Sun Myung Moon’s Life In His Own Words

Part 14: Step into Freedom an Cataclysmic War

From the viewpoint of God's providence of restoration, Western civilization by all means needs to be connected to Asia. Flesh and blood, spirit and body, and all conditions of sincerity established by Western civilization have to be brought here. It was only in 1950 that representatives of sixteen nations came to Korea, and while here, they were engaged in fierce fighting.

The birthplace of the Messiah is the homeland. Those soldiers who fought in the Korean War sacrificed themselves for the liberation of our homeland. We can conclude that from the perspective of God's providence, the military conflict in Korea triggered an international mobilization to shed blood for the liberation of the homeland. Heaven mobilized men and women to Korea from all democratic nations that profess Christianity to sacrifice for the liberation of Korea, a providential nation that with the advent of the True Parent had become the ideal homeland. Heaven had them fight.

Would there have been such a thing as the Korean War had Christianity accepted the Unification Church? It would not have occurred. It would have taken at most three years to secure a complete nationwide foundation. Within seven years, a worldwide foundation would have been laid. The Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950, was a conflict in the midst of this seven-year course. Because Christianity did not accept me, Satan invaded and established a foundation based on the number seven. Therefore, we see the emergence of two enemies -- communism and Christianity. Communism emerged on the worldwide level at that point in history. Had communism not secured a foothold on Korean soil, it would not have grown to command the power it did in the world. All of that would have melted down in my hand.

The bombing of Hungnam by B-29s

On August 1, 1950, a heavy bombing attack was carried out with B-29 bombers on the Hungnam fertilizer factory. Not only did I foresee this attack but I also knew and explained to those close to me that God would protect anyone who stayed within twelve meters of me. I was meditating calmly amidst all of the heavy bombing. It did not bother me at all. I was concentrated on the ideal world that awaited us in the future. I knew that for God, sending a person with a providential mission like mine to the spirit world at that point would amount to a loss of cosmic proportions. God was willing to pay any price to protect me. In fact, He had no other choice.

Such were my thoughts while those around me were worried and their facial expressions got ever tighter. In the midst of explosions ripping through the Hungnam factory, people were shouting that they were going to die. That was the situation I was in... Oh well... Death did not concern me at all.

Prisoners to the frontline

Soon after the Korean War broke out on June 25, the communists were mobilizing all of their prisoners to the frontline, where they were to die as cannon fodder. At some point, about eight hundred prisoners, out of roughly a thousand, were ordered to march to a meeting point fifty kilometers from the prison. We marched out in obedience to the order from the central command for more soldiers for frontline combat.

About eight hundred people moved from Hungnam toward Wonsan and Jeongpyeong... Originally, we would have started out by railroad but a section of track had been destroyed by bombing. The prisoners travelled fifty kilometers on foot. At that point, there were only seventy or eighty prisoners left behind at Hungnam. Most of the prisoners were taken to fight on the frontline.

I was among the eight hundred. It was dangerous to move by day because of the heavy bombing, so we marched through the night starting at eight in the evening and stopping after dawn, thus covering about twenty-five to thirty kilometers a day. Since trains could also run only by night, it had been arranged that we would arrive at a station by 4:00 AM.

However, that train did not come at the appointed time because of an accident, and the group of prisoners had to stay put for a few days. Because too few guards were escorting too many prisoners, the guards feared problems might arise and ordered a retreat to the prison. Three days later, the prisoners were ordered out again. This time, however, I was allowed to stay behind. I was the only one out of the original eight hundred whom they left behind. That is how I survived.

The end of the ordeal

How does the story end? The gates of the prison did finally open. It was time to go. Wonsan was the very first place to be retaken by the South Korean contingent under the UN Forces. Our soldiers entered Pyongyang on October 19. However, Wonsan had been taken at dawn on October 15 or 16.

Therefore, the Hungnam area was the first piece of the North Korean territory retaken by the allied forces. That incursion forced our prison guards to flee and allowed me to escape.

