Raël was a singer at a young age and soon became a sports-car journalist and test driver for his own car-racing magazine, Auto Pop. Following an alleged extraterrestrial encounter in December of 1973, he formed the Raëlian Movement and changed his name to Raël (meaning: messenger of the elohim). He later published several books, which detail his encounter with a being called Yahweh in 1973. For some 30 years he has traveled the world giving conferences and seminars to the many that have read his books. His movement now claims some 80,000 members in 90 countries.
At fifteen, Claude Vorilhon ran away from boarding school and hitchedhiked to Paris, carrying his guitar and two thousand francs. He was picked up by a race-car driver, who drove him to Paris and, flattered by the teenager's familiarity with his racing career, treated Vorilhon to dinner and a free hotel room. That night, they met two dance hostesses, where Vorilhon was formally introduced to lovemaking.
The young Claude spent three years playing music on the streets and in the cafés and cabarets of Paris. He then had a fateful meeting with Lucien Morisse, the director of a national radio program, who was scouting for young talent. Claude signed a record contract and became a rising teen pop star on the radio. He took on a new identity, assuming the name Claude Celler, put out many records, and wrote a hit song, "La miel et la cannelle" (Honey and Cinnamon). He was saving up his money to buy a racing car, a dream he'd had since he was a young boy, but his prospects as a singer came to an abrupt end. Lucien Morisse, his sponsor, committed suicide in September 1970. Claude Vorilhon had a passion for songs of Belgian singer Jacques Brel, and tried to imitate his singing style.
Vorilhon decided to work as a sports journalist to gain access to the exclusive world of car racing. He met Marie-Paul Cristini, a nurse. In 1970 they were betrothed in Paris, France with Marie-Paul assuming the new name Christine Vorilhon. They moved to Clermont-Ferrand where Vorilhon began his own publishing house. He created a sports car magazine entitled Autopop whose first issue began in May 1971. One of the tasks for his new startup was the position of testing new automobiles, which enabled him to enter the motor racing world.
The book claims that advanced human scientists from another planet with 25,000 years of scientific advances created all life on Earth through DNA manipulation. These scientists, Vorilhon says, were originally called Elohim or "those who came from the sky" and that some forty prophets in Earth's history were sent by Elohim, but their messages were distorted by humans, largely because of the difference in the level of civilization between the advanced race and our primitive one.
Vorilhon claimed he was given the demystifying mission of informing the world of humanity's origins in anticipation of the return of these extraterrestrials by building a residential embassy in neutral territory. He claims that certain mysteries were explained to him based on new interpretations of sacred texts such as the Bible. He made the claim that on October 7, 1975 he was contacted by an Elohim who took him to another planet where he met Buddha, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and received teachings passed on in his second book Les extra-terrestres m'ont emmené sur leur planète ("Extraterrestrials Took Me To Their Planet"). In this book, Vorhilhon describes harmonious and peaceable beings who were free of money, sickness, and war.
In 1973, Marie-Paul Cristini was pregnant with her first child by Vorilhon, a daughter named Aurore. Cristini later stated, "I was married to clone cult leader Raël 15 years. He wrecked my life and our children's." In 1974, Claude Vorilhon finally decided to give up automobile magazine Autopop. On that September, the last issue out of 34 was published. Vorilhon then devoted himself to the task allegedly given by his "biological father", an extraterrestrial named Yahweh. Shortly after a first public conference, Vorilhon founded MADECH - a group of people interested in helping him in his huge task, which later became the International Raëlian Movement. Vorilhon and Marie-Paul had 2 children. Marie-Paul became upset as a result of women having sex with him in their house.
Vorilhon's marriage with Marie-Paul continued to worsen as he would only be home half the time. Eventually Marie-Paul gave Vorilhon an ultimatum, "You have to choose between me and the movement." He chose the movement, and by 1985 the two divorced after 15 years of marriage. However, sociologist Susan J. Palmer, said nurse Marie-Paul diagnosed Vorilhon as clinically depressed, after he appeared at her door step in 1987, being burned out from the tasks he carried out within the movement.
