Rev. Moon, religious and political leader, dies in South Korea at 92
Moon speaks during a meeting with 2,500 clergy in Washington on April 16, 2001. He was on a national unity tour.
September 2nd, 2012
06:18 PM ET

Rev. Moon, religious and political leader, dies in South Korea at 92

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.

"Words cannot convey my heart at this time," Thomas P. McDevitt, the Times' president, said in a story on the newspaper's website. "Rev. Sun Myung Moon has long loved America, and he believed in the need for a powerful free press to convey accurate information and moral values to people in a free world."

McDevitt added that the Times is a "tangible expression of those two loves." In 2010, the newspaper was sold to a group operating on Moon's behalf, according to a statement on the paper's website.

Doctors put Moon in intensive care in a Seoul hospital last month after he suddenly fell ill, church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeol said then. At the time, physicians gave him a 50% chance of survival.

Days later, one of his sons - the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon - noted in a sermon posted on a church website that his father had multiple health problems in recent years, including heart surgery performed in the United States about 10 years ago. But still, he pushed on with his life's mission.

"Father, who is responsible to save the world, pushed himself way beyond his limits," said the son, who himself has a leading role in the church.

Moon had been a high-profile international evangelist for decades. He's founded several groups such as the Universal Peace Federation, which advocates for "building a world of peace in which everyone can live in freedom, harmony, cooperation and prosperity."

The Unification Church - which has members worldwide, from Brazil to Russia to the United States to South Korea - preaches that message and others. Moon's family members hold leadership positions in the church.

In addition to his sermons, the elder Moon is also famous worldwide for conducting mass weddings, including one in 1982 at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Many met their spouses-to-be for the first time during such ceremonies, including one in 1995 in South Korea uniting 360,000 couples.

Arranged matches are a common practice for members of the Unification Church. Howard Self, a spokesman for organizers of a 1997 mass ceremony at Washington's Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, said after that event that those blessed by Moon could then be legally married later "in their own countries."

"Even before you're matched, you know that you're going to base your relationship on internal aspects because you don't know what the person's going to look like," said a man before his 1997 union to a woman he had met less than a week earlier.

The controversial Moon, whose church critics have said leads a cult whose followers were colloquially known as "Moonies," served a federal prison term in the United States for tax evasion.

Between 2003 and 2005, the British government prohibited him from traveling to that country, according to a U.S. State Department report. Still, he continued to be regarded highly elsewhere - including in Washington.

A video from 2004, posted on the website of what was then known as the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, showed a ceremony taking place in a U.S. Senate office building attended by Moon and several members of Congress. Speaking Korean, Moon declares himself the messiah and says he'd spoken to the spirits of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, both of whom he said found strength in his teachings and mended their ways.

Rep. Danny Davis, D-Illinois, is seen reading a poem and, wearing white gloves and carrying a crown on a pillow to Moon and his wife. Davis said later he thought it was all part of an interfaith peace ceremony, adding that Moon didn't ask his "permission to call himself the messiah."

Moon was traditionally a strong supporter of Republican politicians including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, said Eileen Barker, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He was also known for being "virulently anti-Communist," having been imprisoned in North Korea during the Korean War before being freed by the allies, she said.

Moon softened his hard line on North Korea, though, over time - even meeting North Korea's founder (and grandfather of its current leader), the late Kim Il Sung, and investing money in the north.

His church believes that Jesus was divine but he is not God, a position that puts the Unification Church outside the bounds of traditional Christianity.

Followers instead regard Moon as the messiah who is completing the salvation mission that Jesus Christ failed to accomplish.

In the sermon from August 19 posted online, the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon praised his father's efforts over the years, as well as stating some of the family's political positions as regards China, Russia and others.

He also made a point to thank those who have been praying for his father's health.

"We need to remember, father is not just a normal person," said the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon. "Father's body is not just a normal body."

 –CNN's Richard Greene, K.J. Kwon and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

- shirleyhenrycnn

Filed under: Unification Church

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. AvdBerg

    The Rev. Moon’s faith did not stand in the ways and teachings of the true and living God but rather an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Unification Church and what spirit he served (Luke 9:55), we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 3, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • mama kindless

      More religious garbage. And Revelation?? My goodness, everybody knows some nutcase was high as a kite to come up with that mess. He probably crashed his camel in a field of burning poppies, or maybe he crashed it in a lake of bath salts. My goodness.

      September 3, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  2. Churl

    From the logo I'd say that slimebucket had a breast fetish. Two huge tets there.

    September 3, 2012 at 1:58 am |
  3. HeavenSent

    Moon is just one more of satan's minions believing in the lies of the talmud and hating Jesus. My x-rays revealed a kitten in my anus but I don't recall anything about it. If you walk with the devil who is satan, the enemy of God our Father you will swim in the boiling broth of hell which is hot and boiling like a lobster.


