Dr. Sang Heon Lee Encounters God’s Heart of Love – Part 1
By Dr. Sang Heon Lee
President, Unification Thought Institute
The following testimony was given by Dr. Sang Heon Lee at an advanced seminar on Unification Thought sponsored by New ERA in Athens, Greece—the birthplace of Western civilization—in June 1984.
Dr. Lee is the author of Communism: Critique and Counterproposal, Unification Thought, and Explaining Unification Thought. His mission was to develop Father’s revelation in a systematic, philosophical direction. Quietly, almost behind the scenes, Dr. Lee worked to lay the foundation for Father’s VOC work and our movement’s outreach to the academic world. His testimony is of his struggle to go beyond his intellectual understanding, to connect with and experience the heart of God, and how he finally could do so.
Before I joined the Unification Church, I had many problems that I felt were unsolvable. So when these problems were solved after entering the church, my joy was inexpressible. I was so elated that I felt if I pursued this path I would easily be saved and go to heaven. In the early years of the church, Rev. Moon always emphasized in his sermons that unless one understood the heart of God, one could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I was told that in order to fathom God’s heart, one must shed many tears. During the entire 6,000 years since humankind fell away from God, there has not been one moment when God did not feel grief. So, one must often melt in tears when one is together with such a God. Moreover, one needs to grieve with a compassionate heart for all created things. Although it seems there is nothing significantly wrong in creation because we “see” with the blind eyes of fallen men, here on earth all things are groaning in pain. To discover such a reality would bring one to tears.
Rev. Moon used to talk about these things in almost every sermon, and yet this matter was my weakest area. I had developed my intellect, but emotionally I was nearly paralyzed. In fact, each person I encountered seemed detestable to me. While I suffered so deeply from life’s questions before I joined the church, it seemed that all people were filled with defects, resembling maggots in a toilet. A maggot moves up higher and higher, pushing away other maggots, covered with excrement. I decided that all of the world’s people were just like that. Although others are degenerate and corrupt, each individual considers himself to be important and wants to advance himself, pushing others aside. That is what I mean by the analogy of maggots. I could never imagine that people were aching and miserable inside.
So I did not expect to become able to comprehend the heart of God. I was grateful that the Principle had answered many of life’s questions for me, but still I maintained all of my former attitudes toward life. I found myself in a paradox when I was told that in order to follow the path of the church, one must without fail understand the realm of heart. I tried to grasp the meaning of God’s heart from many directions, but I could not succeed. Finally, I asked an old colleague who had understood the meaning of true love. He replied, “You must offer a desperate prayer.” That was the first time I had heard the term “desperate prayer,” the type of prayer wherein one fasts and clings to God in search of an answer.
Many times before, in anguish over life’s unanswered questions, I had tried to commit suicide with no fear of death. So this time with similar determination I decided to fast without fear of death; I was determined to continue the fast until a response came from God. I set no limit to the fast.
A few days after I started, while I was praying upstairs, something like a vision appeared. Two grey puppies jumped out of my shoulder and sat beside me. My personal interpretation of this was that it might have been Satan, who had influenced me from within but finally left. This experience encouraged me to continue fasting for nearly a week, but nothing further happened. Yet I continued for a second week. My body lost all strength, but with an earnest longing to fathom God’s heart, I continued. Then another vision took form. I was standing on a platform when many images of Satan, which seemingly took the shape of dogs, came to attack me. I felt as if I were in the jaws of danger. Then Rev. Moon appeared, standing upon an even higher platform, and snapped a long whip. All the images of Satan were destroyed. To think that Rev. Moon had protected me made me so happy! However, this experience had nothing to do with my being able to comprehend the innermost love of God, which was the aim of my prayers. Thus, I continued for another week.
On the 17th day of my fast, a letter arrived from the church headquarters informing me that a seven-day workshop would be held at the Kunsan Church, beginning December 25, where 16 church leaders from that province would gather. The leader of that prefecture and I were appointed as lecturers. I later discovered that he was also in the midst of a 21-day fast. I had not let anyone know of my fasting, so that neither of us knew of the other’s situation. When appointed to teach at the workshop, all I could do was obey. But that was a public type of work, and my fast was private. In order to avoid confusing public affairs with private, I decided to discontinue the fast. However, the fast had begun on December I, 1959, and between the 17th and the 25th there was no other principled number except 21. So I chose to continue until 21 days passed, and then finish it. With the same urgent plea I proceeded on, yet even on the 21st day there came no answer from heaven. I could only suppose that I did not deserve to catch a glimpse of God’s heart, and I decided to end the fast, feeling very frustrated.
After midnight, my wife brought a cup of rice gruel to me, with side dishes of kimchi and fish. As soon as I took a spoonful of the gruel-like rice broth, the fishes began to speak. I had been so exhausted that I was in a state of being half awake and half asleep. Even so, there was no doubt that I had heard a voice which said, “You do not deserve to eat us. For 6,000 years we have been the victims of fallen mankind.
The score has not been accounted for. You must not eat.” I was shocked! In the early period of the church, members had a strong consciousness of sin. Rev. Moon always said, “You must control your body. The body is sinful; it is the source of sin.” So everyone had a clear sense of sin. I had hoped that I would solve to a certain extent some of my sinfulness through the fast. But after I heard these words of the fishes, I was stricken with pain again. I felt my conscience being struck by the fact that I was truly sinful. So I kept silent and still, not even moving my chopsticks.
Visions from history
After a while, the vision I was seeing in the room suddenly changed. A desolate mountain appeared. The trees on the mountain were all dead, and the foot of the mountain had collapsed. I could not look at it without feeling sad. I asked myself what it meant, and a reply came immediately. I realized that this was the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve once lived. Because they fell away it had become desolate.
Again the scene changed. An old man was climbing a mountain, perspiring as he carried a big tree. I wondered what it was, and it occurred to me, “It is Noah climbing the mountain, carrying a log to build the ark.” I remembered the substance of Rev. Moon’s sermon about Noah. He said that Noah had received the instructions from God, “Build an ark,” only once in all those 120 years. The person who is called to do God’s will does not hear an order two or three times from heaven. He does not hear it again once he has already heard it, nor does he hear it again after he has failed. Once he who is called by God has heard directions, it should be his attitude to keep his promise with God until the very end. Because of this point Noah became the father of faith. Though many people ridiculed Noah and denounced him, he climbed up the mountain, sweating, in order to fulfill his promise to God. I looked at Noah’s back, remembering this account of Rev. Moon, and he appeared to be in such a wretched state. I became quite serious, reflecting on how much the person who is called to do God’s will must suffer.
Part 2 will be posted next time.