An Introduction to the Unification Church

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999
Today the Unification Church claims representation in over 100 countries, including over 100 churches in the United States. Since its arrival in America, the UC has generated billions of dollars to implement its political goals and other plans.

An Introduction to the Unification Church

Yong Myung Moon was born on January 6, 1920, in a small village in the Pyungan province in Northwestern Korea. Yong eventually changed his first name to “Sun,” which meant that his name became “Shining Sun and Moon,” a title more reflective of his grandiose cosmological ambitions. From his earliest childhood Yong was interested in the psychic world, and throughout his life he has drawn sustenance from the spirit world, which became his encouragement and constant companion.

Early Years

In 1936, at the age of 16, Sun Myung Moon claimed that Jesus Christ appeared to him in a vision. Christ purportedly told Moon that he, Moon, had a great mission to accomplish and that He would assist him in this.[1] Apparently more than a mere vision, this experience caused a powerful shamanistic-like transformation and Moon became a medium, afterward communicating regularly with the spirit world. [2]

Dr. Young Oon Kim, professor of systematic theology at the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York, describes the event:

When Mr. Moon was seventeen years old, Jesus Christ manifested himself to him on Easter morning and told him that he was destined to accomplish a specific mission for which Jesus would work with him.

From this time on, Mr. Moon’s spiritual sense was fully opened, and he was able to communicate with the highest level of the spirit world. But, unlike ordinary spiritualists, he did not content himself with merely the demonstration of spiritual phenomena. He began to explore the hidden meanings of the parables and symbols in the Bible and the many unanswered questions of Christianity and other religions.[3]

During the next seven years, Moon received revelations from the spirits concerning “The Divine Principle”; that is, God’s will for mankind: the heretofore unknown principles of the creation, the hidden meaning of human history, the secret nature of Satan’s crime, the true meaning of the Bible, and how God would restore man and the universe.

Toward the end of World War II, the seeds for the Unification Church (officially founded in 1954) can be traced to events surrounding a number of related spiritistic-pentecostal churches and movements on the East and West coasts of Northern Korea. Moon was directly and indirectly associated with these “churches,” which he believed were preparing the way for his “advent.” The entire story is reported in the Master Speaks (transcribed lectures) of December 27, 1971.[4] One church on the West coast of Northern Korea had been started by a medium named Kim Son Do. Both she and her successor, Ho Ho Bin, also a medium, claimed direct contact with God and Jesus. Jesus told them all about Himself, how His mission had failed and how He was now to guide them to fulfill God’s will. The revelations they received included many teachings that were prototypes for the doctrines of the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon. For example:

• The Lord of the Second Advent (Christ returned) will “return” by physical birth in Korea, the nation that will restore the world.

• A sexual fall of man.

• The failure of Jesus’ mission.

• Marriage is satanic; men and women should not marry; even married couples should abstain from all sex.

• The Lord is coming to establish a new pure blood lineage, erasing the satanic blood of men inherited from the Fall.

If the history of spiritism has taught anything it is that those who give divine authority to “spirits” find the latter are more than willing to use such authority, even in a brutish, tyrannical manner. In his Master Speaks, Moon approvingly records this absolute bondage to spirits.

In the following material Moon describes the revelations received from the spirit world by the group on the West coast, which was preparing the way for the “Lord of the Second Advent,” who would come as a Korean man, that is, Moon himself. The spirit world had told this group of people that they (and the Lord of the Second Advent) would solve all the problems that Jesus could not solve during His lifetime. They were also told to “indemnify,” or repay, to Christ all the things that He was forced to sacrifice while here on earth. In that Jesus was the prince of heaven and yet was rejected by people and forced to live as a pauper on earth, all of this had to be repaid, or restored, to Jesus by those who wished to be His followers on earth. In the following quotations we see an example of the spiritual “enslavement” that is so common in idolatry, animistic societies, ritual magic and anywhere that the spirits are given absolute authority:

So they were told to make clothes the size which Jesus would have worn from his childhood to 33 years old. As many clothes as Jesus could change every three days. So you can imagine how many that would be. And that was not one [style], but in Korean costume and also Western style. One Korean costume and one Western suit every three days. And when they made his clothing they couldn’t use sewing machines. They were told not to stitch more than three at a time, and to make this they had to clean out the whole room, and they couldn’t stand up until they finished one garment. They didn’t allow them to go to the toilet. “Even though you pay such a price, you are not worthy to receive Him,” that is what heaven told them. And when they made a mistake in something they were severely chastised from heaven. So they couldn’t but follow after heaven’s instructions.


