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Emmitsburg's Own End of the World Cult?

Michael Hillman

Since the inception of, we’ve steered clear of passing any judgment, or for that matter any mention of the claims of the receipt of private revelations from the Virgin Mary by Gianna Talone Sullivan.

The only article on the subject on is the position paper of the of the Archdiocesan theological commission that investigated the messages alleged to have been delivered to Gianna Talone-Sullivan by the Virgin Mary which concluded "that there is nothing supernatural going on and that, in fact, there are "negative elements" contained in some of the apocalyptic prophecies she has made public." (Click here to read the full position paper)

Don't ask me why, but on June 10th, I logged into a web site publicizing her 'messages' and what I read left me troubled.  Below is her latest message:

"Public Message of Our Lady of Emmitsburg To the world, through Gianna Talone Sullivan,

June 1, 2008

My dear little children, praised be Jesus!

Little ones, thank you for coming to pray. Know how much God loves you. He has given you tremendous gifts.

Children, for the last 20 years I have oftentimes spoken of "change." I have told you that there is no time for fear; there is only time for change. You must know by now that I have recently spoken of an arising of "two suns." When you see the two suns on the horizon, you must know that this is a time of change, a time of this new beginning about which I have spoken to you before. After you see the two suns, there is only a short time before you will see a tremendous change in weather. After this, as you know, there are more changes to come.

Children, God did not create only the Earth. God is the Creator of the cosmos, with its many galaxies, many orbits, different stars and different planets. God is the Creator! There are other planets like earth, far beyond your understanding.

I can tell you this: Even your governments and the Church authorities already have knowledge of the stars aligning and its implications upon you. You must not fear but must be prepared, primarily spiritually.

After awhile, you will see a time when there is another body in orbit around your solar system, coming between Earth and the Sun and leading to tremendous devastation. Approximately 60-70% of the world’s population, as you know it, will cease. Of those who survive, 60% of them could die of disease and starvation.

Prayer is the answer! Prayer can mitigate much of anything to come. Love and unity must be at the forefront, not survival of the fittest. But I can assure you that secretly those in governmental positions around the world and Church authorities all know. As your Mother and with you as children of God, it is my duty to forewarn you and to draw you to my Son for protection.

Look not too far before you will see two suns. Make my words known to all people: Life is important because God loves you. Those who are in control of the financial world think differently. But I your Mother know what true Life is!

So prepare, spiritually prepare. You will always be with my Son if you trust. God has a special plan, a new beginning! Look to Him; and do not fear, but love with all your heart.

I look to you, and I answer your prayers. Even if you are a sinner, and even if you were wrong, I come for your intercession. Now you must remove your "self" from your desires and look to help all people.

Peace to you (fading whisper)."

While each reader is free to draw their own conclusion on the nature of the message, I found myself reflecting upon some 'end of the world' cults that have made the news in the past few years.  But before we talk about them however lets do a quick reality check ...

The way I read the 'message' it is predicting the Earth is about to get smacked by an asteroid or a comet.  I think we can pretty much rule out an actually star entering into our solar systems for a few Billion years.  Just to be safe, I checked and there is no report of any 'lost' star due to impact us anytime soon.  Over the past 50 years Astronomers have done a pretty good job of plotting the movement of all the local stars.  And while our Galaxy is due to have a collision with another galaxy, that collision is due to happen 6 to 7 billion years from now ...

Now given that Mary is only predicting that approximately 60-70% of the population will cease, that means the 'object' will be less in size then the meteor that resulted in the extinction of the Dinosaurs 65 million years ago which wiped out just about everything bigger then a rat.  If it was an actual star, we would be toast period. So small is good!  [By the way, why can Mary only give Gianna an approximate number?  Can't she use her connections with God to give Gianna an exact number? What gives here?]

Now long before anyone can see a comet or asteroid with their own eyes, you can bet that NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking Program will have given the body a neat sounding name ... like Comet 'Flossie,' and knowing how government employees can't keep a secret, the news would be all over the Internet. 

Earth and all the other planets and moons of our Solar System have been continuously pelted by asteroids and comets ever since their formation -- just look at the Moon's craters through a small telescope or a good pair of binoculars.

NASA supports several ground-based programs and related technology development efforts that use sensitive electronic detectors to scan the skies for undiscovered NEOs.

Major examples of these programs include the above mentioned Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) system operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force on Mt. Haleakala, Maui, HI; the Spacewatch program run by the University of Arizona in Tucson at Kitt Peak, AZ; and the Lowell Observatory NEO Survey (LONEOS) program in Flagstaff, AZ.

NASA also funds a variety of ground-based research designed to characterize the composition, size, shape and other basic properties of asteroids and comets. These scientists use many of the world's most advanced telescopes and most powerful radars at sites ranging from the Keck facility atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii to the massive Arecibo radar in Puerto Rico, which was upgraded recently by NASA and the National Science Foundation in part for this task.

NASA's overall work in this area soon will be coordinated by a new NASA office, bringing a central focus to this diverse activity. NASA-supported researchers also have been asked to follow a new protocol for reporting potentially hazardous NEOs to the public, based on the principles of verification and consensus. Detailed orbital data should be shared with fellow researchers within 24 hours of receipt, with a subsequent effort to reach consensus on the object's long-term orbital path within 48 hours. NASA officials are beginning discussions with related researchers around the world to develop more comprehensive guidelines that can be applied on an international basis in the future.

The most dangerous asteroids, those capable of causing major regional or global disasters, are extremely rare. These bodies impact the Earth only once every 100,000 years on average. Comets in this category are thought to impact even less frequently, perhaps once every 500,000 years or so.

The risk from NEO impacts increases with the size of the projectile. The greatest risk is associated with objects larger than a half-mile to a mile (1-2 kilometers), which are large enough to perturb the Earth's climate on a global scale by injecting large quantities of dust into the stratosphere. Such an event could depress temperatures and the amount of surface sunlight around the globe, leading to loss of food crops and related problems. An ocean impact could trigger large ocean waves, or tsunamis.  (The scene of the tidale wave resulting from the meteor impact in the move Deep Impact gives you a good idea of what one might expect.)

For further information on this topic, visit the NASA Ames Research Center's Asteroid & Comet Impact home page or PBS's Savage Planet Website

It is entirely feasible that we could divert a large asteroid or comet that may collide with Earth from its orbit using existing technologies. The potential response depends on the lead time. If we can predict the event long in advance, by at least 10 to 100 years, then conventional rockets and explosives would probably be adequate, even for bodies as large as a half-mile. However, if we discover the object only a few years before impact, these technologies might not be adequate. Such a response would be coordinated in the United States by the departments of Defense and Energy, and likely would include international partners.

To learn more about 'Near Earth Objects' we suggest you type the phrase into any search engine ... contrary to latest 'message' from Mary, the amount of information available is quite extensive.  So before you run off and do something stupid based upon the 'message,' check with those who really know what they are talking about when it comes to Near Earth Objects ... or better yet go rent the Movie Armageddon and watch how Bruce Willis saves the earth!

If you're interested in what's really happening in the skies at night, we suggest you read Astronomer Wayne Wooten's monthly Astronomy column on

Now to the darker side of the supposed 'message.'  As I noted above, I found myself reflecting upon some 'end of the world' cults that have made the news in the past few years, and wondered if Emmitsburg was about to join the list. Cults such as:

The scene at Rancho Santa Fe, CA on April 7, 1997. 39 identically laid out bodies were found, in the United States' larges mass suicide to date.

  • Heaven's Gate's Cult - An American UFO religion based in San Diego, California which was led by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. The group's end coincided with the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. Applewhite convinced thirty-eight followers to commit suicide, which he claimed would allow their souls to board a spaceship that they believed was hiding behind the comet.

    Further, Heaven's Gate believed that the planet Earth was about to be recycled (wiped clean, refurbished and rejuvenated), and that the only chance to survive was to leave it immediately. While the group was formally against suicide, they defined "suicide" in their own context to mean "to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered, and believed that their "human" bodies were only vessels meant to help them on their journey.

Rescue workers and medical personnel attend to subway passengers in Tokyo
Rescue workers and medical personnel attend to subway passengers in Tokyo affected by a sarin gas attack, March 20, 1995. Aum Shinrikyo,

  • The Aum Shinri Kyo was a destructive, doomsday cult centered in Japan. Their name was a combination of Aum which is a sacred Hindu syllable, and Shinri Kyo which means "supreme truth. It appears to have been a syncretistic religion, founded in 1987, and combining elements of Buddhism with Christianity. It has been rejected as a legitimate Buddhist faith group by Buddhist leaders in Japan.

    Asahara is regarded as Christ by his followers. Using the book of Revelation from the Christian Scriptures, and the writings of a 16th Century Christian astrologer, Nostradamus, he has predicted major disasters to occur in the final years of this millennium. His group reached a peak membership of about 20,000 worldwide. Many of them were drawn to the group because of a promise that they would develop supernatural powers; others were attracted by the group's rejection of the corruption and materialism which they saw throughout modern Japan. Many arbitrary, strict rules of behavior were enforced on the membership. They were explained as being part of an ancient tradition. Supreme Truth emphasized a siege mentality: that outside groups, including the national governments, were intent on destroying their organization.

The vat containing Jones' deadly concoction sits amid the bodies of his followers on Nov. 20, 1978.

  • Jonestown was the informal name for the "Peoples Temple Agricultural Project," an intentional community in northwestern Guyana formed by the Peoples Temple, a cult from California led by Jim Jones. It became internationally notorious in November 1978 when 918 people died in the settlement as well as in a nearby airstrip and in Georgetown, Guyana's capital. The name of the settlement became a term for the incidents at those locations.

    The Peoples Temple was initially structured as an inter-racial mission for the sick, homeless and jobless. He assembled a large following of over 900 members in Indianapolis IN during the 1950's.

    Jim Jones preached a 'social gospel' of human freedom, equality, and love, which required helping the least and the lowliest of society's members. Later on, however, this gospel became explicitly socialistic, or communistic in Jones' own view, and the hypocrisy of white Christianity was ridiculed while 'apostolic socialism' was preached.

  • The House of Yahweh: A former kibbutz worker named Jacob -- now Yisrael -- Hawkins started the House of Yahweh, a group that prophesies that the end of the world will arrive very soon if the laws of Yahweh set down in the Bible are not universally obeyed, and the temple in Jerusalem not rebuilt to lie side by side with the Dome of the Rock Mosque. Hawkins has about 3,000 followers who believe he will announce the second coming of Jesus before being murdered by Satan.
  • Order of the Solar Temple: In October of 1994 an obscure cult with members in Canada, France and Switzerland committed itself to self-extermination. 53 members of the Solar Temple were found dead at two locations in Switzerland near Geneva. Almost all had been shot in the head (some as many as eight times) and others repeatedly stabbed. An elaborate system was designed by group members and set in place to subsequently burn their remains. 22 Bodies were found at one Swiss site and 25 at another. This included at least five children.  As authorities uncovered the charred remains of Solar Temple members in Switzerland, five more dead devotees of the cult were found in Canada 45 miles from Montreal. This included a Swiss man, his British wife and their 3-month-old son. All the dead were followers of Luc Joret, a 46-year-old self-styled guru and supposed homeopathic healer who lectured about "New Age" theories, nutrition and parenting. Joret, like many cult leaders, told his followers of a coming apocalypse. He explained this would occur through environmental disasters and only the elect would survive.

Vernon Howell, a recent convert, became leader of one faction of the Davidian movement and adopted the symbolic name David Koresh
  • The Branch Davidians is a sect that split away from the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Under their now deceased leader, David Koresh, it became a destructive, doomsday cult. Many of their members died during a standoff with federal authorities in Waco, TX. The Branch Davidians trace their origins to the Davidian movement, a splinter group of Seventh-Day Adventists founded by Adventist leader Victor Houteff in Los Angeles, California, in 1934. Houteff retained the traditional Adventist belief that the apocalypse (the end of the world) and the Second Coming of Christ were imminent and would be preceded by catastrophes and war. Houteff also taught that the kingdom of ancient Israelite monarch David—hence the term Davidian—would be reestablished in Palestine. After splitting from the Adventists, Houteff led his followers from Los Angeles to Waco, where they established the communal Mount Carmel Center. Houteff died in 1955, and the Branch Davidian movement itself eventually splintered.

    By 1993 accusations of various kinds of abuses were being leveled at the group by anticult activists, including some former members, and the United States Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) decided to search the complex for illegal weapons. The ATF raid of February 28, 1993, quickly became a firefight between federal agents and the Branch Davidians, who interpreted the attack as an episode in their end-of-the-world scenario. In the firefight, 4 ATF agents died and 16 were wounded, and a number of Branch Davidians were killed or injured, although it is not known for certain how many. A standoff between federal agents and the Branch Davidians ended on April 19, when agents pumped CS tear gas into the buildings in an attempt to force the occupants out. A fire then broke out. After the fire, 80 bodies were recovered from the compound, a few of which had gunshot wounds and were presumed to have died during the February 28 shootout rather than the fire.
  • Concerned Christians: This group, whose members were ordered
    deported from Israel, was started by Monte Kim Miller, who used to run an anti-cult network in Denver. People who know the cult say Miller believes he is the last prophet on Earth before Armageddon. Miller, who reportedly believed he talked to God each morning before he went to work, was said to claim that America was Satan and the government evil. Miller has predicted he will die on the streets of Jerusalem in December 1999 but will rise from the dead three days later.
  • The Church of the SubGenius announced that the end of the world would take place on Thursday, July 5, 2007. In preparation for the fulfillment of this doomsday prophecy, the Church requested that all of its members participate in a festival with rock concerts and blasphemous rituals taking place in upstate New York, during the final weekend before the arrival of the apocalypse.  Unfortunately for it's leader, July 5 came and went and we're still here ...

This is just a sampling of the search results of the phrase 'end of the world predictions' one finds on Google.

The web site 'THE CULTS 'R US HIT LIST' provides a detailed history of these and many other 'End of the World Cults' and is well worth visiting.

One final thought ...

Predictions of the end time have been in the psyche of humanity for many thousands of years. For Christians, end time predictions started to appear after the death and resurrection of Jesus and continue through the Book of Revelation. Since then, thousands of so-called prophets have predicted our ultimate demise based on "visions" interpretation of Sacred text and other methods based often on unbiblical notions.

In the early days of Christianity, the Resurrected Christ was predicted to return within a generation of his execution. This failed to happen in that predicted time. The Book of Revelation itself contains what many believe to be the road map for the end times and stories and what believers can expect with the Second Coming. It is this text that has puzzled believers, scholars and others for centuries.

In the Book of Matthew, Christ himself indicated that we will "not know the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come." That means Christ will come on his own terms, at a time when HE chooses and without warning. The words of Christ lie directly opposed to the claims of the apocalyptic cults over the centuries, and especially in our own time. If Christ said we will not know the hour of his coming, how can these cults claim they know when, where and how the end times will come? How many of these failed to come true?? All of them!! That is why we must be wary of any prediction of the end of time and work with what we know and prepare ourselves for the will of God.

Some scholars believe that the Book of Revelation is not about our future, but rather our past and the lessons we should learn from it. These scholars point to  the destruction of the Temple in 67 AD and the dispersion of the Jewish people by the Roman Empire as the backdrop of the book of Revelation, making it possible that the ancients viewed this period as the End Times and the stage upon which the Son of Man will come. But, since Christ did not return in these times further indicates that HIS time has yet to come.

The "message" offered to us by Gianna Talone Sullivan tends to follow the age old message of previous false prophecies. The message contains vague references to how we will be destroyed, how many of us might be destroyed and how we can prevent said destruction. In previous documented visions of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God passed along strong messages of God's love for his people and the urgent need for continued prayer and the wholehearted faith in Jesus Christ. It seems odd that her message to Ms. Sullivan has taken an apocalyptic turn. This new 'revelation" seems too vague and too much like previous predictions to be readily believable. If God sent Mary to warn us of impending doom, why was her message so vague? Why "two suns" and not a comet, or a nuclear blast, or even a new empire rising in the east that will bring war to God? We live in a time of scientific enlightenment where the study of the cosmos and the rise of technology has provided us tremendous understanding of the physical nature of our world and its surroundings. Why would Mary, speak to us in this vision as if we were ancient people who would only understand the most basic of scientific observations like a sunrise or an emerging empire? Why was she not more specific about casualties, disease and starvation if she wants us to pray and be saved?

If none of the above gets your attention, then maybe one final thought from Ted Daniels, director of the Millennium Watch Institute will ...

"People who expect the world as it is to end soon
 do a lot of very strange things."

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Other Articles on the 'Our Lady of Emmitsburg' Doomsday Cult

Note: Information on the various cults listed in this article was complied from various news websites. For more information on these cults, or cults in general,  we recommend you visit