Chapter 1 The Life of the Founder






 Reverend Moon's Life in Hungnam Prison



From a talk by Reverend Won-pil Kim (36 Couples)

Our Teacher's missionary work in Pyongyang came to an end on February 22, 1948, when he was arrested by the North Korean authorities for the second time. At his trial on April 7 of the same year he was sentenced by the judge to five years of hard labor.

While in prison in Pyongyang, our Teacher came across the person who had accused him of the offenses. The man avoided our Teacher at first, as if he did not know him. But our Teacher asked him. "Don't you remember me?" Probably because he could not evade the question, he answered, "Yes, of course I remember you." Then the man offered our Teacher an apology for having indicted him despite his innocence. According to his testimony, he had indicted our Teacher under pressure and intimidation from the communists, as they wanted to get rid of Christianity.

He finally revealed his true heart: According to his confession, he had not wanted to do anything bad against our Teacher. However, as his life was being threatened, he had come to commit this grave sin. Then he implored our Teacher's forgiveness and asked if there were something he could do for him. After that meeting, the man sent provisions to our Teacher several times while he was in prison in Pyongyang.

During that th=ime of incarceration, the judge who had handed down the verdict in his case occasionally visited the prison. Knowing our Teacher to be there, the judge seemed to be reluctant to meet him. However, our Teacher walked up to the judge and greeted him first. The judge seened to be very perplexed at this first encounter with our Teacher. Seeing that our Teacher forgave him, he immediately apologized and said, "You have committed no crime for which you should serve in a prison like this. I know that you are completely innocent. However, I had no alternative but to decide harshly in your case due to orders from above.

These incidents indicate that under such a political system anything can happen. No one thought of our Teacher as a criminal. However, Satan devised a system through which he could unjustly restrain Reverend Moon.


Inmates who were called spiritually

One man who came to be our Teacher's fellow prisoner in Hungnam prison was a Mr. Kim, a former officer of the People's Army. He had served as an officer in that army following the division of the Korean peninsula. During his service it was disclosed that he had sent military information to the South in secret. He was thus imprisoned under sentence of death.

One day while he was sleeping, he heard someone calling his name. He did not pay attention, but the voice came again. Upon hearing the voice for the third time he answered and looked for the person calling him. He saw an old man in traditional Korean attire standing in front of him. The old man said that Mr. Kim would not die, and that Mr. Kim would meet a wonderful young man who would become his close friend and teacher. When Mr. Kim awoke from the dream he thought it was God who had spoken to him.

When his name was called soon after he awoke he thought that he was going to be executed. However, it was a summons from a higher officer. The commander of an artillery unit, under whose command Mr. Kim had served, had returned to Korea from Russia. On hearing that his beloved subordinate was under sentence of death, the higher officer had arranged a special amnesty for him. Mr. Kim was therefore retried and sentenced to three years in prison. A few days later, the old man who had previously appeared in Mr. Kim's dream appeared once again and scolded him sharply. After instructing Mr. Kim to quickly prepare for the arrival of the great young man, the old man disappeared. Where the old man had been standing, his father appeared.

His father bade him follow, and led him to what appeared to be a palace. After waling down a long corridor they went up a grand staircase. At the top of the stairs there was a large throne and the father told his son to bow before it.

After bowing three times, Mr. Kim looked up at the person seated on the throne. The light emitting from the man's body was so bright that Mr. Kim could not look directly at his face. Then, together with his father, Mr. Kim descended the staircase. He then awoke from his dream.

Our Teacher was in the same cell as Mr. Kim. New prisoners were put in a cell with a communal toilet in one corner. In that cell, the prisoners who had been there the longest sat farthest from the toilet. According to the custom of the prison, our Teacher would have to sit right beside a can that was being used in place of a toilet.

As soon as our Teacher entered the cell, Mr. Kim sensed something special in him and spoke to him. Mr. Kim, who had been in the cell longer than any other inmate, could exercise his power as the senior man and thus he asked our Teacher to sit beside him.

Mr. Kim repeatedly asked our Teacher to say something about himself. Seeing that Mr. Kim was a good man, our Teacher explained about his life, thinking that there might be some reason behind Mr. Kim's curiosity. He told of how he came to search for the path of God's will. However, rather than telling his own story, he told the story as if it were about a person named Lawrence. In the end, young person in the story was Reverend Moon himself, and recalled God's words from the dream that he would meet a very important person.

Thus, this Mr. Kim became our Teacher's first disciple in the prison. On May 20, both our Teacher and Mr. Kim were sent from Pyongyang to the headquarters of Hungnam Prison Camp.


