The Heaven's Gate Cult

March 1997: Rancho Santa Fe, California

The  largest mass suicide on US soil

39 members of the Heaven's Gate Cult were found dead in a rented mansion
in this exclusive community near San Diego.  The members included
21 women and 18 men, ranging in age from 26 to 72 years.

Who were they?

What did they believe?

Why did they take their own lives?
Closing The Gate
Closing The Gate by Deb Simpson
The 39

The images below do not include all 39 members who died in the mass suicide-only those that
Jimmy left pictures of.  It appears that Jimmy cut the photos from the pages of a magazine,and  
labeled each withe the initials of the name he knew them by.  We found these among his
belongings.  I believe it was intended as a memorial to his chosen family.
Jimmy's List


















Cheryl Butcher 42, computer trainer
Cheryl Butcher 42, computer trainer
Butcher was a shy, bright, self-taught computer expert who spent
half her life in Applewhite's orbit. Growing up in Springfield, Mo., she
was "the perfect daughter," says her father, Jasper, a retired federal
corrections officer. "She was a good student. She did charity work,
candy striper stuff." But according to Virginia Norton, her mother,
she was also "a loner. She watched a lot of TV and read. Making
friends was hard for her." That is, until she joined the cult in 1976.
"She wrote me a letter once," says Norton, "that said, 'Mother, be
happy that I'm happy.' Another time she ended a letter with 'Look
higher.' "

David Van Sinderen 48, environmentalist
"When I was 4, he saved me from drowning," says publicist Sylvia
Abbate of her big brother David. The son of a former telephone
company CEO, David became an environmentalist. " 'Don't be hurt,
I'm not doing this to you,' " Abbate says he told his family after he
joined the cult in 1976. " 'It's something I have to do for me.' "
Visiting his sister in '87, he puzzled her with his backseat driving,
then apologized, explaining that cult members drove with a partner
so they would have an extra set of eyes. Says Abbate: "That's the
kind of care they had for one another."

Alan Bowers 45, oysterman
Bowers had spent eight years with the cult in the '70s before
returning to Fairfield, Conn., in the early '80s to work as a
commercial oysterman. In 1988 his life derailed when his wife
divorced him and his brother Barry drowned in a boating accident.
Bowers, who had three children, moved to Jupiter, Fla., near his
stepsisters Susan and Joy Ventulett. "He came down here to make a
new start," says Susan, but he could never quite get it together.
Then in 1994, Bowers, while working for a moving company, ran into
someone he knew from Applewhite's legions at a McDonald's in New
Mexico. "He felt it might have been destiny," says Joy. "He was a
little vulnerable. He was searching for peace."

Margaret Bull 54, farm girl
Peggy Bull, among the cult's first adherents in the mid-'70s, grew up
on a farm outside little Ellensburg, Wash. Though shy, she was in
the high school pep club and a member of the Wranglerettes, a
riding drill team. Later "she belonged to all the intellectual-type
groups," says Brenda McIntosh, a roommate at the University of
Washington, where Bull earned her B.A. in 1966. "It was sometimes
hard to talk to her because she was so smart." Recalls English
professor Roger Sale: "She was a open and ready intellectually."
Her father, Jack, died less than three weeks before Bull's suicide,
says Margaret's childhood friend Iris Rominger, who assumed that
Bull had left the cult. "I guess it's kind of a blessing."

Alphonzo Foster 44, bus driver
On the surface he was full of promise. Intelligent and handsome, he
devoured books on philosophy and spirituality. But, says James
Hannon, who roomed with Alphonzo Foster in Minneapolis in the
'70s, "he didn't do so well on the practical details of his life." A free
spirit who was rarely able to hold a job, Foster sank into a deep
depression after his mother died in 1980. Hannon wasn't surprised
when Foster joined Heaven's Gate in 1994 after talking on the
phone with Applewhite for 20 minutes. "He didn't like much about life
in this dimension," says Hannon. "He wanted to go beyond."

