Raëlism (also known as Raëlianism or the Raëlian movement) is a UFO religion that was founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon (b. 1946), now known as Raël. The Raëlian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, which they call the Elohim. Members of this species appeared human when having personal contacts with the descendants of the humans that they made. They purposefully misinformed early humanity that they were angels, cherubim, or gods. Raëlians believe that messengers, or prophets, of the Elohim include Buddha, Jesus, and others who informed humans of each era. The founder of Raëlism, members claim, received the final message of the Elohim and that its purpose is to inform the world about Elohim and that if humans become aware and peaceful enough, they wish to be welcomed by them.
The Raëlian Church has a quasi-clerical structure of seven levels. Joining the movement requires an official apostasy from other religions. Raëlian ethics include striving for world peace, sharing, democracy and nonviolence. Sexuality is also an important part of the Raëlian doctrine and its liberal views of sexuality have attracted some of its priests and bishops from other religions.
Raël founded Clonaid (originally Valiant Venture Ltd Corporation) in 1997, but then handed it over to a Raëlian bishop, Brigitte Boisselier in 2000. In 2002 the company claimed that an American woman underwent a standard cloning procedure that led to the birth of a daughter, Eve (b. 26 December 2002). Although few believe the claim, it nonetheless attracted national authorities and the mainstream media to look further into the Raëlians' cult status.
The Raëlians frequently use the swastika as a symbol of peace, which halted Raëlian requests for territory in Israel, and later Lebanon, for establishing an embassy for extraterrestrials. The religion also uses the swastika embedded on the Star of David. Starting around 1991, this symbol was often replaced by a variant star and swirl symbol as a public relations move, particularly toward Israel.
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n. (alternative spelling of Raëlism English)