Who is Reverend Moon? | Jesus
The Beginning of the Unification Church | The
Ministry in America | Why
the Persecution? | Trial and Error
Return to Homeland | The
Ideal of Woman | True Parents of Humankind
Who is Reverend Moon?
Nearly everyone has read or heard something about the founder of the Unification
Church, Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Some media reports have portrayed Reverend
Moon as a businessman or politician. Others have recognized him to be an
extraordinarily dedicated religious leader. Who is Reverend Moon? Our answer
begins with an account of his upbringing, and an encounter he had with Jesus
on a Korean mountainside.
Sun Myung Moon was born on January 6, 1920, into a family of farmers that
had tilled the land for centuries. As a boy he studied at a Confucian school
and was a keen observer of the natural world.
Around 1930, his parents became fervent Christians - Presbyterians, and
the young Sun Myung Moon became a Sunday school teacher.
At that time, Japan ruled Korea and only permitted practice of the Shinto
religion. The religious intolerance of the militant Japanese was only a
small part of the contempt they held for the Koreans, a race they believed
to be inferior. The Korean people were subjected to forty years of humiliation
and cruelty as part of Japan's Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. As a
member of an oppressed race, Sun Myung Moon learned to hate injustice, whether
among his own people or at the hands of the Japanese rulers.
Korea is a land of fervent Christian faith. Today it is well known that
Korea is home to the largest Protestant churches in the world. When Reverend
Billy Graham visited Korea, he was so impressed by the spiritual vitality
of her churches that he predicted one day Korea would send missionaries
to revive the West. Before World War II, the center of Christian activity
was Pyongyang, which was called the "Jerusalem of the East." Among
the spirit-filled churches were many with strong messianic expectations.
These churches had received revelations that the Messiah would be born in
Korea, and they were directed in various ways to prepare to receive him.
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Jesus Christ Appears
At Easter time in 1935, Jesus appeared to the young Sun Myung Moon as he
was praying in the Korean mountains. In that vision, Jesus asked him to
continue the work which he had begun on earth nearly 2,000 years before.
Jesus asked him to complete the task of establishing God's kingdom on earth
and bringing His peace to humankind.
The young Korean was stunned by this encounter, and especially by the request
that had been made of him, and at first he refused. However, after deep
reflection, meditation and prayer, he pledged his life to that overwhelming
After personally accepting Jesus' call, the young man set out to discover
its very meaning. If Jesus called him to complete his mission, it meant
that Jesus' mission was incomplete. Was not salvation through the cross
all that man needs? What was it that Jesus had left undone on earth? If
sin is not completely solved, then what is the actual root of sin?
Sun Myung Moon studied the Bible and many other religious teachings in order
to unravel these mysteries of life and human history. During this time,
he went into ever deeper communion with God and entered the vast battlefield
of the spirit and flesh. Through denying his personal desires he overcame
temptations of knowledge, wealth and physical pleasure. He came to understand
God's own suffering and His longing to be reunited with His children. He
learned the difficult steps that humankind would have to take in order to
return to God and establish true peace on earth.
By 1945, he had organized the teachings which came to be known as the Divine
Principle, and he began his public ministry. The Divine Principle, the fundamental
teaching of Reverend Moon and the Unification Church, is outlined in the
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The Wilderness Course
As World War II drew to a close, Reverend Moon, who had been jailed as a
member of the Korean independence movement while studying at a Japanese
university, returned to his native land.
With the end of Japanese rule, he contacted other Christians and offered
to work with them to build God's kingdom on the earth. American Christian
missionaries had also heard of this young teacher, and disregarded him as
a "country preacher." Korean ministers, jealous of the young man's
appeal with their members, rejected him and accused him of espousing false
teachings. Because the Christian churches failed to embrace him, Reverend
Moon realized that he would have to walk the lonely path of a pioneer.
Subsequently, he was called by God to travel to the communist north. There,
he began to teach publicly, despite the dangers of doing so in a country
where religion was not welcome. As a poor preacher who looked at the Bible
in a new way, Reverend Moon was more vulnerable than the established churches,
and, not surprisingly, was one of the first to come under attack from the
Charged with disturbing the social order, in November 1946, the young minister
was imprisoned and tortured. The police thought him dead and threw his body
into the prison yard. Some of his followers found him and carried him away
to tend to his broken body. Miraculously, Reverend Moon survived and regained
his strength. Undaunted, he began preaching in public again.
In April 1948, he was arrested again and sentenced to five years of hard
labor in Hungnam prison. He was among the first of the Christian ministers
sent to the Soviet-style North Korean gulag. Hungnam was an extermination
camp where prisoners were deliberately worked to death. Few lasted more
than six months. Yet in that miserable concentration camp, Reverend Moon
survived for nearly three years. Although he didn't speak a word of the
Divine Principle, many of his fellow prisoners came to him for spiritual
strength and became his disciples.
On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army invaded the South in a lightning
attempt to unify the entire peninsula by force. UN and American forces,
under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, rescued the beleaguered South. One month after
the capture of Seoul, UN forces reached the gates of Hungnam prison. In
the meantime, the communist prison authorities had begun to execute the
prisoners. The prison camp was liberated the morning of Reverend Moon's
Despite his brutal prison camp experience, Reverend Moon did not immediately
flee to the South. Instead, he returned to Pyongyang and spent forty days
searching for the members of his scattered flock. He eventually found a
few members and then traveled south on foot with two of them. In the port
city of Pusan, Reverend Moon and one disciple built the first Unification
Church from discarded army ration boxes. At that time, he told his small
following that one day the message of the Divine Principle would be spread
all over the world. He prophesied that people from all over the world would
venerate that hillside. Reverend Moon's prophecy sounded unbelievable. Yet,
it came true. Tens of thousands of people, including 7,000 ministers from
America, have made a pilgrimage to the spot. How did this come about?
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The Beginning of the Unification Church
On May 1, 1954, in Seoul, Reverend Moon founded the Holy Spirit Association
for the Unification of World Christianity (popularly called the Unification
The church immediately attracted followers from a major Christian women's
university, Ewha University, a school closely linked with the Korean government
and with the mainline Protestant denominations. Because many students were
joining the church, the school sent professors to investigate. When several
professors also joined, instead of sincerely welcoming this new church,
the school persecuted it. The university president ordered the professors
and students either to leave the church or leave the school.
Coincidentally, newspapers in Seoul suddenly began to print alarming stories
about the Unification Church, about sex orgies and Reverend Moon being a
North Korean agent. Reverend Moon was thrown in jail, to be released weeks
later when no charges could be found. Again the following year he was thrown
in jail on charges of evading the military draft, even though during the
time in question he had been in Hungnam prison. After several months confinement-and
sensational media coverage-- the charges were dropped. His release received
scant notice in the press. Thus began the pattern of collusion between religious
leaders, government and the media to suppress Reverend
Moon and his church.
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The Internal Mission: Complete Salvation
Amidst this tribulation, Reverend Moon nurtured a growing community of faithful
disciples. It was known as the weeping church. By 1957, churches were established
in thirty Korean cities and towns. In 1958, the first missionary went to
neighboring Japan; in 1959, the first missionaries arrived in America.
This family of disciples was the foundation upon which the holy wedding,
the marriage of the Lamb foretold in the Book of Revelation, could take
place. On March 16, 1960, Reverend Moon was blessed in holy marriage to
Hak Ja Han. This marked the beginning of the restoration of humankind back
into God's lineage. By the power of God and sacrificial love, Sun Myung
Moon and Hak Ja Han established the position of True Parents. They are the
first couple to have the complete blessing of God, and to be able to bring
forth children with no original sin.
Hak Ja Han and her mother, a devout Christian, had also fled south during
the Korean War. They soon thereafter joined the Unification Church. At the
age of seventeen, Miss Han dedicated herself to the mission of bride of
the Messiah. She has, with unwavering courage and dignity, stood by her
husband through every hardship.
All people, whether previously married or single, can receive the blessing
of God upon their marriages through Reverend and Mrs. Moon standing as the
True Parents. The number of couples who have received this blessing has
grown, from 36 in 1960, to 8,000 in 1982, to 30,000 in 1992, and most recently,
to 360,000 in 1995.
The large weddings represent the unity of humankind by joining together
men and women of different races and nationalities. Reverend Moon teaches
that through the blessing, fallen men and women can be engrafted into the
true lineage of God. Consequently, for fallen humanity, which traces its
roots to the false lineage created by Adam and Eve, the blessing is the
greatest hope. The couples blessed by Reverend and Mrs. Moon accept God's
call to establish ideal, God-centered families. The establishment of ideal
families is the starting point for the building of a peaceful world.
