|END OF A FALSE "PROPHET"|
|By Joe Szimhart|
|SCP Newsletter, SPRING 1998 VOLUME 22:4|
[It's hard times at the Church Universal and Triumphant (the CUT). Under the leadership of Elizabeth Claire Prophet, the CUT had been one of the most flamboyant "survivalist" cults in the last half of this century. Prophet picked up leadership of the group in the '70's after the death of her first husband and original leader, Mark Prophet. Under E.C. Prophet, the CUT was responsible for a strange and dangerous theological brew that combines channeled revelations from the Ascended Masters, reincarnation, karma, twisted interpretations of the gospel, and culture-rejecting paranoia. The CUT gained widespread notoriety in the 80's and early 90's when Prophet prophecied an impending nuclear holocaust. In March of 1990, Prophet signaled that the time had come--and the faithful sequestered themselves for a time in massive underground bomb shelters in Montana and elsewhere. Needless to say, the end did not come as planned.
Now, with membership falling and Prophet herself increasingly out of the picture due to a "neurological disorder," it appears that this group is trying to re-invent itself--changing it's image from one of panic-mongering doomsayers to a church of "Divine Love." As Joe Szimhart traces the origins and history of this cult from its roots in the depression-era "I AM" movement to its present troubles, it is ironic to think that this Satanic deception may be abandoning its bomb-shelters just as the big one really is about to hit (look for SCP coverage of the Y2K "time bomb" in the months to come). And wouldn't it be just like the master deceiver to use a group like the CUT to massively discredit the whole notion of societal collapse just as such an event roles down the pike . . . Ed.]
Early on a beautiful Sunday morning I strolled down State Street over the green Chicago River and turned right onto Washington. I stopped to see the giant, rusted steel Picasso sculpture at the Chicago Civic Center. Many years ago I first encountered this monstrous, cubist version of an Afghan dog. The thirty-foot, welded construction is still an impressive icon of modernity. It takes me back to a time when "modern" art was yet shocking and dramatic. Chicago's Mayor Daley received the proposed Picasso badly, visibly not appreciative of the model he held in his hand. It was installed in 1967.
The street is named after America's first president, and I was about to see a life-sized photo of a man who claimed to have been George Washington in a past life. That's correct: Guy Ballard, who died in 1939, was George Washington, if you talk to an "I AM" Activity devotee. His wife, Edna Ballard, who lived into the early 1970s, was Benjamin Franklin according to the group. The "I AM" Temple is inside a twelve stories high building at 176 West Washington. The sect purchased it in 1948. The 'Mighty "I AM"' owns many significant properties purchased after its meteoric rise in Great Depression-racked America. Today it has reading rooms in many cities, and main centers in Mt. Shasta, California and Santa Fe, New Mexico outside of Chicago.
By 1939 the "I AM" reportedly had 50,000 followers after a mere five years since its start. That may have been an exaggeration. Today only a few thousand or less remain by my estimate, despite renewed interest in the "I AM" teachings within the recent New Age Movement explosion. "I AM" books turn up in many New Age and occult bookstores. The Ballard teachings form the basis of many active but separate sects that claim larger followings: Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), the Bridge to Freedom (now known as the Foundation for Higher Spiritual Learning in Virginia and South America), and smaller ones like the Church of the Ascension, the Ruby Ray and a CUT spin-off launched in 1997 by a former CUT "bishop," Monroe Shearer. The Lighthouse of Freedom was a 1950s "I AM" sect that influenced mark Prophet to found his Summit Lighthouse in 1958, the forerunner of CUT.
Outside the "I AM" Temple door the visitor approaches under two huge American flags jutting from the building. After all, this is "George Washington's" place. The storefront window displays religious pictures and some pithy, innocuous quotes from "I AM" teachings on posters and cards. Once inside you notice a trademark poster of the "I AM"'s spiritual founder, the Comte de Saint-Germain (1708-84, give or take a year), in a militaristic, blue uniform and not in his characteristic white, powdered wig.
