The pair began to discuss their beliefs.
Nettles had an abiding interest in astrology, while Applewhite leaned toward gnostic and mystic texts. Their studies in scripture convinced them that they were the two witnesses described in the Christian Book of Revelation — the two tormented prophets who were killed for their gift, then resurrected by God and brought to heaven moments before an earthquake destroyed the town. They called themselves Bo and Peep, and later Do and Ti. Sometimes they went by Winnie and Pooh or Tiddly and Wink.
Theirs was a platonic, sexless partnership — in keeping with the ascetic life they would come to encourage among their followers, even to the point of castration.
Nettles was the mystic and the diviner, while Applewhite was the charismatic speaker. It was a radical move, but for some, the choice encompassed the spirit of the decade — many were giving up the conventional lives they had started and seeking new spiritual answers to old questions. The problem was that the cult was operating on a clock.
Fate, however, threw a wrench in their plans when Nettles was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors told her her time was short, but Nettles, confident in her destiny, allegedly refused to believe them. Nettles, he said, had left her body and returned to her home among TELAH beings, where she would continue to help them.
He still had work to do on this plane of existence, however, and would finish out their project and guide the cult members to meet her. They believed that, "to be eligible for membership in the Next Level, humans would have to shed every attachment to the planet". This meant all members had to give up all human-like characteristics, such as their family, friends, sexuality, individuality, jobs, money, and possessions.
Although these basic beliefs of the group stayed generally consistent over the years, "the details of their ideology were flexible enough to undergo modification over time. One of these concepts was the belief of extraterrestrial walk-ins ; when the group began, "Applewhite and Nettles taught their followers that they were extraterrestrial beings.
However, after the notion of walk-ins became popular within the New Age subculture, the Two changed their tune and began describing themselves as extraterrestrial walk-ins. A walk-in can be defined as "an entity who occupies a body that has been vacated by its original soul". Heaven's Gate came to believe an extraterrestrial walk-in is "a walk-in that is supposedly from another planet.
The concept of walk-ins aided Applewhite and Nettles in personally starting from what they considered to be clean slates. In this so-called clean slate, they were no longer considered by members of this Heaven's Gate group to be the people they had been prior to the start of the group, but had taken on a new life; this concept gave them a way to "erase their human personal histories as the histories of souls who formerly occupied the bodies of Applewhite and Nettles. Similar to Nestorianism this belief stated that the personage of Jesus and the spirit of Jesus were separable.
This meant that Jesus was simply the name of the body of an ordinary man that held no sacred properties that was taken over by an incorporeal sacred entity to deliver "next level" information. Another New Age belief Applewhite and Nettles adopted was the ancient astronaut hypothesis. The term "ancient astronauts" is used to refer to various forms of the concept that extraterrestrials visited Earth in the distant past.
Only a select few members of humanity will be chosen to advance to this transhuman state. The rest will be left to wallow in the spiritually poisoned atmosphere of a corrupt world. According to Heaven's Gate, once the individual has perfected himself through the "process", there were four methods to enter or "graduate" to the next level: . Open only to adults over the age of 18,  group members gave up their possessions and lived a highly ascetic life that was devoid of many indulgences.
At Heaven's Gate is the second novel by Robert Penn Warren. First published in , it was reprinted in New York by New Directions Publishing Corporation in. Heaven's Gate was an American UFO religious millenarian cult based near San Diego, California. It was founded in and led by Marshall Applewhite.
The group was tightly knit and everything was communally shared. In public, each member of the group always carried only a five-dollar bill and one roll of quarters. The group earned revenues by offering professional website development for paying clients under the business name Higher Source. The cultural theorist Paul Virilio has described the group as a cybersect , due to its heavy reliance on computer mediated communication as a mode of communication prior to its collective suicide. The sect is briefly and indirectly mentioned in the movie Contact ,  directed by Robert Zemeckis and starred by Jodie Foster , when after the receiving of a message from outer space located in the star Vega , CNN 's journalist Natalie Allen playing herself in a cameo talks about its religious implications by "recent cult deaths near San Diego".
The April 11, Family Guy episode Chitty Chitty Death Bang,  Meg Griffin is recruited into a cult similar to Heaven's Gate where the members wore matching tracksuits and shoes, lived together in a large house, and planned to commit mass suicide. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. PST . Christian Century.
Retrieved Drummond, Jr. March 29, New York Times.
According to material the group posted on its Internet site, the timing of the suicides were probably related to the arrival of the Hale—Bopp comet, which members seemed to regard as a cosmic emissary beckoning them to another world. LA Weekly. Archived from the original on Los Angeles Times. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 3 September The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved — via Newspapers.
Ostling and Noah Robischon New York.
Monday, April 7, All about Heaven's Gate cult. CourtTV Crime Library. Retrieved September 20, On Saturday The first team of Sunday, the next team of fifteen followed. Finally there were seven on Monday, and then only two. Retrieved June 3, March The first group of 15 swallow applesauce March Fifteen more die Simon and Schuster.
Rows of women, their saris drawn over their heads, chanted in groups, between casting their eyes over the flowing Ganga as if to say: "Please give me the strength to carry on facing challenges On March 19—20, , Marshall Applewhite taped himself in Do's Final Exit, speaking of mass suicide and asserted "it was the only way to evacuate this Earth". Retrieved July 31, They didn't believe they were committing suicide. Provided of course you take care not to get lost or fall victim to wily pickpockets who reportedly make a killing during such fests. He won the Pulitzer in for his novel All the King's Men and won his subsequent Pulitzer Prizes for poetry in and then Robert Penn Warren was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic, and was one of the founders of New Criticism.
On March 22, , thirty-nine members March 23 — Fifteen of the group commit suicide March 24 — Fifteen more commit suicide Escondido Grapevine. March Fifteen members died that night. Fifteen more died the next day, followed by nine on March March 28, San Diego Union-Tribune. Copley News Service. The Signal. Retrieved 11 September Retrieved 18 September Skeptical Inquirer. May 7, The New York Times.
A former member of the Heaven's Gate cult was found dead today in a copycat suicide in a motel room near the scene of the group's mass suicide in San Diego County, and another former member was found unconscious in the same room, the authorities said. The San Diego Union-Tribune. The Independent.
Retrieved 23 June In an earlier suicide bid, on 1 April, a year-old recluse was found dead in his home in a remote mountain canyon in northern California after committing suicide. He had left a note indicating he believed that he would also join the dead Heaven's Gate cult members. Retrieved July 31, Settling in the San Diego area in , they supported themselves by creating sites on the World Wide Web for Internet users and established their own Web site to offer readers a gate to heaven hence the name by which they would become known.
Early in a rumour circulated among the New Age community that an artificial object, or spaceship, was following the recently discovered Comet Hale-Bopp , which would approach close to the Earth around the time of the spring equinox. Prior to the event, the members of the group made a video explaining their individual reasons for their chosen path. Heaven's Gate. Info Print Cite.
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Written By: J. Gordon Melton.