All these events occurred as they did because God was desperate to save one person, His son. On October 12, about seventy prisoners with sentences of seven years or more were taken ten kilometers into the mountains and executed. Since my prison term was five years, my turn was to come two days later. You can see why God must have worked feverishly.

As I looked out of the cell window on the night of October 13, it already looked as if changes were occurring. The prison guards fled on October 14 because UN Forces were approaching Hungnam; so we were able to get out of the prison. The UN forces launched a general offensive and at two o'clock in the morning on that day we gained our freedom.

If you conceive of my release as a decision made in a court of law, granting it would have been done not by a judge, but by the accuser, Satan himself, who had the final word. I needed Satan's approval to be freed.

Because I successfully accomplished all that had been required of me, soldiers from the archangel nation [the United States], with other troops making up the UN forces, fought back against North Korea and were able to liberate me. This is how I came out of prison.

The fact that on October 14, 1950, just a day before my scheduled execution, UN troops led by General MacArthur freed me is evidence that my salvation was accomplished entirely by God's grace and power. A condition was established for the whole democratic world to receive benefits from the UN forces having liberated me from prison. In other words, because the UN troops played a direct role in my deliverance from the Hungnam labor camp, the democratic world established a providential connection that allowed it to be saved and blessed.

October is the month of liberation for the Unification Church. Both my liberation from Seodaemun Prison on October 4, 1955 and from the Hungnam labor camp fall in the same month. Tears well up in my eyes just thinking about this. For me, this time marked the loss of a people. I also lost my family, my beloved wife and son.

My prison life -- history and tradition

Do you know about my lifestyle in prison? A tradition of visiting these holy sites should be established... How precious is the feeling of self-confidence and liberation people would have as they fulfill their promise to follow in my footsteps through the historical tradition I have established! It is for this reason that I asked Kim Il-sung to open my hometown to visitors. I asked him to open both my hometown and the Hungnam labor camp; these sites will become educational facilities with training courses designed to correspond to the number of years I spent at each.

My imprisonment at Hungnam was not a setback for me. God has worked through my life course to turn the experience at Hungnam into a powerful source of inspiration that brings new life to the hearts of young people who study the Unification Church doctrine as it spreads to all parts of the world...

There is no better place than a prison to learn about what one is really worth and to recreate one's character. If we are to train young leaders to take on the task of world unification, I think we might need an official survival-training course.

Determined to make a fresh start

You feel quite young when you turn thirty. When I compare that time to now, it really was the era of my youth.

Leaving prison at that age, I resolved to make a fresh start, a new beginning in my life. It did not matter how hard and bitter my experience in North Korea had been up to that point. My mind was set on forgetting all the hardships and thinking of what had happened not as an impediment or loss but as stimulation for that fresh start on the road to accomplishing my historic mission. I was adamant, knowing I was responsible to accomplish my mission at any cost. I made this strong resolution in my thirties while my body was still in its prime. My release from prison was equivalent to resurrection and marked the starting point of proclaiming the truth of Divine Principle.

Those who followed me from Hungnam

At the time of my release, several people clung to me, crying desperately, asking permission to follow me. In fact, four people left their parents and wives behind to accompany me after I emerged from the labor camp in North Korea. Among them one was a man from the Moon clan, in which he thus came to represent Cain.

This man, Mr. Moon Jeong-bin, had worked as a department head in the South Hamgyong provincial office in Hamhung. He was sentenced to Hungnam prison because of a mistake committed by one of his subordinates. He spent some time with me in the prison cell, and from the spirit world, he was guided to become my follower. He later followed me as I traveled from Hungnam to Pyongyang.

Despite being a family man with a wife and two sons, he was very devoted to me and after his release kept visiting me in prison, hoping for my release. After my release, I set out in a hurry to reach Pyongyang, but since I was passing his house, I felt obliged to stop by and greet his family. After we exchanged some greetings and said our goodbyes, I left to continue my journey. Suddenly, he ran out of his house and started following me. "Why are you coming with me?" I asked. He replied that he felt compelled to follow me. So he came along.

A bundle of tattered prison clothes

The clothes I had worn in the labor camp, my shirts and underwear, were all made of cotton. When prisoners worked in the factory, the fertilizer ingredients -- ammonia and sulfuric acid -- would often stain their clothes. Both substances are caustic; their chemical action destroys an organic fabric such as cotton. If you pull on cotton clothes, they easily rip apart. After long use, our clothes were full of holes and began to rot... A beggar wearing such clothes would look even more miserable. Those clothes looked and smelled horrible. If you pulled on or scratched any part of that cotton cloth, it would practically disintegrate into shreds. Since I could not throw those clothes away, I stuffed them all into my bedding, which I spread on the floor and used as a mattress in the prison cell.

I pulled out the stuffing and replaced it with all these ragged clothes to preserve them throughout my three-year term.

What possessions do you leave prison with? I carried a bundle of those old clothes with me as I travelled from Hamhung to Pyongyang over a period of ten days. In Pyongyang, I asked a member to look after the bundle, saying, "Even if you have to throw away your silk jacket, skirt or a blanket made of foreign satin, keep this bundle safe and make sure you return it to me." Nevertheless, he threw my bundle out at the first opportunity and kept his family's stuff... It was lost.

If I only had those clothes with me today, I would not need to explain anything. They would have been too valuable to exchange for the whole universe. The material could speak for itself and stir more profound emotions than any talented orator's speech could ever do. I still have no words to express my disappointment about this loss. Where am I going to find a substitute for this? Is one for sale somewhere? No. Ordinary things such as a small piece of paper or a fragment of a newspaper article become precious historical relics if they are related to your public mission. Even if you are totally impoverished and starving on a single piece of dried radish leaf, you should first think of preserving it as historical evidence by filing it or taking a picture of it. These things will allow your children to inherit the very essence of our tradition without you preaching a word to them.

Evidence of war preparations

I observed things clearly when I came out of prison in Hungnam. I was very interested in all the changes that had taken place around me. From the very beginning, when the North Koreans laid a new bridge, it was designed so that the road could be widened up to two lanes each way. They built roads like highways. Since cement was abundant in the North, they paved the roads with a thick layer of concrete, a strong construction material. None of this escaped my attention.

It was obvious that the roads had been built to withstand the weight of heavy tanks moving, and the bridges had also been constructed so that thirty-ton tanks could cross them.

Since the road from Hungnam was strategically important to the East Sea coast, it had already been prepared for military purposes. All things considered, it was clear that the North had prepared for war ahead of time.

I understood that war preparations were implemented by the KGB as soon as the government was established in the North. It was in line with the Soviet policy in the Far East, which is why all the fertilizer produced by the Hungnam factory was sent off to the Soviet Union. They used to send several loads per day, which they bartered for ten- or twenty-year-old Soviet weapons. Since these weapons were so cheap, they got most of the old Soviet cache. They used them to train soldiers along the thirty-eighth parallel in order to prepare for the invasion of the South. They did not need state-of-the-art heavy equipment there and managed very well with the outdated weapons.

I was aware of all of this at that time. Based on my personal observations, it was clear that North Korea was readying itself for war. Everything was prepared by 1950.

Contacting those who had been loyal

I travelled on foot from Hungnam, on the east coast, all the way to Pyongyang, near the west coast. Although I sent people out to all of my followers in Pyongyang letting them know that I had returned, most of them did not come to see me. Nevertheless, I did succeed in bringing some people together, even if just a few.

I stayed in Pyongyang for forty days, though my hometown was only a hundred and ten kilometers from the city. To go there and back would have taken only a couple of days. Still, I did not visit my parents or my brother and sisters at home. Instead, I looked for those people who had earlier responded to God's call. I made a point to visit everyone who had promised to follow God's will -- every single person, without exception.

I never made it to my hometown. I wanted to know what happened to those who had followed me before I went to prison. Moreover, before I visited my own family, I felt obliged to communicate with everyone whom I remembered from that period. This is the heavenly way.

