Sun Myung Moon’s Life In His Own Words

Part 20: A South Korean Prison Experience

July 4 -- October 4, 1955

Even in 1954, the year we launched the Unification Church, opposition to us in South Korea was nationwide. Everyone opposed us. The second course to indemnify the New Testament Age covered the years 1955, 1956 and 1957. I went to prison again. Persecution further intensified. In accordance with the Principle, a three-year indemnity period is always needed.

Something happened in 1955; I was imprisoned. People said "Get that Rev. Moon and kill him!" It was July 4. They said I was a communist. They heaped all kinds of allegations on me, including ones about what I had done in the past. They said I was a communist and accused me of perpetrating all the evils of the world. The blame for all past wrongs was placed on my shoulders. If something was bad, they said it was because of me.

Because I am a Korean, the starting point of the providence was Korea. Because it began from here, Korean Christianity represented Christianity worldwide. So, as the Christian church and the nation opposed me it meant the whole world was caught up in that. It was hard for me to bring even one person to my side. Satan's camp attacked me through a whirlpool of persecution, in the same way that they had put Jesus on the cross. The July 4 situation was typical of this.

Even now I have not forgotten the contemptuous treatment I received. The jeers penetrated right to my bones and remain there. If I were the only one to have suffered, that would have been all right, but the foundation for the nation and for the democratic world, which had been thousands of years in preparation, collapsed.

The forces behind the accusations

I was imprisoned by Syngman Rhee's administration in the Korean Republic. So the Rhee administration was an enemy. Those people threatened with physical harm and menaced me. To get rid of me, they put me in prison. I went to prison for the sake of the Republic of Korea.

The Seodaemun incident occurred as a result of an attempt to protect the credibility of Maria Park and Francesca Rhee' by President Rhee and five government ministers. For that purpose, they did many things against me. I know that in those days the Minister of Education, the Minister of Public Information, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs worked together to get rid of me. Some people under them came and informed me that the government had collaborated with Christian leaders in plotting against me.

Why was it that everyone was silent when the Unification Church was mentioned? This began because of fear, but the Korean public misunderstood and thought it was because we were a bad group. During the administration, people were told not to go to the Unification Church. People misunderstood and thought it was because the church was bad. We were opposed out of fear rather than hatred, and there was a big commotion.

Under suspicion of violating the Military Service Law

In 1955, through the incident at Ehwa University and other incidents as well, all Korea rose in an uproar to put me away. One day the Dong-Ah Ilbo was supporting me and the next it was opposing me. Thus, the five main government ministers drew up a plan to catch and destroy this guy, Rev. Moon. They planned this with the Rhee regime, but no matter how deep they delved, I had done nothing wrong. Though they were looking for all kinds of heinous crimes to charge me with, do you think they could find anything I was guilty of?

They investigated me and spread all kinds of strange rumors about me, but no matter how much they investigated, they couldn't find a thing. They couldn't capture and get rid of me, could they? They came up with a charge of "evading military service." I had come down from North Korea and had served time in prison in the meantime, so I was past the age of eligibility for conscription. Yet they were accusing me of evading military service. Then they found that even in that I had kept within the law.

There was nothing they could find fault with. From their viewpoint it was as if I were an eel. An eel slips away easily whether you hook it in the mouth or in the tail. The world was in turmoil, and I had stirred up the nation. They had to accuse me of being an evil man and a traitor to the Korean people and grab hold of me, because they believed that only by doing so could their kingdom of the Christian church go on for thousands of years more.


I don't say anything, though I have a mouth to talk with. I endure the many bitter feelings I have toward the nation. I am not a spineless man; I endure them because I know that Jesus endured for more than thirty years of his life. I know that God endured for two thousand years after the time of Jesus and that He endeavored to pave a strong foundation and prepare the ground and the time for the fulfillment of His will, all as a part of the course of restoration. I endure them, saying to myself, "Let the tempest pass, let the bleak winter winds blow, let the winter months come." All such things are bound to pass. The same is also true for the people in society who boast of their happiness -- it is bound to pass.

What is my responsibility? When I am chased and cornered and imprisoned, what is it that I must do then? I need to accept blows on behalf of all humanity; I must draw together and annihilate all the suffering in the world.

I even regard hardships as a matter of course, thinking, "Can I expect to avoid such hardships when I am pioneering the path of suffering, for the sake of the world?" I have endured all kinds of things, but I say to myself, "My direction is as unchangeable as rock. Until I can realize the longed-for nation, I have to fight and survive, not die, even if I have to experience continual sacrifice."

