I have had the privilege of chairing an editorial team that has been assembling a chronology of the life and work of Sun Myung Moon (1920-2021) and Hak Ja Han Moon (1943-) in the United States from 1965-2022. Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, FFWPU Cheon Eui Won Chair of North America, initiated the project in June 2020, and the team began work in August. In October 2020, Dr. Kim conveyed oversight of the project to Dr. Chung Sik Yong, FFWPU Regional President of North America.
For two-and-a-half years, the team — Dr. Franco Famularo, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Michael McDevitt, Larry Moffitt, and Tal Zorer — has met twice weekly and spent countless additional hours with the goal of documenting Father and Mother Moon’s daily activities in the U.S. The initial draft is nearing completion. This article covers various aspects of the chronology: its rationale, organization, scope and limitations, and findings. It also offers thoughts as to ongoing work.
The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), also known as the Unification Church, has a distinctive terminology, reflecting its theology and traditions. The chronology (and the remainder of this article) follows Unification terminology. Most prominently, it uses True Father, True Mother, True Parents and True Family to refer to Sun Myung Moon, Hak Ja Han Moon, their couple and their family.
This chronology is not a full narrative of True Parents lives, which extended far beyond U.S. borders. However, chronologies of this type are foundational for broader narratives. Unificationists are confident that Father and Mother Moon’s nearly 60 years of ministry in the U.S. evidence unparalleled dedication and consistency. Whether they were tired, misunderstood or what time of day it was were secondary matters. The mission and people of the U.S. were primary. For Unificationists, they came from Korea with love. In this respect, compiling a chronology is a form of appreciation.
Early on, the editorial team agreed to organize True Parent’s activities in the United States and the chronology by decade, each of which has a distinctive character:
- During the 1960s, True Father visited the U.S. for the first time in 1965, as part of his first world tour, establishing 55 Holy Grounds in 48 states in 43 days. In 1969, True Father returned to the U.S. with True Mother as part of the second world tour, during which they blessed 13 couples in marriage.
- During the 1970s, True Parents shifted the focus of their ministry to the U.S. and became highly visible, conducting rallies in all 50 states, including at major venues such as Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium and Washington Monument.
- During the 1980s, True Parents expanded their ability to exert influence in the U.S., establishing The Washington Times and educating American leaders as to the dangers of atheistic communism. At the same time, controversy which began in the 1970s led to True Father’s incarceration.
- During the 1990s, True Parents publicly declared their messianic identity, established numerous federations for world peace, including the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), and conducted massive International Marriage Blessings.