Order of the Solar Temple: how were the followers of the sect manipulated and conscripted?

In October 1994, this reporter covered the “Massacres of the Order of the Solar Temple.” Back to an extraordinary case, to discover in the documentary series Solar Temple: the impossible investigation, on TMC, Friday June 17.

On October 5, 1994, a few hours apart, 53 people were killed in Switzerland and Canada. Journalist for theParis Match Swiss”, how do you learn that they are followers of a sect?

ARNAUD BEDAT: By the police, who first announce to us that the corpses are part of the “Temple du soleil” sect, confusion with the Tintin album I imagine. At the time, the general public knew nothing of the Order of the Solar Temple (OTS) and its 500 followers worldwide. In Switzerland, they are modestly placed in the category of “new religious movements”.

You begin to investigate the Canadian side…

Yes, I leave the next day for Quebec, where the Solar Temple is much better known than at home. I found a propaganda video from the 80s, filmed in their community. We see sores there before their time, discussing organic agriculture and cosmic revelations… The problem is that these gentle madmen have been manipulated by the deadly madness of their gurus.

You have studied the writings and lectures of Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro, the two leaders of the OTS. How did they enlist followers?

Jouret was the showcase. Handsome, charismatic, homeopath by training, he gives “new age” lectures everywhere, including on cable channels in Canada. Di Mambro is the barker, the somewhat vulgar guy from the south who will identify the “good customers” (in other words, people with money and a fragility) and who thrills them. It is he who makes the OTS a cash machine.

Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro dragged with them into death 61 followers persuaded to transit to Sirius (sic), and 11 children. What precipitates the end of the OTS?

First, in the early 90s, some followers began to demand accountability. Too much money given to the order fed Di Mambro’s ostentatious lifestyle. Then, one of the pillars of the sect, responsible for the special effects during the ceremonies, leaves the order. The deception is in danger of bursting and showing that Jouret like Di Mambro have no magic power… They therefore organize this collective pseudo-suicide where they will in fact kill the traitors. We found a recording of Di Mambro where he announces that he wants to do even more spectacular than in Waco*…

A time suspected of being the number 3 of the OTS, Michel Tabachnik, conductor, was released in 2006. What is your conviction today?

I don’t think he knew that massacres were being prepared. I even think that he only had his life because he was in concert at the time of the massacres of October 5, 1994.

*82 followers of an American cult were killed after the FBI attack in 1993.

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