40 Years in America
Life in the Spirit World and on Earth
Rev. and Mrs. Moon with Soon Ae Hong, East Garden, New York
In times of peril, the Unification Movement frequently turned inward, finding resources for renewal in the life of the spirit. As a youth in North Korea, Rev. Moon found that his "scale of thinking was far greater than just my village" and that he "was completely misunderstood." Therefore, during his early teen years, as he noted, "Most of the time, I would go to the tombs of my forefathers and speak to them, revealing my heart." This turning to the spiritual world coincided with a deepening of his prayer life and eventually led to a series of spiritual experiences and encounters through which he came to understand his lifeís work. The same principle held for the movement as a whole. In the face of rejection by the world, the movement looked to heaven. Some members had dramatic experiences that unlocked secrets of the spiritual world. This was a tricky phenomenon that could lead to excesses, self-absorption and deviation as has been shown. On the other hand, spiritual experiences were a source of fresh inspiration, deepened meaning and purpose, new power and creative innovations. They also afforded members a foretaste of heavenly joys.
The movement experienced two significant manifestations of spiritual phenomena during the 1990s. They were associated with two elderly members who recently had passed into the spiritual world. The first was Soon Ae Hong, Mrs. Moonís mother, who passed away on November 3, 1989. The second was Dr. Sang Hun Lee who passed on March 22, 1997. The spiritual phenomena associated with Soon Ae Hong, who gained the title Dae Mo Nim ("Great Mother") and Dr. Lee were decidedly different, reflective of their differing characters and orientations. Dae Mo Nimís approach was charismatic and religious, sparking a movement-wide spiritual revival after 1995. Dr. Leeís approach was intellectual and literary, leading to systematic expositions of the spiritual world in a series of published texts. In this sense, the two manifestations were complimentary. However, there also were contradictions and a sense of rivalry. Rev. Moon recognized both sets of phenomena as authentic, both were integral to the movementís mainstream development, and both had a revitalizing effect upon members.
There were both similarities and marked differences between the spiritual revival centered on Dae Mo Nim in the middle and late 1990s and the revival centered on Heung Jin Nim during the 1980s. Both manifestations focused on personages who were either a part of or who had intimate connections with Rev. Moonís family. In addition, both Dae Mo Nim and Heung Jin Nim were regarded by virtually all members as exemplary persons. Dae Mo Nim was understood to have dedicated her entire life to the providence, being the only member linked to several spiritual groups considered by Rev. Moon to be forerunners of HSA-UWC. Within the movement, she was known for her humble service, prayers for the well-being of True Parents, concern for the membership, and devotion to heaven. According to later testimonies, having become acutely aware of membersí spiritual struggles and suffering, she determined to go to the spiritual world early, asking God to shorten her life in order to work there for blessed couples and the providence. In this respect, themes of self-sacrifice and atonement were at the core of both revivals.
A third similarity was that Dae Mo Nim, like Heung Jin Nim, had an embodiment. For three years after her passing, Dae Mo Nim was understood to have made conditions in the spirit world for her work on earth. Next, according to an official account, "she chose and worked with Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim for three years" making "incredible, almost humanly impossible...conditions" to begin the providence on earth. Rev. Joong Hyun Pak, the American Continental Director, described Mrs. Kim as "a humble country lady...very spiritual as a child...a faithful dedicated Christian and spiritually open." Ten years previously Mrs. Moon was said to have visited her spiritually, indicating that she would one day work with Dae Mo Nim. In 1992, Mrs. Kim began serving church couples, solving problems, and in 1994 leaders reported what was happening to Rev. Moon. In January 1995, he gave Mrs. Kim the authority to act as Dae Mo Nimís mediator, and on January 1, 1996, she was introduced to the American movement. By this time, members commonly addressed her as "Dae Mo Nim."
A final similarity between the phenomena centered around Heung Jin Nim in the 1980s and Dae Mo Nim in the 1990s was that they both manifested as revivals. While the particulars might vary, the essence of revivalism was the cycle of judgment and grace. In the spiritual revival of the 1980s, the accent was on individual confessions within the context of forgiveness conferences. The 1990s revival introduced new elements, but the dynamic was essentially the same. According to Dr. Tyler Hendricks, Dae Mo Nim was "a modern-day Jeremiah." He wrote,
Because she is a woman, there is a certain softness to her delivery, but she delivers a powerful indictment of our condition. She would say, "If you could see yourselves spiritually, you would be so afraid; you would realize you are destined to hell." She would beg and plead with us to wake up and become serious and work hard, because we are just covered, infiltrated with evil spirits.
