This article first appeared in CRI’s Newsletter Christian Research REPORT, volume 11, number 3 (1998). For further information or to subscribe to CRI’s current newsletter go to: http://www.equip.org
Why would a prominent public figure like former president George Bush accept invitations to speak at events sponsored by Sun Myung Moon, thus lending further credibility to Moon’s efforts to become a leading voice for Christians and political conservatives worldwide? Obviously, the exorbitant honorariums are a factor. Bush, however, defends his actions by stating that he doesn’t endorse Moon’s theology, but instead affirms the family values Moon’s organization stresses.
The organization in question is not the Unification Church itself but the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Moon founded the Family Federation in 1996 and intends to give it a much higher profile than the Unification Church, since his church has failed to grow from its meager numbers in North America even after three decades of intense proselytization by his followers.
George Bush and his wife are not alone in adding their names and presence to Moon’s movement. Other well-known politicians, entertainers, sports figures, and religious leaders have addressed or performed at Moon’s conferences for handsome fees. They include Gerald Ford, Mikhail Gorbachev, pop star Jon Secada, and even Louis Farrakhan. In addition, Maureen Reagan, daughter of Ronald Reagan, has introduced Hak Ja Han, Moon’s wife, at a Thanksgiving conference of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (associated with the Family Federation) saying of her, “I am proud to call her my friend.”
Despite their insistence that they are affirming only the family values message of these conferences and organizations, the marketing of Moon’s movement does not confine their endorsements to traditional views of marriage. Indeed, celebrity names are splashed throughout Moon’s public relations literature. The irony is that Moon’s concept of marriage and the family would alarm most of these people, as it certainly should alarm Christians.
Just as communion and baptism are holy sacraments within evangelical churches, wedding and marriage vows are sacraments within the Unification Church. According to Moon’s theology, God had created Adam and Eve to establish His kingdom on earth with their family as the foundation of this earthly kingdom. Lucifer, however, physically seduced Eve and destroyed the relationship between God, Adam, and Eve. In this way, Lucifer, who became Satan for causing the fall of humanity, ruined God’s perfect and sinless family.
Subsequently, God made several attempts to reestablish His kingdom on earth, but those whom He called for that purpose failed. Finally, Jesus emerged as a great holy man, whom God called to be the Messiah. Scriptures had described two paths that the Messiah might travel — one as the victorious king and the other as the suffering servant. Since the Jews refused to follow Jesus and recognize Him as their king and thereby allowed the Romans to crucify Jesus, He was forced to fulfill only the latter prophecies. Yet Jesus’ primary mission was to defeat Satan, marry the perfect woman, have sinless children, and thus establish God’s kingdom on earth.
Because Jesus failed to restore the heavenly triangle between God, man, and woman, God must call another holy man to fulfill the primary mission of the Messiah. According to Moon, his book Divine Principle reveals the most important truths hidden for ages in the Old and New Testaments. That is why Unificationists refer to Divine Principle as the Completed Testament and regard it as divine scripture. This work not only asserts the doctrines thus far articulated but also indicates who the second Messiah is. Moon teaches that the Messiah will be a Korean, born in this century, and accomplish many of the deeds Moon himself has allegedly done. Although the Divine Principle does not explicitly say that Moon is the Messiah, the implication is quite plain, and naturally most of his followers believe him to be.
One of the most important tasks of the Messiah is that he marry the perfect woman and have 12 sinless children. Moon’s followers regard his marriage to Hak Ja Han as the “Marriage of the Lamb,” taken from Revelation 21:9, which actually describes the union between Christ and His church. Subsequently, Moon’s followers have called his wife “Mother” just as they call him “Father.” Moon and his wife have had thirteen children (a son was killed in an auto accident). Unificationists believe Moon has fulfilled the messianic duty of creating God’s family on earth.
Events in which Moon weds thousands of couples and blesses the marriage vows of married couples (such as at “Blessing ’97” held at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium on November 29 last year) affirm for Moon and his followers that he is establishing God’s kingdom on earth as the second Messiah. What Jesus failed to do two thousand years ago as the first Messiah, Moon is now supposedly accomplishing. The fact that eminent public figures such as George and Barbara Bush have participated in Moon-sponsored events strengthens Unificationists’ beliefs and affords them additional PR ammunition to persuade others as well.