While working in 1958 as a postal clerk under the presumed name of Thomas Victor Profit ( in reality he was born Marcus Lyle Prophet in Chippewa Falls 1918); Mark Prophet, began writing the Ashram Notes in his basement. These messages, supposedly dictated to him directly from El Morya in Darjeeling, India, were later studied and held in great esteem by thousands of followers.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Clare Wulf, his future wife and co-messenger, was born in 1939 in Red Bank, New Jersey. Her father was a former German submarine captain and boat builder, her mother was a Swiss-born governess who educated children of the more wealthy. She was an avid reader of the works of Madame Blavatsky and Mary Baker Eddy and instructed her daughter in Christian Science.
Friends noticed that Betty Clare's eyes would sometimes blink rapidly and her face would go blank. One day she fell out of a tree during one of her "episodes." A trip to the doctor gave the diagnosis of petit mal seizures, a form of epilepsy. Later in life she would experience grand mal seizures as well. While still in high school, she experienced another episode while learning to drive that resulted in a minor accident. She never drove again. (Schmook 13)
After graduating with honors from high school, she attended Antioch College, and finished her degree at Boston University, where, in 1960, she met and married law student Dag Ytreberg, a fellow Christian Scientist.
In April, 1961, Elizabeth attended a service conducted by Mark Prophet. His church was called the Summit Lighthouse. During the meeting, Prophet dictated a message from the Archangel Michael. Elizabeth was completely enamored with Mark and became his ardent disciple.
After a clandestine love affair Elizabeth and Mark, who was twenty one years her senior, divorced their respective spouses. Mark left Phyllis with five adolescent children. He did not honor the court order to provide $250 a month plus hospitalization and medical insurance for the children, plus life insurance on himself In addition, he ignored the court order to purchase a house for his wife and children. The only contribution he sent after a time was $100 per month for the children. Phyllis worked three jobs to make ends meet. Mark and Elizabeth married on 16 March 1963, just five days after their divorces were finalized.
Mark tutored Elizabeth to become a medium, called messenger that time, where later the word “channeling” became popular. In 1964, Elizabeth presented herself as a full-fledged messenger anointed by Saint Germain. The Prophets proclaimed they were the Two Witnesses of the Bible's Book of Revelation. Their mission was to proclaim the New Age of Saint Germain and they expected to reign in glory after their ascensions at an Ascended Master retreat that existed in the spirit world above Lake Titicaca. They preached that just as the Bible had been the holy scripture for the previous two thousand years, their writings were the sacred text for the coming two millennia.
Elizabeth brought marketing flair to Mark's enterprise. Years later she recalled, "The religion didn't exist when I got there, believe it or not. There were less than a hundred members. It had nothing going for it" (Hackett). It didn't take long for Elizabeth to set up promotional events and develop the mail-order department of the fledgling organization.
The Summit Lighthouse grew slowly and subscriptions to the Pearls of Wisdom, which replaced the Ashram Notes, gradually increased. They attracted a group of students, drawing for the most part from disenchanted I AM students. Edna Ballard was furious. The Prophets explained that the Great White Brotherhood had chosen them to be the next messengers and that they had direct contact with El Morya, Saint Germain, and all the Ascended Host.
The fledgling group grew stronger as Mark preached thunderous sermons spiced with scriptural quotes and gave dictations from the Ascended Masters. Members' contributions paid the bills. Mark, and sometimes Elizabeth, traveled around the country preaching their new religion and building their mailing list.
By 1966, the Prophets were able to purchase a mansion in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They named the property, La Tourelle, "The Tower." It housed their growing staff who worked as servants for little or no pay. Here the Prophets wrote their defining work, Climb The Highest Mountain, as well as other publications. Soon, Elizabeth sported the name, "Mother of the Flame," the first of a list of ever more exalted titles that would include "Mother," "Guru Ma," and "Vicar of Christ"she claimed that Pope John XXIII passed the authority of the Roman Catholic church to her.
Mark and Elizabeth claimed illustrious past embodiments for themselves and each of their four children. The eldest, Sean, was said to have been a Buddha and King Solomon. Erin had been Mohandas Gandhi. Moira was John F. Kennedy come again. Tatiana had been Helena Roerich of the Agni Yoga society. Mark's self-proclaimed list of past embodiments included: a priest from Atlantis, Lot from the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Pharaoh Akhnaton, Aesop, Noah, St. Mark the Evangelist, Gideon, Uriah the Hittite of the Old Testament, Origen of Alexandria, Lancelot, Marco Polo, Hiawatha, King Clovis of France, Saladin, Saint Bonaventure, King Louis XIV of France, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and the young Russian Tsarevitch Alexei-son of Nicholas II.
Elizabeth, not to be outdone, supposedly was: Egypt's Queen Nefertiti, Arabia's Queen of Sheba, England's Queen Guinevere, France's Queen Clotilda, Austria's Empress Elizabeth, Marie Antoinette, and the Italian saints Claire and Catherine of Siena. She also claimed to have been Bathsheba, consort of King David; Martha, of the New Testament; Christian martyr, Hypatia; Helen of Troy; Indian maiden Minnehaha; and Empress Mumtez Mahal, the wife of Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal.
Peter Arnone was one of about forty staff members who lived at La Tourelle. Like many of the staff men, he slept in an unfinished, unheated, unairconditioned attic. He spoke with Mark daily in the mail room when he came to check on the day's income. He also kept Mark and Elizabeth connected with a home-base radio when Mark was on and off the property, so he knew where Mark was most of the time. Arnone was on-call day and night for Mark. His close access to Mark allowed him to see behind his stage presence and messenger persona.
Arnone recalled that Mark was the expert on everything and enjoyed telling people what to do. Mark let everyone know that he was the Bishop of the Summit Lighthouse and messenger for the Ascended Masters. He made all the decisions and ran his group like a dictator. He was adored and feared by his members who were inspired by his booming voice and fascinated by his stories.
