As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 27
As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 3: Internal Riches Through Struggles and Suffering
We Are Trained by Our Wounds, pg 99-101
We Are Trained by Our Wounds
People rejected the new expression of truth I preached, calling it heresy. Jesus, born in the land of Judaism, likewise was accused of heresy and was thus crucified. By comparison, my persecution was not nearly as painful or unjust. I could endure any amount of pain placed on my body. The charge of heresy against our church, however, was most unjust and more difficult for me.
Some theologians who studied our church in its early days described our teachings as original and systematic. Some were prepared to accept them. This means that the magnitude of the heresy controversy surrounding our church was based on more than just theology. It had more to do with issues of power.
Most of our members had attended other churches before joining our church. This was a big reason our church was treated as an enemy by established churches. When Professor Yoon Young Yang, one of the Ewha professors, joined our church, she was taken to the police station to be interrogated. There she discovered that some eighty Christian ministers had written letters to the authorities criticizing our church. It was not the case that we had done something wrong. Rather, we were seen as posing a threat to the power of certain people and institutions.
It was their vague feelings of fear and their extreme factionalism that drove them in their efforts to suppress our church.
People from many religious groups were attracted to our church and its new teachings. I would say to our members, “Why did you come here? Go back to your churches,” and almost threaten them as I tried to chase them away. But they would soon return. The people who flocked to see me would not listen to anyone. They wouldn’t listen to their teachers or their parents. They wanted to hear me speak. I wasn’t paying them or feeding them, but they believed in what I taught and kept coming to me.
The reason was that I opened a way for them to resolve their frustrations. Before I knew the truth, I, too, was frustrated. I was frustrated when I looked up to heaven and when I looked at the people around me. This is why I could understand the frustrations of the people who came to our church. They had questions about life, and they could not find answers. The word of God I conveyed answered their questions with clarity. Young people who sought me out found answers in the words I spoke. They wanted to come to our church and join me on my spiritual journey, no matter how difficult it might be.
I am the person who finds the way and opens it. I guide people along the path to heal broken families and rebuild the society, nation, and world so that we can finally return to God. People who come to me understand this. They want to go with me in search of God. How can people find fault with this? All we were doing was going in search of God, and for this, we were subjected to all manner of persecution and criticism.
Unfortunately, during the period when our church was involved in the heresy controversy, my wife made matters even more difficult for me. After our meeting in Busan, she and her relatives began to demand that either I quit the church immediately and start life with her and our son or else give her a divorce. They even came to Seodaemun prison during my incarceration there to put the divorce papers before me, demanding I place my stamp on them. I know how important marriage is in the effort to establish God’s peaceful world, so I endured their demands in silence.
She also subjected members of our church to horrible abuse. Personally, I could endure. I did not mind her insults and reckless treatment of me, but it was difficult for me to stand by and watch her offensive behavior toward our members. She stormed into our church at all hours to curse our members, destroy church property, and take items that belonged to the church. She even threw water containing human feces at members. When she came, it was impossible for us to hold worship services. In the end, as soon as I came out of Seodaemun prison, I acceded to the demands of her family and placed my stamp on the divorce document. I was pushed into a divorce against my own principles.
When I think of my former wife today, my heart goes out to her. The influence of her own family, which was strongly Christian, and the leadership of Korea’s established churches had much to do with her behaving the way she did. She was so clear and firm in her commitment before we married. The way she changed gives us a lesson on how much we need to fear the power of social prejudice and established concepts.
I experienced both the sorrow of divorce and the pain of being branded a heretic. But I did not bend. These were things I had to endure on my path to redeem the original sin of humanity, the things I had to endure to move forward on the path toward God’s Kingdom. It is darkest before the dawn. I overcame the darkness by clinging to God and praying to Him. Other than the fleeting moments that I would spend in sleep, all my available time was spent in prayer.