- Elizabeth Clare Prophet
Elizabeth Clare Prophet (born
April 8, 1939) is an American who became the leader of the new religious movement The Summit Lighthouse, an organization encompassing the branches of Church Universal and Triumphant, Summit University, Summit University Press, and Montessori International, after her husband, Mark L. Prophet, died on February 26, 1973.
The Prophets published more than 75 books on the Teachings of the Ascended Masters, including "Climb the Highest Mountain" (their magnum opus) "Kabbalah: Key to Your Inner Power", "The Masters and Their Retreats", "Lost Years of Jesus", among others. She has lectured widely throughout the United States and in 28 countries, speaking in more than 150 cities on six continents.
In addition to publishing a newsweekly letter entitled "Pearls of Wisdom" and lecturing regularly for 35 years (1964-1999), Prophet has talked about her life, work and teachings on numerous radio and TV programs. In 1977, she was featured on "The Man Who Would Not Die"," a program about the
Count of St Germainproduced by Alan Landsburgand narrated by Leonard Nimoyas part of Nimoy's "In Search of..." series which was broadcast on NBCin the United States.
Prophet had a talk radio program entitled "Inner Perspectives" that aired for several months on
KIEV (870 AM)radio in Los Angelesin 1977. Her public-access cable series were available in 12 million homes during the 1980s. She has appeared on " Larry King Live", "The Morton Downey Jr. Show", "Sonya Live", " CNN & Company", "Donahue" and "Nightline", and was featured on NBC's "Ancient Prophecies".
Prophet suffered from lifelong absence seizures, a form of epilepsy, which worsened to include tonic-clonic seizures in 1988. She was diagnosed with
Alzheimer's diseasein 1999. The leadership of her church subsequently passed to a board of directors.
Prophet was born Elizabeth Clare Wulf in
Red Bank, New Jerseyto Hans and Fridy Wulf. She spent her junior year studying French in Switzerland, and graduated from Red Bank High School second in her class. She attended Antioch Collegein Ohio later transferring to Boston University, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in political science.
Her spiritual quest sprang from what she recounted as a childhood recollection of a past life as well as precocious curiosity about religion. At age five, she demanded that her non-religious parents find her a church. After visits to the Catholic church, the Jewish synagogue and every Protestant church in Red Bank, she attended Methodist Sunday School before finally settling on
Christian Scienceat age 9, attracted in part by its emphasis on healing and her desire to overcome her epilepsy. She became the most serious student in her Sunday School, and developed the ambition of becoming a Practitioner.
In 1960, while volunteering as a Sunday school teacher in the Christian Science Church in Boston, she met and married Dag Ytreberg; the marriage lasted about three years. During this time she took advanced classes in Christian science and began receiving phone calls from people who wanted her to pray for them. However, she also became interested in the "I AM" religious activity of the Saint Germain foundation, which claimed that advanced spiritual beings known as Ascended Masters could speak through human beings called "messengers." She began attending meetings with a group that was interested in ascended Masters, although unaffiliated with the "I AM" religious activity.
April 22, 1961, her group invited Mark Prophet, who claimed to be a messenger for the ascended Masters, to speak in Boston. She attended this meeting at which Mark gave a "dictation," or message, from Archangel Michael; afterwards, she asked Mark to train her to be a messenger. Mark and Elizabeth were married in 1963, had four children, and together built The Summit Lighthouse, an organization that Mark had founded in Washington, D.C., in 1958. By 1964, Elizabeth had been trained to be a messenger too.
In 1965, the fledgling organization relocated to
Fairfax, Virginia, and in 1966 to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 1970, the Prophets founded Montessori International, a school based on the principles of the acclaimed educator Dr.
Maria Montessori. The name "Montessori International" was used by the Prophets for their church/community school, which at various times offered classes for students ranging from preschool age to high school. Although their preschool teachers were trained at official Montessori organizations such as the Association Montessori Internationaleand the Pan-American Montessori Society, they were not officially associated with the Montessori umbrella organizations. And, in the elementary and high school levels, teachers were not Montessori certified.
Also in 1970, Mark and Elizabeth mounted a pilgrimage to India with several dozen church members. They toured the country and met with
Indira Gandhias well as the Dalai Lama.
In July 1972, the Prophets travelled to
Ghanato meet with and address the large CUT congregation there (several thousand), which was led by Herbert Krakue. In September-October 1972, the Prophets again conducted a pilgrimage, this time to holy sites in the Middle East.
In 1972, the first volume of "Climb the Highest Mountain" was published, a projected five-volume work, which the Prophets intended to become their central scripture.
