Truth is My Sword, Volume II
by Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 55 Paving A True Son's Path
San Francisco, California
August 18, 1990
True Parents invited Dr. Pak to celebrate his 60th birthday with them in San Francisco during the Assembly of the World's Religions Conference. Following is Dr. Pak's testimony.
I began life on August 18, 1930, in a simple village in South Korea, Jung Byong Ree, which lay 100 miles south of Seoul. I was born the oldest son into what is referred to as a family of "Yang Ban." There is no correct English translation for this, but it is similar to "noble family" or "elite family of society." Those families whose ancestors had served in high government positions would call themselves Yang Ban. My grandfather, for example, was born during the Yi dynasty. During that time, a Yang Ban person had to be born in the family tradition of Confucianism, because the Yi dynasty's state religion ("religion" may not be the correct word; it may be more correct to say "way of life" or "tradition") was Confucianism.
My grandfather and also my father were prominent Confucian scholars in the community, while my mother was a good worshiper of anything if she were told that it would help her son's success. In a way, her son (myself) was her religion. She would do or believe anything once she believed that it would be good for the future of her son. I was born from such a parental heart.
My family was closely knit and intimate. My father was stern, yet loved me a great deal. My mother, Pyung Chun Han, was absolutely loyal for the sake of her son. I felt tremendous love from my mother, as did my brother and two sisters.
My parents lived in very harsh conditions, and as a result, I grew up in near poverty. Traditionally, the Yang Ban were always landlords. But during the 40-year rule of the Japanese government, the Land Distribution Act was enforced, which deprived us of all the land we owned. The Japanese gave it to the farmers who had tilled, but not owned, the land. Since we had not tilled the land ourselves as the landlords, we became virtually penniless overnight. My father and mother had to begin working in the fields in their middle age of 40. Certainly they could not become farmers overnight, so we barely survived with such a small amount of land to cultivate. Because of these dire circumstances, they could not afford to send me to a good junior high or high school after elementary school.
Instead, I entered Chun-an Agricultural School and commuted daily almost 30 miles via train from my home village. This caused extreme suffering to my mother and to myself. After three years of study, I decided that I could not continue my higher education. I told my father that I would become a good farmer in order to take care of my parents, so they needn't work so hard anymore. I then settled at home as a farmer.
Shortly after this, Japan was defeated in World War II by the Allies, liberating the Korean peninsula. Now a farmer, I was asked to become a local country school teacher. That is how I began to do both-a farming career to serve my parents and a teaching career at the local elementary school I had attended in my childhood.
So you can see that I don't have any formal religious education, except Confucian teaching, but somehow I strongly believed in the existence of God, although not a Christian God as yet. I began having strong urges to be very prayerful. Early in the morning and in the evening I climbed up a mountain and prayed during the sunrise and sunset. Of course, at that time my prayers were not in the name of Christ and I prayed especially for longevity for my parents and good fortune in my farming so that I would be recognized as a man of success.
The Korean War
That peaceful life which I thought would be my lifetime career was abruptly ended when North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel. I was 20 years old when I was drafted into the army. Since I had to go into the army anyway, I decided to become a military officer and applied to the Korean Military Academy, equivalent to the West Point of the United States, for advanced study. Luckily, I was accepted. On June 1, 1950, I entered the Korean Military Academy to begin four years of the best training available for the future military leaders of the Korean Army. I was burning with zeal and hope as a young cadet that "one day I will become a general." This dream, however, only lasted 25 days.
On June 25, as a young cadet, I found myself in the middle of the Korean War without even knowing how to handle an M-1 rifle. Communist North Korea attacked that day and the Military Academy cadets were the first troops committed to stopping this overwhelming invasion, which was an impossible task. Within three days of battle, our 330 classmates were reduced by two-thirds. Of my classmates, 220 died without ever receiving even a rank or serial number.
Soon afterward we were sent to Pusan for more training. My religious search began during my military service, especially during the war. After only eight weeks of training, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant and immediately became a frontline platoon leader. War is always horrible. People were dying every day. My superior died; my men died. The shadow of death was always around me. Under those circumstances as a young officer, I had to think, "What is death? If I die tomorrow, what happens to me after my death?" Certainly, there were no easy answers.
In 1951, the Red Chinese Army entered the war. They launched what has come to be known as the Spring Offensive of 1951. One day during this time, my company was moving across the Chang Chon River. All of a sudden, when 200 men were in the water with all their gear, including rifles, on their heads, enemy fire came from the other side of the river crossing. Bullets showered down on virtually everyone in the water. I was still on the other side of the river. When the bombardment of bullets came, I immediately threw myself down on the sand, although there was absolutely no cover. In this dire emergency I shouted out, "God, save me. You are the only one. If you do, my life is yours."
