See Dr. Susan Block's
U N C E N S O R E D
ADELPHIA FAMILY CENSORS
Dr. Block's Open Letter
to John J. Rigas
Midnight, March 29, 1997: The mass suicide of 39 members of a Rancho Santa Fe cult called "Heaven's Gate" has the world transfixed and wondering: Why? Why? Why would all these nice, neat, smart, professional people living in suburban Shangri La--why would they all kill themselves? All the newscasters, media psychiatrists and cult experts have been speculating ad nauseum about whether it was belief in UFO's, a doomsday philosophy, the regimented nature of their lives, the toxic charisma of a dying leader, the blazing orbit of a special comet? And yes, these are all factors contributing to cult suicide. But there's something else that's only mentioned almost in passing by the media, as a relatively insignificant aspect of the group's philosophy & lifestyle, & yet, I think it's key, and that factor is: Celibacy. Total Required Celibacy.
Like I always say (well, I don't always say it, but I'm saying it now): Celibacy leads to suicide.Celibacy leads to suicide, either a quick dramatic exit where you pack your bags for a better world and put a purple sheet over your head. Or the slow withdrawal, where you kill yourself gradually with repression and anger, loneliness and bitterness. Haven't I always told you that celibacy is, almost, never good for your health? Occasionally, okay. But permanently? No. Listen to your Doctor! It could save your life. Don't hook up with anyone who demands you be celibate, whether it's Heaven's Gate, the Catholic Church or the Cult of Dr. Laura Schlessinger!
Why doesn't anyone else in the media talk about the celibacy factor? I don't know. Maybe because they don't want to sound sleazy. Maybe because they don't want to come across as if they actually think sex is important to the question of human life and death. Maybe because they're afraid of the Religious Right that glorifies celibacy like it's some sort of higher state of being.
Glorification of celibacy leads to glorification of Death. The whole Heaven deal, the image of which changes--from angels strumming harps to aliens in spaceships--depending on who's doing the glorifying. Who the Hell knows what the Hell's in Heaven? Does Marshall Applewhite know? Does the Pope know? Do the leaders of Hamas know? One thing I know is they're all anti-sex. Obsessed with the power and glory of death.
Of course, repression never really eradicates lust. It just creates fetishes. In this case, the fetish for death. With celibacy, the thought of death becomes positively orgasmic.
According to Freud, who started his own little "sex cult" that we now call "psychoanalysis," the opposite of Eros is Thanatos. Eros is sex, love, life. Thanatos is death. Life without Eros leads to Thanatos. Without sex or sensuality, death can seem better--sexier--than life.
A cult member said, "there's nothing here for me....it (death) is better than being around here with absolutely nothing to do." No eros, no life, nothing to do. Might as well lay me down on my bunkbed & die. No one was found with their hands in their pants. In fact, some members were found castrated, their reproductive organs surgically removed in their effort to attain spiritual or astral bliss.
Another group that demands celibacy of its clergy is the Catholic Church. Any Pope, fascist dictator or cult leader knows that a vital step to controlling people--to getting them to be willing to die for you-- is controlling sex.
I'm not saying that the Heaven's Gate tragedy is all about sex. There's more to it, of course. First of all, any group named after such a turkey of a movie was doomed from the start. Also, we all know watching too much Star Trek causes insanity.
But sex--or lack of sex--is an important factor. So is religion. They killed themselves close to Easter and Good Friday, very interwoven with the myths and messages of Christianity, as was another cult that killed 913 people & whose leader also controlled members' sex practices, down in Jonestown. When you worship a supposedly celibate man who's also supposedly God, or the Son of God, a man who practically commits suicide (since if he was God, he could have certainly gotten out of it), when you pray to the cross, the instrument of his death, don't be surprised when some devout, depressed maniacs get swept up in the dark, religious, anti-sex, anti-life fervor of Thanatos.
Not that I have it in for Jesus. Nowhere in the Gospels does it say that Jesus was celibate or that anyone else should be. Some Christian scholars believe that the real Jesus was, in fact, married, since the Bible never says he wasn't married, & in those days, almost everyone was (there was no singles scene in downtown Jerusalem). Without a doubt, the Jesus of the Gospels liked women--sexy, independent, relatively interesting women. And who was the first person he "took a meeting" with when he resurrected himself on Easter Sunday? His favorite sex worker, of course, Mary Magdalene: The Original Easter Bunny.
One last note on the Heaven's Gate Easter Season Death Orgy: This was the first suicide sect to have it's own website. Now that's historic! It was through their computers that many members first found out about the cult. Parents: You're worried about sex on the Internet? Anything on the Internet--even something as seemingly innocent as a science fiction or spirituality site--can lure your children to an untimely death.
Life is so precious, so fleeting. Let's enjoy our lives, our pleasures, our families, our bodies--on our beautiful, wild, sexual planet Earth--while we can.
Peace on Earth. Pleasure for All.