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By Tal Davis
Official name: Family Federation for World Peace and
Formerly: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World
History of The Unification
On January 6, 1920, Yong Myung Moon was
born in northern Korea. He was the second oldest of eight children in a
family that in 1930 converted to Christianity and joined a Korean Presbyterian
On Easter Sunday in 1936, as a sixteen year old boy, Yong Moon claims he saw
a vision of Jesus Christ after which he changed his name to Sun Myung Moon (Sun
"Shining" Moon). During this period of his life Moon says he was spiritually
tested and imprisoned during the Japanese military occupation of Korea.
In 1939 he was sent to Japan to study where, according to his account, he was
again arrested, imprisoned, and tortured for anti-Japanese activities.
After World War II Moon was released and returned to Korea boldly preaching
a set of unusual new doctrines. In 1946 he was charged with sexual
immorality and heresy and expelled from the Korean Presbyterian Church.
In 1948 North Korean communists arrested Moon a third time. He was
liberated in 1950 by allied forces during the Korean War and headed
south. He then moved to Seoul where he established his ministry's
The following year Moon was divorced by his first wife who charged him with
cruelty. Later that same year a prominent Korean, Hwo Won En, converted
to Moon's doctrine and began working with him to write The Divine
Principle, a compilation of Moon's doctrines. The Divine
Principle was completed in 1952.
On May 1, 1954, Moon's church, "The Holy Spirit Association for the
Unification of World Christianity,"or Unification Church (UC), was formally
established with Hwo Won En as its first President.
On April 11, 1960, Moon married Hak Ja Han, in what the UC refers to as the
"Marriage of the Lamb." That historic event, they assert, established what they
call "The True Family." During the 1960s the movement gained converts in
Korea, Japan, and several other Asian countries. Moon came to the United States
in 1970 where he purchased several large estates and businesses in New
He then toured the country preaching in rented auditoriums to large crowds
in the 1970s. Several thousand Americans may have joined the church
during that period. This sudden visibility and apparent growth raised the
media's and the country's general awareness of the UC, Moon, and other similar
cults. Many parents and other family members of converts complained that
their love ones were being manipulated and estranged by intense UC
indoctrination processes. As well, a number UC defectors told stories of being
victims of psychological, spiritual, and labor abuse by UC leaders.
In 1982 Moon was charged and convicted of tax evasion and again spent
eighteen months in United States federal prison. That same year he
founded what has become perhaps his most successful enterprise in the United
States, The Washington Times newspaper. It is now widely
recognized by many prominent Americans as a major conservative alternative to
the older and more widely circulated Washington Post.
In 1988 Moon endured one of several tragedies in his family when one of his
sons died in a car crash at age 17. Moon later claimed that a young
African member of his church had been possessed by his son's spirit and was
thereafter regarded virtually as an honored member of Moon's family.
Another family crisis occurred in 1997. Nansook Hong, the wife of
Moon's oldest son, divorced her husband, cut all ties with the UC and wrote a
scathing expose book about Moon, his family, and their royally opulent
lifestyle. The book alleged that Moon was guilty of sexual infidelity,
family abuse, and that several of his children, including her ex-husband, were
deeply involved with illegal drugs.
In 1999 tragedy stuck again when another of Moon's sons, Younjin Phillip
Moon, committed suicide at age 21. This event, and the other difficulties
Moon has experienced in his family, contradicts sharply with the UC doctrine
that his "True Family" is the model for all people and that his children would
reinstitute a pure and perfect godly line of humanity.
As mentioned earlier, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Moon became more
candid about his self proclaimed Messiahship. This culminated on March
23, 2004, when Moon and his wife were crowned by the UC as the world's "Savior,
Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parents." This title was bestowed on
them at the "Ambassadors Peace Awards" banquet held in the Dirksen Senate
Office Building in Washington, DC. Incredibly, the affair was attended by
several members of Congress and a few local DC church leaders.
