The Words of Hyung Jin Moon From 2010

Moving Into the Cheon Bok Gung and Moving Ahead

Hyung Jin Moon
March 2010

International President Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon-ah nim welcomed us warmly to their new office at the growth-stage Cheon Bok Gung. Like the tiny office they had used at the Headquarters Church over the past two years, the room is simple and traditional in style. We sat on cushions and in his serious but open-hearted manner, Hyung-jin nim shared about recent events and looked to the future.

Question: The growth-stage Cheon Bok Gung is now open. Please could you say something about how it will work.

We say "growth stage' because we're now putting together the strategy for the completion stage. We're going to have to talk to the government and so forth; we have some possible sites. Were putting that together at the Foundation for the Support of HSA-UWC. Yes, it's important to remember that this is the growth stage.

Cheon Bok Gung has three major departments. We have the Women's Evangelical Association, which spearheads the witnessing, and we have our ministry team and our central administration team. There's a lot of space in the building. On the first floor, we have the lobby, the cafe and the Prayer and Devotion Room, where the four saints are present -- there are awesome, incredible spiritual phenomena happening. That's where we do our morning devotional training.

This back area is all office space. We have a lot of office space back here. The Korean headquarters was transferred to Cheon Bok Gung so we have a couple more departments to manage; we have the Family Department and the Culture Department, and we have the External Liaison Department. That right now is dealing primarily with the Japanese church in organizing and helping to coordinate the Japanese members who come in big groups to Cheon Bok Gung.

Then we have the Witnessing and Education Department, which is very important. We have office space for a lot of the major departments, because those departments are working for the national church, not for just Cheon Bok Gung.

Question: Did you bring them here to have them on the premises with you, so you can more freely work with them?

We brought them to the ground. We don't want them to be separated from the ground. When they were in the administrative building, which is separate from the church, they lost contact with the church. As a Family Department that's bad; as a Witnessing Department that's bad and as a Culture Department that's bad. [In the church] you can feel the culture or the witnessing atmosphere. If you're not in that environment, you're going to be out of the loop.

A lot of what they were doing was making theories that weren't applicable on the ground. So, we took them out of their lofty offices and we brought them to the ground, so they can feel the pulse of the church, an actual living church that's open to the public.

We have smaller sanctuaries that are open for the overflow on the big day, Sunday. We have other services, like the Wednesday service and the Friday service that will be taking place there. We have small-group meeting rooms, on the second floor -- very small, for ten people, some of them for five people.

We have a large video center on the second floor, where people go to learn how to become an Unificationist, about our faith, and so on. That's a very big department. They operate on basically the same principles as the other two [21 Heavenly Fortune] centers in other parts of Seoul.

Those are the main facilities. Of course we have True Parents' room, which they use when they come here to ready themselves and prepare for different occasions.

Father's already been here three times including for the dedication ceremony. He's very excited. This happened in a very short period of time, you realize.

Question: Can you say something about True Parents' response to Cheon Bok Gung?

Father was of course happy as everyone saw. Finally, we have somewhere to attend the Messiah in Seoul in a way that reflects our capacity. And Mother gave a wonderful prayer. I recorded it on my phone. Mother was just crying as she was praying. She is so thankful that we can have a church like this.

Father... It's not only that he came here on the first day, the opening day. He then ordered leaders from around the world to come and be educated here. Because we don't have dormitory facilities, we set it up to do at our Central Training Center in Guri. They're doing the workshop there and on the weekends, they are coming here to Cheon Bok Gung. Spiritually it's being done from here. From three o'clock every morning, a member of our Hoonsa team leads the participants in morning meditation training and two hundred and ten bows. Then they move into Hoon Dok Hae and the rest of the day they have lectures.

Father asked us to hold a hundred-and-twenty-day workshop for those leaders; we're basically going to do forty days with the prayer condition continuing up to a hundred and twenty days. It's led by the Cheon Bok Gung team, the Korean headquarters team and the Education team. The leaders are being shown a witnessing method, and they also come in and participate in witnessing. It's very interactive.

The second time Father came was to speak to the members. We got a call at ten o'clock at night that Father was coming. He was here from eleven o'clock until five in the morning, all night, and then he did Hoon Dok Hae until ten o'clock. He was here for eleven hours just pouring out his heart.

On Sunday, Father came for the service, which was a huge blessing. We had a wonderful group of younger blessed children from Japan. They prepared a beautiful choral piece, which they'd practiced for two months. They just wanted to sing in the new temple, because many of their families have donated and participated in its building. That would have been wonderful in itself but then True Parents came on that very day. Father spoke to the children directly; what a huge blessing from the Messiah!

So we are preparing for Father to come any time, preparing the services to be flexible.

Question: The Venerable In-gong gave testimony to Father at the dedication ceremony for Cheon Bok Gung. Could you tell us about his relationship with us?

He is, as you know, the head of the Taego Buddhist Order whose followers number in the millions around the nation of Korea. It is the second-largest order in Korea. It has six- or seven thousand ordained monks. They allow clerical marriage in that tradition. Many of those monks have actually participated in our blessings in the past. In some respects they are blessed couples, and from a long time past they have had deep respect for True Parents. Just recently we went and visited them. We're very proud of True Parents as the Messiah who comes to this land. I told him straight out we're so blessed that the Messiah has come to Korea.

Question: How does that fit with the Buddhist view of reality?

It's a different type of expectation, but there is a big tradition for the Maitreya in Buddhism. It's actually quite similar to our own expectation -- the fact that there is preparation, that a foundation is created, and then the Maitreya comes. Most people understand that there's a spiritual expectation for a central figure to come. And that's true. Most lay people in those religious traditions have that level of expectation for either the return of Christ or the coming of the Maitreya. For Buddhists, I explained True Parents as the Messiah, as the Second Advent of the Lord. I particularly use that terminology They understand that we are from a Christian root, but they understand what we are talking about in terms of True Parents being the savior. They take it very well.

Question: They can sense Father's genuineness.

Yes, because they arc religious leaders and they have to make a success of their religion and with their temples. They know how difficult it is to break through. They see that True Parents have done it from scratch and created a global religion. That's unfathomable, so they have a great respect for True Parents.

A lot of Buddhist monks and Buddhist laypeople have great respect for True Parents because they have shown Korean culture to the world. Out of all the world religions, we are the only one that centers the world on Korea as the holy land. It is a huge benefit for our work in Korea if the people awaken to that reality.

I spoke about it, actually, this past Sunday. That it should be the nation's pride. It is the key to making Korea the center of the world. We meet many VIPs here, and it's very common for these people to have a big desire to see Korea become a major player in the world. That's only natural. They're always thinking of how to do that, whether it be through technology, wealth, or power. They're never going to do it with Olympic skaters. There's no way that has the staying power that faith and spiritual power has. The only way it can be done is if spiritual power becomes the center. I'm always trying to tell Korean people this, and here in Korea we are actually focusing our witnessing efforts on this, to get people's national pride involved in supporting and promoting the growth of the Unification movement.

Question: I can see how that might work well in Korea.

So it's a very important message to the Korean people to awaken to their true identity; your national pride cannot be in figure skaters forever. You're not going to claim to be the center of the world through sports. The only way Korea will is when they understand that the return of the Messiah has happened here.

Then people will want to come here, they will want to visit here, they will want to graft onto this heritage. I'm always trying to tell the Korean people that. Wake up to your true identity! That's not to say that the other members of our movement are not a part of that. We are moving together on this path, but in Korea we have to move the nation because we have to create Cheon II Guk. It's very important at this time.

Question: Father mentioned on Sunday that witnessing needs to be from the top down. Would you comment on that?

