Acta Comparanda SUBSIDIA VI

May 29-30, 2017
The Life and Legacy of Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Movements in Scholarly Perspective

Chris Vonck, Welcome
Tony van Loon, Opening lecture
Régis Dericquebourg, Bernadette Rigal-Cellard, Words of the OERLDavid G. Bromley, Unificationism as Prototypical New Religion


Eileen Barker, The Unification Church: a Kaleidoscopic Introduction
Gerhard Besier, The Unification Church in Germany
Alexa Blonner, The New God of Unificationism: Precedents and Parallels
George Chryssides, The Welsh Connection: Pastor Joshua McCabe’s role in the Unification Church’s early history
Régis Dericquebourg, The prophetic Career of Sun Myung Moon in modernity:
Alliance between Value rationality and Means-end rationality for the restoration of Paradise on EarthWilly Fautré, Abduction, sequestration and ‘deprogramming’ attempts of Unification Church Members in Japan
Massimo Introvigne, The dynamics of the Schisms and the birth of the Family Peace AssociationDonald A. Westbrook, Post-charismatic outcomes of New Religions:
Themes from Unificationism, Mormonism, and Scientology


Mark Bramwell, The Family Pledge and the Family Peace Association
Dan Fefferman, Unification Political Theology: Past, Present and Future
Kim Jongsuk, The Split of the Unification Movement & the Process of Destruction of the ScripturesMichael L. Mickler, Gender Politics in the Post-Sun Myung Moon Unification MovementRichard A. Panzer, The Sinless Only Begotten daughter vs the 3 Generations Kingship
Kerry Williams, Only One God: The Debate on God as ‘Heavenly Father’ vs. God as ‘Heavenly Parents’ in the contemporary Unification Movement
Andrew Wilson, Theological Developments in the FFWPU since the Death of Rev. Moon.


Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions and Humanism B-2610 Wilrijk-Antwerpen – Belgium



Acta ComparandaSUBSIDIA VI

May 29-30, 2017
The Life and Legacy of Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Movements
in Scholarly Perspective


Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions and Humanism B-2610 Wilrijk-Antwerpen



Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions and Humanism

Bist 164
2610 Wilrijk-Antwerpen Belgium

Tel + 32 3 8305158 Email: info@antwerpfvg.orgWebsite:

Associate Editors: Ann Babb, Eric Laureys, Rit Van den Bergh, Josephine Van Otten, Leslie

Chris Vonck
Versweyveld, Donald Westbrook

Advisory Board: D. Dericquebourg (Paris) H. Gerding (Leiden)

F. Gharaie (Mashhad)
D. De Smet (CNRS-Paris) D. Thomas (Birmingham)

Editorial formula

Acta Comparanda wants to be an open-minded and scientific meeting place of all religions, religious traditions and philosophies of life. The review welcomes contributions aiming at revealing and studying in depth all aspects optimising a better understanding of interreligious interweaving and miscellaneous. It is meant to be an international platform for exchange of ideas and opinions in a pluralist world. Acta Comparanda is at the heart of the theological and philosophical tornado that sweeps over the world. Contributions by authors from various religious traditions and reviews of the most recent books are giving the publication an international radiation.

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The views of each writer are his/her own, and the editors do not necessarily agree with them. The articles are submitted to peer review.

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S.S. Kapoor (London)
J. Rosen (New York)
Ch. Prapandviya (Bangkok)
Satya Narayana Dasa (Vrindavan)


Chris Vonck


Tony Van Loon

Opening lecture

Régis Dericquebourg and Bernadette Rigal-Cellard

Words of the OERL

David G. Bromley

Unificationism as Prototypical New Religion

First part: Social Scientists Perspectives

Eileen Barker

The Unification Church: a Kaleidoscopic Introduction

Gerhard Besier

The Unification Church in Germany

Alexa Blonner

The New God of Unificationism: Precedents and Parallels

George Chryssides

The Welsh Connection: Pastor Joshua McCabe’s role in the Unification Church’s early history

Régis Dericquebourg

The prophetic Career of Sun Myung Moon in Modernity: Alliance between Value rationality and Means-end rationality for the restoration of Paradise on Earth

Willy Fautré

Abduction, sequestration and ‘deprogramming’ attempts of Unification Church Members in Japan

Massimo Introvigne

The dynamics of the Schisms and the birth of the Family Peace Association

Donald A. Westbrook

Post-charismatic outcomes of New Religions: Themes from Unificationism, Mormonism, and Scientology

5-6 7-11 13 15-17

19-55 57-66 67-85


101-119 121-134 135-141


Second Part: U.C. Theological Analyses

Mark Bramwell

The Family Pledge and the Family Peace Association

Dan Fefferman

Unification Political Theology: Past, Present and Future

Kim Jongsuk

The Split of the Unification Movement & the Process of Destruction of the Scriptures

Michael L. Mickler

Gender Politics in the Post-Sun Myung Moon Unification Movement

Richard A. Panzer

The Sinless Only Begotten daughter vs the 3 Generations Kingship

Kerry Williams

Only One God: The Debate on God as ‘Heavenly Father’ vs. God as ‘Heavenly Parents’ in the contemporary Unification Movement

Andrew Wilson

Theological Developments in the FFWPU since the Death of Rev. Moon.

Who is Who

149-157 159-168

169-201 203-225 227-242


253-267 269-274



Chris Vonck

It was in 1980 when a Dutch Evangelist, Johan Buteyn, of the Reformed Community (Gereformeerde Gemeente) contacted me. He had published an arti- cle on the Reformation in the 16th century. It was not an article he himself or his church had written. It was an article which was published by the Unification Church Belgium (UC). He himself had no idea about the UC, but he believed the article was good and objective. He contacted the UC in Brussels and the FVG. A Belgian, member of the UC-Belgium — Mr. Dirk Anthonis — phoned me. He and his colleagues were very interested in the FVG. These colleagues were:Mrs. Veronique Gillet and Mr. Alva Lines.

1981. Together with Dr. K. Dobbelaere and Dr. Frank De Graeve of the Catholic University of Leuven I was invited for an ICUS Conference in Korea. Many seminars and Conferences followed. I remember meeting Mr. Jeremia Schnee, Mr. Frank Kaufmann, and Dr. Joseph Paige. One day Dr. Mose Dustcame to visit us, and also Dr. Fr. Sonntag lectured about the UC in a joint meeting with the UFSIA, of the Antwerp University.

I received invitations to chair or to discuss the UC and related subjects, such as World Peace, Understanding cultures and theologies. These meetings took place in Manila, Athens, Greece, Cairo, Prague, London, and the USA: New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, etc.

In 1987 the Belgian committee of the UC organized a Conference in Ghent, Bel- gium. One of the scholars was Prof. dr. Rainer Flashe of the Philipps-University in Marburg, Germany. His paper entitled “The Unification Church in the Context of East-Asian Religious Traditions” was published in Acta Comparanda Nr. II.

In 1993 I was asked to introduce Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon in Brussels. A Bel- gian research journalist, Mr. Alain Lalleman, wrote a report about that meeting. A report which would become a main book for the so called ‘anti-sect movements’ in Belgium. We have always been sympathetic to the principles of the UC.

There was, and is, no racism in the UC. We all loved that aspect very much! There were links with many trains of thought. I also witnessed strong criticism. Once, in the 80’s, the Belgian Committee decided to make a donation to FVG. This donation was only accepted after our colleagues, and also the WCC in Geneva, informed us that the money would be used according to the objectives written in our Constitution.

In the context of New Religious Movements (NRM) The Divine Principle has featured in lectures at the FVG, but not every year. In the past Dr. Van Dun,together with Mrs. Veronique Gillet, has given an overview about the UC andThe Divine Principle. More recently it has been given by Mr. Hugo Veracx. We


certainly miss the charismatic and open-minded Mr. Philippe Jacques, who died 2016. Both colleagues and students, who had the privilege to have met him, feel sad. Rev. Sun M. Moon passed away in 2012. It is never easy for a young and eager movement to lose its founder. If not mistaken some of the children took over his vision. Did they?

Today and tomorrow we will listen to what you, colleagues, have to say. A beginning, yes, of course, but not an end. We wish you all two fruitful and happy days in Antwerp — Belgium.


Dear Rector,
Dear colleagues, Ladies & gentlemen,

Opening lecture

Tony Van Loon

It is an honor for me to open this congress as professor anthropology of the Faculty of Comparative Religions & Humanism.

I will tell you in these fifteen minutes why I think this is an important hap- pening and an opportunity to focus on the Unification Movements with their programs that all of humanity should be united. The aim of the conference has been put in a scholarly perspective. I will try to make clear what this means to me.

The idea of unity is interesting in a diverse world where so many societies are working for the same goal, but bearing in mind that some of them are fighting against those who do not agree with them. We may think about the importance of unity within the fields of science and religion, also about good & evil, rich and poor, about right or left, or even about capitalism and communism and about children and parents.

The (always relative) importance of unity science and religion,

good & evil,
rich & poor,

right conservative & left progressive, capitalism & communism, children & parents.

I do not handle the conflict concept as this has been taught in Marxist theory, I do believe in a democratic idea of living together with different opinions and giving all the inhabitants of a country the chance to express their opinions by voting or any other way of expressing these opinions. For me this is sound democracy.

The concept of conflict One excludes the other. I want to conquer.

Active pluralism

The concept of democracy
One respects the other.
I can accept change as long as I am able to express my opinion



Thirteen years from today, in 2030, Belgium will have existed for two hundred years. For me Europe may be more united then than we are today, our King may still be alive and I myself have a fifty-fifty chance to be there as I am 72 years old today. What I hope that will be realized is that in our country the Catholic Church — that was strongly present during all the past 175 years — will receive the same acceptance as the organization or organizations that are stigmatized to-day as cults. I think it is a better approach to call all of them New Religious Movements and also within these the Catholic Church.

As you may know, in Belgium we have the Governmental Centre which is called IACSSO. It is the Centre that gives information and advice on damaging and sectarian organizations. This Centre has received a negative judgment in Court due to the fact that does neither criminal nor damaging acts. They did not act carefully enough to nominate one of the so-called cults as damaging. It really demands a very careful and precise research of the criteria that lead to label a society as a damaging cult. We prefer to speak about:

New Religious Movements Universal Rights of Men

Freedom of association & Freedom of conscience.

The criteria to be named as a ‘damaging’ cult are rather precise as religious freedom and freedom of association belong to the Universal Rights of Men. There must be a public participation with controversial discussion about the religious community that does not do criminal nor damaging acts. That is dem- ocratic in its way that making a decision to exclude can be global but should always be heterogenic. It can neither enforce dogmatic nor societal concepts against the state of scientific concepts. Its belief is flexible and never against human dignity and never ever damage physical nor psychological integrity.

IACCSO points to the way the Catholic Church handles the complaints against sexual abuse. For me this is clear but IACCSO does not go as far as that. Not only members of the organization of the Catholic Church — in Belgium and elsewhere — commit abuse in a massive way, even by one of its bishops, the organization itself covers up those crimes and obstructs the work of juridical authorities. For me, to-day, the Catholic Church in Belgium behaves like a crim- inal organization, so it is for me a criminal organization. I think and hope within the next 13 years the Belgian State will follow that reasoning as I am convinced that our society becomes more and more secular.

Information and Advice Commission concerning damaging and sectarian organizations
president: Luc Willems + (4 × Dutch speaking & 4 × French speaking) Nominated for 4 years
Report every 2 years — last one: 2013 – 2014

Why do I say this? In 1984 The Washington Post declared the Universal Peace Federation, erected by the late Sun Myung Moon, as damaging. It was declared



that their conferences are described as academic affairs devoid of religious themes, although Rev. Moon selects the conference topics and, until that year 1984, delivered a “founder’s address” to the academic audience. In addition, about 40 of the scholars will receive speaking fees totaling $1,000 each —- $500 for delivering a paper and another $500 when the papers are published in church-sponsored publications of the ICUS proceedings. Committee and confer- ence chairman receive additional fees. Let me be clear, I do not receive anything for opening this conference. May I ask the honorable speakers to also make a statement about this issue?

UPF = Universal Peace Federation
ICUS = International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences The Professors World Peace Academy
ICF = International Cultural Federation

“I had the occasion to visit Rev. Moon in prison recently <in 1984> … and it was the strangest experience,” said professor Kaplan, one of five professors who serve as $5,000-a-year “senior consultants” to the ICF. “He was interested only in how the world could be made a better place …. His heart and his mind were filled only with what he regards as his mission. He had no time for any personal concerns.”

Reverend Moon died in 2012.

As far as I know our conference has one goal: to discuss the matter in a schol- arly perspective. For me this means to discuss in a way that stands for participa- tion of all religious outings. So far the participation of prominent scholars at the conferences has provoked a debate over academic ethics. The Washington Post says: “Although many participants make a point of saying they do not endorse the theology of the Unification Church, critics note that the church has in the past used photographs and films of the scholars, frequently shaking hands with or standing side-by-side with Moon, in promotional literature. The presence of distinguished academics at church-sponsored gatherings gives Moon the aura of power and influence he seeks, the critics said.” Again, even with two camera teams present during this session, I am not selling myself! “These academics are selling themselves,” charged Ann Lindgren, president of the Citizens Freedom Foundation, an anti-cult group. “All these conferences are taped and those mate- rials are used in recruiting programs all over the world. They say, ‘Here’s pro- fessor So-and-So from Yale University’ and that makes a big impression on young people. It adds credibility to their organization.” And for a third time, speaking for myself, I am a professor anthropology of the Faculty of Compara- tive Religions and Humanism in Antwerp and I cooperate with this conference because I am convinced that in a world of discontent we can discuss in peace and with respect for each others convictions. I am not here to give credibility to anybody.

Irving Horowitz, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University and another critic of academic participation in the events, calls the ICUS conferences “one


of the great brilliant marketing strategies in the history of religion. They know how to get the academics; they know how to market them.” Well, are we pre- pared for the marketing of The Unification of the Idea of Peace? Yes, I am!

Mr. Pak, a former South Korean military attaché who oversees the church’s political activities, declined to talk to a reporter but he offered a rare public glimpse of his view of the church’s mission in an interview with Ken Ellis, a producer for KQED-TV in San Francisco, during the media trip to Asia. “We want to awaken the world,” said Pak, “We want to turn the tide so that this totalitarian, godless system must go ….” “It is a total war,” Pak added. “Basi- cally a war of ideas. War of minds. The battlefield of the human mind. This is where the battle is fought. So in this war, the entire things will be mobilized: political means, social means, economical means and propagandistic means …. The media organization that we are setting up wants to be utilized as an instru- ment, an instrument of our cause, instrument of our purpose … the instrument to be used by God.”

Mine is another approach and challenge as I do not like the language of war. Can we bring together thinking about a world with one or more gods or can we consider the world as godless? When I think about a god I always put forward the idea of a goddess and a world with many goddesses, as the world is open for Jesus and all kind of images of the same Jesus, as Joseph Smith & Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda & Tony Alamo & Ron Hubbard & Pete Peters and so many others are preaching. Can we also think about witches and demons? Can we put a comparative perspective on Witchcraft & Satanism? I am completely open minded with the view of our key note speaker Eileen Barker from the London School of Economics and I link her with her former colleague in LSE, Jean La Fontaine — she retired this winter — who has worked all her lifelong about the concepts of Witchcraft and Satanism. We should consider not blaming anyone by using a label that can hurt him or her, but we must stand clear that no one can accuse me nor anybody else of blasphemy.

I cannot accept this label as a crime. Maybe some lack respect but this is not a crime, it is not punishable with loose of freedom. It is a behavior that can be bordered by a fine.

All of us have the perfect right to fill in all these concepts in our own way. Your Jesus may be my Goddess. My Goddess may make love to other Goddesses as your Jesus may love his John the Baptist.

Let it be clear, I am very near with the innovative concern of Jean La Fontaine who points at the situation of children. I will ask you — colleagues — whatever your point is — to consider the situation of children within your reasoning. Some major changes in relationships between adults & children is that children are not only seen as victims of their parents but their parents look at their children as their property. La Fontaine says that this is the new danger in our societies. This is against to the fundamentalist Christian theology, with crusading pastors or violent exorcism. This new approach to the family — as pointed by Rev Moon in his own style — may be prophetic. What he puts forward: a responsible care


and affection that can be expected from the parents so that children will not be harmed anywhere in this world. This is the importance of the unity of humanity.1

With this wish for the benefit of our children, I wish you a very good and fruitful congress!


Talking about the Unification Movement, the concept of unity is interesting as it brings all kind of polarities together; good & evil (ethics), democracy & communism (politics), poor & rich (economics) and also children & parents (relationships).

In Belgium we are concerned about the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Men. That means we foster the freedom of association and the freedom of religion.

IACSSO is the Information and Advice Commission of the government for damaging and sectarian organizations. This Commission has lost a juridical case as it was not careful enough to qualify how a cult was damaging their followers. Therefore we better will talk about NRM (New Religious Movements), as I hope and wish that the dominant Catholic Church will be considered as a criminal organization, as their clergy have massively committed sexual abuse and the Vatican has covered this against juridical authorities.

In this context we must consider all kinds of discussion about gods & God, goddesses & their relationships, we will have to remind witches & demons as studied by Jean La Fontaine, who considers one of the great dangers of our time is that children are being victimized and treated as properties. Perhaps it was Moon’s prophetic view that unity in relationships is the unity of humanity.

1 (La Fontaine Jean, ‘Witches and Demons. A comparative Perspective on Witchcraft and Satan- ism’, in: Sarah Pink, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia & Simone Abram, Durham University & Leeds Beckett University (General Editors), Studies in Public and applied Anthropology, vol 10, Berghahn, New York, 2016, 145 pg., ISBN 978-1-78533-085-8 (hardback).



The European observatory of Religion and Laïcité (secularism) in partnership with the FVG – Faculty for comparative Study of Religion and Humanism (Chris Vonck, FVG-Antwerpen-Wilrijk), CLIMAS (Bernadette Rigal-Cellard, Univer- sité Bordeaux Montaigne), Cesnur (Massimo Introvigne, Turin) and the Ameri- can sociologist Donald Westbrook, member of the FVG team, invite you to read this new issue of Subsidia which includes the proceedings of the conference: “The life and legacy of Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Movements in Scholarly Perspective” held at the FVG on May 29-30, 2017.

This issue is an important milestone in the research on the religious current that incarnates Reverend Moon’s religious teachings. Since the book of the pio- neers, David G Bromley and Anson Shupe jr.: “Moonies in America: Cult, Church and Crusade” (Beverly Hills, Sage Publication, 1979), Eileen Barker’s:The Making of a Moonies; Choice or Brainwashing (Oxford, Blackwell Publish- ers, 1984) and later George Chryssides: The Advent of Sun Myung Moon, The Origins, Beliefs and Practices of the Unification Church (London, Palgrave, Macmillan, 1991), the Unification Church seems to have been forgotten by scholars. The organizers are pleased to gather in this Subsidia VI these pioneers and fine “connaisseurs” of the U.C’s activities and changes. In our view, this issue is also very important because the Unification Church enters in the post Reverend Moon era. It reflects this “passage” to another stage of what is some- times called: “Moonism.” We hope the readers will appreciate the contents … All the articles give a profound view of the true substance of this Subsidia VI.

It is time to give our thanks to Chris Vonck, Rector of the FVG, to Lydia Bonte and Ernie Vonck for their technical help, to Mark Bramwell, Greg Noll, Richard Panzer, Hugo Veracx, Chris Vonck and Donald Westbrook for their noticeable support. Many thanks also to Eileen Barker for accepting to be the keynote speaker of the Conference and to David Bromley who accepted to write the preface. We thank Massimo Introvigne for having shared his network and granted his support, Leslie Versweyveld and Josephine Van Otten for the cor- rection and the lay-out of this issue.

And naturally we thank the participants. Some of them came from many dis- tant countries to deliver their speech.

Régis Dericquebourg, President of the OERL. Bernadette Rigal-Cellard, Vice-President of the OERL.


Unificationism as Prototypical New Religion

David G. Bromley

This special issue brings together an impressive network of scholars who share a common interest and deep knowledge base on new religious movements, and particularly Unificationsm. The Unification Church was formally founded in 1954. It is interesting, and hopefully illuminating, to inquire why new religions scholars continue to study Unificationism more than a half-century after its inception. Leaving aside the question of when a new movement ceases being “new”, what is it about Unificationism that attracts the interest of scholars and makes it worthy of study. It is not the largest new movement; it did not sustain its rapid initial growth; it has not substantially broadened its appeal base; its doctrinal claims are not more spectacular than some other movements; it has not engaged in violent confrontations; its gravitation toward denominational status is hardly atypical; it has not had an outsized impact in the societies in which it has found root.

Eileen Barker’s insightful introductory essay proposes an answer to this ques- tion. She invokes the apt metaphor of “kaleidoscope”, a concept that evokes a vision of a panoply of images, shapes, and colors. Barker enumerates six “motifs” that have characterized Unificationism at various points in its history (“messianic charismatisation; prophetic millenarianism; utopian politicization; organizational bureaucratization; generational denominationalization; and schis- matic fragmentation”) and warrant a kaleidoscopic perspective. Indeed, most groups called new religions have manifested one or more of the motifs that Barker enumerates. Unificationism therefore becomes appropriate to conversa- tions about almost any new religion when there is discussion of common organ- izational structures, doctrinal systems, or developmental trajectories. What gives Unificationism such a gravitational intellectual pull is that Unification has man- ifested all of these motifs and many of them to an unusual degree. From this perspective, I would suggest that Unificationism can be viewed as a prototypical new religion.

There is another perspective from which Unificationism can be understood as prototypical for scholars in New Religions Studies (NRS); that is the process by which knowledge about the movement has been gathered. Unificationists have made themselves more available to academic researchers than many other new movements. As a result, there is an impressive sequence of scholarly books and articles, of which Barker’s The Making of a Moonie is the most celebrated, examining the various motifs and tracking the movement through space and time. While coverage of most other new religious groups has not been nearly so com- prehensive, NRS as a whole is based most centrally on article-length and


book-length case studies with various perspectives and objectives. The reciprocal observation, of course, is that the area of study has been less successful in gen- erating integrative theory that would give NRS greater cohesiveness. For exam- ple, one way that scholars have attempted to model new movement development is through the concepts of “success” and “failure” and through the longstanding sect to church model. Both have proven less than satisfactory. There is, in fact, no common lens through which new religions are interpreted. And so, the kalei- doscopic perspective reflects where NRS actually is, which leaves us with the question: Quo Vadis? I would like to suggest one approach that would better integrate NRS and render it more relevant to the broader study of religion.

In modern/post-modern societies, religion is one in a set of differentiated insti- tutional arenas. The institutions that together constitute the dominant social order are loosely-coupled (in open societies) with broadly parallel interests. Dominant institutions are strongest (accepted as legitimate and effective) when they can operate as if their form and operation reflect “the natural order of things”. Each institution is accorded an area of independent authority in which it is able to organize and regulate social activity. Religion (through its mythic, organiza- tional, and ritual systems) contributes an important element of this dominant order by connecting the everyday and transcendent realms so as to create a sense of meaning, order and control in a way that does not contest the foundational legitimacy and effectiveness of the dominant order.

In an institutionally organized social order, new religious groups enter an already populated field. They inevitably challenge some elements of the domi- nant institutional order as they are proposing new ways of imagining the transcendent and new ways of organizing relationships with it. Indeed, it is thechallenge that animates new groups, as well as those impacted by the challenge. Viewed in this way, dominant institutions are order-consolidating entities and new movements are order-challenging entities. For order-challenging new reli- gious movements, their motif features do not involve simply dilemmas that involve “choosing a over b” but rather contradictions (incompatible logics, structures, strategies). For example, new groups necessarily develop some form of leadership, and the charismatic/prophetic form is a common solution. But charismatic leadership typically involves claims and performances that assert moral superiority and therefore generate rejection and control responses from the established institutional order. The same can be said of generating key resources by drawing members and money from the host society while standing in oppo- sition to it. Put another way, what is a strength internally/developmentally often is a vulnerability externally/relationally and vice versa. The advantage of deploy- ing the concept of contradictions then is that it opens dynamic inquiry into the intractability of internal, developmental issues within movements and their dest- abilizing, tension evoking consequences for movement-societal relationships.

This approach creates a path toward understanding the most central, legiti- mated forms of religion. These groups are not merely conventional, mainstream, or established, as they are frequently labeled, they are order-consolidating


entities. Their organizational challenges and their use of power to address them are different only in the sense that they are protecting rather than challenging. Once examined from this perspective, forms and use of power in their organiza- tion becomes more central to the study of religion. And, order-challenging groups are placed on an equal footing with order-consolidating groups, which elevates the status of NRS and integrates the study of the variety of religious forms.

I would conclude, therefore, that the significance of the recent conference and resulting special issue of this journal is that it accurately reflects the state of NRS through Barker’s artful rendering of Unificationism as a prototypical new reli- gious movement. A next step in the development of NRS would be to connect the study of order-challenging and order-consolidating religious groups through the adoption of a critical perspective that prioritizes the availability and use of power resources to groups in different locations within the social order.


The Unification Church: A Kaleidoscopic Introduction1

Eileen Barker

For over six decades, the Unification Movement has defied any single classi- fication. When attempting to see patterns in the movement’s historical develop- ment, one can observe not so much stages as phases or themes that embrace a number of leitmotifs interwoven in a fugue composed of sometimes complemen- tary, sometimes opposing themes. Rather than providing a chronological account of the history of the movement, this introductory chapter sketches some socio- logical motifs (messianic charismatisation; prophetic millenarianism; utopian politicisation; organisational bureaucratisation; generational denominationalisa- tion; and schismatic fragmentation) that have, variously, come into ascendency at particular times and places as Unificationism has acted out its complicated, complex and sometimes confusing history as part of the world’s religious land- scape.

