The messianic identity of the Unification Church/Movement (UCM) was well established by the year 2000. Notably, during the 1990s, Rev. Moon declared openly that he and Hak Ja Han Moon were “the True Parents of all humanity... the Savior, the Lord of the Second Advent, the Messiah.”[1] He also proclaimed the transition to the Completed Testament Age (CTA), which involved a fundamental shift in the order of salvation from individuals to families.[2] This was understood to signal a new beginning and rendered all previous religious expressions, including that of the Unification Church (UC), obsolete. The UCM reconfigured itself a “Family Federation” and launched an ambitious program of world salvation. It proliferated a dozen or more “federations for world peace,” sought to reconcile former enemy nations through high-profile “sisterhood ceremonies,” and convened massive “International Marriage Blessings” in such venues as Seoul Olympic Stadium (1995, 1999), RFK Stadium (1997) and Madison Square Garden (1998).

These developments were not without precedent. Rev. Moon may not have openly declared his messiahship prior to the 1990s but he was understood as such within the UCM and commonly typed as such in the public mind. He also had referenced the Completed Testament Age in numerous speeches going back to the 1970s.[3] The UCM likewise sponsored numerous interdisciplinary, intercultural and inter-religious conferences previously which the 1990’s federations for world peace continued. Forgiveness and reconciliation across national boundaries were also staples of Unification thought and practice. The UCM encouraged marriages between partners of formerly enemy states and created situations in which those from adversary nations worked together on missionary teams. Prior to the International Marriage Blessings, the UCM was already known for its mass weddings in public arenas.

These continuities extended into the 21st century. Having made their messianic claims explicit, Rev. and Mrs. Moon participated in coronations as the “King and Queen of Peace” in public venues, including the Dirksen Senate Office Building in the United States and the Korean National Assembly Library. Taking the proclamation of the Completed Testament Age a step further, they proclaimed the “Era after the Coming of Heaven.” The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) consolidated and carried forth emphases of 1990s federations for world peace and included among its core objectives, renewal of the United Nations and creation of an International Peace Highway. The UCM’s Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) which brought some 10,000 “Ambassadors for Peace” worldwide on “peace pilgrimages” to the Holy Land, continued UCM efforts on behalf of forgiveness and national reconciliation. International Marriage Blessings continued with participants from the UCM’s second generation and construction of a 20,000-seat World Peace Center in Korea.

For all these continuities, one feature of Unification work was distinctively new in the first years of the 21st century. On November 15, 2001, Rev. Moon proclaimed Cheonju Pyeonghwa Tongil Guk (the Nation of Cosmic Peace and Unity), abbreviated as Cheon Il Guk (CIG). Although its contours were not clearly defined, construction of the CIG nation provided a focus for multiform Unification undertakings over the next decade and more. According to Rev. Moon, the UCM was on a tight schedule of twelve years, extending to 2013, during which the foundation of CIG needed to be established. During this period, the UCM went into full-scale nation-building mode. In doing so, it followed two lines of advance. The first was what Unificationists referred to as “the public sphere.” It centered on outreach to faith leaders and public officials willing to support UCM inter-religious and peace-building initiatives. From the UCM’s perspective, public sphere activities were for the purpose of preparing the environment for CIG. The second line of advance, referred to as “the realm of life,” differentiated Cheon Il Guk from anything undertaken before. Essentially, the UCM went about the business of birthing a nation.

This article focuses on Unification nation-building, its theological foundations, obstacles the UCM faced in implementing its vision and results attained. It covers a brief period from the turn of the century through 2006 when Rev. and Mrs. Moon entered CIG’s “original palace.” A massive structure cut into the side of Cheon Seong Mountain overlooking the UCM’s Cheong Pyeong Lake retreat center located northeast of Seoul, South Korea, it was CIG’s capitol. Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s formal entrance, culminating eight days of festivities, combined both theological and royal elements and was intended to mark the birth of CIG as a nation. Rev. Moon regarded the event as a great victory and proclaimed 2007 and 2008 great jubilee years “the likes of which God and humankind have never experienced.”[4] However, the unity and single-minded focus that characterized the earlier period were difficult to sustain and broke down by the decade’s end, leading to dynastic struggles few Unificationists would have anticipated.[5]

In reality, there were ambiguities and tensions in the UCM’s nation-building program from the beginning. Rev. Moon identified the essential components of nationhood as sovereignty, people and land.[6] For him, this meant God’s sovereignty, God’s people and God’s land, and these were the elements he sought to substantiate in establishing Cheon Il Guk. However, not all Unificationists resonated with coronations and kingship or viewed them symbolically. In addition, given near-constant mobilizations, sudden initiatives, frequent leadership changes, funding requests, and a barrage of declarations and proclamations that required theological recalibration, Unificationists struggled mightily to sustain their momentum and expand CIG’s citizenship base. Finally, for all of its dynastic intent, there was nothing in local Korean building ordinances for “palaces,” which necessitated the UCM obtaining approval for its CIG capital as a museum. This study will consider these difficulties and others in assessing the UCM’s nation-building endeavors.


Establishing God’s Sovereignty

For Unificationists, all sovereignty begins and ends with God. This conviction is not markedly different from Abrahamic traditions, whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic, even those that had long since given up commitments to religiously-based nationhood. However, the UCM understanding of God differed from conventional views in a couple of respects. First, as Rev. Moon stated, “God is not sitting in the throne of glory and honor, but is a God of suffering, grief and lamentation.”[7] Unificationists often claimed their tradition’s insight into the suffering of God is unique. This was not the case, particularly among twentieth century theologians for whom divine pathos had become a more compelling image than divine apatheia.[8] What was distinctive about the Unification position had less to do with God’s suffering and more to do with God’s liberation. Twentieth century Latin American theologians combined the theme of liberation and God but more in terms of the “God of liberation” than the “liberation of God.” Here, perhaps, the movement’s viewpoint was unique. Even more distinctive was its claim that God’s liberation was at hand.

On January 13, 2001, at Cheong Pyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center in Korea, some six thousand members witnessed Rev. and Mrs. Moon conduct the Coronation Ceremony for the Kingship of God. At the top of a tiered stage area, two white thrones were prepared for the “Royal Parents of Heaven and Earth.”[9] Below that, two golden thrones had been prepared for True Parents (Rev. and Mrs. Moon), in front of which was a large offering table with ornately stacked foods. At 7:00 a.m., Rev. and Mrs. Moon, flanked by 120 attendant couples, entered, preceded by two of their daughters-in-law who bore silver crowns and royal gowns and the International Family Federation President bearing a scepter. The procession stopped twice, during which time Rev. Moon offered prayers. The crowns, gowns and scepter were placed on the chairs reserved for God, and Rev. and Mrs. Moon approached the stage area, lit holy candles, offered full bows and took their seats. A lengthy succession of representative Unificationists approached and offered bows. Rev. Moon then offered a third prayer. This was followed by the presentation of congratulatory telegrams, plaques and gifts, a flower presentation, cutting of a celebration cake, cheers of Mansei (“Ten Thousand Years”), and sharing of food from the offering table.[10]

Rev. Moon’s Ceremony Address concluded the three-hour event. In it, he outlined three “immutable laws” or articles of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Heaven: first, not to “stain the blood lineage,” that is, to maintain sexual purity; second, “not to violate human rights” through discrimination and not to change subordinates’ positions (hiring, firing, or transferring them) according to one’s own desire; and third, “not to steal public money” or utilize public property for oneself.[11] He later declared, “We liberated God's heart for the first time. He could start His new history based on the might and power of true love.”[12] This was the basis on which Rev. Moon proclaimed CIG on November 15, 2001.

Having both liberated God’s heart and proclaimed CIG, it remained to establish the line of authority under which CIG would function. Unificationist held various views as to the ideal form of government, i.e., pure democracy, representative democracy, constitutional monarchy, non-democratic monarchic feudalism to name a few.[13] Rev. Moon inclined toward monarchical, royal imagery. On February 6, 2003, he and Mrs. Moon were crowned as King and Queen of Unification Blessed Families. Patterned after the coronation of God, they wore royal Korean clothing and dynastic crowns. They were preceded in the procession by a daughter-in-law carrying the royal scepter and two sons carrying the royal seal. A honbae or holy cup was offered to Rev. and Mrs. Moon, who sat behind a massive offering table piled high with fruits and delicacies as well as traditional Korean foods. There were bows from members representing the world’s nations and religions. Rev. Moon prayed, and there was a cutting of a celebration cake.

