Messiah - My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon Volume II - Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 17 - Twentieth-Century Crucifixion: Maneuvered Into Prison [Part 6/6]
"Reverend Moon, Please Forgive America"
My most outstanding memory from the time of Reverend Moon's period at Danbury is the continual courtesy calls that were made by American clergy. Important and prominent ministers from all over the country transcended denomination and religious creed to visit Reverend Moon in prison.
The prison authorities were quite at a loss as to how to handle this enthusiastic tide of visitors. It got to the point that the authorities approached our church and asked us to figure out some way to restrict the flow. In the end, one of Reverend Moon's assistants, Mr. Peter (Hyo Yool) Kim, rented an apartment a block away from the prison. There, by fax and telephone, he received applications for visits, and this allowed us to manage the ecclesiastical traffic.
At the same time, those ministers who had signed the declaration stating their intention to stay in prison for one week with Reverend Moon organized the "Common Suffering Fellowship." Under its auspices, they each spent a week at a church facility in Washington and joined in a simulated prison experience. During the day, they heard lectures and studied the Unification Principle. At night, they fasted and prayed. At the end of each "prison workshop," the participants traveled to Danbury as a group to visit Reverend Moon.
When they visited Danbury prison, the ministers typically grasped Reverend Moon's hands and cried. For example, the following incident, involving one prominent Christian leader, was quite dramatic.
One day, Rev. Dr. Tim LaHaye came to visit. He was the minister who had previously suggested that "we all spend one week in prison with Reverend Moon." The moment he took Reverend Moon's hands, Dr. LaHaye was overcome with tears and couldn't even speak. When he finally could speak, he said, "Reverend Moon, please forgive the American government. America has committed a great sin against you. I really want to apologize to you on behalf of the government and the American people. Please forgive America. Not all American people are like that." Then he wept again.
Reverend Moon embraced him and then said, "There is nothing for me to forgive. Since I have been here, I've come to love America even more. I am only thankful. After coming here, I have made up my mind to give my entire life for the sake of America. I've come to realize even more just how precious America is."
Dr. LaHaye was visibly moved. "Reverend Moon," he said, "you are truly living the love of Jesus Christ. Your suffering will cleanse the sins of America. I am grateful to God for sending you here, to the United States."
In these words, we can find a condensed expression of the thoughts and feelings of many American ministers.
Stimulated by this incident, Reverend Moon decided to send "an epistle from prison" to the Christian clergy of America. He saw this as an excellent opportunity to educate the clergy in the contents of the Unification Principle (Divine Principle).
His letter from prison is as follows:
My sincere Christian greetings to you from Danbury, Conn. This may be the first time you've ever received a letter from a minister in jail.
As you may be aware, I was incarcerated here last July 20 for allegedly trying to deprive the U.S. government of less than $7,300 in taxes.
I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. The Unification Church has brought millions of dollars into the Untied States from other countries for charitable projects. We have no reason to deprive the IRS of such a small sum of money -- not for any reason.
Writing you from prison like this reminds me of the great Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament while in prison for his faith and was often misunderstood. I have felt the presence of God in a mighty way while here. And I now understand more deeply the words that Paul wrote in Phil. 4:12-13:
"I know both how to be made low, and I know how to abound: Everything and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Reverend Moon was granted a parole and moved to a halfway house in Brooklyn. New York. on July 4. 1985.
You sec, Pastor, after my encounter with Jesus Christ on a mountain in Korea when I was a teenager I had to face nearly three years in a communist death camp -- a ghastly place where few escaped with their lives. As a minister, I was able to lead many dying Koreans to realize the compassionate heart of God and Jesus and to be a comfort to those suffering people. My faith in Christ sustained me through the horrible ordeal until I was rescued by United Nations soldiers ... and that faith sustains me today. I know the time will come when God will totally exonerate me, and I have tried to be a model prisoner while serving out my sentence in this prison.
But until that day of exoneration comes, I ask that you pray with me, and that you speak out for and defend religious freedom for all God-loving people in America. If God-denying secular forces are given free reign, all religions will have their blood-bought freedoms eroded away. And the vacuum of faithlessness and immorality that will ensue will ultimately lead to communism.
It always has and always will.
So, as one who has survived through the experience of living under the ruthless, godless system called communism, I feel I have been given a mandate by our Creator to help strengthen religious faith in America, so that ultimately America can rescue the hundreds of millions of innocent men, women and children who are enslaved by the Marxist-Leninist atheistic system of communism.
