We Came from Outer Space
A talk with a Raëlian priest about human origins and cloning as a sacred act.
BY: John D. Spalding
I first encountered Raëlian priest Marc Letourneau last July at the annual UFO Festival in Roswell, N.M. I planned to attend his talk, originally scheduled at the UFO Museum, before it was abruptly cancelled. The Raëlians' beliefs, it turns out, were considered too out there.
Letourneau had to settle instead for speaking at the Alien Resistance Headquarters across the street. ARH is run by Guy Malone, who says he was routinely abducted by aliens until he turned to Jesus. Asked why he welcomed a Raëlian speaker, Malone explained that, though Raëlians teach that the aliens are our loving fathers--and not agents of Satan as Malone believes--he knew Letourneau would draw a lot of traffic. As Letourneau explained to the crowd of 50 or so, "Guy and I may disagree about extraterrestrials, but at least he supports democracy and freedom of speech."
Letourneau, a bearded, soft-spoken 47-year-old with a thick French-Canadian accent, described the origins of Raëlian belief. On Dec. 13, 1973, Claude Vorlihon spotted a silver UFO hovering near a volcano in the French countryside. The extraterrestrials invited Verlihon aboard their vessel where they explained he'd been chosen to be their messenger. Human beings were created by the extraterrestrials, they told him. They revealed that there is no supernatural God, and that they were the Elohim named in the biblical book of Genesis, a plural Hebrew word that means "those who came from the sky." They gave him the name Raël.
Because the Elohim created us through genetic engineering, cloning is the ultimate technology that allows the Elohim, who store our DNA on their planet, to resurrect us. Curiously, the Raëlians are also biblical literalists. When they say that only the 144,000 are destined for eternal life, it's because that's the number cited in Revelation.