August 31, 2013, was the 20th anniversary of my departure from the Heaven’s Gate cult. That anniversary was about eleven months ago. Below is the journal entry that I shared with my brothers on that day.
I realize there may be contextual factors of life in the Heaven’s Gate cult that aren’t clear from this account since it’s a snapshot of my time there. If so, I apologize. If you do have questions, I’m sure some of them will be answered in subsequent blog posts. Or you might have to wait for my book to come out. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.
Today was the 20th anniversary of my departure from the Heaven’s Gate group (cult, classroom, commune). It was 20 years ago today—on August 31, 1993—that I was driven to the airport in San Diego and I boarded a plane for Calgary (with a plane change at LAX). I remember two fellow group members, Srrody (pronounced “Sirr-ody”—Terry Stephen McCarter) and Swyody (pronounced “Soy-ody”—he now goes by Sawyer), sitting with me at the San Diego airport in the departure lounge. (It was pre-2001 of course—remember when you could see your friends and family off in the departure lounge?)
They sat reading their personal notes, I suppose from a recent meeting with Do (Dō, the remaining leader of the cult), while I sat anticipating the transition I was about to undertake. Srrody seemed almost smug as if he knew without a doubt that he was going to “Heaven” while I was going to “Hell”. But that didn’t dampen my resolve to leave. I was glad for him that he was so sure of what he needed to do. I felt just as sure of what I needed to do. I was sure of my decision to leave the group, or put another way, I was sure it was no longer right for me to stay in the group, although I recall having mixed emotions about what was next for me.