Kingdom of God language is prominent in Unification texts as well as in UCM devotional life. However, the same texts also extol democracy, the separation of powers and “the will of the people.”[14] As a consequence, coronations generated a degree of dissonance, particularly in the American context. This became more acute following coronations of Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the King and Queen of Peace in public venues, the first of which occurred in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. on March 23, 2004. Building on contacts developed over the years by The Washington Times, the host committee included six congressional co-chairs and honored 91 “ambassadors of peace” awardees who were present at the event representing all 50 states. There was a reconciliation ceremony for the three Abrahamic faiths, and representatives from Jewish, Islamic and Christian traditions were given national-level awards. Several congressmen and ambassadors were given global level leadership awards.

All of this served as a backdrop to the crowning of Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Following an introduction by Congressman Danny Davis (D-Illinois), Rev. and Mrs. Moon proceeded to the stage area, flanked by escorts from various religious traditions. Archbishop George Augustus Stallings and Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland) carried royal robes and, after a polite bow, offered them to Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Rev. Jesse Edwards and Congressman Davis then entered with crowns and, after bows, offered them to Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Following official photographs, Rev. Moon, sans royal attire, delivered a keynote address, “Declaring the Era of the Peace Kingdom.” In it, he stated, “great saints and many other leaders in the spirit world… have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.”[15] In an unscripted moment, a Jewish rabbi, inspired by the “miracle” of Jews, Christians and Muslims coming together in reconciliation, came to the microphone and blew a shofar (ram’s horn) signifying the coming of the messiah.[16]

The March 23, 2004 program was a closed event. The only press in attendance was a reporter from The Washington Times, and her coverage was bland, noting that “several dozen religious and civic leaders were honored for their exceptional dedication as peacemakers” and that Rev. and Mrs. Moon “received Crown of Peace Awards for their lifelong public service.”[17] However, postings on Unification web sites, notably a 20-minute video showing Rev. and Mrs. Moon in maroon, Charlemagne-like robes and crown, were picked up by independent bloggers and eventually mainstream media. In June, The New York Times reported, “Capitol Hill was in full-blown backpedaling mode, as lawmakers… struggled to explain themselves.” It quoted Rep. Roscoe Bartlett who said, “I remember the king and queen thing… But we have the king and queen of the prom, the king and queen of 4-H, the Mardi Gras and all sorts of other things. I had no idea what he was king of.”[18]

In an official statement, the UCM’s Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) objected to depictions of the event as “bizarre.” Crowns “in our society,” it held, are used “not as a symbol of political power or authority, but rather as the symbol of victory or ultimate achievement” as in the “crowning moment” of one’s career. As for Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s royal regalia, IIFWP noted, “Throughout the event, reconciliation ceremonies featured Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics in ceremonial robes” and “robes and crowns were presented to honor Moses and Judaism, Jesus and Christianity, and Mohammad and Islam in similar fashion.” It denied that Rev. Moon or IIFWP sought “temporal power,” contextualized spirit world and messianic claims, and called for “fair and frank consideration” of questions raised by the Crown of Peace Awards Ceremony “before subscribing to the ‘witch hunt’ that this issue has become.”[19] This was hardly a stirring statement of support.

IIFWP’s interpretation ran counter to a major UCM Korean leader who on the day after the event stated, “[T]he crowning means America is saying to Father, “Please become my king.”[20] He contended,

The outside view of the Capitol Hill event was that Father received a crown, an award for his years of dedication and leadership in reconciliation and peacemaking. The inside view of the event was that America surrendered to True Parents in the king’s position.[21]

This pointed to a Korean-American divide. In the end, the UCM tried to have it both ways. Chung Hwan Kwak, the Korean leader who headed IIFWP, stated that neither God nor Rev. Moon “need a crown to become king; they already are.” The important thing was that “America offered the crown.” On the other hand, UCM and IIFWP spokespersons emphasized that Rev. Moon had no interest in temporal power, crowns were simply emblematic of lifetime achievement, and ceremonial robes were similar to those worn by other clerics during the proceedings. The UM worked to hold the messianic and publicly acceptable elements together, but it was a combustible mixture held together by Rev. Moon’s charismatic presence.

For his part, Rev. Moon doubled down on “Peace King” coronations and expressions of God’s renewed sovereignty. He directed the UCM to conduct Crown of Peace ceremonies in forty nations and on all six continents by the end of 2004. He also directed that members hold King of Peace ceremonies for their clans and tribes.[22] He regarded this as the substantiation of heavenly kingship which had been proclaimed in the United States, Korea, and throughout the world.

Emblematic of God’s sovereignty, he announced in April 2004 that the Sabbath had been fulfilled and called on Unificationists to observe Ahn Shi Il, the Day of Attendance of Safe Settlement, every eighth day. Then, on May 5, he announced there had occurred that day a great transition from “the era before the coming of heaven” to “the era after the coming of heaven.”[23] The key implication of this was that world peace, which had been impossible to achieve during “the era before the coming of heaven” was now possible. In 2006, the UCM published the Cheon Seong Gyeong or “Holy Scripture” of CIG. It consisted of selections drawn from more than five hundred volumes of Rev. Moon’s speeches delivered over a fifty-year period. These were collected into sixteen sections, each with a specific theme, the English translation running to 2,500 pages.

Having declared the liberation of God, the beginning of Cheon Il Guk, heavenly kingship, a new Sabbath, the time after the coming of heaven, and a new Holy Scripture, Rev. Moon took a further dispensational step in September 2006 when he directed that members close prayer with the term Aju rather than Amen. Amen, meaning “so be it,” implied that things would be set right in the future. This was inconsistent with the Unification view that things had been set right already and that God’s nation was unfolding in the present. Aju literally meant “I reside,” and for Rev. Moon, signified fulfillment in the present. All of this may have been an example of theological prolepsis, i.e., the present anticipation or representation of a future event. In this instance, CIG was revealing itself ahead of time, as it were. However, there was no evidence that Rev. Moon adopted an extended rather than an imminent eschatological timetable. His immediate concern was to rally CIG’s citizenship.


Establishing God’s People

The sanctification of families through International Marriage Blessings was the sine qua non of the UCM’s program of world salvation. In essence, it was a process through which men and women came into union with one another, engrafted into the True Parents, reconciled with God, and thereby reconstituted themselves as a new humanity. Previously restricted to Unification Church members, Rev. Moon stated his intention of blessing hundreds of thousands and even hundreds of millions of couples before the year 2000. The “globalization of the blessing” encouraged experimentation and was an uneven process.[24] Therefore, following the Coronation Ceremony for the Kingship of God, the UCM launched Registration Workshops to prepare for national-level Registration Blessings. The understanding was that they would take part in the Registration Blessing as national-level rather than church-level blessed couples, and for the first time in history, as rightful citizens of God’s kingdom.

Rev. Moon set the context for this development. In his January 1, 2000 True God’s Day (New Year’s) address, he declared that Satan’s claim on humanity was “completely rooted out” and that the “providence of salvation” was “over.”[25] He had already instructed “blessed families” to pray in their own names.[26] He also proclaimed “The Arrival of the Era of the Fourth Adam,” which he defined as being “beyond the realm of the Fall.”[27] Essentially, this meant humankind as a whole was to inherit the mantles of Adam, Jesus and the Lord of the Second Advent. They were to become “fourth Adams,” and presumably Eves, relating to God directly without mediation or mediators. He described the time we are in as “high noon, at which point the sun is perfectly overhead and there are no shadows.”[28] Later, he stated, “You don’t need me or a savior… we are not in the age of faith,” and “The time of indirect dominion is past. Therefore, God is now directly teaching and instructing us.”[29] In early 2001, he gave notice he was no longer going to do the “matching” of Unification couples, a longstanding tradition which he said would devolve to parents of the UCM’s next generation.

This was good, or mostly good, news to members, some of whom preferred familiar wineskins. However, it came at a price. As Rev. Moon put it to those at a January 3, 2000 Leaders Conference, “From now on you should forget everything in the past, including your own name.” Once CIG had been declared, he particularly demanded that members sever attachments in two significant areas. The first of these was nationality. According to him,

Koreans, Japanese, Americans and all nations have nothing to be proud of from the strict view of heaven. They are all descendants of the fallen history and still under Satan’s claim… we have to come out of our old concept and habits as a German, American, Japanese, or Korean.[30]

Rev. Moon adopted the custom of asking representative members their nationality. If, by mistake, they answered “Japanese” or any other existing nationality, he immediately corrected them that they were citizens of Cheon Il Guk.

