On Easter morning in 1935, Sun Myung Moon was deep in prayer on a Korean Mountainside when Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him that he had an important mission to accomplish in the fulfillment of God's providence. He was then sixteen years old. Fo r the next nine years, Sun Myung Moon studied intensely and struggled to prepare himself for his responsibility. In those years of prayer, he discovered a series of principles through which it was possible to clearly understand the spiritual and physical nature of the universe, the process and meaning of history, as well as the inner meanings to the parables and symbols of the Bible and the purpose of all religions.

After the end of World War II Korea was liberated from Japanese occupation, and forty years of religious persecution ended. Rev. Moon then began his public ministry, making known to Christians the deep truths which had been revealed to him. Only a few precious months later, however, Korea was partitioned into north and south, and Communist forces swept into the north, where Rev. Moon was at that time teaching. Suppression of religion, especially Christianity, by the Korean Communists far surpassed ev en what had been experienced under the Japanese. Christians were expected to conform to the new atheistic society in word and action.

Sun Myung Moon had already gained quite a large following as a Christian leader in Pyungyang, and he soon came to the attention of the Communist authorities. One night without warning, he was taken to the Dae Dong Police Department and was tortured and b rutally beaten until he was left for dead in the prison yard. There he was found by his congregation. He soon revived and began to preach again.

Accordingly, Rev. Moon was soon after re-arrested and sent to a labor camp further north, at Hung-nam. When he entered the camp, he immediately knew he had been sent there to die. The prisoners were deliberately overworked and underfed, and they were f orced to work long hours mining lime, sometimes with their bare hands, and loading heavy bags for shipment. Usually men did not survive life in that camp for more than six months, but Sun Myung Moon realized the importance of the message he had to give t he world, and he was determined that he would endure all difficulties until the day when he was free again to continue his work. Although the prisoners' work quotas were purposely set higher than it was possible for them to attain, Rev. Moon made up his mind to surpass them. He lived in the labor camp for two years and ten months, and he was even given an award for his outstanding work record.

We know very little of his life at Hung-nam from his own words, but Rev. Moon's early followers tell us that the other prisoners seldom saw him sleep. When everyone went to sleep at night, he was already in prayer, and when they awakened the next mornin g, they saw him praying again. He has said that during that time, he could never pray to God in the ordinary way:

I never prayed from weakness. I never complained. I was never angry at my situation. I never even asked His help, but was always busy comforting Him and telling Him not to worry about me. The Father knows me so well. He already knew my suffering. Ho w could I tell Him about my suffering and cause His heart to grieve still more? I could only tell Him that I would never be defeated by my suffering.
Although in prison Rev. Moon could never speak about the Divine Principle, other prisoners were attracted to him by his life as a man of God. Many men had dreams or visions which led them to seek him out. Even in that prison situation Sun Myung Moon fo und those who had been prepared by God for this time in history. It is from those men that we have learned the story of his life in the labor camp.

In June 1950 when the Korean war broke out, American B-29's bombed the industrial area around Hung-nam prison. As the United Nations landing party advanced from the sea, the prison authorities began to execute all prisoners. The day before it was Sun My ung Moon's turn to be shot, a naval gun bombardment by the UN forces began at Hung-nam. Under such fire, the Communist authorities fled the area, and he along with the other prisoners was freed by the United Nations forces on October 14, 1950.

The stream of refugees had begun their flight to South Korea, but the roads were impassable because of military operations. Therefore, the thousands of people struggled their way south walking over the mountain trails. Rev. Moon's former followers in P yungyang had been scattered. He walked the hundred miles back to the city and tried to locate each one. One of his fellow prisoners had followed him from Hung-nam, but this man's leg was broken, and he could not walk the long miles to the south. Rev. Moon carried this man on his back on a bicycle the six hundred miles to Pusan. There again they began to give the message of new hope.

In 1954 Rev. Moon formally began the Unification Church (The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity) in Korea. There are now headquarters in more than forty countries and centers in more than 120 cities in the United States.

The Unification Church is formed around the Divine Principle, a set of principles based on the patterns which Rev. Moon found in the Bible during his years of search. He discovered that God has been using a consistent strategy to save man - through the Old Testament and the New - that provides the foundation for Jesus' life and teachings. In the light of the principles of creation and restoration which God is still using in the world today, Christians can find new insight into the puzzling problems of faith and Bible interpretation - but even more, they will find deeper meaning in the daily leading of their lives.

Visitors to the Unification Church's residential communities often remark on the wide variety of background, personality, and even age of the members who are nevertheless so obviously united in heart. Around the world, people of all ages can be found wor king together as one family of Christians - transcendent of barriers of culture and even long-standing national enmities - living with the purpose of bringing the reality of God and His love to the people of the world.

We live today in a time of fundamental confusion. It is not, however, an outward confusion alone, but also a crisis in our faith. Christianity is in crisis. But this can also become a time of new hope, because we are being called to come to terms with the most fundamental questions of all.

We have lost control of our food production, of the ethics of our government, and even of our earth's oxygen supply. We expect that science will in due course solve these problems of our physical environment, however uncomfortable we may be in the meanti me. But where can we turn to solve the problems of faith and morality? We must also regain control of our spiritual and moral life, where confusion causes the greatest suffering and has the most profound consequences. Our Christianity must go deep enou gh to offer the world practical solutions to moral questions: Where is the balance between the immorality of killing individual human beings in war, and the immorality of abandoning whole nations to the domination of an alien power? How can we reconcile "the new morality" with our intuitive feelings about Christian morality? Why is it, after all, that the family and marriage should be sacred? Is there finally anything eternal -and therefore absolute - in human nature and life?

Bare speculations whether or not God exists are less meaningful to us than the question, "If God exists, why doesn't He do something about the world?" Christians must be able to answer that question. Finding new hope in today's world is not an easy matte r. People are no longer satisfied with ephemeral ideals, but to be reinspired we must be able to say clearly: What is good and evil in real life? In exactly what way has God been working in history? What is God and how can we know Him ultimately? And what does God expect of Christians in this age of despair?

Only a Christian message that can deal with ultimate questions - and provide clear and simple answers - can bring new hope today. Rev. Sun Myung Moon comes bringing such a message.

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