Moon discusses how “heaven” (the spirit world) demanded an utterly sadistic amount of work from this group of people. Restoring princely clothes to Jesus was hardly enough. Princely meals had to be prepared three times a day and slavish rituals had to be performed, such as bowing hundreds, even thousands, of times:

At that time the group had more than 1,000 followers. And those 1,000 men worked for 7 years. For the food, they prepared 3 meals a day just like a banquet—meat three times a day. The size of the clothes became larger and larger as he became grown-up. Then, after they finished making clothes for Jesus they were told to make clothes for the Lord to come….

When they brought a meal for the Lord, they were told to bow 300 times, sometimes they were told to bow 3,000 times. Heaven told, “Even though you pay your courtesy and respect to the Lord by bowing 3,000 times that is not enough to pay your respect to the Lord.” To bow 3,000 times took almost 10 hours; after finishing bowing, they collapsed. Heaven told them all sizes, the length of sleeve, everything.[6] [As we shall see, similar service was rendered to Moon.]

Moon also describes how these persons were “ready at any time to lie down and die if they were told. They were ready to give their lives. They were trained in every way.”[7]

Then Moon describes the group on the East coast of Northern Korea and how the failure of the East and West coast groups to merge had forced God to seek a third group to accomplish His purposes. “For Eastern coast spiritual movement, there was another successor. His name was Lee Yong Do…. Centering on Minister Lee, a new Jesus church was started…. The West group went to the Eastern group to be united, but this group did not receive them. By failing to accomplish the unification of these two groups, God had to have a new movement, and pioneer a new field.”[8] It was this third group, headed by a Mr. Kim, from which Moon’s Unification Church emerged. In the characteristic transmission of spiritual power, Mr. Kim became possessed by the spirit of Mr. Lee as a form of empowerment for the task at hand. “So God wanted to have another man who could receive His direction. That was Mr. Kim…. After that time Mr. Lee died. The spirit of Minister Lee came to Mr. Kim and spiritually Mr. Lee passed on his mission to Mr. Kim. From this Mr. Kim a new group began.”[9] Moon refers to these three churches as the formation stage (Mrs. Ho; Mrs. Bin), the growth stage (Mr. Lee Yong Do) and the perfection stage (Mr. Kim) in the preparation and formation of his own ministry.

As it turns out, at the time when Moon was in Southern Korea, the West coast group was waiting for the Lord of the Second Advent (LSA), having prepared everything for him according to the revelations received from the spirits. Moon’s own revelations from the spirits told him that he must find the “lady who claims herself to be the wife of Jehovah,” otherwise the providence of restoration (God’s plan of salvation) could not be continued.[10] Moon thus began a diligent search of all the churches and spiritistic groups in Southern Korea, but was unable to find “Jehovah’s wife.” In 1945 he met Mr. Kim, referred to previously, who had a large female following. Eventually Moon inherited Mr. Kim’s followers.

The year 1945 was a key year for Moon. It was in this year that he claims he won victory over the spirit world, which then recognized his supreme lordship as “God’s true son.” In “Sun Myung Moon—From his Message to the World Unification Family in the Year 1964,”[11] we discover that Moon had paid the great price necessary for God to reveal His truth through Moon, truth never before revealed to humanity:

After nine years of search and struggle, the truth of God was sealed into his hands. 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…. Satan totally surrendered to him on that day, for he had elevated himself to the position of God’s true Son…. The spirit world has already recognized him as the victor of the universe and Lord of creation. The physical world has now only to reflect what he accomplished.[12]

