Unification Church

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Unification Church

Unification Church, church founded (1954) in South Korea by Sun Myung Moon; officially the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification for World Christianity. Moon moved to the United States in 1971. He and his wife, Hak Ja Han, are seen by followers as "True Parents." He claimed to have communicated with Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the Buddha in his spiritual search, and declared himself (2004) the "Messiah." In church doctrine, marriage was a key part of achieving salvation. Moon matched his followers with mates and performed mass weddings, the church's most important ritual. The couples were then expected to produce sinless children. The church's headquarters are located in New York City. In 1995 the church reported 50,000 U.S. followers, 3 million worldwide, but historians of religion estimated a much lower number of members.

See studies by D. Bromley and A. D. Shupe, Jr. (1979) and E. Barker (1984).

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