Self-styled ‘Messiah’ and ‘Reverend’ Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church – whose followers became known as “Moonies” – died in South Korea on Sunday, aged 92. It is not reported whether he went straight to Heaven without passing GO.
Moon’s so-called Unification Church became a worldwide movement and claimed to have around 3 million members, including 100,000 in the United States.
My guess is that Moon was an intelligence asset of western intelligence agencies.
Moon founded the church in 1954 amid the ruins of South Korea and promoted a mixture of Christianity and his own conservative, family-oriented teachings. He preached new interpretations of lessons from the Bible, and fused elements of Christianity and Confucianism – outlining his principles in his book, Explanation of the Divine Principle, published in 1957.
Sun Myung Moon built a business empire that included the Washington Times newspaper, the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan, Bridgeport University in Connecticut, a hotel and a car plant in North Korea. It also acquired a ski resort, a professional soccer team and other businesses in South Korea, and a seafood firm that supplies sushi to Japanese restaurants across the United States.
What is even more dodgy is that Moon had a close relationship with all the North Korean leaders and received expensive luxury presents on every birthday while North Koreans died in droves from starvation.
I had a chance to do some work for the UN at Geneva but pulled out when I found it would have been for the Unification Church – might as well be employed by the Mafia!
During the 70s and 80s there was much controversy about this so-called religious movement – similar issues that have dogged the nutty Scientologists – brainwashing and general cultish behaviour – breaking families apart and using people for its own ends. Once the Moonies had enough money they could bribe important opinion-formers and became mainstream.
As the UK Guardian notes, Moon developed good relationships with dodgy Republican leaders, including Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior. Not a bad result for someone found guilty of tax evasion in the US, where he lived for 30 years, and served 13 months of an 18 month sentence.
The Moonies were also famous for performing mass marriages – strange to us in the West, but more understandable to folk with scant resources to pay for ceremonies.
Sun Myung Moon is survived by his econd wife and 10 kids who – surprise, surprise – run the international business now. Without a trace of irony or crafty smile, his heir and youngest son told AP agency in a February 2010 interview that they do not see themselves as his successors. “Our role is not inheriting that messianic role,” he said. “Our role is more of the apostles, where we share … where we become the bridge … to understanding what kind of lives our two parents have lived.”