February 26, 1973, Mark Prophet died of a massive stroke. Elizabeth quickly assumed leadership of their organization, which then began its first foray into survivalism, based on instructions she said Mark gave her the night before he died. She organized survival training on a convert|240|acre|km2|sing=on property outside of Colorado Springs, which they had purchased with the intention of using for a headquarters. During the summer of 1973, the organization also entered into a partnership with a member who owned a property near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and attempted to establish a community there.
Ministry and expansion
Shortly after her husband's death, Prophet married Randall King, a staff member. This marriage lasted seven years. King later sued Prophet for $16 million, alleging involuntary servitude, among other causes of action. After several of the causes of action were dismissed, the church eventually settled with King out of court for less than $100,000.
In 1974, the headquarters of the Church was moved to
Santa Barbara, California, where Elizabeth Prophet founded Summit University, a 12 week program of instruction in her teachings. Regular enrollment ranged from 50-125 students per quarter. In 1975, she founded Summit University Press. The Prophets' books are now translated into 23 languages and have been distributed in more than 33 countries.
May 1, 1975, Prophet established Church Universal and Triumphantas the religious arm of the organization. The first use of this name appears to have been in the Manual of the Mother Churchof the Christian Sciencechurch, written by Mary Baker Eddy. In the 1895 edition of the manual, Eddy used the terms "universal" and "triumphant" in referring to the church she had founded, and in the 1903 edition, explicitly referred to her organization as the Church Universal and Triumphant.
Traditionally, the Christian Church on earth has been described as the
Church Militant, while the church of the saints in heaven is the Church Triumphant. Prophet taught that during the Aquarian Age, it was intended that the church on earth and the church in heaven should be united. She believed her church to be the rightful successor to the Catholic Church, even using the title " Vicar of Christ" for the highest spiritual office in the church. (She was the first holder of that office; the church articles and bylaws define processes for future appointments to the office).
After the church's formal establishment, the organization began to adopt additional religious and ceremonial practices, including robes and large altars in its chapels. The church eventually became the umbrella organization for Prophet's work, with The Summit Lighthouse becoming the publishing arm of the church, although their roles were later reversed.
In the summer of 1976, church headquarters were again relocated to the campus of Pasadena College, in Pasadena. Summit University, Montessori International, and quarterly church conferences were held there. About 300 staff members were then in residence.
In September 1976 and again in January 1978, Elizabeth returned to Africa, on the second visit being met by cheering crowds at the airport. She conducted a conference at the Kwame Nkrumah conference center in Accra which was attended by thousands. She also met with the heads of state of Ghana (
Ignatius Kutu Acheampong) and Liberia ( William Richard Tolbert, Jr.).
In 1977, the church purchased a former Claretian seminary in Calabasas, a convert|218|acre|km2|sing=on campus near Los Angeles, and moved its operations there in 1978. Elizabeth called the property "Camelot". Due to opposition from various governmental agencies, including the California Coastal Commission, the church was never able to fulfill its vision of building its large-scale headquarters there. The church sold the property in 1986 to
Soka Universitywho had similar land-use difficulties and eventually sold the property to the government.
In October 1981, Prophet married Edward Francis, who was at that time a vice-president of the church. Their marriage lasted 16 years, and they had a son in 1994.
Also in 1981, the church purchased the convert|12000|acre|km2|sing=on Forbes Ranch, just outside of
Yellowstone Park, near Gardiner, Montana.
Final years in the ministry
In 1986, Prophet relocated her headquarters and 750 staff to the Forbes Ranch, which she had renamed the Royal Teton Ranch. It was this mountain setting that was the backdrop for her more dire prophecies and the building of bomb shelters to survive a possible nuclear war. These predictions and her followers' response earned her worldwide notoriety during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Beginning in 1986 as she was leaving Los Angeles, Prophet began predicting a possible first-strike nuclear attack by the
Soviet Union, and urged followers to prepare for this possibility by building fallout shelters and storing food and other necessities for survival. These activities generated substantial media attention. Many members made great sacrifices to fulfill these requests, quitting jobs, selling homes, and borrowing heavily to meet the timelines. Her most specific predictions concerned March and April 1990, during which thousands of additional church members arrived in Montana.
In 1999, deteriorating health led Prophet to retire from the church. In 2000, she entered full-time nursing care for
Alzheimer's diseasein Bozeman, Montana. As of 2008, her health is in decline. [cite web |url=http://www.ecprophet.info/HU123107.html
title=Elizabeth Clare Prophet - Life's Next Stage
Prophet's doctrine combines both Eastern and Western religious teachings, taking as gospel much of H. P.
Blavatsky's nineteenth century teachings on Theosophybut adding a 1970's new-agebent. It could be described as "new-age Christianity", since it combines expansive new-age doctrines such as karma and reincarnation with a Gnostic interpretation of Christianity. It also included strict — some would say fundamentalist — moral codes. Much of Prophets doctrine, including a very similar "Chart of the I AM Presence," are found in the "I AM" Activity, founded by Guy Ballardwith his wife Edna in the 1930s. Prophets sanctuaries included "portraits" of Ascended Masters painted by Charles Sindelar, an "I AM" artist.
She has lectured extensively on
Buddhism, Christian mysticism, Confucianism, Islam, gnosticism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Kabbalah(mystical Judaism) and Taoism.
The I AM Presence
Some of her favorite topics are soul evolution, angels, twin flames and soul mates, prophecy, spiritual psychology, karma and reincarnation, and techniques to balance karma. A key theme is "the ascension" which is described as the soul's final reunion with God. This is said to occur after many lifetimes, upon balancing 51% or more of the negative karma the soul has created during its evolution. Prophet has stressed the importance of knowing of self as the "I AM Presence" which she also referred to as the higher self, the part of one's soul which remains with God, and can be relied upon for guidance. Prophet also advanced many theories of causes for the world's difficulties, with her suggestions for what she saw as constructive steps for the individual and society.
Prophet taught that the Ascended Masters are invisible spiritual beings whom she believed once lived as humans. Three of the most prominent Masters were claimed to be El Morya (spiritual founder of her organization), Saint Germain, and
Jesus Christ. She taught that Saint Germain was to the " Age of Aquarius" what Jesus Christ was to the "Age of Pisces". A central theme of her exposition of Saint Germain's teaching (as well as the Ballards') was that human negativity could be transmuted with "the violet flame".
The violet flame was said to be a ray of cosmic light which could be invoked through the activity Prophet referred to as the "Science of the Spoken Word" (see below). Through the "Science of the Spoken Word", as well as good works and self-sacrifice, Prophet believed that any soul could ascend to heaven just as Jesus and the other masters did. She believed it was every person's destiny (or at least potential) to do so. Some of the categories of ascended masters Prophet and her late husband claimed to have communicated with were: Elohim, Archangels, Chohans, and the Holy Kumaras, of which there were seven each ( [http://www.tsl.org/AscendedMasters] ).
Other Masters included the Hindu pantheon: (
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, Durga, Lakshmi, Krishna), the Virgin Mary, Gautama Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, and Alpha and Omega, to name a few. Prophet's detractors ridiculed some of the names of the Ascended Masters, many of which were taken straight from the I AM Activity, such as "K-17" (head of the Cosmic Secret Service) and Ray-O-Light. Critics also had difficulty with the fact that when Mark Prophet died, he too was believed by Elizabeth and her followers to have become an Ascended Master, whom she called Lanello (a contraction of the names of two people he claimed to have been in his former lives, Lancelot, of " Camelot" fame, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.)
The Science of the Spoken Word
Mark and Elizabeth Prophet built on a system of spoken prayers called "decrees," which originated in the I AM Religious Activity. They called their system, "the Science of the Spoken Word." The practice entailed the repetition of prayers, generally in English, in unison, at full voice, and often rapidly, while "visualizing" a specific outcome along with spiritual energy in various colors. This was the most important spiritual practice of the organization. The reason that this was their most important practice is the belief that violet flame burns away one's negative karma or density from this as well as past lives. One innovation that the Prophets brought to decrees was the introduction of rhythmic, rhyming decrees. One of the first rhyming decrees "taken" by Mark Prophet as a dictation was "Heart, Head and Hand Decrees", the first section of which reads as follows: "Violet fire, thou love divine / Blaze within this heart of mine! / Thou art mercy forever true / Keep me always in tune with you."
Members would gather at quarterly conferences and weekly services to give decrees, for hours at a time, and were encouraged to give decrees individually on a daily basis. The most important weekly service was the four-hour Saturday evening service (the "Saint Germain service"). Decree sessions at quarterly conferences might last all day, although members would often not attend for more than an hour or two. Decrees were focused on personal needs, as well as world issues, such as political, social and environmental problems.
