Rev. Sun Myung Moon made headlines again in late March when reports surfaced that the Korean-born leader of the Unification Church was “channeling” voices from the dead and that he had contacted his late son, Heung Jin Nim Moon.
More striking were revelations that a black church member from Africa was being possessed by Heung Jin Nim, who had been killed in a 1984 car crash at age 17. According to the Washington Post, church members were startled by the news, but they went along with it because it came from Moon.
But as the bizarre story has unfolded with the appearance and subsequent coronation of the unnamed Zimbabwean as Moon’s son, some church members have become skeptical, while others have been working to quell rumors or theological differences inside the sect
The Zimbabwean, described as a baby-faced black man in his early 20s, has been a member of the church for the past three years. Last year he began claiming to hear the voice of Heung Jin Nim. After a church-sponsored investigation concluded that the man probably was Moon’s son, he came to America and met with Moon. According to the Post, the man knew the answers to five questions only Moon’s deceased son could have known, and thus won Moon’s enthusiastic acceptance.
Since then the Zimbabwean has gained tremendous power in the church, and has spoken at a number of functions with some of them promoting the American Freedom Coalition, a Moon-sponsored political lobbying group. Other reports have stated that the man has become very authoritarian, and has beaten and slapped church members, including Moon’s second-in-command, Bo Hi Pak.