For us, it's very important, because we are a movement with a purpose and we have a mission, that is, to create the kingdom of God on earth -- that's not a small mission. We have a purpose for our existence, and that is not to be some kind of welfare organization. We are a messianic movement. As the Messiah is here, the movement has the mission to create the kingdom of God. To affect that mission our witnessing has to be geared toward allowing nations to be moved. I believe this is what Father is thinking.

We do witness to people who have the foundation to make an impression on society. We want to move our society and create the overwhelming effect that these kinds of people can create when they become Unificationists. For example, the president of one construction company joined the church. He takes a bus for three hours to get here every Sunday. Because he came in, almost all his staff also became members. The owner of a buffet restaurant and a wedding hall was initiated as a new member. He went through all the training, began tithing, has done all the conditions that are asked, and he has brought in four people who are receiving Principle education. We want to have people coming who can move society. That's the process of moving a nation.

With the amount of energy you invest in witnessing, which is a good-sized portion for us, we want to target those kinds of people that can contribute to the church and help it develop. When the economic strength of our church becomes greater and more stable, we will be able to do different types of service activities. But there's a process. You can't start with that because you won't be able to sustain it. What comes first is a strong base of support. This is what the Unification Church does not have in Korea nor does it have that in America or in other country. This changes our witnessing strategy. Only in Japan do we have that backbone.

Question: You suggested once that we witness to middle-aged women.

Yes, we would like to bring mature mothers to join us. This is because they have the time to invest in the church and they have a lot of ability. Because they have raised their children, they have a certain level of parental understanding, parental heart, which can be developed to a more broad compassion toward saving the souls of other people. Not only that, most middle-age women have a husband who works, so they are financially stable, which means they have more time to invest into the church. That becomes a win for them, because if you look at the statistics you can see that among women at the age when their children leave the nest there's a huge void.

We're working with our women's evangelical organization to contact women in that age group who can work in witnessing and help with church development. That doesn't mean that we exclude men. But we do put a lot of energy into bringing mothers to join the church. We need that motherly maturity; we need the compassion that comes from motherhood.

Question: That might explain the size of the Sunday school.

Yes, we have a very large Sunday school. Actually some of the women are younger, they are not necessarily middle-aged yet. We have many young kids. We now have over five hundred kids every week up to high school age, which is hard to manage even for our sixty volunteer teachers.

Question: You're working here in Korea, creating a model for the world. In-jin nim is working in America. Your work here is creating a revolution; In Jin Nim's working to create a revolution in America. Do you work together?

Yes, absolutely; there's a lot of synergy. We just sent the U.S. our restructuring plan, which we have implemented in Korea over the past two years. They're studying that and using it as a case model, so that they can start thinking of ideas and ways that work.

This time we implemented a model that works, which was really created by Kook-jin nim with a task force team of professionals.

The debate about how to grow the church is over; we don't need any more theories. We now need to share the information, because we already know how to do it here. We need people to understand what the process is; it involves a lot of management knowledge.

We sent them the information on how we were able to create results in Korea. That's a case study they can use. There are always different circumstances in different countries, and even in different churches in the same nation; but at least it's a case study. It's one case study among the world's Unification Churches where a church that was failing became a growing church. We want to show that one model to the other churches, particularly in America, because In Jin Nim has started a real ministry. A True Child standing on the front line as a minister has the potential to be a good catalyst.

When you do restructuring there are always tough decisions that you have to make downsizing, plugging the holes in the dam, so to speak. Also if the vision is off in such a way that it's not going to be suitable for church growth you have to modify the vision. There are many things you actually have to do organizationally. They're beginning to study that information and hopefully they'll be able to bring good results there.

In Jin nuna's done an excellent job because she's put her neck on the line, having an open church where she comes out and preaches every week to the congregation. That's very important; consistency in ministry is critical. Without ministry operating and moving forward the Holy Spirit doesn't move. Without the spirit world moving, you cannot implement church growth, because in the end even though you make the administrative changes, you won't have the faith. And you won't have the impetus to move the church forward. Confidence to witness comes from spiritual power.

