Three months after having infiltrated the Raelians, reporter Brigitte McCann was officially accepted by the group. On April 6, she was baptized by Claude Vorilhon - Rael himself - assisted by the president of Clonaid, Brigitte Boisselier, during a grand ceremony staged at the Canada Pavilion on Ile Notre-Dame in Montreal.
It's a great day to be a Raelian. At last, I can "educate" humanity. I make my way through the crowd of 250 or so Raelians waiting excitedly for the annual "celebration of the creation of the first humans in a laboratory."
All are impatient to see the faces of the new Raelians - fresh blood, who will be baptized today. I feel all eyes on me as I take my place in the lineup of only six recruits.
Standing in front of the crowd of Raelians for the first time, I'm afraid someone will recognize and denounce me. I make a mental note of the exits.
Disguised as a recruit, my colleague Chantal is squatting in the first row of spectators, camera in hand. She obtained a rare permission to take photos so I could have a souvenir of the event.
Baptism Day is the greatest moment in the life of a Raelian. None of them ever forget it.
During the "transmission" of my "cellular plan," Rael will use telepathy to send my genetic code to our creators, the Elohims, who will then be able to communicate with me.
They will understand that I now acknowledge them as my creators and that I will transmit their "messages." I will make my official entrance among these "educators of humanity" and may one day attain eternal life on the planet of the Elohims.
All morning perfect strangers have been warmly congratulating and hugging me. As they pass by, they proudly exclaim: "So you're the Brigitte who is doing a transmission of her cellular plan! And you're to be baptized by Rael himself? Lucky girl! When I was baptized, it was just by a guide ... ."
My turn has come. The leader calls my fictitious name into the microphone. A rapid scan of the hall - no one moves a muscle. I walk towards Claude Vorilhon. His bodyguards don't flinch. Everything's going to plan.
I pass in front of Brigitte Boisselier, the cloning priestess, who holds a large bowl of water. I stop in front of the "prophet," who fixes his eyes on mine, his face solemn.
Baptism is his bolt from the blue, his sword, his stranglehold on his disciples. At any time, he can withdraw their privileges by debaptizing them on the spot.
But now, my only concern is to have the right expression on my face. I opt for a blend of emotion and solemnity.
The guru turns toward Boisselier and plunges his hands into the bowl of water. He places his right hand on my forehead, his left on the back of my head and exerts a light pressure. Water runs down my face. He closes his eyes, and so do I.
The next five seconds feel like 20. It's as though all the spectators are holding their breath. I wait, ready for anything to happen.
Vorilhon opens his eyes right after me and solemnly declares: "The Elohims have acknowledged you!"
The crowd is enchanted and applauds warmly while I return to my seat, stopping on my way to shake a few hands.
"Welcome to the family!" cries Manon, an exuberant Raelian woman whom I've been rubbing shoulders with since January. She has tears in her eyes and plants two wet kisses on my cheeks.
"And?" she asks, her eyes wide.
"Er ... it was incredible! I felt all warm inside."
"I felt the same thing," she answers, satisfied. "Rael is soooo full of love!"
To hear Vorilhon, his love is infinite. "I love you, all of you, with or without a skirt, with an equal love," he declares. "This love is the only love."
That may be true, but disciples soon learn that doesn't mean they can bug him with their problems. The misfortunes of "abused people" are of no interest to him.
"The English say: Bull----!" he cries. "If you want to make yourself interesting with your problems, OK, but we won't play into your hands."
He doesn't want to hear a word about the past of his followers: "You want to tell me about your past? Have you been raped, here, just now? No? Well then, all's well!"
The same goes for the women's mood swings. "It is so easy for a woman to justify her misfortune, her character, but premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is no excuse for losing your happiness. Say to yourselves: I'll go meditate. When the PMS is over, you will no longer have this handicap."