. . . Mark was the lord and master of the manor. He prowled the halls of La Tourelle. We were about 40 staff members at that time, working in different departments throughout the complex. Most of us lived and slept in the buildings also. When Mark came by you were immediately at attention. You never knew when he was peering into your aura or reading your mind. You never knew when he would call you on some shortcoming. And you never knew, day and night, when he might show up. Soon, you entered a perpetual state of preparedness. You were always on guard. To the best of your ability you were always on your best behavior. You were always concerned the messenger of God might call you on the carpet. Mark called staff members on the carpet all the time, in front of whoever was present, or in staff meetings. You were relieved when it wasn't you. (Arnone, "Mark Prophet")
Arnone gave a rare view into the content and style of Mark's staff meetings and his attitude toward his perceived enemies:
Looking back on those meetings, they were Mark's critique on everything imaginable. Mark did all the talking. And everything from the podium, formal and informal, was recorded for posterity. For up to three hours he would denounce everything that was wrong with the world. But he had all the solutions and answers for every problem. His greatest criticism was reserved for those who opposed him personally, Elizabeth, their children, and his organization. His greatest praise was reserved for himself, his family, and his organization. Mark derided them [his enemies] mercilessly. Some had left when Mark was away or in the middle of the night. They were cowards one and all. They had betrayed not only Mark and the Ascended Masters, but God Himself. Woe unto their souls. Their karma was great. The message was quite clear. Woe unto anyone else who contemplated leaving. (Arnone, "Mark Prophet")
Mark like most mediums and chanellers (who do what fiction writers do only in this case with the spoken word) was a talented actor and storyteller, and he used these talents to gain the trust and devotion of his followers. They loved to hear him recount adventures from his past embodiments. One of Mark's favorite stories was about the time he opened his wallet and found that several $100 bills had appeared from nowhere; El Morya was given the credit. Another frequently told tale recounted the time he drove a car through a wall in Europe and emerged unscathed. He confided to members that the Black race was a subhuman evolution, that "Mole People" lived underground and sometimes traveled to the surface in elevators, that explorers could travel to the center of the earth through holes at the North and South Poles, that the sun was only a couple million miles from the earth, and that people could affect another's behavior if their auras touched-through the "Rumford Coil Effect." As his group grew, the occult pseudoscientific stories caused him more trouble than good, so these teachings were not heard by later members.
Mark's intrepid past embodiments were only part the attainment of his great soul. Arnone reported, "Mark claimed he was born with the 'Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.' He had 'Third-Eye Vision,' which supposedly enabled him to read minds, read 'auras,' and read the 'Akashic Records. ", Mark used these "gifts" to flatter his friends and vilify his enemies. In a humorously childish ritual, Mark would seat members, one by one, on a special chair which he dubbed the, "ascension chair." "Mark's followers would sit in a special seat which was nothing more than a nice chair. He would read the karmic record of their auras, weigh them in the balance, and pronounce how close they were to eternal salvation."
Arnone saw the personal foibles of Mark as well. Mark always had to be right. Wrestling, punching, kicking, and yelling were not reserved for play. When Mark's word was challenged or things didn't go his way, he would sometimes assault the staff men. Arnone was one of the group of men that attended Mark. It seemed incongruous to him that the Messenger displayed a crude sense of humor --dramatically cutting farts, showing off his hemorrhoids, or making lewd jokes about the women in his group-with the men who acted as his valets, masseuses, and personal servants. Mark liked to have a companion with him at all times; once, he ordered Arnone to attend him while he sat on the toilet in the bathroom. Hidden from the general membership was the fact that Mark drank an occasional beer and visited pornographic movie houses on "fact-finding missions for the Brotherhood."
But all was not well in the "Royal Family." Mark told his wife that he needed to have lots of sex. He explained that his chakras would fill up with light and the excess light needed to be discharged. To keep herself ready and willing, Elizabeth assigned a group of four young staff men, called the "Cube," to massage her before sex with Mark. Although she had to be available to meet Mark's needs, he was much older and didn't physically excite her. So, she gave one of her young masseuses, Randall Kosp, a special mission. She told him that the Master El Morya had could not do it if He were wasting His energy." (Ballard as St. Germain, Discourses vol. XI, 293-294)
Elizabeth Clare Prophet changed the rules when it suited her needs. The old rules of sexual abstinence didn't apply to her. Hypocritically, she insisted her students follow a rigid sexual code of conduct and severely chastised or excommunicated those who violated it. Elizabeth Prophet finally legitimized her affair with Randall King in October, 1973, when they were formally and openly married by a minister of the group.
Rarely did anyone see behind the confident exterior of Prophet, the Messenger. Susan Moldenhauer, former wife of Prophet's fourth husband, Edward Francis, recalled one such time in an interview with the Los Angeles Herald Examiner:
Only a very few times has Elizabeth Clare Prophet ever let the mask of her cosmic identity slip. "I remember finding her sitting one day all alone in her tower room at La Tourelle," said Moldenhauer. "She said, 'Are they really Masters? Am I really who I say I am?' " Moldenhauer couldn't give her an answer. ''According to the teachings, she is supposed to 'ascend,''' says Moldenhauer. "You know, deep down she has to be scared stiff. There must be nights when she lays awake wondering how she's going to pull that one of£" (Webster)
Prophet wanted to be wealthy with income not tied to the organization and the church Board of Directors' oversight. The Prophet-King Investment Club was established in 1974 to accomplish that goal. Prophet convinced eight or nine select church members to participate in an "alchemical" project. King loaned $2,000 to each member to invest in the group. He would control the money and split the returns fifty-fifty. Prophet then had each member sign documents that stated they owed King $2,000 plus interest and that they would tithe fifty percent of any earnings back to the church. They trusted her completely and signed the papers while blindfolded.
King invested the money in silver futures contracts. The market soared and profits mounted. He and Prophet pyramided their profits and available cash, including church money, into more silver futures contracts. At one point they controlled twenty-three percent of the Chicago silver coin market. To their chagrin, the silver futures market crashed and they were forced to meet enormous margin calls. In desperation, the Ascended Master Lanello was consulted through Ptophet. Under his "divine guidance" they plundered gold and silver that members had purchased and stored with the church for survival purposes to pay the margin calls. Decrees were given twenty-four hours a day by staff and students to make the silver price rise. The decrees did not work. Prophet and King's gamble cost them terribly. The market stayed down and the money taken from church funds was lost. The silver futures fiasco cost the church about $697,000.
The Summit Lighthouse church and Clayton Commodities, their brokerage firm, each sued the other-the church for unsound business advice, Clayton for loss of funds. At the same time, the church came under scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Prophet and King fabricated a story that had little chance of success. They would tell the IRS that the investments were done for the nonprofit Summit Lighthouse church, not for themselves personally. To protect the assets of the church, the story for the Clayton suit was the opposite, claiming Prophet and King had invested as individuals-separate from the church. Their gambit succeeded and, in 1975, they escaped the IRS with a reprimand. Years later the church settled out of court with Clayton Commodities.
To protect the assets of the Summit Lighthouse during these legal disputes, Prophet and King decided to transfer assets from the Summit Lighthouse to a new entity named The Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT). The new name, revealed to members in a dictation, was presented as a divine dispensation which symbolized the Church in heaven-Universal-and on earth-Triumphant. Members never knew the real reason for the new organization was to protect the group's assets from the IRS and Clayton Commodities. Prophet and King's illegal dealings were never revealed until years later. In King's words:
But the reason it [CUT] was started is because we wanted to divert funds from Clayton brokerage, in case they were going to win a lawsuit against the Summit Lighthouse. And also, get funds out of there in case we lost out tax-exempt status. It was a business play, is the reason we did it. The dictations came because that's what we decided we wanted. (King)
By September, 1976, CUT had study groups and teaching centers across America. They were headquartered on the campus of a former Nazarene college in Pasadena, California, where they held consecutive sessions of Summit University, their twelve-week course of Ascended Masters' instruction and decrees, as well as their quarterly conferences. They attracted people from around the world to visit their "enclave of light."
