Testimony of Tahk Myeong-hwan who was murdered

The International Religions Research Institute
Seoul Office Tel No. 125
#137-15, Sangbong-Dong, Chungnam-Ku, Seoul, Korea

Tahk Myeong Hwan    탁명환     卓明煥

How to Fight Against the Cults
– A Report for Preventing Cults –

I, Tahk Myeong Hwan, was born on July 8, 1937 in a farm village called Daejuk-Ri, Paeksan-Myun, Puan-Kun, Chunla puk-Do, and became a christian as a child.
As far as my educational background is concerned, I graduated from Chonju Shinheung Mission Senior High School in 1955, obtained a B.A. in 1960 after majoring in philosophy at Chunpuk National University, majored in theology at Yongnam Theological Seminary, and obtained an M.A. after majoring in Christian Education at Yonsei University United Graduate School of Theology.

After my studies, instead of engaging in the ministry for 5 years I pursued a career in the area of Christian mass media. And it was in 1968 that I started to research into cults and their damaging (deteriorating) impact on our society. At first, for the study of cults, I led an institute with the name of the ‘New Religions Research Institute’, which was later changed to the ‘Korean Religions Research Institute’. And now I organized and lead the ‘International Religion Institute for the Study of Cults’ all over the world.

Along with continuing the research, I have given lectures at more than 20 Korean universities, many churches, different Christian Institutes, Police Academies, and the National Defence Academy. Furthermore, I was given valuable opportunities to give seminars to the Korean immigrant communities in Japan, the U.S.A. and Canada.

Consequently I realised that I have given more than 2,000 lectures between 1970 and 1988, which has resulted in my being well-known in the Korean cult research field.

I have written a total of 16 books on cults from 1971 to 1988. Many of these are used as text books of curricula in Christian seminaries. And as they are being read by many ministers, they became the best sellers at Christian book stores all over the country. Since 1980, I have published a monthly magazine called ‘Modern Religions’ which is playing a leading role in furnishing theological students and ordinary believers, as well as ministers, with information about the current issues, facts, and the dangers of cults.

Such intense activities about cults have not only brought me much support, encouragement, and popularity, but also many enemies. Among many, the Unification Church, better known as the “Moonies”, have been the most extreme one.

Many examples of their extreme violence and hindrance to stop me are as follows: in 1970, they offered me approx. $450,000.00 in exchange of my discontinuation, but they failed to stop me; In 1979 they slandered and called me a communist. Following that I was arrested and tortured by the KCIA for 12 hours; I was accused of rape; In 1979 they forged my name meanly and made fraudulent announcements including my apologies to the Unification Church in the daily newspapers; on May 3, 1985, someone set a bomb on my car which eventually blew up and lead me to be hospitalized for one month; On October 18, 1988, I was raided by approx. 300 Unification Church members while giving a lecture, and was also hospitalized for one month. I have been attacked by cultists 63 times in the past 20 years.

▲ Tahk Myeong-hwan gave a talk about the Unification Church in a church in Kyoto, Japan, on October 27, 1983 (exact date to be confirmed).
 The UC van outside carried these slogans: 宗教弾圧を糾弾する “Condemn religious repression,” 信教の自由を守ろう “Protect the freedom of religion,”
卓明煥による宗教迫害を糾弾する “Denounce religious persecution by Tahk Myeong-hwan”. About 150 UC members turned up to demonstrate; many were probably CARP members from Kobe. They tried to get into the church, but fortunately the police arrived very quickly and prevented that. One demonstrator was arrested by the police for assault. The UC leader was arrested because he did not have a permit for the demonstration.

▲ The placards read: “Tahk Myeong-hwan is the Devil”, “Shame on you to criticise us”, “Tahk Myeong-hwan is more evil than Judas”, “We do not forgive you, Mr Tahk Myeong-hwan.” The UC members were prevented from entering through the church entrance – which can be seen in the background.

The most serious incident, perhaps, was when the cults joined with a few political figures whom they were financially supporting, and tried to ruin me with many knavish ways. Threatening phone calls and intrusions into my home and my Research Institute have become a habitual experience in my life.
There have also been incidents in which these cults published books and other printed materials accusing me of being at fault, and sent them to Christian churches all over the country.

