40 Years in America

Rev. And Mrs. Moon's Declaration Of Messiahship

The participation of both Rev. and Mrs. Moon. In other words, any declaration of messiahship had to be a joint declaration. Mrs. Moon was widely respected for her dedication to Rev. Moon, for her grace and charm, and for having borne fourteen children. Nevertheless, her public activities were limited.

This all changed in 1991-1992. On September 17, 1991, Mrs. Moon traveled to Tokyo where she was the principal speaker at a rally of approximately 7,000 members of the Women’s Federation for Peace in Asia (WFPA). She also spoke to numerous large and small gatherings of the church. Then on November 20th, she spoke before a gathering of 15,000 WFPA members at Seoul’s Chamshil Stadium. There she stated that "in past history, the ‘logic of power’ had been ruling" but that the present age demanded the "feminine ‘logic of love’ to solve...problems and lead history in a proper way." On April 10, 1992, Mrs. Moon delivered the keynote address before a filled Seoul Olympic Stadium at the inauguration of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP). There she testified that "The Reverend Sun Myung Moon...and I, Hak Ja Han Moon, standing in the position of the True Parents...have walked the course of worldwide indemnity so that all humanity may be liberated from their bondage." In his "Congratulatory Address," Rev. Moon was less explicit about their identity, stating only that the "True Parents...will appear in this age and on this earth as Koreans, and lead the world into an age of peace and a unified world." He also proclaimed the beginning of the "Age of Women." According to a major movement leader, Rev. Moon passed "all his victorious foundation" to Mrs. Moon during the founding WFWP rally.

Following her address at Seoul Olympic Stadium, Mrs. Moon undertook a twenty-one city speaking tour in South Korea between May 11-June 2, 1992. This was followed by a "new round of speaking tours" in forty major Korean cities between June 10-30th. Mrs. Moon delivered two speeches each day, "a morning speech in one city, usually at 10:30 a.m., and a second speech at 3:30 p.m. in another city." During the same period, several of the Moon’s elder children delivered speeches in twenty additional cities, bringing the total number of WFWP speeches delivered to eighty-one by the end of June. All of these speeches were preparatory to a culminating WFWP four-city tour between July 6-9, 1992, which featured joint appearances by Rev., and Mrs. Moon. This time, Rev. Moon took the lead in publicly and unambiguously announcing their position. In a speech, entitled "The Reappearance of the True Parents and the Ideal Family," he declared,

I have fulfilled my mission as Lord of the Second Advent, Savior and the True Parent. I am proclaiming this in this place because the time has come to do so. Those who accept this will be blessed. If this race listens to me, how good that would be for this country. How good it would be, if the statesmen listen to me.

The breaking down of cultural and racial barriers was emphasized during Mrs. Moon’s speaking tours.

He also stated that Mrs. Moon had come to stand in an "equal position" with him. Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s speeches, delivered to WFWP audiences totaling some 73,000 in Chungju, Pusan, Kwanju and Seoul were subsequently published in national newspapers throughout Korea. However, these pronouncements were limited to Korea. There remained the challenge of declaring their messiahship on the world stage.

The venue for this was the first Word Culture and Sports Festival held in Seoul, August 19-30, 1992. Rev. Moon stated his intention of sponsoring an "Olympics of World Culture" following the conclusion of the Seoul Olympics in 1988. The World Culture and Sports Festival essentially represented the culmination of Rev. Moon’s worldwide activity, bringing together representatives from all of the organizations he had initiated. The Festival included the nineteenth International Conference the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), the fifth International Congress of the Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA), the twelfth World Media Conference, the fifth Summit Council for World Peace, the first Women’s Federation for World Peace convention, the third Assembly of the World’s Religions, and the eighth CARP Convention of World Students which also included the Hanmadang Sports Festival. The centerpiece of the Festival was the International Holy Wedding of 30,000 Couples in Seoul Olympic Stadium on August 25, 1992, the largest Blessing yet conducted by Rev. Moon.

