Heaven's Gate: All episodes
January 14, 2018 11:31 AM - Subscribe

The full series of this podcast that delves into the story of the Heaven's Gate cult with empathy, excellent reporting, and serious lack of sensationalism. Includes an episode of the host reflecting on his own experience growing up in a cult, and another episode featuring listeners' experiences with cults.
posted by lunasol (7 comments total)
 
I just spent the last week bingeing this and was surprised to see it wasn't already here. I don't always love Glynn Washington on Snap Judgment, but I thought he was the perfect host for this.

I do wish it had gone a bit more into the inner workings of Heaven's Gate, but I appreciate that they didn't sensationalize it (which is really easy to do when getting into the inner workings) and liked that they spent so much time on who the members were before they joined. The sense of loss from their family members was enormous.
posted by lunasol at 11:33 AM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I listened to this pretty much straight through while driving across Nevada, which was an appropriately weird and UFO-flavored backdrop. It's great - well-researched, well-organized, humane - although the standout episode for me is the one that has the least to do with Heaven's Gate: episode 4, about Glynn's personal history of growing up as a black kid in a Christian white supremacist cult. Wow.
posted by theodolite at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


theodolite - yeah! I almost skipped that one but I'm so glad I didn't. It really made the whole experience of listening a lot richer.
posted by lunasol at 4:37 PM on January 14, 2018


Thanks for the heads up about this podcast. Downloading now...
posted by latkes at 5:48 PM on January 14, 2018


On paper I enjoyed all of this; the very personal take on Heaven’s Gate felt fresh to me after having read book chapters & other material on the group. In practice, it lost momentum for me around the middle and I felt like I was finishing up the whole thing out of obligation. Maybe it’ll hold together better now that you can binge the whole thing.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:38 PM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Over the Christmas holidays I binged on this (found it recommended in an AskMe thread) because I was laid up with an infection. I thought it held together pretty well as a binge listen. I got through it in less than three days.

I appreciate that they didn't sensationalize it (which is really easy to do when getting into the inner workings) and liked that they spent so much time on who the members were before they joined. The sense of loss from their family members was enormous.

Yeah, the families of the members were never too far out of frame, so to speak. I really liked that about it. It painted a fuller picture of them as human beings.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:36 PM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I found this very engaging and provocative. The empathy and compassion and respect was strong and unusually so. The theme music was really great. I can't find who did it?

It was an interesting choice to not really explore their specific belief system. I guess that would have been alienating because their beliefs were just so weird. On the other hand, any religious beliefs are pretty weird if you step back and look at them. What I did learn about their beliefs was a big barrier for me in empathizing. It just seems so irrational. I can definitely connect with wanting to be part of an intimate community, with feeling different from the mainstream, of wanting to be part of something bigger, but... Jesus in a spaceship is just super hard for me to connect to.

I guess ultimately, this podcast was full of captivating anecdotes, deeply human vulnerabilities and desires, and interesting social history, but.. it didn't shed light for me. I didn't get new insight about these folks. I don't know if it was how the podcast was edited, or they didn't really choose a perspective - which is part of why it feels so empathetic to both the members and their former family members - but it didn't take me on a journey? I guess it's more honest than if it had created a narrative arc that just wasnt' part of reality?

I don't know. I'm glad I listened.
posted by latkes at 7:27 PM on January 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


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