Sun Myung Moon

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Sun Myung Moon
File:Rev. Sun Myung Moon speaks, Las Vegas, NV, USA on April 4, 2010.png
Moon in Las Vegas, Nevada, 4 April 2010
Born Mun Yong-myeong
(1920-02-25)25 February 1920
Chongju, North P'yŏng'an, Japanese Korea
(now North Pyongan, North Korea)
Died 3 September 2012(2012-09-03) (aged 92)
Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Nationality Korean
Occupation Religious leader, businessperson, media mogul, political activist
Known for Founder of Unification Church
Spouse(s) Choi Sun-kil (1944–1953)
Hak Ja Han (1960–2012)
Children 16
Korean name
Hangul 문선명
Revised Romanization Mun Seon-myeong
McCune–Reischauer Mun Sŏnmyŏng
Birth name
Hangul 문용명
Hanja 文龍明
Revised Romanization Mun Yong-myeong
McCune–Reischauer Mun Yongmyŏng

Sun Myung Moon (Korean 문선명 Mun Seon-myeong; born Mun Yong-myeong; 25 February 1920 – 3 September 2012) was a Korean religious leader, businessperson, political activist, and media mogul.[1][2] A messiah claimant, he was the founder of the Unification Church (members of which have sometimes been called "Moonies" and called him their True Father), and of its widely noted "Blessing" or mass wedding ceremony, and the author of its unique theology the Divine Principle.[3][4][5] He was an ardent anti-communist and advocate for Korean reunification, for which he was recognized by the governments of both South and North Korea.[6] His business interests included News World Communications, an international news media corporation known for its American subsidiary The Washington Times,[7][8][9] and Tongil Group, a South Korean business group (chaebol),[10][11][12] as well as various affiliated organizations.[1][13]

Moon was born in what is now North Korea. When he was a child, his family converted to Christianity.[14] In 1947 he was convicted by the North Korean government of spying for South Korea and given a five-year sentence to the Hŭngnam labor camp.[15] In 1954, he founded the Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea based on conservative, family-oriented teachings from new interpretations of the Bible.[14][15] In 1971, he moved to the United States[16] and became well-known after giving a series of public speeches on his beliefs.[17][18] In the 1982 case United States v. Sun Myung Moon he was charged by the United States government with willfully filing false federal income tax returns, found guilty in a jury trial, and sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. His case generated protests from clergy and civil libertarians.[5][19][20][21][22][23]

Critics labeled Moon a cult leader, who made high demands on his followers.[24][25][26] His wedding ceremonies also drew criticism, especially after they involved members of other churches, including Roman Catholic archbishop Emmanuel Milingo.[27][28] He was also criticized for his relationships with controversial political and religious figures, including United States presidents Richard Nixon,[29] George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev,[30] North Korean president Kim Il Sung,[31] and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.[32]

Early life

Sun Myung Moon was born Mun Yong-myeong on 25 February 1920, in modern-day North P'yŏng'an Province, North Korea, at a time when Korea was under Japanese rule. He was the younger of two sons in a farming family of eight children.[15] Moon's family rejected the Shinto faith pushed by the country’s Japanese rulers and followed Confucianist beliefs until he was around 10 years old, when they converted to Christianity and joined the Presbyterian Church.[33] When he was 15, Moon said that Jesus Christ anointed him to carry out his unfinished work by becoming parent to all of humanity.[4][26][34]

In 1941, Moon began studying electrical engineering at Waseda University in Japan.[24] During this time he cooperated with Communist Party members in the Korean independence movement against Imperial Japan.[35] In 1943, he returned to Seoul and married Sun Kil Choi on 28 April 1945. On 2 April 1946 their son, Sung Jin Moon was born.[1] In the 1940s, Moon attended a church in Sangdo dong that was led by the messianic minister Kim Baek-moon. Kim claimed that he had been approached by Jesus on Gangsan mountain, and was given the mission to spread the message of a "new Israel” throughout the world.[36]

Following World War II, Korea was divided along the 38th parallel into two trusteeships: the United States and the Soviet Union.[26][37] Pyongyang was the center of Christian activity in Korea until 1945. From the late forties 166 priests and other religious figures were killed or disappeared in concentration camps, including Francis Hong Yong-ho, bishop of Pyongyang[38] and all monks of Tokwon abbey.[39][40] In 1947 Moon was convicted by the North Korean government of spying for South Korea and given a five-year sentence to the Hŭngnam labor camp.[15] In 1950, during the Korean War United Nations troops had raided Hŭngnam and the guards fled. Moon escaped and traveled to Busan, South Korea.[41][42][43]

