Prophet, Elizabeth Clare
Prophet, Elizabeth Clare (b. 1939)(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Elizabeth Clare Wulf was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, on April 8, 1939 (another source says she was born in Long Branch, New Jersey). Her father was a World War I German U-Boat captain; her mother came from Switzerland. She claims that as a teenager she “had a supernatural experience with the Master Saint Germain” which compelled her to devote her life to spreading these teachings. Her first of four marriages was in 1960 to Dag Ytreburg, a Norwegian lawyer. This marriage ended in 1961, when she met Mark Prophet (1918–1973). Prophet was a traveling salesman, also married at the time they met. Elizabeth believed that she and Mark had met in a previous lifetime, in Camelot, when she was Guinevere and he was Lancelot. Two years later, Mark got a divorce, leaving behind a wife and five children, and married Elizabeth. They had four children, Sean, Erin, Moira and Tatiana.
Mark founded The Summit Lighthouse in 1958. When he was seventeen years old, Mark felt he was “supernaturally” contacted by El Morya, an “Ascended Master;” one of the Great White Brotherhood favored by Helena Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. Mark taught his new wife to “take dictation” from dozens of Ascended Masters ranging from Buddha to Jesus to K17 (head of the “cosmic secret service"). According to Prophet, these masters spoke only through Elizabeth, and have done so more than 2,000 times. She often closed her eyes when delivering this inspirational speaking, placing her fingertips on her temples. She once told an interviewer that “the energy is stupendous. It is exhilarating.”
The Prophets lived in Washington D.C. for several years and then moved to Colorado Springs. In 1973, Mark died of a stroke and the church claimed that he had become another Ascended Master named Lanello (a combination of names from two previous lives: Lancelot and Longfellow). Elizabeth Clare Prophet took over leadership of The Summit Lighthouse, marrying an aide, Randall Kosp, a few months after Mark’s death. She renamed the group The Church Universal and Triumphant. The church grew rapidly and moved first to Santa Barbara and then to Malibu. Elizabeth’s marriage to Kosp ended in 1980. The following year Elizabeth married Ed Francis and, in 1994, at fifty-five years of age, she gave birth to their son Seth Thomas Francis. In 1998, she and Francis divorced, although their marriage had been hailed as being divinely inspired.
Prophet’s followers call her Vicar of Christ, Messenger, Mother of the Flame, Mother, and Ma Guru. The church purchased a 32,000 acre ranch in Montana. From its headquarters there, Prophet spreads the word of the masters through regular publications and multiple weekly television programs. She predicted that there would be a Soviet missile strike on the United States on April 23, 1990. The many church followers who live at the ranch (estimates have been as high as 3,000) built underground bunkers and the church sold space in them for $12,000 per person. (The state of Montana has since banned use of the shelters.) When the attack did not take place, Prophet claimed that she did not mean an actual nuclear holocaust but rather the beginning of a “twelve year cycle of negative karma.”
Federal officials ordered the evacuation of thirty-five underground fuel tanks at the ranch, when it was found that more than 20,000 gallons of fuel had leaked from the tanks. Eventually 650,000 gallons of fuel were removed. The church’s tax exempt status was challenged—with $2.6 million owing in back taxes—when it was found that they were stockpiling weapons. Prophet’s husband, also the Vice President of the church, was arrested and served prison time for assumed identity and purchase of military-style equipment for the church.
One ex-member of the church received a $1.8 million judgement against the church on the grounds that he was made a slave there. Four of Prophet’s adult children have turned their backs on the church, with three of them publicly criticizing her and one of them calling it a “dangerous cult” and her “a hypocrite.” Despite legal challenges and a variety of problems, the church claims that its membership is increasing. Prophet herself is said to be suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, though some claim this to be a stunt designed to keep her from testifying in potential lawsuits filed by ex-members. Others say the disease is real.