This surfaced an important consideration within the Unification tradition. Members were used to Korea having a special prominence being the birthplace of True Parents and homeland of their faith. The movement’s core theological and sacred text taught that the Korean language, spoken by True Parents, would “become the mother tongue of all humanity,”[31] and many believed that Korean customs and traditions were closer to heaven’s standard. These teachings and sentiments were not being negated. Rev. Moon still hoped that Korea would become the “restored homeland” and believed “from the perspective of God's providence, the Korean peninsula, though small in size, was the central country of the twenty-first century that must bring about human peace.”[32]

However, in the era after the coming of heaven, Korea also came under judgment. Rev. Moon stated, “If Korea does not fulfill its responsibility, God will abandon this nation and start a new providence.”[33] He pointed out, “If and when Korea becomes the restored homeland,” the nation would start “from the formation of families that transcend ethnicity” and resistant Koreans “will have to hand over their place to those who come in from overseas.”[34] On another occasion, in response to Japanese who, when asked, stated the nationality of the Japanese people was “Korean,” he said, “Korea will cease to be.”[35]

Rev. Moon spoke in general terms. But International FFWPU President Sun Jo Hwang was more specific, writing of “decisive battles” being fought over Korea. He pointed out that “Secularism, preoccupation with the sensual, and decadence held real power over cyberspace in Korea.” Significantly, he cited a breakdown in ethics and the rising Korean divorce rate which then ranked “second among the OECD nations.” He noted, “Some people estimate that in five years’ time, Korea may have the highest divorce rate in the world.”[36] In an earlier issue of Today’s World, Hwang wrote that Korea’s “endless problems of juvenile delinquency, family breakdown and the moral decline of society keep getting worse.”[37] According to him,

The money generated in Korea in a year by prostitution is about 24 million won… The amount of money farmer and fishermen make in a year is just about the same… An unofficial total would probably show prostitution is making double that. There isn’t another example of such a country in the world.[38]

Although he concluded, “this suffering and confusion can be understood as the labor pains of a new age and of its new owners,”[39] the airing of Korean dirty linen in a movement international publication was virtually unprecedented.

Apart from nationality, members needed to sever their attachments to worldly possessions. According to Rev. Moon, “Because of the Fall, all humanity became the enemy of God.” This was standard High Calvinism. However, whereas Calvinism interpreted material prosperity as sign of divine favor, Rev. Moon stated, “ownership is not blessed by God.”[40] He took a more Augustinian position in emphasizing, “What we possess and enjoy in the secular world are stolen goods.”[41] Nevertheless, in the CIG era, particularly after the Coronation of God’s Kingship, ownership of the world had “changed.” This was the time, in Rev. Moon’s view, that humanity should not have “any trace” of prior ownership. “All belongings,” he said, “should be offered to God… and then inherited back.… This will eliminate any trace of Satan’s connection.”[42] Symbolic of this, members were asked to make a “Total Living Offering,” also referred to as a “total sacrificial offering,” calibrated to the level of income in their national homelands. Members in the United States, for example, were expected to make an offering of $16,000 per family.

Although instituted prior to the proclamation of CIG, this was considered to be an important condition and source of funding for core projects. Members also participated in symbolic “Holy Burning” ceremonies during which they prepared an item that they could “offer with the same heart” as if offering their “most precious possession.”[43] Rev. Moon participated in the transfer of ownership, bequeathing 1,320 personal items to members over several days in December 2002. He also reportedly took his “name off of any ownership of anything” and “took a symbolic amount of money representing every penny he could gather and gave it all away to many organizations.”[44]

In exchange for the transfer of ownership, the movement held forth the promise of “liberation” (Haebang) and “complete freedom” (Seokbang). Liberation was to be prized. However, it fell short of complete freedom. As Rev. Moon explained it,

Seokbang means that all existing sins disappear without a trace. Only then can you stand before God… This word means returning to that fundamental, original state without sin… [when] God could freely deal with all creation. I am talking about an original state as if sin had never begun… a unified realm where we see what God sees, we hear what God hears, and we feel what God feels.[45]

Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak further clarified the distinction,

Liberation would mean to be freed from the fetters of Satan. Yet the record of one’s sins and time in prison will still remain in one’s family register even after being freed. Complete freedom, according to Father’s definition, means erasing the criminal record on one’s family register, bringing fallen man out from the shackles of Satan and into God’s dominion, and further placing him in a position absolutely immune from Satan’s accusation – that is, no traces of the Fall or anything else… need not be recorded.[46]

Rev. Moon declared “the seokbang era” on April 13, 2004, less than a week before announcing the Sabbath had been fulfilled and proclaiming Ahn Shi Il as a substitute. Ahn Shi Il, which consisted of an early morning pledge service and devotional readings, was to be observed by Unificationists every eighth day. The first several Ahn Shi Ils were conducted with great fanfare in Korea and included the joining together of representatives of hostile Korean provinces as well as Westerners, Japanese and Koreans in brotherhood and sisterhood ceremonies. Within a relatively short period of time, the public observances faded and Ahn Shi Il became a matter of individual or family observance.

Rev. Moon held that humankind can “enter the ‘era of being completely free’ on the national level.” However, this would only occur with the beginning of “the original nation” or Cheon Il Guk. It had been impossible to establish such a nation before, but the “liberation” and “complete freedom” of the seokbang era meant that it was now possible. This understanding lay behind Rev. Moon’s announcement of the transition from “the era before the coming of heaven” to “the era after the coming of heaven” on May 5, 2004. At the national level, CIG presupposed a “world of interdependence, mutual prosperity, universally shared values, and mutual love.” Rev. Moon used the term “equalization” to refer to a world in which “all people are under God as brothers and sisters and share in each other’s emotions.” This, he said, would be a world in which Cheon Il Guk might settle, i.e., one in which “national borders” were “abolished”; in which “the leadership of renowned spiritual leaders… in building a world of peace” was accepted; in which “true families” flourished; in which “public property” and public funds” were honored; and in which the natural environment was protected.[47]

These utopian ideals were not embraced by certain segments of UCM membership, particularly those with conservative or neo-conservative convictions who favored a strong national defense, unfettered capitalism, the protection of private property, and aggressive development of natural resources. Affirmation of these ideals was also an issue for those who pursued personal and professional advancement as a priority. Cheon Il Guk required an active citizenry who accepted its premises and worked actively, even single-mindedly toward its establishment.

Those in this category were referred to as “owners” of Cheon Il Guk, i.e., movement members and anyone else who responded favorably to Rev. Moon’s message, accepted his messianic status and received the Blessing. However, these were minimal expectations, and the cost of discipleship showed few signs of lessening. This was due to a sense of urgency, mainly on the part of Rev. Moon which derived at least in part from his advanced age. As he put it,

My lifelong cherished desire has been this: “Shouldn't I be able to die in a nation where God can protect me? If I do not bring this about during my lifetime, then will not mine have been a miserable life? I must establish this nation before I die and live there, even if only for a single day.”

For the sake of that single day, I am willing to offer the sacrifices made over thousands of days. You might rest, because you do not understand these things, but I keep going.[48]

In this respect, Rev. Moon was Cheon il Guk’s ultimate owner.

Apart from a lack of resonance with certain of its utopian ideals, members were subject to near-constant mobilizations, sudden initiatives, frequent leadership changes, funding requests, and a barrage of declara-tions and proclamations that required theological recalibration and which were, for the most part, only partially understood. One member sardonically termed the organization “a chaotic, apocalyptic Church of the Last minute.” A resultant sense of anomie among the membership was best expressed by FFWPU International President Sun Jo Hwang. In October 2002, he complained of members’ “habitual attitude toward providential events.”[49] In a 2004 “Call to Action,” he stated,

[O]ur church was not born of a desire to create another religious group… Yet the reality is that we are fast becoming another religion, taking the form of just another church…

We have many problems to solve, but the greatest problem of all is the fact that we are becoming hardened. Without being aware of it, we—including me—are losing our innocence and becoming systematized… Despite this amazing vision that we have, we find that we are vegetating… We have become dull and cannot feel that we are with True Parents at this moment; spring has come yet we cannot feel it; True Parents have given us instructions, yet we do not understand…

We go to church on Sundays, take attendance, maybe reluctantly donate a bit, and when True Parents are here we reluctantly go to… Hannam-dong [Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s Seoul residence], attend sleepily and go back home. That’s how we are, isn’t it?[50]

In a passage reminiscent of St. John the Divine’s revelation to the Seven Churches of Asia, he observed, “it is evident that we have lost our spirit somewhat. In the past, though we were few, love was burning within us. Now we have grown in number, but our passion and love have cooled.”[51]

This, of course, weighed on Rev. Moon who expressed a variety of feelings in recorded prayers, in comments to members, and occasionally in speeches to the public. Referring to members as “young and immature children,” he described himself as standing “in a position where, even though I might not be able to believe in them, I cannot help doing so.”[52] On occasion, he was more direct and caustic, telling members, “How little you have thought of my words and how carelessly you have observed my actions.”[53] On his 45th wedding anniversary in April 2005, he told members, “When I look at your faces, I can see that 80 percent of you don’t understand what I’m saying.”[54] In October, he said, “a major problem is that many Unification members don’t believe that we are now living in a completely different age.”[55]

