is the first full length, in-depth look at the Raëlian movement, a fascinating new religion founded in the 1970s by the charismatic prophet, Raël. 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.
"Skillfully weaving together engaging narrative and careful sociological analysis, Susan Palmer has written a ground-breaking study that will be the benchmark for all future studies of alternative religions."