Mother of Peace: Episode 30
Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 4: God’s Light Shines Upon a Path of Thorns, pg 137-142
July 20, 1984, is a day I wish I could erase from history. On that day, my husband left our home and was incarcerated in Danbury prison. As we departed at 10:00 that evening, he gave words of hope and encouragement to our members who had gathered at Belvedere. With several members, we drove to the prison. I was resolved not to reveal my emotions. Father Moon had asked the members to dispel their anger and sadness. “Do not cry for me,” he told them, “Pray for America.”
A feeling of deep darkness descended as we watched Father Moon enter the prison. We stood for a long time at the entrance, as if my husband might just turn around and come back out. With a sigh, I consoled everyone and we turned and walked away. My husband was embarking upon an unfair prison term in a foreign land, and I knew that I had to forgive the people who had put him there. It was our opportunity to practice our movement’s most fundamental ethic, “Love your enemies, and live for their sake.”
Sacrificing oneself, even in the face of death, and going even further to forgive and love those who accuse and deceive, is what we came to call “the Danbury spirit.” The Danbury spirit is to give and give even after everything has been taken away, to forgive those involved, then to persevere, knowing something greater is bound to occur in accord with the heavenly will.
The road was dark on our nighttime journey home. My experiences during the more than 10 years of living in the United States had been more numerous than the pebbles along a riverbank. There were the speaking tours in which we had traversed the continent; there were the path-breaking conferences that reshaped the world of scientists, professors, theologians and clergy; there was the youth with boundless energy welcoming new life in God’s love. That road had been strenuous but incredibly rewarding and, in that light, my husband’s imprisonment was a painful pill to swallow, a heavy cross to bear.
As a wife, I also was dealing with personal pain. My husband was nearing 65 years of age, and facing prison life by himself in the United States, barely knowing the English language, would not be easy. It had not been so long since I had given birth to our fourteenth child. I had been with my husband every time he appeared in a courtroom, before a congressional panel, or speaking to our members. And now this. It was very hard on my mind and body. Amid all this, I had to fill the leadership vacuum created by his absence.
My husband knew my thoughts and focused himself, and me, and our movement, on the way forward. The first thing the next morning, there he was, on the phone. “Share these words with the members,” he told me, “Ignite the signal fire for Christianity according to the call of God.”
I shared his words with our leaders and members. Energized by my husband, I knew what we had to do.“Now God has given us our next opportunity,” I told them. “We must achieve what we are called to do, on the foundation of all we have accomplished so far. Through constructive activity and sincere spiritual conditions, God’s heart will be moved. Our sincere devotion will bring Satan to surrender. Now is the time. History will record this as the welcoming of a new age.”
* * *
There is a saying that “when it rains, it pours,” and indeed, on my path forward, almost before I could catch my breath, I ran headlong into another unexpected misfortune. A core leader of our movement, who had pioneered the Principle in America and who had actively defended my husband and me in the United States, suddenly went missing. We soon learned that Dr. Bo Hi Pak had been kidnapped and was locked up in a cellar somewhere in New York City. His captors declared themselves ready to kill him.
We had been exposing communist subversion through The News World and The Washington Times and demolishing Marxist ideological claims before tens of thousands of American clergy through CAUSA. Communists were enraged that the religious freedom of the United States had allowed our movement such influence. Lacking the police apparatus they would have had in North Korea, one leftist cell’s ability to act against us was limited. But now, considering us vulnerable with the absence of Father Moon, they resorted to violent criminality and kidnapped Dr. Pak.
With my husband in prison, I had to solve the problem. The first thing I did was earnestly pray that the saintly man who had been abducted would hear my voice. Then I phoned United States Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator Hatch was a warm-hearted and fair-minded man who had spoken out on our behalf during the congressional hearings.
“This abduction is not based on personal resentment, nor is it for money,” I informed him. “It is an attack on a man who is unmasking their wickedness through the media and through education.” Senator Hatch responded that he would ask the FBI to investigate immediately. Lawyers and my trusted advisors told me that the FBI opening an investigation would increase the likelihood of violence on the part of the kidnappers and that it would be better to negotiate. I could not agree and I continued my desperate prayer.
As Dr. Pak shared with us later, his circumstances soon worsened. The kidnappers beat him severely and applied electric shocks. He lost consciousness and fell onto a cold basement floor. At that time, he heard a voice: “There is not much time, but they will not harm you further today. You will preserve your life if you escape within 12 hours. You can do it; use whatever means are available.”
Dr. Pak heard my prayers in a dream. He regained consciousness and determined to escape. Using wisdom, Dr. Pak got his kidnappers to relax the conditions of his captivity and managed to escape. The next day, he returned home. I met him soon after that, and he gave me a full account of what had happened. “The voice of True Mother, which I heard in the darkness, sounded like the voice and revelation of God. Your words awakened me suddenly and gave me the wisdom and power to outwit my captors.”
* * *
As such events unfolded, a very difficult time turned into a time in which I was full of vigor. My desire to impart merciful love only deepened. Each day was rich with emotions, including cherished moments in which my husband shared with me his affection. At the start of each day, after he finished praying at 5:00 a.m., he would call me from a prison pay phone, and greet me with “My beloved Mother!”
I was permitted to visit him at the prison every other day. I would be driven there in a convertible, and when weather permitted, I would put the top down as we ascended the final hill on the prison grounds. Rain or shine, my husband always came out and waited for our arrival. With a longing heart, I would smile brightly and wave from the car. Sometimes he would look totally worn out, having just finished mopping a floor or washing dishes. What wife would feel comfortable seeing her husband like that? But I would suppress my sorrow and hug him with a bright smile. I often brought our two-year-old daughter, Jeong-jin, for he would be so happy to receive and embrace her.
When our brief meetings ended, my husband would send us off. As we drove back down the hill, worried tears would start to fall from my eyes. Wishing not to turn my face toward him and expose my weeping, I would just keep my face forward while waving good-bye. I knew that my husband would remain in place, his eyes fixed upon me, a prayer in his heart, waving silently until we were out of sight.
For the 13 months of Father Moon’s imprisonment, I was coping with feelings of sorrow and injustice, but my responsibility to lead our church and the providence came first. I felt responsible for inspiring our members around the world while maintaining a firm axis with my husband, around which they would revolve, unwavering in their life of faith. With God’s intervention, we actually enjoyed a sense of stability. When my husband was imprisoned, media professionals around the world gossiped and cynically predicted that the Unification Church would disappear. Some members of the media seemed to be anxiously waiting for that to happen, hoping to proclaim happily, “We told you so! The Unification Church is an empty shell cracking like an egg with nothing inside; its so-called believers are heading for the hills.”
That did not happen. Quite the opposite: the number of our members and allies only increased. People understood that the US government had sent Father Moon to serve an unjust prison sentence for the crime of dedicating his life for the salvation of humanity. In their innermost hearts, all people cherish religious freedom.