Who was the San Diego suicide cult,
and what did they believe?
For there shall arise false Christs, and
false prophets, and shall show great signs
and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The "Higher Source" or "Heaven's Gate" cult is
only one of literally thousandsof "millennial madness" cults that are
proliferating at breakneck speed as we approach the new millennium. They attract followers
by proclaiming a coming
catastrophe that can only be avoided through allegiance to the leader and his teachings.
The Cult's Theology
This cult is decidedly anti-Christian, deriding anyone who would "graciously accept death with the hope that 'through His [Jesus Christ's] shed blood,' or some other equally worthless religious precept, you will go to Heaven after your death."
The cult leader, who calls himself "Do," claims to be a Representative from "Heaven's Gate," just like Jesus Christ was for His generation. Do says he was assisted by his own "Older Member," a female named "Te" (pronounced
Tee), until she left her body in 1985 (this may refer to a human death, probably by suicide). Since then Do has been teaching his followers the following theology:
The Hale-Bopp comet has apocalyptic significance and is the "marker" for which they have been waiting, "the arrival of the next level beyond humanity," their cue to leave this human world for the "Level beyond the Human World."
Hale-Bopp's conjunction with the Christian commemoration of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection during Holy Week is confirmation that the Higher Order's plans are complete.
The Higher Source cult believes that beings of a higher order, from another region (the "Kingdom of Heaven"), have experimented with humans on this earth at various times. Two thousand years ago a member of the higher order
was ordered by his "Father" ("Older Member") to "take over" the body of Jesus at His baptism. The E.T.-controlled Jesus has one purpose: to announce the path to "membership into the Kingdom of Heaven."
Only a privileged few, who had been "taken over" in similar fashion, had the capacity to understand or believe His message. His message was, "If you want to go to Heaven, I can take you through that gate -- it requires everything of you." The Jesus-inhabiting Representative was killed by the evil spirits who inhabited other human bodies, and changed the Representative's message into what we know today as Christianity.
In the 1970s, the Kingdom of Heaven sent a new Representative, this time with his "Older Member" to help him through the more difficult phases of his mission. These two, who were from the "Evolutionary Level Above Human," a male and a female, were to prepare the world for its final, cataclysmic
"recycling" before it is implanted with a new civilization. Only those souls who are from the Evolutionary Level Above Human and inhabiting human bodies would be able to join the Representative in entering the Kingdom of Heaven and escaping earthly Armageddon.
Among the extensive research files CRI has developed over the last 37 years, we have information on literally thousands of UFO cults. That information includes extensive information on the inception and growth of the Higher Source or Heaven's Gate cult. This group has gone through a long
metamorphosis since the early 1970s. The original group was started by Bonnie Nettles, a nurse and Marshall (Herff) Applewhite, a music professor, who believed they had been anointed as the Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation for the Last Days.
In 1974 and 1975 they called themselves Bo and Peep (and privately they called themselves Do and Te), and preached that they would be leaving the earth on a UFO momentarily. (Two CRI researchers at that time talked directly with Bo and Peep and their followers at a recruitment rally in Southern California.) Bo and Peep and their followers disappeared shortly after that, resurfacing briefly in 1988 and again in 1993. In 1995 they began their final countdown to Armageddon, concluding with their final Internet transmission around March 26, 1997, "Hale-Bopp Brings Closure . . . . Our 22 years of classroom here on planet Earth is finally coming to conclusion "graduation" from the Human Evolutionary Level. We are happily prepared to leave 'this world' and go with Te's crew."
The Hale-Bopp Connection
The last appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet was more than 4,000 years ago. At the time of its discovery in 1995 (by Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp), it was reportedly 250 times brighter than Halley's comet. The Hale-Bopp comet will reach its perihelion (closest approach to the sun) on Tuesday, April 1
(ironically, April Fool's Day).
It is often referred to as the "Millennial Comet," in that it allegedly brings with it warnings of dire cosmic catastrophe at the end of this millennium. Comets historically have been viewed as "messages from the gods," prophetic signposts, omens of destruction in various religions around the world.
The comet was initially sighted in the night sky in the astrological region of Sagittarius, often promoted by superstitious UFO devotees as the source of a
future "Planet 12" that will bring cataclysmic, Armageddon-like events to the earth.
The comet will disappear from view in the region of the sky called the Duat by ancient Egyptians, between Orion and Leo. The Egyptians believed that this is where the souls of the dead can fulfill their destiny in heavenly bliss.
The comet, as one UFO cult watcher notes, "has become a blazing symbol of the fears and superstitions that still haunt our science-driven world. Using the World-wide Web as a church with many linked sanctuaries, the unusual beliefs involving Comet Hale-Bopp blend many dogmas common to modern
pseudo-spirituality and esotericism.
