat, tears trickling onto his rice pillow. "I'm no better than Peter. I failed my Teacher. "
Next morning, everyone eagerly awaited Father's return. They peered down the path, but there was no sign of him. Then someone brought the daily newspapers, and they were shocked to see the headlines, "Moon Sun Myung arrested!"
"That does it," said Mr. Eu slapping his hand on his knee. "I'm going back. If they arrest me--well, fine, let it be so." He limped out the door. There would be no lectures today.
When he reached the police station, some of the family members were already there. "Where is Sun Sengnim?" asked Mr. Eu anxiously. No one knew.
They waited. They went around buying all the newspapers they could find so no one else could read the lies about Father. Then they waited in a nearby teahouse, discussing what to do.
When they returned to the station, Mr. Eu was told to go into one of the investigation rooms. As he walked down the hall, he glanced into another room and was shocked to see young Won Pil Kim sitting in a hard chair. An investigator was questioning him and giving him a slap every now and then.
"Why aren't you in the army?" yelled the investigator in his face. "Fellows your age should be soldiers. Did you run away?" Whack! Won Pil Kim struggled not to fall over, but he said nothing.
Soon, Mr. Eu was sitting in a hard chair in another room, and they were yelling questions into his face. "Why do you imprison people in your house? Why do you force them to stay three days in your stinky place?"
Mr. Eu answered all the unfair questions the best he could. The room was hot and his stomach was empty. He felt nauseous. But he could only think how much worse it must be for Father.
Finally, he was released, and he went home with the other members. Everyone looked worried and forlorn--like sheep who had lost their shepherd. This persecution was making some of them stronger in their faith and more determined, but some of them were being filled with doubts. Maybe the newspapers were right. Maybe Teacher Moon really was evil.
The next morning, the members went to the station to be as close to their beloved Teacher as they could. Praying together and singing the song about "Can even death stop me?" had given them greater courage. Again, they waited as each member was questioned. By the end of the day, Won Pil Kim was arrested. There was still no news of Father.
Four more days went by like this. Then came Sunday evening, and an investigator appeared at the door to arrest Mr. Eu.
"Good!" he thought to himself. "Perhaps now I will see Sun Sengnim." Later, however, a disappointed Mr. Eu was released, and he had caught no glimpse of Father.
The next day, he and two others were arrested again and held at the East Gate jail. It was the first time in his life he had ever been locked behind bars, and it felt very strange to him. But all he could think of was, "Where is Sun Sengnim?"
At dawn, they were taken off to the Chong No Station--and there, at last, Mr. Eu found Father! He greeted Father and Won Pil Kim, feeling more joyful than he had felt in weeks as the gates clanged shut behind him.
Before long, the police came in, bound them all together by the wrists and led them into a waiting car. They were going to court.
As the vehicle pulled out, they saw faithful family members along the way. They looked extremely upset and tears were streaming down, so Mr. Eu stuck his head out and told them, "Dear brothers and sisters, don't worry. We're all right. Just PRAY a lot."
As they struggled out of the car at the station, their wrists hurting from being bound so tightly, Father didn't complain or look upset. He just said, "We are bound together for eternity. Nothing can ever separate us now. Let us be determined to fight even unto death."
These words gave them strength, and they affirmed in unison, "Nai, Sun Sengnim (Yes, Teacher). Their voices sounded strong, but Father turned to Mr. Eu and added, "Hyo Won, you are having a hard time, aren't you?"
Mr. Eu bowed his head. He was trying to be cheerful, but it wasn't so easy. "I'm sorry, Sun Sengnim," he said softly. "I just feel that it is because of our mistakes that you are in trouble. You're innocent, and yet you're going to jail." Tears welled up in his eyes, and he tried to wipe them on his shoulder.
Father just pressed his lips together and seemed to go into deep thought. He loved Mr. Eu and all the others, but he couldn't always show it.
That night they were taken to still another prison--West Gate Prison. They arrived after midnight, tired and hungry, and were herded into Building 6, Ward 9.
They were separated into different cells this time, so they couldn't talk to each other. Before arriving, Father--being experienced in prison life--had told them to memorize each other's cell numbers. Instead of being called by name, they would be called by cell number. This way, they would know what was happening to each other.
