Sun Myung Moon

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Sun Myung Moon
Rev. Sun Myung Moon speaks, Las Vegas, NV, USA on April 4, 2010.png
Moon in Las Vegas, Nevada, 4 April 2010
BornMun Yong-myeong
(1920-02-25)25 February 1920
Jeong-ju, North P'yŏng'an, Japanese Korea
(now North Pyongan, North Korea)
Died3 September 2012(2012-09-03) (aged 92)
Gapyeong, South Korea
OccupationReligious leader, business magnate, media mogul, political activist
Known forFounder of Unification Church
Spouse(s)Choi Sun-kil (1944–1953)
Hak Ja Han (1960–2012)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationMun Seon-myeong
McCune–ReischauerMun Sŏnmyŏng
Birth name
Revised RomanizationMun Yong-myeong
McCune–ReischauerMun Yongmyŏng
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This is a Korean name; the family name is Moon.
Sun Myung Moon
Rev. Sun Myung Moon speaks, Las Vegas, NV, USA on April 4, 2010.png
Moon in Las Vegas, Nevada, 4 April 2010
BornMun Yong-myeong
(1920-02-25)25 February 1920
Jeong-ju, North P'yŏng'an, Japanese Korea
(now North Pyongan, North Korea)
Died3 September 2012(2012-09-03) (aged 92)
Gapyeong, South Korea
OccupationReligious leader, business magnate, media mogul, political activist
Known forFounder of Unification Church
Spouse(s)Choi Sun-kil (1944–1953)
Hak Ja Han (1960–2012)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationMun Seon-myeong
McCune–ReischauerMun Sŏnmyŏng
Birth name
Revised RomanizationMun Yong-myeong
McCune–ReischauerMun Yongmyŏng

Sun Myung Moon (Korean 문선명; born Mun Yong-myeong; 25 February 1920 – 3 September 2012) was a Korean religious leader, businessperson, political activist, and media mogul.[1][2] A self-proclaimed messiah, he was the founder of the Unification Church and of its widely noted "Blessing" or mass wedding ceremony.[3][4] His extensive business interests included News World Communications, an international news media corporation[5] which founded The Washington Times and owns other media in several countries,[5][6][7] and Tongil Group, a South Korean business group (chaebol) active in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, tourism, and publishing.[8][9][10]

Born in what is now North Korea, Moon's family converted to Christianity when he was a child.[11] In 1954, he founded the Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea based on conservative, family-oriented teachings from new interpretations of the Bible.[11][12] He outlined these principles in his book, Explanation of the Divine Principle.[4][11] In the 1960s and 1970s, he was a leading figure in a wave of new religious movements that raised controversy on several issues.[1] Followers, who were then sometimes called "Moonies", considered him their True Father while critics labeled him a cult leader.[13][14][15] In 1982, he was found guilty of willfully filing false federal income tax returns and sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in a controversial case.[4][16][17]

Determined to spread his influence beyond religion and improve the church's image with the public, Moon became active in conservative politics, courted world leaders, founded numerous civic organizations and expanded his business interests and affiliated organizations.[1][11][18] An ardent anti-communist and advocate for Korean reunification, his support helped turn The Washington Times into a respected newspaper in conservative circles.[19][20]

Early life[edit]

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.[12] 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.[21] When he was 15, Moon said that Jesus Christ anointed him to carry out his unfinished work by becoming parent to all of humanity.[3][15][22]

In 1941, Moon began studying electrical engineering at Waseda University in Japan.[13] During this time he cooperated with Communist Party members in the Korean independence movement against Imperial Japan.[23] In 1943, he returned to Seoul and married Sun Kil Choi on 28 April 1945, and they had a son, Sung Jin Moon on 2 April 1946.[1]

Following World War II, Korea was divided along the 38th parallel into two trusteeships: the United States and the Soviet Union.[15][24] 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[25] and all monks of Tokwon abbey.[26][27] Moon was arrested by the North Korean authorities on allegations of spying for South Korea and given a five-year sentence to the Hŭngnam labor camp.[12] In 1950, during the Korean War he escaped and fled to Pusan, South Korea.[28][29][30]

