Marriage of the Moonies

The first American mass marriage ceremony of the Unification Church - for 28,000 couples in matching garb, led by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon - took place at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C. on 29th November, 1997.Newleyweds had to confirm their virginity and abstain from sexual relations for 40 days afterwards, but many participants were already legally married, and the event was a blend of existing unions and Moonie recruits. Whitney Houston was slated to perform at the post-marriage party, but her last-minute cancellation led to disappointment among attendees, who had paid varying ticket prices, starting at $35.In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain the appeal and recruiting practices of this cult / church; trace back Moon's claims to continue Jesus' interrupted work on Earth; and reveal how the Moonies became an accepted part of Korean cultural representation in the United States…Further Reading:

• ‘Followers begin to see the dark side of the Moonies’ (The Irish Times, 1997):

• ‘Church or cult? Inside the Moonies’ ‘world of delusion’’ (Financial Times, 2022):


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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

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