The Words of David S. C. Kim

My Early Days in the Unification Church

David S.C. Kim
May 1, 1984

Excerpts from a speech given to members at the Manhattan Center on May 1, 1984, the 30th anniversary of the Unification Church.

It was during the first week of February 1954 that I accepted Father as the Messiah, come, as prophesied in the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible; as the Second Coming of the founders of major religions in other non-Christian sacred books; and as the Righteous Man (Chung Do-Ryung) in the so-called Chung-Gam-Rok, a prophetic book written during the Lee Dynasty in modern Korean history.

I accepted him even before I met him in person and also even before hearing the lectures of Principle from the late Mr. Eu. How could that happen? Well, it happened to me, 30 years ago. So your curiosity must be aroused by now.

I sincerely hope and pray that my brief testimony and my stories of spiritual experiences I had with our Father in the early 1950s, before and after the founding of HSA-UWC 30 years ago today, might bring positive elements of enlightenment and stimulation to your thoughts and your faith. Thus, may you all become ever more faithful followers of our True Father and accomplish your heavenly missions to the fullest extent with great success.

When you work directly with our Father, side by side, you might notice -- if you are spiritually sensitive enough -- that our Father does everything according to certain spiritual laws and heavenly formulas which are vitally important for us to understand, learn, and practice in our missions. I will discuss some of these formulas later in my presentation.

Before explaining that I accepted Father even before seeing him or hearing the Principle, I had better describe my family background.

My Family Background

I was born in 1915, in Seoul, Korea, the only child of a father of Christian background and a mother of combined Buddhist and Confucian background. My grandmother was a devoted Buddhist and was spiritually open. She had associations with many religious groups in the country. Many astrologers, Buddhist priests with psychic powers, and members of other interfaith spiritual groups came to our home continuously.

Grandmother helped me very much from nine years of age to understand parapsychological phenomena. The interfaith-oriented background of my family influenced me to search for higher truth, not only in Christian churches but also in other religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Shamanism, and other small groups with messianic expectations scattered throughout the various mountainous areas of Korea. Now I know God prepared me from an early age to meet our Father and to help God's dispensation.

After graduating from Chosun Christian College in 1939 (originally founded by American missionaries, it is now called Yonsei University), I served for many years as deacon and choir director of the Presbyterian Church in Kun-san City, located in the southwestern part of the Korean peninsula. I had a well-to-do life even under the Japanese occupation of Korea. In 1945, Korea was liberated, and thereafter I served for 14 years in various departments of the Korean national government until 1959.

I married my wife on January 6, 1942 (solar calendar) and we have now been married for 42 years. She gave to me, the only son of the Kim family, five children -- one daughter and four sons -- who are all now living in America. We also have seven grandchildren. In 1961 my wife and I were blessed as one of the 36 Couples. So much for my family background. How about my religious and spiritual experiences before I met Father?

First Encounter with the Supreme God

In 1950, during the Korean War, I experienced God's intervention in a time of crisis to save my life, protecting me from the communist atrocities in the southwestern region of South Korea. As one of the high-ranking Korean national government officials, I retreated deep into the south near the mountainous area surrounding Nam-won City to avoid the communist guerrilla attack. It was too late to continue southward because communist guerrillas had already blocked one of the two highways leading to safer places. In the midst of total chaos and terrible confusion in the mountains, I prayed very hard for inspiration about which road to take. Suddenly while I was deep in prayer, an "old, gentle, and loving man" with purple robes appeared to me, giving me clear instructions about what to do from that time until the U.N. troops liberated that region. Thus my life was spared. I remember clearly that "old, gentle, and loving man" and his distinct voice instructing me directly on how to survive in the midst of communist occupation.

This was my first such encounter, in which the Supreme God appeared to me in purple robes as "an old, gentle, and loving man." I later interpreted it as God's divine intervention to save me for the higher purpose of meeting our Father in 1954, four years later. During the three months that I hid in a remote Buddhist temple in the mountains, I had a chance to learn from Buddhist priests how to communicate with the spiritual world. I also researched how to apply Buddhist doctrines and philosophy to Christianity and to the ideas of other messianic groups scattered throughout the land of Korea at that time.

My daily life for three months in that Buddhist temple consisted of an inter-religious style of intensive prayers. The total concentration of my soul, mind, and spirit was focused on preventing my being captured by North Korean communists. I prayed for three things: that my life would be saved, that my family remaining behind in a northern city would be safe, and that I would serve God for the sake of humanity all the rest of my life. As you know, those three prayers have been answered. I thank God for saving me and my family to meet our True Father in 1954.