Prophet taught on every aspect of life: politics, economics, social issues, religious ideas, diet, family. Lectures could last hours. Here are two excerpts from lectures for parents by Elizabeth Prophet:
So the one thing I would also say that it is very important for children of the Light is that you do not surround them with animals. All the animal dolls and animal pictures that are stamped on everything-definitely the Masters do not recommend Dr. Seuss books. They are gross and distorted images. The child is building the image of its mind, its emotions and of its body during these formative years. An animal is an incomplete expression of the Christ. An animal is a form through which the elementals and the elemental kingdom are evolving but it is not the perfect and final form through which they will one day express themselves. Elementals are confined in a limited matrix of the animal. What your child sees he will become. If he is constantly looking at bears, he's going to have dense bear forms and whatever properties that you would assign a bear. Now later on when the Dark Ones want to manipulate your child they will activate the memory pattern of the bear form and project into the child these qualities of the animal. If it's mice or foxes or wolves, whatever it is, whatever the properties of the perverted conscious that we associate with these, like the sly and cunning nature of the fox, once the child has the pattern of the fox in the subconscious then that pattern can be infused by the mass consciousness with the qualities of being, let's say "foxy" and "deceitful" and "cunning" and so forth. (E. Prophet, Family Designs)
All of America is rampant with these demons that possess our children. We have a nation that is in a state of demon possession, and where are the religious leaders that can go forth and exorcise them in His name? You can go nowhere until you determine to enter the ritual of exorcism, the ritual of casting out of demons. The world is rampant with devils and discarnate and unseen forces all the while we are taught a philosophy that they do not exist. This is why it becomes a tremendous struggle to wage a war lets say against the sugar entity. The craving for sugar is increased by the presence of discarnate’s and demons. Why is sugar so deadly? Because it imbalances the blood stream and the body temple and prevents the soul from direct contact with the Mighty I AM Presence. (E. Prophet, A Retreat in the Ascension)
It is difficult for nonmembers to understand why people would believe the above teachings. But believers had been fed the teachings bit by bit until they accepted anything Prophet said. She spoke for Ascended Masters who were one with God. And who could argue with God?
An attitude of joyous expectation of seeing the Masters and making the ascension mixed with the daily burdens of staff life. Staff members gave one hundred percent of their time to the church and worked with little sleep under the unpredictable demands of their Messenger. Staff and Summit University students spent hours each day chanting decrees to rid themselves and the world of entities and demons. Decrees were interwoven in daily life and played a key role in controlling members. Fear and guilt that they weren't doing enough lurked behind the facade of smiling faces.
In King's words:
There were three main things you needed to do to have staff run properly and to be in control. And that was, one, to keep them busy day and night so that they didn't get an opportunity to be alone or with outside people where they could think and let their minds wander and think about other things. Two, is to control their sleep habits and their eating habits. [Item number three was not mentioned.] (CUT v. Mull, vol. 4: 777)
Summit University, previously Ascended Master University, promised to initiate students into the mysteries of the Great White Brotherhood. Randall King told the brutal truth years later while testifying during a court case brought against the group by Gregory Mull, an ex-member:
Well basically, at Summit University, we tried to change everything about their environment that they were used to. They couldn't-they couldn't contact their parents or their old friends, you know, without special permission. We changed their eating habits, we changed their sleep habits, we changed and controlled everything they thought about, everything they did for that three-month period.We wanted to make it totally uncomfortable to them, or at least different than they had ever experienced before. And then we would have them do these surrender decrees so they could surrender to the flame. And they were going through what we called the transmuting process that they were transmuting all of their worldly vibrations and feelings and coming into the light. And it was a perfect situation to get control of them. (CUT v. Mull, vol. 4: 829-830)
When asked about the role decrees played, King said: "That is what everybody did all the time they ever had a spare minute is you would decree" (830). King explained the purpose of all the decrees was "To get them in a supersuggestible state. Basically to get them in a state of mind that whatever we wanted to drop into their minds, they would accept, believe and become part of their life" (831).
"Well, we used it in disciplinary situations as a control factor. We would keep people decreeing for hours and hours on end. Let's say if there was a disciplinary problem and somebody was a little rebellious. If you go make them do a couple of hours of Astreas [a decree], when they come back, he would be a perfect little robot. They would be ready to do whatever you wanted. It would get rid of that rebelliousness. It worked very well for that." (805)
Wealthy members were targeted for their money and coerced by promises of favor from the Messenger and Masters or by threats of bad karma if they refused. She told them their past embodiments, how much karma they had balanced, and what they needed to do to make their ascension. Longtime members, who had never been invited to meet Prophet privately, were puzzled when certain individuals, new to the teachings, arrived at conferences or on staff and were instantly honored with invitations to dine with the Messenger and her family and sit at the front of the chapel. Prophet used people to bolster her power. When things went wrong, guilt was always assigned to another, often with vicious accusations of betrayal.
Two of Prophet's secret weapons were clearance and confession letters. The mandatory letters were written to the Masters as part of Summit University and as a church ritual for staff. Prophet instructed members to include detailed descriptions of every violation of Ascended Masters' law throughout their entire life, including sexual indiscretions and drug use. She promised to pray over the letters, then burn them. Randall King told a different story during the Mull trial:
"They were supposed to be burnt in a ceremony," said King "and sometimes they actually were. But if there was something significant, they'd go in a file. There were files on hundreds of people-everybody on staff, everybody who had attended Summit University."
"We used to pass them around at board meetings and laugh." (Webster)
During the Mull litigation Elizabeth Prophet was asked if confession and clearance letters were burned. She answered yes. Prophet then was questioned on whether any of the letters found their way into the permanent files of staff and students. She said no. Under a withering cross-examination by Lawrence Levy, Mull's attorney, she finally revealed the truth:
Q: Then the letters that you told the students would be burned as soon as you read them so they would be private between yourself and God were in fact not burned, but put in their permanent file; is that correct?
A: Yes .... Prophet also admitted that these confidential letters were shared with the CUT Board of Directors, Prophet's family, and CUT psychiatrist, Ralph Yaney (CUT v. Mull, 3: 492-499).
Years later, some staff and many ex-members discovered-to their horror, that the Messenger did indeed hold the evidence of past confessions and clearance letters. Information and events were brought up, sometimes publicly in staff meetings or otherwise, that could only have been gleaned from the letters.
