Extracts from the book
By Michael Breen
From Chapter 1
The Moon Village
Sun myung Moon was born in the winter of 1920 in the straw thatched home of a farming family in north-west Korea. The house was one of a line of fifteen which made up a tiny village or ri known as both Sangsa-ri and Dok heung-ri. No one knew which was the official name, although 'Sangsa-ri' was more commonly used. Unofficially, however, the locals called it 'Moon Village' because ten of the households were of the Moon clan, seven of them close relatives.
Remains of the Moon home in Sangsa-ri in present day north Korea (HSA-UWC, Seoul)
A few miles to the west was Jeongju, a town of just under ten thousand inhabitants, and a stop on the country's main railway, which carried travelers and freight north to the Manchurian border and south to the capital, Seoul, and on, down the length of the peninsula, to the southern port city, Pusan. Jeongju county sloped gently down from the mountains and spread over five hundred and fifty square miles of fertile coastal land. It was the leading rice producing county of North Pyong-an Province and also had a thriving fishing industry. The plains were rich in peat, and in the mountains there was gold.
Market day in Jeongju, the town near Moon's village, in the early part of the centry (Kokusho Kankokai Co., Tokyo)
The county town and its small, surrounding villages had their share of prominent sons. During the Yi dynasty, before the Japanese annexed the country in 1910, more students from Jeongju county passed the prestigious higher civil service exam than from any other area of Korea, including Seoul. Two prominent literary figures of this century, the poet Kim So wol and the writer Lee Kwang su, were locals.
The families in 'Moon Village' and neighboring Morum Village farmed the land, growing rice, millet, corn, beans, cabbages and radishes. At least half rented their fields, surrendering half their produce as payment to the landowners. The best quality rice was not for the eating, at least not at local tables. After the Japanese took over, it was taken to Jeongju, where there was a market every five days, processed into
brown rice and sent to Japan. The villagers mostly ate millet in place of rice, with corn, beans and pickled cabbage and radish. They kept chickens for their eggs, and ate beef, pork or chicken on special occasions usually birthdays. It was a difficult life, but nobody starved.
Other villages nearby also consisted almost entirely of clans. One cluster of two hundred households was known as the Lower Chun Village. Another settlement consisted of fifteen Chun families. Further down the road were two Cho villages. Sangsa-ri was a nondescript village with no particular meaning, in contrast to other more distinguished sounding places nearby like 'Knowing-the-Tao-Village' and 'Giving-Pure-Water-Village.'
One of the Cho villages was a yangban, or upper class, settlement. A yangban person, whose claim to superiority rested with his forbears' success in having once passed the civil service examination in the days before Japanese rule, rarely worked with his hands. To do so was beneath his dignity. He often preferred to live in abject poverty and appear, at least, to concern himself with moral self cultivation. Commoners were supposed to stoop in a gesture of respect when they walked by yangban individuals, or even their villages.
The Moons of Sangsa-ri were commoners, descended from a clan which traces its origins to the fifth century and one Moon Da-song, who lived in Nampyong near the south Korean city of Kwangju. The best known ancestor is Moon Ik-jum who, according to the standard school history texts in south Korea, was the person who introduced cotton to Korea. He was the secretary to a Koryo dynasty diplomat, and in 1363 smuggled the first cotton seeds across the Chinese border inside his writing brushes. His father in law planted the seeds and built a gin and spinning wheel to make the cotton, which became the standard material for clothing, replacing the rough hemp which Koreans had used until then. Sun myung Moon's family is descended from Ik-jum's third son, who moved to the north west to take up a government post in the late fourteenth century.
Aside from the record of the names of the male ancestors in the clan book, little else is known about Sun myung's forbears until the mid 1880s when they settled in Sangsa-ri. Sun myung and his cousins were told that their great grandfather, Jong-ul, was noted for his kindness. He was known as 'Sun ok', which means 'virtuous jewel' It was said that, in Jong-ul's time, the Moons did not have to take their rice to
market as other farmers did. Apparently they gave such generous measures that customers would come to them. They made less money but they earned a good reputation, so much so that their children were high on the matchmakers' lists of marriage candidates. Beggars were also well treated at Moon Jong-ul's house. One poor woman used to go round the county selling dried fish which she carried in a basket on her head. Jong-ul used to give her rice for nothing. Villagers remember hearing a story that Jong-ul once bought a duck and set it free on the way home from market.
