The unification church of South Korea is a church denomination that traces its roots to 1935 which they believe was the year that founder Sun Myung Moon received a vision from Christ asking him to complete his work on earth…
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Unification Church of South Korea
Members of the church have sometimes been referred to as Moonies a term they view as derogatory, and as seen below the church has had both its moments of praise and moments of controversy and investigations by the government. The church in the 1980s grew rapidly and the founder of the church Sun Moon grew very wealthy as it began to invest in ventures outside of the church one notable one being the Washington Times magazine which the church wholly owns and operates. By 1981 the church had grown beyond its home country South Korea and had applied for recognition as a religion in USA and therefore receives tax exemption status. The US government however turned down their application due to their involvement in none religious issues such as supporting Richard Nixon when he was a presidential candidate (Knight, 2003). Moon had also been an ardent supporter of Nixon during the Watergate Scandal and had even sponsored posters that showed his support in 1979 making the church seem politically motivated. These activities are what led to its application being denied and in 1982 Sun moon was arrested on charges of tax evasion charges. Moon was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison and to pay a fine of twenty five thousand dollars; he however did not start serving his term until 1984. The unification church received some respite as members of the religious community felt that it was being persecuted unnecessarily by the government as well as the fact that other church leaders also helped as they realized that they too could be in the situation that Moon was in if a religious leader could be jailed over tax charges. Moon Sun also won many converts while in prison as he earned appraisal for being hardworking and empathetic towards the plight of others. Moon only served 11 months of his sentence and once out was desperate to change the image his church had formed of itself although not completely successful. Due to the church being a branch of Christianity, it was viewed by many preachers as a threat to their own churches and the more established denominations. The church was also accused of brainwashing its members and was labeled a cult (Lippy, 2002). As the church underwent its rebranding it changed its focus of converts leaning towards people who were former military officers the thought behind this was that given the strong attachment US citizen have for their army, people with military experience would be more credible as preachers. Members of the church were also noted for their pursuing of advanced degrees and this was seen to make the church have more appeal as it had an “enlightened” congregation. One reason that has been pointed out by critics of the church for the constant involvement in business is to slowly attract people who they hire into the congregation With its growth, the Moonies religious teachings began to be more liberal and laws regarding marriage and alcoholic consumption were eased. When the church began it was rare to see a woman dating or married to a man who was not from the church; however with their growth in numbers it became a common feature to find women engaged or even married to men who were not members. In the previous decades alcohol consumption had also been disapproved by the church so much so that members would not venture into bars, however by the mid-80s they could be seen imbibing mineral
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