Moon's U.S. Tour 2001
NASHUA - The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial religious leader, is coming to the city Saturday for one of the final stops of a six-week national tour to promote "family values."
The event will take place from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel in Nashua, with doors opening at 1 p.m.
Moon founded the Unification Church, also known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, in Korea in the 1950s.
New Hampshire's Unification congregation only has about 60 members, said local member Richard Buessing. Massachusetts is home to a much larger following.
This will be the first time Moon has spoken in New Hampshire since the 1970s, Buessing said. Moon stopped in Boston early last month as part of the national tour.
The 81-year-old Moon has said this will probably be his last tour in the United States.
Moon and his church have been criticized by other Christian churches for promoting Moon as a Messianic figure. Others have accused the Unification Church of cult-like practices, including brainwashing and exploitation.
Moon made headlines in the 1980s when he was convicted of income tax evasion in the United States and served about two-thirds of an 18-month sentence.
This event, titled "Stand Together: A Celebration of Faith and Family," is being promoted by the church as an interdenominational effort. Clergy from several other Christian groups, who have worked with Moon on past interfaith projects, are traveling with the tour.
Buessing said Moon's focus has always been on transcending differences.
He said the attention surrounding Moon, positive or negative, is helpful if "over time, people do eventually realize the good that (he does)."
Moon's teachings regarding "family values" have been controversial, particularly those that prescribe arranged marriages and a submissive role for women in marriages.
The Unification Church teaches that humans inherited their selfish natures from Satan. Followers believe their families, formed through marriages arranged by Moon, are the first of a new line of humans who are descendants of God and will usher in a new era of peace.
But Buessing said family and moral issues are a matter of universal interest, even when people don't agree on the details.
"He (Moon) brings together people who dont ordinarily come together," Buessing said.
I have been to the spirit world. I have met God.
So proclaimed the Rev. Sun Myong Moon to hundreds of Oklahomans Thursday night as he spoke of family values and religious and racial unity. The stop in Oklahoma City was part of a 50-city tour.
American Indians danced in full regalia, and Guthrie Mayor Evelyn Nephew spoke to the lively crowd at the Myriad Convention Center.
Moon and his fellow ministers preached the message of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, which Moon created from his Unification Church.
The 81-year-old Korean evangelist spoke through a translator as he delivered the purpose of the We Will Stand! tour rebuild the family, restore the community and renew the nation and world.
The speakers proclaimed that people of faith should not discriminate against those of other religions nor against those of other races.
We need to tear down denominational and racial walls, said federation President the Rev. Michael Jenkins.
He said churches should work together to revive the community.
Moon spoke of his belief that man and woman are not whole until together. He said a couples purpose is to procreate.
As a boy, Moon escaped communism in what is now North Korea and has become a promoter of world peace.
Oklahoma was the 40th stop on the tour, which will visit Nebraska today and New Hampshire on Saturday.
The crusadeslast day is April 16.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the still controversial, Korean-born founder of the Unification Church, will preach in Columbia Sunday.
The 81-year-old Moon, who founded the church about 50 years ago, is expected to espouse a message of racial and denominational unity, with an emphasis on rebuilding families.
"This will basically be a revival here in Columbia that will address racial disharmony, family breakdown and the destruction of the moral fiber of this country," Keith McCarthy said.
McCarthy is a member of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, the interracial, interdenominational group that is co-sponsoring Moon's visit.
The Unification Church says its mission is to unify Christians worldwide. Its principles are based on revelations Moon says he received on Easter morning 1936, when he says Jesus appeared to him. Moon has called himself the Messiah.
Columbia will be the 47th stop on a 50-state tour of the United States..
About 120 ministers of 17 denominations are affiliated with Moon's national tour.
"All the ministers don't share Rev. Moon's religious philosophy," said Shelley Watanabe, an event spokesman, "but we feel that if religious leaders will let down the walls of denominational difference and share resources, society will be better."
The tour has received a mixed reception so far.
"We support any effort of unity and family," said Minister Earl Muhammad, a representative of the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan, who supports the tour. "The aim is to break down the walls of racism, and South Carolina is, in my opinion, one of the most racist states in the United States."
Muhammad said only a thin, doctrinal line divides Christianity and Islam.
Rev. Lloyd Norris, pastor emeritus and founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia, is also a supporter and an interfaith believer.
"I have an ecumenical edge that enables me to relate with people of other faiths and religions that many of my Baptist colleagues don't share," Norris said. "But the world is moving in a direction where interfaith religion is almost going to be required."
