Close Encounters of the Cult-Kind
In April of 1994 flyers with the heading, "UFOs, SPACE ALIENS, AND THEIR FINAL FIGHT FOR EARTH'S SPOILS" were being posted and distributed in the Birmingham area. At the time I was researching an article on UFOs for the Expositor so I attended the meeting. I anticipated this would be a local UFO Club's monthly meeting. It turned out to be nothing of the kind; rather, it was a recruiting meeting for the group we now know as Heaven's Gate.
The following are notes which I took of the meeting held April 9, 1994 (1:00-4:00 PM) at the Homewood Public Library by representatives of the "Next Level Above Human."
Those representing the "Next Level" identified themselves as: Even, Sawyer, Millie and Nora. They later said these are not their given names, as names are unimportant, but simply names they have taken to identify the vessels they inhabit. There were 36 people in attendance, including the four group representatives and approximately four recent "converts." The meeting was presented by the speakers each providing information, followed by a question and answer time.
Sawyer: There is a Creator Who is referred to as "Chief of Chiefs." also the "Most High God" or "Heavenly Father." This Creator could have accomplished all things by himself but he chose instead to involve others in his kingdom to assist him in the creating process so they could have the joy of working for him. There is a "kingdom level" above the human level. These assistants, or others, created the "human kingdom" as an experiment so those who inhabit it could grow to make their own choices. Everything we see is as if looking through the eyes of a human body/a looking glass. All the spirituality, the Ascended masters, the Christ-consciousness, etc. is an experiment. The object is for those "little souls" to go through steps of growth to where they are eventually offered entrance into the "upper kingdom."
Millie: This evolutionary kingdom is made up of beings higher than ourselves. They do not have gender. They are out of time, thus they have eternal life. Their body is simply a wardrobe to contain the soul; there is no decay. Their kingdom is a place of selfless service; in it there is a hierarchy of "Older Members" and "Younger Member." Jesus was from this Next Level and when he spoke of the Father he was speaking of an Older Member.
Nora: The hierarchy is based on experience, not age. The Older Members teach and counsel Younger Members out of their experience. If the Younger Member is smart he will look to this Older Member for such counseling and teaching and receive what is given.
Sawyer: Anyone who is a part of the Human Level is a part of the experiment. They are here to go through the lesson steps. This experiment can be turned off at any time just like this [at which time he snapped his fingers]. The Other Beings decide what souls will be saved and planted in another environment. There have been times when the "Upper Level" beings have incarnated themselves on the "Earthly Level" to teach the transition to the Next Level. They are fair and just but, it must be understood that it is entirely up to them to decide who will be saved and welcomed into the "next level;" after all they are creators of this world and so they have every right to decide these things. We must not look condemningly at the Next Level members as the Human Level of understanding is so limited. The Next Level is very practical - they use correct procedure. Yet, they are not sticklers for "extremes."
This truth is known to us today because two of these beings incarnated in the 1970s and began to teach this transition again for the first time in 2,000 years. We have lived with these people for 18 years and have seen them and talked with them.
Millie: We know this was presented as a UFO meeting so we do want to say just a little about them. UFOs have had quite an impact on this world and are real. These are transportation vehicles from the Upper Level. They are not mechanical or electrical constructs but are a construct, like a body, to perform the task of transporting. These are often seen by humans and identified as alien spaceships. If you want it, you have the power right now to take a step out of the "human kingdom" and into the " kingdom of heaven." To do this, you have to put away everything of the human kingdom: family, possessions - everything - and desire to bond with "Other Beings" who are willing and wanting to bond with you. To do this though, you have to want it with every fiber of your being. The bond is through the Older Member giving their mind to you. Every Older Member has an Older Member; it is a continuous process.
Sawyer: You must have an older member with you at almost every moment to have clear understanding. This is not a spiritual matter, it is not intended to be; it is a matter of truth and understanding. Jesus was bonded to an Older Member and when he said "he who comes to me comes to the Father." he was referring to an Older Member. Down the road this was spiritualized, just as so much truth has been spiritualized through misinformation.
