The coming of the flying saucers in 1947 were seen by some as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy of the end times, “fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven... in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars” - Luke 21, King James Version. The thought was reflected in a song, (When You See) Those Flying Saucers performed by The Buchanan Brothers, Oct. 27, 1947:
...those flying saucers may be just a sign...
So repent today, you’re running out of time
When you see a saucer fly like a comet through the sky
You should realize the price you’ll have to pay
You’d better pray to the Lord when you see those flying saucers
It may be the coming of the Judgment Day"
The previous STTF article, Signs: Ezekiel, the Bible and UFOs, recounted some early examples of the intersection of religion and saucers. This piece will examine how UFOs became a core part of the World Church led by Reverend Orval L. Jaggers
|The Los Angeles Times April 19, 1952|
Reverend O. L. Jaggers
Reverend Orval Lee Jaggers (1916 - 2004) was a contemporary of Billy Graham of Oral Roberts, and began his ministry as a successful traveling revival evangelist, complete with tent shows and healing the sick. In 1952 he opened the World Church in Los Angeles, which by 1956 boasted a membership over 10,000, and reached an even wider audience by via radio, television and occasional speaking tours. Jaggers also wrote over 300 short books on a number of modern concerns, from the threat of Communism to the Atomic bomb, immortality and flying saucers.
Rev. Jaggers was an associate editor to The Voice of Healing, the monthly inter-evangelical magazine of the Last-Day Sign-Gift Ministries. Their July 1950 issue featured an article “Prophetic Significance of The Flying Saucer” by editor Gordon Lindsay, and it’s very much in line with the message Jaggers incorporated into his ministry.
"God is determined to punish a race that has rejected Him and given themselves over so completely to evil and depravity. It would appear that the matter of the Flying Saucers is one more warning to the sinner to repent and get right with God before the horror of irremediable judgment strikes the earth."
It's valuable snapshot of how the public viewed the UFO phenomenon at the time, as a pervasive mystery seen by many people, the origin unknown. Lindsay and Jaggers leveraged that and turned the belief of the seen, saucers, into a tool for managing belief of the unseen, God and Heavenly matters.
UFOs became part of Rev. Jaggers’ sermons, as seen in the clipping above from the Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1952, on his sermon, “Flying Saucers.”
|PDF of book at http://www.universalworldchurch.org/w/images/6/68/Flying_saucers.pdf|
In 1952, Rev. Jaggers expanded the sermon into a 48-page book, Flying Saucers! In the book, Jaggers said:
Documentary evidence both from government sources and otherwise; prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the so-called FLYING SAUCERS ARE REAL.” He goes on to say that UFOs were described in several passages in the Bible, and that Ezekiel’s Wheel was a description of flying saucers.
There are two types of angelic beings one is the CHERUBIM or the “LIVING CREATURES” and the other is the SERAPHIM.
Jaggers explained that their appearance is a warning to the USA due to the moral decay of the nation:
BECAUSE OF AMERICA’S SINS… FLYING SAUCERS… THE CHERUBIM OR WHEEL IN THE MIDDLE OF A WHEEL, WITH SUPERSONIC AND SUPERNATURAL SPEED AND POWER, ARE FLYING OVER AMERICA AS A WARNING THAT THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD ARE ABOUT TO FALL ON THIS UNRIGHTEOUS NATION!
Later in 1952, Jaggers' sermon answers the question:
“Who Are the Little Men in the Flying Saucers?”
|The Los Angeles Times Aug. 16, 1952|
|Los Angeles Times Dec. 12, 1953|
The article by Tony Breeden at the site Christian Exotheology, “The Preacher Who Believed That Flying Saucers Were Kidnapping Human Beings – in 1953,” suggests that Jaggers was inspired by reading the article by Leroy Thorpe, “Are the Flying Saucers Kidnapping Humans?” in the October 1953 issue of Man to Man magazine. The article was not based on contemporary accounts, just an undated recycling of a mysterious disappearance taken from one of Charles Fort’s books.
|Winnipeg Free Press, June 12 1954|
Flying saucers kidnapping humans didn’t fit well with Jaggers’ angel explanation, so he eventually revised his point of view to say that some saucers had little men - or even giants - inside.
|Odessa American Sept. 9, 1955|
"Irrefutable proof that flying saucers and little men in flying saucers do exist!"
|Press-Courier (Oxnard, CA) Aug. 31, 1957|
Flying Saucers were an integral part of Rev. Jaggers' teachings an in 1974, he reissued his 1952 book under a new title, revised to include modern UFO news clippings, U.F.O.s and the Creatures That Fly Them! Those teachings along with some other extreme departures from Biblical teachings caused a divide between the World Church and more conventional evangelists.
Somewhere along the line, Rev. Jaggers picked up an impressive collection of degrees, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Biology and Divine Physics, Doctor of Literature, Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Nuclear Biology, Ph.D. Professor of Human Genetics - all apparently granted by his University of the World Church.
1957, Miss Velma and Beyond
|At the top: The Los Angeles Times June 30, 1956|
|The San Bernardino County July 22, 1957|
According to the biography of Jaggers at the site Healing and Revival, things took a turn for the worse in 1957. Miss Velma joined the ministry and “participated in all of his increasingly weird teachings and found her niche in odd theatrical productions.” ... (A financial fiasco) caused the church to decline and it never recovered. Jaggers was no longer a daily news item and his teachings became increasingly unbiblical and weird. He taught that God was created by space aliens.”
The Universal World Church hosts a site devoted to the memory of Rev. Dr. O. L. Jaggers, Dr. Miss Velma Jaggers, and it includes much valuable information from articles to videos of the Jaggers in lectures and television performances.
. . .
Other Sources and Further Reading
All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern America
by David Edwin Harrell, Jr, 1979 (At Google Books)
Biography of O.L. Jaggers: "Healing As A Means To An End"
“O. L. Jaggers: January 8, 1916 - January 10, 2004,” The Voice of Healing
“Prophetic Significance of The Flying Saucer” by Gordon Lindsay, The Voice of Healing, July 1950
“What is the Mystery of the Flying Saucers?” by Gordon Lindsay The Voice of Healing, Oct. 1952
“The Mystery of the Flying Saucers” by Gordon Lindsay The Voice of Healing, April 1954
“Further Developments On the Flying Saucers” by Gordon Lindsay The Voice of Healing, June 1954