Unification church[edit]

Founding of church in South Korea[edit]

Moon emerged from his years in the labor camp as a staunch anti-communist.[12] 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.[31] At his new church, he preached a conservative, family-oriented value system and his interpretation of the Bible.[4][32] 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.[12][33] On 8 January 1957, Moon and Choi divorced.[1]


Exposition of the Divine Principle

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.[34]

God is viewed as the creator,[35] whose nature combines both masculinity and femininity,[35] and is the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness. Human beings and the universe reflect God's personality, nature, and purpose.[35] "Give-and-take action" (reciprocal interaction) and "subject and object position" (initiator and responder) are "key interpretive concepts",[36] and the self is designed to be God's object.[36] The purpose of human existence is to return joy to God.[37] The "four-position foundation" is "another important and interpretive concept",[37] and explains in part the emphasis on the family.[37]

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, especially because of its addition of material to the Bible and for its rejection of a literal Second Coming of Jesus.[38] Protestant commentators have also criticized Unification Church teachings as being contrary to the Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith alone.[39][40] In their influential book The Kingdom of the Cults (first published in 1965), Walter Ralston Martin and Ravi K. Zacharias disagreed with the Divine Principle on the issues of the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth of Jesus, the Unification Church's belief that Jesus should have married, the necessity of the crucifixion of Jesus, and a literal resurrection of Jesus as well as a literal second coming of Jesus.[41]


Moon introduced the concept of "indemnity" as a part of the process by which human beings and the world are restored to God's ideal.[42][43][44][45] The concept of indemnity is explained at the start of the second half of the Divine Principle, "Introduction to Restoration":

What, then, is the meaning of restoration through indemnity? When someone has lost his original position or state, he must make some condition to be restored to it. The making of such conditions of restitution is called indemnity. .... God's work to restore people to their true, unfallen state by having them fulfill indemnity conditions is called the providence of restoration through indemnity.[46]

The Divine Principle goes on to explain three types of indemnity conditions. Equal conditions of indemnity pay back the full value of what was lost. The biblical verse "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth" (Exod.21:23-24) is quoted as an example of an equal indemnity condition. Lesser conditions of indemnity provide a benefit greater than the price that is paid. Faith, baptism, and holy communion are mentioned as examples of lesser indemnity conditions. Greater conditions of indemnity come about when a person fails in a lesser condition. In that case a greater price must be paid to make up for the earlier failure. Abraham's attempted sacrifice of his son Isaac (Gen. 22:1-18) and the Israelites' 40 years of wandering in the wilderness under Moses (Num.14:34) are mentioned as examples of greater indemnity conditions.[46] The Divine Principle then explains that an indemnity condition must reverse the course by which the mistake or loss came about. Indemnity, at its core, is required of humans because God is pure, and purity cannot relate directly with impurity. Indemnification is the vehicle that allows a "just and righteous" God to work through mankind. Jesus' statement that God had forsaken him (Matt.27:46) and Christianity's history of martyrdom are mentioned as examples of this.[46] The Divine Principle then states that human beings, not God or the angels, are the ones responsible for making indemnity conditions.[46][47][48]

In 2005 scholars Daske and Ashcraft explained the Unificationist concept of indemnity:

To restart the process toward perfection, God has sent messiahs to earth who could restore the true state of humanity's relationship with God. Before that can happen, however, humans must perform good deeds that cancel the bad effects of sin. Unificationists call this 'indemnity'. Showing love and devotion to one's fellow humans, especially within families, helps pay this indemnity.[49]

Other Christian commentators have criticized the concept of indemnity as being contrary to the Christian doctrine of salvation by faith. Radio and television evangelist Bob Larson said, "Moon's doctrine of sinless perfection by 'indemnity', which can apply even to deceased ancestors, is a denial of the salvation by grace offering through Jesus Christ." Christian historian Ruth Tucker said: "In simple language indemnity is salvation by works."[47][48] Donald Tingle and Richard Fordyce, ministers with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who debated two Unification Church theologians in 1977, wrote:

