WP 03/30 Theological Uproar in Unification Church; Rev. Theological Uproar in Un

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WP 03/30 Theological Uproar in Unification Church; Rev. Theological Uproar in Unification Church; Rev. Moon Recognizes Zimbabwean as His Reincarnated Son By Michael Isikoff Washington Post Staff Writer Every night last fall, students at the Unification Theological Seminary would gather for the latest revelations from the land of the dead. A senior named Charles was hearing voices - "channeling," it was called - and relaying startling messages: Heung Jin Nim Moon, the late son of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, was speaking from the "spirit world," watching and judging them. Then last November, the sprawling 230-acre campus in upstate New York was abuzz. The moment had arrived, seminary officials proclaimed: "Lord" Heung Jin Nim, killed in a 1984 car crash at age 17, had come back, reincarnated in the body of a visiting church member from Zimbabwe. "About 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," said Dick Richard, a former seminary student who recently left the church. "It obviously scared a lot of people there . . Moon, the Messiah." In the months since, the Unification Church has experienced what some members believe is the most momentous spiritual event in its 34-year history. The appearance of the young Zimbabwean - apparently accepted by Moon as the reincarnated soul of his dead son - has sparked a theological uproar among Moon's followers, generating new debate over the direction of his controversial movement. Among those most troubled are political groups and journalists who have aligned themselves with - or gone to work for - some of Moon's secular enterprises. Some senior officials of The Washington Times, which was founded by Moon, have been anguished over the affair, according to sources there. While now publicly dismissing reports about the new Heung Jin Nim as "wild" rumor, Editor in Chief Arnaud de Borchgrave previously worried that the Zimbabwean might be a North Korean plant designed to discredit Moon because of his staunch anticommunism, according to two of de Borchgrave's associates. "From the bottom of my navel, I don't want to know about this," said Ron Godwin, The Times' senior vice president for business and a former executive of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, when asked about the new Heung Jin Nim. "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 involved . . At least one issue has worried many of the paper's executives: Details are skimpy, but Bo Hi Pak, the Times president, was admitted to Georgetown Hospital for tests last year from Dec. 9 to Dec. 17, saying he had recently fallen down a flight of stairs, according to hospital sources. No injuries were found. Later, Pak underwent surgery in South Korea to repair a blood vessel in his skull, according to Times executives. Many at the newspaper and in the church, although they have no firsthand knowledge, believe the Zimbabwean is responsible for Pak's injuries. Kate Tsubata, a church member, said she attended a lecture in January by a church elder who referred to Pak's having been beaten by the reincarnated Heung Jin Nim. "There are a lot of people around here who would like to do to this guy what he did to Dr. Pak," said a senior Times official, who asked not to be identified. Another element to the story has created, if not anguish, than no small degree of curiosity. Four years ago, Moon married off a dancer in the Washington Ballet named Hoon Sook Pak to the spirit of his recently deceased son. The union was critical because Unification theology teaches that one must be married to ascend to heaven, church members say. The teen-age Heung Jin Nim was single when he died. Hoon Sook Pak, who has since taken the name of Julia Moon, is the daughter of Pak, the Times president. The arrival of the Zimbabwean last fall set off speculation within the church. Would Julia Moon live as the wife of the new Heung Jin Nim? "There was quite a bit of talk about that," said John Raineri, a member of the church for 12 years and a photographer at The World and I, a sister publication of The Washington Times. "People wanted to know." But the new Heung Jin Nim soon addressed the ticklish issue directly. Since the Zimbabwean's body was merely the instrument of Heung Jin Nim's spirit, there was no need for him to cohabit with Julia Moon. "I'm not for her," the Zimbabwean explained at a San Francisco ceremony, according to Rainieri. "I'm not destined for her." Much more about the new Heung Jin Nim is mysterious. Even his original name, what passport he carries and his whereabouts (he is believed to be in either South Korea or Zimbabwe) remain official church secrets. When Raineri tried to take