The Words of the Goto Family

Faith in Hell -- Submerged in an Ocean of Lies

Toru Goto
November 21, 2009

Mr. Goto Toru, president of the Japanese Victim's Association against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion, continues to speak to members about his ordeal.

In recent sermons at the Headquarters Church in Seoul, he explained more about the internal battle he faced and how he was able to maintain his faith during the vilification of True Parents, which he was forced to listen to over and over again.

Mr. Goto spoke to the English-language service on November 21. The transcript of that testimony is available at

What follows is a translation, from Mr. Goto's Japanese, of parts of the testimony he gave at the 10:00 am service the next day to Korean members. It contains mainly extra material that Mr. Goto did not express at the English-language service.

The physical abuse was horrible, but what was more severe was the spiritual battle while confined. The sole goal of the "deprogrammers" is to destroy Unificationists' faith. To accomplish this, in a room completely sealed off from outside information, they continuously feed you every possible piece of biased, fabricated, evil misinformation having to do with True Parents, other True Family members and the Unification Church. You want to cover your ears.

Even if you believe that content has been fabricated, it is so very specific and graphic. They know that members will not pick up such material and read it during their confinement, so they continuously read it aloud in your ears. Without being able to leave, you are forced to hear it every day. If it were just one day, it might be endurable, but they make you listen to this day after day.

True Parents are truly the beloved focus of our faith, but I couldn't help feeling as if that image was gradually being eroded by the day. When you hear these things, you feel as if your spirit body is being stabbed with a knife, as if your spirit body can't help but scream in pain. Eventually, the image you have of Father is compromised.

Out of every ten who are confined, seven end up leaving the church, and the reason for this can only be that in places of confinement such forced conversion is persistently carried out. In this way, the "deprogrammers" are destroying members' faith. True Parents are the life of our members. Thus, members even resolve, "If I am going to end up losing faith in True Parents, let me die here." However, they know that committing suicide will become an even greater grief for God and True Parents. They can't commit suicide, yet they feel that if this goes on, they might betray True Parents. Numerous brothers and sisters who've been abducted and confined go through this terrible suffering.

At times I was so tormented that I prayed before sleeping, "God, I am really at my limit. If possible, please send me to the spirit world so that I won't have to wake up as I am tomorrow morning." What was awful was that I was alone, but the opponents came in groups of as many as ten people. Among them were many ex-members who had left the church after being confined and coerced into disbelief.

Brothers and sisters who had followed God and True Parents with me in the past, with a pure heart and faith, came to the apartment to persuade me to leave the church. One sister who was a team leader in a workshop I attended also visited. She was a wonderful sister who really loved me and guided me at that workshop. She had been in the 30,000-couple Blessing Ceremony and was abducted after that. During her first confinement, she was able to somehow escape and return to the church. However, once you are con- fined, and a relationship has formed between your family and the opposition, the probability of repeated abductions until they successfully badger you into giving up your faith rises very much. So this sister had kidnapped again and ended up leaving the church, and now appeared in front of me.

She said to me, with tears trickling down her face, "Brother Goto, it's been a long time. Do you realize you're making an awful mistake? Why can't you understand?"

I replied, "Well, even if you say such things..."

Then she yelled, "Are you listening to what I'm saying?" and became enraged. She took the hot tea that was in front of her and threw it in my face. My clothes were soaking wet. When this sister had taken care of me at the workshop, she was not the kind of person who would do that sort of thing. I have met several dozen ex-members who had been kidnapped and forced to give up their beliefs, and each and every one of them has changed so much. They've become secularized, having a carpe diem outlook on life and are without hope. There are so many brothers and sisters like that.

I was thirty-one when I was locked up. By the time I was about forty, of course, I began to feel desperation. I knew that screaming and yelling would not be of any benefit, so I began. a hunger strike. After thirty days of fasting, I was at my physical limit and told my family I would stop. However, the next day, I was given no food... [Mr. Goto describes how for seventy days he was given only water rice had soaked in before cooking and a sports drink; he hunted in the kitchen for condiments and peelings; eventually he survived on raw rice alone... After this, he was given a little rice and pickled plums or roots until his release.]

