Heaven's Gate was a cult (or UFO Millenarian group) that was started in 1979 by Marshal Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles, A.K.A. Bo and Peep. They believed that they could reach an alien spacecraft following Comet Hale-Bopp by committing mass suicide at the time of it's passing. They all took phenobarbital with applesauce and washed it down with Vodka. Then on march 6, 1997, Police in San Diego, California, found 39 bodies of these cult members dead. In October of 1996 the group had 50 of it's members buy "UFO abduction insurance" at a total cost of $10,000. Prior to this they had rented a 9,200 sq ft. mansion in San Diego.
Their belief system started with Earth being recycled, or wiped clean, and their only chance at surviving was to leave immediately. They, like many of us were generally against suicide. So, they re-defined it by saying it was "to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered.". This spawned belief that human bodies were vehicles and that we are much more essential entities merely here along the way. They believed in several "Paths" of leaving earth before it was recycled once more. One such path was of Love. "It is also possible that part of our test of faith is our loving of this world, even our flesh body, to the extent to be willing to leave it without any proof of the Next Level's existence."
Jacques Vallée said in his 1979 book Messengers of Deception, Heaven's Gate began in the early 1970s when Marshall Applewhite was in the hospital for a heart attack when he claimed to have had a near-death experience. He believed that he and his nurse, Bonnie Nettles, were "the Two", or the two witnesses spoken of in the Book of Revelation 11:3 in the Bible. After a brief and unsuccessful attempt to run an inspirational bookstore, they began traveling around the United States giving talks about their belief system. As with some other New Age faiths they combined Christian doctrine (particularly the ideas of salvation and apocalypse) with the concept of evolutionary advancement and elements of science fiction, particularly to travel to other worlds and dimensions.