Born in 1920, he had grown up in a thatched straw hut in northwest Korea during the brutal Japanese occupation. When he was ten, his family converted to Christianity. Moon eventually joined a fringe Christian sect that engaged in sexual “purification” rituals. After Allied forces liberated Korea in 1945, he moved to Pyongyang, which was then under Soviet control, and started his own church. But other ministers complained about his teachings, and, in 1948, Moon was arrested and reportedly charged with “polygamy.” According to his memoir, he was beaten until he vomited blood and sentenced to five years in a communist prison camp.
Mrs. Moon was not deeply involved in their upbringing—according to former church members, she spent much of her time shopping. Tim Porter, an ex-member who grew up near the family compound, calls her the Korean “Imelda Marcos.”
(Liberation in this case meant reviving traditional families by being “unusually obedient.”) Mrs. Moon, whose role in the church had been mostly ceremonial up until this point, was named president. She began traveling the world proclaiming herself a co-messiah and urging women to devote themselves to their families. “We must spread, to the whole world, a model movement . . . in which we embrace our husbands and raise our children properly,” she told a crowd in Seoul. On several occasions, former President George H. W. Bush, a major beneficiary of Moon family donations, appeared alongside her, as did his wife, Barbara. In a major departure, Moon formally declared Mrs. Moon to be his equal and promised she would “inherit everything from Father.”
That summer, according to court documents and people close to both sides of the negotiations, they approached Park, who was still in treatment, and cut a new deal: Instead of $21 million in cash, they would fork over an $8 million note. Hunter Biden and his lawyer, Marc LoPresti, maintain that the deal was fair, given the state of the company. But people close to Park say he was emotionally fragile and felt indebted to the Bidens, which put him in a vulnerable position.