pictures of the Zimbabwean in Washington last November, he said, church security officials seized his camera, saying they feared an assassination attempt. It isn't even clear whether the Zimbabwean's exalted position is permanent. "He carries the spirit of Heung Jin Nim, but no one knows how long it will stay," said one senior official in Moon's organization. "These are internal matters," said John Biermans, spokesman for the Unification Church, when asked to comment for this story. "These aren't things that are relevant to the public." Nevertheless, interviews with more than a dozen church members, former church members and officials of organizations financed by Moon's businesses have established this much: The Zimbabwean, described as a baby-faced black man of medium build in his early twenties, was a Unification Church member for three years when he began making claims last year to hearing the voice of Heung Jin Nim. After word of these revelations spread during the summer, Chung Hwan Kwak, the director of the church's World Missions Center in New York, flew to Zimbabwe to investigate, according to Gordon Anderson, Kwak's deputy and the secretary general of the Moon-financed Professors World Peace Academy. Kwak apparently determined that the Zimbabwean was the genuine article. "It was the way this brother had profound insights into (Moon's) Divine Principles, which is our main teaching," said Anderson. "There were insights Rev. Kwak had never heard before . . . insights as profound as Rev. Moon's." Other church accounts are more specific. "Rev. Moon gave him (Kwak) five questions which only his son could have known about and he (the Zimbabwean) answered every one," said Kate Tsubata, quoting church literature and accounts from church leaders. "When the guy came to America, Mother and Father flung their arms around him and hugged him . Since the fateful encounter with Kwak, the Zimbabwean, having taken the name of Heung Jin Nim, has toured Europe, the United States and South Korea, preaching about world peace, Adam and Eve, and the "Divine Principles." He has presided over church ceremonies of confession, admonishing the faithful for their sins. One unfaithful husband was ordered to stand and kiss his wife in public for 20 minutes straight. He appears to have enormous stamina. "The guy talks nonstop," said photographer Raineri, who saw the Zimbabwean in a circus tent on campgrounds outside San Francisco. "I've seen him speak for three days straight and he doesn't rest the whole time." He wears pastel-colored Oriental robes, speaks perfect English and has a great booming laugh. He appears to know not a word of Korean. Sometimes, he gets political. A Heung Jin Nim prayer sheet distributed within the church calls on members to pray that the 1988 elections "favor TP" (True Parent) and for the American Freedom Coalition, a Moon-sponsored political lobbying group, which has been promoting a pardon for Oliver North. While causing great excitement within the church, the Heung Jin Nim "reincarnation" has taken some further strange twists. In some of the ceremonies, the new Heung Jin Nim has reportedly gotten rough, slapping or hitting some church members, according to present and former church sources. Dick Richard said he saw one student with a black eye shortly after seeing the Zimbabwean. Tsubata tells of a friend who recounted being slapped repeatedly, 10 or 12 times. "He described them as stinging slaps to the face, causing him to see stars," she said. "But afterwards, he felt good." Anderson met the Zimbabwean last fall at a church ceremony in the World Missions Center in midtown Manhattan. About 100 church members were present, he said. Their heads were bowed as the new Heung Jin Nim walked around the room listening to each one's confession and instructing them to repent, usually by fasting and special 5 a.m. prayers, recalled Anderson. "He did slap, but he didn't strike hard enough to hurt anyone," said Anderson, a member of the church for 14 years who holds a doctorate in philosophy of religion. "He cuffed me on the ear a little bit." Anderson also said listening to the Zimbabwean was deeply moving. "I don't know what it was like for the 5,000 when Jesus was preaching to them," he said. "But he was very . . . inspirational." The most sensational aspect of the Heung Jin Nim saga - dealing with Pak, the presumptive father-in-law of Heung Jin Nim's spirit - is also the murkiest. According to accounts that have been circulating within the church for months, Pak and other members of the "36 families" - the inner circle of Moon's disciples - were summoned to meet the Zimbabwean and confess shortly after his arrival last fall. No outsiders were present. None attending the session has spoken publicly. Stories that Pak had been injured spread rapidly throughout