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Conspiracy theorist cult leader buys 130 acre mountainside ‘training center’ in Tennessee

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A conspiracy theorist who is the son of the Moonies cult leader purchased a 130-acre property on an eastern Tennessee mountain that will serve as a ‘training center’ for his church congregation which worships AR-15 assault rifles. 

Pastor Hyung Jin ‘Sean’ Moon — leader of the Rod of Iron Ministries, a gun-centric spin-off of his father’s Unification Church — acquired the Grainger County property, which houses only a barn and small residence, for $460,000.

‘This is going to be a very, very important mission,’ Moon touted in a recent sermon discussing the acquisition, according to VICE. ‘Many, many, many busloads of people are going to come to pray there and do ancestor liberation there.’

Moon said his goal is to recreate the Unification Church’s infamous spiritual retreat held in the small South Korean town of Cheongpyeong, located about 27 miles outside of Seoul.

‘As soon as I was in the vicinity of this property, I immediately felt Cheongpyeong,’ Moon told his followers. 

‘As this spiritual download was happening, and we could feel the presence of Cheongpyeong, we just knew that of all the Tennessee lands that we’ve seen, this is the one that we must get to reclaim and have as a spiritual retreat.’

Moon allegedly purchased the property so he and his followers could ‘get back to the basics’ of the church with out the ‘corruption of his mother’s Satanic rule’.

He founded the Rod of Iron Ministries in 2017 after a following out with his mother, Hak Ja Han Moon, over who was the rightful heir to the Unification Church, founded by his late father Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Sun Myung Moon was a self-proclaimed messiah whose cult followers called themselves ‘Moonies.’

Pastor Hyung Jin 'Sean' Moon, leader of Rod of Iron Ministries and son of Moonies cult leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon, purchased a 130-acre property on an eastern Tennessee mountain that will serve as a 'training center' for his church congregation

Pastor Hyung Jin ‘Sean’ Moon, leader of Rod of Iron Ministries and son of Moonies cult leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon, purchased a 130-acre property on an eastern Tennessee mountain that will serve as a ‘training center’ for his church congregation

Moon has big plans for his newly acquired property. 

He reportedly plans to build training centers and a divinity school on the land, as well as elementary and middle schools. 

He also wants to construct separate cabins for men and women and dig a well in the center of the compound that would provide water to the dwellings. The well would also ‘symbolize Christ’s second coming’. 

Moon plans to plant roses and lilies around the well, symbolizing men and women’s virginity, respectively. He also wants to plant fruit trees and a vegetable garden, noting to his followers that the land is ‘suitable for growing ginseng’.

Additionally, Moon told his parishioners that the Tennessee sanctuary will not only serve as a place to recreate spiritual traditions, but also could be an incubator for future political leaders.

‘It’s not enough that folks now just come to Sunday service and things like that and be part of evangelism that way,’ Moon said in a sermon. 

‘It’s now critical that you take political office. It doesn’t matter how old you are, because you are the patriots.’ 

Moon acquired the Grainger County property (above) for $460,000. He plans to use the property to recreate the Unification Church's infamous spiritual retreat Cheongpyeong

Moon acquired the Grainger County property (above) for $460,000. He plans to use the property to recreate the Unification Church’s infamous spiritual retreat Cheongpyeong

He also plans to build training centers and a divinity school on the land, as well as elementary and middle schools on the land (Pictured: Worshippers holding their weapons during their service February 28, 2018 in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania)

He also plans to build training centers and a divinity school on the land, as well as elementary and middle schools on the land (Pictured: Worshippers holding their weapons during their service February 28, 2018 in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania)

Moon told his followers: 'As this spiritual download was happening, and we could feel the presence of Cheongpyeong, we just knew that of all the Tennessee lands that we've seen, this is the one that we must get to reclaim and have as a spiritual retreat'

Moon told his followers: ‘As this spiritual download was happening, and we could feel the presence of Cheongpyeong, we just knew that of all the Tennessee lands that we’ve seen, this is the one that we must get to reclaim and have as a spiritual retreat’

He argued that his members needed to involve themselves in politics so they could defend the church and the United States from ‘globalists, Satanists, and political Satanists that want to take power and genocide like-minded communities, and of course, gun-owning communities.’

Meanwhile, a spokesperson with the main Unification Church argued that Moon and his followers ‘do not represent the legacy of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon.’

When asked about Moon’s plans for his new acquisition, the spokesperson told VICE: ‘Cheongpyeong can be likened to the Vatican; it is a place where members go to study, pray, and seek spiritual guidance. 

‘It can never be replicated by another organization because it is not founded nor consecrated by Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.’

For decades, Unification Church officials have denounced accusations psychological, physical and financial abuse.

In the late 1970s three parishioners claimed that church leaders encouraged them to commit suicide when they attempted the stray from the belief system.

Others have accused the church of using coercive tactics, such as brainwashing and sleep deprivation, to lure members. 

There are also misconduct allegations surrounding Cheongpyeong, including that members were required to pay large sums of money and submit to beatings that would ‘exorcise evil spirits’ during ‘ancestor liberation’ ceremonies. 

The ceremony — which involved members sitting cross-legged in identical outfits while they slap themselves under direction of a church leader — was intended to serve as treatment for spiritual issues including mental illness, infertility, homosexuality, marriage woes and serious illnesses like cancer.

Moon (shown above giving a sermon in October 2020) told his parishioners that the Tennessee sanctuary will not only serve as a place to recreate spiritual traditions, but also could be an incubator for future political leaders

Moon (shown above giving a sermon in October 2020) told his parishioners that the Tennessee sanctuary will not only serve as a place to recreate spiritual traditions, but also could be an incubator for future political leaders

Moon founded the Rod of Iron Ministries in 2017 after a following out with his mother, Hak Ja Han Moon (pictured), over who was the rightful heir to the Unification Church, founded by his late father Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Sun Myung Moon (pictured) was a self-proclaimed messiah whose cult followers called themselves 'Moonies'

Moon founded the Rod of Iron Ministries in 2017 after a following out with his mother, Hak Ja Han Moon (left), over who was the rightful heir to the Unification Church, founded by his late father Rev. Sun Myung Moon (right)

‘I remember the raw intensity of it,’ ex-Moonie Elgen Strait told the news outlet. 

‘You’re in this room, with a couple hundred people around you. People are leading songs and beating these drums — it creates an intense group environment. I feel like it whips people into an altered state of consciousness.’

Strait claimed the workshops, known as ‘ansu,’ would last for either 21 or 40 days and were often conducted multiple times each day. He claims members would emerge from the ceremonies both bleeding and bruised.

The Unification Church spokesperson also denied Strait’s allegations, saying: ‘All religious organizations have spiritual practices that have been mischaracterized at one point or another.

The alleged accusations made in this story go against the founding principles of our organization.’ 

Meanwhile, Timothy Elder, director of world missions for Rod of Iron Ministries, clarified that ancestor liberation ceremonies conducted at Moon’s church — and potentially at the Tennessee property — do not involve physical harm, but instead written requests for spiritual cleansing.

‘There will be no ‘ansu’ activity,’ Elder told VICE. ‘We have no intention of repeating these excesses at the Tennessee property.’ 

Rod of Iron Ministries did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. 



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