To Members and Friends of the Unification Movement,

 

Greetings! My name is Howard Self. I joined the Movement in 1975 at the age of 25. In my nearly five decades within the Unification Movement, I have held leadership roles in practically all of our major organizations including Victory Over Communism (VOC), Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP), Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC), Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), American Freedom Coalition (AFC), American Constitution Committee (ACC), American Family Coalition (AFC), Universal Peace Federation (UPF), Global Peace Foundation (GPF) and Family Peace Association (FPA). I graduated from the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) in 1978 and currently serve as the President of Right To Believe (RTB), a not for profit unaffiliated with the Movement, that seeks to protect religious freedom for all.

Howard C. Self protesting for religious freedom in front of the DC Superior Court.

Howard C. Self at religious freedom rally in D.C.

Because of positions I held, I could personally eyewitness many aspects as the current schism developed, which most members were unable to do. I have written the open letter below in order to set the facts straight, with the hope that by God’s truth and love, we can overcome the divisions and become a unified family again.

Sincerely,

Howard C. Self

 

Send us your comments at support@righttobelieve.org

 


 

The Truth About the Unification Movement Schism

What the DC Courts Got Wrong

Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a controversial figure to many in his time, made a profound and enduring impact throughout his life, inspiring and guiding a dynamic global spiritual movement to promote unity and peace within the human family under God’s love. His vision and teachings motivate the work of hundreds of organizations worldwide addressing the most critical issues facing humanity. Collectively these organizations have become known as the Unification Movement.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Kim Il Sung, Michael Gorbachev

A fierce anti-communist, Rev. Moon met Mikhail Gorbachev (top) and Kim Il Sung (below) in his fight for human rights and freedoms.

Though primarily recognized as a religious leader, Reverend Moon never considered his mission as limited to the activities of a church or even a religion.[1] [2] For example, recognizing the serious threat posed by atheistic Communism, in the 1970’s Reverend Moon launched global educational initiatives to expose the fallacies of Marxism and strengthen resolve to defend freedom and democratic principles. The significant impact of Reverend Moon’s leadership and initiatives was clearly recognized by key leaders. Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan, stated conclusively at a public event in Washington, DC that Reverend Moon was the singular man who had “won the Cold War.” But Reverend Moon’s lifelong determination was the much larger goal of building universal peace. Thus, once the Soviet Union collapsed, he soon launched numerous international peace organizations toward that end.

That is but one example of the remarkable impact of the Unification Movement. From most humble beginnings, Reverend Moon built a movement of high ideals and global impact. By the final decade of the 20th century, its significant accomplishments and momentum offered great promise for the new millennium.

Tragically today, eight years after Reverend Moon’s passing, that great promise is seriously threatened by a schism within the Unification Movement. To carry forward the true intent, spirit and legacy of Reverend Moon’s work, it is necessary to set the record straight. Following is an explanation of the background and details that reveal the truth about the Unification schism. Because of the legal battles that have ensued, these facts and perspective are especially important to understand. Unfortunately, this record has been ignored in the courts of our nation’s capital, with implications that threaten the right to believe for all.

Reverend Moon faced great hardship when he began his public ministry in 1945, in the aftermath of World War II and the division of the Korean peninsula. Surviving imprisonment, torture and the devastation of the Korean War, he began building his movement from a cardboard shack in Busan, a city at the southern tip of Korea. With the end of the war, he moved to Seoul and in 1954 established the Unification Movement’s original organization. Significantly, he named it the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC), signaling his intent that this was not a new “church” or denomination, but rather a spiritual association promoting unification.

Even in the early years with HSA-UWC as the main organizational vehicle, Reverend Moon explained in his sermons that his ultimate mission was promoting God-centered families as the foundation for a world of peace, not building a religious organization. He described HSA-UWC as essential to building the foundation for his subsequent central work and ministry. As the Unification Movement grew and expanded its organizations and projects, it was erroneously labelled as “The Unification Church” by the media and the Movement’s detractors.

Unlike the Catholic Church and other religious bodies with ecclesiastical structures developed over centuries, the Unification Movement is a dynamic providential movement guided by a charismatic, messianic leader. According to Reverend Moon’s teachings, God’s purpose of creation, left unfulfilled since the time of Adam and the first family, must ultimately be substantiated through God-centered families. Jesus’ salvific role and the ultimate completion of God’s providence are understood in the context of Adamic responsibility. Despite holding no formal position within any one organization in the Movement, Reverend Moon was recognized by all its members as an Adamic figure with complete spiritual authority over the direction, theology and polity of the Unification Movement.

Reverend Moon uniquely taught that the family is the center of God’s purpose and thus the most important institution in human experience. Further, from the beginning, Unification members understood that Reverend Moon and his family have a central providential role and spiritual authority, passed on through the tradition of elder sonship.

Reverend Moon taught that the Adamic family must set the precedent for the true family ideal, successfully settling true family standards and order across three generations.  Naturally parents cooperate in passing authority to the next generation. Father and son cooperate as the son takes more and more family leadership responsibility. The mother provides crucial support, encouraging family members through the transition. Each family member has his or her own portion of responsibility in substantiating the standards, order and harmony within the family. For all families, this is the natural process for maintaining family identity and traditions across succeeding generations. For Reverend Moon’s family, this process and subsequent unity were an absolute “must” in order for providential expectations to be fulfilled.

Early years of the Unification Movement

The shack in Busan where Rev. Sun Myung Moon completed the first version of the Divine Principle (top) and the first building for the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity in Seoul, Korea.

HSA-UWC To FFWPU; A Seismic Shift For The Movement

Indicative of the evolving nature of his providential movement, in 1994 Reverend Moon initiated a series of dramatic changes. On the 40th anniversary of the founding of HSA-UWC, he declared the “end of the church era” and the opening of a new era centered on families. He ordered that HSA-UWC be dismantled and replaced by a new entity, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU).[3] [4] This transition was a seismic shift for the Unification Movement, going from a more centralized church-like structure to a decentralized, grass-roots association that empowers individual members and their families. This was not merely an organizational change; it represented a major providential turning point. After 40 years of overcoming initial resistance and building the needed foundation, Reverend Moon could finally launch a vehicle to undertake the original messianic mission of building a unified global family under God. As its name describes, FFWPU was to be a federation of God-centered families committed to building world peace and unification.

Along with this fundamental shift in focus, Reverend Moon also initiated a major transition to the next generation of leaders. Most importantly, in 1998, when he was 78 years old, Reverend Moon designated his son, Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon, as his successor to lead the movement with the mantle of Adamic authority. This momentous development was announced during a special ceremony at which Dr. Moon was also appointed to be International Vice-President of FFWPU. That Reverend Moon, amidst this major providential transition, conferred on Dr. Moon all of his spiritual authority and acknowledged him as his successor was a crucial milestone. Reverend Moon indicated in his speech at the ceremony that this was the most significant event in providential history and one that God had long awaited. He made it clear that Dr. Moon would be the one to usher in and lead the new age. As far as Reverend Moon and the Unification Movement were concerned, the matter of succession was settled that day.[5]

 

Dr. Hyun Jin Moon and Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon 1998 FFPW Inauguration

At Hyun Jin Moon’s inauguration as the Vice President of the Family Federation for the World Peace and Unification in 1998, Rev. Sun Myung Moon said, “This is the most important event that God had been longing for throughout providential history.”

It is important to note that the concept of “messiah” is understood differently among various faith traditions. The Unification theology view is similar to the Abrahamic understanding as in the Jewish faith, which places primary focus on the messiah’s unique responsibility; the messiah is the one who fulfills the messianic mission. On the other hand, the Christology of many Christian denominations asserts that the Messiah is both fully God and fully man. This complex theological concept is often understood by believers to mean that Jesus, the Messiah, is God.

In the Unification view, the messiah is a God-centered man in a central providential position, called forth by God with the responsibility to set the proper precedent for the ideal family. The messianic mission is to fulfill what the biblical Adam and his family failed to do; thus, the messiah is a God-centered man who fulfills the mission of Adam to establish a God-centered family. This task is entirely in the realm of human responsibility.

It is within this context that Reverend Moon understood his own messianic role. As a youth, he was called by Jesus to carry forward the messianic mission. Thus he explained that Jesus, the second Adam, came to fulfill the mission of the original Adam in the Book of Genesis. Since he himself was called by Jesus to take up that messianic mission, Reverend Moon understood his own role as being the Third Adam. And most significantly, when he recognized his son, Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon, as his successor to fulfill this mission, Reverend Moon proclaimed him to be the Fourth Adam. Dr. Moon, an accomplished theologian, Olympic athlete, and successful entrepreneur, was 29 at the time. While the official title he first received was simply “Vice-President” of FFWPU, Dr. Moon’s spiritual authority as an Adamic figure clearly superseded that of anyone in the Movement including the various elder organizational presidents.

In the years just before and after Dr. Moon’s 1998 appointment, Reverend Moon initiated a decisive generational shift in the Movement’s top leadership, replacing elders with leaders closer in age to his designated successor. Reverend Moon’s trust in Dr. Moon was evidenced by his pronouncement in 2001 that all leaders in the Movement under the age of 40 were now under Dr. Moon’s leadership.[6] Later that age was expanded to 48.[7] Practically all of the leadership fell into this age group by that time. In implementing “Father-Son cooperation,” Reverend Moon made it clear that leaders had to unite with Dr. Moon and report their providential activities to him. [8]

Reverend Moon fully entrusted Dr. Moon to oversee the transition from the HSA-UWC era to the FFWPU era. Knowing that this was a profound providential shift and not merely an organizational change, Dr. Moon launched educational programs for leaders and members to uplift and transform the culture of the Movement. He quickly began enacting sweeping reforms at his father’s behest, revamping organizational vehicles and energizing the membership, opening a time of rapid development for the Movement.

As the transition to the FFWPU progressed, Reverend Moon concurrently launched his major peace efforts, beginning in 1999 with the inauguration of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP). In 2004, on the momentous occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of HSA-UWC, he clearly explained the providential path on which he was guiding the Movement:

“Fifty years have passed since the launch of the Unification movement as an official organization. The first stage of the Unification movement was a period when it was active mainly in the religious sphere, dealing with individual salvation. The next stage was the movement to find and establish true families, the basic unit of heaven. The movement will continue on to work for the restoration of clans, and to have an impact in local communities, until all people on earth and in heaven receive the Blessing. The third stage of the movement, to build the ideal world of peace, has already begun in earnest.”[9]

Reverend Moon had labored his entire life to reach this providential turning point, and he relied on his father-son cooperation with Dr. Moon throughout this time of dramatic progress. Accordingly, Dr. Moon was given responsibility over all of the Unification Movement’s major providential organizations in addition to FFWPU, including the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), the flagship peace organization founded in 2005. Given his mandate, Dr. Moon marshalled the resources of FFWPU and quickly expanded UPF and its “Ambassadors for Peace” into a worldwide peace network. He inspired and motivated this global network to take ownership of the transformational vision of One Family under God.[10] In 2008 alone, Dr. Moon brought this powerful message to massive peace festivals in nearly 30 nations, making an impact unprecedented in the history of the Unification Movement.[11]

Hyun Jin Moon, Sun Myung Moon, Jun Sook Moon

Rev. Sun Myung Moon celebrates the success of an event in Japan in 2008 with Hyun Jin and Junsook Moon.

With Adamic authority, Dr. Moon guided FFWPU, UPF and all of the Movement’s organizations for over ten years. These organizations were founded by Reverend Moon but it was Dr. Moon who guided them to realize their providential purposes.