Since these people promised to remain loyal to me before I went to prison and did not notify me they'd had a change of heart, I was still responsible for taking care of them as their teacher. As long as I was still chosen by Heaven and as long as the person did not directly express ill will toward me (in which case Heaven would have no other choice but to forsake him) I was bound by the obligation of a promise exchanged between a teacher and a follower. Because of this, I visited all of my scattered followers. When I could not visit directly, I would at least send Won-pil [Kim] in my stead. Under the circumstances, was there time left to visit my home? In some cases, it took a whole week just to find one person. Even if a person had gone against me, his descendants still have to be saved. The fate of those who had opposed me hung in the balance and had to be cleared up at the time of my visit. That is why it took me a whole forty days to complete the job.

I could not help leaving my mother behind in North Korea, even though I remembered her monthly tearful visits to Hungnam prison. I had to find all my followers in Pyongyang first. I visited everyone, even someone well over eighty years old, only to find out that the person had passed away already. My goal was to call on and bring together every single person that came to mind, young and old -- everyone who had become a member or established a providential connection with me.

I would call on somebody and be rejected at first. I would return and be rejected again. Even until the third time... This went on until people started to evacuate en masse in December. I kept sending people out until sunset on December 2, and I continued desperately offering conditions as expressions of my sincerity until God gave me the direction to leave.

I could not abandon people. I accomplished everything I had to do in the North. I had started out in Pyongyang with a perspective based on heart and before I could leave the place, I removed the pain in my heart and found the courage to offer this new heart to God for the sake of His will. This is why I left Pyongyang that night. A leader needs to be that serious about his responsibility.

You should accomplish your God-given mission even amidst a life-and-death struggle. Once you have started something, you should make sure you complete it. Those who move on to do other things before completing their original mission will realize very soon that their way forward is blocked. This is why I went out and resolved all the issues with my former followers so that in front of Heaven and earth I am justified and have the sympathy of these people's ancestors and descendants.

Since I was aware of such things, I made sure to complete such a foundation before leaving. When I look back on those days, I have no regrets or pangs of conscience about anything.

Visiting the "Inside the Belly" Church

As I was leaving North Korea, I visited the mother of Huh Ho-bin. Since this elderly lady was the overall leader of a religious group, I went to visit her and met her for the first time. The lady had already received a revelation that she should treat a gentleman in Kyungchang Hamlet with respect. Therefore, all her followers came out to greet me wearing white clothes.

Even at that time, had this group exactly followed the directions I gave them, I would not have had to go the way of suffering. This was a substantial, divinely inspired group. Since the members of the group had been trained for years to be mobilized at the command of the returning Lord, they could have been able to advance the providence by leaps and bounds.

The Holy Lord Church, the Inside the Belly Church and the New Jesus Church were similar in the sense that they would have united easily had they been able to accept me. How would that be possible? Through the Principle. But since these people had become too comfortable, they did not recognize what was happening. They could not interpret the revelation given them.

Ministers who had opposed me

When I went to the communist North, about eighty ministers from established churches came together and signed a resolution to get rid of Moon so-and-so from the Unification Church. They must have felt relieved when they heard the news that I had been sent away to a death camp. Did I die, though? Why should I have? In the end, those who conspired to kill me got a taste of their own medicine. The communists killed them all. How ironic that the man who was destined to die in the labor camp survived while those who put him away ended up with that fate! God is indeed unforgiving when it comes to His providence. I looked for each one of these individuals. I was willing to embrace them, offer them a pardon from their past and a direction for a future they could be proud of. However, my search always ended with the same result -- those ministers were dead and gone.

In Pyongyang, a church minister whose last name was Nam was behind my imprisonment. I don't remember his first name. This minister lost all his children. It went that far. Such is the settlement from Heaven. In spite of all of this, you should not think, That is the punishment you deserve.

Since the person's descendants are still alive, you should think, God, Please do not harm this lineage anymore and bless these people on my behalf. This is the thinking of a righteous person. You should know that such is the way God has trodden until now.

Members who left the path

I have been betrayed by many people since I started my providential course. I remember each and every individual who had ever pledged to follow me to the end but went astray. Not only do I remember the content of each pledge, I know exactly how each of these former members is doing today.

