Sawyer’s Critique of new San Diego Union Tribune Article about Heaven’s Gate that draws from a Heaven’s Gate Webmaster’s Email Interview

To follow is an article written for the San Diego Union Tribune that I critiqued for accuracy in my comments below labeled as from Sawyer:

20 years later, Heaven’s Gate lives on — via internet, scholarly debates by
(On March 26, 1997, 39 bodies were discovered in a Rancho Santa Fe mansion after a mass suicide)

Text of article above:

The jokes started right away, even though 39 people had died. Heaven’s Gate felt ripe for ridicule.

It happened 20 years ago this month. In a Rancho Santa Fe mansion, Marshall Applewhite, a preacher’s son and former seminarian who had fashioned a religion that merged evangelical Christianity with New Age science fiction, led his followers in a ritualistic “exit” of their human shells. They were convinced they would literally ascend to a better world via a spaceship riding behind the Hale-Bopp comet.

Sawyer’s comment:

(I’m going to use the names Ti and Do throughout though it wasn’t until 1977 that they took the names Ti and Do.)

– Do told us that he attended seminary briefly but dropped out soon thereafter because their curriculum materials were too restrictive.
– Saying they “fashioned a religion…” is not at all accurate to how they came to believe and talk about what they feel they came to know though I can see how people think of it that way. They didn’t “fashion” anything. Soon after meeting they both felt they had something to do together but having nothing in common but a love for their Heavenly Father didn’t know what they were to do together. So they explored by opening up two little centers where they explored a number of belief systems. They felt forced to leave Houston because family and friends didn’t approve of their spending so much time together thinking they were having an affair. So after threats were made against Do by Ti’s x-husband (though I don’t know exactly when she divorced her husband) so they had to get a court order against his coming too close to Do, they finally felt like they needed to leave the Houston area.

However, still not sure about what they were to do together they want to a farmhouse in Borne, Texas and spent less than 6 weeks there and were both struggling with the receipt of information. They would both be doing different things in different areas and have thoughts and then would come together to talk about ideas and find they were having the same ideas. That farmhouse is where Ti began to write a book that was never finished and I have in my possession that is entitled, “I can’t believe that but you must”.

In these two chapters Ti wrote that going to heaven was a process of burning out the flames of passion to put all your energy into becoming a “Christ” and how Jesus didn’t do it for us, he showed us how but instructed that each person who wanted to go in that direction must take on the same “process” of becoming a Christ. She wrote that the flames of passion didn’t matter if they came from playing a rough football game or played out in the back seat of a car. She also proposed the idea that people might want to consider how they would react if the return of the One who was incarnate in the vehicle named Jesus was a man from Texas…insinuating that as Do which she later said that he, the Soul from the Next Level Above Human was the same Soul who performed the incarnate tasks as Adam, Enoch, Moses, Elijah as well. They said in Boerne it was very difficult adjusting to these thoughts just months after leaving their family and careers and lifestyles behind. It was in Borne that they both came to know that they (their souls) had come from “outer space” – the literal heavens and were here on earth to bring “updates to the bible” and to “fulfill prophecy” though they didn’t know what all the updates would be nor what prophecy they would fulfill.

But with that information they left Boerne and began traveling doing odd jobs for sustenance and visiting with preachers and studying everything they could find that might indicate what prophecy they were to fulfill. Some months later in Gold Beach, Oregon they were camping  on the Rogue River, painting rocks to sell to tourists that they came upon the Two Witnesses prophecy in the Book of Revelation. They didn’t like the idea of being the return of biblical figures as they always were sickened by people who would say they were Cleopatra – how many Cleopatra’s can there be they would wonder. Then in their travels the ran into two others who claimed to be the Two Witnesses and after that didn’t care whether they were or not. In other words they knew what they were to “speak about” (prophesy) that they didn’t get from reading the Revelation or from study of the life of Jesus.

So I would say their coming into believing certain things was a type of evolution. It was about a year later that they wrote their first statement that was sent to new age centers and meditation groups that stimulated some inviting them to come speak to them that turned into having followers that were not all that welcomed by them but they deceided they needed to go with.

There was only a very short time of what could be seen as “evangelism” from around August of 1975 to the spring of 1976 and then for a second time from January of 1994 to August of 1994. In between they were living in the wilderness in Wyoming and Texas and then in houses in the southwest area of the U.S.

All along they would share things with us and say, “this works for now”. They always said they were only allowed to be a step ahead of the student body with the lesson plan. They didn’t teach out of the bible at all though in the 1990’s we began to do some bible study as we prepared to go public for the second time but this time as “who we are” the return of the One who was Jesus and his students as Jesus said would occur.

They donned matching black track suits with customized patches identifying themselves as the “Heaven’s Gate Away Team.” They slipped on brand new black Nike shoes. They packed duffle bags.