From 1998 to 2008, a period of unprecedented growth and significant development for the Movement, Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon led the transition to the family-centered movement of FFWPU, and the development of the worldwide peace initiatives centered on UPF. By the end of 2008, Unification members around the world were filled with hope and enthusiasm by the Movement’s amazing progress. However, most members were completely unaware that behind-the-scenes efforts to undermine and derail Dr. Moon and these providential developments had been underway for years.

Opposition Grows Against Reverend Moon’s Successor

Not surprisingly, the sweeping changes during the transition period from HSA-UWC to FFWPU were a threat to leaders entrenched in the church structure being dismantled. Clerics who feared losing their authority and significant perks worked to undermine reforms and the decentralization of the Movement. They promoted false traditions in efforts to maintain control over members, claiming that they themselves represented Reverend Moon’s authority and must be absolutely obeyed. Such unprincipled leadership is a direct affront to the intent and spirit of the FFWPU era, which focused on the fulfillment of personal responsibility and the innate value of blessed families in contributing to God’s providence.

These clerics had three fundamental problems, all related with Dr. Moon’s spiritual authority already recognized by Reverend Moon. First was the issue of succession, which they could not control nor influence; in the eyes of Heaven and Reverend Moon it was already settled in 1998. Second was that Dr. Moon was sincerely implementing his father’s intentions for reform in leading the global Unification Movement. The clerics’ third problem was that members around the world enthusiastically supported Dr. Moon, responding to the tremendous energy, hope and vision that he embodied and exuded. The unprecedented success he had achieved by 2008 was frightening to the clerics. He was transforming the culture of the Movement through a liberating, principled focus on the fulfillment of individual responsibility and the realization of one universal family. As a result, the global Movement experienced growing energy, optimism and pride, especially with a whole new generation of young members.

Sadly, the clerics schemed to undermine the reforms and transformation that Dr. Moon was leading, using twisted theology as their base. Because of the “church-like” structure that the clerics had built over 40 years, most members relied on the words of the clerics, and were easily manipulated into believing that the clerics’ directives were “True Parents’ instructions.”[12] The hierarchical structure was reinforced by a culture that stressed obedience to “central figures,” the very cleric group that sought to maintain its control.  This dependence on information that was “filtered” through the leadership bureaucracy was even more pronounced for members worldwide who did not speak Korean, as they could only understand Reverend Moon’s guidance through translators.

Instead of properly conveying to the members the significance of the “Fourth Adam” and Reverend Moon’s instructions that all leaders and members should unite with and support Dr. Moon, they arrogantly claimed that they themselves collectively comprised the authority of the Fourth Adam. As the historical record shows, these clerics engaged in increasingly unprincipled behavior attempting to undermine Dr. Moon’s leadership.[13] Furthermore, good-willed but naïve members were purposely misled about the significance of the new era.

Despite this concerted opposition, Dr. Moon continued to make great strides in leading the Movement toward its providential goals. Tragically, the growing momentum was seen by some as an increasing threat to their own ambitions. The entrenched clerics wanted to maintain the status quo with their power and perks but lacked sufficient clout to thwart Dr. Moon’s reforms. By 2005, the clerics’ group working to undermine Dr. Moon found common cause with several members of Reverend Moon’s family, who had their own ambitions to lead the Movement. Together they formed a cabal that escalated the attacks on Dr. Moon to a whole new level.

The shocking reality is that the main force behind these efforts to oust Dr. Moon from the leadership of the Movement has been his own mother, Mrs. Hak Ja Han, along with the support of his siblings, Hyung Jin Sean, Kook Jin Justin, and In Jin Tatiana. While most members have believed Mrs. Han was completely united with her husband Reverend Moon, in fact her disunity was a central factor that enabled the formation and continuation of the Schism.

Mrs. Han had always been a much beloved figure to all of the members, who understood well that her complete unity with Reverend Moon was central to her providential role. Reverend Moon’s central mission was to set the precedent for true parents and true family, established through the settlement of the true family ideal. The True Family must set the heavenly standard and order, requiring that each family member fulfill their own portion of responsibility. The roles of wife and mother are pivotal in the family, especially in affirming family traditions and smoothing the transition from one generation to the next. Reverend Moon had made it clear that a core responsibility of “True Mother” was to bring all of the children first into unity with him and then into unity with the Fourth Adam, his appointed successor.  Sadly, Mrs. Han could not fulfill this essential responsibility and began actively working against her own son, Dr. Moon.

The motives of Mrs. Han and her three children have been made clear by their actions over time. Mrs. Han, manipulated by a false spiritual medium, came to view herself as the real messianic figure for the age, over and above Reverend Moon. Rather than support Reverend Moon’s succession plan, she began to actively subvert it. Regardless of her views, under the patrilineal tradition and teachings of the Unification Movement, she could not supplant Reverend Moon as the Third Adam nor legitimately replace his already duly appointed heir. Therefore, in order to first delegitimize the true heir, she needed a “straw man” who could seemingly replace Dr. Moon in the eyes of the Movement’s members. She found a willing co-conspirator in Sean – the youngest of the sons – who was extremely ambitious. Mistakenly thinking she could control him, Mrs. Han propped him up as the heir to displace his elder brother, while she controlled the Movement’s various entities from behind the scenes.

