Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion

Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion

Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion

Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion


An in-depth look at the Raelian movement, founded in the 1970s by Rael, born in France as Claude Vorilhon. It traces Rael's philosophy and the formation of the Raelian subculture - radical sexual ethics, Gnostic anthropocentricism, and ecotheology, showing how our worldviews have been shaped by globalization, postmodernism, and secular humanism.


I first stumbled across the Raelians in 1987 at the Montreal Psychic Fair. I was with my friend James, who is a shirag (priest) in the Sufi order in the West, and we were strolling past the booths, checking out the pagan/New Age/ Wiccan books. Most of the stalls were tended by black-robed witches reading the tarot or clients' palms. We watched an Ontario housewife in a coral polyester suit channel Catholic saints in a high, wispy, Toronto-inflected accent, as she lay in a coffin padded with turquoise satin. Then I spotted the Raelian guides—men whose long locks straggled down white turtleneck shirts, skinny chests weighted with heavy medallions. On drawing closer to peer at these, I saw the Star of David interlocked with—could that be a swastika? The booth displayed posters of UFOs flying through space.

“Hey, James! Look, here's a flying-saucer group!” We struck up a conversation with the two Francophone guides, who showed us Raël's books. The tall one invited us to participate in a raffle. We had to write answers to basic questions on astronomy and put our papers with our names in a glass bowl. “The winner will receive a visit from a guide, a free Apocalypse magazine, and a private viewing of the videocassette They're Coming!

The next morning my phone rang. “Congratulations, Madame Palmer, you are the winner of the Raelian raffle.” We set a time for the guide to come over, and I phoned James to invite him also.

“Hey, James, guess what? I won!”

“So did I, ” said James.

“What a coincidence! I thought there was only one winner.”

“Susan… don't you get it?”

The Raelian guide who came to my house was named Gaston and had long dyed-blond hair. I couldn't tell if he was gay or straight. The Apocalypse had artful photographs of naked Raelians cavorting at their summer camp. Some photos were homoerotic. “Finally, ” I thought, “a gay NRM [New . . .

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