Experiences in Danbury Prison — Interview With Mr. Kamiyama
December 17, 1984
Excerpts from Mr. Kamiyama’s Diary
One week after Mr. Kamiyama’s release from prison in Danbury, he shared parts of his diary, as well as insights he had gained while staying with Father, in an interview.
August 20, Monday, 5:30 a.m.:
Father and I went into the kitchen; outside it was still dark. After we finished all the preparations for breakfast, we waited outside the building until all the inmates had finished their meal.
The time for breakfast is 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. After that we would do the cleanup. During the time that we waited outside the prison building, Father and I would have conversations about many different topics, especially about the world of God and the world of love.
On this particular morning when Father spoke about the world of God, I felt God’s love with my whole body. Then I saw the morning sun. It looked so beautiful, truly beautiful; then the autumn wind began to blow and I felt chilly. As he looked at the far distant sky, Father said this winter would become very cold. Then, shifting his eyes towards the East he said, “Now they must be harvesting halibut in Alaska.” He looked very nostalgic, remembering his tuna fishing in Alaska and in Gloucester.
Then Father started speaking very deeply about his thoughts and feelings about prison: “The person who is in the highest position has to go down to the lowest position and then serve all the way through. That is the true way.”
“Similarly, a diamond is the result of coal transformed under great pressure. The diamond is the highest and most valuable of all stones, and yet it corresponds to coal, which is the lowest and most crude. So in a sense diamonds and coal are actually close relatives.
“Likewise, the human reproductive organs are the beginning point of love and life, and are called the most holy place, the most important part of men and women. Yet these organs also eliminate the waste of the human body, so they correspond to the highest and to the lowest functions at the same time. Therefore the highest goes to the lowest, and they form an eternal cycle,” Father said.
By the same token, in order for Father and Mother to stand in the position of True Parents on the world level, they must go to the hell of this world, to the lowest position. That’s what the prison experience means.
They have to serve the inmates and all the people connected to the prison. They have to serve all the way through. By doing so, the position of parents of the world becomes eternal for the first time.
September 13th, Thursday, 8:30 a.m.:
Col. Pak and Rev. Kwak visited Father in order to report to him. At 3:30 p.m. everybody went home. After that it was time to study, time to read Father’s words. When I read aloud for Father in Japanese, we would often get excited. All the inmates would yell, “Hey, quiet!” So we couldn’t read inside when it got dark, but had to go outside and read by the little foot light on the concrete pathway. With that light we kept reading. The chilly autumn wind was blowing. And in the darkness, fighting against that cold wind, the dim light and my tiredness, I read Father’s words for hours.
Father himself really focused enthusiastically on his words. He didn’t hear any other noise, he forgot to eat, he forgot everything; he was completely involved in listening to the words he had spoken before. I was reading from the “Source of Filial Piety and Loyalty,” given in 1965. Then Father said, “Kamiyama, before you leave this prison I have to check everything that I have ever spoken before.” That was Father’s determination.
I have been compiling volumes of speeches that Father has given in Japanese. Some of them were given in America and translated from English. There are up to seven or eight volumes already.
September 14th, Friday:
After his many visitors went home, Father immediately started to study Spanish. Holding either a Spanish or an English dictionary in his left hand. Father studied very seriously, and with dedication. At 3:30 p.m. we went to the kitchen to work. And then at 6:00 o’clock, after we had finished all the assigned tasks, we immediately went to study Father’s word.
Facing Father I started to read the speech entitled, “Love Race” with a loud voice. Father said, “To read aloud means that the voice which is speaking the truth, the word of God, will be recorded and remembered in the whole universe, both the spiritual and physical worlds.” As Father said that, I felt that I should truly be grateful to be able to read Father’s own words in front of him in prison, and to be recorded. Father told me many times, “When you speak, say the word of God out loud.”
September 24th, Monday:
Today was the 56th day since Father entered this prison. When we came to this prison, the yard and the ground were full of weeds, and stones: it looked very dirty and ugly and wild — not nice at all.
Father had predicted that within the first 40 days something would happen concerning the grounds. I didn’t know what it could be, but around the 37th day of our stay at Danbury, the leader of prison started pushing everyone to clean up. I felt that spirit world was causing this.