Witnessing to the chief prisoner

In the Hungnam prison there was no freedom to speak with other people. One day during lunch break, our Teacher perceived and unusual quality in one inmate he had noticed. So our Teacher spoke with him. This inmate, whose named was Mr. Park, had been a young Christian with strong faith before he had joined the Communist Party. After joining the Communist Party he had been sent to prison for not having fulfilled his responsibility. However, at Hungnam prison, he had been given the position of chief foreman among the three thousand prisoners.

Our Teacher explained to him that John the Baptist had not fulfilled his responsibility. Mr. Park, a Christian in his youth, had thought of John the Baptist as a great prophet. But our Teacher's explanation was quite different from what he had understood. He did not trust what out Teacher told him. Our Teacher tried to explain in detail, but in vain, as Mr. Park would not listen. If our Teacher were to continue to refute him on the role of John the Baptist, he could put him in a very difficult situation with his power as chief foreman. For all this potential danger, our Teacher continuously tried to talk with him.

One night, something strange happened to Mr. Park in his dream. Though a strong man, he began to suffer almost unbearable pain. An old man with flowing white hair appeared to him and said. "Do you know who prisoner number 596 is? You should follow what he says." As the pain was excruciating, he could not but accept the old man's words. As soon as he did so, the pain disappeared.

Several days after this, Mr. Park became our Teacher's disciple.


Maintaining health

Our Teacher was very serious about maintaining his health so that he could survive in prison. In order to do so, he usually got up one hour before the other prisoners to exercise and pray.

Prisoners were allowed only a little water each day. Our Teacher liked water even more than the others, yet he drank only half the water he received at night. The rest he used every morning to wash his body. Then he did some light exercises.

There was a small window in  each of the cells through which the guards could observe the prisoners, and a small door through which meals could be passed into the cell. Every night, the guards would walk around the cells observing the prisoners.

While other prisoners were sleeping in the early morning our Teacher was rubbing himself down with a cold wet towel and the sound of him washing himself with the towel could be heard.

One he was found doing exercises and was placed in solitary confinement. However, even after this, he continued exercising.


Doing the most difficult task

When the Japanese returned to their country after World War II they left behind them in Hungnam a nitrogenous fertilizer factory that they had build during their occupation of Korea. The North Korean communists had build a camp and used prisoners for forced labor in the factory. The job site was between three and four kilometers from the prison. After the sun set, the fertilizer became hard. Accordingly, the prisoners had to break it up in order to make it usable.

They had to break up mounds of hardened fertilizer, pack it up in paper sacks which were then weighed and loaded on a train. They earned their keep through their effort, but as they were only given seven months' provisions for one year's work they could barely survive. Accordingly, they had to work day after day because they could not afford to take a rest or be idle even when they became sick.

They worked as long as eight hours a day. During this time a team of ten people had to break up enough fertilizer to fill 1,300 sacks, then pack and load them onto a train. If they failed to fulfill their responsibility for a particular day, they would have to skip their meal that day. One can imagine how desperate they were to fulfill the work quota given them.


Becoming aware of one's faults

After his release from prison. Mr. Kim told us of our Teacher's life in prison. He said he had never seen our Teacher lying down. Our Teacher always sat meditating. Usually prisoners were allowed to take a nap on Sundays. Even on Sundays, however, Mr. Kim testified, our Teacher never rested on his bed and could always be found in meditation.

Whenever our Teacher's mother, friends, relatives or members sent him food, he shared it with the other inmates and kept the leftovers in a bag. Whenever he took it out to eat, he shared it with others.

One day, it was found that some of the food in the bag was missing. Then quantity of the food that was mission was large enough to be noticed by everyone. Some of the prisoners came to our Teacher and said that they knew who had stolen the food. They asked our Teacher to allow them to punish the person. They were all angry because they regarded the food as their own.

However, when they came to our Teacher to show their discontent, he did not reply.

After supper, he gathered his fellow prisoners and put some food in a small bowl. Calling the man who had stolen the food, our Teacher said, "I can fully understand how hungry you are. Please help yourself to as much as you like." The man, however, did not eat anything at all. Our Teacher then put a lot of food in the bowl and gave it to the man.

The other prisoners wanted out Teacher to punish the man but, rather, Teacher gave him more food. One may imagine that some of the inmates were probably disappointed with our Teacher's approach. However, our Teacher did not listen to them. Instead, by treating the man with love, he made the man feel remorse and regret his mistake. Then our Teacher distributed the food amongst the others.


Do not do the easy task

The temptation most difficult for our Teacher to resist might have been when others asked him to do the easier tasks. Mr. Park, the head of the inmates who later became our Teacher's disciple, recommended him for the easier tasks in the prison. Once he said to our Teacher, "Please, do this easy job." Our Teacher, however, always took on the most difficult tasks.

