Click any poster to listen to podcast and visit the virtual exhibition
Welcome to the Centenary Exhibition
Welcome to this exhibition celebrating the centenary of the birth of Sun Myung Moon and honoring his life’s work. His life was truly extraordinary and we are proud to present this compilation of major aspects of his life, work and ideas.
Many of the quotations that you see on the displays are taken from the book that he wrote toward the end of his life, entitled, “As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen”. In this small volume he summarizes his lessons from life, and shares the motivation and purpose behind his most notable achievements.
To bring a world of peace, I have spent my life going to the most lowly and secluded places. I met mothers in Africa who could only watch helplessly as their children died of hunger, and I met fathers in South America who lived by a river full of fish but couldn’t support their families by fishing. At first, all I did was simply share my food, but they granted me their love in return.
I am a controversial person. The mere mention of my name causes trouble in the world. I never sought money or fame but have spent my life speaking only of peace. The world, though, has associated many different phrases with my name, rejected me, and thrown stones at me. Many are not interested in knowing what I say or what I do. They only oppose me.
I have been unjustly imprisoned six times in my life and at times I was beaten so hard that the flesh was torn from my body. Today, though, not even the slightest wound remains in my heart. Wounds easily disappear in the presence of true love. Even enemies melt away without a trace in the presence of true love. True love is a heart that gives and gives and wants to continuing giving. True love is a love that even forgets that it already gave love and gives love again.
Recently a growing number of people have been seeking to know more about me. For the sake of those who are curious, I have looked back on my life and recorded my candid recollections in this book.
I send boundless love to all those who have put their faith in me, remained by my side, and lived their lives with me—and especially to my wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, to whom I am deeply grateful for struggling with me to scale the most difficult peaks.
When I was sixteen, we experienced the tragedy of having five of my younger siblings die in a single year. No words could describe the heartbreak of our parents in losing five of their thirteen children in such a short time. Death seemed to spread.
The suffering of one family seemed connected to the suffering of the nation and of the world. I was increasingly troubled to see the wretched situation of the Korean people under Japan’s tyrannical rule.
People didn’t have enough to eat. They were sometimes forced to take grass, tree bark, and whatever else they could find, and boil these for food. There seemed to be no end to wars around the world. Then one day I read an article in a newspaper about the suicide of a middleschool student who was the same age as I.
“Why did he die?” I asked myself. “What would drive a person to kill himself at such a young age?” I was devastated by this news, as if it had happened to someone who had been close to me. With the newspaper open to that article, I wept aloud for three days and nights. The tears kept coming, and I couldn’t make them stop. I couldn’t comprehend the fact that tragic events were happening to good people.
When I had the experience of seeing the bones of my great-grandfather had inspired me to start asking questions about life and death. The Word of God I was hearing in church, however, was not sufficient by itself to give me the clear answers I was seeking. To relieve the frustrations in my heart, I naturally began to immerse myself in prayer.
“Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the purpose of life? What happens to people when they die? Is there a world of the eternal soul? Does God really exist? Is God really all-powerful? If He is, why does He just stand by and watch the sorrows of the world? If God created this world, did He also create the suffering that is in the world? What will bring an end to Korea’s tragic occupation by Japan? What is the meaning of the suffering of the Korean people? Why do human beings hate each other, fight, and start wars?” My heart was filled with these serious and fundamental questions. No one could easily answer them for me, so my only option was to pray. Prayer helped me to find solace. Whenever I laid out the anguishing problems in my heart to God, all my suffering and sorrow vanished and my heart felt at ease. I began spending more and more time in prayer, to the point that, eventually, I began praying through the night all the time. As a result, I had a rare and precious experience in which God answered my prayers. That day will always remain as the most cherished memory of my life—a day I can never forget.
No matter how much I tried, I could not free myself for even a moment from the memory of having met Jesus. My encounter with Jesus changed my life completely. His sorrowful expression was etched into my heart as if it had been branded there, and I could not think of anything else. From that day on, I immersed myself completely in the Word of God. At times, I was surrounded by endless darkness and filled with such pain that it was difficult to breathe. At other times, my heart was filled with joy, as though I were watching the morning sun rise above the horizon.
