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YOU ARE HERE:   Home >  Articles >  Moonieism >  Unholy Matrimony

For more information on the Unification Church (Moonieism), please visit the Apologetics or the Other Religious Movements sections of our web catalog; or click here to order a free information packet.

Unholy wedding

Unholy Matrimony

By Craig Thomas

On April 13th of this year, I attended an interfaith banquet for clergy in Birmingham, sponsored by the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC). The theme of the banquet was “Stand Up For The Family and Save the Nation.” According to the main speaker, Archbishop G. Augustus Stallings, it was intended to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the ACLC’s “We Will Stand” tour which traveled to all fifty states in 2001. According to Stallings, the ACLC joined with others to bring a message of “rebuilding the family, restoring the community, and renewing the nation.”

The ACLC is part of the Family Federation of World Peace and Unification, established in 1994 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, also known as the Unification Church (UC). As such, Moon also plays a prominent role in the ACLC. In fact, to better understand the ACLC we must first consider the individual and organization from whence it came.

The UC is a hodgepodge of various Eastern and Western religious beliefs that include mysticism, self-deification, dualism, and political ingredients. On the ACLC website, there is a speech by Rev. Levy M. B. Daugherty entitled “Jesus the Spiritual Father of Rev. Moon.” In his speech Daugherty tells the story of how Jesus appeared to Moon as a young boy:

It was . . . 1936 . . . when Jesus Christ appeared to Father Moon. At that time, Father Moon was only 15 years old . . . [and] did not begin his mission until he was 24 years old . . . In that time Father Moon walked and talked with Jesus every single day, every hour, every second. Jesus and Father Moon in those days were as one . . . In the 1930s when Father Moon was a young boy, Jesus stayed with him day and night teaching him about the spiritual world, the physical world and the relationship between the two worlds. (

Not only do Moon’s followers claim Jesus walked with Moon, but apparently Moon was able to minister to Jesus during those days, helping him to deal with an unhappy childhood. Daugherty continues:

Jesus shared deeply about his childhood life, and how he was treated as a young boy. Jesus shared with him how he was misunderstood by everyone. Jesus did not have a friend in this world. He shared the deepest pain of his heart that even his father Joseph did not love him.

Father Moon’s love for Jesus was so great that his deepest desire was to take away his pain and sorrow. During this time, on his way to school Jesus shared with him that his father never hugged him as a boy. Father Moon began to cry uncontrollably, and he found in his path a pole and he hugged that pole imagining it was Jesus . . . Some of the elders in the church said that Father Moon would pray and cry sometimes all night long. He prayed and cried as if Jesus had possessed his body and was using him to remove the pain of his childhood life. (

The ACLC website also contains excerpts of Moon’s teachings on Jesus, including the statement that “Jesus was the first one who was awakened to the fact that he had to die for the sake of God, God’s nation and all of God’s peoples.”

In each of the previous quotations, Jesus is not the God of the Bible who became flesh, but a person, who though realizing the need to die “for the sake of God,” was nonetheless, so unloved as a child he needed the ministry of another.

This gives us a hint of Moon’s real theology concerning Jesus, which teaches in part that though sent on a divine mission, he was a failure. According to Moon, it was God’s plan for Jesus to marry and for he and his wife to become the “True Parents,” succeeding where Adam failed. According to Unification theology, it is God’s ultimate desire to give a physical bride (not just the symbolic church) to His son. “God intended him [Jesus] to bring forth upon this earth his own sinless children. Then Jesus and his bride would have become the True Parents for humankind, and all humankind would have found life by grafting onto them.” (Moon, God’s Warning to the World, p. 42)

Because Jesus was crucified before marrying, he failed to complete this important mission, and his death on the cross effected only a partial or incomplete salvation: he only saved the spiritual side of man, leaving salvation in the physical realm unaccomplished. With salvation incomplete, a “completer” is required. Thus “it became God’s desire to send another Messiah, a second son here on earth.” (Moon, God’s Warning to the World, p. 135) This is the third Adam, the Lord of the Second Advent. And who is this “third Adam,” the “completer” according to Moon? None other than Moon himself, who along with his wife became the “True Parents.”

The teaching of True Parents is central to Unification theology, for it is through them that mankind will be restored to God.

By the restoration of True Parents we will be reborn as children of our heavenly Father, God. This will mean full salvation as His true children, not merely salvation as the adopted children . . . All people will be made new through the True Parents. All people will be empowered to bring sinless children into the world . . . This is the day when God’s original ideal will be realized for the first time . . .His own son as the perfected, third Adam will initiate an entirely new history upon the earth. On that day, we shall become living images of God. God will bring His kingdom to earth. (Moon, God’s Warning to the World, p. 42-43)

This is the basis for the many mass wedding ceremonies over which Moon presides, such as the one held outside Washington DC in April for clergy from various denominations and religions (see News Briefs, Marrying Moon). Even though the banquet I attended in Birmingham was a couple of weeks prior to that mass wedding, all married couples at the banquet were called forward to renew their marriage vows. And while some of those participating may truly have believed that they were renewing their vows as a sign of their commitment to rebuild and strengthen families, the real reason Moon and his followers promote these mass weddings is to promote the concept of Moon’s teaching concerning “True Marriage.”

