THORN HILL – A Pennsylvania-based church that features gun-toting members in its worship services has purchased more than 200 acres of property in the Fourth Civil District of Grainger County, where it plans to build a training center.
The church was founded in 2017 by Rev. Hyung Jin Sean Moon. It is known as Rod of Iron Ministries. He is the son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Universalist Church, whose followers are known as “Moonies.”
The church’s website declares its mission is to “experience freedom through a relationship with Jesus Christ. As coheirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) we are to love God and love our neighbor through protecting God’s kingdom with the Rod of Iron.”
Rod of Iron Ministries offers a shooting course and a Patriot course. The Patriot course is a seven-week Zoom course “to equip Second Amendment Christians with the tools and training that enable Patriots to grow close to God while defending America’s founding principles.”
According to a live-streamed sermon this past summer, the younger Moon said his goal is to recreate the Unification Church retreat in South Korea. A Knoxville television station reported the plans included an orchard, nature trails, a shooting range and an events center.
According to the warranty deed filed with the Grainger County Register of Deeds office, the property was sold by Four J Farms LLC, which has an office in Morristown. The purchase price was $460,000. The transaction was sealed August 5, 2021.
According to the deed, the property was originally conveyed to Four J Farms by quitclaim deed from Joe T. Huntsman and wife Jean W. Huntsman and James Wohlwend and wife, Janet P. Wohlwend. All are Morristown residents. Wohlwend is listed as a principal in Four J Farms.
The buyer is identified as CIG, which has the same address as the Pennsylvania church. CIG is an acronym for Cheon Gil-uk, “One Heavenly Kingdom.”
Efforts to contact a representative of the seller were unsuccessful. The phone number listed on the website was a private residence. The person who answered the call said it was not the correct number.
The Unification Church was prominent in the news in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was most remembered for mass marriage ceremonies in which many of the couples were introduced to each other on the day of their wedding.