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|Classification||Christian new religious movement|
|Founder||Sun Myung Moon|
Seoul, South Korea
|Revised Romanization||Tong-il Gyo|
|Part of a series on the|
Unification Church commonly refers to the worldwide Christian new religious movement of organizations, associations, and theology that were inspired by Korean religious figure Sun Myung Moon. It is not a reference to a particular religious organization or institutional structure with centralized international control over every organization associated with it. It is a nascent, spiritually-based and charismatically-led movement of legally independent organizations. This term is often confused with and used interchangeably with the term "Unification movement," which, considering that Moon repeatedly proclaimed the "end of religion" and his desire to not have a "church", is a more apt way of describing the theology, organizations, and individuals associated with him.
The term "Unification Church" is not a term created by Moon, but a "name given to us by others". In the Moon’s autobiography, he states:
Currently, the Unification Church is split into several groups, all of which claim legitimacy and the spiritual authority of Moon. These groups diverge theologically and doctrinally. The most prominent groups are the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification led by Moon’s widow Hak Ja Han Moon, who following Moon’s death announced her distinct messianic status; and the Family Peace Association, founded by Moon’s son, Hyun Jin P. Moon. Due to the ongoing division and schism, the future of the Unification Church or Unification movement and its theological and institutional legacy is in turmoil and yet to be defined.
Moonie is a colloquial term sometimes used to refer to members of the Unification Church. This is derived from the name of the church's founder Sun Myung Moon, and was first used in 1974 by the American media. Church members have used the word "Moonie", including Moon himself, President of the Unification Theological Seminary David Kim, and Bo Hi Pak, Moon's aide and president of Little Angels Children's Folk Ballet of Korea. In the 1980s and 1990s the Unification Church of the United States undertook an extensive public relations campaign against the use of the word by the news media. Some journalistic authorities, including The New York Times and Reuters, now discourage its use in news reporting, although the BBC continues to.
Unification Church members believe that Jesus appeared to Mun Yong-myong when he was 16 years old on Easter morning of 1935 (April 17) and asked him to accomplish the work left unfinished because of his crucifixion. After a period of prayer and consideration, Mun accepted the mission, later changing his name to Mun Son-myong (Sun Myung Moon).
The church's official teachings, the Divine Principle, was first published as Wolli Wonbon ("Original Text of the Divine Principle") in 1945. However, the earliest manuscript was lost in North Korea during the Korean War. A second, expanded version, Wolli Hesol, or Explanation of the Divine Principle, was published in 1957. Finally, its most propagated text, the Exposition of the Divine Principle was published in 1966.
Moon preached in northern Korea after the end of World War II and in 1946 was imprisoned by the communist regime in North Korea. He was released from prison by the advance of United Nations forces during the Korean War, and moved south along with many other North Koreans. He built his first church from mud and cardboard boxes as a refugee in Busan.
Moon formally founded the Unification Church in Busan on May 1, 1954, calling it "The Holy Spirit(ual) Association for the Unification of World Christianity". The church expanded rapidly in South Korea and by the end of 1955 had 30 church centers throughout the nation.
In 1958, Moon sent missionaries to Japan, and in 1959, to America. Missionary work took place in Washington, D.C., New York, and California. UC missionaries found success in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the church expanded in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco. By 1971, the Unification Church of the United States had about 500 members. By 1973, it had some presence in all 50 states and a few thousand members. In the 1970s, American Unification Church members were noted for their enthusiasm and dedication, which often included raising money for church projects on so-called "mobile fundraising teams".
The church also sent missionaries to Europe. The church entered Czechoslovakia in 1968 and remained underground until the 1990s. Unification Church activity in South America began in the 1970s with missionary work. Later, the church made large investments in civic organizations and business projects, including an international newspaper.
Starting in the 1990s, the Unification Church expanded in Russia and other former communist nations. Hak Ja Han, Moon's wife made a radio broadcast to the nation from the State Kremlin Palace. As of 1994, the church had about 5,000 members in Russia. About 500 Russian students had been sent to USA to participate in 40-day workshops.
Moon moved to the United States in 1971, although he remained a citizen of the Republic of Korea. In the 1970s, he gave a series of public speeches in the United States, including one in Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1974; two in 1976 in Yankee Stadium in New York City; and one on the grounds of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., where he spoke on "God's Hope for America" to 300,000 people. In 1975, the Unification Church held one of the largest peaceful gatherings in history, with 1.2 million people in Yeouido, South Korea.
