Raelian expose big news in U.S.

Sun Media Newspapers/October 11, 2003
By Kevin Connor

The Raelians, who welcomed worldwide attention earlier this year for human cloning claims, are protesting their latest turn in the media spotlight. And cult experts say Sun Media's series, in which two journalists infiltrated the Raelians, will shake up the organization.

"Those higher in the (Raelian) structure will be demoted for not catching spies. Heads will roll," said Dr. Sam Klarreich, a cult specialist with the Ontario Psychological Association.

The Quebec-based religion, headed by former journalist and race car driver Claude Vorilhon -- who is known as Rael -- believes humans were cloned by aliens.

The articles disclosed some disciples say they are ready to die for Vorilhon, who believes there are governments planning his assassination, and women in the cult are prepared to offer their eggs to help the cult's cloning program launch new experiments in human cell culture.

The Raelian movement became front-page news last December with claims its scientists soon would deliver the first human clone. No proof was ever given they had cloned a baby.

The reporters also uncovered bizarre "sensual meditation" sessions.

"Our members aren't forced to do anything," Raelian Bishop Ricky Lee said Thursday.

The newspaper series has attracted international attention, with reporters Brigitte McCann and Chantal Poirier appearing on CNN and U.S. newspapers running excerpts.

Lee said his group is considering a lawsuit because of the series.

"(The reporters) were deceitful (about joining) and printed lies to sell a story," Lee said.

Mike Kropveld, executive director of Info-Cult, said there is the possibility the Raelians knew there were reporters in their midst and ignored it for the publicity.

"It would satisfy (Vorilhon's) need for the spotlight," said Kropveld.

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