On the 40th day itself — for the first time in prison history — “open house” was announced, meaning that visitors were allowed to see the inside of the prison building. And today, on the 56th day, the grounds were completely tamed and cleaned up — very beautiful. All the lawns had been cut, and pine trees had been planted. The yard became truly wonderful. These particular pine trees are about 20 years old, so their trunks are about a foot and a half to two feet in diameter. They are nice, sturdy trees.
Anyway, as Father looked at the biggest pine tree, he remembered the time that he planted pine trees at Chung Pyung Lake in Korea. He planted many, many pine trees there in the mountains. Father remembered that very nostalgically and said that he had planted them for the future, so that the land would become a foundation for the university — Father’s university and God’s university.
So looking at the planted pine trees here in Danbury, he transferred his thoughts back to Korea many years ago.
The pine trees at Danbury prison will become a memorial of Father’s imprisonment.
Then Father talked about the pine tree’s dark green needles. He really loves them; they are his favorite kind of leaf. So he said, “How do you like this? It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s wonderful, isn’t it, Kamiyama? I love this green.” The autumn wind started blowing, and the pines were waving in the wind. Father watched their movement and said, “Look, Kamiyama, the pine trees are dancing! Waving and dancing! Don’t you see?” He spoke very, very poetically. Then he said, “Look, nature exists to please man. Nature is a material resource for the education of man.”
Father sat with his legs crossed, and quietly rotated his body about while deeply communicating with nature. At such times he is looking at the past, present and future. His posture is so mystical, so mysterious. I cannot translate it into words because it’s beyond description.
Experiencing this with Father, I felt that between Father and nature there is a special relationship or special communication that we do not comprehend — something very profound. It is such a beautiful, nostalgic relationship. I felt this strongly and deeply.
Interview with Mr. Kamiyama — Final Reflections
I have made a list of certain points I learned about our Father while staying with him.
I saw that Father practices love based on forgiveness in the midst of insults and contempt. Because the inmates don’t know anything about Father’s value, they say, “Hey, Moon!” or utter other kinds of insults that shouldn’t even be forgiven. But Father puts himself in the position of servant of servants and forgives all this with love. I have witnessed this.
I saw that Father digests and dominates the circumstances and his environment with patience, in order to bring victory in his position. Knowing his position as the center of indemnity, he still acts as a servant of love and controls that dirty prison environment in order to bring victory on the worldwide and universal levels.
I saw that Father denies himself completely each day for the sake of the future. He said, “Self- denial cannot be self-denial all the way.” Self-denial means that you lose yourself; but actually the purpose of self-denial is to bring victory. Father is such a self-denying person.
I saw that Father turns everything into appreciation and gratitude, thinking that this particular period is an indemnity period. Therefore, even though Father is in an environment where he could complain constantly, he doesn’t say even one word of complaint.
For example, Father’s prison bed is really junk. If you move it even one inch, it squeaks. Also, there is no wood inside to give support; it’s all just wires. I wondered if Father would say something like, “It’s very bad for your back,” but he didn’t say a word.
Instead he made a device, putting newspapers in to level himself. He just made efforts to improve the environment for his back.
Also, Father is used to Korean and Japanese food, and from that standpoint the prison food is awful. However the food was, though, Father never said a word, and I didn’t even sense Father feeling how bad it tasted.
The only thing he mentioned about the food just recently was. “In comparison to the food in the North Korean prison camp this is like heaven.” Also in Korea there is no material abundance, but here we can have plenty of extra food and even throw away the leftovers. Father compares his situation positively and appreciates it. That way he can appreciate the food in prison. Father maintains that attitude in order to fulfill the time period of indemnity victoriously. If you say one word of complaint during the indemnity time period, your conditional offering can be destroyed.
I saw that Father finds the most dirty work that no one wants to do, and carries it out. That is our Father.
Many times I tried to take a job away from Father and do it myself, but he pushed me away and said, “No, I must do it! This is my job!” For example, after people scrubbed and mopped the floor, they would push all the dirt into one corner and leave it there. Then Father would take care of it.
Also, whenever people did any cleaning in the kitchen, they would just put the mop or the dirty towels in a bucket and let them pile up. Father would pick up these smelly towels, clean them, and put them into a nice, straight pile. People would use them to clean up again, and just throw them back into the bucket. Then Father would repeat the same process all over again.
I also tried to take that job away from Father, but Father refused over and over again. So Father always looked for the dirtiest kind of job he could find and insisted on doing it himself.
Father meditates all the time, and quietly, as I described before.
Father makes his own goals, and sets up the environment to fulfill them. For example, when he wanted to study and there was no light, he found a way by using the small pathway light outside.
I can see him preparing for the future. He’s studying Spanish very hard, for South America, Central America, and all the Spanish speaking people. According to Mormon prediction and prophesy, the Messiah must come to both North and South America.
Father serves Cain all the way. He’s an expert in that principle.
Tuesdays is “open shop,” meaning that you can buy things like cookies, juice and other drinks from a little store inside the visiting room. Father usually bought a lot of these snacks and then gave them away to everybody. People would feel really shocked, but they appreciated it and were grateful to the “Rev,” as they call him.
Sometimes I had to rush to work and just left my bed a complete mess. When I came back later on Father himself had already straightened up everything. I was so surprised! Father did that many times. And again, whenever I tried to fix Father’s bed, he wouldn’t let me saying, “No, no!
At other times I tried to give Father a massage because he was very, very tired, but he would never let me. “No, I have to do it myself!” he would say, and he went to the corner and rubbed his back against the doorknob.
I came out of jail on December 4th. On that day, when I was about to leave prison, Father himself started to tie my shoes. I said, “Oh, I will do it myself!” But Father said, “No! This is the way to do it,” and he himself sat down and tied my shoes. I was so shocked.
I witnessed a man of love and deep compassion. He is personally interested in people’s lives. So he would ask his inmates: “How are your wife and your children? How is your family life?” etc. He also asked each of them, “Why did you come to this prison? How are you doing?” Father spoke in English and he wanted to know all the details.
Father found that some of the people who were sentenced to Danbury were actually innocent. They had been pressured or threatened by other people so that they couldn’t resist and had to take the blame for the crime on themselves.
One person was threatened with pistols by some gangsters who said, “If you betray us we’ll slaughter your wife and family.” So he had no other choice but to take the crime upon himself and go to prison.
When Father found out about these things he felt sorry and sympathetic towards those people. Once Father even suggested to me, “Maybe we should help to hire a lawyer again, and get this man another trial and another chance for justice.”
I have known Father for twelve years, but for the first time I discovered that Father’s love for Mother is very deep. Father has many tender feelings for Mother.
When he would wait for the moment that he could talk with Mother on the phone, he was sometimes very shy, like a boy who is longing and deeply in love. So he would say over the phone. “Omma, Mammi, Mammi, good morning!” Sometimes he seemed to be freshly in love. Their relationship is so beautiful.
By the way, one of the instructions I got from Father before I came out of jail was to teach members to express the love between husband and wife more openly. As a Japanese I would never kiss my wife in front of people. So when my wife visited me in prison, Father pushed me: “Go ahead, kiss your wife!” I had no other choice but to do it. When Father would meet Mother in the visiting room, he would also kiss her. They have such a natural, beautiful relationship. In return Mother relates to Father very lovingly. Watching Father and Mother relate to each other, I learned about the love of a true couple.
Father told me three points: inherit the love of parents, express and reveal the love between husband and wife, and teach children’s love.
In order to attend pledge service, Father always purifies his body, takes a shower and puts on clean underwear and socks. Even if it were Sunday and the next day was the first of the month, he would again purify his body and present himself to God in pledge.
No matter what, under any circumstances, Father would still witness and teach the people around him.
Question: What can we, the members, do to help Father, besides pray?
Every Sunday during pledge service Father prays for unity among all the brothers and sisters, especially from among the four nations, Korea, Japan, America and Germany. He prays that leaders and members can always be united. Therefore, if we make effort to become one, Father’s liberation from prison may be faster, I feel.
If the members are united, the Christian churches can also melt together much faster. If people are united within our church, then our church can unite with other Christian churches and then all together we can unite with the nation of America, which is basically a Christian nation.
In Father’s prayers he always remembers those who pray for him in prison, that they may receive three times more blessing.