Starting in 1972, the Unification Church sponsored the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, a series of scientific conferences. The first conference had 20 participants, while the largest conference in Seoul in 1982, had 808 participants from over 100 countries. Participants included Nobel laureates John Eccles (Physiology or Medicine 1963, who chaired the 1976 conference) and Eugene Wigner (Physics 1963).
In 1975 Moon founded the Unification Theological Seminary, in Barrytown, New York, partly in order to improve relations of the Unification Church with other churches. Professors from other denominations, including a Methodist minister, a Presbyterian, and a Roman Catholic priest, as well as a rabbi, were hired to teach Unificationist students.
In the 1980s Moon instructed church members to take part in a program called "Home Church" in which they reached out to neighbors and community members through public service. In 1982, the first large scale Blessing ceremony held outside of Korea took place in Madison Square Garden in New York City with 2075 couples. In 1988, Moon matched 2,500 Korean members with Japanese members for a Blessing ceremony held in Korea, partly in order to promote unity between the two nations.
In 1991 Moon announced that church members should return to their hometowns and undertake apostolic work there. Massimo Introvigne, who studied the Unification Church and other new religious movements, said that this confirmed that full-time membership is no longer considered crucial to church members. On May 1, 1994 (the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Unification Church), Moon declared that the era of the Unification Church had ended and inaugurated a new organization: the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) would include Unification Church members and members of other religious organizations working toward common goals, especially on issues of sexual morality and reconciliation between people of different religions, nations, and races. The FFWPU co-sponsored Blessing ceremonies in which thousands of non–Unification Church married couples were given the marriage blessing previously given only to Unification Church members.
In 1997 American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, television/radio talk show host and political adviser Al Sharpton took part in at least three religious ceremonies hosted by the Unification Church, in which he and his wife, Katherine, renewed their marriage vows based on the tenets of the church.
In the 1970s the Unification Church was accused of "brainwashing" by the newly-active anti-cult movement, which included Steven Hassan and some other former church members. Some sociologists of religion tend to argue that these accusations were based on theories that for the most part have not gained acceptance among scholars. Other scholars, including some psychologists and psychiatrists, argue that brainwashing theories are widely endorsed within the academy at large. Eileen Barker, a sociologist of religion and the founder of INFORM (Information Network Focus on Religious Movements), argues that the Unification Church and other new religious movements of that time "demonstrably did not have access to the irresistible or irreversible techniques they were reputedly wielding".
Members of the Unification Church reported that they were forcibly deprogrammed by those who wanted to pull them out of it. In 1977, the Unification Church won a lawsuit in the United States against deprogrammers, as did some other groups about the same time. Since 1990, U.S. courts have consistently rejected testimonies about brainwashing (mind control) and manipulation, stating that such theories were not part of accepted mainline science according to the Frye standard of 1923.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Unification Church became noted for its political activities, especially its support for United States president Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, its support for anti-communism during the Cold War, and its ownership of various news media outlets through News World Communications, an international news media conglomerate which publishes The Washington Times newspaper in Washington, DC, and newspapers in South Korea, Japan, and South America, which tend to support conservatism. The political activities of the Unification Church were opposed by some leftists. In 1976, members of the Youth International Party staged a marijuana "smoke-in" in the middle of a UC sponsored rally in Washington D.C.
In 1977 the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the Committee on International Relations, of the United States House of Representatives, while investigating the Koreagate scandal found that the South Korean National Intelligence Service (KCIA) had worked with the Unification Church to gain political influence within the United States, with some members working as volunteers in Congressional offices. Together they founded the Korean Cultural Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization which undertook public diplomacy for the Republic of Korea. The committee also investigated possible KCIA influence on the Unification Church's campaign in support of Nixon.
In 1980 Moon asked church members to found CAUSA International, an anti-communist educational organization based in New York. In August 1985, six years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Professors World Peace Academy, an organization founded by Moon, sponsored a conference in Geneva to debate the theme, "The situation in the world after the fall of the communist empire." The conference was chaired by professors Morton Kaplan and Aleksandras Štromas.