However, Moon still had not found “the wife of Jehovah.” Eventually he learned that she was living in Northern Korea. After meeting her, and thus fulfilling yet another divine requisite, Moon sent a messenger to Mrs. Bin’s group requesting that she ask God for direction. Moon assumed that Mrs. Bin would be “guided by heaven” to surrender to him. By this time Moon was convinced that he was Jesus Christ returned. He “knew” that a following was being prepared for him, and that these various groups had made the necessary provisions to “receive the Lord.” Unfortunately, heaven got its signals crossed. As far as the other groups were concerned, Moon had to come to them. Moon, on the other hand, was told they must come to him as his “bride”; he was not to first seek them out. While he was waiting for his “bride” to come to him, he allegedly had a brutal encounter with the Communists, which subsequently shaped his anticommunist ideology. In 1947, after the Communists had taken power, the leaders of Mrs. Bin’s group were arrested.[13] Moon was also arrested, the authorities claiming that he was involved with Mrs. Bin’s group. However, Mrs. Bin and the rest of her group had by now rejected Moon as the Lord of the Second Advent (LSA). Moon, of course, claims that they did not really listen to heaven.[14] While in jail, Moon shared the same room with a man who was second in command to Mrs. Bin. Due to a vision, this man gave his allegiance to Moon.

Moon subsequently set out to build his own following. Upon release from jail in 1950, he sought to regain his former followers. Most of them rejected him and he was abandoned once more. After this, he wandered throughout South Korea, gathering any who would believe, one of whom was allegedly Mr. Eu, the former Korean president.[15] By 1954, with sufficient followers, Moon officially began the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA/UWC), or the Unification Church (UC).

Dr. Young Oon Kim of the Unification Theological Seminary describes the mediumistic practices of the young Church. “He organized a group in Korea in 1954 and began to make the Divine Principles public. In this group not only he but a great number of people communicate with the highest realm of the spirit world through clairvoyance and clairaudience; and some of them converse with Jesus and God under any conditions.”[16] Kim describes some of the practices. “Many of them feel spiritual fire and electricity, and some smell spiritual odor. Some go into trances and some hear exquisite heavenly music, and some write automatic writings in languages which they had never learned.”[17]

Today’s Empire

Today the Unification Church claims representation in over 100 countries, including over 100 churches in the United States. Since its arrival in America, the UC has generated billions of dollars to implement its political goals and other plans. The reason Moon centered his efforts in America was obvious: thousands of devoted recruits soliciting funds day and night could bring in at least several hundred million dollars a year.[18] This money was and is raised by telling donors it is being collected for the poor, the starving, the handicapped, the underprivileged, the crippled and so on, when in fact most of it goes to Moon and his “church.”[19] (Such deceptive fund-raising is practiced by many other cults, such as The Family (Children of God, Love Family) and ISKCON (Hare Krishnas).) However, UC disciples are not to worry about their collection methods because, after all, as their 120 Day Training Manual declares, little “green bills” are all destined to go to Father:

Who can dominate the creation and give it the highest joy? Father [i.e., Moon]. Every creation will dash to Father. Father has qualifications to have dominion over everything. Only when the creations are in His hand are creations the happiest.

Do you like to make green bills happy? When green bills are in the hands of fallen men can they be happy? Why don’t you make them 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.[20]

Green bills dashed to Father with such determination that he had little choice but to live in luxury. “The limousine came by itself, Father never asked for it at all; the limousine came with a speed of 200 miles per hour and said if Father didn’t receive it, it would kill him; so, Father received it.”[21] Manipulation was and is employed to influence converts to give or raise all the money they can. They could be threatened with losing their eternal life, or promised that $1,000 given now would be the equivalent of one million dollars ten years from now. They are assured that slavish work now will greatly bless their ancestors, parents and their own children after death.[22]