Suddenly U.S. fighter bombers appeared and began firing rockets at the enemy position, stopping them from shooting at us. I stood up, and called my men in a desperate voice, "Follow me. This is our chance to escape." Only two men followed. Even those two men were terribly wounded. I was the only one without a scratch. At that point I felt my life was no longer mine. I must give my life for the purpose of God.
Most of our Division Combat Team had no time to escape and were left behind enemy lines. I and the two other wounded soldiers were hiding in enemy territory and knew that the end had come. It was just a matter of time before we were found and killed. I saw no hope. As I struggled to pull my two comrades behind a rock for temporary shelter, I prayed. The prayer was a promise. If I lived, I would dedicate my life to God. Unlike most "foxhole conversions," I meant every word of it.
We were hiding in the mountains without food or a means of communication for many days. Then one day we saw a long line of enemy soldiers retreating back to the North; many of them were wounded and limping. Gradually, we learned the U.S. Third Division had been pursuing the enemy to the North with tanks. God had saved our lives!
When the U.S. soldiers greeted us, I literally kissed their tanks. I thanked God and thanked our U.S. comrades-in-arms. This was my first personal encounter with the United States of America. America had saved my life.
After that experience, my religious search began. I first picked up the Bible. I also went to the temple to hear Buddha's teaching. I was chosen by my superiors for further training in America and assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia. In those months in America, I became attached to this new country. I really felt the Christian faith was the reason for America's prosperity. Knowing I would be going back into battle again, I wanted to be a Christian because I had seen God in action in America. I wanted to believe in the Christian God and keep my promise made at the river crossing in that desperate moment.
The Korean War continued taking more and more lives-Korean and American. But before I returned to the conflict, I wanted to learn more about the United States. So I and other Korean officers pooled our money and journeyed to Washington, D.C., and New York City, visiting such sites as the U.S. Capitol Building, the White House, and the Empire State Building.
Trained and prepared for the first time, we returned to the war. With the help of the United States and the other United Nations' forces, the new South Korean army beat back the Northern invaders and their Chinese ally. I fought with Americans in subsequent battles until the war ended in 1953. I prayed to God, asking that someday He would give me the chance to repay America for saving my life.
Free to Search
When the war ended, I married Ki Sook Yoon, who was brought up as I had been in the Confucian tradition, which emphasized loyalty and piety. My wife also came from the same province and county as I, and her parents and family were also of strong Yang Ban tradition. Her father was scholarly and had briefly been a government official. Her family had very strict ethics and tradition. We were matched by our own parents in accordance with our customs. Without even seeing each other, we were obedient to our parents, totally trusting their judgment. It was not until the engagement was finalized several months later that we were introduced to each other for the first time. From that point on, we were exchanging letters-first getting to know each other, gradually developing mutual understanding, and in the end growing in love. Our marriage ceremony was conducted six months after the engagement. This is a very traditional Korean way of getting married.
At the same time, I began intensive study of the English language in Korea and eventually returned to Fort Benning for an advanced infantry officers' course in communications. I did so well in my studies that I impressed the American officers. Now a captain, I was assigned as an interpreter to the staff of General William Matthews, who then served as Chief of the U.S. Advisory Forces in South Korea.
But even in light of such a promising military career, I could not forget my promise to God, who had protected me from harm during the Korean War. I began attending churches of all denominations-and there were many represented in South Korea. But I could find no religious faith that made God seem as real and immediate to me as He had the day He saved my life.
While a 24-year-old captain, I was serving as an instructor at the Korean Military Infantry School at Kwang-ju when my mother died. I felt as if heaven crumbled and the sun darkened; there was no longer a purpose for living. I was so attached to my mother. She was not ill for a long period. She just simply collapsed one day from hard exertion, and probably malnutrition. A brain hemorrhage had occurred. She died almost instantly with her final words being, "Do not call a doctor." Knowing how poor she was, she did not want to burden the family even at her death. When I think of that kind of mother's devotion even now it brings tears to my eyes; it is very difficult to suppress my deep sadness. My mother died in such a horrible condition, without taking even one medication. I really adore my mother's devotion to the family. I feel guilty that I left my mother in such a condition. It is very difficult to suppress endless tears even at my age of 60. I always say I have the greatest mother who loved me more than the whole world, more than life itself.