On August 24th, in the evening prior to the Blessing, Rev. Moon hosted a banquet for more than a thousand selected participants from the various conferences at the Little Angels School. In his banquet speech, "Becoming the Leaders in Building a World of Peace," Rev. Moon reviewed his life course, noted that the Festival was "an occasion to let the entire world see, and to offer to God, the harvest reaped from the seeds I have sown and nurtured," and proposed the creation of "The House of Unification for World Peace" as "a structure for the peaceful unification of the world." However, the real focus of the speech was his announcement of the declaration he had made previously, In early July, I spoke in...cities around Korea at rallies held by the Women’s Federation for World Peace. There I declared that my wife, WFWP President Hak Ja Han Moon, and I are the True Parents of all humanity. I declared that we are the Savior, the Lord of the Second Advent, the Messiah.

Rev. Moon described the announcement as "astonishing and fearful." He stated that he made it before women leaders because "women are the central point for the love, peace and spirit of service that protect our families, and it is the healthy family that must be the starting point in our work to build world peace." He continued, saying that "The establishment of God-centered family ethics and the education of our children lie at the innermost core of my teachings" and that his declaration was "an exhortation to all who follow my teachings to join Mrs. Moon and me in our attendance to God on the path of sacrifice and service for the salvation of this world." Almost immediately following the Festival, Mrs. Moon departed on a global speaking tour, delivering a speech on "Women’s Role in World Peace" to public WFWP gatherings in cities on four continents. She spoke in seven Japanese cites, eight cities in the U.S., eight cities in Europe, Moscow in the C.I.S., three cities on the Pacific Rim, and in Beijing, China.

It was somewhat unclear whether Rev. Moon’s banquet declaration was directed primarily to the selected guests, to his followers or to history. As noted, he described the declaration as "an exhortation to all who follow my teachings" to join he and Mrs. Moon in their work. Of course, following his teachings could be interpreted broadly or narrowly. There also was a sense in which Rev. Moon was speaking to history, defining the way he intended his life and ministry to be understood and experienced. He waited nearly half a century to make the declaration and, according to his special assistant’s testimony, was "proud of it" and considered that it "completed my mission."

Predictably, the declaration generated conversation and controversy among those in attendance, though less so among the scientists and former heads of state than among the assembled religious leaders, especially those who viewed it as a contradicting the purposes of their inter-religious dialogue. Dr. Richard Rubenstein, Distinguished Professor of Religion at Florida State University, spoke immediately after Rev. Moon, stating,

I must confess that as a historian of religion...I find your explicit and unambiguous sharing with us of your understanding of who you are to be one of the most extraordinary moments of my entire career.... For myself and for many of my peers whose vocation is the scientific study of religion, awesome religious inspiration is something that happened, if at all, long ago. We are more comfortable studying derivative accounts of religious inspiration and revelation in books and manuscripts. Engaged in this labor, we are interested in our subject matter; we are calm; we are dispassionate and without inner disturbance.
The situation is radically transformed...when we are confronted by an inspired religious leader whose vocation is in the process of unfolding even before our very eyes. We are not accustomed to such a manifestation of spiritual power and charisma. Our scientific and professional training has not prepared us for the encounter. Hence, we guard ourselves...[ and] our discomfort before it. Nevertheless, the spiritual power is there, and, whatever may be the religious tradition in which we are rooted, we feel it.

The Opening Plenary at the Assembly of World Religions, Seoul, August 1992

Some participants felt Rev. Moon’s declaration was out-of-bounds and complained of being used. However, there were remarkably few defections among the leadership of the various affiliated organizations. More than a hundred conference participants, none of whom were members of the Unification Church, participated in the next day’s Blessing ceremony at Seoul Olympic Stadium. Still, there were some bruised sensibilities among participants in the Assembly of the World’s Religions. Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, chairman of the sponsoring organization, summarized the movement’s position on Rev. Moon’s declaration in farewell remarks at the Assembly’s closing banquet,

He [Rev. Moon] has already spoken straightforwardly to you about his mission, and there have been straightforward responses. He recognizes and appreciates the important theological concerns, and the conceptual difficulties that stand in the way of a full meeting of the minds on certain issues. However...he does not consider his understanding of his mission as interference with his resolve to promote inter-religious harmony.... This address was in no way intended to create distance or present a barrier...he remains ever committed to working with you, respectfully and cooperatively, believing that while there are points of difference, there are significant points of similarity...he welcomes your collaboration in the great and necessary task of creating world peace.

While no one at either of the banquets could be certain about the outcome of Rev. Moon’s declaration, it was apparent that there were ample topics for dialogue.

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