Apocacide, Apocaholics and Apocalists:

A Selective Webography of Endism

Apocacidal Tendencies: Three Excerpts from the Heaven's Gate Website 1995

1(A term which blends apocalypse with suicide, apocacides could be best described as those groups or individuals who understand salvation from an imagined approaching armageddon to involve, indeed depend upon, the voluntary sacrifice of one's own life on earth.)

21. '95 Statement by An E.T. Presently Incarnate: "... We brought to Earth with us a crew of students whom we had worked with (nurtured) on Earth in previous missions. They were in varying stages of metamorphic transition from membership in the human kingdom to membership in the physical Evolutionary Level Above Human (what your history refers to as the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven). It seems that we arrived in Earth's atmosphere between Earth's 1940s and early 1990s. We suspect that many of us arrived in staged spacecraft (UFO) crashes and many of our discarded bodies (genderless, not belonging to the human species), were retrieved by human authorities (government and military). Other crews from the Level Above Human preceded our arrival and 'tagged' -- placed a despite 'chip' -- in each of the vehicles (bodies) that we would individually incarnate into, when that instruction would be given. These 'chips' set aside those bodies for us ... In any given civilisation on a fertile planet such as Earth (and Earth has had many periodic/cyclical civilisations), the Level Above Human plants all the new life forms (including humans) for that civilisation in a neutral condition so that they have a chance to choose the direction of their growth. The Level Above Human -- or Next Level -- directly (hands on) relates significantly to the civilisation at its beginning stage, and subsequently (with few exceptions) at approximately 2000-year intervals (48-hour intervals from a Next Level perspective) until that civilisation's final 'Age.' ..."

32. Our Position Against Suicide: " ... We know that it is only while we are in these physical vehicles (bodies) that we can learn the lessons needed to complete our own individual transition, as well as to complete our task of offering the Kingdom of Heaven to this civilisation one last time. We take good care of our vehicles so they can function well for us in this task, and we try to protect them from any harm. We fully desire, expect, and look forward to boarding a spacecraft from the Next Level very soon (in our physical bodies). There is no doubt in our mind that our being 'picked up' is inevitable in the very near future. But what happens between now and then is the big question. We are keenly aware of several possibilities ... The true meaning of 'suicide' is to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered. In these last days, we are focused on ... entering the Kingdom of Heaven ..."

4 3. Last Chance to Evacuate Earth Before It's Recycled (Sept 29, 1996): "... I'm in a vehicle that is already falling apart on me, and I'm desperate to try to help you have a last chance to go ... I don't mean to make fun of this. I am desperate -- for your sakes. Within the past twenty-four hours I have been clearly informed by my Older Member of how short the remaining time is; how clearly we cannot concentrate on anything except the perspective that says: the end of this civilisation is very close. The end of a civilisation is accompanied by spading under, refurbishing the planet in preparation for another civilisation. And the only ones who can survive that experience have to be those who are taken into the keeping of the Evolutionary Level Above Human ..."

Apocaholic Cocktails: Mixing Visions of the End

Armageddon Anonymous: Hidden Faces Plotting the End on Television

5 The 1996 book release X-Files Confidential describes its subject matter as "'social-science fiction' ... fuelled by the realities -- and internal anxieties -- of [our] time: the era of diminished expectations", a television show which "concerns itself with the dark side of technology, competition, politics, ambition, and selfishness", warning against the "risks of abandoning an interior life or one's community" and reinforcing the notion that "our attempts to combat evil are usually an exercise in futility" though that "effort alone is significant".

6 Unlike the participants within the apocaholic communities who intimate that the 'truth is with us', the X-Files, as an entertainment product of the secular industry, proclaims that the 'truth is out there'. This conceptual and narrative framework within the X-Files works on several levels:

7

  1. Frustrates resolution through contrived revelation;
  2. Frustrates revelation through contrived resolution;
  3. Identifies and resists externally imposed futures;
  4. Gives a narrative voice to marginalised hierarchies of genres, values and futures mythology, eg., those involving ufology, genetic mutations and the like;
  5. De-emphasises mainstream hierarchies of authority, genres, values and futures mythology;
  6. Suggests a regime of hidden truth, embedded within what initially appears as disconnected and unrelated phenomena; Implicates the mainstream future as conspiricist (i.e., the governments which control our futures do not have our interests at heart);
  7. Identifies the ritualistic reassurance set by the mainstream discursive strategy (e.g., "apology is policy");
  8. Cultivates its own in-language, or futurespeak, where special terms refer to a future-oriented conspiracy of mammoth proportions.
  9. And, finally, it gives meaning to the millennium beyond a mere change in dates.

