The Heaven’s Gate Cult is now the benchmark for cults, and one which is often used as an example when discussing cults. It had all of the trademarks including a deep belief system, communal living, a ruling leader and an ultimate ending in line with their beliefs.
Founded in the early 70s by Marshall Applewhite after he apparently had a near death experience while recovering from a heart attack.
The cult had numerous names during it’s lifetime and frequently re-branded and toured the country in search of new members. The group had a core belief that members must eventually leave their human vessels (their bodies) and rise away from earth onto the next level of life.
As the group progressed, Applewhite changed the specifics of this, often adopting christian schools of thought and ultimately extra terrestrial beliefs.
Applewhite believed himself to be a direct descendant of Jesus Christ, and as such attracted many Christian followers. Upon joining, everyone had to give up everything that didn’t involve the cult and the ultimate goal of leaving the earth. This included jobs, possessions, family, money and other beliefs. The group funded itself via a web design company the members ran.
In 1997, when a comet named Hale-Bopp neared earth, Applewhite claimed that a UFO was following it on its way to collect the followers. By March 23rd, he had convinced 38 followers to commit suicide in three groups over the next three days. All were found dressed identically in black clothing, with a small amount of money in their pockets to act as fare in order to board the spacecraft and pay their way to the next level.
This was a custom similar to that of the Romans two thousand years ago in Europe.
The Heaven’s Gate cult will be remembered for a long time, given the mass media coverage both before and after the suicide. It is also an ominous example of the dangers and fanaticism associated with cults, and is often provided as a prime example when such when cults are discussed.Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com