40 Years in America

Heung Jin Nim's Spiritual Work

Hoon Sook with her father, Dr. Bo Hi Pak, at her Blessing

It may have been possible to deny claims of Heung Jin Nim appearances and channeled messages. However, there were two substantial occurrences that demonstrated that the movement meant business about the barriers between the physical and spiritual worlds being broken down.

The first of these was Heung Jin Nimís blessing in marriage with Hoon Sook Pak in February 1984. A Korean spiritualist testified that Heung Jin Nimís only regret, apart from not having served his parents long enough, was that he had not been blessed. The day before he died, Rev. Moon also promised him that he "would have adopted sons, that his tribe would go on." Hoon Sook Nim, Col. Pakís second daughter and an accomplished ballerina, stepped forward to be his bride, "accepting...responsibility to live her entire earthly life for the sake of God and solely for True Parents and her husband in the spirit world." Rev. Moon expressed confidence that her "example of loyalty" would empower members "to overcome... problems in dealing with Satanís attacks." As he expressed it, "What couple could complain at having to endure a forty-day, three-year or even seven-year separation period" when thinking "of the kind of life she is living."

The other substantial occurrence that served to mainstream the churchís spiritualist tradition was the "returning resurrection" of Heung Jin Nim twenty-four hours a day in the body of a young Black Zimbabwean member. According to one account, "In July 1987, in the prayer room in a small house in the middle of Africa, Heung Jin Nim announced to a few members (Ďsecond selvesí and Ďchosen ones,í he calls them) that he would begin his activities on earth in the heart of Africa." This represented a decisive new phase beyond communicating "through a mediumís voice or by automatic writing." Within a short period, Heung Jin Nim in his fully embodied form gained acceptance from Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, Executive Director of the movementís World Mission Department. Rev. Kwak utilized his monthly "Letter from the Publisher" column in Todayís World to describe the phenomenon and offer guidance to the worldwide membership. According to Rev. Kwak, "Our movement has absolutely needed the kind of personal assistance he has been providing." He cautioned members against trying to question Heung Jin Nim "about your former experience together" as "many small details of our experience on earth are unneeded and forgotten when we go to the spirit world."

At the New York Conference, November, 1987

By January 1988, working at what one account described as "an incredible pace," Heung Jin Nim in his new form conducted four special three-day conferences in Africa, then successive conferences in Greece, Thailand, Columbia, Argentina, France, England, America and the Far East. The conferences were intense. After singing, prayer, testimonies and a short introductory talk by Heung Jin Nim, each began with individual confessions. With as many as 800 or more members present, this could take hours, with those present exhorted to pray or sing holy songs for each other the entire time. Once this was finished, Heung Jin Nim offered extensive commentary on the Principle and its application, including accounts of his direct experience with Biblical figures in the spirit world.

Sometimes, these commentaries were accentuated "through dramatic role-playing, by calling upon people in the audience to take part in the scenes he directed."

These lectures, punctuated by songs and testimonies or sometimes lively jumping and marching, also took hours, and there was no provision for sleep during the three days. Food also was not a problem since most members were placed on fasting conditions following their confessions. Heung Jin Nim showed special concern for infertile couples and called for couples willing to give birth to a child for them to adopt. There were "tears streaming from many eyes" as "the giving and receiving couples embraced with deep emotion." At the close of each conference, "participants were given a detailed schedule for their...lives of devotion and attendance," including time for morning and evening prayers and for study and discussion of the Principle. Many members experienced personal liberation. Public confession or confession with oneís spouse was a prominent feature of "Black" Heung Jin Nimís conferences. They could unburden themselves of deeply held secrets and "separate from Satan." Within an intensely supportive environment, they could repent, make restitution as needed, and have a "second chance" to become pure. Others achieved levels of spiritual intimacy, which had been lacking.

Heung Jin Nim conducted three conferences in the U.S.: at the World Mission Center in Manhattan, at the Washington, D.C. church, and at a church workshop site in the San Francisco Bay Area. These were attended by approximately 800 members each. He also conducted a smaller session at the churchís seminary at Barrytown, New York and several more private sessions. Most importantly, he met Rev. and Mrs. Moon and appeared to gain their sanction. According to one description, he "ran over to Father and practically jumped into his arms, saying ĎFather! Father!í Then he embraced Mother tightly, crying, ĎMother! Mother!í " At the beginning of the New York conference, Hyo Jin Nim Moon, Heung Jin Nimís elder brother, spoke in tears, stating, "I have the most reason to be skeptical, but now I know itís my brother. Please receive him."

These conferences and the accompanying worldwide tour consummated the Heung Jin Nim revival but also terminated it. By summer 1988, Rev. Moon directed Heung Jin Nimís embodiment to return to Africa, an order that he disobeyed. At this point, there was a consensus that Heung Jin Nimís spirit had left the embodiment and an evil spirit had taken over. The reasons for this reversal were complex, but the basic problem was "Black" Heung Jin Nimís violent treatment of those he believed were not truly following True Parents, a situation that he found intolerable and for which he held the leadership responsible. In addition, reports emerged of his entering European churches on holy days and leaping onto altars for loud prayers, followed by group cheers and hasty exits. Some of this leaked to the press and become a source of embarrassment. In sum, even by the permissive standards applied to one regarded to be a member of the True Family, his excesses became too much for the movement to tolerate.

Once rejected, Black Heung Jin Nim deviated further. He sent a flurry of faxes to church centers denouncing the "evil Kwak" for misrepresenting his work to True Parents. Eventually, he turned against Rev. Moon. There was a reported book burning of Divine Principle in Zimbabwe, and the former embodiment, who resumed using his original name, Clophas, traveled to Japan where he attacked the church in several interviews. He later impregnated and had a child by the wife of the churchís Japanese missionary to Zimbabwe. He also began his own sect, drawing out with him the bulk of the churchís Zimbabwean membership, eighty or so members.

Black Heung Jin Nimís apostasy had little impact in the United States, where apparently he was no longer free to enter the country. However, members were confused. Many members had faith and life-transforming experiences through his conferences. It was important to preserve the legitimacy of these while distancing the church from the more bizarre aberrations. The official position was that the initial appearances were authentic. Heung Jin Nim really was fully present and his forgiveness was real. At some later point, after he had left the U.S., Heung Jin Nim departed his embodiment. This satisfied most. However, some voiced dissatisfaction and requested clarification about restrictions Heung Jin Nim had placed on sexual expression within marriage. Despite his later deviation, Black Heung Jin Nim consistently took a puritanical line. This took several years to resolve in favor of more open expression and was only one area of ambiguity.

Beyond individual and family considerations, a key issue was the place of spiritual phenomena in the Unification tradition. The Heung Jin Nim revival clearly was over. After 1988, there was little evidence of active channeling and several copycat embodiments were not credible. There was a short-lived episode in Malaysia, but in the U.S., several Heung Jin Nim "wanna-beís" were regarded as deluded pretenders. However, this did not mean that the role of those with charismatic and spiritual gifts had ended or was even diminished. The place of spiritual phenomena within the tradition was too longstanding and pervasive for that. Rev. Moon did not back off from pronouncements that the barriers between the spiritual and physical worlds were broken, and in the mid and late í90s, the movement was impacted by a fresh spiritual revival of even broader scope, though more controlled than the Heung Jin Nim revival of the 1980s.

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