8 All in all, the X-Files is popular and successful because it explores the possibilities of resolvable and unresolvable endings. It blurs the boundaries between the theological and the secular imaginings of the end. It borrows elements common to contemporary evangelicalism, endtime signs such as the mark of the beast, and gives them a plausible secular narrative. For example, whereas it might be difficult to suspend disbelief for a story that has a charismatic antichrist controlling the world through marking its population with 666, X-Files modernises the setting by creating a mysterious consortium of 12 elders who are in allegiance with some alien plan to initiate a scheduled holocaust. Such an organised drive towards armageddon involves genetic tagging of the populations through smallpox injections, little biochips which switch on and switch-off cancers, transportation of plague through bee stings and heavenly lights that harbour creatures with sinister purposes.

9 In the X-Files, mainstream society is the cult whose future has been pre-organised by its real architects and whose adherents, the general populace, move through society blinded by ideas and doctrines of thought that Mulder sees as lies. His ultimate quest is find the truth, to reveal the future being secretly planned for the world. His quest involves reading the signs of the times in his encounters with the X-Files. Scully, whose initial introduction was to provide a sceptic balance to his quest, in fact provides a scientific rationale for Mulder's seemingly odd flights of fancy. In explaining Mulder's theories away in pseudo-scientific terms, Scully makes the unthinkable seem more plausible, and her character development from sceptic to believer provides the narrative added credibility for long-term viewers. If Scully can be convinced, then there must really be a hidden sinister future embedded beyond the mainstream outlook.

10 Mainstream programmes such as these can in themselves throw wine of the proverbial armageddon fire. Both Star Trek and the X-Files were favourite pastimes for the Heaven's Gate Cult. Star Trek epitomised the ultimate open-ended humanist future, exploration of the unknown, while the X-Files epitomised the nature of this level, a conspiricist and closed future in which the world's only hope lay in the revealing of the sinister unknown before the great destructive end. Needless to say, X-Files-styled sites proliferate the Webscape in late 1999:

11 "The Bible says that the b'nai Elohim, angels, sons of God, were ministers of creation, from before the worlds, Job 38:7. Contrary to popular secular theories, the b'nai Elohim are created beings distinct from ELOHIM the God of Israel. God created the b'nai Elohim to reflect His glory, and reflect His word which spoke all things into being. Before a third of the heavenly host rebelled, they were stewards of creation, building civilizations on the terrestrial planets of our solar system designed to glorify the Word of God. The Cydonia "face" is a monument constructed by these Sons of God, revealing their knowledge of the message in the stars. Both the Cydonia face and the Sphinx are cherubim, combining figures in the constellations Virgo and Leo, symbolic representations of the first and second advent of Christ on Earth."

12 "Previous pages explained how Satan was created to lead the angelic hierarchy, ruling over physical civilizations of angels on planets, such as the one still in evidence on Mars. After Satan rebelled, the center of his angelic civilization was destroyed "from among the stones of fire", yet the Bible tells us Satan is still waiting for the time of God's judgment. Satan is not in hell, he is still allowed audience before God, where he accuses the faithful (Rev.), and he still roams above and within the earth (Job). Since Satan is the most beautiful and powerful cherub, Prince of the Powers of the Air, intelligence behind UFO phenomena, the authority over all the aerial regions outward from earth..."

13 "Antichrist will arise out of the British Monarchy within the context of the European Union/False prophet will arise out of the Vatican-Whore Church/Both will work together to build Satan's end time kingdom in these last and final days."

14 "Things have gotten really seriously convoluted. To try to follow some of the conspiracies requires a substantial amount of dedication. Any one thread can lead to so many other threads, eventually, maybe they will come together into a complete tapestry that could scare the bejabbers out of you."

Silver Screen Endings: Blockbuster Profits in Apocalypse

15 Gripped in a delirium of apocaholicism, contemporary secular society is exploring the conditions and consequence of endings. Mainstream presentations such as Independence Day, Event Horizon, Armageddon, End of Days, The Matrix and Deep Impact depict the notion of endings in elaborate and extravagant modes. Independence Day is a lesson in Orwellian doublethink -- it begins by destroying the very values it eschews at its closure. The statue of liberty, the White House, and the Empire State Building, all contemporary icons of western democratic and consumerist values, are brutally and spectacularly disintegrated.

16 Yet the very core of the western meta-narrative, the maintenance of independence, which brought about the empowerment of these icons, is upheld throughout the film, leaving a critical viewer with the sense that what we are watching in this film is not the destruction of the world by some alien force -- certainly no other nation is depicted as so grossly devastated nor are any icons of other significantly known cultures destroyed -- but the annihilation of contemporary western icons: essentially, the death of icons.

