The Unification Church’s marriage system symbolizes its break with Christianity.

The family is under assault. The divorce rate, while tapering off last year due to the economic situation, still approaches 50 percent. But the Rev. Sun Myung Moon believes he has the answer to the problem—marriage Unification style. To demonstrate his solution, the Unification Church that he founded in 1954 rented Madison Square Garden, and on July 1, 1982, he married some 2,000 couples—half of his American following—in one massive ceremony, matching up the couples himself. Then three months later, on October 14, in a less-publicized ceremony (at least in this country) he eclipsed his own record by marrying 5,837 couples in Seoul, Korea. Some Americans who missed the New York ceremony traveled to Korea for this latter ceremony.

Quite apart from the matter of arranged marriages, the Unification Church breaks with traditional marriage patterns. Only by understanding the role of marriage in Moon’s thought can we penetrate into the heart of Unification thought and hope for the world. The “blessing” (marriage) symbolizes better than any other aspect of Unificationism the absolute break it has made with traditional Christian faith. Far from being merely a heretical sect of Christianity, the Unification Church has created a whole new religious gestalt that just happens to draw upon Christian symbols and materials. Unlike orthodox Christianity with its focus upon repentance, forgiveness, and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, Unificationism has built its entire life and faith around the blessing and the blessed life. In Moon’s view, man and woman together reflect the image of God. Jesus is believed to have failed—failed to marry and bear children. ...

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