Date: Wed Aug 24 1994 00:20:00 Subj: UFO Cult UFO - Another landing for `UFO Cult' 07/31/9

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Date: Wed Aug 24 1994 00:20:00 From: Sheppard Gordon Subj: UFO Cult UFO ------------------------------- Another landing for `UFO Cult' 07/31/94 Montreal Gazette CHICAGO - One recent night, 40 inquiring souls entered a University of Illinois at Chicago classroom; a flier outside the room billed the lecture- discussion as "UFOs, Space Aliens and Their Final Fight for Earth's Spoils." Curiosity brought that audience face-to-face with the remnants of a nomadic community that aroused the media and law enforcement in the 1970s: Dubbed the "UFO Cult," the group blended spacecraft and spirituality under the offbeat charismatic leadership of a man and woman known variously as "The Two" and "Bo and Peep." They said their souls were from a level above human, a kingdom higher than Earth. They said the "Kingdom of God" was a real place in the universe whose inhabitants have travelled by spacecraft as far back as 2,000 years ago, when one of them came to Earth as Jesus. And they said there would soon be more spacecraft arriving to take deserving souls to that higher level. The story made it to the lips of TV's then-top journalist, Walter Cronkite, and thus to the ears and eyes of millions. A flurry of harsh publicity followed - questioning the claims and cultlike regimen of the group and recounting how dozens of spouses or children had forsaken families, jobs and possessions to become sheep of Bo and Peep. The two were identified as former Houston residents Marshall Herff Applewhite, a divorced college music professor, and Bonnie Lu Nettles, a nurse and married mother of four. They had cut all ties to those past lives. As the media glare intensified, the group went underground. But 18 years later, as members appeared at three Chicago-area locations last week, one of their fliers declared: "We're Back." In the college classroom, Evan, June, Matt, Oliver and Sawyer spent more than two hours explaining themselves. They said their male and female bodies are merely "vessels" infused with souls from the level above human. They said they've abandoned their old names, their families, their possessions and all forms of sexuality, relationships and addictions that had been part of their "human-mammalian" personal lives. Amid lengthy rhetoric on everything from the Earth being a "hothouse garden" experiment created by the Kingdom of God to "Luciferians" who have dropped out of the kingdom but also use spacecraft in an ongoing campaign to tempt and confuse humans about good and evil, June uttered arguably the understatement of the session. Leaving behind all earthly pleasures to follow them "is one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do," she said. Rob Balch, a University of Montana sociologist, infiltrated the group for two months in 1975 and has continued his research by interviewing former members. He said he and a partner worked odd jobs and begged for money to keep travelling with the group among different camps. However, he said, the group's regimen has become much tighter, including a ritual in which members at camps are supposed to report to supervisors every 12 minutes. "I don't think this is a dangerous cult. It is not in the mold of the Charles Manson family, Jim Jones's People's Temple or David Koresh's Branch Davidians," Balch said. "It does not have a violent history. "But it can be dangerous from parents' perspective. Anybody who joins this group is going to drop out of sight."

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