‘Messiah’ Moon Leaves a Vast Business - and a Tainted Image
Moon spent time in prison in North Korea, and was an avowed anti-communist, but he later repaired his links with the Kim dynasty in the North and the Unification Church became a player in North-South links, setting up a “peace” institute and operating one of the few big hotels in the North, the Potonggang, in the capital, Pyongyang.
The Unification Church owned the Washington Times newspaper, the swish New Yorker Hotel in midtown Manhattan, and a vast seafood distribution firm.
Probably the sharpest criticism was retained for the Unification Church’s recruitment methods, which many former members said were akin to brainwashing. Ex-devotees claimed they were lied to - the practice was known by members as “heavenly deception” - as well as tortured and beaten.
Moon labelled homosexuals “dirty, dung-eating dogs” and blamed Jews for the Holocaust, saying they had handed Jesus Christ over to the Romans and earned their fate.
He was a vocal backer of disgraced US president Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal, and he cultivated links with conservative US leaders such as former presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush snr.
In one bizarre episode, he pronounced himself as humanity’s saviour and said he had “saved” the spirits of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, helping them to become “reborn as new persons”. He announced this at a “coronation ceremony” attended by US politicians who subsequently had to distance themselves from the event.