Recently on what has been described by followers as his last world tour, the founder of the Unification Church and of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (among many other organizations), Rev. Sun Myung Moon, is also seizing this opportunity for claiming that God’s Kingdom is coming soon, a message he proclaimed during his talk to a private gathering at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, which RW attended.
The world tour started in late April and has special significance for members of the Unification Church, since it is understood to be the last of its kind for the aging religious leader. Among people accompanying him during this travels is his seventh and youngest son, Hyung Jin Moon, who holds an MA from Harvard Divinity School and “has been designated by his father as the person who will carry on his religious work.”Despite the passing of years and increasing old age, Rev. Moon (born 1920) continues to cultivate grand perspectives and affirm his own role as a pivotal figure in the history of humankind. On April 18, Rev. Moon proclaimed “the era after the coming of heaven through which a new heaven and new earth will be realized by returning to true love.”
The aspiration to world peace and to an ideal world remains intact and is even revitalized through Rev. Moon’s current preaching. Commenting on the recent disaster in Japan, he took it as a sign that the Last Judgement is now taking place: we are living “in a historic time of great cosmic transition” that will change history and “create the ideal kingdom of heaven that God has longed for since the beginning of time.” January 13, 2013 will be the Foundation Day, i.e. the actual beginning of God’s Kingdom. The spiritual and earthly worlds will be connected and brought into oneness, hence his call to intense commitment during the next two years “under the guidance of the True Parents” (i.e. Rev. Moon and his wife).The fact that the meeting took place at the UN, thanks to the accredited NGO status of several Unification Church-sponsored organizations, emphasized the significance attributed to the UN’s work by the movement.
In contrast with a number of millenarian movements that view the UN and other international institutions with suspicion, Rev. Moon sees them as instruments for bringing a better world. The founder of the Unification Church also continues to promote media projects: for instance, he would like to see regional newspapers appear across the US under the aegis of the Washington Times, a newspaper under the control of the Unification Church. He also continues to promote projects such as the building of undersea tunnels between Korea and Japan, as well as across the Bering Strait, as part of efforts toward the unity of humankind at a symbolic and practical level. The Unification Church remains a strongly millenarian movement, but this does not contradict visionary projects that are expected to be achieved through human efforts.
Apparently, the dream of “a world where all people are equal and all nations become like brother nations”—in Rev. Moon’s own words—remains strong enough to inspire a number of “Moonies,” both first and second generation.What remains to be seen is how the mantle will be passed to new leaders after Rev. Moon leaves the scene, and if Hyung Jin Moon will manage to keep the direction of a united movement. While lacking his father’s kind of charisma, he might be the person who can steer the Unification Church out of its PR problems, according to The Independent (May 12). Some observers have described him as “the acceptable face of the Moonies.”