"If I hadn't bought it and set it free, someone would have eaten it," he is said to have remarked. It was common in old Korea for people to buy birds, fish, and even turtles, and set them free in the hope that the kindness would be repaid. The point of this anecdote to Koreans is not that Jong-ul was nice to animals, but that he sought good fortune for his family.
An even more significant act, at least as far as his descendants are concerned, was the construction of an ancestral shrine and burial ground. He sold a two acre plot, despite the family's relative poverty, to buy the ground. From the viewpoint of Confucian ethics, such an exemplary act of filial piety ensured that his lineage would be blessed.
When Jong-ul died in 1918, Chi kook, the eldest of his three sons, took over as head of the family, assuming responsibility for the Confucian ancestral observances. Chi kook appears to have been, above all, a man of intuition He was the first to recognize that his second grandson, Sun myung, was special, and instructed the family to support his education, an important decision in a country where most children did not receive even primary schooling. Sun myung's cousins still recall the judgments grandfather passed about him. "He will either be very great or very evil, " he said when word came in the 1940s that the Communist authorities had thrown Sun myung in prison.
Grandfather Chi kook said that the family should not join the exodus northward to Manchuria to escape Japanese oppression during the twenties and thirties. "In the future, America and Japan will fight," he predicted, citing the ancient Korean book of prophecy, the Chung-gam-nok, he said the family should move south, either to the mountains of Kang won Province, or to Mount Gye ryong in South Chungchong Province, which is still considered by some religious sects to be the spiritual capital of Korea. His youngest brother and the younger men of the family
took his advice, as we shall see, but Chi kook stayed put. He was still alive, in his eighties, when the Communists took over north Korea and the border was sealed.
In their old age, Chi kook and his wife lived with their eldest son, Kyung yoo. The house was built in four sections around a court yard. There were rooms for grandparents, parents, the eldest son and his family, and two for the children. In addition, of course, there was a kitchen, toilet, store rooms and a small barn for the farm animals. Kyung yoo was responsible for the sa-dang, the special room where the names of the ancestors were written and where the Confucian ceremonies were performed. Kyung yoo's brother, Kyung bok, and his cousin, Kyung chun, were his next door neighbors.
Kyung yoo, who was Sun myung's father, was a gentle, round faced man. Although a farmer, he had received some schooling and was well versed in the Confucian classics. He was fond of the sayings of sages. The Moon cousins say they never heard him say a cross word to anyone in his life, not even to his own children Korean fathers in Kyung yoo's day usually left child rearing and family matters to their wives, and became involved only in major decisions about marriage, education and employment, particularly if they concerned the eldest son. Fathers tended to live on the periphery of family life, drinking with friends and worrying alone about the farm and the future. But Kyung yoo was more devoted to his family than most. He did not smoke or drink. He was kind to the beggars who came round and even invited them to rest in his home. Sun myung Moon referred to this himself in an address to Unificationists:
"My own family had this kind of tradition They never let anybody leave our home with an empty stomach. Our home used to be like a beggars' gathering place: all the poorest people of the vicinity knew they would be well treated, so they came to our home. Not one was mistreated. My mother served our grandparents and she also served the passing beggars. She would feed them whenever they came by. This was a heavy physical ordeal for my mother on one occasion, she did not feed a beggar, so my father took his own meal and gave it to him. So my mother had to feed the beggars, otherwise my father would be hungry.
While Sun myung's father was somewhat scholarly and measured in his actions, his mother acted with spontaneity. "My mother intuitively decided what was good, while my father waited and reasoned everything out slowly before making decisions," he once said. So they were always in some conflict over decisions.
In both character and appearance, Sun myung took more after his mother than his father. A tall, handsome woman, Kim Kyung gye was born in a nearby village in 1888, one of twelve children. She joined the Moon household in a marriage arranged between the two families around 1905, when the Russians and Japanese were at war over Korea and Manchuria. That she was sixteen and her husband only twelve when they married was not unusual. In fact, it was typical. In those days it was not uncommon to see wives waiting outside school to take their young husbands home after class.