In an effort to quiet my heart and my tears, I composed the following poem:
Crown of Glory
When I doubt people, I feel pain.
When I judge people, it is unbearable.
When I hate people, there is no value to my existence.
Yet if I believe, I am deceived.
If I love, I am betrayed.
Suffering and grieving tonight, my head in my hands,
Am I wrong?
Yes I am wrong.
Even though we are deceived, still believe.
Though we are betrayed, still forgive.
Love completely, even those who hate you.
Wipe your tears away and welcome with a smile
Those who know nothing but deceit,
And those who betray without regret.
O, Master, the pain of loving.
Look at my hands.
Place your hand on my chest.
My heart is bursting, such agony.
But when I love those who acted against me,
I brought victory.
If you have done the same things,
I will give you the Crown of Glory.
I experienced a series of days like these that led me into a deeper and deeper world of prayer. I embraced new words of truth that Jesus was giving me directly and let myself be completely captivated by God. I began to live an entirely different life. I had many things to think about, and I gradually became a boy of few words.
I worked in many different jobs during my studies in Japan. I was a janitor in an office building. I wrote letters for illiterate people. I worked at various job sites and was a foreman. I was a fortune teller. When I needed money quickly, I wrote calligraphy and sold it. I never fell behind in my studies, however. I believed that all these things were part of my training process. I did all sorts of jobs and met all sorts of people. In the process I learned a lot about people.
I still believe that to develop good character a person needs to experience many difficulties before turning thirty. People need to go down into the crucible of despair at the bottom of human existence and experience what that is like. People need to discover new possibilities in the midst of hell. It is only when climbing out of the depths of despair and making a new determination that we can be reborn as people able to pioneer a new future.
During this time I had the realization, “The relationship between God and mankind is that of a father and his children, and God is deeply saddened to see their suffering.” In this moment all the secrets of the universe were resolved in my mind. Suddenly, it was as if someone had turned on a movie projector. Everything that had happened since the time humankind broke God’s commandment played out clearly before my eyes. Hot tears flowed continuously from my eyes. I fell to my knees and bowed my head to the floor. For the longest time I couldn’t get up. Just as when my father had carried me home on his back as a child, I laid my body down in God’s lap and let the tears flow. Nine years after my encounter with Jesus, my eyes had finally been opened to the true love of God.
Jesus had appeared to me as a boy of sixteen because he wanted me to know the root of the Original Sin that humankind had committed and to bring about a world of peace where sin and the Fall would no longer exist. I had received God’s serious word to atone for the sins of humanity and bring about the world of peace that God had originally created. The world of peace that is God’s desire is not someplace we go to after death. God wants this world, where we live now, to be the completely peaceful and happy world that He created in the beginning. God certainly did not send Adam and Eve into the world for them to suffer. I had to let the world know this incredible truth.
The pain of hunger can only be known by those who have experienced it. When a person is hungry, a mere grain of rice becomes very precious. Even now, it makes me tense just to think of Heungnam. It’s hard to believe that a single grain of rice can give such stimulation to the body, but when you are hungry you have such a longing for food that it makes you cry. When a person has a full stomach the world seems big, but to a hungry person a grain of rice is bigger than the earth. A grain of rice takes on enormous value to someone who is hungry.
There are two things we must leave our descendants when we die. One is tradition, and the other is education. A people without tradition will fail. Tradition is the soul that allows a people to continue; a people without a soul cannot survive. The second thing of importance is education. A people will also fail if it does not educate its descendants. To open up a new future, we need, on the one hand, to pass on to our descendants the tradition that has been handed down to us over thousands of years and, on the other, to also supply them with education concerning new things.
At the same time that I founded the dance troupe, I also founded the Little Angels School of the Arts (later renamed Sunhwa Art School). The purpose in founding this school was to spread our ideals to the world through the arts. Since 1965, when they held their first overseas performance in the United States, the Little Angels have been introducing Korea’s beautiful tradition all over the world. They were invited by the British royal family to perform in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II. They were invited to take part in the bicentennial celebration in the United States, where they performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. They took part in the cultural and performing arts festival that was part of the Seoul Olympic Games. The Little Angels are known around the world as cultural ambassadors for peace.