Those individuals who are asking the hardest will find things of the earthly kingdom being pulled away from them by the Older Members. This prepares for entrance into the Next Level. These earthly losses could be such things as marriages, jobs, family, etc. This could be illustrated by you going to the pet store to look for a puppy. You see one that you like and he also seems to like you, however you are the one who does the choosing. You take him home and begin to train him. The pet has the option of rejecting your training; it is the owner, however, who determines if the pet will be allowed to stay, as it is his house. The owner will want the pet to be obedient and happy, just as the pet will want to please it's master. This is the same as Earthly Level and the Next Level.
The problem with this planet is it has gone away from Older Member [at this point he went into a lengthy discussion of environmental problems]. Even with all these problems the Next Level can fix this. The earth was made to be a womb where all had a chance to go to the Next Level but corruption has entered in. Now some show up as weeds. The heavenly beings can distinguish these. The Next Level monitors your prayers and evaluates whether or not your motives are pure; i.e., above the Human Level.
Millie: Those above us have the right to come among humans and do whatever they want no matter how terrible it seems. This is much the same as a human goes among a litter of dogs and takes a puppy. The mother dog probably doesn't like this and it may seem terrible to her; still it is the human's right to do it. In the same way, the Next Level has the right to take a child/family member because they are of the Next Level.
Some will see us as a cult and we are proud of this. "We are, in fact, the cult of cults." We are being brainwashed and would like nothing more than to be brainwashed - "to have our minds cleansed." We need this information from our "Other Beings;" we need them to brainwash us.
Sawyer: To describe what is going on in business terms: Lucifer is a being who broke off from the main corporation and formed his own corporation. He no longer wants to submit to the younger/older member relationship. He took a number of younger members with him. The records indicate that the Older Members constantly give these opportunities to reunite but they don't take advantage of them. Others have broken away from Lucifer and formed even more corporations.
Lucifer has lived in the Next Level and knows much about it but unlike those in the Next Level he has a body that decays, he cannot create, and essentially has no eternal life. The purpose of these other corporations is to provide a barrier in the training ground to help us in our growth. Lucifer will outlive his usefulness just as other humans will outlive theirs. To tell the difference between aliens of Lucifer and "good" aliens would be to see whether or not they lead you towards or away from the Human Level.
Nora: The reason for all these sightings in the heavens of space beings is because they need souls. They have even taken people into their spacecraft and done genetic engineering on humans. Those who are truly seeking their heavenly father need not fear them though, as they have the protection of the Other Beings.
Sawyer: These aliens need bodies as theirs are decaying. They do not need souls. There are about 34 to 36 of us right now going across the country giving this information. The "crews" began traveling in January of this year. Our purpose is to teach how you can transfer into the "Next Level Above Human."
Nora: We know very little about the Next Level as it is not pertinent to our task. We have been shown steps to take over a human vehicle, to change its behavior and thinking, in order to become a "soul match" with an Older Member. It is not a spiritual matter; it is just a "nuts and bolts" thing. We acknowledge the sacrifice our Older Members made to come down to the Human Level and this should make you want to bond with an Older Member as well.
Millie: Many ask who we are or who do we think we are. We are "guinea pigs" for the training program. Since 1975 most of us have been enclosed in a teaching environment. We began living in tents and traveling from place to place living in a community environment. We moved from the North to the South; 40-50 in a group at a time. We developed "crew consciousness" instead of "individual consciousness."
We spent time on a spacecraft, probably not with bodies, awaiting the time when we would be sent down to complete our overcoming process. There are others who are also waiting for this. These are those who died believing, but died before they reached the Next Level. All of these are now in bodies or are close to receiving a body. We are here to go across the nation trying to find those like us who are waiting to overcome. You need to be midwifed from this kingdom to the next. We are here to provide information to "make your soul a match" for the Next Level.
Sawyer: You may feel this speaks to you or rings a bell with you. This probably means you are one of these. Hopefully you will hang around and talk more with us.
Many in 1975 followed our teachers just as something to do, you might say to be in the "UFO Cult." The time came when our leaders called us together and said we need to get serious as there is much to do. Some of the followers were still sleeping together, smoking pot, etc.; it was time to put all this away, if serious. At that time many left. This is only for individuals who almost can't do anything else.