Then they ingested barbiturates swirled into applesauce or pudding, chased it down with vodka, tied plastic bags around their heads, climbed into bunk beds and died. They went in three waves over several days, so that those still earthbound could tidy up after those who had just left, draping purple shrouds atop the bodies.

Before their departures, group members filmed themselves making statements that explained why they believed what they believed and why they were happy about the opportunity to escape the impending Armageddon and move to what they called the “Level Above Human.”

Sawyer’s comment:

I’ll have to revisit the exit tapes the students made but I know that most said nothing about escaping Armageddon. We were never a Christian group or religious or spiritual in the ways one normally thinks of those terms. The materials that were brought to the current civilization via religions were seen as “records” and were interesting at times to examine, but it was totally unlike in many groups where people walk around saying Praise the Lord this and that. We didn’t use religious terms except our attempts to interface with those who were most comfortable with that terminology, like through various writing projects we had. We had long recognized that “religions were the number one killer of souls”. Religious terminology was mostly thought of as less accurate to the “generic” terms Ti and Do spoke in though to interface with others used both at times. Most of the exit tapes were expressing their platonic love for Do.

They didn’t refer to it as suicide. They called it graduation. To them, those who stayed behind were the ones killing themselves.

Sawyer’s comment:

Here is their document about their choices. They can still apply to those who remain but show their thinking on the subject and it was written in 1996 I believe:


We know that it is only while we are in these physical vehicles (bodies) that we can learn the lessons needed to complete our own individual transition, as well as to complete our task of offering the Kingdom of Heaven to this civilization one last time. We take good care of our vehicles so they can function well for us in this task, and we try to protect them from any harm.

We fully desire, expect, and look forward to boarding a spacecraft from the Next Level very soon (in our physical bodies). There is no doubt in our mind that our being “picked up” is inevitable in the very near future. But what happens between now and then is the big question. We are keenly aware of several possibilities.

It could happen that before that spacecraft comes, one or more of us could lose our physical vehicles (bodies) due to “recall,” accident, or at the hands of some irate individual. We do not anticipate this, but it is possible. Another possibility is that, because of the position we take in our information, we could find so much disfavor with the powers that control this world that there could be attempts to incarcerate us or to subject us to some sort of psychological or physical torture (such as occurred at both Ruby Ridge and Waco).

It has always been our way to examine all possibilities, and be mentally prepared for whatever may come our way. For example, consider what happened at Masada around 73 A.D. A devout Jewish sect, after holding out against a siege by the Romans, to the best of their ability, and seeing that the murder, rape, and torture of their community was inevitable, determined that it was permissible for them to evacuate their bodies by a more dignified, and less agonizing method. We have thoroughly discussed this topic (of willful exit of the body under such conditions), and have mentally prepared ourselves for this possibility (as can be seen in a few of our statements). However, this act certainly does not need serious consideration at this time, and hopefully will not in the future.

The true meaning of “suicide” is to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered. In these last days, we are focused on two primary tasks: one – of making a last attempt at telling the truth about how the Next Level may be entered (our last effort at offering to individuals of this civilization the way to avoid “suicide”); and two – taking advantage of the rare opportunity we have each day – to work individually on our personal overcoming and change, in preparation for entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

Copies of the goodbye tapes were sent to former members, including one who drove down from Los Angeles, went into the 9,000-square-foot, two-story mansion and saw all the corpses. He called 911. And soon enough the whole world began hearing about Heaven’s Gate.

That’s when the jokes started. One website riffed on Nike’s slogan: “Just Did It.” Another spoofed the cult members who ran a software company: “We kill ourselves working for you!” Late-night TV host David Letterman delivered one of his Top Ten lists, “Signs you are in a bad cult.” (One of the signs: “Cult website is called”) “Saturday Night Live” did a skit.

When all the laughter faded, people moved on to other stories, got on with their lives. The mansion was razed, the name of the street where it sat changed to discourage looky-loos, and Heaven’s Gate settled into its place as a bizarre footnote in San Diego County history.

For sociologists and religious studies scholars, though, Heaven’s Gate remains in orbit. They continue to evaluate and write about the group’s foundations, arguing whether it was fundamentally Christian or New Age, trying to put it in context with America’s long history of spiritual yearning. They debate whether members were brainwashed into joining and staying. They discuss the timing of the suicides.

Sawyer’s comment:

As Professor Rob Balch wrote many times, there was no evidence of brainwashing. People at public meetings were turned away. I know as I was a group overseer for the 1994 meeting we put on at the U. of Chicago where two students said they were ready. When I told them we were out of money and were asking restaurants and preachers for help with food that sometimes would be at a fast food place, because they were strict vegan’s I discouraged them if that was going to be a problem for them. My partner overseer at the time thought I might have been too quick to dissuade them from joining us and she checked with Do on the cell phone each group had and Do never indicated I did anything wrong by dissuading them from joining.