Founding the Unification Church

Moon emerged from his years in the labor camp as a staunch anti-communist.[15] His teachings viewed the Cold War between democracy and communism as the final conflict between God and Satan, with divided Korea as its primary front line.[44] In 1954, Moon formally founded the Unification Church as the "Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity" in Seoul. He quickly drew young acolytes who helped to build the foundations of church affiliated business and cultural organizations.[15][45] At his new church, he preached a conservative, family-oriented value system and his interpretation of the Bible.[5][46] On 8 January 1957, Moon and Choi divorced.[1]


The Divine Principle or Exposition of the Divine Principle (Korean 원리강론/原理講論, translit. wonli ganglon) is the main theological textbook of the Unification Church. It was co-written by Moon and early disciple Hyo Won Eu and first published in 1966. A translation entitled Divine Principle was published in English in 1973. The book lays out the core of Unification theology, and is held to have the status of scripture by believers. Following the format of systematic theology, it includes (1) God's purpose in creating human beings, (2) the fall of man, and (3) restoration – the process through history by which God is working to remove the ill effects of the fall and restore humanity back to the relationship and position that God originally intended.[47]

God is viewed as the creator, whose nature combines both masculinity and femininity, and is the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness. Human beings and the universe reflect God's personality, nature, and purpose.[48] "Give-and-take action" (reciprocal interaction) and "subject and object position" (initiator and responder) are "key interpretive concepts",[49] and the self is designed to be God's object.[49] The purpose of human existence is to return joy to God. The "four-position foundation" is "another important and interpretive concept", and explains in part the emphasis on the family.[50]

Second marriage and blessing ceremonies

Moon and Hak Ja Han

Marriage to Hak Ja Han

Moon married his second wife, Hak Ja Han, on 11 April 1960, soon after she turned 17 years old, in a ceremony called the Holy Marriage. Han is called "Mother" or "True Mother". She and Moon together are referred to as the "True Parents" by members of the Unification Church and their family as the "True Family".[51][52][53][54][55][56] Moon has said that Jesus called upon him to carry out his unfinished work, including his failure to marry.[20] Jesus was divine but not God; he was supposed to be the second Adam who would create a perfect family by joining with the ideal wife and creating a pure family that would have begun humanity's liberation from its sinful condition.[24] When Jesus was crucified before marrying, he redeemed mankind spiritually but not physically. That task was left to the "True Parents" - Moon and Han - who would link married couples and their families to God.[13][24][34]

Blessing ceremonies

Moon presides over a mass blessing ceremony in 2010

Moon was renowned for presiding over mass "blessing ceremonies", the most famous ritual of the Unification Church.[5][26][33][57] In church doctrine, this ceremony removes couples from the lineage of sinful humanity and grafts them into God’s sinless lineage.[26][33]

Blessing ceremonies have attracted a lot of attention in the press and in the public imagination, often being labeled "mass weddings".[58] However, in most cases the Blessing ceremony is not a legal wedding ceremony. Some couples are already married and those that are engaged are later legally married according to the laws of their own countries.[59][60] Meant to highlight the church's emphasis on traditional morality, they brought Moon both fame and notoriety.[61][62]

36 couples participated in the first ceremony in 1961 for members of the early church in Seoul, South Korea. The ceremonies continued to grow in scale; over 2,000 couples participated in the 1982 one at New York's Madison Square Garden, the first outside South Korea.[14][24] In 1997, about 30,000 couples took part in a ceremony in Washington, DC.[63]

Moon matched couples from differing races and nationalities as part of his belief that all of humanity should be united: "International and intercultural marriages are the quickest way to bring about an ideal world of peace. People should marry across national and cultural boundaries with people from countries they consider to be their enemies so that the world of peace can come that much more quickly."[5][14][34]

Move to United States

In 1971, Moon moved to the United States, which he had first visited in 1965. He remained a citizen of the Republic of Korea and maintained a residence in South Korea.[64] In 1972, Moon founded the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, a series of scientific conferences.[16][65] The first conference had 20 participants, while the largest conference in Seoul in 1982, had 808 participants from over 100 countries.[66][67] Participants included Nobel laureates John Eccles (Physiology or Medicine 1963, who chaired the 1976 conference),[68] Eugene Wigner (Physics 1963).[69]

In 1974, Moon asked church members in the United States to support President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal when Nixon was being pressured to resign his office. Church members prayed and fasted in support of Nixon for three days in front of the United States Capitol, under the motto: "Forgive, Love and Unite." On 1 February 1974 Nixon publicly thanked them for their support and officially received Moon. This brought the church into widespread public and media attention.[29]

In the 1970s, Moon, who had seldom before spoken to the general public, gave a series of public speeches to audiences in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. The largest were a rally in 1975 against North Korean aggression in Seoul and a speech at an event organized by the Unification Church in Washington D.C.[17][18]