When my lectures and seminars were scheduled in the U.S., they have sent discouraging letters to the consul general of U.S.A. in Korea not to issue my visa. In Korea, there are approximately 4,000 Christian church leaders, 3,000 college or university professors and 40 politicians, including a former presidential candidate, who are under strong influence of the Unification Church – financially, physically and spiritually.

Clockwise: Two vans from the 맥콜 McCol Unification Church business were photographed leaving the scene of the car bomb attack in Korea; the McCol logo which is written on the back of the vans; Tahk’s immobilized car; a newspaper report with Tahk’s name, 卓明煥, in the headline; Tahk recovering in hospital showing his injured leg, and Tahk wrapped in bandages. He was left permanently deaf in one ear.

These endless threatening situations surrounding my life everyday make me feel that today may be my last day. That’s what motivates me to live today glorifying my Lord as best and most sincerely as I can do. Cults may have money and power, but I believe that God is in me and I also know that someone has got to do this task as long as there are powers of darkness on earth that will destroy human beings’ spiritual and physical lives.

As I end this report, I think these may be my last words. But, I firmly believe that God is a just God and that the lives of human beings are in His hands. As Livingston left famous words saying, “One charged with a mission will not die until that mission is accomplished”. I believe that as long as I have this mission to complete, the Lord will protect my life from the enemy.

And now, four cases of lawsuits brought by the Unification Church against me are in the course of being judged. But I believe that there is nothing to be afraid of in Him. God is my Lord and will help me out thoroughly.

I have included some evidence here to prove that the contents of the above report is true.

September 25, 1989

Reported by: Tahk, Myeong Hwan

Myeong Hwan, TAHK
No: 30-209, #13, Wolke-dong, Nowon-Ku, Seoul, Korea

Born: July 8, 1937
Height: 170 cm Weight: 78 Kg
Health: Excellent
Married: Wife and three sons

1) Chonju Shinheung High School, graduated 1956.
2) Chunpuk National University, graduated 1960. Bachelor of Art and Literature after major in Philosophy.
3) Yongnam Presbyterian Theological Seminary, graduated 1963, major in theology.
4) The United Graduate School of Theology, Yonsei University, graduated 1975.
Master of Art and Literature after major in Christian Education

1) Editor in Chief of weekly “Korean Gospel Times” and “Korean Christian Times” (1964-1967)
2) Editor of photo-magazine “Korea Life” (1968-1970)
3) Director of the New Religions Research Institute (1970-present)
4) Special Lecturer at Methodist Theological Seminary, Baptist Theological Seminary and Seoul Holiness Theological Seminary; Korea Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Korea
Christian College and Taihan Presbyterian Theological Seminary. (1970-1976)
5) Prof. of Korea Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1975-present)
6) Member of the Korean Society for Cultural Anthropology.
7) Member of Korea Church History Institute.
8) Committee member of Research of New Religions in Korea of The Presbyterian of Church of Korea.
9) President of Monthly magazine “The Modern Religion” (1981-1988)

Military Record:
Entered the ROK Army, Apr. 20, 1960. Discharged  Feb. 20, 1963.

Book List:
1) Non-fiction “The Yong Hwa Kyo”  278p (1971)
2) New Religions in Korea Vol I  348p (1972)
3) New Religions in Korea Vol II  468p (1973)
4) Studies on Religious Education of Dongbangkyo (M.A. Thesis)  104p (1974)
5) New Religions in Korea Vol III  426p (1974)
6) What is the Salvation Cult?  234p (1974)
7) This is the real facts of Park’s Cult  162p (1975)
8) The Waiting Maid of the Kingdom of Cult  316p (1981)
9) The Facts of New Religions in Korea  235p (1976)
10) Current Korean Religions  312p (1976)
11) The Heresies of the Modern Christian Church  312p (1977)
12) Criticism of Moon’s Master Speaks  340p (1978)
13) Moonism in Pictures  250p (1978)
14) The Real Facts and Falsehoods of the Unification Church  327p (1979)
15) Suicide Party of People’s Temple  342p (1979)
16) The Letters from the Hell  356p (1980)
17) Seoul Keryong Mountain  276p (1981)
18) Jehovah’s Witnesses are an Anti-Christ group  100p (1983)
19) How to Answer to the Cults  340p (1983)
20) The Unification Church is not Christian  126p (1983)
21) Research about Christian Cults  382p (1986)
22) They Were Deceived by Cultists  405p (1986)
23) New Religions in Korea Vol IV  364p (1987)
24) Criticism of Major Heresies  127p (1988)
25) Studies on Heresies (Chinese)  62p (1989)
26) Heresies and Women in New Religions  428p (1991)
27) Like the Grass of the Field (Autobiography)  404p (1993)