That same month, in words recalling those of Jesus to the Pharisees, he called followers “a monstrous brood! You live recklessly because you don’t understand the world.”[56] At times, expressions of frustration gave way to those of hurt. Speaking of past hardships in a public forum before gathered dignitaries, he stated, “Even now, if one person would look into my heart and speak a word of sympathy, my tears would more than equal an ocean.”[57]

It was not typical of the UCM and certainly not typical of Rev. Moon to engage in excessive self-recrimination or self-pity. It was more typical of both to take action. Therefore, as with the Peace King Coronations, Rev. Moon doubled down on measures intended to expand CIG citizenry. In the United States, Rev. Moon directed the UCM to bless two million Americans from October 16 to October 30, 2004. When UCM leadership reported, “the goal was fulfilled,” Rev. Moon raised the total to six million, and then eight million by the end of the year.[58] In Korea, the goals were higher. Rev. Moon directed the UCM to establish a family church “in each town, rural district, and city district in Korea, a total of 3,516 locations.”[59] He then directed that members bless all 48 million people in the Republic of Korea, whether babies or adults, from mid-June to August 20, 2005.[60] These, of course, were impossible goals, incapable of fulfillment in any other than symbolic ways. In Unification terms, they were conditions of faith. The UCM often referenced Joshua and Caleb who, unlike the ten faithless spies, united with Moses, believed in God’s promises, and brought back a positive report on the prospect of entering the Promised Land.[61] Likewise, based on their positive mindset and unity with Rev. Moon, members could begin substantially constructing Cheon Il Guk.


Establishing God’s Land

The UCM pursued simultaneous macro and micro tracks with respect to establishing Cheon Il Guk. This also was not unprecedented. During the 1990s, Rev. Moon attempted to persuade government leaders of the Mercosur customs union (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile) to donate contiguous lands for development “as a model for an ideal, international and interracial nation and world.”[62] When they did not step forward sufficiently, the UCM purchased vast tracts of land in the Brazilian and Paraguayan outback for that purpose. There, amid pristine but almost entirely undeveloped nature, Rev. Moon established a communal enclave, New Hope Farm, as “ground zero for the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.”[63] Members flocked there in the late 1990s for training and to develop the area. There was the sense that it might displace Korea as the locale for Unification nation-building. However, by the early 2000s and particularly with the declaration of Cheon Il Guk, the focus shifted back to Korea.

Still, the macro-micro dynamic was in operation. It would have been best if the world’s people could have affirmed Rev. Moon’s teachings and directions en masse. Given that impossibility, certainly in the present, Rev. Moon directed that Cheon Il Guk’s capitol, what was termed its “original palace,” be constructed on Cheon Seong Mountain overlooking the UCM’s Cheon Pyeong Lake Heaven and Earth Training Center. Located in Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi Province northeast of Seoul, Cheong Pyeong as a spiritual training ground traced its origin to 1965 when Rev. Moon “came up the Han River to fish and pitched a tent.” Land was purchased in 1969, and a groundbreaking ceremony for an original hall was held on June 17, 1971 with Rev. Moon “taking the first shovel and digging the soil.” The movement eventually purchased 4 million pyongs of land (approximately 3300 acres) around the original training site.[64] There was a vision from the beginning of establishing an international training center with a temple to hold ten thousand people, a global village with land being allotted for every nation, and even construction of an airport.[65] However, there was little development following Rev. Moon’s departure to the United States in the early 1970s. On visits to Korea, Rev. Moon went to Cheong Pyeong for prayer, meditation and to make “spiritual conditions.” Otherwise the site served as an occasional, out-of-the-way workshop venue.

This all changed in 1995 with the emergence of Hyo Nam Kim. She had been a dedicated member for more than two decades when in 1992 she underwent a series of intense spiritual encounters with Mrs. Moon’s deceased mother, Soon Ae Hong (1914-89), to whom Rev. Moon had given the honorific title Dae Mo Nim (“Great Mother”). Mrs. Kim underwent a three-year apprenticeship marked by feats of superhuman asceticism. She, for example, claimed to have done “a forty-day prayer vigil not sleeping even a second.” She also claimed to have been ordered by God to go inside “a big tub filled with ice and completely melt the ice with her body heat.” In addition, she did six sets of 10,000 bows in devotional sessions.[66] After three years, her link to Soon Ae Hong was deemed authentic and Rev. Moon authorized her to act as Dae Mo Nim’s mediator. She subsequently took on Dae Mo Nim’s persona and was regarded as her embodiment.[67]

Hyo Nam Kim began her Cheon Pyeong ministry on January 19, 1995, inaugurating regular two-day (weekend) and forty-day workshops for healing and the liberation of spirits which were understood to be interfering with members’ lives. Rev. Moon directed the membership to liberate 120 generations of ancestors, and members particularly from Korea and Japan flocked there to do so. By 2005, Cheong Pyeong had conducted 700 workshops for several hundred thousand participants, many of whom returned with regularity.”[68]

Donations for these ancestor liberations fueled development, and Cheong Pyeong became a Unification pilgrimage site. Hyo Nam Kim proved herself to be not only a powerful shamaness in the Korean Mudang tradition but also a formidable spiritual entrepreneur.[69] She oversaw construction of Cheongshim Hospital, Cheongshim Village, Cheongshim Youth Center, Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology, and Cheongshim International Middle and High School as well as numerous prayer halls and the Cheonseong Wanglim (“Palace of Heavenly Presence”), a precursor of the original palace. It was there, on January 13, 2001, that the Coronation for the Kingship of God was held.

Hyo Nam Kim assumed primary responsibility for construction of CIG’s original palace. The physical, legal, and financial challenges in constructing it were daunting and during the early stages, seemingly insurmountable. The site, half-way up the side of a mountain, was considered to be difficult, even impossible by specialists. The palace, itself, was designed to be a massive structure, its dome some 80 meters high with 30-ton, 48-meter-high white granite columns. Construction began on July 8, 2001 and it took a year to build the foundation, notched on the mountain and secured by 2,000 iron pillars sunk into the rock below. Seven hundred meters above sea level, the 100,000 square foot palace looked down majestically to “the tops of the clouds over the lake below.” Situated between Seoul, South Korea and Pyongyang, North Korea, it would be the “capitol” of Cheon Il Guk.[70]

Designed in the traditional Ka-ram style architecture of Korean temples, the main structure was sheltered by two wings to either side. The museum included depictions of world history; sculptures and paintings giving “artistic expression to Unification thought and church history”; fine rugs, curtains and ornate furnishings. The exterior, as noted, was white granite “intended to last forever.” The interior was a “gentle, flawless white marble” that had “the feel of flowing water.” The overall style was neo-classical, and the structure had a Vatican/U.S. Capitol Building feel. A grand plaza replete with pool, a smaller glass dome, bridge, and stairways overlooked the valley below.[71] Costs for the project were astronomical. Figures were not made public but were understood to run into the hundreds of millions.

According to Hyo Nam Kim, the site for the original Palace was a replica of the palace of heaven where True Parents are or will be present and was connected to it on a perpendicular axis. Therefore, regardless of the difficult terrain, that was where the palace must be built. Once the palace was completed, she stated, “God and True Parents will be able to go from the spirit world to the physical world, and vice versa, every day,” and thereby “bestow greater blessings.”[72] There was a good deal of hagiography and miracle stories associated with the project. For instance, Hyo Nam Kim was said to have mobilized “top architects from the spirit world” since “Human ability alone was insufficient to build the Palace at that site.” Stories also circulated about her worldwide search for white granite. According to one account, she finally found a mountain in China that the owner wanted to sell because there seemed to be no valuable minerals. However, Hyo Nam Kim “could see inside the mountain and actually found the valuable granite there.”[73]

These stories were especially prominent in Japan, where there were the most members and the movement’s major donor base. However, Dae Mo Nim traveled to the United States, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia, performing ancestor liberations, spirit world blessings and other ceremonies while continually raising funds for the project. Families in America were asked to donate $1,200 toward the palace and, in return, have their names eternally inscribed on a “donor’s wall.” The donation standard in Korea was 1.6 million won ($1,300) and in Japan 400,000 yen ($5,000). Rev. Moon requested that the palace be completed and that he and Mrs. Moon dedicate it at the beginning of 2006. That was not the case. On February 16, it was reported there was “little time left before the construction completion date.”[74] Sometime after that, the palace was completed and preparations were made for its dedication. The entrance ceremony was scheduled for June 13.