United States v. Sun Myung Moon

In 1982, Moon was convicted in the United States of filing false federal income tax returns and conspiracy. His conviction was upheld on appeal in a split decision. Moon was given an 18-month sentence and a $15,000 fine. He served 13 months of the sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury before being released on good behavior to a halfway house.[70]

The case was the center of national freedom of religion and free speech debates.[71] Prof. Laurence H. Tribe of the Harvard University Law School argued that the trial by jury had "doomed (Moon) to conviction based on religious prejudice."[72] The American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A, the National Council of Churches, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference filed briefs in support of Moon.[73] Many notable clergy, including Jerry Falwell and Joseph Lowery, signed petitions protesting the government's case and spoke out in defense of Moon.[74][75]

Washington Times

In 1982 The Washington Times was founded by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate associated with Moon which also owns newspapers in South Korea, Japan, and South America, as well as the news agency United Press International.[76] The political views of The Washington Times have often been described as conservative.[77][78][79] The Times is read by Washington DC insiders (most of whom also read the more successful Washington Post), notably Ronald Reagan, but has never been a financial success.[80][81] By 2002 Moon had invested roughly $1.7 billion to support the Times,[82] which he called "the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world".[83]

Twenty-first century events

In 2000, Moon sponsored a United Nations conference which proposed the formation of "a religious assembly, or council of religious representatives, within the structure of the United Nations."[84]

In 2003, Moon sponsored the first Peace Cup international club football tournament.[85][86][87] The Los Angeles Galaxy, which competes in Major League Soccer, played in South Korea in the Peace Cup.[88] During the event Pelé, widely regarded as the best soccer player of all time and former Brazilian Sports Minister, met with Moon.[89]

In 2003, George D. Chryssides of the University of Wolverhampton criticized Moon for introducing doctrines which tended to divide the Christian church rather than uniting it, which was his stated purpose in founding the Unification Church (originally named the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity).[51]

In April 2008, Moon appointed his youngest son, Hyung Jin Moon, to be the new leader of the Unification Church and the worldwide Unification Movement, saying, "I hope everyone helps him so that he may fulfil his duty as the successor of the True Parents."[90]

In 2009, Moon's autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen (Korean: 평화를 사랑하는 세계인으로),[91] was published by Gimm-Young Publishers in South Korea. The book became a best-seller in Korea and Japan.[92][93][94][95] Said to be the inspiration of Gimm-Young CEO Eun Ju Park, a devout Buddhist, the book focused more on Moon's role as a Korean patriot and an international peace advocate than as a religious figure.[96]

By 2010, Moon had given much of the responsibility for the Unification Church's religious and business activities to his children, who were then in their 30s and 40s.[97] In 2012, the South Korean press reported that Moon traveled worldwide in his private jet which cost $50 million.[98][99]

Illness and death

On 14 August 2012, after suffering from pneumonia earlier in the month, Moon was admitted to Saint Mary's Hospital at The Catholic University of Korea in Seoul.[100] On 15 August 2012, he was reported to be gravely ill and was put on a respirator at the intensive care unit of St. Mary’s Hospital.[101] On 31 August 2012, Moon was transferred to a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul,[102] after suffering multiple organ failure.[103] Moon died on the morning of 3 September 2012 (1:54 am KST) at the age of 92.[104]

Activities and interests


In 1964 Moon founded the Korean Culture and Freedom Foundation, which promoted the interests of South Korea and sponsored Radio Free Asia. Former U.S. Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were honorary presidents or directors at various times.[105]

In 1972 Moon predicted the decline of communism, based on the teachings of the Divine Principle: "After 7,000 biblical years — 6,000 years of restoration history plus the millennium, the time of completion — communism will fall in its 70th year. Here is the meaning of the year 1978. Communism, begun in 1917, could maintain itself approximately 60 years and reach its peak. So 1978 is the border line and afterward communism will decline; in the 70th year it will be altogether ruined. This is true. Therefore, now is the time for people who are studying communism to abandon it."[106]

In 1980, Moon asked church members to found CAUSA International as an anti-communist educational organization, based in New York.[107] In the 1980s, it was active in 21 countries. In the United States it sponsored educational conferences for Christian leaders[108] as well as seminars and conferences for Senate staffers and other activists.[109] In 1986, it produced the anti-communist documentary film Nicaragua Was Our Home.[110]

In August 1985, seven years before the fall of Soviet Union, the Professors World Peace Academy, an organization founded by Moon, sponsored a conference in Geneva to debate the theme "The situation in the world after the fall of the communist empire."[111]

