By Benjamin E. Zeller

ISBN-10: 1479803812

ISBN-13: 9781479803811

ISBN-10: 1479881066

ISBN-13: 9781479881062

2015 top booklet Award from the Communal reviews organization

In March 1997, thirty-nine humans in Rancho Santa Fe, California, ritually terminated their lives. To outsiders, it was once a mass suicide. To insiders, it was once a commencement. This act was once the end result of over twenty years of religious and social improvement for the individuals of Heaven’s Gate, a non secular team concerned with transcending humanity and the Earth, and looking salvation within the literal heavens on board a UFO. 
In this attention-grabbing evaluate, Benjamin Zeller not just explores the query of why the individuals of Heaven’s Gate devoted ritual suicides, yet interrogates the starting place and evolution of the faith, its allure, and its practices. by way of monitoring the improvement of the heritage, social constitution, and worldview of Heaven’s Gate, Zeller attracts out the ways that the circulate was once either a mirrored image and a microcosm of bigger American culture.The staff emerged out of engagement with Evangelical Christianity, the hot Age stream, technology fiction and UFOs, and conspiracy theories, and it developed in line with the non secular quests of child boomers, new religions of the counterculture, and the narcissistic pessimism of the Nineteen Nineties. therefore, Heaven’s Gate not just displays the context of its surroundings, but additionally finds how these forces interacted within the type of a unmarried spiritual body. 
In the single book-length examine of Heaven’s Gate, Zeller strains the roots of the circulation, examines its ideals and practices, and tells the desirable tale of the folks of Heaven’s Gate.

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Extra info for Heaven's gate : America's UFO religion

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As they later explained in another 1976 interview, “it was as if we were being guided by forces greater than ourselves. We were snatched from our previous lives. ”33 Importantly, the astrological framework that Nettles offered Applewhite helped both of them to understand and interpret their experiences, to give meaning to the (admittedly pedestrian) suffering that the two had undergone. Like all religions, the inchoate kernel of Heaven’s Gate offered meaning and solace. It provided sanction for them to reject the most painful parts of their lives—broken relationships—and forge a new (platonic) partnership together based on mutual spiritual development.

There they taught classes on New Age topics such as astrology, theosophy, and mysticism, and met individually with students. They also focused more on their own spiritual development. 39 The mystic renamed Nettles as Shakti Devi (meaning “Powerful Goddess”) and Applewhite as Shri Pranavah (roughly translating to “Auspicious Mantra”), providing an important symbol of their rebirth. The names did not last, though the effect did. The two were no longer just two individuals. They were on the road to becoming—as they would soon refer to themselves—The Two.

46 They may have even read Lindsey and been directly influenced by his dispensationalist approach, though this is conjecture. Regardless, they came to similar conclusions that the end-time was near, and adopted a similar view of the dispensations and the coming rapture. Yet the Two had not abandoned their New Age perspectives, but rather merely combined them with Christian millennialism. The New Age movement itself assumes a millennial perspective, albeit one less destructive in outlook, and looks to the dawning of the eponymous new age when human potential shall finally be achieved.

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Heaven's gate : America's UFO religion by Benjamin E. Zeller

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