According to dictionaries a cult is 1) a system of religious worship or ritual. 2) A religion or sect considered extremist of false. 3) Obsessive devotion to a person or principle. It is believed that every cult ties into some kind of religion, and religions all have a common basis of a leap of faith. Whether this so-called leap of faith is going to heaven or being reincarnated, or moving on to some other planet, depends on the beliefs of the cult itself.
The Heavens Gate Cult is one of thousands of millennial cults and UFO- based cults throughout the world. It has existed for over 22 years now. The cult was lead by a man named Marshall Applewhite and a woman named Bonnie Nettles. They were referred to as Do and Ti by the cult. These were said to be their spiritual names. Bonnie met Marshall as a patient in a psychiatric hospital where she worked as a nurse.
The cult was mainly composed of men and women both. All members had crew cuts and were between the ages of 26 and 72. Although many members lived together in a mansion in California, they came from all parts of the country. Many were from California, but members also came from Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Minnesota, Utah, Ohio, and Florida.There were approximatly 39 members who lived in the 1.3 million dollar Rancho Santa Fe mansion. They operated a web site for their cult called Higher Source.
The cult had many beliefs that our human bodies were only vessels, occupied by members of the Kingdom of Heaven. They believed that Marshall Applewhite was a link between their cult and their god. It was said that god spoke to them through Applewhite. He was considered an equivalent to the Christian religions Jesus. And that people need to follow him as people had followed Jesus 2000 years ago. The cult believed that their time on earth was only a schooling to learn how to become a member of the kingdom of heaven. Do (Applewhite) taught them that in order to leave behind this world and move on to the next, people had to give up their family, sensuality, selfish desires, your human mind and your human body if necessary. You needed to have a pure unified consciousness. This is reached by a great effort to purify ones mind of distractions, defects, or whatever else was keeping them from reaching that state.
The group believed that their chance to enter the kingdom of heaven was when the comet Hale-Bop passed over the earth. They thought that they were destined to rendezvous with a spacecraft they thought was traveling behind the comet. Their belief was that they spaceship would take their souls into the kingdom of heaven with them. Because of this, 39 members of the Heavens Gate Cult committed suicide on March 26th 1997. They thought it was time to leave their vehicles or human bodies. The cult members dressed in dark clothes and made a mixture of either applesauce or pudding mixed with vodka and some medicine. Some also suffocated themselves. Dark purple shrouds covered their upper bodies, and they had identification with each of them and had also packed a suitcase and left the suicide recipe next to their bunk beds where they laid dead on their backs in sleeping position. There were 21 women and 18 men who put themselves to death in the California home.
On the cults web site there was a section titled Our Position Against Suicide. In this section they explained how their vehicles were fragile to them and they must take care of them while they have time here on earth. Their soul was the only part that would move on to the next level and it needed to be protected by the body that it was placed in. They said they would not destroy their vehicle until it was time to move to the next world.
The Heavens Gate Cult is again one of many Internet UFO- based cults. It has had major influence on many people today. There are many cults that have came about as a result of this cult. And the public has been made very aware of them because of the actions of this cult.