A Legacy of Peace
This week in history, March 9-15:
- True Father’s autobiography is published (March 9, 2009)
- The Family Party for Peace and Unity is inaugurated (March 10, 2003)
- A Unificationist is freed in Kazakhstan (March 10, 2009)
- International sisterhood ceremonies are held (March 11 – Novemeber 8, 1994)
- A massive tsunami hits Japan (March 11, 2011)
- The first National Messiah Workshop is held (March 12, 1996)
- North Korea–South Korea Unification Rally is held (March 12, 2000)
- Decorative stones distributed in Cheongpadong church in Seoul (March 13, 1960)
- Dr. Bo Hi Pak begins his mission in the United States (March 14, 1961)
- True Father writes a letter to Korean Unificationists during second world tour (March 15, 1969)
MARCH 9, 2009
True Father’s Autobiography Published
As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen
The idea of publishing True Father’s autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, was first proposed by Gimm-Young Publishing Company, a leading Korean publisher. Its president, Ms. Pak Eun-ju, a practicing Buddhist, approached the church in 2008 and obtained access to voluminous source material, notablyTrue Parents’ Life Course (12 volumes), a work comprising excerpts from True Father’s speeches arranged chronologically in the form of an autobiographical account. Church representatives worked with the publisher’s writers to craft the final product, published on March 9, 2009. It quickly made Korea’s non-fiction best-seller list. On June 1, 2009, the church hosted a commemoration of the autobiography’s publication at the Seoul Convention and Exhibition (COEX) Center for 3,500 people, including 200 foreign dignitaries. An English translation was ready by May 2010, and there was a parallel launch event. Many U.S. members purchased 430 copies, at True Parents’ request, for distribution to contacts. More than 144,000 were distributed in Las Vegas alone.
As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen consists of eight chapters which follow the general chronological flow of True Father’s life. The earlier chapters are exceptionally rich in autobiographical detail surrounding his family background, early upbringing and call to faith. The account vividly describes True Father’s torture at the hands of Japanese and North Korean interrogators as well as his imprisonments in South Korea and the United States. The later chapters focus on True Father’s marriage and family ministry and initiatives for world peace. True Father described the autobiography as an “honest and candid account.” He said it “expresses about 80 percent of [my] life.” In one speech he said he had “as much faith” in his autobiography as in the “Eight Great Textbooks.”
MARCH 10, 2003
Inauguration of the Family Party for Peace and Unity
True Father founded the Cheonju Pyeonghwa Tongil Gajeong Dang, or Family Party for Peace and Unity (FPPU), on March 10, 2003. Its purposes were primarily educational—to promote a true-family movement and a pure-love movement to expunge the immoral culture that has produced problems throughout the world. In fact, the Family Party neither campaigned nor fielded a candidate for office by 2007 and thereby was legally dissolved, according to a Korean law which required that a political party elect at least one candidate to office within a four-year period. The Family Party was re-registered on August 28, 2007, and it announced that it would field candidates in the 2008 general elections for the National Assembly. FPPU was the only political party to field candidates in all 245 legislative districts. However, none were elected, and FPPU’s party registration was again canceled. Nationally, FPPU won 1.05 percent of the vote. There were some positive outcomes. Many Family Party candidates campaigned earnestly on buses, in public speeches and in television or radio debates with opponents. Their efforts did not necessarily translate into votes but helped turn public opinion on the Family Party and on Unificationism from negative to friendly in some districts. Parents and relatives of members, many of whom had been negative, were also said to be proud that their sons and daughters, nephews and nieces had committed to be candidates for public office.