When our Korean government returned from the temporary capital of Pusan to Seoul, I made contact through a junior alumnus of my college with Mr. Aum, Father's classmate and very dear friend from his college days in Japan. (Mr. Aum is now a heavenly Unificationist architect.) For several months, the three of us would meet regularly at a cafe to discuss Korean indigenous religions with messianic expectations, Christianity, and other world religions. We talked seriously about the future unity of all religions.

By that time, Father had come down to Pusan from the North Korean concentration camp and started his work again in South Korea. Already a few members in Pusan and Taegu had gathered together. Father had to start all over again since his followers were scattered, some coming to South Korea as refugees.

My alumnus acquaintance, Mr. Lee, visited Father's small Taegu group around the end of January 1954 and returned with a report that this group was spiritually powerful, could communicate directly with heaven, and so forth. Because of my own spiritual and psychic experiences, his excitement and fascination did not impress me at all. I just took a wait-and-see attitude. Based on Mr. Lee's strong and persistent pressure, I finally decided to make an appointment to see the leader of this group. A date was set up to visit Father's small group in Taegu, a city with strong Christian congregations who severely persecuted Father and our movement.

Contrary to my expectations, the leader of the group in Taegu (supposedly Father) was not there. Only Mrs. Se Hyun [Grandmother] Oak was in that house. She is very spiritual and one of the most psychically sensitive people in our church. She had been following Father from the time of his North Korean ministry.

It is unusual to break a previously arranged appointment. When I came to the house in Taegu, with all my pride and arrogance, I was very upset that the leader of the group was not present. However, I softened my anger and indignation when Mrs. Oak talked about the visions she had seen in her early morning prayer. She saw one vision in which a young man speaking a foreign language was talking to her, but she was unable to understand him. When I arrived at her home, she realized that the young man in her vision was me. That information made me pay more respect, and I became attentive to her and softened my resentment towards that group. She treated me very nicely, making me good meals and preparing my sleeping room with comfortable bedding. When evening came, some very important spiritual phenomena occurred.

Second Encounter with the Supreme God

In that house, the Supreme God appeared a second time in front of me, this time through Mrs. Oak, during a very deep conversation. Suddenly her body shook and jerked and the voice of God controlled her and totally occupied her body and mind, causing her to act differently. Now God was speaking to me directly with a man's voice, the same voice I heard during my vision in 1950 on the mountain during the Korean War, when He appeared in the form of an "old, gentle and loving man" in purple robes.

With a feeling of awe and deep reverence I listened, immediately humbled and obedient. God's voice was heard solemnly:

Listen, dear Sang Chul! I have been training you for 30 years, since the age of nine, to search for the truth through various religious experiences and groups. The time has now come; this is the place I wanted to lead you to. From now on, your new name is David, after King David who destroyed Goliath in the Old Testament. You will be going overseas for pioneer missionary work for this group.

Then God left the body of Mrs. Oak. Without hesitation or doubt, I heard the message and accepted it, and bowed with gratitude and appreciation. With my previous spiritual experiences and my psychic ability, I knew God was talking directly to me, giving me instructions about my future mission for our True Parents. (Later, I was sent by Father to England as the first overseas missionary of our movement in August 1954, the same year as the inauguration of the Unification movement 30 years ago today. In 1959, I was sent to the United States as one of four pioneer missionaries.)

With great excitement and thanksgiving, I went to bed late. That same night, God gave spiritual confirmation and evidence of His message to me through Mrs. Oak. At around 2:00 a.m., in a state of semi-consciousness, rather like a trance, a dramatic and dynamic scene occurred. Someone was running straight toward me from a great distance. At the same time, I was running straight toward him from my direction. Both of us kept running, shortening the distance rapidly. Finally, he and I approached each other, and I reached out my right hand to shake his right hand. Immediately, a powerful surge of electricity from him penetrated my hand and entire body. I saw clearly his smiling and joyful face when I received that tremendous electric shock. Immediately, I awoke from that trance, trembling. Whether you believe it or not, the face I saw in my vision was the very same face of our beloved Father, whom I did not meet until three months later in Seoul. He was 34 years old at that time.

Through these two spiritual experiences, I realized that Father was the Messiah, even before I met him in person, and even before I heard any part of the Principle. Since then until this day, I have never had doubts about Father and the contents of the Principle.

The Birth of HSA-UWC

On May 1, 1954, the dispensational time was ripe when the trinity, consisting of Mr. Eu, Mr. Lee, and myself in Seoul, pledged to follow Father and his truth. The next day Father called us and one other person residing in Seoul and explained to us the need and purpose of starting an organization even in the midst of continuing persecution. Three names for the organization were given by Father to the four of us. Two of them were so complicated that we could not even comprehend the meaning of the Chinese characters.

