Cult Tragedies

The Heaven's Gate














srhg.jpg (9630 bytes)CAN and COS

Returning Home

The Waco Syndrome

Recommended Links

bttn7.jpg (1601 bytes) CAN and COS

Extreme groups are of course the primary responsibles in case of mass suicides or in case of other forms of violence on their part, but the confrontational approach of anti-cult groups have for effect to worsen the groups' paranoia and push them towards an irrevocable decision.

The "investigation" of Leo Ryan in Jones' camp in 1978, with NBC camera et all, helped to precipitate the Jonestown tragedy. In Waco, the FBI and BATF, made hysterical by alarmist rumors from anticultists, have most probably caused the tragedy in which 75 men, women, and children were burned alive.

The following post shows the same kind of confrontational approach at work towards the Heaven's Gate, how it prevents the possibility of a peaceful resolution of conflict but on the contrary helps to reinforce the group's feeling of estrangement from the outside society. The post was made by an Heaven's Gate member in the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup, to thank Scientologists for having busted CAN.

Subject: Thanks for Actions Against CAN
From: "lah" <>
Date: 1996/12/21
Message-Id: <199612220630.AAA19074@Spacestar.Net>

Here's a round of applause to the Church of Scientology for their courageous action against the Cult Awareness Network.

From our point of view, no group was as "off" in their judgment of others as was CAN. No group was as out of place in their
condemnation of the innocent as was CAN.

They accused our group of "cult activities" promoting all sort of lies about us. When we asked to speak with them to correct some of their false accusations, they refused to listen. Their only desire was to see our financial records and ironically, we really have no finances to speak of at all. They exerted no effort to determine the facts even when those who could most accurately provide those facts were literally at their doorstep.

We hope you will continue to advertise on behalf of freedom of thinking for all.

History proves that nearly every conceptual milestone now considered "good" was at one time considered a "cult." In the early/inception stages of any significantly updated thinking, it seems that some embodiment of narrow-minded opposition takes it upon themselves to threaten its right to exist.

So thanks again from all of us determined to continue the search for Truth through alternate paths. And thanks from those who support the right of others to do so as well.

In Service to the Next Level,

The so-called "UFO Cult"

bttn8.jpg (1645 bytes) Returning Home

That the feeling of estrangement, alienation, and incomprehension played a role in Heaven's Gate members decision to rejoin "home" can be seen through the following excerpt taken from their website and in which they explain how their rejection by the usenet community (something quite natural taken the nature of this media) has comforted them in their idea that there was nothing remaining to be done for them down here on earth..

Message-ID: <>

Then on September 25-26, 1995, from a secluded location, we issued a statement that went out - "on line" - around the globe, for our sixth public interaction. The statement entitled "Undercover 'Jesus' Surfaces Before Departure" was posted to the World Wide Web and to 95 UseNET newsgroups on the Internet, potentially reaching millions simultaneously. And in keeping with our policy of "speaking in tongues," on October 11, 1995, we posted a higher, more generic translation, entitled "'95 Statement by an E.T. Presently Incarnate." The response was extremely animated and somewhat mixed. However, the loudest voices were those expressing ridicule, hostility, or both - so quick to judge that which they could not comprehend. This was the signal to us to begin our preparations to return "home." The weeds have taken over the garden and truly disturbed its usefulness beyond repair - it is time for the civilization to be recycled - "spaded under."

bttn6.jpg (1620 bytes) The Waco Syndrome

Of course, the rather negativist nature of usenet in general can't be blamed on anyone, but then usenet isn't a cult-watching organization supposed to resolve conflicts and prevent cult tragedies. Alas, CAN wasn't anything like it either, and on the contrary, increased the conflicts and the potential for violence. Waco, that anticultists helped to bring about, was only one of the events seen threatening by the group. The threat of false arrest, kidnapping and deprogramming, was looming in their mind as well. This, combined with the groups' natural paranoia and its strange beliefs, helped to shape their resolve. At first a remote possibility, it became dreadfuly real as events mounted up to their final conclusion.

The following excerpt from their website shows this peculiar combinaition:

Another possibility is that, because of the position we take in our information, we could find so much disfavor with the powers that control this world that there could be attempts to incarcerate us or to subject us to some sort of psychological or physical torture (such as occurred at both Ruby Ridge and Waco).

It has always been our way to examine all possibilities, and be mentally prepared for whatever may come our way. For example, consider what happened at Masada around 73 A.D. A devout Jewish sect, after holding out against a siege by the Romans, to the best of their ability, and seeing that the murder, rape, and torture of their community was inevitable, determined that it was permissible for them to evacuate their bodies by a more dignified, and less agonizing method. We have thoroughly discussed this topic (of willful exit of the body under such conditions), and have mentally prepared ourselves for this possibility (as can be seen in a few of our statements). However, this act certainly does not need serious consideration at this time, and hopefully will not in the future.

The true meaning of "suicide" is to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered. In these last days, we are focused on two primary tasks: one - of making a last attempt at telling the truth about how the Next Level may be entered (our last effort at offering to individuals of this civilization the way to avoid "suicide"); and two - taking advantage of the rare opportunity we have each day - to work individually on our personal overcoming and change, in preparation for entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

The cult/anticult drama that members on each side go through on a daily basis only becomes visible for the public at large when it mounts up to mass tragedies. The public is very often unaware of the whole background that precedes these tragedies and unilaterally blames the religious groups. The role anticultists had in them remains occluded, while the same anticultists capitalize on the events to further their agenda of fear and hysterical reaction in the public and among authorities. Thus, the vicious circle keeps on widening.

It is only by becoming aware of the situation as a whole, that is, the situation that involves both the cults and its mirror, the anti-cult movement, that we can hope to better understand the dynamics that are really at play behind these events, with the hope of having a better chance to prevent them.

bttn9.jpg (1627 bytes) Recommended Links

Synthesis of events and of the group's beliefs
From the Ontario Consultants of Religious Tolerance

Group profile and extended details
From the New Religious Movements site of the University of Virginia

Full featured set of documents and links.
From the New Religious Movements site of the University of Virginia

Heaven's Gate mirror site
Heaven's Gate web page development company site profile of profile of

QuickTime Movies: cult leader explaines philosophy
From the CNN site

The role of anticultists in Wacoic_top.gif (764 bytes)Discrimination in Germany