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Religious Cult - Case Study Example

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According to the social philosopher Eric Hoffer in his excellent manuscript "The True Believer", the psychological structure of an ideal extremist requires something to focus on for worshipping even at the plane of obliteration (Hoffer, 2002). His essential objective is to surrender every sort of thing to meet the impossible dream…
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Religious Cult
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Religious Cult

In order to better identify Heaven's Gate with the new religious movement, essentially a cult, in general terms as well as the unexpected consequences of its termination in specific, a sociological analysis is essential. This paper aims at illustrating the history of Heaven's Gate movement along with their belief system in particular in reference with the methods of organization by applying theories and models of new religious movements and a detailed analysis of the impact on wider society and culture as a whole.
During 1972, the onset of the Heaven's Gate movement began when Marshall Herff Applewhite congregated with Bonnie Lu Trousdale Nettles, a nurse working in the hospital and an active member of . The belief system had been structured by these two individuals consisting of several unusual elements such as alien, new age movements, higher plane of consciousness, Christianity, theosophy as well as popular cultural myths and legends. Heaven's Gate also referred to as Human Individual Metamorphosis (HIM), was actually a millenarian movement, integrating the ideologies behind the traditional biblical analogy in association with the conception of space travel and reality from additional dimension whatsoever. The cult group's belief system essentially transformed through several manifestations during two decades of their subsistence. As the time passed by, the group's belief system had been matured with the belief that the leaders Applewhite and Nettles, later also known as Bo and Peep or Do and Ti, had been sent into "The Human Level" from "The Next Level" in order to organize and direct fellow individuals in their journey for being united with higher evolutionary existence. The leaders believed in the metaphorical ideas taken from metaphysics and UFO subcultures that the extraterrestrials provided the human beings another chance to move forward to the plane of higher consciousness - the ideology in essence was amalgamated the Christian significance of sin and liberation in combination with the components taken from Eastern religious philosophy primarily focusing on the termination of the cycle of death and reincarnation.
However, the heavenly monarchy that Applewhite and Nettle used to describe was not only spiritual but it had literal base as well. They used to preach that the journey towards higher plane would be conducted by using a spacecraft. The term Human Individual Metamorphosis (HIM) was coined to make individuals or essentially followers to understand about the bodily metamorphosis, a literal transformation of a being's physiological existence, resembling to the life-cycle of a caterpillar to butterfly through the method of self-discipline. To identify their gradual process of revelation to higher dimension, various folk wisdoms depending on the regular and usual physiological changes had been employed in order to build the confidence in between. Examples may include the explanation of 'headaches' as the proof for "explosion of consciousness" or menstrual cycle as the active working of androgyny. Moreover, the ideology of the group asserted that all human beings possess the ability to transcend to the higher state of consciousness in order to become graduated to the 'Next Level' which was ... Read More
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