Before I met Professor Young Oon Kim in 1957, I had been a Christian for five years. But I must confess that even after I converted to Christianity, my heart was still empty and my religious fervor was not ignited. There were so many questions in the Bible which no minister was able to answer for me, such as: What is the meaning of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? How could man's eating of a fruit become a hereditary sin? Is Christ God or man? When would Christ return? And a million others.
One day in the cold month of February, Professor Kim, who was working in the same military compound as I, wrote to me about a "new truth" that would answer all the questions that I had. She didn't mention Father's name; she didn't even mention the church's name. She simply invited me to come one night to hear about this great truth. I was so thirsty for truth that I immediately accepted. I listened to the Divine Principle lectures for two nights. At that time I didn't even know that it was Divine Principle. But the important thing was that I learned more in two nights about the Bible than ever before, and all my deeply held questions were answered. It was liberation and a joy. This was a powerful truth. I had absolutely no hesitation to say to Professor Kim, "I have found the truth. Please bring me to your leader. I want to become a teacher of this truth. I want to learn more."
Dr. Young Oon Kim introduced me to Father two days later in a humble church where there were no chairs and no stove in winter. But I was moved by the fervent devotion of the members. I automatically became a member without even questioning whether I should join or not. No such question ever came to me. I was only thankful to God that He had led me to the truth; my search was over. Now only the job was ahead of us. I thanked God a million times.
As soon as I realized I had found the truth, I told my wife that I was a member of the Unification Church. She replied, "Then I'm a member of the Unification Church, too. Wherever you go, I will go." We then began to study the Divine Principle together. From day one, my wife was an exemplary member. From that day in 1957 until now, over 34 years later, both my wife and I have been completely one; we have not had even one conflict over religion. Father said of my wife: "She can be more sensitive in the spiritual senses. She will be faster in understanding spiritual things than you." My character emphasizes the intellectual or logical side, whereas hers is more on the intuitive side.
We were Blessed as one of the 36 Couples, but on March 1, 1961. The other 36 Couples' Blessing came on May 16, 1961. The reason was that on that day, March 1, my wife and I were to leave for Washington, D.C., to assume my duty as military attache to the Korean Embassy. On the morning of our departure, Father and Mother gave us the Blessing and then came with us to the airport to send us off. That was one of the greatest honors of my life.
Serving In America
In 1961 I returned to America with the rank of lieutenant colonel to serve as the assistant military attaché. Simultaneously, I wanted to serve as an emissary of our True Parents. I became the first missionary in the eastern part of the United States while serving at the embassy. So at night, I taught Divine Principle in the basement of my home, establishing the first Unification Church in our nation's capital. As hard as my wife and I tried, there never seemed to be enough time to help our little congregation grow more quickly.
Three years later, in 1964, I retired from active military service. As much as I appreciated my duty to the Korean Army, I wanted to serve my church full time, which was now starting to grow more rapidly. I had been trained in communications while I served in the military, and I was determined to use this knowledge to help True Parents.
The Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation was the first project where I poured a lot of my creative energy. The KCFF brought Korea's rich cultural heritage to the world through the Little Angels Folk Ballet. The Little Angels soon became world famous as cultural ambassadors of good will for Korea. They performed before the queen of England, two American presidents, and 30 other heads of state around the world. They appeared at the United Nations and at the Hague to raise money for UNICEF The KCFF also established Radio of Free Asia, which beamed news and hope to the people of North Korea and Mainland China.
In 1965, True Parents came to America for the first time. During their three-month stay, they made an arduous tour of all 50 states to establish at least one Holy Ground in each state. When they weren't traveling, they stayed at our family's home in Arlington, Virginia. That was again a very special time and honor.
In 1971, Father and Mother came to the United States permanently. You know the history more than I do from that point on; I acted as Father's interpreter in all official and private functions, traveling together all over the country. During that time on many occasions we went into a McDonald's for a McDonald's party. All these things are such pleasant memories.
Trials and Tribulations
When Father and our church were hounded by the American government, the Congress, and the media, I felt it was my duty to defend True Parents, my brothers and sisters, and my faith:
I do not know how or why God has put me in this position, but if this is my destiny, I will not shirk my responsibility. I will speak what I know to be true. Then let the world decide what it must do. Reverend Moon stands for principles which he knows to be more important than life itself. And he doesn't stand alone. We stand with him. We will fight with our lives. And we don't stand alone; men of principle are our allies. We will fight the injustices and abuses of power of this subcommittee. We will fight to protect the good name and honor of our religious leader. We will fight for the principle of religious freedom and for the honor of America in the courts and in the Congress. We will take our case to the American people if we have to. Even then, if the law and the good will of our fellow men fail us, we will fight on until God Himself comes down from His throne in Heaven to vindicate us. My final plea to all the people of this chosen nation of America is this: Do not throw away this nation's heritage or fail your God-given mission. It is a plea we must heed for the sake of our children and all future generations. [From "Truth Is My Sword"]
Congressman Fraser's hearings were unsuccessful, and he was subsequently defeated in his bid for election to the Senate.
