This Thursday Elizabeth Clare Prophet (aka Guru Ma), the former leader of the bizarre new age doomsday cult Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT) aka The Summit Lighthouse, died at the age of 70 in a nursing home in Bozeman, Montana, after suffering from Alzheimer's disease since 1998. The Summit Lighthouse was started in 1958 by Mark Prophet in Washington, D.C. He later married Elizabeth, they moved it to Colorado, and she took over the leadership after Mark's death in 1973. Under the name Church Universal and Triumphant they eventually moved to California in 1976, and finally to Montana in 1986, where they bought a 12,000-acre ranch just north of Yellowstone Park. Being convinced that the end of the world was near, they built a 756-person underground bomb shelter in a pristine alpine meadow and stocked up on firearms. When everyone assembled in the bomb shelters on the date of the predicted apocalypse on March 15, 1990, nothing happened, and eventually CUT members started to lose faith in the prophetic abilities of Elizabeth Prophet, and left the church in droves.
Subsequently CUT sold many of its properties to the Federal Government, laid off most of its 600 employees, and continued working with a much lower profile and less crazy beliefs. However, the rules for visitors of their "Royal Teton Ranch" still state
Do not engage in uncontrolled anger, the use of profanity, indecent exposure, violence, harm to others, the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products, nor play rock music, jazz, rap or other associated types of music.
Yes, for some reason the condemnation of rock music is one part of the CUT dogma that survives, and nothing shows the essence of it better than the recording that surfaced several years ago under the name "The Sounds of American Doomsday Cults, v.14". (Incidentally, I don't think there are really 14 volumes of this.) Since this was only released on vinyl and (thanks for the correction, Mr. Fab) is long out of print (as far as I know), here are the MP3s:
1 Dedication to the tackling of the beast and the dragon - the momentum of rock-n-roll
2 Call for protection
3 Video Shorts with 2 announcements (excerpt)
4 Preamble - Great Divine Rectors call (listen to the list of names!)
5 Invocation for the judgement against and destruction of rock music
6 Decree 10-05 (pure insanity, frequently sampled and well-known to regular WFMU listeners)
Mark and Elizabeth's son Sean Prophet turned into an atheist, and he runs the amazing Black Sun Journal, containing many posts about his experiences with CUT, e.g., how the band Rush saved him and his kids (who are all rock musicians now!) Sean works in TV production, and he is trying to put together a documentary about the CUT bomb shelters.I sure hope that this will see the light of the day at some point in the future.
Sean's sister Erin wrote a book about her experiences called Prophet's Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet Inside the Church Universal and Triumphant.