It was not pleasant in these cells, but the worst was yet to come. After two days, they were taken to court to be questioned. The police led 24 prisoners, including Father and the five members, into a little holding room that was barely large enough for two twin beds. It was July 15, the hottest time of the year. They couldn't sit down, so they stood all day, at times leaning against each other for support. Sweat poured down and drenched their clothes. They were hungry, and so thirsty their mouths felt like sandpaper. Was this Seoul, Korea? Or was this hell?
All day, they waited. But their numbers were not called, and finally they were taken back to jail. They were kept there for two more weeks.
During this time, they felt very close to each other, even though they were in different cells. They each had a tiny high window. Every morning, Won Pil Kim climbed up on the lid of the ceramic bucket which served as a toilet, and bowed to Father. Father would see him and bow back. When he did this, Won Pil Kim received more energy for the day.
He decided do in this prison what Father had done in Hung Nam prison--to keep a very strict schedule and wash himself every morning with a wet towel. It wasn't as easy as he might have thought. First, he had to wake himself up very early with no alarm clock. Then the guards kept wanting to know what he was doing. So he came to understand something about Father's experience at Hung Nam Prison where conditions were much worse.
July 29 came, the 22nd day of prison life, and they were finally brought to trial. Again, they were all bound together and led into the courtroom to be questioned.
Those innocent young men, who only wanted to work for Heavenly Father, who only wanted to make the world heavenly, were found guilty--guilty of brainwashing, guilty of being with women, and finally, when they couldn't think of anything else, guilty of evading the army.
The sentence was announced by the judge: "Moon Sun Myung gets 2 years! Eu Hyo Won gets 2 years! The others get 1 year!"
Everyone gasped. It was totally unfair.
While they were serving their time in prison, the rumors on the outside kept getting crazier. Many of the members became confused and left. Parents kidnapped their grown children from the church. Newspapers printed wild stories. It seemed that everyone in Seoul hated Sun Myung Moon.
After two months of this, there was good news. A member brought the news to the prisoners: "You will be released this evening!"
"Are you sure?" asked Mr. Eu in disbelief. "Is it official?"
"Yes, it's all set," came the reply.
Won Pil Kim was looking out his window. "THIS evening?" he cried out.
"Yes, this evening," answered Mr. Eu with a loud voice. It sounded so definite, but underneath, no one could really be certain.
They gathered their things. They waited. The evening ticked away. Nothing happened. Finally, disappointed, they lay down to sleep. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never. You just never knew.
Then, in the middle of their dreams, they suddenly heard, "Clank, clank!" A door was being unlocked and opened.
A voice shouted into the darkness, "380, come out with all your things!" That was Mr. Eu.
As he passed by Father, he murmured, "Why me? What's going on?"
"Go quickly," answered Father. "That's just the way it is., and don't worry about it!"
Tears came to Mr. Eu's eyes as he limped away. Could he leave his dear Teacher? Should he? Before he could think further, church members reached out and helped him into a waiting jeep, and he was on his way home.
One week later, all six men were called to appear in court. This time, a new judge pronounced Father and Mr. Eu innocent. The others had to finish their one year sentences for evading the army but were pronounced innocent of the other charges. (Actually, Father appealed this, and the others were released one month. later.)
After three months in prison, Father was free at last! The family members had lined up outside the prison gates to welcome him, and everyone was smiling. They all went home in a rented bus. It was October 4, 1955--a victorious and glorious day!
Another happy event took place three days later: they moved. While Father was in prison, the family members had somehow scraped together some money and, for the first time, they bought their own building. It was an old Buddhist temple on a winding little street in the Chong Pa Dong area. Neglected for several years, it had become shabby and absolutely filthy.
Now that they had scoured it thoroughly, it seemed like a palace. There was a big meeting room, where they could all easily assemble. Behind the meeting room were a number of smaller rooms on two levels which could be used for living space. In the front of the building was a stone courtyard overlooking the rooftops of Seoul.
A big celebration was prepared as a welcome home party for Father. The treats were passed out by Father himself--one apple and a few pastries for each person. It was a banquet. Poetry was recited. Songs were sung. And Father sang songs of heaven.
The heavenly pioneers of this small group were truly bound together for eternity.
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