Vorilhon focused on spreading the message in Japan in the 1980s, and by 1987, he and Lisa Sunagawa met. Lisa soon began accompanying Vorilhon during his travels to Lima, Miami, Brazil, and Martinique. In 1989, Vorilhon and his "sa douce compagne" (his sweet companion Lisa) spent time together during Christmas in Switzerland. In a television documentary, They're Coming! (1990) by Radio Canada, Vorilhon was seen with four women, while Lisa, in slow-motion, wore a pink tutu and held hands with him.
Vorilhon separated from Lisa some time between 1990 and 1992. Around that time, Sophie, whose mother and aunt were both Raëlians, was convinced of the authenticity of the messages. Sophie received a Raëlian baptism at age fifteen. When she turned sixteen years of age, Sophie married Vorilhon at Montreal's city hall. This was done with her mother's permission. During a December 2001 interview with sociologist Susan J. Palmer, Sophie spoke positively regarding Vorilhon even though they had divorced the previous year. In 2003, he was married to Sophie de Niverville. On August 6, 2003, the Cybercast News Service said Vorilhon moved back to Canada with his wife Sophie de Niverville after being escorted out of South Korea by government officials.
|Two||May 23, 1999||Chevrolet||21st||19th||35 out of 40||Mosport International Raceway||Motorsport.com|
|Three||May 31, 1999||Chevrolet Camaro||32nd||Lime Rock Park||Motorsport.com|
|Four||June 6, 1999||Chevrolet Camaro||32nd||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||Motorsport.com|
|Five||July 10, 1999||Chevrolet Camaro||38th||Road America||Motorsport.com|
|Six||July 25, 1999||Chevrolet Camaro||44th||Road Atlanta||Motorsport.com|
|Seven||August 1, 1999||Chevrolet Camaro||45th||Circuit Trois-Rivières||Motorsport.com|
|Eight||August 7, 1999||Chevrolet Camaro||47th||Detroit street circuit||Motorsport.com|
|September 4, 1999||Chevrolet Camaro||50th||Molson Indy Vancouver||Motorsport.com|
|Eleven||September 25, 1999||Chevrolet Camaro||52nd||Grand Prix of Houston||Motorsport.com|
|One||April 1, 2000||Lotus Esprit||29th||32nd||15 out of 29||Lowe's Motor Speedway||Motorsport.com|
|Two||May 21, 2000||Lotus Esprit||31st||18th||27 out of 27||Mosport International Raceway||Motorsport.com|
|Three||May 27, 2000||Lotus Esprit||38th||Lime Rock Park||Motorsport.com|
|Eight||October 15, 2000||Porsche 911 GT3||32nd||25th||25 out of 26||Laguna Seca Raceway||Motorsport.com|
|Nine||October 29, 2000||Porsche 911 GT3||25th||25th||29 out of 30||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||Motorsport.com|
Claude Vorilhon believes that the present reality of genetically modified food is the only way to stop hunger everywhere in the world, and he sees a future where qualities of different foods can be combined through direct genetic modification. In Vorilhon's book, Extraterrestrials took me to their planet (book number 2 in the volume entitled Intelligent Design), he said that animation of plant life was possible through nanotechnology and that he was presented genetically modified flowers on another planet that swayed and changed colors with music.
A Swiss newspaper that called Raëlians "rat heads" was sued for defamation. Another suit was brought against journalist Stephane Baillargeon for writing in the Montreal daily Le Devoir that the Raëlians defended pedophiles and that certain ex-Raëlians claimed the "gourou" liked very young girls. After some negotiation, Le Devoir published a letter from Raël condemning the charge as "ignominious defamation" and asserting that the Raëlian Movement had "always condemned pedophilia and promoted respect for laws that justly forbid the practices that are always the fault of unbalanced individuals."
