Mark Applewhite

What was the accusation?

In March 1997, Heaven’s Gate cult leader Marshall H. Applewhite and his 38 followers committed mass suicide in order to facilitate what they believed would be their transcendental ascension to a passing UFO. Their bodies were discovered at a mansion outside San Diego, California, and authorities determined the cause of death was sedative-assisted asphyxiation. Amid the public shock and media circus, Mark Applewhite, estranged son of the late cult leader, released a statement apologizing to the families of the departed. “I am deeply hurt by the knowledge that people have now lost their lives in connection with my father,” he said. “My sympathy and prayers go out to all those who are suffering the loss of loved ones.” 

Key Apologia Strategies:







Achenbach, J., & Fisher, M. (1997, March 30). The cult that left as it lived. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Krikorian, G., & Glionna, J.M. (1997, March 30). Cult leader’s son apologizes to families who lost loved ones. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from