In April 1990, Moon visited the Soviet Union and met with President Mikhail Gorbachev. Moon expressed support for the political and economic transformations under way in the Soviet Union. At the same time the Unification Church was expanding into formerly communist nations.[30] In 1991, he met with Kim Il Sung, the North Korean President, to discuss ways to achieve peace on the Korean peninsula, as well as on international relations, tourism, etc.[31] In 1994, Moon was officially invited to the funeral of Kim Il Sung, in spite of the absence of diplomatic relations between North Korea and South Korea.[112]

Moon and his church are known for their efforts to promote Korean unification.[6] In 2003, Korean Unification Church members started a political party in South Korea. It was named "The Party for God, Peace, Unification, and Home." In its inauguration declaration, the new party said it would focus on preparing for Korean reunification by educating the public about God and peace.[113] Moon was a member of the Honorary Committee of the Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea.[114] In 2012 Moon was posthumously awarded North Korea's National Reunification Prize.[115]

Moon's projects have been lobbied in the National Congress of Brazil by Brazilian MPs.[116][117][118] Moon has held dialogues between members of the Israeli Knesset and the Palestinian Parliament as part of his Middle East Peace Initiatives.[119]


News World Communications, is an international news media corporation[7] founded by Moon in 1976. It owns United Press International, The World and I, Tiempos del Mundo (Latin America), The Segye Ilbo (South Korea), The Sekai Nippo (Japan), the Zambezi Times (South Africa), The Middle East Times (Egypt).[8] Until 2008 it published the Washington D.C.-based newsmagazine Insight on the News.[7] Until 2010, it owned the Washington Times. On 2 November 2010, Sun Myung Moon and a group of former Times editors purchased the Times from News World.[9]

Tongil Group is a South Korean business group (chaebol "Tongil" is Korean for "unification," the name of the Unification Church in Korean is "Tongilgyo."), founded in 1963 by Moon as a nonprofit organization to provide revenue for the church. Its core focus was manufacturing but in the 1970s and 1980s it expanded by founding or acquiring businesses in pharmaceuticals, tourism, and publishing.[10] Among Tongil Group’s chief holdings are: The Ilwha Company, which produces ginseng and related products; Ilshin Stone, building materials; and Tongil Heavy Industries, machine parts including hardware for the South Korean military.[12]

In 1982, Moon sponsored the film Inchon, an historical drama about the Battle of Inchon during the Korean War. It was not successful critically or financially.[120]

The church is the largest owner of U.S. sushi restaurants and in the Kodiak region of Alaska, is the area's largest employer.[121][122] The church owns the only automobile manufacturing plant in North Korea, Pyeonghwa Motors, and is the second largest exporter of Korean goods.[123][124][125][126]

In 1989, Moon founded Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma,[127] the most successful soccer club in Korean football, having won a record 7 league titles, 2 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, and 2 AFC Champions League titles.

In 2011, construction of $18 million Yeosu Expo Hotel was completed; the hotel located at Moon-owned The Ocean Resort in Yeosu, the venue of the Expo 2012.[128] The opening ceremony was attended by the governor of the province.[128][129] Another one, The Ocean Hotel, was completed in February 2012.[130] Moon-owned Yeongpyeong Resort, The Ocean Resort and Pineridge Resort are scheduled to host the Expo 2012,[131][132] 2018 Winter Olympics[133][134] and Formula 1.[135] Moon also managed the FIFA-accredited Peace Cup.[136] The FIFA itself has funded more than $2m for the Peace Cup since 2003.[137]

Race relations

Moon took a strong stance against racism and racial discrimination. In 1974 he urged Unification Church members to support an African American president of the United States: "We have had enough of white presidents. So, let's this time elect a president from the Negro race. What will you do if I say so? There's no question there. We must never forget that we are brothers and sisters in a huge human family. In any level of community, we must become like a family."[138]

In 1981 he said that he himself was a victim of racial prejudice in the United States (concerning his prosecution on tax charges in United States v. Sun Myung Moon), saying: "I would not be standing here today if my skin were white or my religion were Presbyterian. I am here today only because my skin is yellow and my religion is Unification Church. The ugliest things in this beautiful country of America are religious bigotry and racism."[139]

Several African American organizations and individuals spoke out in defense of Moon at this time including the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Conference of Black Mayors,[140] and Joseph Lowery who was then the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.[22]

In a later controversy over the use of the word "Moonie" by the American news media, which was said to be offensive, Moon's position was supported by civil rights activists Ralph Abernathy[141][142][143] and James Bevel.[144]

In 2000 Moon and The Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan got together to sponsor the Million Family March,[145] a rally in Washington D.C to celebrate family unity and racial and religious harmony; as well as to address other issues, including abortion, capital punishment, health care, education, welfare and Social Security reform, substance abuse prevention, and overhaul of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.[146] In his keynote speech Farrakhan called for racial harmony.[147]