The Original Palace Entrance Ceremony and the eight-day period of festivities preceding it signified much more than the dedication of a building. It really was intended to mark the birth of Cheon Il Guk as a nation. In May, FFWPU International President Chung Hwan Kwak announced that the Cheon Il Guk flag, national anthem, national flower, and national bird had been finalized.[75] He also announced that entirely new “holy items” – holy salt, holy candles, holy wine and holy matches – would be distributed. In addition, a “Peace Kingdom Corps,” “Peace Kingdom Police,” and a Peace Kingdom Oversight Corps” had been organized. These were far from paramilitary organizations. In fact, women were to play the lead role, and they were to maintain order through “true love” and “living for the sale of others.” Program organizers prepared an hour-by-hour schedule of events over the eight days and the international membership was asked to undertake special devotions, notably a 21-day breakfast fast before event. Continental directors were to choose representatives from 120 nations including “one man and one woman to represent each nation that will be offering a crown during the entrance ceremony.” All national representatives were to “prepare a handful of soil and some water from each of their nations” for a mixing ceremony. Congratulatory musical performances also were prepared well in advance. No effort was spared to achieve the grandeur expected of a national inauguration.

Rev. Moon termed the eight-day build-up and the entrance ceremony “a very providential period” which “will settle and decide so many things for the world, for our nations, for our families, for ourselves.” He admitted, “Right now we cannot grasp everything” but affirmed, “it is a period of time during which thousands of years will be condensed.” In this respect, the entrance ceremony was another example of theological prolepsis, i.e., the present anticipation or representation of a future event. No less than the Peace King coronations, it was intended to evoke and embody a vision of ultimate order that while not a present reality would become so in the future. Rev. Moon may or may not have thought in these categories. However, that did not lessen in his mind the importance of the event. He spoke in pastoral terms of how members should prepare their hearts,

We know that something truly great is going to happen, but we may be afraid that we shall just be spectators, having nothing to do with it. We must overcome this attitude of indifference, if we feel it. Also, we should not feel crushed, but try as much as possible to be proud…

Hope of course, expectation, many wishes coming from our deepest heart … [are] Abel type feelings… Apprehension, anxiety, regret… [are] Cain type feelings. We may feel that what we did so far is so ridiculous and we have nothing to offer. Instead of Blessing, we may feel only judgment… If we ignore our Cain type feelings, and only rejoice, it is unrealistic. But if we are overwhelmed by Cain type feelings, we are completely crushed and we lose our heart and determination that we need…

The point is how to gradually and honestly overcome the heavy feelings we may have… Maybe in the past, we drank the wine several times as a kind of ritual, without paying so much attention. This time, we should make our best efforts. It also means that we should forget ourselves. If we think only of ourselves, we are already dead and without courage. What makes us feel this way is of course not our original mind. Our original mind is actually rejoicing and eagerly anticipating this time with great impatience, just like God… But for the fallen nature, it is a harsh time… Even after receiving the Blessing, our biography was far from being heavenly. But we cannot just throw away everything in the dustbin and start anew without any memory…

We should believe that this is the time of greatest Blessing and God is so impatient. Even if we struggle with our own lives so far, we should overcome this feeling, and gradually change our culture. Instead of thinking, “I know that a glorious time is coming, but it is probably not for me, because I am not ready,” we should think, “Until now, it was still so difficult for everyone to harvest any fruit… But now, a great time of transition is coming, I really believe it, and I am so impatient to finally embody true love, I know that now it will become possible. I am so glad that finally, I am able to change myself, thanks to the grace of God.”[76]

Given the mockery and criticism he had endured in attempting to establish Cheon Il Guk and the shame he felt before God in not offering a more substantial foundation, Rev. Moon may well have been speaking for himself.

The Cheon Il Guk Citizen’s Pledge Ceremony, beginning at seven p.m. outside the palace, highlighted the first day’s activity on June 6th. It was held in held in six stages, representing the creation of a new heaven and earth. The first stage consisted of lighting the sacred fire. Torches previously had been ignited at four separate church “holy grounds” in Korea from June 1 to June 4. These were brought by lantern to Cheong Pyeong where four representative runners lit torches and carried them from the main gate of Cheong Pyeong to the stairs of the palace. They were met there by four representatives, from Korea, Japan, America, and Europe who received the torches, ascended the stairs and passed them to three sons and a daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Pair-by-pair, they lit a torch held by Rev. Moon and one held by Mrs. Moon. In Rev. Kwak’s description,

Father and Mother walked across stage, torches held high in the air and lit fuel in a raised container that had metal plates to protect them from the sudden, dramatic eruption of flames and sparks. The flame that burst forth from the container traveled straight out from the stage down a wire (barely visible to the crowd of onlookers), when it was above those in the back seats it ignited three rockets that went side by side at a right angle to the course the flame first traveled and lit a single large bowl-like torch.[77]

This concluded the first stage of the ceremony, representing the first day of creation.

The second and third stages of the ceremony were included in the Dedication and Conferment of Cheon Il Guk Soil and Water. Rev. and Mrs. Moon received soil and water from the movement’s ten continental directors, which they mixed together in a big golden bowl. After mixing it with soil and water from the Cheong Pyeong holy ground, they redistributed the soil and water to the ten continental representatives. One member commented, “I felt they were recreating the original soil, from which God created Adam.”[78] The division of soil and water were to represent the second and third days of creation. Rev. and Mrs. Moon also gave a rose (symbolizing men) and a lily (symbolizing women) to each continental director. This was to represent the fourth and fifth stages of creation, symbolizing the creation of animals and plants. The sixth and last stage consisted of a representative second-generation couple reciting the Cheon Il Guk Citizen’s Pledge in the presence of Rev. and Mrs. Moon and sworn to by all present. This symbolized the creation of humankind. Rev. and Mrs. Moon, then, attached the pledge to three large balloons and released it to the heavens.[79]

There were many events and festivities between the opening ceremony and the formal entrance on June 13th. On each day, there was “Cheon Il Guk Citizens’ Education” which consisted of Cheong Pyeong devotional practices and lectures. There also were daily screenings of a documentary on True Parents, additional movie screenings in the evenings, and tours of the Cheon Jeong Gung museum (limited to 1000 ticket holders each day). Special events were interspersed throughout the period. There was a peace singing and talent contest; exhibitions of Korean traditional culture and a Korean speech contest for foreign members; a “Cheon Il Guk Peace-Wishing One-Mind Sports Festival”; a “Global Family Bibimbab” with members of Rev. Moon’s family and major leaders mixing and serving a kind of Korean goulash for 6,000 people from a giant vat; tastings of “Foods from the World”; and a peace concert. One movement source claimed that from June 6-12, “around 120,000 members from 147 countries came to the Cheong Pyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center and Cheon Jeong Gung Museum.”[80] That probably was an exaggeration. However, on any given day, there were likely 10,000 or more on the site.

The eight-day period culminated in the Original Palace Entrance Ceremony on June 13. According to movement accounts, some 5,000 participated in the main ceremony at the Cheon Jeong Gung and as many as 25,000 viewed the ceremony from video screens set up in different areas of the Cheong Pyeong complex. The dress code at the main venue was either traditional national attire or dark, preferably navy-blue suits for men and white or cream-colored suits for women. The event began with a car parade led by a drum and fife band up Mt. Cheonseong with members lining both sides of the road. On arriving at the palace plaza, Rev. and Mrs. Moon with family members made their way “through a path, where the Attendants of 120 blessed families stood on both sides, leading to the… stage.” Rev. and Mrs. Moon ascended the lengthy staircase by means of mechanized lift while “participants cheered and waved their Cheon Il Guk Flags.” Near the palace entrance, five colors of confetti dropped making for a “beautiful scene.”[81]

The ceremony, itself, was divided into two parts. The first part was the palace dedication. It began with a video presentation, “A Progress Report of Cheon Jeong Gung Museum.” Next, Chung Hwan Kwak delivered a “Declaration to Heaven.” This was followed by Rev. Moon’s benediction, a tape-cutting by Rev. Moon and family, and Rev. Moon’s consecration of the palace with holy salt, after which he and his family entered. This concluded the first part of the ceremony and there was a half hour interlude which featured dance performances by the Di-dim dancing troupe and Universal Ballet. Then, the second, or civic portion of the ceremony ensued. There was a second procession to the palace, this time with Rev. and Mrs. Moon wearing cloaks and crowns. They were preceded by flag-bearers of 120 nations, and representative citizens of nations and Korean clans who carried crowns. Rev. and Mrs. Moon were presented with the royal seal and scepter followed by all present offering a standing bow. The Cheon Il Guk national flag was hoisted and national anthem sung. Rev. and Mrs. Moon then declared the establishment of Cheon il Guk.

