Property

Behind the scenes look at gun-toting church’s Grainger County property

THORN HILL, Tenn. (WVLT) –Rod of Iron Ministries was originally rooted in Pennsylvania, but has now branched out to East Tennessee.

Founded by Hyung Jin Sean Moon, the church’s pastor said they are non denominational and preach from the Bible while also being firmly rooted in the belief of the second amendment.

Construction on the church’s 225 acre land in Grainger County was already underway after plans of how the land would be used were told to WVLT back in October 2021.

Pastor Moon and others with Rod of Iron Ministries allowed WVLT News behind the scenes of their new property, and talked about who they are and what they believe in.

“We believe that everybody, especially every Christian, should have an AR-15 to have the means to defend themselves,” said Moon.

The land in Thorn Hill was being used as a retreat for the church and included housing for some people to live on site which includes tents, small houses, and cabins. WVLT News asked Moon why they selected Grainger County as their destination to build.

“We just feel God led us here. We’ve traveled through Tennessee to NRA show and Shot show and we’ve always stopped in the Sevierville area at the big knife shop place, we love that place,” said Moon who went on to add that he loved the mountain ranges in Tennessee.

As for the church’s beliefs, Moon said they are evangelical and believe there is only one true Christ. He added that he got many of his core beliefs from his father Sun Myung Moon, who was the founder of his own church, the Unification of World Christianity Church, also known as the controversial Unification Church.

Although his father passed away, Moon said he still had a prominent place in the church.

“In our church we believe he (Sun Myung Moon) is the returning of Jesus, so he anointed me his air successor. So that doesn’t mean I’m the Messiah, but I would be something like the Pope.”

Moon clarified that the Pope comparison wasn’t a perfect one because the church doesn’t follow Catholicism, and added that he didn’t believe he was God.

On the property there will be people living in small houses, cabins, and tents, as well as having nature trails, a gardening area, and a gun range. A range in which Moon encouraged families to educate their children.

“We have kids there on the range watching and if parents want them to shoot we allow that and everything would be watched by range officers,” said Moon.

Moon said that the property was already open in some capacity with services being streamed from the location every Sunday, while the remaining facilities continue to be built. The estimated final completion timeline is somewhere between three to five years.

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