Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah and founder of the Unification Church has died at the age of 92. Sun Myung Moon died two weeks after being hospitalized with pneumonia, The Unification Church and “Moonies” became infamous and was accused of using devious recruitment tactics and duping followers out of money and brainwashing its followers to join. Some called it a religions, other referred to it as a cult. The Unification Church has certainly come a long way from the Moonies selling flowers and trinkets on street corners at the airport. The religion in recent times appeared to be more of an investment business. A truely unique, bizarre and controversial figure has passed.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who turned his Unification Church into a worldwide religious movement and befriended North Korean leaders as well as U.S. presidents, has died, church officials said Monday. He was 92.
Moon died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul, two weeks after being hospitalized with pneumonia, Unification Church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul told The Associated Press. Moon’s wife and children were at his side, Ahn said.
Moon, born in a town that is now in North Korea, founded his religious movement in Seoul in 1954 after surviving the Korean War. He preached new interpretations of lessons from the Bible.
The church gained fame — and notoriety — in the 1970s and 1980s for holding mass weddings of thousands of followers, often from different countries, whom Moon matched up in a bid to build a multicultural religious world.
NY Times Obit:
Building a business empire in South Korea and Japan, Mr. Moon used his commercial interests to support nonprofit ventures, then kept control of them by placing key insiders within their hierarchies. He avidly backed right-wing causes, turning The Washington Times into a respected newspaper in conservative circles.
An ardent anti-Communist who had been imprisoned by the Communist authorities in northern Korea in the 1940s, he saw the United States as the world’s salvation. But in the late 1990s, after financial losses, defections and stagnant growth in the church’s membership, he turned on America, branding it a repository of immorality — he called it “Satan’s harvest” — and repositioned his movement as a crusade for moral values.