the church, partly because of Pak's position as Moon's most loyal deputy. Questions arose as to whether the Zimbabwean was responsible. Kate Tsubata said she was inclined to be skeptical until she heard the church elder describe a meeting with the Rev. Moon in which Moon was asked about the new Heung Jin Nim's reported violence. The lecturer "then added how `even Col. Pak had been beaten,' " said Tsubata. "He just let it drop . . . It was quite significant." Pak is out of the country and unavailable for comment, according to his office. "It's a sensitive matter," said Pak's son, Jonathan Park, yesterday. "It would be totally inappropriate for me to comment one way or another." Since the incident, Pak has rarely been seen around The Washington Times. He attended the office Christmas party two days after his release from the hospital and had to be led around the building by an aide clutching his elbow. "He literally couldn't walk without assistance," recalled Kirk Oberfeld, managing editor of Insight, a national weekly magazine published by The Times. "He was dizzy, his equilibrium had been affected." When asked about his health then, Pak was mum. "It was very clear he didn't want to talk about it," Oberfeld said. "He just said, `I'm not feeling terribly well.' " Pak returned to Korea, where, according to sources at the newspaper, he was hospitalized once again, undergoing head surgery. He returned to The Times, smiling and ambulatory but somewhat weaker and subdued on Friday, March 18. Times officials put up a big "Welcome Home, Dr. Pak" banner in their auditorium, and Pak spoke for about 10 minutes, telling the assembled he was making a "rapid recovery." The next day, a Saturday when the newsroom is mostly empty, Pak and Moon arrived at The Times together, touring the newsroom and offices. More recently, reports of the Zimbabwean's roughness have tapered off. When Raineri attended the ceremony in San Francisco, he said, the new Heung Jin Nim did little more than grip people by the shoulder. "I believe he must have gotten some word from Father to lay off the physical thing," said Raineri. John Rees, a co-owner with de Borchgrave of Early Warning, a private intelligence newsletter, said he first learned about the Zimbabwean around Christmas and quickly called it to the attention of the Times editor in chief. "His attitude was primarily one of concern that it would make the paper look ludicrous," recalled Rees about his conversation with de Borchgrave. "He immediately came to the conclusion that Heung Jin Nim was a plant by the North Koreans." "That certainly occurred to me," said de Borchgrave this week. "The North Koreans have had a very strong presence in Zimbabwe since day one." But, in a telephone interview from Paris, de Borchgrave emphasized that he has since dismissed the entire matter as nothing more than unconfirmed rumors. "It just sounds so ridiculous," said de Borchgrave. "This nameless Zimbabwean - that strikes me as suspicious right there . tell you." But de Borchgrave acknowledges he has not pursued the question. A veteran foreign correspondent who formerly worked for Newsweek, de Borchgrave said he met with Pak in South Korea shortly after Pak's surgery and never brought the matter up. He also met with Moon. "The conversation was entirely about the future of the world, about glasnost and perestroika," said de Borchgrave. Did he ask Moon about Heung Jin Nim? "Good God, no," he said. "There's all sorts of crazy happenings in my church - the Catholic Church - and I don't try to find out about them." De Borchgrave did pick up the latest information circulating in church circles: that the Zimbabwean plans to start a newspaper in his native land. But, he concluded, "all of this does not affect the (Times) in any shape, matter or form." Others are not so sure. Although nobody purports to know what higher purpose Moon has in mind, some students of his movement believe the appearance of the new Heung Jin Nim signals an upheaval in his church. According to this theory, prominent among some at the Times, "Moon is playing Mao and the Zimbabwean is his Red Guard." Frederick Sontag, a Claremont College philosophy professor and Moon biographer, notes that even while Moon's political and business activities have expanded in recent years, his religious following has dwindled, having lost the fervor of earlier days. Sontag estimates the number of U.S. members in the church at less than 5,000, and others put the figure below 3,000. "The church began as a spiritual movement, but in recent years, it's become sort of humdrum and dissolved into more of a business," said Sontag, who serves as the editorial director of Paragon House, a Moon-financed publishing company. "This (the reincarnation of Heung Jin Nim) has been revitalizing . . . a sort of