GRAINGER COUNTY, Tenn. — A property company associated with a controversial group that involves rifles in their spiritual life has purchased land in Grainger County.
The company, CIG Properties Inc., shares the same address as the Rod of Iron Ministries. The group regularly involves guns in their religious ceremonies. Its official name is World Peace and Unification Sanctuary and centers much of its spiritual tenants around a supposed coming apocalypse.
Much of the group's religious message is also based on the biblical Book of Revelations, specifically chapter 19, verse 15.
"Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God," the verse says in the New King James Bible.
The group also claims that no sovereign nation truly exists in the world, until the 'Kingdom of God' arrives at the end of time, as shown in the group's constitution. The group calls this kingdom, 'Cheon Il Guk.'
The pastor of the group, Rev. Hyung Jin Sean Moon, is also the youngest son of Sun Myung Moon. The elder Moon founded the Unification Church and claimed to be a messiah. However, there was a falling out among his family after he died as his sons disputed who should inherit the church's mantle.
Hyung Jin Sean Moon claims that he is "The Crowned Successor and Representative Bod of the Cosmic True Parents of Heaven and Earth and the full Inheritor of the Kingship of God," in the group's constitution.
In the constitution, the group also claims all people are sovereign and later calls for the overthrow of all "artificial structures of power, representation Satan." It also identifies members of the Rod of Iron Ministries as the "United States of Cheon Il Guk."
Finally, the group also guides members not to violate human rights, steal public money or use public property for themselves. Several other tenants of the group can be found online.
The group interprets the verse from Revelations, using the rifles as the 'rods of iron' as the way God would rule, according to the group's website.
The land purchased in Grainger County is valued at $460,000 and was purchased from "Four J Farms LLC," according to records. The deed was sealed on Aug. 5, 2021. It contains more than 200 acres, according to records and is in the 4th Civil District of Grainger County. It is located near Bean Station.
Rod of Iron Ministries also claims that it follows Alex Jones and Infowars, according to its website. They also recently hosted a "Freedom Festival," lasting between October 8 through October 10 in Pennsylvania.
Moon spoke at the festival, wearing a crown of bullets with a golden rifle around his shoulders.
"God bless you, Gob bless America," Moon said during the festival, according to a post on the group's social media. "Resist the tyranny, we shall prevail."
Administrator Gregg Nall said they were on the land on Wednesday to bless it and said they wanted to put new roots in East Tennessee.
"We believe that the kingdom of heaven is a kingdom of armed citizens, so we believe that everyone in the kingdom should be armed," Nall said.
Pastor Moon was also there to help with the ceremony. He said that the group was there to give fallen soldiers from the Civil War a "white picket cross" memorial, and to pray at the site.
"We're a church that's all about traditional marriage, standing up for the constitution, people's freedom," Nall said. “The gun really does represent strength. Peace through strength. If you have a gun in self-defense, the criminal or the predator will back off. If you don't have a gun the predator comes in and ravishes you or us as a nation."
He said they plan to open a new space for worship and shooting this spring.
"It's going to be a place where people can come for prayer, for nature walks. There's going to be beautiful gardens here in the future," Nall said. "It's the Garden of Eden, that's what we want to do."