The Moonies Crater

Mariah Blake chronicles the collapse of the Unification Church:

[I]n recent years, [Rev. Sun Myung] Moon’s plans to remake America and salvage humanity had run into trouble. Followers had drifted away; his political influence had ebbed. With his ninetieth birthday approaching, he increasingly looked to his children to preserve his life’s work.

In Jin, Moon and his wife’s fourth child, seemed suited for the task. She had a modern American upbringing and a master’s degree from Harvard. In 2009, she took over the Unification Church of America and introduced a bold modernization program. Her aim, she said, was to transform the church into one that people – especially young people – were “dying to join.” She renamed the church Lovin’ Life Ministries, shelved the old hymn books, and launched a rock band, an offshoot of which played New York clubs under the moniker Sonic Cult. She also discarded the old Korean-inspired traditions: bows and chanting gave way to “Guitar Hero” parties, open mics, concerts, and ping-pong tournaments.

And then, early last year, she disappeared:

After several months passed with no sign of her, some parishioners began pressing for information on her whereabouts. They were blocked at every turn. Even the highest circles of church leadership couldn’t – or wouldn’t – say what had happened to In Jin Moon. Before long, it became clear that the House of Moon was crumbling and In Jin had become caught up in its downfall. But her disappearance was only one part of a much more complicated saga – one that involved illegitimate children, secret sex rituals, foreign spy agencies, and the family of Vice President Joseph Biden. Even by Moon’s famously eccentric standards, the collapse of his American project would turn out to be spectacular and deeply strange.

Previous Dish on the Moonies here and here.

(Video: From the Washington Times’ 15th anniversary dinner, in 1997)