Kim Kyung-gye, Moon's mother (HSA-UWC, Seoul)
Of her twelve children, eight survived. Two daughters died of illness before Sun myung Moon was born. In the absence of modern medicine there was always worry about disease. During her sixth pregnancy, the influenza epidemic of 1918, which took some twenty million lives around the world, struck eighty per cent of the population of north-west Korea, killing many. When she was carrying Sun myung, there was an outbreak of cholera, and a poor harvest due to drought, to add to her fears
Several months before Sun myung's birth, the fortune teller, 'Pak the Blindman', who lived in the next village, had predicted that 'a great man' would be born in the Moon clan. The local shaman, who went by the unusual and resounding name of Dong bang Chang bong, concurred.' The seven Moon households, which were in a permanent baby boom, did not know which pregnant mother was being referred to and did not argue the point. Hope was scarce and the soothsayers, who tapped a mysterious and feared world, were appreciated for the encouragement they provided. For his mother, a prophecy that a baby would survive would have been comfort enough.
The villagers were accustomed to signs and prophecies. Early one morning in the Moon Village, one of the women noticed a gold colored crane in the trees near her house. The next day it appeared again. No one saw where it nested. In fact, it may not have been a real bird at all. Moon's cousin, Yong gi, describes it as a real bird, while his brother, Yong sun, says it was "a phenomenon" which their mother "saw". They
remember being told that every day for three years, it flew off eastward and appeared the next morning. In early 1919 it stopped coming. Villagers took it as a sign, stirring within them a sense that they were not forgotten by God.
Whether it was real or imagined, the unusual bird may have especially inspired Grandfather Chi kook's youngest brother, Yoon kook, who was the local Presbyterian minister, and one of his elders, Lee Myong nyong. Both men were fervently opposed to Japan's colonial subjugation of Korea and longed for their country's freedom. They were typical of the religious activists who were to assume the mantle of moral leadership, lost by the emperor and the nobility after they signed away the country, without a struggle, to Japan.
Moon Yoon kook, the minister, had been a school teacher when he converted to Christianity in 1910, the year Korea became a Japanese colony and was renamed Chosen. In 1918, at the age of forty, he graduated from the Union Theological Seminary in the city of Pyongyang, and became the pastor of three churches, the Dok heung Presbyterian Church in Morum village and the nearby Dosung and Yunbong churches. Elder Lee Myong nyong was the wealthiest man in Morum village, and was to become one of the country's best known nationalist figures.
For the Japanese authorities, the Christian churches presented a looming threat. The churches were the only independent organizations left in the country after the Japanese takeover, and believers became imbued with the foreign ideas of liberty and personal freedoms introduced by western missionaries. The inevitable clash came in l911, when a hundred and five people were tried on a trumped up charge of plotting to assassinate the Japanese Governor general. Ninety eight of the defendants were Christian, half of them from the town of Jeongju. The incident became known as the Conspiracy Case, and it singled out the north west as a strong center of Christian resistance.
On March first, 1919, Christian, Buddhist and Chondo-kyo leaders took the authorities by complete surprise by declaring Korea's independence. The thirty three signatories of the Independence Declaration, who included Elder Lee Myong nyong, were immediately arrested, but in the weeks that followed, over two million Koreans from all social strata backed their call in hundreds of demonstrations throughout the country. It was the greatest mass movement in Korean history. The
Japanese responded to it with savagery. According to nationalist figures, seven thousand, five hundred Koreans were killed, and fifty thousand arrested. "In Tyungju (Jeongju) people were shot down and run through with bayonets like pigs," the Korean Independent newspaper reported. The pastor of the Presbyterian church in the town was "beaten almost to a jelly and his church burned, according to a missionary report. Rev Moon Yoon kook led a rally of ten thousand at the Osan Academy, according to a handwritten life story discovered years after his death. The school was ransacked by police and set on fire.
The national uprising was crushed. It had neither sapped Japanese morale nor won anything more than sympathy from the Christian nations. But despite this political failure, something had changed. Seventeen million oppressed Koreans, dulled by a strict, centuries old caste system, bullied throughout their history by stronger powers, and now deprived of their nation, had struck out with a single voice. Korea had rediscovered its soul.
