Sun Myung Moon’s Life In His Own Words
After the Japanese occupation ended in 1945, Seodaemun prison was used by the South Korean government until 1987. In 1992, the site was dedicated as the Seodaemun Prison History Hall, part of Independence Park. Seven of the prison complex's original fifteen buildings are preserved as historic monuments.
When I was sent to Seodaemun Prison, as soon as I set foot inside, the warden glared fiercely at me and said mockingly, "So, the founder of the Unification Church, Moon so-and-so, has come."
At the time, I thought to myself, "Let's see whether I can win you over or not."
The warden was a Christian, and he said to me outright, "Aren't you that man Moon? I'll keep you here for a month." I jokingly asked this rude guy, "Who do you think you are? You've stolen money." He was taken aback, perhaps because his conscience was pricked. I told him, "So you be quiet." He was such an ill-mannered person; it was as if he'd hammered a nail into my heart.
The confinement director led the first-corners to go to register. I could never forget that director. I have forgotten his name, but at that time he laughed at me and repeated things being said about our church and added, "It has finally come to such an end." I was deeply angered by that and told him to be quiet, to stop talking. I thought to myself that by the time I left, I would win over not only the investigators and the guards but even the warden himself.
One day, I will get to meet him again. Just as in olden times when Jesus was jeered at by his jailers after he'd been caught by the Roman soldiers and was about to be brought in front of Pilate's court, I also had to suffer in that way. In that situation, I resolved that no matter what they did to me, I would win the warden over before I left.
One day, I got a chance to return his reprimand. Some things had been sent to me from outside, but I felt as if they'd been tampered with so I yelled at him. He must have thought I wouldn't have realized it, but I had. I cornered him and asked, "Why did you touch that package? Where did you put your hands? What did you touch?" Since then, whenever he encountered me, he was completely cowed.
During the few months I was in Seodaemun Prison, people called me "Moon what's-his-name" of the Unification Church. It may sound funny, but when you go to a prison, everyone is no less than a prince. In other words, they all think they are great people. In my case, no matter what they called me, I remained quiet and didn't respond -- from the day I entered the prison. I could have stayed like that for a month or even two, but about a week or two later, they began to fear me. When they woke up early in the morning to go to the toilet, I was up praying. Could anyone have stopped me from doing that even by hitting me?
I took aside the person who was causing the most trouble of all the prisoners, the person everyone else wished dead, and gently admonished him in a few words. People then began to say that he used to be a troublemaker, but that he completely changed after Moon came in. When three or four months had passed like that, even though he didn't say it, a rumor spread that everyone in the cell obeyed to the letter whatever Mr. Moon said.
That hadn't come about through anything I'd said. They'd changed because, with a heart that not even the president himself could have harbored on behalf of Korea, I had cared for them, shed tears and prayed for them, centering on Korea's fate at the time, Korea's future fate and the national ideology the Korean people should follow. I had become the owner of heart.
I tried to love the prisoners as their mothers or fathers would have. How pitiful they were! They knew that if I had something to eat, rather than eat it, I would give it to them and that I always found the hardest and the worst sleeping space. Do you know how hungry one becomes at noon after having a meager meal for breakfast? Your tongue becomes dry and painful. In that environment, I was also hungry, but I made up long stories that I told to my cell mates to console them. Under those circumstances, in less than a month they'd changed so much that when someone came to visit them and brought them food, they'd set it in front of me and say, "Teacher, do as you wish with this." That was quite awe-inspiring.
The Unification Church is very simple. It's about completely investing your heart for the sake of others. Since that is the origin of the Heavenly Law, if I embraced that origin, wherever I go, no one could destroy my heart. When I acted in accordance with that, what flowed out became stronger.
It reached the level where everyone in the cell wanted to greet me in the morning. Rumors spread and my cell mates protested that the Republic of Korea, the prison, and everyone else involved was wicked for imprisoning such a good person.
Not only that but there was one man there, a Christian minister, who glared fiercely at me at first and said I was a heretic and an enemy. He flew at me, shouting, "So, what is this doctrine you advocate?!" Afterward, he set a time to come to see me, and we became quite close. The members who'd been imprisoned with me also served me persistently. Others, seeing this, said that even though the world abuses and opposes Rev. Moon of the Unification Church, he sticks to his guns; he is a certainly a notable person.
When I stayed still with my lips sealed, angels from the spirit world appeared and yelled at other prisoners, "You, number 959, go greet Moon what's-his-name! And when you have things sent to you from outside, give them all to him."
A guard came to me and told me a story. He said he had made some rice cakes one morning, but when he tried to eat one it got stuck in his throat and wouldn't go down. Why do you suppose that was? His ancestors were causing it to stick in his throat. They knew he would be in trouble if he mistreated me. And he suffered because had made the rice cakes in secret so he wouldn't have to share them.
When I go to prison, I go with a serious heart. On my way to prison, I think to myself, "I should go to a prison with that kind of heart; as Heaven is watching. I should live out my sentence there based on such a heart." In such a situation, a result commensurate with such a heart will be produced under my governance. The Principle holds that when there is a perfect subject partner, a perfect object partner will be created. That is why even when I remained silent, the ancestors of other prisoners appeared and scolded them based on the laws of the spirit world: "Hey you, do you know who that person next to you is?" Their ancestors would tell them that if they ate their meals with me they should not sit in front of me and look at me in the face, but should keep their heads down.
From all outward appearances, I don't look like much. Don't I look the same as you? But I have a motivation that greatly outdistances yours. I have a motivation that you could never comprehend no matter how much you studied it. That motivation is something that you won't understand even when you die. Because I have that, even when I go on to the next world and say to everyone there, "Hey, everyone!" I will hear "Yes" for an answer, since I have that subject nature already within me. This is something you will come to know naturally right before you go to the spirit world, if you have followed the right path.
That is why if you desire to receive true love and wish to have true happiness, you should stand alone in the position of unhappiness that represents the unhappiness of all others. If you are in such a position then God will care for you, and when you are struck ten times, He will open the way to your future. He will disregard hundreds or thousands of hardships that may come His way, and fight your fights for you. Such will be the experience you come to have.
Change in the attitude of the warden and prison guards Within a month, the warden came to see me to apologize, and something seemed to move within the other prison officials to the point that they all invited me to have lunch with them.
In less than a month, with my own eyes I saw them come to ask forgiveness, saying, "The Mr. Moon of the Unification Church that we had heard about in the past and the Mr. Moon we have come to know are completely different." I have seen that righteousness always triumphs, even while bound with chains of the most severe persecution. That is why, even though the path of righteousness is difficult, I cannot be disheartened because I am taking responsibility to open the path for those people for whom God is searching. I am not disheartened over this task. Even though my body still bears many scars from beatings, the wounds I received in my heart at that time don't hurt at all now.
After promising to bestow blessings on someone, God sends him to prison. He contrarily places that person in the lowest place and makes him stay there. Gold gives out a golden light wherever it is. When I was in prison, I even touched the warden's heart. Even though the investigators who questioned me hated me, in prison I moved the heart of the warden. That didn't require many words. When you remain steadfast under such circumstances, God takes pity on you. Then it is as if spring has come.
For example, the prisoners would dream about me, wake up and suddenly think of me as the man in the prison cell with a particular number. They would come to me in the morning and say, "Good morning!" Even the prison guards came to greet me, and brought me ice cake when the weather was hot. Why did they do that when I hadn't even asked for it? It's because God is with me on my path, and no one could ever take that away from me.
Guards asked me, Teacher, are you uncomfortable in any way? If you need anything, just tell us and we'll get it for you.
When I asked them for rice cake, they brought it, and when I asked them to contact someone, they did. That was not a crime, since they were doing what they wanted to do. [Laughter] The world may oppose you and society may give you a hard time but if you have the heart to melt such a world and society then you will deserve to be called a hero.
Even though others cursed me, wishing me dead, I did not perish. The more some people abused me and the lonelier I became, the more others shed tears for me and consoled me. I am truly grateful that while I was in Seodaemun Prison, every one of the Unification Church members tried to visit me. In fact, they fought amongst themselves over who would visit me first.
When I went to prison, everyone insisted they would come to visit me. They were lined up from one o'clock in the morning, sitting there waiting for me. That is a record I set in Seodaemun Prison.
People wondered, "What did he do to make them go stark raving mad?" (Laughter) That's how it is. When a father scolds his wife at home, their sons and daughters feel sympathy for and console her. They say she is the best mother in the world. That's how it works out. Why? Because of the power of love.
It got so that some people had to wait three days before they could visit me. As a result, everyone wondered, "If it were their son, or their wife, or their husband who had been imprisoned, we would understand, but how can they be so devoted to a man they do not know and are not related to?"
This was bound to be a problem. Those people said, "He brainwashed them, and forcibly indoctrinated our sons and daughters," and so on and so forth. But, had I forced them and they had not liked anything about it, would they have appeared there at the prison and done what they did? All the people in the prison came to know and say, "People say Rev. Moon is a dictator and an exploiter, but that is all nonsense, complete nonsense."
I did not compliment those who finally got to see; instead, I scolded them, saying such things as "You good-for-nothings, why did you come? You should have just stayed put, but you are here starting rumors!" They wept loudly and said, "We love you so much, what else can we do?"
I have not forgotten that when I was brought to trial in chains, Unification Church members were being pushed around there. Even now I remember their faces and who they were. They all stood there with tears streaming down their faces, watching and saying, "They shouldn't do that to our teacher." That scene is etched into my memory, and remain with me until the moment I die. Before I pass on, I should call them to come, and bless them.
If you came to see me in prison, that will be recorded in history. Those who kept their visitor's pass will probably receive an award some day, but I suppose many of you have lost them. If you still have one, take it with you when you marry and preserve it as a family treasure.