Unification Church


Unification Church
a religious sect that combines elements of Protestantism and Buddhism, founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1954: many of its members live in communes sponsored by the sect.

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officially Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity.

Religious movement founded (1954) in South Korea by Sun Myung Moon.

Influenced by yin-yang principles and Korean shamanism, it seeks to establish divine rule on earth through the restoration of the family, based on the union of the Lord and Lady of the Second Advent (believed to be Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han). It strives to fulfill what it asserts to be the uncompleted mission of Jesus
procreative marriage. The church has been criticized for its recruitment policies (said to include brainwashing) and business practices. Its mass marriage ceremonies have gained press attention. Its worldwide membership is about 200,000 in more than 100 countries.

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byname of  Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity 

      religious movement founded in Pusan, South Korea, by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon (Moon, Sun Myung) in 1954. Known for its mass weddings, the church teaches a unique Christian theology. It has generated much controversy, and its members are commonly derided as “Moonies.”

      Born in 1920, Moon was raised in the Presbyterian church (presbyterian), which eventually excommunicated him for heresy. As a teenager he had a vision in which he was charged with completing Jesus' unfinished work. Accepting this call, he began to preach, faced persecution from the government, and founded the church.

      According to Moon, the world was created from God's inner nature, which is reflected in the “dual” expressions of life, Sung Sang (causal, masculine) and Hyung Sang (resultant, feminine). The purpose of creation, Moon believes, is to experience the joy of love. Adam and Eve, however, sinned by misusing love (fornicating) and failed to realize God's purpose. In the wake of their failure, selfish love has dominated human existence, and God has sought to restore his original plan. God's efforts at “restoration,” which require the intervention of a messiah, have been continually thwarted. Although Jesus was able to create the conditions necessary for humanity's spiritual salvation, he did not marry and thus, according to Moon, did not complete God's plan.

      The Unification Church identifies Moon as the Messiah who will implant God's heart of love in his followers and complete Jesus' works. Having married and raised the “ideal” family, Moon called on members of the church to follow his example and thereby participate in God's plan for restoration. Followers believe that they can help establish God's kingdom on Earth by accepting the blessing of their marriage in one of the mass wedding ceremonies for which the church has become well known.

      In the late 1950s the church spread to the West and in the 1970s was identified as a “cult.” Parents protested their children's membership in the group, which often damaged careers and family ties. They sought the help of deprogrammers and filed civil lawsuits. Controversy surrounding the church led to congressional hearings, and in 1982 Moon was convicted of tax evasion. His supporters, including many mainline church leaders, saw the trial as an example of government religious persecution.

      Having survived this period of intense criticism, the Unification Church emerged in the 1990s with an expansive international program. The church has a presence in more than 100 countries, though exact membership figures are difficult to estimate. Its influence is extended by a variety of organizations that embody Moon's ideals, such as the Professor's World Peace Academy and the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences. In 1994, on the 40th anniversary of the founding of the church, Moon announced the formation of the International Federation for World Peace, which assumed many of the functions formerly performed by the church.

      Although the early 1990s was a period of relative stability for the Unification movement, problems arose for the church in Japan following the AUM Shinrikyo incident in 1995, when the country was gripped by anticult hysteria. The church was also hurt when Moon's daughter-in-law, Nansook Hong, in 1998 wrote an exposé of life in the Moon family.

John Gordon Melton

Additional Reading
Eileen Barker, The Making of a Moonie (1984, reissued 1993), repudiates some of the more extreme claims made against the church; and Nansook Hong, In the Shadow of the Moons: My Life in the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Family (1998), is a highly critical work written by a family member.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Unification Church — Hangul 통일교회 Hanja 統一敎會 Revised Romanization …   Wikipedia

  • Unification Church — n. an American religious denomination founded in 1964 in Korea by its leader, Sun Myung Moon (1920 ), as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity …   English World dictionary

  • Unification Church — Unification Church, the the official name for the ↑Moonies …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Unification Church — noun a Christian church (with some Buddhist elements) founded in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon and known for staging mass weddings and other communal activities • Hypernyms: ↑church, ↑Christian church • Member Meronyms: ↑Moonie * * * ˌUnifiˈcation… …   Useful english dictionary

  • UNIFICATION CHURCH —    a highly controversial Korean NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT which gained much publicity in the 1970s. The full name of the movement is The Holy Spirit Association for The Unification of World Christianity, and was founded in 1954 by an engineer Sun… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Unification Church —    A North Korean electrical engineering graduate, Sun Myung Moon (1920–) founded his church as God’s new religious vehicle in 1954. His followers are known derogatively as ‘Moonies’ because they believe their leader is the Second Coming. Moon… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Unification Church — U′nifica′tion Church′ n. rel an eclectic religious sect founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1954 …   From formal English to slang

  • Unification Church — noun an evangelistic religious and political organization founded in 1954 in Korea by Sun Myung Moon …   English new terms dictionary

  • Unification Church —  Объединения церковь …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • Unification Church — /junəfəˌkeɪʃən ˈtʃɜtʃ/ (say yoohnuhfuh.kayshuhn cherch) noun the religious cult known as the Moonies …   Australian English dictionary


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