Doomsday Movements in Africa: Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God

This article investigates Kibwetere’s Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. A brief summary of the Movement’s short history is followed by an outline of the movement’s main beliefs. This Ugandan cult’s sociohistoric context is analysed. The cult’s document, “A Timely Message”, is summarized & their relationship with a similar Marian movement […]

Fatal Attachments: the Instigation to Suicide

The author’s belief is that instigators are responsible in a significant number of suicides. She hypothesizes that early trauma associated with death or abandonment can lead a person to become an instigator. Research, case studies, & examples from history & literature are used to examine the role of the instigator in suicide in diverse populations […]

Apocalyptic Suicide: From a Pathological to an Eschatological Interpretation


“There is no Place for us to go but up”: new Religious Movements and Violence

The author examines critical and scholarly treatment of the mass suicides & homicides perpetrated by cult groups including the Solar Temple, Aum Shinri-kyo, Heaven’s Gate & the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. He argues that as far as “critical incidents” are concerned, scholars & critics of new religious movements & cults should supplement […]

Mass Suicide in Waco


Apocalyptic Suicide

This paper presents a provisional typology of apocalyptic suicide among cult members & analyzes the factors associated with it. These factors include: a strong dualistic philosophy, a leader with total control over the movement, & relative isolation in the presence of apocalyptic teachings. The role of mental health professionals in dealing with these groups is […]

The Psychological Make-up of a Suicide Bomber

This article examines the psychology of a suicide bomber. The suicide bomber is examined from a psychohistorical, mythological, & psychoanalytic perspective. Suicide bombers can sometimes express internal frustrations, which are communicated through various primitive defenses: shame, fear of dependency, unresolved Oedipal issues, & omnipotent denial. The author attributes the underlying conflicts in Islam as having […]

The Religious Ecology of Deviance

This article questions several sociological theories which imply that religion deters individual deviance, by using a unified ecological data set that includes measures of suicide, crime, homosexuality, and cultism. Substantial negative associations between rates of church membership and rates of crime and cultism survive statistical controls, while the negative associations with suicide and homosexuality do […]

Psychiatrist Explores Apocalyptic Violence in Heaven’s Gate and Aum Shinrikyo Cults

This presentation by Robert Lifton at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association explores the parallels & contrasts in the U.S. Heaven’s Gate & the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cults. Lifton addresses the characteristics of cult leaders, the attraction cults hold for members, & the help physicians can offer cult members & their families.

Barricades and Mass Suicide: Waco Revisited

This proceeding summarizes a paper that analyses the differences between a therapist-patient relationship & negotiator-hostage-taker interaction. Influences of suicidal thoughts, aggression & confidentiality are discussed in these relationships. Negotiation principles, motivations for communication & the training of therapists & negotiators are presented, supplemented by an analysis of the hostage situation in Waco, Texas. (SC)

Adolescent Satanism: Rebellion Masquerading as Religion

This article describes adolescent satanic practices as studied by the authors working with affected families in 3 southwestern states over a 7-year period. A case example is given. Counsellors need to address underlying individual & family pathology, suicidal & homicidal ideation, self-mutilation, drug abuse, sexual abuse, & victimization by control. Concurrent family asssessment is imperative […]

Mass Suicide as a Family Affair: The People’s Temple in Guyana

The author applies the insights derived from studies of family processes, especially those relevant to suicide, to the mass suicides &/or murders in Guyana. Family characteristics of suicidal behaviour also found at Jonestown were: 1) a closed family system; 2) domination of the family by a fragile member; 3) an atmosphere of depression & aggression; […]

“To Live is to Die”

Describes the suicide of a youth whose mother suspects a Satanic cult may be a factor in the death.

Religious Mass Suicide Before Jonestown: the Russian old Believers

This article compares the mass suicide of the People’s Temple followers at Jonestown in Guyana in November, 1978, with the suicidal activities of the Russian “Old Believers” in the late seventeenth & early eighteenth centuries. A short review of the Great Schism in the Russian Orthodox Church is provided, followed by a summary discussion of […]

Ils ont Choisi de Mourir Ensemble: Histoire du Suicide Collectif des Premiers Chretiens a Guyana (HV 6545 M65 1979)

Influenced by the suicides of 923 people in Guyana in 1978, the author examines other examples of group suicide, where “group” can mean as few as two people. Topics range from imitative suicides to historical suicides.(PM)

Destructive Aspects of the Cult Experience (IN: Youth Suicide, ed. by M L Peck et al)

Joining a group or “cult” may offer adolescents a temporary refuge from pressures & conflicts associated with their developmental level. The common objection to a “cult” is the coercive persuasion – brainwashing – used by cult leaders to negate individualism. Wellisch and Ungerleider discuss the developmentally & psychologically destructive aspects of cults, the impairment of […]

Jungle Geopolitics in Guyana: How a Communist Utopia That Ended in Massacre Came to be Sited

The Guyana Incident: Some Psychoanalytic Considerations

This article provides biographical information about James Warren Jones, the leader of a cult that died by suicide in Guyana. A psychoanalytic interpretation of this information is presented. The author then theorizes reasons for Jones’ suicide & analyses the group dynamics of the cult in Freudian terms. (16 refs) (SC)

Law-Medicine Notes – The Guyana Mass Suicides: Medicolegal Re-evaluation

This article examines the forensic investigative procedures of the U.S. Federal government regarding international tragedies involving American citizens. The author compares the Guyana Mass suicide with the plane crashes of Tenerife on the Canary Islands. 5 criticisms of the National Association of Medical Examiners & the International Reference Organization in Forensic Medicine and Sciences are […]

The Guyana Tragedy