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Get to know Raëlism founder Claude Vorilhon

Autor: Caroline Peacock

NETFLIX’s new documentary Raël: The Alien Prophet delves into the controversial Raëlism movement and its founder, Claude Vorilhon.

But who is he and what is his philosophy? Here’s what we know.

Raël claims to be an alien prophet who has had contact with extra-terrestrial beings

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Raël claims to be an alien prophet who has had contact with extra-terrestrial beingsCredit: Corbis – Getty

Who is Claude Vorilhon?

Claude Vorilhon, also known as Raël, is an ex-journalist and singer who started his own religion in 1973.

He started Raëlism after claiming he met aliens who travelled down from outer space on an intergalactic ship near a volcanic crater in France.

He claims to have had encounters with aliens who gave him the knowledge to establish the religion.

The message he was given by the visitors became the Raëlian philosophy, which he released in books that include The Book Which Tells the Truth and Extraterrestrials Took Me to Their Planet.

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Claude has been accused by ex-Raëlians of plagiarism in his works, with some passages compared to the work of author Jean Sendy.

It is also claimed much of his Raëlian philosophy matches that of Osho, founder of the Rajneesh movement.

What is Raëlism?

The Raëlian movement, known to many as a “UFO religion”, started in France in the 1970s.

Claude claims the origins of all life on Earth were explained to him during an alien encounter in 1973.

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The belief system argues for personal and sexual freedom, love, science and technological advancement.

The philosophy believes that humans were put here thousands of years ago by aliens as an experiment.

Raëlism claims humanity must harness new scientific and technological development in order to bring forth peace.

When this is achieved, the extraterrestrial species of Elohim will come back to planet Earth and provide their own advanced technology to humans which will then bring forth utopia.

Claude has led this “atheist religion” through social justice campaigns and televised debates, which has earned him hundreds of thousands of devoted followers.

“The only difference between us and anybody else is that we believe all life was created by the Elohim, who were extra-terrestrials visiting Earth from another planet,” Glenn Carter, president of the British Raëlian movement, explained to VICE.

“The rest of our behaviour is the same as any other human being or group.”

Where is Raëlism based?

Raëlism is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

UFOland, an ‘information’ and recruitment centre for the religion is visited by tourists from across the world.

Where is Claude Vorilhon now?

In 2007, Claude was denied a move to the Swiss Canton Valais.

This was because he was feared to be endangering public values due to his promotion of sexual liberty.

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He was also denied entry in part due to his belief in ‘Clonaid human cloning’ which is forbidden in the country.

Claude now lives in Japan, where he continues to preach Raëlism.

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