Wed, Aug 23, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Baptism by DNA transmission

Raelians, who believe that humans were created by aliens, are becoming increasingly active in Taiwan, holding seminars and initiation ceremonies across the country including one earlier this month

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Wang Kuo-liang, a Raelian priest, performs the “transmission of cellular plan” on Tsai Tung-yuan.

Photo: Han Cheung, Taipei Times

Wang Kuo-liang (王國亮) has transmitted the DNA of numerous people to aliens on another planet over the past few years, but he is especially excited today.

His daughter, Wang Min-ju (王敏如) has decided to undergo the procedure.

The two are standing in a basement dance studio in downtown Taipei. A man holds a large bowl of water behind Wang Kuo-liang, who dips his hands in it and places one hand on his daughter’s forehead and the other on the back of her neck.

The two stand in silence for about 10 seconds and the ceremony is complete. Wang Kuo-liang hugs his daughter, and so do several people in the room.

Land of the Dead

Video by Sofia Kuan and music courtesy of Kevin MacLeod

“We welcome you to join us,” a woman says.

This “transmission of cellular plan” ritual is the main rite of baptism for Raelians, a group of people who believe mankind was created by aliens called the Elohim. The movement, religion or cult, depending on whom you speak to, was founded in 1974 by Frenchman Claude Vorilhon, or “Rael,” a year after he claims to have met the aliens who asked him to be their messenger.

It’s been a slow-growing movement in Taiwan until recent years, when members started to ramp up its social media presence and hold “extraterrestrial seminars” regularly around the country. Taiwan branch leader Shoga Peng (彭韋銘), who has spearheaded this effort, says there are between 30 and 40 official members and about 500 people who have been “baptized.”

Eleven people were added to the count during this particular ceremony on Aug. 6, the same date that the US dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima. It’s a sacred day for Raelians, who believe the US’ actions ushered in the age of the Apocalypse. There are only four days each year the ritual can be performed, usually with concurrent ceremonies in Taichung and Tainan.

Shoga Peng is the leader of Taiwan’s branch of Raelians.

Photo: Han Cheung

ABSOLUTE FREEDOM

Wang Min-ju believes that through the ritual her DNA is now stored in a giant Elohim computer orbiting the Earth. Wang says recent data provided by the aliens show that humans are on a surefire path to self-destruction, with only a 0.5 percent chance of avoiding this fate. If it does happen, the Elohim will judge a person’s behavior in their past life from the DNA, and give the worthy ones a chance to be resurrected through cloning technologies on their planet, a Utopian world where everything is taken care of by robots and nobody has to work.

This is the official Raelian symbol, which members wear as jewelry and have as tattoos.

Photo: Han Cheung

Official Raelian “structure members,” who pay an annual fee of NT$6,000, are required to spread the Elohim’s “message” to as many people as possible, and most of their funds go to promoting Raelianism and the building of an embassy to receive the aliens.

“None of us live off of this,” Peng says. “Except for Rael.”

Peng says it’s important to get the message to as many people as possible because the Elohim feel that if they arrived today, humans would likely react with hostility.

“We need to reduce people’s animosity toward aliens, and also ensure that they don’t panic when the Elohim arrive,” he says.

The members also participate in events that match their beliefs, such as world peace, cloning and personal — including sexual — freedom. The group marches in Taipei’s gay parade and supports the right for women to be topless in public.

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