Briefly, as background information, it can be recounted that the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC), known more simply as the Unification Church (UC) or Unification Movement (UM), was formally founded in Seoul, South Korea, in 1954 by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012).2 Having gathered a small group of disciples around him in Korea, Moon sent his first Unification missionaries to Japan and then to the West in the late 1950s. Although there were some scores of converts to the movement during the 1960s, which may have expanded to a couple of hundred or so by the end of the decade, it was not until Moon and his family settled in the USA and conducted a series of nation-wide speaking tours in the early 1970s that the Unification Church became widely known in the United States and Europe.3

Like many of the other high-profile new religious movements (NRMs) of the period, the Unification Church attracted a membership in the West that was dis- proportionately young, white, well-educated and from the middle classes (Barker 1984). These youthful converts, referred to in popular parlance as ‘Moonies’,4 soon

1 I would like to express my gratitude to a number of both present and former Unificationists for their generous help in the preparation of this chapter. I am particularly grateful to William Chasseaud for some meticulous proof reading.

2 For details about the early life of Moon and the Church in Korea, see Breen 1997; Introvigne 2000; Matczak 1982; Moon 2010; Sontag 1977.

3 For information about the movement’s early life in the West, see Barker 1978; 1984; Bromley and Shupe 1979; Cozin 1973; Lofland 1966; 1977; Mickler 1980b; 1990; Salonen 1982; Wood 1979; 2001.

4 Although Moon himself stated that his followers should be proud to be called Moonies (and around the late 1970s I obtained a badge declaring “I’M A MOONIE AND I ♥ IT!” which was reproduced among a number of lurid press-cuttings on the cover of my book, The Making of a


became a familiar sight as they fundraised and witnessed to potential recruits in public places. They also attracted widespread public attention on account of the mass weddings or ‘Blessings’ where hundreds or even thousands of couples were married in ceremonies presided over by Reverend Moon and his wife.5 The pub- licity was not favourable, however (Bjornstad 1976; Edwards 1979; Enroth 1977; 1979; Heftmann 1983; Levitt 1976; Martin 1985; Underwood 1979). In a survey carried out by Rex Weiner and Deanne Stillman (1979: 246) towards the end of the 1970s, just over a thousand Americans born between 1940 and 1952 were given a list of 155 names and asked how they felt about each of them. Only 3 per cent of the respondents had not heard of the Reverend Moon.6 Only 1 per cent admitted to admiring him. The owner of no other name on the list elicited less admiration, and the only person whom a higher percentage of respondents did not admire was the ritual killer Charles Manson.7

Before long, anxious parents were paying large sums of money to have their (adult) children extracted from the movement. Bewildered that their sons and daughters could give up a promising future to follow a Korean evangelist who expected them to spend long hours fundraising and recruiting members, and who would marry them to someone whom they had met only hours before and with whom they quite possibly did not share a common language, the only feasible explanation appeared to be that the movement was using some kind of brain- washing or mind-control techniques that were well-nigh irresistible and irrevers- ible — and the only way to rescue the victims was to have them kidnapped and deprogrammed.8

Despite the high visibility of the converts and the widely publicised photo- graphs of all those couples getting married, Unificationism did not reach the high numbers of members that both it and its opponents have claimed (Barker 1984: 27). In fact, during the late 1970s and 1980s it is unlikely that the number of members in the West ever exceeded a few thousand; in Britain and other Euro- pean countries it was only a few hundred at most.9 The exaggeration in numbers

Moonie), Unificationists now find the term derogatory, and for this reason, unless the term is used within a quotation, I shall refer to members of the movement as Unificationists.

5 Whilst originally the Blessings were only for Unificationists who had fulfilled certain ‘condi- tions’, later they included non-Unificationists — on 10 April 1992 forty Muslims took part in a Blessing (Mickler 2000: 370). My husband and I were among the many who found themselves being invited to get Blessed sometime in the 1990s; my husband politely turned down the offer.

6 It is possible that were the survey to be repeated today with the same age group it would be more likely to be just 3 per cent who had heard of him.

  1. 7  For information about the Manson Family, see Bugliosi 1977; Guinn 2013; and Nielsen 1984.
  2. 8  For further information on deprogramming, see Barker 1989: Appendix II; Bromley and Rich-

ardson 1983; 1988; Coleman 1985; Dubrow-Eichel 1989a; 1989b; 1990; Enroth 1977; Fefferman 2010; Patrick 1976.

9 In 1997, one estimate of the number of members in the USA was 3,000 (Fisher and Leen 1997b). In Europe, the numbers increased to 2,000 after the fall of the Berlin Wall (Barker 1984: 64-65; 1997). There were possibly 10,000 or so members in Japan. In Korea and later in the West the figures became increasingly difficult to ascertain as it was more families than individuals who were associated with the movement, and when the second and subsequent generations arrived there was no consensus as to whether the children should be counted. Also, membership became far more


was due partly to the high profile of Moon and the long hours the members spent peddling and witnessing in public places, partly to the fact that converts were more likely to be counted than defectors, and partly because, while the move- ment wanted to demonstrate how successful it was being (and was in denial about the fact that converts were frequently leaving), the media and the increas- ingly vocal opponents of Unificationism wanted to demonstrate what a threat the movement was and that, unless they were deprogrammed, Unificationists were incapable of escaping once they had been captured.10

But what was little understood was the extent to which the movement could have a positive attraction for these young people. It offered them something that they felt, or could be easily led to feel, was lacking in their lives (Barker 1984). Exactly what this was could differ from person to person, but one important factor that has frequently been ignored, yet which drew a considerable number and possibly played a significant role in attracting the majority of young people to the Unification Church, was its religious teaching.

Unificationism as a Religious Movement

The Reverend Moon tells a story of how, as a boy of fifteen or sixteen,11 Jesus appeared before him and said “God is in great sorrow because of the pain of humankind. You must take on a special mission on earth having to do with Heav- en’s work” (Moon 2010:50). Numerous encounters with Jesus followed and Moon was to receive further revelations about the nature of God and His creation.

With the passage of time, Moon started to tell others about his various reve- lations and these were written down by disciples, eventually comprising what came to be known as the Divine Principle, which contains most of the basic beliefs of Unificationism.12 This provides an interpretation of the Old and New Testaments with traces of other religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Shamanism and some of the Korean new religions with which Moon had

ambiguous (see below). According to some figures reported at a Unification conference , in January 2014 there were 115,862 worship attenders, almost half of whom (49,103) were in Japan, and just over a quarter of whom (27,690) were in Korea. North America (USA + Canada) claimed 5,663 attenders and Europe claimed 3,191. West Africa claimed 13,585. Roughly double the total were said to be ‘regular members’. (Personal communication from a North American member)

10 The so-called ‘anti-cult movement’ of the period focussed almost entirely on the Unification Church, the Children of God, the Church of Scientology and ISKCON. (Giambalvo et al. 2013; Patrick 1976; Shupe and Bromley 1980)

11 The Korean calendar differs from the Western calendar which can cause some confusion in dating.

12 Originally produced in Korean as Wolli Haesul then as Wolli Kangron, and there are several versions of Divine Principle in English and a number of other languages. The second English edi- tion (Moon 1973) was widely used, later in conjunction with Moon (1996) during the movement’s early days in the West. See also Barker 1984: Ch 3; Bryant and Hodges 1978; Chryssides 1991; Kim 1997; Kim 1987; Quinn 2006; and Principle#Other_Unification_Church_texts


associated in the 1940s and ’50s (Breen 1997; Nevalainen 2005).13 It then goes on to disclose further revelations following the time of the Gospels. It is impos- sible to do justice to its complexity here but, briefly, in the opening chapter, creation is seen in terms of complementary opposites: positive and negative units come together in a complementary relationship which, in turn becomes a unit that combines with a further unit to create yet another whole, and eventually we have male and female units, then, at the most complex level, man and woman.14Chapter Two explains that God created Adam and Eve with the intention that they would mature in the Garden of Eden until they were ready to be joined together in a God-centred marriage, when they would have children who would eventually populate a world with the fundamental unit of a God-centred family. However, the Archangel Lucifer (represented in the Book of Genesis as the serpent), whom God had entrusted to act as a guardian to Adam and Eve, became jealous of God’s love for Adam, and seduced Eve on the spiritual plane, and Eve subsequently seduced Adam physically before they were ready for God’s Bless- ing in marriage. The Fall was thus not literally eating a fruit, but tasting and gaining knowledge of the forbidden fruit of sexual intercourse; in other words, it entailed the misuse of love, the most powerful of all forces. As a consequence, the resulting children inherited a fallen nature (original sin) and were born into families that were Lucifer-centred, rather than God-centred.

In other chapters, the whole of history is interpreted as attempts by God with the help of certain key persons to restore the original ideal of a Kingdom of Heaven on earth. But although God’s resolve to restore His Kingdom on earth is 100 per cent, He can accomplish only 95 per cent, and it is up to men and women to put in 100 per cent effort to accomplish the 5 per cent that is their responsibility. “Therefore, if the person fails to accomplish his own portion of responsibility, he cannot become the person God predestined.” (Moon 1973: 198)

Jesus was to have played a crucial role as the Second Adam, but his mission failed as he was killed before he was able to marry the new Eve and establish a God-centred family. Subsequently, a number of parallels are drawn between the time of the original Fall to Jesus’ death and then from the time of Jesus’ death up to the twentieth century, reaching ‘the Conclusion’ that a new Second Adam or Messiah would be born in Korea sometime between 1917 and 1930.

Although Divine Principle undoubtedly contains most of the basic premises of Unification thought, Moon continued throughout his life to offer up further revelations, much of which centred on the role that he and his family played in laying special foundations for the restoration of God’s Kingdom and overcoming

13 According to Kim (1978: 11-12), sometime in 1946, Moon met Kim Paek-mun, the founder of a community known as Israel Sudo-wŏn (The Israel Monastery). The two men appear to have spent six months together, and Moon’s book, the Divine Principle, is said to be based on Kim’sTheology of the Holy Spirit [which, in turn] is viewed as a summation of the theology of Yi [Yong-do] and Hwang [Guk-ju] which was established by them in 1932.

14 In some ways, these complementary units resemble the Taoist Yin Yang. 22

the power of Satan (Lucifer).15 The most important foundation for Moon’s vic- tory over Satan was his second marriage in 1960 to Hak Ja Han (1943-). Reverend and Mrs Moon were now able to fulfil their role as ‘True Parents’ and their children to be ‘True Children’.16

Unificationism as a Spiritual Movement

Although in many ways Divine Principle and Moon’s pronouncements were con- cerned with claims about the historical and contemporary world, it would be a mis- take not to recognise that Unificationism has a profoundly spiritual dimension. This has been interpreted as owing much of its origin to Korean shamanism, particularly so far as ritual sexual practices are concerned (Nevalainen 2005; Yu and Guisso 1988).17 The spiritual interpretation of dreams is a practice that has been common with Moon and many of his more ‘spiritual’ followers.18 Others have seen Unifica- tionism as incorporating more Western spiritualist features, Moon’s early association with the spiritualist Arthur Ford (1969) being but one well-publicised example. Although not central to the movement, spiritual healing has been reported on numer- ous occasions and several members are believed to have special healing powers.

Unificationism has a fundamental belief in the spirit world and the signifi- cance of the relationship between its inhabitants and those who are living in this world. To quote Dr Young Oon Kim, one of Moon’s closest early disciples who was greatly influenced by the works of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), and who was responsible for establishing one of the first Unification centres in the USA (Lofland 1997; Mickler 1980b):

… the existence of [the] spiritual dimension can be shown from parapsychological evidence, which seems to indicate a regular interaction between the physical and extrasensory worlds.

… as man cannot realize his full potentialities without uniting with God, the visible world cannot actualize its true value unless it forms a positive continuing relationship with the spirit world. Unification theology

… makes faith in human immortality an essential feature of its doctrine of cre- ation. We do not simply continue to exist after death. From the beginning and

15 On 8 July 2010, Moon proclaimed:

True Parents have already prepared the last words I will give to humankind. … I am leaving behind eight textbooks and teaching materials for humankind to use for all eternity. These are published in almost a thousand volumes.

16 In the early days in the West, Moon was referred to as ‘Master’. Later, however, he was called Father or True Father; God was referred to as Heavenly Father. Members called each other brother or sister.

17 There are numerous allegations of Moon having performed ritual sexual practices that were practiced in several messianic groups in Korea between the 1940s and ’60s, especially one referred to as pikareun (pigarum) in which women were believed to have their wombs purified through sexual intercourse with the Messiah (Nevalainen 2005).

18 During the time I spent doing research at Camp K, a Unification workshop in California, before breakfast each morning we were asked to recount our dreams and these were interpreted for us to explain what, we were told, was their true significance.


throughout our lives, we live in both worlds. Even when we are not aware of the fact, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Although they are discarnate spirits, they exist all around us, influencing and guiding our everyday affairs.

… our material world requires a spiritual counterpart. As we have a mind as well as a body, there must exist an objective spiritual world paralleling the physical environment.

… even though the spirit world has its unique character, there is a fundamental resemblance between the life we live here and our experience hereafter. (Kim 1987: 81-84; drawn from section on Living in Two Worlds)

The centrality of the spirit world was well illustrated when one of Moon’s sons, Heung Jin (1966-1984), was killed in a road accident (Moon 2010: 200). Moon is reported as having proclaimed that Heung Jin’s sacrifice had prevented a great calamity happening to either the Korean nation or to Moon himself (Bev- erley 2004: 47). It was, furthermore, announced that Heung was doing important work in the spirit world, including teaching Jesus (ibid.). A few weeks after Heung Jin’s passing into the spirit world, Moon married him to (Julia) Hoon Sook Pak (the daughter of Colonel Bo Hi Pak, one of Moon’s closest lieuten- ants), who is a highly accomplished dancer and is now the Director of the Uni- versal Ballet of Korea (Moon 2010: 201).

While Moon was undoubtedly considered the most significant person commu- nicating with the spirit world, there have been many others who have attested to receiving messages and who were taken seriously by the members. Some of these were in a relatively ‘ordinary’ position in the movement, but others have held key roles. One such was Mrs Hyo-Nam Kim (Moon gave her the name Hoon Mo Nim)19 who was believed to channel messages from Mrs Moon’s mother, Soon Ae Hong (Moon named her Dae Mo Nim), in the spirit world after she had died in 1989.20 Furthermore, from the mid-1990s it was common for members to attend rituals in which Hoon Mo Nim would expel evil spirits, which would later be replaced by good spirits.21

Another person who had previously been highly influential for a while was a young church member from Zimbabwe, named Cleophas Kundioni, who, in 1988, claimed to be the embodiment of Heung Jin. Initially, Moon endorsed these claims and Cleophas came to be known as Black Heung Jin or Second Heung Jin. After some time, however, Cleophas was imposing harsh punish- ments on members who were expected to confess their sins to him; one of his more severe beatings resulted in Colonel Pak being hospitalised.22 Eventually,

  1. 19  In Korean, Nim is an honorific title, Dae means great, and Mo means mother.
  2. 20  Amongst Hoon Mo Nim’s many channellings was a long message from Heung Jin about his

accomplishments in the Spiritual World.

21 Hoon Mo Nim was, however, removed from her position by Mrs Moon in 2015. now-hyo-jin-moon.

22 Dan Fefferman “Black Heung Jin Nim” August 15, 2000.; http:// 24

Cleophas’ violence and womanizing resulted in Moon’s announcing that Heung Jin’s spirit had returned to the spirit world. Cleophas returned to Africa, where, it is said, he established a breakaway movement with himself as the Messiah (Hong 1998: 153).

Importantly, after death everyone goes to the spirit world where they will be reunited with their spouse if she or he has died first,23 and with their ancestors, who may need ‘liberating’ (see below). Not all spiritual personalities are impor- tant, but members have frequently claimed to be aware of their presence — there are the good spirits who have been observed as a kind of aura protecting the Blessed children, and there are the evil spirits who attack miscreant members — or sociologists: ‘Satan invades’ I have been warned on several occasions during my studies.24

Unificationism and Religious Rituals and Practices

Compared to many other religions, Unificationism initially had relatively few rituals, but it does have some, and these have grown considerably in number over the years and are seen as making a fundamental contribution to the restoration of God’s Kingdom on earth (Kwak 1980; Kim 1985).

Possibly the most significant ritual is the Holy Wine Ceremony, which takes place as “an indemnity condition by which human beings who were born from Satan’s world are re-born by True Parents.”25 This is the time when the couple, who had inherited fallen nature because of the original fall, undergo a change in their blood lineage.26 The Holy Wine Ceremony takes place after the ‘matching’ when a couple becomes engaged. Originally, those who were deemed qualified to partake in the Blessing would gather in a large room, men on one side and women on the other. Moon would then select a man and a woman, who would step outside the room to decide whether to accept Moon’s proposal (most, though not all, did). Later, rather than a matching ceremony, the task of selection was

23 Although marriage is for life in both this and the spirit world, Unificationists can have a ‘comfort wife or husband’ on this earth to meet their physical needs until they rejoin the partner with whom they were originally Blessed.

24 A post on a site that consists of postings by former and disillusioned members alleges that reports of sales by the Unification Church in Japan of a special shampoo to deal with evil spirits in your hair is not a spoof. unification-church-shampoo-for-evil-spirits-this

Elsewhere on the same site, one can read about the sale of houses in the spirit world: Cost in Japan 1.600.000 yen. [$14,500]
You must buy the house quickly, because all the houses near to God are getting sold. If you wait you will be far from God.

Even if you are not yet blessed, you can buy quickly.
40 days after you buy the house, construction starts on the real house in the spirit world.



left to some of the senior leaders, the couple’s parents, or, more recently, even the participants themselves.27 Whilst the matchings and the Holy Wine Cere- mony were private occasions, restricted to Unification participants, the marriages themselves, or, as they are known, the Blessings are semi-public affairs, when hundreds or even thousands of couples line up and would have had Holy Water sprinkled on them by him and Mrs Moon.28 These have been recognised as spectacular occasions by the media, with pictures of the amassed couples being shown throughout the world.29

A further ritual related to a first-generation couple’s marriage is the Three-day Ceremony, during which the marriage is consummated. This ensures that “the children born from this couple will not have Original Sin. They will be born pure and sinless like Adam and Eve as second generation.”30 Involved in the cere- mony are various items considered to be of spiritual significance: Holy Hand- kerchiefs for ritual purification; Holy Salt; Holy Robes; Holy Song Book and a Holy Candle.31 Also incorporated in the ceremony is a further Unification ritual: the reciting of the Family Pledge.32 Then, once a child is born, “Blessed couples should hold the child dedication ceremony on the morning (7:00 a.m. is the recommended time) of the eighth day after birth” (Kwak 1980: 169).

Holy Salt plays a central role in the lives of members. Made according to precise instructions, it is used for purification purposes, and it is usual to find containers of Holy Salt in such places as the kitchen and bathroom of Unification homes and centres. “The value and significance of the Holy Salt is to eradicate or annihilate or exterminate what is satanic, and if you use Holy Salt you are always sanctified” (Kwak 1980: 47). Holy Salt has also played an important ritual role in the establishment of Holy Grounds in well over a hundred selected places around the world. These are seen as a way of regaining land for God. (Kwak 1980: 59-70; Salonen 1982).

Mention might also be made of the special Holy Days that have been cele- brated by Unificationists. These include True God’s Day;33 True Parents’ Day;

27 Details of members available for Blessing can now be uploaded by potential matchmakers and partners on the internet.

28 The Blessing ceremonies are not legally binding and couples have to attend a registry office, or its equivalent, for a civil ceremony in order to become legally married.

29 See, for example, 031561270-1.jpg; 031561270-1.jpg; w39YRKg1qz4rgp.png; 929_964x615.jpg;

31 Ibid.
32 Kwak 1980: 21-38. Several different versions of the Pledge exist. Members have been

expected to rise to perform the Pledge ritual at 5am on Sunday (the first day of the week) and the first day of the month, and the year. See also chapter XX in this volume by Mark Bramwell dis- cussing the significance of the Family Pledge.

33 In 2013, Mrs Moon announced that True God’s Day would be known as True Heavenly Parent’s Day.


True Children’s Day; the Day of All True Things. Unification calendars mark these and special events and achievements of the movement as well as the anni- versaries of Blessings and the birth (and death) of members of the True Family.34

Unificationism as a Charismatic Movement

The term ‘charismatic’ has many meanings and is often used loosely to refer to a pop singer or some television celebrity. In the context of this chapter, the concept is employed in the way it was defined by the German sociologist, Max Weber, as:

a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not acces- sible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader. (Weber 1947: 358-9)

Weber’s interest was in distinguishing between different kinds of legitimate authority. His three ‘ideal types’35 are charismatic, traditional and legal-rational authority (Weber 1947: 328). Traditional authority relies on an acceptance that this is the way things have always been done, and a leader is both enabled and constrained by what is perceived to be historical precedence. Unificationism, as a new religion had no direct history; however, Moon certainly drew on Confu- cianism and traditional Korean culture including its shamanic practices, and with the passage of time he also sanctioned a considerable number of beliefs and practices as being part of the ‘Unification Tradition’ (Kwak 1980; Kim 1985).

Legal-rational authority is based on a system of rules that are in accordance with known principles by those who are occupying recognised roles that give them authority in particular matters; it is the kind of authority to be found in bureaucratic organisations. It is certainly the case that, as it grew, there devel- oped within Unificationism a hierarchical authoritarian structure in which mem- bers were expected to defer to their immediate leader (or Abel figure) about certain matters,36 and their Abel figure was expected to defer to his or her Abel figure — and so on, up a more or less clear structure, with Moon at the apex.37

However, there can be no doubt that the authority which Moon wielded within the Unification movement was predominantly charismatic. As a charismatic figure


35 Weber uses the analytical tool of the ‘ideal type’ not to suggest that the type is ideal in any evaluative way, but ideal in the sense that it is defined in a clear manner so that it can be used for comparative purposes, even though such a pure ideal is unlikely to exist in reality.

  1. 36;
  2. 37  For a Unificationist’s discussion about the potential tension between obedience and conscience,

see Dan Fefferman “Before Absolute Faith and Obedience: A Case for the Primacy of Conscience.”


his authority was not restricted by either rules or tradition; furthermore, his author- ity could extend over more of his followers’ lives than would that of, say, a Pope or Archbishop of Canterbury: he could direct where they lived; how they lived; what work they did; whom they married; when and how they would consummate their marriage; what they wore on special occasions; that the men were clean- shaven; and so on… and any of this could be changed without a moment’s notice. Of course, in practice, not all these decisions were inevitably made by Moon or, via his authority, by the members’ immediate leaders. Members could and might even be encouraged to ‘do their own thing’ and, with the passage of time, the tight con- trol over individuals’ lives loosened considerably. The fact remains, however, that, at least at the beginning, members believed that Moon had the right to tell them what to do because of his special relationship with God and his role as the Messiah.

As Bryan Wilson (1973: 499) has argued, “Charisma as a term expresses less a quality of person than of relationship.” In other words, the followers have to agree to grant a charismatic leader authority over them; they have to accept that he has a special quality. And there have been plenty of instances in which a Unificationist has become disillusioned and left.38 At the same time, it has been possible to observe a process within the movement that has led to the creation and maintenance of Moon being perceived as a charismatic leader, a process that I have termed ‘charismatisation’ (Barker 1993). This has manifested itself in a number of different ways, such as the circulation of mythical stories about Moon’s early life;39 his sacrificial nature and caring for others; how deeply he felt God’s and the world’s suffering; and how ‘human’ he was (presumably most of us being human, it is only necessary to point this out if the person concerned might be assumed to be other (more) than human). Members who had never actually seen Moon (apart from through the ubiquitous photographs that were to be found in every home) can believe not only that they knew him personally, but that he knew them personally. Others, who had attended a talk that Moon has given, would recount how he had looked straight at them, and they had had an immediate awareness that he knew exactly who they were and what they were feeling. But above all, Moon’s followers believed that he was the Messiah, cho- sen by God to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and they had to play their role by doing whatever he needed of them.

Unificationism as a Messianic Movement

Although Divine Principle does not explicitly state that Moon is the Messiah, and although, in the presence of non-members, members were unlikely to claim

38 There are, of course, many reasons why people have left the Unification movement, only one of which is that they no longer accept that Moon should be granted a charismatic authority over their lives (Bromley 1988; Wright 1987)

39 Mythical does not imply untrue in this context, but something that conveys a special, deeper meaning than the most obvious one.


that he was before 1992, there can be little doubt that from the earliest days they have believed that he was indeed the Lord of the Second Advent whom God had chosen to restore His Kingdom on earth. When, in 1979, at the end of a 41-page questionnaire, I asked 425 Unificationists the (admittedly loaded) question “At what point did you first accept that Father is the Messiah?” less than one per cent (three people) said they were still not certain. A few (4 per cent) did not answer the question, but no one adopted the option that they did not believe Moon was the Messiah. (Barker 1984: 83)

By 1992, however, Moon was revealing more information about the Messiahship, now conceived as a mission for True Parents (Mickler 2000: 379). Then, in a speech given at a banquet in Seoul on 24 August 1992, before over a thousand selected participants from various conferences that had been taking place, Moon declared:

In early July, I spoke in…cities around Korea at rallies held by the Women’s Federation for World Peace. There I declared my wife, WFWP President Hak Ja Han Moon, and I are the True Parents of all humanity. I declared that we are the Savior, the Lord of the Second Advent, the Messiah. (op cit: 383)

Later, on the 23rd of March 2004, a ‘Peace Awards Banquet’ was held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington. Members of Congress were among the guests. Following an introduction by Congressman Danny Davis (D. Illinois), Rev. and Mrs. Moon proceeded to the front stage area, flanked by escorts from various religious traditions underneath a large portrait of the U.S. Capitol. Archbishop George Augustus Stallings and Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R. Maryland) carried in the royal robes and, after a polite bow, offered them to Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Rev. Jesse Edwards and Congressman Davis entered with crowns and, likewise, after bows, offered them to Rev. and Mrs. Moon who were fitted by their son Hyun Jin and his wife, Jun Sook. (Mick- ler 2016). Then, it is reported that:

Mr. Moon said emperors, kings and presidents had “declared to all heaven and earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s savior, mes- siah, returning lord and true parent.”