Elizabeth and Mark Prophet were renowned among their followers for their prolific work, which included more than 3,000 "dictations" from Ascended Masters. Dictations ranged from the mystical to the practical, often quoting the Bible or other scriptures, and tended to cluster around several common themes: to the followers, flattery, encouragement, tough love as well as words meant to heal emotional and physical problems, transcendence, along with hope in an afterlife following the ascension, and warning of further suffering if the ascension were not obtained. To the world in general, dictations offered righteous anger at human "wickedness," warning of impending karma, encouragement and pleading to follow the messengers and their organization. They took an almost invariably superior but supportive tone toward the audience. These messages could last over an hour, while some were as short as ten minutes or less. The personalities of the "Masters" varied widely. Some dictations, usually by "feminine" Masters, were soft and gentle. While others from the "masculine" ones - especially the often severe El Morya - were strong and forceful. There were dictations to mark special occasions, such as the yearly messages said to be from Jesus Christ on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gautama Buddha also was claimed to speak through Prophet each New Year's Eve, to give the spiritual "thoughtform" for the new year. During the conferences and seminars, the messengers usually gave a dozen or more of these messages.
These dictations were published every week as "Pearls of Wisdom". Many of the early books published by The Summit Lighthouse were merely compilations of "Pearls of Wisdom". Later works were written by Prophet with assistance from her editorial and research staff and were intended for wider distribution. Some did not attempt to be scholarly, others were extensively annotated. The latter included "The Lost Years of Jesus," "Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity," "Kabbalah: Key to Your Inner Power," and "Fallen Angels and the Origins of Evil."
"And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many." (Mark 5:9)" Quoted in the heading for Elizabeth Clare Prophet's "7.11E Entity Decree".
One major and controversial feature of Ms. Prophet's teaching was a complex theology regarding "entities", or
spirits. (A summary of this is found in her book "The Path to Immortality," ch. 4, "Entities".) These could be either "discarnate entities" which consisted of one or more of the Subtle bodies of individuals who were once embodied on earth, or "mass entities", which Prophet defined as "forcefields of humanly misqualified energy. They are the thought and feeling creations of unascended man--the accumulation of mankind's momentums of hatred, violence, greed, envy, grief, lust, gossip and the like" (ibid., p.308).
Prophet proposed that entities were an important factor in addictions and that they also influenced individuals to engage in what she considered to be harmful or destructive behavior such as anger, swearing, use of alcohol or other drugs and sexuality. She also felt they were instrumental in violence, insanity, and suicide. She claimed the discarnates were parasitic beings who lived on the "light" energy released when humans engage in such practices. Prophet published lists of entity names to be read aloud during decree services, asking for God to "Seize, pin, and bind" such entities. (E.C. Prophet "Prayers, Meditations, Dynamic Decrees..." 1984) One example was known as the "7.11 Entity Decree". It had several parts: The main decree, 7.11E which was the list of names, and the 7.11S "Suicide Entity Decree".
Prophet held entities responsible for expressions of anger, "Infurio," as well as the composition and performance of jazz, "Jazzor," and rock music, "Roccoco," among other evils. She chose archetypal entity names like "Satus," "Matus," "Melancholia," "Simpatica," and "Vanitas" as a way of giving a universal/spiritual dimension to individual human emotions or tendencies. This list also included the entities of homosexuality "Sodoma") and lesbianism ("Sappho"). Erotic dreams were also seen as a manifestation of the entities "Incubus" and "Succubus." Many in the community were celibate and more susceptible to such dreams. Many felt guilty and wrote confession letters about the dreams to Prophet, focusing on their inability to shake their "entity possession."
Other examples of entities Prophet listed in the 7.11E decree are: the sex entity "Sensua," suicide entity "Annihla," sleep entity "Dorme," masturbation entity, "Masturba," tobacco entity "Nicola," gossip entities "Harpia" and "Carpia," heroin entity "Heroica," gambling entity "Luciana," and weeping entity "Weepa."
Prophet's primary technique for
exorcismof entities was invocations to the Archangel Michael and to the Elohimknown as Astrea. Prophet also drew on teachings by Helena Blavatsky that the use of a stainless steel blade could be useful in exorcisms (" Isis Unveiled," vol. 1, pp. 362-63). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Prophet was known to spend four to six hours at a time on the altar of her church at the Royal Teton Ranch, swinging a sword with a four-foot blade in her battles with the "discarnate entities." The sessions took place with hundreds of people chanting at top speed and volume for the duration. These battles went on at such length that Prophet often became physically tired. A special "honor guard" of the strongest men in the community would then take their turns on the altar swinging the sword. The organization also sold short scimitar-style swords with Archangel Michael's name engraved on them, which members could use privately for the same purpose.
Prophet was largely a populist, distrusting elites of all stripes. But she felt that the world's elites were supported by even larger, more sinister extraterrestrial forces. (Summarized from "Whitsel", Chap. 4 "The Road to Armageddon")
One feature of the Prophets' belief system was
UFOs. However, Prophet did not see them as a benign presence (as did many new-agers) but generally having malevolent intent. Prophet has invited ufologists such as Stanton Friedmanand Budd Hopkinsto speak at church conferences, where they spoke of research on UFO abductees. Mark Prophet's 1965 book "The Soulless One: Cloning a Counterfeit Creation" described in very general terms the genetic manipulation of life on earth by evolutions from other planets who had journeyed here.
When ancient-astronaut theorist
Zechariah Sitchinpublished his book "The Twelfth Planet" in the late 1970s, Prophet saw similarities between his findings and what Prophet had written fifteen years earlier, and she incorporated some of Sitchin's conclusions into her theories on the origins of evil on earth. (However, she rejected Sitchin's theory of an extraterrestrial origin for all of humanity.) Some of Prophet's theories are published in her book "Fallen Angels and the Origins of Evil" and in "Paths of Light and Darkness", the sixth book in her "Climb the Highest Mountain" series.
International Capitalist Communist Conspiracy
Prophet was convinced that the "power elites" of the world "managed" both sides of the great political conflicts of the 20th century. She dubbed this cooperation the "International Capitalist Communist Conspiracy". She held that Wall Street financiers such as Rockefeller, Morgan and others had knowingly assisted the
Bolshevik revolution, and even the Nazisas part of their grand plan.
Prophet based much of this theory on the work of Dr.
Antony Sutton, and his description of a one-world "order". But it was more than a simple political theory. Her view was that the power elites were actually embodied " Nephilim" from "The Twelfth Planet", and were attempting to realize the "State as God", as a way of keeping the common people totally subservient, and thus unable to pursue a spiritual path.
Mark Prophet had earlier sown the seeds for Elizabeth's embrace of this philosophy, having invited retired Army colonel
Archibald Robertsto speak to the group in 1973. Roberts had written several books about "the decline of American sovereignty and the international elite's plan to construct a one-world corporate state". Since Prophet believed America to be a divinely inspired nation, and had become disillusioned with the United Nations(where as a young woman she had once held a clerical position), she vigorously opposed any such plan.
Prophet believed the
AIDSvirus to represent a "genetic threat" to the continued spiritual evolution of the Lightbearers. She claimed "the scientific establishment" had a "vested interest in the further spread of the disease". This was largely on the word of an invited panel consisting of Dr. Alan Cantwell, Dr. Robert Strecker, and Jon Rappoportwho spoke at a church conference in 1988. The panel seemed to bolster Prophet's belief that the internationalists would stop at nothing, including the creation of an epidemic plague such as AIDS, to further their diabolical agenda.
The organization was the target of attacks by anti-cult groups in the 1980s and 1990s. The designation also has been used to describe the organization in numerous newspaper articles during that time. Some issues that have caused concern and media scrutiny of the organization are listed below.
Battle of light and darkness
In her ministry, Prophet focused on the "light" and "the ascension", which also involved battling incessantly against "dark forces". These included
UFOs, extraterrestrials, soulless ones, Nephilim, fallen angels, the "international capitalist-communist conspiracy", rock musicians, the power elite, and others who were seen as instruments of the forces of darkness. Regular updates in the form of prayer inserts were passed out to church congregations all over the world (often through a "telephone tree" or e-mail network), in which issues for prayer work were listed. Some of these included lists of names of individuals concerned.
These could be read aloud, and prayers made for these individuals to be cut free from negative forces and for God to judge the momentums of evil that may be work through them. On
December 30, 1975, Prophet (speaking as Archangel Michael) pronounced judgement on then secretary of state Henry Kissingerfor what she described as his betrayal of America and its people in his unprincipled conduct of foreign policy.
Code of conduct
Prophet published a strict "code-of-conduct" for staff and students resident in the community, similar to that of a monastic religious order. There were dietary recommendations, which included not eating pork and avoiding highly processed foods. Desserts or sweets made with refined sugar, and especially chocolate, were strongly discouraged. Alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs were prohibited. The colors red, black, orange, chartreuse, and fuchsia were generally not permitted in clothing, as they tended to amplify lower energies, and tight or revealing clothing were not allowed. Rock music was not allowed. Celibacy was required for those who were unmarried; and married persons were asked to limit sexual activity to twice a week. Oral sex was considered to be a misuse of spiritual energy, since it involved a juxtaposition of the upper
chakraswith the lower chakras and thus tended to cause a lowering of the kundalinirather than raising of it (which was one goal of the spiritual path).