But others don't agree with Moon or his church.
"It's too controversial," said Carlisle Driggers, executive director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
"We simply would not agree with his teachings. The approach, the theology, our understanding of the way God works, it's different."
Driggers said his organization is in favor of strong families and is not against racial harmony.
Moon's tour will end in Washington, D.C., April 16.
NASHUA - The leader of the Unification Church, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, will appear in Nashua Saturday as part of a 50-state, 51-day speaking tour which organizers say is designed to encourage all people of faiths to tear down the divisive walls of race and denomination.
Moon, 81, founder of The Washington Times newspaper, established the Unification Church in his native Korea in the 1950s. He attracted attention for legal problems in the mid-1980s. He served 13 months in federal prison for income-tax evasion.
Clergy from a variety of Christian denominations, under the umbrella of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, are supporting Moon on the tour, on his pro-family values tour, which stops in Nashua at the Marriott Hotel Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Richard Buessing of Concord, one of about 60 members of the Unification Church in New Hampshire, said his group distributed informational videos about the event to churches statewide as a way of inviting ministers and their congregations to the event, likely the final speaking tour for Moon.
Buessing said that Moons message delivered in two speeches will encourage people to live pure lives, to love their neighbors and to encourage Christian leaders to work toward uniting in their mission. He also will speak on the importance of the family unit, Buessing said.
Moons second speech will focus on his role in America in the past 30 years and his idea that America was chosen by God to be a land of religious freedom.
The Rev. Dr. Albert Welch, 82, of Athol, Mass., a Congregational minister, has known Moon since 1982 and will be at the event in Nashua.
Welch met Moon while serving a Congregational church in Boston, has visited Korea with him and considers him a personal friend.
He says Moons message is one of trying to bring peace and harmony to the worlds families and one of bringing together denominations to work to those ends.
I believe, as Jesus said, not only love your enemy, but love your neighbor, Welch said. What is a greater neighbor to me than another Christian church?
Several Nashua churches said they received the videotape and the invitation but will not attend the event.
Charles Viens, pastor of Faith Baptist Church of Nashua, an independent, fundamentalist Baptist church, said that while he isnt against Moon as a man, he rejects his teachings.
We totally deny his doctrine, his teachings and his philosophy as anti-Biblical and would warn people of his teachings and his followers, Viens said. Anyone with any working knowledge of the Bible will reject him as a false prophet.
Buessing says that while Moon does not outwardly claim to be the Messiah, he said he feels anointed by God and it has been indicated that he is serving in a messianic role.
He also said that critics who call the Unification Church a cult are threatened by something new.
Todays established religions were once considered cults, Buessing said. I think were beyond that.
Welch said that he is confident that Moons tour will have a positive effect bringing denominations together.
Too many people just speak out of ignorance and doubt, they dont realize how much the Unification Church has done in the past 50 years, Welch said. They have done a wonderful job.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon looked younger than 81 as the global religious leader preached passionately, gestured forcefully, and joked playfully Wednesday night before about 500 people in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. Speaking through an interpreter in his native Korean, Moon stressed to the multiracial audience what has evolved as the central theme in his melding of personal revelation and traditional Christianity - the importance of the family.
"I am absolutely convinced the world God wanted to see after the creation of Adam and Eve, is that - regardless of color - he wanted to see the Kingdom of God on Earth, which is everybody, brothers and sisters, belonging to one gigantic family under God. That's what we have to build, in the last days again."
The crowd - at least half of which was Asian or white, and the rest black - applauded vigorously.
Moon, who founded the Unification Church in 1954 and came to live in the United States in 1971, was the keynote speaker at a revival service that was part of a nationwide "We Will Stand!" tour of interfaith pastors. The efforts' stated goal was to rebuild families, restore communities and renew the nation.
Milwaukee was the 38th city on the 51-city, 50-state tour that has been running all but one day since Feb. 25. Aimed mainly at African-American communities, each revival stop includes preaching by several local and out-of-state pastors from various Christian denominations.
Several of those pastors spoke in Milwaukee on Wednesday, giving support for Moon's goals without criticizing his theology. But about 40 other lay people and pastors who see Moon as a false prophet demonstrated with placards in front of the hotel before the 6 p.m. event began.
Bob Miller of South Milwaukee, who held a sign that read "Moon go back to Korea!," said Moon's teachings were against God's word and Scripture. Others held signs bearing slogans such as "Moon wants your pastor" and "Moon says Satan repented?"