David Moore 40, computer ace
Moore was angry, often emotional 19-year-old with a shock of dark,
wavy hair when in 1975 he stumbled on a cult meeting in a park
near his home in Los Gatos, Calif. He disappeared soon afterward,
and for 21 years his mother, Nancie Brown, tried to track him down
and organized parent support groups. Finally, after seeing him twice
over the years, she accepted his choice and even became proud
that he had become a certified computer network engineer. But his
long absence didn't diminish the pain when she learned of his
death. "It's been, I'd say, 21 years of losing," she told The
Washington Post. "It doesn't end."

Julie LaMontagne 45, nurse
Raised by a foster family, LaMontagne spent much of her childhood
studying and eventually got her nursing degree from the University
of Massachusetts at Amherst, graduating cum laude in 1974. Shortly
afterward she saw her best friend drown and her birth father, Jules,
with whom she had remained close, die of cancer. The deaths "just
made her collapse," says her brother Andrew. "We could never get
her back after that." She drifted through a series of New England
communes until she stumbled on Heaven's Gate in the late '70s.
She soon became Applewhite's personal nurse.

Darwin Lee Johnson 42, musician
A firm believer in UFOs and space aliens, Johnson had briefly joined
Heaven's Gate in the '70s. But he appeared to have found a new
home as guitar player and lyricist for the Utah-based rock band
Dharma Combat. Then, in 1994, according to the band's then-
producer, Joe Clarke, Johnson saw an ad for a Heaven's Gate
seminar. Two days later he was gone. Says Clarke: "He told me he
was removed [earlier] because he couldn't measure up to their
standards. He always felt bad about that."

Robert Arancio 45, artist
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Miami, Arancio had studied
architecture at two Florida colleges before moving in the mid-'70s to
Berkeley, Calif., where he met the cult leaders then known as Bo
and Peep. "He felt he had a purpose, he was part of a community,"
sister Joanne Bosma, 40, says of his decision to become part of the
group. After joining in 1975, Arancio, an artist, returned to his
parents' Florida home only twice—for two-day visits in 1984 and
'87—each time alerting them just a day before he arrived. Though
he told relatives he had considered leaving the cult in recent years,
he never acted on the impulse. "We're grieving the loss of my
brother," says sister Joanne. "But we're also grieving the loss of our
hope that he'll ever come home."

Gary Jordan St. Louis 43, computer programmer

Dana Tracey Abreo 34, paralegal

Even as a child in Modesto, Calif., Gary Jordan St. Louis was asking
the tough questions. Like: What am I doing here? Are there
spaceships? And why does Mom drink? "He would drive my mother
nuts, and my mother was half nuts already," recalls younger brother
Guy of the tense times after their parents divorced and the two boys
went to live with their mother, Carolyn. "He was always searching for
answers to questions that had no answers."

Gary's relentless queries eventually wore down Carolyn—who had
remarried, given birth to daughters Erin and Dana and divorced
again—and at 10 he rejoined his father, Louis, a general contractor.
Handsome and bright, he earned straight As at Downey High School
in Modesto, where he was junior class president and devoured
books on astrophysics and extraterrestrial life.

His family had great expectations when he entered the University of
California at Berkeley on scholarship in 1972, but he dropped out
within a year, disillusioned by the impersonality of the place. Back in
Modesto he worked as an engineer and married receptionist Carol
Schaeffer. Then, visiting Berkeley in '74, he encountered Heaven's
Gate. "They said, 'We're all caterpillars right now,' " recalls Guy, who
had gone with his brother. " 'But we have the ability to develop into
butterflies.' "

And Gary was ready to take off. His family didn't hear from him for
the better part of 14 years, until he resurfaced in 1989, just in time
to say goodbye to his dying mother. (His wife had filed for divorce
soon after he left.) For the next three years he lived outside the cult,
struggling with the issue of celibacy, his family believes. During that
time he worked as a computer programmer at Denver's Stapleton
Airport. At the same time he drew close to his half sister Dana, who
had moved in with him while working as a paralegal. And he became
deeply involved with two different women.

