Some Concerns about the Unification Church – Part 3
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999|
|The Unification Church [UC] represents a microcosm of many of the characteristics of new
religions and cults. In this three-part article we will mention only a few of many areas of
Having the power that it does, sex is routinely exploited in spiritistic religions. In the
Unification Church [UC], sex was held to be the cause of the Fall; it is considered “dirty” and
is an unforgivable sin outside of marriage, and it is often forbidden within marriage. In his
characteristic distortion of Scripture, Moon says, “In the Bible, all men were considered to
be as bachelors, and no marriage is recognized in the sight of God.” Moon, however, is
apparently exempt from sexual restrictions.
Jerry Yamamoto, author of The Puppet Master, provides some background information on
reputed sex scandals by Moon and his group in the early history of the UC pointing out the
What were the “rites” which caused so much controversy concerning the early days
of the movement? Moon’s critics say that he gleaned ideas from Nam Choo Paik
whose Theological Mountain at Wensan he had visited prior to 1945. One of the
more important ideas was “pikarume” or blood separation, a secret initiation rite. It
is said that the female members of the Unification Church had to have intercourse
with Moon in order to be purified. Later, intercourse between husbands and wives
would purify the male members. Thereafter their offspring would be pure.
Yamamoto also mentions the UC’s denial of such activities but observes that there is reason
to suspect the denials:
The Unification Church in the United States now declares that purification is conferred through Moon symbolically at the wedding ceremony. They fervently
deny any promiscuous activities on the part of Moon or any other member of the
church. There seems to be no reason to suspect Moon of engaging in the rite since
his latest marriage. The early days of the movement, however, leave considerable
room to doubt the mere symbolism of the rite.
Indeed, the rites do not appear to be symbolic. Although the Unification Church denies any
wrongdoing, such early sexual rites were logical in light of Moon’s theology. As Moon says,
“The point where men and women join together is the very point where God wants to
In the mid 1970s, reports of Moon’s sex with various women (sometimes called “blood
cleansing”) could be found in Time magazine (September 30, 1974); The Boston Globe (July
23, 1974); The Washington Post (February 15, 1974); The Christian Crusade Weekly (April
12, 1974); and The New York Times (September 16, 1974). The International Edition of
Newsweek of June 14, 1976, reported: “The Reverend John E.W. Kim, a Presbyterian pastor
whose church was near Moon’s church in Pusan at the time, [states], ‘Part of Moon’s
theology was that women converts could only be purified by sleeping with him’—a charge
Moon categorically denies.” Although it is not directly stated, statements in the Divine
Principle (pages 110, 141, 216, 218, 367 and 511) do lend support. Does the process of
“blood cleansing” through sexual intercourse have a basis in Unification theology? Yes. Eve
had sex with Satan and then with Adam, and Adam and his descendants became
contaminated with satanic blood. In other words, an imperfect woman (fallen Eve)
transmitted unclean blood to a man through the sexual act producing sinful children. The
reverse of this (remember “the Principle of Reversal”) is for a man who is perfect to
transmit clean blood to a woman by the sexual act producing sinless children.
According to The Washington Post of November 24, 1997:
At least two of Moon’s daughters have expressed public doubts about their father
and his faith…. Moon’s own image within the church has been tarnished in recent
years by allegations that he has been married at least three times, had affairs and
children outside his marriages, and defended sleeping with many women in the
1950s by saying he needed to “purify them.” Those accusations, against a man
claiming to be the “True Parent” of his theology, are contained in books published in
France, Japan and Korea over the past decade.
Dr. Sa Hoon Shin of the Department of Religious Studies, Seoul National University, Seoul,
Korea, in a public lecture on April 26, 1975 at the Ho-Sow-Don Girl’s High School, Tre-chun,
Korea, detailed several cases of Moon’s purported sexual episodes. This was on the basis of
former female participants who had decided to admit the events. They had not previously
done so because at the time they thought that Moon was a God, there were no witnesses to the act, and because of a sense of shame in publicly admitting their adultery.
In a dialogue with Unification Theological Seminary’s faculty members, Dr. Jim Bjornstad,
author of The Moon Is Not the Son, reported: “I brought up his blood impurity scandal of the
‘40’s and they said he was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges. They said they had
the proof. I had it checked out also, and found just the opposite.” Dr. Bjornstad means that
they had no proof. The fact that charges were dropped because witnesses failed to show up
does not prove that Moon was innocent. In a personal response to the author, Dr. Bjornstad
commented on certain Korean religious sects that are known to engage in religiously
justified sexual activity.
Several Korean sects, holding the same interpretation of original sin as Moon does,
practice a sexual rite called perikume or “blood-cleansing” to purify individuals of
original sin. Accordingly, the taint of Satan’s blood which was passed on to the
human race by Eve is removed by a woman copulating with the sect’s leader or
another man who has already been “purified.” A man could be “purified” by
copulating with a “purified” woman. This was allegedly taught and practiced by
Moon and his followers in the early days of his church. The clearest presentation of
this was reported in “A Brief Outline of Sun Myung Moon’s Doctrine and the
Movement of his Group,” published in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.