Rev. Moon Yoon kook was arrested, tortured and sentenced to two years in prison. on his release, he returned to the village and resumed preaching. His passion for Korea's independence burned more strongly than before, and would continue to get him into trouble with the Japanese authorities. In the aftermath of the uprising, independence activists had split, some turning to guerrilla activity and some to the new ideas of the Russian, Chinese, and Japanese Communist parties. Yoon kook threw his lot in with the provisional government set up in April, 1919, by nationalist exiles in Shanghai, China.
The exiled politicians badly needed funds. Yoon kook felt the family should give everything it had to support the independence cause, but knew he would not be able to convince them. He decided to trick them into making a donation. He persuaded his eldest brother, Grandfather Chi kook, to sell the family land, saying they should invest the money in a coal mine in Kang won Province. Chi kook agreed, much to the disgust of his daughter in law, Sun myung's mother. She secretly put some of her own money down on some land near her family's village a few miles away. Sure enough, Yoon kook's alleged mine never came through and the family fortune, seventy thousand Won, a considerable sum, was lost. Sun myung Moon's mother sold her new land and the family was able to buy three plots, about six acres, near the house. She had saved them from destitution. As a result of this incident,
she would always look back on the strange golden crane as a harbinger of misfortune. Yoon kook, once the respected Presbyterian pastor, was now no longer trusted by the family. "He was always looked upon as a fool," one of his relatives remembered. Under constant police surveillance, he resigned from his three churches and, in 1928, left the village to hide from the authorities, returning occasionally to see his wife and three children.
Extract From Chapter 6
Jerusalem of the East
Pyongyang in 1946 was still a dynamic center for Korean Christianity. Denominations which had been banned by the Japanese had re-established themselves. There were churches everywhere. Christians called the city the Jerusalem of the East. But the writing was on the wall, as the Soviet-backed authorities began breaking up Christian power.
Kim Baek-moon stayed in the city for a few days and held revival meetings in the Na's home in the northern suburb of Kyongchang-ri before returning to the South. Sun-myung Moon visited some relatives who lived in Chong-up, Pyongyang, and then stayed on at the Na's house. He began holding services there.
|Kim Baek-moon, founder of the Israel Jesus Church (Pak Kyong-do|
A few days after his arrival in Pyongyang, he met Kim Chong-hwa and her husband, who lived nearby. She was the women's group leader at the Somunae-pak Church, one of the largest Presbyterian churches in the city. She would become his main follower in north Korea. "A great preacher has come from Seoul," she told her husband's cousin, Kim In-ju, also a Presbyterian. "Why don't you come and hear him."
On June 11, the two women went to the Na family's house, where a few people had gathered for a worship service. They noted that the room was not divided, men on one side and women on the other, as in the established churches. As the service began, they were further surprised by the unorthodox style. Instead of the one-hour meeting they were used to, with a few hymns and a short sermon, the service seemed to have no form. The believers, mostly middle-aged women, sang the same hymn over and over again. They also sang some Korean folk songs as well as hymns which, for the orthodox visitors, bordered on the revolutionary. As they sang, they noticed the young preacher's eyes were full of tears.
When Moon prayed, his prayer was different from anything they had heard in the churches. He prayed with such intensity and feeling that the sweat and tears seemed to pour from him. "I had never been so deeply struck by anyone's prayer in my life," Kim In-lu recalled. Moon read a passage from the Bible and began preaching. His sermon was on the fact that Jesus' death on the cross was not God's original plan. Jesus should have lived much longer on earth in order to realize God's salvation providence. As he preached, he wept out of sorrow for Jesus. The two women were jolted by the idea that Jesus' death was not destined. They had understood that salvation was possible by virtue of Jesus' death on the cross and had never considered otherwise. It had never occurred to them that he should not have died so young, but should have accomplished God's salvation work through a much longer life. Kim In-ju found herself crying.
That night, she dreamed that she was travelling through a dark tunnel. At the end of it she met Moon. A funeral procession was passing. Fluid from the decomposing body was leaking from the coffin and fell on her clothes. She was afraid. Moon wiped her clothes clean and told her to go to a garden. There, amid beautiful flowers she met Jesus, who took her hand and guided her as she walked. Previously, she had dreamed of Jesus only after many days of early morning prayer. She started attending Moon's services in the hope that she would dream of Jesus more often. She also began to prophecy. She would get up in the morning and words would start pouring out of her mouth. Sometimes she saw visions of the spiritual world, and heard God's voice as clearly as if she were listening to a radio. She felt she was experiencing God not just as an abstraction but as a concrete reality.