calling back to spiritualism WP 03/28 Even in South Korea, Few Know Extent of Rev. ... Even in South Korea, Few Know Extent of Rev. Moon's Empire By Fred Hiatt Washington Post Foreign Service SEOUL - In a skyscraper office high above the Han River, men in identical navy athletic jackets and women in tailored brown suits worked their way through piles of papers and files. In one corner of the large room crowded with wooden desks, a portrait of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon sat on the floor, leaning against a wall. It was the only visible clue that this recently opened headquarters of the Tong Il Co. Ltd. was the control room of Moon's business empire in his native land, the flagship of Unification Church enterprises in South Korea. Moon's business efforts in the United States, from fishing boats to newspapers to flower-selling in airports, have been objects of curiosity and extensive investigations. But even within South Korea, few people realize that the church also controls one of the largest and fastest-growing conglomerates in this nation's fast-growing economy. The Tong Il Co. alone, one of more than 20 firms associated with the church in South Korea, employs more than 5,500 people and last year sold nearly $200 million worth of auto parts, machinery and weapons. Total sales for the seven largest firms in the conglomerate were estimated at $460 million, an increase of 40 percent over the previous year, according to business analysts here. The Tong Il group's products range from machine guns to ginseng tea, from axles to ornamental pagodas carved from stone. Although it began as a rudimentary firm manufacturing shotguns and relying on church members' unpaid labor in 1959, it has evolved into a modern industrial combine that connects to the church only at the top, analysts say. The businesses remain shrouded in mystery, however, and one of the most puzzling mysteries concerns the source of their rapid growth. For while profits have been low or nonexistent for many years, new capital has continued to surge into the conglomerate, analysts said. In the United States, many analysts have assumed that funds for the church's money-losing operations, such as the Washington Times newspaper, have been funneled from South Korea. But analysts in South Korea, where the church has invested vast sums in money-losing enterprises, have made the same assumption, in reverse. "Where is the money coming from?" one stock analyst asked. "Nobody knows." "It's a mystery on the stock exchange," agreed Kim Goon Ho, an analyst at Coryo Research Institute. "Tong Il's future is bright, because the prospects for the auto parts and machine industries in Korea are bright. But the source of capital is a mystery." Some analysts, such as former church member Lee Dae Bock, believe that much of the money comes from profits generated by church-related businesses in Japan. In particular, marble vases and religious objects produced by the Il Shin Co. in Korea are sold at high profit in Japan, Lee said. The Japanese Federation of Bar Associations supported that claim in a report this month that accused businesses connected to the Unification Church of using unfair pressure tactics to sell such supposedly supernatural objects at extremely high prices. The lawyers' group condemned what it called an "unprecedented victimization of consumers." A spokesman for the church in Tokyo, Hiroshi Sakazume, said the church has no connection to the sales businesses, adding that "worshipers have the freedom to choose their own occupation." "We presume the existence of satans standing behind the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations," Sakazume said. After rapid growth in the past several years, the conglomerate - known as a chaebol in Korean - plans to invest an additional 200 billion won ($264 million) for growth and modernization during the next three years, according to a recent analysis in Business Korea magazine. This investment comes despite a reported net profit of less than $10 million in 1986 and net losses in prior years, according to a report by the Management Efficiency Research Institute. "The biggest puzzle for local businessmen and the general public was the seemingly unending source of such huge sums of money," Business Korea reported. Church and company executives declined repeated requests for interviews, although one official agreed to answer selected written questions on condition he not be named. This account is based on those answers and on company publications and interviews with Korean businessmen, investment analysts, journalists and former church officials. Church spokesman Sakazume, in Tokyo, also provided the following statement in written Japanese when asked for comment by The Washington Post: "We have nothing to do with any kind of