In short, indemnity is anything you want to make it, since you establish the conditions. The zeal and enthusiasm of the Unification Church members is not so much based on love for God as it is compulsion to indemnify one's own sins.[50]

Other 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.[51]

Cheon Seong Gyeong - Sexual Organs Doctrine[edit]

Moon's doctrine that is centered on sexual motif becomes more conspicuous in his new scriptures called the Cheon Seong Gyeong. In the book he explained that man and woman's sexual organs are the three parts of the Three Great Original Palaces and the Most Holy Place, and praised that these sexual reproductive organs are holy, holy, and holy.[52]

How did man and woman come into existence? What makes them different? How do they become one? Centering on what do man and woman unite? Centering on the sexual organs. This is how they harmonize. Love is perfected in this place. True love is perfected for the first time there. That is also where the lives of man and woman are united, and their lineages interchanged and planted. The sexual organs are the original palace of the ideal love and lineage. The absolute original place is called the original palace, and no one can change its value. (228-51, 1992.3.3)

Sun Myung Moon, Cheon Seong Gyeong[53][54]

What is the sexual organ, the original palace where man and woman make love? It is the palace of love, life and lineage. Grandfathers and grandmothers treasure it, as do fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, and all sons and daughters yet to be born. Is there any woman or man who does not treasure it? Then why did they become such a bad thing? People regard any word connected to sex as bad. Why is it bad? It should be holy. You should accept words connected to sex as holy. The sexual organs connect to eternal love to bring forth eternal life and eternal lineage. They are the most precious things. (210-101, 1990.12.1)

Sun Myung Moon, Cheon Seong Gyeong[53][54]

Second marriage and Blessing ceremonies[edit]

Marriage to Hak Ja Han, True Parents, True Family[edit]

Moon and Hak Ja Han
Moon and Hak Ja Han

Moon has said that Jesus called upon him to carry out his unfinished work, including his failure to marry.[17] 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.[13] 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][18][22]

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, and she and Moon together are referred to as the True Parents by members of the Unification Church. Their family is referred to as the True Family.[55][56][57][58][59][60]

The members of the Unification Movement generally address or refer to Rev. and Mrs. Moon as "Father" and "Mother" or "True Father" and "True Mother."[61] Their children are known as the "True Children."[62]

Blessing ceremonies[edit]

Moon and Han preside over a blessing ceremony in 1982
Moon and Han preside over a blessing ceremony in 1982

Moon was renowned for presiding over mass "blessing ceremonies", the most famous ritual of the Unification Church.[4][15][21][63] The ceremonies gained international attention for joining thousands of identically dressed brides and grooms - many who had never met before - in matrimony.[2] Meant to highlight the church's emphasis on traditional morality, they brought Moon both fame and notoriety.[64]

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.[11][13] In 1997, about 30,000 couples took part in a ceremony in Washington, DC.[65]

In church doctrine, the wedding (or marriage re-dedication) ceremony removes couples from the lineage of sinful humanity and grafts them into God’s sinless lineage.[15][21] For single members of the church, the ceremony is the culmination of a process towards an arranged marriage. Romantic liaisons are forbidden until the members are ready to be matched.[66]

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."[4][11][22]

World fame[edit]

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.[67] [68]

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.[69] In 1972, Moon founded the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, a series of scientific conferences.[70][71] The first conference had 20 participants, while the largest conference in Seoul in 1982, had 808 participants from over 100 countries.[72][73] Participants included Nobel laureates John Eccles (Physiology or Medicine 1963, who chaired the 1976 conference),[74] Eugene Wigner (Physics 1963).[75]

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.[76]

In 1982, Moon sponsored the film Inchon about the Korean War, which was not successful critically or financially.[77]

