The Raelian Movement

Susan J. Palmer

in The New Heretics of France

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735211
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918577 | DOI:
The Raelian Movement

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The Raelian Movement is arguably the world's largest “flying-saucer cult.” Its spokespersons boast of 80,000 members worldwide. The aim of the Raelian Movement is to “spread the Message”—that all humankind, all races, and all species of flora and fauna were created from DNA matter by extraterrestrial scientists (the Elohim) who arrived on our barren planet at the dawn of time and set up laboratories. The Mouvement raëlien fran çais (MRF) has been criticized as one of the most dangerous and despicable sects in France. Ever since its inception in the early 1970s, it has been attacked in the newspapers, on television, and in anticult literature. But despite this cultural opposition, the Raelians have always flourished in France. Raël, their prophet and messie, however, fled the country in 2002 and has never returned. The story of how Raël was driven from French soil, of how the French Raelians have weathered antisecte discrimination, and why they recently disbanded their formal organization to go underground, is a dramatic and fascinating story in itself—and it tells us a great deal about the impact of the anticult movement on the targeted groups in France.

Keywords: Raelian Movement; flying-saucer cults; anticult movement; religious movements; antisecte discrimination

Chapter.  12452 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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