Knowledge that members were covered with evil spirits was the core insight of the Dae Mo Nim revival. A number of accounts noted that prior to her passing, Dae Mo Nim prayed to God, seeking to know why most of the movementís blessed couples, though trying their best, were unsuccessful in their missions; why so many of them had physical, economic and other problems; and why they were "sometimes worse than outside people." According to these testimonies, God answered her prayer and opened her spiritual eyes, enabling her to see invading evil spirits which had dug into membersí physical bodies to build their nests.
A Dae Mo Nim revival meeting at the Manhattan Center, New York City
The idea that members, especially blessed couples, were covered with evil spirits presented a problem. Generally members assumed that because they received the Blessing, followed True Parents, and lived in a principled environment, evil spirits could not touch them. They now were being told that this assumption was distant from reality. However, as several leaders pointed out, the Blessing was meant to be given unconditionally on the basis of members having achieved a certain standard of perfection. Because members had not attained that standard and were in this sense unqualified, the Blessing could only be given conditionally. Many members, in fact, did not continue to progress but rather regressed, being unable to rid themselves of their fallen nature and satanic habits. This created a base for evil spirits. Members also were subject to the interference of spirits who resented and hated their ancestors. Finally, as Rev. Joong Hyun Pak explained, "Evil spirits see light upon our Blessed couples, and because we seem very bright they come to us." This, of course, presented something of a catch-22 situation. Whether they did poorly or well, members still were subject to evil influences.
Leaders used both literal and figurative language to describe evil spirits and their actions. To Rev. Joong Hyun Pak, they were "like invisible germs in the air we breathe." Rev. Kwak cited Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim as saying that "evil spirits stay in our physical bodies like the eggs of an insect." He continued,
Thousands of them live among the cells of our body, but when they are released from the body, they appear as normal sized spirit selves. Spirit beings have no limitation of time and space. Spirits attached to our physical body become smaller.
According to Rev. Kwak, there were "not so many spirits in the spiritual world" since most "have come down to earth and attached themselves to people." He stated that there were "millions of spirit selves attached to our bodies." Rev. Young Whi Kim told American members that "spirits in the spirit world live in groups, and when the group leader comes into a personís body, the subordinates of that leader come along." Dae Mo Nim, herself, told members assembled at Belvedere International Training Center that there were "many evil, resentful spirits in every layer of your skin. The more I open, the more there are, even inside your blood stream, inside your bone marrow."
These images brought many members to a point of serious repentance. Thus, Dae Mo Nimís activities, like those of Heung Jin Nimís embodiment during the 1980s, were revivalistic in orientation. However, there were also more important differences between the two revivals. For one, there was sense of abruptness and suddenness associated with the 1980s revival. Heung Jin Nim had passed into the spirit world unexpectedly through a violent accident.
His embodiment, though said to have been prepared by Jesus for a decade, announced himself in July 1987, conducted revivals worldwide within six months, and just as quickly burned out. There was a much more substantial period of preparation for the Dae Mo Nim revival. Dae Mo Nim, herself, had been bedridden for the last ten years of her life. Thus, her passing was not unexpected, and she had ample time to prepare. As noted, she was understood to have spent another three years establishing conditions in the spiritual world. In addition, Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim, apart from her personal course of preparation, unfolded her work gradually over three years between 1992-95 before being recognized by Rev. Moon. This was sixteen years in all. The result was that the revival associated with Dae Mo Nim was far more systematic in both thought and organization.
The Dae Mo Nim revival also was characterized by a higher level of maturity. Heung Jin Nim was seventeen at the time of his passing and his embodiment was not significantly older. In addition, his embodiment had only been in the movement a few years. By contrast, Dae Mo Nim lived a long and full life that included exposure to a variety of spiritual disciplines. Her embodiment, Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim, had been a Blessed member for twenty years before beginning her public work. As was seen, the 1980s revival centered on Heung Jin Nimís embodiment was marked by wild excesses, inspirations of the moment and episodes of violence. The revival associated with Dae Mo Nim after 1995 was much different. Participants faced a daily schedule of prayer walks, seventy-minute holy song and clapping sessions, group reading, lectures, and other spiritual activities from 6:00 a.m. until after midnight.
