Occult Influences in the Unification Church

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999
The degree of occult involvement in the Unification Church today is difficult to assess, for Sun Myung Moon seems to have his ups and downs with the spirit world, and occult interest may vary by country or culture. However, there is no denying that the Unification Church is an occult religion.

“Spiritism is of minor importance.”[1] What else could a former president of the Unification Church [UC] say to a group of evangelicals familiar with Deuteronomy 18:9-12? The degree of occult involvement in the UC today is difficult to assess, for Sun Myung Moon seems to have his ups and downs with the spirit world, and UC occult interest may vary by country or culture. However, there is no denying that the UC is an occult religion. Thus, if there are ebb-tides of interest in the occult, it will only be a matter of time before a period of lull gives way to a period of activity. In this material we will at least document the occult potential of UC beliefs and practices, irrespective of where that church stands on theb subject at the time of writing.

The truth is that UC members have developed spiritistic contacts and psychic powers.[2] In the early 1980s Dr. Weldon had been personally informed by an authority on the Unification Church that members were not involved in developing psychic powers. Yet “Instructions from Father,” a typed and circulated official directive for the church dated June 2, 1983, and not rescinded to our knowledge, supplied the following instruction to the American UC:

Cultivate the Spiritually Perceptive Element within Yourself. Report your dreams,

visions, intuition to the Korean leaders. Let them train you in spiritual
interpretation. Know how to handle spiritual phenomena which occurs. People who
act or speak unusually are often influenced spiritually, not crazy. They may even
speak in tongues, suddenly changing your topic in an instant. Spirit world uses those people like a microphone….

In each state, you need three spiritually-attuned members, who can function as a

barometer of spiritual world. These three represent strong, weak and optimum. You
may be instructed from spiritual world to go out at 2 A.M. and speak somewhere.
Perceive, gauge, moderate and control spiritual phenomena well.[3]

Members may have opportunities to engage in other occult activities, and as a result of teaching and practices like this, members run the risk of possession. This possibility is admitted, but UC members see it as resulting from causes other than UC spiritism and psychic activity. Because they view themselves as locked in mortal combat with Satan, they naturally see possession as one of the possible hazards. Indeed, even when the Divine Principle is being lectured on, or afterwards, people may risk possession simply by their presence:

I know another case in Japan where someone because of spiritual possession died.

And it became big trouble…. Therefore, this spiritual problem is not so easy…. The best method of dealing with possession is prevention. In case someone is
possessed… [when] he or she is fighting against an evil spirit, if only the person can understand the depths of Divine Principle and can understand how to prevent
possession, he or she can do that. Spiritual things can happen when the atmosphere
has intense impact. This is the reason why when a Divine Principle lecture is going on or after a Divine Principle lecture someone may become possessed.[4]

Given the extensive occult history of their leader and their church, members ought not to be surprised that Moon has been psychic from a young age. “From childhood, I was clairvoyant and clairaudient. I could see through people, see their spirits.”[5] His brother was also spiritistic. “His elder brother was… taught by spirit world.”[6] We don’t know for sure, but Moon and his brother may have been predisposed to mediumistic abilities because of the occult activities of their parents. We documented this principle in our book The Coming Darkness.[7]

There are other ways in which Unification theology lays the foundation for the potential possession of the UC member. First, one result of Moon’s alleged subjugation of the spirit world is that now the spirits must help UC members in their tasks: these spirits will take the initiative. Second, it is taught that spirits must return to the earth in spiritistic or mediumistic communication in order to gain the benefits of each succeeding earth age or epoch.[8] Third, the member’s own spirit is seen as his or her “spirit-man,” but conceived of as an almost “independent” entity from the body, “which serves as its host.”[9] The “spiritman” is believed to withdraw “vital or life energy” from its host, just as the spirits do in modern channeling and other forms of spiritism. Thus what a UC believer interprets as the spiritual functioning of his own spirit could be a form of demonization. Fourth, it is believed that “spirit-men” (spirits) return to earth and indwell members to help them in their ministries. “Also, the spirit men who left their missions unaccomplished on earth descend to earthly men whose missions are similar to those with which the spirit men were charged while on earth, and cooperate with them for accomplishment of their will. Seen from the standpoint of mission, the physical body of the earthly man serves as the body of the spirit man.”[10] Further:

Speaking in tongues is one of the common spiritual experiences. Many people

believe that the messages come from the Holy Spirit. The phenomena are
accomplished by various spirits who speak through you by using your vocal

When a spirit comes to you, you may not be able to tell the difference at times

between your own spirit and the spirit of the one who has come to you. You may
behave like someone else.[12]

Before I came to Barrytown I was responsible for Region 8 and we had a Chicago

campaign, when one brother got possessed…. He was just learning about Divine
Principle, and in the beginning there were many [psychic] phenomena.[13]

While UC members are told to trust entirely in Moon, sooner or later they must also trust in the spirits. As admitted by UC leaders, they may even pray to the spirits.[14] Members may even be told to “ask mediums for verification” of Moon’s teachings.[15] As Moon reports concerning his Messiahship, “I have had numerous witnesses from the spirit world through people on earth.”[16] He alleges of other mediums, “There are many who are now directly led by me.”[17] And, of course, more will be added in the future. “Those mediums or gifted people who witness and testify to him often continue to go their own way. In a little while, they will not be able to do that. They will be stricken by the spirit world if they do not follow what they have received and testified to. Our Leader says he is going to occupy more ofthese gifted people from now on. They will have to serve him.”[18]

