APn 03/30 1743 Moon-Reincarnation
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some Unification Church members are upset
because their church founder, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, believes
one of his followers from Zimbabwe is the reincarnation of his
son, according to a report published Wednesday.
The affair began last fall at the Unification Theological
Seminary in upstate New York, where a senior named Charles was
believed to be hearing and relaying messages from Moon's deceased
son, "Lord" Heung Jin Nim, The Washington Post said, quoting
former and present church members.
Heung Jin Nim was killed in an automobile accident in 1984 at
According to the Post account:
Dick Richard, a former seminary student who recently left the
church, said that in "mid-November, I was told there was a black
brother from Africa who had been prepared by Jesus ... and that
Heung Jin Nim had assumed his body."
"It obviously scared a lot of people there .. but they went
along with the whole thing because it came from Reverend Moon,
The reincarnation incident has caused what some followers of
Moon are calling the biggest theological upheaval in the 34-year
history of the Unification Church, in part because the Zimbabwean
reportedly has been slapping church members and elders.
Officials at The Washington Times, which is owned by church
members, have tried to distance themselves from the affair.
"From the bottom of my navel, I don't want to know about
this," said Ron Godwin, the Times' senior vice president for
business. "I know that such a person exists and that he's been
preaching in the church, but I will walk a mile not to get
Arnaud de Borchgrave, chief editor of the Times, at first
dismissed the young Zimbabwean as a plant from communist North
"The North Koreans have had a very strong presence in Zimbabwe
since day one," De Borchgrave said in an interview from Paris.
"It just sounds so ridiculous," de Borchgrave said. "The
nameless Zimbabwean -- that strikes me as suspicious right there.
... I've asked people, `Who the hell is this Zimbabwean?' And
nobody can tell you."
John Rees, co-owner with de Borchgrave of a private
intelligence newsletter, "Early Warning," said de Borchgrave's
"attitude was primarily one of concern that it would make the
paper look ludicrous."
The Zimbabwean, who has taken the name of Heung Jin Nim, has
been traveling to church parishes around the world, preaching.
"This guy talks non-stop," said John Raineri, a photographer
for The World and I, sister publication to the Times. "I've seen
him speak for three days straight he doesn't rest the whole
One of the most disturbing aspects of the affair, church
members say, is violence attributed to the Zimbabwean.
The president of the Times, Bo Hi Pak, was admitted to
Georgetown Univeristy Hospital for tests last Dec. 9-17, saying
he had recently fallen down a flight of stairs. No injuries were
found, but later Pak underwent surgery in South Korea to repair a
damaged blood vessel in his skull, according to Times executives.
Pak is Moon's closest deputy, and stories that he had been
injured spread quickly through the church. Kate Tsubata, a
church member, was skeptical until she heard a church elder
describe a meeting in which Moon was asked about the reincarnated
son's reported violence.
The elder said that "even Colonel Pak had been beaten,"
Tsubata said. "He just let it drop. ... It was quite
Tsubata spoke of a friend who was slapped repeatedly by the
Zimbabwean. "He described them as stinging slaps to the face,
causing him to see stars," she said. "But afterwards, he felt
Gordon Anderson, secretary-general of the Moon-financed
Professors World Peace Academy, reported similar behavior during
a church ceremony in the World Missions Center in Manhattan. The
Zimbabwean walked among the 100 church members present, listening
to their confessions and instructing them to repent, usually
through prayers or fasting.
"He did slap, but he didn't strike hard enough to hurt anyone.
He cuffed me on the ear a little bit," Anderson said.