A Brief Look at the Unification Church

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999
The Unification Church (Moonies) claim they will restore the earth to God’s original intent through the teachings of Sun Myung Moon.


A Brief Look at the Unification Church

Info at a Glance

Name: The Unification Church; The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity; The Unification Movement.

Purpose: To implement “The Divine Principle” and restore the earth to God’s original intent.

Founder: Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012).

Source of authority: Sun Myung Moon and the spirit world.

Revealed teachings: Yes.

Occult dynamics: Spiritism; possible psychic development among members.

Examples of key literature: The Divine Principle; Master Speaks (hundreds of transcribed lectures of Sun Myung Moon); the 15 volume Hoon Dok Hae set (Gathering for Reading and Learning); Divine Principle Study Guide for Children; Dr. Sang Hun Lee’s Report from the Spirit World and Life in the Spirit World and on the Earth; Dr. Mose Durst, Principled Education.

Moon’s lectures, which claim to be inspired, are so voluminous that hundreds of books could be published. A 200-volume speech set (1956-1995) of Moon’s speeches is currently in preparation by Damian Anderson, author of the Unification home page, and a $500, 15 volume set of U.S. speeches is available from HSA Publications (1976 to the present). Samples of books published by Moon to date include The Tribal Messiah, Blessing and the Ideal Family and God’s Will and the World. Heung Jin Moon’s Victory of Love and On Internal Guidance and Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, editor, Home Church, are also relevant titles. Moon’s website sells an odd mixture of books by evangelical Christians (C. S. Lewis, James Dobson) as well as books by occultists, psychic researchers, spiritists, mental science practitioners, liberal theologians and noted psychologists.

Attitude toward Christianity: Rejecting.


“… As soon as a person believes in Jesus, Satan can invade his body” (Master Speaks, December 25, 1974, p. 21..)

“I have talked with many Masters, including Jesus…. They have subjected themselves to me in terms of wisdom. After winning the victory [his 1945 victory of the spirit world], they surrendered” (Master Speaks, March/April, 1965 MS-3, p. 16).

“I have paid a great amount of indemnity, and because of this I have the right to forgive another’s sins” (Ibid.).

“It is only he [Moon] from whom sinless mankind can start. He is the only man in the universe by loving whom my sin is solved, by loving whom I can be born anew, by loving whom I can be given rebirth and new life. Therefore, the fact we can attend him must be the most precious event in our lives…” (Ken Sudo, The 120 Day Training Manual, p. 155).

“One of my most important revelations is that Jesus Christ did not come to die” (Rev. Moon, [interview] in F. Sontag, Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, p. 134).

“Do you like to make green bills happy?… So many green bills are crying. Have you ever heard them crying? Not yet? You must hear. They are all destined to go to Father. This is our responsibility” (Sudo, The 120 Day Training Manual, p. 72).

Note: The Unification Church (UC) is a multi-billion dollar worldwide enterprise with, allegedly, an incredible 700 to 900 front organizations. (This must be some kind of record.) Critics have charged that with all these front organizations, whatever the UC is involved in, the ultimate purpose was to help Moon achieve his long-term goal of ruling the world as the Lord of the Second Advent. Indeed, our own study of UC history and theology supports this allegation. Further, critics charge that to help achieve this implementation of Moon’s lordship, the organization has employed or manipulated the church, business, society, scientific groups, and others, and apparently paid exorbitant sums in the process. The Christian church especially must be on guard here, because its manipulation has occurred in the past, possibly in significant ways.

For someone controlling billions of dollars, what is unusual is that, apparently, despite intense investigation, no one has yet been able to discover exactly how or where Moon and the Unification Movement obtains its money. It would not seem to be from Moon’s ventures in America, since the vast majority are said to have carried financial losses. Regardless, in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s, the Unification Church claimed its theology was in a state of transition, allegedly towards a more evangelical position. What some did not suspect at the time is that this was a ruse. The UC was attempting to influence Christianity with UC teachings, just as, in a similar manner, Mormonism is currently attempting to do through stressing alleged “areas of agreement.” But even prior to 1980, the spurious nature of these claims was evident. Cosmetic, or apparent, changes linked to fundamentally unchanged doctrine have not and never will noticeably alter Unification theology. Thus, the conclusion of the Evangelical Writers—Unification Church dialogue in June 1979 at the Unification Church’s World Missions Center in Manhattan was as follows. Evangelical Dr. James Bjornstad, an authority on Unification theology, stated in Contemporary Christianity, Jan.-Feb., 1980: “By the end of the dialogue it was clear to all that there were areas which were unchangeable, and that Unification theology was totally distinct from Christian theology…. Unification theology may give the appearance of being open, in a state of change and development, and undoubtedly will use more of evangelical terminology, but there have been no changes in the essential areas of doctrine which differentiate them from true Christianity.”