In September, 1977, CUT bought their new headquarters from the Catholic Claretian Fathers. The stately 218-acre property was located in the Santa Monica Mountains, seven miles inland from Malibu, California. Originally developed by King Gillette, of Gillette razor fame, the property later became the Thomas Aquinas College. A spectacular story was woven to extract the $5,600,000 price from members. The Ascended Masters were reestablishing the mystery school the Brotherhood had begun in England centuries before. Camelot was come again. Where King Arthur failed, Prophet would succeed. A fairy tale was woven for the membership. All the major players of long ago were reembodied to serve the cause of Light and build an outer community of the Brotherhood to usher in the New Age. Elizabeth Prophet was Queen Guinevere. Mark Prophet (Lanello) was Lancelot. El Motya was King Arthur who strove to enlighten medieval England. Saint Germain played the role of Merlin the Magician. Prophet's husband at the time, Randall King, had been Sir Galahad. Important staff members and major contributors were told they had been various knights and ladies of the court. Prophet's enemies were identified as the evil Mordred, Morgana La Fey and other betrayers of yore. Hints were dropped that the Masters might "step through the veil" and walk in physical bodies among the community of about five hundred staff. In a letter to her members, Prophet wrote:
Our dream, then, for a community of the Holy Spirit we have shared with you in our desire to bring again Camelot to America, ... to establish a community of men and women whose quest is the Holy Grail ... For twenty years now, we as an organization have been working toward that goal of making Camelot a reality. I invite you to share with me now the dream of Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, and the knights and ladies of the Round Table for the return of the path of initiation through Camelot, which is indeed the "once and future mystery school" .... (Summit, Beacon 1)
CUT carried the message of the Masters around the world. Prophet traveled to India, Africa, Europe, and across the United States carrying her message. People were enticed to join the organization through local lectures conducted by students. "Learn About the Human Aura" was a common theme for introductory meetings. One series of lectures was called, "Meet the Gnomes and their Friends; the Sylphs, Undines, and Fiery Salamanders," and was promoted with posters adorned with cute line drawings of fairies and elves. Gradually, over a series of meetings, the Ascended Masters were introduced and participants were told about the wonderful Mystery School of Camelot and the Ascended Masters' messenger-Elizabeth Clare Prophet. They were taught how to decree and were encouraged to purchased books on the teachings. They were told that they must be very special souls for the Masters to have guided them to their Work.
New students were carefully groomed during their initial contact with the group. Praised on one hand and cautioned on the other-to beware of Dark Forces working through friends and relatives to take them "off the path" -they were painted a picture of goodness, community, spiritual service, and unique opportunity that was hard to resist. For some, the teachings offered the answers to all oflife's difficult questions. For others, the sense of community and striving together for a higher cause drew them and kept them in the group. All were influenced by the rhythmic, hypnotic power of decrees. Practiced daily, in conjunction with listening to Prophet's monotone voice dictating Masters and decreeing on auto-reverse cassette players-preferably playing twenty-four hours a day-members learned to suppress their will and emotions in service to the higher cause of Prophet and her imaginary friends.
The heart of the Camelot campus was the Chapel of the Holy Grail. The beautiful building was shaped like a giant cross. Standing at the large wooden front doors and looking out, one saw a brilliant white statue of Jesus centered in a green lawn. Entering the church, one's eyes were drawn to light streaming from a line of stained glass windows, set high above the congregation, that depicted Jesus and the saints and ran the length of the chapel. Crystal chandeliers sparkled overhead. To the right, was a large picture of Mark Prophet. Mounted on the back wall of the chapel was an enormous stylized picture of the ''All Seeing Eye of God," like the Masonic eye on a dollar bill. There was a little alcove to the right and left of the high altar where EI Morya and Kuthumi's huge pictures hung. In front, hanging in the center of the high altar and lit from above and below was a colossal painting of the I AM Presence with its rings of color around an upper being, connected by the white "crystal cord" of light to a robed Christ figure directly beneath, and standing on the ground, a person robed in violet flame. Immense paintings of golden-haired, blue-eyed Saint Germain and Jesus flanked the central I AM Presence picture. All were framed in gold. Many members commented that it seemed as if the eyes of the Masters followed them wherever they sat or moved in the chapel. Huge bouquets of flowers adorned the high altar along with a life-sized gold statue of Mother Mary, golden statues of Buddha and Shiva, and other smaller statues and large crystals. Several golden candelabra held long white tapers. The chapel could accommodate over five hundred people on long, hard, wooden pews that stretched down the center and chairs set on slightly raised platforms on the sides. During evening services and conferences, people filled the chapel and overflowed into adjacent rooms and buildings where they followed the service on audio and video monitors.
The chapel was rarely silent. Hourly decree vigils kept the Inner Light burning in the sacred hall. Early each morning, staff and students gathered to give a couple hours of decrees. Everyone carried their personal decree books-fat binders filled with decrees and songs. The binders were divided into sections by color: seven "light rays," seven types of decrees, seven colors of paper. New decrees on timely subjects and teachings were added as needed. The binders of older members were well-worn and stuffed full of frayed papers. Some decrees were given everyday three, twelve, thirty-six, or one-hundred-and-forty-four times, so staff knew them by heart.
When Prophet was present, events followed a predictable pattern. As devotees entered the Chapel of the Holy Grail, the first thing they noticed was the sound of decrees as it resonated and swept them up in its power. The hall hummed with the monotone chanting-like the sound of swarming bees. Two staff members stood at a wooden podium with a microphone at the front of the chapel and led the decrees. The words rippled from their tongues faster than an auctioneer's. Members decreed for hours to "set the force field." They sat with hands upturned on their laps, eyes open or closed, in total concentration. They stood, at the direction of the decree leaders, for certain decrees and songs, and sat when instructed. When nature called, devotees excused themselves briefly to one of two restrooms in the foyer, then returned. No breaks for food, drink, to stretch one's legs, or to clear one's head were given.
The faithful anticipated Prophet's arrival. Once Prophet's dutiful students were sufficiently prepared through hours of decrees, she would make her entrance. For the congregation, the experience was exalting. She appeared dressed in fine silk saris, wool suits, or sweeping evening gowns as her mood dictated. Though she was little over five feet tall, she exuded a dominating presence. Her dark, short, curled hair topped a face dominated by intense blue eyes. Jewels of several carats sparkled from rings that adorned each finger including her thumbs. Members knew the diamond, sapphire, emerald, topaz, and ruby gems focused specific energies for the Brotherhood. In deference to her Masters, immediately upon entering, she would face the altar, back turned to the congregation, light the numerous candles with a taper in a golden rod, and with hands raised palm up at her side, invoke the blessing and presence of Masters, angels, and Cosmic Beings of Light. Sometimes Prophet paced or stood as she spoke. Other times she sat in a white and gold Queen Anne's chair placed in the middle of the stage. Prophet would often deliver a lecture followed by a dictation. Other times she only gave a dictation. The lights would dim, and a powerful piece of music would play: Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Puccini. Attendees sat as still as possible in anticipation of the coming of a Master into their presence. Their spines tingled in response to the music and their spirits soared as they envisioned the coming of the Master and attending angels. As they watched, Prophet seemed to shimmer and glow as she became the nexus between heaven and earth. Raw emotion welled up in members as they realized that they were participants in a cosmic drama. The stillness was broken when Prophet spoke in a resounding voice, "I AM Morya, and I am here with you this evening;" in the quiet voice of Lord Buddha; the sweet, childlike voice of St. Therese ofLisieux; the commanding voice of Saint Germain; the otherworldly thunder of Alpha; or fiery Zarathusrra. Caught up in the magical pageantry of the occasion, the congregation felt empowered by divine fiat and blessed by angels.
