- Founded in 1954 in Seoal, North Korea by a man called Sun Myung Moon.
- The followers of this religion are often referred to as the ‘moonies’.
- The events that led up to the formation of the Unification movement began in 1836 when Sun Myung Moon was sixteen years old. He claims that Jesus appeared to him in Easter of that year and told him that he was to complete the mission that Jesus begun but had not been able to complete due to his premature death and this is essentially the core belief of the Church.
- Claims he spent nine years in spiritual warfare with Satan who tried to convince him that he wasn’t going to be able to accomplish the Messiah.
- Moon attracted a lot of attention from the media and became a controversial figure when the recruitment processes of his religion became publically known. Many claim that the leaders brainwash many of his followers. (Steve Hassan)
The main beliefs and teachings of the Church:
- The Unification Church considers themselves as teaching from a Christian perspective.
- The church is:
- Anti-pre-marital sex
- The Unification Church has been rooted in the idea that its members are helping to create the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
- Jesus was born without original sin.
- Hell exists on earth.
- Marriage and baptism are seen as sacraments.
- Theologically the Messiah is a couple.
- They believe that the Kingdom of Heaven will be established when everyone joins the movement.
- They believe that Jesus was spiritually resurrected but not physically for he was not married and you cannot enter Heaven unless you are married. Marriage, also referred to as the ‘Blessing’ is one of the central teachings of the Unification church.
- Moon carries out mass marriages; in year 1975 married 1800 couples and in 2000 he claims to have married 360 million couples. The people did not have to be present, only their names.
- The Blessing (marital) is deemed the passport to Heaven. The means of renouncing Satan’s lineage and becoming a part of God’s lineage is by participating in the Blessing ceremony.
Positive aspects of the Unification Church:
- Moon promotes inter-religious dialogue
- Moon promotes racial unity
- Moon promotes the importance of the family
- Openly accepts new members
Negative aspects of the Unification Church
- Much controversy surrounding the membership of the Church.
- Moonie has been arrested on a number of occasions for tax evasion and financial related crimes.
- He promotes the importance of the family and pre-marital sex yet he has an illegitimate child, two of his daughters don’t speak to him nor are they members of the church, and his son is an alcoholic who was arrested having been linked to prostitution.
- Claims that Christians who fail to accept his teaching are like the priests and rabbis of Jesus’ time. Claims they must accept the revelations with Divine Principle or they will be doomed in hell.
- Controversy surrounding arranged marriages.
- Associated with limiting outside contact. It is believed that teachers teach that anyone outside their church is an instrument of Satan.
- Prior to his leaving the church, Christopher Edwards said “It was just as the Family said, Satan lived in my parents, tempting me with their false love”.
An EXCELLENT documentary on The Moonies is the one created by Channel 4. They follow the lives of three young British members of the Unification Church as they embark on their journey to Korea to meet and marry their future spouses. It is an EXCELLENT resource to use with your pupils!