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Encyclopedia > Heaven's Gate (cult)
The logo used by the Heaven's Gate group
The logo used by the Heaven's Gate group

Heaven's Gate was the name of a cult co-led by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. Heavens Gate logo, I think it might be public domain since I doubt anyone owns the copyright if the entire cult has died, but fair use to be on the safe side. ... Heavens Gate logo, I think it might be public domain since I doubt anyone owns the copyright if the entire cult has died, but fair use to be on the safe side. ... This article does not discuss cult in its original sense of religious practice; for that usage see Cult (religious practice). ... Do (Marshall Herff Applewhite) (May 17, 1931 - c. ... Bonnie Nettles was co-leader of a group with Herff Applewhite, (Herff never went by the name Marshall according to friends and family) and became the leader of what turned into Heavens Gate cult after Nettles death. ...

The cult's end coincided with the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. Applewhite convinced thirty-eight followers to commit suicide so that their souls could take a ride on a spaceship that they believed was hiding behind the comet carrying Jesus; such beliefs have led some observers to characterize the group as a type of "UFO religion." They believed that the planet Earth was about to be recycled (wiped clean, refurbished and rejuvenated), and that the only chance to survive was to leave it immediately [1]. The group was formally against suicide, but they defined "suicide" to mean "to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered"[2]. They were convinced that their "human" bodies were only "vehicles" meant to help them on their journey. Comet Hale-Bopp (formally designated C/1995 O1) was probably the most widely observed comet of the twentieth century, and one of the brightest seen for many decades. ... Suicide (Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of intentionally taking ones own life. ... The soul, according to many religious and philosophical traditions, is the self-aware essence unique to a particular living being. ... An unidentified flying object, or UFO, is any real or apparent flying object which cannot be identified by the observer and which remains unidentified after investigation. ... Comet Hale-Bopp Comet West For other uses, see Comet (disambiguation). ... The Message Given To Me By Extra-Terrestrials, the book that forms the basis of the Raëlian movement A UFO religion or UFO cult is a faith community whose belief in the existence of extraterrestrials and/or UFOs is a central component of its religion and practice. ...

The group believed that several categories of people can leave the Earth and survive before the "recycling", and one the possible ways is just hating this world strong enough: It is also possible that part of our test of faith is our hating this world, even our flesh body, to the extent to be willing to leave it without any proof of the Next Level's existence. The other two groups were people why have reached the "higher spiritual level" and who did not, but tried hardly enough.


Origins and history

Heaven's Gate was founded by Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Truesdale Nettles sometime before 1975. By the mid-1970s, the two were known within the cult as Bo and Peep (respectively), or Do and Ti, or as simply The Two. The Two claimed to have arrived via UFO from another dimension (a "level above human") and would return via a secretive "Process", which was taught to cult members. The group never numbered more than a few hundred adherents, and lost many members upon Truesdale Nettles' death in 1985.[1] Do (Marshall Herff Applewhite) (May 17, 1931 - c. ... Bonnie Nettles was co-leader of a group with Herff Applewhite, (Herff never went by the name Marshall according to friends and family) and became the leader of what turned into Heavens Gate cult after Nettles death. ... UFO can mean: Unidentified flying object United Future Organization, a Japanese-Brazilian electronic jazz band UFO, the rock band that previously featured Michael Schenker UFO, the Gerry Anderson TV series United Farmers of Ontario, a political party that formed the government in Ontario from 1919 to 1923 U.F.O...

They were a secretive New Age religion. The group held meetings in a hotel on the Oregon coast prior to its move to California.[2] Knowledge of their practices is limited. Upon joining the group, members often sold their possessions in order to break their attachments with earthly existence. For many years the group lived in isolation in the western United States. Members often traveled in pairs and met with other members for meetings or presentations they gave to recruit new members. For a time, group members lived in a darkened house in which they would simulate the experience they expected to have during their long journey in outer space. One of the group's publications, How To Build A U.F.O., purported to describe an interplanetary spacecraft built out of materials such as old tires. Much of what is known about the group comes from the research of Robert Balch and David Taylor, who infiltrated the group in the 1970s. New Age describes a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture. ... Robert Balch is a sociologist from the University of Montana. ...

The members of the cult added "-ody" to the first names they adopted in lieu of their original given names, which defines "children of the Next Level". This is mentioned in Applewhite's final video, "Do's Final Exit", that was filmed on March 19, 1997, just days prior to the suicides.