In 1962, Moon and other church members founded the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea, a children's dance troop which presents traditional Korean folk dances. He said that this was to project a positive image of South Korea to the world.[148] In 1990, Moon founded the $8-million Universal Ballet project, with Soviet-born Oleg Vinogradov as its art director and Moon's daughter-in-law Julia as its prima ballerina. It was described by The New York Times as the top ballet company in Asia.[149]

Honorary degrees and other recognition

Moon held honorary degrees from more than ten universities and colleges worldwide;[150][151][152] at least one of which, the University of Bridgeport, received significant funding from his organizations.[153] He was a member of the Honorary Committee of the Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea.[154] In 1985, he and his wife received Doctor of Divinity degrees from Shaw University.[155]

In 2004, at event in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, in Washington, D.C., Moon was honored as the Messiah. This attracted much public attention and was criticized by The New York Times and The Washington Post as a possible violation of the principle of separation of church and state in the United States. Some of the political figures who had attended the event later told reporters that they had been misled as to its nature.[156][157]

Moon was posthumously awarded North Korea's National Reunification Prize in 2012[115] and a meritorious award by K-League.[158][159] On the first anniversary of Moon's death, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed condolences to Han and the family saying: "Kim Jong-un prayed for the repose of Moon, who worked hard for national concord, prosperity and reunification and world peace."[160]

In 2013, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai stated: "I remain greatly inspired by people like Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon, whose work and life across continents continue to impact positively on the lives of millions of others in the world."[161]


In the 1940s, Moon, who at that time was still known by his birth name Mun Yong-myung, attended a church in Sangdo dong that was led by the messianic minister Kim Baek-moon. Kim claimed that he had been approached by Jesus on Gangsan mountain, and was given the mission to spread the message of a "new Israel” throughout the world.[162] Kim wrote down his revelations in a book titled, The Fundamental Christian Principles. It was around this same time that Moon, whose given name means dragon, changed his name to Mun Seon-myeong, and began to claim that Jesus had appeared to him years earlier and had given him a similar mission. Moon eventually helped to develop his own book titled, The Original Text of the Divine Principle (later changed to the Exposition of the Divine Principle, and later changed again to the Divine Principle). There are similarities in both men's work related to the Principles of Creation, the Fall, and Restoration.[163] Moon himself stated that Kim was a "John the Baptist figure".[164] Critics argue that Moon stole his ideas from Kim.[165]

The Divine Principle was labeled as heretical by Protestant churches in South Korea, including Moon’s own Presbyterian Church. In the United States it was rejected by ecumenical organizations as being non-Christian.[51] Protestant commentators have also criticized Unification Church teachings as being contrary to the Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith alone.[166][167] Commentators have criticized the Divine Principle for saying that the First World War, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Cold War served as indemnity conditions to prepare the world for the establishment of the Kingdom of God.[168]

In her 1998 book, In the Shadow of the Moons, Moon's daughter-in-law Nan Sook Hong wrote that Moon's sexual indiscretions were explained to her by Han as having “providential” significance. Another early member, Annie Choi, said that she personally engaged in numerous picareum (ritual sex) sessions with Moon, along with at least six other female members.[169]

During the Cold War Moon was criticized by both the mainstream media and the alternative press for his anti-communist activism, which many said could lead to World War Three and a nuclear holocaust.[170] After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, some American conservatives criticized him for his softening of his previous anti-communist stance.[171][172]

In 1977 the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the Committee on International Relations, of the United States House of Representatives, while investigating the Koreagate scandal found that the South Korean National Intelligence Service (KCIA) had worked with the Unification Church to gain political influence within the United States, with some members working as volunteers in Congressional offices. Together they founded the Korean Cultural Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization which undertook public diplomacy for the Republic of Korea.[173] The committee also investigated possible KCIA influence on the Moon's campaign in support of Nixon.[174]

In 1980, Moon founded the international anti-communist organization CAUSA International which supported the Nicaraguan Contras and also reportedly helped finance a Bolivian military coup with connections to cocaine cartels and the fugitive Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie. The coup successfully overthrew a democratically elected government.[175][176] . Moon's newspaper, The Washington Times is said to have played a major role in introducing right wing propaganda into the United States news media, with links to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.[169][177] The Washington Times has also been criticized for its coverage of Middle East events.[178]

In the 1990s when Moon began to offer the Unification Church marriage blessing ceremony to members of other churches and religions he was criticized for creating possible confusion.[179] In 1998, journalist Peter Maass reported that some Unification Church members were dismayed and grumbled when Moon extended the Blessing to non-members because they had not gone through the same course that members had.[180] In 2001, the Unification Church came into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church when Catholic archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and Maria Sung, a 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist, married in a Unification Church Blessing ceremony, presided over by Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Following his marriage the Archbishop was called to the Vatican by Pope John Paul II, where he was asked not to see his wife anymore, and to move to a Capuchin monastery.[27] Sung went on a hunger strike to protest their separation. This attracted much media attention.[28] Milingo is now an advocate of the removal of the requirement for celibacy by priests in the Catholic Church. He is the founder of Married Priests Now!.[181]

Moon was accused by his critics of misusing his church, at the expense of his own followers, for personal gain. The church made millions by the selling of trinkets that were said to cause the liberation of their ancestors from hell.[182] These controversial and profitable ancestor liberation ceremonies continue to take place in the Unification Church in Cheong Pyoung South Korea.[183] Just after his death in 2012 Moon was criticized for a lack of transparency concerning the relationships between his religious and secular activities and projects.[184]

Moon spoke vehemently against homosexuals and compared them to "dirty dung-eating dogs".[185] He prophesied that "gays will be eliminated" in a "purge on God's orders”.[186]

In 2000 Moon was criticized, including by some members of his church, for his support of controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's Million Family March project.[32]

In 2006 investigative reporter Robert Parry criticized Moon's financial support for the government of North Korea and the Bush family in the United States, including presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. In 2009 Moon's support for the Japan–Korea Undersea Tunnel was criticized in Japan and South Korea as a possible threat to both nations' interests and national identities.[187]

Views on the role of Moon to church members

The Divine Principle itself says about Moon: "With the fullness of time, God has sent one person to this earth to resolve the fundamental problems of human life and the universe. His name is Sun Myung Moon. For several decades he wandered through the spirit world so vast as to be beyond imagining. He trod a bloody path of suffering in search of the truth, passing through tribulations that God alone remembers. Since he understood that no one can find the ultimate truth to save humanity without first passing through the bitterest of trials, he fought alone against millions of devils, both in the spiritual and physical worlds, and triumphed over them all. Through intimate spiritual communion with God and by meeting with Jesus and many saints in Paradise, he brought to light all the secrets of Heaven."[188]

In 1978 Rodney Sawatsky wrote in an article in Theology Today: "Why trust Rev. Moon's dreams and visions of the new age and his role in it, we ask? Most converts actually have had minimal contact with him. Frederick Sontag (Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, Abingdon, 1977) in his interviews with Moon appears to have found a pleasant but not an overwhelming personality. Charisma, as traditionally understood, seems hardly applicable here. Rather, Moon provides a model. He suffered valiantly, he knows confidently, he prays assuredly, he lives lovingly, say his followers. The Divine Principle is not an unrealizable ideal; it is incarnate in a man, it lives, it is imitable. His truth is experienced to be their truth. His explanation of the universe becomes their understanding of themselves and the world in which they live."[189]

In 1980 Sociologist Irving Louis Horowitz commented: "The Reverend Moon is a fundamentalist with a vengeance. He has a belief system that admits of no boundaries or limits, an all-embracing truth. His writings exhibit a holistic concern for the person, society, nature, and all things embraced by the human vision. In this sense the concept underwriting the Unification church is apt, for its primary drive and appeal is unity, urging a paradigm of essence in an overly complicated world of existence. It is a ready-made doctrine for impatient young people and all those for whom the pursuit of the complex has become a tiresome and fruitless venture."[190]

In 1998 investigative journalist Peter Maass wrote in an article in The New Yorker: "There are, certainly, differing degrees of devotion among Moon's followers; the fact that they bow at the right moment or shout Mansei! in unison doesn't mean they believe everything Moon says, or do precisely what he commands. Even on important issues, like Moon's claiming to be the messiah, there are church members whom I met, including a close aide to Moon, who demur. A religious leader whom they respect and whose theology they believe, yes; the messiah, perhaps not."[191]

In his 2004 book The New Religious Movement Experience in America religious scholar Eugene V. Gallagher wrote: "The Divine Principle's analysis of the Fall sets the stage for the mission of Rev. Moon, who in the last days brings a revelation that offers humankind the chance to return to an Edenic state. The account in the Divine Principle offers Unificationists a comprehensive context for understanding human suffering."[192]


