The Words of Hyung Jin Moon From 2010
The following is a translation of an article published in the July 12, 2010, edition of the major South Korean weekly news magazine Jugan Chosun. Translation by Tongil Foundation -- editor
It has been disclosed that the Unification Church's President Sun Myung Moon, 90, on June 5 composed and signed a document in his own hand making seventh son Hyung Jin (32, President, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International) his successor, and distributed this within the Unification Church.
It was learned that the Unification Church recently has experienced conflict among the children of President Moon, who is now of advanced age, over the issue of succession, and it appears that the recent document from President Moon was created to resolve such internal conflicts and make an official declaration regarding his successor.
The content of the document written and signed in President Moon's own hand came to be known outside the church after it was placed on the official announcements section of the Tongil Group (www.tongilgrup.org) website. The document, posted June 29 under the title "Declaration of President Moon's Special Announcement," was dated June 5 (also dated as 4th month, 23rd day of the Heavenly Calendar, referring to the Unification Church's own calendar). The online document appears to be a scanned copy of President Sun Myung Moon's writing.
The document is largely divided into two parts. There is one part that says:
"Special note: I recognize only the official memos from the World Mission Headquarters of Unification Church of Heaven and Earth and Unification Church International. Announced at Cheon Jeong Gung, Korea (referring to President Moon's place of residence in Gapyoung, Gyounggi Province)."
A second part says:
"God is the one King of Kings. There is only one set of True Parents. All families are the people who share a single lineage, and are the children of one heavenly kingdom. Moreover, the command center of cosmic peace and unity is the absolute and unique command center. Its representative and heir is Hyung Jin Moon. Anybody else [who claims such a position] would be a heretic and one who brings things to destruction. The above content is True Parents' proclamation."
The first portion contains President Moon's signature. The second portion has, instead of a signature, a mark that says "seal of Sun Myung Moon." The term "True Parents" in the second part is used within the Unification Church to refer to President Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, 66.
One reaction to this document from within the Unification Church is that it was "so rare as to be astounding." There have been cases where President Moon composed calligraphic writings in his own hand for Unification Church leaders around the world, but it came as a complete surprise that he would leave a written document using such frank expressions regarding an internal issue, it was said. Within the content of President Moon's document, the passage drawing the most attention within the Unification Church is the expression "Its representative and heir is Hyung Jin Moon."
A variety of opinions have been expressed on what exactly is meant by the terms "representative" and "heir." One Unification Church person said, "President Moon has not given any particular explanation of the terms 'representative' and 'heir,' but he likely meant that this is the successor who will carry on his work."
Another opinion in the church says that "representative" refers to religion, and "heir" refers to inheritor of wealth.
Hyung Jin is the youngest of President Moon's seven sons, and he has been in President Moon's favor for some time. He graduated from the Harvard University department of philosophy and Harvard Divinity School, and in 2008 became president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International. Since then, he has been in charge of the religious aspect. He has presided over major religious events, and in the religious aspect he has already been in the role of President Moon's representative.
Within the church, he is praised for his active work to realize President Moon's ideal of "inter-faith," which states that religions should tear down the walls between them and come together in harmony. As a student at Harvard, he delved deeply into Buddhism, going so far as to shave his head and wear the gray costume of a Buddhist priest. Even after 2008, when he came to Korea and began his religious activity, he aggressively pursued communication with Buddhist and Catholic organizations, participating in funeral rights for the Venerable Beopjeong and directly paying his respects at the funeral for Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou Hwan.
Within the Unification Church, the analysis is that President Moon has named Hyung Jin as his representative and inheritor, because Hyung Jin is the most qualified to lead the religious aspect that is the root of the Unification Church kingdom.
Following this move to make President Moon's successor official, the person drawing the most attention will be third son, Hyun Jin, 42. Following the deaths of first son, Hyo Jin (2008) and second son Heung Jin (1984), Hyun Jin has effectively been in the role of the oldest son. He has held major positions within the Unification Church, including Universal Peace Federation, Unification Church International and Youth Federation for World Peace, but for some reason stepped down from all positions last year.
The analysis within the Unification Church at the time was that he stepped down from all official positions following a very strict direction from President Moon. There was talk of major conflict with his father. It was learned that one matter of conflict with his father was over the operation of The Washington Times in the United States. Hyun Jin wanted the paper to become an online medium, but President Moon instructed that priority be given to the existing paper newspaper.
The most convincing analysis is that the insertion into the recent document of phrases implying a warning, such as "I recognize only the official memos from the World Mission Headquarters of Unification Church" and "Anybody else … would be a heretic and one who brings things to destruction," was done with Hyun Jin in mind. It was a strong warning to Hyun Jin not to cause further trouble, according to this analysis.
It has been learned that President Moon has told Hyun Jin to discontinue activities in Korea and focus exclusively on business activities in the United States. Hyun Jin, who is also the son-in-law of Chung Hwan Kwak, president of the Korea Professional Football League who was at one time considered the second highest ranking person in the Unification Church, is also known to be the actual owner of the Marriott Hotel in Bampo, Seoul. According to an April cover story in Forbes Asia titled "Sons Rise in a Moon Shadow," the ownership structure of the Marriott Hotel is such that companies affiliated with the U.S. Unification Church are its largest shareholders.
This means it is not affiliated with the Tongil Group of Korea, headed by fourth son Kook Jin. It has been learned, however, that Hyun Jin has resisted attempts to scale-down the scope of his activities by telling him to focus exclusively on businesses in the United States, and that he continues to carry on NGO activities inside Korea.
One other person drawing attention following the official naming of Hyung Jin as successor is fourth son Kook Jin, 41. Having returned from the United States in 2005 to take charge overall of the management of Tongil Group, Kook Jin is now chairman of the board of the Tongil Group. The Tongil Group was mired in red ink following the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, but Kook Jin won the trust of his father by turning the group around within two years after taking over.
His reaction to the recent document from President Moon is not known. Through a number of interviews, however, he has made statements appearing to acknowledge the role of his younger brother Hyung Jin. In a 2008 interview with Weekly Chosun, he was asked, "With the inauguration of your younger brother Hyung Jin in April as president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the second generation is now coming to the fore. Can we assume that the succession structure has now been arranged?"
In response, he said, "Our father has put me in charge of the businesses and my younger brother in charge of the religion. My younger brother is doing very well in his work as a pastor. He started with a small church and grew it to where it is now more than ten times the original size. It is because he has done well that he was given the position of International President. My role is to be responsible for the businesses and help my younger brother." The Tongil Group led by Kook Jin currently has 15 affiliated companies, including Il Hwa, YongPyong Resort and Segye Times. It was learned that the annual sales of Tongil Group is around 1 trillion won.