Near the end of 1971, I went to the United States again. I had certain tasks that absolutely needed to be accomplished there, but getting there was not so easy. It was not my first time to go to the United States, yet I had to wait an unusually long time to receive my visa. Some members suggested that I delay my departure, but I could not do that. It was difficult for me to explain to the members, but it was important that I leave Korea on the designated date. So I decided to go first to Japan and apply for a U.S. visa while in Japan. I was in a hurry to leave Korea.
America in the early 1970s was embroiled in the Vietnam War, and activists were protesting. It was a country seriously divided. Young people searching for meaning experimented with alcohol, drugs, and free sex and in the process were neglecting their eternal souls. Mainstream religion, which should have provided guidance to such young people, was not performing its role. It could not help them end their aimless wandering and return to proper ways of living. The hedonistic, materialistic culture dragged many young people down, because they had no place to rest their hearts.
Soon after I arrived in the United States, I toured the country, speaking on the topics “The Future of Christianity” and “God’s Hope for America.” In front of large audiences, I spoke about the weaknesses of America in a way that no one else would.
I proclaimed that America was founded on the Puritan spirit and had grown to be the strongest country in the world in just two hundred years because it received God’s boundless love and blessing. I reminded the audiences that America’s freedom comes from God but that today America had cast God aside. “America has a great tradition,” I said. “All you have to do is revive it.” I went to the United States to awaken America’s spirit, to save America from destruction, and to urge the American people to repent and return to God.
Naturally, a husband and wife must maintain mutual trust and nurture their love. The promise I emphasize the most to people preparing to marry is “teach your children to maintain sexual purity.”
This is an obvious promise, but it has become difficult to keep in today’s society. The worse the world becomes, however, the more important it is to strictly keep the promise of sexual purity.
The perfection of human beings and peace in the world come about through the family. The purpose of religion is for everyone to become people of goodness who can then bring about an ideal world of peace. No matter how much politicians may put their heads together, they will not bring about peace. Formidable military power will not bring peace. The starting point for bringing about peace is the family.
During our matching and marriage ceremonies, I ask the brides and grooms to make promises to each other that must never be broken. First, a husband and wife must always trust and love each other. Second, they must not cause any pain to the heart of their partner. Third, they must educate their children and grandchildren to maintain sexual purity. Fourth, all members of their family must help and encourage each other so that they become a true ideal family. Chastity before marriage and fidelity in marriage are of utmost importance. This is what I teach so people can live to their highest potential as human beings, creating and maintaining healthy families. Marriage is more than a simple coming together of a man and woman. It is a precious ceremony of commitment to carry on God’s work of creation. Marriage is the path by which a man and woman become as one, create new life, and establish true love. Through marriage, a new future is created: Societies are formed; nations are built. God’s world of peace is realized with married families at the center. It is in the family that God’s Kingdom of Heaven is brought about. So, husbands and wives must be centers of peace.
International and intercultural marriages are the quickest way to bring about an ideal world of peace. Things that would take seemingly forever can be accomplished like miracles through these types of marriages in just two or three generations. People should marry across national and cultural boundaries with people from countries they consider to be their enemies so that the world of peace can come that much more quickly. A person may hate people from a certain country or culture and think he never wants to set eyes on them. But if someone from that country becomes his spouse, then the person is halfway to becoming a person of the new country. All the hatred melts away. If this is repeated for two or three generations, the roots of hatred can be eliminated
We do not come into this world, or depart from it, of our own accord. We have no ability to make choices with regard to our fate. We are born, though we did not choose to be born. We live, though we did not choose to live. We die, though we do not choose to die. We have no authority over these aspects of our lives, so how can we boast that we are somehow better than others? We cannot be born by our own wish, possess things that will forever be our own, or avoid death. So any boasting on our part would only be pathetic.