In 1982, Moon was convicted in the United States of filing false federal income tax returns and criminal conspiracy. His conviction was upheld on appeal in a split decision. Moon was given an 18-month sentence and a $15,000 fine. He served 13 months of the sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury before being released on good behavior to a halfway house. The case was the center of national freedom of religion and freedom of speech debates. Laurence Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School, argued that the trial by jury had "doomed (Moon) to conviction based on religious prejudice." The American Baptist Churches USA, the National Council of Churches, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference filed briefs in support of Moon. Clergy that included Jerry Falwell and Joseph Lowery signed petitions protesting the government's case and spoke out in defense of Moon.
In the early 1960s John Lofland lived with Unification Church missionary Young Oon Kim and a small group of American church members and studied their activities in trying to promote their beliefs and win new members. Lofland noted that most of their efforts were ineffective and that most of the people who joined did so because of personal relationships with other members, often family relationships. Lofland published his findings in 1964 as a doctoral thesis entitled "The World Savers: A Field Study of Cult Processes", and in 1966 in book form by Prentice-Hall as Doomsday Cult: A Study of Conversion, Proselytization, and Maintenance of Faith. .
In 1984 Barker published The Making of a Moonie based on her seven-year study of Unification Church members in the United Kingdom and the United States. Barker alleged that new inductees were indoctrinated with little privacy, and nearly everything was a group event including colorful balloons and banners that read "Welcome Home Brothers & Sisters." She rejected the then popular "brainwashing" theory as an explanation for conversion to the Unification Church. The book was given the Distinguished Book Award for 1985 by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
In 1987, scholars with American Psychological Association rejected the hypotheses of those who accused new religious movements (such as the Unification Church) of brainwashing and coercive persuasion, stating that those "conclusions...cannot be said to be scientific in any meaningful sense".
In 2001, the Unification Church came into conflict with the Catholic Church when Catholic archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and Maria Sung, a 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist, married in a Unification Church Blessing ceremony presided over by Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Following his marriage, the Archbishop was called to the Vatican by Pope John Paul II, where he was asked not to see his wife any more, and to move to a monastery of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Sung went on a hunger strike to protest the separation and attracted much media attention. Milingo is now an advocate of the removal of the requirement for celibacy by priests in the Catholic Church. He is the founder of the movement, Married Priests Now!.
Since 2003, the church sponsored Middle East Peace Initiative has been organizing group tours of Israel and Palestine to promote understanding, respect, and reconciliation among Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
In 2003, Korean Unification Church members started a political party in South Korea, "The Party for God, Peace, Unification, and Home." An inauguration declaration stated the new party would focus on preparing for Korean reunification by educating the public about God and peace. A church official said that similar political parties would be started in Japan and the United States.
Moon was a member of the Honorary Committee of the Ministry of Unification of South Korea. Church member Jaejung Lee had been once a Unification Minister of South Korea. Another, Ek Nath Dhakal, is a member of the 2nd Nepalese Constituent Assembly and a first Minister for Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Ministry of the Government of Nepal.
In April 2008, Moon, then 88 years old, appointed his youngest son, Hyung Jin Moon, to be the leader of the church and movement, saying, "I hope everyone helps him so that he may fulfil his duty as the successor of the True Parents." At the same time he appointed his daughter In Jin Moon as the president of the Unification Church of the United States. In 2011 in Pyongyang, to mark the 20th anniversary of Sun Myung Moon's visit to North Korea, de jure President Kim Yong-nam hosted Hyung Jin Moon in the official residence. The latter donated 600 tons of flour to North Korean children of North Pyongan Province, the birthplace of Sun Myung Moon. Also, after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, he donated $1.7 million to the Japanese Red Cross.
In 2009, Moon's autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen (Korean: 평화를 사랑하는 세계인으로), was published by Gimm-Young Publishers in South Korea. The book became a bestseller in Korea and Japan.
In 2010, Forbes reported that Moon and Han were living in South Korea while their children took more responsibility for the day-to-day leadership of the Unification Church and its affiliated organizations.
On August 15, 2012, Moon was reported to be gravely ill and was put on a respirator at the intensive care unit of St. Mary's Hospital at the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul. He died there on September 3, 2012.
In 2012 Moon was posthumously awarded North Korea's National Reunification Prize. On the first anniversary of Moon's death, North Korean president Kim Jong-un expressed condolences to Han and the family saying: "Kim Jong-un prayed for the repose of Moon, who worked hard for national concord, prosperity and reunification and world peace."