He added that the founders of the world’s great religions, along with figures like Marx, Lenin, Hitler and Stalin, had “found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons.”40

Unificationism as a Millenarian Movement

Unificationism is not a millenarian (or millennial) movement in the sense that there is an expectation of Jesus (or Moon) ruling for a thousand-year period as

40 tion-church-dies-at-92.html


foretold in the Book of Revelation. It is, however, in the sense that a dramatic and fundamental change in society will be brought about with the advent of a Messiah and the Restoration of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Periods of time have always played an important role in Unification beliefs, and Moon has con- tinually talked about particular foundations for the restoration having been laid and victories over Satan having been won. In the early years there was an expec- tation that the year 1967 would see a dramatic change. This date means nothing to most Unificationists nowadays; however, when talking to a couple of long- time members, I have been told there was considerable anticipation at the time and that several members left disappointed when nothing obvious happened.41When I asked Dr Young Oon Kim what had happened about her expectations for 1967, she smiled and said “I must have misunderstood Father.”

Nonetheless, the urgency associated with millenarian movements has been evident throughout most of Unification history. Not only has Moon periodically announced another foundation had been achieved, there has always been a goal towards which the members were to work. Recently I talked to a member who had been in a mid-level leadership position in the movement since I had first met her in the early 1970s. She had recently left and when I asked her why, she replied that she had, for years, been considering leaving but then, each time a date for the completion of a crucial foundation for the restoration of God’s King- dom had been announced, she had thought she would hold on until it arrived. After the most recent foundation had been laid, however, and Moon had announced that a further seven years would result in the turning point, she had decided that she had waited long enough. It is, incidentally, noteworthy that all three leaders of the main schismatic movements (see below) are renewing expec- tations of imminent achievements.

Unificationism as a Utopian Movement

It could be argued that there has been a gradual shift from Unificationism being less of a millenarian movement to its being more of a utopian one. Unlike members of some other religions with a strongly millenarian belief who have envisaged a future where they mingled with angels and played with lions, when Unificationists were asked in the late 1970s what they thought the world would look like in the year 2000, most of the answers were of a this-worldly rather than a supernatural nature — rather abstract generalizations: everyone would love each other, there would be trust between people and cultures, children would be happy, crime, and in particular pornography, would be completely eradicated.

41 Moon did, however, offer an explanation of why 1967 had been a special date. On God’s Day (1 January) 1968, Moon announced that Hak Ja Han had successfully completed her 7-year course and could now stand in the position of True Mother. So for the first time, there were “True Par- ents”. 1967 was significant because it had marked the end of the first seven-year period of the True Parents’ marriage.


On being pressed, a few gave some more practical details—we would no longer need passports; everyone would study the Divine Principle at school. It was also envisaged that there would be world peace and the unification of Korea and of all religions.42

The most important change for the future has always been that there would be a world made up of ideal, God-centred families who were no longer encumbered by original sin. However, while the first Blessed children were seen as very special and different from all other children when they initially arrived, it was not long before it was realised that, even if their blood lineage had been changed as a result of the Holy Wine ceremony, the children had not been born perfect. The dashed expectations were particularly challenging in the case of the True Children who did not appear to behave in the way that children should behave in an Ideal Family (Barker 1983; Hong 1998). I found myself being offered a more nuanced interpretation of Divine Principle as the members realised that they had not really understood the limitations involved in the Holy Wine Cere- mony — it was not going to be that easy. Each individual was responsible for his or her 5 per cent. And, as Moon reminded the membership in 1996: on the family level God likes True Father and True Mother the most. But when it comes to the level of true children, they still have to go through the growth period just as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They still have the freedom to choose. God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit. Because Father and Mother brought true children to America early in their lives, they actually received a lot of damage because of this American culture. Had Father kept them in Korea this would not have happened.43

Engaging with Society

It is very rare, indeed almost impossible, for any minority religion not to be engaged with society. Those that reject the world most forcefully are still likely to depend on the wider society for defence, economic exchange and new mem- bers. Even if, perhaps especially if, they cut themselves off geographically and socially and become self-sufficient so far as food and shelter are concerned and rely on their own children for a continuing membership, the wider society is likely to interfere with them.44

42 Conversely, my control group (which consisted of young adults who were not Unificationists but whom I asked many of the questions I asked the Unificationists for comparative purposes) frequently said that they didn’t think there would be a year 2000 (Barker 1984: 223).

43 “Reverend Sun Myung Moon Speaks on My life’s Fate and Destiny,” May 26, 1996. http:// See also the 2013 statement by Hyun Jin (Preston) Moon at:

44 Jim Jones’ People’s Temple in the Guyana jungle is but one example of a religion that tried to ‘get away from it all’ with tragic consequences (Hall 1996; Krause 1998; Moore 2003; Wessinger 2000).


As already intimated, Unificationism in general and the Reverend Moon in particular have been viewed with suspicion since the early beginnings by state authorities, relatives of converts, the media, anti-cult movements and the public at large. Whether it wanted to or not, Unificationism had to contend with society. But, despite the fact that Roy Wallis categorised it as a ‘world-rejecting move- ment’,45 the Unification Church has, from the start, taken an initiative in engag- ing with society. At grass-roots level, representatives of the movement were sent as missionaries throughout the world, sometimes in teams as, for example, part of the One World Crusade, “the engine of the Unification Church’s evangelistic activities from 1972 through 1974” (Mickler 2000: 79),46 and, later, as individ- uals or families to establish local centres, when they were instructed to visit 360 households, offering practical services such as mowing the lawn, doing shopping or cleaning windows. Moon himself was certainly a highly visible figure, touring around the United States and elsewhere, speaking at large Rallies and meeting persons of note in a wide range of professions. And while such contacts were undoubtedly intended to spread Unificationist religious beliefs and values and build a broader concurrence based on what were considered to be universal prin- ciples and values, the political angle was rarely far from the surface.

Unificationism as a Political Movement

From an early age, Moon lived in a situation of political unrest. With the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910, Japan had taken control of Korea until it was defeated at the end of the Second World War, when Soviet forces took control to the north of the 38th parallel and the American forces took control to the south. In August 1945, South Korea became independent, and in November of that year North Korea too became an independent state. Five years later, the North invaded South Korea but was driven back by United Nations forces from the United States and elsewhere. China then entered the war and an uneasy mil- itary stalemate was eventually established and exists to this day.47

Moon had been born in what is now North Korea, before and during the Korean War he had been interned in the Hungnam prison camp between1948 and 1950, but once the camp was liberated by the Allies, he managed to make his way to the South, and, for the rest of his life, one of his major concerns was the unification of Korea; and to achieve this the Heavenly side of democracy

45 “The world-rejecting movement expects that the millennium will shortly commence or that the movement will sweep the world, and, when all have become members or when they are in a majority, or when they have become guides and counsellors to kings and presidents, then a new world-order will begin, a simpler, more loving, more humane and more spiritual order in which the old evils and mistakes will be eradicated, and Utopia will have begun.” (Wallis 1984: 9)

46 “One World Crusade, Inc. (OWC) was 40Years/40-2-07.htm

47 August 2017. 32

had to overcome the satanic side of communism throughout the world by means of a Third World War.

The victory of the Heavenly side in these three World Wars will finally enable the realization of the ideal world originally designed at the creation, which God has tried to fulfil through the long, long period of history since the fall of man, by completely restoring through indemnity all the foundations for the providence of restoration. (Moon 1973: 496)

While Moon made it clear that the Third World War was inevitable, he did explain that there were two ways for the War to be fought. First, the satanic side could be subjugated by weapons, but such external subjugation would have to be followed by inward subjugation. The second way would be

… to subjugate and unify the Satanic world directly by a wholly internal fight through ideology without any external fight by weapons

… which kind of world would actualize one world would be decided according to the success or failure of man’s carrying out his own [five per cent] portion of responsibility.” (op. cit. 491)

It is not surprising therefore, that fighting communism played a central role in Moon’s political forays throughout his lifetime.48 In 1968, the International Feder- ation for the Victory Over Communism was established in Korea, the American arm of which was founded in 1969 as the Freedom Leadership Foundation (FLF). This adopted a hawkish position on the Vietnam War (Wood 1979; 2001) and was particularly active throughout the 1970s and ’80s, especially, but by no means only, in Washington DC where it cultivated a wide range of politicians and organ- isations eager to take advantage of enthusiastic Unificationists offering their help and funding for several anti-communist ventures. It also established a newspaper, the Rising Tide, which challenged communism and its activities.49 One well-pub- licised FLF-led project was the public support given to Nixon at the time of the Watergate affair. Another prominent organisation, which Moon established in 1980, was CAUSA (1980), the primary work of which was to teach ‘Godism’, a God-centred world view (CAUSA 1985). CAUSA was particularly active in Latin America, where it not only gave seminars on Godism, but also supported right- wing factions that were fighting to overcome communism.

Space does not permit coverage of the multiple ‘Victory Over Communism’ organisations, seminars, rallies, publications and lobbying in which Unificationism has invested time and money, but mention should be made of the well-publicised meetings that Moon had with heads — and, even more frequently, previous heads — of dozens of states and other people of influence around the world. Amongst the more notable of these, were exchanges with such right-wing personages as Richard Nixon; ex-Presidents Gerald Ford and George Bush Sr.; Canadian ex-premier Brian

48 The unification of Korea continues as an important goal for Moon’s eldest living son, Hyun Jin Preston Moon, who heads one of the current Unification factions (Moon 2016). See chapters by Introvigne in this volume.



Mulroney; former British Prime Minister Edward Heath; US Senators Strom Thur- mond, Jesse Helms, William Fulbright, and Orrin Hatch; Ronald Reagan’s defence secretary Caspar Weinberger; the former NATO chief general Alexander Haig; former US Education Secretary William Bennett; Christian Coalition ex-chief Ralph Reed; and the Moral Majority leader, the Reverend Jerry Falwell.50 Even more remarkable, however, was the fact that Unificationists managed to arrange a meeting with the USSR’s President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 and then with North Korea’s President Kim Il Sung in 1991.

Unificationism was by no means always accepted in its promotion of political activities. In the late 1970s, the movement as a whole came under the scrutiny of the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the United States House of Representatives Committee on International Relations. Chaired by Representative Donald M. Fraser of Minnesota, the Committee was interested in investigating Unificationist connections with the Korean CIA, especially the use that was being made of the Little Angels children’s dance troupe founded by Moon, in acting as a propaganda tool for the Republic of Korea (Fraser 1978: 43ff). Colonel Bo Hi Pak robustly denied the charges (Pak 1999a; 199b),51 and the Committee was unable to come up with any conclusive proof of ‘Un-American activities’ — and incapable of deterring the movement from continuing its political pursuits.

Although Moon’s initial stance was predominantly, though not entirely, directed towards the political right in its fight against communism, one promi- nent American Unificationist has observed that by the late 1980s “a shift away from the Right could be discerned. The term Victory Over Communism was now used only rarely, and in 1987 Father coined the term “head-wing thought” to describe his own ideology.” (Fefferman 2017)

The collapse of the Soviet Union was seen by many Unificationists as a vic- tory for the movement, but there continued to be the need for the unification of Korea and political activities continued in various ways. Unificationists and the Unification-funded Washington Times had campaigned for Ronald Reagan’s election as President and subsequently they supported his administration; they advocated intermediate-range missiles in Europe and the Strategic Defence Ini- tiative,52 and they championed the violent revolt of the Nicaraguan Contras (Mickler 2003). In 1981 Moon announced a plan to build an International Peace Highway that would eventually remove national boundaries and bring humanity together.53

In 2003 it was announced at a Unification Rally in Seoul that a new Family Party for Universal Peace and Unity had been formed. The Party’s President,


51 Public interpretations of the incident ranged from sympathetic (Sherwood 1991: Ch. XIV) to accusatory (Anderson 1986: 66-68; Boettcher 1980: 320-321).

52 Popularly referred to as ‘Star Wars’, Nixon’s SDI involved the militarisation of space.

53 grand-vision-of-peace-connecting-the-world-across-the-bering-strait-the-korea-japan-tunnel-and- the-international-highway-project&catid=36:peace-and-development&Itemid=58


Chung Hwan Kwak,54 announced that the Party would not be running candidates in the South Korean elections the following year, but would instead focus on publicizing itself and its goals, and that chief among these would be promoting the reunification of Korea.55 Moon’s son, Hyun Jin, who is also Kwak’s son-in- law, published a book in 1916 sub-titled A Vision for a United Korea.

It is impossible to list all the subsidiary organisations, but their scope is impressive, some being directly and obviously connected with Moon’s political ambitions, others less obviously, but none the less indirectly so. To mention but a few, they include: Ambassadors for Peace; the American Freedom Coalition; the Association for the Unity of Latin America; the Chinese Evangelical Asso- ciation; the International Cultural Foundation; the International Family Associ- ation; the New Ecumenical Research Association (New ERA); News World Communications; the Religious Youth Service; Service for Peace; the Universal Peace Federation; the Women’s Federation for World Peace; the World Research Institute for Science and Technology; and the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace.56 CARP (the Collegiate Association for the Research of Princi- ples), a student organisation that played a significant outreach role, was founded in Korea as early as 1955; it then expanded to Japan in 1964, and in 1973 spread throughout America then Europe, becoming a familiar feature on campuses as a means of recruitment to the movement throughout the world.57

Finally, a whole series of conferences were organised by the movement to which leading experts in, for example, the fields of science,58 theology,59 the media, academia, sport and politics were invited to exchange ideas in luxury hotels, all expenses paid. (Barker 1979; Horowitz 1978)

Unificationism as a Cultural Movement60

The Little Angels, mentioned in the previous section, is but one of the many cultural activities associated with Unificationism. It was founded as early as

54 Reverend Kwak was one of Moon’s closest aides, but became estranged from Moon shortly before the latter’s death and is currently closely allied with Preston Moon, who is married to one of Kwak’s daughters. See chapter by Introvigne in this volume.

55 forms-new-political-party-to-merge

56 For an impressively long list of Unification associated organisations, see
58 The International Conference on the Unity of Sciences (ICUS) met annually from 1973. It

was through being invited to the London ICUS in 1974 that I first met the Unification Church. (Barker 1984: 12)

59 These were known as the God Conferences and the participants included a wide range of theologians and religious studies professors. Several influential black pastors played a prominent role at these meetings.

60 There is a sense in which the Unification movement, at least around the 1970s, could be seen as a counter-cultural movement. It was one of the most prominent movements that were offering a disillusioned middle-class youth an answer to the problems of the world. Indeed, one of the


1962. Mention has already been made of the Universal Ballet, which had Julia Moon first as its prima ballerina and later as its Director. The Kirov Academy of Ballet (formerly the Universal Ballet Academy) is a ballet school founded by Moon in Washington, D.C. in 1989.

In 1972 the Unificationist International Cultural Foundation acquired the New York City Symphony Orchestra. But Moon’s interest in music was not confined to the classics. It is said that he “went out one day and bought sixty-one brand new instruments to create the core of four new brass bands”.61 The Go World Brass Band drew audiences throughout the world, with Unificationists special- ising in enthusiastic jazz performances. Other musical ventures included The New Hope Singers which had approximately 50 members in the 1970s. Mention might also be made of the Holy Songs that Unificationists, including Moon himself, have composed and frequently sung on both internal and public occa- sions (Holy Spirit Association 1972).62

There have been a number of accomplished artists who are or have been members of the Unification Church. One of these painted a series of murals depicting episodes in Moon’s life around the gallery of the New Yorker foyer. Another is Jan Parker, who now lives in Hawaii but whose work I greatly admired when he lived in London in the 1970s.63 In 2014 the Unification Church Artists’ Association boasted 472 members.64 Another area into which Unifica- tionists have ventured has been the film industry, most notably when it producedInchon, starring Sir Laurence Olivier as General McArthur leading the amphib- ious landing of the Americans in 1950.65

Unificationism has also been heavily involved with various sporting ventures, including football, the martial arts and skiing. Of particular interest to the Moon family were equestrian events, with Preston Moon competing in the Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 Olympics as part of the South Korean team. So far as Moon himself was concerned, fishing was a favourite sport that developed into one of the many Unification business enterprises.

Unificationism as a Business Enterprise

Although Unificationism began from modest beginnings, it was able to grow and prosper with hundreds of ventures bringing in billions of dollars, possibly tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars over the years. In the West, much of

frequently employed questions that Unification missionaries would ask potential recruits was whether they had any answers to the mess the world was in; then, when they received a negative answer, they would suggest that they did have an answer, so why not come along to dinner and learn about it?



the early income came from personal donations and fundraising by members, frequently selling (or asking for donations for) candles, flowers, literature and other items on the streets and in other public places — sometimes for sixteen or more hours a day. Joining a Mobile Fundraising Team (MFT) would become a way of life, possibly for ten or more years, during the 1970s and ’80s, and it was not unusual for an individual to average nearly $1,000 a week in the US (Mick- ler 1980a: 225).

However, the bulk of Unification wealth has always been generated in Asia, both in Korea and, most importantly, in Japan. According to a 1997 report in theWashington Post, a detailed analysis by the Far Eastern Economic Review in 1990 valued the church’s landholdings in South Korea alone at more than $1 billion. A single property on Seoul’s Yoido [sic] Island was said to be worth $250 million… [However] It is Japan, not Korea, that provides the bulk of the church’s wealth —- as much as 70 percent, church observers estimate.

A former high-ranking Japanese church member told The Post in 1984 that $800 million had come from Japan into the United States in the previous nine years [1975-1984].

Japanese church members have long turned profits selling ginseng products and religious items such as miniature stone pagodas —- products imported from Moon companies in Korea. (Fisher and Leen 1997a).

Another report claimed that Japanese members regularly raised $4000 per month each, and that over 100 million dollars was raised by their efforts every year, 90 per cent of which was sent to support Unification ventures elsewhere.66

Considerable amounts of Unification income have been invested in real estate. In America the movement purchases included such properties as The New Yorker Hotel, the Manhattan Center, the Belvedere Estate in Tarrytown, NY and the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, NY. It acquired a large church that had belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Washington DC and various other properties throughout not only the States, but also much of Europe and Latin America, where vast swathes of Paraguay, Uru- guay and Brazil were purchased, and where, reportedly, Moon claimed he was building “a kingdom of heaven on earth, a new Garden of Eden.”67 Real estate was also acquired in Japan and South Korea, with, perhaps most impressively of all, Cheongpyeong, a small town to the east of Seoul, housing a large complex of facilities including the Heaven and Earth Training Center,68 where various Unification events take place, including Ancestor Liberation and Ancestor Bless- ing ceremonies.69

Not altogether surprisingly, this widespread accumulation of land and prop- erties was by no means always welcomed. Back in the early ’90s, The New York


67 html?mcubz=0



Times reported that the Church had demanded a personal apology from a devel- oper named Donald Trump when it was trying to buy a property in which Trump had an interest and one of his associates had asked how local inhabitants would feel “when a thousand Moonies descend on Palm Beach every weekend?”70

One of the most lucrative businesses in which Moon and later his son, Kook Jin (Justin 1970-), were engaged was the manufacture of armaments (Mickler 2013a). Although Moon advocated peaceful means of Unification and overcom- ing (satanic) atheistic communism, he appeared to have no intention of leaving it to chance. At the height of the Cold War, he warned that if “North Korea provokes a war against the South Korean people,” his followers would organize a “Unification Crusade Army” and “take part in the war as a supporting force to defend both Korea and the free world” (Mickler 2003). Unification move- ment-owned factories in Korea manufactured M-1 rifles and the Vulcan Cannon. Starting in the early 1990s, Kook Jin has been building up his own armaments empire at the centre of which is Kahr Arms.71 This is part of an inter-related set of companies that include N.Y. Saeilo, a subsidiary of Saeilo (Korea) Inc., which in turn was part of the Tongil Group in Seoul, South Korea (Jarvis 2011).72Among the many groups associated with Tongil,73 is the Ilwha Company, which has world-wide sales of various ginseng products that are said to have not only healing effects for the body, but also to have spiritual properties.74

The Unification-related International Oceanic Enterprises include Master Marine Inc., which involves ship-building and a sea-food processing plant.75 In 2006, the Chicago Times ran an article on the connection between the Unifica- tion Church and the True World Group which it referred to as a commercial powerhouse that built fleets of boats, ran dozens of distribution centres and sup- plied most of the nation’s estimated 9,000 sushi restaurants on a daily basis


71 Justin (Kook Jin) has chosen to support his brother Sean (Hyung Jin Moon), who heads the Sanctuary Church faction of Unificationism and is a forceful advocate not only of the right to bear arms, as guaranteed by the US Second Amendment, but also the desirability of all citizens owning and knowing how to use firearms as a means of self defence. See, for example, http://campaign.r20.

72 Tongil Industries Co., Ltd. was formerly known as TIC JINHEUNG CO.,LTD. and changed its name to Tongil Industries Co., Ltd. in April 2006. The company was founded in 1988 and is based in Changwon-si, South Korea. Tongil Indus- tries Co., Ltd. operates as a subsidiary of Tongil Group. stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=100714377

73 ‘Tongil’ is Korean for ‘unification’, the name of the Unification Church in Korean being ‘Tongilgyo’.

74 Sontag (1977: 143-4) recounts how during a break in his interview with Moon, ginseng tea was served and Moon talked about how honeyed ginseng invigorated him. Salonen, one of the American leaders, then told how Japanese leaders of the ginseng tea trading company had said “Under Father’s direction we need two religions. We need Divine Principle for the spirit and gin- seng tea for the body”.

75 Rome News Tribune 27 November 1985. 38

(Eng et al. 2006). Several other kinds of restaurants are run by Unificationists, one being the Tick Tack Diner on the ground floor of the New Yorker Hotel.76Among the other hundreds, or, probably thousands of Unification-related ven-

tures, are or have been the Christian Bernard jewellery chain; Pyonghwa Motors; a titanium mine; golf courses; computer firms; photography shops; candle fac- tories; travel firms; publishing houses and numerous journals and magazines (such as Insight and The World and I). The first daily newspaper the movement launched was Sekkai Nippo in Japan in1975. Two years later the News World(later renamed the New York City Tribune) appeared on the streets of New York. This was joined by a Spanish-language daily, Noticias del Mundo for the New York Hispanic community. One of the most influential dailies, though one that is reputed to have lost the movement millions of dollars, has been The Washing- ton Times, which began publication in 1982. Further publications have appeared throughout the entire American continent and the Far East, as well as the Middle East Times, a cable television network, and a news service, Free Press Interna- tional.77

However vast and extensive as Unification economic resources may be, it is worth remembering, as Bromley (1985: 270) pointed out, that they could seem dwarfed by comparison with those of some of the other more mainstream churches; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (popularly known as the Mormons) being an example in point. It is also worth noting that several Unification ventures have operated at a loss. The Washington Times would not appear to have ever been expected to make a profit; figures vary as to just how much it ran at a loss, one report claims it reached $35 million a year (Fisher and Leen 1997b). Another factor to be taken into account is that Unification busi- nesses were affected negatively with the Asian stock market collapses of 1987 and 1997, though the True Sons, Kook Jin (Justin 1970-) and Hyun Jin (Preston 1969-) are astute business men who have contributed, variously, to the recovery and growth of much of the Unification business empire.

Finally a word might be added about the distribution of Unification wealth. Despite the fact that I have frequently been told by members that it is not the case, there can be little doubt that the Moon family has benefited considerably from the riches that the movement has accumulated. Close associates of Moon, mainly the Korean inner circle, and others in positions of leadership have also benefited materially. Rank and file members, however, especially in Japan and the West who converted in the early years, frequently donated whatever assets they had and worked for long hours with little or no remuneration. As they grew old, many have found themselves without any pension or health insurance (Barker 2012). The poverty that these early converts are experiencing is likely

76 The hotel, now the Wyndham New Yorker, is no longer run by the Unification Church, although several of its offices are located there.

77 Bromley (1985) gives a detailed account of Unification financial structure in the mid-1980s. See also for a list of many of the Unification associ- ated organisations.


to be less severe for subsequent generations now that the majority of members are no longer expected to work for the movement, and those that do are now likely to receive competitive salaries with at least some insurance for the future. There are, however, many Blessed children who have left the movement and feel bitter about having to support their ageing parents.

Unificationism as an Educational Movement

Moon always recognised the value of education — several of his early disci- ples in Korea had joined from Ewha University in Seoul, where Dr Young Oon Kim (quoted above) had been a professor of religion. As mentioned in the open- ing section, converts to the Unification Church in the West were disproportion- ately from middle-class families. Some had joined during a gap year, others had dropped out of college to join the movement, but yet others had graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. In the 1970s the movement acquired a 250-acre property in Barrytown, Upstate New York that had belonged to the Christian Brothers. This was turned into the Unification Theological Seminary,78 which began offering two-year courses to graduate Unificationists in 1975, and which became accred- ited in 1996 by Middle States Commission of Higher Education. Although the UTS is Unification owned and many of its staff and faculty are Unificationists, it has a long history of inviting non-Unificationist theologians and other scholars to teach and take part in seminars and conferences, the proceedings of which have sometimes been published.79 It also produces the Journal of Unification Studies.80 For several years, many of the UTS graduates were sent by the move- ment to pursue Doctoral programmes at Ivy League universities.81 At the time of writing,82 the UTS has a three-year Master of Divinity course, has begun to grant doctorates in theology,83 and is about to launch on-line courses.84

From around the 1970s, an increasing number of Blessed children were being born. At that time, Moon expected the mothers to leave their children in order to serve as fundraisers and missionaries.85 Children were handed over to the care of minders and a number of small nursery schools were established. One such in


79 See, for example, Bryant and Foster 1980; Bryant and Hodges 1978; Quebedeaux 1982; Quebedeaux and Sawatsky 1979.


81 The True Children received their education at top American universities, some of them reach- ing doctoral level.

  1. 82  August 2017.
  2. 83  Many of the UTS courses are now taught at its annex in New York City rather than at the

Barrytown campus.