However it was no secret that the task was one of brainwashing but it was brainwashing self with what Ti and Do instructed. For instance the procedure was to shut off and/or block, “put up a blank card” to thoughts or images of sensuality. There was no mechanism to monitor what people were allowing or not if they were not honest so in that case that human behavior was not being “washed out of one’s consciousness”. This is actually what Jesus taught that he attached a little ritual to called “baptism” that became removed from it’s reason and purpose for.

When I joined I went to a meeting and Ti and Do sat in chairs on a stage and spoke softly but directly about what they were presenting. There was no prancing about the stage or raising of the voice or threats or guilt trips. What they said either spoke to the person – made sense – was something they felt was what they were looking for, though didn’t necessarily know it at that time. Then they said, there were some students in the audience who would answer the questions. For me I had no questions. I knew this was what I wanted to do. It would have looked like some force took me over and that could be said to be the returning Soul trying to take over my vehicle to finish it’s overcoming through that I as the vehicle was cooperating with. But it’s not like I was a naive puppy. I moved away from my family nest when I was 19 to live deep in the Canadian Rockies. I was deported and spent time with Jesus freaks who I often debated with. I was approached by many groups – the Sufi’s and Sri Chin Moy and I was reading the Bhagavad Gita and Parmahansa Yogananda and engaging several times a week in meditation I never really felt clicked with me. I had been to Washington D.C. to protest against the Vietnam war. I had been a pot and acid user but I quit. I was a slightly working musician and I had hitchhiked north America from coast to coast several times, had a lot of jobs, flunked out of college because they had nothing I wanted to learn and I was upset with the killings in kent state and just wanted to do my thing. Anyway, I wasn’t someone joining things willy nilly and following any status quo even in terms of religion and new age spirituality. I did believe Jesus was someone very special but was not a Christian though raised a Catholic. Most of the other students that I knew about had about the same kind of equivalent story, often minus the drugs and some with career successes.

So the brainwashing explanation was pulling at straws for an answer to what motivated these people though if one was a good student then they did wash their own brains, but it’s not like that took them over so they couldn’t know the difference. We continued to deal with doubts and desires and that’s why many left. It was considered failing to leave but it wasn’t harped on. In fact it was never spoken of that I recall. Ti and Do never held a meeting of the 400 plus I attended where they said if you all don’t shape up you will fail. They did prod us to grow faster to become more thirsty for next steps, to work harder, to re-listen to tapes of the meetings but there was no monitoring of who was re-listening to the meeting tapes or not so it was all self guided though with Ti and Do’s stimulus.

And they ponder a provocative question: Are the forces that helped shape Heaven’s Gate still in play in American society?

Or, to put it another way, could it happen again?

Heaven’s Gate after 20 years

It has been 20 years since the largest mass suicide on U.S. soil took the lives of 39 people in the wealthy San Diego County community of Rancho Santa Fe. Members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed suicide in hopes of catching a ride on a space ship that they believed was following the Hale-Bopp comet, which was making a visible pass by Earth at the time. A photo gallery recounts the tragic day and the week that followed.

Sawyer’s comment:

Here is what they wrote on their front page of their Web Site about Hale Bopp and the Companion object:

Whether Hale-Bopp has a “companion” or not is irrelevant from our perspective. However, its arrival is joyously very significant to us at “Heaven’s Gate.” The joy is that our Older Member in the Evolutionary Level Above Human (the “Kingdom of Heaven”) has made it clear to us that Hale-Bopp’s approach is the “marker” we’ve been waiting for — the time for the arrival of the spacecraft from the Level Above Human to take us home to “Their World” — in the literal Heavens. Our 22 years of classroom here on planet Earth is finally coming to conclusion — “graduation” from the Human Evolutionary Level. We are happily prepared to leave “this world” and go with Ti’s crew.
If you study the material on this website you will hopefully understand our joy and what our purpose here on Earth has been. You may even find your “boarding pass” to leave with us during this brief “window.”

We are so very thankful that we have been recipients of this opportunity to prepare for membership in Their Kingdom, and to experience Their boundless Caring and Nurturing.

“The Two”

Gallows humor has long been a way for people to deal with tragedies, to give themselves some distance and relief from the horror. But with Heaven’s Gate, there may have been something else at work, according to Benjamin Zeller, an associate professor of religion at Lake Forest College near Chicago and the author of a 2014 book about the cult.

“In some ways, I think it was too close for comfort,” he said.

Too close because many of the beliefs that group members held are similar to those found in more mainstream religions. Belief in a heavenly father. Belief in the importance of the soul over the body. Belief that they were engaged in the eternal fight of good vs. evil. Belief in salvation, in an afterlife somewhere up there. Belief in end times.

“It’s too easy to just dismiss them as nuts,” Zeller said.

Of course, they differed in significant ways from established theology — primarily the belief that heaven is a literal place, and that you get there on a spaceship — but that fits, too, into the broader American counterculture movement that emerged from the 1960s and spawned all kinds of new religious thinking.

