While the Family, formerly the Children of God, has drawn a lot of controversy in its short existence, the group’s increasing emphasis on the importance of UFOs in their theology is likely to generate new criticism and controversy, according to a recent report.
The Family has been reportedly moving away from its unorthodox beginnings, which included allegations of authoritarian leadership and polygamy and free love among members, to a more mainstream, evangelical identity. In the Journal of Contemporary Religion (October), Mikael Rothstein writes that such teachings were originally introduced by the founder of the movement David “Mo” Berg.
Berg viewed UFOs as carrying visitors of superior intelligence and even claimed in other writings that they were angels. The UFOs were viewed as biblical “signs in the sky” to unbelievers.Rothstein writes that although members have in the past downplayed these teachings in their attempt to be seen in the Christian mainstream, since Berg’s death they have become more outspoken on UFOs. Viewing the death of their leader as a sign of Christ’s impending return, members now also identify such “signs” as UFOs and the approach of the year 2000 as newly relevant end-time teachings.
Rothstein concludes that the negative views of UFOs among evangelicals and other anti-cultists antagonistic to the Family may have actually compelled the Family to respond to such phenomena in a more positive vein. .