Updated January 9, 2021
For many followers of Sun Myung Moon the story that ‘Jesus passed on his mission to Moon at Easter’ is a pillar of their faith.
Moon used his story to forge a direct connection between Jesus and himself, and thereby inherit authority from Jesus and have legitimacy with Christianity. Moon was careful to keep his secret inner teachings and sex rituals hidden from mainstream Christianity because they would have been anathema. Moon experienced shamanism from childhood and ancestor liberation and shaman rituals were always a part of the Unification Church / FFWPU practise.
Moon was excommunicated by the Presbyterian Church in Korea in 1948 following his conviction for bigamy for which he was sentenced to five years in Heungnam prison.
There was no witness to Moon’s encounter with Jesus, so it could not be denied or contradicted. However, Moon contradicted himself about the date – and about what happened. He said it was on his birthday, and not on Easter Sunday. None of his accounts mention a mountain. The first recorded instance of Moon having an experience with Jesus was when he told Chong-hwa Pak in prison in 1949 that he had a dream of Jesus.
Over the years Moon’s story evolved and changed. On investigation, his story is not credible.
Sun Myung Moon: “Until our mission with the Christian Church is over, we must quote the Bible and use it to explain the Divine Principle. After we receive the inheritance of the Christian Church, we will be free to teach without the Bible. Now, however, our primary mission is to witness to the Christian Church.”
Master Speaks 7, March/April 1965, page 1
Professor Frederick Sontag went to Korea in September 1976 on a fact finding tour. He had also met Rev Moon for a long interview. His book: ‘Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church’ was published in 1977.
On page 78: “As nearly as I could determine from my tour in Korea, the story of humble origin, imprisonment, and suffering is substantially true. … It is interesting that his two cousins to whom I talked knew nothing of the ‘Easter revelation experience.’”
Moon’s cousins knew nothing
Michael Breen: “On April 17, 1935, he [Moon] was praying on South Hill, which was half a mile from his home, when Jesus appeared to him.”
Sun Myung Moon, the early years page 31
(It was on a hill, not the mountain which was some distance away.)
Young-oon Kim, the most significant theologian in the movement, wrote in the preface to her book, Unification Theology: “It was not until the age of sixteen, however, that Sun Myung Moon awakened to his potential mission as a religious leader. Like many Koreans, his parents had become converts to Christianity as the result of Presbyterian missionary activities. At sunrise on Easter morning in 1936, while Moon was deep in prayer, he experienced a mystical encounter with Jesus. In this vision, the Korean teenager was challenged to take up Jesus’ unfinished work and establish the kingdom of God on earth.”
Walter Martin: “The climax of Moon’s spiritual search was a vision he reportedly received of Jesus Christ on April 17, 1936, at age sixteen. The year of Moon’s vision varies, with some Unification authorities placing him at age seventeen. The dubious year and age for which Moon claimed his vision is reminiscent of the first vision of Joseph Smith, the American Mormon prophet, who also had difficulty giving consistent details about his vision of Jesus Christ. If Moon did not see Jesus, then the entire system of Moon’s foundation crumbles. … The gravest error in Unification history occurs here. Our calculations prove beyond a doubt that Moon’s vision could not have occurred on Easter morning, because April 17, 1936, was a Friday, not a Sunday.”
Just how this vision of Jesus unfolded is also questionable. One of the most astounding confessions by Moon himself was under oath in 1982, during a Unification suit against a deprogrammer. Moon, in a New York Federal Court testimony, on May 27 and 28, stated that he had met Jesus, whom he had recognized from “holy cards”. He also testified that he had met Moses and Buddha. To imagine that the test for identifying Jesus Christ is to match His image with “holy cards” is the height of absurdity.
“Holy cards” helped Moon to recognize Jesus
Note: In the 1930s Easter fell just twice on April 17; in 1932 and 1938.