Following this, Rev. Moon delivered a speech titled, “Cheon Il Guk is the Ideal heavenly Kingdom of Eternal Peace” in which he declared “the fundamental duties and mission that every citizen of Cheon Il Guk should understand and live by.”[82] After the speech, there was a ceremonial bestowal during which Rev. Moon conveyed Cheon Il Guk scriptures and holy articles to representatives of Korean clans and the movement’s continental regions. Rev. Moon delivered a closing benediction and the ceremony concluded with three cheers of “Og-Mansei” (ten-thousand years). A banquet inside the palace for 700 guests, including some 300 overseas VIPs, followed. The final scheduled event of the day was a Conferment Ceremony at which titles and special gifts and a large plaque of appreciation presented to Hyo Nam Kim and others for their “hard work and sincerity.” A congratulatory performance in the palace plaza featured operatic vocalists, ballet, “celebration performances” by singers and dance troupes from seven nations, performances by Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s children and three Korean songs sung by Rev. and Mrs. Moon. The sacred fire lit on June 6th was extinguished, and there was a final bow. Everyone “clapped hard and cheered endlessly,” bringing the day to a close.



Establishing the Original Palace was a quintessential “realm of life” activity. It entirely centered on birthing the Cheon Il Guk nation and cast almost exclusively in Unification phraseology and idioms. However, that did not mean that construction and dedication of the palace was isolated from the movement’s public activities. In fact, the two spheres were mutually reinforcing. The UCM’s global initiatives, and particularly its advances in both South and North Korea, gave members hope that the environment for Cheon Il Guk was being established. Members provided boots on the ground and resources for public work. This created a mood of optimism which factored into Rev. Moon’s designation of 2007 and 2008 as “great jubilee years.”

Several examples of “public sphere” work convey something of the atmosphere. In August 2000, just before the UN’s Millennium Summit and Millennium General Assembly, the UCM convened “Assembly 2000.” Held jointly at the Waldorf-Astoria and UN Headquarters, the meeting was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions to the UN of Indonesia, Uganda, and Mongolia under the theme, “Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace.” Attended by several hundred dignitaries from over 100 nations, the meeting’s centerpiece was Rev. Moon’s keynote address in which he called for the establishment of “a religious assembly, or council of religious representatives within the structure of the United Nations.”[83] The UCM subsequently launched an “Ambassadors of Peace” initiative which matured into the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), regarded by members as an “Abel” UN. At its September 12, 2005 inauguration, Rev. Moon proposed building “a passage for transport across the Bering Strait” as the crucial link in an international peace highway.”[84]

Simultaneously with its UN initiative, the UCM launched the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC). It sponsored a “We Will Stand in Oneness” nationwide revival tour featuring Rev. Moon as keynote speaker, covering 52 American cities (in all 50 states) in 52 days between February 25 and April 17, 2001. Rev. and Mrs. Moon then conducted an Interfaith Marriage Blessing for 61 clergy followed by larger-scale interfaith clergy marriage blessings.[85] In 2003, Rev. Moon called upon clergy to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land where they were to bury the cross and reconcile with Jewish brethren. More than 130 clergy did so, met in conference with a like number of Jewish rabbis, signed a Jerusalem Declaration expressing mutual repentance and began what became the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI). By the end of 2005, more than 10,000 religious leaders, civic officials, NGO leaders, professionals, and UM members from throughout the world participated in World Peace Pilgrimages to the Holy Land.[86]

These global initiatives reinforced the CIG vision but were largely symbolic. The UCM established a more substantial foundation in Korea, accumulating an impressive portfolio of properties and building projects. In 1970, the UCM acquired 12 acres of land on Yeoido Island on the Han River in Seoul with the intent of using it as a world headquarters. Yeoido was the location of the Korean National Assembly Building, the Korea Stock Exchange Building, and numerous corporate headquarters. For years, the UCM was blocked from utilizing it as a site for its world headquarters by zoning ordinances and religious opposition. However, in 2005, the UCM entered into an agreement on a development project, known as Parc1, which was to construct two office towers of 72 floors and 56 floors, a six-floor shopping mall and an international business Hotel at a cost of $2.3 billion. The idea was “to introduce Koreans to the type of landmark project that Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai have long boasted.”[87] Although the movement would have to wait for its world headquarters, the huge project meshed well with its vision of Korea’s role in the age after the coming of heaven.

In addition, prior to 2005, the UCM acquired a controlling interest in the five-star JW Marriott Hotel in Seoul as well as in a sprawling mall complex around it known as Central City. The hotel’s Millennium Hall, a venue for large-scale events that the UCM frequently utilized, was aptly named. During the same period, the UCM acquired properties in Yeosu, a city of some 350,000 inhabitants midway along the southern coast of Korea. On December 5, 2005, the UCM held a groundbreaking ceremony for Yeosu Ocean Resort. The complex was to consist of a convention center, a 33-story hotel, a condominium with 280 vacation apartments, and a water theme park with a capacity for 3000 people.[88] In 2003, the same year that the movement became active at Yeosu, it acquired Yongpyong, Korea’s largest ski resort, site of several World Cup competitions as well as heart-throbbing scenes from “Winter Sonata,” a wildly popular 2002 Korean television drama credited with sparking the “Korean Wave” (“Hanryu”) in Japan. In 2007, Rev. Moon “designated Yongpyong, Central City and Yeosu Sooncheon to be the centers of a new civilization around the mountains, metropolitan area, and ocean respectively.”[89]

The UCM’s investments in North Korea were the final pieces in its development of Korean infrastructure. Investment there opened following a meeting between Rev. Moon and North Korean Premier Kim Il Sung in 1991 during which they discussed joint ventures. In 1992, the UCM assumed ownership of Pyongyang’s Western-style Potong Hotel, for many years the only hotel in North Korea in which CNN broadcasts were available. In 1997, the UCM obtained permission to construct a World Peace Center, completed in 2007, which was intended “to open the gate for uniting north and south Korea.”[90] It included a UCM worship hall on the top floor. The most prominent project was Pyeonghwa (“Peace”) Motors, a joint venture between the UCM’s KumGangSan (“Diamond Mountain”) International Group and the North Korean Ryonbong General Corp. Begun in 2000 at Nampo, some 30 miles west of Pyongyang at the mouth of the Taedong River, the first production line was completed and vehicles produced in 2002. Pyeonghwa produced small cars under license from Fiat and later more diversified models from a Chinese manufacturer, Dandong Shuguamg. In 2008, Pyeonghwa Motors began making a profit.[91]

All these initiatives factored into Rev. Moon proclaiming 2007, and later 2008 as great jublilee years. However, the single-minded advance of 2000-06 was not sustained. After 2008, fissures opened within the UCM that competed with and distracted from its nation-building focus. The fissures eventually led to open conflict, divisiveness, leave-taking by schismatic entities and unseemly struggles over UCM assets. There were a variety of reasons for this. Some of it related to tensions and ambiguities covered in this study. However, the primary source of conflict and division stemmed from struggles within the Moon family. At the time of the Original Palace dedication, Rev. Moon had been the unquestioned leader of the UCM for more than five decades. However, in the late 1990s and continuing into the new century, he delegated global leadership to three of his adult sons, each Harvard-educated and highly regarded.[92] This was a source of inspiration to UCM membership. However, within a relatively short time, philosophical and policy disagreements evolved into open conflict.[93]

Hyun Jin “Preston” Moon, the eldest son, controlled a vast portfolio of UCM assets in the United States and Korea including Parc1 and Central City as Chairman of the Board and President of Unification Church International (UCI). He broke from the Family Federation (Unification Church) in 2009 but refused to relinquish control of UCI and began liquidating its assets. The Family Federation filed suit in 2011, and the several billion-dollar lawsuit had not been resolved as of 2020.[94] Kook Jin “Justin” Moon, the next eldest, ran Tongil Foundation which controlled the other major portion of UCM assets. He ran afoul of FFWPUI in his effort to audit the finances of Cheong Pyeong Lake Heaven and Earth Training Center and was removed as chair of Tongil Foundation in 2013. Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, the youngest, was appointed Family Federation International President in 2009. He broke with his mother after Rev. Moon’s 2012 passing and claimed to be his rightful successor. He and Kook Jin Moon founded the World Peace Sanctuary Church and Rod of Iron Ministries in rural Pennsylvania.[95]

The most important development within the UCM following Rev. Moon’s passing has been the emergence of his widow, Hak Ja Han Moon (1943-). She acted decisively to consolidate her position as leader of the Family Federation. On February 22, 2013, she convened “Foundation Day,” the date toward which Unificationists had worked assiduously for 12 years. She conducted the occasion with full pomp and ceremony before 20,000 in the UCM’s massive World Peace Center at Cheong Pyeong Lake. Dressed in royal regalia, she was presented with the Seal of the True Empress of Holiness and Virtue, the royal seal of the Heavenly Parent and the heavenly royal scepter. She subsequently declared that Rev. Moon was uniquely present to her, and they were, in fact, carrying out a joint ministry. However, she was prepared to build upon his foundation by incorporating her distinctive experience and insights. Her stated intention was to “substantiate Cheon Il Guk” and, in particular, offer Korea to Heaven on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Rev. Moon’s birthday in 2020. These emphases were consistent with the lines of advance followed by the UCM since 2000 and propelled the UCM forward in seeking to create the environment and actuality of Cheon Il Guk.