At some point, everyone will shed his physical body like old clothing and die. In Korean, “to return” is a common expression for dying. To return means to go back to where we came from, that is, to go back to our fundamental roots. Everything in the universe moves in cycles. The white snow that collects on the mountains will melt and flow down the slopes, first forming streams and then a river, and eventually go into the ocean. The water that flows into the ocean will absorb the heat of the sun’s rays, become water vapor, go back up into the sky, and prepare to become either snowflakes or drops of rain. To return to our original place in this way is what we call death. Then, where do we human beings return to when we die? Body and heart come together to bring about human life, and death is the act of shedding the body. So we go to the place from which the heart came.
Religion’s role is to turn human beings toward goodness and eliminate their evil nature that finds enjoyment in fighting. Examine the major religions of the world. They all hold a peaceful world as their ideal. They all want to see a kingdom of heaven, utopia, or paradise. Religions have different names for this ideal, but they all seek such a world. There are numerous religions in the world, and virtually every one is divided into countless factions and denominations.But the essential hope for all is the same: They want the Kingdom of Heaven and a world of peace. The human heart has been torn to shreds by the violence and enmity at our core. The kingdom of love will heal it.
I first set foot in Jerusalem in 1965. This was before the Six Day War, and Jerusalem was still under Jordan’s territorial control. I went to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus shed tears of blood in prayer just prior to being taken to the court of Pontius Pilate. I put my hand on a 2,000 year-old olive tree that could have witnessed Jesus’ prayer that night. I put three nails in that tree, one for Judaism, one for Christianity, and one for Islam. I prayed for the day when these three families of faith would become one. World peace cannot come unless Judaism, Christianity, and Islam become one. Those three nails are still there.
Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are sharply divided against each other in today’s world, but they share a common root. The issue that keeps them divided is their understanding of Jesus. To address this problem, on May 19, 2003, I asked that we de-emphasize the cross in relations among the Abrahamic faiths. Thus, we enacted a ceremony of taking down the cross. We brought a cross from America, a predominantly Christian culture, and buried it in the Field of Blood in Israel. This is the field that was bought with the thirty pieces of silver that Judas Iscariot received for the betrayal of Jesus that ended in Jesus’ crucifixion.
Later that year, on December 23, some 3,000 Ambassadors for Peace from all religions, and from around the world, joined with 17,000 Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Independence Park to symbolically remove the crown of thorns from the head of Jesus and replace it with a crown of peace. These 20,000 then marched for peace through Jerusalem city. Local authorities granted permissions and protected our efforts, and Palestinian and Israeli families supported our march for peace by placing a light in front of their homes.
At the time, President Gorbachev was popular within the Soviet Union, following the successes of his perestroika policies.
Over the years, I have been able to meet with many U.S. presidents, but meeting President Gorbachev was much more difficult. I was concerned that even one meeting might be difficult to achieve. I had a message to give him, and it was important that I do this in person. He was reforming the Soviet Union, giving rise to the winds of freedom there, but as time passed, the swords of reform were being increasingly pointed at his back. If the situation was left unchecked; he would fall into great danger.
“Mr. President, you did a great thing,” I told him. “You gave up your post as general secretary of the Soviet Union, but now you have become the president of peace. Because of your wisdom and courage, we now have the possibility to bring world peace. You did the most important, eternal, and beautiful thing for the world. You are a hero of peace who did God’s work. The name that will be remembered and honored forever in the history of Russia will not be ‘Marx,’ ‘Lenin,’ or ‘Stalin.’ It will be ‘Mikhail Gorbachev.’”
I gave such high praise to the decision by Mr. Gorbachev to bring about the breakup of the Soviet Union, the mother country of communism, without shedding blood.
In response, Mr. Gorbachev said, “Rev. Moon, I have been greatly comforted by your words. Hearing your words gives me energy. I will devote the remainder of my life to projects that are for the sake of world peace.” And he firmly took my hand in his.
Today, many people talk about peaceful unification. I, however, spoke about this at a time when people did not dare even use the phrase “peaceful unification,” for fear of being charged with violating the Anti-Communist Law and the National Security Law. Today, when people ask me what must be done to bring about unification, I tell them what I have always said on this matter: “If South Koreans love North Korea more than they love the South, and North Koreans love South Korea more than they love the North, we could unify the peninsula today.”
