Known to many as a UFO cult – The Raëlians return to the spotlight in new documentary

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MYSTERY WIRE — The world’s largest UFO religion is waiting for the return of humanity’s creators, a race of extraterrestrials called the Elohim.

The Raëlians call themselves an organization, but are often referred to as a cult, or even a space alien cult. According to the president of the North American Raëlians there are around 130,000 members in more than 80 countries. The Raëlians are now the subject of the new documentary on VICE called The Prophet and the Space Aliens.


In the video below from December 12, 2008, George Knapp explains who the Raëlians are and reports on an incident at McCarran International Airport.


The Raëlians say they don’t believe in any gods. Rather, they think humans were cloned in a lab by extraterrestrials.

“Rael” delivers a speech at a conference in Tokyo, August 4, 2002. (Photo: TSHIFIUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

Their prophet Raël, former french journalist and race car driver Claude Vorilhon, had his own alien encounter over 40 years ago and founded a religion devoted, he says, to science, and also to pleasure.

Raëlians are sexually liberated, which has likely helped them recruit new members all over the globe.

They’ve also had their share of controversies, including claims years ago that they successfully cloned human babies. “It’s really important to clarify that the Raëlian movement is not cloning,” Thomas Kaenzig, president of the U.S. Raëlian movement, told Mystery Wire. “Raël as leader of the Raëlian movement, he initiated the cloning project, but it was handed over to Raelien Brigitte Boisselier in the late 90s and it became independent.”

Another of the controversies surrounding the group is the use of the swastika, an ancient symbol of peace that was adopted by the Nazis. The Raëlians symbol shows the swastika inside of the star of David.

“The symbol is the oldest symbol on Earth,” Raël told George Knapp in a 2008 interview in Las Vegas. “You have it, you know, in the Tibetan temple, Buddhist temple, Hindu people … I can say more than a billion people on Earth, pray in temples where you have a swastika every day. And the very symbol which makes the star of David and swastika is in the Tibetan Book of the dead. So it’s a very old symbol. And of course, we have nothing to do, it has nothing to do with Nazism.”

A central goal for the Raëlians is the creation of an embassy near Jerusalem to welcome back the Elohim, a protective race of space aliens.

“These beings who are 25,000 years ahead of us, they could come here at any moment,” Kaenzig said. “But they’re so respectful. And I think through that there’s a lot of teaching that is so respectful, and they say, if you want to welcome us, we will come if you don’t want to we will not come. They could destroy the planet. They could move around the whole solar system if they want. They could appear anywhere in time. But they say we come if you build an embassy for us, so the embassy is like the sign that humanity’s ready because they don’t want to impose themselves on us.”

Currently, the Raëlian North American headquarters is in Las Vegas, which the raelians see as a good fit. There was some talk around 2006 of the group buying a hotel in Las Vegas and converting it to a headquarters, but then the recession hit and those plans were shelved.

When Mystery Wire asked Kaenzig about the new documentary he said overall it was neutral, but pointed out something major he says was missing, “I witnessed personally, I was with him for several weeks in Europe and Asia. He filmed I would say, three or four weeks of entire Happiness Academies, the teachings of Raël, which is the main part of the Happiness Academy, he filmed hours and hours and hours, in the documentary, there’s zero of that.

“It (the documentary) comes through the eyes of somebody who has, you know, it’s not I wouldn’t say against, but he doesn’t believe in any religion and comes from this very atheist point of view. And it’s through his perception there that this whole movie was made. But you know, he lets people speak. And I applaud that.”


In the video below from May 27, 2006, George Knapp reports on the Raëlians showing up to the adult video convention in Las Vegas.


Below you can watch and read the interview George Knapp had with Raël when he visited Las Vegas in 2008.

George Knapp
The reason you’re coming to Las Vegas, it’s an important anniversary.

Raël
Very important. It’s a, I don’t know, it doesn’t make me younger. But it’s the 35th birthday, another anniversary in English of our organization, because they also we can say that 35 years, that’s a long time,

George Knapp
35 years ago is when you had your encounter?

Raël
Yes, and so for 35 years, I am traveling around around the globe to spread this message and from being alone with this message. And now we have 80,000 members in 85 countries

George Knapp
In that 35 years, other than this incident that we’re going to talk about, have you noticed a change in the attitude of other people we’re not really into about you and your organization?