[The "I AM" images of "Saint Germain" look nothing like the real merchant-magician-spy who was neither Count nor Saint. He named himself after a French city--Saint-Germain. He impressed many gullible royals in the court of Louis XV in France, but others regarded the Count as both braggart and charlatan. Paris in the eighteenth century was crawling with magician/occultists. The Count was one of the more talented and entertaining mystery men. Comte de Saint-Germain often dropped hints that he was five hundred years old, belonged to a secret order of mystics resembling the Rosicrucians or Freemasons, and perhaps was an immortal. Non-apologetic sources I recommend on Saint-Germain are: Charles Mackay's 1852 account in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Harmony, 1980: pp 230-37; E.M. Butler's 1948 description in The Myth of the Magus Cambridge, Canto edition, 1993: chapter 11; and if you are up to it, read Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum (Ballantine, 1988) for a rowdy, semiotic jaunt through occult territory. His fictional version of "Saint Germain" and the Great White Fraternity is fascinating.]
In the main lobby wall to the right is the life-sized, black and white photo of Guy and Edna Ballard together, regally dressed and posed in white formal wear. Seated behind a neat, large desk, two middle-aged women greeted me with pleasant smiles. "Hello. Can we help you," asked the one with brunette bangs.
"Yes," I said. "I'm interested to know more about your temple. I read about the "I AM" many years ago. I have studied Theosophy. This is my first visit here." I said nothing that was untrue, yet I had to be cautious if I was to ingratiate myself to these aura-sensitive ladies. I could be perceived as harboring evil entities. I was dressed in a beige tee-shirt that sported a Celtic dragon design, white sneakers and jeans, but I did have a handsome leather briefcase with me. The ladies were in their finest "I AM" Sunday uniforms. Sunday is their day for white and these ladies each wore a pure white, lacy, ankle-length skirt with a purple cross brooch pinned at the neck of their equally frilly, white blouses. Had I visited them on Saturday they most likely would have worn something violet or purple. Every day has its color in the "I AM" excluding black, brown, red, orange and earthy tones. Blue is "sacred power" but blue jeans are definitely not favored.
The ladies directed me to the reading room, a small but tidy area with two chairs. On one shelf were the entire ten or twelve hard bound collection of "I AM" scriptures in their familiar green bindings, familiar to me because I had read them all in 1976-77. On another shelf were small cubicles, each containing eight to twelve copies of The Voice of the "I AM," the sect's magazines from the 1930s through 1997.
The "I AM" Voices feature dictation by Ascended Masters as well as current news and a catalogue of sacred "I AM" objects and music for sale. In their day, Guy and Edna Ballard were the "Messengers" for an Ascended Host of beings--over twenty-- that included "Saint" Germain, Jesus, K-17, Hercules, Mighty Victory and Morya. As Messengers they were mediums or channels in the Spiritualist and Theosophical traditions that stem from the nineteenth century. The 1940 issue included dictation from Beloved Jesus, Might Harmony and the Goddess of Music as well as an essay about Guy Ballard's "ascension" by Edna (Mrs. G. W.) Ballard. It is unclear whether these dictation came through Guy or Edna, as Guy died early on the morning of December 29, 1939 of complications from heart and liver diseases. Edna announced that Guy or Daddy "ascended" at midnight December 31, 1939. His body was cremated.
"He is now our Beloved Ascended Master of Light who can give Limitless Help to all who will accept and apply the Ascended Masters' Instruction of the "I AM" which He gave, under the Direction of our Beloved Ascended Master, Saint Germain. He is glorious, beyond words to describe! His Love and Light are Limitless and He pours them to all for the Freedom of America and all mankind....."
"In His Unlimited State, our Blessed Daddy can wield more Power of Light Rays, than he could through the physical body or than I can wield in this body. I want you to understand this clearly, so when the outer world has anything to say about it, make your statement with positive force; for I assure you I am telling the Truth and will never tell you anything but the Truth" (Mrs. G. W. Ballard, 1940. The Voice of the "I AM". Saint Germain Press, pp. 26-27, 31).
