The Words of the Vassiliev Family

Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Memoir a Best-Seller in Korea

Maarten Meijer and Konstantin Vassiliev
April 20, 2009

A new book on Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Becoming a World Figure Through the Love of Peace, has been published in March by the well-known and highly respected publishing company GimmYoungSa. The publisher’s female president actively supported its publication when she realized that the bad publicity surrounding the Unification Church had been based on disinformation and prejudice.

The book sidesteps religious controversy and church theology, focusing directly on Father Moon’s character and his message to humanity.

The company is well known in Korea for producing numerous best-sellers covering a wide range of topics, including the lives of historical and contemporary Christian figures. Some have even jokingly called it a “Christian publisher.”

The first print run of 200,000 is indicative of GimmYoungSa’s high expectations from the start. In just one week, the book became a national hit. It currently occupies the Number Six spot on the Korean “essay best-seller” list and is Number Twenty on the general best-seller list, ahead of modern classics such as The Secret.

Negative Christian reaction

The reaction among some in the Korean church community has been, as predicted, vehemently negative. Some prejudiced booksellers reportedly put the new title out of sight of prospective buyers until customers requested it by name. The publishing company has been deluged with protests and threats of a future boycott. Leading the pack has been the The Kookmin Daily, the newspaper run by the well-known Yeouido Full Gospel of Paul Young Gi Cho (said to be the largest church in the world). GimmYoungSa’s website has been inundated with posts accusing it of having “sold out” to Reverend Moon and shameless profit seeking when it decided to go ahead with the publication. These detractors conveniently forget that the same publishing house produced many Christian best-sellers before.

Fueling Public Interest

Ironically, this backlash seems only to have fueled public interest. Approximately 30 percent of all Koreans are Christian, 20 percent are (nominally) Buddhist, and the remaining “nonaligned” are relatively open-minded.

Here are some comments from Internet bulletin boards:

"I am a Christian. My church tells me that Rev. Moon is a devil. I love to read GimmYoungSa books. I felt betrayed by the company… Why did it sell its soul to the devil? Strange. This is the best company in Korea. It published so many Christian books, too. What a contradiction. They say the company spent three years preparing the publication. I had to find out for myself. So I bought the book. I couldn’t stop reading it. Was this stuff true or a fabrication? This is not one man’s life; this is an epic! I felt sorrow, sadness, pride. I was overcome by a whole range of emotions, and I could not lay down the book until I finished it at 4 o’clock in the morning. My conclusion is that this man is real. Next question is who is this man?! Whatever the answer is, everyone who loves peace and wants to do away with prejudice should read this book. I read it again and underlined all the important passages for myself. Who can persevere through so much persecution, prison, torture other than a saint? Thank you, GimmYoungSa. I can believe in you again!"

"Thank you, Christians, for making so much noise over this book and drawing my attention to it. After that, I just had to go to the store and buy it! I am not an avid reader; I am not easily moved emotionally. But once I opened the book, I could not put it down before I finished reading it at dawn after staying up all night. This book changed my life."

"I read the book and I think it is great. I am returning to the bookstore to buy another book about the Unification Church. If I can’t find any, I will find a Unification Church nearby to learn more about Rev. Moon firsthand. I am not a religious person. I bought this book. My own accomplishments now seem smaller than a spot of dust or a grain of sand.. I think I now know why Christians hate this book. My heart was captured by the reading. After turning the last page, I took a long look up into the blue sky, up to the tall mountains."

"Although I love reading, I don’t spend more than three hours on any book per day. This one is an exception. I bought it out of curiosity, but once I started reading, I could not stop until I finished it all. It is not your regular page-turner The book touches the depth of your soul, pierces your heart. I never believed people like Rev. Moon could live in this day and age... His attitude and the scale of things he accomplished go way out of the range of other contemporary outstanding individuals such as Cardinal Kim Su Hwan or monk Seong Cheol. I feel he is the first real, true religious person."

"This book is going to be a great hit. Mark my words. After reading this book myself, I went to the room where my middle-school-aged son was busy preparing for his tests. I gave him Rev. Moon’s autobiography and said, 'Son, put down your textbooks, this reading comes first!'"

"Far too long we have had to listen to Christians making noise about the Unification Church. They should stop. And Unification Church members: Stop all your talk about Providence, providence. This book has accomplished what none of you were able to do: Paint a good, true-to-life portrait of the founder of your Church and make people pay attention."

Written by Maarten Meijer and Konstantin Vassiliev. 

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