In the end, though, Heaven's Gate held him in thrall. Leaving
devastated girlfriend Shelly King in February 1992, he told her, "I
want to join my heavenly father and my classmates." One of them
would be Dana. "Most people don't try to make things more
complicated than they are," says King, musing about the path
chosen by her former boyfriend and his half sister. "These people
were so smart they thought the world must be more complicated."

Ladonna Brugato 40, computer consultant

Al Wallace was fixing his tenant's bathroom faucet in Englewood,
Colo., in 1993 when he discovered she was a New Age devotee.
"On the four corners of the bed there was a chiffon canopy running
up to a crystal in the center, like a pyramid, and on each corner
there was a pyramid crystal," he recalls. Crystals and candles also
decorated an altar beside the bed of Brugato, a divorcée who had
recently moved to Englewood from the Northwest with her young
daughter Jacqueline. In 1994 the friendly but private Newberg, Ore.,
native sold all her belongings and left town, telling neighbors she
was off on a "religious hiatus."

"If you met her on the street," says Wallace, "she would have been
the girl next door who was simply trying to get by as a single mom.
You never would have imagined that it could have gone this far."

Joel Peter McCormick 28, Trekkie
When Joel McCormick was 6, he climbed behind the wheel of his
mother's car, turned on the ignition and started to drive. The strong-
willed boy didn't get very far. "He had no sense of fear," says Geoff
Van Valkenberg, a stepbrother, who recalls that when older kids
went out at night to catch frogs with flashlights, Joel had to go too.
After graduating from high school in Madison, Wis., in 1986,
McCormick, an ardent Star Trek fan whose parents had divorced
when he was 2, moved to Seattle "to sort out the direction he
wanted to go," says his father, James, a Ford Motor technician. By
1994, having trouble finding work as a masseur, he made a decision
to join the UFO cult. His mother, Megan McCormick, was beside
herself. He wrote to reassure her: "Trust me. I'm doing fine and
continue to grow toward the future."

Gail Maeder 27, boutique owner

However far Gail Maeder wandered from the comfortable home
where she had grown up in Sag Harbor, N.Y., her parents always
hoped she would find her way back. "We hoped she'd marry and
settle down—give us some grandchildren," says her father, Robert,
a design engineer for a manufacturing company. But Gail had never
done the expected thing. Even as a skinny teenager she had gone
her own way at Pierson High School. "I hate to say she was a
hippie," says her mother, Alice, a homemaker. "She was more a

Before she could complete her fashion-design degree at a local
community college, Gail moved to California in 1991 with her
boyfriend Chad, a construction worker. They settled in a forest
cabin outside Santa Cruz, where, with $5,000 from her father, she
opened a small boutique selling clothing and jewelry. But in 1993
she broke up with her boyfriend—"Chad said she seemed to be
searching for something," Robert recalls—and soon afterward
traveled with a friend to the Southwest. There she started chatting
with some friendly people in a passing van—members, it turned out,
of the Heaven's Gate cult. "Gail wasn't street smart," says Robert.
"She just got sucked in and couldn't get out."

From then on the Maeders would hear from their daughter only
occasionally, primarily in cryptic letters, each from a different
location. "Knowing you've taught me good judgment in choosing
what's best for myself, I hope you will respect this learning I've
decided to pursue," she wrote in April 1994 from Arizona. "I really
want you to be aware that I'm doing exactly what I want, and it makes
me very happy," she wrote in August 1995 from Lubbock, Texas.

