Unification Sermons and Talks
The Completed Testament Age and the Religious Vision of Hak Ja Han Moon
by David A. Carlson
This is the first in a two-part adaptation of a Masters thesis presented at the Unification Theological Seminary
Hak Ja Han was born in the province of Jeong Ju, in what is now North Korea, on January 6, 1943. Relatively little is known about her father, but it is known that her mother was a devout Christian. Up to the age of six her life was not much different from that of other Korean girls of the time. At the age of six, however, due to her mother's devout religious observances, she and her mother were arrested by the communist authorities and spent several days under confinement. They managed to escape to the South and eventually arrived in Seoul. For several years Hak Ja Han lived in the home of her uncle and attended primary school. She received a typical education for a young Korean girl of the time. Her mother, a devout Christian, was a spiritual searcher and was active with several mainline churches. However, because she was not satisfied with the depth of their Biblical teaching, she searched in various peripheral spiritual groups as well. It is known from studies in the history of Korean religions that some of these groups, such as the "Holy Lord Order" and "Inside Belly Church" were very spiritualistic in nature and taught doctrines based on what they believed was continuing revelation. Some of these doctrines were considered "orthodox" and others were considered "heretical" by the mainline churches.
Hak Ja Han thus received continual spiritual guidance from her mother. She and her mother left Seoul to live on Chejudo Island, just off the southern coast of Korea, because her mother was concerned about keeping her daughter's faith pure and many young boys were beginning to be attracted to her. She was trained to live a very disciplined spiritual life. It was not easy for her, especially as a young girl, but her mother was determined to raise her with a high spiritual standard. In time, she and her mother returned to the peninsula, to the city of Chun Chon where Hak Ja Han graduated from primary school. She describes her character at this time in her life:
"I had a reputation for being rather on the quiet side. I enjoyed tranquillity and quietness, reading and music. I was known also as a rather intellectual young lady. I was not too emotional, not excitable. In a way I was slightly chilly and cold toward newcomers who met me. My basic character was such that I was not outgoing. I always withheld myself and isolated myself from the outside world. I enjoyed my own world and was almost scornful of the world of men." [HSA-UWC, The Heart of True Mother, New York: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1991, p.. 40.]
Shortly after this time Hak Ja Han's mother met and joined the Unification Church. Because of her mother's active involvement with the Unification Church, Hak Ja Han was raised by her grandmother and her uncle. She first met Sun Myung Moon in Seoul in 1956. She was thirteen years of age and would not meet her future husband again until 1960 at the age of seventeen.
In 1960 Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han were married in Seoul. As the wife of a dynamic religious leader, her responsibilities were destined to become wide-ranging. For the next seven years, therefore, until 1967, she underwent a difficult period of strict spiritual training. It was important for her to undergo such training in order that she might stand as one of the leaders of the Unification Church, having firsthand experiential knowledge of its teachings and traditions. Her spiritual responsibilities soon took her abroad. In 1967 she traveled with her husband to Japan to assist with a series of extensive training programs. In 1972 she arrived with her husband in the United States to begin an evangelical effort. This effort was highlighted by her husband's speech in 1976 at the Washington Monument, given in celebration of America's Bicentennial, and entitled "America and God's Will." Another highlight of her time in the United States, at least to me personally since I was a participant, was the wedding in Madison Square Garden in 1982 of 2,074 couples (over which she co-officiated). In 1989 Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon was awarded an honorary doctorate. During the past twenty years her scope of activities and responsibilities have expanded significantly as has her spiritual stature.
The Age of Women and the Spiritual Authority of Hak Ja Han Moon
The first section of this paper presented an overview of Hak Ja Han's life course up to 1990. She accompanied her husband virtually everywhere, but was usually in the background, her presence being felt, but often only in a very quiet, almost inconspicuous, manner. With few exceptions, one being a special greeting to women at the 10th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in Korea in 1981, she rarely spoke in a public context. This was soon to change quite dramatically. At a Unification Church celebration in New York City on March 27, 1990, in a surprise announcement, Hak Ja Han Moon was declared officially and publicly, by her husband, as being the "co-founder" of the Unification movement and as being "co-equal" with him in terms of having the requisite spiritual authority to represent the movement anywhere in the world at any time. When one considers the stature of her husband such a declaration must be taken seriously. In 1991 Reverend Moon proclaimed that the Age of Women had begun. Two years later, the United Nations declared 1993 to be the Year of the Woman. This series of events set the stage for Hak Ja Han's religious presence to come more into public view. She stood poised, ready to emerge on the global level as one of the major spiritual leaders of our time. Her work since that time, especially during the period 1992- 1994, has been virtually unprecedented. It is interesting to note that the stature of women in general has been elevated in many spheres during this same time frame. For example, many women have been elected to public office since 1990 and no one can fail to notice the conspicuous presence of Mrs. Hillary Clinton in the United States, not to mention many highly-respected women now serving as governors, mayors, business executives, and so forth.