Following Moon's death his widow Hak Ja Han has taken on the role of spiritual leader of the church. Most church activities have continued, although some unprofitable business projects have been reduced or discontinued. Recent church activities have included building projects and a revival tour. The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification has continuously held its Marriage Blessing tradition each year. In 2014 Sarah M. Lewis wrote that the Unification Church's greatest present influence comes from church affiliated groups such as the Universal Peace Federation, which include non-church members working for common interests and goals.
Unificationist beliefs are derived from the Christian Bible and are explained in the church's textbook, the Divine Principle. It teaches that God is the Creator and Heavenly Parent, whose dual nature combines both masculinity and femininity and whose center is true love. The Blessing ceremony of the Unification Church, a wedding or wedding vow renewal ceremony, is a church tradition which has attracted widespread public attention as well as controversy. The church has engaged in interfaith activities with other religions, including mainstream Christianity and Islam.
The Unification Church has been the subject of controversy over its beliefs, which differ from traditional Christian interpretations of the Bible and have been called heretical and antisemitic by some critics. It has also been criticized for its involvement in politics, especially in support of the government of South Korea for which it was investigated by a committee of the United States Congress in 1977. The church has also been accused of brainwashing its members, which led to some being subject to deprogramming. Other controversial events include Moon's 1982 conviction in the United States of filing false federal income tax returns and criminal conspiracy and the 2001 wedding of Roman Catholic archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to a Unification Church member in a ceremony presided over by Moon.
The Unification Church is among the minority of new religious movements who have introduced their own unique scriptures. The Divine Principle or Exposition of the Divine Principle (Korean 원리강론, translit. wonli ganglon) is the main theological textbook of the Unification Church. It was co-written by church founder Sun Myung Moon and early disciple Hyo Won Eu and first published in 1966. A translation entitled Divine Principle was published in English in 1973.
The book lays out the core of Unification theology, and is held by believers to have the status of Holy Scripture. Following the format of systematic theology, it includes (1) God's purpose in creating human beings, (2) the fall of man, and (3) restoration – the process through history by which God is working to remove the ill effects of the fall and restore humanity back to the relationship and position that God originally intended. God is viewed as the creator, whose nature combines both masculinity and femininity, and is the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness. Human beings and the universe reflect God's personality, nature, and purpose. "Give-and-take action" (reciprocal interaction) and "subject and object position" (initiator and responder) are "key interpretive concepts", and the self is designed to be God's object. The purpose of human existence is to return joy to God. The "four-position foundation" is "another important and interpretive concept", and explains in part the emphasis on the family.
Eugene V. Gallagher commented: "The Divine Principle's analysis of the Fall sets the stage for the mission of Rev. Moon, who in the last days brings a revelation that offers humankind the chance to return to an Edenic state. The account in the Divine Principle offers Unificationists a comprehensive context for understanding human suffering."
The Divine Principle includes new interpretations of the Bible not found in mainstream Christian traditions. From its beginning, the Unification Church claimed to be Christian and promoted its teachings to mainstream Christian churches and organizations. The Unification Church in Korea was labeled as heretical by Protestant churches in South Korea, including Moon's own Presbyterian Church. In the United States, the church was rejected by ecumenical organizations as being non-Christian. The main objections were theological, especially because of the Unification Church's addition of material to the Bible.
Protestant Christian commentators have also criticized Unification Church teachings as contrary to the Protestant doctrine of sola fide. In their influential book The Kingdom of the Cults (first published in 1965), Walter Ralston Martin and Ravi K. Zacharias disagreed with the Divine Principle on the issues of Christology, the virgin birth of Jesus, the Unification Church's belief that Jesus should have married, the necessity of the crucifixion of Jesus, and a literal resurrection of Jesus as well as a literal Second Coming.
Jewish commentators, including Rabbi A. James Rudin of the American Jewish Committee in a 1976 report, have stated that Divine Principle contains pejorative language, stereotyped imagery, and accusations of Jewish deicide. In 1977 representatives from the American Jewish Committee, the National Council of Churches, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York held a press conference to say that the Divine Principle contains antisemitic references and heresy. In the 1980s, church leaders Mose Durst, Peter Ross, and Andrew Wilson expressed regret over some members' misunderstanding of Judaism, and urged better relations with the Jewish community. Moon himself has made some controversial statements about the Holocaust, including that its Jewish victims were paying indemnity for the crucifixion of Jesus.