Lee Yo-han explains Moon’s ‘commission’ in a different way:
From Michael Breen’s book, Sun Myung Moon, the early years: “This is the standard explanation in the Unification Church of Moon’s encounter with Jesus. However, in an interview with the author, Yo-han Lee, director of the church seminary in Korea and a longtime follower [who joined in Busan in 1952], suggested that Moon’s description of the events is a summary and that, in fact, the mission would have been given over a period of time, not all at once. “There is suffering and experience, then prayer and exchange with God, then more suffering and experience,” he said. “For Father [Moon] there was a period of realizing his mission. It didn’t happen overnight. There was a questioning development. Revelation is conditional, not absolute. It is a reservation, not a ticket.”
(page 166) Yo-han Lee on Moon’s Vision
Sun Myung Moon’s Autobiography (2010) page 50
“I wept in tears as I asked these questions repeatedly. Early Easter morning, after I had spent the entire night in prayer, Jesus appeared before me. He appeared in an instant, like a gust of wind, and said to me, “God is in great sorrow because of the pain of humankind. You must take on a special mission on Earth having to do with Heaven’s work.” That day, I saw clearly the sorrowful face of Jesus. I heard his voice clearly. The experience of witnessing the manifestation of Jesus made my body shake violently, like a quaking aspen’s leaves trembling in a strong breeze. I was simultaneously overcome with fear so great I felt I might die and gratitude so profound I felt I might explode. Jesus spoke clearly about the work that I would have to do. His words were extraordinary, having to do with saving humanity from its suffering and bringing joy to God. My initial response was, “I can’t do this. How can I do this? Why would you even give me a mission of such paramount importance?” I was truly afraid. I wanted somehow to avoid this mission, and I clung to the hem of his clothing and wept inconsolably.”
Compare that with Moon’s own words from 2011 and 2012:
Compiled by Katsumi Kambashi:
In the past, we have learned that Father had met Jesus on April 17, 1936 during Easter week, who asked Father to succeed to his mission. However, since last year Father differently explained his first encounter with Jesus, and I would like to organize and share those words.
Father met Jesus on his 17th birthday. Jesus came to Father to take him to the Blessing Marriage, and Father didn’t know by that time the “Blessing” means the “marriage.” Father said,
“In February when I was 17 years old, Jesus came to me saying ‘Mr. Yong Myung Moon [His name at that time], Let’s go to the Blessing.’ I didn’t know the term Blessing meant marriage at the time.” (Cheon Jeong Gung on 3.18 HC / May 8, 2012)
In the beginning Father couldn’t figure out if it was Jesus. Father’s main concern then was the separation of the God of Night and the God of Day, which he mentions every time he talks about his encounter with Jesus. Father said,
“When I was 17 years old, Jesus came to me calling ‘Mr. Yong Myung Moon. Let’s go to receive the Blessing.’ I said (raising his voice) ‘너 누구야 이 자식아! / Who are you, bastard! You are talking about the Blessing without knowing anything. Do you know the God of Night and the God of Day, you bastard?’ He replied ‘I don’t care what you know, but I appear to you because the time has come. If I can’t (take you), I can’t help but continue until I find (someone else).’” (Cheon Jeong Gung, Korea, December 4, 2011) LINK
– 何をする集団なのか その不気味さの実態を衝く
The Real Face of the Principle Movement [Unification Movement]
– What is the group doing? Uncovering its creepy reality.
This book was written by Hiroshi Yamaguchi. It was published in Japan in August 1975. The author did a lot of research; he traveled to Korea and met many people who had known Moon in his younger days. One reporter had interviewed Kim Chong-hwa, the married woman he lived with in Pyongyang in 1947-48 while still married to his first wife. They were both jailed for bigamy.
Here is part of page 133:
The photo caption reads: Gyeongseong Trade and Technical Business College graduation photo・Moon is fifth from the left in the back row. (The lower photo is an enlarged view.)
Extract from Chapter 5 of The Real Face of the Principle Movement:
Moon’s hidden secret – Is his revelation from God at the age of 16 a lie?