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.[78] Bo Hi Pak, Moon's chief aide, was the founding president and the founding chairman of the board.[79] The political views of The Washington Times are often described as conservative.[80][81][82] The Washington Times was a favorite read for President Ronald Reagan, but never a financial success.[83] By 1991, Moon said he spent about $1 billion on the paper[84] (by 2002 roughly $1.7 billion),[85] which he called "the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world".[86]

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."[87]

United States v. Sun Myung Moon[edit]

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.[88]

The case was the center of national freedom of religion and free speech debates.[89] 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."[90] 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.[91] Many notable clergy, including Jerry Falwell and Joseph Lowery, signed petitions protesting the government's case and spoke out in defense of Moon.[92][93]

1990s events[edit]

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.[94] 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.[95] 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.[96]

Twenty first Century events[edit]

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."[97]

In 2003 Moon sponsored the first Peace Cup international club football tournament.[98][99][100] The Los Angeles Galaxy, which competes in Major League Soccer, played in South Korea in the Peace Cup.[101] During the event Pelé, widely regarded as the best soccer player of all time and former Brazilian Sports Minister, met with Moon.[102]

On 12 September 2005, at the age of 85, Moon inaugurated the Universal Peace Federation with a 120-city world speaking tour.[103] At each city, Moon delivered his speech titled "God's Ideal Family – the Model for World Peace".

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."[104]

In 2009, Moon's autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen (Korean: 평화를 사랑하는 세계인으로),[105] was published by Gimm-Young Publishers in South Korea. The book became a best-seller in Korea and Japan.[106][107][108][109]

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.[110] In 2012, the South Korean press reported that Moon traveled worldwide in his private jet which cost $50 million.[111][112]

Illness and death[edit]

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.[113] 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.[114] On 31 August 2012, Moon was transferred to a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul,[115] after suffering multiple organ failure.[116] Moon died on the morning of 3 September 2012 (1:54 am KST) at the age of 92.[117]

Honorary degrees and other recognition[edit]

Moon held honorary degrees from more than ten universities and colleges worldwide;[118][119][120] at least one of which, the University of Bridgeport, received significant funding from his organizations.[121] He was a member of the Honorary Committee of the Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea.[122] In 1985, Moon and his wife received Doctor of Divinity degrees from Shaw University.[123]

In 2004, at event in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, in Washington, D.C., Moon was honored as the Messiah. This 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.[124][125]

Moon was posthumously awarded North Korea's National Reunification Prize in 2012[126] and a meritorious award by K-League.[127][128] 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."[129]

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."[130]

Views on the role of Moon to church members[edit]

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."[131]

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."[132]

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."[133]

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."[134]

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."[135]

Activities and interests[edit]


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.[136]

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."[137]

In 1980, Moon asked church members to found CAUSA International as an anti-communist educational organization, based in New York.[138] In the 1980s, it was active in 21 countries. In the United States it sponsored educational conferences for Christian leaders[139] as well as seminars and conferences for Senate staffers and other activists.[140] In 1986, it produced the anti-communist documentary film Nicaragua Was Our Home.[141]

Moon and his church are known for their efforts to promote Korean unification.[19] 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.[142] Moon was a member of the Honorary Committee of the Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea.[143] In 2012 Moon was posthumously awarded North Korea's National Reunification Prize.[126]

Official events have periodically been held in honor of Sun Myung Moon in the municipalities of Korea.[144] Moon's projects have been lobbied in the National Congress of Brazil by Brazilian MPs.[145][146][147] Moon has held dialogues between members of the Israeli Knesset and the Palestinian Parliament as part of his Middle East Peace Initiatives.[148]


News World Communications, is an international news media corporation[5] 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).[6] Until 2008 it published the Washington D.C.-based newsmagazine Insight on the News.[5] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[10]

The church is the largest owner of U.S. sushi restaurants and in the Kodiak region of Alaska, is the area's largest employer.[149][150] The church owns the only automobile manufacturing plant in North Korea, Pyeonghwa Motors, and is the second largest exporter of Korean goods.[151][152][153][154]