UFO Cults and the Approaching Millenium
The beginnings of the modern UFO craze came immediately after World War II, coinciding with technological advancements in space exploration and manned space flights. During this period people claimed that angelic saviors were on their way from Venus, Saturn, and other planets.
During succeeding decades, when space exploration confirmed that no such advanced civilizations existed on other planets in our solar system, the source of UFO contacts was moved literally light years away. Like scripts from "Star Trek", contactees' testimonials included details of star and light travel,
constellation-level galactic battles, and galaxy odysseys completed in the blink of an eye.
As we approach the end of this millennium, the religious and pseudo-Christian UFO cults are coming to the fore, especially with a plethora of web sites on the Internet. These cults reformat traditional Judeo-Christian doctrine into extra-terrestrial homilies, applying simplistic theology to other-worldly spiritual beings. As one UFO web-site watcher notes:
"Across the World Wide Web are old, familiar themes renewed:
warring factions of God and Evil from above and below, cosmic
battles for the salvation and corruption of human souls, Second
Comings, assorted predictions for our transformation and
ascension, heavenly messengers that pass information to
Earth-dwellers via dreams and other mind contact, and so on. . . .
The notion that as a species we are being guided and taken care of -- with special privileges bestowed in the next world(s) on True Believers -- is a warm blanket of security that our insecure species has worn for millennia."
The Internet seems an ideal place for cults like this by providing virtually limitless access to gullible minds with practically no filter or correction.
These cult leaders use socio-psychological manipulation practices to exploit their followers. These techniques are capitalized on by stage hypnotists, evangelists, political orators, dictators, and cult leaders, among others. The
tactics they employ can be remembered by the acronym APES -- A = altered states of consciousness; P = the psychology of peer pressure; E = exploitation of expectations; and S = the subtle power of suggestion.
Altered states of consciousness. Cult leaders employ a variety of methods to work their devotees into altered states of consciousness. In some cases it is repetitive physical motions, drugs, excessive and repetitive work schedules;
sleep deprivation; chanting mantras, etc. The goal is to dull the critical thinking process so that devotees become hyper-suggestible, willing to accept any "spiritual truth" that enters their minds. The dangerous effect for devotees involves depression, detachment, depersonalization, disillusionment, and, in the case of the Higher Source cult, even death.
Psychology of Peer Pressure. Cult leaders, like Do and Te of the Heaven's Gate cult, utilize the power of peer pressure to conform devotees to predictable patterns. They promote a "we/they" siege mentality that galvanizes their constituency against a foe of mythological proportions. They are
particularly adept at using conspiracy theories to reinforce their paradigm of reality. The peer pressure that entices devotees in the first place often keeps them from acknowledging that they were participants in a deception, even after the deception has been clearly unmasked. One millennial madness advocate expressed this siege mentality by commenting, "What if the Earth is in danger of a massive catastrophe? Would the common man know? If the authorities with expertise in the field had foreknowledge of this coming event, would they share the information with us?"
Exploitation of Expectations. Devotees are systematically programmed to believe that they are receiving esoteric revelations which have been hidden from the rest of humanity. In some cases they are systematically programmed
to believe that through adherence to the will of the "Master," they will be enabled to take over the socio-political systems of society. 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. The
proximity of the comet and the Christian commemoration of Holy Week, culminating in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, became the inexorable fulcrum precipitating their final, deadly, fall.
Subtle power of suggestion. The power of suggestion seems virtually without limit. Once epidemic suggestion contaminates a movement, human beings can behave like beasts or barbarians, and be proud of it. In full force, it strikes intellectuals as well as the ignorant, the prosperous as well as the poor. Its wellsprings are esoteric rather than evidential. As has been noted, "the
effect of suggestion on crowds is virtually without limit. It can make black appear white, it can obscure realities, enshrine absurdities, and impel men piteously to cleave the skulls of their brothers" (or, for that matter, to drink Kool-Aid laced with arsenic or to die under the covering of a purple shroud).
Statistically, one in twelve Americans are "highly suggestible,"
"fantasy-prone," susceptible to creating a memory out of thin air and then believing it. Fantasy-prone personalities are vastly over-represented in cults like the Higher Source that prey on such personalities in their recruitment efforts. Fantasy-proneness is typically referred to as "Grade Five Syndrome:" very trusting; desiring to please (especially an authority figure); able to accept contradictory experiences (cognitive dissonance); with a marked propensity
for a feeling of affiliation with new or unusual events; and apt to relate everything they experience to their own self-perception. This complex of characteristics makes Grade 5s particularly susceptible to UFO theories, millennial madness, and out-of-body experiences.