In 1940 many I AMers did not accept the new "Dispensation" for ascension after the death of the "body." The dispensation revelation came through "Mama" Ballard from the "Great Divine Director" speaking for the "Great Central Sun" (IBID.: p. 27). But in that same Voice, Beloved Jesus states, on November 30, 1939, that:
"There has been lurking in many the idea that one may make the Ascension after so-called death; but that cannot be accomplished because the call for the Ascension must be made to the "I AM Presence" and the Ascended masters from within the physical side of Life. You cannot do it otherwise, no one ever did in the world" (The Voice of the "I AM" Saint Germain Press, 1940, p. 6).
If "Jesus" meant what he said, this dictation rejects all claims to ascension made for dead people by any messenger including Mrs. Ballard and Mrs. Prophet.
[ Many CUT members who have died have also had their "ascensions" proclaimed by Mrs. Prophet. This includes her husband, Mark, who died in 1973. Mark is now Ascended Master "Lanello," reflecting his claimed past lives as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Sir Lancelot. Mark was also Pharaoh Iknaton, if you can believe it.]
But a scant 21 pages later, Jesus is conveniently superseded. So much for Ascended Master consistency. The early "I AM" followers were told repeatedly that Beloved Daddy could ascend in his physical body as they would also if they made the "call." Members also believed that there was an "ascension chair" in a mysterious temple that could assist them to reach the necessary "vibratory" levels to attain ascension. They only had to be good students, do their "decrees" or calls (high speed chanting several hours daily), and follow the rules. The rules included vegetarian diets, no alcohol or drugs, no sex for "100% students" and no sex save for procreation for all others. Students also were required to renounce affiliation with any other religion.
When the Messenger, Guy Ballard, died in worse condition than most mortals, many shocked I AMers spiraled away in doubt. In early "autobiographical" books, Ballard claimed to have attained an indestructible body.
Those who remained would believe any correction that came through the remaining Messenger, who they called "Beloved Mama." According to eyewitnesses, Mrs. Ballard tried to disguise Guy's illness at a Shrine Class in December, stating that Beloved Daddy was away on a mission with Saint Germain. Since the morning newspapers in Los Angeles and Chicago reported his death immediately, Mrs. Ballard had to respond quickly. This assuaged the believers until the federal courts in California indicted Mrs. Ballard, her son, Donald, and many "I AM" leaders on nineteen counts of fraud later in 1940. Many more would defect thereafter.
The United States verses Ballard case in California (1940-44) is a twentieth century landmark in cult crime litigation. "I AM" leaders received fines and suspended sentences. The sect was not permitted to use the US postal service again until 1954. The convictions were eventually overturned by a Supreme Court decision on a technicality involving the original Grand Jury selection. The government did not pursue the case again, but a judge ruled that religious beliefs, no matter how bizarre, could not be tried, and perhaps not even discussed, in court. Plaintiffs had little to say in court about how they were duped by promises that the "dynamic decrees" to Ascended Masters could cure any ill and change any life, family or nation. But they did convince the court that "I AM" leaders had unduly manipulated them to send large sums of money for the dubious cause and promises of the Messengers.
[See: C. S. Braden, 1949. These Also Believe. MacMillan Co. for an extensive report on the "I AM" and it's legal difficulties.] Today there are no Messengers in the original "I AM" Activity. Older, unpublished messages from Masters appear in current Voices for the faithful. The ladies at the desk assured me that there were plenty more. The sect "calls" for the appearance of the Masters themselves in their "visible, tangible bodies" to come guide and rule the planet for the coming New Age. But messengers and channelers abound in our New Age. In 1988 one survey stated that Los Angeles alone had over one thousand channelers. [As reported on a West 57th Street, TV program about "channeling."]
