Author Topic: Increasingly paranoid 'prophet'  (Read 1560 times)

Devious Viper
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Increasingly paranoid 'prophet'
« on: September 20, 2006, 04:50:30 am »
by Brigitte McCann (Winnipeg Sun)

A group headed by manipulators thirsting for media attention. A guru who is on the verge of losing his grip. Followers who are ready to give up their lives.

If you think the Raelians are inoffensive clowns, you'd better think again.

This is what Sun Media reporter Brigitte McCann and photographer Chantal Poirier discovered when they joined the Raelian religious sect in Maricourt, Que., for nine months. No journalists had gone this far to uncover what this organization is all about. [The] reporters went as far as their sense of decency would allow to witness the Raelians' strange custom of "sensual meditation."

Always incognito, McCann and Poirier were submitted to a troubling secret interrogation aimed at testing their faith in "their prophet." According to cult expert Dianne Casoni, this was clearly an intimidation and control tactic targeting the disciples.

Essentially, the objective of these measures is to get the most money possible out of their followers. In less than 10 months, living as a Raelian cost [the] reporter more than $2,000.

Constantly surrounded by bodyguards, Claude Vorilhon is convinced that he's the target of numerous plots. The prophet known to his followers as Rael wants his disciples to share his paranoia that U.S. President George W. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac themselves want his skin. "There's a strong chance I'll be the next victim of an assassination attempt," proclaims Vorilhon in the weekly Contact magazine published for Raelian members. "And the fact that we're talking about it here today is one of the means of trying to avoid it," he continues.

Vorilhon is a former race car driver and journalist who created the Raelian Movement, which he calls "an atheistic religion," in 1973. He says he was visited by aliens in France who told him they were the "Elohim" mentioned in the Bible... Today his movement boasts 55,000 members in 84 countries.

Vorilhon claims the secret service of France and America's CIA have been trying to eliminate him because he's dangerous. The name of their secret extermination operation: The Abraham Project.

According to his theory, the mentally ill would be used as agents to assassinate him and carry out other crimes. Schizophrenics would obey voices emitted by audio systems secretly installed in their homes. That would explain why a mentally ill person ransacked the Raelian church campground in November 2002, according to the guru. It was a test of their methods.

The former journalist goes as far as citing an alleged directive of Bush: "I want the skin of this Rael... at all costs."

"If I'm assassinated next by a mentally ill person," concludes Rael, "you must cry out loud and strong what's behind all that and that you've made investigations that unmask those responsible who are extremely high-placed in France and the United States."

The Raelians don't bat an eye hearing about such presumed plots. There is even one who hopes that it will happen. "That would be good if one day Rael was killed or died," says Pierre Bolduc, a friend of Rael's since his arrival in Quebec 25 years ago. "Because if he died, there wouldn't be any further chance that one day he would deny all that he's taught the last 20 years - his meeting with the Elohims and all that. Jesus wasn't crucified for nothing!" he says.

The Raelian movement already shows signs of going off the rails, which brings to mind the deaths of 74 members of the Order of the Sun Temple in the 1990s. Ten died in Quebec.

That's the opinion of Dianne Casoni, a renowned psychologist and criminologist who specializes in religious sects, after reviewing material gathered by Sun Media.


Rael is already showing signs of paranoia anxiety - security guards are omnipresent and he has written about his fear of assassination.

"What worries me the most is when conspiracy theories develop," Casoni explains. "The group says to itself, 'We're in danger, we have to protect ourselves,' and that's when things can go on the skids."

She recalls that religious cult leader Jim Jones constantly obliged his disciples to move before his paranoia resulted in the collective suicide of 912 members of his sect, the Temple of the People, in Guyana in 1978.

Another disturbing fact is that Claude Vorilhon, Rael, is tightening his hold over his disciples more and more. The creation of the Order of the Angels, the women in his service, is an example. The elite Angels of Rael have the obligation of more than serving their prophet. They must die for him if necessary.

A statement entitled "Last Messages" is entrusted to all Raelians interested in joining the Angels of Rael. It eloquently indicates that they must be ready to be of service to the Elohim and the prophets (read Rael) without any restrictions. "The privilege of being near them" is reserved to those who want to give everything, "including their own lives if that is necessary to protect them," says the statement.