There also was a "hitting or slapping" component known as "Ansoo" for the purpose of removing evil spirits or healing. However, members were advised against doing this strongly, and the sessions were closely monitored by on-site staff. The singing, clapping and Ansoo were for the purpose of shaking and dislodging evil spirits. According to Dae Mo Nim, they get intoxicated and disoriented during the sessions and loosen their hold, allowing specially mobilized angels to remove them. As explained by a longtime lecturer,
From a spiritual viewpoint, our bodies are hardened like rock. So there is no way the angels can go in. The angels have to go into our body and get the spirits out, but there is no crack for them to enter by. So we need to sing holy songs and clap. This is the time we can, so to speak, open up our hardened body so that the angels have a way to go in.
The key point here was, unlike the earlier revival which had a strongly impulsive quality, activities associated with Dae Mo Nim had more clearly stated rationales.
Participants at an early workshop at Chung Pyung Lake, Korea
A third difference between the two was that the 1990s revival had a much higher degree of continuity with the movement as a whole. For one thing, it was Korea-based. Some of the problems and a good deal of the unpredictability of Heung Jin Nimís embodiment were due to gaps of language and culture.
In the case of Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim, there was an ease of communication and much more of a comfort level with her approach. To be sure, it included ecstatic shamanist components such as continually beating base drums during clapping sessions. However, these elements were blended with neo-Confucian decorum. The Dae Mo Nim revival also was solidly situated at the Chung Pyung Lake Training Center (CPLTC). The church in Korea purchased the site in 1971 and Rev. Moon frequently returned there for prayer and meditation before or after major campaigns.
Located north of Seoul toward the demilitarized zone, it was "a very well-balanced meeting place of steep mountains, deep water and very pure air." However, its uniqueness was spiritual rather than physical. Leaders of the revival associated with Dae Mo Nim understood that "True Parents had been preparing for a long time to make our Chung Pyung Land into the perfected and restored Garden of Eden...the special gateway to the spirit world and also the training ground to go to the Kingdom of Heaven." Apart from Korean and East Asian continuities, the revival meshed thoroughly with the movementís sense of divine providence.
The Chung Pyung experience was not a narcissistic, self-help escape but was intimately connected to empowering members for mission. To this end, Rev. Moon presented Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim with a calligraphy he composed which read, "If you inherit the heart of Chung Pyung, you will always bring victory." The clearest expression of the interface between spiritual cleansing and mission was the new providence of "national messiahship" which Rev. Moon announced in 1996.
Beginning that year, the movement sent out teams of four families from Korea, Japan, the United States-Canada-England-France (World War II allies), and Germany-Italy-Austria (World War II axis powers) as missionaries to 183 countries. Each of the national groupings were to represent a member of Adamís family with the Koreans in Adamís position, the Japanese representing Eve, the former allied nations in Abelís position, and the former axis nations in Cainís position. The national messiah providence displaced the missionary trinities of Japanese, American and German members that the movement had sent out in 1975. It also represented an advance beyond the tribal messiah providence which Rev. Moon had announced in 1988. A prerequisite for national messiahship was that both husband and wife complete a 40-day workshop under Dae Mo Nim at Chung Pyung Lake. Hundreds of national messiahs completed these sessions and were sent out during 1996.
The Chung Pyung Lake revival centered on Dae Mo Nim also provided the primary impetus for "spirit world Blessings" which were an important component of the movementís International Wedding Ceremonies after 1996. One of the unique features of liberation ceremonies at Chung Pyung Lake was that evil spirits were not simply "driven out" but they were "educated and elevated" through a 100-day workshop run by Heung Jin Nim at a special training center set up in the spiritual world.
Afterwards, they not only become the "spiritual children" of those whom they had formerly tormented but they also became Blessing candidates. Rev. Moon gave Heung Jin Nim and Dae Mo Nim the authority to conduct spirit world Blessings in 1997 and the numbers expanded exponentially. Rev. and Mrs. Moon were understood to have "Blessed 3.2 billion people in the spirit world simultaneously with the 40 million couples blessed in Washington, D.C. on November 29, 1997." Shortly thereafter, the vice-director of the CPLTC noted, "Dae Mo Nim officiated at a Blessing of a further 3.6 million [sic. billion] in the spirit world." Another 9.2 billion were added at the Madison Square Garden Blessing in New York on June 13, 1998, making a total of 16 billion. A further 8 billion were Blessed on October 1, 1998 at Chung Pyung, making 24 billion. The total rose to 60 billion by April 1999 and 70 billion by November. These numbers included founders of worldís major religions and their followers who had participated in a special Religious Foundersí 40-day workshop at Chung Pyung in late 1996 and early 1997.
Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim with a participant at a Dae Mo Nim revival meeting at the Manhattan Center, New York City
Whether or not one accepted these reports, the spiritual revival centered on Dae Mo Nim clearly was a mass phenomenon. By October 1999, 350 two- or three-day sessions had been completed at Chung Pyung Lake with more than 343,000 registered participants. Many had attended multiple sessions. Still, this was a remarkable figure. The previous April, Dae Mo Nim conducted the first of her worldwide Ancestor Liberation tours. Now that many evil and resentful spirits had been freed, there was the chance for members to liberate their direct ancestors. Rev. Moon directed that they should do so up to 120 generations. For the April 1999 tour, members submitted names of their lineal ancestors back seven generations. This was not easy for American members, many of whom had lost track of their forbears beyond their grandparents. Nevertheless, Dae Mo Nim assured members in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York that 100 percent of their ancestors had been found. The Ancestor Liberation ceremony exerted a significant appeal. At Belvedere International Training Center in New York, members and their families packed a 4,000-seat tent with another 1,000 viewing a simultaneous screening in a nearby tent for parents with toddlers. Large numbers gathered at the other tour venues as well. Dae Mo Nim returned in the fall to Bless those ancestors who had been liberated and to liberate generations eight through fourteen.
A final difference between the spiritual phenomena of the 1980s and 1990s was that the revival centered on Dae Mo Nim showed clear signs of achieving permanent institutional expression. On March 10, 1997, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for what was to become a major sanctuary that was intended to hold up to 10,000 workshop participants at a time. In design, it was understood to be a replica of a palace in heaven, a reality that was attested to in calligraphy provided for the occasion by Rev. Moon which read, "The Heavenly Palace That Came Down From Heaven." Essentially, a small mountain was leveled to construct a magnificent marble structure overlooking Chung Pyung Lake. Named Cheonseong Wanglim Palace, the edifice was dedicated on November 7, 1999. At the same time, there was a ground-breaking for Jeong Shim Hospital. All of this was the result of Dae Mo Nimís vision. With sacred trees and healing springs, Chung Pyung Lake Training Center was attaining the status of an international shrine and pilgrimage site.
Dr. Sang Hun Leeís messages from the spirit world were also influential within the worldwide movement during the late 1990s. This was an independent phenomenon associated with an entirely different medium. The messages were influential primarily because Rev. Moon regarded them as authentic. In fact, he had them read at morning Hoon Dok Hae sessions and other public gatherings and directed that they were to be part of the Completed Testament Age canon. Members perceived a rivalry between Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim and Mrs. Young Soon Kim, Dr. Leeís channel, as they competed for Rev. Moonís favor. It may have been that Rev. Moon wished to preserve a certain balance and not tip the scales entirely in the direction of one or the other medium.
Dr. Sang Hun Lee, like Dae Mo Nim, was widely regarded as an exemplary personage. If Dae Mo Nim devoted her entire life to religious pursuits, Dr. Lee devoted his life to the development and application of Unification ideology to diverse fields of thought. He was the leading force behind the movementís "Victory Over Communism" theory and wrote several texts including Communism: A Critique and Counterproposal (1973), a translation of an earlier work in Korean, and The End of Communism (1985). He also served as President of the Unification Thought Institute for many years and in that capacity authored a series of volumes including Unification Thought (1973), Explaining Unification Thought (1981), and Fundamentals of Unification Thought (1988), each of which "applied Rev. Moonís teaching to questions asked by philosophers," and "offered a Unification solution to their knotty problems." Together with The Principle, Rev. Moon regarded VOC and Unification Thought as the three pillars of Unificationism.
For all of his intellectual acumen, Dr. Lee always was bothered by his inability to clearly answer questions about the spiritual world. Hence, he devoted himself to a study of the topic, and after his wifeís death in 1989, published excerpts of their correspondence as communicated through mediums in several movement periodicals. He expressed his intention of publishing a complete doctrine of the spirit world but had not done so at the time of his death at age 84 in 1997. Mrs. Young Soo Kim testified that at his Seung Hwa, he appeared to her and afterwards came to her house day and night until she could not endure it anymore. Having become aware of her complaints, Dr. Lee proposed making a time schedule and "promised that he would not come except during the appointed time." On that basis, Dr. Lee and Mrs. Kim undertook a joint work "with the purpose to teach earthly people urgently about the reality of the spirit world and the heavenly value of True Parents." Their work, as Mrs. Kim pointedly noted, "did not mention about the providence of True Parents on earth or Chung Pyungís providence by Dae Mo Nim and the Holy Spirit."
The text of Dr. Leeís messages from the spirit world was published in English under the title, Life in the Spirit World and on Earth in 1998. It began with a "Letter of Offering to True Parents" which noted that multitudes were waiting for them in the spirit world. A second substantive chapter on "Earthly Life and Life in the Spirit World" drew out contrasts between life in the flesh and in the spirit and included several interesting sections on love-making. It also provided concrete examples of situations in hell, the "middle realms of the spirit world," and paradise. He noted that Unification Church members "mostly reside in the realm of Spirit World closest to God" but that there were distinguishable positions and that sins were exposed. A third chapter, "Life in the Spirit World
Viewed from the Principle," was reminiscent of Dr. Leeís earlier work. It attempted to explicate processes and structural dynamics of the spirit world.
The concluding two chapters of Dr. Leeís book were popular among members as they recounted his "Meetings in the Spirit World" and conversations with famous personages. The first of the two chapters included mostly religious figures: Jesus Christ, Mary, Joseph, Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Sundar Singh, Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Judas Iscariot, and John the Baptist. It also included Socrates, the former North Korean dictator, Kim Il Sung, and a description of the living conditions and activities of several Unification Church notables. Dr. Leeís depiction of Dae Mo Nim as always praying, as not moving from Heung Jin Nimís living place, and as being "formal and serious" was understandably sensitive.
The last chapter of the book described Dr. Leeís encounters with many "criminals" of history: Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo. It also included meetings with two former leaders of Korean Christianity, Helen Kim and Maria Park who had blocked Unification Church activities during the 1950s, an Elder Park who led a large revivalist movement during the same period, and the former South Korean President Syngman Rhee. Interestingly, all of these figures were included among the saints and criminals blessed by Rev. Moon in Blessing í98 at Madison Square Garden, New York. The volume concluded with letters presented by Jesus, Rev. Moonís mother, and Young Soon Kim to True Parents.
Young Soon Kim authored a second volume, Lucifer, A Criminal Against Humanity, which contained the text of messages from Dr. Lee between February 10 Ė March 21, 1999. Rev. Moon again emphasized the importance of the work. However, it also was sensitive in light of claims previously made by Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim. Speaking on behalf of Dae Mo Nim, she stated,
I restored Lucifer at the beginning of the preparation of Chung Pyung. Otherwise I could not have liberated the evil spirits. When God first met Lucifer, I was so shocked. I learned what love is. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, he is the very cause of Godís children being sick. It is very, very complicated and difficult. I cannot mention everything. But when I took Lucifer to God, God cried and cried. He said to Lucifer, "Good, you came, good. You must be suffering so much. You knew what the principle of creation is. But you made the world this way. How much you have suffered."
She also testified that Dae Mo Nim convinced Lucifer to go before God, to repent and bow in May 1996 and he now was "working on our side." In fact, he had become a "gentle being" which was a problem since "he needs to be strong to help the providence." This directly contradicted the testimony of Dr. Leeís channel. Mrs. Young Soon Kim portrayed Satan as still very devilish. She related that during the time she penned Life in the Spirit World and on Earth, God told her that "Satan is railing that he will do whatever it takes to kill you." She also transcribed a letter from Dr. Lee stating that just prior to the 360 million couple Blessing he had received a command from God to "reveal the true nature of Lucifer to all humanity and resolve all the pain of history."
This was the basis of the volume Lucifer, A Criminal Against Humanity which detailed Luciferís "March to Hell" and the suffering he had inflicted upon humankind. Given Dr. Leeís background as a medical doctor, the volume was fullest in the areas of disease. It described Luciferís role in diseases of the digestive system, prostate gland, circulatory system, respiratory system, nervous system, skin, reproductive organs and other body parts. When Lucifer wrote separate letters of apology to God, True Parents, and All Humanity, Dr. Sang Hun Lee "finished his final mission" according to Mrs. Kim. Still, there was an open-ended quality to the work. As Mrs. Kim related,
Satan needed to shed desperate tears and repent. But he did not do this. Instead, he was without emotion, remorse, or tears. His attitude was that he was writing these letters only because he was forced into a situation where he had no other choice. In particular, he refused for a long time to write the letter of apology to humankind.
The questionable sincerity of Luciferís apologies added a note of ambiguity and indicated that some issues had yet to be resolved. This was not to affirm or deny the validity of either Dae Mo Nim or Dr. Leeís testimony. It rather was to suggest that spiritualism would continue to be a source of sustenance to the tradition.
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