I came to the United States, particularly to the nation's capital, to be an ambassador of God and of True Parents. I came representing fallen Adam, paving the way for the True Adam, so that when True Parents came they would receive great glory and victory in this country. When they arrived in America on December 18, 1971, True Parents began working tirelessly for the salvation of this country. In fact, this nation owes its life to our True Parents. Instead of repaying that debt with gratitude, America put our dear Father into Danbury Prison.
As you know, when Father testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, he concluded with a most noble and remarkable statement. I quote:
The issue today is the very survival of America and the free world. To ensure this survival, I am willing to suffer any indignity, to go any distance, to do any labor, and to bear any cross. I am even willing to give my life if that will ensure that the nation and world will survive and do God's will.
Today I carry no animosity toward anyone. I long ago forgave my accusers. I have no hostility toward the United States government. Instead I pray for this country. I thank God that He is using me as His instrument to lead the fight for religious freedom and to ignite the spiritual awakening of America in this most crucial hour of human history.
Mr. Chairman, I once again thank you for this opportunity. I would like to conclude by saying "God Bless America."
On July 20, 1984, when Father was heading for Danbury, I felt like a dead man, a man with no purpose to serve in the future; I felt I was totally responsible for Father's imprisonment. I was really miserable. Riding in the car together with In Jin Nim that day, I could not stop weeping from the moment we began the journey from East Garden to the gates of Danbury. In Jin Nim comforted me so many times, saying: "This is not quite the end of it, so do not cry so much." But I could not stop. How could I live, how could I eat another meal or sleep another night?
I fully expected Father to reprimand me or show us his discouragement or dissatisfaction, his grief, his pain. But on that day, Father was absolutely a new champion. I had never seen Father's face glowing as brilliantly as the sun. "You never know," Father said, "beyond the hill of Danbury, what great blessing from Heavenly Father is waiting. I'm jubilant, I'm exuberant and looking forward to the new chapter that is going to be opened beyond the hill of Danbury." It was that statement and seeing the great hope and determination on Father's honestly joyful face that really prolonged my life and lightened the burden I felt in my deepest heart.
The Virtue of Forgiveness
While Father was in Danbury, I was kidnapped by North Koreans. When Father heard of it, he began to intensely pray for my life. He continued to pray the entire 40 hours I was gone. Like the battle at Chang Chon River, I thought my final moment had come. I did not want to die in shame or dishonor before our God, our True Parents, and our church. Nor did I want to give shame or dishonor to them. At that time, I desperately called out to God declaring that if I have to die, I want to die in glory and victory, reaffirming and proclaiming this as if I were standing in front of the True Parents. I wanted to die with my final word calling out to True Parents, "Mansei." I received God's help so definitely and manifestly. Because of His grace and the grace of our True Parents I was saved. I owe God and True Parents eternal gratitude.
Father's 18-month sentence was shortened to 13 months because of his good behavior. He was a model prisoner under these unpleasant and undignified circumstances. This is just one beautiful example of Father's entire life. I learned from Father the virtue of forgiveness. Any grudge or embedded animosity toward someone, or any hatred, is poison that does not hurt anyone except oneself.
Therefore, my life credo is to hate no one, to have no embedded animosity toward anyone. If someone does work malevolence on you, pray for him and forgive him. If someone misunderstood you, drop everything and go talk heart to heart to end the misunderstanding and bring harmony between you.
Honestly speaking, I have no enemies, just as Father said he has no enemies. I have no one to hate. Yes, I may like someone better than another, but I have hatred toward no one. I never tried to hurt anyone. I want to try to see the goodness in each heart and bring that goodness out and praise it. I love to praise and applaud others. On the other hand, if someone is trying to praise me, I feel very uncomfortable because I always feel success and credit belong to God and True Parents. I never want to keep it as mine.
Another credo of my life is to never speak ill of anyone, especially in the absence of that person. Yes, I have given a lot of advice and counseling to many brothers and sisters, but I do it face to face, out of genuine love and strictly for their benefit. One time a brother broke down in front of me and said, "You truly love me more than my own father ever did." Nothing pleases me more than when someone feels that way.