The document even demands those senior among the Angels to fill in a new form of adherence to make their choice. "For the Angels of Rael, the Elohim and their Messenger come above everything. These are the individuals who are ready to sacrifice everything for them ... even their lives," we can read in a second document given to the Angels.

An angel for the past five years, Sandrine, 40, takes her commitment very seriously. When asked if she is ready to die if the security of her prophet is put in danger, she answers without hesitation. "Absolutely!" replies the slim brunette when questioned by an undercover Sun Media reporter. "And I would do it for you, too, if there was an injustice," she adds eagerly and convincingly.

In principle, only Rael can decide if such a sacrifice is necessary or not, since in the eyes of his disciples, he is the only one in contact with the Elohims. "From year to year we see an increase in the assertion of Rael's authority," says Alain Bouchard, a sociologist observing the Raelian movement. "He's really starting to take himself more seriously," he says. "His ego's growing."

Mike Kropveld, director of Info-Cult, adds: "It worries me to see that there's a growth in the level of control and unreasonable demands."

Claude Vorilhon himself admitted the potential danger of a movement going in the wrong direction, following the first collective suicides of Sun Temple in 1994. "No one is protected from a loss of control," he told Le Journal de Montreal at the time. "Jesus said: 'Love one another' and Catholicism produced the Inquisition. We shouldn't be shocked by anything then."

One Monday, Sun Media's reporters are suddenly put to a test to see if they can be trusted. It's a decisive moment.

Confidence no longer reigns at the Maricourt camp. Without any notice, the movement puts us to the test. Walkie-talkies in hand, those responsible for security at the entrance to the auditorium examine each of the participants who've stayed for the second week of the annual boot camp in Maricourt, Que. Without explanation, we're forbidden access to the auditorium. Chantal and I share the same belief: They've finally unmasked us. But we don't talk about it.

Richard, a security guard who's known us about a week, tells me to enter a small assembly room. Three guides are seated there side- by-side with an air of seriousness. Guides are senior members of the Raelian hierarchy. I know two of the guides before me. Yves Boni, an African guide, and Joseph, the Canadian rep. An empty chair faces them.

"Uh, should I sit there?"

No response.

It's clear. They know who I am. But do they know about Chantal? Will they let us go without any problem? I sit down without saying anything. I wait.

Joseph ends the silence by speaking. "Brigitte, can you swear to us that what we say will remain a secret? It's too confidential."

"I give you my Raelian word," I reply.

"Good. You were at the training last week. So you saw the guides."

"Uh, yes." (But where was this going?)

"Well, for a long time we've been doing research and working," he says. "We did a lot of research."

It's game over for me. My car's on the other side of the camp. Damn it.

"We met this morning because our research is finally finished. And we have the proof that Rael is a liar."

I'm dumfounded.

"We know that all he's told us since the beginning, for years, is nothing but lies," Richard continues. "All he wants is our money. And tonight is the big night. We're going to announce his deceit. Everything. At six o'clock the journalists will be there. We'll all be there."

Now I get it. They're testing my faith. They're going to ask me if I also denounce Rael. But who do they take me for -an idiot?

"And you? Are you with us?"

Here it is - the big question. Now I have to be convincing. I put on my most horrified air. I recoil in my chair, gripping the armrests. "Am I with you? No! Never!" I shout.

A big smile appears on Joseph's face. Bingo. You've passed the test, I tell myself.

"No! You're not serious!?" I gasp, and, for effect, I release an enormous sigh. And I realize my hands are shaking.

The three guides hug and congratulate me, touched by my loyalty to Rael. I'm welcomed more warmly than ever downstairs. I'm really one of them now. After 15 long minutes, Chantal comes back downstairs. Shaken, but successful. I hug my colleague and I pat her on the back.

The guides around us are touched. They think we were afraid for Rael. If they only knew!


[Paranoia... External threats... The 'Prophet' targeted by non-existent external forces... A carefully cultivated climate of isolation... 'Disciples' conned, transfixed, mesmerised willing to become martyrs for the "Leader"... There are people I know who should read this and take heed, and remember how WACO started and how WACO ended.]