Sun Myung Moon, the leader of what has been called a Moonies cult, claims that when he was 15 years old, Jesus appeared before him, asking him to complete Christ’s unfinished task of establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth. Moon believes that Christ failed to attain complete salvation for humanity, and further believes that a Korean messiah will finish the work. Since the 1940’s, Moon has viewed himself as the man for the job.
Although Moon moved to United States during the 1950’s, while maintaining another residence in Korea, it was not until 1970’s, when Moon came to the support of Nixon during the Watergate scandal, that the general public became aware of Moon and his Unification Church. A series of religious cults were exposed during that decade, and many viewed the Church as a Moonies cult as well.
Moon’s multiple marriages, reports of sex rituals during the church’s early years, and a series of mass weddings have led many to agree with the Moonies cult appellation. Hundreds of parents charged that their children had been brainwashed by the Moonies cult known as the Unification Church. In 1997, 28,000 couples gathered for a “marriage affirmation” ceremony that was broadcast live so that another 39.6 million couples around the world could participate as well.
Sun Myung Moon has gone to great efforts to repair the tarnished image of his church, using the church’s immense wealth in attempts to achieve legitimacy and acceptance. The Church maintains a continuous outreach to thousands of clergy around the world. An affiliate of the Church has financial control over the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. Moon has purchased media outlets, most notably the Washington Time and New York Tribune. Former President George H. W. Bush accepted millions of dollars in speaker’s fees at Moon events.