A New Hope

22 Apr, 2024
 None    North America

A text by Katherine Brown submitted for the "Writing for Peace" contest organized by the Salt Lake Community College. Her text was selected by the jury and is included in the anthology.


I have been around the idea of peace and love for over the last decade of my life, but my expectations of living without the stress of society were becoming lower and lower. I had started college in August of 2023, got into a major car crash a month later—which I am still lucky to this day to be alive, and was losing my sense of self. I was emotionally, physically, and mentally becoming unstable, anchoring onto the things that kept me on my feet: my writing and my father. I was sick and depressed; I needed to find a way to get better.

I wanted freedom within my body and my mind, to break from the chains of a grief that was both mine and not my own, of physical and emotional pain that had caused my depression over the years. Losing family, trying and failing to keep close friends, and understanding why I was living on planet Earth. I wanted to leave, but I knew my life meant more than just dealing with personal problems. It was either a constant meandering of who I was without finding the answers, or going to this Happiness Academy and seeing Prophet Rael for the first time. To straddle onto a string of hope that there was something more to this life.

It was December 9, 2023, and time slowed down enough so that I could catch my bearings. I was a little on edge to go to the Happiness Academy in Okinawa. I was already aware of what I might be getting into: over 500 people were being taught by the infamous prophet, Rael—also known as the alien prophet.

See, when I started this journey, I had no idea if this event was going to change my perspective of life or do nothing at all. My father has had a huge history as a part of the Mormon Church, having left it after 30 years and joined the Raelian Movement. Since my early childhood, I was familiar with their idea of Raelism—there was no God, extraterrestrials (Elohim, the Creators) created life on Earth, and the goal was to make a paradise on this planet. Having not been baptized or been in the environment of church people, I never had a strong belief in God being real or not. This was to my advantage, meaning I had no filters in a young mind.

I wanted to understand why they said there was no God since I was always around friends who were a part of the LDS/Mormon/Christian Church and a father who was in the higher ranks of the church in the small town of Beryl Junction, Utah. Worship God, our Lord and Savior, make tithes, repent your sins, and understand the Bible. That’s how you can find peace. Ever since Covid, a lot of people have been leaving the Church, so obviously there was something wrong even with the philosophy of it—by religious trauma.

So why did these so-called Raelians not believe in this, but at the same time want peace on Earth? How the hell are they going to promote this idea while also spreading their atheistic philosophy, showing their controversial symbol similar to that of the Nazis and the Star of David combined? Why did they connect the Bible to science, to extraterrestrials creating life and not evolution? What was the connection?

Many, many questions were swirling in my mind at the time, and when I entered the Happiness Academy, I hoped for at least some of them to be answered. Yes, I was unhappy, anxious, and worried about every aspect of how this would go. I was hoping to become happy, to find a place in life that wouldn’t cause me to have mixed feelings. I wanted to hope that there could be peace in a world that was hateful and imbalanced.

And so I went to my first ‘class.’ People were introduced, mostly foreign than familiar. I had walked into an environment that I wasn’t used to. People of many nationalities were smiling, and hugging, mostly French greetings since a lot of people were, well, French. It took a lot of energy out of me to meet new people. So, I avoided some for the first couple of days. The lectures from some Raelians were very long—so long I had to leave the room quite a few times for ‘bathroom breaks.’ For some of them, we meditated, such as breathing exercises and humming all as one. Mind you, 500 people did this, and it was absolutely astonishing. It was one of these moments that you had to be there to experience it.

Finally, there was Rael. There was no feeling of that push and pull, of wondering if this wasn’t a good idea to be here. I, among other people, was simply there in the presence of a man who created the Raelian Movement 50 years ago. He looked every one in the eye with a small, wondrous smile. There was no judgment. No fear. No turmoil. Nothing that seemed out of place. He spoke, and love like no other I’d seen hushed the audience.

Everyone's energy around me calmed and settled like ripples on a pond smoothing out.

“Now,” Rael said softly. “Feel Infinity.”

I didn’t understand what he meant at first. I didn’t understand when some Raelians started tearing up, their smiles unbroken. They looked up to him with love as he did to them. He continued to speak, talking to us as if we were all having a one-on-one conversation. He made sure we knew that because he was the last prophet, it doesn’t mean that he is better than us. We are all one, all equal, all part of Infinity.

“Infinity is you,” he said. “It is as simple as that. We are a bunch of atoms living in a bunch of atoms. And you listen, now.” We did. We heard the sigh of the wind and the waves of the ocean. It was different from what you would feel in a crowded room unlike these Raelians, or laying in your bed at night alone. This was 500 people sharing silence, sharing love. A thought came to my mind the more we listened in silence: Everything sings. He confirmed it by repeating, “Infinity is everything.”

The more he spoke, the more I understood. Like the Native American culture, where they were Mother Nature, and Mother Nature was them. You are the tree, and the tree is you. The fabric of the universe is intertwined—connected. Humanity is one people, all divided into races, political parties, and religions, but they all have the same concept. It was fact, and it was science. You didn’t believe it because it was true, you believed it because you knew. And knowing is much more powerful than belief. It’s wisdom.

