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Unification Church

The Unification Church (Korean: 통일교회 [Tong-il Gyo-hwi], Hanja: 統一敎會) (officially The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity) was founded in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon, a Korean minister who escaped from North Korea during the Korean War.

Members of the Unification Church generally consider Rev. Moon to be the new Messiah. Many outside of the Unification Church consider it 'non-Christian' because of this belief.

In 2002, the church published a message which it says describes a conference at which all the historical founders of all other religions have recently, in heaven, proclaimed Moon's messiahship (see Clouds of Witnesses).

Members were intially dubbed "Moon Children" by the U.S. media around 1973-1974, although this was nickname was quickly shortened to "Moonies" -- the term is now primarily used by critics.

Rev. Moon, who is said to enjoy being teased [1], joked that critics were "Moonies" reflecting the light of "Sunnies" (his followers) and that both should try to become "Kingies".

Table of contents
1 Theology
2 Reverend Moon's defense of President Nixon
3 The principle of Indemnity
4 Accusations of Anti-Semitism
5 Theology and philosophy
6 Controversy
7 External Links


The church differentiates itself from the rest of traditional Christianity through its novel view of the Trinity and by its strong denial that Jesus's death was a preordained necessity. Like other traditional Christians, however, they do believe that his death serves as a redemption of our sins and that his resurrection was a victory over death for all eternity.

The church further teaches that:

The role of Elijah

The church's understanding of the role of Elijah is important in terms of Jesus and his claim to be the Messiah.

Based on biblical texts (especially in Matthew), the church believes that Jesus was appointed by God to be the Messiah, not only for the Jewish people but for all of humanity. Elijah, understood to come before the Messiah, had the role of harbinger or forerunner. He was to reveal to Israel and the world the identity of the Messiah and work with him to usher in the kingdom of Heaven.

In particular, John the Baptist was to play the role of Elijah in relation to his kinsman Jesus. The prophecies concerning his birth ("spirit and power of Elijah" and "make ready for the Lord a people prepared") are held by the church to support this view. Indeed, John's perceived failure to provide active support for Jesus is seen as the primary reason that the Jewish people did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

Jesus and Sun Myung Moon

According to Unification Church (UC) tradition, Jesus appeared to a 15-year-old Korean boy named Moon Yong-myung at Easter time in 1935. He asked the boy to help him with the accomplishment of the work left unaccomplished after his crucifixion. After a period of prayer and consideration the boy accepted the mission, later changing his name to Moon Sun-myung (i.e., Sun Myung Moon).

The authenticity of this encounter has been vigourously challenged by Christian theologians and church leaders. Some of these challengers interpret the UC view as a claim that Jesus "failed" and take great umbrage at this claim. The UC call this interpretation a misunderstanding and insists that Jesus did not "fail" (see Jesus and John the Baptist).

Celibacy and marriage

During the church's period of early growth (1970-1985 in America), most church members lived in intentional communities, dubbed "co-ed monasteries" by Frederick Sontag.

Members of the Unification Church are expected to remain celibate until marriage. During the 20th Century, they could marry only another member of the church. With few exceptions, marriage with a non-member was not recognized as valid by the church, and all members' marriages were arranged by Rev. Moon personally. In 2001, the church relaxed this rule somewhat, allowing parents to arrange (or approve) their children's choice of spouses.

Many members considered it the ultimate test of their faith to accept a match arranged by Moon, and the church's increasingly large marriage blessings attracted much notice. Many of the arranged marriages paired people from different countries. The church has been accused of doing so because of immigration rules.

Some members consider the church poorly understood by outsiders, who have found it hard to imagine how people could marry strangers under the arrangement of the church leader. The passionate and sudden dedication of thousands of American young people, whom critics referred disparagingly to as "Moonies", to this new religious movement led to accusations, government investigations and a negative press image.

Reverend Moon's defense of President Nixon

Rev. Moon responded by apparently courting more controversy. He took a full-page ad in major newspapers defending Nixon at the height of the Watergate Controversy. His message of "Forgive, Love, Unite" was predictably not well received, and Rev. Moon sent out missionaries to 120 countries to act in part as "lightning rods" to receive persecution.

The principle of Indemnity

A little-known church teaching is that by willingly enduring mistreatment (the principle of Indemnity), one can receive God's blessing. The principle apparently bore fruit in the 1980s, after Rev. Moon served 11 months of an 18-month sentence for what the church considers trumped-up charges of tax evasion. Christian ministers, particularly from the black community, rallied around Rev. Moon.

Accusations of Anti-Semitism

In 1976, the American Jewish Committee accused Reverend Moon of anti-Semitism, based on his writings. Members of the Unification Church stoutly reject such accusations, and feel they have no merit. They felt the issue was so important that they issued a statement making their pro-Judaism and pro-Israeli position clear. See Unification Church and anti-semitism.

Theology and philosophy

theology, principle of creation, fall of man, restoration, theory of education, love

Related Organizations

Washington Times, ICUS, Pyonghwa Motors


tax case, imprisonment, U.S. Congressional Report.

See also: List of Unificationists

External Links

Official Links

Supportive Views

Opposing Views