'Heads will roll' over Sun series

TORONTO -- The Raelians, who welcomed worldwide attention earlier this year for their human cloning claims, are protesting their latest turn in the media spotlight.

And cult experts say Sun Media's series, in which two journalists infiltrated the Raelians, will shake up the organization.

"Those higher in the (Raelian) structure will be demoted for not catching spies. Heads will roll," said Dr. Sam Klarreich, a cult specialist with the Ontario Psychological Association.

"Their goals will be stalled. You can't just step in and take over a high position. You have to earn the right."

The Quebec-based atheistic religion, headed by former journalist and race car driver Claude Vorilhon - who is known as Rael - believes humans were cloned by aliens.

The Sun articles revealed some disciples say they are ready to die for Vorilhon, who believes there are governments planning his assassination, and women in the cult are prepared to offer their eggs to help the cult's cloning program launch new experiments in the area of human cell culture.

The reporters also uncovered bizarre "sensual meditation" sessions.

"Our members aren't forced to do anything," Raelian Bishop Ricky Lee, said yesterday.

The Raelian movement became front-page news last December with claims its scientists would soon deliver the first human clone within weeks.

No proof was ever furnished that they had cloned a baby and the Raelians have made fun of the media that gave the cult so much free publicity.

But not all publicity is good publicity, admits Lee, adding his organization is considering a lawsuit because of the series.

"(The reporters) were deceitful (about joining) and printed lies to sell a story," said Lee, who wouldn't comment on whether the Raelians used similar tactics to get publicity with the cloned baby story.

The articles will hurt the cult in recruiting new members, said Steve Hassan, a former Moonie who now helps deprogram cult members with the Boston-based organization Freedom of Thought.

"Raelian members won't be allowed to see the articles, but (the articles) may alert family and friends of people in the group and that may help to get some out. Vorilhon will try to spin the articles to his advantage."

Mike Kropveld, executive director of Info-Cult, said there is the possibility the Raelians knew there were reporters in their midst and allowed the scenario for the publicity.

"It would satisfy (Vorilhon's) need for the spotlight."