A Question I Was Asked:

What is Raelism?

The Question:

Who are the Raelists and what is Raelism? Is this a new cult?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Yes, this is a relatively new cult-type group.

Raelism, also known as the Raelian Movement, is believed by some (but not all) to be the world's largest UFO-type religious movement. It was founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, now known as "Rael" (supposedly meaning "messenger of the elohim"). An adherent of Raelism is a Raelian. The word should not, of course, be confused with 'realism,' whatever this group may be, they are certainly not realists!

Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon

(Born 1946)

I am informed that Vorilhon normally attires himself in flowing white gowns before addressing his adoring (and deluded?) followers.

This group teach that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extra-terrestrials, which they call the 'Elohim' (the Hebrew word for 'God'). Members of this species appeared to be human when having personal contacts with humans many thousands of years ago. They had sexual intercourse with earth women (so the claim goes), so their children (us) were/are partly human and partly extra-terrestrial. At that time these people claimed to be divine, or angelic, buying into the religious naivety and susceptibility of earthly humans of that time. So Raelians (quite incorrectly, of course) quote Genesis 6:4 as evidence of this. They believe that the messengers, or prophets, of the Elohim include Buddha, Jesus, and certain others, who informed humans of each era. Their present-day spokesman, it is claimed, received the final message of the 'Elohim' in the 1970s, explaining that the group's purpose is to inform the world about themselves, further explaining that if humans become 'aware' and peaceful enough, they can join with them when they (very soon!) return to earth.

Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon (born 30 September 1946 in Vichy, Allier, France), is the group's founder. He has written several books about the "revelation" which he claims to have received. Vorilhon was raised in the home of his maternal grandmother, who was an avowed atheist, yet he attended a Catholic boarding school - until his parents later withdrew him when he got into some bother for attending communion without permission. Later he became a singer and a sports journalist, being especially keen on motor racing. In 1971, Vorilhon created a French sports car magazine entitled 'Autopop.'

In his book 'Le Livre Qui Dit la Verite' ("The Book Which Tells the Truth"), Vorilhon stated that he had an alien visitation on 13 December, 1973. According to Vorilhon, this occurred in a secluded area within a volcanic crater in his native France. He claims that an extraterrestrial being came out of a craft that had descended gently from the sky, and told him, in French, that he had come for the sole purpose of meeting with him. Vorilhon claims that he was given a message by this alien (the message basically as I have just outlined) and told that it was his mission to pass this message on to all the people of Earth.

In short, this book states that advanced human scientists from another planet (supposedly with over 25,000 years of 'scientific advances') created all life on Earth through DNA manipulation. These scientists, Vorilhon said, were originally called 'Elohim' or "those who came from the sky." The book claims that around forty prophets in Earth's history (including, as we have seen, Buddha and Jesus), were actually sent by Elohim, but their messages became distorted by humans, largely because of the difference in the level of civilization between the advanced race and Earth's more primitive and religiously-naive and impressionable one. So Vorilhon claims that the major world religions are simply distortions of this "great truth" now revealed in full to - you guessed it! - Claude Vorilhon alone. Vorilhon said he was given the mission of informing the world of humanity's origins in anticipation of the return of these extra-terrestrials. So - one way and another - this is quite a strange cult.

Reports have claimed that in February 2007, three-times married Vorilhon, was denied residence in the Swiss Canton of Valais, in part for promoting the concept of sexual liberty and 'Raelian sexual education.' Complete sexual freedom is certainly one of this group's teachings. But there is confusion among the various groups of this cult's supporters in several areas, some preferring the schema that these 'extra-terrestrials' were indeed god-beings (rather than simply 'extra-terrestrials') and their impact on the earth's genetic history meaning that we humans too are at least partly 'divine.' So one may perceive how New Age and eastern mysticism has had an impact on some sections of this eclectic group.

The group abuse certain sections of the Bible which they twist to their own advantage, but have no interest in the rest. Were these (proposed) alien 'visitors' angelic, or god-beings, or simple very clever visitors from a more advanced planet? There is apparent confusion, and belief variation, here. One might also say that if the present leader's mission is to inform the entire earth of 'this vital truth,' the Raelians appear to be doing an exceptionally poor job of doing this, since it is now around 40 years since this "revelation" was - allegedly - received and, despite having many years of involvement in Christian Apologetics and countercult, and probably having read many thousands of Apologetics and countercult-related documents, I had never even heard of this group until quite recently!

There is also very strong evidence that the group stole certain of their pet doctrines from the Aetherius Society, another UFO-type religion, and one which was founded by George King in 1954, about twenty years before Vorilhon's claimed 'visitation.'

Robin A. Brace. November 27th, 2012.