In serving and following God, I have never once thought about myself. I have always thought I should feel sympathy for Him. I felt like that even when I was dragged to the Seodaemun Police Station and found myself a prisoner behind bars. From the first step I took in following the path of the providence, I comforted God, saying "I am still alive, and for this I'm grateful." I have traveled along such a path in order to establish the historic standard of indemnity that characterizes the original ideology of the Unification Church of today. This is something no one can invade, no matter how much he tries.

When I was in Seodaemun Prison, I did not wish for Korea to perish. I did not wish for the Christian churches to perish. Instead, in my heart I thought, "Please forgive them their sin of ignorance. Please allow me to shoulder all the sins committed by Korea, this poor nation, that I may indemnify them. How good it would be if the nation could receive blessings just by my being mistreated."

I would say in my heart, "Heavenly Father, please love this beloved people more than I love them. Heavenly Father, please love this world more than I love it. You need not pity me. Even if I am to die, I will not die an insignificant person." Though it was this [apparently] insignificant man who was in charge of leading all the people in the world, I asked God to not see their faults as faults but instead to spur me on and allow me to pay indemnity for and complement all of them, if that were possible. Thus have I fought my way through.

That was what pleased God, and that served as the condition to bring fire to His empty heart, and so I was given the guarantee, "You, Moon, you son of a gun, will never perish wherever you go, even if you are somewhere where you cannot avoid perishing."

Drawing up a statement

Other people are no match for me. In the past, even when I was being interrogated in a police station, when the people filing the complaint began to talk with me, I would eventually swallow them up. I would point out to them, "You are writing the statement, so why aren't you writing this and that? This is where you should write such and such." But what I told them to write would completely contradict what was already in the statement. They would write it down, and then tear up the whole thing. I would be playing with them, saying, "It is only superior people who come here; would inferior people be brought here?"

I still remember the names of people like the Director of State Public Safety, but I don't mention them. There may come a time when I call them all here to meet with me. Back then, they sat with crossed legs, arrogantly admonishing me. Do you think they would do so if they were to come here today?

Entering Seodaemun Prison

I was manacled when I was taken to Seodaemun Prison, but I was not ashamed. In front of heaven and earth I felt no shame.

I had dignity. Even though I was going to be constrained behind bars, I was not even a little sad. I felt ashamed in front of neither God nor man.

I had done nothing wrong. I was pouring my whole life into teaching young people who would otherwise have ended up as criminals or prostitutes. I was teaching them to become innocent people, devoted children, patriots and the young people the nation needs.

Though I was without sin, I was put in chains and sent to prison. I am not ashamed about that. Everyone, including my friends scorned me and pointed their fingers at me, saying, "Look at that, look at that!" However, my response was, "Let's wait; wait ten years and see." During my journey, along this miserable path, I said to those who shot arrows of accusation at me, "You'll see; I will be victorious."

You should be aware that those lessons I learned from these difficult experiences remain within me today.

Bad things go to ruin and good things thrive. No matter how dirty a place I had to enter, there was no way I could be brought to ruin when could the truth of the situation attested to the pure deeds I was carrying out under Heaven.

When I was manacled and on my way to the prison, I was belittled and scolded by people on the street, even the women. But I told them, "You may walk with a dignified air, and I may look like a miserable person, but you cannot see clearly because you have no standard of comparison. When the standard is revealed, everything will be made clear."

Disciples who suffered together

Despite all my strenuous labor, I don't have any possessions, even now. Hardships are all that's left for me, privations for one's own sake and privations for the sake of God's will. Everything can be stolen, but nobody can take away the sympathy God had for me in His heart. That's my treasure.

When I look at you, you may be good-looking and bright, but the primary condition is how hard you have worked for God's will. I know clearly what I have gone through, so until I die I won't forget people who shed tears with me along the way, who sympathized with me, and who sincerely did their best to fulfill God's will and to dissolve His sorrow.

Now when I think about those of older church members who suffered with me, who went to prison with me... Actually they did not have any particular achievements, but looking back at those times from the viewpoint of heart, they reached the summit. They were on the front line, so with one word of consolation they brought a millennium of solace. When we were in the jaws of death, one helpful word was like an original stream of strength newly bubbling up like a fountain. That's why I think I should first help the people who were with me at that time.