Main Reports:
1) “A critical study of Layman Training of Dong Bang Kyo” (1974)
2) “New and Quasi Religions in Korea”, Korea Journal (May 1970)
Vol. 105 No. 5 pp 11-15
3) “Therapeutic Phenomena of New Religions” (New Religions in Korea),
Korea Journal (Dec. 1971) Vol. 111 No. 12 pp 27-30.
4) “Women Founders of New Religions in Korea.” Cultural Anthropology, Vol 4, 1971 pp 115-134.
5) “The New Religions in Cheju Island”, Cultural Anthropology, Vol 6, 1973. pp 131-137.
6) “Current situation of New Religions in Korea” Nov. 1971.
A summary of research papers of New Religions in Korea,
Korea Christian Academy East Asia Christian conference pp 7-13.
7) “Interchange of New Religions among Korea, China and Japan” Above papers. pp 49-51.
8) “The Phenomena of New Religion in Korea”, Pastoral Review (Jan. 1977) Vol 49. pp 99-109.

Have lectured 2000 times at church conferences and seminars. (from 1971 to July 1989)

Dr. Sanghi Moon, Prof. of Yonsei University
#50-3, Daeshin-dong, Sudaemoon-Ku, Seoul, Korea

Dr. Kwangil, Kim, Prof. of Hanyang University
#204-45, Limoon-dong, Dongdaemoon-Ku, Seoul, Korea

I hereby certify the above statements to be true and correct in every detail.
TAHK, Myeong Hwan

August 30, 1989

Dr Tahk interviewed on video

Newsweek magazine on the many Korean messiahs of the 1970s

Tahk Myeong-hwan’s books available in Korea

Tahk Myeong-hwan wrote about the cult which was partly blamed for the assassination of late South Korean president Park Chung Hee, and has now destroyed the political career of his daughter, Park Geun Hye, the ousted president. The cult was led by Choi Tae-min.

“The main reason that people who had left the Unification Church and revealed the inner workings were subsequently imprisoned was because at the time there were connections between the Unification Church and the [Korean] regime.”  source

“In Korea, one even senses a fear, like one induced by the Mafia, among the opposition, and … outspoken opponents speak of death threats.” Professor Sontag, 1976

Philosopher/theologian/author Frederick Sontag was uniquely qualified to write about the Unification Church. He spent ten months and traveled three continents looking at this church. In September 1976 he visited Korea.

Dr. Sontag, was Professor of Philosophy at Pomona College, where he worked from 1952 to 2009. He had also been chairman of the department (1960–67 and 1976–77) and chairman of the Committee on Honors Study (1961–70).

In 1977 he met Rev Moon for a long interview. His book: ‘Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church’ was published later the same year.

page 87
I spent one day interviewing people outside the church [in Korea] through contacts I had made before leaving America. These varied from impartial “old Korea hands” to bitter, fearful, and hostile opponents who talked darkly of reprisals.

page 88
Interview with a non-church member: “At that time real bad rumors were going around about this Moon.”

page 97
Who’s afraid of Sun Myung Moon?
It is fascinating to see Sun Myung Moon receive intense devotion and love from his followers and at the same time draw derision bordering on hatred from those outside. In Korea, one even senses a fear, like one induced by the Mafia, among the opposition, and in this country the outspoken opponents speak of death threats.

His followers project more on to him than he claims. To them he is a symbol and focus of what is good. To outsiders he appears the perfect embodiment of the Antichrist. Who is this man? Should we fear or love him?