Rael and Dr. Brigitte Boisselier at a press conference in 2004
Raël (1946- ) is a former French racing car driver and journalist, Claude Vorilhon, who reportedly had an encounter with a UFO.
Vorilhon took up the name Rael and formed the Raelian movement that claims to be directed by benevolent aliens called the Elohim. This is a Hebrew biblical term that the Raelians interpret to mean “those who come from the sky.”
Rael’s organization has religious sounding terms in its structure, and he has become the charismatic leader of some 90,000 Raelians around the world.
According to the Raelian pamphlet, “The True Face of God” (1998) the Elohim “created humanity scientifically” and are returning to Earth:
On December 13, 1973 RAEL met with human beings from another planet. They are the ELOHIM of the Bible, mistaken for gods by our ancestors and spoken of in all the great religions. RAEL, the last messenger of these heavenly beings, reports this fantastic work of scientific creation in THE FINAL MESSAGE…Those extraterrestrials are our fathers in space and they love us like their own children.
The attractively printed pamphlet includes ordering details for THE FINAL MESSAGE (at a cost of $25 CDN) and omits Rael’s belief in unconditional love. He apparently practiced ‘free sex’ with several girlfriends.
Marriage is forbidden in the Raelian movement because it fosters, the Raelians maintain, human bondage rather than freedom and love.
Both hetero- and homosexuality are encouraged.
Rael moved to Canada around the time I became aware of his movement. It seems the situation behind him in Europe made his immigration an attractive option.
In 1991, Raël sued French journalist Jean-Yves Cashga for defamation; Raël lost, however, and was ordered to pay court costs. The judgment remains uncollected. Amidst growing legal problems in France, Raël decided to emigrate to Canada.¹
In a 2002 media release, Clone-Aid, an organization owned by the Raelian bishop Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, claimed to have formed the first human clone. Convincing evidence, however, was never produced. A subsequent claim was made in 2003 about the cloning of another human being.
Rael, himself, stresses that the Raelians do not own nor invest in Clone-Aid.
The Raelian movement still sells books and offers downloads to further its cause.
One web site states “Raelians expose Catholic fraud with scientific study, demonstrate that hosts are only simple bread.” This article seems to overlook the Catholic theological argument in support of the belief in transubstantiation. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere:
To make sense of the fact that the communion wafer doesn’t change in outward appearance, Catholic theologians rely on the Aristotelian distinction between a thing’s form and its substance. According to this belief, the form (what we see) does not change but the substance (sometimes called the essence) does. This opposes the popular view that the Eucharist is only a symbol of remembrance or, as some New Age believers say, a sign of human or cosmic unity.²