Public Trial

Trial -- July 29, 1955; Judgment delivered October 4 in Court Room No. 4, Seoul District Court; Judge: Hak-Ro Yoon

None of you should forget that I went to prison as a result of opposition from the Christian churches and the nation. You should remember the scene of me appearing before the judge, manacled and in prison garb. I will never forget the ridicule and mockery I endured when I emerged from the courtroom on my way to jail. What occurred must be rectified before I die. All of you here are the ones whose destiny it is to do this.

The various faiths and many families and individuals united and attacked me throughout the nation. In Korea there was nowhere I could stand. I stood alone and aloof from the poisonous land, amid endless mockery. Today I still have the conviction that even if I am buffeted by storms, or scorched like a tree in a forest fire, I could never become a dead tree -- and that new buds would come out when spring came.

As the persecution from this land of 30 million people became stronger, I suffered very much. Since I knew I was loved and would never be abandoned by God, my face when I was taken to prison wasn't sad.

Any opposition or persecution I encountered on the way did not weaken me. Instead, I became stronger. Opposition and persecution are sources of encouragement for me. My indignation stimulated and motivated me. Nothing can frustrate me. I think of my experiences joyfully. I can reap good fortune from them. From such things we can understand God's heart better. We can better understand that God is always with us.

Derision and reproach from a woman from Pyongyang

In 1955, while in Seodaemun Prison, I was visited by someone who had been my follower a long time before that. She said, "Mr. Moon, are you still doing this?" That was a stunning blow. At one time she called me Teacher and followed me, but later she betrayed and left me, saying, "If you're God's beloved son, why would you go to prison?" This woman went to another church and became an active opponent of our church. She came to me and said, "Mr. Moon, are you still out of your senses?" I only told her, "I wouldn't be doing this if I were the kind of man who needed advice from someone like you."

When I was in Pyongyang in the early days, she was zealous, fervently making all kinds of spiritual conditions. I bumped against her in a corridor as I was walking out of the prosecutor's room wearing handcuffs. She had come after hearing the rumors. She said, "Are you still doing this?"

There were rumors that I was going to court from Seodaemun Prison in handcuffs, so she went there as a spectator. Later she gave a testimony about this in some church. There are people like that. They laughed at the Unification Church, and said, "He should come to ruin; now he is sitting there..."

I am a man with a strong backbone. I always think, "Before I die I'm going to see your children come to me in tears of repentance. When you sleep, I'll be running. I'll work several times harder than you." When I carry that heavier cross, I think instead that I am carrying a shield of victory. Even though I am tired I yell at my legs, "Stand up!" I must go forward, and for that, I am ready to hit, push and pull myself.

So, I told her, "I am not the kind of man who will just fade away in prison. I will leap forward to the world of liberation." I can't forget the impudent look on her face. I recently heard that she died miserably and I pitied her. That's how I live. There are many painful feelings deep in my heart.

Whenever difficulties came my way I thought, "I must resolve this before I die." If I were to talk about such events in my history, so many of them make me feel like choking. But I don't want to leave such a tradition for my children to continue. That's why I take a deep breath, shoulder everything myself, and go forward. So you members of the Unification Church should humbly accept the fact that you are greatly indebted to me.

Life in Seodaemun Prison (July 13 -- Oct. 4, 1955)

The prison life of an innocent man (Prisoner Number 380)

Although I was meant to be moving the providence of salvation in Korea forward with the Unification Church, I instead suffered imprisonment. I remained calm during my prison stay because I knew that difficulties were as inevitable as in the days written of in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. Therefore, while in prison, I never thought about when I would be released.

I thought I would either have to spend ten years in prison, or die there. I felt determined to the point that even if a road over a mountain were blocked, I would dig a tunnel through it and make an expressway. Even if I collapsed, I would fulfill my responsibilities to God. I did not want God to help me.

Although I was in prison, I stretched out my legs and slept deeply. If you can't swallow me up, then a way will open up for me. If one is going to do such things as I do, sometimes one will be in rags and sometimes one will have to accept others pointing their fingers at you. In pioneering this path I have been through a lot. Each time I thought "God experienced even greater hardships than this. I can deal with this small one!" As more difficulties come while you are in a public position, more treasures than you can carry will be given to you.

Even though I was in prison, I ate well. I could eat all the food they gave me, regardless of whether it was just barley rice or whatever. Food was not a problem. Wherever I was, my only concern was that if I made a mistake, the path of indemnity might become more difficult. That was what I worried about.

Even though I was in prison, I never thought of it as a prison. I thought of it as a temple of love. Love becomes an artistic masterpiece of a high dimension. 

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