For a few months prior to their deaths, three members, Thurston-ody, Sylvie-ody, and Elaine-ody, worked for Advanced Development Group (ADG), Inc. (now ManTech Advanced Development Group), a small San Diego-based company that developed computer-based instruction for the U. S. Army. Although they were polite and friendly in a reserved way, they tended to keep to themselves. When they quit working for ADG, they told their supervisor that they had completed their mission. A few weeks later, they were dead. Flag Seal Nickname: Americas Finest City Location Location of San Diego within San Diego County Coordinates , Government County San Diego Mayor City Attorney         City Council District One District Two District Three District Four District Five District Six District Seven District Eight Jerry Sanders (R) Michael Aguirre Scott Peters Kevin... The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ...

One member, Thomas Nichols, was the brother of Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols. Prior to the group's suicide, he and other members solicited her assistance in publicizing the cult's message.[3] The starship Enterprise as it appeared on Star Trek Star Trek is a culturally significant science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry in the 1960s. ... Nichelle Nichols (born Grace Nichols on December 28, 1932) is an American singer, actress, and voice actress. ...


The structure of Heaven's Gate resembled that of a medieval monastic order. Group members gave up their material possessions and lived a highly ascetic lifestyle devoid of many indulgences. The group was tightly knit and everything was shared communally. Six of the male members of the cult voluntarily underwent castration as an extreme means of maintaining the ascetic lifestyle. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... Monasticism (from Greek: monachos—a solitary person) is the religious practice of renouncing all worldly pursuits in order to fully devote ones life to spiritual work. ... An ascetic is one who practices a renunciation of worldly pursuits to achieve spiritual attainment. ... Castration (also referred as: gelding, neutering, orchiectomy, orchidectomy, and oophorectomy) is any action, surgical, chemical, or otherwise, by which a male loses the functions of the testes or a female loses the functions of the ovaries. ...

The cult funded itself by offering professional website development for paying clients.


Thirty-eight cult members, plus Applewhite, the cult's leader, were found dead in a rented mansion in the upscale San Diego community of Rancho Santa Fe, California, on March 26, 1997. The mass death of the Heaven's Gate group is one of the most widely-known examples of cult suicide. Rancho Santa Fe is an unincorporated census-designated place in San Diego County, California, United States. ... Cult suicide is that phenomenon by which some religious groups, in this context often referred to as cults, have led to their membership committing suicide. ...

In preparing to kill themselves, members of the cult drank citrus juices to ritually cleanse their bodies of impurities. The suicide was accomplished by ingestion of phenobarbital mixed with vodka, along with plastic bags secured around their heads to induce asphyxiation. They were found lying neatly in their own bunk beds, with their faces and torsos covered by a square, purple cloth. Each member carried five dollar bills and a few quarters in their wallets. All 39 were dressed in identical black shirts and sweat pants, brand new black-and-white Nike tennis shoes, and armband patches reading "Heaven's Gate Away Team". The suicides were conducted in shifts, and the remaining members of the cult cleaned up after each prior group's death.[4] Phenobarbital (also phenobarbitone) (Luminal®) is a weak acid with the chemical formula C12H12N2O3. ... Suffocation redirects here, for the band, see Suffocation (band). ... Nike, Inc. ...

Media coverage prior to suicide

Although not widely known to the mainstream media, Heaven's Gate was known in UFOlogical circles; as well as a series of academic studies by Robert Balch, they also received coverage in Jacques Vallee's Messengers of Deception, in which Vallee described an unusual public meeting organized by the group. Vallee frequently expressed concerns within the book about contactee groups' authoritarian political and religious outlooks, and Heaven's Gate did not escape criticism. Dr. Allen Hynek (back), and Dr. Jacques Vallee (far right, front) at U.N. General Assembly, 1978. ...

In January 1994, the LA Weekly ran an article on the group, then known as The Total Overcomers. The article was entitled They Walk Among Us, and was written by Dave Gardetta. The article was the reason Rio DiAngelo discovered the group and eventually joined them. Rio was the subject of LA Weekly's 2007 cover story on the group. L.A. Weekly is a free weekly tabloid-sized newspaper (a so-called alternative weekly) in Los Angeles, California. ...