In 1977, Prophet gave a dictation that rallied her members to action. The dictation was from El Morya and was entitled "The Call of Camelot." People joined staff in record numbers in response to the dream of Camelot as presented in this dictation:
Knights and ladies of the Table Round, did you think that we would not hear the call of Camelot? Did you think that you could leave us out of your festivities? Well, I say, we have been preparing for many a day, and our angels rejoicing in the way to come, to come to that place where we might give the new birth to Camelot and to send forth the call ....Let all, then, who have heard of Camelot, let them come. Let them come from the farthest shores, let them come again, let them hear the call and answer; for I would discipline and I would nourish and I would train chelas, and I would bestow the gift of knighthood and the flame of Mother to ladies of the flame. I would return you, then, to the jousting and to the tournament. I will return you to the holy quest. And then one day we will have our Table Round, .... There, too, you will be bidden to sit. And we will have our Council of the Round Table, and that council will be the forum oflightbearers who are born to take the light of earth and fashion the new order of the ages. I AM Morya, I AM one, one with my own chum, my own Lanello, and my Merlin, and our Guinevere is here, and each and every one of you we hold so dear and so very near. I embrace you, each and every one. Now look for the handclasp of Lanello and the touch of Merlin and, as you see, the smile of Mother who is with friends of old. We will never leave you, we will never leave you so long as you love and love and love. Yes, it is I, Morya. And in my hand I hold a cup. It is a cup of good cheer, a toast to the New Year . Welcome, king and queen, prince and princess, born to rule and born to reign. Come, come to Camelot again! (E. Prophet as El Morya, Pearls vol. 20 no. 25)
Some people were attracted to the group by the spiritual teachings; others came for the sense of community. But the thread that ran through each member's heart was the tie to Elizabeth Prophet and the Masters. She skillfully pulled the heartstrings of her followers who looked at her with awe. Her devotees saw her as a heroic soul whose spiritual attainment qualified her to lead and whose "inner sight" could read their most private thoughts, feelings, sins, and past lives. Prophet told the stories of Mark Prophet's supposed valiant past embodiments and wove compelling tales of the members' common heritage and destiny.
To give an example, the following quote is from 1980:
Therefore I have great joy to announce to you that, by the edict of the Four and Twenty Elders and the Cosmic Council before whom I have pleaded the cause of America and this body of devotees, there has been completed at this harvest conference which you have dedicated to me the final balancing of the karma of your own messenger. And therefore, in the presence of that light of the one-hundred-percent balance of that karma, there is opportunity for the entire Spirit of the Great White Brotherhood to anchor through the messenger untold momentums of light and victory and freedom even while she then is able to bear a more than ordinary measure of your own personal karma-which she is so delighted to do to see you accelerate on the Path that you, too, might attain your victory! Now, is this not a victory for the light, blessed hearts? (E. Prophet as Saint Germain, Pearls vol. 23 no. 46)
Students hung on her every word for hints about their spiritual lives, karma, jobs, education, or personal relationships. Staff members carried notepads so they could record her words if they met her on the property. They never knew when the Masters might speak a few words of guidance to them through the Messenger.
Thus a longtime staff member and close friend of Prophet for example was repeatedly denied permission to visit a doctor, despite excruciating, debilitating headaches, because her editorial skills for Prophet were a priority. Kathy Schmook told the story in Purely For Prophet.
It wasn't out of character for Florence to put the church's business over her health. To the outsider it would appear her priorities were out ofline; but in CUT's microcosm that was not an exception-it was the rule. The church and its teachings always came first. Florence had scheduled several appointments with doctors outside the church, but some deadline always loomed and Elizabeth needed her or time didn't permit, and she was forced to cancel them all. Finally, she was scheduled for a CAT scan. As the day approached Elizabeth complained about the Sanat Kumara Pearls not being exactly right, and the diagrams weren't ready, and one thing after another until a very ailing Florence Miller was pushed to cancel her appointment a final time. A week later, her assistant, Susan Bordelon, went to pick Florence up on the way to show Elizabeth the diagrams. Tom Miller [Florence's husband] greeted her and said that his wife wasn't able to go. That day Florence was taken to the hospital and died. The physician on duty addressed the small crowd in attendance, including Florence's husband and Elizabeth. He seemed aghast and said, "This woman had a brain tumor! Why didn't anyone do anything?" (Schmook 63)
Like the Ballards' I AM movement, CUT gradually became consumed with fear. In the late 1970s and 1980s, communism was the foe. Lectures focused more on the evils of the world than on uniting Eastern and Western philosophies. Warnings issued from the pulpit against communists, rock and roll, evil governments, political conspiracies, and entities of smoking, drugs, alcohol, sex, sugar, meat, gossip, and rock music. World cataclysm was imminent if Keepers of The Flame didn't fight back the hordes of demons, entities, UFOs, Watchers, and Nephilim. Americans were the I AM race and nobody better get in the way.
Prophet demonized anyone who impeded her, even her parents. When they refused to transfer their assets to her before their death, Prophet told her staff that her father was Peshu Alga, the fallen angel who tempted Lucifer to fall from heaven and her mother was Peshu Alga's consort. Prophet and her staff decreed for her father's judgment and "second death"---eomplete annihilation of his soul. On 13 January 1985, after her father died, she gave a dictation from "Beloved Archangel Michael" that said in part:
I [Archangel Michael] announce to you ... the Judgement, the final judgement and the second death has come of that one you have known as Peshu Alga. [ applause] Thus, the Keeper of the Scrolls has read these weeks record by record of the infamy of that fallen one in the trial at the Court of the Sacred Fire that one who himself moved to tempt Lucifer away from the service of Light, that one who forever swore vengeance upon Almighty God ... Blessed hearts, this hour of the trial of that fallen one and the passing from earthly life has been noted by yourselves as being causative of conditions of upheaval and even danger and death to the children of Light as in the case of certain calamities East and West. (E. Prophet, Pearls)
Footnotes defined these "certain calamities" as the Bhopal, India, poison gas incident that killed over 2,500 people, the 19 November 1985 series of explosions at the Petroleos Mexicanos liquid gas storage site in Mexico that left over 490 dead, and the two-thirds destruction of a CUT church building. Prophet told the staff that her father's second death caused these incidents and deaths.