The "I AM" rejects all competing channelers as inauthentic, including Elizabeth Clare Prophet, the most successful, self-appointed messenger of the same Great White Brotherhood of Ascended Masters claimed by the "I AM." Prophet has been channeling messages from the Masters since the early 1960s. Many disenchanted I AMers have crossed over to Prophet's group and to others that base their teachings on the old "I AM." For the believer there is little in life more exciting than to hear a message from the Great White Brotherhood at the moment of delivery. They call it progressive revelation.Rise of the CUT
If the old "I AM" remains stuck in some past teachings, the newer Ascended Master sects with living messengers can change with each new day. The channeled God or the gods can justify any inconsistency and modify failed doctrines as well as any politician. Elizabeth Clare Prophet's church has weathered and continues to weather many internal and external difficulties. When Mark Prophet, the group's founder and Elizabeth's second husband, died unexpectedly in 1973, Elizabeth soon remarried and took charge. Riding the cultural wave of the swelling New Age Movement, she guided her newly named Church Universal and Triumphant to the Malibu hills. There the annual conferences attracted over three thousand members, tripling what she and Mark Prophet had attracted together. By 1979 she was divorced again. In the early 1980s CUT sold the Malibu property for seventeen million dollars (to the controversial Nichiren Shoshu Society or Soka Gakkai of Japan) and reinvested it by buying the Forbes Ranch in Montana on the northern border of Yellowstone Park. By 1983 the church had moved its headquarters to Montana and Elizabeth had married once more. That marriage to a much younger but wealthy man lasted until 1997, after she had her fifth child with him in 1994. Mrs. Prophet was fifty five.
CUT had lived on the edge of fear since its inception. Dire warnings from the Masters about economic collapse and international war brought on by hated groups like the "Tri-lateral Commission" and "fallen ones" compelled members to buy survivalist supplies and weapons. In 1972 Mark Prophet named the secret survivalist plan Operation Christ Command or OCC. By the mid to late-eighties Elizabeth Prophet, relying on her astrological acumen, prophesied a "dark cycle" commencing around 1988 and tunneling through 2001. According to Prophet, thousands of years of "bad karma" have accumulated and will come back to haunt us...big time. CUT began a monster excavation program digging deep into the earth to construct huge bomb and survival shelters. One reportedly holds seven hundred or more. Repeating an old pattern that extends back to the "I AM" prophesies in 1939, when the Masters declared that the "War Entity" over Europe was "dissolved," Prophet's "doom prophecy" was badly timed. CUT's fearsome enemy, the communist regimes in Russia and elsewhere, began collapsing like dominos about the time the shelters were near completion. Prophet named a couple of specific dates when the members might have to go underground. When they finally did one day in 1990, nothing happened outside, but inside the shelters it became clear that the panicky group was not ready for that kind of occultation. Nor were the shelters. They never descended again except to play bingo in the largest area.1
When the Branch Davidian tragedy at Waco occurred in 1993, CUT was in the news again as a potential Waco-like disaster. The ingredients were there: An illegally armed camp suspicious of the government, a charismatic leader with paranoid prophecies, and thousands of devotees so loyal they would believe and do nearly anything she asked.2
CUT had it out with the IRS over their non-profit status at that time as well. The IRS reinstated the status when CUT agreed, on one count, to relinquish control over weapons, including the return of an armored vehicle to the Tanks-A-Lot company in New Jersey. It is legal for you and I to own a tank in America, but not for a church. With the dramatic decrease of the communist menace on one hand, and the concern over militia groups rising on the other, CUT had little choice but to change its image. They were losing staff members and recruitment was down. Staff could not live well on $75 to $125 per month with no benefits save some food and rudimentary shelter, if they had no support of their own. The "bomb shelter cult" was now transforming into the friendly little church down the street. in the '70'sRight Sizing
That was and is not an easy task. In 1993 a group of scholars headed by James R. Lewis and J. Gordon Melton did a quick survey and study of CUT members in Montana. Published as Church Universal and Triumphant in Scholarly Perspective (Center for Academic Publication), the study has been soundly criticized by peer review. (See: Robert W. Balch & Stephan Langdon: "How the Problem of Malfeasance Gets Overlooked in Studies of New Religions: An Examination of the AWARE Study of [CUT]," included in Anson Shupe, Ed., 1998. Wolves within the Fold. Rutgers). The study was financially supported by CUT, and the result is more a propaganda piece than an accurate appraisal. In any case, CUT was only too happy to use it as "proof" that they are not a destructive cult, but a new "denomination." Radical down-sizing cut seven hundred or so staff in Montana at CUT's peak down to nearly two hundred in 1997. CUT managers prefer to call it "right-sizing." Right or wrong the new attitude is expressed in CUT's Business Plan Annual Report, "Portrait of An Organization in Transition," spearheaded by Bernard Cleirbaut, the new president. The Annual Report looks like any slick business reorganization plan, complete with mission statement and impressive charts. Charts always look great on paper. A few things caught my jaded eyes, however.
