Sun Myung Moon

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Image:Sun Myung Moon 2005.jpg
Sun Myung Moon in 2005.

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}" width="{{#if:{{{tablewidth|}}}|{{#expr: {{{tablewidth}}}/2|125}}">Sun Myung Moon{{{logoimage}}}| Sun Myung Moon }} }; border-top:1px solid; color:{{{fontcolor|}}}">Korean name}} Chosŏn'gŭl: 문선명

<tr><td align="right" style="border-top: 1px solid">Hanja:</td><td style="border-top: 1px solid;">文鮮明</td></tr> <tr><td align="right" style="border-top: 1px solid">McCune-Reischauer:</td><td style="border-top: 1px solid;">Mun Sŏnmyŏng</td></tr> <tr><td align="right" style="border-top: 1px solid">Revised Romanization:</td><td style="border-top: 1px solid;">Mun Seon-myeong</td></tr>

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The Rev. Sun Myung Moon (born February 25, 1920, lunar: January 6, 1920) founded the Unification Church (later renamed Family Federation for World Peace and Unification) on May 1, 1954, in Seoul, South Korea. Moon is the originator and co-author of the Divine Principle and with his wife, Hak Ja Han, he is co-leader of the Unification Movement, which includes the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), Universal Peace Federation, and many other organizations. He is also well-known for holding, since 1960, Blessing ceremonies, which are often called "mass weddings"; and for founding the Washington Times newspaper in 1982. He has said that he is "humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>


[edit] Name and forms of address

Sun Myung Moon's birth name was Moon Yong-myung (문용명, 文龍明), and he changed his given name upon reaching adulthood (to Sun-myung). The Hanja for moon (문, 文), the reverend's surname, means "word" or "literature" in Korean. The character sun (선, 鮮), composed of "fish" and "lamb" (symbols of Christianity), means "fresh." The character myung (명, 明), composed of "sun" and "moon", (which was part of his given name), means "bright." Together, sun-myung means "make clear." So the full name can be taken to mean "the word made clear." In a speech where he explained this, he concluded, "My name is prophetic."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Unification Church members call Rev. Moon "Father" (short for "True Father"). Some ministers who have recently come to associate themselves with the Unification Movement have taken to calling him "Father Moon". Similar titles are used for his wife.

At scientific or other scholarly conferences, the form "Dr. Moon" has been used since Rev. Moon received an honorary doctorate from Shaw Divinity School.

[edit] Early biography

[edit] Life in Korea

Sun Myung Moon in prayer, probably in the 1970s

Moon was born in Sangsa-ri (上思里, lit. "high-thought village"), Deogun-myon, Jeongju-gun, North P'yŏng'an Province, Korea (now in North Korea) to Moon Kyung-yoo and Kim Kyung-gye. The Moon family held traditional Confucianist beliefs, but converted to Christianity when he was around 10 years old.

On Easter morning, April 17, 1935, when he was 16 (in Korean age reckoning), Moon says he had a vision or revelation of Jesus while praying atop a small mountain. He says that Jesus implored him to complete his mission of saving all of humankind.

Moon's high school years were spent at a boys' boarding school in Seoul, and later in Japan, where he studied electrical engineering. After the end of World War II, he returned to Korea and began preaching his message.

Moon was arrested in 1946 by North Korean officials. The church states that the charges stemmed from the jealousy and resentment of other church pastors after parishioners stopped tithing to their old churches upon joining Sun Myung Moon's congregation. Police beat him and left him for dead, but a teenage disciple, Won Pil Kim, nursed him back to health.

Moon was arrested again and was given a five-year sentence in 1948 to the Heung-Nam labor camp, where prisoners were routinely worked to death on short rations. Moon credits his own survival to God's protection over his life, and his habit of saving half his meager water ration for washing the toxic chemicals off his skin after long days work bagging and loading chemical fertilizer with his bare hands. After serving 34 months of his sentence, he was released in 1950 when UN troops advanced on the camp and the guards fled.

Moon was jailed briefly on counterfeiting charges during the Korean War when, shortly after escaping from North Korea, he tried to spend some North Korean currency in South Korea. He was released after his former kindergarten teacher vouched for him. He was also charged with draft evasion; these charges were eventually dropped, after it was determined that Moon was in a North Korean prison camp during the war. Later he would explain to his followers that as a man of God, he never wanted to be in a position where he would be required to kill his fellow men.