85 Not all mothers were prepared to part from their children, but many did, sometimes regretting having done so later, especially when the children were old enough to express their resentment at having been abandoned. (Barker 1983)


the UK was at Cleeve House just outside the Wiltshire village of Seend.86 Some of these nurseries and schools had trained child minders and/or teachers; others did not. When they were old enough, the children usually attended non-Unifica- tionist schools (often keeping their religious affiliation a secret). Some, however, were sent to the Little Angels School, which, beside teaching ballet, was a co- educational boarding school, later called the Sunhwa Arts High School.87 Here the Blessed children from the West were expected to become proficient in the Korean language.88

Other educational establishments associated with, if not formally connected to the Unification Church include the New Hope Academy in Maryland, USA,89the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT, which the Professors’ World Peace Academy took over and injected with Unification funds in the 1990s,90and the Sun Moon University in South Korea, which was established in 1989.91

Is Unificationism a Cult?

The term ‘cult’ has been used in a variety of different ways. Sometimes it refers to the veneration or devotion directed towards a particular figure or object; thus, a Marian cult implies devotion to the mother of Jesus. Sometimes it refers to a secular craze or vogue, such as a television series. In sociology it is used in a number of technical ways to describe a religious group that, unlike the church or the denomination, but like the sect, is in tension with society; however, unlike the sect it is not a schismatic movement but may be defined as a religious inno- vation (Stark and Bainbridge 1979). Unificationism could fit into such a defini- tion. Alternatively, the cult may be seen as ‘characteristically a loose association of persons with a private, eclectic religiosity’ (McGuire 1997: 144). Unification- ism would be less likely to be classified as a cult in this sense. But whatever definitions are used to define a cult for purposes of sociological enquiry, the concept is neutral so far as any moral evaluation is concerned.

This is not the case when the term cult is applied to a religious (or political) organisation in popular parlance. Here ‘cult’ is clearly conveying that the group is ‘a bad thing’. No religion calls itself a cult; it is a recognised term of abuse.92 There have been numerous descriptions of what is meant by a cult in this sense, but the one thing that they have in common is a negative evaluation.

86 Cleeve House was also used for Unification workshops and is currently offering accommo- dation to the public for Bed and Breakfast, wedding receptions and conferences. http://www.cleeve-


  1. 88  Non-Unificationist children could also attend.
  2. 89
  3. 90


92 Confusingly, in French, traditional religions are referred to as cultes whereas religions that are disapproved of are termed sectes.


Not infrequently the negativity is explicit in that the adjective ‘destructive’ is added. Often there is a list of characteristics, some but not all of which would be found in a cult.93 Among the many items on such lists are a charismatic leader; criminal activities; a focus on making money and recruiting new mem- bers and the use of brainwashing or mind-control techniques. As a sociologist, my preference is to consider Unificationism as a new religious movement rather than a cult, but before doing that, let me address some ‘cult issues’. I have already included a brief discussion about Moon as a charismatic leader and about Unification involvement in financial affairs, but it is worth (very briefly) considering Unificationism as a criminal movement and examining the charge of brainwashing.

Unificationism as a Criminal Movement

When speaking of a particular religion as a criminal movement, reference may be being made to the activities of the leader, the explicit directions of the lead- ership, the leadership turning a blind eye to members’ criminal actions, or mem- bers performing criminal activities expressly against the directions of the lead- ership. It is not always obvious what is the case in any particular instance; the distinction is, nonetheless, one that is worth bearing in mind.

The Unification Movement and organisations associated with it, its leadership and other members have all been involved in criminal and/or civil litigation throughout the world over the years. Moon himself has been imprisoned on a number of occasions — starting from the 1940s before the HSA-UWC was founded. His own account of these episodes has tended to differ substantially in a number of instances from that of his enemies.94 Then, in America in the 1980s, he again found himself in prison. On this occasion he was sentenced to eighteen months for tax evasion.95 Several other religious organisations filed amicus curiaebriefs on Moon’s behalf as they felt that his crime of banking Church money in his name then failing to declare it as income and pay taxes on the interest was something that pastors of other religions commonly did (Sherwood 1993: Ch.10).

93 Frequently the list includes the list that Robert J Lifton (1961: Ch. 22) used to describe, not the characteristics of a cult, but the techniques used in trying to persuade captive prisoners of war to accept Chinese propaganda. For examples of ways in which cults have been typified, see: http://; tive-cults.html;; http://www.caic.;

94 Compare, for example, Moon (2010: 89ff); and; http://howwelldoyouknowyour-;

95 718 F.2d 1210 (1983): United States of America, Appellee, v. Sun Myung Moon and Takeru Kamiyama, Defendants-Appellants. Nos. 755, 765, 766 and 1153, Dockets 82-1275, 82-1279, 82-1277, 82-1357 and 82-1387. United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Argued March 23, 1983. Decided September 13, 1983. 1210_(1983)


Accusations and rumours have long circulated about the criminal activities of the movement and its members. The alleged crimes have ranged from street selling without a peddler’s licence through zoning violations to burglary and murder.96Charges of tax evasion have been brought against the movement in a number of countries (Hong 1998: Sontag 1977).97 When a Unificationist was convicted for poaching protected baby sharks, he is said to have implicated Moon in the illegal activity.98 Several members and former members have talked about smuggling money across national borders (Hong 1998: 173); I have been told by a former Unificationist that she was instructed to sew money into her petticoat; another said he had carried a suitcase packed with notes through customs. I have heard directly and indirectly of Unificationists entering into marriages that they had no intention of honouring in order to acquire visas for other Unificationists. In August 2006 it was widely reported that around 700 Unificationists had broken into the office of a newspaper company, destroyed the computers and other objects as well as vio- lently attacking a photographer and a reporter.99 It has been alleged by several former Unificationists, and by his son, that the movement was responsible for the death of Professor Tahk (Tark) Myeong Hwan, a Korean scholar who was report- edly attacked on a number of occasions for refusing to stop publishing material exposing Moon and his Church.100

Among the more consequential activities leading to criminal charges and large fines have been the Japanese members’ spiritual sales. To quote one of the attor- neys most involved in such cases:

… several judgments determined that the Unification Church is liable to pay com- pensation for injuries incurred as a result of its solicitation practices. The courts ruled that this act of soliciting millions of yen in the form of donations by taking prospective donors to its solicitation facilities, known as video centers, and per- suading them that they are sinful for possessing their personal estate, amounts to unlawful activity. Given these precedents, how would the courts rule in the case of a person who became a believer and then, based on the same teaching, gave donations of 100,000 yen per month 50 times. In such cases, court judgments tend to be rather harsh towards the victim. For a person who believes in the spiritual world and the (ill) fate of his or her ancestors, descending to Hell is more terrifying than dying. Nevertheless, the particular mentality of such believers is often diffi- cult for police officers or court judges to understand. Further, it would be quite problematic if courts decide whether a religious teaching or leader is correct. Legal proceedings should not be recognized where when a court concludes, for example: “The teaching is a lie. The religious leader thought to be the Messiah was not the real Messiah. Therefore, refund the money.” (Yamaguchi 2001: 48)

96 Many of these accusations can be found on a site fuelled primarily by disillusioned former members:

97 tax-evasion/3953453441600/; (see Hong 1998: 144)




Two years later, Yamaguchi (2003: 225) reported that “In over ten cases in Japan the civil courts have found the Unification Church liable for activities related to persuading people to make donations.” The fines that the Church was ordered to pay ranged from $60,000 to $500,000 (ibid.: 228-9.) These sales have now almost completely ceased, much to the relief of a number of Western Uni- ficationists who were embarrassed by the practice.

Although they have not been as litigious as the Church of Scientology, Uni- ficationists themselves have instigated court proceedings on several occasions. This was not least when the illegal kidnapping of members was being conducted for the purpose of deprogramming.101 Sometimes, however, it has been assumed that the case was brought against the movement, when it was actually the move- ment that brought a case against the defendant. One such example was the Daily Mail case in the UK in the early 1980s. The Mail, a nationwide tabloid, had published a story accusing the Church of brainwashing and breaking up families. The leader of the British movement sued the paper for libel, but lost and the movement had to pay considerable damages (Barker 1984: 121ff).102 The verdict was upheld by three Lords of the Court of Appeal. Unusually, the jury not only found the Daily Mail was justified in its accusations, but also requested the Attorney General should revoke the charitable status of two Unification organi- sations. Another case ensued as a consequence, against the Church; on this occa- sion, however, the Church won and kept its charitable status.

The libel case was just one instance that fanned anti-Unification sentiment. Even when no criminal action could be proved, it was ‘proved’ that the Church was a danger to society. In March 1982, for example, eight Members of the European Parliament tabled a motion (unsuccessfully) for a resolution which began:

The European Parliament, deeply concerned by the distress and family break- ups caused by Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church:

  1. Welcomes the media’s relentless exposure of the Moonies’ activities;
  2. Urges public authorities throughout the Community to ensure that the Moonies are not given special tax benefits, charity status, or other privi-leges;
  3. Calls upon its Committee… to report on the activities of Sun MyungMoon’s followers in the Unification Church and the danger to society that they represent.103

Of course most religions have had members who have engaged in criminal activities. An obvious example is the amount of child abuse that has taken place

101 The practice has by now been almost entirely abandoned in favour of voluntary interventions (Giambalvo et al. 2013), although it has continued in Japan. (Fautré 2012)

102; http://

103 Mrs Wieczorek-Zeul et al., `Motion for a Resolution on Distress Caused by Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church’, European Parliament Working Document PE 77.807, 9 March 1982.


within the Catholic Church and, indeed, most, if not all other mainstream religions. It is not usually the case that the religion has explicitly encouraged this, but the crime of the Catholic Church itself was not reporting the paedophiliac priests to the police; it frequently turned a blind eye or moved them to some other place where they were able to offend once again. But, although there may have been the isolated case, sexual child abuse is not a crime associated with the Unification movement, although I have heard people who know nothing about the movement apart from the fact that it has been labelled a destructive cult assuming, because it has happened in some ‘cults’,104 that it also occurs in Unificationism.

In short, it is clear that Unificationism has been involved in a variety of crim- inal activities; but it could be argued that that in itself cannot distinguish it very satisfactorily from other religions that are deemed not to be cults, but ‘real reli- gions’.

Unificationism as a Brainwashing Movement

Brainwashing is, of course, a metaphor. No Unificationist has ever had his or her brains literally scrubbed out, ready for some new-fangled beliefs to be implanted. This is not to say that Unificationists have not exerted considerable influence on potential converts, inviting them for a weekend then week-long seminars or workshops where they would have little if any contact with non-mem- bers. Nor does it mean that Unificationists have always been totally honest about who they were or that Moon was their leader.105 However, the idea that Unifica- tionists were in command of irresistible and irreversible methods of mind control was just not true — however much they might have liked it to be.

In a study I conducted, in the late 1970s when accusations of brainwashing were reaching their height, I found that, of over a thousand potential converts who were interested enough in the movement to agree to attend a workshop, only 10 per cent actually joined as a full-time member for over a week. Clearly the Unificationists’ efforts had not been irresistible. I also found that after one year half of those who had joined had left, and after two years only 4 per cent of the original 1,017 were still full-time Unificationists (Barker 1984: 146). Clearly any mind control techniques were not irreversible.106 Moreover, I was later to find

104 The Children of God is one new religion where the leadership was directly involved in and even encouraged underage sexual activity at one period (Barker 2016; Jones et al. 2007) and at one time the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) allowed unfettered sexual child abuse to take place at several of its gurukulas (boarding schools) (Rochford and Heinlein 1998). Both these movements eventually took radical steps to prevent the continuation of such practices (Barker forthcoming).

105 The concept of Heavenly Deception, sometimes seen as an acceptable means for an end desired by God, was associated particularly with Californian Unificationists in the 1970s and ’80s. (Barker 1984: 176)

106 In another study carried out independently around the same time, Marc Galanter came up with almost identical results (Barker 1984 146; Galanter 1980).


that around 90 per cent of the first cohort of second-generation (Blessed) children had left the movement. Were the (evidently apocryphal) saying of Ignatius of Loyola, “Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man” true, it might be argued that Catholic socialisation was far more effective than that of the Unification Church.

It would seem that those who use the concept of ‘brainwashing’ are more likely to refer to an outcome which they find incomprehensible and of which they disapprove, rather than referring to the actual process that leads a person to reach a certain decision.

Unificationism as a New Religious Movement (NRM)

As I suggested earlier, the concept of a new religious movement seems to be a more useful means of categorising Unificationism than that of a cult.107 It is not that the concept of NRM is without difficulties; it can be fraught with them. However, if one defines a new religion as one that consists predominantly of a first-generation membership, many of those difficulties can be circumvented and we are given some clues as to what we might at least look for in a movement so defined (Barker 2004).

First, by definition, the movement consists largely of converts, and converts tend to be more enthusiastic, even fanatic, than people who have been born into a religion. This has been very obviously the case with Unificationists.

Secondly, an NRM is likely to attract an atypical representation of the general population. In the past, such movements have frequently appealed to the socially, politically or economically oppressed. The Unification Church, like many other NRMs that emerged during the second half of the twentieth century, appealed disproportionately in the West and in Japan to young adults from the mid- dle-classes.

Thirdly, NRMs are usually founded and led in the initial stages by a charis- matic leader who is accorded a charismatic authority by his (or her) followers. As we have discussed above, Moon was accepted by Unificationists as a charis- matic Messiah.

Fourthly, NRMs can adopt a dichotomous world view. Clear distinctions are drawn theologically between Godly and satanic; morally between good and evil; temporally between before and after; and socially between them and us. Such distinctions have been evident in the Unificationist view of the world, especially in the early days.

107 However, it can be argued that when someone leaves a controlling NRM and is bewildered by the situation in which they find themselves, unable to comprehend why they ever joined, con- cepts such as cult and even ‘mind control’ (though undue influence could be preferable) can help with the initial orientation and relieve any feelings of guilt for things they may have done. With the passage of time, however, it is arguably healthier to go beyond a reliance on the ‘c’ word to explain the past.


Fifthly, NRMs tend to be treated with suspicion and fear by the wider society. Despite the fact that Moon managed to secure contacts, and indeed admiration from a number of notables, it was undoubtedly the case that Unificationists were generally treated with, at best, mistrust, and at worst, loathing.

Sixthly, and finally, NRMs will usually change far more rapidly and radically than older, more established religions. Frequently they will become less extreme and more accommodating towards society — a process referred to by sociolo- gists as denominationalisation (Niebuhr1957).108

Unificationism as a Denominationalising Religious Movement

Although the Unification Church has never completely denominationalised, it has undergone momentous changes since its beginnings in the immediate post-World War II period, one of the most significant changes being the arrival of a second generation who, rather than having converted to an NRM were born into one.

The change in the demographic structure of the movement was spectacular. In the West in the 1970s a graph showing the numbers of Unificationists at differ- ent ages, showed very few under the age of 18, then a spike of those in their early to mid-20s, dropping to relatively few aged 30 or over. By 2007, the aver- age age of Unificationists was, as 40 years earlier, around the mid-20s, however, there were relatively few of that age, but there were two spikes, one around the age of 15 and the other, a slightly smaller spike,109 around the age of 50. Space does not permit a detailed examination of the consequences that this change in the demographic profile had made, but it requires only a little thought to imagine some ways in which a movement with young, healthy and enthusiastic converts with no dependents would differ from a movement with middle-aged parents and young teenage children. With the passage of time, the demographic profile can be expected to become increasingly similar to that of the population as a whole.

Another change that occurred from around the late 1980s and early ’90s was that Western Unificationists were less likely to live in the movement’s centres or a fundraising van than to live as nuclear families in their own homes.110 Fur- thermore, only a few now work for the movement full time, though some vol- unteer in their spare time. This, and the general experience of maturing, contrib- utes to a weakening of the strictly dichotomous world view; grey areas and qualifications have become more tolerated; membership itself can become ambiguous, especially among the adult second generation who may not accept much or even all of the teachings, but still like to associate with the friends with

108 It should be noted, as Bryan Wilson (1970) has demonstrated, that not all NRMs (or ‘sects’) denominationalise. The Amish, the Hutterites and Jehovah’s Witnesses are examples of non-denom- inationalising religions.

109 This spike had diminished over the years due to the turnover in membership.

110 Often Unificationist homes cluster in a particular location, enabling members to meet for worship and social occasions.


whom they grew up and who may still want to be Blessed with another Unifica- tionist. While, as mentioned earlier, the first cohort of Blessed children left in droves, the movement was considerably more careful in its socialisation of the second cohort of the second generation. Whilst an organisation such as CARP had existed (and still exists)111 for college and university students, HARP (High School Association for the Research of Principles) was founded for children of high school age; STF (a Special Task Force) enabled high school graduates to spend one or two years fundraising and doing missionary work; and various workshops and summer camps have been arranged for young people to meet together and learn about Unification beliefs and practices (including the meaning of the Blessings) on a regular basis.

Although Moon remained a central figure until (and indeed after) his death, his authority over all aspects of the younger generation was decidedly less than it was for their parents. Although there are still hierarchical structures with clear lines of leadership, first the True Children and then other ‘second gens’ have been moving into positions of leadership and decision-making. There have been attempts to introduce a greater democratisation in at least parts of the movement. To some extent this has resulted in frustration for the would-be reformers who complain that they encounter well-nigh insuperable problems with long-term members who are used to accepting decisions from above (from their Abel fig- ures) and who are not used to innovating.

There can, however, be no doubt that, very generally speaking, the Unifica- tionism of the twenty-first century has been less ‘in your face’ with more accom- modation to the norms of the wider society, which, again very generally speak- ing, no longer sees it as the threat it once did and which, even more generally speaking, seems largely unaware of its existence.

In fact, Unificationism’s pugilisms are now more likely to be found within than without the movement — or, rather, movements.

Unificationism as Fragmented Schismatic Movements

There have been schismatic movements throughout the lifetime of Unifica- tionism, but these were rarely more than an irritation and did not threaten the overall organisation. Originally the eldest True Son of Reverend and Mrs Moon, Hyo Jin, was the heir apparent, but partly on account of his behaviour (Hong 1998) and then because of his death, and it looked as though the next son, Pres- ton (Hyun Jin), would be the successor. Before Moon’s death, however, a rift had developed between Preston and his father, which resulted in Moon proclaim- ing that he would be succeeded by his youngest son, Hyung Jin (Sean 1979-) (Bramwell 2016; Kim 2017; Mickler 2013b).112

112 See also Fefferman’s chapter XXXX in this volume.


Following Moon’s death, however, Mrs Moon declared that it was she who was now the rightful leader: Having made the spirit world as his abode, the True Father is now freely going in and out of the physical and spiritual worlds and working towards spreading the Cheon Il Guk.113 Being the true identity of God of the Night, he will come to the physical world the second time and dispense his providence together with True Mother, who will continue with the providence on earth as the true identity of God of the Day… (Hak Ja Han’s speech 17 Sep- tember 2012, quoted in Kim 2017: 246).

There are now three main factions of Unificationism. Mrs Moon heads the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) from her base in Korea. Her justification for carrying on the work started by her husband was first that Moon had made it clear that Messiahship depended not on one man but on True Parents and she was an integral element in that partnership. Her claims have, however, become stronger of late, with statements suggesting that it was actually she who raised her husband to his position rather than the other way round as Moon had maintained. She has, furthermore, declared that she is the Only Begotten Daughter (Bramwell 2016; Wilson 2015).

Preston heads the Global Peace Foundation (which he originally founded as the Global Peace Festival Foundation in 2009) and the Family Peace Association from Seattle, Washington State along with UCI in Washington DC.114 His justi- fication for taking over the movement after his father’s death is that he is the eldest son and that patrilineal succession is fundamental to everything that Moon taught (Bramwell 2016: 18).115 A further qualification claimed by Preston is that he has fulfilled his own ‘portion of responsibility’ by gaining merit through his global providential peace work. Thirdly, once his mother, whom he has now referred to as the Whore of Babylon (Moon, Hyung Jin 2016),116 rejected his leadership, Sean founded the Sanctuary Church, based in Pennsylvania, and enjoys the support of his older brother, Kook Jin (Justin). His justification for succeeding his father is that his father had crowned him as his heir and successor back in 2009117 — a claim repudiated by followers of Preston and, more recently, the FFWPU.

113 “What is Cheon Il Guk? It is the world level.” Sun Myung Moon’ speech, 31 January 2003.

114 Originally called the Unification Church International, ownership of the UCI is being hotly contested by the FFWPU, which is currently claiming in litigation that it holds ultimate legal con- trol. The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Hyun Jin Moon, et al., Defendants District of Columbia Superior Court Civil No. 2011 CA 003721 B


116; wuoqE2EgVM. In September 2017, Sean declared that he has now married his father to a new bride, Hyung Shil Kang, who had previously had a spirit world Blessing to St. Augustine, and who has now been declared to be the True Mother. 1120290311602&ca=da02e9d7-ad76-43c2-a79a-32ce441a89c8;

117 See also the statement Moon signed in 2010: The Authority of The True Parents of Mankind From Now Will Be Represented By The Youngest Son.



The rivalry between the groups is fierce. The disagreements centre on a number of fronts: theological justifications for their respective claims to the Unification inheritance; legal disputes about control of various Unification organisations;118and the allegiance of followers.

As a result of the splits, many long-lasting friendships have been wrecked — there are families that have been rent asunder as one family member has joined one group and another family member has joined a different one. Even Blessed marriages have been wrecked. Some Unificationists are uncertain exactly where their allegiance lies, and have moved to the margins of the movement, not wanting to commit themselves too completely; others feel that they have been disconnected and have become more or less ‘solitaries’; yet others have discon- nected themselves from Unificationism altogether or, occasionally, joined one of the other small schisms in Japan or elsewhere.

Unificationism in the Future?

Few, if any, of the new religions that emerged in the post-World War II period have made such an impact on so many fronts. Few have attracted such vitriolic hatred, and few have attracted such unbridled admiration. Unificationism has been uniquely innovative in many arenas, and it has made an enormous difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals — be they members, former members or non-members. How much it has affected the world in general is hard to gauge — probably not as much as its members believe; it would, nonetheless, be foolhardy for history to ignore its achievements, for better or for worse.

It would be foolhardy also to predict what will happen next, but it seems unlikely that there will be any unification between the warring factions in the immediate future. What will happen after Mrs Moon dies is unknown, but there are rumours that she might be preparing the eldest son of her now deceased first son, Hyo Jin (1962-2008), by his second wife, Yun Ah Choi, thus skipping a generation in the True Family lineage.

There is, of course, much, much more to be told about the new Unificationisms. Further details of the unfolding story is to be found in the following chapters….


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25 November 2017


The Unification Church in Germany

Gerhard Besier

General Background

The Unification Church [in Germany, die Vereinigungskirche, or VK] was orig- inally called The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christian- ity, but is also known colloquially as the Moonie movement. It is a comparatively new religious movement that was founded in 1954 by the Korean Sun Myung Moon. For his followers, Rev. Moon (1920-2012) is the “Lord of the Second Advent”, the fulfilment of Jesus Christ’s promised return. He and his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, form a messianic couple, called the “True Parents” of humankind. Ever since Moon’s death, the highest authority for this hierarchically organised community lies with his wife, Hak Ja Han, and their son, Hyung-Jin Moon.

In Germany, the movement’s official name was changed to Tongil-Gyo Vereinigungsbewegung [Tongil-Gyo Unification Movement] in 2011. In October 2015, a further renaming was announced for the registered association, changing to “Familienföderation für Weltfrieden und Vereinigung e. V” [Family Federa- tion for World Peace and Unification].

The Unification Church consists of a new Eastern Asian religion with Chris- tian, new-Revelationary and shamanistic-spiritualist elements, and was estab- lished in Korea in 1954 as the “Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity”. We are dealing here with a comprehensive, syncretistic doctrine with theocratic goals, drawing on the East Asian set of cultural values, at least with reference to the high esteem for the concept of family. Theologi- cally, this is integrated through the interpretation of the family of the “True Parents” as founders of the line of ancestry that is believed to bring salvation. A blessing ceremony replaces Christian sacraments. Shamanistic-spiritualism, or in other words, special interaction with the spirits of those who have died, is an essential component of the doctrine and practice of the Unification Church.

The most important teachings can be found in the book Divine Principle, which was written under Moon’s guidance. By 2007, the organisation had approximately 1,200 members in German-speaking regions. However, the organ- isation’s political and economic influence is greater in Japan, South Korea and the United States, where numbers of followers are also higher.

The organisation’s headquarters are located in South Korea’s capital city, Seoul. Since Moon’s death in 2012, his widow, Hak Ja Han, and her son, Hyung Jin Moon, have jointly held the position of Chairman of the International Unifi- cation Church. Hyung Jin Moon first came to hold the position in April 2008. Since 2005, the fourth-born son, Kook Jin Moon, has been the Chairman of the


Unification Church’s commercial enterprise (Tongil Group). Thus, in the period since Moon’s death on September 3, 2012, Hak Ja Han, Hyung Jin Moon and Kook Jin Moon have assumed full leadership of the Unification Church.