In March of 2008, Moon’s oldest son, Hyo Jin Moon died of a heart
attack at age 45 in Korea. The next month, Moon’s youngest son, Hyung Jin
Moon, 28, officially took over leadership of the Unification Church from his
Beliefs of the Unification Church: Authority
The doctrinal beliefs of the UC are a complicated mixture of eastern
philosophy, Christian and biblical terminology, and the many bizarre notions
and interpretations of Rev. Moon and other UC leaders. The primary tenets
of official UC teaching are contained in several books, the most important
being The Divine Principle and Master Speaks, a collection of
Moon's sermons. Other recent messages by Moon are also regarded as
The Bible is referenced only to justify UC doctrines. Bible scholars,
however, are in universal agreement that Moon's revelations and the church's
theological teachings contradict clear biblical teachings. Also, Moon's
checkered personal history mitigates against the audacious claims he makes for
Beliefs of the Unification Church: A New Philosophy of
The Unification Church teaches all world history should be understood in
context of a sort of cosmic dualism. This dualism is called the "give and
take action" of creation. It consists basically of a series of universal polar
opposites: positive/negative, active/passive, direct/indirect,
objective/subjective, masculine/feminine. This concept is very similar to
the Yin-Yang dualism of Taoism, a popular belief system in Korea that was
likely the source of Moon's worldview and historical musings.
God, according to the UC concept, is described as the "Universal Prime
Energy" who (or that) constantly interacts with the universe in this
philosophical system. This interaction is realized practically in what
Moon called the "Four Fold Foundation" of human history.
This notion asserts that all creation had its origin in God, the Universal
Prime Energy, who then made a division in his creation by making Adam
(masculine) and Eve (feminine) according to the "give and take action"
principle described above. Out of this division would be a sexual union
which would produce a divine bloodline of pure perfect children. Thus the
God-Adam-Eve-child union would complete the four fold foundation which would
thereafter be reproduced through their offspring in of all humanity.
However, according to UC doctrine, before Adam and Eve could produce their
perfect offspring, the serpent deceived Eve. The serpent, according to
their interpretation of Genesis 3, is symbolic for Satan who seduced Eve
sexually and thus produced an evil, Satanically sired, human bloodline through
Later, Eve had Abel with Adam, who represents a godly line. World
history, therefore, is a cosmic struggle of good (God) and evil (Satan).
In the last century this struggle was manifest in the final world conflict of
democracy versus communism. According to Moon, the culmination of this
final conflict, appropriately, was waged in his homeland of Korea.
Jesus: The Lord Who Failed
The UC teaches that, because of the corruption of the human race, it was
necessary for God to send a redeemer to restore the human race to its proper
state. Jesus was thus sent to "pay indemnity" (suffer) to redeem
mankind from spiritual death and to restore the pure godly bloodline of
humanity. The UC maintains that Jesus accomplished only the first phase
(spiritual redemption) of this mission. He failed to accomplish the second
phase (physical redemption) because he was crucified before he could
marry and produce children. Therefore, another redeemer would need to
come about two thousand years later to finish the divine mission.
Christian Response:The Bible clearly teaches that
Jesus was the unique incarnate Son of God and he accomplished his mission in
its totality. His death and resurrection provided full atonement for mankind.
Therefore, He procured absolute salvation from the effects of sin and death, in
both the spiritual and physical realms (see: 1 Cor. 15:1-28; Col. 1:19-22).
Lord of the "Second Advent"
According to the UC's strange interpretation of Revelation 7: 2-4 and other
biblical passages, the second redeemer had to be born in the Far East around
the year 1920. Like Jesus, he would necessarily suffer greatly for
mankind ("pay indemnity"). However, unlike Jesus, he would not die
violently, but rather would live a long life, marry a perfect mate, and produce
perfect children. Together they would complete the four fold foundation
and form the Perfect or "True Family."
For years Moon avoided claiming publicly to be this new Messiah/redeemer.
Nonetheless, UC literature and Moon's sermons all pointed in his
direction. UC members unapologetically referred to Moon and his wife as
"Father and Mother." In the 1990's, however, Moon became more brazen in
his public claims to be the "Lord of the Second Advent."
Christian Response:Moon's claims to Messiahship are
blasphemous. Jesus alone can support His claims to deity and Messiahship
by His sinless life, death, and resurrection. There is simply no need for
another Messiah. (see John 1:1-18; 8:56-59; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:13-22; Heb.