In one sermon, Moon taught that Korea was the second Israel and that the return of Jesus would take place in Korea. But, he said, the return would not happen in either the spiritual or supernatural way that Christians tended to expect. He said that, just as the mission of the Old Testament prophet Elijah passed in the time of Jesus to John the Baptist, so the mission of Jesus would pass to another. After this sermon, In-ju prayed to ask God where in Korea the Lord would come. In her prayer she had a vision. Jesus appeared, walked into the room and bowed his head and began to pray: "This daughter of yours has to go a very long and difficult way. Let her complete this journey without going astray."
The voice was Moon's. As Jesus finished praying and said "Amen," she looked up but it was no longer Jesus. The face had changed to Moon's. She felt the answer to her prayer had been given. Moon was the Christ.
Some time later, she felt directed by God to read the prophecies of God's kingdom in chapter 60 of Isaiah in the Bible, and heard a voice within her say, "This is the chapter that preacher Moon is to fulfill. The next morning, she went to see Moon, and before she could open her mouth he asked, "Didn't God tell you last night to read Isaiah 60, and didn't he say this was the chapter to be fulfilled now?" Kim In-ju had several such encounters with Moon. Such spiritual experiences, far from being unusual. were common among the early followers.
A few weeks later, Kim In-ju took her eighteen-year-old nephew, Kim Won-pil, to a service. He was shy and overawed by the others in the congregation who were very spiritual and who asked questions he didn't understand. "You meditate a lot, don't you?" Moon asked him. "Your meditation should have some focal point."
The simple, perceptive advice made a deep impression on Kim. He began coming regularly to the services. He did not have spiritual experiences like the others. He didn't understand the sophisticated concepts, and felt inadequate because he was not able to bring himself to cry like the others did in their prayers. But he found himself feeling peaceful in Moon's presence, and he trusted him. He took notes from Moon's sermons and talks, and studied them. "Please remember, our group is very unique," Moon told him one day. "It is totally unlike anything in the past, or anything that will develop in the future. In all history, there is only one group like this."
In these first few weeks, Moon established the routine of his new role as spiritual leader. Before each 10 a.m. Sunday service, he would pray for hours. Some of the spiritual women would pray overnight, and others would arrive early Sunday morning to pray. In this way, they prepared themselves for the service. When people just dropped in out of curiosity, Moon found he had difficulty preaching, but if the congregation had prepared as the spiritual women instructed them, the inspiration would come. Sometimes the services would last for hours, and the believers became so inspired that they would stand up and dance around. As the Na's house faced the road, the noise began to attract attention.
Those who attended without their husband or wife began to experience problems at home. After hearing Moon's explanation that the fall of man had been sexual and how God's heart was broken by the loss of his children, many felt impure and stopped sexual relations with their spouse. Suspicious husbands and wives came to find out what was going on, and would see many men and women in the same room, singing and talking together for hours, which was very unusual, given the strict Korean customs prohibiting contact with the opposite sex. Rumors of orgies spread. One husband became convinced that the handsome young preacher was having an affair with his wife, and reported him to the Communist authorities.
On August 11, 1946, in response to the complaint, agents came and took Moon to the Daedong security police station It was 11 p.m. when they arrived, and the other prisoners in the crowded cell were asleep. His experience behind bars in Seoul made him mindful of the social code among prisoners. The first rule was that, whatever his job or crime, the new arrival is at the bottom of the ladder. He accordingly took a space by the toilet. In the morning, the cell chief, the prisoner who had been there the longest, looked him over.
"Let this man come and sit here next to me," he instructed the others in the cell. "He is someone special." To everyone's surprise, when Moon sat down beside him, the man bowed respectfully.
"Now I have met the man I wanted to meet," the man said. He introduced himself as Mr. Hwang, and explained to Moon that he was a member of a religious group which had received revelation that they would meet the Lord in prison. The leader of the group, a spiritual woman, Huh Ho-bin, and the other group leaders were in neighboring cells. "Last night I dreamed that I saw her bowing to someone, and when I woke up this morning I saw the person was here in this cell. It was you.
"Why are you being held?" Moon asked.
"They say that if we deny our revelations they will let us go, but the leaders are refusing to do it," he explained.