When Sun Myung Moon moved to the USA in 1971, the main focus of the Unification Church’s international work was relocated from South Korea to the USA. Some months later, the Unification Church organised the Day of Hopespeaking tour. This tour involved Moon presenting a series of public speeches in all 50 American states, including seven major cities, beginning on 3 February 1972 in the Lincoln Center in New York City. There were two further speaking tours that also travelled to major American cities (Christianity in Crisis: New Hope). By 1972, the Unification Church had community centres in ten different states in the USA.

The first edition of Wôl Li Kang Ron, translated into English under the titleDivine Principle, was published in 1973, almost simultaneously with the German translation.

In 1984, Moon was sentenced to prison for tax evasion. Civil rights move- ments, liberal and conservative Christian movements and clergy, including such figures as Jerry Falwell and Joseph Lowery, demanded that there was no legal basis for the prosecution, claiming that it was a violation of religious freedom.

The Unification Church in Germany

After becoming acquainted with Sun Myung Moon’s teaching in America, Peter Koch (1927-1984)1 was the first missionary in Germany. Just one year after he arrived in Germany, the Gesellschaft zur Vereinigung des Weltchristentums (GVW) [Society for the Unification of World Christianity] was established in Frankfurt am Main, on 11 December 1964.

Moon visited Germany for the first time in 1965, in the course of a world tour. During this visit, he established three sites of Holy Ground [Heilige Gründe] in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and Essen. He instructed members to send mission- aries out into foreign countries. As a result, individual missionaries went abroad to countries such as Spain and France.

Moon’s 1969 visit resulted in a change of leadership, with Peter Koch becoming the national leader in Austria2, and Paul Werner (1927-2008)3 assuming responsi-

1 Cf. Lukas Pokorny & Simon Steinbeiss, ‘To Restore This Nation’: The Unification Movement in Austria. Background and Early Years, 1965-1966, p. 168.

2 Cf. Lukas Pokorny & Simon Steinbeiss, ‘Pioneers of the Heavenly Kingdom’: The Austrian Unification Movement, 1966-1969, in: Hans Gerald Hödel/Lukas Pokorny (eds.) Religion in Aus- tria, vol. 2, Vienna: Praesens Verlag, 2014, pp. 188 ff.

3 Cf. Lukas Pokorny & Simon Steinbeiss, ‘To Restore This Nation’: The Unification Movement in Austria. Background and Early Years, 1965-1966, in: Hans Gerald Hödel/Lukas Pokorny (eds.) Religion in Austria, vol. 1, Vienna: Praesens Verlag, 2012, pp. 161 ff.; 169 ff. (Werner’s Biogra- phy) pp. 175 ff.; Lukas Pokorny & Simon Steinbeiss, ‘Pioneers of the Heavenly Kingdom’: The Austrian Unification Movement, 1966-1969, pp. 186 ff.


bility for the Unification Church in Germany. Werner initiated a new national focus, placing particular emphasis on the distribution of invitations and other mis- sionary activities on the streets, such as the opening of new community centres. By 1971, there were 21 community centres in Germany with 100 members.

In September 1971, two missionary teams, each with 12 members, travelled to a number of German cities, with the aim of finding and recruiting new mem- bers. In 1972, as part of the “Day of Hope” speaking tour, Moon gave three public speeches in Germany, or more accurately, in Essen. A short time later, new missionary teams were formed in Munich, as part of the One World Cru- sade. Paul Werner published the first German translation of Divine Principlefrom English in 1972. A German version of the student movement CARP (Col- legiate Association for the Research of Principles) began its activities at the University in Frankfurt in 1974.

There are ten official community centres in Germany: Berlin, Hamburg, Han- nover, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Giessen, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart und Nuremberg. According to statements from the Unification Church in Germany, there are some 300 married couples registered as church members, with approximately 800 chil- dren — not counting a larger circle of friends, sponsors and sympathisers — while REMID (Religious Studies Media and Information Service) quotes 900 member families. There are ten local communities (centres). The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) is a second sub-organisation of the Unification Church with religious influ- ence and political relevance in Germany — apart from the Family Federation. In

2013, the UPF claimed to have “224 registered and paying members”.
On 17 October 2015, the Vice President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in Europe, Fritz Piepenburg, passed away (1953- 2015). He was well-known for his work in the UPF and its publications. It is reasonable to say that with his death, the Unification Church in Germany lost its

most important disseminator of information and spokesperson in Germany.
The Moon Movement experienced its zenith in the 1970s and 1980s. Nowadays, there is very little happening in the realm of the Unification Church in Germany. In 1995, the Federal Ministry of the Interior for the Federal Republic of Ger- many refused to grant an entry visa to Sun Myung Moon and his wife. In addition, they were placed on the Schengen Agreement List, meaning that entry into other countries within the Schengen area was also barred. Normally, people are only added to this list if they are considered a potential threat on the grounds or terror- ist or criminal activities or intentions. At the beginning of November 2006, the Federal Constitutional Court determined that the entry ban constituted a breach of the fundamental right of members of a religious group to practise their religion

freely, and that a visit from the Moon couple posed no threat to public order.4

4 Federal Constitutional Court [Bundesverfassungsgericht] (2006): Media release dated 9/11/2006, No. 109/2006. Cf. also Geros Kunkel, Unterstellungen und unbewiesene Anschuldigun- gen — Hintergründe zum Einreiseverbot für Rev. und Frau Moon, in Fritz Piepenburg (ed.), Blick- punkt Vereinigungskirche. Beiträge aus der Theologie, den Geisteswissenschaften und in eigener Sache, Schmitten: Kando Verlag, 2002, 375-387.


Notion of a “Pluralistic Theology”

In 2002, Fritz Piepenburg published an anthology with the title “Viewpoint Unification Church” (Blickpunkt Vereinigungskirche), which can be seen as a form of account taking with regard to the theological content of the Moon move- ment and the arguments or debates about it. In his introduction, Piepenburg writes, “The real confrontation in today’s society is not taking place between the Catholics and Protestants, or between the long-established official churches and the new religious minorities; the argument sees a world view with God at the centre and mankind as a spiritual being with moral responsibilities coming in conflict with anti-religious secularism that seeks, in the first instance, to relativize ethical and family values, with the ultimate goal of deleting them completely from our lives by deeming them to be obsolete.”5 This dichotomous point of view, contrasting those who are religious with those who are not religious, appears to be a constitu- tive element for the world view of believers — associated with the appeal to all religions to communicate in the face of these opponents. “Rev. Moon […] pos- sesses an unshakeable belief in the positive powers inherent in religions, even after decades of persecution by the established or mainstream churches. From the very beginning, he endeavoured to promote dialogue and consensus between religions, in order that they might finally be able to fulfil their original and God-given task of making a significant contribution together towards the creation of a peaceful world. […] When will the mainstream churches, free churches, religious minorities and new spiritual groups ever recognise that they all stand on the same side, all support a common objective and are all faced with the same challenges?”6 The majority of contributions from Theology professors and religious scholars repro- duced here, most of which are older articles, express the point that the “Divine Principles”, as well as the mystical elements in the Unification theology and phi- losophy, are completely “acceptable” for inter-religious discussions. According to Moon’s “view of the Lord of the Second Coming”, “the universe is determined by a universal coming. In Him, Biblical and Confucian thinking will meet.”7Sebastian Matczak took the view that “the Unification philosophy was certainly compatible with the biblical teachings”, and that they “teach the same God that Christianity believes in.”8 Thus, the Unification philosophy accepts the same con- cept of the Trinity, even though this is explained in a different way by means of oriental philosophy. Among the aspects that are controversial for the Unification Church — but also often within the realms of Christianity — are Jesus’ role, the second coming of Jesus, the fulfilment of His mission and the true significance of the institution of the church and the sacraments.9 “[…] the inherent value of the

5 Fritz Piepenburg (ed.), Blickpunkt Vereinigungskirche. Beiträge aus der Theologie, den Geisteswissenschaften und in eigener Sache, Schmitten: Kando Verlag, 2002, 12 f.

  1. 6  Ibid., 13 f.
  2. 7  Paul Schwarzenau in Piepenburg (2002), 40.
  3. 8  Sebastian Matczak in Piepenburg (2002), 101.
  4. 9  Ibid., 103.


Unification philosophy lies in its endeavours to make God more understandable and more believable for modern people in the East and the West.” It has “the intention of unifying the divisions among Christianity and to revitalise Christian traditions.”10

With regard to the second coming of Jesus, the Unification Church expects “that Jesus will return in human form and, indeed, by joining together with those people living on earth, He will thus complete His work.”11 The return of Jesus to complete His works on earth belongs to the fundamental concepts of Christianity. According to the teachings of the Unification Church, Jesus will return in those people “who believe in Him truly and deeply, who are in constant communication with Him and, therefore, act in the way of Jesus.”12 Within Catholic mysticism, identification processes like these are well known that proceed to such an extent that — as with Francis — stigmata occur. Within Protestantism, there is the concept that Jesus exists in a person in such a way that He leads those individuals “who seek Him to be able to experience and know His will.”13. In the understanding of the Unifica- tion Church, Jesus should “be present for us as a leader and as a personal friend. […] Rev. Moon strives to be a person that lives in just such a close relationship with Jesus. It is his desire to have a family that is entirely aligned with God.”14 In accordance with its conviction that the family is a fundamental and essential ele- ment of the sought after single human family, the Unification Church understands that Jesus would also have started a family had He not been crucified before He could achieve this. To this extent, His life was also not completed. Herbert Rich- ardson is convinced, “that the Unification Church genuinely is an authentic Chris- tian group, even though it can be considered somewhat novel and innovative in the composition of its fundamental elements. It is Calvinistic, Catholic and Wesleyan. It is a unification of the three traditions.”15

It could well be specifically this aspiration, associated with Jesus’ Second Coming, from the Unification Church that met with such vehement opposition and protest among Germany’s established Christian churches. Any individual who fails to take the exclusion guidelines for the purpose of defence seriously is likely to be threatened with social sanctions, as the lawyer and political scientist Konrad Löw quickly discovered.

Controversial Debates in Germany

On March 1, 1987, Konrad Löw, a practising Catholic, gave a lecture in the renowned Munich Hotel Bayerischer Hof on the subject “Why is Communism

  1. 10  Ibid., 103; 105.
  2. 11  So Herbert Richardson in Piepenburg (2002), 121 f.
  3. 12  Ibid., 122.
  4. 13  Ibid., 123.
  5. 14  Ibid.
  6. 15  Ibid., 124.


so fascinating?”16 The organiser of the event was the Forum for Spiritual Guid- ance [Forum für geistige Führung], under the auspices of CAUSA Germany Inc., a sub-organisation of the Unification Church.17 In early August 1987, a further speech took place on the occasion of the fourth CARP World Student Congress in Berlin (West). The Collegiate Association for the Research of Prin- ciples (CARP) was also a subsidiary organisation of the Unification Church. All parties attempted to prevent the event from taking place, and the Lord Mayor of West Berlin at that time made the false accusation that the CARP organisation was in fact a “criminal association”. After the event, the Action for Spiritual and Physical Freedom (AGPF) [Aktion für Geistige und Psychische Freiheit], a part of the so-called Federal Association of Sect and Psycho-market Consultation Inc. (Bundesverband Sekten- und Psychomarktberatung e.V.), which was based in Bonn and deemed to be an anti-cult organisation18, put the question to Löw as to whether he had actually given a speech for the CARP organisation, in the light of them having such a bad reputation. In mid-July 1988, the Süddeutsche Zeitungnewspaper reported — citing the Sect Commissioner for the Protestant Church, Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack — that politicians and academics had been invited by “front organisations” for the Unification Church to give speeches, and among their number was “a Bayreuth University Professor for Political Sciences”.19Subsequently, the article was posted by an anonymous individual at numerous places over the University of Bayreuth. Löw’s employer, the Bavarian Ministry of Science questioned him worriedly about his “connections to the Unification Church Inc. (Moon-Sects)”, and a publishing house that had previously accepted a manuscript for publication withdrew its offer on the flimsiest of grounds. Other Sect Commissioners and bishops reasserted their claims that Moon wanted to incite a Third World War and that he was falsifying the Bible, even though they were unable to provide any valid evidence to support their claims despite Löw’s requests to this effect. In early February 1990, Löw participated in a conference in Seoul that was marketed as the “Second Summit Council for World Peace” and, at the same time, “Eighth international AULA Conference”20 — both insti- tutions that had been initiated by Sun Myung Moon and which he supported with funding. In December 1990, Löw took part in the “20th American Leadership Conference” — another event instigated by the Unification Church. Even though statesmen and academics participated in these conferences, and Pope John Paul II had even officially welcomed participants at the AULA conference in a private audience, the verdict regarding the “Moon Sects” remained in Germany. From

17 Cf. Konrad Löw, Von „Hexen“ und Hexenjägern. Die Moonies und die Glaubensfreiheit, Baiersbronn: Eigenverlag, 21994; Konrad Löw, Auf, auf zum fröhlichen Jagen. Erfahrungen mit Manichäern, in Gerhard Besier, Erwin K. Scheuch (eds.), Die neuen Inquisitoren. Religionsfreiheit und Glaubensneid, Osnabrück 1999, 255-267.

18 Cf. Religion – Staat – Gesellschaft, issue 2, 13 (2012), edited by Willy Fautré, Freedom of Religion or Belief: Anti-Sect Movements and State Neutrality – A Case Study: FECRIS.

  1. 19  Quoted according to Konrad Löw, Von „Hexen“ und Hexenjägern, 20.
  2. 20  AULA = Association for the Unity of Latin America.


16 Cf. CAUSA Zeitschrift „Forum für geistige Führung“, Nr. 3, 1988, 3.

this time on, Löw was ostracised and deemed to be an individual with whom no one would want to associate.

Following pressure from various interested parties21, the Bundestag parliament instituted a “select or special committee for so-called sects and psycho-groups” at the beginning of May 1996, which submitted its final report in early June 1998.22 Siegfried Klammsteiner drafted a statement on the Unification Church in this report.23 The critical observation was made that, in accordance with the word- ing of the final report, “the intention would still appear to exist to reinforce the counselling for withdrawal.”24 In the report, “counselling” continues to be under- stood as “advice for withdrawal and anti-sect counselling.” There were also pro- tests over the plan to provide further skills and competencies to the specialist department “Youth sects and psycho-groups” within the Federal Office of Administration [Bundesverwaltungsamtes (BVA)], based on the fact that in bro- chures produced by the BVA entitled “So-called sects and psycho-groups — The Moon Movement”25 unambiguously included “a large number of false assertions, gross lies, distorted accounts and inadmissible evaluations.” Furthermore, the Commission’s recommendations for action made references to vague “situations of risk” and “areas of conflict”, even though the two-year investigation had resulted in no such findings. Blanket statements like these simply consolidated current prejudices. Any objections or attempts at correction put forward by the Unification Church on subjects such as marriage, family, children or youth were “very clearly not taken seriously.”26 The Godly-based family structure has a sac- ramental character. At the ‘blessings of couples’, it was not expected that couples would change their religion, and ministers from other churches would be invited to participate in the blessings and then carry out blessing ceremonies in their own congregations. It would be a mistake to claim that the final report stated that couples were “adopted” as children of the “true family” in these blessing cere- monies. It would also be incorrect to suggest that the final report claimed that the Unification Church was originating any form of “final battle” or a “Third World War”. There was also no mention of a “general devaluation or invalidation of parents as the personally responsible identification figures for children.” On the contrary, according to the Unification Church, any decision-making regarding

21 Cf. Abschlussbericht der wissenschaftlichen Begleitung zum Modellprojekt des Bundesmin- isteriums für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend zum Thema Prävention im Bereich der „So genannten Sekten und Psychogruppen.“ Laufzeit: Oktober 2000 bis Juni 2 003 von Dr. Sebastian Murken, Dipl.-Psych., cht-2003.pdf, 12.


23 Cf. Stellungnahme der Vereinigungskirche e.V. zum Endbericht der Enquete-Kommission „Sogenannte Sekten und Psychogruppen“ des Deutschen Bundestages, in Fritz Piepenburg (2002), 361-373.

  1. 24  Ibid., 364.
  2. 25  Cf. Staatliche Diskriminierung einer religiösen Minderheit,
26 Stellungnahme der Vereinigungskirche e.V. zum Endbericht der Enquete-Kommission „Sogen-

annte Sekten und Psychogruppen“ des Deutschen Bundestages, in Fritz Piepenburg (2002), 366.

what events children might participate in would remain solely in the hands of the parents. Likewise, the claim that the Unification Church encourages its members to consider adoptions is completely incorrect. Apart from this, the report was based on completely out of date or general resources, and abandoned any consid- eration of empirical field research. “The suspicions and accusations expressed in the final report regarding children and young adults in the Unification Church were not based on any empirically collected data.”27 The claim that the Unifica- tion Church poses any “potential for risk or danger” for its children and young people is without any foundation.

In early January 2016, Robert Bentele undertook a critical analysis of Fried- mann Eissler’s article entitled “Unification Church (Moon Movement)”, written for the Evangelical Central Office for Questions about World Views (EZW).28This article did not come from a religiously-neutral stance, but originated from an institution of the Protestant Church in Germany [Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)].29 This article was prepared, according to Bentele, without the author taking any of the previously established comments or reports into consideration, or even making any form of contact with the religious community. Instead, he consulted the report of a member who had “dropped out of the organ- isation” and three articles from an apologetic perspective. In a form of synopsis, Bentele establishes that Eissler oversimplifies the theological concepts of the Moon Movement, and presents it without any real expertise regarding the East- ern-Asian mindset — with its neo-Confucian and Daoistic influence. As a con- sequence, it includes numerous inaccuracies. Even Eissler himself states that theUnification Church or (since 1996) the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification is, in fact, a “conflict-prone” new-religious group. However, he has failed to provide proof for this statement.


Even though the fierce controversy surrounding the Moon-Movement was overwhelmingly based on suspicions, and not guided by genuine arguments, this anti-cult movement and its vague supporters have essentially achieved their goal. This is because, unlike Konrad Löw, the majority of academics in Germany responded to the well intentioned “warnings” with a sense of distance, in order to avoid social marginalisation and any potential damage to their careers. In this way, movements that have the potential to pose some form of threat or competition

27 Ibid., 372.

28 Cf. Friedmann Eißler, Art. Vereinigungskirche (Moon-Bewegung), in Lexikon der Evange- lischen Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen. URL: Cf. Matthias Pöhlmann, Kampf der Geister. Die Publizistik der „Apologetischen Centrale“ (1921-1937), Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1998; Matthias Pöhlmann, Hans-Jürgen Ruppert, Reinhard Hempelmann, Die EZW im Zug der Zeit. Beiträge zu Geschichte und Auftrag evangelischer Wel-

tanschauungsarbeit. EZW-Texte 154, Berlin 2000. 64

to the established religions and ideological communities can be readily margin- alised. Given that slander is apparently not being prosecuted out of love for one’s neighbour — especially not in the case where the statements originate from the two mainstream churches — this strategy would appear to entail no risk at all, even though it fulfils the reality of encouraging prejudices and fostering the concept of an enemy within.30 With this Us and Them strategy, the anti-cult groupings effectively measure up to the very misgivings and reservations that they so readily criticise in their new-religious opponents.

From a religious studies point of view, it is important to note that the term “syncretistic”, applicable as it is for the Moon Movement, holds no stigma in this case, as Christianity itself has also integrated a wide range of pre-Christian philosophical concepts into its teachings, let alone the “baptised and christened” heathen customs and practices.


Abschlussbericht der wissenschaftlichen Begleitung zum Modellprojekt des Bundesministeriums für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend zum Thema Prävention im Bereich der „So genannten Sekten und Psychogruppen.“ Laufzeit: Oktober 2000 bis Juni 2003 von Dr. Sebastian Murken, Dipl.-Psych., http://www.

Barker, Eileen, The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing?, Oxford: Blackwell, 1984.

Bentele, Robert, Kritische Textanalyse zum EZW-Artikel „Vereinigungskirche (Moon-Bewegung)“, Manuscript, 2016.

Besier, G., Neither Good Nor Bad: Why Human Beings Behave How They Do, New- castle upon Tyne: CSP, 2014.

Besier, Gerhard/Scheuch, Erwin K. (eds.), Die neuen Inquisitoren. Religionsfreiheit und Glaubensneid, 2 vls., Zürich-Osnabrück: Edition Interfromm, 1999.

Fautré, Willy (ed.), Freedom of Religion or Belief: Anti-Sect Movements and State Neu- trality – A Case Study: FECRIS, in Religion – Staat – Gesellschaft 13 (2012), issue 2.

Hödl, Hans Gerald/Pokorny, Lukas (eds.), Religion in Austria, 2 vls, Vienna: Praesens Verlag, 2012/2014.

Kehrer, Günter (ed.), Das Entstehen einer neuen Religion: Das Beispiel der Vereinigung- skirche, Münich Kösel, 1981.

Kim, Oon Young, Vereinigungstheologie. Eine Annäherung, Frankfurt/M.: Kando Ver- lag, 1995.

Löw, Konrad, Von „Hexen“ und Hexenjägern: Die Moonies und die Glaubensfreiheit, Baiersbrunn: Eigenverlag, 21994.

Molinski, Waldemar, S. J., Die Vereinigungskirche als Herausforderung an die Christen, in Diakonia 4/83, 243 ff.

Moon, Sun Myung, Mein Leben für den Weltfrieden. Autobiographie, Stuttgart: Kando- Verlag, 2011.

30 Cf. G. Besier, Neither Good Nor Bad: Why Human Beings Behave How They Do, Newcas- tle upon Tyne: CSP, 2014, 73 ff.


Moritzen, Niels-Peter, Sun Myung Muns Vereinigungskirche, Erlangen: Verlag der lutherischen Mission, 1981.

Pak, Joong Hyun/Wilson, Andrew, Wahre Familienwerte, Stuttgart: Kando Verlag, 2014. Piepenburg, Fritz (ed.), Blickpunkt Vereinigungskirche. Beiträge aus der Theologie, den

Geisteswissenschaften und in eigener Sache, Schmitten: Kando Verlag, 2002. Pöhlmann, Matthias, Kampf der Geister. Die Publizistik der „Apologetischen Centrale“

(1921-1937), Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1998.
Pöhlmann, Matthias, Ruppert, Hans-Jürgen, Hempelmann, Reinhard, Die EZW im Zug

der Zeit. Beiträge zu Geschichte und Auftrag evangelischer Weltanschauungsar-

beit. EZW-Texte 154, Berlin 2000.
Vereinigungskirche (ed.), Das Göttliche Prinzip, Schmitten: Kando Verlag 2003.



The new God of Unificationism: Precedents and Parallels

Alexa Blonner

Many of the post-traditional religions that have come into being over the last century or so have brought new Gods that on closer examination often prove to be one or more of the old Gods in new clothes. The Unificationist God is a fusion of the Christian per- sonal God and the impersonal Neo-Confucian Great Ultimate. This development follows precedents within Korea’s modern religious history, more specifically the initiatives of Choe Je-U, who in 1860 founded Korea’s “first” new indigenous religion, Donghak. This paper examines the uniqueness of Choe’s innovations and how they were furthered in Unification thought.

Keywords: Donghak, Cheondogyo, Unification Movement, Choe Je-U, Sun Myung MoonThe Rise of New Indigenous Religions in Korea

When “Western Learning” or Catholicism, began spreading in Korea from the latter eighteenth century, it was met with vigorous condemnation by Korea’s ruling and intellectual elite. In almost a century of attempts to stamp it out, numerous converts were cruelly put to death.1 In 1860 a man named Choe Je-U (1824-1864) took a more ideological approach to meeting the Catholic challenge. He inaugu- rated a new religious philosophy that he called “Eastern Learning,” or Donghak. Donghak merged aspects of Korea’s four main religious influences, Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism and native spiritism, into a single new belief system. Despite his expressed antipathy to Western Learning, Choe also incorporated certain Chris- tian assumptions and in 1864 was seized as a closet Christian and executed.2

Though Choe died very early in his religious career, his synthesis in the hands of capable successors caught on and forged a formidable new indigenous reli- gious movement that carried strong political overtones. For Donghak’s slogan became, “All men are equal,”3 a clear correspondence to Christian ethos that in

1 Inshil Choe Yoon, “Martyrdom and Social Action: The Korean Practice of Catholicism,” inReligions of Korea in Practice, edited by Robert E. Buswell, Jr. (Princeton NJ: Princeton Univer- sity, 2007), 355-6, 361.

2 Kirsten Bell, “Pilgrims and Progress: The Production of Religious Experience in a Korean Religion,” 83-102 in Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 12, 1 (August 2008): 85-6; R. Pierce Beaver, “Chondogyo and Religion in Korea,”115-122 in Journal of Bible and Religion 30, 2 (1962): 116.

3 Beaver, 116.


Korean garb became a powerful rallying cry for an ensuing series of peasant protests and uprisings. Choe’s new indigenous religious model additionally stim- ulated the rise of hundreds of other new religious groups who by various means sought to improve on it.4 One study estimates 400-500 new indigenous religious groups to have arisen in Korea since Choe, of which 250 to 300 remain presently active.5 The majority of these are little more than schismatic variations of a smaller number of new religious streams but Cheondogyo, or Religion of the Heavenly Way, as Donghak was to eventually restyle itself, though it no longer enjoys the zenith of its past, remains a religious identity of note within Korea and there are several other new indigenous religions that have carved out signif- icant presences. The Unification movement (the “mainstream” group of which is now officially the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification [FFWPU]) is among these. While not the largest of Korea’s new indigenous religious groups within Korea itself, the Unification movement is thus far the most numerically successful at an international level.6

Donghak forged a pattern of religious innovation that heavily influenced that which came afterwards. Major elements were its messianism and/or millenarian- ism, its syncretism, its aniconism, its monotheism, its soteriology and a new con- cept of deity that fostered a more direct and personal relationship between human and divine within an Eastern framework. In another paper I addressed Choe’s soteriological contribution,7 whereas the concentration of this paper is on his met- aphysical legacy and how it was handled in Unification thought. Korea’s millenar- ian and syncretistic tendencies were fundamental to the new notion of God that Choe introduced and will first be outlined to better frame the discussion.