To the “Unificationist” (follower of Rev. Moon) such a marriage is essential. Daugherty hints at this on the ACLC website, stating that “the indemnity process was discovered by Father Moon through the process of restoration. The blessing of marriages was inspired. Through this process families can be restored back into God’s family.” (

For the Unificationist, True Marriage is tied into knowing and participating with Moon and his wife as True Parents and the “True Family,” which is primarily Moon’s biological family but ultimately includes those joined to him through his wedding ceremonies. As Washington Post writer Lloyd Grove observes, “Lately, those men and women have been likely to hail from opposite ends of the Earth, as Moon chases his dream of one ‘interreligious, interracial, international’ family, with himself and his wife as humanity's ‘True Parents.’” (Washington Post, May 15, 2001, C03)

Though Moon was not present at the Birmingham meeting, his teachings were well represented by keynote speaker Archbishop G. Augustus Stallings, Jr. Stallings placed special emphasis on True Family and True Love. Though not a member of Moon’s Church, Stallings’ ties with him are certainly close and as a former Catholic priest excommunicated from the Church in 1990 for doctrinal heresy and reports of an improper sexual involvement, he is not without controversy himself.

His association with Moon was strengthened during Moon’s “We Will Stand Tour” in 2001 and grew to the point where he reportedly followed the course taken by unmarried Unification members, asking Moon to select a wife for him. According to the Washington Post, “Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Unification Church official told us yesterday: ‘Archbishop Stallings got to know Father Moon during the recent 52-city tour that all the clergy took together. And he made a specific request of Father Moon to choose a bride. He specifically indicated that he wanted to marry a Japanese woman.’”(Washington Post, May 15, 2001, C03)

Stallings commented to the Afro-American Newspaper that “’I chose a Japanese wife because . . . they are dedicated to their husbands, they are gentle and they work with them . . . I wanted a woman who would do things with me and for me—one who would take care of the kids and not one who desired to party all the time.’” (Washington Post, May 15, 2001, C03) Many African-American women took offense, particularly some in his church (Imani Temple in Washington DC) who took this as a slur on black women.

According to Grove, Moon has been “courting African American clergymen; at a recent meeting at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, where the Korean presented the clergymen with $15,000 Christian Bernard wristwatches, Stallings leapt from chair to chair as he declared: ‘The word 'Messiah' means anointed one, and I am confident that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is an anointed man of God! . . . I believe that I am a Messiah! Go tell that!’” (Washington Post, May 15, 2001, C03)

At the meeting I attended, Stallings not only shared some of Moon’s theology but mixed in some of his own that appeared borrowed from Word-Faith teachers. Using passages of scripture from Genesis 1, Psalms 82, and John 10, he taught the heretical doctrine that men are actually “gods,” stating that “To admit that we are gods is in no way a blasphemous statement or discredits the monotheistic priority of God . . . The point is [that] the word of God teaches that we are gods and we are not teaching people that they are gods.”

Such teaching is not in line with God’s Word, which says “my glory I will not give to another”( Isaiah 42:8) and “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6) Scripture is clear that to believe that we are gods confuses the distinction between creature (people) and creator (God). In fact, the Bible does speak of two types of God: the one true God and the false gods. It does not speak of a sub-class of demigods as Bishop Stallings infers. (1Cor.8: 5-6)

This teaching was clearly Stallings’ and is not a view promoted by the Unification Church, whose ultimate mission is not to convince men they are gods, but rather encourage people to look beyond religion and ideology and be joined together by True Parents into the True Family and so gain salvation.

Pastors and laymen alike need to reconsider any ties or affiliation with Moon. As the Apostle Paul said, “what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor 6:14) Truly Christian marriage is holy and sacred and must not be defiled by Moon’s blessings. Also, don’t make marriage something it’s not intended to be. Marriage has never contributed to our physical salvation in the manner Moon claims. The Bible portrays the Church as the bride of Christ and that some day He will return for her. All who belong to Jesus Christ will experience the consummation of their salvation in both body and spirit based on the finished work of Jesus Christ, not on the basis of being married by a mere man from Korea.

Craig Thomas, M.Div., served as the Associate State Director in Watchman Fellowship’s Alabama office through 2004.

This article was excerpted from the Spring Issue of The Watchman Update.

For more information on the Unification Church (Moonieism), please visit the Apologetics or the Other Religious Movements sections of our web catalog; or click here to order a free information packet.