Members of the "inner circle" were privy to Prophet's personal foibles, which she generally did not share with followers. Instead, she projected an air of infallibility to her flock. They were told that in spite of her personal shortcomings, the ascended masters did sponsor her as their representative. In 1977, a dictation announced that she held the mantle of
Guru. In 1980, it was announced that she had balanced 100% of her karma and had fulfilled the requirements for the ascension, but she had volunteered to remain in embodiment following the ideal of the bodhisattva("Pearls of Wisdom": vol. 23 #46, Summit University Press).
Prophet was known for her temper. She was also criticized for making exceptions for herself and her family regarding the rules in the community. There was something of a disparity between the lifestyle of the Prophet family and the staff. In the 1980s and 1990s, accommodation was limited at the church's Montana ranch, due to the church's plans to build additional housing being blocked by the state government. Consequently, many single staff were housed in tight quarters in trailers or dormitories, and married couples often lived in small single rooms in inexpensive modular housing units. Some of these units and other equipment had been bought by CUT from the former
Rajneeshpuramin Oregon, others from mining companies in Montana. In the meantime, Prophet and her family lived in a comfortable double-wide trailer on the ranch.
In court transcripts, under cross examination, ("CUT v. Mull", 3:492-499) Prophet revealed that she shared information from confession letters and kept those letters in members' personal files. Staff were also encouraged to inform on each other if there were any infractions of the code-of-conduct or questioning of the faith or Prophet's leadership. This took place either via communication with department heads or directly with the Office of Ministry. When members were dismissed from the community, they were shunned by their peers and often dispatched with a few days' food money and/or a bus ticket.
In 1973-74, Randall King, a member of the board of the organization and then-husband of Prophet, used church funds to speculate in the silver futures market. His trading resulted in losses of $697,000 in church funds, and a lawsuit was filed against the church by the Clayton Commodities brokerage. Because there was some doubt as to whether the church board of directors had authorized King's use of its funds, the IRS began an investigation and threatened to revoke the organization's tax-exempt status. King was removed from the board. The church received a reprimand from the IRS but did not lose its status.
Church critics have attempted to link these events with the establishment of Church Universal and Triumphant. However the establishment of CUT as a separate entity from The Summit Lighthouse had already been planned before the commodities trading problem arose. The name "Church Universal and Triumphant" was used in dictations on July 29 and
December 31, 1973. On February 10, 1974, a dictation was delivered specifically directing that the church be established as a separate arm of the organization, with "written bylaws for the government of the church".
Gregory Mull lawsuit
In 1986, CUT and Mrs. Prophet were put on trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court, regarding a lawsuit that was filed several years earlier by architect and former employee Gregory Mull. His complaint alleged many things, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, involuntary servitude, and
quantum meruit, alleging that he had not been paid for his services, an amount he claimed was $32,598.
Mull was upset because of what he felt was unfair treatment, and efforts by Prophet to recategorize monies he had understood to be compensation into loans that he was obligated to repay. The church, on the other hand, claimed that these funds were a loan to Mull to cover his living expenses, and that there had been an agreement by Mr. Mull they would be repaid when Mull sold real estate in San Francisco and moved to Los Angeles. Mull had signed a promissory note for the amount of the loan, and in a recording of a private conversation between Mull and Prophet that was played at the trial, Mull spoke of the money as a loan.
The legal action began when Mull refused to repay the loan, and the church sued to recover the funds. Mull countersued, and the lawsuit essentially turned into a trial of the group and its practices. Mull's case rested on the claim of "undue influence," that he'd been a member of the church for ten years, during which time they had access to his highly-skilled professional labor. After he left, and during the course of his lawsuit, he began to suffer health problems which included multiple sclerosis. Three months after the verdict, Gregory Mull died. According to his [http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_articles/levy_lawrence_prosecuting_exmember_suit.htm attorney] , "Only the will to strike a blow on behalf of other cult victims, as he put it, held him together through the ordeal."
Mull's attorney exposed some of the unsavory manipulations used by Mrs. Prophet and church leaders on members, including threatening spiritual sanctions, as well as labeling them "fallen ones," and in Mull's case "the beast of blasphemy." Church members were also called to the witness stand and asked to demonstrate examples of their religious practices in the courtroom, which made a big impression on the jury. Mull's complaint had asked for $253 million. After a lengthy trial, he was awarded $1.5 million, $500,000 of which was punitive damages against Prophet herself. Clearly, the jury believed there was legitimate harm, and the $500,000 punitive verdict against Mrs. Prophet was the most damning evidence of that. However, it does not appear that they believed the most extreme claims of Mull or his attorney Lawrence Levy, or they would have awarded higher damages which would have bankrupted the organization. (Source: Los Angeles Times 4/3/1986, p.1) Prophet unsuccessfully appealed this verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately denied the
writ of certiorarineeded for them to hear the case.