In 1954, he registered the 'Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity in Seoul' (also known as the Unification Church).

Some sociologists and scholars of new religious movements have written that Moon's leadership of the Unification Church is based on charismatic authority. <ref>Bromley, David G. and Anson D. Shupe Moonies in America. Cult, Church and - Crusade Beverly Hills, Sage (1979) page 110 "a living, awe - inspiring leader who is the medium of ongoing supernatural revelation" Shupe and Bromley considered Moon an ideal type of charismatic authority</ref> <ref>Robbins, Thomas Charisma in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Society edited by William H. Swatos (February 1998) ISBN 0-7619-8956-0</ref>

[edit] Marriage

Moon married Hak Ja Han, his third wife,<ref>Normally, in relaying Rev. Moon's biography to members, his second wife (common law wife) Myung Hee Kim is counted as the second wife and Hak Ja Han is counted as the third wife.</ref> soon after she turned 17 years old, in a ceremony called the "Holy Marriage." His first wife had left him due to conflicts over what he saw as his messianic role. Han, called "Mother" or "True Mother" by followers, and her husband together are referred to as the "True Parents" by members of the Unification Church.

Hak Ja Han gave birth to 14 children; her second daughter died in infancy. The family is known in the church as the "True Family" and the children as the "True Children."

Shortly after their marriage they presided over a Blessing Ceremony for 36 couples, the first of many such ceremonies.

[edit] Leading the Unification Church overseas

[edit] Arrival in the United States

Image:Nixon Moon.gif
Sun Myung Moon meeting with President Nixon at the White House.

Moon visited the United States for the first time in 1965.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In 1971 he moved there to live, but maintained a residence in South Korea and traveled between the two countries.

The U.S. press began using the derogatory term "Moonies" in 1974. Unificationists endured and even poked fun at the epithet for roughly a decade, but changed their public stance in the mid 1980s, when they asked major media organizations to stop referring to them as "Moonies" on the grounds that the term is demeaning and bigoted. See main article on this topic: Moonies.

In the 1970s, many journalists portrayed Moon as a cult leader who used mind control and brainwashing on his followers to extort money from them. Moon was accused of breaking up families by aggressively encouraging young college students to break off contact with the outside world, and sell trinkets and flowers to raise money for the church.<ref>Articles in the popular press that were critical of Sun Myung Moon were especially prevalent in the late 1970s. See Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, 1900- . New York: Wilson, 1905- . v.1- .</ref> Church sources counter that Moon urged members to "write a letter to your parents every ten days" and that adult members visiting their parents was sometimes complicated by the potential threat of kidnapping and so-called "deprogramming."

Congressional investigators such as Robert Boettcher (in his book Gifts of Deceit: Sun Myung Moon, Tongsun Park, and the Korean Scandal published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980) reported what they described as breathtaking financial misdoing, including a scheme to raise money for a church PR fund that disguised itself as a fundraiser for sick children.[citation needed] Congressman (later the mayor of Minneapolis) Donald Fraser also investigated the church's political ties.[citation needed] No criminal allegations came out of these congressional investigations.

The controversy over these charges had peaked in the U.S. by 1976 and gradually diminished as his youthful American followers settled down, got jobs or started businesses, and built links to local churches in their communities. The APA's pronouncement that there is no scientific merit behind the theory of mind control weakened the legal basis for deprogramming claims in the US.[citation needed]

In 1956, Moon began his first ocean fishing project with church members in Korea. [1] In 1975, he and his followers started True World Foods, Inc., a seafood provider. It has since grown to provide much of the raw fish served in sushi restaurants in the United States. For example, of the 17 most prominent sushi restaurants in Chicago, 14 receive at least some of their raw fish for sushi from True World Foods.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Another Unification Church related seafood company is the largest private employer and tax payer in Kodiak, Alaska.[2] Yet another company alleged to be at least loosely related to the Unification Church is Kahr Arms, a small arms company based in Blauvelt, New York with a factory in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is operated by Moon's fourth son Kook Jin "Justin" Moon, who has denied any direct links between his company and the Unification Church.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="Kahr">Kahr Arms: The Company (click on "Research & Development" link in sidebar), Kahr Arms, accessed 2006-08-19.</ref>

[edit] 1980s

[edit] U.S. Tax Case

In 1982 Moon was convicted by the United States government for willfully filing false federal income tax returns and conspiracy. His conviction was upheld on appeal in a split decision. He was given a prison sentence and spent 13 months in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. Individuals both inside and outside of the Unification Church have protested that the prosecution of Moon was unjust.