MARCH 10, 2009
Unificationist Freed in Kazakhstan
On March 10, 2009, an appeals court in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, took action to release Elizaveta (Liza) Drenicheva, who had served 61 days in prison for a “crime against the peace and security of humankind.” Her offense had been to gather four persons for a seminar in which she taught the Unification Principle. Ms. Drenicheva, who is a Russian citizen, joined the Unification Church in 1995 and began mission work in Kazakhstan, a former republic of the Soviet Union, in 2006 during which time twelve full-time members joined. However, on January 2, 2008, at 6:00 a.m., KGB officers broke in to the Unification Peace Embassy, taking away literature and computers and arresting Ms. Drenicheva. She was released after two days but faced trial on October 24, 2008, was convicted, and sentenced on January 9, 2009, to two years in prison. Unificationists worldwide considered her to be a “prisoner of conscience” and launched a broad-based “Free Liza” campaign which resulted in her release. Unfortunately, the government refused to reverse her conviction. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Unification Church obtained official registration as a religious association.
MARCH 11 – NOVEMBER 8, 1994
True Father understood that women would play a leading role in fostering peace in the Completed Testament Age. Under the auspices of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), more than 200,000 Korean and Japanese women came together to create sisterly ties on 38 separate occasions between March 11 and November 8, 1994. The sisterhood ceremonies in the United States between Japanese and American women had a significant impact due to the involvement of persons with exceedingly high public profiles, most notably, former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush. They were deeply touched by their experience and later traveled with True Mother to speak in support of her work on a six-city speaking tour of Japan.
MARCH 11, 2011
Massive Tsunami Hits Japan
True Father in Las Vegas, praying for the safety of Japan after the earthquake.
A 9.0 magnitude undersea earthquake approximately 43.5 miles off the Japanese coastline on March 11, 2011, triggered a powerful tsunami, with waves reaching heights of up to 133 feet, which, in the area of the city of Sendai, traveled up to 6 miles inland. Referred to in Japan as the Great East Japan Earthquake, it was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake moved Honshu (the main island of Japan) 8 feet eastward and shifted the Earth on its axis by between 4 and 10 inches. A Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,889 deaths, 6,152 injured, and 2,601 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 127,290 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 272,788 buildings “half collapsed” and another 747,989 buildings partially damaged. The tsunami caused level 7 nuclear meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, affecting hundreds of thousands of residents in an 18-mile radius who were forced to evacuate. The World Bank’s estimated economic cost was US $235 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in world history.
As a major center of world Unificationism, the Japanese Unification Church was directly impacted by the tsunami. In the immediate aftermath, there were reports of two confirmed deaths. However, Unificationists also lost relatives and homes. Some 300 to 400 Unificationists resided in Sendai, the worst-hit city. More than 500 Unificationists were evacuated to four facilities in Japan. The Japanese Church called for a three-day fast immediately after the earthquake and began relief efforts, delivering food and blankets to survivors. True Father directed the International Church to donate $1.7 million for relief through the Japanese Red Cross. American Unificationists donated $120,000 and partnered with the Christian Disaster Response organization to train Youth Ambassadors for Peace and other volunteers in Japan.
MARCH 12, 1996
First National Messiah Workshop
True Father directed a select group of Korean leaders and elders to attend a 40-day workshop at Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center beginning March 12, 1996. The workshop was subsequently extended to 47 days. Afterward, 54 elders were assigned as “national messiahs” to 54 nations. This was the first of several national messiah workshops conducted in 1996. Eventually, quartets of Korean, Japanese, American and European “national messiahs” were assigned. They supplemented or, in most cases, replaced the original missionary teams of Japanese, Americans and Germans who had completed 21 years of missionary service, having been dispatched in 1975. As the Cheongpyeong activities had begun in earnest a year earlier, the national messiah workshops were significant in supporting that work. Many thousands of Unificationists who were not appointed national messiahs attended later Cheongpyeong workshops for the purpose of spiritual renewal. The national messiah providence built upon True Father’s 1988 declaration of “tribal messiahship” as a goal for Unificationists.
MARCH 12, 2000
North Korea–South Korea Unification Rally
The North Korea–South Korea Unification Rally was held in the Main Olympic Stadium in Jamsil, Seoul, on March 12, 2000.