Among the three names Father showed us, we agreed to adopt the present name, for which the Chinese characters are:

We translated these characters into English as "The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC)." The objectives of the HSA-UWC were:

To unite all the scattered Christian denominations throughout the world without initiating a new Christian denomination, and based on the unification of world Christianity, to bring unity among all past and present major religions to build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Although the sign, written in both Chinese and English letters, was hung on May 3, the association was officially inaugurated (retroactively) on May 1, 1954, 30 years ago today. We translated Shilryung as "Holy Spirit," but it actually means "spiritual." This name is often confused with the Holy Spirit (one of the Trinity) by outsiders and theologians, but no other translation seemed adequate at the time. The name actually means, "Spiritual association to unite all Christian churches."

The house in Seoul that Father and a few followers resided in had only two very small rooms. The one for Father had barely enough space for one person; the other, a little larger than the first, was where Mr. Eu lectured and stayed. There was also a small kitchen. The house was called "House of Three Doors." In contrast to the great name on the sign, the house was small and miserable-looking to onlookers at that time. Now it is revered as the origin and very root of our worldwide movement, which at present includes many wonderful buildings like our World Mission Center in the United States.

An intensive witnessing campaign began right after the May 1 inauguration. These witnessing activities went well in three locations -- Pusan, Taegu, and Seoul. In August of the same year, I received a U.N. scholarship as a representative of the Korean government to go to England and study there for two years. In this way the chance was provided to spread our message to England, the Eve nation.

Early members pose with Pastor McCabe (center), Mrs. Won Pok Choi (to his left), and Mr. David S.C. Kim (to his right).

Spreading the Message in England

Father and his early followers in the fifties received vicious persecution from established Christian churches especially in connection with the expulsion of our members from Ewha Women's University. Eight students and several professors were expelled. At that time, I was in England enrolled at the Swansea University College, one of four constituent colleges of the University of Wales. From time to time, heaven gave me revelations about Father's difficult situation in Korea and told me not to worry too much, but to do my best in my mission in England.

While I was in England as a U.N. scholar, I never neglected my heavenly mission and duty. Whenever I had spare time I visited churches and small groups to look for people, and I spoke many times at churches as a guest speaker. I introduced our group and preached the contents of the Principle -- which was then available only as hand- written notes exchanged among the early members.

As my stay in England was drawing to an end, I was able to speak about our movement to the International Convention of Apostolic Churches held in South Wales in 1955, which is a fundamentalist Christian denomination with missions in many countries throughout the world, but not in Korea. I spoke for 25 minutes to the annual general meeting of nearly 3,000 delegates from all over the world.

I appealed to them to establish an Apostolic Church mission in Korea to help our young Christian movement centering on the church leader named Master Sun Myung Moon. I asked them to study this new revelation and to protect it from established church and government persecution. This speech inspired the key leaders of the Apostolic Church very much. In the summer of 1956, they sent an official messenger, Pastor Joshua McCabe from the Australian mission headquarters, to investigate our two-year-old movement.

I returned to Korea in 1956. Pastor McCabe arrived in Korea during that summer and stayed 80 days. He studied the Principle and assisted in Miss Young Oon Kim's English translation of Divine Principle. Mrs. Won Pok Choi, Miss Kim, and I worked together as a trinity to teach him the depth of the Principle and entertained him as a special guest of the movement. Except for the Second Coming in human form, Pastor McCabe accepted most of the contents of the Principle, had spiritual experiences, and returned to Australia profoundly inspired.

However, the Board of Mission Headquarters of the church failed to carry out the original plan to set up a mission in Seoul to help our movement at that time. Thus, the dispensational plan for the British Empire as the Eve nation failed. Father then had to send both Miss Kim and myself in 1959 to reach out to the western world and spread our message, this time in America.

Here are some excerpts of my speech "Korean Revival and Korean War" and Pastor McCabe's early reports from Korea to his mission headquarters about our early church and its activities surrounding our Father. In this way you can know what the early days were like in our church.

From "Korean Revival and Korean War"

One thing I must report and announce to the World Christian brothers and sisters is that during the severe and hard Korean War in 1951, when Free Nations troops were marching to the North, there appeared Our Lord's Image in the Clouds, in the sky of North Korea in the course of jet fighting. This fact, at that time, inspired world Christians and Christian countries, where it was reported in every newspaper, magazine, and wireless.

[The photo was presented at the convention and circulated among the 60 pastors sitting on the platform.]

The second thing I must say especially to your Apostolic members all over the world, which is my motivation to speak to you, is that in Korea through the Korean Revival, God is selecting specialized groups from the existing churches for missions to further in a greater and divine way God's work. A few days ago we heard from your Pastor MacPherson, author of Burden of the Lord, that the success of our church is in specialization in particular fields. Now God is giving this principle to groups of young, intelligent Koreans, revealing some secret providence, pouring down spirits with visions and letting them prophecy something about heavenly things, earthly things regarding particular nations, and the future of the world, etc.