After Reverend Moon’s passing at the age of 92, she publicly declared herself to be the “Only Begotten Daughter”[14] (OBD) and took direct charge of major aspects of the Movement. She envisioned herself as a divine being and earlier had claimed to be the “Wife of God.”[15] [16] Her new “OBD theology” is completely antithetical to the teaching of Divine Principle, Rev. Moon’s foundational work, and Biblical tradition. According to these holy scriptures and tradition, the Messiah is a male, Adamic figure. There is no concept of “Only Begotten Daughter.” Pronouncing herself the “Wife of God” is more than unprincipled; it is blasphemy. Reverend Moon, through the Divine Principle itself, went to great lengths to show that no human being, including the Messiah, can ever be a deity. Her statements also help us understand why, in 2012, shortly before his death, Reverend Moon stated before a crowd of over 10,000 at a Women’s Federation for World Peace event in Korea: “I have no wife. Mother does whatever she wants to do.”[17]

The motives of Sean and the other siblings were simple ambition and greed. Their jealousy was similar to that described in the Genesis story of Joseph and his brothers. It prevented them from acknowledging their elder brother as Reverend Moon’s successor or to aid him in his providential work. They saw themselves as entitled members of the True Family, yet lacked the spiritual maturity to understand their providential obligations. They believed they were entitled to the accumulated assets of the Unification Movement and wanted their share of the “pie.” They naively believed their mother would continually support their illegitimate claims with Sean fraudulently posing as Reverend Moon’s successor. They learned the hard way that their calculations were way off base when Mrs. Han quickly discarded them shortly after Reverend Moon’s passing.[18]

The clerics’ agenda was, and still is, the disempowerment of the True Family, and especially the Fourth Adam. As they have repeatedly shown, they mistakenly believe they deserve spiritual authority themselves. Their view is based on the Catholic model where the Pope and the priestly class became the supreme authority after Jesus.[19] Of course, that model is the furthest from what Reverend Moon intended for the Unification Movement. He continuously stressed the importance of lineage and legacy.

Their means to get rid of Dr. Moon were simple: take legal control over key entities within the Movement and use them to initiate legal and other attacks against him. Gaining control of important organizations within the Movement required the cabal to take immoral advantage of the aging Reverend Moon. In the last years of his life, due to his deteriorating health, Reverend Moon was literally sequestered in the Movement’s mega-palace complex located in Cheongpyeong, South Korea. There, the cabal held complete control over who had access to Reverend Moon by using staff and security personnel loyal to Mrs. Han. The cabal also restricted access to Reverend Moon’s daily “Hoon Dok Hae” (reading of holy texts) gatherings, which had always been an open-invitation to members. These sessions had always been videotaped and made accessible to members worldwide, but this practice was stopped, without any official notice or explanation.

However, those who had been attending Reverend Moon’s Hoon Dok Hae sessions in person (mostly Korean members) knew quite well the devious reason for the abrupt censoring of these sessions. For the last few years, they had often heard Reverend Moon lambasting Mrs. Han and others of the cabal for having their own agenda and for not following his directions. Further, Reverend Moon was often praising the work of Dr. Moon, and also asking for him by name. These justified concerns and strongly voiced opinions by Reverend Moon were on the increase, causing a growing stream of discussion among the Korean membership. This, of course, ran totally counter to the cabal’s plan of destroying Dr. Moon; therefore, they exerted their near total control of Reverend Moon again, and simply stopped all dissemination of the Hoon Dok Hae sessions. Later, Mrs. Han doctored the written transcripts of Reverend Moon’s speeches and Hoon Dok Hae comments that had already been distributed, so that no positive comments about Dr. Moon and no negative comments about herself and the cabal remained.[20]

Sometimes, the cabal would wrangle some sort of endorsement from Reverend Moon via false reporting to him; other times, they simply would hide their actions. Both cases were forms of elder abuse. For years, Reverend Moon had openly spoken of a coming time when he would, like all men, “become like a child” due to his advanced age. He had given Dr. Moon, his recognized successor, full authority over the Movement when he was 78-years old and had often made his wishes clear to the entire Movement.

From 2005 to 2012, the efforts to destroy Dr. Moon included: 1) sequestering and isolating the elderly Reverend Moon from Dr. Moon and those loyal to him, 2) orchestrating the legal takeover of key organizations, 3) engaging in global character assassination campaigns against Dr. Moon, while garnering support for their illegitimate regime,[21] and 4) finally, initiating litigation against him and his supporters. Such actions were unprecedented in the Movement and represented a total departure from the principled and Godly leadership of both Reverend Moon and Dr. Moon.

These highly coordinated and orchestrated maneuvers were committed in vile fashion during Reverend Moon’s most vulnerable final period of life. Dr. Moon was denied access to his hospitalized father and was even physically blocked from attending his own father’s funeral (Seonghwa) in 2012.[22] [23] [24]  In a despicable affront, Dr. Moon and his immediate family’s names were removed from the published list of the Moon extended family![25] These attacks, continuing to this day, amount to nothing short of criminality in the eyes of Heaven and the betrayal of Reverend Moon, Dr. Moon and the entire Unification Movement.

A blockade was orchestrated to prevent Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon from seeing his own father during Rev. Moon’s funeral service.

The Cabal’s Hijacking of Key Unification Movement Organizations

Together, the clerics, the three siblings and Mrs. Han orchestrated the placement of the siblings into various leadership positions within the main organizations of the Movement. Because these appointees were members of Reverend Moon’s direct family, they held a veneer of spiritual authority in the eyes of general members. Step by step, the cabal began to take legal control over the Movement’s organizational assets as well.

Reverend Moon always considered Dr. Hyun Jin Moon to be his successor with spiritual oversight over the many providential organizations. Unaware of these attempts to undermine and circumvent his oversight, Reverend Moon reluctantly consented to these seemingly benign appointments. Mrs. Han was the main driver of these requests, even making veiled threats that the siblings might leave the family if not given certain sought-after positions.[26] In order to maintain peace in the family, Reverend Moon begrudgingly consented, while all of the time expecting that Dr. Moon would continue to carry overarching authority.

First, Justin Moon was given leadership over the business area, including the Korea Tongil Foundation and HSA-UWC Japan (“UC Japan”). His prowess as a business leader was greatly exaggerated to the membership.[27] From this position, he could bankroll the cabal, control the flow of funds to organizations, and initiate audits of those the cabal targeted.

Sean Moon was quickly promoted from being a local pastor in Korea, to becoming the national leader of the Korean “church.” At first glance, he appeared to have extraordinary results as a pastor. The small local church he led in Korea grew inexplicably in leaps and bounds. A closer examination, however, revealed that the surrounding churches were closed down under orders from the national headquarters, and their members were forced to travel long distances and become members of Sean’s church! Only those local members knew this reality. Even today, most international members do not know how this deception was engineered to make Sean appear to be a great religious leader. Before long Mrs. Han maneuvered the appointment of Sean, first as the International President of FFWPU and then as Chairman of UPF.