"Reverend Moon claims he is the Messiah, and that's totally contrary to Scripture," said the Rev. Bobbie Minor of Brown Deer, who operates a day care center in his home for women being moved off of welfare.
That claim was contested later in a hotel news conference by other pastors, including the Rev. George Augustus Stallings, archbishop and founder of Emani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation in Washington, D.C., which is not part of the Roman Catholic Church.
"We are convinced that he (Moon) is God's anointed servant, that he is a messiah," said Stallings. "There's nothing wrong with that, he isn't the Messiah," Stallings added as he explained that "messiah" in Hebrew simply means "anointed one."
The Rev. Michael Jenkins, North American president of Moon's Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, noted that Wednesday was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
People threw stones at King because of his controversial message, Jenkins said, adding, "We do believe that all of the prophets of God have been misunderstood."
Moon's and his theology are indeed controversial. He teaches, among other things, that Jesus appeared him when he was a teen in Korea and asked him to complete the mission that Jesus was unable to finish because the Jewish people did not accept Jesus.
Moon, saying that he and his wife are the "True Parents" - successors to Adam and Eve and free from original sin - preaches that people need to be married to get to heaven and that they need to be blessed in his lineage so that they, too, are free of original sin. Moon at first conducted mass weddings of interracial couples, and later extended that authority to many other ministers.
His church was founded as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity - condensed to the Unification Church in popular reference.
But partly because other denominations rejected him, he shifted his focus from strictly denominational unity to family unity and formed the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Calling it the Family Church, he teaches that people can belong to the federation without joining his church.
"Believe me, I have been teaching the words of God throughout my entire life because I came to know God and the spirit world a long time ago, so I am an expert about God and the spirit world," he told the crowd Wednesday.
"Therefore I have to be absolutely honest with any audience I speak to as a religious leader, as a man of God. That is why many people labeled me. Because of my frankness, people called me heretic and this and that ... But (God's truth) is being revealed.
"God has been patiently waiting for his fallen children to be restored. That's why in the last days, God wishes to see the True Families come out and lay a foundation so that the entire humanity can eventually be restored."
Bringing a message he said he learned from God while visiting the spirit world, Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon called for stronger families and for racial and religious harmony at a Louisville service last night.
Moon spoke at King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church as part of a 50-state whirlwind tour. His church has been criticized by some as a cult, and Moon served time in prison for tax evasion in the 1980s.
Moon's hour-and-a-half talk was attended by a few hundred people from various churches, as well as the Muslim and Baha'i faiths. It was the centerpiece of a four-hour rally that included rousing gospel music and a video that praised Moon's work. It portrayed criticisms of him as religious persecution and compared him to slain religious leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
In recent years, Moon and his organizations have sought coalitions with other religious groups, joining in efforts such as last year's Million Family March in Washington. He has also promoted a training program for former addicts and convicts -- called "Jesus and a Job" -- run locally by the Rev. Charles Elliott, King Solomon's pastor.
Elliott and other ministers sought to downplay doctrinal differences. The Rev. Hycel Taylor of Evanston, Ill., who introduced Moon last night, said he understood those who question Moon's teachings but said he supported his main message. "Who would be against world peace?" Taylor asked the crowd.
Moon, still energetic at age 81, focused much of his address on family problems, saying married couples who do not have children are failing to pass on the "lineage" that can be traced back to Adam and Eve and their creator.
"We do not have the right to stop this lineage," Moon said through an interpreter.
"As long as there is no children, that is not a family."
Moon elicited nervous laughter at times with explicit sexual imagery, comparing sexual organs to snakes that can bring swift and sudden death if misused:
"We chased God out of our lives. You have a responsibility to teach your children abstinence."
Couples should combine "God's life, which is true life, through the oneness of husband and wife."
Moon's presentation ranged from folksy, anecdotal tones to pulpitpounding seriousness before he used the last part of his talk to read from a lengthy summary of his teachings.
Moon's message drew praise, in spite of its marathon length.
"He's good, but he's long-winded," said Paul Bean of Cincinnati, whose church choir came to perform at the service. "He has some good points about trying to come together."
Joan Lyons of Louisville agreed. "I just like the way he says . . . you're supposed to love each other.".
Before Moon arrived, a group of about 10 staged a loud protest, criticizing Moon's political and business activities, and his teachings that Jesus partly failed as Messiah.
"Those of us who have been oppressed know he is not a failure," said the Rev. Louis Coleman of the Justice Resource Center, saying Jesus gave civil-rights activists their strength and motivation.
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