For two years after that, my family curtailed my meals. In the photo you see is of me, taken two days after I was freed, I am 182 cm tall and my weight at the hospital was 39 kg. This was not the result of my fast. For two years after the last fast I did, I ate at the same table with my family. They were eating regularly, but they gave me only seaweed, pickles and sour plums on a small plate -- for two years. "You did so many foolish activities in the Unification Church, but you won't even try researching the church and thinking with your own head. You don't deserve a proper meal," is what motivated them. In other words, because I was a Unification Church believer, they would not treat me as human.

In the eight years between the first time I was illegally detained and my second confinement, I had been reading True Father's speeches. I had a feeling that another time of struggle under confinement would come. According to Father, "Persecution is not a bad thing." I did not find that Father made any unfavorable criticism of persecution. I had memorized, "Persecution is to be expected for those who follow the way of Heaven. A time when you receive great persecution is a time of great development. The strategy of Heaven is to bring victory through persecution."

During my confinement, I was able to fight Satan using Father's words as my sword. Father's teachings gave me strength. [Applause] And, the contents of the life course of True Parents, who are the substantiation of those words, gave me strength. True Parents had already gone through much more painful persecution. Father had comforted God first, rather than seeking comfort himself, no matter how severely he was mistreated, and because he had responded in this way, God had protected him.

While confined, I was forced to listen to bad information from the opposition group for four to five hours a day. After such a session, your spirit is torn to shreds. I tried to remember what Father had said and the details of his course. I tried to think about God before myself and to remember that God was looking after me. I prayed to God, "I will never betray You or True Parents. I will be sure to overcome this situation, so please watch over me." [Applause] Then, God, as a parent, truly embraced me as a son. Even amidst circumstances so difficult I wondered if I could ever rise above them, God granted me strength, and I was able to fight again the following day. [Applause] That is how I was able to overcome, from day to day.

There is more. My older brother and younger sister used to be members of our church and my older brother's wife, who was also with us in the apartment where I was being held, had been a member. She had been blessed, with the 6,500-couple blessing group, to a Korean man. Later, she also was kidnapped, confined, and as a result left the church. This meant that my brother, his wife and my sister were all ex-members. They became Christian, influenced by the pastor who confined them and coerced them into leaving our church. Thus, they read the Bible and prayed daily in the apartment. Their thinking was that God was definitely on their side, Jesus must also be on their side, and they must "rescue their poor brother who is a captive of that devil, Sun Myung Moon, the Antichrist."

At the beginning of my confinement, they treated me rather well. As Jesus says in the Bible, "Love your enemies."

But, they never thought this would take more than a year. Counter to their expectations, I did not yield after a year, nor after three years, five years, ten years. This began to throw their own lives into confusion. They couldn't allow me to escape, so they had to watch me in that apartment continuously. In other words, they lives were devoted to monitoring me, and they were unable to do much else for many years. Although they did not come out and say it, you could see resentment growing in their expressions, as if to say, "You're ruining our lives." In the end, they felt that because of the Unification Church, even their own lives had been destroyed. Thus, they gradually began to treat me harshly.

My brother's wife, for example, once slapped me several times, yelling, "Wake up!" She mixed water and ice cubes in a bowl and poured the ice water down my back under my clothes, again shouting, "You! Wake up!" She, who was reading the Bible daily and praying, would do things like that. It was difficult for her to put what she was reading into practice.

On the other hand, I had God and the Messiah on my side. [Applause] I was in an extremely difficult situation, but when I prayed, God truly sent me his spirit and love. That's why I could keep a good expression on my face in spite of the circumstances. [Applause]

But my expression irritated my family members even more. They became upset, "How can you look so refreshed, knowing the situation you're in?" and attacked me more. But the Principle is the truth. When the evil side attacks the good side, and the good side accepts that with the right heart, quietly persevering, indemnity conditions are being laid. In that way, I could feel that the more I was struck, the higher I was rising spiritually. As for the other side, the angrier they became and the more they attacked, the lower they fell spiritually. After twelve years and five months had passed, they finally could not tolerate this any longer. The members of my family were the ones who had forcibly kidnapped and imprisoned me, but in the end, they told me, "Get out!" and kicked me out. [Applause]