This is what it felt like for the rest of the week I was there. Foreign strangers became friends with a glance, a smile, or a hug. The Happiness Academy provided more than lectures; they planned for meditative exercises, both physically and mentally. One that really stood out for me was a sensual meditation where you’d massage a partner for five minutes.

You see, we live in a society where touch or even being close to a person is avoided as much as possible. In this case, feeling someone is important to health, not just because we are deprived of it, but it is also instinct. We are naturally social creatures, and this world has taken away this gift of life, hence Covid-19 in 2020. These meditations helped me break some kind of barrier I didn’t know I had, and these sensual meditations really helped more than I thought.

There were evening talent shows and concerts of Raelians singing and dancing. Most notably, a group of women within the Raelian Movement call themselves Angels. These women were absolutely feminine, so beautiful and powerful—it’s like they were goddesses themselves. They clothed themselves in thin silk robes, wearing headdresses of white feathers in one show, and in another, they wore so many colors they became flowers on a field. Their voices were exceptionally entrancing, so much so that everyone was in awe, including myself.

However, one show brought tears to my eyes. This was the last one of the week, and the Angels as well as other women clothed themselves in their homeland cultures, dancing as each of these cultures would. They ranged from Spanish culture to Japanese, African to Native American. I felt so empowered, so reunited with what I’ve been missing all along. Rael was even crying himself, and he couldn’t stop himself after the show to come and talk to us. As a woman myself, his words rang warm and deep in my soul. “A peaceful future on Earth is a future led by women,” he said to us. “Femininity is a remedy for mankind and the way to prevent its destruction.”

I became more confident, became more comfortable being…myself. I wasn’t worried about the world. I didn’t care if I had a specific purpose in life. Every person I saw, Raelian or not, was a friend to me. I was living in a paradise, and I didn’t know at the time because I was living in the now, as Rael told us to do. There was no force, no negativity, no authority. It was freedom like I never knew existed. The love, happiness, and peace I felt were so raw, so true in their form. It was as if the impossible became the possible.

I didn’t want to leave the Happiness Academy. Didn’t want to leave the smiles and hugs and the warm gaze everyone shared. I traveled back to the Okinawa airport, and I kept my peace and love within, smiling and recognizing each person who passed by me with a respectable nod. I departed from my fellow Raelians, saying our goodbyes, even though they didn’t want to leave either.

After arriving in Tokyo, I realized how much the environment had changed, having no one in the Happiness Academy being here. The people around me had their heads down, eyes downcast, unsmiling, and a dull light in their eyes. I even told my dad how different it was already, and he nodded knowingly at me and smiled almost sadly. How much of a higher vibration I was, it was sad to see this kind of society where everyone was a stranger and not a friend.

I was at one of the departing stations to go through one of the security checkpoints. My head was held high, looking at each and everyone in the eye, wanting them to return my smile because it makes a difference, Rael had told us. Then, I saw a fellow Raelian, and I beamed. We both smiled and greeted each other, breaking the silence that had accumulated around us, everyone giving us looks as we hugged and said, “Safe travels.”

But when my friend left, that was all it took. I couldn’t stop the emotion from Οowing out of me, how disappointed I was when this society wouldn’t do the same. How separate and unfriendly we were to each other. I looked at my dad, shaking my head and saying, “Wow” repeatedly because I couldn’t handle it. It was all too much, and I was so, so sad.

“That’s why we keep this love, Katie. This energy and life within us spread to others. To plant a seed in their mind that not all is lost,” my dad said to me. I couldn’t stop crying, how I could feel the others around me, stressed and depressed and angry. So, that was the purpose of the Raelian Movement. Spreading love and peace and upholding the promise to Prophet Rael that we would try to do what we could on this Earth. The Raelians' own society was a paradise compared to the society we see now. All Raelians want to make that happen here, no matter how hard it is. Of course, it may not be fulfilled, and that’s what Rael reminded us. Do not force, do not worry, just be you. To be love and peace so others can feel it too.

Yes, this trip to the Happiness Academy has changed my life, and I am forever grateful for it. It has been almost 4 months now, and I have learned a lot more about our society. We’re constantly overworked and depressed financially, physically, and mentally. Because I understand what it is like on both sides of the spectrum, it is more of a knowledge and an awareness than a letdown seeing what state our world is in. We had evolved to this, and through time, power, and greed, using this gift of life was slowly taken from us. The privilege to live as a simple human being became nearly lost in history.

However, there is still hope. No matter how many turns life can take, peace, love, and happiness remain. It is always there from the smallest act of kindness to our significant others. My greatest thanks is to Prophet Rael for starting this movement. It means that there is more to life than what we see on the surface. It means a new hope, and as you are still here reading this, I hope you realize that life is worth living.

You have a purpose. And that purpose is to live.

“Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood. Our teepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.” —Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“The oneness with everything, including birth, life, and death, is an infinite cycle. We are part of this infinite cycle, [and] if you feel it every second of your life, then there is happiness forever.” —Maitreya Rael