Founder of the Unification Church Dies at 92

Posted September 2nd, 2012 at 3:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church and one of the most prominent Koreans in the world, has died. He was 92.

The Unification Church said Sunday its founder succumbed to complications from pneumonia in a church-run hospital east of Seoul.

Moon's global dynasty is possibly still worth billions of dollars, while his worldwide religion claims millions of followers.

His businesses are involved in publishing, education, real estate, health care and even gun-manufacturing.

The Unification Church gained a reputation as a cult with deceptive tactics in recruiting followers and maintaining tight control over their lives.

The church was known for holding mass weddings, where couples, who had never met, were married to other followers selected by Moon himself.

Moon presided over the ceremonies in a robe and with a crown atop his head.

His followers believe that marriage is central to the Unification Church's mission of uniting the world's Christian denominations.

Several of Moon's children have split leadership roles in the church's sprawling empire in recent years. Some of the businesses have struggled amid reports of infighting among the heirs.

Moon was born in 1920 in what is now North Korea and started his church in the 1950's.