Gail telephoned out of the blue in the fall of 1994. Robert, taken by
surprise, offered to send her a plane ticket home (she declined),
then suggested she visit if she was in the area. "Maybe that might
be arranged," she said. But it never was. The next time the Maeders
heard their daughter's voice was on the cult's farewell video. Gail,
looking older and weary, said to the camera, "What we're about to
do is certainly nothing to think negatively about." That did little to
soothe her parents or her brother Danny, 20, a Florida college
student. "It was like a fatal disease," says Alice. "She was a victim.
We just thought eventually she would wake up and say, 'I've had
enough of this.' "

Thomas Nichols 58, dreamer
Long ago, Nichols confided to his older sister Nichelle that he was
awaiting a rendezvous with a comet. Ironically, as Star Trek's Lt.
Uhura, it was Nichelle who played the communications officer torn
between earthbound domesticity and a career on the starship
Enterprise. On Larry King Live, she said that until their mother died
in 1992, "we hadn't heard from [my brother] in 20 years."

John Craig 62, developer
Mary Ann Craig's husband, John, had spent several days working
late in his Durango, Colo., real estate development office. Then, one
hot July morning in 1975, Mary Ann packed their six kids, ranging
from 8 to 18, into the car to attend an out-of-town swim meet. When
she returned later that evening, she found a note from her husband
outlining his business dealings and finances. Just like that, John
"Mickey" Craig had disappeared, taking only pocket cash, a change
of clothes and his four-wheel-drive Chevy Blazer. "This was a real
switcheroo," says Mary Ann, now 61. "I'm the one who likes to read
Stephen King."

Born in Evanston, III., Craig moved to Albuquerque with his parents
when he was 15, acquired an out-doorsman's skills and, by the
mid-'60s, was running one of Colorado's premier dude ranches. He
so looked the part that he was cast as an extra in Butch Cassidy and
the Sundance Kid.

When Craig's University of New Mexico fraternity brother Dale
Mackey visited in 1975 and talked all night about his recent
immersion in a UFO cult, Mary Ann, the high school sweetheart
Craig had married in 1954, paid little heed. But after Mackey left,
Craig told her he had a meeting in Denver and drove to Stapleton
Airport to meet Bo and Peep.

Within a week he was gone. At first a shocked Mary Ann—a
registered nurse who had to go back to work—believed Craig would
grow disillusioned. Instead he became the ethereal Brother Logan,
the cult's second-in-command. The Craigs divorced in 1977 without
ever speaking again.

Craig did contact his children, though. Shortly after his departure, he
invited his oldest child, Cathy, a college freshman, to a recruiting
session in Denver, but she wasn't impressed. A decade later, he
arranged to meet all six children at a Durango resort. "Some of my
brothers and sisters didn't even remember him," said Cathy Craig
Murphy, now 40. Craig will be cremated and his ashes spread over
the San Juan Mountains by his children when the snows melt this

Margaret Richter 46, computer whiz
Class of '69 valedictorian at Las Plumas (Calif.) High School, award-
winning orator and drum majorette of the marching band, Margaret
Field was "successful at everything she tried," recalls a teacher. "We
expected her to become governor or President," says classmate
Fred Carion. But her 1969 marriage to Berkeley classmate David
Richter fizzled after just a few years, leaving her shattered. "That's
what changed her," says her father, Emery, 76. Though she earned
a master's degree in computer science at UCLA, she seemed to be
losing interest in life in 1975, when she encountered the cult. She
wrote her family that May: "Here's hoping I get a UFO trip for
Christmas." After 21 years of little contact with her daughter, her
mother, Virginia, concludes, "If you're going to change the world, you
stay here to change it."

Susan Elizabeth Nora Paup 53, editor for a computer company
As an English major at Berkeley in the late '60s, Paup was spirited
and outgoing, recalls her brother Bill Jenkins, who would bring her
along on motorcycle-club outings. "We'd ride and stop for beers," he
says. "Everyone loved her." She later found work as an editor and
took a job with an L.A. computer company, where a colleague told
her about the UFO cult. She traveled with her second husband to
Oregon in 1975, where the couple split, Paup remaining with the
group. "Susan couldn't have kids, and she was deeply disturbed by
that," says her mother, Jane Bradford, who saw her just twice in 22
years. Adds Bradford of the cult's separating members from loved
ones: "To them, it sounded kind of Christian. But it's not a Christian
act to renounce your family."

