Gary: Now, Religion in the News, a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media. This week’s item is from last January 10’s Christianity Today, with the headline, “Son’s Death Shakes Up Sect.”
“Hyung Jin Philip Moon, son of Unification Church leader, Sun Myung Moon, fell to his death from the seventeenth floor of a Reno, Nevada, hotel October 27. Hyung Jin’s death, ruled a suicide in preliminary police reports, has created a new round of turmoil for church members. The church experienced intense media attention last year after the release of Nansook Hong’s In the Shadow of the Moons,” an expose of her former marriage to Moon’s oldest son, Hyo Jin Moon.
Hyung Jin, born in 1978, was in Nevada to pursue a career in hotel management. Sun Myung Moon, who founded the Unification Church in 1954, told church members in a sermon November 14, that his son’s death was a providential accident and not suicide. After Moon concluded that his son did not commit suicide, the casket was exhumed, and a formal Unification funeral was held in Seoul on November 10. Rumors have circulated among Unificationists that evil spirits pushed Hyung Jin off the balcony. Church members also have spoken of supernatural events during Hyung Jin’s Nevada burial. Moon says God allowed his son to die as a sacrifice so that Satan could not make a direct attack on the True Parents, a Unification term for Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han.
Donna Collins, a prominent ex-member told Christianity Today that it is impossible to reconcile Unification ideals about Moon and his wife with the neglect of their own children. She says that the Unification path is rife with bodies, and that “the majority of the kids I grew up with in the movement are suicidal.”
Tom: Dave, this is the “Lord of the Second Advent,” so called. This is the guy who is “correcting the mistakes that Jesus made,” and he, according to Unification theology, he’s going to get it right. What do you think?
Dave: Tom, it breaks your heart. When anyone dies, suicide or not, when you have thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of followers of a false messiah…. Of course, Jesus said that this would happen. But it breaks your heart. And I must confess that sometimes I almost despair of trying to reason with people. You know, that’s our ministry. We’re trying to call people back to sound doctrine. It’s very, very difficult. Most people who are in a cult are there because they want to believe the lies of the cult leader.
And Sun Myung Moon is such a fraud. First of all, well, as you intimated, he claims that Jesus didn’t fulfill His mission. Jesus failed, and now he is the one who is going to fulfill the mission. How is he going to do that? Well, Jesus did not get married, so he has the perfect marriage now, supposedly, and he marries people en masse, you know—sometimes a thousand couples or more at once, and this is the way we’re going to “unite the world.”
It’s a denial of the scripture. It’s a denial of the salvation that is offered in Jesus Christ. So he is leading people into hell.
On the other hand, it’s such folly! And there are so many embarrassing events. For example, you probably remember when a former member, who had donated several million dollars and then realized that this man is a fraud, sued him in court, and Sun Myung Moon is on the witness stand claiming that Jesus appeared to him and that’s how he knows that he’s on this mission.
Of course, Jesus, who didn’t fulfill the mission, now has commissioned him, which again doesn’t make sense. And the lawyer on the other side, the lawyer for the plaintiff, said, “Well, how did you know this is Jesus?”
Sun Myung Moon said, “I recognized Him from His picture.”
Tom: Oh, brother!
Dave: I mean, which picture? They wanted to get that man off of there fast! So he’s a fraud. But we have a lot of others who claim Jesus appeared to them. Yongghi Cho says Jesus appeared to him in a red firemen’s uniform. Kenneth Hagin says Jesus appeared to him and gave him four principles, which, if you follow them, you always get what you want from God. You find that in his little booklet, “How to Write Your Own Ticket with God.” I don’t want to write my own ticket with God. I want Him to write the ticket. He’s smarter than I am. He knows what is best.
Tom: Well, Oral Roberts had a 900-ft Jesus appear to him.
Dave: Right. And it’s just incredible that anyone would believe this. And then we have leading evangelicals who have spoken at some of the conferences that Moon has sponsored, and they give apparent credibility to this man by being on the platform.
Tom: That’s why he has them and pays the enormous amounts.
Dave: Yeah, so, Tom, it’s a tragedy all the way around.
Tom: Dave, you mentioned a thousand couples being married. At his last event along that line there were 25,000.
Tom: Now, these are 25,000 young people. Talk about blindness. Talk about delusion. It’s heartbreaking, as you said.
Dave: And they have all been matched. Put together by him. Most of them never met one another before.
Tom: Because that’s the theology. He’s propagating the perfect families. I mean, that’s why he draws people in. Setting up this myth—well, it’s worse than a myth—this fraudulent idea that these are the couples who are going to propagate and multiply and literally create paradise on earth.
Dave: It just shows the necessity of getting back to the Word of God. This is our guide. This is a lamp to our feet. This is the truth. Jesus is the truth, and He said “Thy Word is truth.” And if those who are interested supposedly in spirituality and in heaven are not willing to hear what Jesus said and to take heed to the Word of God and to obey it, then they will be led astray. And you quoted it earlier: “All those who refuse to receive the love of the truth will be given a strong delusion to believe the lie.” And, Tom, this is what keeps us going, is trying to deliver people from the lie and to turn them back to the Word of God and to Search the Scriptures Daily.