business, because the church is not engaged in profit making of any kind. Worshipers have the freedom to choose their occupation. There are some left-wing people in the Japan Federation of Bar Associations who deny the existence of God. "We deeply regret that for their own reasons they persecute religions and infringe on the freedom of religion which is guaranteed by our constitution, using the mass media, such as the Asahi Shimbun (newspaper), as a tool. We want to arouse media people's attention not to be used by them. We presume the existence of satans standing behind the Japan Federation of Bar Associations." Moon founded the Unification Church in Korea more than 30 years ago. Although about one-fourth of South Korea's 42 million people are Christian, the church has had limited success in recruiting followers here, with outside observers estimating membership at about 20,000 and the church claiming 400,000. Nonetheless, the church presence here has been considerable, and controversial. Its strongly anticommunist philosophy encouraged close working relations with the authoritarian and military regimes that ruled South Korea for much of the past three decades, and government aid has been instrumental in the church's business growth, according to former officials. The church prospered especially under the late president Park Chung Hee, who ran South Korea from 1961 until his internal security chief assassinated him in 1979. The Park regime designated Tong Il as a weapons manufacturer, protected its auto parts business and worked closely with church anticommunist activities. Lee Dae Bock, for example, who served as a church official for 20 years, was secretary general of the Seoul chapter of the Federation for Victory over Communism when he resigned in 1983. He said the church maintained close ties with South Korea's omnipresent internal security forces through such organizations. The Koreagate investigation in Congress in 1977 and 1978 unearthed a CIA memo that linked the formation of the Unification Church to Kim Jong Pil, first director of the Korean CIA and now an opposition party leader in Seoul. Kim denied any links to the church in a recent interview. Jonathan Park, the son of Bo Hi Pak, Moon's top deputy and a key official in church-affiliated businesses in the United States, said in a recent interview that there was no financial connection between church companies and the South Korean government. "I am 100 percent confident there is no government financial support or contribution," Park said. "And as far as I know, there never has been." The Koreagate investigation, which focused on Korean influence-peddling in the United States, also prompted the regime to distance itself from Moon's church, as did criticism from mainstream Christian churches. The government of president Chun Doo Hwan, who ruled from 1980 until last month, was "very careful not to come too close, but also careful not to stray too far," according to Yu Jae Gol, a journalist who investigated the church's financial empire for the respected Shin Dong-A monthly magazine. Tahk Myeong Whan, a preacher who is Moon's most persistent critic here, said the church continues to enjoy close ties with police. Tahk has tracked the church and other groups he calls cults for more than 20 years through his International Religious Research Institute. Tahk said he has survived booby-trap bombs set in his car and other attacks, most recently when dozens of young men interrupted a lecture he was giving and beat him, breaking his leg. Certainly, government aid was instrumental in Tong Il's early growth, according to former officials and company documents. Moon's first business venture was the Yeohwa Shotgun and Air Rifle Co., established in December 1979 to produce and sell bird-hunting guns. Lee Dae Bock, who eventually concluded that the church was "a money-making business posing as a religion," said that sales languished until Moon himself took charge of the business. "He ordered all leaders and congregations to sell rifles," Lee said. "He allocated quotas. . . . The basic method of making money was to exploit the labor of congregations." Business improved further in the mid-1960s when the company won a government contract to produce mock wooden rifles for high school and university military training, Lee said. In 1968, the company changed its name to Tong Il, which means unification. Four years later, the government designated Tong Il as an official producer of transmissions and axles, according to company documents, probably for military vehicles as well as for heavy trucks and buses. The company also won a government license to make firearms that same year, Yu said. Since then, Tong Il has grown into "the recognized ROK (Republic of Korea) leader for small and medium caliber gun and