The Unification Church, or Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity was founded by Sun Myung Moon in 1954. Moon was raised Presbyterian in Korea during a time of persecution. According to Moon, he was visited by Jesus Christ at the age of 16, and told that it was up to him to complete the work as the messiah. He was tasked with bringing peace to the earth.
Moon’s teachings were not popular with the Presbyterian Church and he was excommunicated from the church and then imprisoned and tortured in North Korea. Once released, he went to South Korea and began the Unification Church.
Young Oon Kim, or Miss Kim, was converted to the Unification Church and became the first missionary to the United States on the church’s behalf. In the 1970s, Moon used money he made from factories he owned to spread his mission throughout the United States. During the 1970s, the Unification Church saw much grown. Members of the church worked to raise money by selling candles and flowers. They also put much effort into making other converts. Their actions caught the attention of mainstream media and more people joined the movement.
In the late 80s and early 90s, the group became involved in political actives and continued to publically support Richard Nixon even in the midst of the Watergate Scandal. The church lost its tax-exempt status because of the church’s political leanings. Moon served some time in prison because he was convicted of tax evasion.