I am eternally grateful to the many religious groups and others who filed amicus briefs with the courts on my behalf. ... Whether you agree with us or not on every single point of doctrine really doesn't matter. What really matters is that we try to respect one another's positions and that we work together in cooperation to build a God-centered America.
Yours in Christ,
Sun Myung Moon
No less than three hundred thousand ministers and other religious leaders received this letter from Reverend Moon, along with three two-hour videocassettes teaching the contents of the Unification Principle and a small book entitled God's Warning to the World (containing some of Reverend Moon's speeches). The flood of replies that came streaming into the Danbury Correctional Institute demonstrated that the ministers were deeply moved by the contents. The volume was so large that the local postal office cried for help, and the prison authorities had to engage extra staff just to take care of Reverend Moon's mail.
"God works in mysterious ways." I can never get tired of saying these words. Who could have imagined that the revelation given by Heaven to bring new life and hope in the current age, namely the Unification Principle, would have been conveyed to the clergy and religious leadership of America in this way? Or, to put it another way, what other way would it have been possible for the Unification Church, which had been thought of as nothing less than heretical, to teach the Principle to thousands of Christian ministers in the United States? When I think about it, I cannot help but feel a new and intense sense of gratitude for the incredible way that Heaven carries out its providence.
Rev Jerry Falwell (at podium). Rev. Joseph Lowery (in white suit), and many other prominent religious leaders gathered at the National Press Club for a press conference on Aug. 20, 1985.
Welcoming Reverend Moon Out of Prison
Approximately one month before he was due to be released, Reverend Moon was granted a preparatory parole and moved to a halfway house in Brooklyn, New York. The date was July 4, 1985.
Eventually August 20 came around, and Reverend Moon left the halfway house. It was a victorious day, not only for Reverend Moon and the Unification Church but for the cause of religious freedom as well. It was a victory for the American religious community and for the unity of the different races and communities within the United States.
That day, approximately seventeen hundred distinguished religious leaders (representing sixty different denominations) gathered from across the nation to hold a welcoming banquet for Reverend Moon at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Prior to the banquet, the more prominent religious leaders gathered at the National Press Club for a press conference. These leaders were people who once would have run away at the mere mention of Reverend Moon's name, but they stood before the reporters and cameras and read out a statement. Its contents can he summarized in one simple sentence: "Mr. President, in the name of religious freedom, you must issue a presidential pardon to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon."
More than 1,600 distinguished religious leaders from across the nation welcomed Reverend Moon at the "God and Freedom Banquet," held at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Two very influential Christian ministers played a central role at this memorable press conference. One of them was black, the other white, and their relationship had never been an easy one. Both were from the South, the region where religious division has traditionally been most intense, and where even now blacks and whites attend separate church services. Understandably, their relationship was not entirely amicable. These two ministers had never before come together in public or private.
The black minister was Rev. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The white minister was Rev. Jerry Falwell, well-known evangelist from the Southern Baptist Church with the largest congregation in America and founder of the Moral Majority. (Started in 1979, the Moral Majority later became the Liberty Federation.) Both men offered enthusiastic support to Reverend Moon.
(Reverend Falwell: "Reverend Moon has been disgraced and dishonored... The president must issue a letter of pardon." Reverend Lowery: "Reverend Moon has been the victim not only of the government's oppression of religious freedom, but also of racial discrimination.")
At this press conference, these two shook each other's hands and warmly embraced. It was a precious event, one where black ministers and white ministers could meet and communicate on a heart-to-heart level.
Who had brought them together? None other than an Oriental man. The providence of God is truly mysterious and amazing. Perhaps the white and black might never be able to come together and unite on their own steam. But God placed a yellow man between them.
When I appeared at the welcoming banquet together with Reverend and Mrs. Moon, it felt like the triumphal return of a great general from a successful campaign in a distant land. Religious leaders from across the nation rose to their feet amid cheers of appreciation, and thunderous applause exploded throughout the crowded banquet hall.
Many of the ministers shouted in their enthusiasm: "You won, Reverend Moon!" "You're my hero, Reverend Moon!" "Reverend Moon, hallelujah!"
Reverend Moon is a free man!
In the midst of my tears, I managed to mumble, "Heavenly Father! Bless these people, this nation."
Reverend Moon went up to the podium, all smiles. To look at him, no one would have thought that that very morning he had been incarcerated.