In addition, the cabal brought in the long estranged but also ambitious Tatiana Moon to take up the fictional position of “CEO” for the North American Movement. Without missing a beat, she proceeded to replace the HSA-UWC/FFWPU USA board of directors with her own cronies. Later, when Dr. Moon tried to restore the original board members in accordance to his father’s desire, she misled her father about those personnel changes, claiming that the board had been changed by her brother, Dr. Moon, in defiance of his father.[28]

The cabal wrongly believed that holding these key positions would give Sean, Justin and Tatiana the combined clout to thwart Dr. Moon, control the general membership, and launch their legal offensive if and when necessary. In 2009, Sean had officially changed the name of FFWPU to the “Unification Church” – a name that had been created by opponents of the Movement![29] As already noted, Sean and the clerics also attempted to adopt a Catholic Church-like structure with centralized power that would maintain the clerics’ overall power and control. He claimed that “Unificationism” represented the completion era of the Unification Movement, and he ridiculed the Movement’s peace organizations.[30] All this was in direct contradiction to Reverend Moon’s crystal-clear explanation, given on the 50th anniversary of the founding of HSA-UWC, that the church era had ended and the family-centered era had begun that naturally extended to the building of world peace. Sean’s promotion of such a hierarchical church model and his ignorance of the providential direction make clear that he never understood the nature and the purpose of the very organization (FFWPU) he was leading.

A statue of Hak Ja Han as the “Only Begotten Daughter” with Rev. Sun Myung Moon sidelined with others.

Most of the Movement’s members simply accepted unquestioningly all the contrived directives Sean Moon manufactured and issued while in charge of the FFWPU International Headquarters and its “World Mission Department.”[31] During this time, Mrs. Han and the clerics constantly emphasized the centrality of the hierarchical, church-like structure and “absolute obedience” to them as the members’ core responsibility. Mrs. Han and the cabal repeatedly utilized the title of “True Parents” or issued unsigned public announcements from Headquarters in order to push out self-serving, untruthful instructions that furthered their agenda. Most members believed they were uniting with Heaven’s will by following these directives, when actually they were victims of Mrs. Han’s personal agenda that ran counter to Reverend Moon’s wishes. Over time, the cabal created fraudulent records that they would later use as a basis for their legal attacks.

The highly flawed culture created by the clerics was very conducive for manipulating the members, further advancing the schism. Mrs. Han herself later testified in legal proceedings that neither Reverend Moon nor she had ever sanctioned Sean’s directives, nor that Sean was ever the heir.[32] Yet, she cannot escape the historical fact that she is the one who orchestrated Sean’s appointment as the heir so convincingly that even he came to believe in it.

Based on their actions, it is clear that Sean and Justin Moon are opportunistic pretenders and do not operate according to any set of principles. Sean kowtowed to his mother by promoting her divinization,[33] and to the clerics by supporting their ecclesiastic model for the Movement.[34] Both of these actions were unprincipled and directly conflicted with the providential shift of the Movement. Later on, when he was expelled from his leadership roles, Sean completely reversed his theological position. He denounced the clerics and Mrs. Han as evil,[35] formed his own “Sanctuary Church” (SC) with its own “Heavenly Constitution” and set himself up as the “Second King” (when there never was a “First King”!). With no principled basis, the SC is clearly a personality cult.

Likewise, Justin reversed his stated theological positions once he, too, was removed from all leadership positions by his mother.[36] By the same phony Sanctuary Church “Constitution,” he and his lineage are set up into perpetuity to be in control of the SC finances.

2009 to 2012 was truly a dark period in the history of the Unification Movement, wherein heinous acts were perpetrated by the cabal in the name of religion. The egregious nature of these acts becomes especially clear when one realizes those were the final three years of Reverend Moon’s life. Soon after securing their legal positions, Tatiana, Sean and Justin, through the entities they controlled, organized global campaigns to character-assassinate Dr. Moon. Projecting their own true intentions, they lambasted Dr. Moon with a fictional narrative portraying him as the disgruntled son who had been passed over by his father and, out of jealousy, stolen the assets of the “Unification Church” and then abandoned the Movement. Sean and Justin orchestrated these attacks in Korea, Japan and other countries. Tatiana would affect a smear campaign of her own in the United States and later throughout South America and elsewhere. A quote often attributed to Lenin, “A lie told often enough, becomes the truth,” aptly describes the constant litany of lies told against Dr. Moon. These propaganda campaigns against him continued for years, and this fraudulent narrative was later used as the basis for their many lawsuits.

Even more outrageous, while they were in positions of power, Sean and Justin resorted to the Orwellian, communist tactic of forcing pastors and youth leaders of the Movement to pledge loyalty to their new regime on video. Refusal to take part in these pledges resulted in the subsequent firing and branding of these members as “Satan” and worse.[37] Furthermore, for the first time in the history of the Unification Movement, the cabal formalized and implemented a policy of “excommunication,” aimed squarely at those who would not toe the regime’s party line in their attacks on Dr. Moon.[38] [39] [40] [41] Excommunication never existed in the Movement because of the principled belief in universal salvation; even the worst sinners would eventually be both forgiven and saved. Also, for the first time, the Movement’s holiest and most valued sacrament, the Holy Marriage Blessing, was used as a political weapon. Members were told that if they even attended an event led by Dr. Moon, they and their children would be denied the right to receive the Blessing.

In all these ways and more, they created emotional distress for the aging Reverend Moon and goaded him to sign proclamations that furthered their vicious agenda. As the now-infamous 4 a.m. “bedroom video” revealed, such despicable acts were a constant recurrence behind the scenes.[42] The cabal persistently twisted and prodded the ever more fragile Reverend Moon into making statements they could use in their efforts to delegitimize and publicly crucify Dr. Moon. 