Question And Answer Time:Q: All religions say you must conform to their way. It sounds like yours is another truth saying there is no way apart from our leaders. Will your leaders not allow for another way?
A: (Sawyer) This is the only way. We realize that is hard to accept or understand but it is true. We are new creatures from what we were in 1975 and the only way you can experience this is to go through the birth canal yourself.
(Nora) We have learned there is only one way out - it is by a member of that Next Level, incarnating and teaching those who are ready to leave the Human Level.
(Sawyer) Even Jesus said that the only sign would be the "sign of Jonah." Luciferians try to sabotage the truth we are teaching through misinformation.
Q: Your material you passed out says that Next Level being did not incarnate in Jesus until he was 29. What happened to the soul that was already in Jesus?
A: (Sawyer) That is a good question. You might say he had two souls in him at that time. [At this point he went into a long rambling answer with other speakers joining him in trying to come up with an explanation. It was very obvious the question threw them and they were making up theology as they talked. The end result was a conclusion that many souls could occupy a body at a given time.]
Q: You speak against worldliness and how all of you have quit your jobs but you accept money from those who have not forsaken a worldly existence. Why is that?
A: (Millie) We may or may not accept money from a particular person. We don't say you should never have a job. All of us have had jobs at various times for as long as it was needed. In January we sold everything, liquidating all our assets, including the monastery. At this time we have used up all those funds and are dependent on those who feel good about what we are doing to provide us with food and lodging.
(Nora) We quit our jobs but those of us who had jobs were told to be the very best employees that the company had.
Q: (same person, follow up) What if you are wrong about what you believe?
A: What if we are right? What does it mean for you if we are right?
Response: I know where I am going because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I know you are wrong.
A: That is fine with us. You can believe as you wish. You just haven't reached a higher consciousness yet; perhaps at some point you will. We don't wish to get into an debate on religion or Christianity as that is not why we are here today.
(Now speaking to all) If you don't agree, you are free to go at any time.
Q: What happens when someone dies if their soul did not go to the Next Level?
A: Nothing is lost. They are incarnated at the point of learning where they were at the point of their death. Of course if the soul never grows or amounts to anything, then it never was worth saving.
Q: I notice that all of you have on matching wedding bands, what do these represent?
A: (Even) They have a twofold purpose: a symbol of commitment to our older members and to what we are doing, and as a sign that we are not available in that way.
(Sawyer) This is just something we thought up ourselves. It is something we wanted to do.
Q: Can you tell me something about your diet?
A: We have tried many different diets, everything from fasting to juices only. The Older Members have experimented with many different diets for us to determine the most efficient. The only purpose for food is to fuel these vehicles (bodies). Diet is a tool for learning flexibility. One should be able to go without when food is not available, or if the food is polluted or not prepared well.
Q: Do you or are you allowed to maintain contact with family members?
A: It is up to the individuals choice. A soul to soul relationship with your creator is much higher than a family/biological relationship. However, the Older Members are very sensitive about the biological family members.
Q: (Bob) Based on what you have said, you are channels for these Older Members (they took exception to using the word channel as it suggests channeling so I reworded to "medium" or "informer" or "messengers." whatever) to get out their message. You said you have been with them since 1975, is that correct?
Q: (Bob) Do I also correctly understand no Older Member prior to 1975 has incarnated during the previous 2,000 years?
A: That is correct.
Q: (Bob) Are your Older Members still present on the earth today and if so, where are they? Can one visit with and talk with them? Are they available to others?
A: (Sawyer) They are still on the earth. Where they are isn't really significant.
Q: (Bob) When someone comes with a message, such as yourself, from someone else, I am sure you would agree it is important to examine their authority. Can you share with us who these individuals were prior to their incarnation? Do they have names? Do they have a history, a personal background, that can be examined? Has anything been written about them? Can we examine their lives to see if they hold true to their cause?
A: (Sawyer) Names are unimportant. The names we gave you are not our given names they are simply names we have given these vehicles (bodies). If you need a name for our Older Members we call them "Ti" and "Do," after the musical notes. If you need more information about them we could give you material that we have but of course it would be information that we produced.