Michael Barr Sandoe 25, ex-paratrooper
A UFO sighting might not have been much more startling to
residents of rural Abingdon, Va., in the Blue Ridge foothills, than
news that one of their own was among the Heaven's Gate dead.
Sandoe, son of an evangelical minister, had been decorated for his
service as an infantry paratrooper in Desert Storm in 1991, and
friends remember him as a popular senior class president. "He
seemed carefree, wanting to have fun," says Patricia Pasco. " 'He
was always the class clown." To Sandoe's family, word of his suicide
came as a double shock. "The other families seemed to know their
son or daughter was involved [in the cult]," says half brother James.
"We didn't."

Norma Jeanne Nelson 59, artist
Even at the Dallas apartment complex where she and her motorized
wheelchair were a familiar sight from 1990 to '94, artist Brandy
Nelson kept her private life private. Though making no secret of her
disdain for men or estrangement from her ex-husband and three
children, Nelson, who told people she was a polio victim, was tight-
lipped about her many mysterious visitors. A few days ago, former
neighbor Patty Falkner says she finally learned who they were—
members of Heaven's Gate.

Suzanne Cooke 54, drifter
When they first attended a local meeting led by Applewhite 20 years
ago, Cooke and her husband, Nick, were living in a community of
bohemian houseboat dwellers in Sausalito, Calif. Not long afterward
they gave their 10-year-old daughter Kelly cassette tapes explaining
their departure and left her with friends. "It happened all very, very
quick," Kelly told 60 Minutes. "My understanding was [they left] to go
to the Next Level to be with God." Former neighbors remember
Suzanne as a gentle, quiet woman, fascinated with computers and
space. "She was very low-key and always in the background," recalls
Sausalito harbormaster Ted Rose. Nick, an artist, quit the cult, but
Suzanne stayed for what Nick described as "the final leap of faith.... I
think she's probably on the mother craft somewhere."

Jacqueline Leonard 72, medical assistant
In the Des Moines home where Leonard and her husband, Charles,
an optometrist, raised their three children, conversation about
religion and serving God was commonplace. That deep sense of
spirituality was what enticed Leonard to leave her family—including
mother Neva Garrity, now 94—to join Marshall Applewhite's group in
the mid-'70s. But she remained so torn over the decision that she
was among the few members who kept in regular touch with
relatives. She last showed up three years ago with seven other cult
members for a brief dinnertime visit. "I've been luckier than some,"
says daughter Chris, 43. "I've had a lot of time to sort some of these
things out." Over the years she had taken that time to learn about
the cult's philosophy, which did not equate suicide with death. Says
Chris: "Mom always said she would leave in a beam of light."

Susan Strom 44, outdoorswoman
An aspiring botanist and frequent summer-camp counselor, Strom
was just shy of graduating from Oregon State University in 1975
when she left with Applewhite's people. "I guess this group just came
around with flyers and she decided to join," says her father, Lyle
Strom, a senior U.S. district judge. Unlike many other parents, Strom
and his wife, Regina, received occasional letters and phone calls
from Susie, the second of their seven children. "I always considered
it a cult," says her father, who encouraged her to come home. "But
she always seemed happy. She had plenty of opportunity to leave."

Judith Rowland 50, homemaker
Heavy-machine operator Bob Rowland returned to his Ventura,
Calif., home after work on April 10, 1975, to find a note from Judi, his
wife of nine years. The mother of their two children Cindy, then 8,
and Joey, 6, wrote simply, "I went to walk with the Lord." A former
model, Judi was recruited into Applewhite's fold by her mother,
Lorraine, who claims they were his first followers. After joining, the
pair rarely spoke. "We had to break through all that humanness,"
explains Lorraine, who left after five years. Says a bitter Bob
Rowland of his wife and former mother-in-law: "They had a meeting
behind my back and [Applewhite] got hold of her mind."

Yvonne McCurdy-Hill 38, United States Postal Service employee

The nightmare began for Eartha Hill last August, when her son
Steven and his wife, Yvonne, invited her to their Cincinnati home
and told her they were forsaking everything and everyone—
including their newborn twins and three other children—to be with
God. "He said, 'Mom, I love you so much. But I have to go away,' "
says Hill. Then he played a song about friends and relatives meeting
again after death. "I'd never felt that kind of fear," says Hill. "It just
drained me."

Steven, an inspector at a tile company, was the first to learn about
Heaven's Gate, pulling everything he could off the Internet. But
Yvonne, a mail sorter at the post office, turned out to be the true
believer. Apparently, Applewhite was careful to keep the two apart
once they had joined. While Yvonne responded to the
regimentation, Steven soon rebelled. "He saw something was wrong
in there," says Hill. "He said they were bickering inside the cult."

At first, Yvonne was going to leave with her husband. But Steven
was sent on an errand, and while he was gone, Applewhite
persuaded her to stay. Once he'd left, Steven, who made no effort to
reunite with his children—now being raised by family members—was
obsessed with getting Yvonne back. Up to the end, he kept in
contact with cult members over the Internet. "He thought she would
come out," says Hill. "It's so sad. [When he heard she was dead] he
just broke down."

Denise J. Thurman 44, seeker
The long and winding road from affluent Locust Valley, N.Y., to
Rancho Santa Fe began in 1973 for Thurman, a once-vivacious
high school cheerleader. Midway through her junior year at Boston
University, where she had been majoring in psychology, she
dropped out and took off with her boyfriend for a West Coast
commune. "She was deeper than most people at 17 or 18 can be,"
says her college roommate Sandy Nash, now a theater producer
living in Garden City, N.Y. "Denise was into a less materialistic way of
life; she was a hippie, but didn't go overboard. The last birthday card
she gave me said something like, 'Dear Sandy: There is no purpose
to friendship other than the deepening of one's soul.' "

Lindley Ayerhart Pease 41, car salesman
As a boy in the seaside resort town of Hampton Beach, N.H., Pease
dreamed of starting his own business, following the example of his
parents, who owned a restaurant and hotel. Though recruited by
Applewhite and Nettles in 1978, during his third year at Plymouth
State College, he left the cult in the early '80s, earned a
management degree, married and worked as a car salesman. But by
1994, his marriage ended and both parents dead, he dropped out of
touch with his sister Sylvia Pease, a Christian Science nurse. "I had
no idea he was back in the group," she says, "until I learned he was

Jeffrey Howard Lewis 41, masseur
A Lubbock, Texas, native who spent a decade in the cult after
serving in the Navy, Lewis left, then returned 12 years later after
working as a masseur in San Antonio. "I told him he should think
about anything that requires you to give up your friends and family,"
says his friend David Tayloe, "but he said he wanted to go back."
Lewis's brother Jerry told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, "He felt he
didn't have the meaning he had when he was in the group."

Erika Ernst 40, cult accountant
Independent and an inveterate traveler, Ernst, who grew up in
Calgary, Alberta, had been dating Frank Ly-ford for two years when
the pair, recently back from a six-week sojourn in Europe, came
across Applewhite and Nettles during a 1975 Oregon camping trip.
Soon afterward they sold their belongings and left home—though
Lyford defected in 1993. "I made my choice," he says. "She made
the choice to stay." Says Ernst's sister Heidi Sherrington: "They
wanted to see the world. I wish they had done that on their own. She
would still be here."

Lucy Eva Pesho 63, computer trainer
As a kid in Pueblo, Colo., Pesho hated wearing dresses, had a
paper route and was the best marble player on the playground. She
was a real tomboy, says older sister Jean, and "told all the kids at
school her name was Tommy." Always shy, even when she moved to
Los Angeles and began working for Packard Bell, "she didn't have
too many friends," says her brother Joseph. In the late '70s, she
found some in Heaven's Gate. The last time she called Jean, in
1989, she had a simple message: "I'm alive—and I'm happy."