“We saw the mainstreaming of angels, crystals, shamans, ascended beings — all that otherworldly stuff,” said Janja Lalich, a Chico State University sociologist who also has written a book about Heaven’s Gate. “You saw it with TV shows like ‘Touched by an Angel.’ Cults that built themselves around this kind of a belief system had an easier time because it didn’t seem so strange.”

Applewhite started the group in the 1970s in Texas with a Baptist-raised registered nurse and astrologer named Bonnie Lu Nettles. They called themselves Guinea and Pig, Bo and Peep, and finally Ti and Do, “The Two,” messengers from God sent here to shepherd the flock to the next level. People who wanted in to their nomadic monastery had to cut themselves off from their families and their previous lives. There were rules that controlled what people wore and ate, not to mention what they believed.

And those beliefs shifted over the years, especially after Nettles died in 1985, a development that created a crisis of faith. They had believed they were going to ascend with their bodies, not just their souls.

***** Sawyers comment:

I feel confident to say that for most of the students who joined in 1975-6, of which I was one, there was no apparent crisis of faith because of Ti’s exit of her vehicle even though her early exit wasn’t directly considered before then. It was indirectly considered in the late 1970’s but included the idea of both TI and DO’s exit – while leaving the classroom behind. Ti and Do simply held a meeting suggesting it was possible they would leave ahead of some or all of us. This was different from the previous understanding of their providing the “demonstration” – (being killed and rising from the dead as Jesus demonstrated and associated with the stock translation/interpretation of Revelation 11:7. I have re-translated and thus re-interpreted that chapter to bring out quite a good depiction of the way it ended up happening with their laying down their lives “themselves”. I never did understand how that demonstration might work. We were just instructed as some of us traveled around without any connection to a larger group, when we’d hear of the demonstration to come to wherever it took place. I think they at one point thought they would ascend and then their students would also be taken then with their physical human bodies.

When Bo and Peep got “shot down by the press” in October of 1976 by Walter Cronkite’s story about the discovery of who (their human identities) were, they felt like that was the shooting in the street, though they still thought a demonstration could still happen. (Parts of this is documented in UFO Missionaries Extraordinary which was reprinted as “Inside Heaven’s Gate”).

In the late 1970’s or early 1980’s they talked openly about not knowing how it would happen, whether we would all exit by being killed by an angry human or be picked up by a craft with our human vehicle and put on a table next to another table with our newly grown Next Level physical vehicle on it and our Soul then moved from the human to the Next Level vehicle. They didn’t think the Next Level had any use for the human vehicles though they wanted to cover their bets in case Their Older Member did have use for one or more of our human vehicles.  I remember they talked about reports of people having very unusual experiences with strangers appearing in the middle of nowhere to help them with a car accident. In one case two people were seen and their clothing was described as in fashion in the 1920’s when this was the 1960’s or thereafter. I remember TI joking that if they were Next Level members on a task, they needed to get better information pertaining to their choice of clothing to blend in better. Ti and Do didn’t try to come up with reasons for talking about or doing certain things. They took their signals from remaining keen and attentive to what came their way in information or people or events.

None of the big changes were a crisis of faith for me. When they cancelled the demonstration it didn’t phase me. When they organized a spacecraft pickup time – actually twice, once instigated by Ti in about 1980 and once by Do in 1990 or so, that I believe he felt was “taking a chance on a positive” – the positive being that if Ti (outside her vehicle) approved, he was facilitating our prep and action to exit. Exiting then wasn’t a certainty, the way he described it. However with Ti’s instigated first pickup schedule we didn’t have any explanation and it felt like it might actually happen. I believed it possible for both occurrences but being picked up never attracted me. I didn’t bank on it or use it to measure Ti and Do.  So when it didn’t happen it didn’t phase me. But it did phase some others we would later learn when some left the classroom soon after each of these events that didn’t go as they first described.

I do believe I witnessed Do being quite distraught at Ti’s sudden absence but he recovered quickly it seemed to take the lead on the classroom by himself and was more determined than ever to enact what Ti had taught him. I know some psychologists think that’s where he got off track that led to the suicides but that’s not actually supported by evidence. It simply became something to say so some could put the quandary about this group behind them.

For instance, Ti instigated telling us that “you all need to give us your will” way back in the late 1970’s. She told DO that we learned about long after Ti left her vehicle that she thought they would “lose half the class” by saying that. It turned out to be true.

Ti and Do together instigated the first family visits in 1985. After Ti left Do instigated another visit to families and at least one student – Rthody ended up leaving the group, because he liked re-connecting with his brother and his family.

TI and DO together instigated the first diet for health and overcoming of learned patterns – a liquid diet we called “pink drinks” made from protein powder and some added supplements like wheat germ and lecithin and others mixed in.

Ti instigated our singing with Do’s choral leadership. She said she wanted us to learn to look to DO better.