[edit] Other 1980s events

In 1981 Moon proposed an international highway project which would reach around most of the world. He said about it:

"It would mean that people would come and go freely without borders. It would have no national boundaries.... When the peace highway comes into being in the future, you will be able go as fast as you like there. No matter what color skin you have, nothing can stop you there. There will be absolutely no racial discrimination."[3]

The second son of Hak Ja Han and Rev. Moon, Heung-Jin Moon, died on January 2, 1984 from injuries sustained in a car crash in December 1983; a jack-knifed truck entered his lane while he was driving two friends. Rev. Moon ascribed great importance to his death, and Heung-Jin Moon is officially regarded to be the "king of the spirits" in heaven (rather than Jesus), and is now said to be conducting seminars in heaven for departed souls.

In Washington, Moon found common ground with strongly anti-Communist leaders of the 1980s who appreciated Moon's fierce opposition to the USSR and support of President Richard Nixon. He found a fellow opponent of Communism in President Ronald Reagan and Moon reportedly spent a billion dollars over the next twenty years, most of it in the Washington D. C. area, to establish and support the influential conservative newspaper The Washington Times, which he called in 2002, 'the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world'.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] 1990s

[edit] Politics

Rev. Moon initially opposed U.S. President George H. W. Bush's 1990 plan to use military force against Iraq (which had then recently invaded its oil-rich neighbor, Kuwait). Moon wrote a letter to Bush that said, 'George Bush, President of the United States, you cannot win this battle without the help of God Almighty'.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> A letter to Mikhail Gorbachev in January of 1991 asked the Soviet leader to spend forty days in peace negotiations.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Fundraising scandal and lawsuit in Japan

In the 1990s, thousands of Japanese elderly people successfully claimed to have been defrauded of their life savings by Moon followers' spiritual sales. Moon's church was the subject of the largest consumer fraud investigation in Japan's history in 1997 and court decisions upheld a 37.6 million yen decision to pay two women coerced into donating their assets to the Unification Church.

[edit] Daughter-in-law's book questions role as "True Parent"

Moon's oldest son Hyo Jin Moon had repeated problems with substance abuse, pornography, infidelity, violence, and run-ins with the law. When he was 19, Sun Myung Moon had picked a 15 year-old wife for him, Nansook Hong, who bore him 5 children. After years of abuse, she left the Moon estate with her children and in 1998 published a tell-all book, In the Shadow of the Moons: My Life in the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Family (ISBN 0-316-34816-3). For many Unification Church members, this book was a revealing portrait of the way Sun Myung Moon and his wife had raised their children, and caused a great deal of soul-searching. (See for example this review of the book by a church member.)

[edit] Son's death

On October 27 1999 Moon's sixth son, Young Jin, fell to his death from the seventeenth floor of a Reno, Nevada, hotel. Police reports and the Coroner officially recorded the death as a suicide. Moon has said that he does not believe it was a suicide [4] [5].

[edit] 2000s

In 2001, now excommunicated Roman Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo was married to Maria Sung, a Korean acupuncturist, by Rev. Moon. This attracted world-wide media attention.

In February 2003, Moon and Han re-affirmed their wedding vows after 43 years of marriage in a ceremony named the 'Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony of the Parents of Heaven and Earth.'

[edit] Campaign to replace the Cross with a Crown

That same year the Rev. Moon's began his "tear down" [6], or "take down the cross" [7] campaign. The campaign was started in the belief that the cross is a reminder of Jesus' pain and has been a source of division since. The campaign included a "funeral" and "burial" ceremony for the cross [8].