Millenarianism and Messianism

As the power and efficacy of the centuries-old Yi dynasty began to break down in the seventeenth century, Korea was enveloped by hardship and upheaval.

4 Thomas Pearson Flaherty, “JeungSanDo and the Opening of the Later Heaven: Millenarian- ism, Syncretism, and the Religion of Gang Il-sun,” 26-44 in Nova Religio: The Journal of Alter- native and Emergent Religions 7, 3 (Mar., 2004): 29-30. Flaherty used terms like “template” and “prototype” to describe Donghak’s seminal status.

5 “New Religions,” in Encyclopaedia of Korea, ed. Yang Hi Choe-Wall (Canberra: Australian National University, 1999), 1009.

6 I estimate that the Unification group within Korea is 50-60,000 strong. This is on a par with the combined Cheondogyo groups which at the last reliable count (2005 Korean Census) was under 50,000 (Don Baker, Korean Spirituality [Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008], 82), but falls well short of the number for Won Buddhism which as of the 2005 Census was 130,000 (Don- ald Baker, “Constructing Korea’s Won Buddhism as a New Religion: Self-differentiation and Inter-Religious Dialogue,” 47-70 in International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 3 (2012): 4, 27), and which has probably grown since then. Worldwide, however, Unification numbers can be estimated at approximately 250,000 covering a good 90 countries, though the vast majority reside in Japan, Korea and a few other Asian nations.

7 Alexa Blonner, “Heaven’s Way in Korea’s New Indigenous Religions: A New Interpretation of Salvation,” 119-149 in Journal of Koreanology 62 (Feb. 2017).


The encroachment of modern ideas contributed to an expanding climate of uncer- tainty and this unleashed a period of intense religious reconsideration. Choe’s was the first enduring “breakaway” response. His remodelling arose out of a revelation he claimed to have received directly from the Daoist Lord of Heaven, Sangje. Sangje revealed that all the political and social strife that was overtaking Korea was in actuality a sign that a great cosmic shift had commenced. This would culminate in a new utopian era that would be set in motion by a powerful Korean religious leader and that would expand from Korea to the rest of the world. This coming age was referred to as the Great Opening of the Later Heaven, a concept that was adopted by subsequent of Korea’s new indigenous religious groups in differing formats.8

Korea’s internal dynamics worsened during the oppressive Japanese occupa- tion of 1905-1945, which was followed five years later by the even more trau- matic destabilization of the Korean War. Messianic and millenarian hopes inten- sified throughout, bringing a proliferation of claimants to be this great new religious leader.

Messianic expectation was not a new theme in Korean religious thinking. It had a history of long standing that tended to revive whenever the country was beset by socio-economic and political discord. This tradition was more often tied to the appearance of the Buddhist Lord Maitreya (Miruk), but in the sixteenth century an influential prophetic work called the Jeonggam-nok predicted the coming of a more Confucian-Daoist type of messianic figure.9

It is not clear whether Choe would have eventually made messianic claims for himself had he lived longer,10 but the bulk of the major religious reformers which followed certainly did. These claims were associated with varying traditions, such as the coming to earth of the Daoist Heavenly Lord Sangje in the Jeungsan group of religions,11 or the fulfilment of the coming of the Buddhist Lord Maitreya of Won Buddhism,12 or the return of Christ in many of the Chris- tian-leaning new indigenous groups.13

8 Flaherty, 9; Don Baker, “The Great Transformation: Religious Practice in Chondogyo,” Reli- gions of Korea in Practice, edited by Robert E. Buswell, Jr. (Princeton NJ: Princeton University, 2007), 454.

9 Kil-Myung Ro, “New Religions and Social Change in Modern Korea History,” The Review of Korean Studies 5, 1 (2002): 35-8.

10 Paul Beirne suggests that though Choe did not make specific claims for himself, he very possibly did see himself as the fulfilment of the True Man, the Jin-in, of the Jeonggam-nok. See Paul Beirne, Su-un and his World of Symbols: The Founder of Korea’s First Indigenous Religion(Surrey: Ashgate, 2009), 38, 63, 82.

11 Flaherty, 27-8, 32; Don Baker, “Renewing Heaven and Earth: Spiritual Discipline in Chungsangyo,” in Religions of Korea in Practice, edited by Robert E. Buswell, Jr. (Princeton NJ: Princeton University, 2007), 488.

12 Jin Y. Park, “Won Buddhism, Christianity and Interreligious Dialogue,” 109-131 in Journal of Korean Religions 5, 1 (2014).

13 Gernot Prunner has assembled a valuable listing of numerous of Korea’s new indigenous groups and some of their characteristics whereas the references in this paper will be far more lim- ited. See Gernot Prunner, “The New Religions in Korean Society,” 1-15 in Korea Journal (Febru- ary 1980).


The utopianism of Korea’s new indigenous religions was characterized by a predominating collective idealism, this leaning no doubt a projection of its Confu- cian heritage, though Don Baker notes that Korean religiosity was always more concerned with human to human than human to divine relations compared to other Confucian-influenced nations like China and Japan.14 This collective orientation is confirmed in the slogans that Korea’s main new religions adopted. Donghak’s, as mentioned, was, “All men are equal.” The philosophy of Taejonggyo washongikingan, or “broadly benefiting mankind.”15 One of Won Buddhism’s Four Platforms was “egoless service to humanity.”16 The well-known saying of the Unification founder, Sun Myung Moon, was, “Living for the sake of others.”

The intention of Donghak was to set off nothing less than an ethical revolution based on its new concept of God. Its leaders talked about creating a world of virtue; aiding the people; saving the country;17 and delivering humankind from “all man-inflicted suffering,” as R. Pierce Beaver summed the Donghak/Cheon- dogyo ethos.18 Cheondogyo’s fourth Patriarch, Yi Ton-hwa (1884-?), made a direct correlation between the persistence of what he called the “false conven- tions” of society and humanity’s inadequate spiritual state.19 The perfection of the individual and the perfection of society were co-dependent.20

This collective orientation caused (and continues to influence) Korea’s new indigenous religions toward social activism.21 The Unification movement is well known for the vast array of social projects it has initiated and Korea’s other main new indigenous religions have also been active in the social arena.22

Their activism stretched to political involvement. Donghak instigated a num- ber of usually peaceful protests in the cause of greater human rights, though in the 1890s a militant wing launched a program of armed resistance, the ill-fated Farmers’ Revolts, which inadvertently paved the way for Japanese hegemony over the Korean peninsula.23 Later, many of Korea’s religious patriots were at

14 Don Baker, “The Religious Revolution in Modern Korea: From Ethics to Theology and from Ritual Hegemony to Religious Freedom,” 249-275 in The Review of Korean Studies 9, 3 (Septem- ber 2006): 260.

15 Don Baker, “The Korean God is not the Christian God: Taejonggyo’s Challenge to Foreign Religions,” in Religions of Korea in Practice, edited by Robert E. Buswell, Jr. (Princeton NJ: Princeton University, 2007), 465.

16 Bongkil Chung, “Won Buddhism: A Synthesis of the Moral Systems of Confucianism and Buddhism,” 425-448 in Korea Journal 15 (1988): 430.

  1. 17  Ro, 39.
  2. 18  Beaver, 120-1.
  3. 19  Albert L. Park, Building a Heaven on Earth: Religion, Activism, and Social Protest in Japa-

nese Occupied Korea (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 2015), 93.

  1. 20  Yong Choon Kim, “Chondogyo Eschatology,” 141-153 in Numen 21, 2 (1974): 142.
  2. 21  Carl F. Young, Eastern Learning and the Heavenly Way: The Tonghak and Chondogyo Move-

ments and the Twilight of Korean Independence (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 2014), 140-1, 161-7.

22 Such as, the university and hospital of Daesun Jinrihoe, the largest Jeungsan group, and the extensive interfaith and social work of Won Buddhism – see Michael Pye, “Won Buddhism as a Korean New Religion,” 113-141 in Numen 49, 2 (2002): 120.

23 Il-chol Shin, “Tonghak Movement and Modernization,” 16-21 in Korea Journal 6, 5 (May 1966).


the forefront of resisting Japanese rule. Cheondogyo followers comprised almost 50% of the signatories of the 1920 Korean Declaration of Independence from Japan and were among the main initiators of the Samil (March 1st) peace marches that followed publication of that document.24 Some of Korea’s new religions also vigorously opposed Communist penetration. The Unification Church was highly active in anti-Communist resistance programs, such as the Marxist critique pro- grams it sponsored around the world during the 1970s and 1980s and its involve- ment in the International Federation for Victory over Communism.25 Cheondo- gyo too was actively anti-Communist. In 1960 its spiritual leader became president of the Asian People’s Anti-Communist League.26

Surprisingly in a patriarchal bastion like Korea, accommodated within Dong- hak’s collectivist idealism was concern for greater gender parity. This is still far from having been perfectly realized within the groups that promoted it, but from Choe onwards27 many of Korea’s new indigenous religious groups defied trench- ant tradition in their expressions of commitment to improving the status of women in Korean society. In the Jeungsan groups, it was specifically taught that in the coming utopia the workings of yin and yang would be more balanced, leading to greater equality for women. The wife of its founder, Il Gang-San, led one of the major Jeungsan splinter groups following his death.28 Won Bud- dhism’s guiding committee from its inception required an equal number of women and men.29 In Unification doctrine God is portrayed as having a “dual essentiality” of yang-yin or male-female. This doctrine boosts support for an ideal of gender equality, though its potential benefit for improving the status of women has tended to be somewhat diluted by the yang-yin relationship within Unification teaching also being described as one of subject (masculine – yang) and object (feminine – yin),30 which connotes a masculine priority.

The consequences of this particular inconsistency have more lately taken con- crete expression in the two schisms that have formalized since Moon’s wife Hak Ja Han took over Unification leadership following his death in 2012. The vast majority of membership approved of her claim to lead, but three of the Moon sons objected and went their separate ways. At the heart of their objections seems to be an intention to uphold the third of the Confucian “three obediences,” the requirement that on the death of the male household head (the father), the author- ity of the female head (mother) ceases and she becomes subservient to her sons.31

  1. 24  Beaver, 117-8.
  2. 25  “Reverend Moon’s Central Role in the Peaceful Downfall of Communism, accessed 20 April


27 Hyo Dong Lee, Spirit, Qi, and the Multitude: A Comparative Theology for the Democracy of Creation (New York: Fordham University, 2014): 5.

  1. 28  Flaherty, 27.
  2. 29  Pye, 128.
  3. 30  Hyo-Won Eu, Exposition of the Divine Principle, English translation (New York: HSA-UWC,

Journal of Comparative Family Studies 26, 1 (Spring 1995): 118, 125.

26 Beaver, 119.

1996), 19.
31 Insook Han Park and Lee-Jay Cho, “Confucianism and the Korean Family,” 117-134 in


The practical “protection” value of this tradition in older social contexts is obvi- ous, but in a modern setting it is more difficult to justify. The schismatics have been careful not to frame their objection to Mrs. Moon’s leadership in such precise terms, but it is strongly implied. In the case of the younger two of the three sons, Sean and Kook-Jin, whose schism has now formalized into World Peace and Unification Sanctuary32 (often shortened to Sanctuary Church [SC] with followers referred to as Sanctuarians), it was actually stated that Mrs. Moon should have accepted a role similar to that of a Dowager Queen.33 Youngjun Kim, president of the schismatic group led by the eldest of the three sons, Hyun- Jin, also called Preston, now formalized as the Family Peace Association (FPA), has also quoted Reverend Moon in a summary paper concerning FPA’s position as saying the mother should serve the son.34 In this volume one of the FPA pres- entations also attempts to clarify its position as patrilineal rather than patriarchal, meaning that while there is no objection to females in leadership positions in principle, only a male Moon descendant is entitled to be Reverend Moon’s suc- cessor. As the eldest living son, Preston Moon further claims primogeniture patrilineal succession.

It is in fact highly likely that male primogeniture succession was Reverend Moon’s original intent. This was clearly not a fixed position, however, because a few years before his death he invested his youngest son Sean and his wife as the True Parents’ successor.35 Oddly, it seems that Mrs. Moon too supports pri- mogeniture patrilineal succession in principle, for it has been widely rumoured that she has been grooming the eldest son of the Moons’ deceased eldest son Hyo-Jin to succeed her. Her claim to leadership thus derives from her status as the still-living female half of the True Parents more than from the exercise of feminine equality as such. As long as she is still alive, the True Parents are still in authority and the question of succession is not yet at issue. Her sons, on the other hand, see this as a usurpation of their inheritance rights.

This dispute has been most unsettling to the FFWPU but has also spurred its theologians to seek greater clarification concerning the doctrinal ambiguities over male-female equality that exist within both the official doctrinal treatise,

32 World Peace and Unification Sanctuary,, accessed 16 July 2017.
33 See discussions:, accessed 10 January

2017. Youngjun Kim, “Position of the Family Peace Association, Preliminary version,” 3,, accessed 18 July 2017.
35 Reverend Moon initially expected his eldest son Hyo-Jin to succeed him but then turned to his next eldest son Preston when Hyo-Jin’s addictions became too problematic to consider him suitable. Problems arising out of Preston’s reformations later caused Reverend Moon to pass over him and name his youngest son Sean, who had come forward with a counter-reformation program that brought revitalization results (see my article with David Bromley, “Update: From the Unifica- tion Church to the Unification Movement and Back,” 86-95 in Novo Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 16, 2 [2012]), as successor. By the time of his death in 2012, however, Sean had been taking extremist positions, which caused many of the group’s elders to question his suitability. While apparently preferring a system of patrilineal inheritance, both the

elder Moons have arguably given precedence to capability over inheritance. 72

Exposition of the Divine Principle written by early follower Hyo-Won Eu, and the founder’s utterances.36 Numerous of Moon’s personal statements upholding the equality of his wife and women generally have now been mined to bolster the view that Mrs. Moon’s intervention was not only legitimate but of providen- tial import in making a condition of worldwide restoration on behalf of women.37Among the published analyses has been a rigorous theological defence of Mrs. Moon’s right to leadership by the Moons’ eldest daughter Ye-Jin.38 And particularly interesting in regard to this debate has been Andrew Wilson’s ongo- ing analysis of the original Divine Principle as hand-written by Reverend Moon in 1951 (Wolli Wonbon). According to Wilson, it contains a much greater empha- sis on the Fatherhood-Motherhood of God than that found in the Hyo-Won Eu rendering. Wilson moreover found a significant difference in the Wolli Wonbon’swording in regard to relationship within God’s dual-essentiality; it uses the term “counterparts” rather than “subject-object,”39 which puts quite a different slant on the matter. Wilson concluded the emphasis was altered by early Korean fol- lowers in the interests of both the Christian and Confucian gender prejudices of the time.

The schismatic groups too have been busy in this regard. As we find in this volume, the Sanctuary group has comprehensively argued that God while male-female at a spiritual level should be treated as male on a human level.

New Syncretistic Revelation

Though Korea’s new indigenous religions often demonstrate a particular lean- ing, such as the Daoism of the Jeungsan groups, the nativism of the Taejonggyo groups, the Buddhism of Won Buddhism and other Buddhist-leaning groups and the Christianity of the Unification group, the founding figures were also apt to claim they had found a way to synthesize or unite the disparate religious teachings of Korea’s past into a more homogenous and relevant religious philosophy. Bokin Kim observed that harmonizing the “three teachings” dominated the new religious thinking of Korea.40 Choe expressly sought a new religious system that remained essentially tied to Eastern principles but enshrined an ethos strong enough to ward

36 These ambiguities were discussed in articles by Claude Perottet, 25-50 in “Gender in Western Philosophy and Unification Thought,” Journal of Unification Studies 7 (2006); and Andrew Wil- son, “Heavenly Mother,” 73-104 in Journal of Unification Studies 10 (2009).

37 See Thomas Selover’s analysis, among others (such as Tyler Hendricks and Michael Mick- ler): “The Providential Significance of True Mother’s Leadership,” accessed 4 January 2017, leadership.

38 See Ye-Jin Moon, “The Need to Recover Gender Balance, to Understand God as Both Father and Mother,” 65-128 in Journal of Unification Studies 16 (2015).

39 Andrew Wilson, “Reverend Moon’s Early Teaching on God as Heavenly Parent,”1-27 inJournal of Unification Studies 16 (2015).

40 Bokin Kim, “The Irwon Symbol and its Ecumenical Significance,” 73-87 in Buddhist- Christian Studies 14 (1994): 73.


off the moral decay that he saw as inevitably following the ascent of Christian individualism.41 Yet Choe was clearly influenced by, or at least felt compelled to answer the challenge of Christian monotheism among other items, as his new God was monotheistic, and he even used the Korean Catholic term for God, Cheonju, interchangeably with the Daoist term Sangje, or Lord of Heaven.42

Syncretism was another familiar feature within the Korean religious mentality. A few centuries prior to Choe an uneasy philosophical alliance between the “three teachings” of China, Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism, had been achieved in Korean Neo-Confucianism.43 The “three teachings” had even earlier been sub- jected to varying degrees of native “shamanization” to render them more compat- ible with parochial thinking. Hang-Nyong Song believes the proto-Daoist charac- ter of Korea’s pre-Chinese indigenous religion was a strong factor in Daoism being the first of the “three teachings” that Korea absorbed.44 Andrew Eungi Kim has also noted the manner in which Buddhism accommodated certain native shamanist assumptions and practices in order to facilitate its acceptance in Korea, in particu- lar shamanist propitiation to obtain worldly blessing and assistance. Korean Bud- dhism today is still largely “blessing”-oriented. The “prosperity gospel” of some of the more popular forms of Korean Christianity that have come to prominence can also be associated with the persistence of phenomenal shamanism.45 Choe also incorporated shamanistic leanings in his new teaching. Dong-Hi Choi’s analysis notes the trembling in both body and mind and trance-like quality that Choe described in relation to his heavenly encounters,46 which parallel some Korean shamanist phenomena. His recommendation for his followers to ingest water mixed with the burnt ashes of a paper on which a divine symbol had been written to achieve healing is another shamanistic parallel.47

Numerous scholars have noted the syncretism of Unification thought, with George Chryssides’ analysis being the most detailed.48 Christianity is its most obvious input. The Divine Principle in fact situates itself in a “Completed Tes- tament Era” in relation to the Old and New Testaments eras.49

Though the Unification message addresses itself primarily in Christian terms, as Unificationist Thomas Selover noted in an article he wrote for the Journal of

41 Baker, “The Great Transformation,” 455-6; Hang-Nyong Song, “A Short History of Taoism in Korea,” 13-18 in Korea Journal 26, 5 (May 1986): 17.

43 Young-Jin Koh, “Neo-Confucianism as the Dominant Ideology in Joseon,” 59-86 in Korea Journal (Winter 2003): 64.

44 Song, 14. A shamanist style of Daoism dominated the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE to 668 CE).

42 Baker, “The Great Transformation,” 450.

45 Andrew Eunggi Kim, “Characteristics of Religious Life in South Korea: A Sociological Survey,” 291-310 in Review of Religious Research 43, 4 (June 2002): 296-7.

46 Dong-hi Choi, “Tonghak Movement and Chundo-gyo,” 14-19 in Korea Journal 3, 5 (May 1963): 15.

47 Beaver, 116; Baker, “Renewing Heaven and Earth,” 492-3; Baker, “The Korean God is Not the Christian God,” 470.

48 George D. Chryssides, The Advent of Sun Myung Moon: The Origins, Beliefs and Practices of the Unification Church, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991): 46-101.

49 DP, 184. 74

Unification Studies in 2014, its Principle of Creation is quintessentially Neo-Con- fucian.50 Other Confucian influences have been numerously noted, such as the penchant for politeness and hierarchical respect in Unification personal conduct and its idealization of a harmonious family and social order. Confucianism’s ide- alization of the Virtuous or Righteous Man, the Jin-In, has also been commented upon. Less understood is that the Neo-Confucian underpinnings of Unification thought have required numerous reinterpretations of Christian doctrines to fit this foundational scheme. For example, Unification Christology rejects the traditional Christian interpretation of Jesus Christ as the living incarnation of God on earth.51The Unification reinterpretation of Christ actually melds three concepts: reasser- tion of the Jewish concept of “anointed” redeemer;52 the Confucian Man of Truth and Righteousness; and the Son of Heaven, a shaman-like king as was particularly idealized in Tangun foundation legend revival of the Taejonggyo groups53 but which Christian missionaries in Korea also exploited to good effect in an effort to situate Jesus Christ in a more familiar context.54 Whereas Korea’s shamans, tradi- tionally usually women, by the way, were believed to be individuals with a calling to access the spirit world in pursuit of worldly blessing and assistance on behalf of individuals, the “Son of Heaven” had responsibility to directly “cooperate” with Heaven for public benefit. The stories of spiritual travel and heavenly mes- saging in the cause of world redemption that have now become an established part of Moon lore well attest to the latter correspondence.55

In particular, these Neo-Confucian underpinnings have influenced the Unification reconstruction of God. What we will find as this subject is explored further is that the Unification God merges the Neo-Confucian Great Ultimate and the Christian God, with this merging finding strong precedent in the innovations of Choe Je-U.

The Choe Innovations

Choe took the radical step of investing the omnipresent but impersonal Psy- cho-physical Energy of the Neo-Confucian Great Ultimate with Personality. This

50 Thomas Selover, “Neo-Confucian Principles in Unification Thought,” 85-100 in Journal of Unification Studies 15 (2014).

51 The Divine Principle specifically rejects the doctrine that Jesus was God in the flesh: DP,167-9.

52 Or, as Geza Vermes asserted, the classic Jewish charismatic, “Son of God,” hero figure. Geza Vermes, Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD 30-325 (London: Allan Lane, 2012).

53 Baker, “The Korean God is Not the Christian God,” 464.

54 Sung-Deuk Oak, “Shamanistic Tan’gun and Christian Hananim: Protestant Missionaries’ Interpretation of the Korean Founding Myth, 1895-1934,” 42-57 in Studies in World Christianity7:1 (2001): 43-9. It seems likely that the missionaries’ reawakening of the Tangun foundation myth, which had lost favour following its spurious development in the early Joseon period to bolster its legitimacy, was at least partly responsible for the Tangun motif that became prominent in some of Korea’s new indigenous religions.

55 DP, 11; Sun Myung Moon, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, English translation (Washing- ton DC: Washington Times Foundation, 2010), 37-8, 54, 76-7; Chryssides, 47-9; among others.


impulse in my view was at least partially if not wholly inspired by the challenge of the personal, monotheistic God of Christianity that was attracting attention at the time that he developed Donghak.

Don Baker has described Choe’s modification of the Neo-Confucian Great Ultimate as a divinization of qi, or ki in Korean.56 In a detailed analysis, Hyo- Dong Lee similarly equated the Cheondogyo version of ki with a “democra- tized” Holy Spirit,57 a combination that he felt resolved the problems of both the impersonality of qi of the Eastern world and the “hegemony” of the Christian Holy Spirit.58

Because the Great Ultimate is omnipresent through the pervasive ki, Choe concluded that everyone must “bear Heaven,” a common expression in Cheon- dogyo. Everyone, in other words, is by nature endowed with the capacity to directly and personally encounter Heaven, or the Great Ultimate, and manifest its supreme virtue of li, the heavenly character it carries.59 This was its doctrine of in nae cheon, as it was to more specifically develop, which translates as: “Humans are Heaven”; that is, the divine resides within.60 This is similar to but goes further than the East Asian assumption that as a product of Heaven the “essence” or “mind” of humans is basically good. In the Eastern systems that “original mind” can be awakened through a long and laborious process of “cul- tivation,” whereas in the Choe version there is a spontaneous awakening, a “nat- ural becoming.”61 This implies a serious criticism of former “Way of Heaven” methods: the ascetic meditation of Buddhism; the complex exercises to jump- start ki of Daoism; and the years of intense study and strict adherence to a “heavenly” etiquette idealized in classical Confucianism. The divine, being within as much as without, can be immediately encountered. Choe experienced this as an “ecstatic union,”62 an intensely-felt oneness with the divine, on the basis of which the heavenly virtue that is already within becomes recognizable, enhanced and consequently more easily manifest in personal behaviour.

Choe, as Hyo-Dong Lee concluded, “democratized” the spirituality of Korea. This included Korea’s shamanist leanings, discussed earlier. Choe became some- thing akin to a high shaman. God’s mind and his mind were one.63 This “descent”,64 or “advent,”65 as Choe referred to it, meant a “recovering” of one’s innate connection with the Great Divine. In contrast to the standard Neo-Confucian impersonality of the Great Ultimate, Choe’s religious experience was deeply per- sonal and theistic. Choe’s ontology was more accurately panentheistic than either

  1. 56  Baker, “The Great Transformation,” 452.
  2. 57  Hyo-Dong Lee, 212.
  3. 58  Ibid., 33-34.
  4. 59  Chung, 146.
  5. 60  Young, 140.
  6. 61  Baker, “The Great Transformation,” 450; Lee, 218, 223.
  7. 62  Bell, 85.
  8. 63  Ibid.
  9. 64  Ibid., 213;
  10. 65  Dong-hi Choi, 15.


pantheistic or theistic.66 The Lord of Heaven in further commissioning him to give people specific mantras to recite, the repetition of which would prompt deep mystical union with the divine within them also, in turn bequeathed a self-sha- manistic status to his followers.