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Ministry in America
In 1971, God directed Reverend Moon to expand his ministry to the world
level by coming to the United States. He saw all that was expressed gratitude
for its role in liberating his good in America and homeland. But he also
knew that God expected much more from this land that had been so richly
blessed. America, which embraces all peoples, races and religions, represents
the world. What happens in America has global repercussions.
It was clear to Reverend Moon that America had drifted from its original
ideals. Therefore, he conducted a "Day of Hope" speaking tour
throughout America in the early 1970s with the purpose of reviving traditional
Judeo-Christian values. In 1974, he spoke to an over flow crowd in New York's
Madison Square Garden. He then preached in all fifty states, hosting banquets
for thousands of society's leaders and maintaining an exhausting schedule.
During this time, thousands of young people accepted his message and dedicated
themselves to God's providence.
Reverend Moon was invited to the White House, where he met with President
Richard Nixon. On two occasions, he addressed members of the US Congress,
both in the House and Senate. In 1975, he continued his Day of Hope festivals
in Japan and Korea, concluding with a rally at Yoido Island near Seoul which
was attended by 1.2 million people. Also in 1975, Reverend Moon sent missionaries
to 120 countries, making the Unification Church a worldwide faith.
During the United States' bicentennial in 1976, Reverend Moon spoke to an
enthusiastic crowd in Yankee Stadium. Shortly thereafter, he organized the
greatest religious rally ever assembled in Washington, D.C. Over 300,000
people of all creeds and colors came to hear him speak at the "God
Bless America Festival." At this historic rally, Reverend Moon called
upon America to fulfill its blessing as one nation under God, and to create
"one world under God."
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Why The Persecution?
Reverend Moon's appeal for a true Christian renewal of America was initially
welcomed. However, this receptivity proved shallow when, in 1974, he urged
Americans through rallies and newspaper statements to forgive the beleaguered
Richard Nixon at the time of the Watergate scandal. Any public relations
strategist would have advised him against such action, which called on Americans
to "forgive, love and unite." Virtually no one at the time was
willing to side with a president on the verge of impeachment, but Reverend
Moon foresaw the terrible consequences of undercutting the American presidency.
His appeal was met with scorn. He became an easy target for the now hostile
media. The fair and objective articles of the past were replaced by ones
which portrayed Reverend Moon and his church in the worst possible light.
All sorts of allegations from Korea were dug up. In this atmosphere of hysteria,
the enthusiasm and idealism of his young followers was reinterpreted as
brainwashing. Reverend Moon was portrayed as a hypnotist and an agent of
a foreign government. Religious and racial bigotry and persecution, a phenomenon
in the United States as old as the country itself, showed its ugly face.
Even though America was founded for the sake of establishing religious freedom,
not every American has been willing to extend that freedom to others. Quakers
were tried and hanged in New England and Baptists were run out of Massachusetts.
The founder of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith, was murdered in Illinois
and his followers were forced into the desert. Jews and Catholics were looked
upon as tools of foreign powers engaged in international conspiracies. Regrettably,
religious intolerance is still with us today. The Unification Church has
borne the brunt of it in America over the last two decades.
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Trial and Error
The United States government launched a plethora of official investigations
of Reverend Moon involving nearly twenty federal agencies. Hearings were
conducted on Capitol Hill to warn of the dangers of new religious movements.
Rep. Donald Fraser led a Congressional investigation of alleged ties between
the Unification Church and the Korean CIA. The multi-million dollar effort
came up with nothing of substance.
Meanwhile, a five-year IRS investigation finally produced a politically-crafted
indictment against Reverend Moon. This indictment, handed down in 1981,
charged him with evading income taxes nearly a decade earlier, as well as
conspiracy to avoid those taxes. The government's purpose, however, was
to force Reverend Moon to leave
When the indictment was handed down, Reverend Moon was in Korea. His lawyers
recommended that he not come back to America, since there is no extradition
treaty between the United States and the Republic of Korea. However, he
did not follow their advice. He was, after all, a man of God, not a criminal
fleeing the law. He immediately returned to the United States. He told his
counsel: "I will not abandon my mission in America. That I will never
Upon arriving in New York for the Federal District Court arraignment he
spoke only one sentence: "Your Honor, I am not guilty." The outcome
of the trial was a foregone conclusion. He was convicted and sentenced to
spend eighteen months in a federal prison. When, despite forty amicus briefs
from mainline Christian leaders, legal associations, civil liberty groups
and state governments, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, he prepared
to go to jail.