Following the trial, the organization moved its headquarters to the Royal Teton Ranch in Montana. Prophet began to become more apocalyptic in her dictations. The masters began to speak through Prophet of the potential for social, economic and military disaster. They also began to talk of the possibility of cataclysmic "earth changes".
By 1987, Prophet's prophecies began to drift toward the potential for nuclear war. She began to refer to the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse". Specifically, she warned that the Soviet Union would mount a first-strike nuclear attack, and it was the duty of the "light bearers" to survive this onslaught to be able to survive physically and preserve the ascended masters' teachings if this should come to pass.
She encouraged followers to build fallout shelters either in Montana or close to where they lived and to store food and other essentials. The Church itself built what is probably the largest privately owned bomb shelter in the U.S. Designed for 756 people, with food storage for seven years, the facility had generators, communications equipment, air-filtration equipment, and room to store equipment needed for long-term survival given many possible scenarios. This was built at an estimated cost of $20 million. (The funds came largely from the sale of the Church's former campus in Calabasas, near Los Angeles.)
Rumors of gun purchases dogged Prophet's Church for 30 years. Some church members acting on their own accord had purchased a large cache of weapons and ammunition in 1973-1974 during the first survival phase in Colorado and Idaho. The existence of these guns was widely reported in the media, and even discussed and denied by Church leaders during their appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1989.
That same year, to protect the shelters, Prophet's then-husband, Edward Francis, and staff member Vernon Hamilton purchased more high-powered semi-automatic weapons in Washington state under a false name. The guns were legal, but in trying to protect the Church's image by hiding their identities, they opened themselves up to criminal prosecution. Hamilton spent 10 days in jail, and Francis spent a month in jail and several months under house arrest. Even as late as 1999, a U.S. House of Representatives report mentioned the incident, citing CUT as an example of a "Doomsday Religious Cult" ( [http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/Documents/20040830103758-73537.pdf] ).
As a result of media reports regarding this and other church activities, the IRS began another investigation of the church and threatened to revoke the Church's tax exempt status. As a result of negotiations with the IRS, the church made a number of changes to its operations. The IRS levied income taxes for several previous years but allowed the organization to keep its tax-exempt status.
The shelters needed a fuel source, and in the winter of 1989, the church buried dozens of 20,000 gallon fuel tanks nearby. Several of the tanks proved to have faulty welds, and they began to leak. In the end, 21,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 11,500 gallons of gasoline spilled, prompting a massive and costly cleanup along with an equally massive assault of bad press and state and federal litigation (see [http://www.lib.montana.edu/epubs/newspapers/first.php?Subj=323&start_date=1/1/89&end_date=1/1/91&field=subje&paper=1¤t=100&max_display=120&srchtrm=Church+Universal+and+Triumphant&max_date=02/28/2005] ).
Most of the fuel was eventually recovered and removed from the site. The shelters were reengineered to use alternative fuel sources.
Following prophecies for the potential of nuclear war in the late 1980s, hundreds of followers all around the world traveled to Montana, many leaving their jobs and selling their properties in order to build shelters and prepare for the possibility of nuclear war. After spending a couple of grueling nights inside the shelters praying in March and April 1990, with the war having failed to occur, Prophet declared a reprieve.
This period coincided with what turned out to be the beginnings of the collapse of the former Soviet Union. On
June 30 1990, Prophet came out saying (in a dictation said to be from Mother Mary entitled "You have Won the Prize! Now Pass Your Tests!") essentially that "thanks to your prayers (decrees) the war was prevented".
In the spring of 1989, Prophet had another problem. Many foreigners had come to work at the church's headquarters in the years up to the shelter emergency. They did not want to leave, but their visas were expiring. In a turnabout of the former somewhat monastic community norms, she encouraged people to actively look for potential marriage partners. The Livingston Enterprise ran an article titled "Corwin Springs a Popular Spot for Spring Weddings" after the Park County clerk was overwhelmed with applications for marriage licenses.
Around 50 couples got married over a period of a few months - among them a number of them foreigners who married staff members who were citizens. Despite these unusual circumstances, these marriages proved to be about as durable as most in America, with some of them lasting, some of them not.Fact|date=June 2007
Elizabeth Prophet's Family
Prophet's four adult children--Sean Prophet, Erin Prophet, Moira Prophet, and Tatiana Prophet--who all worked for the group at one time or another, left the Church in the 1990s. Erin Prophet currently runs a site to help raise funds for her mother's medical care. Sean Prophet runs a prominent and frequently updated atheist website, [http://www.blacksunjournal.com Black Sun Journal] , on which he has publicly repudiated the teachings of the Ascended Masters and [http://www.blacksunjournal.com/elizabeth-clare-prophet/150_happy-birthday-mom_2006.html recounted] his mother's admission to him of her abuses of power. He has also expressed regret for his role in promoting the organization as minister and vice-president, and his desire to right past wrongs by exposing what he now views as transparent fraud--not only in Ascended Master organizations, but throughout organized religion and the new age movement. Moira Prophet was the first of Prophet's four children to become publicly antagonistic, speaking out against the church on the
Oprah Winfreyshow in 1989. Also in the late 1980s, she planned to publish a tell-all book entitled "Purely for Prophet," about Elizabeth Prophet's private life, and the hidden back story of the Church. The book, which had largely been completed, unraveled due to disagreements with her co-author, Kathy Schmook. Tatiana Prophet used to be a reporter for the [http://www.vvdailypress.com Victorville Daily Press] .
Prophet's grandson, Chris Prophet used to be the drummer for the post-hardcore group Horse The Band.
CUT after Elizabeth Prophet
Leadership of the Church went through several transitions in the 1990s and 2000s, with Elizabeth Prophet bowing out for good sometime in 1998.
As of 2008, the church is run by a two-person presidency--Kate Gordon and Lois Drake--a board of directors, and a council of elders. Its staff has declined from a high of 750 to around 100. While membership has declined in the U.S. and Canada, it has expanded internationally.
In recent years, there has been a trend away from the old authoritarian model of leadership established by Ms. Prophet. This style of leadership was based on Prophet's holding the office of
guruwithin the community, somewhat in the Eastern tradition. Without her physical presence in the organization, the organization has had to adopt more conventional structures and processes. The board and current CUT presidents run the organization based on its charter and bylaws. These were revised significantly in 1996, and provide mechanisms for the organization to continue to function without Prophet as the single spiritual leader and authority.
Church Universal and Triumphant still derives its primary inspiration from the teachings of Elizabeth Clare Prophet and to a lesser extent, Mark Prophet.
Since 2000, the organization has engaged in a large effort to repackage, update, translate, and publish this primary source material. A current search on
Amazon.comlists over 150 titles in several languages.
Works by Mark and Elizabeth Prophet (published by
Summit University Press, Corwin Springs, Montana):
* (2000) "Fallen Angels and the Origins of Evil: Why Church Fathers Suppressed the Book of Enoch and Its Startling Revelations"
* (1993) "Saint Germain on Alchemy"
* (1999) "Saint Germain's Prophecy for the New Millennium"
* (1986) "The Path of the Higher Self," book 1 of the Climb the Highest Mountain series
* (2005) "Paths of Light and Darkness," book 6 of the Climb the Highest Mountain series
* (1965, reprinted 2005) "The Soulless One: Cloning a Counterfeit Creation"
* (1984, reprinted 1986, 1987) "Prayers, Meditations, Dynamic Decrees for the Coming Revolution in Higher Consciousness", Loose-leaf Sections I, II, and III, informally known among followers as "The Decree Book"
*Roth, Chris (1995) "A Prophet in Her Own Compound: The Millennial Angst of Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Secretary to the Gods" "
Steamshovel Press," no. 14, pp. 13-19
*Lewis, James R., and
J. Gordon Melton, eds (1994) "Church Universal and Triumphant in Scholarly Perspective", Stanford, Calif. Center for Academic Publication
*Whitsel, Bradley C. (2003) "The Church Universal and Triumphant, Elizabeth Clare Prophet's Apocalyptic Movement", Syracuse University Press
* [http://www.tsl.org Official Church Universal and Triumphant site]
* [http://www.summituniversitypress.com Official Summit University Press site]
* [http://www.ecprophet.info Site on Elizabeth Clare Prophet maintained by daughter Erin Prophet]
* [http://www.blacksunjournal.com Black Sun Journal, by son Sean Prophet]
* [http://www.markandmother.com Memories of Elizabeth Clare Prophet and husband Mark Prophet contributed and maintained by followers]
* [http://www.atlantic-cable.com/Article/Lanello/index.htm Randall King, Lanello Reserves, and the Tiffany Transatlantic Cable sections]
NAME= Prophet, Elizabeth Clare
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Wulf, Elizabeth Clare
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American religious leader
DATE OF BIRTH=
April 8, 1939
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Red Bank, New Jersey
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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