Religions that grow are strong in evangelism. Judaism has a special relationship with God. Christianity has a special relationship with Jesus. Islam has a special relationship with God. Buddhism has a special relationship with the highest level of enlightenment, which can free one from suffering. These are not relativistic traditions that view all others as basically the same. Such traditions have weaker growth. When you look at the statistics of flourishing seminaries, for example, only evangelical seminaries succeed, can pay for themselves. Ecumenical seminaries that try to go with an inter-religious vision tend to fail. It is the churches and religions that have strong confidence in their [particular] relationship with God, with the divine, that can grow.

Witnessing has to challenge common perceptions. Even for us this is very important. When we focused our identity on the Family Federation, we weakened our identity our faith. We became relativists in the sense that we advocated that all the religions are okay. Together, we're walking up the same mountain, as if that were Father Moon's vision.

That actually destroys faith because you have no special relationship with God. When you're raising your children in that faith would you say "Well, we're all the same, so you can become a Buddhist or a Christian."? This was never what Father wanted. Father always expected us to bring the religions to him. That was the difference.

What we do here is far different. We have the four great saints here and they serve True Parents. The witnessing process is geared toward accepting True Parents as the Messiah and the Second Advent. We do not take the relativistic view here; we have a very strong evangelical view. We have confidence in our faith. This is a big change in culture. This is what has happened, starting from the Headquarters Church, moving out into the Seoul area and now strengthening our Korean church throughout the nation.

This is why we can grow again. This is why we have a new love for True Parents and why when we see True Parents we can see them with new eyes.

Question: Members seem to have confidence that you and Kook-jin nim have made the necessary analysis and painful decisions to move the church in the direction that will bring success.

Unificationists sacrifice their lives for this. Anyone who is an Unificationist wants to see the faith blossom. Father has opened the age in which we can actually put up front Tongil-gyo, the Unification Church. No more hiding, just up front: this is what we believe.

We do acknowledge the other religions' prophets as having been sent by God. And we don't only acknowledge the Abrahamic saints; we also acknowledge Confucius and Buddha. That's huge. We see them all as prophets whom God has sent.

When True Parents come and fulfill their mission, however, they bring the newest truth that raises all of us to the new level of the kingdom of God. Why can't we declare that, as people of faith?

Every other religion can do that, why do we prevent ourselves from doing that? We do a lot of inter-religious work and we don't want to upset them. But go and study the other religions! They're still doing inter-religious work, but they're confident. We can do the same.

Why is it that we cannot do, for example, as they do in the Baha'i tradition that says Baha'u'llah is the messianic person, the prophet of this age and though God sent the other prophets, Baha'u'llah brings the new truth that will bring the other religions to higher elevation? Islam says the same thing. Muslims acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, and see him as a prophet of God. They see Moses and Abraham all as prophets of God but Mohammed as the final prophet. It makes many references to Christianity having become corrupt since the time of Jesus. Islam will now lead Christianity and Judaism, and so on, to the religion that Allah had from the beginning of time. That is how they describe it. Why can't we talk like that?

The Catholic Church is very clear in saying there is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ's salvation, but it still holds inter-religious dialogue.

We can be very clear about True Parents' role in bringing all religions to the kingdom, but we can still acknowledge and love the other prophets. This is a very important change of culture because it allows us not to fall into the trap of relativism. You always have to keep the message clear the True Parents are the final prophet; they come as the Messiah to create the kingdom of heaven on earth.

And when we talk to everybody we tell them this is what we believe. We had a delegation of congressman from Malaysia, 95 percent of whom were Muslims. We very clearly told them what we believe -- True Parents are the Messiah, they are the Second Advent.

We told them very clearly, and not only did they enjoy it more -- we had incredible conversations about it afterward -- they actually went back to Malaysia and requested more information about the Unification Church. They want to study Divine Principle because of that.

As a community, we can be confident. Why do we have to hide what is fundamental to our faith? When we are more confident with our faith, others can know where we stand, and that's the important thing. 

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