The Sanctuary Church—more prominently known as Rod of Iron Ministries was founded in 2017 by Pastor Hyung Jin "Sean" Moon, the son of the late cult leader Reverend Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church. Pastor Moon frequently wears a crown made of bullets in his public appearances.
Members of the church have incorporated AR-15s into their worship services and embraced the rise of former President Donald Trump. The church's website currently advertises a giveaway contest for a specialized "Trump: Commander in Chief" AR-15.
Earlier this year, Rod of Iron purchased a $1 million patch of land in the small town of Thornton, Texas, not far from the infamous Waco, Texas.
The Texas property, known to followers as "Liberty Rock," came with fishing equipment, cabins, and more, though the church is still seeking thousands of dollars for "renovations." Once these renovations are complete, it hopes to become a so-called refuge from the "destroyers of freedom" it cites on its website.
Vice further reports that Moon said in a recent sermon:
"The internationalist Marxist globalists are trying to start a civil war here, so that they can bring in the U.N. troops and Chi-Com Chinese military to come in and destroy and kill all gun owners, Christians, and any opposition, i.e., Trump supporters. We are in the death of America right now, and that's why, of course, God is allowing for our expansion."
The purchase, for many, represented the growing threat of far-right militias.
Oh great a gun cult has purchased a gigantic compound for new recruits, this is fine https://t.co/JrGPvLCCWJ— Andy Campbell (@Andy Campbell) 1622133608.0
These radical nutjobs are scary as hell. https://t.co/Dwfkk33TUx— Susan Pulice 💁♀️ (@Susan Pulice 💁♀️) 1622139902.0
a far right religious cult with a heavy emphasis on firearms purchasing a compound near waco. what could possibly g… https://t.co/YNmyGUnwOx— Saijax (@Saijax) 1622133405.0
Like so much of the far right extremist sphere, Rod of Iron Ministries is a grab bag of conspiracy theories - encom… https://t.co/udOt1RmxDx— Mike Rothschild (@Mike Rothschild) 1622133173.0
What happens when the government tacitly endorses conspiracy theories & the Big Lie. Without an investigation into… https://t.co/TeTwe2l9Sg— 🌊Get Involved 2022 VOTE! ✨Get Vaxxed!👵 Love 🕊️ (@🌊Get Involved 2022 VOTE! ✨Get Vaxxed!👵 Love 🕊️) 1622134696.0
Many likened it to the deadly 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in nearby Waco, Texas.
Waco incoming https://t.co/dLwz0BGJdx— gut bayud, doomsayer, 66 IQ (@gut bayud, doomsayer, 66 IQ) 1622137448.0
Hasn't been quite enough white supremacist terror lately, gotta stage another waco to get em fired up https://t.co/xJmdNl3dAH— 1̶̻̅2̶͚͂-̸̩͒b̸͓͆à̴͖ḷ̷̏l̵͓̓ (@1̶̻̅2̶͚͂-̸̩͒b̸͓͆à̴͖ḷ̷̏l̵͓̓) 1622139160.0
Great. Shades of Waco and Branch Davidians. https://t.co/OjOKgpjm6Z— Jennifer Henry-I'm here live, not a cat (@Jennifer Henry-I'm here live, not a cat) 1622137917.0
Stares at them in Waco. https://t.co/8gzMI03YTn— This machine hurts fascists' feelings. (@This machine hurts fascists' feelings.) 1622139850.0
Pro-Trump personalities like white nationalist Steve Bannon have previously appeared at events linked to the Rod of Iron.