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Unification Church

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Official emblem of Imperial Japan[note 1] the Unification Church
Drink the Kool-Aid
RW Cult Template.png
But you WANT to stay!
Cults of personality
Moon openly admits that he thinks he is God and he expects to be worshipped. [They are] deeply rooted in the press, the Christian evangelical movement, and the Republican Party. If you're a member of the Press, a Christian, or a Republican, this should scare the hell out of you.
—Marc Perkel[1]

The Unification Church (Korean: 통일교, 統一敎, Tongilgyo), officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Korean: 세계평화통일가정연합, 世界平和統一家庭聯合, Segyepyeonghwatong-ilgajeong-yeonhab; historically Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity) but more commonly known as the Moonies, is a personality cult disguised as Christian New religious movement (NRM) formed by and around "Reverend" Sun Myung Moon (Korean: 문선명, 文鮮明, Mun Seon-myeong) (1920–2012), a nutjob from South Korea who claimed he was the Second Coming of Jesus, and blamed the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunamis upon the Japanese people, claiming it as divine punishment for believing in "idols".[note 2]

Since the founder's death, the "Church" has been led by his widow Hak Ja Han (Korean: 한학자, 韓鶴子, Han Hak-ja) (1943–). She has instigated various ritual and theological changes, most notably the elevation of her own status as a messianic figure through the concept of the "Only Begotten Daughter" thus switching to her own cult of personality, like someone else's family in Korea.

In 1971 Sun Myung Moon moved to the United States and began recruiting from among the counterculture-folk in Berkeley and San Francisco, California, expanding to most U.S. cities by 1973. The Unification Church was one of the main groups (along with the Children of God and Synanon) to prompt public concern over cults, starting in the early 1970s. Moon would arrange the marriages of church members and hold mass wedding-ceremonies;[2] members lived together communally, and the stereotype of the typical Moonie became the brainwashed follower selling flowers in the airport. The Moonies have been repeatedly accused of splitting up families and pressuring Unification Church adherents to break ties with their families of origin. Sun Myung Moon died in September 2012.[3] The Church runs a seminary open to all faiths and has interfaith courses for non-Christian/Moonie students;[4] this could be seen as interfaith outreach or as a means of converting people to the Unification Church.

The church and/or its founder have been banned in various countries at one time or another, notably in 1995 when Sun Myung Moon and his wife were banned from entering Germany – and as a result from the other Western European countries in the Schengen agreement – because German authorities felt he had a bad influence on young people.[5] This ban was lifted in 2007.[6] As of 2023, Japan is also considering banning the church after the assassination of former prime minister Shinzō Abe by one of its victims over its ties to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party turned it into a millstone around the LDP's neck.[7]

Steven Hassan,Wikipedia a former member of the Unification Church, has called the organization racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic.[8]


Ironically (for his ex-hippie converts, at least), Moon himself was a hardcore wingnut who ran full page ads defending Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, started the blatantly partisan Washington Times newspaper, was a heavy promoter and funder of global warming denial and anti-environmentalist activity during the 1990s, and had close ties with the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Ashcroft gang. Moon was strongly in favor of conservative family values, which is ironic considering that he was a serial adulterer and "fornicator," once preached a doctrine based on promiscuity and has had three wives in succession, who gave birth to a total of 16 children.

The New York Times reported in 1997 that Sun Myung Moon "has been reaching out to conservative Christians in the United States in the last few years by emphasizing shared goals like support for sexual abstinence outside of marriage and opposition to homosexuality." Moon also appealed to the Second Amendment crowd. In March 1999, the Washington Post reported that "the messiah" owned the lucrative Kahr ArmsWikipedia company through Saeilo, Inc.[9] (the CEO/president/lead designer: Kook-jin "Justin" Moon (1970–)).[10][11]

Moon also co-founded a political front group called the American Freedom Coalition.