The US Justice Department wanted to negotiate with Reverend Moon's attorneys.
On the condition that Reverend Moon depart for Korea and never come back
to the United States, they said, the government would waive his prison sentence.
He flatly refused. His comment was, "It must be God's will that I go
to prison. There must be a providential reason why I must go this way."
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Without any bitterness, Reverend Moon served time in Danbury Federal Prison.
Initially he was received coldly by the other inmates, most of whom had
heard about him through newspaper articles or television reports. In only
a few weeks' time, however, the other prisoners began to accept this Korean
religious leader, not because he preached to them, which was forbidden by
prison rules, but because he took the most unwanted jobs and worked with
them cheerfully. His positive attitude toward life in prison began to command
respect and even admiration from the other prisoners. Some of them began
to come to him for counseling and advice.
Some of the inmates openly defended him. One of them, Ed Farmer, wrote a
letter about his experiences with Reverend Moon in Danbury.
I was fortunate. I only had to be in Danbury for three months.
I knew I was going, and I knew Reverend Moon was there. They had it in the
paper every other day. I was curious. As it turned out, I was in the cubicle
right next to Reverend Moon's, five feet away. Reverend Moon has a very
good sense of humor. It's hard for me to think of a person as being mean
or brainwashing people with the sense of humor he has. He truly loves people.
I mean, he likes being with them. He likes being kidded, he likes being
teased. I never saw a mean act on his part. He never asked for special treatment.
He mopped floors, cleaned tables, and he helped other people when he was
finished with his job.
When you'd be down in spirit, he'd come along, pat you on the back, and
smile and laugh. He doesn't put on a face today, or put on generosity or
kindness today and then not tomorrow. Reverend Moon is Reverend Moon, a
very steady, ongoing force. I think that man could be happy wherever he
went. He carries his religion with him. He doesn't need a book. Everyone
feels it. It's very evident.
Reverend Moon has never complained about what the government did to him.
He has never accused the government of a witch-hunt, mainly I think because
he refuses to dignify it. I find it almost impossible to believe the stories
that they spread about him, after having met him. That man would not do
those things, it's impossible. My own personal belief is that it was a witch-hunt.
In the meantime, protests were being made all around the nation over the
injustice Reverend Moon was suffering. Many Christian leaders who never
knew or cared about him began to realize that the government had made a
serious assault on religious freedom. Altogether, Christians and non-religious
groups representing over 160 million Americans came to his legal defense.
A Senate subcommittee, chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch, conducted its own
investigation into Reverend Moon's tax case and published its findings in
a report which concluded:
We accused a newcomer to our shores of criminal and intentional
wrongdoing for conduct commonly engaged in by a large percentage of our
own religious leaders, namely, the holding of church funds in bank accounts
in their own names. Catholic priests do it. Baptist ministers do it, and
so did Sun Myung Moon.
On August 20, 1985, Reverend Moon was freed after completing thirteen months
of incarceration. Upon his release, major Christian and civil rights leaders,
including Reverend Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority and Reverend Joseph
Lowry of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, held a press conference
to decry the persecution and imprisonment of Reverend Moon and to welcome
No matter how we view it, it remains a fact that we charged a non-English-speaking
alien with criminal tax evasion on the first tax returns he filed in this
country. It appears that we didn't give him a fair chance to understand
our laws. We didn't seek a civil penalty as an initial means of redress.
We didn't give him the benefit of any doubt. Rather, we took a novel theory
of tax liability of less than $10,000 and turned it into a guilty verdict
and eighteen months in a federal prison.
I do feel strongly, after my subcommittee has carefully and objectively
reviewed this [Reverend Moon's tax] case from both sides, that injustice
rather than justice has been served. The Moon case sends a strong signal
that if one's views are unpopular enough, this country will find a way not
to tolerate, but to convict. I don't believe that you or I or anyone else,
no matter how innocent, could realistically prevail against the combined
forces of our Justice Department and judicial branch in a case such as Reverend
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Return to Homeland
By 1988, Reverend and Mrs. Moon had completed the forty-year wilderness
course. With myriad followers of all races, nations and religions, the Unification
Church was firmly established and could be used by God as the instrument
of world salvation. Reverend Moon then began the next phase of his mission.