While I tried to gather more information in Seoul, I got wind of the name of this school one day. Using my influential connection, I managed to meet a person who had been a classmate of Emoto Ryumei. [i.e. Sun Myung Moon – Emoto Ryumei 江本龍明 was the Japanese name he used during the last years of the Japanese occupation of Korea in the early 1940s.] And here you can see the graduation photo which I borrowed from him. Though his hair is close-cropped, the 18-year-old Emoto Ryumei is no different from the current Sun Myung Moon. It is obvious that they are both the same person.
Though the school has changed its name to Chung-ang University, they, the graduates who had been educated through this hand-made school, made every effort to invite both Professor Doi and Professor Sonobe over to South Korea. In addition to that, the graduates negotiated with the current Chung-ang University to gain residency for those who had graduated during the Gyeongseong Trade and Technical Business College era, including themselves. They got permission from the current school principal.
Soon, thanks to effort of the graduates in Japan, they managed to find the whereabouts of both Professor Doi and Professor Sonobe. They were invited to South Korea from about five years ago, and received a warm welcome from the several hundred graduates who gathered. Among them were army officers and company presidents. They brought Professor Doi and others to the former school – which had been transformed from a tiny hand-made building into a respectable University – where they planted memorial trees.
Ryumei Emoto [Sun Myung Moon], who should have been there among the graduates who were giving such warm welcomes, could not be found. Welcome parties had been held several times, whenever the professors had visited South Korea during the previous five years. His schoolmates got indignant at Ryumei Emoto because he never showed up. They ended up omitting his name from the alumni association list.
Last year Mr. Sonobe sent a letter to Sun Myung Moon. He wrote something like, “Are you not Mr. Ryumei Emoto? I heard you have been making some trouble in the world recently, but you ought to stop that. It has been a long time since we first met, but why don’t we meet up and talk,” however, he never got any answer.
Ryumei Emoto, who received the revelation from God at the age of 16, is supposed to have lived a very devout life during his time at the Gyeongseong Trade and Technical Business College. This is what is written in “The History of the Unification Church.”
Both Professor Doi and Professor Sonobe said, “We didn’t notice that at all.” Even though both professors were Christians and used to go to Sunday school, they have no recollection of seeing the close-cropped pupil Ryumei Emoto there.
Furthermore, the former classmate who provided me with the group picture [above], clearly declared that Sun Myung Moon was not a religious man. The classmate said that it might have been the influence of both of the professors which affected him and made him the man we know today. Not by revelation from God himself, but because of the revelation from his teachers he became a billionaire. You can never know what life brings.
Moon’s biography is not clear between 1939, when he graduated from Gyeongseong Trade and Technical College, and 1941 when he crossed over the sea to Japan. The words of the profile of Rev. Moon read “From then to 1945, the year South Korea was liberated from Japan, he spent a quiet introspective time in pursuit of the truth. During this period, he cultivated his life of faith and his spiritual sense.” It seems he did not walk the road of suffering, covered with blood, sweat and tears – which is also described in his life story.
From the cover of The Real Face of the Principle Movement: “In the course of my research to find the reality of this movement, I was vividly confronted by the horror of how the Principle Movement [FFWPU / Unification Church] destroys peaceful families. So exactly what is the Principle Movement? By getting to the root of this question, I would like to clear up these matters: what are the teachings, what kind of person is the founder Sun Myung Moon, what is the source of the money that supports the Principle Movement, and more.
He was known as ‘Mun Yesu – Jesus Moon’ and the ‘physical Jesus’ in the 1950s.
Gil Ja Sa Eu: “At Ewha University, hundreds of students heard the Divine Prinicple and were moved by it. But in the end only 14 stood firm and were kicked out. Professor Yang witnessed to Maria Pak, a very powerful woman. She was intrigued by the idea of a man who was “physical Jesus” and was revealing secrets of the Bible. She was brought to the house where Father was teaching at that time, but it was jam-packed; not even any elbow room. Father was poorly dressed and everyone was sweaty and somewhat dirty in her eyes. Finally, she could take it no longer, cried out in frustration, got up and left. Afterwards, Father was told who she was and he was upset with Prof. Yang. “To meet such a person, I need to dress up and meet them in a nice place such as a hotel”, he told her. Reflecting later, he noted, “Compared with Jesus’ manger and the stable where he was born, it was not so bad.” Maria Pak became one of our worst persecutors in Korea.”