We can note the further correlation, as Hyo-Dong Lee suggested, between Choe’s experiences of divine entering with the second-blessing sanctification of Christian Pentecostalism. In the latter case the divine enters from without and infuses the individual. For Choe it was the divine correspondence within in the act of meeting the divine Energy without that opened up a latent divine moral character that stimulated practitioners to act in ways that benefit the social unit over just the self.67 The individual becomes attuned to the universal “heart- mind” of the Great Ultimate within, and in so doing is theoretically transformed into a tangible expression of God acting on earth.68

In Donghak, shamanism can be said to have been regularized. As Cheondogyo developed later, however, in an effort to shed what came to be seen as relics of an earlier “superstitious” era, most of the early rituals were removed and its philosophy trended towards a pantheistic emphasis on the Great Ultimate as an all-pervasive Cosmic Divine Energy that though humankind is its most direct expression flows equally through all things.69 In this respect Cheondogyo seems to have moved closer to the monism of Western New Thought.

The “Choe effect” can be summed as follows. First, he took an Ockham’s razor to the Asian Heaven, excising most of the complex interim realms of deity. In this we can infer that Choe had been impressed by the comparative simplicity of Chris- tian monotheism. Second, he changed the abstract Asian High God into something that was more personal, approachable and caring, again a Christian interpolation. Third, the Great Primordial as immanent divinized the human person, thus erecting a theological platform for social equality that radically criticized the rigid class differentiation and exploitation over which Korea’s former religious systems had presided. Fourth, because everyone equally “bears Heaven,” Korea’s religious spirit also underwent a democratization wherein a shaman-like penetration of Heaven or the achievement of Sagehood were no longer limited to an educated upper class or priestly or monkish elite, nor were men deemed more capable in this respect than women. Fifth, the Great Primordial as immanent divinized mate- rial existence, providing a rationalization for material perfection that challenged the traditional seconding of the material world or natural domain to the perfection of Heaven’s Way. On the contrary, the material world too reflected Heaven’s perfection. Even human civilization had the potential to manifest Heaven’s Way when individuals consciously aligned themselves with the intrinsic deity within.

  1. 66  Hyo-Dong Lee, 212-3.
  2. 67  Beaver, 116; Yong Choon Kim, 148-9; Young, 148.
  3. 68  Hyo Dong Lee, 218-24.
  4. 69  Dong-hi Choi, 18-9; Young, in agreement with Beirne, also notes a doctrinal evolution within

Donghak/Cheondogyo from a God that was more personal and transcendent to one more wholly immanent. See Young, 144.


The impact of Choe’s innovations cannot be overstated. The new religious consciousness they engendered cleared the way for a new politic to thrive in Korea. Korean Christianity both contributed to and benefitted from what Choe set into motion. Such was the depth and momentum of Choe’s breakthrough that it also forged a model for the indigenous religious flowering that appeared after- wards. We will now look at how the nucleus of Choe’s new version of God was carried forward and enhanced in Unification thought.

The Unification God

The Neo-Confucian layout of existence is one of a singular primordial psy- cho-physical Energy, called the Great Ultimate, which has two attributive modes: substance and function,70 also frequently referred to as Pattern and Movement oryi (or li) and ki (or qi). Choe personalized the Great Ultimate and averred that personal contact was equally open to all by virtue of its immanence. Due to his early death, his philosophical discussion of the Great Ultimate was sketchy and, as already described, Cheondogyo in time veered towards a pantheistic monism that gave more focus to a personal, divinized ki over yi.

The standard Unification doctrinal text, Exposition of the Divine Principle (DP), starts with a portrayal of God as a Universal Principle of reciprocal rela- tionship between “original internal nature” (intangible, causal) and “original external form” (tangible, resultant). This relationship between the two generates a circularity of Energy, meaning God is innately Energy in motion, which theDP calls both Original Cause and Original Being.71 This depiction is analogous to that of the Neo-Confucian psycho-physical Great Ultimate, except that, in keeping with Choe, the Unification Great Ultimate has been highly Personalized, i.e., Christianized. It is from this cardinal Principle of Creation that the Divine Principle then launches into a reinterpretation of various Christian doctrines to bring them into concurrence. The effect is an Easternization of Christianity as much as it is a Westernization of Neo-Confucianism.

Compared to the great Daoist and Confucian treatises that over the millennia have sought to clarify ontological quandaries such as the precise relationship between Heaven and Earth, whether the Great Ultimate is a singularity having separate modes or is dualistic, whether the relationship between yin and yang is oppositional or complementary, whether yi is more important than ki or the reverse and whether Pattern (yi) is immutable or fluid, the standard DP comes across as relatively unsophisticated. Sang-Hun Lee’s Essentials of Unification Thought72 offers a more developed philosophical treatment of some of these issues.

  1. 70  Hyo-Dong Lee, 314.
  2. 71  DP, 32-3.
  3. 72  Sang-Hun Lee, New Essentials of Unification Thought: Head-Wing Thought, English edition

(Tokyo: Unification Thought Institute, 2006). 78

Without supplying a great deal in the way of reason or argument, the standardDP nevertheless does take a position on many of the age-old East Asian debates.73It insists, for example, that the traditional cosmic dipolarity of the Great Ultimate (Original Being) is a complementary unitarianism of perpetual interaction and interdependence through a “give and take” action.74 Particularly in the more com- plex Sang-Hun Lee version, correspondences with the musings of the Korean Neo-Confucian scholar Nongmun can be detected, who concluded that Substance and Form or li and qi are co-equal and better described as a “dynamic substance in process” (patterning inclination) having a “life-giving intention” (generative inclination). These processes are each fully allied; neither able to act without the other. Nongmun’s version of the Great Ultimate is a Oneness, in other words, having a co-equal, interactive, dipolar construction,75 which agrees with the inner and outer yang and yin that is suggested in the DP76 and elaborated upon by Lee.77

The Principle of Creation traces a consistent pattern of dynamic “dual-essen- tiality” throughout the created world, ending with the conclusion that a creation that universally exhibits dual-essentiality can only arise out of an Origin of dual-essentiality.78 This conclusion is then associated with Christianity via the statement found in the first chapter of Genesis that God created man in his own image, male and female.79 The Unification Principle of Creation thus positions itself as a more advanced understanding of God that is compatible with both Christianity and Judaism.

This is accompanied by another Christian-associated doctrinal leap. God is the dual-essential Parent of all, not just a Father Parent as in traditional Christianity, but Father and Mother. In this proposition the Christian Father-God and the yin- yang of the Neo-Confucian Great Ultimate meet and combine. In Christianity God becomes our Father by adoption, whereas in the Unification deliberation God’s Parenthood is one of actual dual-parented, “genetic” inheritance and rela- tionship. As the DP describes, creative appearances are “individual embodiments of truth.”80 Through the medium of Universal Prime Energy the Divine Cosmic Blueprint and Character is borne ever-onwards.81 Though God is on one level a transcendent Original Being in the DP,82 God is also immanent Universal Prime Energy, and thereby “omnipresent,” as the DP terms it.83 This stays with Choe’s panentheism while endowing it with a more elaborate construction.

  1. 74  DP, 35.
  2. 75  Hyo-Dong Lee, 155-158.
  3. 76  DP, 33.
  4. 77  UT, 13-5.
  5. 78  DP, 30-1.
  6. 79  Genesis 1:27; DP, 33.
  7. 80  DP, 33.
  8. 81  DP, 37-8.
  9. 82  DP, 30.
  10. 83  DP, 42.

73 Perhaps more rationale is to be found in Wolli Wonbon. According to Andrew Wilson, inWolli Wonbon twenty pages are devoted to one aspect of the Principle of Creation alone compared to just one paragraph in Hyo-Won Eu’s Exposition. (See footnote 35.)


In Asian philosophy there is a mechanical quality to the operation of the psy- cho-physical Great Ultimate which the Korean adaptation suffuses with Person- alism. In Cheondoism, the omnipresence of Great Ultimate Energy or Spirit is the enabler of empathetic channelling. Though Neo-Confucianism too conceived of a universal “heart-mind,” this was treated as an abstract “humaneness” or conceptual virtuosity rather than a directly and deeply experienced universal “heart.”84 Unification doctrine too assumes a Character or Heart permeating the entire fabric of existence, with humankind having the greatest capacity to con- sciously recognize, respond to and express this Character.85 It is described as Divine Mind, Heart and Will, or Heart (Shimjung), Logos and Creativity.86

Whereas the fallback of Eastern philosophy is upon either evolutionary growth or the stimulation of new cosmic energies as the means of leading humankind out of a state of ignorance of the God within, though both of these are also accommodated in the DP87 Moon adopted the Christian Fall of Man as a more cohesive explanation for the existence of evil.88 For Moon was certain that a good, loving God could never have intended an interim stage where humans would act so harmfully towards each other. Humankind must have deviated from God’s Nature and Plan in some way and the Christian Fall of Man supplied a ready explanation, subject to certain reinterpretations.

Moon took the consequences of the Fall even further. God is our Parent. How would any parent feel about their children’s suffering? They would be deeply sorrowful. How much more sorrow would God our Heavenly Father-Mother feel? This is the Parental Heart of Grief doctrine that, though not specifically outlined in the DP, was so much a part of Reverend Moon’s personal verbaliza- tions. Particularly during the course of his prayers, one could never doubt how deeply he identified with this Parental Heart and desired with all his being to resolve God’s existential Grief.89

Experiencing this “Heart” of Restoration was once the signature Unification experience. No longer, however, are the prayers of its members as “shamanistic” or intense as in the early days of the group, particularly as they were in Korea.90Perhaps such emotionalism was downplayed in an effort to be seen as more mainstream or “intelligent.” Or perhaps it just died a natural death following the joining of numerous traditional Christians for whom such emotionalism was too unfamiliar and uncomfortable to be embraced. Tellingly, some of those who have

  1. 84  Lee, 218-24.
  2. 85  DP, 41, 46; UT, 2-3.
  3. 86  UT, 2.
  4. 87  The first in its “three stages of growth” doctrine (DP, 49-53) and the second in its History of

Restoration clearing a path as it were for an improved level of world understanding to emerge (DP,Part 2).

88 DP, Chapter 2.

89 I witnessed these prayers on numerous occasions. Even when the precise words were not understood, one could not help but be transported by Reverend Moon’s grieving empathy.

90 When I spent a month in Seoul in 1968 such phenomena had already greatly died down compared to earlier reports though were still in good evidence.


drifted to the Sanctuary schism have partly justified their decision on SC services feeling more “spirit-filled” and authentic than those of the mainstream group.91Though many Unification members were highly critical of it at the time, the Hillsong cast to In-Jin Moon’s Lovin’ Life Ministries until it unravelled when she ran off with the lead band singer injected a revival spirit that brought many hundreds of second-generation members to the main church service in the Man- hattan Center.92 Today that same space is crowded with the many hundreds of Christian youth who attend the weekly Hillsong service now being held there.

While Cheondoism relied on a repetition of its mantras to induce feelings of divine contact, the Unification transformation more likely stems from the revo- lutionary re-presentation of God’s Nature and Purpose contained in its DP,93amplified as noted above by the notion of a deeply concerned Divine Parental Heart that was so consistently a part of Moon’s prayerful and other verbaliza- tions. During the 1990s the Unification group experimented with movement events as opposed to its former concentration on witnessing and conversion strat- egies. This was under the premiership of Hyun-Jin (Preston) Moon and his father-in-law Chung-Hwan Kwak. They championed a less-churchy, “fami- ly”-oriented, idealistic movement, claiming this to be truer to the ideal outlined in the Divine Principle as well as the stated desire of Reverend Moon on several occasions. Though this strategy brought public relations and other benefits, group growth also stagnated in those regions where movement activities predominated. Worse, the movement was not retaining its second generation and quite a number of first-generation members were drifting away. It wasn’t until Reverend Moon switched to a new approach (2008) led by his sons Sean and Kook-Jin plus their sister In-Jin that re-emphasized the need to teach the Divine Principle that new people began joining again and more second-generation members were retained.94

The failure of the movement strategy to attract new members may stem from a presupposition that the True Parents having been successfully established on earth, the emphasis should now turn to selling the “kingdom” they initiated rather than a church doomed to obsolescence as the world Unification-ized. The problem with such reasoning is that the world was still far from having Unifica- tion-ized. For the vast majority the “kingdom” had not yet arrived. The world was still suffering. God’s Heart was still far from having been healed. This strategy may have been well intended but it failed to comprehend that it is theDP with its transformative new vision of reality that changes people. Yet, rather

  1. 91  Queensland members who changed to the Sanctuary Church said precisely this to me.
  2. 92  Celine Tardy, “Lovin’ Life Ministries’ Worship Service Live-Streams Nation-wide,” 10 Feb-

ruary 2010, accessed 6 February 2017, Tardy-100212.htm; Harumi Kawamura, “Rev. In Jin Moon’s One Year Anniversary,” 13 August 2009, accessed 6 February 2017, versary-10920/.

94 I again refer to discussions in Bromley and Blonner.

93 The DP in providing a new definition of God and the meaning and purpose of existence radically changes the worldview, or interpretation of reality, of its believers.


than spreading the DP, members were publicizing only the broadest of ideals derived from the DP.

The second reason may be because, as the extraordinary flourishing of the Pentecostal/charismatic churches over the past few decades has so clearly demonstrated, religious sensibility does benefit from experiences of shared emo- tional bonding. Why are the traditional Protestant denominations currently in freefall by comparison? In their effort to de-mystify religion they perhaps went too far. The original Unification Church supplied a shared emotional experience that members have seemingly lost sight of, or perhaps never understood clearly enough to begin with.


The Unification God is a composite of Christian Personalism and Neo- Confucian immanence, to which it added a developed doctrine of Cosmic Par- entism. In the Neo-Confucian view, though the existence of an all-pervasive, psycho-physical Great Ultimate is recognized, until Choe it was only the most extraordinarily gifted sages who were considered capable of penetrating its work- ings. Reverencing the underlying heavenly harmony and abiding by a prescrip- tive etiquette that demonstrated appropriate honour and respect was the best it was thought that the average, common “good” person could achieve. As Hyo- Dong Lee observed, Choe’s belief in the universal permeation of heavenly Being “democratized” Neo-Confucianism in a similar way to what the Holy Spirit of Neo-Christian Pentecostalism has wrought upon Christianity, though through completely different sets of theological reasoning. For Choe one still had to practice certain rituals to facilitate access to this divine core but this was far from the onerous process of following a strict Heavenly Way of which only a small elite was actually capable.

Moon extended Choe’s seed thought by insisting that the architecture of the Cosmos is a living activity of correspondent male-female attraction and interaction out of which creation or manifestation has arisen. This Cosmic Parental Pattern is inscribed throughout existence. In the Unification case, however, there were no ritual formulae or specific techniques required to “bring on” the experience of divine union that Choe described. Rather, through the DP’s detailed explanation concerning a Cosmic Parental Nature and Purpose, our deviation from knowing and working in harmony with that Nature and Purpose and our existential need to recover that understanding and cooperative implementation, the Living God could be encountered by natural means, that is, by correspondent heart-mind-soul recog- nition and a consequential spontaneous program of inner reorientation.

The Unification cosmological portrait provides a uniquely cohesive theologi- cal rationale for human equality, particularly male-female equality. This democ- ratizing stimulus, on the other hand, has been compromised by the emphasis on a hierarchy of subject-object positions that is also derivable from the standard


DP text, but which, as noted earlier, apparently distorts the rendering in Moon’s original Divine Principle, the Wolli Wonbon. This has promulgated a patriarchal and hierarchal leaning that the Unification group has struggled with through much of its history and which has now emerged as a major point of contention. This leaning moreover threatens to dilute, perhaps even overturn, one of the more innovative and useful features of the Moon legacy: the democratizing stimulus that is embedded in his reconstruction of God as a Universal Father-Mother Parent whose fundamental Character and Image are imprinted upon all existence but most particularly upon God’s human children.


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The Welsh Connection
Pastor Joshua McCabe’s role in the Unification Church’s early history

George D. Chryssides

The ensuing discussion is an attempt to reconstruct a brief incident in the Unification Church’s early history. In 1956 Pastor Joshua McCabe was sent by the Apostolic Church to Korea, where he met Sun Myung Moon and stayed for 80 days. Unificationists claim he went there to study the Principle, that he accepted most of Moon’s teachings, and that he even helped to translate the first English version of Divine Principle1. In 1990 I published a short article on McCabe, which made a preliminary attempt to adjudicate on different versions of McCabe’s visit. Since then some new material has become available. In addi- tion to personal correspondence with McCabe during his lifetime, and some transcripts of speeches by Kim and McCabe, Jennifer P. Tanabe has edited a collection of interviews, speeches and articles by David Kim, which include his address to the Apostolic Church’s Annual Convention in Penygroes, South Wales in 1955, and his farewell address to Pastor McCabe in Seoul, Korea in 19562.

This article challenges all the claims mentioned above. My own personal cor- respondence in 1986 with Joshua McCabe tells a somewhat different story from that of the Unification Church (UC) and the Apostolic Church. It is argued that McCabe initially thought the UC would be an ally in its mission, but experienced unexpected clashes with the HSA-UWC (Holy Spirit Association for the Unifi- cation of World Christianity) leader,3 causing embarrassment to both organisa- tions, who have therefore been reluctant to present a complete account of McCabe’s role.

It may be asked why this brief incident is important. Although there was no outcome, it is worthy of discussion for several reasons. First, it provides an insight into the Unification Church’s early years: McCabe was its first Western visitor. Second, it sheds some light on the early development of the key textDivine Principle; and third, in fairness to the Apostolic Church, the record should be set straight on an incident which I believe is at best exaggerated, and at worst distorted by the Unification Church.

  1. 1  Kim, Y. W. 1956.
  2. 2  When quoting McCabe’s personal correspondence and typescripts, I have preserved the orig-

inal misspellings and infelicities in punctuation. I have not inserted the word ‘sic’ at each occur- rence, since this would interrupt the flow of the text. Readers should assume that the text is as original throughout, and I have added the full text of McCabe’s 1986 correspondence below.

3 HSA-UWC was the organisation’s original name in Korea.


The Apostolic Church stemmed from the Welsh revival of 1904-1905, and is a Pentecostal denomination, with its headquarters in Penygroes, South Wales, and founded in 1914. Its doctrines are Calvinist in ethos, and include belief in scriptural inerrancy, humanity’s total depravity, as well as mainstream doctrines such as the Trinity. Pastor Joshua McCabe was born in 1903 in Dumbarton, just outside Glasgow (Scotland), and subsequently became attached to the Edinburgh congregation.4 He was sent to Australia to further the denomination’s work there, arriving in January 1932.

David Sang Chul Kim (1915-2011) was one of Sun Myung Moon’s first dis- ciples, and one of the founding members of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity in 1954; he was one of the couples who par- ticipated in the 36 Couples Blessing Ceremony in 1960-1961.5 Kim came to the UK to study Social Welfare at the University College of Swansea in 1954-1955, and came into contact with the Apostolic Church in Wales. He was invited to speak at the Apostolic Church International Convention in July/August 1955. Kim spoke of the burgeoning group of Korean Christians to which he belonged back home, and urged the Apostolic Church to send a missionary to spend time with this newly formed organisation to help them with their work.

Kim’s request was referred to the Australian branch of the Apostolic Church, who agreed to send Joshua McCabe out to Seoul. It is at this point that accounts diverge. According to Unification sources, McCabe went to Korea to study “Principle”, and found a group of highly enthusiastic devotees who were inspired by Moon, who was a rousing orator. McCabe may have had some problems regarding their views on the Second Advent but, that apart, he accepted their teachings and helped to translate the earliest English version of Divine Principle, even suggesting its title.

Understandably the Unification Church wants to present the community into which McCabe was welcomed in a favourable light, and they quote a very pos- itive report which McCabe wrote, and which appeared in the November 1956 edition of the denomination’s magazine The Apostolic Herald. He stated:

The group of Christians to whom I have come are not Pentecostal or Apostolic as we know it. and yet the spirit of the Lord is manifest among them, as some have visions, others have tongues and interpretations, while a spirit of prophecy is exer- cised by others in private. So far I have seen no manifestation of the Gifts of the spirit in the gatherings. The fervour and sincerity of the worship, the soul stirring preaching of Mr Moon; a born orator who stirs his congregation to response both in praying and preaching is wonderful.6

Extracts from the article were quoted in the UC’s magazines Cornerstone andToday’s World in 1984/1985, and the article appears in full in David Kim (2010).

4 Some Unification sources gave his forename as Joseph. This is incorrect, as can be ascertained by official records.

  1. 5  The so-called “36 Couples Blessing” was in fact three successive ceremonies.
  2. 6  McCabe 1956: 163.


In his report, McCabe describes a number of distinctive features of the HSA- UWC. He says that they are not Pentecostal or Apostolic, and they do not baptise or “break bread”, but nonetheless he seems impressed by their visions, tongues, interpretations, and prophecies, although he says these do not occur at the gath- erings. The congregation does not sit on chairs, but on the floor. The group appears to be one of eight centres, with an estimated membership of between 600 and 1,200. In the Seoul congregation which McCabe attended, services took place on Wednesdays and Sundays, with around 300 attending on a Wednesday and between 300 and 400 on Sundays. McCabe states that he did not have an opportunity to address the congregation, owing to a slight accident on the way home from his welcome reception. (He assures his readers that he has now recov- ered.)

One distinctive feature of the community is the teaching of “Principles” by a Mr Yoo (probably Hyo Won Eu), who lectures on Principles for between four and five hours each day. Lectures are given three times each week, attracting audiences of up to 40, although sometimes only five or six. Attendees range from high school students to adults over 50 years of age. Every six months, there is an examination to test candidates’ understanding, and certificates and diplomas are awarded to successful candidates.

David Kim provides his account of events, although considerably later. Writ- ing in 1984, he describes how he came to “England” (sic) in 1954 as a United Nations scholar, and studied at the University of Wales. There he found the Apostolic Church, and was invited to speak at its International Convention at Penygroes in August 1955. He states that he appealed to the Apostolic Church to establish a mission in Korea, to help the new emergent movement led by Sun Myung Moon, to study the new revelations that they were receiving, and to help to protect the new Korean Christians from the persecution they were undergoing. Kim relates that Joshua McCabe was sent out as an official representative of the Apostolic Church and stayed in Korea for around 80 days, in the course of which he (Kim) welcomed him and introduced him to Sun Myung Moon and other leading members such as Young Oon Kim, Mr Yoo, and a Mrs Chei. Kim states that McCabe studied the Principle, accepted most of its content, apart from its teaching about the Second Coming in human form. He went away inspired, having had spiritual experiences, but the Church’s Board of Mission decided against its original plan, and thus “the dispensational plan for the British Empire as the Eve nation failed” (Kim 1984:26). The HSA-UWC had therefore to look to another nation to perform this role, and with this in view Young Oon Kim and David Kim went to the US in 1959. John Lofland continues this part of the story in his Doomsday Cult (1966).

So what actually happened? Following the Unification Church’s publicising of McCabe’s visit, some further material has come to light. Jennifer’s two vol- umes contain David Kim’s correspondence and speeches, including a transcript of the address he gave to the Apostolic Church’s International Convention, and I subsequently corresponded with Joshua McCabe to seek further information.


The transcript of Kim’s speech to the Convention, which he also delivered on at least two other occasions, it seems, gives facts about Korea, mentions the effects of Korean War, and speculates on God’s divine plan for the country. He goes on to speak about God “selecting specialised groups” to receive visions and prophecies, in the course of which they are able to talk to Moses, John the Baptist, Elijah and Jesus Christ. He mentions 300 Christians in the three Korean towns who are persecuted by mainstream churches because of their presumed healing powers, prophecies visions and speaking in unknown tongues. At no point in his speech does he mention Sun Myung Moon, but he advocates a com- ing together of Eastern and Western spiritual groups, saying, “I think God has prepared different vessels in different nations in East and West to let them marry and produce LOVE and a Lovely Child after they unite East and West”.7

McCabe’s subsequent correspondence provides quite a different perspective on his visit. Referring to this material, the web page, which bears the title “The Words of David S. C. Kim” gives this acknowledgement to the present author:

We are indebted to Dr. George Chryssides, now a research fellow at the University of Birmingham, for making his research materials available to us, including his correspondence with Pastor McCabe and Dr. David S. C. Kim in 1986. These materials formed the basis for Dr. Chryssides’ 1988 (sic) article “The Welsh Con- nection: Pentecostalism and the Unification Church.”8

This acknowledgement is misleading, for several reasons. First, my corre- spondence was not handed over to the Unification Church, but to one independ- ent author who has now left the organisation. The research materials in question amounted to no more than McCabe’s two letters. Second, the article states that “Over time, Pastor McCabe found that our beliefs did not coincide with those of the Apostolic Church”, and that “his later letters indicate slightly more jaded memories of his experience.” To describe McCabe’s correspondence in this way is an understatement is to put it mildly: McCabe’s letters are quite hostile regard- ing Moon. The article implies that McCabe was sympathetic to the Unification Church and its theology while in Korea, but later reconsidered. One web article goes so far as to suggest that McCabe was persuaded that Moon was the Lord of the Second Coming, but that “Pastor McCabe had betrayed them” by not testifying to his messianic status on returning home to his denomination. (The word “betrayed” seems inappropriate, ignoring the difference between the dis- ciple Peter, who denied Jesus, and Judas Iscariot, who handed him over to the authorities.)

7 Kim; in Tanabe 2010: 108 (caps. as original).

8 Kim, David S. C. (2010). The Words of David S. C. Kim: An Early Foreign Visitor to the Church in Seoul

Accessible online at URL: Accessed 23 May 2017. It should be pointed out that, although the webmaster is a prominent UC member, the Tparents web pages are not official.


