Rev. Moon, Founder of Unification Church, Dies at 92

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 2 2012 3:56 PM

Unification Church Founder Rev. Moon Dies

51949781
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and his wife bless the brides and the grooms in a mass wedding ceremony at Chamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul on 13 February, 2000

Photo by PARK MEE-HYANG/AFP/Getty Images

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church, died Monday in South Korea, two weeks after he was hospitalized with pneumonia, a church spokesman tells the Associated Press. He was 92.

In the weeks before his death, church members around the world had been conducting prayer vigils and fasting for Rev. Moon’s health, notes the Washington Times, a paper that was founded by Moon and quickly posted a long piece on his life and legacy following news of his passing.

Advertisement

Moon was born in a town that is now in North Korea and founded his religious movement in 1954 in Seoul. “He preached new interpretations of lessons from the Bible,” explains the AP. His church gained widespread notoriety around the world in the 1970s and 1980s largely thanks to the mass wedding ceremonies in which Moon tied thousands of his followers. The church was often accused of brainwashing followers and pushing them to part with their money.

These accusations “helped make Rev. Moon the target of repeated investigations,” notes the Washington Times. He eventually served 13 months in federal prison after he was convicted of income-tax evasion in 1982.  In later years, the church took on a much lower profile and Moon focused on building a business empire.

Although the Unification Church claims to have millions of members around the world, many have raised skepticism about the figure, saying the real number is no more than 100,000.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 11:13 AM Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
War Stories
Sept. 23 2014 4:04 PM The Right Target Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 1:50 PM Oh, the Futility! Frogs Try to Catch Worms off of an iPhone Video.
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.