History of the Seoul Church – 2
By Won Pil Kim
We continue Rev. Won Pil Kim’s personal story and review of the earliest years of our movement. In 1953 when this story begins, Father is 33 years old and Won Pil Kim is 25. Fighting in the Korean War ended with the truce in July 1953. It was later in the year that True Father began to establish the church in Seoul. Won Pil Kim’s first-hand account remains among the most insightful testimony of the earliest times.
Click here to read Part 1
University Students and Professors
When October came, just as Father predicted, many professors and university students began coming to church. However, this created a problem at the university. The same problems that had occurred in Busan (and earlier in Pyongyang) were repeated in Seoul. People came to the church and stayed for very long periods of time, without returning to their homes or families. One school teacher, for instance, came to listen to Principle, and continued listening without returning to school. This created a problem at the school.
Three days is a very important period of time. If people were to return home after the first day of Principle lectures, surely some difficulty would arise, in their families or circumstances, preventing them from returning. This was a clear pattern: when people returned to their family or school, some kind of problem would emerge which would keep them from returning to our church. So when people came and listened to Principle, we would plead with them to stay overnight and continue listening the next day. When they were about to leave, we would really beg them to stay, because we felt that if they left, they would be in danger of spiritual death. We felt very serious about that danger. Those who remained and listened to lectures for three days would become members.
When spiritual parents had guests, they would set many conditions, such as prayer conditions and cold shower conditions.
Mr. Eu gave most of the lectures. At lunch, we shared our meal, and the next lecture began. At dinner time, we shared our meal together. Afterwards we held a testimony meeting, with testimonies given by the center members.
When Mr. Eu was giving a lecture, Father always sat beside him and listened. If his explanation was not adequate or if he could not answer a question satisfactorily, Father would explain.
In Busan, when I was drawing pictures, Father was always beside me, helping me, so Father was raising me up. He did the same with Mr. Eu, staying by his side when he was giving lectures and helping him. In this way, Father raised up Mr. Eu.
New people thought that Mr. Eu was the teacher, or the greatest master. They had no idea that Father was the master. For one thing, Mr. Eu was six years older than Father, and moreover, Father dressed very casually without a necktie, and he seemed to be just an ordinary member. But after attending lectures for one or two days, guests could observe Mr. Eu’s attitude toward Father and recognize that Father was greater than Mr. Eu.
University students were coming and listening to lectures. The professors who came and listened to lectures were highly respected by the students, some of them being excellent professors and quite famous. One teacher who had been seeking for truth in Christianity, and communism, was unable to find any of the answers he sought, then he came to hear Principle. He was so deeply moved by the lecture. Sitting beside him during the lecture, I could observe his attitude; he was so joyful that he kept hitting his leg! Until that time, he had never had any spiritual experiences, but while hearing Principle, he began to feel a burning fire, like electricity, entering his head and spreading even to his fingers. Even though it was a spiritual experience, his fingers were actually burned.
One Christian who never had any spiritual experiences in the Christian church was lifted up by a strong spiritual force while listening to Principle and carried for some distance! These were the kinds of phenomena that were occurring at that time.
There were professors and students from Ewha University coming to our church and joining. Ewha was a Methodist-run university and the largest women’s university in Korea. Women students usually stayed in the dormitories, and in order to come to the church, they would have to make some excuse, such as going to the public bath. Mrs. Won Pok Choi, Miss Young Oon Kim, and one Mrs. Yoon joined the church family in those days. Many women who joined at that time were blessed among the 36 Couples.
Rumors about Our Church
The people who came to the church and joined were very respected members of their families, churches and communities; but once they joined our church they did not go home. This began to stir doubts and opposition towards the church since people didn’t return, once they came to the church. People began to suspect that since Father had studied electrical engineering, there was some kind of electrical gadget inside the house that could brainwash people.
The editor of the Christian newspaper visited our church, having heard the rumor that our church brainwashed people, and once anyone entered our house he would never come out. He had been told that we took away the shoes of people who entered our house. Before coming to visit, he prepared two pairs of shoes, expecting something like this to happen. He came in, listened to Principle, and was able to understand its contents. Afterwards, he gave his testimony and told us this story. Through that testimony we could understand what people in general were thinking about us.
The church had begun in Pyongyang, went down to Busan, and then to Seoul. Rumors followed this same route, from Pyongyang, to Busan, to Seoul. Rumor that our church was a church that practiced fornication or adultery spread through these cities. Rumors were exaggerated with each telling. There is an old Korean saying that if you pass a rice cake from person to person, it will become smaller and smaller (each person taking a bite from the cake), but if you pass a rumor around from one person to another, it will become bigger and bigger. A kind of snowball effect. Do you have a similar saying in your country?
Rumor had it that there were three different kinds of doors in the Unification Church: when you went through the first door you had to take off your jacket; upon entering the second door you had to take off more; and after passing through the third door you took off all your clothes and then committed adultery or fornication.
One very courageous lady who was searching for the truth visited our church. She had studied Buddhism, Christianity, and other faiths. Although she had heard these rumors, because she was very brave, she determined to visit our church; but she came prepared, wearing three different layers of underwear! She figured that even if her outer clothes were taken off, still she would have enough underneath that she could escape! She visited the church, filled with fear. Actually we did have three doors in the church, but she went through all three without anything terrible happening. Then she listened to the Principle and discovered that what people were saying was untrue. Moreover, she discovered that this was the very church for which she had been seeking for so long. The day after joining the church, she testified to one of the sisters about this story. She showed the sister her layers of clothes, demonstrating the preparations she had made because of the rumors.
Many years later in America, similar kinds of rumors have spread. If you participated in tuna fishing, you know many stories. Professional fishermen may go for a week without catching a tuna, but these Moonies were catching tuna every day. They could not understand why the Moonies caught tunas. They knew we were using the same bait and same instruments. They began to think and finally concluded that we were brainwashing the tuna, and when we were putting out the chum (small pieces of fish used to attract tuna to the bait) we were doing some kind of chant which would brainwash the tuna! Because they couldn’t understand, they invented many explanations.
You can then imagine, 30 years ago, people creating rumors to account for what they could not understand.
Imprisoned with True Father
In 1955, on July 4, Father was taken to jail. Four members, including myself, were put in jail with Father. While in jail with Father, I was able to observe his prison life, and in that way I could imagine how he had been able to survive in the Hungnam special labor camp.
While Father was in prison the faith of the other church members was deepened. That situation gave our members strong stimulus.
Also at this time, God testified through a 12-year-old boy. This young boy had died but three days later he came back to life. While the boy’s family was preparing for the funeral, the boy resurrected from his coffin. During those three days, the boy had gone to the spirit world, to heaven and hell. He saw John the Baptist in a very miserable condition there. Also he told about the Lord of the Second Coming. Through this boy’s testimony, God made us unite very strongly and encouraged us very much.