Home News Moonies cult at battle as heirs conflict over far-right sect that loves Trump and AR-15 rifles

Moonies cult at battle as heirs conflict over far-right sect that loves Trump and AR-15 rifles

Moonies cult at battle as heirs conflict over far-right sect that loves Trump and AR-15 rifles

Wearing a crown of bullets and brandishing a gold AR-15 rifle, Hyung Jin ‘Sean’ Moon is not your common pastor.

But because the son of cult chief Sun Myung Moon – a self-appointed ‘Messiah’ who carried out mass weddings and constructed a sinister billion-dollar enterprise empire – the 42-year-old has lots to reside as much as.

This week, it was revealed the controversial American has purchased a 130-acre property in Tennessee to make use of as a ‘coaching centre’ for a spin-off group of his dad’s Unification Church – also called the ‘Moonies’.

The Rod of Iron Ministries, a MAGA-supporting spiritual sect, was arrange by Moon following a bitter fallout along with his mom over who was the rightful ‘inheritor’ to the Moonies empire.

“This is going to be a very, very important mission,” he declared after the acquisition, VICE reported. “Many, many, many busloads of people are going to come to pray there and do ancestor liberation there.”

But simply who’re the Moonies – and what sparked the rise of Moon’s latest gun-toting conspiracy group?

Moonies chief married over 6,000 {couples} directly

Raised in what’s now North Korea, Sun Myung Moon based the Unification Church in 1954.

Pledging to unite all religions, the sect famously married off followers in mass weddings – with {couples} hand-picked by Moon.

Sun Myung Moon and spouse Hak Ja Han officiate a mass marriage ceremony ceremony



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By the age of 40, the chief himself had wed Hak Ja Han, a 17-year-old disciple. The couple have been dubbed the ‘True Parents of Mankind’.

Moonie newly-weds have been forbidden to sleep collectively for 40 days to show their marriage was on a better airplane.

They then needed to consummate their marriage in a three-day ritual with the sexual positions stipulated by their chief.

Moon’s teachings unfold to the West and proved standard with well-off kids. Church membership boomed on the again of world excursions.

In 1988 he even entered the Guinness Book of Records when he married 6,516 identically dressed {couples} at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium.

Moon grew to become one of many world’s richest and strongest spiritual leaders – with a enterprise empire that included the Washington Times.

“God is living in me and I am the incarnation of Himself,” he as soon as stated. “The whole world is in my hand and I will conquer and subjugate the world.”

An estimate in 2008 put his private wealth at £625million. After shifting to America, he lived in a swanky New York residence, was ferried round in limos and holidayed on a personal yacht.

He was so highly effective that he even struck up relationships with US presidents like Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W Bush – whereas he additionally negotiated enterprise offers with the previous North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung.

Behind the glamorous facade, nevertheless, darkish allegations have been rearing their head.

Dark claims of brainwashing and beatings

Moonie “love-bombing” was a recruitment approach designed to make lonely individuals really feel a part of a loving group, to reject their households and handy over their possessions.

It sparked outrage amongst mother and father. Some mounted legislation fits accusing Moon of brainwashing followers.

Hyung Jin Moon poses for a portrait along with his gold AR-15 “rod of iron”


The Washington Post by way of Getty Images)

In the late Nineteen Seventies, church leaders have been accused of encouraging three parishioners to kill themselves after they strayed from the strict perception system.

Former members additionally claimed that on the church’s notorious religious retreat in Cheongpyeong, South Korea, followers have been pressured handy over enormous sums of money and undergo beatings to “exorcise evil spirits”.

These remedies have been supposed to handle ‘religious points’ together with psychological sickness, infertility, homosexuality and critical sicknesses like most cancers.

“I remember the raw intensity of it,” ex-Moonie Elgen Strait instructed Vice, claiming the ‘workshops’ might last as long as 40 days.

Thousands of {couples} attend a mass marriage ceremony held by the Unification Church in September 2017 in Gapyeong-gun, South Korea


Getty Images)

“You’re in this room, with a couple hundred people around you. People are leading songs and beating these drums – it creates an intense group environment. I feel like it whips people into an altered state of consciousness.”

A spokesman for the Unification Church denied Strait’s allegations, telling Vice: “All religious organisations have spiritual practices that have been mischaracterised at one point or another.

“The alleged accusations made on this story go towards the founding ideas of our organisation.”

Moon fought off fees of brainwashing, and in 1978 efficiently appealed towards a Home Office resolution to refuse his software to increase a keep in Britain.

But in 1981 he was on the again foot when the High Court ordered the church to pay prices of £750,000 after it misplaced a libel motion towards the Daily Mail which alleged that it broke up households.

Three years later, his status was dented massively when he was jailed for 18 months within the US for tax evasion.

The church by no means actually recovered from the scandal and membership fell.

By the Nineteen Nineties there have been studies of poor South Koreans being shipped in to spice up numbers at Moonie weddings.

Heirs at battle as son launches far-right sect

The “perfect family” was floundering too, with allegations about Moon’s relations with different girls and scandals involving the lavish existence of his children.

In 1998 his eldest son, Hyo Jin, was revealed as a violent cocaine addict – he died of a coronary heart assault aged 45 – and in 1999 one other son, Younjin Phillip Moon, killed himself aged 21.

Moon moved the church to a distant area in Brazil. As his flock dwindled, his actions grew to become more odd.

The Rod of Iron Freedom Festival is an anti-government, far-Right motion that came about within the US final month


Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock)

In 2004 he instructed an viewers in Washington that emperors, kings and presidents – together with Hitler and Stalin – had “declared to all heaven and earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s saviour, messiah, returning Lord and true parent”.

When he died in 2012 aged 92, he was survived by 11 youngsters – together with his youngest son, Rev Hyung Jin Moon.

Since then, the youthful Moon has been locked in a bitter battle with mum Hak Ja Han, who has claimed management of the Unification Church.

At its peak the church claimed to have round seven million members around the globe – these days the determine is at most two million and disputed by non-believers.

In 2017, Moon based the Rod of Iron Ministries, a far-right spin off of the church that seemingly attracts members by incorporating high-powered AR-15s rifles into its perception system.

More not too long ago, the sect has seized consideration by aligning itself with Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ motion, in addition to rebooting the mass weddings popularised by the Moonies.

The Unification Church, nevertheless, has distanced itself from Moon because the rift continues to deepen.

A spokesperson instructed VICE: “Cheongpyeong can be likened to the Vatican; it is a place where members go to study, pray, and seek spiritual guidance.

“It can by no means be replicated by one other group as a result of it isn’t based nor consecrated by Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his spouse, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.”

Got a narrative? Get in contact by emailing alex.bellotti@reachplc.com

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