Hak Ja Han's position as co-founder of the Unification movement, and her being co-equal with her husband, signifies that she has succeeded in laying a certain necessary foundation of personal effort vis-a-vis her own spiritual development. Her authority as a spiritual leader derives from her accomplishments in this realm. That is to say, her spiritual leadership does not rest primarily in her capacity as a teacher, or as a businesswoman, or even as a diplomat or scholar, although she is all of these. Significantly, it no longer lies even in the fact that she is "the wife of Reverend Moon." Her capacity for spiritual leadership and her spiritual authority rest in the fact that she has herself achieved a level of spiritual maturity which endows her with the appropriate and requisite qualities necessary for true leadership. If I were to characterize her leadership I would say it is more internal and "heartistic," having more to do with being considerate of other people's feelings and emotions. Someone from an Oriental culture would understand this easily. Hak Ja Han Moon is a woman of jen (a Confucian concept often translated as benevolence). In the Korean culture she would be considered a woman of shim jung (the closest English translation being something like "heart"). Her leadership, in any case, is best exemplified in her "presence" as a parental figure. Among the most important of her leadership qualities is her successful development of a true and sincere parental love for other people. It is on the foundation of her achievements in this sense that her autonomous spiritual leadership activities began visibly in 1992.
Hak Ja Han Delivers a Proclamation to the World
During the World Culture and Sports Festival held in Seoul, Korea in August 1992, Hak Ja Han inaugurated the Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP). The WFWP is an international organization of women dedicated to promoting world peace. On this occasion she delivered several keynote speeches. As the international president of the WFWP she then conducted an American speaking tour in 44 cities during the period from May through July 1993, culminating with a proclamation at the United Nations in September 1993. On that foundation she proceeded to speak in 40 major cities throughout her native Korea, followed by 40 major cities all around Japan. She continued until the end of 1993 with a global speaking tour of 40 nations, including the former Soviet Union. She spoke in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in November of 1993. Everywhere she spoke she initiated chapters of the WFWP. In this way she advanced the work of uniting women all over the world. Even though the message she proclaimed is "revolutionary" in nature, she was received warmly, occasionally by a head of state, each time she spoke. Everywhere she spoke she was introduced by notable people from churches, government and business, indicating that the stature as a spiritual leader is being recognized worldwide. In some places the national news media announced her talk in advance and informed people of the work of the WFWP.
The rigorous schedule Mrs. Moon maintained throughout this time illustrates her determination to serve the world; she spoke almost everyday in a different location. During any given 10-day period it was not unusual for her to speak in 10 different cities or nations. The message she proclaimed each time was essentially the same. She spoke from a prepared text entitled "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age." I would like to offer a summary of the main points of her proclamation. In view of its importance to this paper I will quote it at some length.
An Overview of Hak Ja Han Moon's Proclamation
The message of Hak Ja Han Moon, and thus her religious vision, is set in the context of the Christian perspective and draws upon traditional Christian theological and Biblical concepts. What is rather remarkable, however, as will be noted later, is that it also finds meaningful points of contact with certain important Buddhist concepts.
