The Unification Church
A critique of the Moonies from a Christian perspectiveIntroduction
The "Moonies" are a modern religious group which follows the teachings of Sun Myung Moon. By the beginning of 1990 they numbered about 30,000 in the U.S. with about 10,000 in religious communities. The church has numerous names eg. "One World Crusade", "Freedom Leadership Foundation", "International Foundation for Victory over Communism" etc. Numerous charges against the church have been made in the secular press - brainwashing of new converts, tax evasion, political interference, fraud, world dictatorship views etc.
The aim of the group is to bring happiness, new hope and unification to a world in despair and change.
Young Myung Moon was born in 1920 in North Korea. In 1936, after some involvement in spiritism (supposedly contacting the dead ), he had a vision of Jesus who told him that he was to be "the completer of man's salvation by being the second coming of Christ". For the next nine years, by contacting the spirits of dead prophets etc, eg. Moses, the Divine Principle (autobiography and teachings) was revealed to him. This period culminated in 1945 with his key spiritual experience. "At that moment, he became the absolute victor of heaven and earth. The whole spirit world bowed down to him on that day of victory.... The spirit world has already recognized him as the victor of the universe, the Lord of creation", Master Speaks. From this time on he was known as Sun Myung Moon (Shining Sun and Moon).
After the 2nd World War he led a Pentecostal church in North Korea, but was arrested for "social disorder". In 1950 he was released by U.S. forces and so moved to South Korea.
In 1954 he founded a church in Seoul called "The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity". His wife was soon to leave him and in 1955 he was arrested on moral charges, but released because of lack of evidence. In 1957 his Divine Principle was published.
His following grew quickly and soon numerous churches, communes and organizations were founded throughout South Korea. He began to expand into numerous business ventures and allied himself with the government through his Anti Communist stance.
In 1965 he undertook a lecture tour of the U.S. He spoke no English and even his interpreter was hard to understand. The Divine Principle was published in English in 1966. The 2nd edition in 1973 contained numerous changes.
He moved to the U.S. and set up his world headquarters in the New Yorker Hotel in 1973, which he brought at a cost of $5,000,000. His following grew quickly throughout the U.S.A. and by 1975 there were some 120 communal centres established, with a core following of around 5,000. His organization developed numerous business enterprises and front organizations. Strong political ties were forged. This was especially so with the Nixon administration.
In 1975 a world wide missionary outreach was undertaken which included Australia. The slogan was "The Sun is coming". Little impact was made in Australia. Worldwide membership by this time was about 500,000, mostly in Korea and Japan.
Charges of brainwashing were levelled at the church and numerous court cases ensued. The first test case in October 1977 was in favour of the parents who were given custody of their five children aged 21 to 26. 1978 saw renewed charges of tax avoidance. As churches are tax exempt in the U.S., the Unification church had been able to gain an advantage in the market place. As members have grown older and married, many have moved into homes and taken on normal jobs. The majority are employed in church sponsored industries. As the church sees itself more as a movement than a church, members living in the secular community attend their local denominational churches.
The Unification seminary at Barrytown, N.Y. had 106 students in 1978. The majority were training to teach Moonies living in communes or to lead training sessions for those living and working in secular society. Between 1974 and 1978, 300 Moonies had been forcibly removed by their parents in the U.S.A. The number of forced removals has declined since then. U.S. income in 1979 was 23 million dollars - 90% from street fund raising.
1. Who or what is God?
God is an invisible essence manifesting dual qualities of spirit and energy from which all existence generates. Thus, with regard to the creation, God is set forth as "perpetual, self-generating energy". As Dr. Kim states, "The energy, the force behind all matter, is God's external form .." God also manifests dual polarity through paired relationships, such as male and female, positive and negative. Similar in essence to the yin (male) and yang (female) principles of Taoist philosophy.
Yet in this manifestation, God is also set forth as a personal God, having consciousness, intelligence, love and purpose.
2. How did the world come into existence?
Creation, including the world, is the outward form of the invisible essence called God. The whole creation "is his body or outward form". Thus God's creative activity is the emanation or projection, both physically and spiritually, of His essence. "God projected His heart and energy to form particles ....particles.. to form atoms... atoms to form molecules, molecules to form minerals..."
As Dr. Kim states: "He made His presence known in the totality of creation which serves as His body exemplifying His sovereignty and providing the outer form of His being." Rev. Moon's theology is monistic. It sets forth the explanation and existence of everything ultimately in one essence or substance which is God.
3. How did humanity come into existence?
God projected from himself spirit beings in a sub-level existence, "a realm inhabited by spirits which have not yet grown to even the form level." A spirit becomes a form spirit when it is born into a body in this world where it can develop a personality. Each person has a spirit man and a physical man.
Initially two of these, Adam and Eve, began in the garden of Eden. They, like men and women after them, are the "external and objective manifestations of the polarity of God", an extension of God into the physical world. Each person is "one unique part of God's Infinite nature."
4 How did humanity break with God?
Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden to develop themselves through the stages of "formation", "growth" and "perfection". The ideal goal was marriage, once maturity (ie. perfection) was attained. It was at this point that "Adam and Eve would have formed a trinity with God", and would have been able to "produce children free from inherited sin". However, before they could attain perfection, Eve committed fornication with Lucifer. Lucifer and Eve became one in sexual union, causing the spiritual fall of mankind. Eve, hoping to undo her action, persuaded Adam to live with her as her husband, even though he had also not attained perfection. This caused the fall of mankind.
Through sexual union, Eve took on the sinful characteristics of Lucifer, and Adam received these sinful characteristics through his sexual union with Eve. Thus, the entire course of human history deviated from the "divine principle" of maturing to perfection first, then marrying and producing perfect children.
5. How can a person become right with God?
Salvation is basically the undoing of the results of the fall. The individual has to be restored and perfected, and then enter into a relationship and produce perfect children. To accomplish this, a Messiah or a Christ is needed. Historically, Jesus the Messiah came in David's place to restore mankind. He was not a deity;..... "it is a great error to think Jesus was God Himself." Jesus on earth "was a man no different from us except for the fact that he was without original sin."
Jesus' purpose in coming was to take a bride in Eve's place, marry and produce perfect children. By the example and power of his family, other perfect families would be formed until the whole of society was restored and in line with God's purpose.
Jesus failed in his mission. He was crucified before he could marry. It was never God's predetermined purpose that he die. It was the failure of John the Baptist that was "the major cause of the crucifixion of Jesus". Because of this, God allowed Jesus to die. "Satan invaded the physical body of Jesus and crucified him".
Jesus was resurrected from the dead as a spirit man, thus redeeming man spiritually. At this point God could claim the souls of men, but could not give redemption to the body. Jesus failed to redeem man physically. Therefore, physical restoration is still to be accomplished by another Messiah at the Second Advent.
6. Rev. Moon, another Messiah
"The Lord of the Second Advent is to be born on the earth as the King of Kings." We are not to expect the return of Jesus himself, but another Messiah, a man who will be born in Korea (Rev. Moon was born in Korea). He will be confirmed as the Messiah through the spirit world (Rev. Moon was confirmed in this manner).
Though one may have their spirit perfected by believing in Jesus, it will not help their physical being. Thus the Lord of the Second Advent will provide additional revelation (Rev. Moon has a new revelation) which will enable physical man to be perfected, thus completing the work of salvation.
The new age dawned in 1960. "At that time, the marriage of the lamb prophesied in the 19th chapter of Revelation took place. Thus, the Lord of the Second Advent and his bride became the true parents of mankind......" (1960 happens to be the year in which Rev. Moon married his present wife Hak-Ja Han,) This messiah will establish the perfect family, the task that Jesus never fulfilled. Other perfect families will be formed, which will produce a perfect society that will spread to the entire world.
In the 1980's the new messiah will be revealed to the world (Rev. Moon claims to be that person). When he declares the Kingdom, the life spirits of those who have lived before will join the followers of Rev. Moon so that they can develop into divine spirits. Evil people will go through a similar reincarnation procedure. The law of Karma is operative in this procedure, for "if any arrive in the spirit world with unpaid debts, they will have to work to assist perhaps the very ones they harmed in order to pay what they owe."
All the religions of the world will be unified, which will bring about unification among all peoples. Everyone will eventually be saved and perfected. The earth will be restored through the efforts of science.