cannon barrels," according to one company catalog. Products include Vulcan antiaircraft guns, heavy machine guns and grenade launchers. Chae Hee Pyung, a Tong Il official, said at a conference last fall that military business, including a technology link with Rockwell International, accounts for more than 30 percent of the firm's sales. Like the other companies in the conglomerate, Tong Il does not advertise its connection to the Unification Church. But the president of Tong Il is Moon Sung Kyun, described by Yu Jae Gol as a distant relative of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. And, according to stock market documents, the publicly traded company is 32 percent owned by the Tong Il Religion Support Foundation, which is headed by another relative, Moon Seung Yong. Yu said the church uses the foundation to control its entire financial empire. A senior official of the Washington Times said that during a visit to the Tong Il plant several years ago, he and other executives were told by a company official that Tong Il provided direct financial support for the newspaper. "I was told that company provided $25 million of the subsidy we get," said the official, who asked not to be identified. Moon's overall organization has invested more than $200 million in the Washington Times and related publications, such as Insight magazine, since the paper was founded in 1982, according to Times executives. The paper's subsidy last year was $35 million, these executives said. The Tong Il company was built on the labor of church members, Lee said. "They never paid them, up until 1975," he said. "After '75, they started paying low wages." Church members would frequently live in company dormitories, rising at 5 a.m. to pray before photographs of "the Real Father and Real Mother," Lee and Tahk said, meaning Moon and his wife. Non-church members came under strong pressure to convert. In recent years, however, Tong Il has recruited more non-church members with technological skills and military backgrounds, a company official said. The official said that only 5 percent of the work force now belongs to the church. Last summer, Tong Il endured two months of damaging strikes at its factories on the southern coast. One issue, Lee said, was non-church members' complaints about discrimination in promotions, a charge the company official denied. "My judgment is that they had more-than-average damage from labor disputes last year," stock analyst Kim Goon Ho said. The strikes have accelerated automation plans, according to the company. Moon's best-known company in South Korea is not Tong-Il, but its affiliate, Il Hwa Co., meaning "One Peace." Il Hwa, with 2,500 employees, is the nation's largest exporter of ginseng, a native root said to have health-enhancing properties, and recently moved successfully out of the health foods market with the soft drink McCol. Il Hwa is not listed on the stock market and is believed to be owned entirely by the church and its foundation. Its sales increased from $51 million in 1985 to $69 million in 1986 to an estimated $132 million last year, according to the Management Efficiency Research Institute. "The ultimate goal of Il Hwa is to enhance the health and happiness of all mankind," the company said. The church foundation also owns 44.5 percent of the Il Shin Co. (meaning One Belief), which makes decorative pagodas and religious objects out of stone and marble. The company sells most of the objects in Japan, where its hard-sell tactics - warning of disaster if pagodas are not purchased - and markups of 1,000 percent or more have brought criticism from some consumer groups. Recently, the company has diversified into production of building materials for domestic use. A fourth company, Hankook Titanium, is 26.1 percent owned by the church foundation and 24 percent owned by a related foundation in Japan, according to stock records. The company, which recently benefited from a government decision to bar DuPont from building a similar plant in South Korea, makes materials used in paint and other industrial products. Tahk said that Moon controls more than 50 firms altogether, while Business Korea identified 23 such firms. Their interests range from fishing to construction, trading, water bottling, brickmaking, jewelry handicrafts, machinery sales and printing and publishing. The church recently applied for permission to publish a daily newspaper in Seoul, according to the Korean press. In addition, the church is a major holder of real estate. On one of the most valuable plots of land in Seoul - a $200 million lot near the National Assembly - the church has unsuccessfully sought government permission for a 100-story skyscraper. Staff reporter Michael Isikoff contributed to this report.


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