["Jaded" because I used to be a member of CUT around 1979-80. I attended 3 large conferences near LA and became a "Keeper of the Flame" for several months. I rejected CUT in the fall of 1980 and began exiting members (who wanted to know why I quit CUT) out of the group at that time.]
1. CUT wants to make "Ascended Masters" a household word. No comment. 2. CUT wants to "shift" its "organizational culture" (a nice twist on that nasty word, cult) from "fear to love" and from "crisis management to planning." One wonders why it took these brilliant Ascended Masters over sixty years, if we count the "I AM" as the beginning--over one hundred if we accept CUT's proclaimed Master lineage back to Blavatsky--to discover love. Helena Blavatsky was no stranger to crises either--her entire life biography reads like one. 3. CUT's revenues are plainly spelled out with fiscal projections. They intend to pay staff a living wage with adequate benefits. This means that they will spend as much or more on a radically down-sized staff. Makes you think how little they valued their workers until now, does it not? It is not clear how much Elizabeth has accumulated in her private accounts.
4. CUT published a "Handbook" for members called "Building a New Future" based on a "Second Life Cycle" paradigm charted on the back flap. "Saint Germain" (channeled by Elizabeth Prophet, of course) is quoted on the first page: "Let this church upon the mountain of God be known universally as the church of Divine Love. So let it be. You each one 'is' the living church" (April 4, 1997). Odd language for a man who CUT believes wrote the Shakespeare plays, but Saint Germain may or may not be aware of the already established, Spiritualist "Divine Love Ministry," a branch of the Foundation Church of Divine Truth, based on the automatic writings of James Padgett. Other spirits may have already copyrighted Divine Love.Magic
The Handbook contains many pithy slogans and rules for members. Membership remains at three levels with escalating expectations. At bottom is Keeper of the Flame, next are Communicants, and highest are Community Members who are eligible to be employed and live in the church's community. Communicants are chided to follow all the moral and ethical laws of the nation (p.20), but I smiled slightly when I read the next paragraph:
" We also pledge to shun the black arts including the practice of Satanism, witchcraft and black magic. Further, we pledge to avoid deliberate association with discarnate spirits through such activities as psychic channeling, automatic writing and spiritualism, et al." (p. 21).
I almost hate to use the following, overused exclamation, but...Hello, Mrs. Prophet? What have you been doing all these years? And what have the Keepers of the Flame been doing if not associating with discarnate spirits? Helena Blavatsky, the original "messenger" of "Morya" (CUT's alleged founder) used automatic writing incessantly to produce her Theosophical tomes. Her close companion, Colonel Olcott, wrote about her psychic style in Old Diary Leaves.3 As to channeling, Prophet has denied that she is a "trance medium" or channel. Her explanation is that a Master takes over her "voice box" and speaks to us through it. Prophet's denial is tantamount to Transcendental Meditators claiming that what they do is not self-hypnosis. If it quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and has feathers like a duck...well, you figure it out.
Quibbling over the obvious is not a useful pursuit, not to me. As to "spiritualism," there is little or nothing to separate what Mrs. Prophet does with her "voice box" from what Estelle Roberts, Edgar Cayce, Jane Roberts or any other channel/medium did with theirs.