They are entirely captured by the Holy Ghost in their daily living and behavior. They are in God's direct supervising scope, apart from or dividing from the sinful and satanic world, just like your holy gathering in this convention. No worries, no hatred, no sin, but only praising God, living with God, praying for others and keeping love for each other, can be seen.

As far as I understand, these groups which are surrounded by the Holy Spirit number 300 Christians at three different towns in Korea, and are separated from the existing churches -- some are elders, deacons, and deaconesses, and young boys and girls from universities and theological colleges.

In other words, in Korea we have a similar working of God as your apostolic church experienced 50 years ago, but contrary to your situation they are living in different, handicapped, and disadvantaged conditions and environment from yours. I believe God has the same providence for both your church and those selected groups in Korea to meet and to make a link with each other in the near future.

Father, Pastor McCabe, and Dr. Young Oon Kim during the summer of 1956.

Pastor McCabe reported:

The group of Christians to whom I have come are not Pentecostal or Apostolic as we know it, and yet the Spirit of the Lord is manifest among them, as some have visions, others have tongues and interpretations, while a spirit of prophecy is exercised by others in private. So far I have seen no manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit in the gatherings. The fervor and sincerity of the worship, the soul-stirring preaching of Mr. Moon, a born orator who stirs his congregation to response both in praying and preaching, is wonderful. Almost without exception the members are there because they longed for something deeper. The meeting place is an old hall in an out-of-the-way spot...

So much for the historical aspects of the 1950s. Even if I gave more details, you might be unable to comprehend how hard the early followers worked, side by side with Father, under miserable financial circumstances and unbearable persecution -- even trying to obtain help from outside the country. Now you are able to inherit all things from Father without suffering and hardship. As the next generation of our movement, you stand on the foundation of Father's tremendous suffering and indemnity and the hard work of the early followers.

I envy all of you very much. I really mean it -- you are the luckiest people in the whole world, the happiest people in the universe. We have to honor and glorify our True Parents for the astonishing accomplishments Father has achieved in the last 30 years up to this point.

My Source of Spiritual Power

In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of our church, let me conclude by answering a question frequently addressed to me personally from members, both young and old. The answer may be found in the spiritual formulas and lessons I learned from our beloved Father during the past 30 years. These lessons became the core of my never-changing faith and my source of spiritual power.

The question is: What makes you stay in the church so steadily and enthusiastically, keeping a strong, fresh, vigorous, and determined faith with never-ending zeal and energy? Or to put it another way: What makes you constantly and continuously keep up with the movement? There are four points I can present as my living guidelines, learned from our Father as spiritual laws and formulas:

1. We followers of True Parents are representatives of heaven. When we observe and obey heavenly laws -- that is, spiritual, ethical, and moral laws -- we get full cooperation from God and we can exercise our small messianic roles in our mission. My two mottos are: "Obedience is better than offering or sacrifice on the altar" and "I am proud of being a Moonie." I have been practicing these mottos and I will continue to do so. They give me the power and energy to fulfill my mission.

2. I coined a new term, "Unification Optimism," referring to the future hope for you, your family, nation, and world. Even though we still are suffering from the scars of fallen nature within us, from self-created problems even in our family life and so on, we are marching forward to the land of Canaan and will not be destroyed by Satan. If we make mistakes, we should go through repentance, forgiveness, and then God's grace, and True Parents will embrace all of us with never-ending love and heart. True Parents already paid indemnity for us and the whole world and we will all complete the Kingdom of Heaven within our generation based on this year's motto from our Father, "Creation and Building of the Fatherland." This is the reason we must spread "Unification Optimism" everywhere, giving humankind great hope for the future.

3. Principle is the new light of the world for all humankind in these last days -- the consummation of the Old and New Testaments as well as all other sacred books of the past. We all are God's messengers of this age, commissioned to spread the "New Gospel of Sun Myung Moon of Korea." We must declare boldly and shout loudly, "All Christians unite, all religions unite to build the Kingdom of Heaven right now! Let us work together for the fulfillment of goodness!"

4. Father is the True Parent, the one who fulfills God's original purpose of creation and God's will. No other one is yet to come. No matter what evil power in the world -- whether individual, governmental, legislative, judicial, national, or international -- may criticize, persecute, bring to trial in court, or plan to do harm to him, it does not matter. He is one with God, the Creator, and God is in him. He is the center of the universe. Nothing can change this principle and formula.

Finally, in addition to these four points, I solemnly declare the following statement to the world, both secular and religious, in the names of the Heavenly Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and True Parents:

The Messiah is not elected by majority vote as in the democratic system. God appoints the Messiah. Therefore, all humanity must be alert and find out who has been appointed as the Messiah by Almighty God in our own time.

Thank you! 

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