A Federation for World Peace
The Unification church also known under varies names such as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity and Family Federation for World Peace and the Unification of World Christianity, is a religious movement founded by Reverend Sun Myung Moon in 1954. It is believed that on Easter Sunday at the age of 16, Moon had a vision in which Jesus appeared to him and instructed him to complete his unfinished work as a messiah. At a young age Moon accepted his call to action. He studied the bible and other religious teachings and developed his doctrines about God, Love, Sin and Salvation. In 1946, Moon started teaching his doctrine in North Korea. Two years later he was imprisoned and tortured by the North Korean authorities. Upon his release in 1954, moon fled to South Korea. This is where he founded The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HAS-UWC). Also in 1954, Moon met Yoon Oon Kim. She later become one of his followers and began translating the Divine Principle, Moon’s Doctrine. Along with its teachings, the church is well known for its mass weddings. Moon has matched and blessed over two million people at the blessing ceremonies, mass weddings, since 1995.
Members of the Unification church belief that the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s teachings offer truth, enlightenment and the spiritual unification of the world. To critics, Moon’s Doctrine is seen as an evil form of bondage, where vulnerable young people are brainwashed so that they can only follow the orders of the organization. Therefore, I decided to do research on this movement. I wanted to know why both the Unification Church and Rev. Moon have been the source of controversy in Asia and especially the USA. Through a series of interviews and academic research, I was able to grasp a better understanding of the Unification church as a movement.
Although the church is coined to have similarities with the Christian and Mormon faith, there are some key differences. For example, the way the church goes out marrying, this has been controversial in the West, but is a much more common practice in the East. Members are encouraged to live that abstain from dating, drinking and sex. When a member reaches the age of 18, or whenever they feel ready, conversation is held with their parents about entering “the matching process” which is similar to courting. At this time the child and their parents prayerfully consider potential candidates according to the child’s preferences (Shanker 61). When a candidate is agreed upon, the two are given time to get to know one another and see whether or not the two are compatible for marriage. This process often involves friendship, discussing each individual’s future plans, knowing the parents if they’re alive and praying privately for God’s will in the matter. After deciding if it is God’s will to get married, the couple prays together and then go to their parents to seek their blessings. The couple then plans a commitment ceremony. This is when the couple officially accepts the matching and makes their eternal commitment to each other. There is no turning back from this point (Shanker 77). After the ceremony, the matching can be announced publically. Even though the couple is now engaged, they are still encourages to avoid intimacy until marriage. Commitment comes before intimacy. The finalization of the matching is engagement, after that is the Blessing Ceremony, popularly known as “mass weddings. This ceremony is a central practice of the Unification Church. It consists of five steps, three of which take place in the mass gatherings;
1. Chastening Ceremony. The husband and wife chasten each other three times from the position of God. This cleanses them of historical sin and lays the foundation for a "new life of pure love."
2. Holy Wine Ceremony. The officiator gives the Holy Wine to the woman, who bows to him and drinks half