The pledge lacks all credibility regarding witchcraft and black magic, though I will allow that CUT does not invoke anyone called Satan. Indeed, CUT decrees against Old Splitfoot. Witchcraft, in its neo-pagan form called Wicca, utilizes the same sympathetic magic technique in casting "spells" as CUT members and I AMers apply in what they call "decrees." Show a decree to any self-respecting, intelligent witch or Wiccan and you will find recognition of a spell.
Spell: The mainstay of Folk Magic, spells are simply magical rites. They're usually non-religious and often include spoken words. (Scott Cunnigham, 1996. Living Wicca. Llewellyn Publications, p. 205)
Spells by Wiccans often invoke spirits, elementals, gods and goddesses for assistance. CUT calls its practice of decreeing (high speed chants and that include invocation of spirits, gods, elementals of fire, earth, water and air) the "Science of the Spoken Word." Science, in this sense, does not refer to the natural sciences of an empirical, testable world. It refers to exactly what the definition above states, namely Folk Magic. The difference is, that in CUT and the "I AM," Folk Magic becomes a central religious rite by any other name, but it is still Magic. Decrees are nothing more than spells. Granted, like Wiccans, CUT decreers wish to cast benign spells over the land and human masses according to the "will of God." Wiccans follow The Law that exhorts them to "harm none."
But who is God? In "I AM"/CUT theology, each person has a "Mighty I AM Presence" hovering above them, connected to their "chakras" by a silver cord of invisible light. Indistinguishable from the Atman/Brahman identity in Vedic philosophy, the I AM Presence is God and the same as God in the individual higher self. The circular logic goes something like this: God's will is the will of my Mighty I AM Presence that is my true self. When Mrs. Prophet's I AM Presence dictates who to decree for or against, it is "God's will." Yes, names are mentioned in decrees, and if you are a critic of CUT, yours could be included.
These powerful decrees (the "most powerful force in the universe," according to CUT doctrine) aim to stop all evil energy directed at the CUT membership and goals. If you or I persist in holding onto our "evil" attitudes or practices after a spell or decree has been cast in "our name", well, too bad for us. In CUT belief, it is like holding onto a log that is being swept over Niagara Falls (my imagery, not theirs), and they cannot help it if we persist in holding onto our evil logs. Decrees include words such as: Blaze, blaze blaze bolts of blue lightening; Burn right through, Burn right through, Burn right through; and Smash, Blast, Annihilate and Consume. In one decree the "demand for judgment" goes out against a hundred names or so that include Erasmus, Darwin, Winston Churchill, Hitler, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Harriet Pilpel, and Nathaniel Rothschild. [Ruby Ray decree 83.31, CUT member decree book, 1981.] And what do they have so offensively in common? The decree calls them the "Nephilim Manipulators of Population."
Other CUT decree "hit lists" include Rock stars, liberal congressmen, "cult" leaders like Werner Erhard, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Sun Myung Moon, competitor Alice A. Bailey and Lucis Trust, and "deprogrammers" like yours truly.4
[From a preamble insert to CUT decree 10.00, 1987, p. 10. Also, in a CUT "Pearl of Wisdom" (Vol. 31, No. 4, January 24, 1988) the god/master Sanat Kumara through Prophet condemns the following: "And therefore I say, Woe! Woe! Woe! Unto this Swami Rama [of Himalayan Institute of Pennsylvania] and all who are like him and with him, the false hierarchies out of India who have come as fallen angels, taken bodies of that blessed nation and therefore moved against her people...Let it come to pass, therefore, that they are exposed! They are exposed! They are exposed! As you name them now and demand the cutting free of all true Lightbearers who have been fastened to them by manipulation and, yes, black magic....even that Sun Myung Moon, go down! Woe! Woe! Woe! (Pp. 43-44).]