His words that day were on "The Will of God."
Honorable Chairman and members of the God and Freedom Committee, distinguished clergy from all parts of the country, ladies and gentlemen.
I am truly grateful for and humbled by your welcoming me back from prison in such a deep way, representing all parts of the United States and so many denominations. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to those of you who have supported me during my court battles, in the filing of the amicus briefs to the Supreme Court, in the meetings and rallies for religious freedom, in prayer meetings, in the Common Suffering Fellowship, and in the CAUSA Ministerial Alliance. Also, I thank you for your prayers, and for the many letters I have received from you while I was at Danbury, which I will never forget.
I have suffered imprisonment six times in my lifetime. As in the past, this time in prison provided me a moving experience with God. I was not there because of my personal actions or mistakes, yet I did not brood with resentment or hatred for those who persecuted me, nor did I spend my time in prison pleading my innocence. Rather, I dedicated the time to prayer and meditation, for understanding what America must do to fulfill God's Will for the world.
The determination which underlies my whole ministry and life is to relieve the great and long suffering of God. Since the world is ignorant of God's heart of suffering, my work and the work of the Unification movement have long been misunderstood, and I and my followers persecuted. However, I understand the urgency of my mission before God, and despite the lack of understanding on the part of my family, not to mention the general public, Christian churches, nations or even the whole world, this persecution has not really mattered very much to me. Throughout my life I have communicated deeply with God, and through numerous spiritual experiences I have come to know His heart and His love. I have always testified to this. To me God is not a vague God residing in the realm of the imagination. God is alive, and I relate to Him directly in my heart. I experience Him in every cell of my body.
I know that I am addressing clergy who also have been participants in the fulfillment of God's Will. Your welcoming me here today, then, as you and I know, is not a personal welcome for the individual, Reverend Moon, but is a testament to that Will of God for which I have lived my life. To do the Will of God is our common and utmost concern.
Therefore, I would like to share with you some of my realizations about the Will of God.
God's Purpose of Creation
Our living, personal God is eternal, absolute and unchanging. Therefore, his Will also is eternal, absolute and unchanging. When God created human begins, He must have had a purpose and an ideal. God's purpose and ideal is a world united through true love, with God as the parent of all people. Under the true love of God, all people would he brothers and sisters living in one harmonious world family. God's ideal, then, is the creation of one world under God.
God, who is the essence of love, created everything for the purpose of love. An individual cannot love independently; it takes both a subject and an object to love. What God needs absolutely, therefore, is an object that He can love. God created a universe motivated by love. Human beings, who are created in His own image, as we read in Gen. 1:27, are the visible and substantial objects of God's love.
To all mankind, God is the eternal, invisible and internal parent and ancestor, and perfected Adam and Eve were to be the eternal, visible and external parents and ancestors to all humankind.
The greatest, holiest love takes place when subject and object become one through giving and receiving love, eternally centered on God. In this true love, perfect unity comes about naturally, all life becomes interconnected, and the ideal of God is realized. God's Original Will was that His beloved children, Adam and Eve, would become the living, visible reflection of their invisible Creator, and thus would have eternal love, consummating the ideal of love and life.
The Foundation for Love
It is commonly thought that the Creator and the created being can never be equal. If this is so, then the ideal of love is never possible with God. God's ideal of love was to let His children, Adam and Eve, be His visible, substantial objects and become one with Him. Indeed, as is stated in I Cot 3:16, God desires to dwell in man.
The ideal of love of the invisible God is realized when men and women (Adam and Eve) in essence become perfected. When a person, centering on God, attains complete unity between mind and body, then he or she attains maturity of character, and true objectivity to God. This means that he or she becomes an eternal object to God's love, God's ideals and God's life.
When Adam and Eve attained this ideal as God's true, substantial children, they would naturally have propagated to create an ideal family, and eventually from the family would have developed an ideal society, nation and world. As a result of humankind's complete response to God's absolute love, all would have attained the highest joy in life, the ideal of happiness, and eventually the Kingdom of Heaven.
God created Adam and Eve on the earth, so that heaven would be first realized on earth. After life on earth, the spirits of those who lived ideal lives on earth would go to the heaven in the spiritual world, where they would live eternally.
All things are created in pairs, and are created for the sake of human beings. This enables all things to dwell in harmony under the principle of love. With God's love flowing through human beings, all the creation participates in realizing God's life and ideal.