According to a story in the Washington Post, there are other reasons to be suspicious of Moon’s multi-billion dollar financial empire. Since, apparently, nearly all his business ventures in America have lost money, the source of his revenue must come from other locations. “Executives of Unification-related entities have acknowledged that money from Japan and Korea fuel US operations, but the magnitude and mechanism of those payments, as well as their exact sources, have eluded investigators on three continents over the past three decades.”[23] Allegedly, approximately seventy percent of the money comes from Japan, and Moon’s South Korea land holdings alone were valued in 1990 at $1,000,000,000. The fact that Moon could subsidize The Washington Times, which has never been profitable, to the tune of over $1,000,000,000 is another indicator of his wealth.[24] Further, according to Ron Paquette, president of Moon’s Manhattan Center Studio, which was the church’s New York recording facility until 1994, “There’s always huge amounts of cash involved in doing anything with them. In dealing with them, you have to accept cash.”[25]

Moon’s network of industries in South Korea, known as the Tong II group, is the 28th largest business conglomerate in South Korea and includes ventures in titanium mining, weapons manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and other interests.[26] Further, because of Moon’s aggressive anticommunist stance, he is supported by powerful politically conservative elements in Korea, Japan and the United States, even, allegedly, by some wealthy Christians who are unaware of his theology. Indeed, several major evangelical organizations have worked with Moon on political and social issues,[27] and some evangelical organizations have accepted millions of dollars in loans or gifts from Moon. This is surely a spectacle: Christians taking large amounts of money from an organization headed by a spirit-possessed “Messiah” who claims he has replaced Jesus Christ! One can only wonder, what’s next?

When we consider Moon’s true goal, to rule the world as the Lord of the Second Advent, one stands back in amazement at his influence. Consider several additional examples of his influence. According to his website, the International Cultural Foundation was begun in 1972 to encourage cultural, scientific and academic exchange among the countries of the world. It has regularly sponsored the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, which has been attended by leading scientists worldwide. The International Religious Foundation and the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace attempts to bring world unity and peace through religious dialogue and harmony. Kenneth Cracknell with the British Council of Churches claimed, “The Unification Church (which is not an orthodox church) does more for the interfaith movement at an international level than do either the World Council of Churches Dialogue Unit or the Roman Catholic Vatican Secretariat for Non-Christians, or both of them put together.”[28] Moon also sponsors the Assembly of the World’s Religions that, among other things, attempts to employ Moon’s Divine Principle. “Many leading Muslims, through study of the Divine Principle, have come to see Christianity in a new light.”[29] Moon also directed “the compilation of World Scriptures, a 900-page volume which brings out the similarities in the Scriptures of all the main religions of the world.”[30] Moon owns newspapers in Seoul, Tokyo, Washington, DC, New York City, Los Angeles, Athens and other places. He also owns the World Media Association, the Women’s Federation for World Peace and the Collegiate Association for the Research of the [Divine] Principle (CARP), which is active on campuses in the U.S. and 80 other nations. The Professors World Peace Academy was begun in 1973 and now has chapters in over 100 countries. It attempts to find peaceful solutions to world problems.

But all of these enterprises, directly or indirectly, have the goal of making Moon the world’s Messiah. Further, based on Moon’s detailed guidance from the spirit world throughout his life, one has to wonder who is actually in control of Moon’s enterprises. For example, Moon began the Kirov Academy of Ballet, which despite its bizarre origin, is regarded highly for its quality of dancers and faculty. “Moon created the school in part for Julia Moon, whom Moon considers his daughter-in-law since she married the spirit of his deceased son in a unique church ceremony.” [31]

Moon’s interest in politics is also more than coincidental. Unification theology sees the “last days” (now) as culminating in a one-world religious-political system under the authority of the Lord of the Second Advent, Moon himself.[32] For God to be happy, Moon must restore all things back to God that were lost at the Fall—essentially the entire world. But Moon can only restore everything back to God when the world is under his control. Thus, everything he does has this goal in mind. His writings, for example Master Speaks, indicate that he will rule the world for God. Moon and his workers, however, are the ones responsible for bringing this wonderful New Age to fruition, hence their political interest is required. As noted, the media is another venue of influence. News World Communications, a subsidiary of Unification Church International, owns newspapers in Japan, South America, the Middle East and the United States. In the U.S., Washington Times and Noticias del Mundo (a Spanish language paper) are UC owned newspapers.