In 1990, Reverend Moon 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. Through several interviews, televised and in
print, they gave a message of hope to the Soviet people, urging them to
turn toward God.
A crucial step for the establishment of world peace is the reunification
of North and South Korea. Risking his life, 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. His purpose was to
seek ways to bridge the gap between the two countries. The North Korean
ruler, who had suppressed religion for forty years, completely welcomed
Reverend and Mrs. Moon.
On a tearful yet joyful day, Reverend Moon returned to his hometown, to
the house of his birth. He put flowers on the graves of his parents, who
had died during his absence. He was welcomed with tears of joy by his surviving
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The Ideal of Woman
In 1992, Reverend and Mrs. Moon inaugurated the Women's Federation for World
Peace. The Divine Principle teaches that the unity of brothers (Cain and
Abel) restores the mother's position, who then brings the family back to
God. Thus the end of the Cold War offers the opportunity to heal the world
based upon a new women's movement. On April 10, Mrs. Moon as international
president of the Federation initiated this movement at a rally of 150,000
in Seoul. In the months that followed, she spoke to more than one million
people in over 120 cities and twelve nations.
The Women's Federation brings women together to take action for the moral
education and healing of our families and society. By nurturing the pure
root of true love between husband and wife, the women of the world will
bring harmony and blessing to their families. This in turn will lead to
societies, nations and a world of peace.
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On August 24, 1992, Reverend Moon completed his forty-year wilderness course.
At a gathering of 1,000 world leaders at the World Culture and Sports Festival,
Reverend Moon declared that he and his wife are the Messiah and True Parents
of all humanity. This marks the beginning of the Completed Testament Age.
Mrs.. Moon has given a fitting description of the meaning of the Messiah
and the True Parents.
Ladies and Gentlemen, what is the Messiah? The Messiah is
the True Parents of humankind. God's original plan was to
establish perfected Adam and Eve as the true ancestors of
humanity. Satan, however, invaded this ideal, and God, ever
since, has been working toward the emergence of ideal True
Parents through which all humankind can be restored. As true
fathers and true mothers ourselves, we must vanquish Satan,
liberate humanity and build the kingdom of Heaven on earth.
As God's sons and daughters we must inherit God's love, life
and lineage. Moreover, we must also inherit True Parents' love,
life and lineage. Then we will have achieved unity between
heaven and earth, vertical and horizontal, and mind and body.
This will be the starting point for the eternal world of peace.
The following year saw an even greater activism on the part of Mrs. Moon,
as she delivered the address, "True Parent's and the Completed Testament
Age" in 44 cities in America, 27 cities in Japan, on 40 university
campuses in Korea, and 41 nations around the world. This monumental achievement
included such notable venues as Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United
Nations in New York City, the Kremlin, and congressional buildings in Japan,
Korea, and Canada.
With absolute faith, hope and love, Reverend Moon has dedicated himself
to the call of Jesus. Through God's power and Principle, despite persecution,
he has accomplished the work which Jesus called him to do. First, after
a long search, he discovered the teachings of the Divine Principle: God's
ideal for humanity, the root of evil, and the formula to restore the ideal.
Next, he tried to explain his insights to the established Christian churches,
but when they rejected him, he began the lonely and difficult path of a
prophet in the wilderness. For over forty years, amidst persecution and
ridicule, he established a church reaching out to people across the globe.
Tens of thousands of Unificationist families, sanctified by God's blessing,
are practicing a quality of love which transcends all racial and national
barriers. Organizations founded by Reverend Moon in education, the arts,
science, communications and international affairs show how every aspect
of human life can be centered on God's true love. Reverend Moon has emerged
on the world stage to demonstrate God's true heart by loving and embracing
his enemies, the leaders of North Korea and the Soviet Union, who once had
imprisoned him and sought to kill him. He has brought together the leaders
of warring religions.
True love has now triumphed over evil. All the satanic barriers have been
broken down. The Completed Testament Age has dawned. God's true love, which
was lost at the fall of man, has made its triumphant reappearance in the
world. This love is the power of new life for all individuals, marriages
and families the world over. We pray that this brief testimony to the providence
of God will inspire the reader to study further, and to make a personal
commitment to building the kingdom of Heaven on earth.
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