Sam Park: In response to the feedback I have received following my 2014 presentation at ICSA.
Updated November 2, 2020
After the release of my video presentation on the ‘How Well Do You Know Your Moon’ website last week (August 2015), there have been a lot of questions regarding the content that I wanted to address for the sake of clarification:
I am Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s second oldest living son. My older half-brother Sung Jin lives in Japan. I am not tall because I resemble the Choi side of the family who were not tall. Also, my father was not that tall. I never was asked to supply my DNA by the Unification Church (UC) lawyers to determine paternity during the years of litigation because all the parties understood there was no point to it. Here is something to consider: why did the UC go to such great lengths to secure a confidentiality agreement from my mother and I? If we were liars, the church would not have bothered.
The video was my first time speaking in public about my life. Naturally, I was nervous (and emotional—hence my annoying snivelling), and I had a lot of ground to cover with a limited amount of time, so reading my presentation was the most efficient way to proceed. My good friend Donna Orme-Collins periodically would slip me note cards indicating the amount of time I had left. Other than this kind service, she did not coach or coerce my presentation because I do have a bit of my father in me where I can be stubborn and not listen. In fact, one major regret is that I didn’t listen to her and come forward decades ago.
1. “For the teacher who is on the lonely restoration road, be the light of my heart.”
2. “Deliver the message to Bo Hi 普熙 (Pak 朴) couple to use Kyung 경 慶 (if a boy) and Yeon 연 妍 (if a girl) as the first character of the name and follow (Moon 文 ) family name tradition.”
[Moon later recycled the name Yeon and gave the name Yeon-jin to “Kat” Moon.]
Sun Myung Moon’s postcard to Soon Wha (Annie) Choi
According to Wikipedia: “rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.”
My mother came from a good family in a time and culture where sex was simply not discussed. She was very naive about these matters. My father was her mother’s teacher, which put him in a position of power and authority over my mother. Asian culture tends to revere teachers more than in the west. He was also much bigger and stronger than my mother who is barely 5 ft. tall. The age of consent is 19 in Korea. After my father finished with my mother, he told her not to tell anyone what he had done, especially her mother (my grandmother). Over time and with religious conditioning, she came to accept what happened as “providential”, though the memories of the trauma still remain to this day. The sad reality is that there are many women in the world who have been sexually assaulted, but due to extenuating circumstances or just plain ignorance, they are made to feel as if they were somehow responsible. I’ve learned from my mother that every woman who has been sexually assaulted knows in their heart the truth of it and lives consciously or unconsciously with this trauma. It is not okay for people to deny that this happened, when in fact it did. Anyone has the right to believe what they want—but understand that in many instances, one’s belief has no bearing on the facts.
I gave my presentation at the July 2014 ICSA Conference in Washington, D.C. In many ways, it was a water-shed event for me emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. I was so impressed with the degree of love, support, integrity and knowledge of the coordinators, staff and participants at ICSA. Individuals like Steve Eichel, Ph.D., Michael Langone, Ph.D., along with mental health professionals, psychologists, researchers, and other world renowned academics … provided an incredible framework to study the dynamics of NRMs (New Religious Movements, NRMs, and High Demand Groups, HDGs) and help current and former members of these groups process and heal from their experiences.
To suggest that ICSA are a bunch of glorified “deprogrammers” merely reveals the depth of one’s own ignorance. ICSA is a non-profit and the psychologists, psychiatrists and others involved do this work for free, while maintaining other professional jobs. Many of these individuals have never been involved with cults themselves, but they have seen the damage done by such groups and have an interest in helping, advocating and healing those affected. I was particularly impressed by what I learned about the Hare Krishna Movement and how, over time, they were able to reform their practices and operate with greater transparency. My hope is that the UC can borrow from the same page.
As I alluded to in my video, the Moon family has an estimated $60 billion in worldwide assets (according to depositions taken from the UCI case in Washington, D.C.). Given the Church’s tendency for exaggeration, even if the actual estimates are half that amount, we are still talking about an enormous sum of money, that if stewarded correctly could make a significant difference in the lives of its members.
The UC has been facing a financial holocaust of its own making for quite some time. The Church’s spiritual racketeering activities in Japan have fleeced billions from Japanese member and non-member alike. Most of the membership in Japan and the west have been financially devastated by UC fundraising campaigns, and exorcism practices by Kim Hyo Nam at Cheongpyeong—where there is a billion dollar Palace (an edifice larger than the US Capitol). She herself is under investigation by the Korean authorities for the embezzlement of nearly $500 million of church assets. Honestly, I don’t have much hope for the rule of law to prevail in this case because in a place like Korea, it’s all about the money and we know the UC has a lot.
The first generation of devotees in Japan and in the West are in their 60s and 70s with failing health, no savings, and saddled with debt, courtesy of the Church. Due to these circumstances, they have become the responsibility of their children, many of whom have left the church trying to establish themselves in the world, only to be dragged back into the UC morass as a caretaker-generation. This is the tragic reality that many first and second generation Moonies face due to the church’s spiritual racketeering apparatus.
Why now? What does Sam want? He must be after the MONEY!
What a difference a year can make.