The man recounted the history of Mrs. Huh's group. The story began in Cheolsan, the home town of Moon's wife, with a woman called Kim Song-do, an uneducated believer who had converted to Christianity after being cured of a mental illness by a faith healer. The woman found that she had a healing ability, and laid hands on her son and cured him when he was sick. As her faith deepened, persecution from her Confucian husband increased. He tore her clothes to prevent her from going to church. The husband finally decided to leave his wife, and died shortly afterwards. She continued going to church.
In 1924, Kim's church minister was arrested for adultery. She was shocked and prayed deeply about how a man of God could make such a mistake. Satan appeared to her and mocked her. Then Jesus appeared in her prayers and told her that adultery was the root of sin. He also said that his crucifixion had been the result of the mistrust of his own people, that the Second Advent of Christ would occur through another man and that he would appear in Korea. She wrote Jesus' words out on twelve large strips of paper six foot long by one foot wide. She was told to teach what she had learned. Her minister said it was the work of the devil, but her story got round and soon many Christians began to visit her. As interest grew, the Presbyterian Church expelled her.
Kim began holding services at home, teaching that believers should repent for the death of Jesus as if they had killed him themselves. .She received revelation that men and women should prepare themselves for the coming Lord, that single people should not marry, and that married couples should refrain from sexual relations. People came to see her from all over Korea, and she taught them to prepare for the coming Messiah. Her group expanded to nearby towns and to Jeongju, Anju, Sukcheon, Pyongyang, Wonsan, Haeju and Seoul.
The services were very noisy and ecstatic. In 1934, the Jesus Church held joint services with Kim's unregistered group to protect them from the Japanese authorities. As we saw in chapter three, the Jesus Church was rapidly expanding. This relationship lasted for three years until the Jesus Church, upset by the group's heretical belief that the Lord would return in the flesh and by claims of some of the believers that Kim was the Lord, severed ties. Baek Nam-ju, who had been expelled from the Jesus Church for adultery, helped Kim set up her group independently and suggested the name, Holy Lord Church. Her eldest son, Chung Suk-cheon, was registered as the nominal leader.
|Kim Song-do, founder of the Holy Lord Group (HSA-UWC, Seoul)|
Some of Kim's group believed she would never die. Mrs. Kim, more realistically, began to prepare her daughter-in-law - the daughter of a minister - to inherit her mission. She instructed her son and daughter-in-law to refrain from sexual relations. Suk-cheon was not so taken with the idea, and he objected. Later, half his body became paralyzed, which believers saw as a judgment from heaven for his disobedience.
In 1943, one of Kim's young followers told a person to whom he was witnessing that Japan would decline and Korea would become an advanced power in the future. He didn't realize he was speaking to a policeman. Kim and her two sons were arrested and tortured severely. They were freed without charge a hundred days later. Weakened by torture, Kim Song-do died the following April, aged sixty-two.
Her mission, Moon's cell-mate explained, passed on to another woman, Huh Ho-bin, who was the leader of the Holy Lord Church in Pyongyang. Huh and her husband, Lee Il-duk, were such fanatical followers that they would go to Pyongyang train station to wait for Kim to arrive, even after she had died. Every time Mrs. Huh received a revelation, her stomach would move as if she were pregnant. This unusual experience was cited by the followers as further evidence of the truth of Kim's teaching that, contrary to common Christian belief, the Lord would be born in the flesh. Huh's group became informally known as 'Bokjung-Kyo' literally the In-the-Belly Church.
Jesus is said to have appeared to Huh and told her details of his suffering life that are not in the Bible. She claimed Jesus told her that his mother had neglected him, that Joseph did not love him, and that he was never given good food or decent clothes even on his birthday. As he confided in her, Jesus said to her, "You are my mother." He would be her teacher, and wanted to experience from her the love of a mother and a wife, he said. In an original and remarkable expression of devotion, Mrs. Huh and her followers made a set of Korean and western clothes for Jesus for every three days of his life from birth to the age of thirty-three. A room was specially set aside for the task. For each item they bought only the best material, they did not barter the cost, and in hand sewing they tied off every third stitch. When this labor was complete, Jesus told her to do the same for the coming Lord.
"The new Lord is twenty-six and you must serve him well, as you have served me," Jesus said.