During those twelve years and five months, I became convinced of something. They declared that the true God and Jesus were definitely on their side and that Satan was on my side. They asserted that Sun Myung Moon was the Antichrist and the Divine Principle was absolute nonsense, using a million words to explain their grounds. Nevertheless, when human beings are pushed to the extreme, their true character is revealed. When I witnessed the various phenomena that appeared in the end, I understood clearly which side was genuine. The conclusion revealed to me after all that time was that the True Parents are indeed the authentic Messiah in his Second Coming. [Applause] Thanks to this understanding, I was liberated. [Applause] If Father were false, and the Divine Principle were not the truth, I would not be able to stand in front of all of you here in this way, with a calm face. [Applause] I feel grateful to God and True Parents, who protected me throughout all those years.

So, I became a free man after twelve years and five months, but after being freed, at first, I did not know what to do.

[Mr. Goto told of how he decided to try to find the Japanese Church Headquarters. He approached a policeman but he was unwilling or unable to do anything to help him. Then he began to walk in the direction of the Japanese headquarters. However, he was in a weak state from lack of food and from not having walked very much over the years of confinement.]

I didn't know which road to take, but I decided to move forward even if it meant I had to crawl. I used a stick as a crutch, I asked a passerby the way to the church headquarters. The first person I approached, a man, said he didn't know the way. The second person I met was a young lady. I asked her, leaning on the stick, "Excuse me, I think the headquarters of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity is around here. Do you know where it is?" The lady stopped walking and looked at this strange-looking person with surprise. She took a few steps back, and then she said, "I'm a member of the Unification Church..." [Applause]

Brothers and Sisters, God is truly alive! Without a doubt, it was God who led me to this sister. [Applause] I was able to speak with a family member for the first time in twelve years and five months! I felt our hearts were connected, centered on God and True Parents. I truly missed the fragrance of the heart of our brothers and sisters and was filled with joy. While I was locked up, I had no way of knowing how Father was doing. I was getting older, and Father was as well, so I thought perhaps he might already be in the spirit world. Yet, I'd been hoping if possible to work for God's will with Father, so I asked this sister first of all, "Is Father still well?" That sister beamed brightly, and replied, "Yes, he is still very, very well." [Applause] I was truly grateful to God. The sister found a taxi for me, even paid for it, and I was able to reach the headquarters.

There was something I had been praying continuously about while confined. I clearly understood that Japanese brothers and sisters were working hard, and I felt that if I were to die without being able to witness or contribute anything, I would be extremely sorry. So I prayed, "I am a sinful person, but if possible, please use me as an offering. I couldn't bring results while I was confined. Please accept my heart's desire to have made results for the sake of Japan and for the world."

Having heard my talk until now you may all have the impression that I have an awful family. My father is now in the spirit world, but I really loved my parents, and they also really loved me. Our three siblings were very close, and we trusted each other, which is why all three of us could join the movement right away. However, this incredible situation followed. I would like all of you to understand why this happened.

This is the fault of the anti-Unificationist Christian ministers. They continue to feed people with one-sided, evil information only. This troubles the parents, who begin to ask, "How can we rescue our child?" The faith-breakers answer, "Kidnap- ping is the only way." In fact, the family never wishes to do something so extreme, but because they are told this is the only way, they feel they have no choice but to do it. In this way, money flows to the anti-Unificationist groups. They have been continuously doing these things for forty-three years. As we speak, there are at least five brothers and sisters that we know of who are being confined.

In Japan, it has become very difficult to solve this problem. However, the True Children have now stood up to confront it. One of the things that astonished me after twelve years is that the True Children have grown so wonderfully and have become so committed. [Applause] There are many brothers and sisters who live in danger and fear of being abducted and confined, but now the True Children have stood up for them in indignation. As one of the victims, I wish to thank them truly. I am determined to continue fighting to resolve this issue, as one of the victims of illegal kidnapping and confinement. Thank you very much. [Applause] 

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