In my correspondence with McCabe in 1986, he tells a somewhat different story. Initially he was sent to help the organisation, with the brief to stay for three months, or slightly more if this seemed appropriate. McCabe stayed for 80 days, and lis- tened to Moon’s teachings for six weeks, transmitted through interpreters, since Moon did not speak English. McCabe’s difficulties with the Principle’s teachings were various. He remarks that they taught universalism: everyone would gain entry to heaven, including Satan. The Bible, according to Moon, taught of the failure of various figures, such as Noah, Abraham, David and others.

He takes exception to the claims that these key characters in scripture failed in their role, and he specifically cites some details in the Principle, for example Abraham’s failure to cut the birds in his sacrifice (Genesis 15:10) and Noah’s drunkenness. (The fact that McCabe can remember these details of Unification- ist teaching inspires confidence that he is not misremembering his experience.) He is particularly incensed by the claim that Jesus was unable to complete his work, allegedly because his teachings focused on the poor rather than the rich,9and that Sun Myung Moon is hailed as the new messiah who is commissioned to finish his work. There is certainly no indication here that McCabe was ever tempted to accept Moon as the Lord of the Second Coming — quite the contrary.

McCabe states that, up to the point at which Moon’s messianic status was divulged, he was given no opportunity to present the teachings of the Apostolic Church. He makes no mention of any accident that has prevented him from doing so, but states that Moon harangued his audience, and that he was only able to debate points of divergence with him in private at a later stage. McCabe writes:

Mr Moon believed a lot of Mr Emmanuel Swedenborg’s doctrines which are very far astray from the orthodox beliefs of you. I argued, reasoned and debated every point of difference with Mr M. He conceded that my knowledge of scripture was a hindrance to me receiving his revelations He professed to have visits from the Patriarchs, Prophets, Kings and Apostles of the Bible who came & communed with him. While we sat on the floor of Mr Chung’s sitting-room, he told me Abraham and Ezekiel were sitting on the opposite side of the room10

After this conversation, Moon evidently agreed to give McCabe a platform at two Sunday services and on a Tuesday evening ministry meeting, but absented himself on these occasions.

He went to a country place and did not re-appear until the next week-end when I was again relegated to a spot among the congregation who sat on the floor while Mr Moon harangued the people on his own peculiar doctrines11

9 Tyler Hendricks (1999). “The Reality of the Eternal Return — Reflections on the 40-Day Japan-America Leadership Exchange” Accessible online at Tyler_korea_japan_.htm Accessed 23 May 2017.

10 Tyler Hendricks (1999). “The Reality of the Eternal Return — Reflections on the 40-Day Japan-America Leadership Exchange” Accessible online at Tyler_korea_japan_.htm Accessed 23 May 2017.

11 Personal correspondence. 25 May 1986.


McCabe’s visit was intended as a partnership between the two organisations, yet McCabe was given no opportunity to explain the beliefs of the Apostolic Church.

Notwithstanding these experiences, McCabe seems to have departed on rea- sonably good terms with his hosts. In his farewell sermon, delivered on 2 Sep- tember 1956, McCabe says:

I regret the time has come to leave you for I have grown to love and appreciate you one and all. I appreciate your devotion, your willingness to sacrifice for Christ, and suffer persecution joyfully.12

However, McCabe is cautious in his comments about the Principle and the terms on which he takes it back to his denomination. He says:

I am leaving Korea tomorrow. I don’t know if I shall ever see you again in time but I know I shall meet you all herafter. I am glad I have had the privilage of meeting Mr MOON and Mr You, Miss Kim, Mrs Chei and each one of you. There is no DOUBT that GOD has revealed Himself to you and we are on the verge of very momentous days. I have received the revalation of the Principles and carry that back to my brethren and fellowservants to the spiritual judgement and scrutiny of our brethren. As I take back your Bible Priciples, I pray God, His will shall be carried out.13

Notice that McCabe does not state that he has been impressed by the Princi- ples, or that he will commend them to his denomination, only that they will be scrutinised and that he prays that God’s will should prevail.

So why do we find McCabe writing so favourably about his visit while in Korea, yet expressing such hostility in subsequent correspondence? It must be remembered that, although McCabe’s Apostolic Herald report appeared in November 1956, the slowness of communication and printing meant that the article was written considerably earlier — on 10 July, to be precise. McCabe arrived on 22 June 1956, and his welcome reception was on 26 June; when writing he states that “I have been here for eighteen days”14. This is not a tre- mendously long period of time to become acquainted with the organisation’s teachings, particularly since they were largely delivered in Korean, and we also do not know to what extent McCabe’s “slight accident” affected his ability to attend gatherings. Nevertheless, he does note that “Their doctrines are divergent from ours on several points.” (McCabe 1956:164). It is possible that Moon’s presumed messianic status had not been disclosed at that point: Divine Principledoes not explicitly mention this teaching, central though it is, and the identity of the Lord of the Second Coming is only discussed at the end of Principle semi- nars, which typically leave the audience to make this inference for themselves, rather than to be told directly.

  1. 12  Personal correspondence. 25 May 1986. (ibid)
  2. 13  McCabe, J. (1956) “The Preciousness of JESUS” Preaching of Pastor McCabe, 2 September.
  3. 14  McCabe 1956:164


It is also worth noting that in David Kim’s address at Penygroes, no mention at all is made of Sun Myung Moon, let alone his presumed identity. Kim pro- vided the audience with facts about Korea, the effects of the Korean war, the increasing numbers of converts to the Christian faith there, and the special role Korea was to play in God’s plan (Tanabe 2013: 101-108). Although the HSA- UWC was in its infancy, Kim had certainly already concluded that Moon was the messiah. Kim writes:

It was during the first week of February 1954 that I accepted Father as the Mes- siah, come, as prophesied in the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible; as the Second Coming of the founders of major religions in other non-Christian sacred books; and as the Righteous Man (Chung Do-Ryung) in the so-called Chung-Gam-Rok, a prophetic book written during the Lee Dynasty in modern Korean history.15

No doubt both parties had different expectations. The Unification Church leaders possibly held an unreasonable expectation that McCabe would be convinced by their doctrines, and that the Apostolic Church would come to acknowledge his messianic status and hence advance the proclamation of the Principle worldwide. By contrast, McCabe, on behalf of the Apostolic Church, was looking for a congregation whose teachings could be brought into line with those of the Apostolic Church: if there were divergences, perhaps this congre- gation would be persuaded to accept the “Things Most Surely Believed” — the principles that define the Apostolic Church’s theological position. The Board of Mission might have expected the HSA-UWC to ask to affiliate with the Apostolic Church, which would then have a ready-made congregation in Korea as a base for its mission. If this were the case, McCabe would certainly not go to Korea with the intention of studying Divine Principle in the same way as other seminar attendees who were seeking after truth. In fact, the word “study” is ambiguous: it can either mean “learn from” or “examine”. The seekers were the enquirers who came to the HSA-UWC to learn, from the standpoint of ignorance or uncertainty. McCabe’s task was to study in the sense of “examine” — to scrutinise critically the teachings of this new and unknown congregation, and to determine whether or not they might affiliate with the Apostolic Church, if they so wished. It is unlikely, to say the least, that a denomination with such firmly defined principles of belief would want a representative to go to a new emergent group in order to learn.

McCabe’s interest in the Divine Principle book was therefore not that of the seeker. Having Unificationist teachings in written form provided hard evidence of the group’s doctrines; being able to circulate a book to the Apostolic Church’s branches meant that they did not have to rely on a report from McCabe, who

15 Kim, David S.C. (1984). Speech given to members at the Manhattan Center on May 1, 1984, the 30th anniversary of the Unification Church. In “My Early Days in the Unification Church”. Accessible online at URL: htm


could have been accused of misremembering or misconstruing what he had heard. The Principle book had the considerable advantage of being written in English, presenting systematic exposition of the movement’s key doctrines, with logical sequencing, differing from Moon’s own preaching which, in all proba- bility, was spontaneous and unsystematic. Did McCabe help to translate the Principle? This seems unlikely, for several reasons. Most obviously, McCabe did not know Korean and even a fluent speaker would find it a daunting task to translate a substantial Korean text into over 180 pages of presentable English16

In his farewell address to McCabe, David Kim says:

You thoroughly studied our Principles and we know you have helped a great deal our Dear Sister, Miss Young Oon Kim, still young and a charming lady Theolog- ical scholar, in finishing up the book.17

The words “finishing up the book” are telling, indicating that the book was very near completion when McCabe visited the congregation, and there is cer- tainly no acknowledgement of any contribution by McCabe within the transla- tion. Perhaps McCabe suggested the occasional mot juste to Young Oon Kim in the final stages of the book’s preparation, or — even more likely — discussion about the exact translation of Korean to English was to ensure that the meaning of the English version was clear and precise, so that McCabe’s colleagues back home could be as certain as possible that ideas that seemed unfamiliar or unac- ceptable were not due to mistranslation.

Whatever McCabe’s role was in preparing the English text, some 700 copies of Divine Principles were printed in English translation, and McCabe received copies of the text to distribute to 12 Apostolic Church centres. Regrettably the Apostolic Church could not accept the Principle’s theology, and declined to have further contact with Moon’s movement.

The Apostolic Church’s decision not to forge further links with the Holy Spirit Association was partly due to doctrinal disagreements, but there were other fac- tors. McCabe also visited other Christian organisations in Korea, for example the Presbyterian Church, the Oriental Missionary Society, the Assembly of God, and an independent Korean Pentecostal Church. So the Christian faith was fast gain- ing momentum, even without any input from the Apostolic Church; evidently in the mid-1950s there were 150 local churches in Seoul alone. In any case, the Apostolic Church had other plans, and wished to focus on the Australian aborig- inals, and did not wish to overreach itself by becoming involved in further Korean evangelism.

  1. 16  See Chassead 2017.
  2. 17  Kim, David S. C. (1956). Farewell address to Pastor Joshua McCabe delivered on 8th Sep-

tember 1956 by Sang Chul Kim, Seoul, Korea.



Apostolic Church (1986). “Things most surely believed” The Apostolic Church Year Book 1985-86: 1.

Chasseaud, William (2017). “The Divine Principle — The First English Translation, 1956”. Accessible online at URL: Accessed 24 May 2017.

Chryssides, G. D. (1990) ‘The Welsh Connection: Pentecostalism and the Unification Church’; Religion Today, 5(3): 6-8.

Chryssides, George D. (2007). ‘“Heavenly deception?” Sun Myung Moon and Divine Principle’; in James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer (eds.), The Invention of Sacred Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 118-140.

Eternity Church (2017). “History of the Apostolic Church Movement”. Accessible online at URL: Accessed 22 April 2017.

Eu, Hyo Won (1973). Divine Principle (New York: HSA-UWC).
Fleisher, Gary (ed.) (2017). “Sun Myung Moon, FFWPU and the Unification Church in

their own words”. Accessible online at URL: Accessed 24 May

Kim, David S. C. (1984). ‘My Early Days in the Unification Church During the 1950s’;

The Cornerstone, May 8(5): 1-6.
Kim, David S. C. (1985). ‘My Early Days in the Unification Church’. Excerpts from a

speech given to members at the Manhattan Center on May 1, 1984, the 30th anni-

versary of the Unification Church. Today’s World 6(1), January: 22-28.
Kim, Young Woon (transl.) (1956). The Divine Principles. Seoul: Holy Spirit Associa-

tion for Unification of World Christianity.
Lofland, John (1966). Doomsday Cult: A Study of Conversion, Proselytization, and

Maintenace of Faith. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
McCabe, J. (1956). “Korean Report”. Apostolic Herald 118 (19). November, 163-164. McCabe, Joshua (1956) ‘The Preciousness of JESUS’ Preaching of Pastor McCabe, 2

September (typescript).
Tanabe, Jennifer P. (2013). The Words of David S.C. Kim: Let Us Learn from the Past.

New York: International One World Crusade.
Tanabe, Jennifer P. (2013). Let Us Work Together for Good: David S. C. Kim’s Life of

22 April 2017.

Service to God. New York: International One World Crusade.
Thomas, Marcus (2015). “First Century Signs and Wonders in Australia”. Accessible online at URL: Accessed


Correspondence from Joshua G. McCabe to George D. Chryssides, May/ June 198618

25th May 1986

Dear Doctor Chryssides
Many thanks for your letter of 7th May. I don’t mind in the least that the Secretary of

the A. C. Office referred you to me or that you have written to me to enquire re Korea. It is true that we have no mission work in Korea. I was not sent as a resident mission-

ary to pioneer a work. here is the story.

In 1955 a Korean who was given a scholarship in the University of Swansea for one year came to Wales. His name was David Sangchul Kim. He was a Presbyterian and a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and prior to obtaining the scholarship for advanced business techniques he had joined a group of people who gloried in the name of the Church of the Holy Spirit for the Unification of the Church of God. David on Sundays in 1955 attended a Baptist Church in Swansea and was invited to talk about the Church in Korea. He was invited to a little Baptist congregation in a small town about 20 miles from Swansea and after the service having paid his fare and giving him a small monetary gift for his services they shook hands with him. As he walked along the street looking for a cafe or restaurant a lady by the name of Mrs Davies saw him and spoke to him. On finding out that he was looking for a place to have lunch she invited him to come & dine at her place with her husband who was also a Christian. They were members of the local Apostolic Church and David Kim spent any free Sundays he had at their home and church.

In August 1955 came the time for the Annual Penygroes Convention of the A.C. David attended and he received the Gift of the Holy Spirit. When he left Korea the leader of the Church for the Unification etc. asked him to find a progressive World-wide movement that had the same views as they had. David really thought as he attended the International Convention in Penygroes Near Llanelly about 25 miles from Swansea, “This is it.”

He spoke to the Convenor and was introduced to the Missionary Committee and pro- posed that A.C.should send a man to Korea to lead them into the truth. “We are just the same as you said David, “we want to unite with you.”

How wrong he was, but his poor grip of English language and different culture and lack of full knowledge of the doctrines and beliefs of Mr Moon the leader of the Group in Seoul in Korea, was not conducive to accomplishing his objective.

The Missionary Committe passed on the request for someone to go to Seoul to help the people there to know and understand the truths the A.C.believed and preached. I was the Missionary Secretary in the joint missionary program of the A.C. in Australia and New Zealand and my brethren chose me to go for 3 months to help these folks to know

18 This is a transcript of two hand-written letters by Pastor Joshua McCabe. Care has been taken to preserve the text intact, including occasional misspellings and infelicities of punctuation. I have not inserted “sic” to highlight such errors, but ensured careful checking. Some of McCabe’s infor- mation is incorrect, e.g. when he states that Moon was born in 1936. McCabe is relying on mem- ories of events which took place some 30 years before writing this correspondence, and hence due allowance has to be made for errors and possible inaccuracies in his memory.


the truths which would unify the Church of God. It was not intended that I should be a resident missionary or remain permanently in the land. I was lent to them for 3 months and if necessary a few weeks longer. In June 1956 I flew to Korea. It was before the days of “Jet Jumbos” and I flew on a Constellation plane known as a Jet-prop having 4 pro- pellers and an infant jet propulsion — which has developed so wonderfully since.

The journey was broken by fuel stops and Darwin Manilla (Philippines) Hong Kong and Tokyo then a 51⁄2 hour flight from Tokyo to Seoul. I arrived in Seoul about 3 years after the Armistice between Nth and Sth Korea. The city still had lots of buildings reduced to rubble and the water system, sewerage and roadworks were being attended to by the Amerians in conjunction with United Nations and Sth Korean Government. I was met by David Kim and another Korean Mr Chung to whose home I was driven in a taxi which was an ex American Army Jeep with no side curtains and the tropical rain-storm was pouring in as we travel along to the city.

I met Mr Moon, who incidentally has become the leader of the “Moonies”. I heard him preach I saw him lead and counsel his people and for 6 weeks I listened to the inter- preters who told me what he was saying. Instead of them wishing to hear what we believed I was treated to what they believed I found they were universalists. They believed that all religions had good in them and all would be in heaven. Even Satan would ultimately arrive there He taught that every/man of God from Adam to Jesus failed to accomplish their task and cited such things as Adam’s fall in Eden, Abraham’s failure to sever the birds in the sacrifice in Genesis 15 v 10, Noah’s drunkenness, Davids adul- tery etc all put these men of God out of God’s reckoning. The final insult was when the Moon doctrine declared that Jesus did not finish or complete His work because he con- fined Himself to the poor and Mr Moon was sent to the rich. Up to this point in which I learned that they believed Mr M. was the new Messiah born in 1936 to complete the work Jesus failed to do — I was given no opportunity to impart the beliefs of the A. C.

They do not hold communion services or baptise as these practices are no longer necessary. Mr Moon believed a lot of Mr Emmanuel Swedenborg’s doctrines which are very far astray from the orthodox beliefs of you church or mine. I argued, reasoned and debated every point of difference with Mr M. He conceded that my knowledge of scrip- ture was a hindrance to me receiving his revelations He professed to have visits from the Patriarchs, Prophets Kings and Apostles of the Bible who came & communed with him. While we sat on the floor of Mr Chung’s sitting-room, he told me Abraham and Ezekiel were sitting on the opposite side of the room

I eventually convinced Mr Moon that I was sent to open up our doctrine to the group and David Kim who was present at all our talks which were on for 5 afternoons & 3 nights per week stated that what I said was true. So Mr Moon gave instructions that I should be given the platform for the the 2 Sunday services and the Tuesday night min- istry meeting. Mr Moon did not come to these services He went to a country place and did not re-appear until the next week-end when I was again relegated to a spot among the congregation who sat on the floor while Mr Moon harangued the people on his own peculiar doctrines I attend the morning services except on one occasion when I attended the Presbyterian Church which treated 3,500 people. Dr Hung19 (Doctorate from Prince- ton Presbyterian College in USA which he attended for 6 years — built this church with North Koreans who left when the Communists invaded Nth Korea He had a S. School with over 3000 children attending held 2 morning services at 9 a.m & 10.15 a.m with

19 or Hong?


3,500 people present at each. He had a repeat performance with 2 services at and 7.15 in the evening — He had 8 assistant ministers. He also had an old Peoples Home, a High School and an orphanage run by his church.

In the evenings of each Sunday I attended other services At20 the Oriental Mission Society’s Kelburn Memorial Church and listened to a Korean Preacher speak for 1 hour and 20 minutes. My interpreter grew tired of interpreting and I was left uninformed for the last 25 minutes. The congregation numbered 150. I went to the Assembly of God with just over 100 present and a young Korean pastor who was more lively than the OMS preacher led the service and preached a shorter sermon on Christs power to save and heal. I attended an independent Korean Pentecostal service in a make-shift tabernacle of pine tree supports covered with tarpaulins. 1700 people were present tho’ it was at the end of a tram terminus on the Yellow River. Then we walked a mile or more and climbed Jacob’s ladder up a cliff face to the top where the tabernacle was erected to. The preacher astounded my interpreter and I by concluding that he was the one who would rule with a rod of iron. He would give them the white stone with the new name etc. He was very strong on healing the sick and seemed to be carried away into thinking he was the Christ in the flesh.

I was still endeavouring to convince Mr Moon of the errors of his doctrine and when at last we had it reduced to a book of about 150 typed pages called “The Divine Princi- ple” I sent 12 copies each to the Apostolic Church Councils in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, America & Canada. I told Mr Moon there was no way I could see this being accepted by our leaders. (It was rejected World-wide after reading) Mr M’s reply to me, “Well, we will find another World-wide Body who will accept it” The “Moonies” are in America, Canada, Britain and Australia propagating their weird doctrine and Mr M lives like a prince in a New York Mansion with his fourth wife, the others he married having separated from him

Why did we not start an Apostolic Mission in Korea. In 1946 we commence a Mission to the Aborigines of Australia. It was a costly venture. In 1954 we commence a Mission in the West Highlands of New Guinea where the only method of going & coming was by air — It was also costly more so than the Aborigine Mission.

To go to Korea at that time and even now would have been more than we could have managed. At that time Pastor Leonard Coote of America had an Apostolic Work in Japan with 20 independent churches. He trained the workers and sent them out — he gained much support from U.S.A. He had 2 places about 200 miles Sth of Saul and run by Koreans he had trained in his Bible College near Osaka. After his death, he had no suc- cessor and the work seemed to die out.

Much as we regretted our inability to open a work in Korea we felt Mr Moon was not the man. When I was in Seoul in 1956, there were 150 local churches all over the city and suburbs, Roman Catholic, Methodists, Three Separate Bodies of Presbyterians with numerous Churches.(doctrinal differences) Baptists, Salvation Army with their own Bible Training College. Oriental Missionary Society Churches; Seventh Day Adventists, Jeho- vah Witnesses (with their errors) had also gained a foothold. I attended a Missionary Seminar last week and the missionary from Sth East Asia told us that in Korea for every

20 The text is not altogether clear here. “At” is inserted at the left hand of the line, with “other services” on the right after “Memorial”.


child born into Korea to-day five people were being born again. If what he said is true and I have no reason to doubt him that would be colossal.

The Assembly of God in Seoul is reputed to have a membership of 200,000 with Pastor Yongi Cho and 80 assistant pastors to carry it on.

Dear Brother I hope this will help you to know more about Korea. I was in Penygroes Convention last August too. I am 83 years of age having served the Lord in full time service since my ordination in 1928. I am going to my heavenly home one day when the Lord sees fit to call me. I am in good health and still living for the Lord and preaching the word when required or requested to do so. I have no regular charge but attend Knox City A.C. each Sunday am. & pm. and the mid-week Prayer Meeting also

Jesus is Wonderful — I have known him for 67 years. Yours in His Fellowship J.G.McCabe.

8th July 1986.
My Dear Brother Chryssides,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus. I trust you dont mind me addressing you as Brother. It is more informal than using titles and we are brothers in the Lord.

Your letter of 10th June came to hand safely and I regret that I have not answered earlier.

Regarding my report in the Apostolic Herald of Grace in 1956. I wrote that when I was impressed with the fervour and devotion of the people who attended the church for the Unification of Christianity believing then the testimony of Mr David Sanchul Kim that they were “THE SAME AS THE APOSTOLIC CHURH” (Davids words) in doctrine and belief. But I was to find out later it was not so.

They were fervent, devoted and in prayer as a body of people they were very voluble and often prayed out allowed together and only God could have heard each individual voice for it was pandemonium when they all cut loose in prayer together.

I did not find out the fact that they looked upon Mr Moon as the Messiah until the last 3 weeks of my stay with them. On studying the doctrine now reduced to the English language to pass on to the Council of the A.C. in Britain and Aust. and elsewhere I picked up the idea and asked the 3 interpreters in turn (separately) and they all replied He is the Messiah to us. Mrs Chai, one of them, said “Mr Moon means “the Gate” in our language and he is the Gate to Heaven and to God — Who else but the Messiah.”

Re the Sacraments. They said the Churches around them who celebrated them were so formal and dead that they felt it was better not to have them as the people would lean on them (the sacraments) rather than on Christ Jesus.

They did not have elders — Only Mr Moon and an assistant teacher who regularly took the students through the course of doctrine each week from Monday to Thursday. The students were anyone interested in their teaching and they attended for 2 or 3 or more weeks as they wished and then sat a written examination paper and passing that test they were accounted to be worthy members to propagate the faith.

Regarding the early missionaries to Korea I found that the Roman Catholic Church had missionaries there for for over 150 years but several people with whom I talked said Roman Catholicism was a different kind of heathenism. It was not very strong in Korea.

The first Presbyterian Christian Missionaries who went to Nth Korea over 150 years ago were martyred but others from U.S.A. filled up the gap and they were so successful that 15% of the population turned to Christ. Many Korean Presbyterians were educated



in U.S.A.for the ministry until the Church opened Schools and Seminaries in Korea. I suppose the reason for so much error coming into their country was caused by those who were either uneducated or only partially educated. When I was in Korea Mr Moon neither spoke or understood English tho’ he was having lessons in English — had just commenced to study. Yes he was fluent in Japanese and they said he was eloquent in Korean.

I dont know that there is much more I can say in reply to your letter. Thanks for your kind invitation to call on you should I ever be in G. Brit. again It is unlikely that I shall but if I do get the Ill get in touch with you

God Bless you my dear Brother Dr Chryssides and use you for His Glory.

He is Coming Soon to take His Church to be with Him (1 Thess 4) and we shall meet Him in the Air.. I will see you then Hallelujah

Yours in Christ Jesus Our Lord Joshua


The prophetic career of Sun Myung Moon in modernity: Alliance between Value rationality and Means end rationality for the restoration of paradise on Earth

Régis Dericquebourg


According to the sociologist Jean Séguy (ASSR, 1996, 96, 17-39), the modernity leans towards the means-end rationality (Zweckrationalität) and of the ethics of responsibility (Verantwortungsethik), but that orientation does not prevent the value rationality (Wer- trationalität) and the ethics of conviction (Gesinnungsethik) which are opposite, in prin- ciple, to the latter and which are inherent to the prophetism, to emerge under the figures of religious leaders endowed with a full prophetic charisma or of specific charisma (faith, virtue, speech…). Simply, the last ones have more trouble finding their place in the modern society. The case of the prophetism in modernity is interesting for it poses the issue of the management of the prophetic charisma in modern society. From this point of view, the Reverend Moon, who was the herald of a doctrine which he said was revealed to him and who gathered a worldwide community of followers is a good example. So he gives us the opportunity to examine the prophetic strategy in modernity as I have done about the C.T. Russell, founder of a Christian revival of which Jehovah’s Witnesses are the heirs, in the late of 19 th Century (Acta Comparanda, III, June 2016).Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012) founder of the Unification Church was a significant figure in the world of the minority religious groups of the twentieth century minority religious groups because of the passion he provoked among a certain number of young people from the middle classes and some spectacular aspects such as “mass weddings”, the criti