Prophet's stance on children was a study in contradictions. She preached that parents should spend time with their children; while her own children were raised by staff nannies, often in houses away from her. Prophet insisted staff mothers, toting their newborns, return to work two weeks after giving birth. At three months of age, babies were placed in the infant nursery. Prophet's needs came before those ofindividuals and families. Children were shunted from place to place so their parents could "serve the Masters." Yet during a newspaper interview in 1996, Prophet told a different story saying that women should playa more traditional role:
"It's an unholy alchemy that's moving through our nation today," Prophet says. "I think it started when mothers went to work. I think if we're going to have well-balanced children, that mothers need to see and be with their children, not just leave for work at 7 in the morning and come back at 5 in the afternoon. In the days when this America was founded, children were at home with their mothers." (Ecke)
Montessori International, the church's school for children of staff and community members, was used to educate and baby-sit children for Summit University students, staff, and community members. Along with regular Montessori activities, it wove the Masters' teachings, decrees, and adoration of "Mother and Lanello" into the curriculum.
However garually the vision of Camelot was changing. Camelot was under attack. The California Coastal Commission denied the group any building permits. The media was having a heyday with Prophet's eccentric group. Ex-members were circulating nasty rumors of unlawful behavior and human rights abuses. It was time to head for the hills and Montana was on Prophet's mind. Right on cue, the Masters began to speak of needing a "place prepared" and fundraising began. Millions of dollars were donated to the church to purchase the Forbes Ranch and turn it into the Royal Teton Ranch. Donations were solicited starting in 1979, even before the secret location of the ranch was revealed. The joyous hope and anticipation that had accompanied the purchase of Camelot was replaced by fear of nuclear war or world catastrophe. Prophet as Archangel Michael gave a landmark dictation that galvanized her followers in 1982. Many staff men purchased guns immediately following this dictation. Here are excerpts:
I speak to you, then, and I behold with my eye the military preparedness of the light-bearers. And I say it is found wanting, especially in the area of conventional forces. And you ought to consider yourselves your own individual survival plan and your own individual safety in the Inner Retreat, for we would not have you left without your own life preserver. Therefore, you would do well to know your individual and personal weaknesses and eliminate them swiftly, for they are chinks in the armor of your being! And then you should understand the point of vulnerability (if there be any) of the Inner Retreat, of your own life, and of your supply. For I tell you, it is necessary for the protection of every point and aspect of your service. And this is not the hour to make long-term investments, to place your supply where you cannot easily pry it loose.
I would speak then, of your individual plan for survival and the necessity of our organization to provide those basic staples, as well as clothing, as well as an understanding of what is indispensable and what is dispensable. After all, we all understand the need of the Inner Retreat for the necessary funds, as creating that place of escape and of survival. It is important that you find yourself exactly and precisely at the right place on this date. The date is January 1, 1987. I ask you to call to me personally for the protection of your life, your soul, and your family, that you are found in the right place on that date. I do not say that place for you personally is the Inner Retreat. Bur I do say you have a right place, and you have a right to know what that place is when God desires to reveal it to you. And there are steps necessary for you to take those necessary steps before it is revealed to you your ultimate destination.
You can imagine, in the last days of Atlantis, wandering hordes of dark ones waging warfare against innocent people. You can imagine the depraved, the decadent, those who are on certain chemicals and drugs having in their possession weapons of warfare and, out of no reason but insanity, moving against a base of light-bearers. You must understand that there are certain individuals, even in America today, that have garrisoned themselves with enormous stockpiles of weapons for the eventuality of warfare in the streets. They live in this consciousness! They are deter- mined to destroy this nation. And when it is destroyed, they will be ready to move against the innocent.
I would also counsel you that in the protection of your four lower bodies it is important that you have your own means of the purification of water. I trust that my words now lead you to a further probing of all areas of life so that you can realize that, as the eye of God and the archangels is upon you, we would direct your eye as well-carefully, in detail, beginning with your home and your person and reaching for the mark of the Inner Retreat and its protection for the community.
I leave you with this one thought considering this particular physical location of the community today [at Camelot]. It is our considered and studied opinion that this geographical location, though ideal in some ways, is not defensible under the conditions that we view. When you consider this land from the standpoint strictly of the defense of the physical life of the light-bearers, it is not defensible by the Great White Brotherhood or by yourselves. I leave you to consider the how, the why, and the where-fore of this comment. (Prophet as Archangel Michael, Pearls vol. 25 no. 28)
In July, 1986, CUT sold Camelot for $15,500,000 cash to the Soka Gokkai group. Soka wanted full possession of the property by the end of 1986. CUT had to move fast. A mass exodus of semitrailers, buses, and CUT personnel headed North to the promised land.
The new world headquarters, called the Royal Teton Ranch, was purchased in 1981. It was 12,000 acres of beautiful, forested land and meadows that bordered Yellowstone Park and the Yellowstone River, and cost $5,500,000. An endemic, high mountain meadow, nestled in the ranch's mountains was christened The Inner Retreat and specially blessed by Prophet as a focus of great light. In addition, the church bought 13,200 acres of ranch land in the adjacent Paradise Valley and warehouse space for their publishing departments in the nearby town of Livingston. They also purchased a local dairy farm, campground, and mobile home park. Most of the lands were purchased using straw men, third-party buyers. Locals were apprehensive as "gurus" from California invaded their peaceful community. Each time a new land purchase became known, CUT officials assured locals that the church wouldn't buy more land. Within two years, CUT became the second largest landowner in Park County.
Church members were encouraged to sell their homes and donate the money to help purchase the Royal Teton Ranch. Letters and dictations intimated that homeownership would not help members during coming times of economic collapse, war, or natural disaster-better to sell your assets and secure the "place prepared" than to selfishly keep your individual homes and savings ... and perish.
Prophet's Masters took a dim view of Montanans, calling them, "depressed people-those who have not somehow summoned that which they ought to have summoned, victims of other powers and of themselves. They are another evolution" (Prophet as Saint Germain, Pearls vol. 29 no. 75). Members of the local community became incensed when they discovered that church members were chanting against them. The local paper published a decree CUT members used to spiritually attack those who opposed or criticized their work:
Bolts of blue lightning into the very cause and core of all opposition to the victory on this planetary body of this day! I demand [the binding of] all opposition to the victory (repeat 3x) Blue lightning bombs descend! (8x) Mighty action of the sacred fire (2x), I demand all criticism, condemnation, and judgment arrayed against me or the light for which I stand, this activity of light, this organization, and our ranch in Montana….Hurl your mighty miracle pouch into the cause and the core of all criticism, condemnation and judgment at the Royal Teton Ranch, the Inner Retreat and the Ranch Kitchen, emanating from (insert name) and all betrayers of the living word! Burn through and expose the liar and the lie! Blaze right through into the very core of gossip and gossip entities in Gardiner, Montana, and in Livingston. (Shands 1987)
Members were encouraged to relocate from around the United States and the world to work on staff or to build homes in the communities of North and South Glastonbury, approximately 4,100 acres of raw land purchased for over a million dollars. Members soon began to arrive at the Glastonbury property, located fifteen to thirty minutes from headquarters, which had been quietly divided into twenty-acre parcels.