In 1977 the Unification Church issued a rebuttal to Rudin's report, stating that it was neither comprehensive nor reconciliatory, but rather had a hateful tone and was filled with denunciations. It denied that the Divine Principle teaches antisemitism and gave detailed responses to 17 specific allegations contained in the AJC's report, stating that allegations were distortions of teaching and obscuration of real passage content or that the passages were accurate summaries of Jewish scripture or New Testament passages.
In 1984 Mose Durst, then the president of the Unification Church of the United States and himself a convert from Judaism, said that the Jewish community had been hateful in its response to the growth of the Unification Church, and placed blame both on the community's insecurity and on Unification Church members' youthful zeal and ignorance. Rudin, then the national interreligious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee, said that Durst's remarks were inaccurate and unfair and that "hateful is a harsh word to use." In the same year Durst wrote in his autobiography: "Our relations with the Jewish community have been the most painful to me personally. I say this with a heavy heart, since I was raised in the Jewish faith and am proud of my heritage."
The relationship between the Unification Church and Islam has often been noted, both by scholars and the news media. The Divine Principle lists the Muslim world as one of the world's four major divisions (the others being East Asia, Hindu, and Christendom). In 1997, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, a Black Muslim organization, served as a coofficiator at a Blessing Ceremony presided over by Moon and Han. In 2000 the Church and the Nation of Islam co-sponsored the Million Family March, a rally in Washington, D.C., to celebrate family unity and racial and religious harmony.
In 2009 the Unification Church held an interfaith event in the Congress of the Republic of Peru. Former President of the Congress Marcial Ayaipoma and other notable politicians were called "Ambassadors for Peace" of the Unification Church.
In 2010, the church built a large interfaith temple in Seoul. Author Deepak Chopra was the keynote at an interfaith event of the Unification Church cohosted with the United Nations at the Headquarters of the United Nations.
In 2012, the Unification Church-affiliated Universal Peace Federation held an interfaith dialogue in Italy that was cosponsored by United Nations. That year, Unification Church affiliated Universal Peace Federation held an interfaith program for representatives of 12 various religions and confessions in the hall of the United Nations General Assembly. The President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and other UN officials gave speeches.
The Unification Church is said to have been esoteric in that it keeps some of its doctrines secret from nonmembers, a practice that is sometimes called "heavenly deception." In 1979, critics Tingle and Fordyce commented: "How different the openness of Christianity is to the attitude of Reverend Moon and his followers who are often reluctant to reveal to the public many of their basic doctrines." Since the 1990s, many Unification Church texts that were formerly regarded as esoteric have been posted on the church's official websites.
The Divine Principle upholds a belief in spiritualism, that is communication with the spirits of deceased persons. Moon and early church members associated with spiritualists, including the famous Arthur Ford.
Unification Church subscribes to the belief in coming back to life after death. There are two concepts of resurrection detailed in the Divine Principle. The first is the resurrection of people on earth, who pass from death to life, and the second is the returning resurrection which will occur in the Last Days. The Divine Principle reveals the true meaning of these two.
The Divine Principle posits that departed souls can expiate their sins and achieve spiritual growth by "returning" to earth and cooperating with living people, leading them to fulfill their mission on earth and live in accordance to their conscience. The text cites a scripture justifying the concept: "Apart from us they may not be made perfect".
Unification Church theologian Young Oon Kim explained that returning resurrection is not the same as reincarnation. She emphasized that failure to make the distinction has led many dead people to try to "reincarnate", but wound up only possessing other people – to their mutual detriment.
Indemnity, in the context of Unification Church beliefs, is a part of the process by which human beings and the world are restored to God's ideal. The concept of indemnity is explained at the start of the second half of the Divine Principle, "Introduction to Restoration":
What, then, is the meaning of restoration through indemnity? When someone has lost his original position or state, he must make some condition to be restored to it. The making of such conditions of restitution is called indemnity. .... God's work to restore people to their true, unfallen state by having them fulfill indemnity conditions is called the providence of restoration through indemnity.
