A self-styled successor of Helena P. Blavatsky, Helena Roerich, and Alice A. Bailey, Benjamin Creme (1922–2016), the founder and figurehead of Share International, has been crucial in promoting ufological-cum-millenarian ideas within the New Age current. He is best known for his popularising of Maitreya, the World Teacher. Featuring prominently in his messianic programme are the phenomena of crop circles and UFO sightings. This chapter explores in detail Creme’s UFO thought, which still resonates widely within the alternative religious community.
Based on original sources, this chapter introduces major East Asian UFO religions, delineating their chief ufological narratives. The movements discussed include Chino Shōhō with its Pana-Wave Laboratory, GLA, Kōfuku no Kagaku (Happy Science), and Kurama Kōkyō (Japan), Fǎlún Gōng (Fǎlún Dàfǎ) and Zhēndào Jiàohuì (Chen Tao) (China/Taiwan), as well as Chŭngsando and Yŏngsaenggyo Hananim’ŭi Sŏnghoe (Sŭngni Chedan) (South Korea). Notable in all cases is the influence of the New Age current.
Drawing on a variety of primary sources and numerous interviews and personal conversations with adherents from East Asia, Europe and the United States, this paper sheds light on the latest historical and doctrinal developments in the South Korean Unification Movement, following the passing of its founder and self-proclaimed Saviour, Mun Sŏn-myŏng, in September 2012. Recent personnel changes resulting in the uncontested leadership of Mun’s wife, Han Hak-cha, as well as the two key events of 2012 and 2013—Mun’s funeral and Foundation Day—will be briefly outlined. Concomitant doctrinal alterations in the interpretation of the movement’s integral millenarian vision, fleshing out as ‘Cheon Il Guk 2.0’ and entailing a revised notion of Foundation Day and the newly launched Vision 2020 scheme, will also be discussed. Ultimately, this paper shows how the Unification Movement has rendered its executive and theological base apt to preserve its systemically constitutive millenarian agenda for a post-Mun and post-Foundation Day era.
The myth of the millennium (i.e., the belief in an
imminent salvational change of the current world order), brought
forth either progressively or catastrophically, is grounding the
soteriological self-identity of East Asian new religious movements
(NRMs). This paper will systematically explore the
strikingly similar ethnocentric (i.e., Japanocentric, Koreacentric,
Sinocentric, Vietnam-centric) colouring of the myth across a wide
range of East Asian NRMs. It will be shown which function
the ethnocentric topos carries for the millenarian narrative
articulated by these religions.