I was able to risk my life to go to North Korea in 1991 and meet President Kim Il Sung because I had a foundation of such love within me. I made agreements then with him regarding meetings of separated families, North-South economic cooperation, development of Mount Kumgang, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and working toward a North-South summit conference. No one thought an anti-communist could go to a communist country and open the floodgate of unification, but I surprised the world.
“North and South must be unified,” I said, “but guns and swords will not make us one. North-South unification will not happen with military force. Even the Korean War failed in this respect, and it is foolish for anyone to think they can make another attempt through military force. Neither will unification happen with the juche ideology that you espouse. What will do it, then? The world does not operate only by the power of human beings. Because God exists, nothing can be done by human effort alone. Even in situations of evil, such as war, God carries out His providence. That is why North and South cannot be unified through the juche ideology that puts man at the center.
“Bringing about a unified homeland can be done only with Godism,” I continued. “God is protecting us, and our time of unification is coming. Unification is the destiny; it is the task that must be accomplished in our era. If we cannot accomplish the sacred task of unifying the homeland in our time, we will not be able to hold our heads high in the presence of our ancestors or descendants for the rest of eternity.
The twentieth century was a time of tremendous change. More happened in that hundred-year period than during the past two thousand years. It was the century when there were two world wars and when communism rose to great strength and then disappeared. It was also the century when humanity turned its back on God and buried itself in material things. What about the twenty-first century, then? Some say that advances in science have proven that many religious beliefs are mere superstition and irrelevant to the modern world. I contend, however, that the role of religion will always be relevant as long as the spiritual aspect of human beings remains a reality and a world of peace has not been established.
What is the purpose of religion? It is to bring about God’s ideal world. The ultimate destination of the path followed by religions should be peace.
God created this world out of a desire for love and peace. If we create division by insisting that our own religion is the only path to salvation, we go against God’s desire. God wants everyone in the world to work hard for peace, reconciliation, and coexistence. If people say that coming to church creates division in their family, then I do not hesitate to tell them that they should put their family first. Religion is only a means to bring about God’s perfect world; it is not an end in itself.
If we continue the era of people congregating together only by religion or race, then humanity cannot avoid a repetition of war. The age of peace absolutely cannot come unless we transcend cultural customs and traditions. No ideology, philosophy, or religion that has influenced humanity in the past is capable of bringing about the peace and unification that is needed for the future. We need a new ideology and philosoph that goes beyond Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. For my entire life, I have called on people until my voice is hoarse to transcend their religious factions and even their religions.
Football is a sport where competition takes place and someone wins or loses, but it also has the potential for significantly influencing countries and increasing their cooperation toward peace. I was told that twice as many people watched the World Cup as watched the Olympics. This provides an idea of how many people around the world love football. Therefore, just like the Olympics, it has the power to become a force for harmony between countries, races, religions, and cultures. I see football and peace among countries as potentially powerful partners.
We live in a competitive society where there is a great deal of stress. Stress creates tension in our lives and takes away our peace of mind. When stress accumulates, people can become irritated and sometimes fight each other. Sports and the arts are examples of things that help us to lower our levels of stress. These things help us to vent our pent-up urges and bring humanity together. The reason for my devotion to soccer teams, symphony orchestras, and ballet companies is that these activities are a means to bring world peace. The world-famous footballer, Pele, understands this kind of thinking.
Finding ourselves in agreement, Pele and I created a new competition of international dimensions called Peace Cup, and tournaments have been held every two years since 2003. We brought famous soccer teams from around the world to Korea. A corresponding women’s tournament called the Peace Queen Cup is held in alternate years.
The Peace Cup organization also has a goal of building a peace stadium in the Israel–Palestine–Jordan region, as close as possible to the Israel–Palestine border. The stadium would be freely available to all as a peace-building venture. We want to bring famous coaches from Europe and start a football academy for the children in the region. The adults may want to point guns at each other, but the children will want to come to the football stadium and kick the ball around. People say it is unrealistic and shake their heads, but we will do this.
When I look at the world situation, I feel that securing sufficient food supplies is the most pressing problem. Solving the food crisis cannot be put off for even a moment. Even now, some twenty thousand people around the world die of hunger-related causes every day. We cannot afford to be apathetic just because we and our immediate families are not facing hunger.