The Courts Become the Battleground

Relentless in their passion to destroy Dr. Moon, the cabal began utilizing litigation as a last-ditch effort. Under Reverend Moon and Dr. Moon’s leadership, using secular courts and lawyers to resolve internal disputes would have been inconceivable. However, the cabal had no moral qualms about weaponizing litigation because they had no legitimacy at their root. As a result, lawsuits became commonplace under their regime. The Unification Movement had never seen this level of vitriol leveled against anyone – even those who committed real crimes against the Movement – much less against Reverend Moon’s own son and successor.

Since 2009, the cabal initiated over 30 court cases on three continents against Dr. Moon and others who support him. As these cases lacked merit and substance, all but one were dismissed outright or decided in favor of Dr. Moon. It is ironic that the one remaining case, “Family Federation for World Peace and Unification et al vs Hyun Jin Moon et al,” is proceeding in the nation’s capital of the United States, the exemplar of religious freedom around the world. The case involves UCI, a board-run, nonprofit religious entity, which was the parent organization of The Washington Times, versus the plaintiff entities that were run by Sean Moon (FFWPU and UPF), Justin Moon (UC Japan), and two senior clerics (Dong Moon Douglas Joo and Peter Kim).

Most Unification members incorrectly thought that UCI was the “crown jewel” of the Movement’s entities. In reality UCI had huge financial problems due to the clerics’ inept management of the entity. In fact, for years Reverend Moon had asked Dr. Moon to take charge and save the beleaguered entity. Prior to Dr. Moon’s eventual appointment as Chairman of the UCI Board, the entity had been mismanaged by over $3 billion in the course of 30 years under senior clerics Bo Hi Pak and Dong Moon Douglas Joo. When Dr. Moon reluctantly took the reins of UCI in 2006, he inherited an organization that was hemorrhaging an average of $100 million a year.[44]

Because UCI relied on subsidies, the cabal sought to use Dr. Moon’s role as the chairman of this troubled entity to damage his reputation. In 2009, Justin cut off all subsidies to UCI from UC Japan, which had been its primary donor, with the intent of driving UCI into bankruptcy. However, the unexpected happened. Through innovative leadership and creative restructuring, Dr. Moon managed to turn around an entity that was on the verge of collapse.[45]

International Outrage Over the DC Superior Courts Ruling

International outcry over the DC Court’s violation of religious freedom.

In 2011, the cabal resorted to litigation in earnest. Despite having no legitimate claim over UCI, they sued Dr. Moon and the UCI board seeking a hostile takeover through judicial fiat. At the time of filing, they manufactured documents to support a fictional narrative alleging that Sean Moon’s institutional position as president of FFWPU and UPF signified some form of comprehensive authority, and that he was “successor” to Reverend Moon.[46] Ironically, Mrs. Han and the plaintiffs, in sworn testimony, eventually disavowed that Sean was ever the heir, and even testified that he has the Principle understanding of a middle-school student.[47] The “UCI case” is now in its ninth year with hundreds of millions of dollars wasted.

Soon after the UCI case was filed, the cabal began to disintegrate. In 2012, Tatiana was the first to be removed from her position of “CEO” of the American Movement due to her extramarital affairs. As noted above, Mrs. Han unceremoniously chased out Sean and Justin after Reverend Moon’s passing in 2012, when she no longer needed them. They, in turn, have reviled her ever since,[48] and use their religious survivalist sect “The Sanctuary Church” to continuously condemn Mrs. Han publicly, and are now even suing her![49] Meanwhile, Mrs. Han has warped FFWPU into the OBD cult that promotes her own self-deification.[50] [51]

Where We Stand Now

The UCI case was originally dismissed in 2013 by Judge Anita Josey-Herring based on ecclesiastic abstention, as she correctly recognized this was a religious dispute dealing with spiritual authority and polity.[52] Yet, on appeal the case reverted back to the Superior Court and is still ongoing at tremendous cost to DC taxpayers and to Unification Movement members. The most outrageous ruling in this case came in a 2018 summary judgment, issued by Judge Laura Cordero, that ignored the complexities of the case and First Amendment concerns, deciding issues that were properly left to trial. In effect, her ruling determined the succession, theology, and polity of the Unification Movement amidst a schism through judicial fiat.[53]

Her decision determined religious leadership because the court ignored overwhelming evidence of a major religious dispute about succession and completely adopted the false narrative of the plaintiffs. Her ruling determined theology because the courts evaluated religious terminology that the UCI board had amended in its Articles of Incorporation (however, the court has no business interpreting or defining religious terms). And finally, it determined the organizational structure of the Unification Movement because it erroneously legitimized the FFWPU’s claim to be some form of “supra-authority” over the Movement. All of these “determinations” are in direct conflict with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Judge Cordero’s misguided decision carries serious implications for the entire Unification Movement and for all other religious organizations in the United States.

Throughout this religious schism, and despite the unscrupulous attacks inflicted upon him by the clerics, Mrs. Han and his siblings, Dr. Moon maintained his silence, hoping that they would come to realize the errors of their ways and come together as True Family once again. Dr. Moon attempted to engage his mother through letters several times, urging her to uphold the expectations of being true “Eve” and “True Mother” by uniting with Reverend Moon and Dr. Moon. However, Mrs. Han and the clerics only intensified their attacks against him, even using Dr. Moon’s letters in the litigation to falsely characterize him as being “misogynous” (under that reasoning, Jesus and most religious figures would also be “misogynous”!). More importantly, Mrs. Han’s unprincipled and self-divinizing agenda has continued at the expense of Reverend Moon’s legacy and the necessary providential work of Dr. Moon. Under these circumstances, Dr. Moon is being forced to respond.

