Moon's Unification Message Coming to Utah
Founder of controversial worldwide church
movement to speak March 10
The Reverend Sun
Myung Moon attempts to cut his birthday cake during his
80th birthday celebration at a hotel in Washington. (AP
BY PEGGY FLETCHER STACK
© 2001, THE SALT LAKE
The Rev. Sun Myung
Moon, controversial founder of the Unification Church, will be
in Utah next month to promote religious harmony, racial
reconciliation and family renewal.
visit is part of a 50-state tour, entitled, "We Will Stand!
Rebuild the Family, Restore the Community, Renew the Nation"
and will involve clergy from a variety of faiths, said Wendy
Stovall, state director for Utah's Unification Church, which
has held steady over the years at nine families.
Moon will speak at the Hilton Hotel in
downtown Salt Lake City at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10.
Tickets for the event are $20.
81-year-old Korean evangelist first arrived in the United
States in 1971, promoting the church he had founded. His
followers, derisively called "Moonies," were objects of fear
and ridicule by many Americans who considered the church a
Today the church, which goes by
the name, "Family Federation for World Peace and Unification,"
is working in 190 countries, with about 50,000 members in the
U.S., Stovall said.
The faith owns The
Washington Times, one of three church-owned newspapers in the
country. The others are the Christian Science Monitor and the
Deseret News, owned by the LDS Church.
The Unification Church is best-known for its mass wedding
Indeed, Moon and his wife,
Hak Ja Han Moon -- known as the "Heavenly Parents -- have
presided over millions of marriage blessings and vow renewals,
landing Moon in the Guinness Book of World Records as
history's most prolific matchmaker, according to the church.
The Unification Church has existed
peacefully in Salt Lake City since the early 1970s. In fact,
Moon, who visited the state more than a decade ago, has found
unexpected friends here.
After he was
convicted of tax evasion in 1984 and sent to a federal prison
for 13 months, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, came to his defense.
"Quite simply, the prosecution of Rev.
Moon has sent the wrong message,'' Hatch wrote in a December
1988 letter to the Justice Department. "The federal government
accused a newcomer to our shores of criminal and intentional
wrongdoing for conduct commonly practiced by other religious
leaders, namely the holding of church funds in bank accounts
in their own names."
Hatch, a Mormon,
argued that a presidential pardon would rectify a "troubling
precedent" that jeopardize the guaranteed protection of
"I would like to
underscore that I am not a close friend of Rev. Moon nor do I
endorse his theology," he wrote.
tickets to Moon's speech, contact Stovall at 209-7262.