While Adam and Eve were growing up, all things of creation were nothing other than a textbook of love for them, displaying an endless variety of love's manifestations. Adam and Eve, representing God's masculinity and femininity, were to gradually awaken to love through their life in God's text-book of love, which is nature. They were to become perfectly mature, and realize the ideal of marriage.
Such was the ultimate purpose of God in creation. God's love was not only directed to the vertical relationship of love between Himself and human beings, but also, after the perfection of vertical love, to the horizontal relationship of love between Adam and Eve. God, who has existed as invisible subject ever since the beginning, was yearning for someone who would respond to His love, and was waiting to meet His perfected visible objects, man and woman. How stimulating, how fulfilling that love would have been! That moment was the very moment when God, the internal parent, was to have resided within Adam and Eve, the external parents, to be completely one with them. In that moment the ideal of love would have been accomplished. The invisible parent, God, would have resided in the visible parents, Adam and Eve, and would have become the eternal parent in the visible world. By this, Adam and Even were to have become the True Parents, the true original ancestors of all humankind.
Violation of God's Ideal
So precious was this true love, that to violate such love was the ultimate crime, a crime of universal magnitude. Immorality, the corruption of youth, the breakup of families, incest, homosexuality and other unspeakable crimes are the world's reality today, over which God is agonizing. The ideal of creation is to achieve the perfect family, founded upon noble and eternal love, but how did today's tragic reality come about? As the last days draw nearer, the crime of the Human Fall is manifested clearly in society. We are reaping what has been sown.
I do not have time to discuss the details of the Human Fall, but I will say that I struggled for years to discover the truth of the Fall, and I testify that its cause was immorality involving the first human family and an archangel.
In the Unification principle, Satan is not a conceptual being or a hypothetical entity. He is a real being, the very villain who destroyed the ideal of love, and shifted the human lineage from God's dominion to his own dominion. Jesus himself said very clearly, in John, chapter eight, that the devil is the ancestor of humankind. The devil, Satan, is the very adulterer that ravaged the ideal of love which God meant to realize through Adam and Eve, the love which would have raised Adam and Eve to the position of God's own external self. This may be new to many of you, but this is the truth. It was discovered through hard-fought struggles I endured in the spiritual world, as I sought for the answers to the most fundamental problems of life. If you pray, seriously and deeply, you will find affirmation of these answers.
Then why has it taken so long for God to punish Satan for his crime? Satan stole the ideal of love from God, and possesses humankind as a false parent, through false love, usurping God's position. Therefore, God had to begin by reclaiming human beings from Satan's dominion by shifting their lineage.
The Potential for Rebirth
Because of the Fall, the relationship between God and man was severed, and the righteous relationship between people, through original give and take centered on true love, was also lost. Harmonious unity among people, based on true love, was destroyed, along with the joy of life, and individuals became enemies. The world became hell, full of distrust.
God's plan of creation was to create men and women as true olive trees, and make the earth a plentiful garden. The Fall brought instead the dominion of Satan over the human ancestral lineage, creating a wilderness of wild olive trees, which are possessed by Satan, without some foundation being made. The very reason God established religions was to create His own garden, in which He could cut the wild olive trees and engraft them with the true olive tree. On the foundation of religion God will send the Messiah, and graft humankind to Him through the Messiah, the true tree. This is the essence of the messianic ideal.
From this point of view alone can we correctly understand the biblical doctrine of rebirth. God pulls people away from the false dominion of Satan, giving them rebirth through a love which is much stronger than Satan's love. Since all people were born from parents and ancestors of false love, into a lineage of false love, all people must be born a second time, this time from parents and ancestors of true love, into a lineage of true love, becoming true children and people of God. The blood of Jesus and the Holy Communion both indicate the process of the shift of human beings from Satan's lineage to God's lineage.
All people must be born again. This is the destiny of all fallen human beings. No matter how difficult this may be, we must all tread this path. Salvation cannot be had but by rebirth, being grafted into God's lineage, out of the satanic lineage. Since we are born into Satan's lineage, the process of rebirth requires complete denial of the self, including willingness to deny one's possessions, one's own tradition or culture, even one's concepts about the world. What we already own in the satanic realm can never be recognized by God. We must renounce them to be born again. To engraft ourselves to the true tree, we must sever everything.
Jesus, who came as the true olive tree, is the True Parent himself. Since he came as True Parent, to give us rebirth, he told us to sever all our old relationships and attachments before coming to God. In Matt 10:36, Jesus warned that a person's greatest enemies will be the members of his or her own family, and that one must cut them off if they stand between the person and following Jesus.
