The Order of the Solar Temple: an examination of the order of the solar temple, its practices and its decline.

Essay by mjsousaUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2007

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Religion has served mankind for thousands of years in our search for meaning and direction. Across the world, within virtually every culture, there lies some form of belief in a greater power. From the indigenous peoples of the Brazilian rainforest to first world countries, we all incorporate some form of religion into our lives. Thus, it is arguable that religion is embedded in our very nature. Christianity, Islam and Judaism are only three mainstream religions that attempt to provide this meaning to our lives and provide us the comfort that life might just have a purpose. The term "cult" is a often used to label religious groups which fall outside of mainstream religious ideals . Every year hundreds of Canadians join the 3000 unorthodox religions throughout Canada every year. While these groups are perfectly legal in concurrence with the charter of rights, it is when these groups become dangerous to their members or society that they stray from religion.

The term “Doomsday cult” refers to such cults that have taken an endist approach and have resulted in violent conclusion. The Ordre du Temple Solaire, or Order of the Solar Temple is a perfect example of said cults and the ramifications of its apocalyptic behavior. This paper examines periodicals and articles written at the time the Solar Temple was at its peak in order to formulate an understanding of the group as well as what might have lead to its violent conclusion. Ultimately, the aim of this paper is to determine to what degree the apocalyptic paradigm influenced the Solar Temple as well as the consequences of thinking/acting apocalyptically.

The Knight’s Templar was an organization created in the light of the first crusades in 1096A.D and was established to protect Christian pilgrims making homage to the holy land. This group...