Ti instigated “committals” – saying that it was instruction for us to make our commitment to DO. She said DO knew it was needed but was uncomfortable asking us for it.

Ti instigated the first writing project they began in 1973 she seemed to be the primary author of talking about DO in the first person as the return of the Soul who was incarnate in the vehicle named Jesus. The book name was “I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT – BUT YOU MUST” that makes references to Astrological signs…


Here at the closing of the Piscean Age and near the beginning of the Aquarian Age, people all over teh earth are aware of smatterings of information which lead us to believe things like the following are more than speculations:

  • The shifting of the Earth’s axis,
  • The Season’s changing,
  • Everything in reverse is happening,
  • The inside outing,
  • The seeming transmigration of lands and souls, and
  • The End is now the beginning.

In about 1985,  (not long after Ti left her vehicle on June 19th, 1985), Do had in his private quarters a book by “The Hemlock Society” which consisted of all the ways one could end their own human life. I was actually assigned to help move Do’s furniture, when I saw the book. After that craft move, the book became part of our library where I read it though we had never spoken about that exit option.

I can’t be totally sure about the date that I saw the book in Do’s quarters but I do recall it was about the time that we had seen the Cocoon movie that came out on June 21, 1985. I don’t know when we saw the movie but it was in a movie theater and I know I read the Hemlock book and remember thinking what would be the best way to die, though I had no death wish exactly. I had all along thought I would be martyred for Ti and Do, thinking all along that Do was the return of Jesus, not the same vehicle but the same Soul. I know that was the prevalent thought from the start.

Somehow, by little comments in 1975 I learned that some of the students who didn’t end up staying in the group for the full distance, were thinking and/or talking about being the return of Mary, mother of Jesus’ vehicle (Flxody) and another as the return of the disciple John (Cddody) and another as the disciple Peter (Dncody). All three of these did have a loss of faith it seems when I spoke to each of them after I left in 1994 when they had left years before, whom I encountered in 1995 when I traveled all over the U.S. and met up with them and many other former classmates (Jstody, Echody (by voice only), Jssody, by voice only), Rkkody, Pypody, Gnrody, Hvvody, Rthody, Dncody, Flxody, Cddody). I recall wondering who my Soul might have been but it wasn’t anything I really thought about or cared about and it even seemed a little silly to dwell on, even if it was possible. Ti and Do taught that it is who we are now that’s important not who we were in history. If we lived off of having that image of someone past then that means we havn’t grown from then.

It was soon after that cocoon movie that Do bought a yacht and it was docked in a Houston, Texas slip and a crew went to fix it up while I wasn’t part of because I had an Out of Craft Task (job in the world to maintain). But I do recall thinking we might get on that boat and if we weren’t picked up by a craft perhaps would sink it. I don’t know where that thought came from. I can’t recall Do stimulating that thought of sinking it. I just imagined dying by drowning and I didn’t like the idea so I didn’t dwell on it.

Ti and Do were never sure about how they would exit, whether by another hand as it seemed to indicate by the Two Witnesses prophecy but it was always their way to weight and be prepared for any and all the options so to think Do went in that direction more after Ti left is just not evidenced.

Several hundred people joined the group over the years, although the vast majority left for a variety of reasons. Some who left came back. Those who remained to the end were largely longtime devotees. Twenty-one were women, 18 men. They ranged in age from 26 to 72 with more than half in their 40s.


Sawyers comment:

Some came back to the group but it wasn’t all that easy most times as when someone would leave Ti and Do would move knowing they could tell someone about where they were and they could have investigators on their trail trying to pull people out to deprogram them and we were all adults choosing to stay so they tried to avoid having that happen.

For some it was years before they found their way back and hard to believe could have occurred the way it did.

Some were allowed to return in 1993 as we knew where a number were in the Dallas and Colorado areas as we also had a half way house/apartments set up that some classmates were sent to by Do to see if they could conquer aspects of their humanness they weren’t conquering within the classroom. At least one deceided to stay in his Dallas apartment – cddody whom I visited in that apartment in 1995 and has since left his vehicle a disbeliever in Ti and Do.

Rkkody left and found his way back maybe four times and ended up laying down his life in 1998. We had an outstanding joke of sorts with Rkkody that he couldn’t stand to be cooped up so he couldn’t go get a pizza any time he wanted to. In the 1990’s Do gave his little tasks to do communicating with some of the regular UFOlogists like Bill Lear the son of the Lear Jet manufacturer who said he flew drugs for the CIA in southeast asia.

Almost all of them were veteran seekers of spiritual truths, people who had tried other religions, tried tarot cards, tried hallucinogenic drugs.

“Members joined not because of some sort of magical psychological or spiritual truth that the leaders conjured,” Zeller writes in his book, “but because they were looking for something and believed that they found it in Heaven’s Gate.”