Some three hundred people helped her in this endeavor, providing money and time. Discipline was very strict. Her husband obeyed her instructions, even on one occasion in winter when she ordered him out of the house, barefoot, in a symbolic rejection of the archangel who defiled Eve.
"Don't come back for six months. You can live by begging," she said. As he totally followed the penance, she accepted him back after six days.
Huh received a revelation that Japan would surrender on July 7, 1945, by the lunar calendar (August 16 by solar calendar). She spoke out confidently about this, and subsequently was arrested by the Japanese colonial authorities. At her trial she was asked, "Who is higher, God or the Emperor."
"God!" she shouted. She was sentenced to death, but Japan was defeated a few days before the sentence was to be carried out. In prison, she had received a revelation that the Emperor, whose voice had never been heard, would broadcast to the people. Her followers believed her, and the prophecy came true. Then she told her followers that God had said she would meet the new Lord when Japan falls. When she was released, her followers were ecstatic in anticipation. They began again to prepare clothing for the Lord. She then received a revelation that the people should not pray, but should bow to God as if he were there. Moon's fellow prisoner, Hwang, said one night he bowed five thou sand times. As expectation mounted, they bought a beautiful house in Pyongyang for the Lord, assigned twelve disciples and seventy apostles. Huh's sixteen-year-old daughter was prepared as a bride.
Huh said they would meet the Lord when they had gathered in one place. Later she clarified the message, saying that she had received a revelation that she would meet the Messiah in prison like Choon-hyang - the heroine in an old Korean folk tale who is unjustly imprisoned for spurning the advances of a corrupt governor. In the tale, Choon-hyang's faithful lover comes to the prison in beggar's rags, having apparently fallen on hard times. After she pledges her true love to him, he reveals his true role as an undercover investigator for the king, and rescues her.
In 1946, leading members of the In-the-Belly group gathered, thinking they would meet the Lord. Instead, they were arrested by the Communist authorities and imprisoned. As the group lived on donations and many members had sold their property and donated the money, the authorities accused the leaders of fraud. However, during the interrogations, the police were unable to find evidence to corroborate the charge. They decided on a face-saving pretext to release them - the leaders should deny the belief that Huh's belly moved as if with child every time she had a revelation. They refused, despite torture. Hwang told Moon that Mrs. Huh's brother had already died from beatings.
"Your group is specially prepared by God," Moon said to his cellmate. "I will take all responsibility if you deny to the authorities your experiences. Just deny the facts and you will be released. Please tell Mrs. Huh to do the same."
When the prisoners were gathered at midday to eat, Hwang conveyed the message to Huh. But she refused to accept what he told her. Hwang himself denied the revelations at his next interrogation and was released
Shortly afterwards, Huh's husband was transferred to the same cell as Moon. Moon gave him the same advice as he had given Hwang, but he said he would follow his wife. Moon then tried to smuggle a note to her. The message, written with mud using a fish bone as a nib on a piece of white cloth, said: "The writer of this note has a mission from heaven. Pray to find out who he is. If you deny everything you have received, you will be released." After Huh read it, the note was discovered by a guard. Moon was exposed as the culprit and was severely tortured
This incident happened on September 18. He had already been held for almost six weeks, during which time his interrogators had tried to get him to confess to being a spy for the American Military Government which was ruling in south Korea. They demanded to know why he had come from Seoul and been living in Pyongyang without an identity card. He explained that he had come to preach the word of God and that he was not a spy.
The north Koreans had inherited the Japanese torture methods and added some Soviet refinements. For several days during the interrogation, Moon was not given food and not allowed to sleep. When he began to fall asleep, a guard would shout or hit him. The guards were on three-hour rotation duty. After a couple of days, he devised a way to totally relax his nervous system for a few minutes at a time, while keeping his eyes open. He was also beaten savagely. He steeled himself to endure each time. With each blow he imagined God's blessing would increase.
Moon was eventually interrogated by a Soviet investigator and declared innocent. On October 31, authorities notified his followers that they could come and collect him. His chief follower, Kim Chong-hwa, and her husband, Chong Myong-sun, came to the prison with the young Kim Won-pil and Na Choi-sup, the daughter of his landlady. They were shocked when they found him. He had been thrown out into the yard, half dead from the beatings, his clothes stuck to his body by clotted blood. As they took him home, he was vomiting so much blood that they thought he would die. There was talk of preparing a funeral.