[1] Moon, Sun Myung. “Becoming Leaders and Building a World of Peace.” Speech delivered at the International Culture and Sports Festival. Seoul, Korea, August 24, 1992.

[2] Moon, Sun Myung. “The Reappearance of the Second Coming and the Completed Testament Era.” Sermon delivered at Belvedere International Training Center, Tarrytown, NY, January 10, 1993.

[3] In a May 11, 1993 speech, Rev. Moon stated, “Exactly twenty years ago, in 1973… Father revealed everything about the completion of the Old Testament and the New Testament and about going towards the Completed Testament era” (“The Unification Church and the Mainstream Thought of History,”, accessed October 12, 2020), In a January 1, 1977 speech, he stated, “We are now erecting the Completed Testatment era” (“God’s Day.” Accessed October 12, 2020.

[4] Moon, Sun Myung. “A Providential View of the Pacific Rim Era in Light of God's Will: The United States and the Future Direction of the United Nations and the World,” March 7, 2007. Accessed October 13, 2020.

[5] See especially Michael L. Mickler, “Battle for the Americas,” Journal of Unification Studies 14 (2013), 71-106 and “The Sanctuary Church Schismatics.” Applied Unifica­tionism, December 14, 2015, Accessed November 1, 2020.

[6] Moon, Sun Myung. “Unification of My Country,” speech delivered January 1, 1990. Accessed Novem­ber 1, 2020.

[7] Moon, Sun Myung. “The Path for America and Humanity in the Last Days,” Unification News 19/1 (January 2000): 2

[8] The Japanese Lutheran theologian Kazoh Kitamuri, writing in the shadow of Hiroshima, published his well-known Theology of the Pain of God in 1946. European theologians, likewise, took issue with the traditional view of God as immutable, impassible, and self-sufficient. Black theologians held that God’s suffering was a necessary correlate of his identification with the oppressed. The American process philosopher Alfred North Whitehead famously described God as “the fellow-sufferer who understands.” See Richard Bauckman, “‘Only the Suffering of God Can Help’: Divine Possibility in Modern Theology,” Themelios 9/3 (April 1984): 6-12.

[9] Unification doctrine holds that “God is the harmonious union of masculinity and femininity.” See Exposition of the Divine Principle. New York: HSA-UWC, 1996, 19.

[10] The most complete descriptions of the event are Mary Jane Despres, “The Coronation Ceremony for the Kingship of God,” Unification News 20:1-2, January-February 2001, 6-7 and “Coronation Ceremony for the Kingship of God,” Today’s World 22:1, January 2001, 10-17.

[11] Moon, Sun Myung. “The Coronation Ceremony of the Kingship of God,” January 13, 2001, Accessed October 24, 2020.

[12] Moon, Sun Myung. “The Kingdom of Heaven: Who Will Enter It, and How Will They Get There?” Closing Banquet, 7th World Culture and Sports Festival, January 29, 2001. Accessed October 16, 2020.

[13] See Casino, Currents Fall 1989. Also, Michael Mickler, “Democracy or Theocracy or Both? The Politics of Cheon Il Guk,” Applied Unificationism, May 5, 2014.

[14] Divine Principle. New York: HSA-UWC, 1973, 464-75.

[15] Moon, Sun Myung. “Declaring the Era of the Peace Kingdom,” Today’s World, March 2004, 23.

[16] “Testimony of Rabbi Mordecai Waldman.” 2011/02/testimony-of-rabbi-mordecai-waldman_22.html. (accessed October 19, 2020)

[17] Cheryl Wetzstein, “Honor for the Peacemakers,” Washington Times, March 24, 2004, B1.

[18] Sheryl Stolberg, “A Crowning at the Capitol Creates a Stir,” New York Times, June 24, 2004. (accessed October 19, 2020)

[19] Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, “Statement on the ‘Crown of Peace’ Program,” Unification News, July 2004, 7-8.

[20] Thomas Walsh and Karen Smith, “Notes Concerning Father’s Comments and Rev. Kwak’s Guidance concerning the Crown.” coron_tf_kwak_notes.htm. (accessed October 19, 2020)

[21] Ibid.

[22] This had more relevance for membership in Korea where clan and tribal federations are commonplace. In the West, members understood the direction applied to their extended families.

[23] Moon, Sun Myung. “Ssang Hab Shib Seung Il.” (accessed October 19, 2020)

[24] See Michael L. Mickler, 40 Years in America: An Intimate History of the Unification Movement, 1959-1999. New York: HSA Publications, 2000, 459-513.

[25] Moon. Sun Myung. “Major Points from the God’s Day Speech.” Unification News 19:1 (January 2000), 2.

[26] Moon, Sun Myung. “The Era in Which We Pray in Our Own Names.” moon-talks/moon-other/SM-PrayInOwnName.htm (accessed October 31, 2020).

[27] Moon, Sun Myung. “The Arrival of the Era of the Fourth Adam’s Realm.” Speech Given at Belvedere international Training Center. Unofficial Notes by Tyler Hendricks. October 24, 1999. UM991024.htm (accessed October 31, 2020).

[28] “Experiencing the Special Grace Blessing.” Unification News 19:11 (November 2000), 11.

[29] Moon, Sun Myung. “Address at Leaders’ Meeting.” Unification News 20:7 (July 2001), 2; and Moon, Sun Myung. “Guidance at the Hawaii 12-Day Seminar.” Unification News 20:8 (August 2001), 2

[30] Moon, Sun Myung. “God’s Day Midnight Address.” Unification News 21:1 (January 2002), 2.

[31] Exposition of the Divine Principle, 410.

[32] Moon, Sun Myung. “The Owners of Re-Creation.” Unification News 22:8 (August 2003), 2.

[33] Moon, Sun Myung. “Fiftieth Anniversary of True Father’s release from Heungnam Prison and the Ceremony for the Liberation of the Spirit World.” Today’s World 21:9 (October 2000), 7.

[34] Moon, Sun Myung. “The 14th Anniversary of Kae Cheon Il, Foundation day for the Nation of the Unified World.” Today’s World 23:7 (September/October 2002), 5.

[35] Moon, Sun Myung. “36th True God’s Day Midnight Prayer and Speech,” Today’s World 24:1 (January 2003), 13.

[36] Hwang, Sun Jo. “Fighting Decisive Battles,” Today’s World 24:4 (May/June 2003), 2. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organization of 34 developed countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries committed to democracy and the market economy.

[37] Hwang, Sun Jo. “Essential Aspects of Our Faith,” Today’s World 23:3 (April 2002), 2.

[38] Hwang, Sun Jo. “Crisis in Korea,” Today’s World 24:4 (May/June 2003), 21.

[39] Hwang, Sun Jo. “Fighting Decisive Battles,” 2.

[40] Moon, “God’s Day Midnight Address,” 2.

[41] Moon, Sun Myung. “True Father Speaks in Hawaii.” Excerpts from speech given January 27, 2002.

[42] Moon, “Father Addresses ACLC Clergy.” SunMyungMoon03/SM030301_clergy.htm

[43] Hwang, Sun Jo. “Holy Burning Ceremony for the Peace, Unity and Liberation of Heaven and Earth.” FFWPU Memo 2002-43. October 18, 2002. http://

[44] Moon, “Father Addresses ACLC Clergy.” SunMyungMoon03/SM030301_clergy.htm

[45] Moon, Sun Myung. “Declaration of the Era of Seokbang.” Today’s World 25:3 (April/May 2004), 15.

[46] Kwak, Chung Hwan. “Rev. Kwak Speaks to Our Global Leadership.” Today’s World 25:8 (October 2004), 11.

[47] Moon, Sun Myung. “The Root of Peace is in True Love.” Unification News 21:2 (February 2002), 4.

[48] Moon, Sun Myung. “Governance and the Role of Religion in Peace and security: Toward an Interreligious Council at the United Nations.” Unification News 21:11 (November 2002), 3.

[49] Hwang, Sun Jo. “Fighting Decisive Battles.” Today’s World 24:4 (May/June 2003), 2.

[50] Hwang, Sun Jo. “A Call to Action.” Today’s World 25:1 (January/February 2004), 2, 25, 29.

