Sun Myung Moon is the founder of the Unification Church, an organization often called "The Moonies." He and his wife Hak Ja Han are, according to the teaching of Moon and the Church, supposedly the "True Parents" of the human race. Together they make up the Messiah, the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.
He is also quite a rich man, with a lot in influence in conservative circles in the United States.
Moon started out in a poor farming village in Korea, born on January 6, 1920. His family converted to Christianity when he was 10 years old.
At the time, Korea had been conquered by the Empire of Japan. They restricted the freedom of the Korean people to practice any religion other than Shinto. He had a religious experience at the age of 15 when, while praying in the mountains, he claims to have seen Jesus in the sky.
Jesus told Moon that is was his job to finish the work that he left behind when he was nailed to a tree.
"Am I foolish and insignificant or am I great? I gave all the individuals in the world cause to kneel down in front of me." - Rev. Moon
Moon went on to study at a Japanese University. He arrested and tossed into jail for being part of the Korean independence movement. He was released and headed back home to Korea just as World War II was drawing to a close.
When he returned, he wanted to start preaching, but the other Churches wouldn't let him. He had to go and start preaching on his own, without any of their help.
He headed up to North Korea, and started preaching there. The Commies didn't like that very much, so he was arrested in 1946, and they tortured him, and left him for dead.
He somehow managed to survive, being nursed back to health by some of his followers. He soon returned to preaching, and not shockingly, he soon returned to prison, spending 5 years doing hard labour in Hungnam prison.
He was one of the few who survived, since the prisoners were often worked to death. When the Korean War started up, the UN forces led by Gen. Douglas Macarthur beat the North Koreans back, and rescued the prisoners from the prison, supposedly one day before Moon was scheduled to be executed.
He and some of his followers walked down to South Korea, and founded the Unification Church in 1954. Pretty soon off the bat he drew him some contreversy when stories came out of some freaky wild sex that he had been engaged in with some of the church's female disciples.
One of his former church leaders from back in the day claimed in a book he wrote that Moon was teaching that he had to sleep with six married women, and they then had to go have sex with their husbands, and some other married men in order to "spread the blood of the Messiah through the world."
The man who wrote the book, Pak Chung Hwa, got pissed off when Moon didn't stop at 6, and kept on sleeping with other men's wives. I will have to point out that a later book by the man recanted his claims, but there is also a lot of testimony from some of the women that Moon slept with, one of whom he impregnated.
Moon continued expanding his Church, establishing missions throughout Korea, Japan, and the United States. In 1960 he got married Hak Ja Han. According to the teaching of the Unification Church, theirs was the first marriage to be truely blessed in the eyes of the LORD.
Since then, Moon has been conducted many mass marriages, in large ceremonies where in stadiums and other big venues, oftentimes with the people getting not having met each other before.
"The time has come when the whole world must be concerned about me. From now on, American Christianity must follow me." - Rev. Moon
In 1971 Moon packed up and moved to America. There he started speaking to bigger and bigger crowds, including one time when he spoke at the biggest religious rally ever held in Washington, D.C., about 1977.
While he was doing this, he was also getting quite rich. A lot of his followers would do anything for the church. Moon currently owns a large number of businesses, including The Washington Times, which he founded in 1982.
1982 was an interesting year for Moon, because he had been a bad little boy. While gainging all his wealth, he had been mis-representing his income on his income tax forms. And you know you gots to represent!
He when convicted, he was imprisoned in a federal prison for 13 months. He was getting a lot of press around this time, and for a few years after that. Some people claimed he was the leader of an evil cult trying for world domination, some said he was a spy for the Korean government, some, including a lot of the right wing religious leaders like Jerry Falwell, were defending him as a man of God. A lot of those conservative types love him because he donates a lot of money to support conservative causes.
"The whole world is in my hand, and I will conquer and subjugate the world" - Rev. Moon
Things seem to have calmed down. People aren't wasting too much time trying to bring him down. While he still does have a lot of cash and influence, he isn't really making any progress on having people proclaim him the messiah. With Unification Church membership numbers dropping in the past decade or so, he isn't really seen as that much of a threat anymore.
"Any politician who wants to run for president will come to me in a few years." Rev. Moon, 1994
While he may want to establish a theocracy in the United States, with him as the leader of course, it don't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. So, he'll stick around, and be viewed by most people as a crazy rich cult leader.
"It is possible that everyone is lying and only Sun Myung Moon is telling the truth, but that is highly unlikely." - Robert Parry