BBC 2 documentary maker Louis Theroux contacted the Heaven's Gate cult while making a program for his Weird Weekends series in early March of 1997. In response to his e-mail, Theroux was told that Heaven's Gate could not take part in the documentary as "at the present time a project like this would be an interference with what we must focus on." Louis Theroux Louis Sebastian Theroux (born 20 May 1970) is an English broadcaster holding both British and US citizenship, best known for his television series Louis Therouxs Weird Weekends and // Theroux was born in Singapore,[1] the younger son of the American travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux and... }} Louis Therouxs Weird Weekends is a television documentary series, in which Louis Theroux gives viewers the chance to get brief glimpses of things they wouldnt normally come into contact with. ...

After the Church of Scientology bought the name and rights to the Cult Awareness Network, Heaven's Gate member lah, later identified as Sister Francis Michael, made a post in "Thanks for Actions Against CAN" to the usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, in December 1996. You can still read the original post on the usenet group (later acquired by Google) by clicking the link. Doctrine Practices Concepts People Public groups Organization Controversy Official Scientology Cross Symbol The Church of Scientology is the largest organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. ... Cult Awareness Network - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Usenet (USEr NETwork) is a global, distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP network of the same name. ... The newsgroup alt. ...


  • Lalich, Janja. Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults. University of California Press, 2004. ISBN 0-520-23194-5. 329 pp.
  • Investigative Reports: Inside Heaven's Gate
  • Balch, Robert W. "Bo and Peep: a case study of the origins of messianic leadership." In Roy Wallis, ed. Millennialism and charisma. Belfast: Queens' University. 1982.
  • Balch, Robert W. "Waiting for the ships: disillusionment and revitalization of faith in Bo and Peep's UFO cult." In James R. Lewis, ed. The Gods have Landed: New Religions from Other Worlds. Albany: SUNY. 1995.
  • Balch, Robert W. "When the Light Goes Out, Darkness Comes: A Study of Defection from a Totalistic Cult". in Religious Movements: Genesis, Exodus and Numbers. Rodney Stark, (Ed). Paragon House Publishers. 1985. pp. 11-63.
  • Theroux, Louis. The call of the weird. Pan Macmillian. 2005. pp 207-221
  • DiAngelo, Rio. "Beyond Human Mind-The Soul Evolution of Heaven's Gate." RIODIANGELO PRESS. 2007. 128p

University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. ... shelby was here 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


  1. ^ Grant, John (2006). Discarded Science. Surrey, UK: Artists and Photographers Press, Ltd., 236-237. ISBN 1-904332-49-8. 
  2. ^ Oregon Coast Beach Connection News: Freaky Oregon Coast Facts: Unusual to Paranormal"Pat Boone’s Leisure Suit - Singer Pat Boone used to have an interest in a hotel in Waldport? The relationship to the hotel is unclear, but in the early 70's it was called the Pat Boone Motel, located in the Bayshore district. The marquee even featured a picture of Boone wearing a pink leisure suit. In the late 70's it became the Bayshore Inn, and the Heaven's Gate cult held a gathering there (the UFO cult that became infamous in the 90's for committing mass suicide in California)." Retrieved Feb. 9, 2007
  3. ^ http://www.cnn.com/US/9703/28/mass.suicide.pm/
  4. ^ Katherine Ramsland. Death Mansion. All about Heaven's Gate cult. CourtTV Crime Library. Retrieved on 2006-09-20.

DiAngelo, Rio. Beyond Human Mind-The Soul Evolution of Heaven's Gate. RIODIANGELO PRESS. 2007. 128p Courtroom Television Network LLC, more commonly known as Court TV, is an American cable television network owned by Time Warner and Liberty Media that launched on July 1, 1991. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... September 20 is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Scientology Scientology is a system of beliefs and practices created by American pulp fiction[1][2] and science fiction [3] author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as a self-help philosophy. ...

External links

Official Website.

  Results from FactBites:
hgate (1744 words)
Cult leaders employ a variety of methods to work their devotees into altered states of consciousness.
Cult leaders, like Do and Te of the Heaven's Gate cult, utilize the power of peer pressure to conform devotees to predictable patterns.
Or, as may be in the case of the Higher Source cult, that they are poised to shed their earthly containers and become pioneers of a new, extra-terrestrial civilization.
Heaven's Gate (cult) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1931 words)
Heaven's Gate was the name of a UFO religion co-led by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles (until her death).
The mass suicide of the Heaven's Gate group is one of the most widely known examples of cult suicide.
Heaven's Gate by Jeffrey Hadden of the University of Virginia
  More results at FactBites »



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