Moon also encourages UC members to take their family and friends to mediums, so that
people “will be guided by the spirit world to know me…. Teach the Principle first,
intellectually, and guide the student to the spiritual experience by having him read bookson the spirit world or taking him to a medium.”[19]

Although the members we talked with denied it, the truth is that Moon himself actually became a medium for the famous Arthur Ford’s own spirit guide “Fletcher,” as reported in “The Moon Sittings” in Ford’s book Unknown but Known. Many revelations were given through the possessed Moon, including the common mediumistic teaching that “the coming of the Holy Spirit” was spiritism and, naturally, that Moon’s platform was entirely “of God.”[20]

The Divine Principle itself supports occult practices. “Thus, the spirit men pour out spiritual fire on earthly men, give them the power to heal diseases, and help them do many mighty works. More than that, they enable earthly men to see many facts in the spirit world in a state of trance, give them the gift of prophecy, and inspire them spiritually. Through such activities, substituting for the Holy Spirit, they cooperate with earthly men to fulfill the will of God.”[21] Further, members may not only work with occult groups[22] but also expect spiritistic appearances from Moon.[23] Many Eastern gurus and occult leaders have spirit guides who imitate them psychically before disciples. Moon alleges, “I can appear to a thousand people at once.”[24] UC members are even encouraged to exercise blind faith in the spirit world:

Sometimes it is good to be blind with faith. The spirit world, then, will add to your power, and you can do much greater work than [in] your own capacity…. If you

firmly stand on the Principle, I will appear to you in spirit and teach you everything you need to know…. If you continue to try to develop your mediumship, many spirits will come to you which may lead you into confusion…. But if you stand firmly on the Principle, then the Lord of the entire universe, whom we call in our movement the True Father or True Parent, will appear to you and guide you.[25]

Members may even become like mediums:

They [spirits] are free to associate with you and contact you at any time.[26]
No matter what stage you are in, you can still talk to God directly…. Many mediums talk with God directly through their clairvoyance and clairaudience. It can be done even though you are still in an imperfect stage.[27]
Then for those of us who do have some degree of gift in this area, should we continue to use it? Yes, it is good to have one or two mediumistic people in the group who will help others to grow spiritually…. Through the Principle, did the spirit world not become much more clear to you?[28]
Sometimes you may say something which you never even thought of before. That is a spirit using your mouth to tell you something.[29]
St. Augustine, Luther, John Wesley, St. Paul, and many other great men have come to our members asking us to teach them the Principle.[30]

However, other spirits were not so friendly to Moon’s agenda. Moon also encourages one of the goals of magic ritual, the control over spirits. “If you are a clairvoyant and clairaudient, you should know whether your spirit guide is higher than you in spirit. If he is higher, it is all right. If he is not higher than you and you consult him, you lose…. They want to control you…. It is always dangerous, and you don’t gain anything, to be controlled by spirit. By understanding the Principle, you are in such a position that you can control and use and guide them.”[31]

Despite denials, Moon is clearly a spiritist and has even been a medium. He has urged his followers to engage in spiritistic and mediumistic contacts as part of their “spiritual growth.” This is in direct contradiction to biblical warnings that tell us such activity is an abomination to God (Deut. 18:10-12): “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord,…”



  1. Neil Salonen, then president, Unification Church, New York World Mission Center, conference between
    evangelicals and the Unification Church, June, 1979, reported in Christianity Today, July 20, 1979, p. 3.
  2. Master Speaks, 3 (2), p. 8; Master Speaks, 3, pp. 4, 15.
  3. “Perspective. Instructions from Father: Sun Myung Moon Speaks,” Aeropagus, Fall, 1987, pp. 29-30.
  4. Ken Sudo, The 120 Day Training Manual (Barrytown, NY: International Unification Church Training Center, n.d.), p. 144, emphasis added.
  5. Master Speaks, 1, p. 1.
  6. Master Speaks, December 29, 1971, p. 11.
  7. “See John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Coming Darkness, chapter on heredity.
  8. Master Speaks, 3, p. 22.
  9. Young Oon Kim, Unification Theology & Christian Thought (New York: Golden Gate Publishing Co., 1975), pp.
  10. Divine Principle (Washington, D.C.; HSA-UWC), p. 187.
  11. Master Speaks, 3 (2), p. 8.
  12. Master Speaks, 3, p. 22
  13. Sudo, 120 Day Training Manual, p. 143.
  14. Christianity Today, July 20, 1979, p. 39.
  15. Master Speaks, 1 (2), p. 3.
  16. Master Speaks, 3, p. 7.
  17. Master Speaks, 3 (2), p. 7.
  18. Master Speaks, 3, p. 10.
  19. Master Speaks, 1, p. 5.
  20. Arthur Ford, Unknown but Known (New York: Harper and Row, 1968), pp. 121-147.
  21. Divine Principle, p. 182.
  22. Master Speaks, 2, pp. 18-19.
  23. Master Speaks, 3, p. 10.
  24. Master Speaks, 2, pp. 18-19.
  25. Master Speaks, 3, pp. 4-5.
  26. Master Speaks, December 29, 1971, p. 10.
  27. Master Speaks, 3, p. 3.
  28. Ibid., p. 5.
  29. Ibid., p. 11.
  30. Ibid., p. 17.
  31. 1 Ibid., p. 16.

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