Talk about guru wars...Happily, I hold no grudges against CUT staff for allegedly inserting me in their decrees, though they mean to do only the "will of God." Although I too believed in this sort of magic once, I know now that decrees (spells) do not work except to influence the beliefs and attitudes of the decreers. Now, if you are a witch, don't get mad at me for saying that. Remember, harm none! If CUT means what it says in its new "Business Plan," the group should end this decree policy of inserting names, in secret or public, for judgment. It smacks of black magic and sorcery to outsiders and targets.
[The aftermath of failed prophecy has not been pleasant for Prophet, or the CUT. As the Associated Press reported recently:
The bomb shelters were built, the food and clothing were gathered, the weapons were stockpiled, the fuel was stored. But Armageddon never came . . . Disillusioned after years of costly preparations for a calamity that never came, followers left in droves upon realizing the world would go on. As for Prophet, the 58-year-old woman has a still-undiagnosed neurological disease that attacks her memory, the president of the church says. Also, her epilepsy is getting worse. Her fourth marriage ended in divorce last year after her husband left her for their nanny, and her four adult children have left the church, some with bitter words. (Apocalyptic church struggling after Armageddon didn't happen, AP., April 3, 1998)
Prophet is now in semi-seclusion, almost out of the picture as the CUT desperately tries to change course and stop the hemorrhaging of members and finances. Will it survive? In a sense, who cares? Prophet has fulfilled her role as a change agent, a forerunner of the cult of the Ascended Masters. If she and the CUT drop the ball, it will be picked up by any number of other younger, differently positioned newcomers, be it James Redfield with his mass-market occult fiction, Mariane Williamson, the latest apostle of The Course in Miracles, Deepak Chopra, J. Budziszewski (Conversations with God), Anthony Robbins, Jean Huston (New Age confidant and advisor of Hilary Clinton), Betty Eadie, etc. The CUT may disperse. Or it may, like the "I AM" movement, continue on in a hobbled form, little more than a continuing shrine to its beloved guru. Or it may continue to spawn ever more virulent spiritual viruses, new groups, new leaders, new voices adding to the rising din. It seems there is no lack of voices crying out for deliverance; but these are voices crying not for the Savior, but for the Ascended Masters, the Bhudda's of all ages , to come and take control of the planet. Ed.]
Except where noted, entire contents Copyright ©1996, 1998 Joseph P. Szimhart
1["On the night of March 15th  in the best shelter of them all (Guru Ma's), kids were screaming as they were strapped into their shelter bunks. Men were hauling out human waste in five gallon buckets for lack of proper toilet facilities. Armed guards patroled the topside. Similar scenarios of this nightmare repeated itself in every other shelter" Peter Arnone. October, 1996. Focus (an ex-CUT member newsletter). The information about bingo came from a conversation with Murray Steinman, CUT's media representative, in 1993.]
2[In July, 1989 CUT's chief security officer, Vernon Hamilton, and Elizabeth Prophet's husband, Edward Francis, were caught and arrested for illegally purchasing weapons for church use (see Scott McMillion, February 27, 1995. "Church members' gun-buying outlined: Justice Department documents released to theChronicle," Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Bozeman, Montana. Mrs. Prophet claimed she knew nothing about the plans for purchase. Her daughter, Moira, claimed her mother did know when interviewed by Australia's "A Current Affair" on TV.]
3Peter Washington, 1993. Madame Blavatsky's Baboon, Secker & Warburg, p. 52.
4In my eleven plus years as an "exit counselor" I have mainly worked on cases that involved no coercion or abduction. Since 1992 I have refused to work on cases that involve potentially illegal detention of anyone. From 1986 some of my caseload, included situations in which the family that hired me elected to hold a "cult" member against their will for the purpose of counseling. I thus have a reputation as a "deprogrammer." In 1993 I stood trial in Idaho regarding a 1991 deprogramming attempt of a CUT member. I was acquitted of all charges by a jury in April, 1993. For a more thorough explanation of that situation go to: http://www.gasou.edu/psychweb/psyrelig/szimhart.htm
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