Once they were in, though, Lalich — herself a former member of a political cult — thinks free will pretty much disappeared. “Nobody held a gun to their heads, but by that point they were in a place where they could not imagine existence outside the cult,” she said.


Sawyers comment:

I agree that for me I couldn’t imagine life outside the cult. But I did at times entertain leaving a little in the late 1980s or earlies 1990’s. What I mean by entertain was a fleeting thought. Like for instance I had an out of craft task where I was the driver that would drop off and pick up other students from their jobs. So I ended up having a car at my work. I remember when I was driving a white cadillac that I thought for a few seconds that I could just drive away. But I had no place to want to go to. It was in Texas at the time. And I had nothing I wanted to do so it was fleeting.

But Ti and Do, about once a year or so instructed us to stop what we were doing and spend some time thinking about whether there was something in the world we wanted to do or someone to want to be with. Before these periods entertaining such thoughts were considered to be a “slippage” from our self discipline. Ti and Do called this exercise going to the bottom and they also did it at the same time, they said. Usually it lasted for maybe 15 – 30 minutes and they would put out the message to go back to blocking such thoughts. I imagine if I was something who had been entertaining such thoughts anyway at times or was just lax in that mental discipline this was opening the door to really getting honest with what we wanted. I don’t know how much that could have went into the reason some left.

I know Hvvody left because he wasn’t willing to consider castration, which was about 1988 or so. Do had a meeting with males and said he was looking into it for himself. Then he called a mini meeting with about a dozen students at his quarters where I was and where Hvvody was and he asked if any of the males had a reservation about having such a procedure. Hvvody definitely had a reservation and within about a year or less he left the classroom and was helped to do so as was the case for most of the planned departures from the class.

In around 1992 Do said that we had enough “sticks” (money) that he could offer $2000 to anyone who wanted to leave. He said he didn’t want anyone to leave but didn’t want anyone staying with us if they had become comfortable with our lifestyle. After all we lived in large modern mansions sometimes with indoor swimming pools we used according to instruction, tennis courts, running tracks, exercise rooms, great food, though sometimes the health diets were testing of some more than others and about half of us didn’t have jobs or had jobs that were pleasant in office building making a good wage and we had certain fun things we did – movies once every two weeks, regular TV shows, stimulating meetings with Do, outings to the zoo or a museum or one time to a Theosophical society meeting, for some examples. So the idea of leaving would be challenging for some as then they knew they’d have to fend for themselves in what Ti called the “real world” knowing that the “world” she and Do formed for us was not real in the sense of what humans have to experience to live.

As the number of Americans who consider themselves religiously unaffiliated rises — 23 percent now, according to the Pew Research Center — a significant part of the population traffics in the supernatural.

Polling by Gallup shows 24 percent believe extraterrestrials have visited Earth in the past; 25 percent believe that astrology (the position of stars and planets) can affect our lives; 37 percent believe that houses can be haunted; and 21 percent believe that people can hear from or communicate mentally with someone who has died.

“The same demographic forces (that helped spawn Heaven’s Gate) are still at work,” Zeller said. “People are looking for truth, meaning, community and not finding it in existing religions. So they look for new ones or form their own.”

He’s no fan of what the group believed and ultimately did, Zeller said, but that’s not the point. “You can’t just dismiss them as different,” he said. “Even the largest religions of today were once small and new. Who’s to say what will one day be world religions with hundreds of thousands of followers?”

While some wonder about the next Heaven’s Gate, the old one remains operational, at least on the internet. The website,, is maintained by two former members who live in Phoenix.

The site has the flashing “RED ALERT” at the top, the same wording sheriff’s deputies saw on computers when they were called to the mansion on March 26, 1997, and discovered the 39 bodies. There are links on the site to videotapes, “Earth Exit Statements” and other religious material.

Responding to emailed questions from The San Diego Union-Tribune, the former members who run the site declined to identify themselves, but others who have tracked the website’s digital fingerprints say they are Mark and Sarah King, a married couple. (That’s why they’re former members — they wanted to get married, and the group didn’t allow that kind of relationship.)

Sawyers comment:

If Mark and Sarah left to get married they kept it a big secret and construed a huge lie to do so. I knew they got married after they left but have an entirely different experience with why they left that I was there throughout in 1987. Here is a little segment of my book where I talk about it. I don’t give any names but Webmasters who are Mark and Sarah. In this segment I talk a little more about what ensued after they left that led to their being given the task to manage the web site. I have no ill feelings to them personally but feel they are allowing themselves to particate in diluting and distorting Ti and Do’s teachings and acting as if they are the keepers of all the info when they were only given the task to help distribute the audio tapes among those who wanted to participate in the task of disseminating Ti and Do’s info. They were not instructed to make all the materials theirs to copyright but they did and is the reason I didn’t use very many direct quotes of materials from Do and Crew’s book as I didn’t want to leave any way to challenge my books existence. After this I list some of the many interviews I followed them up on where I point out the many misleading things they said to interviewers and now I hear this new twist that they left to get married. I could believe that for Sarah but don’t think that was on Mark’s mind when he was confronted with abiding by the lesson step labeled, “I could be wrong”:

Book segment:

I do know the Webmasters as they were former classmates who were instructed to leave the Classroom in 1987 until such time that they wanted to live by Do’s instructions, surrounding the lesson that was called, “I could be wrong,” which was designed to shift confidence away from self and to TI and DO. In general that lesson was simple. Whenever we’re going to say something as a fact, or make a decision, since we were all committed to becoming 100% like Minded to TI and DO’s Mind, we needed to realize that our judgment might not be what their judgement would be, so we could be wrong. Mark initially didn’t want to abide by that lesson step because he had a quick mind and sharp memory we all recognized and with it a lot of self confience so didn’t feel he could go along with saying “I could be wrong” as a matter of routine. So after a week or two of Help Wanted meetings called by Craft Overseers and called by Do to see if he would receive help from his classmates, to which he didn’t change, Do instructed him to leave. Sarah’s response to this was to gravitate to comforting Mark, which was very strange in and of itself as we didn’t have those kinds of relationship among classmates. If Mark was sitting someplace she was sitting very close to him, even touching him and yet that was never addressed that I knew about as that would not be proper behavior between fellow students. We did not have lateral relationships besides being fellow crew members which was not at all dry and lacking of feelings but was not to be permitted to turn into a human type of relationship. I was there when we each stated to them the conditions of their return that Do gave us the wording for. Around 20 of us went up to both of them and stated they could return if they wanted to abide by the instruction. I know this was hard on Do. At one point in a meeting Do had Mark (mrcody) sit in Do’s lap, sort of like one would hold a baby. That was strange to see I admit but it’s what Do felt to do so I don’t for a minute think was anything really strange. I think I recall that Do expressed then how he loved Mark but didn’t know how else to help him but to have him leave the classroom.

However, Do and Crew stayed in touch with them as they also wanted and offered them service in 1994 when the groups went on the road public again. They provided a little base to a group or two while in their travels and perhaps more than that. My group wasn’t one of those. That effort ended by September of 1994 and Do and Crew continued to stay in touch thereafter and sometime close to when the group intended to lay their human bodies down they offered these two the task of handling the Group’s accounting and certain legalities, though without letting on to the exit plan.

At exit time the Group sent different former members of the group different sets of master Beyond Human tapes and Exit Videos and instructions on how to handle the web site they had constructed and posted for about a year, where they posted the contents of Their Book. Do and Crew wrote letters to them and to a former classmember named Rkkody. Rkkody was a computer technician and programmer so making last minute changes to the web site was given to him and stated in the letters but they received the information and authority and some funds to manage the site and follow up on legalities and were to use some of the money to split between anyone who wanted to help with the dissemination project.

These webmasters were also sent, with their letters, keys and/or combinations to a few storage rooms. One had a small truck in it. Another had various things but it was reported to me by Carlan (Crlody), who joined in 1994 and left soon thereafter, but who worked with Rkkody some that Rkkody told him the audio tape boxes were stacked up in the front of the storage room. There were some 484 tapes that were recordings TI and DO had us make of their “classroom” meetings. It was suggested in the webmasters letter that if they preferred they could ask Rkkody and another former member Oscody to handle going to the storage room to retrieve those things before authorities would get them so that’s what was done. These webmasters turned over all their letters and keys to Rkkody, apparently surprised by their Exit and even blacking out their names in the titles of some of the letters. Carlan sent me the letters. Rkkody and Oscody picked up the tapes and Rkkody began to copy them and digitize them into cd’s he started mailing to universities and libraries and anyone who wanted them. The webmasters changed their mind and asked for the tapes and Rkkody returned them to them but kept his copies and digitized versions. The webmasters started legal proceedings against Rkkody and threatened those that received cd’s with a lawsuit if they didn’t return them.

Rkkody felt he had no service to TI and DO left to do, so he exited his vehicle. Oscody did also a short time later. Before Rkkody left he spoke to me a number of times and also sent me one of the cd’s with the 218 audio tapes on it. Three of them are linked to below in section: VI.C.

A battle ensued between those who felt the intention was to disseminate all the tapes (to include some potential new believers) and the Webmasters moreorless led by Carlan but that I became a part of. I later determined that though I didn’t agree with not providing the tapes, it was left to the Webmasters to decide and I trusted that we have all the information we needed to follow through with “Standing for TI and DO” by spreading their information to whoever wanted it.

The Webmasters went on to give interviews to different internet news sites and when I would find them, I would find discrepancies in what happened, like the reason for their departure from the class, and points of view that are juxtaposed from what TI and DO taught or even the opposite and I would make comments and post to my blog various critiques of what they said to the reporters/bloggers.

