A UFO-oriented religious cult that began in Taiwan, migrated briefly to California and then took up residence in Garland, Texas last year, has now announced that the lakeside industrial city of Gary, Indiana will be the place from which they will leave this world when God sends flying saucers to save them from the Great Tribulation.
Lake Street Beach in Gary, on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, was the scene of reverent ceremonies on Friday, January 9, as the small Taiwanese cult anointed the city as their new headquarters.
"After the Great Tribulation happens in 1999, God's flying saucer will carry off the survivors that come here," said the group's religious leader, Hon-Ming Chen, speaking through interpreter and follower Richard Liu.
Chen said he and 20 other adult cult members, along with 11 children, had "just followed God's instruction" when they piled into several cars and drove two days from Garland, Texas to Gary for the ceremony.
In Garland and elsewhere, some worried onlookers have compared Chen's cult to the ill-fated Heaven's Gate cult led by Marshall Applewhite, whose members committed suicide near San Diego in March, 1997, in the belief that a UFO accompanying Comet Hale-Bopp would receive their souls and transport them to "the level above human."
Rumors have surfaced that the Taiwanese cult, which claims to have 150 members, could commit suicide as soon as March 31, 1998. That's when they believe God will come to Earth in an exact replica of Chen in order to instruct humanity by means of television on the coming tribulations.
But in case that doesn't happen, Chen says, he and his followers have no plans to commit suicide.
"God tells us that suicide is never to be allowed, never permitted," Chen told reporters recently.
Chen preaches that a nuclear war in 1999 will trigger the Great Tribulation. Those who survive the initial conflict will be rescued by God's flying saucers. There will be other take-off zones like Gary, but the Lake Street Beach site will be the headquarters, Chen says.
"Regardless of any kind of religious sect, any believers in God, any life form in the American continent can survive the Great Tribulation," Chen said. "All those who believe in God and are willing to receive God's salvation can be saved by God."
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Original file name: CNI - Taiwan UFO Cult
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