Held on the foundation of similar events held to commemorate True Father’s 80th birthday in 20 Korean cities, it was a national-level event attended by around 120,000 people. In his speech, titled “The Path of Life That Needs to be Trod by God’s Princes and Princesses,” he proclaimed the age of the brotherhood of humankind. (Courtesy of the History Compilation Committee)
MARCH 13, 1960
Decorative Stones Distributed at Cheongpadong Church
On the afternoon of March 13, 1960, in the former headquarters church in Cheongpadong, Seoul, True Father distributed decorative stones that he had collected from beaches as he toured Japan’s Kanto region. He numbered each and every one of them and gave them to 248 members. He told them, “You should keep and cherish this stone that I am giving you and that you are receiving from me, deep in your heart, so that it can become a symbol for the success of your trinities.” In commemoration of the distribution of the stones, the members made groups of three, posed for pictures and received from True Father rice cakes and fruit that he personally distributed. (Courtesy of the History Compilation Committee)
MARCH 14, 1961
Dr. Bo Hi Pak Begins His Mission in the United States
Dr. Bo Hi Pak was the third Unification Church missionary to the United States, arriving on March 14, 1961. Unlike Miss Young Oon Kim and Mr. David S.C. Kim, both of whom had come on student visas, Dr. Pak—who then was known as Col. Pak—came as a diplomat, serving as assistant military attaché at the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. Like them, he also began witnessing and held Bible study sessions in his home. In early 1963, he incorporated the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC) in Arlington, Virginia, and was granted a federal tax exemption. The following year he published a translation of the Principle, Outline of Study: The Divine Principles (c. 1964). However, he soon began to move in cultural and public advocacy directions. In 1962, True Father conceived the idea of forming a Korean children’s dance troupe which would become the Little Angels and asked Dr. Pak to head the initiative. Dr. Pak subsequently created the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation (KCFF) which sponsored the Little Angels’ tours as well as Radio of Free Asia (ROFA). Dr. Pak’s work helped set the pattern for Unificationists’ intercultural and “victory over communism” efforts.
MARCH 15, 1969
True Father Writes to Korean Unificationists During Second World Tour
On departing the United States for Europe during his Second World Tour, True Father wrote an open letter to members in Korea. He expressed concern over “news of an unprecedented snowfall in Korea” and wrote he was “happy to say” that True Mother, then pregnant, was “well.” He also noted that after reading letters from “back home … we all become joyful.” The main content of the letter conveyed “something of what I have felt in America during the tour.” After mentioning “many complicated problems” over which “America is in agony,” he wrote:
Contrasting American and Korean members, both have relative merits and demerits. I feel that Oriental customs are conservative, but that they do not break new ground, whereas the West is open, realistic and sociable. From this, it is possible to say that the former is internal and passive, the latter, external and positive. There is no racial discrimination among Unification Church members. They are noticeably different from other groups. I think the intimate relationship that exists among members is unprecedented in history. It truly shows we are all brothers and sisters with one heart. When we compare the American membership, comprising several different races, with the Korean membership consisting of one race, the former seem to have very promising prospects. In saying that, I do not mean that only the West is good. I just think the reason is that America offers its citizens an environment through which they encounter many nations and cultures, and experience much more. Therefore, I hope that the Oriental members will go abroad and keep in frequent contact with other nations in the future.
True Parents’ Second World Tour took them to 21 nations over a three-month period until May 2, 1969. True Mother gave birth to Hyun Jin Moon on May 10, 1969, eight days after returning.
This Week in History briefly lists significant events in the history of the Unification Church, the lives of the Founders, and world events that are momentous to Unificationists. Most items are marked according to the solar calendar. Items marked “H.C.” correspond to the Cheon-gi or Heavenly Calendar, which is based on the lunar calendar. This installment covers the week of March 9-15.