The Divine Principle goes on to explain three types of indemnity conditions. Equal conditions of indemnity pay back the full value of what was lost. The biblical verse "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth" (Exod.21:23-24) is quoted as an example of an equal indemnity condition. Lesser conditions of indemnity provide a benefit greater than the price that is paid. Faith, baptism, and the eucharist are mentioned as examples of lesser indemnity conditions. Greater conditions of indemnity come about when a person fails in a lesser condition. In that case a greater price must be paid to make up for the earlier failure. Abraham's attempted sacrifice of his son Isaac (Gen. 22:1-18) and the Israelites' 40 years of wandering in the wilderness under Moses (Num.14:34) are mentioned as examples of greater indemnity conditions. The Divine Principle then explains that an indemnity condition must reverse the course by which the mistake or loss came about. Indemnity, at its core, is required of humans because God is pure, and purity cannot relate directly with impurity. Indemnification is the vehicle that allows a "just and righteous" God to work through mankind. Jesus' statement that God had forsaken him (Matt.27:46) and Christianity's history of martyrdom are mentioned as examples of this. The Divine Principle then states that human beings, not God or the angels, are the ones responsible for making indemnity conditions.
In 2005 scholars Daske and Ashcraft explained the Unificationist concept of indemnity:
To restart the process toward perfection, God has sent messiahs to earth who could restore the true state of humanity's relationship with God. Before that can happen, however, humans must perform good deeds that cancel the bad effects of sin. Unificationists call this 'indemnity'. Showing love and devotion to one's fellow humans, especially within families, helps pay this indemnity.
Other Christian commentators have criticized the concept of indemnity as being contrary to the Christian doctrine of sola fide. Radio and television evangelist Bob Larson said, "Moon's doctrine of sinless perfection by 'indemnity', which can apply even to deceased ancestors, is a denial of the salvation by grace offering through Jesus Christ." Christian historian Ruth Tucker said: "In simple language indemnity is salvation by works." Donald Tingle and Richard Fordyce, ministers with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who debated two Unification Church theologians in 1977, wrote: "In short, indemnity is anything you want to make it, since you establish the conditions. The zeal and enthusiasm of the Unification Church members is not so much based on love for God as it is compulsion to indemnify one's own sins." The Unification Church has also been criticized for saying that World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, and the Cold War served as indemnity conditions to prepare the world for the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
In Unification Church terminology, the True Family is the family of church founder and leader Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han. Church members regard Moon as the Second Coming, and he and his wife as the "True Parents" of humankind, who have realized the ideal of true love as the incarnation of God's Word. Members of the Unification Movement generally address or refer to Rev. and Mrs. Moon as "Father" and "Mother" or "True Father" and "True Mother." Their children are known as the "True Children."
Sun Myung and Hak Ja Han are regarded to have achieved the status of True Parents on January 1, 1968, at the end of their "7-year course" of marriage together, representing the perfection of God's masculine and feminine aspects. Unification theology teaches that Jesus achieved this perfection only on the individual level and that had he not died on the cross, he would have married. It further teaches that, having married, he and his wife would have become "True Parents", created a "True Family", and would have saved humanity and perfected the world. Unfortunately Jesus was unable to complete his mission of perfecting the world and went the way of the cross, but his death was not a complete defeat because Jesus died for our sins giving us spiritual salvation. The primary mission of True Parents is to engraft all people on earth and in the spirit world to the original sinless lineage of God, removing them from the satanic lineage established at the fall of humanity (the original sin in the Garden of Eden).
The "Family Pledge" of the Unification Church is an eight-part promise of church members to focus on God and His kingdom. Eight verses of the Family Pledge include the phrase "by centering on true love." For the first 40 years of the church's existence, members recited the pledge on Sunday mornings at 5:00 a.m. Now they recite it every 8 days, on Ahn Shi Il: Day of Settlement and Attendance, which is the Unification Church's equivalent of a Sabbath. The first part says, "Our family, the owner of Cheon Il Guk, pledges to seek our original homeland and build the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven, the original ideal of creation, by centering on true love."
The Unification Church is well known for its wedding or wedding vow renewal ceremony. It is given to engaged or married couples. Through it, members of the Unification Church believe, the couple is removed from the lineage of sinful humanity and engrafted into God's sinless lineage. The Blessing ceremony was first held in 1961 for 36 couples in Seoul, South Korea by the Moons shortly after their own marriage in 1960. All the couples were members of the church. Rev. Moon matched all of the couples except 12 who were already married to each other before joining the church.
