Heaven's Gate® - How and When It May Be Entered - screen captureIn the vein of answering the question “Whats’ the harm in having crazy metaphysical beliefs?”, law enforcement in southern California are looking for a tiny sect whose members have disappeared in search of the apocalypse. CBS News provides this report on these folks and the search (WebCite cached article):

Deputies searched a wide swath of Southern California early Sunday for a break-off religious sect of 13 people that included children as young as three and left behind letters indicating they were awaiting an apocalyptic event and would soon see Jesus and their dead relatives in heaven, authorities said.

The group of El Salvadoran immigrants, described as “cult-like” by sheriff’s officials, was led by Reyna Marisol Chicas, a 32-year-old woman from Palmdale in northeast Los Angeles county, sheriff’s Captain Mike Parker said.

The group left behind cell phones, identifications, deeds to property, and letters indicating they were awaiting the Rapture.

“Essentially, the letters say they are all going to heaven to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives,” sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. “Some of the letters were saying goodbye.”

The fear is that they’ve decided to commit collective suicide.

If a grown adult makes a decision to follow some delusional hyperreligious nutcase, that’s one thing. It’s a free country, and people are free to be stupid. Even psychotically and suicidally stupid. But to drag children down into one’s chosen psychosis, is something else entirely.

I can only hope these people are found and their children corralled to safety, before it’s too late to save them from the adults’ apocalypticism.

Update: The group has been found, and its members accounted for. See e.g. this AOL News report (cached):

Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told the Los Angeles times the group members were cooperative with authorities. They told police they were praying to end school violence and sexual immorality.

I have no idea how “praying to end school violence and sexual immorality” relates with “going to heaven to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives,” but hey, what the hell do I know?

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