Kim Won-pil went to a Chinese clinic at the bottom of Mansudae Hill in the center of the city and bought some Chinese medicine. After three weeks, Moon began to recover.
Soon he was teaching again. In December, Kim Chong-hwa's brother-in-law, Cha Sang-soon, and two womlen, Ok Se-hyun and Chong Dal-ok, became followers. Ok was a wealthy, middle-aged woman, who had received revelations that the Lord would come.
|Ok Se-hyun, a follower from Pyongyang (HSA-UWC)|
One of the first things Moon did when he had recuperated was to ask thirty-seven year-old Cha, a longtime Presbyterian, to find out what had happened to Mrs. Huh. Mr. Cha visited Huh's mother, who told him that the members were still in prison She seemed happy to meet him.
"I had a revelation yesterday that an important visitor would come." she said. Cha asked her how she thought the Lord would return "He will have a good character, be good-looking and educated and my daughter is going to meet him in prison," she said.
Huh eventually died in prison. The other leaders of the group were all sent to a labor camp when the Korean War broke out in 1950, and are believed to have been killed.
Had Huh simply prayed about who had sent her the note, Unificationist elders teach, God would have showed her, and she would have denied her revelations to the interrogators simply to obtain release. Again, as with Kim Baek-moon's Israel Church, we can only speculate on the development of Moon's mission if the In-the-Belly group had joined him. Where Kim would have formulated the doctrine and provided influence, Huh and her followers would have brought ceremony and disciplined spirituality to a new movement led by Moon. Although they had prepared Huh's daughter as a bride for the Christ, Moon would not have married her, of course, as he was already married. The preparation was an act of devotion and obedience to Huh's revelations. As a postscript to this encounter, however, it should be noted that, when Moon's wife left him and he remarried, his new bride was the daughter of the only known survivor of Huh's group. Had the en counter with Huh had a happier outcome, in the worsening political climate Moon may also have taken his new following to south Korea, instead of staying in Pyongyang, where he would shortly face a second arrest.
In January, 1947, he moved to the house of Kim Chong-hwa and her husband, Chong Myong-sun, who had become the leading members of his small group. He told the Na sisters the move was necessary because their house was too near the road and the services attracted too much attention. But he may also have doubted their commitment to him, for Choi-sup was already becoming disturbed by the spiritual experiences of other members of the group that equated Moon with Jesus. "I prayed very much to see if what he said was true," she said. "I prayed so hard I couldn't eat. Finally I decided it was false. I believed in him just as a good Bible teacher." She and her sister went to south Korea, where they enrolled in Kim Baek-moon's new seminary course.
"Why does he say that?" an annoyed Kim asked in a sermon, after the Na sisters reported that Moon was saying that Kim should follow him, not the other way round. In another sermon, he told his group that Moon was claiming to be the new Christ."
Moon's new landlord, Chong Myong-sun, worked at a nearby sock factory which was run by his brother. He supported Moon, and his wife made Moon's clothes and did his washing. There, for the next year, Moon held services which, by the end of 1947, were being attended regularly by around forty people.
During the day he would take care of members, and pray and study the Bible. He invested himself completely in his followers. Many had been led directly through revelations. He fasted three days, and sometimes seven days, for each new person.
In 1947, he wrote a hymn for the congregation to sing. He called it 'Song of the Victors' The first verse went:
Sing a loud hosanna to the Lord.
Offer everything with humble heart.
Come attend the Lord, o rejoice in him
Who brings new life to all the world.
Let us go determined to seek and find
All the promised glory of the Lord.
There we'll sing new songs in the garden fair,
Songs of freedom bright with happiness.
One day in 1947, a middle-aged woman, Chi Seung-do, walked in at the end of a service after hearing the hymn-singing as she was going by.
|Chi Seung-do, who joind Moon in Pyongyang (HSA-UWC, Seoul)|
"Where are you from?" Moon asked her.
"I've just come from the service at the Sangjon-hyon Church."
"How long have you been a Christian?"
"For 24 years."
"Then God must have given you some special revelations in that time."
"In 1943, God told me I would find the Messiah in five years if I prayed. Now God has led me here."
"Well, if God leads you so well, you should pray more." In her prayers over the next week, God showed her signs that convinced her Moon was the Lord.
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