Explaining the Murder-Suicides of the Order of the Solar Temple

Henrik Bogdan

in Violence and New Religious Movements

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735631
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894512 | DOI:
Explaining the Murder-Suicides of the Order of the Solar Temple

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The Order of the Solar Temple caught the attention of the public in October 1994, when fifty-three of its members in Switzerland and Quebec were murdered or committed suicide. When these tragic events were followed by two group suicides, the Solar Temple quickly became one of the most notorious and discussed “cults.” This chapter surveys the most important scholarly theories on the violence of the Solar Temple. It also addresses the broader discussion of sects and violence and uses the Solar Temple as a case study.

Keywords: Order of the Solar Temple; Joseph Di Mambro; Luc Jouret; Western esotericism; neotemplarism; rituals; catastrophic millennialism; external opposition; internal dissent; charismatic authority

Chapter.  5957 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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