Our Response to God
My dear clergy, our task is to learn about God's Will and to carry it out. We must become men and women who are bound in God's hands. We must become those who are willing to respond to the call of God. We must never ask God only for our individual salvation or personal heaven. Is it not our privilege as true Christians to respond to the call of the Messiah and to live and die for him and his cause?
Our religion, our denominations, must exist for the Will of almighty God, not just for the propagation of narrow views. God cannot reside within narrow views. God is not a sectarian; God sees far beyond denominationalism. He is not confined within exclusivist dogmas. He is, rather, a parent to us all, and His abounding love distinguishes no race or color of skin. He does not recognize the walls of nationalism or cultural tradition. He is trying His very hardest today to embrace all of humanity.
My dear clergy, do you think it is mere chance that in America, the haven of religious freedom, a nationwide movement for religious freedom emerged as a result of Reverend Moon's imprisonment? In truth, this is not an accident but God's dispensation working behind the scenes. And would you consider it a coincidence that America, as a nation which carries the banner for the free world, and which has come to scoff at the real threat of communism, is not becoming aware of the seriousness of the present danger through the CAUSA Ministerial Alliance? The CMA is a truly interdenominational movement, without walls, which has spread like wildfire across this nation. Can we call this a mere accident?
We Must Unite
America is a nation founded on the spirit and love of God.
After World War II God raised up America as a leader of nations, for the salvation and unity of the world in freedom. Internally, He was preparing this nation for the second coming of the Messiah, and to be the country that cares for the world.
A commemorative trophy was presented at the God and Freedom welcoming, banquet.
Unfortunately, this country continues to ignore the monumental Will of God. America is withdrawing more and more from its global responsibilities, preferring to enjoy false comfort as if this nation were a world unto itself. This attitude, of course, merely multiplies America's problems, both inside and outside its borders. Serious racial problems, deterioration of social, ethical and moral values, decline of religious beliefs and Christian faith, and the rise of materialism and communism will not disappear just by ignoring them.
God called me to come to America because of these problems. Christianity must repent with great anguish, and must unite. We clergy must reexamine ourselves and also repent. We are reliving the time when Jesus came to earth and called the world to repentance. That call is being repeated now. We must fulfill the world mission which God has bestowed upon us. Without question, America must change.
A new religious reformation must take place. Christianity must transcend denominationalism and ascend to a higher dimension. We must realize and consider seriously the mission of Christianity to lead a supra-denominational, cultural revolution on a worldwide scale.
To commemorate this reunion tonight, we must determine to pursue the original path of Christianity. We must march forward on that way, that we might receive our coming Messiah, and help fulfill the Will of God.
May God's blessing be with you, with your families and with all the churches of America.
Reverend Moon is always the messenger of God, always an advocate for the Heavenly Will. He is thorough about this, about his determination to convey God's words and God's Will, even if it means using the opportunity provided by a welcoming banquet.
The gathering responded with cheers and shouts of "Amen! Amen!" as they rose to their feet once again.
During those thirteen months at Danbury, Reverend Moon completed what would have taken him a hundred years by any normal means. America had changed. It had begun to wake up. The America that had thought so lightly of communism had awakened from its stupor. The wind of victory over communism had begun to blow where once anti-communism had been all but dead. Communism was understood as the enemy of God.
The United States is a Christian nation. But the spirit and love of Christ had been steadily bleeding away from American society. Reverend Moon had revived the founding spirit of America and had personally demonstrated the lifestyle of Christ by living for the sake of God.
The very reason that the United States had prospered as "one nation under God" for the past two hundred years was so that it could meet the returning Christ, the Lord of the Second Advent, at the end of the twentieth century and fulfill the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ stood in the court of Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea. He was put on the cross on the hill of Golgotha and resurrected three days after the destruction of his body. Now, the returning Jesus once again stood in Pilate's court. He received the sentence and walked the path of the cross on the hill of Danbury, but he was victorious.
In reality, the history of the Second Advent came into its own all across the globe after the victory of Danbury. The truth is, the Unification Church movement spread to the entire world in earnest only after Danbury.
The phenomena of returning resurrection will, without a doubt, sweep over the world with an irresistible force. It's true! Heaven works in the subtlest ways, because what I have outlined above is truly a record of the victory on the cross in the twentieth century.