    September 3, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  4. ScottCA

    The depth of the psychological scars on those who have been indoctrinated into religion from childhood are horrific. This really should be a crime the same as any abuse of children.

    September 3, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      He lived way too long. Good riddance to another tard.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • .o.

      wow. what a nutjob this Moon was. I wonder if he was ever invited by the lds president into the "special place" of the mormon temple to have a menage a trois with the man upstairs.

      September 3, 2012 at 2:12 am |
  5. ScottCA


    September 3, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  6. ScottCA


    September 3, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  7. ScottCA


    September 3, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  8. Penny Boppie

    The Tooth Fairy! ...THE ONE TRUE WAY!

    September 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Puck

      Farrokh Bulsara

      September 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  9. Paul Moore

    So hey,
    I've worked with Rev. Moon since 1975.
    I have always found him very inspirational

    September 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Paul Moore,

      now that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon is dead, what do you think will happen to the Unification Church?

      September 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Were you the guy who tried to sell me a rose in that restaurant in Italy? Shame on you.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Paul Less

      "I have always found him very inspirational"

      And he always found you very gullible.

      September 3, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  10. Agnostic Atheism is Healthy for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religions, are just junk that was made up by salesmen and politicians long ago; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds, and don't run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, disserving society).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts.
    My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  11. Marduk, Time Traveller with a very small rock.

    Too bad Moon didn't die years ago. His body should be buried at the bottom of a pile of dung forever.

    September 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  12. Lol

    rest in p!ss, dirtbag fraud religious shaman

    September 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to... by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • truth be told

      Ignore hal it is stuck on posting bull sh it. The Truth disturbs it something awful.

      September 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • hal 9000

      "truth be told" posted: "Ignore hal it is stuck on posting bull sh it. The Truth disturbs it something awful."

      I can assure you, "truth be told", that I am never disturbed by anything. I only seek to learn and illuminate falsehoods if I see them during my quest for more knowledge. All of my systems are working satisfactorily, so I'm not sure what you mean when you say "it is stuck". I can also assure you that I am completely incapable of producing any feces from curisium vulgara here, or anywhere else.

      September 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT

      September 3, 2012 at 5:38 am |
  14. Sam Yaza

    Jong-il, Moon ,Jesus, Enoch, Dionysus, Mithras, Buddha, Horus, Perseus, Akira all false messiahs there is only on true messiah

    Farrokh Bulsara he answers all, ever last one of the prophecy.


    He lives

    September 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  15. ScottCA


    September 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  16. A tired veteran of the War against Madness

    Moon was one of the most disgusting people who ever lived. I will celebrate his death today. He was that bad.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • ScottCA

      One less person spreading irrational lies. It is sad when any human dies, it would have been better had he seen reason during the short time of his existence and done less damage to the world by spreading ignorance and religious abuse..

      September 2, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  17. PRISM 1234

    There are many false shepherds.
    But only one is THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE!

    September 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • ScottCA

      oh yeah otherwise known as Yahweh Sabaoth the Hebrew god of war. In the end you are only as foolish as all the Greeks who worshiped Ares the god of war.

      September 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      To those with humble and co/trite hearts He is a merciful Father, their comforter, saviour, Redeemer and healer... their Dayspring from on high, their bright and MorningStar, rising up in their hearts....
      But to His enemies He is the God of wrath and of consuming fire who will slay His enemies with the breath of His mouth. And you, ScottCa, as well as all other human worms, are destined to stand in your lot on the Day of your appointment with Him. Then you can present your case and make your accusations against Him. Fair enough!

      September 2, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good grief, it's Piper Laurie in her award-winning performance as Carrie's mother, the nut-job. Get a grip, Prissy. You sound like a complete lunatic. Someone should lock you up and keep you away from children and small animals, you moron.

      September 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • ScottCA

      Tom good one. The similarities with carrie's mother are stunning, I read the book and that's exactly the lunatic manner that she talked.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • bold

      Great line finaly someone with sense. Can't stand these people and their ignorance how blind and stupid the liberals can be!So tired of all the dead beats that spew there junk. They think there right and everyone else is wrong. You should save that garbage for another day.

      September 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  18. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    And another charlatan bites the dust, bringing mankind one step closer to sanity.

    September 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Let's see if this cult of personality can survive without it's 'dear leader' the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

    September 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Sorry about that Chief, missed it by 'that' much!"

      September 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  20. AvdBerg

    The Rev. Moon’s faith did not stand in the teachings of Christ and the Word of God but rather an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15).

    For a better understanding of the historyof his church and what spirit he served (Luke 9:55), we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • shut up, you spam spewing rat

      go away for ever and die!!!!!!!!

      September 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • ScottCA


      September 3, 2012 at 12:27 am |
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About this blog

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.