Initially, the land at Glastonbury was undeveloped and rural. Utilities were installed and deep wells drilled at great expense. Mandatory bomb shelters were built and stocked by stalwart devotees who hoped to live through the coming crisis. Many shelters were single-family units, others were group efforts that housed over one hundred people.
Archangel Michael's dictation warned of coming bad times. Other dictations intimated that Glastonbury and the Royal Teton Ranch were the only places the Masters could promise protection and safety. All were advised to be in Montana by 1 January 1987. Dictations beckoned-with promises of a self-sustaining religious community of brothers and sisters of light, and threatened-with dire warnings of natural disaster and possible nuclear war. Although not plainly said, it was understood that California might fall into the ocean in fulfillment of Edgar Cayce's psychic predictions from decades earlier.
In December, 1986, members were warned:
Know, then, that this, this too is a part of the planetary plan. Remember, then, that the angels have sought to cluster you together on the highlands of Glastonbury. Remember the call and be wise, for the Masters have not said that any other place was prepared-however near, however convenient. This [Glastonbury] must be a point of preservation and of survival. (E. Prophet as The Nameless One from Center of the Earth, Pearls vol. 29 no. 73) [Bracket was in original.]
Therefore, beloved, you have every reason to believe, to be concerned, and to be prepared for a first strike by the Soviet Union upon these United States. You have every reason to be alert. You have every reason to consider that the wilderness land [of America] is indeed prepared for the Woman and her seed.
Make use of it. The mountains and the hills are there.
Therefore, secure the underground shelters, preserve the food, and prepare to survive. And if it be an exercise proven unneeded, then bless God that it did not go unheeded. For beloved, my word and your response, your very preparedness, is the one condition that can prevent the almost inevitable scenario of nuclear war.
Beloved ones, preparedness is the key. If you do not think and act in terms of survival, then surely, surely, I say, you will not survive! And the place set apart in the hills of Glastonbury is for you and for these purposes.
The divine experiment is past. Let the reality be now! Let those Keepers of the Flame living on these coasts, from Canada south, be no longer here beyond the end of 1988. (E. Prophet as Saint Germain, Pearls vol. 29 no. 75) [Bracket in first paragraph was in original.]
Members were told to decree for salvation and to listen to the whisperings of the Masters and their angels for direction so they would be at the "right place at the right time." Some members that lived away from headquarters built bomb shelters in their backyards and hoped for the best. Prophet's followers understood that the only place that you were sure to be safe was on church property in Montana.
Members, Keepers of the Flame, and Communicants, flocked to the community of Glastonbury. They came with dreams of building an Ascended Masters community. But they were subtly fleeced as Prophet and Francis sapped them for all they could. First, they demanded each prospective Glastonbury resident pay $1,000 per person for three years towards the purchase of the Royal Teton Ranch property. This requirement was called the Law of The One. Second, each family was required to pay a ten percent tithe on their total assets and be current on past ten percent tithe obligations, dues, and "love offering" obligations for required church materials and lessons. More money was extracted as people turned to the church to help them build and stock their required bomb shelters and purchase precious metals and gemstones against impending economic collapse. When 1 January 1987 passed uneventfully, Prophet extended the deadline several more times, keeping her membership on edge with dire predictions.
Ere twenty-four months have passed, be it known to you that this nation must have the capability to turn back any and all missiles, warheads incoming whether by intent or accident. When there is no defense you invite the bear into your haven .... Let it be known, beloved, that we recommend civil defense and defensive weapons that stop nuclear war from being fought to begin with ere twenty-four months pass ... there will be a reckoning and a confrontation unless something is done. Blessed hearts, you are on the brink of doom and know it not. (Prophet as El Morya, Pearls vol. 30 no. 54)
Even though the Soviet Union was crumbling, Prophet continued to preach Armageddon:
"The Soviets still wish to use military force to dominate or destroy the United States and capture Western Europe." American leaders refuse to see this, she claims. "They are willfully blind," Prophet charges, "They do not want to know. As a result, the United States is in grave danger as we sit here tonight." ..."I can verify by prophecy that they [Soviets] do have the desire and the intent to attack first and without warning." Prophet claimed. "I have the gift of prophecy and I am a prophet of God." (McMillion, "Guns are better than butter")
Especially March and April of 1990 came to be identified as months of extreme danger. Dire warnings told of a high probability of nuclear attack and that the shelters must be finished, or at least habitable, for the impending disaster. Devotees tried to envision life after a nuclear war. They prepared to live in the shelters full-time for seven months and then part-time while they rebuilt society during the next seven years. Prophet told her members to stock everything they could possibly need. Some women close to Prophet were instructed to purchase seven years of hair coloring kits and feminine hygiene products. She even recommended they collect baby and child clothes-in the event they became pregnant in the shelters.
A local optician recalled that Mrs. Prophet, in 1990, requested seven sets of contact lenses and glasses, one set for each of the coming seven years. Prophet asked the proprietor to predict her prescription for each year and prepare the lenses accordingly. The optician looked at her in amazement and replied, "I can't do that. A prescription is for one point in time. 1 can't predict how your eyes will change in the next seven years. Besides you're the prophet, why don't you tell me what your prescriptions will be?" Not one to be made fun of, Prophet left in a huff.
Local members worried that they wouldn't be close enough to make it to the shelters in time when the bombs began to fall. They discussed the possibility of an electromagnetic pulse that could disable newer cars, crash computers, and bring commerce to a halt.
Devotees from teaching centers and study groups around the U.S. converged on the Royal Teton Ranch, Glastonbury, and surrounding community, arriving by plane, car, and bus. Many came from overseas. Anxiety permeated the normally quiet town of Livingston as CUT members purchased seven-year quantities of medical and survival supplies.
CUT workers were assigned to a department, then given jobs by the department head. They rode buses, early each morning, to farms and gardens, construction sites, or cleaning jobs and were stranded until the buses returned late in the evening. Exhaustion, fear, and frustration quietly built in many devotees.Local businesses boomed with the sudden flood of sales. Construction companies did a huge business selling supplies for building bomb shelters. Unfortunately, many of the purchases were made on credit. Local businesses didn't know that many church members had no intention of repaying the money because they were sure that upcoming events would destroy the economy. A construction supply store in Livingston went out of business after the crisis as a result of church members' unpaid debts.
For five days beginning 10 March 1990, Prophet conducted nightly underground bomb shelter "drills." They were called drills because the large shelter and most of the private shelters had not passed sewage and water inspection, so could not be legally occupied. Human waste was hauled out in five-gallon buckets each morning. Prophet was convinced that the Russians were going to attack, and that it would occur at night. Staff members worked feverishly to make last minute survival preparations. At 10:00 each night, they rode buses to the enormous mountain shelter. Some that worked outside the church in the general community, including some nurses, abandoned their jobs to be in the shelters. Those living in Glastonbury and in cities worldwide also participated in the drills and went into their underground shelters.
Heavily armed men sat in hardened lookout turrets watching the sky for incoming Soviet missiles. They anticipated that raiding armies bands of locals in search of food-would come from nearby Gardiner after the bombs hit. Guards who raised their voices to the Masters with love and devotion, now clutched weapons, stood guard, and watched the surrounding forest for invaders-with orders to "shoot to kill."
Devotees carried an overwhelming sense of impending doom. Lectures, telephone trees, and dictations from Prophet had whipped her followers to a frenzy of anxiety and fear. Prophet told one woman to live each day as if it were her last. Each student felt the awesome responsibility of staying alive for the Masters. The elite Light bearers on earth must survive to rebuild society. When Prophet and her staff entered the large shelter each night, the door was padlocked from the inside.
Nine years later, one former staff member recalled her time at the Royal Teton Ranch's 756-person shelter: I was there. Helped build the shelters at the South Ranch. Participated in numerous drills (yes, they happened), and saw all the silliness that went on surrounding them. I was on staff for about five years before that time and about four years after, so I saw the whole thing from start to finish. I do remember her [Elizabeth Prophet] walking by us at about two in the morning during one of the "drills" up in the heart and telling my friend and I, "I hope everyone knows they have an hour to get everyone in and shut the doors." That of course included all the animals for which we were responsible: sheep, donkeys, chickens, dogs, turkeys. Needless to say, I never did get to sleep that night.The shelters themselves, particularly the last few, were built in a terrible hurry and many things didn't hold up. In many places the tubes connecting the six shelter units collapsed and were impassable. There was severe water damage in the animal part of the shelter, effectively ruining a good portion of the animal feed that was stored there. Many thousands of bushels of grain were stored in the central part of the shelter which was completely ruined by mice (your contributions at work), and if everyone had stayed underground as planned, there would have been big problems-shelter number six was not only damaged by water leaks, but also the infamous diesel fuel leak which everyone heard of. The fumes were so intense in there no one could go near it for weeks. (Fonicello, "Shelter Experiences")
I remember seeing an entire semi-load of brand spanking new Isuzu pickups parked in the building half way up the hill, along with new tractors, new shop tools, tons and tons of "fertilizer" conspicuously labeled as such ... also having everything shipped in Second Day Air because the end was coming. The head guy from the Western region UPS called the Ranch to find out what in the blazes was going on. (Fonicello, "More Remembrances")
On the last night of the drills, 15 March 1990, Prophet was convinced the attack would occur. She ordered the power and water turned off allover the Royal Teton Ranch. Propane and sewage lines were disconnected; water lines were blown out and winterized. She had incriminating documents destroyed, instructed her personal assistant to cut up all Prophet's many credit cards, and told everyone to get in their shelters and strap into their bed-bunks-the bombs were coming! A contingent of members did not strap in immediately; they decreed. In one of the massive shelter's common areas, Prophet led intense decrees with sixty to seventy devotees until the early hours of the morning. Their foe was a huge alien spacecraft that hovered over the ranch and threatened their destruction. Wave upon wave of decrees were shouted at the offending ship ... that only Prophet saw.
Prophet's directives led thousands to act irrationally and align their entire mental outlook with her. The power of the teachings had reached such proportions and ruled her students' lives to such a degree that they let it supersede their personal free will and ability to make decisions. If her voices had commanded the suicide of her followers, no doubt many would have obeyed. Former members who participated in these bomb shelter drills speculated what could have transpired if Prophet had kept them underground for an extended period of time. They pondered the psychological ramifications and dynamics of 756 people hunkered underground waiting for an imminent nuclear war. Their concerns were claustrophobia, paranoia, psychotic breaks with reality, and possible aggression-and there were pallets of guns and ammunition available.
Creative, energetic, disciplined, hard-working individuals gave their all-financially, spiritually, emotionally, and socially in pursuit of a chimera. Society lost the talents of these individuals who were separated from the larger community. 16 March 1990 dawned with no sign of nuclear attack; dosimeters showed no radiation. Exhausted staff climbed our of the shelters, boarded buses that carried them to their jobs, and returned to work as if nothing unusual had happened. Utilities were reconnected and life returned to "normal." Elizabeth Clare Prophet, ever ready with an excuse, rationalized that their decrees and preparedness had averted disaster. She cautioned that vigilance must be maintained because times were perilous, and disaster was tenuously held in abeyance by the efforts of "Children of Light" working in conjunction with the Masters.
In 1996 then, CUT member Gilbert Cleirbaut, a former director of human resources for Union Carbide, British Petroleum, and the government of Alberta, Canada, was hired as CUT's President. He saw the organization as a corporation instead of a religion and ruthlessly downsized, or in church-management-speak, "right sized and reengineered" the organization by firing most of the staff members. Staff who had served the church with devotion through many hardships, married and raised their children in the teachings-or remained single and celibate in hope that their "twin-flame" would someday arrive-and sacrificed their personal plans, hopes, and goals for those of Prophet were told they were no longer needed. Staff who had served since the days of Mark Prophet suddenly found themselves out of a job.
This transfer of power from Prophet to Cleirbaut was explained when she announced that she suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Thus the late 1990s were turbulent years for CUT. In 1997, Elizabeth Prophet and her fourth husband, Edward Francis divorced. The staff was cut from over five hundred to seventy-five people. Income from tithes dropped to almost nothing compared to CUT's heyday of the 1980s. New recruits were few. In 1999, two-thirds of CUT's Royal Teton Ranch property was sold to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the U.S. government for $ 13,500,000-even though members' donations bought and developed the property, none of the sale money was offered to them. In fact, the group had the audacity to plead with members to donate money to set up a retirement fund for Prophet.
Despite increasing dementia from Alzheimer's, Prophet supposedly wrote an articulate four-page letter to her members on 22 March 1999. Though it was clear to former members that it was written by her keepers and sent in her name. Thus Elizabeth Clare Prophet, the Messenger of the Great White Brotherhood and the Ascended Masters, had herself become an imaginary friend to her remaining followers. But the books by of Notovitch and Elizabeth Clare Prophet on the same subject, are still sold via hundreds (if not thousands, we didn’t count all of them) related websites.