North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And so passes on Sun Myung Moon, the Korean-born founder of the Unification Church and self-proclaimed messiah

"Sun Myung Moon, the Korean-born founder of the Unification Church and self-proclaimed messiah who built a secretive global business empire that sells cars, guns, newspapers and sushi, has died. He was 92." So reports the San Francisco Chronicle, which goes on to note, "To thousands of followers, Moon was the benevolent “True Father” who was asked by Jesus to complete his unfinished mission on Earth. To detractors, he was a megalomaniacal cult leader who exploited disciples though brainwashing, separated them from their families and used their labor to amass a personal fortune."

Moon and his wife Han Hak Ja, attending a mass wedding event, which will be noted later. Han Hak Ja,known to followers as the “True Mother,” gave birth to 14 children.

Reverend Moon and the Unification Church is an interesting story, but probably without global importance. He was nonetheless a personality in South Korean history as well as a presence in the US - perhaps at the very least a figure that should give us pause as to what we believe in and who we follow.

Reverend Moon - the person

Moon was born in a province of what is now North Korea in 1920, which at that time was under military control of an aggressive, expansive Japanese government. Somehow, Moon is found to have worked past his status as an individual in a conquered nation, and attended Waseda University in Tokyo itself from April 1941 to September 1943 (during the beginning war years), when he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. According to the Brittanica (yes, the famous encyclopedia makers), early on, " at the age of 16 he had a vision of Jesus Christ in which he was told to carry out Christ’s unfinished task. Moon believed that God chose him to save mankind from Satanism, and he regarded communists as Satan’s representatives in the world.

The young Moon at the beginning of his religious rise

After the end of WW II, Moon began to preach his doctrines in Korea in 1946. Two years later he was excommunicated by the Korean Presbyterian Church, and shortly thereafter he was imprisoned by the North Korean authorities for reasons that are not entirely clear. In 1950 he escaped—or was released—and fled to South Korea, where he founded what was to become the Unification Church. This was, of course, the year when the Korean conflict erupted...

Korea and Japan, home to Sun Myung Moon from birth into his 50's when he moved to the US

In the early 1970s he began full-scale missionary operations in the United States. As young people were drawn into the movement, Moon incurred widespread hostility from the parents of followers, who believed that their children had been unfairly indoctrinated. Other controversies also mounted over the movement’s fund-raising techniques, as well as over immigration issues and tax manipulation.

Moon and his wife (second wife) were respectively addressed as “Father” and “Mother” by disciples, for whom the two epitomized God’s ideal family. In 1973 the Moons moved their headquarters to Tarrytown, New York, operating from there an international network of businesses. Bullet points follow from a variety of sources:

* In 1975, Moon sponsored one of the largest peaceful gatherings in history (1.2 million people) in Yoido, South Korea. That same year, he sponsored a rally of 300,000 by the Washington Monument in Washington D.C..

From the Unification church website, "During a Day of Hope tour, ... a rally at Yoido Island near Seoul was attended by 1.2 million people. Reverend Moon spoke a message of determination to stand against communism in South Korea and establish a world centered on God, at the height of the Cold War during a time of great tension between North and South Korea."

* Diversifying into media in 1982, Moon sponsored the US$50 million movie "Inchon" about the Korean War, and founded a newspaper, The Washington Times. (That year he was also convicted of tax evasion, sentenced to 18 months in prison, and fined $25,000; he went to prison in 1984.)

*In 2000, Moon sponsored a United Nations conference which proposed the formation of "a religious assembly, or council of religious representatives, within the structure of the United Nations." In the same year, he joined with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in sponsoring the Million Family March in Washington D.C., a follow-up event to the Million Man March held in 1995. He also launched activities in China and opened an office in the Health Ministry of China in Beijing that same year.

* In 2005, at the age of 85, Moon inaugurated the Universal Peace Federation with a 120-city world speaking tour. At each city, Moon delivered his speech titled "God's Ideal Family – the Model for World Peace".

*In April 2008, Moon appointed his youngest son Hyung Jin Moon to be the new leader of the Unification Church and the worldwide Unification Movement, saying, "I hope everyone helps him so that he may fulfill his duty as the successor of the True Parents."

Hyung-jin Moon, youngest son of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon preaches to believers during a 2009 service at a Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea. Moon's U.S.-born youngest son, Hyung-jin Moon, was named the church's top religious director in 2008. Other children run the church's businesses and charitable activities

*In 2009, Moon's autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, was published in South Korea which became a best-seller in Korea and Japan.

The Unification Church

Officially called "The Holy Spirit(ual) Association for the Unification of World Christianity," the church has 5-7 million adherents worldwide according to its public relations office (or had), but by most accounts the numbers are much smaller.

Members of the Unification Church believe that Moon is the Messiah and claim that there is "no room to challenging Moon...history will answer whether Moon is the new messiah". Moon himself gave the following answer to the question of whether he is the messiah or not: "Yes I am. But so are you." Then he pointed to each person around him: "And so are you, and you, and you."

The Unification Church is well known for its wedding or marriage re-dedication ceremonies, given to married (or engaged) 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.

An iconic mass wedding, something close and dear to the Unification church.

Well, enough of this - Unification Church doctrine can be looked up if one wishes to review its framework of belief. This quite energetic man himself has now passed on, and reports are already surfacing that his children will have their hands full in continuing the religious and business empire. One can only point out how quickly people seek out leaders, and there is no shortage of would-be leaders willing to accept that role.

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