Almost immediately after UFOs gained widespread notoriety in the early post-WWII years, people began coming forward with reports of contact with advanced, predominantly benevolent beings from outer space. These contactees related messages of a certain moral import to the people of Earth, frequently addressing the dangers of new technologies like nuclear weapons. Some went on to found organizations - many of which sought the benefits of legal status as religions - in order to spread their messages.
Through these pages I hope to highlight the small but growing literature on UFO NRMs (to which I have contributed), and the growing number of scholars doing research on them.
UFO religions would seem to be an exceptionally restricted and marginal topic, even in literature on new religious movements (NRMs). Furthermore, one might even argue that, since none of the groups lumped under this rubric actually worship UFOs, there is no such thing as a UFO religion. Consider the diversity among UFO "cults" on the proper treatment of UFOs. The majority of UFO NRMs, perhaps owing to their derivation from Theosophy and its offspring (see Melton 1995), place aliens in intermediary positions between humans and the divine. Raëlians and Unarians see their respective aliens bringing a golden age of galactic interconnectedness to Earth. While it was still in operation, the group known as Heaven's Gate divided the popular category of "aliens" into representatives of The Evolutionary Level Above Human and "Luciferians"--roughly, angels and devils. The leader of Chen Tao/God's Salvation Church insisted in his writings that God the Heavenly Father was not an alien, though he looked forward to a trans-dimensional rapture in "God's space aircrafts." But an alien messiah-intermediary is still an awesome figure, especially when it saves us from the end of the old world or ushers in the next.
Considering those caveats, the examination of UFOs in religion leads to many interesting issues and how they interact: