Two Universities Expel Students and Professors

Yonsei University and Ehwa Woman's University were embroiled in crisis, and finally chose a measure which had never been used before and has never used again after this incident. Ewha fired five professors, including Professor Young Oon Kim, and expelled 14 students. The expelled students include five who had already graduated. Yonsei, too, fired one professor and expelled two students.

The school chaplain of Ewha tried advising the students, "You can attend that church after you graduate. That way, no harm will come to the school." It was no use, however.

Instead, the students vehemently protested. "There are many atheists in our school," they would say, "and we even have the children of traditional shamans attending our school. How can the school justify expelling us?"

The school, however, would not listen. It simply kept repeating its position: "We are a private school, and a Christian school. We have the right to expel any student we choose."

When the media got word of the incident, one newspaper carried an editorial titled, "Expulsion is wrong in country with religious freedom," and it became a topic for general public debate. Ewha was supported by a Christian foundation in Canada, and it was concerned that their support would be cut if it became known that a large number of their students were attending a church considered to be heretical In those days, Ewha would hold chapel three times a week, take attendance and submit the attendance record to the mission headquarters.

After the students were expelled and the professors fired, public opinion began to turn in our favor. Ewha, in an effort to counter this trend, started false rumors so vile that I hesitate to even speak of them. Unfortunately, it often happens that the viler the rumor, the more people are apt to believe it is true. These false rumors began to feed on each other and take on a life of their own, and our church suffered the effects for more than a year.

I did not want the problem to grow out of control like this. I didn't want to cause a problem. I tried to convince the students and professors that they could simply lead quiet lives of faith and there was no need for them to leave the dormitories and cause such a public fuss. They were adamant, however. They said to me, "Why do you tell us not to come here? We want to receive the same grace as everyone else." In the end, they were all forced to leave their schools, but I was not comfortable with this.

After being forced out their schools, the students went as a group to a prayer hall on Mt. Samgak on the outskirts of Seoul to seek comfort for their wounded hearts. They had been kicked out of their schools, their families were angry with them, and their friends were reluctant to meet them. They had no place to go. They fasted and spent their entire time praying with such emotion that their eyes and noses ran. Soon, some of them began to speak in tongues. God appears when we are on the edge of desperation. The students who were expelled from their schools and cast out by their families and society found God in the prayer hall on Mt. Samgak.

I went to Mt Samgak and gave food to the students who had become emaciated from fasting, and comforted them. "It's bad enough that you've been unjustly expelled," I told them. "You don't need to fast. If your conscience is clear over what you have done, then being insulted for it is not dishonorable. Don't be discouraged but wait for your time."

Five of those students who had been seniors later transferred into Sookmyung Women's University, but this incident played a decisive role in giving me an extremely negative reputation. The newspaper reports began to read as if all the evil acts by all new religions at the time were attributable to our church. People who first reacted to the rumors with "It could be true," began to say, "It's true."

It hurt to be subjected to such unfair treatment. The injustice was so intense that it made me angry, and I wanted to shout out in rebuttal. I did not speak out, however, or attempt to fight them. We had many other tasks to accomplish and had no time to be fighting. I believed that the misunderstandings against us would be resolved with time, and that we did not need to be overly concerned about them. I pretended not to hear the people who were going around saying, "Sun Myung Moon should be struck by lightning," and those Christian ministers who prayed for my death.

Instead of dying down, the rumors became even more outrageous with each passing day. The whole world seemed to be united in pointing ringers of accusation in my direction. Even in the heat of the Heungnam fertilizer factory, I had refused to let others see the skin on my shins. Yet, now the rumors had it that I was dancing around the church without any clothing. From that day, people coming to our church for the first rime would look at me with eyes that seemed to say, "Does that guy really take his clothes off and dance?" I knew better than anyone that it would take time for such misunderstandings to be cleared up. So I never tried to argue with them, saying, "I'm not like that." We cannot know anyone without meeting them, yet there were those who did not hesitate to curse me in various ways without ever having met me. I knew it was useless to try and do anything about such people, and so I endured in silence.

The Yonsei-Ewha incident forced our church to the brink of destruction. The image of "pseudo-religion," or "cult," became inseparably identified with my name, and all the established churches joined together to call for the government to prosecute me.

On July 4,1955, the police raided our church, and took me into custody, along with four members, Won Pil Kim, Hyu Young Eu, Hyo Min Eu and Hyo Won Eu. Ministers and elders of the established churches had joined hands with the authorities to write letters asking that our church be closed down. Because of this, four of our members who had been with me since the beginning were forced to spend time in prison with me. The matter did not end there. The police investigated my background and came up with a charge of evading the draft. By the time I escaped from prison in North Korea and made my way to South Korea, I was already beyond the age of compulsory military service. Yet, they charged me with evading the draft.