The Words of the Lee Family

Interview with Rev. Jae Seok Lee (36 couple)

July 8, 2011

Peace TV posted testimonies and interviews with some of the 36 Blessed couples commemorating the Golden Anniversary of their Blessing. The following is the interview with Rev. Jae Seok Lee, who has been responsible for inter-religious activities in Korea for more than 40 years, and was the fifth president of the Korean Unification Church (1981-1988). Since 1996 he has been the National Messiah of Taiwan. -- Rev. Kambashi

(1) An episode with his wife Mrs. Jeong Won Gang (In 1950's)

We believed that God's will would be realized within three years and did not think that we would be married to someone. But when I was working for Incheon church I heard a rumor that there would be a Blessing marriage. Since I was in Incheon, I think I could hear of such rumors. At that time I thought it would be better to get contact with someone before that person was taken by somebody else.

When I was at the Headquarters, one lady came in and she was a Jeong Won Gang. It was on Oct. 4, 1958 when we had the celebration for the third anniversary of Father's release from Seodaemun prison. I talked to her politely to make an appointment to talk with each other privately, and while I was talking to her, Father came to us saying, "What are you talking about?" I was so surprised and felt guilty since we had been taught purity is very important to observe.

I could not say anything to Father and immediately left the scene. Next day, I met her at the coffee shop near the train station. I said to her, "I heard that there would be the Blessing marriage in the future, and if so I would like to be married with you." Then she said in astonishment, "You should not think of and talk about such things." So the meeting was over then, we had not met again and I did not have the guts to contact her again. I think due to such an incident, in the long run, through True Parents, I came to be matched and Blessed with her.

(2) Difference between the Blessing marriage and marriage outside the church

Of course there are many happy couples who were married in a secular way, and as celebrating my Golden anniversary, I pondered what is the difference between the Blessing marriage and marriage. Firstly, if I am asked to go through, by myself, the same path I lived as of now, I do not think I can do it. I can never do so. This means though I lived my life, I was not the center of it. I could go my path so far with God's grace and True Parents' guidance, and I do not think I can do it again by myself. I feel that my life has been full of the grace of God and True Parents. which led me to overcome all kinds of difficulties.

Secondly, I can say the life as the Blessed family is the life within God. The life of faith is to resemble God, internally changing ourselves. Since God is the source of love and life, happiness of the life in God is beyond comparison with that in secular marriage life. Thirdly, I feel God says, "Since your couple is here, I am happy," and I also feel I am happy because of my wife. I do not think I can find such feelings outside the Blessed marriage. Fourth, I, as a Blessed family member, wanted to be necessary to other people.

(3) Father's speech at the Christian Academy House and afterwards

After our inter-denominational activities for two years, Christian leaders at last invited Father to speak at Christian House on Sept. 8, 1968. That was the first official dialogue between Christian leaders and Father (30 top Christian leaders and theologians in Korea and Father and 10 Unification Church members). They took the position of trying to understand the Unification Church.

Father spoke about how long he had been waiting to meet Christian leaders, and earnestly asked all to be united to realize God's will. Then Rev. Hyo Won Eu gave them the Divine Principle lecture. After the meeting, one participant said replying to the question by newspaper reporters, "Christianity deductively understands the Bible and the Unification Church inductively does it. That is the difference and so the Unification Church is never heretic."

One rector of a theological university said, "I find it reasonable that judgment by fire means judgment by truth." As such, that meeting, which took place only after two-year activities, was the opportunity that let the Christian leaders to understand they need to study the Divine Principle. After the meeting, which provoked public interest about our church, we started to visit Christian leaders and scholars with the Divine Principle.

I visited Dr. Seo, the dean of the college of theology of Yonsei University and asked him to study it, and he said, "I actually wanted to read this. Thank you so much." But one month later, what I found was the posters in the university that says they would give a lecture criticizing our church at their annual lecture meeting at the graduate school. I was so surprised and visited him again, who said, "If I say I would criticize the Unification church, they would come," and so I understood why he chose such a title.

During his presentation at the most authentic place of Christianity in Korea. filling 800 seats, he said, "There emerged a great theology from Korea!" which brought tears to my eyes. I know those days many Christian leaders in Korea were reading the Divine Principle putting it in reverse on the bookshelves so that people could not see the title of the book. But because of his presentation, he was forced to retire. The University felt sorry for him and let him continue to stay at the official residence of the dean, but he went through financial difficulties and I will say he was the first victim due to our church. My heart was broken for him.

(4) Regarding the current reality of our church

The solution for the problem we face now is to return to our essential qualities, which are True Parents' words and lives. The bottom line of our identity lies in True Parents, and their traditions are the path their disciples went through. That's why True Parents' words and lives, and the early members' lives are the tradition and legitimacy of the Unification Church. We are in an era in which we are shifting from pioneering to being settled, and also when our tradition is to be inherited by the 2nd gens. True Parents' words and lives and early members' lives must be inherited.

Also, I think Father's way of doing Sunday service should be the tradition of our service. These are the essences and the base of our church. It is hard for me to say this but I do not think we members cannot solve the problem we have now in the church. The problem must be solved where it started, and it will take long time otherwise. Then what do we members have to do during this period? We must have the life of faith in a right way, and that is to live a heartfelt life in God and True Parents. 

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