When I gave the presentation in July 2014 at ICSA, I had two objectives: to set the record straight regarding the real history of the UC and to hold my father and the church accountable for unfulfilled past promises represented by our case. Over the past year, we were unable to raise the funds for our legal campaign since it was a struggle just to stay afloat, and I did lose my house to foreclosure. The UC, through corruption and attrition, had achieved their objective of grinding me down to the nub. It’s pretty clear to any competent attorney that the confidentiality agreement we were coerced and lured into signing is simply not enforceable under New York law. And yet the church managed to dress this pig up and get it to fly because they had the money to hijack the legal system. They were able to let a perjured testimony, where Dr. Pak claimed he didn’t know who my father was, go uncontested. He of all people should know the truth, since I was conceived in his house, in the room next to his, when my father visited the US in 1965, where he stayed with my mother.
It must not be easy for Dr. Pak to witness the deconstruction, or destruction of my father’s legacy by Mrs. Moon, who has apparently announced that only she is from the one true sinless lineage—and has displaced God Almighty as the one True God. Dr. Pak has always been a loyal soldier to my father, but I know that he and his family were also victims of circumstance, as their allegiances have been pulled in different directions. I have nothing but warm regards to my former Pak siblings who have all suffered because of the UC, and welcome the day when we can reconnect. Mrs. Moon’s recent proclamations have taken crazy to a whole new level, and have relegated my father to the status of a glorified sperm donor. The mighty have truly fallen—with some help.
The Church in Korea, Japan, and the West was built by women, starting with Young-Oon Kim, my mother’s family, Won-Bok Choi, and countless other unsung saints, and later on by women like Doris Orme (née Walder), Marion Porter, Pauline Verheyen, all of whom died tragically.
All of these women gave up their friends, families and marriages for the sake of the Church, and yet were severely mistreated and even abused by the Korean male leadership, as well as Hak Ja Han, who was jealous and suspicious of any woman who served my father. The legacy of these saints is one of financial, psychological, physical, emotional, and mental betrayal. I hold in highest regard all these women, who like my mother, gave up everything for the sake of my father only to be cast aside when they were deemed not useful.
But I digress, my original point was that I wanted to address my motivation for coming forward at this time. Given that I lost on the legal front to Moon Inc., in my quest for accountability, I have only my story to share in the hopes that I can set the historical record straight, and help members make a more “informed” decision about the church. For some to attribute our (my mother and I’s) motivation for coming forward as purely financial, they simply aren’t getting it. If they really understood what my mother gave up “financially” for the sake of my father, and if they had any sense of decency, they would remain quiet.
My grandfather was prepared to give my mother his business group’s flagship company, Korea Life Insurance (a multi-billion dollar enterprise), if she left the church. He was even prepared to take me from the Pak family and raise me apart from the church in Korea. He had the power and right to do it, and there was nothing the church could have done about it since I was a secret. The only thing that prevented this from happening was my mother’s devotion to my father. There were times in my life where I wished that had happened because, at the least, it would’ve saved the Choi family business group and my grandfather’s legacy from my uncle’s greed and lack of foresight. (If you are interested, google ‘furgate’, ‘Korea Life Insurance’ or ‘Choi Soon Young’ and read about what happened.)
More importantly than the financial opportunity-cost to my mother for supporting my father was the opportunity-cost of being withheld from the chance to live her life to its fullest potential. That is something that is beyond quantifying with money. My father is now dead, and he doesn’t have the power to turn back time and give my mother her life back; a life where he does not interfere, force her to give up a son, or condemn her to a life lived in the shadows. If anything, I hope that our revelations can help others claim back their power and not live in fear.
South Korea Since 1980 by Uk Heo and Terence Roehrig (2010)
In 1999, other political scandals disappointed the Korean people. The so-called Furgate scandal involved Choi Soon-young, the owner of the Shindonga Group, and the prosecutor-general, Kim Tae-joung. Choi Soon-young was arrested in 1998 and charged with capital flight. According to South Korean law, capital flight — taking large sums of capital abroad — was against the law because it drained the country of badly needed investment capital. While the case was being investigated, Choi’s wife bribed Kim Tae-joung’s wife by buying her an expensive fur coat, implicitly asking her to persuade her husband to go easy on Choi. The opposition party disclosed this scandal and requested an investigation by independent counselors because the scandal involved the prosecutor-general, and evidence surfaced that the Prosecutor’s Ofﬁce attempted to cover it up.9 In addition, GNP lawmaker Chung Hyung-keun disclosed a document with evidence of government involvement in controlling the media through ties to the Korean Intelligence Service. The GNP also revealed that the Korean Intelligence Service illegally monitored opposition party activities from a base in the National Assembly Building.10
9 Y. Youn. “South Korea in 1999: Overcoming Cold War Legacies” Asian Survey 40 (2000); 164-71.
10 N. Kristof, “A Locked Door ls Broken and Seoul Lawmakers Have a Spy Furor,” New York Times, January 4, 1999.;
Kazakhstan president allegedly took bribes
“… In 1999, Choi Soon-young was found guilty of falsifying papers to obtain $165 million in illegal bank loans between 1996 and 1997, then illegally transferring most of the money to a bogus company in the United States and depositing it in secret bank accounts. …”