The last two decades have changed nothing as far as Moon’s goals are concerned. As this chapter makes clear, Moon’s real goal is to convert Christians and members of other religions, and to conquer the world, not merely to generate good-will and dialogue.

But as of 1999, Moon’s church was in a state of turmoil, if not his corporate empire’s “blizzard of organizations.” According to a two-part series in the Washington Post, November 23/24, 1997, “The founder’s advanced age, the lack of clear succession, the failure of recruiting efforts in the United States, a series of scandals and tragedies surrounding Moon’s children, and a sense of delusionment among long-term members have left the church reeling, according to former and current members.” (Part 2, p. A10.) W. Farley Jones, the president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, a strategic Moon organization, acknowledged, “Things are very much in flux.”

Indeed, matters got so bad for Moon he declared that the “period of religion” was passing away and that his beloved Unification Church would actually be dissolved. His disillusionment is understandable. Decades ago, Moon had promised his followers that, through America, God would use him to convert the world. But Moon clearly failed in his “mission” in America. This is why he has recently called Americans stupid, lazy, and evil, even “dirty dung-eating dogs.” (Ibid.)

The fact of Moon’s advanced age means that he will also never rule the world and that he failed miserably in his personal divine mission. Some observers believe that when Moon dies there will be no powerful successor to replace him, causing even more decline. Time will tell, but no one should be surprised if a dynamic replacement does emerge. Even if the church dissolves and the Family Federation becomes the successor organization as (allegedly) planned, this does not necessarily mean the influence of Moon will be over, far from it. Given its vast wealth, the chances that Moon’s corporate empire will disintegrate are slim, not to mention that Moon himself claims that after his death, “I will continue to lead the church from the spirit world.” (Ibid.) While Moon will probably be occupied elsewhere, it is clear that the influence of spiritism will continue to guide the church and be a focal point. Clearly, spiritism originated the UC and has sustained it in important ways.

So, whatever form the UC may take, the chances are good that even after Moon is gone be will continue to have significant influence through the corporate empire, front organizations, and Moon’s concept of the “home church.” The latter involves the idea of Unification Church members returning to their respective faiths in which they grew up to influence churches and synagogues internally rather than from without—essentially another infiltration program.

In addition, the very concept of “world unification” is increasingly powerful and appealing today, and there are many sincere but naive people just waiting to be taken advantage of. It is perhaps significant that the UC web page now begins with, “Welcome to the Unification Movement” in large print and then in smaller print it is noted that Moon is the founder of the Unification Church.

Whatever the Unification Church is up to, and whether the alleged plans to abandon the church are part of a program of Moon’s “heavenly deception” for ulterior motives, one thing is likely: The Unification Church, or whatever replaces it, will be here for some time to come. Even though the current American membership is under 10,000 (the church claims 50,000), South America and Africa are apparently showing significant membership increases. And Moon’s limited success in influencing American Christianity cannot negate the fact that his theology and reliance on spiritism are more tailored for success among a variety of non-Christian peoples.

A final point here, is that Moon and his followers have argued that certain embarrassing quotations from the Master Speaks (transcripts of Moon’s lectures) are often quoted out of context by critics. We have examined dozens of them and not found this to be true, especially given Moon’s overall worldview and theology. We suspect that for Moon and Unification Church members “out of context” means “if you understood how important this mission was you would then understand the validity of such statements in light of UC goals.” Even author Frederick Sontag, sympathetic to the Unification Church, admits that the embarrassing quotes substantiate the critics’ position. (Thus, we have cited many of them in this chapter.) He would only add that one must cite the positive side of Moon as well (Sontag, p. 116). Also, due to its evolution and state of transition, there may be some teachings discussed which are in the process of transition or may no longer be considered official doctrine.

Doctrinal Summary

God: Divine energy.

Jesus: A special creation of God.

Holy Spirit: A female aspect of God, a female spirit.

Salvation: By works and personal merit.

Man: One with God (man is God incarnate, although man does not exhaust God).

The Second Coming: Occurred with the advent of Sun Myung Moon.

The Fall: Sexual in nature.

The Bible: One of God’s revelations, replaced by Moon’s superior revelations. The Bible is largely unreliable and interpreted symbolically.

Heaven and Hell: Various spirit realms and not eternal places.

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