Raël
Yes, a lot, changed a lot. Depending of what’s happening in the world, you know, there was a beginning, everybody was very enthusiastic, because they were focused on the UFO things, and they loved it. And then you realize the message is very revolutionary on many other aspects, not only our contact with the UFO, but what is more important is not so much the contact, but the message, what do they recommend we change in our life, whether to change, but our religion, philosophy, politic, it affects every aspect of our life. And then the strong reaction became a little bit different than just (inaudible), UFO, and then became a little bit more fearful in some place. And then there was a cloning event, if you remember, well, I’m sure, we should also change lots of things. And now the cloning and stem cell start to be accepted. So now, I can see now we are living in the most positive time of our organization.

George Knapp
But I would imagine that to a lot of people, you are considered dangerous, your ideas are dangerous.

Raël
At the beginning, I was not. Then for a while I was then I was not again, the 35 years. And then after the cleaning, very dangerous. And now for I can see the majority of people not dangerous at all.

George Knapp
Let’s talk about this incident in Las Vegas. You get off the plane and they and you are told about what happened.

Raël
No, I get off the plane and I arrive in like every year for 20 years in Las Vegas and, or my friend waiting for me. And you know, there was I don’t know dozens of ralien waiting for me with the little banner will come right like every year. And all of a sudden I see police officers coming and asking the Ralien to leave. So I was very surprised. Not me because I was traveling arriving but the writing and they said we will have they threaten to make some arrests. The officers say we will have to make some arrest if you don’t move. I was shocked.

George Knapp
Arrests for what?

Raël
That’s why my question but I couldn’t talk to them at risk for what I don’t know. I don’t know. So just for being maybe they know they have a religious minority. But I thought in America religious, the rights of religious minority are well protected. So I was very, very upset by that. And I asked the national guide of our organization to contact the ACLU and to ask our to speak with our attorney and to prosecute because it I don’t think it’s possible for police to expel from the airport people just because they have their member of religious minority. I don’t think it’s possible in America.

George Knapp
It basically boils down to the symbol?

Raël
I don’t think so. I don’t think so. That was that was a banner. But you know, the symbol is very small. So there was a banner, welcome Rael. And I think somebody in the management of the airport just doesn’t like the Railian, but we have the right to exist.

George Knapp
Tell me about the symbol.

Raël
The symbol is the oldest symbol on Earth. You have it, you know, in the Tibetan temple, Buddhist temple Indu people induced, you know, me, I can say more than a billion people on earth, pray in temple where you have a swastika every day. And the very symbol which makes the star of David and swastika is in the Tibetan Book of death. So it’s a very old symbol. And of course, we have nothing to do with it has nothing to do with Nazism. The opposite because our goal, you know, the most important goal of the Reagan movement is to build an embassy, close to Jerusalem, to welcome Elohim. Elohim being the name that the Jewish people give to God, and they are the creator of life. And so there is absolutely no possible association with Nazis. The opposite of the contrary, we want to help Israel and we are pro Israel.

George Knapp
This symbol basically was abducted by the Nazis,

Raël
Of course. Not the full symbol, just a swastika was was stolen by Adolph Hitler. And there are many explanations about why he did that one of the most interesting is there was the kind of attempt to kill the Kaiser. And the life of the Kaiser was saved by a Buddhist monk. And the Buddhist monk has a swastika. And when the Kaiser says, I want to thank you for saving my life. How can I thank you, we say if you like put on yourself, a swastika and the Kaiser engraved engraved on the sword, a swastika. And Adolph Hitler was a big admirer of the Kaiser, and so decided to accept it and he connected it with his theory, stupid theory about you know, the superior race of indo-European people. And so it fits with this theory. And that’s why he stole the symbol.

George Knapp
Even if you were Nazis, which you are not, you should be able to wear that symbol. Regardless.

Raël
I know the principle but I cannot even think about that because you have neo Nazis in America, you have a Ku Klux Klan and many groups use that and they win in courts the right to wear the symbol. But we have nothing to do with that. It’s the opposite. We are non violent group, peaceful group anti apartheid, anti racist group, anti fighting against anti Semitism. So it’s completely the opposite only out of you know people meet with with no knowledge, just prejudices. And such why we expect apologies from this management of the Las Vegas airport.

George Knapp
Well, that’s what I wanted to ask next is what what are you asking? What would you like to see happen?

Raël
Public apologies, not me. I was not affected at all, but our our members, our followers, you know, being in America, country of religious freedom. In the world, I think coming to the airport, and being told by a police officer, you cannot be that why we cannot tell you that you cannot be that we are waiting, we are waiting for our religious leader. Know, if the Dalai Lama is coming, will you expel them? They say, we cannot tell you, but you have to leave right now. That’s terrible.