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  2. News desk (2 September 2012). "Religious Leader, Media Mogul Rev. Sun Myung Moon Dies at Age 92". PBS NewsHour. 1996-2013 MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. Retrieved 20 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial self-proclaimed messiah figure who founded the Unification Church and built a business empire from scratch.
  3. Moon’s death marks end of an era, Eileen Barker, CNN, 2012-9-3, Although Moon is likely to be remembered for all these things – mass weddings, accusations of brainwashing, political intrigue and enormous wealth – he should also be remembered as creating what was arguably one of the most comprehensive and innovative theologies embraced by a new religion of the period.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Xaykaothao, Doualy (3 September 2013). "Sun Myung Moon, Unification Church Founder, Dies". NPR (National Public Radio). Retrieved 16 June 2013. The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, has died at the age of 92 in Korea. Unification church members viewed him as a messiah, despite allegations of cult-like behavior and financial fraud. Moon was known for presiding over mass weddings and starting the conservative newspaper The Washington Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sun Myung Moon's Groundbreaking Campaign to Open North Korea, The Atlantic, Armin Rosen, 6 September 2012, But for all the focus on the eccentric mogul's quirks and U.S. investments, his role in North Korea may turn out to be his most enduring legacy, a fascinating story of how one man opened one of the very few cracks in this modern hermit kingdom.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Who Owns What: News World Communications". The Columbia Journalism Review. 2003-11-24. Retrieved 2008-02-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>News World Communications is the media arm of Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. Holdings Newspapers and Magazines GolfStyles Magazine Middle Eastern Times The Segye Ilbo (South Korea) The Sekai Nippo (Tokyo) Tiempos del Mundo (Online Only) The World and I Wire Service United Press International (UPI)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Yahoo! Finance profile
  9. 9.0 9.1 Shapira, Ian (3 November 2010). "Moon group buys back Washington Times". Washington Post. p. C1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 Kim, Hyung-eun (12 April 2010). "Business engine of a global faith". Joong Ang Daily.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Kirk, Don (2 May 1998). "Reverend Moon's Group Wants to Talk Investment : Seoul Nods At Church's Foray North". New York Times. The Unification Church, whose Tongil Group ranks about 35th in size among South Korean conglomerates, appears to have Seoul's permission to discuss possible investments with North Korea. Tongil, which means "unification" in Korean, owns factories and a chain of small stores in the South.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 Kirk, Donald (2 May 2010). "Sons rise in a Moon's shadow". Forbes.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 Hagerty, Barbara Bradley (2 September 2012). "Rev. Moon, A 'Savior' To Some, Lived A Big Dream". (National Public Radio). Retrieved 19 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  17. 17.0 17.1 Richard Quebedeaux, Lifestyle : Conversations with Members of Unification Church. Retrieved 9 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  20. 20.0 20.1 Associated Press (2009-10-13). "Big wedding: 20,000 gather for mass nuptials". NBC News. Retrieved 16 June 2013. Over the next two decades, the weddings grew in scale and began to involve followers from Japan, Europe, Africa, Latin America, the U.S. and elsewhere. A 1982 mass wedding at Madison Square Garden in New York, the first held outside South Korea, drew tens of thousands of participants — and protesters. The ceremonies had been smaller in recent years.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. The Unification Church Aims a Major Public Relations Effort at Christian Leaders Christianity Today 19 April 1985.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Introvigne, Massimo, 2000, The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7, excerpt
  23. Moon's financial rise and fall,Harvard Crimson, 11 October 1984
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Schoifet, Mark (2 September 2012). "Sun Myung Moon, Church Head Who Ran Business Empire, Dies". Business Week. Bloomberg News. Retrieved 12 June 2013. As Moon's popularity grew, anti-Moon organizations began forming around the country. Defectors told tales of non-stop indoctrination at church-run camps, including yelling and physical abuse by instructors. Recruits weren't allowed time alone; someone even accompanied them to the bathroom.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. A+E Networks. (September 2013). "Sun Myung Moon.biography". Retrieved 16 June 2013. Best Known For Sun Myung Moon was founder and leader of the Unification Church, a religious movement whose followers were labeled "Moonies."<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 Richard Greene; K.J. Kwon; Greg Botelho (3 September 2013). "Rev. Moon, religious and political figure, dies in South Korea at 92". CNN. Retrieved 16 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. 27.0 27.1 Archbishop rejects Vatican ultimatum
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  30. 30.0 30.1 EVOLUTION IN EUROPE; New Flock for Moon Church: The Changing Soviet Student from The New York Times
  31. 31.0 31.1 At Time of Change for Rev. Moon Church, a Return to Tradition // The New York Times, 14 October 2009