Our Teacher knew that many saints had suffered greatly for the sake of Heaven. However, none of them had ever managed to establish a nationfor God. When he was imprisoned, therefore, our Teacher determined himself to bring victory in his life in confinement. He knew that unless he endured greater suffering than the saints integrity, he would neither be able to liberate them in the spirit world, nor resolve their painful hearts.

It is very difficult for someone who is suffering to turn down the offer of a more comfortable way. Had we been in the same situation as our Teacher we would surely have accepted such on offer.

Once, our Teacher's disciples made a perfect plain so that he could escape from prison. Everything was set and they were just waiting for the "countdown." Teacher he did not accept it. He accepted all difficulties that came to him. He was ready to suffer any sacrifice and pay any price to gain victory in prison


Our Teacher's unchanging love

What our Teacher worried about most while he was in Hungnam was the situation of the members in Pyongyang. When they heard the Principle from our Teacher for the first time, they felt great hope and pledged to follow him. Our Teacher was very sad to hear the news that members in Pyongyang were drifting father and father away from the church. Nevertheless, he never stopped praying for them.

Thinking that our Teacher might be very cold in prison. One senior lady member wanted to knit several pairs of socks for our Teacher. Koreans sometimes knit socks with human hair. Such socks are warm and long-lasting. She cut her hair and knitted sock for our Teacher.

When I arrived at the church one day, I found a member who wanted to send some food to the prison for our Teacher. During out Teacher's time in the Pyongyang prison she had sometimes brought clothes and food to out Teacher, but she could not do so after our Teacher was moved to Hungnam. This lady knew that a person would have to be a truly faithful member if he or she wished to bring provisions to out Teacher in Hungnam. So she came to me and asked what she should do first in order to become such a paragon of faith. Making a sketch map showing the way to her house, she asked me to visit her. She was very pleased to see me and we used to hold services at her home together with her children.

While our Teacher was in prison I kept my faith, and even though only a few members attended the service I kept on going to church. However, there was no one to tell me what to do at that time, and in that situation I, who had only just joined the church myself, could not know what to do at each instance. Even so, as I kept my faith, God always taught me what to do next while I was giving the service in her house.

From this time on, I realized that no matter what our responsibility might be, and no matter where the church is, the important thing is to devote one's effort sincerely.

Members made firm promises to our Teacher but many of them could not keep their word. However, our Teacher continued to pray for them without changing his attitude toward them. God has fulfilled His responsibility toward humankind. However, people have betrayed Him hundreds of thousands of times. Nonetheless, God was bestowing His unchanging love for us. Our Teacher was well aware of God's heart and situation. Thus he prayed for all members with unchanging love and heart.


Saved from death

Among those who followed our Teacher in prison was a minister who had been working as the president of the Christian Alliance in North Korea. He had apparently heart that the work was easier in the smaller camps then at the headquarters camp at Hungnam. He had the notion that as he was old he would have an easier time there. One day he came to our Teacher and asked for his advice. Our Teacher told him that he would be better to say where he was. But instead of following our Teacher's advice, he went to the smaller camp.

Mr. Kim, our Teacher's first disciple, also asked our Teacher the same thing. Our Teacher told him, "If you go there, your life will be in danger. So if something should happen, please leave that place quickly and return here."

As the situation of the war was worsening, the North Korean army had to retreat to the north. At that time, United Nations forces landed on the coast at Hungnam and were preparing to attack to city. In the midst of this situation the prisoner were to be moved to another place. However, the camp officials decided to kill all the prisoners before UN forces arrived.

They began to kill the prisoners in the small camp first. They packed the prisoners into a truck, took them to the halfway up a mountain and shot them on by one. They elderly pastor who went to the smaller camp was one of those executed. Mr. Kim, who was in one group of these prisoners, recalled what our Teacher had said to him and escaped just at the moment the truck began to move. After killing all the prisoners in the smaller camp, the communists came to the headquarters camp at Hungnam. First, they had all the prisoners prepare food for three days. It was a trick so that the prisoners would not think they were going to die. Then they made them stand in line and gave each of them a shovel. The prisoners walked forward in line as their names were called. The guards were keeping watch on them from the rear. They took the prisoners up a hillside, which was the site of execution. There, the communists made the prisoners dig their own graves and killed them one by one. After one group of prisoners had been killed, another group went forward, and gunshots were heard.

Our Teacher guessed that something was going wrong. Prisoners were not returning after having departed in their groups, and the sound of shots could be heard from the direction that they had gone. Our Teacher realized that they were being executed.

Finally, the prisoners who were with our Teacher were gathered together. It was certain that our Teacher would not be able to escape if his name were to be called. It was just at that time, with the advancing UN forces nearing the camp, that the communists themselves fled, leaving the prisoners behind. That was October 14, 1950