The controversial Messiah and his Unification Church
Rev. Moon joined his maker
Rev. Sun Myung Moon who said he was approached by Jesus Christ himself to continue his work is dead. He died Monday, Aug. 27. 2012 of pneumonia in a hospital in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul, said Unification Church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul through the Associated Press. He was 92. His family members were at his side.
Married thousands of followers
Born in 1920 in North Korea, he is the same Moon who presided over the marrying of thousands of followers from different countries in mass ceremonies in his desire to build a multi-cultural religious world. He married 45,000 people in 2009, said the church, He married another 7,000 couples in South Korea in February 2010. He conducted his first mass wedding in the 1960s in Seoul. In 1982, he likewise solemnized a wedding at the Madison Square Garden in New York. Moon’s Unification Church, which is Bible-based and founded in Seoul in 1954, gained both famed and notoriety through his mass weddings.
Started preaching in North Korea
Moon began preaching the gospel in North Korea, but was imprisoned on charge of spying for the South in the late 40s. He disputed the accusation. He was not a revengeful man. Instead, he befriended the top officials of North Korea.
Moon and Kim Il Sung on Atomic Program
Moon had a chance of meeting South Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung in person in North Korea’s port city of Hamhung. Moon’s autobiography told that he advised Kim to give up his nuclear dream and that Kim had responded by saying that his Atomic Program is for peaceful purposes and not to kill his own people.
Sending-receiving mutual gifts
Moon dispatched a condolence delegation to North Korea when Kim died in 1994. Kim’s successor Kim Jong Il used to send gifts such as roses, prized ginseng, rolex watches, etc. to Moon during his birthdays. And when Kim Jong Il himself passed away that December, Moon’s church didn’t fail to send a delegation to pay its respect.
Rise and fall in the U.S.
Moon was successful in establishing a good rapport with traditional US leaders such as former Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. According to his church, Moon lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years.
However, despite the friendship from American bigwigs, he couldn’t escape misfortunes. In the mid 1980s, Moon was incarcerated at a US Federal Prison in New York for 1 year and 1 month for allegedly submitting a fake income tax papers.
Unification Church reasons Moon became the object of US government’s ire because of his winsome ability to attract and hold influence among the American youths.
Moon church grew wealthy
The church stayed away from the spotlight in the US after his imprisonment to focus on the strengthening of its business ventures. The church did attend its objectives. It acquires a global business empire which runs from the two Koreas to the United States. His critics who accused Moon of indoctrinating converts and extracting money from followers did not prevent him from spreading his religious dream into a universal church and a multi-billion dollar industry.
Through the years the church via Rev. Moon’s stewardship, acquired a newspaper publishing house, a university, hotels, an art deco landmark, a seafood firm, an ski resort, a football team and an automaker. It’s alleged the church owns the Alaskan Tunnel which is worth $400 M, besides owning over 100,000 acres in Paraguay
The UC church spokesman Ahn claims 3 million members the world over, but critics and ex-members opined the Unification Church has no over 100,000 followers. The term "moonies" is applied to the church's followers.
Sharing the church wealth and prestige
Moon divorced his first wife, then he married Hak Ja Han Moon in 1960. They are survived by 10 sons and daughters, according to the church.
Moon realized inevitable events. He realized that his earth’s life was nothing but temporal. He didn’t want that the fruits of his toil would come to naught. So in April 2008, he assigned his US-born son, the Rev. Hyung-jin Moon, head religious director. He gave other children equally important positions in the smooth and effective running of the church’s religious and business goals in the 2 Koreas and abroad. During his lifetime, he was always available and ready to troubleshoot problems pertaining to the church’s operation. So before his demise, he was consoled in the thought that his flock will not go astray and his wealth will be in good hands.
Rev. Moon laid the first foundation of his Unification Church in 1954, and up to the day he died, the church remains to wallow in a quagmire of controversy and misunderstanding.