Sun Myung Moon, a 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 that included the Washington Times, has died. He was 92.1
Almost thirty plus years ago as a young man I experienced my first cult intervention which involved a young man who had become ensnared by the false claims of an alleged Korean messiah. That deceiver was no one less than Sun Myung Moon, founder of The Unification Church of the Holy Spirit aka The Unification Church and/or Moonies due to their slavish devotion to their leader.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses
Jesus Christ Superstar was out in theaters (as a movie) and one evening myself and a couple of friends decided to go see the movie. As was our habit in the early 70’s we began the evening by ingesting some mind altering substances, after a while we got hungry and stopped by a 7-Eleven and my friends went inside for some munchies. I sat in the car and looked out and saw a young guy standing there by our door holding a box of peanut brittle and wearing a huge round button with the deceased Mr. Moon’s photograph on it. By this time in America, the Unification Church was deemed a cult, and rightly so and many parents were having their children kidnapped and deprogrammed. One famous de-programmer was Ted Patrick2 who was in the newspapers back then. I looked at this ‘kid’ and got out of the car and went up to him and said “do you know who I am?” He said “no.” I responded “I am Ted Patrick (who turned out to be African-American) the white lightening. What are you doing here? The boy responded “I am serving God would you like to buy some peanut brittle?” I said, “No, you are serving (pointed to his button) THAT man!” He looked at me and said “same thing.” I then told him to get in the car, he tossed his case of peanut brittle in and got into the backseat. My friends returned and were naturally surprised to see this unknown guy in the car with us. Long story short, we took him to see Jesus Christ Superstar (I know, I know), he slept through all of it, At the end of the movie we had a debate between the 3 of us as to what to “do” with this guy now that he was with us. Rudy, had no church or pastor to call, Greg was Roman Catholic and he said his priest would not have anything to do with him. My Presbyterian pastor was a “no go” as well.
During his stint at the 7-Eleven a Baptist pastor had come by and given him a tract with his phone number on it. We found a phone booth and called Rev. Kuncle who came out at 3:00 in the morning and took the young man to his home and his church. That morning, after church, yes rebellious as I was I was in church every Sunday; I approached our Pastor, Ben Jones, and related the story with tears in my eyes and he responded “oh, huh, you can’t save everybody.” Although I have never forgotten the encounter, Pastor Jones response was sufficient enough cold water thrown on a fledgling spark that was not rekindled for another five years.
I must be honest with our readers. I have NEVER liked Moon or his organization. I have fought against him, even to his face when he spoke at a Baptist ‘church’ in Detroit several years ago. My wife and I went out and witnessed AGAINST Moon and FOR Christ in front of the church building he was usurping. We were not well received by his followers or henchmen.
The Bible says that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (see Eze. 18:23). I guess “pleasure” is too strong a word, but I am glad he is dead. He deceived millions during his life; he was given 92 years of grace and never repented of his blasphemy. I am sorry he never came to the saving knowledge of Christ and will now suffer the eternal torments of the damned.
I am on David’s imprecatory psalms side of the scale when it comes to Mr. Moon. The imprecatory psalms are the ones in which David calls for Divine judgment and curses to fall upon the godless, the wicked and his personal enemies. In Mr. Moon’s sad case he has certainly obtained what he deserved, may each of us reading this NEVER receive what we deserve, but may we gladly and humbly accept the grace of God shown only in the Person of Jesus Christ our Lord and soon coming Savior. Although I have written in the past about the Moonies, allow me to give our newer readers a thumbnail sketch of his beliefs and practices.
Who Was Mr. Moon?
Sun Myung Moon was nothing if not ambitious. He had his sights on nothing less than global domination by his organization:
His stated ambition was to rule the world and replace Christianity with his own faith, which blended elements of Christianity, Confucianism and Korean folk religions.3
Like virtually all of the false religions Moon had a mystical encounter with an angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14) who revealed himself as Jesus. This Jesus explained how e had failed by being crucified. According to Moon’s Jesus the crucifixion was never the Father’s plan, yet Jesus failed and he appeared to Rev. Moon (at age 16) to call Moon to finish His redemptive work!