17 The values are constant, as emoted by the President of the United States towards the fiery conclusion of the movie, but the icons are unstable, susceptible to external disruption, unlike the proverbial humanist spirit. Hence, most audiences reacted gleefully to seeing famous landmarks blasted to smithereens -- this goes hand in hand I suspect with the prevailing social atmosphere cultivating change: do away with the current icons, they are no longer valid nor do they faithfully represent the social world around us, we require new ones to image our emerging spirit.

18 Event Horizon is very different in content and style. It blends conventional theology with science fiction to create an incredible narrative about a starship so fast that it punches a hole through to hell and back. The concern throughout the film as the blood thickens is not with the collective end to society but rather with the very personal and private closure to individual life and the post-death experience. Other films, like Deep Impact and Armageddon, draw on the "worst bits" in the bible, to quote one trailer, and depict disturbing destructive images of the western metropolitan society, with dramatic wrangling over who will survive and how in order to establish a brave new world.

19 What links these varying cinematic depictions of the end? Is it perhaps the imagined triumph of humanist spiritism, usually legitimised through the sacrificial offering of a main character in a film's final showdown? (Bruce Willis dies in Armageddon, Tea Leoni waits with her estranged father for the tidal wave in Deep Impact, and a half-drunk kamikaze pilot in an old biplane destroys the mothership at the close of Independence Day.) Being excessively popular, one needs to ask what role these films play within the collective social narrative of endism: do these films serve to quiet anxieties about the end by visualising human solutions to impossible destructive odds? Or do apocalyptic blockbusters market towards existing endtimes tension, reflecting the growing apocaholic nature of our societies as we near the close of the twentieth century and thereby, in true western capitalist fashion, profit from this cultural dysfunction? Or do films of this nature answer a more base, unacknowledged desire within our societies to see the end and survive?

Timeout: Clocking the Endtimes

20 This resource provides links to a wide variety of Christian sources with a primary focus on millennial, apocalyptic, or other End Time expectations.

21 "As we approach the millennium, the world seems to be getting weirder. Countdown 2000 is packed with the latest news, hype, and hysteria. Where will the blow-out parties be? Will Y2K cause global havoc? How can I get involved in improving the world? Whatever the millennium and year 2000 mean to you, Countdown 2000 can help you learn what you want to know. Countdown 2000 is packed with over 150 pages, and 2500 links."

22 Topics covered: Bible prophecy, rapture, tribulation, millennium, last days, end times, end of time, second coming, covenants, revelation, advent, antichrist, 666, parousia (appearing of Christ), preterist (fulfilled prophecy), eschatology (the study of last things), and many more.

Apocalists: The Tribulation Inbox

23 Interesting things happen on discussion lists. Perhaps a more significant example of apocalyptic dissemination, capable of real-time feedback and iteration on endtime signs within every corner of the Web, millions on the bible highway speak of the premillennial tension that characterises contemporary cultural life and thousands more direct these lunges into apocalyptic extrapolation via discussion lists. Nowhere has the apocalyptic urge to image the end, to identify the sign of its approach, been more revitalised than on this electronic frontier: indeed, Apocalypse has an impressive online presence. Today, anyone can receive daily updates sent to their email inbox on the progress or nearness of the great endtimes tribulation, press releases of the latest armageddon publication list, prophecy ezines, the latest incarnation of the mark of the beast 666, new candidates for antichrist identification and revelation reports, to name but a few:

24 Bible Prophecy-L was created as an open, moderated forum to discuss and share information related to end times Bible prophecy. Some of the topics you may find discussed are: Eschatology; Global Government; Global Religion and the New Age Movement; Rapture; Antichrist; Environmental Changes (earthquakes, tornados, volcanoes, freak storms, flooding etc.); Israel and the Middle East; Signs in the Heavens (UFOs, Comets, etc.); Pestilence (infectious diseases); Wars and Rumors of Wars; Prophecy Conference Updates ... etc.

Citation reference for this article

MLA style:

  • Jason Ensor. "Apocacide, Apocaholics and Apocalists: A Selective Webography of Endism." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2.8 (1999). [your date of access] <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9912/apocacide.php>.

Chicago style:

  • Jason Ensor, "Apocacide, Apocaholics and Apocalists: A Selective Webography of Endism," M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2, no. 8 (1999), <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9912/apocacide.php> ([your date of access]).

APA style:

  • Jason Ensor. (1999) Apocacide, Apocaholics and Apocalists: A Selective Webography of Endism. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2(8). <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9912/apocacide.php> ([your date of access]).