This Is How The Raëlism Cult Started

There are a couple ways that you could approach the question of how Raëlism began.

If you ask a follower of Raëlism, they will probably tell you that it all started in 1973, when their leader first made contact with the Elohim, a technologically advanced species of extraterrestrials. Said leader might correct that assertion, stating that it actually began some 25,000 years ago, when the Elohim first transformed the Earth's atmosphere in order to make the planet suitable for sustaining life. Through their command of sciences far beyond our comprehension, they designed every organism that you know and love, up to and including humans, which they describe as "biological robots." Throughout history, these benevolent space beings guided the human race through messages, often misinterpreted due to the disparity in technological prowess between our species. Carriers of their philosophies have included Jesus, Buddha, and Joseph Smith.

You know. That old chestnut.

From a strictly secular point of view, the history of Raëlism is a little less concrete, but it almost definitely involves a sports car journalist and a volcano.

The rael dael

The man who would eventually become known as Raël, the leader of the Raëlism Movement, was born Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon in Vichy, France. According to Newsweek, Claude transitioned into Raël in December of 1973 after an encounter with an Elohim named Yahweh near a volcano. Two years later, Raël would take a trip to the Elohim home planet and discover that Yahweh was his father, and Jesus was his half brother. It's worth mentioning that the group's symbol, a swastika at the center of a star of David, was reportedly given to Raël around this time. It was altered in the nineties, at the Elohim's request, when the group was trying to get their foot in the door on some property in Israel. 

However, they brought the swastika back in 2007, according to RaeliaNews.

There are other theories, of course, about the genesis of the group. Per the testimonies of a number of Raël's ex-followers, the whole thing may have actually started when Vorilhon read the works of other UFO enthusiasts and copied off their papers.