In 1989, Moon founded Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma,[155] 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 2004, Moon held an opening ceremony of the largest helicopter manufacturer in Asia, with 500 VIPs participating. Called Washington Times Aviation, the company produces Sikorsky helicopters on a sub-contract basis.[156] The same year, Moon launched a $1.5-billion construction project to build 70-story twin skyscrapers in Seoul.[157] The next year he bought an area of 46,000 m² in Seoul, also for the construction of skyscrapers.[158] Currently the project is under construction and scheduled to be completed by 2013.[159]

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.[160] The opening ceremony was attended by the governor of the province.[160][161] Another one, The Ocean Hotel, was completed in February 2012.[162] Moon-owned Yeongpyeong Resort, The Ocean Resort and Pineridge Resort are scheduled to host the Expo 2012,[163][164] 2018 Winter Olympics[165][166] and Formula 1.[167] Moon also managed the FIFA-accredited Peace Cup.[168] The FIFA itself has funded more than $2m for the Peace Cup since 2003.[169]

Race relations[edit]

Although conservative on most other issues, 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."[170]

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."[171]

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,[172] and Joseph Lowery who was then the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.[173]

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[174][175][176] and James Bevel.[177]

In 2000 Moon and The Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan got together to sponsor the Million Family March,[178] 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.[179] In his keynote speech Farrakhan called for racial harmony.[180]


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.[181] 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.[182]