Michel Onfray was offered by Raël the title of Honorary Guides of the Raëlian Movement, which he refused. Onfray was disgusted with the idea of trying to justify himself when speaking of what he thought to be small acts by mentally ill Raëlians. He did not like the fact that media had put them on the spotlight. He described Raël as a source of "foul smelling rubbish" and says he does not support any religion or cult.
On two separate court dates of September 2, 1994 at the High Courts of Paris and October 1, 1996 at the Appeal Court of Paris, journalists Jacques Cotta and Pascal Martin of Flammarion Publishing were found guilty of attributing racist statements and distorted quotations to Raël in their book "Dans le secret des sectes". They were fined 10,000FF in damages, 13,000FF in proceedings costs, insertion of stickers mentioning the sentence on copies not yet distributed, suppression of the passage in the next editions, and 100FF for each non conform copy.
On January 26, 1994, in emergency proceedings by the Appeal Court of Reims, Myriam Assan was accused of defamation by claiming in his book that "Raël was often sentenced for corruption of minors". Assan was given a sentence of 10,000FF in damages, provisionally, the withdrawal of the book, a penalty of 300FF per infringement, 5,000FF in proceedings costs and judicial publications in 'Le Monde' and 'Le Figaro'.
On December 13, 1994, Gérard Chol, director of 'Le Maine Libre', was declared guilty by the High Court of Le Mans for public defamation by claiming that the Raël's movement was laundering dirty money coming from drug trafficking, prostitution, arms dealing, and the sale of pornographic videotapes. Gérard Chol was sentenced to pay 1FF in damages 3,000FF in proceedings costs and publication of the penal judgment in "Le Maine Libre".
In 2003, Raël sued Ottawa columnist Denis Gratton and Le Droit newspaper for $85,000 in defamation damages over a January 23, 2003 column; however, he lost and was ordered to pay court costs by Quebec Superior Court on June 21, 2006.
In response to Claude Vorilhon's association with Clonaid, South Korean immigration authorities at the airport denied him entry into their country in 2003. This planned Raëlian seminar continued with Raël making some brief 'big screen' video-cam appearances via Internet for the several hundred who attended. Raëlians of South Korea were instructed by Raël to protest near the Ministry of Health and Welfare that ordered him to leave.
Officials detained Vorilhon for nine hours at Incheon International Airport before he and his wife Sophie de Niverville left for Tokyo from where they would take another plane on their way back to Canada. Vorilhon responded by saying that Korean officials treated him like a "North Korean" and that he would wait for an apology before coming back to Korea.
Raëlians say they encourage adult homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual relationships and that society should recognize them legally. However, government authorities such as those in Switzerland fear that Raëlians are a threat to public morals for supporting liberalized sex education for children. The authorities believe that such liberalized sex education teaches youth how to obtain sexual gratification which would encourage sexual abuse of underage children. The Raëlians disagree with those fears and stated that sex education done properly would involve educating parents as well as children.
Nevertheless, in February 2007, Vorhilon was denied residence in the Swiss Canton Valais for promoting the concept of sexual liberty and sexual education since it led to fears that he may do harm to children. Another reason was his association with the Clonaid human cloning claim; Switzerland forbade human cloning. Vorhilon wanted to have commercial activities with the local vintners. In a brief statement, Vorhilon said he considered appeal at the European level.
`Experimenting with Life Is What All Parents Do. What's the Difference?' ; in 1975, Claude Vorilhon Claimed to Travel by Flying Saucer to Have Lunch with Jesus. Now His Rael Cult Says It Has Cloned the First Human. How Far Can We Believe Him? He Talks to Nick Harris in a Rare Interview
Dec 29, 2002; Claude Vorilhon, otherwise known as Rael, gathered up his white robes and sat down at the breakfast table of the discreet, pounds...