News and Insights

Rev. Sun Myung Moon - Father Moon (1920 - 2012)

In a nutshell

  • Name: Sun Myung Moon. In Korean 문선명 (Moon Seon-myeong –
    the family name always comes first in Korean). Written in Chinese characters, the name is 文鮮明. He was born as 문용명 (Moon Yong-myeong), but changed his name in 1953. Many call him Father Moon.
  •  Born: 25th February 1920 (6th day of the first month according to the Oriental lunar calendar) in Sangsa, a hamlet in Chongju (town status since 1994) of North
    Pyeongan province in Korea, now North Korea).
  • Married: 11th April 1960 to Hak Ja Han. Together they realize the ideal of True Parents. They had 14 children together. This was his second marriage. First married on 28th April 1945 to Seon-Gil Choi, but divorced on 8th January 1957. A son was born to her in 1946.
  • Died: 2nd Sept. (European time) 2012 (3rd Sept. Korean time) in Gapyeong, South Korea, aged 92.
  • Autobiography:
    “A Peace-Loving Global Citizen”
  • Teachings: Unificationism. See also Brief about the Teachings and the Unification Principles.
  • Education: Graduated in September 1943 from the electrical engineering department at Waseda College of Engineering in Tokyo, Japan, affiliated with Waseda University, one of Japan’s top universities.

Sun Myung MoonSun Myung Moon founded several organizations, including the Unification Church in 1954 in Seoul, South Korea, with his wife Hak Ja Han, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in 1996 in Washington DC, and the Universal Peace Federation in 2005 in New York.

He and his wife are also known for arranging so-called “Blessing Ceremonies” since 1960, the year they themselves got married. The ceremonies are often called mass marriages or mass weddings.

Father Moon is also known for founding several newspapers, including The Washington Times, in 1982.

Anju and Chongju
North Korea. Public domain image. Cropped

Sun Myung Moon was a skilled orator, and his speeches have been published in collections of over 600 volumes, mainly in Korean, but extracts from the speeches have been translated and published in a wide range of languages.

His original religious teachings are called the Unification Principles (Wolli 원리 – in Korean – translated as Divine Principle in English. The Korean word wolli actually means principle or principles.)

Sun Myung Moon was far more than a religious leader. He thus founded and supported dozens of organizations to promote international understanding and create lasting peace in the world.

He was an outspoken opponent of totalitarian atheistic communism and founded several organizations that developed a systematic ideological critique of communist ideology.

Sun Myung Moon also strongly believed in culture and sport as peace-making activities and invested in football clubs, symphony orchestras, and ballet. Already in 1962, he formed a dance troupe for children, The Little Angels, which eventually became outstanding ambassadors for Korean culture.

Father Moon invested large sums in establishing a car factory in North Korea. He saw the ocean’s resources as the key to fighting hunger and malnutrition and invested in fish farming, and also developed fish products rich in high-quality protein.

Sun Myung Moon organized a long series of interfaith conferences to promote cooperation between religions and also proposed the creation of an Interfaith Council at the United Nations.

He was, in addition, an ardent advocate of the construction of a tunnel under the Bering Strait to unite the nations of the world by means of an international highway.

Ever since it became clear that the messianic task could not be completed through Jesus because of his untimely death, God began to prepare the world again, as he had done before the birth of Jesus. As the Unification Principles (Divine Principle) shows there are striking points of similarity between the 2,000-year period before Jesus and the last 2,000 years.

God‘s preparations for the Kingdom of Heaven intensified in the last centuries before the coming of Jesus. Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster, and others laid spiritual foundations in their respective parts of the world. Major reforms were carried out within Judaism. Greek and Roman civilizations created major changes here in Europe.

In the same way, the last centuries from the Renaissance and the Reformation have been a time characterized by great upheavals. The purpose of all these changes has been to create the conditions for an ideal world without war, suffering, and injustice.

The prerequisite for God‘s and humankind’s longing for a harmonious world to become reality is that someone shows us the way to true love, true marriages, and true families. That is why God has also prepared the world for True Parents.

The Messiah comes to realize the ideal that True Parents represent, namely a man and a woman who has achieved the standard that men and women, fathers and mothers, should have, according to God‘s original plan.

Timeline

1920: Born after World War I into a Korea suffering and struggling under Japanese occupation.  

1935: Easter 1935, he had a mystical life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, who commissioned him to a great mission and taught him personally. 

1940s: In his student years, he found crystal clear answers to the mysteries of religion and life’s big questions. 

He was tortured for his involvement in the underground Korean independence movement. 

1945: After World War II and Korean independence, he began to share his profound insights with key persons and movements God led him to. Met with misunderstanding in South Korea. He walked to North Korea and built his own movement there. Soon arrested and tortured by the Communist regime. In 1948, sentenced to 5 years in a concentration camp

1950s: Miraculously saved from certain death by UN forces. Came as a penniless refugee to the South.  

The rapid growth of his movement after the Korean War in 1953 was officially registered in Seoul in 1954.

Against all odds, with a handful of followers, he built what, within 25 years, became a global movement.  

1960s: Holy Marriage to Hak Ja Han in 1960. Began holding larger and larger Marriage Blessing events, first for his followers and then for people of all faiths and nations.

1970s: Preached throughout the USA. His rallies filled big stadiums; the largest in Washington attracted 300.000. In South Korea, he gathered 1.2 million in 1975. Established schools, newspapers, a hospital, humanitarian aid organizations, shipbuilding facilities, and businesses. Started annual conferences for hundreds of eminent scientists, media people, and academics. Blessed the marriage of several thousand couples. 

1980s: More newspapers were established, including The Washington Times. Organized large interreligious conferences. Formed organizations are exposing weaknesses of atheistic materialism. Predicted the imminent collapse of Communism in 1985. Large weddings are held for 15,000 couples. 

1990s: Personal meetings with top leaders of the Communist world – President Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow and Chairman Kim II-sung in Pyongyang. Seven years later, he built a car factory in North Korea. Launched global educational, interfaith, and peace initiatives: Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, and Women’s Federation for World Peace. Millions of couples receive marriage blessing.

Published World Scripture – A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts.  

2000s:

Major efforts for peace in the Middle East. Launched the Universal Peace Federation. 

120-nation speaking tour at the age of 85. Received many honorary doctorates.

Autobiography As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen published 2009. Became a bestseller in South Korea.  

2010s: Died at the age of 92 in 2012. Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon continued to expand the activities throughout the world. Large religious groups with millions of followers started to embrace the teachings.

Sunhak Peace Prize was established to support individuals and organizations excelling in work for peace and environmental protection. Large weddings for thousands of couples every year. 

2020: World Summit 2020, with thousands of VIPs, including many heads of state, held in Seoul. 

Launch of global peace networks connecting parliamentarians, religious leaders, media experts, scientists, students, academics, and entrepreneurs. Continuing efforts for Korea’s reunification.