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Heaven's Gate

Stitcher & Pineapple Street Media, Glynn Washington

4/5

Heaven's Gate was an American new religious movement (often described as a cult), founded in 1974 and led by Bonnie Nettles (1927–1985) and Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997), known within the movement as Ti and Do, respectively. Ti and Do first met in 1972 and went on a journey of spiritual discovery, identifying themselves as the two witnesses of Revelation, attracting a following of several hundred people in the mid-1970s. In 1976, the group stopped recruiting and instituted a monastic lifestyle.

Scholars have described the theology of Heaven's Gate as a mixture of Christian millenarianism, New Age, and ufology, and as such it has been characterized as a UFO religion. The central belief of the group was that followers could transform themselves into immortal extraterrestrial beings by rejecting their human nature, and they would ascend to heaven, referred to as the "Next Level" or "The Evolutionary Level Above Human". The death of Nettles from cancer in 1985 challenged the group's views on ascension, where they originally believed that they would ascend to heaven while alive aboard a UFO, they later came to believe that the body was merely a "container" or "vehicle" for the soul, and that their consciousness would be transferred to new "Next Level bodies" upon death.

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