"When the number of families which unite as the absolute children of God grows, then God will come to live in this nation," said the 75-year-old Moon. ''If this happens," he said, "then automatically this nation will become the central nation of the world."
It was a rare Philadelphia appearance for Moon - only the second one in the last decade, according to the organizers of the event.
"I have stirred up a good deal of controversy around the world," said Moon, a point that even most of his followers in the Unification Church would not dispute.
In the mid-1980s, Moon served 18 months in a low-security federal prison and in a halfway house on income-tax evasion charges. He has also made waves with his intense anti-Communism, his publication of the conservative Washington Times newspaper, and some of the practices of his worldwide religion.
But there was little mention of that last night before a well-dressed audience that seemed to consist largely of church members from around the Northeastern United States.
"He gives me hope for the future - about a family centered society," said Jerome Carroll, a Trenton teacher who joined the Unification Church shortly after he arrived in Germany with the U.S. military. "We need to become true parents for our children - then society will change."
Although Moon steered largely clear of secular politics, his hour-long speech did touch on some hotly debated topics, including the breakdown of the family.
"The present era is the era of individualism: the era of free sex, the era of children denying parents, the era of parents denying children, the era of denying the couple," he said. "Through homosexuality, an attempt is being made to destroy completely the family ideal."