This Week in History March 14 to 20

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  • 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)
  • True Father begins a speaking tour of U.S. Korean communities (March 17, 1990)
  • Unificationists are released from a Thai prison (March 17, 1993)
  • True Father proclaims the Pacific Rim Era (March 17, 2007)
  • Hyo Jin Moon ascends to the Spirit World (March 17, 2009)
  • Arthur Ford has a sitting with True Father (March 18, 1965)
  • The first Legacy of Peace ceremony is held (March 18, 2010)

MARCH 14, 1961

Dr. Bo Hi Pak Begins His Mission in the United States

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

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.

MARCH 17, 1990

True Father Begins Speaking Tour of U.S. Korean Communities

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

True Father launched his first U.S. speaking tour since the 1970s, addressing Korean communities in five U.S. cities, beginning in San Francisco on March 17, 1990. The other cities were Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York, and True Father said the five cities represented the 50 states of America. True Father spoke on the topic “True Unification and One World.” The events were promoted as “Welcoming True Parents Rallies.” They served to introduce True Parents’ activities and thought to Koreans in America and to familiarize the Korean community with the term “True Parents.” True Father had conducted “Welcoming True Parents” rallies in five Korean cities the previous month. These rallies were part of the lead-up to the Moscow Rally in April 1990 and True Parents’ declaration of their roles on the worldwide level.

MARCH 17, 1993

Unificationists Released from Thai Prison

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

Dr. Lek’s wife Vipa at the women’s prison where she endured separation from her husband and the other Unificationists.

On June 26, 1991, eight leaders of the Unification Church in Thailand, including the national leader, Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul, were arrested and jailed under charges of treason. “Crime Suppression Police” subsequently invaded Unification Church centers nationwide. The action was taken under the auspices of Thai army generals who had declared martial law and who were influenced by newspaper attacks on the church. Treason was understood to mean subversion against the monarchy or nation, and its penalty was life imprisonment or execution. After three months, the case was filed and no bail was allowed. The eight leaders were imprisoned for 21 months, until March 17, 1993, when the king of Thailand took unprecedented action to relieve the top dictatorial general of his duties as head of Thailand, replacing him with a prime minister who formulated a constitutional system. An era of tyranny ended, and friends of the Unification Church of Thailand successfully demanded bail for the eight leaders who were released. However, the case continued for another eight years, until September 1, 2001, when the Thai Supreme Court acquitted the eight of all charges.

MARCH 17, 2007

True Father Proclaims the Pacific Rim Era

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

True Father declared 2007 to be a “Great Jubilee Year” in God’s providence. The major reason for this was the beginning of “The Pacific Rim Era.” In a March 17 speech titled “A Providential View of the Pacific Rim Era in Light of God’s Will—The United States and the Future Direction of the United Nations and the World,” delivered before 700 Unificationist leaders and Ambassadors for Peace on the grounds of “Hawaii King Garden,” a church-owned property on the island of Kona, he stated:

The development of human civilization has completed a circuit of the entire globe and has arrived at the Pacific sphere. Human history has come to a point in time in the providence at which it should reach completion and fruition through the Pacific Rim region. No force can impede the providence now. Though there were both victories and defeats … in the era before heaven, nothing could prevent the rise of the Pacific Rim Era. Herein lies the reason that Heaven declared this a jubilee year.

True Father drew together themes that had been prominent in his thought for some time, including his identity as “the True Parent of humankind,” the fruition of human civilization “in the Pacific Rim region, centered on the Korean Peninsula,” oceans as “the resource on which humanity’s future depends,” the responsibility of the United States “to bring harmony and oneness among the world’s 6.5 billion people and to expedite the creation of a peaceful, ideal world,” the significance of international and cross-cultural Marriage Blessings, and the necessity of  “an ‘Abel-type’ counterpart to the United Nations.” He also proclaimed, “The oceanic era that has begun represents the women’s era.”

True Father delivered the Pacific Rim speech in a “New Civilization” tour covering 24 cities in Korea during April and early May of 2007. True Mother delivered the same speech in 10 Japanese cities from May 2 to 11. The American portion of the tour continued through May and June. Unificationists subsequently held “New Civilization” rallies in their respective nations.