Young Myung Moon (later changed to Sun) was born in Pyungan Bud-do province in North Korea on January 6, 1920. Throughout his early life, Moon had a great deal of interest in spiritism. It was on Easter Sunday morning at the age of 16 that his first major encounter occurred, when Jesus Christ supposedly appeared to him while he was in prayer. Jesus told Moon that he had an important mission to accomplish in the fulfillment of God’s providence as a latter-day prophet. After the experience, Moon began writing his Divine Principles while studying Engineering in Japan. It was during this time, and after World War II, that Moon became involved in an underground Pentecostal movement that was deeply entrenched in mystical revelations and the appearance of the Messiah in the New Jerusalem, Korea. (They believed the Messiah would be born in Korea). It was in 1945 that Moon experienced his most important victory when he fought and defeated all Satanic forces and became victor of heaven and earth. (This is when he changed his name to Sun). In 1950, Moon was released from prison and moved to South Korea when in 1954 he began his Unification Church. In 1955, Moon was again jailed for draft evasion, adultery, and promiscuity. This came for his ritual sex with women in the church. Those who have been in Moon’s church say that one has to receive Moon’s blood to receive salvation. This salvation comes from three periods of sexual intercourse. In the years that followed, Moon became a multi-millionaire from his many enterprises-tea, titanium, drugs, and air rifles. Finally, on January 1, 1972, Moon claims God appeared to him and told him to come to America to prepare the people for the Second Advent of Christ. Believing the USA to be the base of the coming Messiah, Moon purchased much land in New York along with his 22-acre estate in Tarrytown, N.Y. Since this time, the church has grown here in America.4
Who was Mr. (I cannot call him “Rev.” people he was never ordained by any recognized body within the true Church) Moon? He had no biblical framework to judge his mystical encounter by, so he accepted it at face value, after all it is pretty “heady” stuff to be asked by Jesus to fulfill his “failed” mission!
Unfortunately for Moon he was raised in North Korea prior to the partition. He grew up in a rural area that was steeped in religious syncretism and mysticism. He joined an aberrant Pentecostal cult that firmly believed the next and final Messiah would come from Korea, which just happened to line up with his paranormal encounter. In 1946 Moon was arrested by the communists and sentenced to a five year prison term. While in prison he alleges to have engaged in tremendous spiritual warfare and in the end every other former religious leader and demon(s) bowed down to Moon as victor over them.
Moon did his time and in 1950 moved to the South and began his new religion he called “The Unification Church.” Part of his bizarre doctrine was that the women in the church, in order to be saved had to have sex with him on three occasions. That apart from his blood, there was no salvation (I wonder where he got that concept from)? This unique doctrine landed Mr. Moon back into jail for immorality and adultery.
There was a book by Pak Chung Hwa who was one of the earliest followers of Moon in the early days called The Tragedy Of The Six Mary’s. In the book, Pak alleges that Moon’s early teaching was that the new messiah must have sex with 6 “Marys” in a ritual that would cleanse the womb and make it pure. These women who must be married would then have sex with other men and the process would multiply until all people were “saved” in this way. Pak claimed though, that Moon wouldn’t stop at the six as he originally stated, but turned the theology into a kind of rotating sex-club for himself, which upset Pak, particularly he claimed because sometimes these encounters produced children and Moon allegedly left the women to fend for themselves with no support from Moon.5
Soon after getting out of jail the second time Moon “felt led” to take his message to America to prepare us for the second return of Christ (which meant the installation of Mr. Moon as the Christ). From 1972 until recently he has seconded himself to his palatial estate in Tarrytown, New York.
Moon became a huge supporter of Richard Nixon during his troubles and he gave massively to right-wing organizations and mobilized his followers to campaign for various politicians and raise money for them, etc.
Within ten years of his stay in America Mr. Moon was arrested, this time for tax evasion in 1982. While the trial was ongoing various American “evangelicals” came to his aid, people like Jerry Falwell whose Bible school was bailed out of bankruptcy by Moon.6 Moon was convicted of all counts and spent his full 18 month sentence in prison.
Moon taught that his family was the perfect family and his twelve children were representative of perfection. The public illusion of his perfect family was shattered by a few tragic events.
In 1984 17-year-old Heung Jin Moon died in Poughkeepsie when he drove recklessly into a truck.7 In 1998 his eldest son, Hyo Jin, was denounced as a violent cocaine addict by his wife (he would die of a heart attack in 2008, aged 45). In 1999 another of Moon’s sons, Younjin Phillip Moon, committed suicide aged 21.8 Several of the perfect families spouses have divorced their less than ‘perfect’ husbands. The biggest insights into the Moon daily lifestyle came from Nansook Hong, wife of the eldest of Moon’s sons and heir apparent to his vast empire. Nansook divorced and exposed her husband for the abusive pervert he was along with revealing the ungodly and lavish lifestyle led by all the members of the perfect family in her book “In The Shadow of the Moons,” I highly recommend her book to anyone interested in the daily inner workings of an antichrist and his family. The last I heard was that Nansook has become a Christian since her departure from the madness of the Moons.
What Is His Doctrine?
Any cult leader worth his or her cosmic salt has to appeal to some sort of authority; ergo the deceiver MUST put down the sublime new revelations in a book. Mary Baker Eddy wrote her “Scripture Keys to Science and Health,” Joe Smith got together his “Book of Mormon,” Mohammed’s followers cobbled together “the Koran” after his assumption of desert temperature. Even the Rastafarians have their “Holy Philby” (DMI has copies of all these heretical tomes), Judge Rutherford and devotees patched together “The New World Translation,” The Urantia cult has “The Urantia Book,” The Bahai have their “The Book of Laws,” and yes folks Rev. Moon wrote his too entitled “The Divine Principle,” which Moon left open for further revelations which he gave in his series of talks called “The Master Speaks.” From these two sources we can learn what Moon’s doctrine is.
To begin with the Bible is not “truth itself” but the Bible does contain truth, so immediately understand that Moonies have no real regard for Scripture as God’s holy Word. They usually interpret the Bible allegorically:
The Moonies interpret much of the Bible allegorically; they teach that the thieves on the cross represent democracy (the “right”) and Communism (the “left”). They claim that “resurrection” does not refer to raising the dead, but to accepting the “word of God” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12-20). They say that the expression “end of the world” only means that “evil is going to end.” [HJB] Moon also believes the Bible teaches that Christianity is not the one and only divinely revealed and saving faith. He says that “God has established many religions. … God cannot be found where there is conflict. Catholicism and Protestantism must become one.”9
Scriptures are understood in the current light of The Divine Principle along with whatever else Moon may have said in various teaching settings. Allow me to briefly bullet point some of their main doctrinal “distinctions.”
Moon was indeed a sexual deviant and his views on sexually colored much of what he believed and taught to others. The sin of Adam and Eve can be boiled down to Eve having sex with the serpent (Satan) and then having sex with Adam causing all mankind to fall.10
Sin was not the result of Adam’s willful disobedience to the Law of God, but was of a sexual nature:
Adam and Eve thus failed to fulfill God’s plan for them to be the “true parents” of mankind. According to Moon, then, sin is a matter of genetics (physical children of Lucifer), not moral choice. Salvation, therefore, requires a physical redemption; i.e. it is a matter of being born of Moon’s physical bond or entering a marriage union chosen and blessed by Moon himself. [Originally, “Blood cleansing” as defined by Moon was accomplished for any male by having sexual relations with a woman that had been “cleansed” by Moon (i.e., had sexual relations with Moon). Now, those who totally submit to Moon’s authority (e.g., defined as turning over all financial assets to the Unification Church, allowing Moon to choose one’s mate, etc.) may consider their devotion to be a spiritual kind of purification not requiring sexual cohabitation.]11
God the Father:
They deny the Triune nature of God, instead saying that God is dualistic in nature being composed of both male and female energies.
Jesus is not God, He is not virgin born, He is not the Savior of the world. Jesus is a failure, the bastard son of Zachariah and Mary and begged Mr. Moon to complete his “failed” mission (see D.P. pp. 143-145). At best Jesus provided an incomplete spiritual salvation and not the full physical redemption designed by God.
The Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is not “God” but is the impersonal redemptive activity of God. They teach that the Holy Spirit is female and the “spirit-wife” of Jesus the failure (see D.P. p. 113).
Naturally, Moon as all non-Christian religions teaches salvation by personal works:
Moonies teach the “Law of Indemnity” — that God’s children must pay for at least a part of their debt of sin before God will forgive them. They believe a person earns his salvation through fasting, fund-raising, recruitment, and other such works. They claim that both a spiritual and a physical salvation are needed — and that the “third Adam” will provide physical salvation by marrying and producing sinless children (Divine Principle, p. 148). They teach that once the “third Adam” comes, those who have paid indemnity will also be able to marry and bear sinless children. [HJB] Moonies view Moon as that “third Adam” who provides physical salvation through a perfect family (indeed, his twelve children are considered sinless!), and extends this perfection to his followers through their obedience to him.12
There we have it! “Trickle down salvation” that starts with Moon and his perfect family and spreads to those who have been tireless workers and whom Moon puts together as husband and wife. These now blessed couples will produce perfect families such as their Master’s, i.e. broken families of immorality, substance and physical abuse and in the end, hell. According to Moon eventually all of mankind will be saved and hell will be dissolved by the expanding universe.
I will not waste much time mentioning that Moon was a shrewd businessman and invested his cult’s assets into a vast global empire spanning everything from the making of air rifles to ginseng drinks! These businesses are run by his family members and trusted flunkies and many of them are staffed with Moonies who work for little pay and give much back to Moon!
Moon is Dead, Now What?
Frankly, I do not know what this will mean. Moon never really prepared for a successor, He was the “guy” period. His teachings did not make room for someone to continue his work, he said he fulfilled it. As with many groups based on failed promises and/or prophetic utterances I believe we will see a “spiritualizing” of many of Moon’s belief’s about his success. Sort of like the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses spiritualizing events they said would take place on earth. Those left behind (a little End-Time lingo) will have to do some very fancy footwork to keep he religious aspect of the cult alive.
Key to the church’s religious future is the Rev. Hyung-jin Moon, the U.S.-born 33-year-old who was tapped to succeed his father several years ago as head of the church. Known as “Sean” back at Harvard, where he studied, he is more fluent in English than Korean and has signs of his father’s charisma — but with an American sensibility. His sermons, delivered in English, are designed to appeal to the next generation of “Unificationists,” the name followers prefer over the moniker “Moonies.”13
Often cults wither away, thankfully, with the death of their founder, but in the case of the Moonies they may persist for a while longer. Moon’s sort of sex-magic salvation is behind all of the “mass weddings” we’d see taking place with Mr. & Mrs. Moon presiding and blessing the arranged couples. Through these marriages the women are saved, perfect children are born already members in the cult and if people are employed by a Moonie owned and operated business, they had best continue to toe-the-line. These marriages alone account for thousands of people and families, so the cult has a sort of built-in survival system, at least for a little while.
Also, many cult watchers agree that Moon’s organization is indeed not so much a “religion” as it is a money-making concern. They still field thousands of solicitors (beggars) on the streets of the capitals of the world asking for donations (and getting them), this brings in unknown amounts of cash which is used to keep the Perfect Family in the mannerto which they are accustomed. It is a religious cult that provides the motivation to mobilize people to become slaves to Moon and his family organization.
The big question now that Moon’s being turned into compost is who will run his vast business global empire?
The church has amassed dozens of businesses in the United States, South Korea and even North Korea, including hotels, a ski resort, sports teams, schools, universities and hospitals. One expert said the church’s business prospects appear brighter than its religious future. Tark Ji-il, a professor of religion at Busan Presbyterian University, described the church not as a religious organization but as a corporation made up of people with similar religious beliefs. The church won’t give details about how much its businesses are worth, other than to describe them as part of a “multibillion-dollar” empire.14
He has ten of the twelve surviving perfect children and there are literally hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. It seems the next eldest son is the head of the business wing of the cult:
An older brother, Kook-jin Moon, a 42-year-old also known as Justin, runs the Tongil Group, the church’s business arm. The church has amassed dozens of business ventures over the years, including the New Yorker Hotel, a midtown Manhattan art deco landmark, and the Yongpyong ski resort in South Korea. It gave the University of Bridgeport $110 million over more than a decade to keep the Connecticut school operating. Moon also founded the Washington Times newspaper in 1982. (They also own the Associated Press newswire, the AP).15
Obviously, this leaves eight other siblings to either be happily bought off or possibly form some splinter group, only time will tell.
How Should Christians Engage the Moonies?
When approached, most people will encounter Moonies soliciting money for runaway teen programs, substance abuse, pregnancy centers, etc. Now they may be real programs (Moon has 100’s of non-profits) or they may be total lies. Moon has a teaching called “heavenly deception”which allows Moonies to lie to others for the sake of the kingdom. It is perfectly permissible to lie to those you are about to bilk.
A pair of fresh-faced usually young people approaches you asking for money to help the homeless. They are well dressed, well groomed (kind of look a bit Mormony) and usually they will not say anything initially about religion, most have been taught to somewhat hide their affiliation with Moon and his cult until pressed on the point. The following are merely suggestions and they can be applied to anyone who has not yet been converted to faith in Christ.
For many of my Lutheran brethren, it has not been our practice to actively “share our faith” on the public streets or door-to-door. Be that as it may, we still need to be equipped to give an answer for the hope that lies within us. If your pastor has not yet taught you how to share your faith effectively, then why not ask him to hold such as class or invite DMI to come and help equip the saints in your area!
1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear
#1. Pray first! Keep in mind all cult members have been deeply deceived and are totally invested in their group. Realize that you are engaging in genuine spiritual warfare, so ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom (see James 1:5) and to “fill your mouth” with the proper words to share (Luke 12:12).
#2. Share Christ alone! Jesus is the focus of our witness. The Apostle Paul defined the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). If we aren’t explaining the sacrifice of Christ, then we’re not really sharing the gospel. (See also 1 Corinthians 2:2 and Romans 10:9-10.) Make sure to stress the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, not just one of many ways. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). I would probably share the Father’s love for lost humanity with John 3:16 and make sure the cultist knows that our Father loves them so much He sent His only Son to die for them that they might have eternal life. If this is all you have time to get out before they flee from the presence of the light in you — then thanks be to God you have shared enough!
#3. Thank God! At the end of your encounter then give God praise for allowing you to share your faith. Know that when you have shared it is up to the Lord to convict and to draw to faith. Our job is to simply share what Christ has done for the world and for us personally. We are not the Savior, nor do we rest on our ability to share the Gospel. God has promised that His Word will not return to Him void (Isa. 55:11). In some cases we will be watering seed that has been previously sown (see 1 Cor. 3:8) at other times we will be sowing Gospel seeds, and yes at times you may meet people who are ready to be “harvested” into the Kingdom, i.e. people who come to repentance while you are with them. In the sowing, the watering and the harvesting — the Lord of the harvest (Matt. 9:38) gets all the glory.
Moon is dead, now is the time for Christians to reach out to the confused devotees with the genuine Gospel. One way to gain experience in sharing your faith proactively is simply go online and join the various forums sponsored by the Moonie cult and begin to engage the cultists with God’s Word. This is a less pressured way to witness and you have the ability to lookup texts immediately as your share and/or find answers quickly to somewhat “pithy” questions the cultists may ask. Let me close this out by saying that in sharing our faith we do not have to have all the answers. When asked questions you do not have an answer for then say “that is a good question, give me your number and I will get back to you with the answer.” Our job is simply to be faithful, walk humbly before our God and share His love flowing through us to a dying world of neighbors for whom Christ died.
An Attitude of Gratitude
DMI wants to acknowledge the work of one of our fellow truth-tellers. Sister Sherrie D. has single-handedly set up and run the DMI Blog for the last six years! Due to her work the newsletters have now been read (to some degree) by over 100,000 people.
THANK YOU SHERRIE!
For six years of volunteering your time and gifts for Christ’s sake. Fact is —— without the sacrifices of time, talent and treasure of ALL of our readers DMI would not be able to “Teach Truth & Expose Error.” We give thanks and praise to God for each and everyone of you!
1. Obtained from http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/sun-myung-moon-dies-at-92-washington-times-owner-led-the-unification-church/2012/09/02/001b747a-f531-11e1-aab7-f199a16396cf_story.html. Underlining added for emphasis.
2. To read more about his colorful life go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Patrick
3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/sun-myung-moon-dies-at-92-washington-times-owner-led-the-unification-church/2012/09/02/001b747a-f531-11e1-aab7-f199a16396cf_story.html. Underlining added.
4. http://www.biblelineministries.org/articles/basearch.php3?action=full&mainkey=THE+CULT+OF+SUN+MYUNG+MOON. Underlining added.
5. Obtained from http://www.reocities.com/craigmaxim/m-3a.html.
6. Obtained from http://www.contendingfortruth.com/wp-content/uploads/Exposed-Chuck-Missler-Tim-Lahaye-etc.pdf
7. Obtained from http://www.icsahome.com/docview_elib.asp?Subject=Ex-Memers+and+Moon’s+Alienated+Kin+Speak+Out+About+Troubled+Family+Life
8. Obtained from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9517193/The-Rev-Sun-Myung-Moon.html
9. Obtained from http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/unificat.htm.
10. Bizarre, yes, original, no. William Branham taught this sex-with-Satan nonsense aka as “the serpent seed doctrine” in the 40’s when Moon was involved with an underground Pentecostal cult, so he may have gotten gist of it then.
13. Obtained from http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/feuds-concern-children-inherit-moons-empire-17142307#.UEYii41lQn0
14. Ibid. Obtained from http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/feuds-concern-children-inherit-moons-empire-17142307#.UEYii41lQn0. Underlining and highlights added for emphasis.