Because of that and calling them liars for misrepresenting TI and DO, for instance by saying things like, “There is no Heaven and no Hell” and many other things, I don’t communicate with them any longer. They have copyrighted the BOOK and Tapes and I don’t trust that they wouldn’t try to stop the distribution of my book if I used any of those materials. Thus I reworded everything and 99% is actually from my personal experience that I can bring proof to.  For instance I was one of Do’s “helpers” on 4 episodes of the Beyond Human video Tape series.

Here is some of the evidence of the content of the letters:
Excerpts from Do and Crews letters to web site Webmasters re: audio tape handling

Here are those articles documenting interviews to what these two webmasters said:
Sawyer’s Critique of Heaven’s Gate Webmasters Interview with

Sawyer’s Critique of Heaven’s Gate Webmasters Interview with

Sawyer’s Critique of Heaven’s Gate Webmasters Interview with

Sawyers critique of interview with Heaven’s Gate Webmasters that also describes how Neo was in some ways of the same mind with Mrc and Srf (the webmasters):

Sawyer’s response to interview with Heaven’s Gate website webmasters

A year after the suicides, the Kings got into a legal fight with San Diego County officials, who wanted to auction off the cult’s belongings to reimburse the families of the deceased for funeral expenses. The Kings said they had done video and audio work for Heaven’s Gate, and the group wanted them to safeguard its property, especially the religious teachings.

Although a judge ruled against them in 1999, they negotiated an agreement to buy the writings, artwork and other items for $2,000. In return, they agreed not to profit from the sale of any of it.

In their emailed responses to the Union-Tribune, they said they were in the group for 12 years. Why keep the site running? “They asked us to do it and we were honored to perform the task.” The information, they said, “is still timeless and we are here to provide it to those who ask.”

Interest from around the world “is very high,” they said. Most people get information from the site, but some order copies of an anthology, “How and When Heaven’s Gate Can Be Entered,” which includes teachings dating to 1975 and the text of a “final offer” ad the group placed in USA Today in 1993.

They said there are a few other former members spread around the country, but “there is no group.” Asked what they want people to know about Heaven’s Gate, they said, “The simple understanding is that there is a real, physical level above the human one here on Earth. It is not a spiritual existence. It is real individuals, in real bodies, in real crafts taking care of the issues of their planet.”

Do they anticipate one day joining their former colleagues?

“Yes, but probably not until our next reincarnation on this planet. We just have to live this life out and wait.”

Sawyer’s comment

This is a grave injustice to the teachings of Ti and Do to think that all anyone can do is “live this life out and wait”. To see that one can read many documents in the Book they listed – that no one is automatically going to be salvaged or brought back for a new graduation experience (reincarnation) if they are not regularly seeking to grow in Their Mind that will include degrees of separation from the human world and behaviors and ways. I can prove this was Do and Crew’s policy. In fact here is a statement in that regard that outlines the instructions for anyone that seeks to come in this direction after they exited. It’s set up as applying to three types of people as Do said in his Last Chance to Evacuate Earth Before Recycling Video. Do never closed the gate though Mark and Sarah said that he had. I understand that they were in a tight spot receiving negativity from many so they didn’t want to appear to be promoting anyone else leaving by their own hand. It was a big test for them and I don’t know how they did as that is not in my capacity to judge. But what I can judge is the accuracy of what they say.

Here is the minimum requirement to be “saved” stated by Jwnody on Do’s behalf in their book in the paper she wrote entitled, “Away Team” from Deep Space Surfaces Before Departure” written in 1996:

“In order to get saved for further planting, the overriding requirement is to recognize that this is true (these are the facts). You must believe that we represent the Kingdom that created this planet and all of its inhabitants. And you must be willing to take a stand in defense of that belief, and sustain that stand until the end – your departure – regardless of the consequences.”

Those that feel to give their all toward separting from their human root systems, behaviors and ways have that option to include performing service to Ti and Do, so are not held back in any way but that doesn’t appear to be what they are thinking about for themselves by that statement to live life and wait. If they were not portraying themselves as representative of the website and all it says then what they feel is soley their business but people are looking to them as the authority so if they dilute the truth they are doing a disservice to Ti and Do, the same when I do the same though I hope not to do but do catch myself interjecting my own mind into my talks. So it’s all a lesson step we can all improve upon and that’s all I care to provide which was a big part of the classroom to do for fellow students. However, they are supposed to ask for that help but we don’t have that luxury any more at this time.

I could give many more examples. Of course this seems fanatical unless they really were who they said they were and then it’s only our programming with the misinformation that we all have according to Ti and Do that keeps us from recognizing the truth. Of course it’s challenging as was being in Ti and Do’s classroom. It was never meant to be easy. It was exceedingly hard for Jesus disciples as well though what was made of it is today a “country club religion.” though for some perhaps the best they can do, which is not for me to judge so we all must follow our own path and accept the rewards and/or consquences.


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