Simply distributing food supplies by itself will not resolve hunger, though. A more fundamental approach to the problem is needed. I am considering two fundamental and concrete methods. The first is to provide ample supplies of food at low cost, and the second is to share technology that people can use to overcome hunger on their own. The issue of food will present humankind with a very serious crisis in the future. We cannot build a world of peace without first resolving the food issue. Sufficient food supplies for all the world’s population cannot be produced on the limited amount of land area that is currently available. We must look to the oceans for a solution. The oceans hold the key to solving the food crisis of the future. This is the reason I have been pioneering the oceans for the past several decades.
For years I have called for a world where all religions live together as one, all races live as one, and all nations exist as one. Yet, for thousands of years history has seen the continuous increase of divisions. Each time a different religion was adopted or a new regime came into power, more boundaries were drawn and wars were fought. Now, however, we live in an age of globalism. For the sake of the future we must become one.
One way I propose to facilitate that is through the International Peace Highway, a huge undertaking. It will link Korea and Japan by an undersea tunnel and create a bridge across the Bering Strait that separates Russia and North America. These great links can unify the world. When the highway is completed it will be possible to travel by car from Africa’s Cape of Good Hope to Santiago, Chile, and from London to New York. There will be no roadblocks; the entire world will be interconnected as if by capillary vessels. The world will become one integrated community, and everyone will be able to travel freely across international borders. Borders that give free passage to anyone will lose their significance as borders. Something similar will be true for religion. As the frequency of exchanges among religions increase, greater mutual understanding will arise, conflict will disappear, and the walls of separation will crumble. When different types of people live together in a single global community, barriers between races will come down. Interaction between races will occur despite differences in appearance and language. This cultural revolution will bring the world into one.
The Silk Road was not simply a trade route that people used in order to sell silk and buy spices. It was also a vehicle for the peoples of the East and West to meet and for Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity to meet. These different cultures intermingled and gave rise to a new culture. The International Peace Highway will play a similar role in the twenty first century.
To become one means more than simply connecting continents by tunnels and bridges. It refers to an equalization of the world’s standards of living.
The International Peace Highway will rearrange the current inequality by creating access to existing natural and human resources. This will bring about a leveling of wealth. This will require sacrifice from those with greater material possessions or knowledge. Building a world of peace cannot be done with one-time charitable acts or donations. Only sincere love and continuous sacrifice is capable of creating a world of peace. We must be willing to offer everything.
When you are setting your goal, be sure to consider the entire world. Consider Africa, which continues to suffer from poverty and disease. Consider Israel and Palestine, where people continue to aim their weapons at each other and fight over matters of religion. Consider Afghanistan, where people barely keep themselves alive by raising poppy plants used to make harmful drugs. Consider the United States, which has thrown the world’s economy into a pit with its extreme greed and selfishness. Consider Indonesia, which suffers from continued earthquakes and tidal waves. Imagine yourself in the context of those countries, and think which country and which situation would be most appropriate for you. It may be that you are best suited to India, where a new religious conflict may erupt. Or it could be Rwanda, which languishes in drought and hunger.
Whether you do good work on the large continent of Africa or in the small country of Korea, your goal should not be restricted by size. Your goals should be about where your talents can have the most impact.
During the 1980s, I sent many Korean university students to Japan and the United States. I wanted them to leave Korea, where teargas canisters were exploding almost daily, and let them see a wider world with greater variety. The frog that lives at the bottom of a well does not realize that there is a bigger world outside the well.The world is like a living organism in that it is always changing. New problems are always arising.
I hope to see more political leaders who will lead the United Nations to fulfill its purpose and more diplomatic leaders who will stop the fighting in areas of conflict. I hope to see someone like Mother Teresa who will take care of those wandering and dying on the streets. I hope to see peace leaders who will take on my mission of pioneering new solutions from the land and sea.
The starting point is to have a dream and a goal. Please have an adventurous and pioneering spirit. Dream dreams that others dare not imagine. Set goals for yourselves that have meaning, and become global leaders who will bring benefit to humankind.