Heaven's Gate

Topics: Heaven's Gate, Marshall Applewhite, Bonnie Nettles Pages: 4 (1339 words) Published: April 29, 2001
On March 26, 1997, in what has become known as one of the most noteworthy mass suicides in history, thirty-nine men and women affiliated with the Heavens Gate cult took their own lives by ingesting a combination of Phenobarbitals mixed with applesauce and alcohol. Each was dressed all in black, their faces covered by a purple shroud. Those who wore glasses had them neatly folded next to their body, and all had identification papers for the authorities to find. The house was immaculate, tidier even than before the victims had moved in. It was as if, in preparing for their death, they were heeding the words of the prophet Isaiah: "Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live." And while their abrupt end may seem rather strange, the way they lived is even more perplexing. The group came together in the mid 1970s under the charismatic preaching of Marshall Herff Applewhite, and his companion, Bonnie Lu Nettles, a former nurse. It enjoyed a short-lived burst of notoriety, during which time they referred to themselves as Bo and Peep, before the couple took it underground in 1976. After existing in deep seclusion in various Southwestern cities, the group surfaced again briefly in 1994, when members sought out recruits with a series of public lectures. In the group's documents, Applewhite and Nettles are described as representatives of an extraterrestrial plane called the Kingdom of Heaven, who have come to Earth "to offer the way leading to membership" to those who could overcome their attachment to money, sex, and family life. Such total separation, the group preached, was necessary because Earth's human structures --governmental, economic and, especially, religious-- were under the control of demonic forces: "Luciferians" and evil "space aliens," in the group's terms. In time, they began calling themselves "the Two," a reference to the "two witnesses" of Christ foretold in the Bible's Book of Revelation. According to the Bible, the two...
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