June 1, 2001 Washington, D.C. Family Church
Keith Pratt and Richard Rutt
Korea: A Historical and Cultural Dictionary ISBN 978-0700704644
“UNIFICATION CHURCH … in 1953. He taught that although Christ had brought spiritual salvation, he, at this time known as Mun Yesu, ‘Jesus Mun’, had brought the necessary complementary physical salvation. He wrote a new scripture, ‘The Divine Principle’, to be added to the Bible, and conducted some dramatic ceremonies, including the Marriage of the Lamb, when he took a very young new wife [in 1960]. He controlled every individual in his flock, conducting mass weddings of couples chosen to be spouses by himself, and instituted draconian evangelistic training for them. He was firmly anti-communist and soon established branches overseas, especially in the USA (where Mun lived after 1973 and there were 3,000 followers in 1980), preaching that full salvation came out of Korea. In 1982 he was convicted of income tax fraud. He then moved to Brazil, whence he returned to Korea in 1998. …”
Gil Ja Sa Eu: My Testimony UTS (1980)
Spring 1955 at Ewha University: “I bought many Bible commentaries, and read them but none of them had what I was looking for. Whenever I received expense money from home, rather than buying clothes, I would buy books in this area and try to work out my questions. Toward the end of my junior year I began hearing a strange rumor.
They said there was a “Unification Church” which would solve all the unknown facts about the Bible, and that a Moon Jesus had come. At first I paid no attention, because this group said that Jesus would come as a man and I always had believed he would come on the clouds. As the days went by, however, more and more students in my dormitory began going to the Unification Church. Particularly my close friend Shin Mi-shik (later Mrs. Sang Ik Choi) began going there and invited me to go with her.” …
Soon after I began hearing the rumor that Professor [Young-oon] Kim was going to the church, five capable professors, including Professor Kim, and the English literature professor, were fired by the university. They had been told to choose between their academic careers and the Unification Church and had chosen the church.
One evening after dinner I went out on to the field with my friend Mi-shik and as we walked I asked her in a whisper, “Is Moon Jesus really Jesus?” she had been walking a step ahead of me, but hearing my question she turned around and said angrily, “You don’t know anything! How can you be qualified to ask such a question?” Her attitude was so serious and solemn that I wasn’t able to say anything further. Only my heart was pounding. Soon I said, “Then I’ll go there and see!” My pride had been hurt by her saying that I wasn’t qualified, and I promised to go with her forgetting that I had been resisting her invitations for three months.
She smiled and said, “Then shall we go?””
from pages 14-15 and 17
Hyun-shil Kang (The first member to join in South Korea) January 1, 2007
“It was rumored [in the early 1950s] that Moon ‘Yesu’ ‘Jesus Moon’ is a heretic and he is bringing a strange spirit to Busan from North Korea”…
Here are the words of Sun Myung Moon on Jesus and Christianity.
“Christianity is an organization of idiots” … “Even God is under my thumb”
January 1, 1969 – Korea
“All that is required is enough money, then we can destroy the established churches.” December 3, 1969 – Korea
Now God leaves Christianity and strengthens a new religion, and this new religion is the Unification Church… With the right foot we trample Christianity and subdue it to us.
April 2, 1972 (pages 3 and 5) – Paris Address
“God is now throwing Christianity away and is now establishing a new religion, and this new religion is the Unification Church.”
September 30, 1974 – Time magazine (US), page 68
“Jesus never achieved a thousandth of what Father has done. In his two years and eight months of public ministry, he didn’t even establish the national foundation. Now, Father has established a foundation of worldwide power that is unprecedented in history.”
January 1, 1990 – Cheongpa-dong, Seoul, Korea
“…I know the established Christian theology… I know the enemy, but the enemy doesn’t know me. Thus the enemy has already lost the war.”