There were many women in our church at the time I received the Hungnam sentence. One of them might pledge her absolute loyalty at that time saying, "I am willing to die and resurrect time and again just to be able to write a wish-paper for the sake of my teacher's well-being. If I had to choose between being different kinds of flowers, I would be a rose or a lily; why be a pumpkin flower?"

Another person might say, "Even if I had to live on top of Mt. Baekdu and make a living by planting potatoes in the rocky ground in order to serve my teacher, I would never give up." However, when they heard from me about "going the way of death," the usual response was "Wait, let me think it over." People cannot be trusted.

Many women betrayed me.

However, what is more important is that many have betrayed God. God could not take revenge over such traitors as Adam and Eve, the angel and all those others who betrayed Him in the long course of history, because God is pursuing the absolute standard of love. "Why doesn't God do anything about His enemies?" one may ask. The answer is, "He cannot do anything." Because God has set the standard of absolute love, there is no way He can seek revenge. He has to bite the bullet, saying, "We will see. Wait a little more."

Absolute love has no choice but to wait. Can you imagine the depth of God's suffering in this situation? We should be aware of this. We should appreciate God's perseverance amidst all the suffering.

Members from the Pyongyang period

In Pyongyang, I restored three women and a man. Without such a foundation, the providence of restoration could not possibly be completed.

God lost women from three significant generations. Therefore, unless three women representing these three lost generations are restored, we cannot expect to witness the unity of a Cain and Abel who were born as the result of a union of a true married couple. These three women were needed as a condition of indemnity. I knew of this necessity and went to North Korea with this goal in mind. In fact, this is my one and only achievement in the North.

I restored three women out of North Korea in order to restore by indemnity the mistakes of three generations of women. Also, the fact that Kim Won-pil attended me before he became twenty years old was of crucial significance. Since he was in the position to represent the communist world, he had to exhibit absolute obedience in attending me. No excuses were to be granted. That is why Won-pil attended me at all times even while I was in prison.

To restore one person in Kim Baek-moon's position, the respective number of members that followed me before I went to prison and the number of members after I returned had to be the same.

One person, Kim Won-pil, stood in the position of Kim Baek-moon. Three women were also significant. Because of them, I was able to restore the four people I originally planned to restore from Kim Baek-moon's group.

I went to the enemy in the North and found these people among them. This means that I was able to regain the four-position foundation there. This foundation of a son and daughters, gained amidst the struggle in the North, became the starting point for expanding the providence of restoration. From the viewpoint of the Principle, without this accomplishment I would not have been able to make a fresh start.

Sudden evacuation

Apart from these four followers outside prison, I was able to restore four groups from the circle of my inmates, and I took one man from each group with me when I returned to the South. It is because I was able to secure this particular number of followers that I could start my spiritual work in the South. This is how the Unification Church began. All that happened from that point onward was a new providential dispensation.

When I arrived in Pyongyang after my release from the labor camp, I sent the four men that came with me from Hungnam off to visit their hometowns. I told them to come back by a certain time on a certain date, but they just missed the appointment because of the commotion caused by army troops and refugees retreating southward from the north.

So what happened in the end? There was another man. He had followed me in prison and had been released earlier than I. His name was Park Jeong-hwa. He lay in his home in Pyongyang with a broken leg, abandoned by his siblings who had fled to the South leaving him behind with only a shepherd dog for a company. I cannot forget the moment I visited him at home and decided to bring him south on the back of a bicycle.

Also, when it was time to leave Pyongyang, I sent somebody to bring my mother to our place. I sent for Won-pil's mother also at that time...

I sent for my mother to come because I knew that the situation in the North might take a long time to be resolved. The person I sent to her left but did not return -- he may have been caught or did not make it for some other reason. I did not have much choice but to send Moon Jeong-bin to bring Won-pil's mother to us. A trip there and back should have taken only two days, even if he walked all the way. But he never returned.

By that time also, the situation in the North was growing worse by the day. There was a real danger that we might become surrounded. We thus had no alternative but to set out from Pyongyang. Mr. Moon, who had pledged to follow me at the risk of his life, could not come with us. 

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