Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meet the Raelians: Inside the World’s Strangest — and Nicest — UFO Sex Clone Religion

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By Charlie Jane Anders

     The International Raelian Movement might be the world's most science-fictional religion — at the very least, they're up there with Scientology. Their founder claims he met the aliens who created the human race, and their main ritual involves sending your DNA to an alien planet. The group announced they cloned a human baby in 2002. They want to rebuild African women's clitorises in a special Pleasure Hospital.

But if anything, the Raelians are the opposite of the Scientologists. They're goofy, laid-back, a little bit cheesy, and anything but paranoid. They strip naked in public government buildings, rent zany billboards, and pose with inflatable UFOs. There always seems to be a huge element of performance art and Burning Man-style campiness with these guys.

I've been curious about the Raelians for a decade, so when I had the chance to come to one of their meetings, with most of the top Raelian leadership in attendance, I was overjoyed. And a little bit terrified. Were they going to brainwash me? Or force me to do Sensual Meditation with them? Here's what happened on my day with the Raelians.

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