February 1995 – Today’s World, page 14
“I am now making a prototype of the perfect family, accomplishing what Jesus could not do.”
May, 1995 – Today’s World, page 12
“At least several billions of spirits that lived on the earth gathered in spirit world and are being mobilized to lift and help Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church. Do you know what that means? When you show the name ‘Sun Myung Moon’ to any advanced spiritual medium and ask him or her to pray for Moon, the medium first prays and then naturally starts to praise him while praying. Do you understand? It is like that. That is why unless the spirit world becomes unified, the earth cannot be unified. In fact, we have Sun Myung Moon standing here who has the ability to unify spirit world. Even Confucius, Buddha and Jesus are my subordinates. Just yesterday a Buddhist came before me and said “Buddha ordered me to pray 24 hours for Sun Myung Moon so I had no choice but to comply…..” Even Buddha will be at odds with heavenly law if he does not cooperate. In the future the communist world will also completely disappear.”
March 15, 1975 (page 29)
“That is why you should be in a position where you can subjugate creation and subjugate the angels to unify into one to receive cooperation from heaven. You must come to grips with how the spirit world has already come under the command of Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church. That’s right. Buddhist spiritual mediums came up to me and bowed. Do you think a believer of Buddhism, a believer of Confucianism would do such things? Confucius and Buddha, the whole lot of them are my pupils. Do you know what that means? Pray about it to see if I am lying.
All this is why I am trying to resolve the global problems. Such a fierce fight should take place to base our responsibility on rules and principles so that we can pass the upper realm of hope. Formation was the era of offering creation, next was the growth era followed by the current era of the adopted child where the history of Jesus is that of attempting to restore the adopted child, he himself did not attain completion as a son. That is why he had to return. After returning he would have to subjugate the angels and subjugate the world of creation before standing before God. No one can enter heaven without standing before God. He is in the briefing room of paradise right now. Christians stupidly shout with loud voices even though they don’t know what they are talking about, but I say go ahead and die and see who is correct.”
1975 Speech No. 184 (page 64)
[Sun Myung Moon thought Buddha came from China, when in fact he came from India.]
“Then in one sense, Father, Heavenly Father will say, “Reverend Moon is far better than me, the Heavenly Father.” In a short period of time, he will synthesize, He will crush the enemy and let them surrender. Our Master [ = Moon] senses this kind of feeling of the Heavenly Father. Also, he is proud of himself and appreciates that Jesus Christ’s unfinished job of 6,000 years has been completed by him in his lifetime.”
July 31, 1974 – Barrytown, US
“Jesus Christ is trying to follow me, my footsteps, all the way. He stayed in Paradise, because he did not marry. But I gave him marriage. Don’t you want to meet the wives of Buddha, Confucius and Muhammad? They sent letters of gratitude to me from the spirit world. They pledge that even if their religion disappears, they will follow me.”
The Arrival of the Era of the Fourth Adam’s Realm
Belvedere International Training Center, New York, Sunday October 24, 1999
Moon proclaimed that he was the substantial God on Earth:
“I sincerely welcome and express my deepest appreciation to you for coming to participate in this ‘Cosmic Assembly for the Settlement of the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind and for the Proclamation of the Word by God’s Substantial Self’”
2011 and January 8-15, 2012 – Public Rallies in Korea
Jesus ‘Bows to Moon’
Spirit Revelation and the Unification Church
by James A. Beverley
To accompany the post Jesus ‘Bows to Moon’, here is a Huffington Post article by Presbyterian pastor John Ortberg on the man Jesus and how he changed the world.
The Messiah who ‘Bows to Moon’
Shamanism lies at the heart of Sun Myung Moon’s church, even if it uses a Christian signboard
Ancestor liberation, bowing to pig’s heads and marriages between dead people and the living are some examples.
Sun Myung Moon – Emperor, and God
Sun Myung Moon copied the Enthronement Hall of the Korean emperor. The sun and moon motifs symbolize his power over all people and the elements.