In a full-page advertisement in the July 10, 2002, issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (and reportedly in newspapers around the world), The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification—a Unification Church organization—reports on an alleged spirit-world meeting December 19-28, 2001, in which Jesus Christ and others announced they have accepted Sun Myung Moon as the fulfillment of the Second Coming and savior for the Completed New Testament Age.

According to Unification theology, God has worked through three ages: the Old Testament Age, the New Testament Age and the Completed Testament Age.

Jesus failed to bring full salvation to the human race in the New Testament Age because he failed to marry a perfect wife and have perfect physical children. Jesus is humanity’s spiritual savior, but not its physical savior. Because Jesus failed in fulfilling his entire mission, God had to raise another messiah to complete the work.

Unification Church theology teaches that Sun Myung Moon, when he married in 1960, completed the work left undone by Jesus. Moon and his wife have had 13 children, one of whom was killed in an accident. According to the Unification Church, Moon is the messiah of the Completed Testament Age.

Marriage is an essential part of full salvation, according to the Unification Church. Tens of thousands of couples have been married in mass ceremonies by the Unification Church. Not all of the couples who took part in the ceremonies were members of the Unification Church; actual membership in the Unification Church is much smaller than the number of people who participate in its activities.

The advertisement gives nearly a full page of alleged testimonies from Jesus Christ, Peter, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Confucius, the Buddha, Muhammad, Shankara (founder of the Hindu school of Advaita Vedanta), Karl Marx, Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Deng Xiao Ping (former chairman of the Chinese Communist Party) and many others. These testimonies were allegedly given in the spirit-world meeting last December.

Below are some comments allegedly made by meeting participants:

Jesus: “Reverend Sun Myung Moon! You are the Second Coming who inaugurated the Completed Testament Age.”

John Calvin: “God is the parent of humankind and Reverend Sun Myung Moon is the Messiah, Savior and Second Coming.”

Muhammad: “Since I, Muhammad, encountered the Unification Principle and met the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, my worldview has changed … I cry out: Victory for God! Victory for Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the True Parent, Messiah and Savior! All Muslims follow the will of Muhammad.”

Joseph Stalin: “Friends in Communist countries, I am Stalin. You have had wrong thinking … Please receive the will of Reverend Moon completely.”

Karl Marx is reported to have renounced atheism: “I, Marx, affirm God’s existence and that He is the parent of all humankind.”

The advertisement concludes with “A Letter from God.” It says in part, “You, the True Parents, have now succeeded in everything and have raised everything to its true level. So you are now the Savior, Messiah and King of Kings of all of humanity!”

The Unification Church has incorporated beliefs from: Animism, with its emphasis on the world of spirits and spirit-world visions; Ch’ondongyo, a nationalist Korean religion; Taoism, with its emphasis on dualism; and Christianity and Buddhism.

The Unification Church has attracted more controversy than any other new religious movement of the past three decades. Its arrival in the United States in 1959 produced charges of “brainwashing” new converts. It also resulted in the 1970s anti-cult movement and the practice of “deprogramming” members, usually referred to as “Moonies.”

According to the Unification Church, Adam and Eve were created immature, reportedly at age 13. The archangel Lucifer sexually seduced Eve, causing humanity’s spiritual fall. Eve, in turn, seduced Adam, causing humanity’s physical fall.

Moon teaches that God has attempted to restore humanity through various religious leaders, including Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Muhammad, John the Baptist and Martin Luther. The Unification Church teaches that Sun Myung Moon was the first person to meet all the requirements for “Lord of the Second Advent.”

According to Moon, any person who faithfully and fully serves God is a messiah. As in Buddhism with its many Buddhas, the Unification Church envisions many messiahs.

Gary Leazer is the founder and president of the Center for Interfaith Studies, Inc.

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