George Knapp
And if you don’t get an apology, what do you do?

Raël
We are we are talking with our attorneys. And we also send the information to the ACLU. And I think we cannot accept that not only for us, but for if you start like that, you know, it started like that in Nazi Germany precisely. And then you can have more terrible things. And I think with the shift from George Bush to Obama, we can hope that America is becoming more respectful and more peaceful. And the Las Vegas Airport Authority is doing exactly the opposite for the first time in 20 years,

George Knapp
Las Vegas is supposed to welcome everybody.

Raël
And I think with the nowadays economy problem, you need a lot of convention here. We selected Las Vegas to have a convention where people will come from every continent. I mean, if Rylan are not welcome here, we will organize our next convention in another place, but I think the Las Vegas economy needs to let the people be welcoming the airport in a proper manner.

George Knapp
One other question: Tell me about the organization how you’re doing worldwide. What’s the status?

Raël
Now? It’s so huge. We are now in 93 countries. And we have about 80,000 members. And it’s developing very quickly, especially, I must say, in Asia, Japan being number one country, but number of Ralien and the dynamism of the members.

George Knapp
A couple of years ago when you made the announcements about cloning, work, a lot of attention, a lot of negative attention that’s calmed down somewhat.

Raël
And as the work continues, of course, but that to avoid that you have to talk to Dr. Boisselier who was charge, as as I always say, in the media, keep on saying that the Ralian cloned the baby, we have nothing to do with the cleaning company. But philosophically, religiously, I am in favor of it. And they support Dr. Boisselier, in (her) enterprise to clone human being. But it’s absolutely not the Raelian movement. But I have been saying that for I don’t remember seven years, and always with just Ralian the group will clone the baby we never do. We we are only a philosophical group, but we support stem cells. So and I know that your new President Barack Obama, I hope we change the law and promote stem cell, which is great, great things to do. And also, we can sell the law, anti abortion, because we also are in favor of abortion, of teaching to children to use a condom, which is much better than teaching them. You know, refraining to have sex is a word for that in English, abstinence, which is just stupid, you can teach to a 15 or 16 years old hormonal volcano, that’s what we are when we are 16 abstinence. Wait a minute, this is just beautiful. Poetry doesn’t work and show it doesn’t work. So condom use condom and I think given convoyed schools for free to protect the children, because if not, we will have 1000s of young people dying from AIDS. And that’s, that’s very safe. And I think I hope, I think Obama is, is a great president for America will change a lot of things.

George Knapp
And you have one other question with Christmas season coming up…

Raël
Yes.

George Knapp
Do the Raelians recognize this? Are you tolerant or that? I know you in some interviews we’ve had before you are tolerant, but you’re also sharply critical.

Raël
At the same time, yes. Because Christmas is supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus who was a very important Prophet, a very important messenger of the Elohim. But at the same time, he was not a god and at the same time, we recognize Jesus as a messenger of Elohim. But we are faced we don’t believe in God. So that’s very difficult to understand for some people. We are very religious, but we don’t believe in God. And some people say how can you claim your religious if you don’t believe in God, best example I can give you is a Buddhist, there is no such thing as a god like the Dalai Lama said on CNN, in the Buddhist. But of course, it’s a religion with a high level of spirituality. Spirituality is very important for the future, and human beings need desperately, spirituality, but no God. God is killing people. The myth of God is killing people. And spirituality is saving people. You know, in Japan, where may very few people believe in God, they have the highest rate of suicide, because there is less not enough spirituality. So here, I bring the spirituality which is adapted to the new technologies. For me, the most religious thing we have on Earth, it may surprise you, is the internet. Because internet is a religious experience, you know, before where people were going to feel connected to all the planet, churches, temples, not anymore. In Canada, they are making the church which are empty, completely empty supermarket or dancing or discotheque. In Europe they are totally empty, except in some pocket, but France must have the Cheshire empty, no more priest, because young people don’t want to become priests. But the need for spirituality is very, very important. So people are a little bit lost. And that’s why they did try to feel connected with other people, and where do they go on their computer, on the internet, you feel connected, and I’m sure you do it every day to everybody on the planet. So that’s why I say the internet is a religious experience, but people don’t realize it. All of a sudden you feel a one, no border with all humankind. And that’s wonderful. And that’s kind of new spirituality that the Raelian movement promotes. Not only that, but stem cell but cloning. Cloning, what is the most important and beautiful part of human cloning? Giving you eternal life. Not anymore (do you) need to go to a church or temple to weird price priests talk about eternal life, eternal life become a scientific fact. That’s beautiful.

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