Completed Testament AgeIn 1999, it was reported that
the Moon, by revelation, had received communications from the spirit world
indicating that, because of his successful ministry, we are now entering into
the "Completed Testament" age of world history. Good (democracy) is now
finally triumphing over evil (communism). Moon, in essence, took credit
for the fall of Soviet communism and the increases in the number of democratic
countries in the early 1990s. As a result, he asserts, peace will soon
cover the world, war will cease, and all religions will unite under a single
authority (Moon's, of course).
The Bible teaches, however, that full peace and tranquility will come only at
the return of Christ Himself. Moon's claim that we are entering an era of world
peace and freedom because of his ministry is ludicrous. If that is true,
how does Moon and the UC explain the rise of militant Islam, terrorist attacks
(such as that of September 11, 2001), and the various wars still raging around
the world? Furthermore, North Korea remains a staunchly Stalinistic
communist dictatorship that is even now seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Join the True Family
According to UC doctrine, all people may receive the benefits of Moon's
Messiahship by being grafted on to his True Family. This divine adoption
process is accomplished primarily by joining Moon's church, pledging total
obedience to him, and entering into a marriage relationship blessed by Moon to
a mate personally selected by him. Through the years, Moon has conducted
numerous mass weddings in various parts of the world with thousands of couples
taking their vows before him. In most cases, the brides and grooms were not
even acquainted until shortly before the wedding ceremonies.
A disturbing sidelight to this practice is that, in recent years, some
American Christian ministers and their wives have participated in these
ceremonies to "reaffirm their wedding vows." They may have done so
unwittingly, not understanding the true significance of the UC rituals since
the ceremonies are performed by Moon in the Korean language. One ritual
includes the men and women drinking from a common cup of wine containing a drop
of Moon's blood.
Christian Response:Moon's system of physical
salvation by joining his True Family is totally unbiblical. The Bible teaches
that complete salvation is available by grace to any person who will repent of
his sin and, by faith, turn to Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior
(see: Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-10). Marriage, though an important human
relationship ordained by God, has no place in the salvation process.
Moreover, it demonstrates a serious lack of spiritual discernment for
Christians to participate in Moon's wedding events. They should not support
Moon and his idolatrous movement in any way. Christian ministers,
especially, should not only avoid associating with the UC or Moon, but publicly
should rebuke his blasphemous claims and unbiblical doctrines.
The UC Today
In North America there have never been more than about ten thousand members of
the Unification Church. Nonetheless, the church exerts a level of public
influence of greater proportion than its numbers would seem to indicate.
Moon and his church has accumulated millions of dollars as a result of various
fundraising campaigns by UC members. The church also has controlling interest
in a wide ranging number of business ventures worldwide.
In the United States, as mentioned before, the church owns The
Washington Times newspaper. It's growing media empire
also includes the United Press International (UPI) wire service and
InsightOnline internet magazine.
In the education field, the UC appoints a majority of the board of trustees
of the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut). The UC bailed the school out
financially in 1981 when it was facing imminent bankruptcy and closure.
The church also sponsors dozens of other
affiliated organizations that seek to further its spiritual and political
goals. Here is a list of some of them:
Collegiate Association for the Research
of Principles (CARP)
The Professors World Peace Academy
The National Council for the Church and Social Action (NCCSA)
The Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP)
American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC)
Free Teens USA
Witnessing SuggestionsFirst of all, treat your UC
friend with respect and dignity. Most members of the UC are sincere, but
misguided, followers of Moon and his doctrine. Do not refer to them as
Be careful not to belittle Moon or demean his work, but explain to your UC
friend why you cannot accept Moon or his church as authentic. Focus your
discussion on the person and finished work of Jesus Christ. Explain why you
regard Jesus as the only Messiah who accomplished full salvation for mankind,
by His death and resurrection, and that here was no need for another.
Show them how UC doctrine contradicts the Bible. UC members are taught
that their interpretations of the Bible are correct and that other faiths have
misunderstood its real meaning. For example, the UC's contention that Eve was
seduced sexually by the serpent simply has no biblical foundation. It is
either a result of extra-biblical revelation or a gross example of speculative
Be aware that convincing a UC member to exit the group and accept Christ is
very difficult. The most important principles are to build personal
relationships when possible, show patience and love, and pray for UC
Christians also need to be alert for people wishing to exit the
movement. Many disillusioned UC members over the years have left the
church. If you know UC people in your community listen for those who may
want to exit and be willing to help them however you can.
People Group/Interfaith Evangelism
North American Mission Board
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