Beliefs Examined from a Christian perspective
Moonies believe that Christ is not fully God, that he did not fulfill his mission, that he only provided spiritual salvation, that a Lord of the Second Advent (Moon?) will complete the salvation process and usher in God's earthly Kingdom, and that all persons eventually will obtain salvation, even Satan.
1. "The Divine Principle clarifies and fulfills the Bible."
As noted above, there are major differences between the Bible and the Divine Principle. The truth is that Moonies care little about the Bible. It is just a tool for their own views. "Until our mission with the Christian church is over, we must quote the Bible and use it to explain the Divine Principle. After we receive the inheritance of the Christian church, we will be free to teach without the Bible."
2. "With the fullness of time, God has sent his messenger to resolve the fundamental question of life and of the universe. His name is Sun Myung Moon."
Is he a messenger from God?
i] He would have to agree with God's former messengers in the Bible.
ii] His prophecies must come true, Deut.18:22. "At this time in history God has chosen Richard Nixon to be president of the U.S.A." He resigned a few weeks later. The Lord of the Second Advent would be revealed in 1967 and the Kingdom of God inaugurated.
iii] He would be Christ centred. 1Jn.4:2-3.
3. "Those people who have sufficient communication with the spiritual world can receive direct confirmation concerning him (Sun Myong)."
Does the spirit world confirm him?
i] Many spiritists say no.
ii] The Bible forbids indulging in spiritism.
iii] The Bible says there is no such thing as the spirits of the dead, rather they are demons.
iv] He contradicts the dead prophets.
4. "Science, at its highest level, will harmonize with religion through the Unification Church".
Does Science support Moon?
i] Most scientists say no.
ii] His methods are not scientific.
iii] His view that God is pure energy is unbiblical. God created energy.
The Unification church uses Christian words, phrases and symbols, and some Bible verses, but in no way is it Christian? Its teachings are a mixture of Taoist Philosophy, spiritism, mysticism, numerology, physics, anti-communism and Christianity. It probably can't even be classed as a Christian Sect.
Young people 16-30 are attracted to the group because of it communal life-style. It is also popular because it doesn't demand sexual performance, radical politics, or drug participation. New converts tend to be introduced to the Unification church at University meetings. After a weekend session at a recruiting centre, they are induced to continue in a weeklong intensive workshop. The programme is enthusiastically run by a group of trained leaders who produce disorientation and dependence in the trainees. A normal day starts at 7 a.m. - Exercises, breakfast, lecture, sports, lunch, lectures, tea and lectures till 11 p.m.
Moonies are mainly communal. The life is very austere. Hours each day are spent in prayer and the study of Moon's writings. Male/female relationships are frowned on. Work is allocated depending on a person's gifts. Members are allocated to witnessing teams, fund-raising teams or specialists. Funds are raised by selling boxes of sweets, tea, peanuts etc. Sellers usually say that the funds are going to some charitable organization. This is called "heavenly deception". $100 to $500 is the normal amount raised each day by a fund-raising team. Specialists include beautiful young women who are given the job of "public relations". One is appointed to each politician.
After a period in a commune or training centre, members may be engaged. Moon "matches" the partners for future marriage and administers "Holy Wine" to the couples, which signifies their release from original sin. All persons, living or dead, must be matched to achieve full salvation.
Members may, after training, enter normal society, working and living in the suburbs and even attending the local denominational church. Training sessions and literature maintain links to the Unification church.
Prayer and the study of Moon's writings, are a daily activity. On Sundays, a 5am. pledge service is held. The service is directed to Moon who is seen as the only way to God, "greater than Jesus himself", the "Prophet of Prophets", "Father and Master."
There is an emphasis on personal revelations and visions. The evidence is that many members have such experiences. Are they Satanic?
Spiritism is widely practiced, ie. the contacting of the dead. Exorcism is widely used and other defences against the attack of evil spirits, eg. the sprinkling of salt.
Money is raised from Moon's disciples who give all to the church and work for the church selling anything they can. U.S. holdings in 1975 were about $15,000,000.
The Unification church is little more than an Eastern personality cult.
The teachings of Moon transcribed from a number of resources
Good News. The Christian faith.
Index of studies. Resource file.
Pumpkin Cottage Ministry Resources
Lectionary Bible Studies and Sermons