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  47. Korean Moon: Waxing of Waning?, Leo Sandon Jr., Theology Today, Vol 35, No 2, July 1978, "The movement's official doctrinal statement, and a part of the revelation, is the Divine Principle. Both an oral tradition and a written one and published in several versions, Divine Principle is the Completed Testament. The Rev. Moon claims to have come not to destroy or abrogate the Old and New Testaments, but to fulfill them-to "complete" them. To his Moonist followers, the Rev. Moon is primarily "true father," probably the Messiah, and only secondarily a theologian. In an effort to systematize Moon's teachings, several members of the Unification Church in Korea have put together a developing theological system in Divine Principle which is impressive in its imaginative nature, coherence, and consistency, if not in its Christian orthodoxy. As the most complete expression of Moonist teachings to date, Divine Principle is the basic text of the Unification Church.4 The two major divisions of the system are the doctrines of Creation and Restoration. There are many subsets to these major divisions, but Creation and Restoration are the foci for the Moonist theological system."
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  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Unifying or Dividing? Sun Myung Moon and the Origins of the Unification Church George D. Chryssides, University of Wolverhampton, U.K. 2003, Since doctrine looms large in Christian thought, it is understandable that its objections to Unificationism are principally on doctrinal grounds. Although the Christian counter-cult literature does not always expound Unification teachings fairly, it is almost unanimous in identifying the respects in which Unificationism diverges from mainstream Christianity: it is unbiblical; teaches erroneous doctrines of God, Christ and salvation; Divine Principle usurps the status of the Judaeo-Christian Bible; it teaches that Jesus did not fully accomplish his mission and that a new messiah is needed to complete it; it introduces new rituals and forms of worship; and it is spiritist. As new religions progress, they occasionally gain acceptance into the mainstream fold, as happened with Seventh-day Adventism, and, even more strikingly, with the Worldwide Church of God. At the turn of the 21st century, however, Unificationism seems no more likely to gain recognition by mainstream Christians.
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  161. FULL TEXT: Tsvangirai Speech In South Korea. By Staff Reporter. Published: 25 February 2013
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  165. "The Divine Principle 'parallels of history' predicted the messiah would come in 1917. He did. His name was Kim Baek-moon, born on October 19, 1917. Kim wrote the 'parallels of history.' Moon stole them. That is why 1917 does not match up with Moon's 1920 birth". Retrieved 1 December 2015. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  166. Daske, D. and Ashcraft, W. 2005, New Religious Movements, New York: New York University Press, ISBN 0-8147-0702-5 p142
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  174. Ex-aide of Moon Faces Citation for Contempt, Associated Press, Eugene Register-Guard, August 5, 1977
  175. Scott, Peter Dale; Marshall, Jonathan (1998). Cocaine politics drugs, armies, and the CIA in Central America (Updated ed., Updated pbk. ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 219. ISBN 978-0520214491. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  178. As U.S. Media Ownership Shrinks, Who Covers Islam?, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1997
  179. excerpt The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Massimo Introvigne, 2000, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7 "From a different perspective, it is true that participation of people who are not members of the Unification Church in certain Unificationist activities, such as marriage blessings, may be of concern to established churches. They perceive the possibility that their own members may become confused by their participation in such Unificationist activities and fear that they may in fact end up converting to Unificationism." -p59-60
  180. Moon at Twilight, Peter Maass, The New Yorker "The campaign has dismayed some church members, because a blessing from Moon used to be a hard-won privilege, typically attained only after a person had joined the church, worked in it for several years, and agreed to marry someone--usually a stranger--selected by Moon. But grumblings about the blessing campaign are just the beginning of Moon's current troubles."
  181. Archbishop launches married priests movement
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  183. Song, Hong Keun. "Crisis in the Unification Church after Rev. Moon's Death" (PDF). Shin-Dong-A Magazine. Retrieved 30 November 2015 "Mrs. Kim leads one of the main generators of donations in the Unification Church in Cheong Pyoung through ancestor liberation ceremonies.". line feed character in |accessdate= at position 45 (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  184. Sun Myung Moon, We Hardly Knew Ye—or Your Church’s Finances!, Rick Cohen, ‘’Nonprofit Quarterly’’, 9-13-2012 ,
  185. Moon, Sun Myung. "The Family Federation for Cosmic Peace and Unification and the Cosmic Era of the Blessed Family". Retrieved 30 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  186. "The Unification Church and Homosexuality". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved 30 November 2015. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  187. Yamazaki, Hiroshi (August 10, 2009). "Is it time for Japan-South Korea tunnel?". website. Retrieved August 11, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  188. Divine Principle (translated 1966), Introduction
  189. Rodney Sawatsky, 1978, Dialogue with the Moonies Theology Today.
  190. Irving Louis Horowitz, Science, Sin, and Society: The Politics or Reverend Moon and the Unification Church, 1980, MIT Press
  191. Peter Maass, Moon at Twilight, The New Yorker 14 September 1998.
  192. Eugene V. Gallagher, 2004, The New Religious Movement Experience in America, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0313328072, page 23.

Further reading

External links