Rough Guide To The
New UFO Religions
By Elizabeth Bromstein
The Montreal Gazette

According to an Angus Reid/CTV/Modern Woman magazine poll, conducted in March and titled Future Hopes and Worries, 40 per cent of Canadians worry they won't retire comfortably, 27 per cent worry about contracting a terminal illness, 24 per cent fear falling victim to violent crime, 40 per cent fear their children will be abducted or harmed by a stranger, 17 per cent fear looking old and 17 per cent fear never finding the right life partner.
Am I the only one worried about the apocalypse? Or the possibility that when some major thing like the end of the world or a big second coming does happen, I'll discover I belong to the wrong religious group? I mean, what if aliens really did create the Earth?
I worry about these things.
Elvis wore a cross and a star of David, saying he "didn't want to miss out on heaven because of a technicality." Unfortunately, that doesn't even begin to cover it.
There are hundreds of religious movements out there with hundreds of different doctrines with which to get acquainted on the off-chance one of them might be right.
Even if there is no apocalypse or end of the world, what if, as a friend of mine pointed out, some new religion takes over the Earth? "I wanna be able to fake being one of them, just in case there's an inquisition or something," she explained, poring over a pamphlet from a major UFO movement. "Give me that!" I screeched, snatching the flier out of her hand. Suddenly seized by terror, I began memorizing every word.
Go ahead and scoff, but all religions started as cults with just a few followers. It's hard to fathom, but at one point in history, folks thought followers of Jesus were just a bunch of wackos; now, Christianity dominates the Western world, having taken much of it by force.
And nowadays, religious movements have instant global-access vehicles like the Internet with which to spread the word, whereas when Jews, Christians and Muslims started out, they had to brave treacherous waters and risk their lives if they wanted to gather followers in faraway countries. The Raelian church has been around for only 25 years and it already claims to have about 40,000 members. Do you think Christianity had 40,000 followers after only that long? No way.
I believe that if anyone's going to take over, it's going to be one of the UFO religions. This is because UFO movements provide some answers to that age-old science vs. religion question (i.e., Aliens created us with technology!), and people like that.
So, drawing on some memories from a course I took on non-religious movements, here's some info on a couple of those movements, just in case you need to fake it one of these days (Some of this came from the book The Gods Have Landed or from the NRM Group Profiles Web page):
The Raelian church: Raelians, who are many here in Quebec, believe we were created by aliens who call themselves the Elohim. One day, these space folk are supposed to come for us, but not before we prove our worthiness (or so I understand it). The Bible has even been interpreted to show "evidence" of their existence and interference on Earth throughout history.
Race-car driver and journalist Claude Vorilhon, a.k.a. Rael, says he has had contact with them and is trying to get an embassy built in Jerusalem so that, when they come, they'll have somewhere to park.
I've read his book and it's actually kind of interesting. Raelians enjoy perks like mass nude sensual meditation and like to spread the word of love. I've never met a Raelian I didn't like, which makes me extremely suspicious.
Chance of global domination: pretty darn good, I think. Mass nudity is a major motivator.
Unarius Society: The now-deceased leader of Unarius, Ruth Norman, a.k.a. Uriel, claimed to have lived past lives as Confucius, Socrates, Mary Magdalene, the pharaoh's daughter who found Moses in the bulrushes, Henry VIII and Benjamin Franklin. Not a bad track record. Based in California, and also claiming to have thousands of members, Unarius has the aim of preparing Earth to join the planetary confederation, consisting of 33 other planets. This is somehow supposed to save us, though I haven't figured out how. The society awaits the arrival of the "space brothers" in the year 2001 and Uriel is expected to come back with them.
Chance of global domination: Not great, unless the aliens actually show up. Failed apocalyptic predictions can be embarrassing.
Aetherius Society: Founded in 1955 by Sir George King, a western master of yoga, Aetherians believe the teachings of advanced extraterrestrials, a.k.a. the Cosmic Masters, were spread through the yogic mediumship of Sir George, who "left the physical realms of Earth" - died - in 1997. His contact was called Kundalini. Aetherians also believe that "service to mankind is the most essential yoga or religion," which is nice, and that "the Mother Earth is a living, breathing entity that is thousands of lives more evolved than we are." The main goal is to spread the teachings of the cosmic masters. Apparently, humans are at a crossroads and, led by the masters, taking the right path will lead us to the New Age. Aetherians are now awaiting the arrival of the new replacement leader.
Chance of global domination: These guys seem too nice to take over the world, but you never know.
Unfortunately, I haven't the space to list them all, but those three seem to be the major ones.
At least, memorize the basics. It's always better to err on the side of safety, not that I know something you don't or anything.
©1998 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc.