Expected to take over the leadership of the spiritual activities of the Unification Movement after the passing away of his father Rev. Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012), Hyung Jin (Sean) Moon (b. 1979) has broken with his mother, Hak Ja Han, and has started a dissident movement, the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, more commonly called Sanctuary Church, with headquarters in Newfoundland, Pa. The headquarters of Kahr Firearms Group, run by Kook Jin (Justin) Moon, who has aligned with his brother, has recently also been relocated to Pennsylvania. After being appointed as the international president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in 2008 and of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in 2009, Hyung Jin also took over the leadership of the American branch of the Unification Church (HAS-UWC) in 2012. A year later his mother removed him from that position.
After starting quietly independent religious activities without the approval of “True Mother,” as Hak Ja Han is called within the Unification Movement, he openly broke in January 2015 by delivering a sermon denouncing the movement as contaminated by a thirst for power and greed, and charging that his mother was manipulated by people surrounding her. After being suspended from his position as international president in February, he went one step further in March stating that as “crowned successor,” he revoked any power and authority from “True Mother.” Subsequently, he said that his mother had relinquished her position by turning away from unity with her deceased husband.
During the following months, several sermons have elaborated Moon’s theological differences with the mainstream movement. He presents himself both as a loyalist to what he sees as his father’s authentic legacy and as a reformer of a movement described as having become corrupt and heretical. Hak Ja Han is no longer merely criticized for being surrounded by dishonest advisors, but is accused of having betrayed the message of Sun Myung Moon, and also for thus failing “to establish God’s Physical Kingdom on this Earth,” even though conditions have been met for this event. Considering the significance of marriage within the Unification Church, it is worth noticing that Hyun Jin Moon has declared the blessings of couples celebrated since February 2013 to be invalid. Unificationists from various countries have rallied around Sanctuary Church, but the size of the movement remains modest at this point compared with the mainstream Church. However, the latter seems to consider Hyung Jin’s challenge as one to be taken seriously, and has intervened in an attempt to prevent it from using key Unificationist symbols. (This item is based on research conducted by RW associate editor Jean-Francois Mayer. For the original article in French, visit: http://orbis.info/2015/09/eglise-unification-schisme/)