Over the last half century, Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his family have led a religious and political movement—anchored by the Unification Church—that has exerted enormous influence over right-wing American politics and created a web of influential and profitable businesses, including the New Yorker Hotel, the Manhattan Center recording studio, and The Washington Times. In a feature for our latest issue, Mariah Blake covers the unraveling of Moon’s American project and the internal feuding in his large family—a mess of stories revealing illegitimate children, sibling rivalries played out in multimillion-dollar boardroom coups, and “divine” cocaine-binging offspring. Sometimes you have to see it all in action to believe it. Here are five highlights of Moon family footage, plus a musical bonus:
A church hallmark is the mass wedding, in which thousands of strangers are matched and married by Rev. Moon. After Moon died in 2012, his wife, Hak Ja Han, continued the ceremonies without him. This is a BBC news report on the first mass wedding after Moon’s death.
Moon talks in 1997 at a Washington Times 15th anniversary event about how journalists must lead the way in eliminating “free sex.” (Orrin Hatch and President George H.W. Bush make cameo appearances.)
At the Senate Dirksen Building in 2004, congressmen and religious leaders anoint Sun Myung Moon King of Peace. Start at 1:51.
Nansook Hong, the former wife of Moon’s son Steve, escaped from the Moon compound, where she claims her husband had beaten her. Here, she discusses the family. The video features footage of Steve giving a church speech while allegedly high on cocaine.
James Park, husband of Moon’s daughter In Jin, delivers a eulogy for Steve Moon, who died in 2008. All five segments of the speech are worth watching, but this one features an explanation of why Steve is just a pure drop of water that “struggles with the pollution around it."
Sonic Cult, a band In Jin launched as part of an effort to modernize the church, performs: “It’s so curious to be one of us, ‘cause we are a little bit different.”