The Creepy Korean Moonies

The Rogues tackled the topic of the Unification Church, or Mooniesin this week’s  . The four Rogues disclosed some damning facts about the messiah cult, its financial and alleged criminal activities, and Moon’s “Six Mary’s” sexual peccadilloes. I also like how Dr. Jay Novella characterized the organization as a front for business, not a religious one.

Now, the Rogues did start with a slim bio on the Reverend Sun Myung Moon that emphasized his northern Korean ancestry and his parents’ anti-western, pro-Confucian bias, but Wikipedia has more interesting tidbits that reveal more Korean aspects of the group’s theology. The Rogues bring up the very dear leader-ish succession question, in which a son of Moon will succeed as messiah. But, there’s also a form of ancestor ceremony, most likely taken from Confucian practice, described in the Wikipedia article.

The ancestor liberation ceremony is a ceremony of the Unification Church intended to allow the spirits of deceased ancestors of participants to improve their situations in the spirit world through liberation, education, and blessing. The ceremonies are conducted by Hyo Nam Kim, a woman who church members believe is channeling the spirit of Soon Ae Hong, the mother of Hak Ja Han (church founder Sun Myung Moon’s wife). They have taken place mainly in Cheongpyeong, South Korea, but also in various places around the world.

In the 1990s and 2000s the Unification Church has made public statements claiming communications with the spirits of religious leaders such as Confucius, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and Augustine, as well as political leaders such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Mao Zedong, and many more. This has distanced the church further from mainstream Christianity as well as from Islam.

Having attended another version of a Christian-Confucian-Buddhist hybrid ceremony, when an official asked me to help the organization translate documents for English speakers, I’m well aware of the creepy cult flavor of South Korean religious groups. Yet, what amazes me more, and worries me, is the hard trail of financial dealings the Unification Church has cut through American political life, since Pit gained President Nixon’s attention and favor.

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Filed under: Business/Economy, Korea, Podcasts, Politics, Religion Tagged: confucianism, moonies, north korea, sun myung moon, unification church