Dr. Moon has always held true to the teachings and legacy of Reverend Moon and to the mission of the Unification Movement. In fact, he is the one who has consistently led the true Unification Movement ever since his appointment in 1998. Even against all-out opposition from the cabal led by his mother, he has built a tremendous global foundation in furtherance of the providential work. Especially in the vital mission for the reunification of the Korean homeland, Dr. Moon is carrying forward the work begun by Reverend Moon decades before, making tremendous breakthroughs and inspiring a new generation of leaders to finally achieve this long-held aspiration of the Korean people. His visionary book, Korean Dream has already made a major impact on the leadership and society-at-large not only in Korea, but also in other significant nations that must support the reunification efforts. His leadership has sparked the grassroots movement, Action for Korea United (AKU), the largest civic unification coalition in the history of the divided Korea.[54] Many thought such a coalition would be impossible, yet AKU today is influencing and engaging millions of Koreans, from the North and the South, as well as the Korean diaspora worldwide in this movement for principled unification.

I have been a member of the Unification Movement for over 46 years and know all of Reverend Moon’s family. I feel that I can speak for members everywhere who have been sickened by the schism of the last 12-plus years and view it as a great tragedy. I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears the lies and smears against a faithful and true man, Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon. It is extremely outrageous for all of us who knew Reverend Moon to now see that his wife would resort to a secular court in her desperate attempt to subjugate her own son and to seek to wrest anointed spiritual authority from him.

I am deeply troubled by Judge Cordero’s ruling, primarily because in ignoring voluminous evidence of the religious disputes and schism at the heart of this case, it runs roughshod over First Amendment protections of religious freedom. It sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the rights of all religious communities and believers. Would Judge Cordero have rushed to summary judgment and decided to punish the defendants if they were from a mainstream faith rather than a new religious movement? Her ruling casts aside and impugns the sincere faith and convictions of a whole community of believers. Our right to believe is unalienable as endowed by the Creator; the DC Court got this seriously wrong; it has no place taking sides in a religious schism.

Judge Jennifer Anderson, currently presiding over the UCI case, still has the power to do the right thing. She can properly dismiss the case on First Amendment grounds. Doing so is in line with the DC Appellate Court’s guidance to dismiss the case if it becomes apparent that it hinges upon matters of religious doctrine and polity.[55]

The UCI case serves as a warning of judicial overreach to religious organizations, religious freedom advocates, and nonprofits in the District of Columbia and beyond. Hundreds of thousands of members around the world and I are sincerely praying that Judge Anderson follows her conscience as well as her pledge to uphold the Constitution as a Superior Court Judge and dismisses this case.

Religious leaders fight to protect first amendment freedom of worship.

Faith leaders and individuals from around the world are standing up to voice their concern of the gross judicial overreach of the DC Courts.

Conclusion

Everyone can agree that the Unification Movement schism is indeed a great tragedy, undermining unity, squandering the time and effort of the members, and causing unconscionable waste of precious financial resources. Lost too was the worldwide momentum for peace that had been achieved by 2008. Most tragic of all is the loss of the experience of love and trust that comes with being one global family. Because God is real, we can still have hope that what was lost can be regained.

If we are to overcome this schism and become one again, it is clear that we must know the truth of how it came about. Then, armed with the truth, we can chart a corrective course back to our original path, and then continue on to our God-given destination.

Within this imperfect writing are details that the great majority of Unification members have never known. Much of it is painful to learn, since there is a base of God’s love for every person mentioned, regardless of the role each may have played. My hope and conviction is that it will be God’s love and truth that bring us to the other side of this divide.

 

 

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[1] Book by Sun Myung Moon, As a Peace-loving Global Citizen, Gimm-Young Publishers, 2009, pp.121-125

[2] Publication by Massimo Introvigne, From the Unification Church to the Unification Movement, 1994-1999: Five Years of Dramatic Changes, Signature Books, 1999

[3] Book by Sun Myung Moon, As a Peace-loving Global Citizen, Gimm-Young Publishers, 2009, pp.121-125

[4] Report from Hyun Jin Moon to True Parents, “Report to Parents”, March 23, 2008

[5] Speech by Sun Myung Moon published in Today’s World Magazine (July 1998 Issue, Vol. 19, No. 7), “Vice Presidential Inauguration of Mr. Hyun Jin Moon”, July 19, 1998, pp.4-7

[6] Notes from a leaders meeting held at New Yorker Hotel Grand Ballroom, USA, “Leaders Meeting”, January 30, 2001

[7] Book by Hyun Jin Moon, Realizing God’s Dream, 2011, p.97

[8] Book by Chung Hwan Kwak, Truth Shall Prevail: Understanding the Conflict within the Unification Movement and its Resolution, Aju Media, 2019, pp.151-152

[9] Speech by Sun Myung Moon published in Today’s World Magazine (April/May 2004 Issue, Vol. 25, No. 3), “Fifty Years of the Providential Path to the Realization of God’s Fatherland the Peace Kingdom”, April 30, 2004, pp.4-7

[10] Unification News (Vol. 26, No. 3), “Hyun Jin Nim Proclaims Message of Peace: 12 City USA Speaking Tour”, March 2007

[11] Compilation of speeches from the Global Peace Festival 2008 World Tour, One Family Under God, Global Peace Festival Foundation, 2009

[12] Presentation given by Joshua Cotter, “The Current Situation: Chung Hwan Kwak and Hyun Jin Nim’s Positions in Light of the Principle”, 2010

[13] Public letter by Kiyoshi Seino, “Letter to the Leadership of the Unification Church in Japan about Hyun Jin Moon”, June 21, 2012

[14] Speech by Hak Ja Han, “A Time to Be United, Inside and Out”, Cheon Jung Gung, Chung Pyung, Korea, July 1, 2014

[15] Speech by Hyung Jin Moon, “The Beginning of the third year of Cheon-gi”, National Leaders World Assembly, Korea, January 21, 2012

[16] Article by Yeon-ah Lee published in Today’s World Magazine (June 2011 Issue, Vol. 32, No. 5), “Mother of Heaven and Earth: My Mother”, pp.12-15

