We have the Raeliens to thank for so many things, not least of all the human cloning company, Clonaid, and the sadly defunct Raelien theme park, UFOland. The Canadian park, before its recent closure, featured the largest hay structure in the world, along with the tallest DNA structure--it measured 26 ft. Rael (nÃ©e Claude Vorilhon) is the founder of the religion; his initiation dates back to December of '73, when he was a sports journalist living and working in France.
He was loitering in a crater one night when he was solicited by a small flying saucer, and the alien therein. Besides his religious pursuits, he is a singer/songwriter (album pictured) and former professional race car driver! Membership is estimated at 60,000, and when the WaPo sat down with Rael in 2003 he elaborated:
They are not accepted until they read Rael's first book, "The Message Given by Extra-Terrestrials." Then they receive a Raelian baptism, in which a Raelian priest puts his hands in water and cleanses the new member. The group is nonprofit, he says, and no member gets paid a salary. And there is no commune -- the members live among us. For instance, one of the men in the room is a bartender, another a composer, another a scientist.
The members, Rael says, will be able to have adult or baby clones of themselves made, but they cannot do both. Neither the bartender nor the composer wants a baby clone of himself as of now. What they want is eternal life. "I have a lot to do on Earth," the composer explains later. "Life is too short. I have a lot of music to create."
Some Raeliens, apparently, chose the babies: the group claims to have produced two cloned babes--one in Florida and one shortly after in the Netherlands; alas, neither child was submitted to DNA tests. A year after the first birth, Clonaid claimed to have produced 13 cloned babies and to have found "living cells in a body that has been dead for 4 months - there is hope!"