  1. ^ a b c d e Walkin, Daniel J. (2 September 2012). "Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Self-Proclaimed Messiah Who Built Religious Movement, Dies at 92". The New York Times. p. A17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 12 June 2013. "The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean evangelist, businessman and self-proclaimed messiah who built a religious movement notable for its mass weddings, fresh-faced proselytizers and links to vast commercial interests, died on Monday" 
  2. ^ a b 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. 
  3. ^ a b 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." 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hyung-Jin Kim (2 September 2012). "Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon dies at 92". USA Today. ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Who Owns What: News World Communications". The Columbia Journalism Review. 2003-11-24. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  6. ^ a b Yahoo! Finance profile
  7. ^ a b Shapira, Ian (3 November 2010). "Moon group buys back Washington Times". Washington Post. p. C1. 
  8. ^ a b Kim, Hyung-eun (12 April 2010). "Business engine of a global faith". Joong Ang Daily. 
  9. ^ Kirk, Don (2 May 1998). "Reverend Moon's Group Wants to Talk Investment : Seoul Nods At Church's Foray North". New York Times. 
  10. ^ a b Kirk, Donald (2 May 2010). "Sons rise in a Moon’s shadow". Forbes. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Urquhart, Conal (2 September 2013). "Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Moonies, dies in South Korea". The Guardian (London). 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 June 2013. "Self-proclaimed messiah notorious for mass weddings and creation of Unification Church dies aged 92" 
  12. ^ a b c d e Brown, Emma (2 September 2012). "Sun Myung Moon dies at 92; Washington Times owner led the Unification Church". The Washington Post. ISSN 0740-5421. Retrieved 12 June 2013. "self-professed messiah who claimed millions of religious followers in his Unification Church and sought to become a powerful voice in the American conservative movement through business interests" 
  13. ^ a b c d e 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." 
  14. ^ 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."" 
  15. ^ a b c d e 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. 
  16. ^ Emma Brown (2 September 2012). "Sun Myung Moon dies at 92; Washington Times owner led the Unification Church". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 September 9.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  17. ^ a b 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." 
  18. ^ a b Hagerty, Barbara Bradley (2 September 2012). "Rev. Moon, A 'Savior' To Some, Lived A Big Dream". (National Public Radio). Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Sun Myung Moon's Groundbreaking Campaign to Open North Korea, The Atlantic, Armin Rosen, 6 September 2012
  20. ^ Kang, Seongbin; Jane Chung (15 September 2012). "Unification Church head Sun Myung Moon buried in Korea". Chicago Tribune. Reuters. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c Unification Church: Mass Moonie Marriage in the US, BBC News, Saturday, 29 November 1997.
  22. ^ a b c Moon, Reverend Sun Myung (2010). As a peace-loving global citizen (May 2010 ed. ed.). [Washington, D.C.]: Washington Times Foundation. ISBN 0615393772. 
  23. ^ Moon, Sun Myung (2009). As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen. Gimm-Young Publishers. ISBN 0-7166-0299-7. 
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  27. ^ "Thank You Father Kim Il Sung". U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, November 2005. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  28. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (2012-09-02). "Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 92, Unification Church Founder, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  29. ^ Woo, Elaine (2012-09-03). "Sun Myung Moon dies at 92; led controversial Unification Church". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  30. ^ Brown, Emma (2012-09-04). "Sun Myung Moon dies at 92; Washington Times owner led the Unification Church". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  31. ^ Christianity: A Global History, David Chidester, HarperCollins, 2001, ISBN 0062517708, 9780062517708, pages 514 to 515
  32. ^ "Unification Church founder Rev. Moon dies at 92". CBC News/The Canadian Press. Associated Press. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
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  34. ^ 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."
  35. ^ a b c Sontag, Fredrick (1977). Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. Abingdon. p. 102. ISBN 0-687-40622-6. 
  36. ^ a b Sontag, Fredrick (1977). Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. Abingdon. p. 107. ISBN 0-687-40622-6. 
  37. ^ a b c Sontag, Fredrick (1977). Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. Abingdon. p. 108. ISBN 0-687-40622-6. 
  38. ^ Unifying or Dividing? Sun Myung Moon and the Origins of the Unification Church George D. Chryssides, University of Wolverhampton, U.K. 2003
  39. ^ Daske, D. and Ashcraft, W. 2005, New Religious Movements, New York: New York University Press, ISBN 0-8147-0702-5 p142
  40. ^ Yamamoto, J. 1995, Unification Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Press, ISBN 0-310-70381-6 p40
  41. ^ Walter Ralston Martin, Ravi K. Zacharias, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, 2003, ISBN 0764228218 pages 368-370
  42. ^ Daske, D. and Ashcraft, W. 2005, New Religious Movements, New York: New York University Press, ISBN 0-8147-0702-5 "To restart the process toward perfection, God has sent messiahs to earth who could restore the true state of humanity's relationship with God. Before that can happen, however, humans must perform good deeds that cancel the bad effects of sin. Unificationists call this "indemnity". Showing love and devotion to one's fellow humans, especially within families, helps pay this indemnity." p. 142.
