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Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion by Susan…

Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion

by Susan J. Palmer

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An open and unbiased look at an interesting, quirky religion. ( )
  llrose01 | Apr 23, 2009 |
Palmer, a sociologist specializing in NRMs (New Religious Movements, known to some as cults), spent approximately ten years in close contact with the Raelians. She was able to establish a great deal of trust among the leadership (particularly at first), and as a result she has almost unprecedented knowledge of the history and inner workings of the movement. This book is absolutely fascinating. Palmer actually has quite a bit of sympathy for the Raelians, noting that many of the accusations by ex-members are untrue or appear to be the result of the actions of individuals, rather than endemic to the movement as a whole. There were even things I could get on board with, philosophically -- for example, while the Raelians are very much about "free love," the official "doctrine" is that if a Raelian makes repeated unwanted sexual advances on another individual, they are ejected from the movement for seven years.

Palmer does not make any bones about the fact that many of the Raelian beliefs are deeply weird to outsiders, and discusses the odd situation surrounding "Clonaid" and the supposed cloning of human beings at great length. She does this mainly from a sociological and religious perspective, however; what she is interested in is the question of what such a stunt means about the changing focus of the religion, and what Rael and the other leaders hope to achieve by such publicity.

This is a great book, and one that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in NRMs and the intersection of science and religion. ( )
  Crowyhead | Apr 30, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0813534763, Paperback)

Aliens Adored is the first full length, in-depth look at the Raelian movement, a fascinating new religion founded in the 1970s by the charismatic prophet, Rael. Born in France as Claude Vorilhon, the former race-car driver founded the religion after he experienced a visitation from the aliens (the "elohim") who, in his cosmology, created humans by cloning themselves. The millenarian movement awaits the return of the alien creators, and in the meantime seeks to develop the potential of its adherents through free love, sexual experimentation, opposition to nuclear proliferation and war, and the development of the science of cloning. Sociologist Susan J. Palmer has studied the Raelian movement for more than a decade, observing meetings and rituals and enjoying unprecedented access to the group's leaders as well as to its rank-and-file members. In this pioneering study she provides a thorough analysis of the movement, focusing on issues of sexuality, millenarianism, and the impact of the scientific worldview on religion and the environment. Rael's radical sexual ethics, his gnostic anthropocentrism, and shallow ecotheology offer us a mirror through which we see how our worldview has been shaped by the forces of globalization, postmodernism, and secular humanism. Susan J. Palmer teaches religious studies at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec. She is the author of Moon Sisters, Krishna Mothers, Rajneesh Lovers: Women's Roles in New Religions and coeditor of Children in New Religions (Rutgers University Press).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:30 -0400)

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