MARCH 17, 2009

Hyo Jin Moon Ascends

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

World Seong Hwa Ceremony honors Hyo Jin Moon.

Hyo Jin Moon, the eldest son of True Parents, died of a heart attack at 9:46 a.m. on March 17 in Seoul, Korea. He was born there on December 3, 1962, but grew up in the United States. For many years he ran Manhattan Center Studios, a state-of-the-art multimedia facility in New York City that was favored by leading musicians and orchestras both for recording and televised events. He worked for 10 years (1985-94) as the first president of the World Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (World CARP). One of the defining moments of his presidency was the 4th World CARP Convention in Berlin in 1987. Hyo Jin Nim led 1,000 students on a memorable march to the Berlin Wall, where he delivered a stirring speech, calling on Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to be a righteous man and tear down the wall.

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

Hyo Jin Moon was the first son of True Parents.

He was an intensely passionate singer and lead guitarist who produced over a dozen CDs and a catalog of thousands of compositions. True Parents held a world-level Seonghwa Ceremony and wrote a special calligraphy translated as “He will open and liberate the deepest heaven and turn it into a flower garden as the lord who opens the gates of loyalty and filial piety.” He left his wife, Yun Ah Choi, and four children, as well as five children from a previous marriage.

MARCH 18, 1965

Arthur Ford Sitting

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

Arthur Ford (1896-1971) was one of America’s best-known psychics, famous for his sittings with the widow of escape artist Harry Houdini as well as for founding the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship (SFF). He had become aware of True Father through Charles Brooke, the former rajah of Sarawak and himself the leader of an English metaphysical group, who met an early Unificationist missionary and traveled to Korea to meet True Father, whom he regarded as the “earth form of limitless love.” On March 18, 1965, Ford had a sitting with True Father, accompanied by Col. Bo Hi Pak and others, during True Father’s first world tour. Ford later included “The Sun Myung Moon Sittings” in his work Unknown But Known (1968). During the sitting, Ford’s communicator, Fletcher, stated, “It is not easy for me to get down to the level of Ford. Great power in the form of light—if you were to see the light that surrounds you—most of you would be blinded by it. … In another setting I would insist that my instrument and the rest of you should take off your shoes. But spiritually you can create the humility that will enable you to know that you are in the presence of truth-Incarnate and Discarnate. … Sun Myung Moon is the one I have been talking about.” True Father was viewed with interest by New Age leaders during the late 1960s. However, with the emergence of the Unification Church as an increasingly well-defined and controversial movement during the 1970s, New Age and spiritualist groups generally ignored or criticized the church.

MARCH 18, 2010

First Legacy of Peace Ceremony

Photo credit FFWPU-USA

Gen. Alexander Haig, who as a young officer in the U.S. Army participated in the U.N. military attack on North Korea’s Heungnam labor camp in October 1950 which freed True Father after nearly three years of confinement, passed away on February 20, 2010. Gen. Haig, who was the U.S. secretary of state in 1981 and 1982 under President Ronald Reagan, was a supporter of The Washington Times and participated in Unificationist-organized events. True Father asked church leaders to attend his funeral services and to place a large gift of flowers at Arlington National Cemetery. A few days later, top church leaders hosted a private memorial dinner at the Sheraton National Hotel attended by General Haig’s son, Alexander P. Haig, who thanked the Unification Church and True Father for their support. True Father subsequently directed the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) to hold a larger, more public event at the United Nations. Held on March 18, 2010, the “Memorial Festival of Ascension and Unity,” convened in the United Nations Secretariat Building, also honored more than 100 UN personnel killed in a recent Haiti earthquake as well as Rodrigo Carazo, the former president of Costa Rica, who died the previous December, and other peace advocates. The event was highly successful and gave birth to “Legacy of Peace” events elsewhere in the United States and throughout the world. In addition to honoring the recently deceased, the events provided a platform for communicating church views on eternal life and the Marriage Blessing as an instrument of peace.

Adapted from here and here, accessed 16/2/2021

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 14-20.