Moon, Sun Myung

Moon, Sun Myung

biographical name

(born Jan. 6, 1920, Kwangju Sangsa Ri, P'yongan-puk province, Korea) South Korean religious leader. Convinced that he was designated by God as a successor to Jesus, Moon began to preach a new religion, loosely based on Christianity, in North Korea in 1946. After being imprisoned by North Korean authorities, he escaped or was released and went to South Korea, where he founded the Unification Church in 1954 and built a multimillion-dollar business empire. In 1973 he moved his headquarters to Tarrytown, N.Y., U.S., where he became the focus of controversies over fund-raising techniques, tax evasion, and the indoctrination of followers (popularly called Moonies). In 1982 Moon was convicted of tax evasion, sentenced to 18 months in prison, and fined $25,000. He has also suffered from a damaging exposé by his daughter-in-law. In the 1990s the church began operations in Brazil, where its purchase of large tracts of rainforest has been widely criticized.

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