The Murder-Suicide Mass Deaths of the Solar Temple

The Murder-Suicide Mass Deaths of the Solar Temple


There were a total of 74 cult members of the Solar Temple Cult that were found dead in Switzerland, Canada, and France. Allegedly ritual murders occurred between 1994 and 1997 where members were found shot, asphyxiated, or drugged. Other members, however, were willing participants in the mass suicides. The first mass death occurred in 1994 with 48 bodies found in two Swiss villages. Years later, two smaller mass deaths occurred.

The apocalyptical sect founded in 1983 by Dr. Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro and was officially called The Order of the Solar Temple in 1990. The sect was highly secretive with ideas centered on the Knights Templar. This military-religious order had led the sect to ritualistic activities in preparation to reach a high level of consciousness. As a result, houses were burned in 1994 and members died in the fire.

Solar Temple has in large dissolved due its murder-suicide doctrine providing a prime example of such extremist authoritarian control. The behaviours and description of events from the article would be evidence to a leader than had considerable credibility especially one that could command the execution of each other. In this case, the founder had a doctorate degree. Moreover, the isolated and secrecy of the group perpetuates the indoctrination of its members.

Similar mass death events have occurred in other sects where Jim Jones led 914 people to commit suicide in 1978. There is also David Koresh where 80 members died in a fire from a siege in 1993. A similarity worth noting is that the sects all have an authoritarian and ruling Christ-like figure. A fundamental attribute of these groups is that there is an anointed interpreter of the spiritual realm that provides the leader with authority over others. This would quickly silence multiple opinions but more influentially, the ability to silence the opposition.

In reflection of these attributes, society places a high priority on following persons of authority. This obedience is a conditioned social expectation where there is an obligation to comply with instructions. In order to increase the likelihood of compliance, the person carrying such actions must be dissolved from any responsibility to its members. The leaders, in this case Jouret and Di Mambro, then elevate their status and credibility onto a higher plane, whereby they are only accountable to their spiritual being. This driving characteristic is found in the Solar Temple which protects the leaders from any objection. People can leave, but that is why secrecy and the perception of being credible are important to offset this option – by eliminating it altogether.

This is only a fragment of understanding sects. However, authority is recognized because we have all been conditioned since birth: parents, teachers, police, etc. Some are clearly beneficial for society as a whole. Others, like in this case, can end up in unimaginable acts of sacrifice.

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