Her speech, entitled "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age," begins with a description of God's original ideal as it was meant to be realized centering around the original ancestral couple, Adam and Eve. God's ideal "was that they perfect themselves through true love so that they could then create a good family of true love, true life and true lineage." Furthermore, "parents are to live for their children, and children for their parents. Husbands are to live for their wives, and wives for their husbands. All beings in creation are to live for and give to others." Then, "if God's ideal of true love had been realized through Adam's family, that family would have become the beginning of the heavenly kingdom" and "it would have expanded throughout all of history...to the world. This would have been the world of true love." Mrs. Moon then points out that "this present world is far from the good world of God's ideal" due to the alienation from God of Adam and Eve. "Today's world is, in fact, a `false' world, in that it is flooded with self-centered love. This came about because Adam and Eve became false parents based on false and self-centered love with Satan." Then, "the goal in God's dispensation of salvation is for a man and a woman, representing Adam and Eve, to be restored as True Parents centered on God's true love, so that the true family can be formed. From them would eventually flow the true clan, the true nation, and the true world. In other words, the seed from which God's true love, true life, and true lineage can grow must be created." Mrs. Moon notes that the position of parents was lost as Adam and Eve fell, and then the position of children was lost with Cain's killing Abel. This is to be restored in reverse and she notes that the "pattern of reconciliation of Cain and Abel as the foundation for restoring the True Parents has been God's consistent formula throughout the history of restoration." This pattern of reconciliation involving a Cain/Abel typology begins with the mind and body of an individual and "has expanded to the family, nation, and world." God's desire, however, is that "both sides be restored, not that one triumph over and destroy the other." She notes that "the key to God's work of salvation has always been to unify such divided sides, based on His ideal, in order to build a foundation on which to reclaim the True Mother and True Father."
In Section IV Mrs. Moon goes to the root of family breakdown and social problems: "if a family is not centered on God's ideal of love, there will be conflict among the members of that family...a nation of such families will also decline." She states: "because illicit, self- centered love invaded the first family, selfishness and greed have continued to dominate human history from the individual to the family, society, nation, and world. For this reason, God's work of restoration begins at the individual level." She laments the fact that many young people, "unable to attain the true love they sought...resorted to suicide, drug abuse, and free sex." Mrs. Moon then describes the sharp contrast between true love and free sex, noting that "what pains God most is free sex...A world of free sex is absolutely contrary to the Will of God." Further, she condemns infidelity and divorce, sexual abuse of children, homosexuality, drugs and alcoholism. When these conditions exist, "the world of true love is far away." People who do God's Will "live a lifestyle that is 180 degrees different from this." Those in history who "chose to walk a spiritual path of self-sacrifice have been bitterly opposed and persecuted by the rest of the world. It is only God's love and blessing which have allowed the Unification Church, despite worldwide opposition, to prosper...those who go against the Will of God can never prosper. The principle holds true that those on God's side, who can endure unjust persecution, will win the right to take back the blessing."
With this prolegomena in place, Mrs. Moon continues with an explanation, based on the Bible, of how the restoration of true love has been taking place in history. This process began with Cain, Abel, and Eve. Eve should have helped them unite, but failed to do so. History had to wait for another woman to take Eve's position. Mrs. Moon now turns to some of the famous women of the Bible, Rebekah and Mary, and presents an interpretation which sheds light on the deeper meaning of these Bible stories. Rebekah helped her son Jacob unite with Esau and thus symbolically purified the blood lineage. The meaning behind the "paradoxical story of Tamar" is that the blood lineage was purified or restored in the womb. Thus "it becomes possible to understand why Jesus was born of her lineage." This purified blood lineage "was the point from which the Israelite nation started expanding." From this same lineage, Mary was born 2,000 years later and, at the risk of her life, she gave birth to Jesus. Jesus came for the purpose of standing in the position of a True Father to humanity. His bride, once Jesus married, would stand as a True Mother to humanity. Together as True Parents they were to teach God's will to Rome, to Asia and to the world. They would then accomplish complete salvation for the world and restore the individual, family, national, and worldwide heavenly kingdom. However, John the Baptist failed to fulfill his mission in serving Jesus and Jesus had little recourse but to go the way of the cross, thus achieving only spiritual salvation. He left the promise of the second coming of Christ. At this point Mrs. Moon speaks of the need for unity. "God's preparation for the Second Advent required a world level foundation of successful Cain-Abel reconciliation. This dispensation was carried out through the events surrounding World War II." The victorious Allied nations "stood in the position ready to receive the Lord of the Second Advent." But because of the expectation for the Lord to "come on the clouds," God's dispensation was not fulfilled at this time. "God's representative came to bring His word and was met with tremendous persecution and almost universal misunderstanding." Mrs. Moon notes that "God instructed my husband to bring a new message of truth to Christians living in Korea." She proclaims: "If the Christian churches had become one with my husband, the heavenly kingdom would already have been established on Earth as well as in Heaven. During the seven- year period from 1945 to 1952, when the New Testament Age ended, the entire world could have united in accordance with the providence of God." Rather than hearing his message, Christian leaders "blindly opposed my husband" and used rumors "to assassinate his character." Those ministers "represented all of Christianity. Because America and worldwide Christianity failed to unite with my husband after World War II, they began to decline in their power and moral authority...After World War II, the United States and Christianity stood on a victorious foundation of Cain-Abel unity. The time was ripe to receive the Second Coming. However, this opportunity failed to materialize and the whole world opposed my husband's work. He was expelled into the wilderness. He was forced to the bottom and has been climbing back up ever since."
