Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 31 March, 1997


Minister's Son---"Ex-Gay" Type--- Founder of UFO Religion

By Jack Nichols


"A crisis of sexuality launched a strange journey," tell Washington Post staff writers, providing, over the weekend, the gay angle in the troubled odyssey of Marshall Herff Applewhite, a talented teacher-turned-milleniumist-religion-founder. The new revelations include Applewhite's self-willed castration, and the castrations of some of his followers, people who also followed him willingly through death's door, believing they'd soon be on board a UFO transporting them to the Next Level. The Post says that in the 1970's Applewhite turned himself in to a Texas psychiatric hospital. He'd previously had an affair with a male student, leading to his reputed dismissal as music professor at Houston's University of St. Thomas, and he wanted help to eliminate his gay desires. In short, Applewhite was a man whose religious views worked to distort his positive self-image and who wanted, therefore, to be an "Ex-Gay".

"He spent a great part of his life struggling with guilt about his homosexual urges," said persons closest to him. Others reflected on how his horror over his own same-sex desires had led him to request castration as his solution. A number of his male followers, possibly to give a sign of their faith, adopted his solution. The UFO-based religious group, therefore, renounced sexuality. "They were anti-sexual. Their bodies were regarded as impediments to the chaste image they hoped to embody," said a perceptive South Florida radio host, "and so they were glad to get rid of those bodies."

Until he was 40, Marshall Herff Applewhite had done all he could to make his strict Presbyterian father, a minister, proud of him. He was a faithful church-goer, and a seminary student. He married and became the father of two. He was a choir director and an opera singer. He later explained to his followers how Jesus had once had to leave his body to proceed into the "Kingdom of Heaven." and that they too must prepare in a similar manner, to leave families and belongings and to prepare themselves --first by methodically killing themselves-- to get supposed redemption through an Unidentified Flying Object that trails the Hale-Bopp comet and takes them aboard.

Applewhite himself left his wife and two children in Texas, moving from one locale to another with a nurse, Bonnie Lu Trusdale Nettles, a woman with whom he immediately agreed to share a sex-free life as well as the founding of the faith they so effectively led together until Nettles' untimely death from cancer several years ago. This event affected Applewhite, according to one former member of Heaven's Gate, in traumatic ways. Running the daily affairs at Heaven's Gate, Applewhite, perhaps, grew tired, feeling he was going to die, and, as with his castration, may well have decided to take others with him on his journies. As a choir-master Applewhite had learned to motivate people. He used this same ability full force in the Heaven's Gate faith he promoted.

"After seeing this happen we ought to know that school children need skeptic-step training so that things like this can't happen so easily," said Norman Freischer, a magazine feature writer, "You know, always be sure to be skeptical and doubtful enough sothe next 5 big steps you take are only into places where the ground's solid. I'm much too much the skeptic to allow myself to think one can commit suicide and thence fly to some UFO that's behind the Hale Bopp comet. There's some missing steps, I think, in this plan, aren't there? Don't you think these folks were missing a few planning steps between their dead bodies and that imaginary Hale Bopp UFO? Hell, they couldn't think simple steps like 1-2-3?"

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