Joyce Skalla 58, local TV personality
Raised in Minnesota, Skalla married a Navy officer and once won a
base beauty contest. Living first in Denver—where she gave birth to
twin daughters—the family later settled in Tulsa, Okla., where Skalla
earned a journalism degree in 1975. She was working on-air for a
local TV station when she took off, two days after attending a cult
seminar. "Joyce was always a real '50s-type wife," says a family
friend. "Then she did a complete change."
The mysteries inside the enigma
Even a week after their deaths, seven members of the Heaven's Gate cult :'remained somewhat shadowy figures. In the case of Betty Deal, her
family had hired a private detective to locate her after she vanished from the Seattle area in 1975, abandoning her four children. Last week it
turned out that she had gone under at least seven names over the years. Gordon Welch, like many of his fellow cultists, used a post office box
for receiving his mail. "He was generous and kind and a great worker," says a former employer in Encinitas, Calif. "[But] he told me he was a
monk and that his private life was private."
Information below is an excerpt from People Magazine archives

The Heaven's Gate Cult 39


The 17 Steps below are only one part of the groups beliefs and practices.  
The full beliefs and teachings are available online:
Click here to access the Heaven's Gate website

1. Can you follow instructions without adding your own interpretation?

2. Can you deliver instructions as you receive them or do they change according to your computer?

3. Do you participate in inconsiderate conversation, polluting the ears of others while you and your partner work things out?

4. Are you physically clumsy - breaking things because you handle them too harshly or carelessly?

5. Do you half way complete a task because of your poor standard of what is thorough?

6. Do you put tasks off - procrastinate?

7. Are your patterns of cleanliness, sensitivity, gentleness, etc. consistent or are they good only when spotlighted?

8. Do you use more of something than is adequate (for example, excessively high cooking flame, more toothpaste than necessary, etc.)?

9. Do you go from one extreme to another: as from overeating to undereating, etc.?

10. Are you sensitive when approaching another individual about something you want to discuss? Do you permit that individual the choice to
continue what he is doing, or do you force him to drop it in order to give attention to you? Do you stop and check, or do you assume that what is
on your mind is more important than what is on theirs? (Know the difference between your relationship with your teachers and your fellow
classmates in this regard.)

11. Do you needlessly ask a question when the answer is obvious or a moment of silent observation would quickly reveal the answer?

12. Are you pushy, aggressive, interfering, or demanding in any way?

13. Has familiarity caused you to become so relaxed with your partners or others that your actions or words don't hold enough restraint?

14. Are you gentle, simple, cautious, and thoughtfully restrained in your steps and all other physical actions or words?

15. Have you outgrown defensiveness and its flip side, martyrdom?

16. Can you understand and review in your mind all the ways in which members of the Next Level are sensitive? If you can, you have no excuse
for not working on improving in these areas at all times.

17. When your teachers have asked someone to do a task and it relates to you, do you treat that task and its deliverers with as much respect as
you would if it came directly from your teachers?
Why did they take their own lives?  
For those of us whose family members took their own lives, following their beliefs, there are no words to explain this, no reason strong enough to
soothe the pain of our loss.  But, for those who believed, it was a necessity...

Reaching the Next Level -what we understand as Heaven, was the ultimate goal

A UFO was believed to be hiding in the shadows of the Hale Bopp Comet -this was the visitor from the Next Level-- that the group had been
preparing for

Exiting their vehicles-- what we understand as suicide-- was the only way to free their souls, to meet with the UFO and travel to the Next Level

For those followers left behind, it seemed only a matter of time- until they, too, exited their vehicles.  
The story of one former member of this group and the
choices that shaped and ended his life.  
Closing The Gate
Closing The Gate by Deb Simpson
ISBN Paperback   978-0-9848968-0-6  

ISBN Hardcover 978-0-9848968-1-3
Avaialble March 2012
from Piney D Press
Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved