Yesterday I watched one of those reality shows from the Oxygen Network called something like “Deadly Cults”. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was doing other things, preparing breakfast, making coffee. The television was just on in the background, looping through the most recent episodes added to the Hayu app. The subject of this episode was the Heaven’s Gate cult. I remember when the news broke about them and their mass suicide in 1997. It was horrific, unbelievable really, at that time anyway. Now, well, nothing surprises me now. The 39 members who died believed they were going to another plane with aliens or some such, to continue their good work. As I said I wasn’t really paying attention yesterday and the nineties is not my best decade for memory retention. It was 23 years ago!
But it got me thinking. How much faith you must need in order to do something like that! I mean these people were happy by any accounts, they had a cause, a reason to work. They not only had biological families who loved them, but they had each other, a big community of like-minded peers for fellowship and support. To go through with it, to eat the pudding, to willingly lie there dying and waiting for the mother ship or what have you. It’s kind of incredible to me. I don’t know that I’m capable of such strong belief in anything. Obviously, not if it meant killing myself, but I mean just a belief in general, to feel such a deep unwavering conviction. I ask too many questions. I can see too many sides of the situations.
Twenty-three years later though and some still believe the teachings of Heaven’s Gate. Their original website remains online. Someone renews that domain name and pays for hosting. On wikipedia it says there are still some active members. The admin crew, left behind to pay the bills. Now that’s faith!
Drinking: water and a rich dark brew
Listening To: If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot
Hair: maybe needs a washing today