AR15-worshipping MAGA group purchases holy retreat in Tennessee
A pro-Trump religious sect that embraces AR15s in ceremonies has purchased 130 acres in Tennessee as a sacred retreat and training center.
The Rod of Iron Ministries, also known as The World of Peace and Unification Sanctuary, is directed by Pastor Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, a conspiracy theorist who proclaims that his followers are at war with the “deep state.”
The group has a growing fan base among MAGA supporters and supporters of the Second Amendment, and has attracted Trump ally Steve Bannon and former NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch to perform at a Freedom Festival last weekend.
The late father of Mr. Moon, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who died in 2012, directed the cult of the Unification Church, whose followers were known as “Moonies”.
The Tennessee property was bought by Rod Iron Ministries
(Zillow, via Vice News)
VICE News reported that the “church” bought $ 460,000 worth of land in the mountains of eastern Tennessee to recreate the spiritual retreat of the Cheongpyeong Unification Church in South Korea.
“As soon as I was near this property, I felt Cheongpyeong immediately,” Mr. Moon reportedly said on Rumble.
“Many, many, many busloads of people will come to pray there,” Mr. Moon said on a recent broadcast, adding that they would be doing “ancestral liberation” there.
The Tennessee purchase is part of a rapid expansion project in deep red states in the United States.
In May, the Church reportedly bought property 40 miles from Waco, Texas as a sanctuary.
Mr. Moon co-founded the Church in Pennsylvania in 2017 after arguing with his mother over who was the legal heir to his father’s religious empire.
Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, the head of the Sanctuary Church and Rod of Iron Ministries, delivers his “King Report” sermon behind a gold AR-15
Sean Moon’s brother, Kook-jin “Justin” Moon, is the CEO of Kahr Arms, which manufactures weapons and is headquartered near the Church’s original Pennsylvania base of operations
Sean Moon has posted videos showing him and Justin Moon outside the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 riot, and both of them have become ardent supporters of Donald Trump.
The Independent reached out to Rod Iron Ministries for comment.
What do the Rod of Iron Ministries believe?
While the younger Moon adopted and incorporated the Moonie ideology in his Sanctuary Church, the group is notable for its focus on firearms as cult objects.
Sean Moon claims that his inclusion of AR-15 in his church’s worship ceremonies is biblical, citing a passage in the Book of Revelation that speaks of Jesus using an “iron staff” to assert his authority during the end times. Traditional readings of the verses interpret the “iron staff” as a shepherd’s staff, which was a symbol of authority, particularly with regard to Jesus.
According to Sean Moon’s reading, the iron staff was not a scepter or staff, but an AR-15 made in the USA.
In sermons he describes himself as “King”.