[51] Hwang, Sun Jo. “Who Will Be Remembered in History?” Today’s World 25:8 (October 2004), 35.

[52] Moon, Sun Myung. “Midnight Prayer.” Today’s World 26:1 (January 2005), 5.

[53] Moon, Sun Myung. “True God’s Day Midnight Prayer and Speech.” Today’s World 22:1 (January 2001), 8.

[54] Moon, Sun Myung. “True Parents’ 45th Holy Wedding Anniversary.” Unification News 24:5 (May 2005), 3.

[55] Moon, Sun Myung. “God’s Providential Timetable to 2013.” Unification News 24:10 (October 2005), 2.

[56] Moon, Sun Myung. “Eighteenth Foundation Day for the Cosmic, Unified Nation.” Today’s World 26:10 (December 2005), 8.

[57] Moon, Sun Myung. “The True Owners in Establishing the Kingdom of Peace and Unity in Heaven and Earth,” Speech at the Third World Assembly of the Mongolian Peoples’ Federation for World Peace. Today’s World 27:4 (April 2006), 8.

[58] Jenkins, Michael. “America Fulfills Two Million,” Unification News, November 2004. 21. (accessed November 1, 2020).

[59] “Revolution of Ideas in Korea: The New Hoondok Family Churches,” Today’s World 25:2 (March 2004), 9.

[60] Kwak, Chung Hwan. “God’s Blessing is Eternal,” Today’s World 26:7 (September 2005), 13.

[61] Divine Principle.

[62] Pak, Joong Hyun. “A Letter of Hope for 1995.” Hendricks, Tyler. 

[63] Hendricks, Tyler. “Visiting New Hope Farm in South America,” Unification News, March 1996. (accessed November 1, 2020).

[64] Workshop Guidebook, (Cheongpyeong, Korea: Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center, 2002), 8-9.

[65] Chung Pyung Providence and the Way of the Blessed Family, (Cheongpyeong, Korea: Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center, 2000), 8-9.

[66] “Workshop Guidebook,” 11.

[67] In 2000, Rev. Moon changed Hyo Nam Kim’s appellation to Hoon Mon Nim (“Disciplining Mother”). She was referred to in church sources by Dae Mo Nim and Hoon Mo Nim both before and after the change. In general, Hoon Mo Nim was an honorific specific to Hyo Nam Kim. In the effort to complete the Original Palace, she spoke almost always in the person and under the authority of Dae Mo Nim.

[68] At a commemorative service at the tenth anniversary of the Cheong Pyeong providence in 2005, it was reported that through 700 workshops “around 917,800 people from 190 countries of the world have come to this training center. However, these figures didn’t add up because it would have meant there was an average of over 27,000 people per workshop. Massive crowds did show up, especially for weekend sessions, but 5,000 or so would have been more accurate. On special occasions, such as coronations or festivals, numbers of 10,000 and more would be present. See “Commemorative Service For The 10th Anniversary Of The Chung Pyung Providence,” Unification News, February 2005, 5.

[69] In a 1996 testimony, Hyo Nam Kim noted that in preparation for her mission she “visited over 200 places where Mudang (spiritual female maidens) held their Gut (exorcism).” It’s likely that aspects of their techniques were incorporated into her Cheon Pyeong services. See Hoon Mo Nim's Testimony: A Life of Absolute Faith.” June 25, 2006.

[70] Im, Young Kwan, “Original Palace Notes.” talks/daemonim/DaeMoNim-060500.htm

[71] Detail as to the physical structure in this paragraph is taken from Susan Fefferman, “At the Opening of the Original Palace.” Unification News 25:7 (July 2007), 6.

[72] Kim, Hyo Nam, “Original Palace for the Attendance of True Parents,” February 8, 2004.

[73] Im, Young Kwan. “Original Palace Notes,” speech delivered in Toyko, Japan, May 2006.  (accessed November 1, 2020)

[74] “The Significance of the Original Palace Construction,” February 16, 2006. (accessed November 1, 2020).

[75] The national flag was the HSA-UWC (Unification Church) flag; the national anthem was “Blessing of Glory,” a Unification Church holy song; the national flower was a rose (symbolizing man) and a lily (symbolizing woman); and the national bird was a crane. See Kwak, Chung Hwan. “Additional Instructions Regarding the Preparations for True Parents Entrance Into The Original Palace And Coronation.” May 13, 2006.

[76] Moon, Sun Myung. “Father's Words On June 4” (2006) (accessed November 1, 2020).

[77] Kwak, Chung Hwan. “True Parents' Entrance into The Original Palace And Coronation - Wishing for the Era of Peace and Tranquility of Cheon Il Guk and Citizen's Pledge Ceremony.” June 6, 2006. Kwak-060606.htm

[78] This is from a photo caption in Today’s World 27:6 (June 2006), 25.

[79] This account is taken from Kwak, Chung Hwan. “True Parents' Entrance into the Original Palace and Coronation - Wishing for the Era of Peace and Tranquility of Cheon Il Guk and Citizen's Pledge Ceremony,” June 6, 2006. library/unification/talks/kwak/Kwak-060606.htm (accessed November 1, 2020)

[80] “True Parents’ Entrance into the Original Palace and Coronation - Building an Era of Tranquility and Peace for Cheon Il Guk and the Kingdom of the Peaceful, Ideal World.” June 13, 2006. (accessed November 1, 2020)

[81] “Cheon Jeong Gung Museum Opening Ceremony.” June 13, 2006. moon-talks/sunmyungmoon06/SunMyungMoon-060613a.htm (accessed November 1, 2020)

[82] As listed in one summary, these were to “1) establish the realm of three generations your family, perfect the Four Great Realms of Heart, and attend God on the vertical axis for eternity; 2) live with your mind and body united as one; 3) continue the work of engrafting people onto the True Olive Tree, by having them participate in the grace of exchange' (cross-cultural) marriage, until the day when all humankind, numbering more than 300 billion souls, is restored to God's lineage; 4) communicate in prayer with the heavenly world with sincerity and dedication, so you may become perfected in your spirit self while you are living on the earth; 5) change ownership by participating in the Ceremony of Returning Ownership, offering everything you own to God and then receiving it back from God; 6) have the wisdom to protect and love nature; and 7) make this era blossom and bear fruit in blessing and glory… become Heaven's emissaries, fulfilling the dual missions of the ‘Peace Kingdom Police Force’ and ‘Peace Kingdom Corps’… [serving] humanity under the banner of the UPF, which is working to establish the position of the Abel-type United Nations.” See “Cheon Jeong Gung Museum Opening Ceremony.” For the full speech, see Today’s World 27:6 (June 2006), 4-11.

[83] Moon, Sun Myung, “Renewing the United Nations to Build Lasting Peace,” in Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace, A Report from Assembly 2000 (NY: Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, 2000), 73. (accessed October 28, 2020).

[84] Moon, Sun Myung, “God’s Ideal Family—The Model for World Peace,” keynote address, inaugural convocation of the Universal Peace Federation, September 12, 2005, Lincoln Center, New York. Reprinted in Unification News, September 2005, 2-5.

[85] The UCM conducted a 144,000 Clergy Blessing on April 27, 2002 and a blessing of 1,444,000 ““Second Generation Christian youth and World Religious Youth” on July 3, 2002.

[86] Middle East Peace Initiative Interim Report. NY: Universal Peace Federation, 2006

[87] Salmon, Andrew. “Reaching for the Stars.”, January 29, 2007. (accessed November 1, 2020)

[88] Hwang, Sun Jo, “Breaking New Ground,” Today’s World 26:10 (December 2005), 36. The resort condominium and water park were completed in 2008. A scaled-back version of the hotel was completed in 2012.

[89] Hyang, Sun Jo, “True Parents Are the Good Ancestors.” November 28, 2007. (the speech is mistakenly dated November 28, 2011 on the website).

[90] Sunhak Institute of History, “The Building Ceremony of the World Peace Center.” (accessed October 29, 2020)

[91] “The Business of Korean Reunification.” Today’s World 32:10 (December 2011), 16-17.

[92] See Michael L. Mickler. “The Great Jubilee Years,” Journal of Unification Studies 16 (2015), 147-84; also “The Post-Sun Myung Moon Unification Church,” in Eileen Barker, ed. Revisionism and Diversification in New Religious Movements. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2013, 47-63.

[93] Ibid.

[94] Mickler, Michael L. “No Stranger to Litigation: Court Cases Involving the Unification Church/Family Federation in the United States.” In Barker, Eileen and James Richardson, eds. Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions. London: Routledge, forthcoming.

[95] See Mickler, “The Sanctuary Church Schismatics,” 2015/12/14/the-sanctuary-church-schism/ (accessed November 1. 2020)