On the foundation of the indemnity paid during this time "we established in 1960 the Holy Wedding of True Parents on the national level...Then in 1971, my husband and I came to America. Over the next 20 years in the United States, we walked the path of indemnity to fulfill the New Testament Age and to begin the Completed Testament Age. Thus, we established the True Parents' family, the origin of true love, true life, and true blood lineage, based on God."
Mrs. Moon notes that "Rome thought that the world existed only for the sake of Rome. She did not realize that God had raised her up for the purpose of uniting with the Messiah and serving the world...America faces a similar situation today. People must realize that God blessed America not for herself but for the sake of the world. America's Pilgrim Fathers did not come here for wealth. They came here to attend God. If America fails to remember the purpose for which she is blessed, then her blessing will cease and she will perish. My husband and I desperately want to prevent this. We must save America." She points out that "American leaders, prominent Christians, and other leading figures of the world have only a faint idea of the forces that shape the future. They can offer little insight, hope, or guidance to their people...God...has granted my husband and me an understanding of the forces involved in His providential history. We know the direction that humankind must go, and with the help of God, we will lead the world there."
Mrs. Moon, at this point, speaks of what the Unification movement has to offer. The Divine Principle contains the revelation given to Reverend Moon and, when the Bible is read from its perspective, one can find "the answers to questions unsolved for thousands of years. The Divine Principle offers "solutions to the problems facing our society today...Russian classrooms where our members are teaching...are overflowing." Among the most powerful testimonies to the power of the teaching of Hak Ja Han Moon is the fact that in Korea in 1992 "we held a wedding celebration for 30,000 couples, all dedicating their lives to one another, to God, and to the world." She speaks of the important role of women at this point and states: "America must take the responsibility of creating a foundation for worldwide unity upon which the bridegroom can finally be received...At this turning point in the history of restoration, a woman in the position of True Mother must prepare the world to receive the True Father...I visited...countries to form chapters of the Women's Federation for World Peace...the nations united together to receive the True Mother and prepare again the foundation to meet the True Father." At this point Hak Ja Han Moon declares that, "based upon this foundation, my husband and I can now stand on a worldwide level as the first True Parents. As True Parents, we are ushering in the Completed Testament Age."
Mrs. Moon speaks about four types of love in the family: "children's love, brother-sister love, conjugal love, and parental love." Once these are all perfected, the family is completed. "By setting up ideal, unbreakable families that fulfill the...unity between parents and children, brothers and sisters, and husband and wife, we can finally build the eternal basis for God's Kingdom on Earth as well as in Heaven."
Mrs. Moon ends her proclamation with an invitation and a challenge: "at the dawn of the Completed Testament Age, the time has come for each family to take up the messianic mission of completing the work of salvation all over the world. After restoring your family, the next step is to restore your community, tribe, and nation. We call this process `Tribal Messiahship'. In the Completed Testament Age, the mother's role will be crucial. She must unite her children and her husband, and link her family with the True Parents. Already we have sent thousands of Tribal Messiah missionaries around the world. Soon, the original ideal of the family will be achieved worldwide." At this point she makes a startling proclamation: "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great privilege to announce to you the establishment of the first True Family...With three generations in one family, we have achieved on the family level the central root, and the central trunk, and the central bud of the `Tree of Life' mentioned in the Bible. It is our sincere hope that you will symbolically graft into this lineage by joining us in our efforts to create an ideal nation and world. This marks the beginning of the Completed Testament Age...As the world enters the Completed Testament era...we must accomplish the unity of our mind and body, parents and children, and husband and wife. Then we can establish ideal families centered upon God's love. With such families, the symptoms of our decaying society will vanish...It is my hope that all Christians, and people of all faiths, will understand this message with a deep heart and an open mind."
This ends my summary of the main points of her declaration. I would like to turn now to consider some important issues concerning her declaration and consider some of its more important implications.
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