To my wife and me, Father and Mother are not just our spiritual Father and Mother. In our minds they are absolutely our physical Father and Mother as well as the Eternal True Parents. Being close to True Parents is also a grave responsibility. It is not always a "fun time" with them. Sometimes we do have serious moments together. Father has many times scolded me and still does without any reservation because he trusts me and I am his son. As a son, you have to suffer heavenly wrath many times. You will be scolded and spiritually spanked.
The Three Stages of Prayer
My prayer life in the church has always been in three stages. First, I pray in repentance because I genuinely feel I am not worthy of receiving True Parents. Furthermore, by being close to our True Parents I must remember that I have a great responsibility representing all the members of the world. Yet I many times either forget about this or relax too much. The struggle between mind and body is always there. Sometimes I have done things which I later regretted greatly. Simply speaking, I am not worthy of being a son of True Parents. I was chosen truly by mere grace, not because of my doing. So when I am thinking of myself and the grave responsibility I have of being where I am, there is so much to repent for. Repentance is probably the only and best way to get rid of your feelings of guilt. God is a good Parent. When a son or daughter comes to Him and truly asks for forgiveness, wouldn't He, as the Parent, forgive His son or daughter? You must trust God as your True Parent. So the prayer of repentance will make you revive, cleanse you, give you energy, and make you a new person.
The second stage in my prayer is always a prayer of gratitude. It is my lifetime goal to live a life of gratitude, being grateful for everything. Even in my suffering there is something to be grateful for. I always believe my suffering will turn into a great blessing. If you are willing to suffer, welcome it when it comes. Many times I have told people that complaint is a disease. If you have an attitude of complaint or a complaining mind, you will never be satisfied or make yourself happy. You will always make your life miserable. Even if you become a king or a millionaire, you still will have a thousand things to complain about. It is a disease like cancer. External things will never heal this disease. I decided a long time ago that I would never complain under any circumstances. I would always find something to be grateful for. I am simply grateful to God for my life, my mission, my health; grateful to True Parents that I am their son, that they love me, that they are my savior, that they rid me of my original sin, that I have eternal life, that I am so close to them. No amount of suffering in any circumstance under the sun can compare to these blessings. So I am grateful in my prayer.
The third stage of my prayer is to give my pledge to God and True Parents. I pledge my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor. Every ounce of energy I have I dedicate to the victory of True Parents and Heavenly Father in bringing the kingdom of heaven on earth. How could we not be victorious with God and True Parents on our side? If we do everything in the name of True Parents, there is no way we can fail. When I am in danger or have a sense of failure, I call out to God, saying, "Thy will be done." I know that His will must be victorious. Don't let Bo Hi Pak prevail, but let God and True Parents prevail. This kind of discipline of prayer life gives me lasting energy, power, wisdom, spirit, and most important, the presence of God.
Yes, I am facing incredible challenges of furthering God's providence in everyday life-as we all are. I always believe in victory and I expect it to happen, not with my power. So many miracles have happened in my life. I always expect them and I receive them-it is that simple. Some might call it positive thinking, while others might call it my faith. Whatever definition you choose is fine with me. I believe and expect a glorious victory for our True Parents. When victory comes, I never consider that it is my credit or my victory. It is the victory of God and True Parents. I simply kneel down to be grateful, many times in tears.
Love One Another
While we are here on earth it is our duty to fervently love one another and love humanity. Let us not judge anyone, as judgment is for God, not man. The work of man here on earth is to love: to love those closest to you, your brothers and sisters, and all people around you-even the person who thinks of you as his enemy. Of course, I am far from reaching that level of perfection. Thank God we have True Parents-the greatest blessing of all for me, for all members of the Unification Church, and actually for all humanity once they realize it. Love heals; hatred is poison and hurts you more than anything else. Let us be like Father every day, more and more and evermore.
There have been many glorious, victorious, momentous, unforgettable moments with True Parents in my life. But I have to say that my 60th birthday was a special moment for me. Unexpectedly, they gave me a very extraordinary party from their own initiative, including an offering table and laying their hands upon me and my wife in a prayer of blessing. That was like a dream come true. Only my seeing a picture of it tells me that it was real. I still can't believe that it really happened. It was an extraordinary honor for an unworthy man like myself, and I said in my testimony that day that I am eternally indebted to our True Parents. No matter what I do for the rest of my life, I can never repay my debt. I own them my physical life, my spiritual life, and my eternal life.
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