Dr. Bjornstad then commented that even though the allegations had never been proven,
two facts made one suspect otherwise. First there were the reports of ex-members, and
second that such a practice logically fit their overall theology in providing the perfect
reversal of their understanding of the Fall.
Finally Moon himself has spoken in the following manner, although he does not clarify
what it is that makes him “feel horrible”:
You must know that I have gone through a difficult path which you can never
imagine. I sometimes even feel fearful of women. In the fallen world, it is easy for
fallen women to tempt males. Since I have gone through such difficulties, I wouldn’t
let you, and I don’t want you to go through the same path. Rather, after my having
paid the indemnity, I want you to go straight on the road with purity…. I hate the
idea of my having to go through all those things. So, I did this in order for these
kinds of things not to happen. So, even at the idea of those things—when I recall
those things—it makes me feel horrible.
How do members react, confronted with these allegations? Reflecting their new morality,
some just do not care. “When I asked followers what it would mean to them if the stories of
early scandal should prove true, it is interesting to note that some replied it would make no
difference. They maintain their loyalty on different grounds.”
The Unification Church strongly denies that there have been nervous breakdowns, deaths
and suicides. Nevertheless Moon’s constant diatribe on suffering and sacrifice (“You must
not sleep much, rest much, eat much. You must work day and night”) has ruined a
number of young lives. The Christian Century of September 24, 1975, reported:
In Washington former Moonies, as they call themselves, and a psychiatrist who
treats former members testify about life in the cult. “I don’t believe any of my
patients, except for psychotics who act in response to their hallucinations, have such
serious impairment of their free will as that described to me by persons in the
Unification Church,” says John G. Clark, Jr. of Western Massachusetts. He treated
nine members who suffered from sleep deprivation, whose minds had been filled
“with ritual, laws, magic and threat… group pressure…. Many have said they could
easily kill if they were told by the church to kill.”
A former member who joined the church at 16 alleges, “I had to be taken to a mental
institution where a further breakdown took place. And I spent 6 months in the mental
institution, paying $75.00 a day. The bill came up to $20,000. The Unification Church takes
no responsibility for my condition at all.”
The following pieces of information were sent to the author by a pastor who preferred to
remain anonymous: “At a CARP table at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst, a
woman rushed up and shouted: ‘You killed my brother.’[] He had jumped out of a
window.” “In the past few years there have been reports of Moonies ending their lives,
usually in very violent fashion.” “He’d even kill himself if he had the chance ‘cause they
believe they must die if they fail their missions.” Duchess County (New York) Attorney
Albert Rosenblat noted an attempted suicide and a “disproportionately high number of
hospital admissions” among Unification Church members.
Liberal Theological Approach
In order to support their anti-Christian theology, Unification Church theologians largely
defer to liberal theology and its higher critical methods. For example, “The Epistles of
Paul are often opposed to the gospels…. The early apostles’ knowledge of Jesus [for] Paul is
irrelevant… the historical Jesus is of no significance to him…. [This] reveals a deep gulf between Jesus and Paul, and ends by saying that Christianity was founded not by the Jesus
of history but by Paul, who turned it into a religion of redemption.” Moon teaches, “But
2,000 years ago Jesus Christ never spoke of himself as a Messiah.” (Jesus did directly call
Himself the Messiah in Matt. 26:64 and John 4:26.)
- Master Speaks, 2 (2), p. 1.
- J. Isamu Yamamoto, The Puppet Master (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977), pp. 20-21.
- Moon, The Way of the World, July-August, 1977 p. 27
- Newsweek, June 14, 1976, p. 45.
- The Washington Post, November 24, 1997, internet copy.
- Transcript of April 26, 1975 lecture, on file.
- Personal letter to John Weldon, June 9, 1976, p. 1.
- Master Speaks, 369, cited in Update, Vol. 1, Nos. 3-4, pp. 51-52.
- Frederick Sontag, Sun Myung Moon—and the Unification Church (Nashville: Abingdon/Parthenon Press,
1977), p. 199.
- Master Speaks, January 30, 1973, quoted in Sontag, p. 121.
- The Christian Century, September 24, 1975, pp. 812-813.
- Special Report, The Unification Church: Its Activities and Practices, Unofficial Transcript Government Panel,
Citizens Appearing; Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senate Caucus Room, Washington, D.C., February 18,
1976, Part 1, p. 25.
- Letter sent to John Weldon.
- The Advisor, April, 1980, p. 6, col. 1.
- Chris Sheridan, “White Plains Rabbi Reunites Families,” Catholic News, February 24, 1977, p. 14, col. 13.
- Ted Patrick, quoted in Crazy for God, p. 220.
- Los Angeles Times, October 4, 1977, pp. 50-55.
- E.g., Young Oon Kim, Unification Theology & Christian Thought (New York: Golden Gate Publishing Co.,
1975), pp. 97, 109, 111-127.
- The Way of the World, November-December 1977, pp. 50-55.
- Excerpts of Newsweek interview June 14, 1976, p. 62, international edition.