Editor’s note: Eileen Barker is professor emeritus of sociology of religion at the London School of Economics.
By Eileen Barker, Special to CNN
With the death of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at 92, we see the end of an era.
Moon was the last surviving charismatic leader of the wave of movements that spread throughout California and the rest of the West in the 1970s and ’80s – other examples included L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, David Berg’s Children of God and Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna movement.
In the case of Moon’s Unification Church, hordes of young, well-educated hippies left college and their comfortable middle-class homes to work up to 18 hours a day on the streets, selling flowers or candy and urging others to follow a Korean who declared that he was the messiah.
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - The Rev. Sun Myung Moon - founder of the Unification Church, which gained fame worldwide decades ago for its mass weddings, as well as the Washington Times - died early Monday in South Korea, the church said.
The Universal Peace Federation said on its website that Moon died early Monday morning of complications related to pneumonia. He was 92.
"Our True Father passed into the spiritual world at 1:54 AM Monday, September 3rd, Korea time," a message on a Unification Church English-language website said.
The Washington Times, one of several publications that Moon founded, similarly reported Moon's death.
By K.J. Kwon, CNN
Seoul (CNN) – The founder of the Unification Church is unconscious and undergoing treatment for pneumonia at a hospital in South Korea, a spokesman said Thursday.
Doctors put the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 92, in intensive care Tuesday, where he is breathing through a respirator, the church spokesman said.
Moon felt ill suddenly and was hospitalized in Seoul in "grave condition." His doctor has given him only a 50% chance of survival, spokesman Ahn Ho-yeol said.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.