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Self-proclaimed messaiah Sun Myung Moon dies at 92


September 2, 2012 - Gapyeong, South Korea

Founder of Unification Church Reverend Sun Myung Moon died in South Korea on Sunday at the age of 92. Known as "Moonies" by his followers, Sun Moon is known for marrying thousands of people in mass weddings. He founded the Unification Church that became a worldwide movement and was said to have around 3 million members worldwide.

According to a spokesman of the Unification Church, Moon died at a church-owned hospital two weeks after he was admitted with pneumonia. He passed away in Gapyeong, north-east of Seoul, with his wife and children at his bedside.

Moon was accused of brainwashing the members of the Unification Church and breaking up families. The church was seen as a cult in the 1970s and 1980s. The official name of the church is "The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity".

Moon was born as a Confucian in North Korea in 1920. His family converted to Christianity when he was 10 years old and joined the Presbyterian Church. When he was 16, Moon said that he was called upon by Jesus Christ to complete his task. He said that he resisted it twice before accepting. He was jailed for five years by the North Korean government for spying and tax evasion in 1948, but managed to escape. He founded the church in 1954 in the ruins of South Korea and promoted a mix of Christianity along with his conservative, family-oriented teachings.

The business interests of the church expanded later. It included the Washington Times newspaper, the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan, Bridgeport University in Connecticut, a hotel and a car plant in North Korea, a ski resort and a professional soccer team in South Korea, a seafood firm that supplies sushi to Japanese restaurants across the US.

In 2009, Moon married 45,000 people in ceremonies worldwide simultaneously. He wrote his autobiography the same year. Moon has befriended several North Korean leaders and US presidents. He is known to have cultivated relationships with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

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