Moon's practice of matching couples was very unusual in both Christian tradition and in modern Western culture and attracted much attention and controversy. Thousands of couples have been placed in marriages by religious leaders with people they had barely met, since Moon taught that romantic love led to sexual promiscuity. Their mass arranged marriage events have gained international public attention. Critics have stated that some of these marriages end in divorce, which is discouraged by the church.
Later Blessing ceremonies were larger in scale but followed the same pattern. All participants were Unification Church members and Rev. Moon matched most of the couples. In 1982 the first large scale Blessing (of 2,000 couples) outside of Korea took place in Madison Square Garden, New York City. In 1988, Moon matched 2,500 Korean members with Japanese members for a Blessing ceremony held in Korea, partly in order to promote unity between the two nations. In 1992 Sun Myung Moon gave the wedding blessing for 30,000 couples at the Seoul Olympic Stadium and for 13,000 at the Yankee Stadium. In 2013, four months after the death of Sun Myung Moon, the church held a Blessing ceremony for 3500 couples in South Korea, while another 24,000 followers took part in other countries via video link. This ceremony was presided over by Hak Ja Han.
A Unification Church funeral (or seungwha) is a funeral ceremony held for the purpose of aiding the deceased person's transition to the spirit world and to celebrate his or her life among family and friends. Unification Church scholars writing on the church's funeral customs cite the church's main theological text the Divine Principle which says: "Man, upon his death, after his life in the visible world, goes to the invisible world in a spiritual body, having taken off his 'clothes of flesh' (Job 10:11), and lives there forever." They also note that family and other human relationships continue after death. The Unification Church does not uphold belief in reincarnation or eternal damnation. Unification Church theologian Young Oon Kim writes:
The seungwha ceremony was introduced by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon in 1984, at the time of the death of his son Heung Jin Moon. Church members who had died prior to this were given traditional Christian funerals. When the new and more distinct format was ordained, the official church newspaper reported:
The ceremony itself consists of three parts: The Gwi Hwan Ceremony (or "returning to joy"), a farewell prayer service held by family members and close friends; the Seung Hwa Ceremony, (or "ascension and harmony"), a public ceremony celebrating the person's life featuring songs, testimonies, and an address most often by a church pastor; and the Won Jeun Ceremony (or "returning home/to the palace"), the burial service. It is emphasized that the ceremony should have a joyful atmosphere since it is a celebration of the person's life and his or her transition to the spirit world. White and light colored clothing, rather than the traditional black, is worn by participants.
Cremation is discouraged in the Unification Church, although it is sometimes practiced especially in Japan where it is required by law. Unification Church cemeteries, or sections of existing facilities, have been established in South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
According to the current head of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), the Tongil ("Unity" or "Unification" in Korean) mark represents the flag of "Cheon Il Guk"—otherwise understood as the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. It is created with significant meaning and numbers: Its gold color symbolizes an ideal world of peace; the circle in the center represents God and his True Love, True Life and True Lineage; the twelve lines represent 12 months of the year and twelve types of human personalities; the square represents four directions, North, South East & West, and the four position foundation centered on God; and the circle around represents give and receive action between the visible and invisible worlds.
The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) is a collegiate organization founded by Moon and church members in 1955 that "promotes intercultural, interracial, and international cooperation through the Unification world view." J. Isamu Yamamoto states in Unification Church: "At times CARP has been very subtle about its association with the Unification Church, however, the link between the two has always been strong, since the purpose of both is to spread Moon's teachings."
The Little Angels Children's Folk Ballet of Korea is a dance troupe founded in 1962 by Moon and other church members to project a positive image of South Korea to the world. In 1973 they performed at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City. The group's dances are based on Korean legends and regional dances, and its costumes on traditional Korean styles.
The Tongil Group is a South Korean chaebol (tongil is Korean for "unification") founded in 1963 by Moon as a nonprofit organization which would provide revenue for the church. Its core focus was manufacturing but in the 1970s and 1980s it expanded by founding or acquiring businesses in pharmaceuticals, tourism, and publishing. Among Tongil Group's chief holdings are: The Ilwha Company, which produces ginseng and related products; Ilshin Stone, building materials; and Tongil Heavy Industries, machine parts including hardware for the South Korean military.
The Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), founded in 1975, is the main seminary of the international Unification Church. It is located in Barrytown, New York and with an Extension Center in midtown Manhattan. Its purpose has been described as training leaders and theologians within the Unification Church. The seminary's professors come from a wide range of faiths, including a rabbi, a Methodist minister, a Presbyterian, and a Catholic priest.
News World Communications is an international news media corporation founded by Moon in 1976. Hyun Jin Moon took over the company as chairman in 2009. It owns United Press International, The World and I, The Segye Ilbo (South Korea), and The Sekai Nippo (Japan). Until 2008 it published the Washington D.C. based newsmagazine Insight on the News. Until 2010, it owned The Washington Times, when Sun Myung Moon and a group of former Times editors purchased the Times from News World Communications. The Times is currently owned by diversified conglomerate Operations Holdings, also associated with the Unification Church.
The International Coalition for Religious Freedom is an activist organization based in Virginia, the United States. Founded by the Unification Church in the 1980s, it has been active in protesting what it considers to be threats to the freedom of religion by governmental agencies.
The Universal Ballet, founded South Korea in 1984, is one of only four professional ballet companies in South Korea. The company performs a repertory that includes many full length classical story ballets, together with shorter contemporary works and original full-length Korean ballets created especially for the company. It is supported by church members with Moon's daughter-in-law Julia Moon, who was the company's prima ballerina until 2001, now serving as General Director.
The Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP) is an organization whose stated purpose is to encourage women to work more actively in promoting peace in their communities and greater society. It was founded in 1992 by Hak Ja Han and is supported by the church. It has members in 143 countries.
The International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) works to promote peace and understanding between potentially hostile nations.
Pyeonghwa Motors, founded in 2000, has invested more than $300 million in the automobile industry of the North Korea. Starting in 1992 the church established business ties with communist North Korea and owned an automobile manufacturer (Pyeonghwa Motors), a hotel, and other properties there. In 1998, the Unification Movement launched its operations in North Korea with the approval of the Government of South Korea, which had prohibited business relationships between North and South before.
As of December 1994, the church had invested $150 million in Uruguay. Members own the country's largest hotel, one of its leading banks, the second-largest newspaper and two of the largest printing plants.
The Middle East Peace Initiative sponsors projects to promote peace and understanding including visits by international Christians to Israel and Palestine and dialogues between members of the Israeli Knesset and the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The Sunmoon Peace Football Foundation founded by the church in 2003 sponsors the Peace Cup, an invitational preseason friendly association football tournament for club teams, currently held every two years. It is contested by the eight clubs from several continents, though 12 teams participated in 2009. The first three competitions were held in South Korea, and the 2009 Peace Cup Andalucia was held in Madrid and Andalusia, Spain. In 1989, Moon founded Seongnam FC, a South Korean football team.
Several church-related groups are working to promote sexual abstinence until marriage and fidelity in marriage and to prevent child exploitation; they care for victims of Thailand's sex trade as well. In 1996, Unification Church gathered 3,500 signatures during its anti-pornography campaign. A church official said, "pornography makes love seem temporal, pure love goes beyond the sexual relationship."
Yongpyong Resort. Yoshifu Arita, a well known investigative journalist and currently a member of Japan’s House of Councilors, reported: “The church is the largest shareholder of the Yongpyong ski resort, with 49.9% of shares. In addition, the Segye Ilbo newspaper founded by the church (called Sekai Nippo in its Japanese edition) owns another 12.59%. In other words, for all intents and purposes, the resort is owned by the Unification Church. In books and other church publications, the hotel, condominiums, ski slopes and other facilities are introduced as ‘sacred territory.’ The site has also been the venue for ‘special training seminars’ attended by Japanese church members, at which founder Moon Sun Myung... participated. You can also see Winter Sonata spin-off goods on sale there. Naturally I suppose a travel agency affiliated with the Unification Church has tied up with Japanese tour operators to promote tourism to the area. The church is most likely to benefit from the holding of the Olympics here. In South Korea, the church enjoys the status of “zaidan hojin” (foundation) and is recognized in Korean economic circles."
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The colors, sounds, and heritage of South Korea will come alive tonight as the Little Angels, an all-girls Korean folk ballet company, performs in the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin. ... The company was founded in 1962 by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, as a way to project a positive image of the country...
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