Media empire[edit]

Part of Moon's influence can be attributed to his being a very wealthy man – before coming to the U.S. he had built a successful media empire in Korea. His company, News World Communications,Wikipedia owns Segye Ilbo (transl. World Daily) (Korean: 세계일보, 世界日報, Segyeilbo) of Korea which is also known as Sekai Nippo (also transl. World Daily) (Japanese: 世界日報, Sekai Nippō) in Japan.

For their U.S. media empire, see:


If God is so great, why is he in prison?

The "Church" is also heavily involved in businessWikipedia in the US and both Koreas. They are apparently North America's major supplier to the sushi restaurant trade through the True World Group.

The church's total wealth is a secret, but its land holdings in South Korea were valued at more than $1 billion in 1990, according to a study by the Far Eastern Economic Review. The Unification Church's Tongil Group operates factories in both Koreas, and ranks 35th in size among South Korean conglomerates.[14]

It is estimated that the church scammed between $600 million and $1 billion of sacred relics to Japanese widows, to liberate their loved ones from hell. This liberation is accomplished by attending workshops conducted by the ghosts of Reverend Moon's mother-in-law, Dae Mo Nim and Moon's son, Heung Jin Moon (a.k.a. Heung Jin Nim).[15]

In 1982, Sun Myung Moon was convicted of tax evasion and conspiracy. He served 13 months of an 18 month sentence in prison and paid a $15,000 fine.[16][note 4]

De-unification church[edit]

"What's the message, turn the other cheek, or lock and load?"
Tom DiazWikipedia[18]
A Moonie mass wedding ceremony.

His second son, Hyung Jin "Sean" Moon (1979–) with the backing of his elder brother Justin Moon, now leads a small local schismatic cult and offshoot of the Unification Church in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania named World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church that got attention in February, 2018 for using guns as ritual as for real.[19][20] The church is also known as "Rod of Iron Ministries", referring to Revelation 2:27, Revelation 12:5, and Revelation 19:15, which Sean interprets as both Christ one day ruling his earthly kingdom with a "rod of iron" (i.e., the semiautomatic AR-15 rifle that is used ceremonially within the church).[20] Justin Moon also owns a gun manufacturing company called Kahr Arms,[18] something that absolutely has not influenced their church doctrine in any way whatsoever. Do You Believe That?

Sean is on the outs with his mother Hak Ja Han who claimed the leadership role of the "real" Unification Church, and whom Sean has called the "whore of Babylon".[20] Since taking over leadership, Hak Ja Han has reportedly revised Sun Myung Moon's religious texts,[20] so both churches are now heterodox compared to the original Unification church.

Sean's favorite media are Drudge Report, Breitbart News, Infowars, and NRATV, which he features on his own webcasts.[20] Both Sean and Justin support a bunch of conspiracy theories: 9/11 false flag, the United Nations is satanic, and "There are a lot of pedophiles in the Democratic Party."[20] The last statement would seem to be a reference to Pizzagate.

The church has been labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBT ideology.[21]

In October 2016, Eric Trump was the grand-opening guest of honor for Jusin's Kahr Arms’ Tommy Gun Warehouse, which is located in nearby Greeley, Pennsylvania.[20] At the opening, Sean spoke favorably about Donald Trump:

It’s my opinion that we must elect a president that will protect and expand the right to bear arms. … I hope we can all agree that Hillary Clinton should never be the president of the United States. … God bless the U.S.A., and please buy some guns and ammo![20]

Roots of intelligent design[edit]

Famous intelligent design advocate Jonathan Wells is a member of the cult. In an unintentionally humorous speech, good ol' Jon revealed that he was assigned a task by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon to get a "doctorate" in biology and "destroy Darwinism from within," which is probably why he keeps bullshitting all the time.

Suing the Daily Mail[edit]

In 1978 the church sued the Daily Mail for libel over an article with the headline 'The Church That Breaks Up Families' which strongly attacked the Moonies' recruitment tactics, claiming they involved brainwashing and kidnapping. The case was one of the longest in British history when it was decided nearly three years later in the Mail's favour.[22] A jury concluded that the article's claims were true, ordering them to pay the court costs of £2 million and recommending their tax-exempt status be investigated by the IRS.

See also[edit]

  • Ed Poor
  • Juche, a mind control cult that's essentially the Unification Church's 'secular' counterpart in North Korea, the place where Moon used to live until 1950.
  • Falun Gong, a Chinese cult that has amassed sympathy and support from the American right-wing as a bulwark against the Communist Party of China
  • Happy Science, a similar organization, but Japanese
  • Shinzo Abe, former prime minister of Japan, assassinated in reprisal for his party's support of the cult by a man whose family they had victimized.


  • Bad Moon Rising: How Rev. Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right and Built an American Kingdom by John Gorenfeld (2008). PoliPointPress. ISBN 0979482232.

External links[edit]


  1. Considering their former ties to the LDP, who have now had to disavow them due to a PR disaster, that may not be much of a mistake...
  2. It's not clear whether he meant Shinto or Japanese pop-culture idols called aidoru (アイドル).Wikipedia
  3. A recent list of Moonie media fronts was compiled by Investigative Research Specialists in 2012.[12][13]
  4. Sun Myung Moon had previously been convicted by North Korea of spying for South Korea in 1947, and served a 5-year prison sentence.[17]


  1. Perkel, Marc. "The Moonies are not your friend." Everything you wanted to know about Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. 1 May 2008.
  2. He won the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in Economics for "bringing efficiency and steady growth to the mass-marriage industry".
  3. 'Moonies' founder Sun Myung Moon dies at 92
  4. Unification Theological Seminary
  5. Germany: International Religious Freedom Report 2006 U.S. Department of State (archived from December 6, 2017). "The Federal Interior Ministry's 1995 immigration exclusion (refusal to issue a visitor's visa) continued in force against the founder of the Unification Church, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon. The 1995 decision also placed Rev. and Mrs. Moon on the 'Schengen' list, which bars their entry into many other European states, and was based on the Government's characterization of Rev. Moon and his wife as leaders of a 'cult' that endangers the personal and social development of young persons. The Unification Church was seeking to overturn the ban in the courts."
  6. Judges let Rev. Moon enter Germany
  7. Japan may seek to dissolve Moonies church in wake of Shinzo Abe killing, The Guardian
  8. The Truth About Sun Myung Moon by Steven Hassan (1993) Freedom of Mind Resource Center.
  9. Saeilo Manufacturing Industries.
  10. Fitrakis, Bob. "Dark Side of the Moon." The American Atheist 38.2 (2000). 1 May 2008.
  11. Farragher, Thomas. "Moon arms factory: His father preaches peace, and he makes guns." Boston Globe 21 March 1999. 1 May 2008.
  12. Sun Myung Moon's Closely Associated Entities compiled by Investigative Research Specialists for Freedom of Mind.
  13. See the Wikipedia article on Unification movement.
  14. Don Kirk, Reverend Moon's Group Wants to Talk Investment : Seoul Nods At Church's Foray North. International Herald Tribune via the New York Times, 2 May 1998.
  15. Ancestor Liberation: A Twist on the "Spiritual Sales" Scam., 6 January 2008.
  16. See the Wikipedia article on United States v. Sun Myung Moon.
  17. Sun Myung Moon dies at 92; Washington Times owner led the Unification Church by Emma Brown (September 2, 2012) The Washington Post.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Church's Pistol Firm Exploits a Niche" by John Mintz, Washington Post, 1999 March 10
  19. The cultlike church behind a ceremony with AR-15s and bullet crowns, explained: A nearby elementary school had to be shut down for safety. by Tara Isabella Burton (Mar 1, 2018, 6:00pm EST ) Vox.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 Locked and Loaded for the Lord: After the Rev. Moon died in 2012, his church split apart. Two of his sons established a new congregation. Their followers are eagerly awaiting the end times. And they are armed. by Tom Dunkel (May 21, 2018) The Washington Post.
  21. Anti-LGBT cult leader calls on followers to purchase assault rifles Southern Poverty Law Center.