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Raelian Nation angels poised to die for prophet
« on: 2003-10-09 19:51:31 »
Dated: Tuesday, October 7, 2003
Author: By BRIGITTE MCCANN, SUN MEDIA
Claude Vorilhon, head of the worldwide Raelian movement, warns he's been
targeted for death by the CIA and the French secret service for leading his
dangerous "atheistic religion."
Sun Media reporter Brigitte McCann and photographer Chantal Poirier
infiltrated the bizarre sect over a nine-month period and were put to the
test of their loyalty
- - -
Constantly surrounded by bodyguards, Claude Vorilhon is convinced that he's
the target of numerous assassination plots. The prophet known to his
followers as Rael wants his disciples to share his paranoia that George Bush
and Jacques Chirac themselves want his skin.
"There's a strong chance I'll be the next victim of an assassination
attempt," proclaims Vorilhon in the weekly Contact magazine published for
"And the fact that we're talking about it here today is one of the means of
trying to avoid it," he continues.
Vorilhon is a former race-car driver and journalist who created the Raelian
Movement, which he calls "an atheistic religion," in 1973. He says he was
visited by aliens in France who told him they were the "Elohim" mentioned in
the Bible and had created the human race through cloning. Today his movement
boasts 55,000 members in 84 countries.
Vorilhon claims the secret service of France and America's CIA have been
trying to eliminate him because he's dangerous. The name of their secret
extermination operation: The Abraham Project.
According to his theory, the mentally ill would be used as agents to
assassinate him and carry out other crimes. Schizophrenics would obey voices
emitted by audio systems secretly installed in their homes.
That would explain why a mentally ill person ransacked the Raelian church
campground in November 2002, according to the guru. It was a test of their
The former journalist goes as far as citing an alleged directive of U.S.
President George Bush: "I want the skin of this Rael who preaches atheism at
"If I'm assassinated next by a mentally ill person," concludes Rael, "you
must cry out loud and strong what's behind all that and that you've made
investigations that unmask those responsible who are extremely high-placed
in France and the United States."
The Raelians don't bat an eye hearing about such presumed plots. There is
even one who hopes that it will happen.
"That would be good if one day Rael was killed or died," says Pierre Bolduc,
a friend of Rael's since his arrival in Quebec 25 years ago.
"Because if he died, there wouldn't be any further chance that one day he
would deny all that he's taught the last 20 years -- his meeting with the
Elohims and all that. Jesus wasn't crucified for nothing!" he says.
The Raelian movement already shows signs of going off the rails which brings
to mind the deaths of 10 members of the Order of the Sun Temple in Quebec in
That's the opinion of Dianne Casoni, a renowned psychologist and
criminologist who specializes in religious sects, after reviewing material
gathered by Sun Media.
"Generally, it's the mental health and the moral judgment of the leader
that's the greatest protection against loss of control," says the University
of Montreal professor.
Rael is already showing signs of paranoia anxiety -- security guards are
omnipresent and he has written about his fear of assassination.
"What worries me the most is when conspiracy theories develop," Casoni
explains. "The group says to itself, 'We're in danger, we have to protect
ourselves,' and sometimes it becomes, 'We have to fight back' and that's
when things can go on the skids."
She recalls that religious cult leader Jim Jones constantly obliged his
disciples to move before his paranoia resulted in the collective suicide of
912 members of his sect, the Temple of the People, in Guyana in 1978.
Another disturbing fact is Claude Vorilhon, Rael, is tightening his hold
over his disciples more and more. The creation of the Order of the Angels,
the women in his service, is an example.
"From year to year we see an increase in the assertion of Rael's authority,"
says Alain Bouchard, a sociologist observing the Raelian movement.
"He's really starting to take himself more seriously," he adds. "His ego's
"It worries me to see that there's a growth in the level of control and
Continued from previous page
unreasonable demands," says Mike Kropveld, director of Info-Sect.
Claude Vorilhon himself admitted the potential danger of a movement going in
the wrong direction, following the first collective suicides of Sun Temple
"No one is protected from a loss of control," he told Le Journal de Montreal
at the time. "Jesus said: 'Love one another' and Catholicism produced the
Inquisition. We shouldn't be shocked by anything then."
Seventy-four members of the Order of the Sun Temple were killed or committed
suicide in three countries from 1994 to 1997.
Ten died in Quebec.
For now, the effects on the members of the leader's paranoia of the leader
is limited to the sort of feelings you'd get from a horror film, according
"The members are afraid; it's created a thrill and a cohesion in the group
so everyone is satisfied," he says. "When they begin to construct bunkers,
that's when we should be worried."
But things could become complicated the day the leader faces the crumbling
of his movement, warns Casoni.
That could already be happening, for in spite the pretensions of Rael, "the
membership of the movement has been stagnating for the past 20 years,"
Bouchard points out.
The leader will then have two choices -- to accept the dissolution of his
group or to adopt the hard line, only keeping the core of his group.
"In the end with the Order of the Sun Temple, only the most committed
members killed themselves," recalls Casoni.
The elite Angels of Rael have the obligation of more than serving their
prophet. They must die for him if necessary.
A statement entitled "Last Messages" is entrusted to all Raelians interested
in joining the Angels of Rael. It eloquently indicates they must be ready to
be of service to the Elohim (extraterrestrials) and the prophets (Rael)
without any restrictions, including sexuality.
"The privilege of being near them" is reserved to those who want to give
everything, "including their own lives if that is necessary to protect
them," says the statement.
The document even demands those senior among the Angels to fill in a new
form of adherence to make their choice.
"For the Angels of Rael, the Elohim and their Messenger come above
everything. These are the individuals who are ready to sacrifice everything
for them ... even their lives," we can read in a second document given to
An Angel for the past five years, Sandrine, 40, takes her commitment very
seriously. When asked if she is ready to die if the security of her prophet
is put in danger, she answers without hesitation.
"Absolutely!" replies the slim brunette when questioned at UFOland this past
summer by an undercover Sun Media reporter.
"And I would do it for you, too, if there was an injustice," she adds
eagerly and convincingly.
In principal, only Rael can decide if such a sacrifice is necessary or not,
since in the eyes of his disciples, he is the only one in contact with the
Could he proclaim one day that the Elohims asked him telepathically for a
"Before getting to that point, it would be necessary to first have
preliminary signs," asserts Alain Bouchard, sociologist of religions at the
University of Laval.
For now, everything supports the belief that it's only about a symbolic
Some are concerned the lives of these women could, however, be put in danger
in the future.
"If things start going downhill, that which was symbolic could be required,"
warns Dianne Casoni.
"It's disturbing to make this type of demand on people," says Mike Kropveld.
Curiously enough, Kropveld tends to think that there's nothing to be alarmed
about. "It's one of the most transparent movements that I know," he says.
- - -
Throughout this series, our three experts on cult organizations will provide
their views on what our journalists have discovered. They will analyse the
activities, attitude and philosophy of the Raelian movement, as revealed by
Dianne Casoni, a specialist in cult groups, asserts the Raelians use various
methods to control and intimidate their disciples. She's a psychologist and
professor at the Department of Criminology of the University of Montreal.
Alain Bouchard, an expert on the Raelian movement, says the organization
needs scientific assertions, be they true or false, to establish its
credibility in the eyes of the public and of its disciples. He teaches
religious studies at Laval University in Quebec City.
Finally, Sun Media met with Mike Kropveld, director of Info-Cult, an
organization focused on sensitizing the community to cult thinking.
According to Kropveld, Rael uses provocation to maintain the cohesion of his