  43. ^ Yamamoto, J. 1995, Unification Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Press, ISBN 0-310-70381-6 "The doctrine of indemnity. Indemnity is that which people do to restore themselves to God's kingdom. Young Oon Kim describes it this way: 'We atone for our sins through specific acts of penance.' Kwang-Yol Yoo, a Unification teacher, even goes so far as to say that by following the Divine Principle, "man's perfection must be accomplished by his own effort without God's help." God does most of the work, but people must still do their part in order to achieve God's plan of salvation: 'Five percent is only to say that man's responsibility is extremely small compared to God's.' "p35 "The doctrine of indemnity is not biblical. 'In simple language.' states Ruth Tucker, 'indemnity is salvation by works.' Bob Larson makes a distinction between Moon's doctrine and biblical theology, saying, 'Moon's doctrine of sinless perfection by "indemnity [forgiveness of sin by works on Moon's behalf], which can apply even to deceased ancestors, is a denial of the salvation by grace offering through Jesus Christ.' 'Farewell,' said John Calvin. 'to the dream of those who think up a righteousness flowing together out of faith and works.'" p40
  44. ^ THE POWER OF THE PRINCIPLE: WHENCE IT CAME; WHERE IT WENT Richard Quebedeaux, "Rev. Moon calls such a mode of living, such a lifestyle, "restoration through indemnity." With indemnity viewed as a persistent pattern of behavior, not as a mere doctrine to be affirmed or a rational list of rules, God's ideal for human relationships is "restored" through restitution. Restitution-in the sense of a "natural law"-assuages resentment, because it is the means by which the powerful and enfranchised give the people who feel downtrodden and powerless what they believe is rightly theirs. Indemnity means that 'I'm here for you.'"
  45. ^ Exposition of the Divine Principle 1996 Translation
  46. ^ a b c d Exposition of the Divine Principle
  47. ^ a b Daske and Ashcraft
  48. ^ a b Yamamoto
  49. ^ Daske, D. and Ashcraft, W. 2005, New Religious Movements, New York: New York University Press, ISBN 0814707025 p142.
  50. ^ Tingle, D. and Fordyce, R. 1979, The Phases and Faces of the Moon: A Critical Examination of the Unification Church and Its Principles, Hicksville, New York: Exposition Press p53-55
  51. ^ Helm, S. Divine Principle and the Second Advent Christian Century 11 May 1977 "Thus, while the two world wars may appear from a human point of view to have been evil, from the point of view of God's plan for restoration they were good and necessary. The defeat of the "satanic side" in each case cleared the path for a more nearly complete foundation for the Kingdom of God. These two cataclysmic conflagrations of our century, which broke the back of the liberal Protestant faith in progress, do not appear to trouble the adherents of Divine Principle, by and large members of a generation conveniently undistressed by stark memories of those 'triumphs" for the heavenly side. This sanguine schematization of the Holocaust has not, understandably, reassured Jewish critics of the movement. There remains, of course, one final conflict, the resolution of which will provide the worldwide unity upon which the last four-position foundation can be perfected. This is the struggle between "Abeltype" democracy and "Cain-type" communism. Divine Principle is indecisive at this point. It may not be necessary for democracy to destroy communism (the sole bearer, in its view, of a "materialistic" philosophy) by force. It may be accomplished in a battle of ideology. The Unification Church seeks to forge the necessary ideology while at the same time supporting a militarily supreme West, just in case. This final conflict is imminent, for the Lord of the Second Advent has appeared in Sun Myung Moon, and the atheistic communist system is the "Antichrist" of the final days."
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  79. ^ Pak was founding president of the Washington Times Corporation (1982–1992), and founding chairman of the board. Bo Hi Pak, Appendix B: Brief Chronology of the Life of Dr. Bo Hi Pak, in Messiah: My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Vol I by Bo Hi Pak (2000), Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
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  84. ^ "Literally nine hundred million to one billion dollars has been spent to activate and run the Washington Times" -Sun Myung Moon, "True Family and True Universe centering on True Love", Founder's Address, 15th Anniversary of The Washington Times, 16 June 1997, Washington, DC.
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  173. ^ Introvigne, Massimo, 2000, The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7, excerpt
  174. ^ Gorenfeld, John (2008). Bad Moon Rising. PoliPointPress. p. 96. ISBN 0-9794822-3-2. 
  175. ^ Leigh, Andrew (15 October 1989). "Inside Moon's Washington - The private side of public relations improving the image, looking for clout". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). p. B1. 
  176. ^ Knight-Ridder Newspapers (20 December 1987). "Unification Church funnels millions to U.S. conservatives". The Dallas Morning News (The Dallas Morning News Company). p. 4A. 
  177. ^ Hatch, Walter (13 February 1989). "Big names lend luster to group's causes - Church leader gains legitimacy among U.S. conservatives". The Seattle Times (Seattle Times Company). p. A1. 
  178. ^ Families Arrive in Washington For March Called by Farrakhan, New York Times, 16 October 2000
  179. ^ Million Family March reaches out to all
  180. ^ "Nation Of Islam - who are they?". BBC. 21 July 2001. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  181. ^ Sewell first=Rhonda B. (28 February 2003). "Korean Culture Takes the Stage". The Blade. p. D11. "The colors, sounds, and heritage of South Korea will come alive tonight as the Little Angels, an all-girls Korean folk ballet company, performs in the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin.... The company was founded in 1962 by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, as a way to project a positive image of the country...." 
  182. ^ Robertson, Allen (29 July 2001). "DANCE; A Small Place Reaches for Ballet's Big Time". The New York Times. 

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