How to Become a Raelian

Carrie Poppy tells the story (well, begins to…this is only part one) of her attendance at a Raelian Happiness Academy, a five-day gathering of people being initiated into the weird UFO cult of Raelianism. There is apparently some kinky group sex involved, though they seem to have missed out on most of it:

When the appointed registrar comes back in the room, he greets us with a pitiful shake of the head. “Oh no, you really missed all the good stuff,” he says. Ross and I look at each other. The “good stuff” is pretty famous, though we will all not refer to it directly for the next couple of days. The good stuff, according to Raëlian infidels, is not so much what you might call a “seminar” as what you might call “an orgy.” Stories abound of people getting naked in the seminars, massaging their genitals until they come, while onlookers try to pretend they aren’t onlooking. The “good stuff” allegedly means dressing up as the opposite sex (not the opposite sex from the one you were born with, which would be too banal a request, but opposite the one you go by in your everyday life, so for the trans-folks, it’s back to the identity you spent most of your life sloughing off, I suppose)—dressing up as the opposite sex and having a dance. Yes, a dance, the prom kind. Rumor has it these dances typically lead to everyone, save the minors, sleeping around. When Ross and I ask about the dances in our meetings, they all gaze at each other secretively and longingly. There were many times when I wanted to ask, “Should I leave you alone?”

And then there is the Raelian symbol:

But none of that matters yet, because above all the action is the Raëlian symbol, and it stares down at us with unyielding defiance. It’s gold and glittery and printed on a thick sheet of card stock. It is a Star of David, and inside, a swastika.

The swastika, you see, has been a symbol of peace and good luck around the world, until it was stolen by those darn Nazis, who turned it into something else altogether. And here it was again, meaning peace, harmony, and free love: all the things the aliens taught the Raëlians. And even though we’ve known that the swastika is their thing for quite some time, something brings the symbolism sharply into focus, when it’s there on the wall behind the religious leader still talking about clitoris rejuvenation.

“Reclaim the swastika,” says a brochure on the floor in front of me.

“You know,” I think, “sometimes it’s best to just let some things go.”

Indeed. Looking forward to reading part two. Who can resist kinky group sex and Nazis?

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  • Who can resist kinky group sex…”

    That’s not kinky. That’s the 1970s.

  • Mr Ed

    Just rub salt in my wounds Ed.

    In 1996 a few of us attended a sports car race where one of the cars was sponsored by UFO Land and driven by Rael. A friend of my looked up UFO Land on the early internet and found that it was an amusement park outside of Montreal with attendance similar to Disney Land. Later that summer while in Montreal we drove out to UFO Land which was a large barn on a dirt road with parking for no more that 20 cars.

    We decided that after driving that far we would take the tour. We saw a model of the spaceship that twice took Rael on adventures. We learned how these aliens had engineered our DNA. To someone with a high school biology course we found the whole thing slightly skeptical but we tried to be respectful. At the end of the tour we were sitting in the cafe when my wife picked up the signup sheet before she could even read it the guide swooped in and said, “not for you.”

    So thank you very much for opening that traumatic memory of being rejected by a cult

  • outraged

    Sooo… What you are saying is that if I join this group, I get wild, cross dressing kinky sex orgies when I attend, “church”?

    This sounds as good as the time in college when I got confirmed as a minister in the Universal Life Church. Their motto was, “We believe in that which is right.” I never did to the tax dodge bit, but heck, I never thought about having an orgy. Musta been, too, much pot.

    But this? I can get with the program. How many folks really believe they are going on a flying saucer and how many do you think are just there for the snacks and bodily fluids?

    The downside is that I checked the website and there aren’t a lot of events planned for N. America. Maybe I should apply with these guys. Sounds like you get to travel to some fun spots around the world on the churches dime.

    Not so much outraged as jealous.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    You work up the nerve to crank your own tractor in front of a friendly group, and they all look elsewhere?

    I think I would find that a downer, in a very literal sense.

  • The swastika, you see, has been a symbol of peace and good luck around the world, until it was stolen by those darn Nazis, who turned it into something else altogether.

    True enough. The building across from my bus stop (the Penobscot Building in downtown Detroit) has, among other decorations, a few swastikas – because of their use as Native American decorations. (They turn the opposite way from the Nazi version, though.)

    It was built in 1928, though. I certainly agree that a new building with swastikas of any rotation would be… ill-advised.

  • I usually go just for the cookies and Flavor Aid. The cross dressing prom and public masturbation are just to keep my mind off of the ever present swastika.

  • abb3w

    ♬I’m a Raëlian; I’m a happy Raëlian. ♬

    ♬ I’m an Elohim on planet Earth ♬

    …OK, so I hand around with filk parodists too much, but I’m too lazy to finish that travesty.

  • Kimpatsu

    Are you sure they mean a swastika (ura manji) and not a manji? The manji, which faces in the opposite direction from a swastika (ura manji) means peace, whereas the ura manji means power. Apart from the manji being the OS symbol for a Buddhist temple and is thus found on maps all over Japan, many temples will display both the manji (also known as the omote manji) and ura manji because both are required for stability: a society can only be peaceful if it has the power to punish wrongdoing.

    I still want to attend a Raelian conference for the orgies, though…

  • caseloweraz

    “Gather ’round, cats, and I’ll give you a paean

    About how to become an all-Swiss Raelian

    Dream up a mythos and polish it smooth;

    Soon you’ll be getting into the groove:

    Mentioned on the news, recruiting followers, pulling in bucks!”

    (Apologies to Bill Parsons and his song “All American Boy.” However, the line about “fightin’ the girls off my back” would transfer unaltered, it seems.)