Hundreds of alleged front organizations function to support Unification Church goals. Frederick Sontag, author of Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, admits that “the church does use 1001 organizational names.”[33] A brief list includes:

• New Yorker Hotel

• The Nostalgia Network

• World Culture and Sports Festival

• University of Bridgeport

• American Youth for Just Peace

• Committee for Responsible Dialogue

• New World Communications

• International Cultural Foundation

• International Federation for Victory Over Communism

• Korean Cultural Freedom Foundation

• Little Angels of Korea, Little Angels Korean Folk Ballet

• Ministry of Ecology

• New Hope Singers International

• One World Crusade

• Eden Awareness Training Center

• Project Unity

• Universal Voice Newspaper

• World Freedom Institute

As far back as 1976, the ABC News Closeup documentary of September 1976, “New Religions: Holiness or Heresy” estimated a possible “one hundred religious, educational and business enterprises” under the UC conglomerate. Today, the website of “The Resource Center for Freedom of Mind” declares that there are “religious fronts, political fronts, media fronts, social and cultural fronts, recruiting fronts, educational fronts, and business fronts.” A list of some 800-900 past and present organizations associated with Moon can be found at The Resource Center for Freedom of Mind. The latter site observes, “Although church members toward the public often vehemently deny ANY affiliation with the UC, inside the church these organizations are probably viewed as ‘father’s’ projects intended to further the establishment of ‘God’s Kingdom of Heaven on Earth’ under Mr. Moon’s rule as the Messiah/True Parent of Mankind.” (The website also contains quite interesting articles and papers by former members and various exposés on the questionable practices of the Moon organization.) What this means is that many people have financially supported various organizations in the guise of hunger relief, the arts and so on when their finances were, in effect, being used to increase UC influence. As Moon says, “We must manipulate the academic world and the economic world,” and the sports world, church world, political world and so on.


  1. Sun Myung Moon, For God’s Sake (Washington, D.C.: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWS)), 1972, p. 23; Young Oon Kim, The Divine Principles (San Francisco: HSA-UWC, 1960), p. ix.
  2. See Bryant and Richardson, eds., A Time for Consideration: A Scholarly Appraisal of the Unification Church (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1978), pp. 278-280.
  3. Young Oon Kim, The Divine Principles (San Francisco: HSA-UWC, 1960), pp. ix-x.
  4. Sun Myung Moon, “History of Unification Church,” Master Speaks, December 27, 1971, pp. 1-10.
  5. Ibid., pp. 4-5.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid., p. 6.
  11. Ibid., p. 4.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Korea divided politically in 1948 to become North Korea and South Korea.
  14. Moon, “History of Unification Church,” Master Speaks, December 27, 1971, pp. 6-7.
  15. Ibid., pp. 6-7.
  16. Kim, The Divine Principles (1960), p. xii.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Christianity Today, July 20, 1979, p. 39; Ken Sudo, The 120 Day Training Manual (Barrytown, NY: International Unification Church Training Center, n.d.), pp. 56, 111.
  19. James Bjornstad, The Moon Is Not the Son (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 1976), pp. 20-21; J. Isamu Yamamoto, The Puppet Master (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977), p. 23. Ample documentation for this fact has been provided in the popular press.
  20. Sudo, The 120 Day Training Manual, p. 72.
  21. Ibid., pp. 72-73.
  22. Sudo, 120 Day Training Manual, p. 73.
  23. Marc Fisher, Jeff Leen, “Unification Church Interests Varied, Part 1,” The Washington Post, November 23, 1997, internet printout.
  24. Ibid.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Yamamoto, The Puppet Master, p. 23; New York Times, May 25,1976; San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 1974.
  27. E.g., Christian Research Journal, Summer 1988 Newswatch; The Washington Post, November 23/24, 1997.
  28. Unification Church Website, “Global Outreach.”
  29. Ibid
  30. Ibid.
  31. The Washington Post, November 23, 1997, Part 1.
  32. Divine Principle (Washington, D.C.; HSA-UWC), 173; for example, cf. pp. 91, 188, 536.
  33. Frederick Sontag, Sun Myung Moon—and the Unification Church (Nashville: Abingdon/Parthenon Press, 1977), p. 187.

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