Q: (Bob) I am not trying to be belligerent, but I think these are important issues that need to be addressed. Someone with such a message should certainly be open to examination. You often refer to Jesus, so I assume you have knowledge of him from reading the Bible. In it we find a historical record of his life and teachings. We know that he had a small group of disciples, such as you are to these Older Members, but we also know he walked openly among the masses for all to examine him and hear him. This is what I am asking of you, are there such accounts of these Older Members that I can investigate? Can you provide me with locations, identities, etc., that I can examine? You ask me to go simply on "feelings." Is there unbiased data or evidence that I can look at or must all such knowledge be intuitively known and understood as you seem to be saying?
A: (Sawyer) I see what you are saying. We have a video that may be helpful to you. If you will get with us afterwards we can discuss this further with you.
Having allowed me several questions they moved on stating others needed a chance to talk with them. They continued the question and answer time and I was not able to stay any longer. Before leaving I obtained phone number from one of the newer recruits who was sitting near me. . .(This turned out to be a voice mail number).
[A Richardson, Texas, post office box number was also obtained.] Over the next couple of days I left messages at the voice mail number but the calls were not returned.
Commentary:It is now 1997 and the group with whom Sawyer, Even, Millie and Nora had obtained "crew consciousness" have taken their own lives. Thirty-nine senseless and meaningless deaths. Thirty-nine families left behind to deal with the devastation brought about by the false teachings of Marshall Herff Applewhite, who called himself "Do," and his co-conspirator, Bonnie Lou Nettles, "Ti." According to ex-member Dick Joslyn, Millie was Margaret Rictor and Nora was Susan Paup. Both Margaret, age 46 and Susan, age 54, were among the dead.
Sawyer, however, made it out; he was not among the thirty-nine. On March 31, 1997 he appeared on Good Morning America to talk with Robert and Alice Maeder, the parents of Gail Renee Maeder, a young woman recruited about the time of the 1994 recruiting effort. Unlike Sawyer, Gail did not make it out. At age 26 she took the poisonous recipe given by Do and laid down to await the boarding of a spaceship she had been told was piloted by Ti and traveling behind the Hale-Bopp Comet. However, instead of being beamed into a spacecraft she was lain in a grave, by her parents.
In the ABC interview, Sawyer said he left the group in 1994, after having been a member for 19 years. The young woman's father asked, "Why did you leave?" The response, "It's really too long to go in to." All he gave us was a vague reference that for him it was time to move on. No doubt, the Maeders, like many other parents and loved ones of these individuals, wish their child or loved one had also "moved on."
There are many questions left unanswered. Many are looking to any and all sources that might help them make some kind of sense of this madness. In the end none can adequately help them understand what drove the people they loved to this horrible action.
Some former members are going public and saying it was the correct thing to do, that they understand why these thirty nine people took their lives. Relatives are making statements to the effect that while they do not agree with their action they respect their right to have followed their beliefs, even to this end. Agreeing with, understanding, and accepting it does not change the tragic results.
Just one Jonestown, Waco, or the more recent Consciousness Development and Solar Temple suicides, and now those at Heaven's Gate, would be one too many, and yet, the next one is probably out there recruiting members right now. We should not forget that on November 18, 1978, while 912 followers (including 260 children) of Jim Jones were drinking poison Koolade in Jonestown, Guyana, Applewhite had already recruited, and isolated, most of those who would later join him in suicide.
Perhaps nothing could have been done to prevent this, but we must all share in the responsibility to see that it never happens again. Organizations such as ours and the media must be just as diligent in exposing these groups and their leaders as in reporting the tragic consequences they bring.
Typical of the cults, Applewhite had taken the Bible and tragically reinterpreted it according to his own false beliefs. He put himself on par with Jesus, yet his words and actions prove otherwise. What happened in that mansion in Rancho Santa Fe is entirely inconsistent with the teaching of Jesus who, said: "the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luke 9:56). The claim Jesus made to the first disciples is the same he still makes today, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).