The Rick Ross website says:

According to a prominent Unification Church official, dozens of ministers across the country associated with the group have heeded Moon's call to take down the cross from their churches and replace it with the crown. [9]
[edit] Comments on the campaign

Church theologian and seminary dean Andrew Wilson said, "You all know some of the arguments and explanations that Father Moon has given to explain why churches should take down the cross. By far the most important reason is the pain in the heart of God. The crucifixion was not something that God loves, but something that God hates. It hurts every time He sees people glorifying the cross, which was the instrument of execution used to kill His beloved Son." [10] writer John Gorenfeld said, "You couldn't really spell it out any more explicitly short of renting a blimp to carry a fluttering 'Moon wants you to dump Jesus and crown Moon king instead' banner." <ref>A campaign to put the cross in the dumpster concludes in a Senate ballroom</ref>

[edit] Crowned by Members of United States Congress

In 2004, at a March 23 ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) wore white gloves and carried a pillow holding an ornate crown that was placed on Rev. Moon's head<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> This event attracted a lot of attention in the media when some attendees said they were tricked into attending.

[edit] 120 City World Speaking Tour

In September 12, 2005, at the age of 85, Moon inaugurated the Universal Peace Federation with a 120-city world speaking tour.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> At each city, Moon delivered his speech entitled "God's Ideal Family - the Model for World Peace".

[edit] Daughter on Survival of the Richest

In 2006 the Moons' daughter, Yeon Jin (nick-named Kat), was a contestant on the WB network show, "Survival of the Richest".

[edit] Views on Communism

After the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea, Moon was abused and tortured by the North Korean government. Some writers point out that Rev. Moon would be anti-communist anyway because communism denies the existence of God.<ref>"Rev. Moon's leadership in ending world communism", a discussion with an unusually political tone, but in which Bo Hi Pak asserts that Rev. Moon's anti-communism is based on the fact that it "denies the very existence of God."</ref> Other writers have asserted that Moon's anti-communism is a reaction to his personal suffering, as opposed to having any spiritual or religious basis.[citation needed] Critics have seized upon this point of view as evidence for their claim that the Unification Movement has primarily a political basis; thus, they argue, his Unification Church is a cult as opposed to a religion.[citation needed]

Others argue that the only reason the Communists put him on trial and sentenced him to a death camp was because of his religious teachings. After an 11-month study of the worldwide Unification Church, Distinguished Philosophy Professor Frederick Sontag (whose view of the church is not favorable) concluded that "one thing is sure: the church has a genuine spiritual basis."<ref>Frederick Sontag. (1977). Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. Abingdon Press.</ref>

A German court found that

Moon, who was born and grew up in a Japan-occupied Korea, started to preach his religious teachings back in 1945 or 1946 before he personally encountered difficulties with communism. Following Moon's torture and imprisonment by the North Korean communists from 1947 to 1950 he was not reported to have engaged primarily in political agitation, but rather in daily worship. Furthermore, he was barred from the Presbyterian Church as early as 1948 owing to his different religious teachings. These facts alone prove that Moon's teachings have a religious foundation and do not result solely from his personal experience with communism.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, of the Unification Church wrote,

'In the 1960's he spoke about communism as having only 70 years to prosper, from 1917 to 1987, after which time it would decline rapidly. In 1984 he asked me to convene an international conference in Geneva on the theme, "The Fall Of The Soviet Empire." Many leaders advised him not to use this title. But he insisted, and the conference, on that theme, was held. A few short years later, communism was turned upside down.'<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In the 1990s Reverend Moon visited some of the formerly and some of the still communist nations. In 1990, he organized a major meeting of government and media in Moscow. This fulfilled a pledge he had made in 1976 that one day he would organize a "great rally for God in Moscow." During this conference, on their thirtieth wedding anniversary, Reverend and Mrs. Moon met with President Mikhail Gorbachev. They gave several interviews together, televised and in print. Reverend Moon traveled to North Korea in December 1991, and met with President Kim Il Sung, under whose regime he had been tortured and sent to a labor camp.

[edit] Controversy

[edit] Church role in munitions manufacturing

Church members worked in weapon and munitions manufacturing in South Korea during the 1960s, as documented in a United States Congressional Report on the Unification Church from 1978.

According to the same report, "A Moon Organization business" was involved in weapons manufacture and "is an important defense contractor in Korea. It is involved in the production of M-16 rifles, antiaircraft guns, and other weapons.". The report also highlighted that "[o]f particular concern is the Moon Organization’s involvement in the production and sale of M-16 rifles and other weapons provided to Korea under U.S. aid programs and subject to the Arms Export Control Act. In late 1977, Moon Organization representatives tried to renegotiate a coproduction agreement between Colt Industries and the ROK Government. The circumstances suggested they were secret envoys of the Korean Government which, under the coproduction agreement, has exclusive control over M-16 production. Although the ROK Government said it wanted to produce 300,000 extra M-16’s because of the need to equip its own forces, Moon Organization tried to get Colt’s agreement to export guns to third countries."

[edit] Prison terms

Opponents often cite the fact that Moon has served time in prison on tax charges and has been banned from traveling to some countries as proof that he is not a legitimate religious leader. Moon's supporters dismiss the prison terms and travel bans as examples of persecution, arguing in particular that Jesus himself was persecuted and ultimately executed by the Roman government.

[edit] Political donations and influence

Moon, although he has never run for political office, has an extensive history of making political donations through the various organizations such as the Women’s Federation for World Peace and the Washington Times Foundation, with his money flowing through the religious right in particular.<ref name=consortium>The Moon-Bush Cash Conduit Robert Parry June 14, 2006., The Consortium for Independent Journalism, Inc.</ref> In the mid-1990s former United States President George H.W. Bush accepted millions of dollars from Moon's Women’s Federation for World Peace to speak on his behalf around the world, a fact that Moon touted to his advantage in his media outlets.<ref name=consortium>The Moon-Bush Cash Conduit Robert Parry June 14, 2006., The Consortium for Independent Journalism, Inc.</ref>

In June 2006 the Houston Chronicle reported that in 2004 Moon’s Washington Times Foundation gave $1 million to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which made donations to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library. A man described as a "Virginia electronic gumshoe named Larry Zilliox" by reporter Rick Casey suggested that this was to lobby Bush's son President George W. Bush for a pardon for Moon's 1982 felony tax conviction.<ref name=houstonchronicle>$1 million Moonie mystery Rick Casey. Houston Chronicle June 8, 2006</ref>

Robert Parry, an American investigative journalist, claims that Rev. Moon exerts considerable influence over the Bush family and thus indirectly over the government of the United States. [11]

Here and here John Gorenfeld chronicles a bit of the connection between the Bush's and Moon (including photos and video).

[edit] Other issues

Rev. Moon, perhaps one of the most controversial current religious leaders, has been criticized by a wide range of opponents. Some civil libertarians consider his call for unity between religion and politics a violation of democracy's separation of church and state, and that he would crush individualism. The leading civil libertarian organization in the USA, the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Rev. Moon during his tax case, however.

Some Jews have objected to his saying that the Holocaust is partly an indirect consequence for some important Jewish leaders, especially John the Baptist, not supporting Jesus which contributed to his murder by the Roman government. See Unification Church and anti-Semitism. Moon has invested much effort for the cause of reconciliation in Israel between the three major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) by organizing peace pilgrimages with religious and political leaders.

Gay rights groups object to his condemnation of homosexuality. In 1997 he said to church members:

Is the world around us a peaceful world centered upon God, or is it all confused? (Confused.) That is what is called free sex. What is the meaning of lesbians and homosexuals? That is the place where all different kinds of dung collect. We have to end that behavior. When this kind of dirty relationship is taking place between human beings, God cannot be happy. That is what the secular world is like. As the lord of all creation, are we seeking that kind of world? (No.) As human beings, we should mobilize our forty billion cells and clean up these dirty places. Would you women want this dirty dung filled water to be poured over you? (No.) What about men, do you want to be soaked in that kind of dirty water? (No.) Only Satan and dirty dung eating dogs go after that. God created human beings and they should stay away from it. Isn't it true? [YES!] There are certain kinds of dogs that go after dung and eat it. Therefore the name of dog (or sometimes "son of a bitch") is used to speak badly of human beings. Those people who love dung eating dogs must have some problem. Especially American people, and American leaders. If they truly love such dogs, they also become like dung eating dogs and produce that quality of life. If such dogs are around can't you smell them? Do you want to be close to them or far away? (Far away.) American people, their mind wants to get away, but their bodies are still being pulled by these dung eating dogs. That's true! Free sex activity is equivalent to this. Father gave you a figure of speech.[12]

[edit] References

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[edit] External links

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[edit] Critical views

[edit] Balanced or neutral views

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Sun Myung Moon

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