The Perseverance of True Parents
This week in history, July 16-22:
- True Father is sentenced to prison in the United States (July 16, 1981)
- The Establishment Rally for the Abel Women UN is held (July 16, 2012)
- True Parents survive a helicopter crash (July 19, 2008)
- The first 40-day pioneer witnessing tradition begins (July 20, 1957)
- True Father enters Danbury Prison (July 20, 1984)
- The Leaders Rally to Build True Families tour is held (July 22, 1997)
- The second Aloha workshop begins (July 22, 2014)
- True Father launches the national prayer and fast for the Watergate Crisis (July 22-24, 1974)
July 16, 1981
True Father Sentenced to Prison in the United States
Following what was described as “the most intensive and expensive criminal tax investigation of any religious figure in U.S. history” and a six-week trial riddled with procedural irregularities, on May 18, 1981, True Father was found guilty of tax evasion and obstruction of justice. On July 16 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine plus costs. This marked the beginning of a broad-based movement for religious freedom which eventually resulted in briefs filed by organizations representing 120 million Americans, that supported True Father’s appeal of his conviction.
July 16, 2012
Establishment Rally for the Abel Women UN
True Parents inaugurated the “Abel Women UN” at the Cheongshim World Peace Center in Korea on July 16, 2012. Women representing 193 nations, most of them members of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), attended. In his keynote address True Father stated, “The fact is that the historic inaugural assembly of the Abel Women UN held today has been made possible through the declaration of the advent of the global era of women.” In her address, True Mother said the establishment of the Abel Women UN would go beyond the level of women’s NGOs and “bring the governments around the world together.” She termed its establishment “the command of God which must be obeyed.” The Inaugural Rally for the Abel Women UN concluded True Father’s public ministry. It was, as True Mother later noted, “the last providential event … [he] hosted on earth.”
July 19, 2008
True Parents Survive Helicopter Crash
The site of the helicopter crash suggests a true miracle of True Parents’ survival.
True Parents reunite with their grandchildren following the helicopter crash.
True Parents miraculously survived a fiery helicopter crash near the Cheongpyeong Peace Palace. They were returning from a meeting in Seoul, along with ten members, three of their young grandchildren and three crew members, when they encountered a fog bank as they approached the heliport. When the pilot attempted to take the craft up and out of the pitch darkness, the helicopter tail struck a tall tree, causing it to plow through the woods at treetop level for a hundred and fifty yards. It finally hit a large tree and crashed in a muddy wooded area near a small stream. An urgent effort to escape the already burning helicopter ensued. Two security staff lifted True Parents through the hatch, which fortunately was still accessible. The grandchildren next were lifted up through the same exit. The remaining members then exited and everyone sought cover. Twenty minutes after the crash landing, the helicopter exploded. Amazingly, no one was seriously injured. True Father referred to their survival as “a miracle from God.”
July 20, 1957
40-Day Pioneer Witnessing Tradition Begins
The Unification Church’s 40-day pioneer witnessing tradition began on July 20, 1957 with member-pairs being sent to 120 villages and towns throughout the Republic of Korea. Prior to setting out for the witnessing condition, members fasted for 7 days. Thus, the tradition of a 7-day fast began at that time. In addition, 40-day training sessions for core church leaders began in 1957. During the 40-day period, True Father made a condition of visiting each pioneer, giving them encouragement as an itinerant worker (IW). He traveled in a World War II jeep for that purpose. Members had little or no money and ate barley rations rather than rice. The first 40-day pioneer witnessing condition bore fruit in subsequent summer and winter 40-day pioneer witnessing not only in Korea, Japan, the United States and elsewhere.
July 20, 1984
True Father Enters Danbury
Having exhausted all of his appeals, including a petition before the U.S. Supreme Court, True Father entered the Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury (Connecticut), just before midnight on July 20, 1984. He would remain there until July 4, 1985, when he was moved to Phoenix House, a halfway facility in Brooklyn, New York, where he served out the remainder of his 13-month incarceration. In his farewell speech on the evening of July 20 before departing from East Garden, True Father told members, “This is a glorious, victorious and historic day,” and asked them not “to send me off in tears” unless they were “tears of determination, telling me, ‘Trust us. We are going to bring 100 times greater victory in the days to come.’” He said, “Wherever I go, whether it is a high place or a low one, my life will be the same life,” and noted, “I am going to prison on the worldwide level at this time,” having already gone to prison on the individual, family and national levels.
July 22, 1997
Leaders Rally to Build True Families Tour
The Leaders Rally to Build True Families Tour began in Seoul’s Gangnam area on July 22, 1997, and covered sixteen cities, ending on August 6. True Mother conveyed a message of true love to leaders from all walks of life through her speech, “True Family and True Universe Centering on True Love.” Before each rally True Father would telephone True Mother from South America to encourage her, and after each rally they held simultaneous victory celebrations. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee)
July 22, 2014
Second Aloha Workshop Begins
A special two-week blessed children’s workshop, the “2014 True Parents’ Aloha Reunion,” was held at Kona, Hawaii, from July 22 to August 4. True Mother had convened the first Aloha workshop in 2013 with a small group of participants that included several of her grandchildren and several Second Generation youth of the same ages. In 2014, the scope was expanded to include a total of 40 Second Generation youth, ages 15-16, from around the world. True Mother participated in the opening and closing ceremonies, telling the participants that they “are like pure water from a deep source that can naturally overcome any obstacle through giving true love.” She asked all counselors to teach two main points, “kamsahamnida (thank you) and saranghamnida (I love you),” which she said summarized the whole of Divine Principle. The first week was based on the Principle and the second week centered on True Parents’ lives. Afternoons included numerous activities, such as a sports festival, a tour of Hawai‘i Island, beach outings, visits to the Akaka Falls State Park and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and fishing. The workshop was sponsored by the WonMo PyeongAe Foundation.
July 22-24, 1974
Three-Day Fast for the Watergate Crisis
True Father launched a forty-day National Prayer and Fast for the Watergate Crisis (NPFWC) in late 1973. Stating that “the crisis for America is a crisis for God,” True Father directed a multi-faceted campaign that included publication of his “Answer to Watergate” statement, rallies, letter-writing, leafleting in all fifty states and eventually a meeting with then President Richard Nixon. True Father was especially concerned that the United States stands unified and strong in the face of communist aggression. In the end, the Watergate tapes doomed the Nixon presidency.
Nevertheless, True Father mobilized 610 members for a 3-day fast and vigil on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at the height of the crisis from July 22-24, 1974. Those participating wore placards with a quotation from True Father’s Watergate statement on the back and a picture of the elected or appointed official for whom they were praying on the front. The vigil received national exposure. Seventy-six congressmen and five senators came out to meet the person praying for them. Newspapers across the nation carried pictures and interviews in over 350 stories. Local television stations and all three broadcasting networks showed film of the event and described it in their newscasts. Among the news magazines sending their own reporters to cover the vigil were Time, Newsweek, New Republic, U.S. News and World Report, New Yorker, and the Washingtonian.
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 July 16 to 22.