[17] YouTube video of Sun Myung Moon’s speech, “The Abel Women UN Inauguration Assembly”, Cheongshim Peace World Center, Korea, July 16, 2012

[18] Public letter by Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon-ah Lee Moon, “Letter to Unification Church USA”, February 24, 2013

[19] Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International, Official Memo (Ref. No. FFWPUI 2014-12), “Cheon Il Guk Constitution and Cheon Il Guk Supreme Council”, February 28, 2014

[20] Book by Jongsuk Kim, Split of the Unification Movement, Aunae Publishers, 2017, pp.233-247

[21] Vimeo video of Joshua Cotter’s lecture in Chicago, IL, USA, “The Current Situation: Chung Hwan Kwak and Hyun Jin Nim’s Positions in Light of the Principle”, November 4, 2010

[22] Article in United Press International, “Moon Wake Shows Family Tension”, September 11, 2012

[23] Public letter by Kyung Hyo Kim, “Nobody Can Interrupt Hyun Jin Moon’s Visit to True Father’s Seong Hwa”, September 10, 2012

[24] Photo of a human blockade formed to keep Hyun Jin Moon from participating in his father’s funeral, September 12, 2012

[25] Publicly available account of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s Universal Seonghwa Ceremony held on September 15, 2012. The page includes the list of bereaved family members. Hyun Jin Moon’s entire family had been omitted.

[26] Book by Chung Hwan Kwak, Truth Shall Prevail: Understanding the Conflict within the Unification Movement and its Resolution, Aju Media, 2019, pp.177-179

[27] “Hyung Jin Moon, Kook Jin Moon, and In Jin Moon Sharing with Leaders at the World National Leaders Assembly”, February 19, 2010

[28] Powerpoint released by Blessed Central Families for Truth and Transparency, “Facts Behind the Change of Leaders of the Unification Church in the United States and Hyun Jin Moon’s Removal from his Public Positions”, 2010

[29] Unification Church World Mission Headquarters, Official Memo (Ref. No. WMH 2013-17), “Renaming the Unification Church World Mission Headquarters and Guidelines for Using the Emblem of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification”, January 18, 2013

[30] Transcript of Hyung Jin Moon’s speech in Washington, D.C., USA during a 4-City tour, September 4, 2009

[31] Testimony by Hyung Jin Moon published in Today’s World Magazine (September 2011 Issue, Vol. 32, No. 6), “Learning at Father’s Side”, p.2 and p.23  

[32] US District Court for the Southern District of New York, “Moon v. Moon et al”, Case No. 7:2019cv01705, February 22, 2019

[33] Speech by Hyung Jin Moon at the National Leaders World Assembly in Korea, “The Beginning of the Third Year of Cheon-gi”, January 21, 2012

[34] Article by Yeon-ah Lee published in Today’s World Magazine (June 2011 Issue, Vol. 32, No. 5), “Mother of Heaven and Earth: My Mother”, pp.12-15

[35] YouTube video of a Question & Answer Session with Hyung Jin Moon & Kook Jin Moon on October 31, 2016

[36] Article by Hong Keun Song for Shin Dong-A Magazine (May 2013 Issue), “Crisis in the Unification Church after Rev. Moon’s Death”

[37] YouTube video of Man-Hwe Jeong’s testimony, “I Was Assaulted for Defending My Own Principles”, August 18, 2020

[38] Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International, Official Memo (Ref. No. FFWPUI 2010-20), “Announcement of Dismissal of Regional Vice-President in South America Region”, June 3, 2010

[39] Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International, Official Memo (Ref. No. FFWPUI 2009-57), “Announcement of Changes of National Leaders in Africa Region”, December 28, 2009

[40] Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International, Official Memo (Ref. No. FFWPUI 2010-02), “Announcement of Appointment of National Leader in Philippines, Asia Region”, January 7, 2010

[41] Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International, Official Memo (Ref. No. FFWPUI 2009-53), “Announcement of Personnel Change of YFWP International President”, December 2, 2009

[42] Vimeo video of June 5, 2010 Proclamation with English Subtitles

[43] Vimeo video entitled “Hak Ja Han’s Deceptive Events Targeting Christians”, October 26, 2018

[44] Superior Court of the District of Columbia, “Defendant UCI’s Answer, Affirmative Defenses, and Counterclaim of Defendant Hyun Jin (Preston) Moon”, Case No. 2011 CA 003721 B, August 24, 2012

[45] Public statement of facts issued by UCI regarding the situation of The Washington Times, July 16, 2010

[46] Superior Court of the District of Columbia, “Family Federation For World Peace And Unification International, et al v. Hyun Jin Moon et al”, Case No. 2011 CA 003721 B, May 11, 2011

[47] YouTube video of Hak Ja Han’s deposition held on July 13, 2018, “Hak Ja Han Deposition Day 1 Part 3”

[48] YouTube video of a sermon by Hyung Jin Moon at Sanctuary Church in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, “The Mystery of Babylon”, September 13, 2015

[49] US District Court for the Southern District of New York, “Moon v. Moon et al”, Case No. 7:2019cv01705, February 22, 2019

[50] Vimeo video of the unveiling ceremony of new structures and sculptures in Chung Pyung, Korea on September 28, 2020.

[51] Image of one sculpture recently erected in Chung Pyung, Korea, September 28, 2020

[52] Superior Court of the District of Columbia, “Memorandum Opinion”, Case No. 2011 CA 003721 B, December 19, 2013

[53] Superior Court of the District of Columbia, “Defendant’s Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law”, Case No. 2011 CA 003721 B, November 25, 2019

[54] Website report of a Yonhap News YSpecial Program with Hyun Jin Moon, “Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon Describes a Vision for a Unified Korea in Yonhap News Interview”, August 2019

[55] Superior Court of the District of Columbia, “Defendant’s Finding of Fact and Conclusions of Law”, Case No. 2011 CA 003721 B, November 25, 2019