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Doomsday cult or New Age religion?

Murder. Suicide. Assassination. Sex. Money laundering. International investigations. These elements comprise the perfect storyline for any big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. But the story of the Order of the Solar Temple is no movie. It's real life. And for 74 people who died in Quebec, Switzerland and France between 1994 and 1997, the consequences of their membership in the cult were fatal.

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What drew so many people to join the Order of the Solar Temple? Why does the cult have such a hypnotic hold on its members? Bertrand Ouellet, Director of the Centre for Information on New Religions in Quebec, tries to shed some light on the cult and its leaders in this clip. He explains that the Order of the Solar Temple is not a doomsday cult or bible-related sect waiting for the end of the world.

Instead, he explains, the group is expecting "the great transformation of the world." He also refutes the stereotype that its members are uneducated, simple-minded and easily manipulated.
• Before forming the Solar Temple, Luc Jouret traveled the world giving motivational lectures on self-realization to companies and executives. One of his clients was Hydro-Quebec.

• He told members he had a "spiritual awakening" in the Philippines during his travels, discovering his "true spiritual mission".

• Luc Jouret owned the chalets in Morin Heights and Granges-Sur-Salvan that burned down to the ground.
Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Broadcast Date: Oct. 6, 1994
Guest(s): Bertrand Ouellet
Host: Kevin Newman
Reporter: Tina Srebotnjak
Duration: 5:52

Last updated: November 6, 2014

Page consulted on November 6, 2014

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