As the leader of the Church Universal and Triumphant, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, or Guru Ma as she called by her followers, is one of the more interesting cult leaders on the scene today. She claims to be the reincarnation of, among others, the Virgin Mary, Queen Guinevere, Marie Antoinette, and Martha the sister of Lazarus and Mary Magdalene. She is also privileged to be the only mouthpiece for the "Ascended Masters," a group of spirit-guides which includes Jesus, Buddha, Merlin the Magician, Sir Lancelot, and extraterrestrials Ray-O-Lite and El Morya.
Born Elizabeth Clare Wulf on April 8, 1940, in Jersey City, she is the offspring of a German yacht-maker father and a somewhat occultic Swiss mother. At an early age Prophet allegedly became aware of past life experiences and had visitations from the extraterrestrial El Morya. She began a systemic search of church and synagogue for spiritual truth.
While a student at Boston University in the early sixties, she met Mark Prophet, who had started his own church, the Summit Lighthouse, in 1958.
A former vacuum cleaner salesman, Prophet believed himself to be the reincarnation of Sir Lancelot of Arthurian fame. The pair divorced their respective spouses and were married. Followers of the couple recognize them as the two witnesses of the Book of Revelation.
When Mark Prophet died in 1973 their financial empire had grown to an estimated worth of $50 million, mainly from tithes, a successful printing plant, and donations. Elizabeth, now known as Guru Ma or "Mother of the Flame," moved the headquarters from Colorado to Malibu and then to its present location in Montana. The name of the church was changed to the Church Universal and Triumphant.
CUT is an amalgam of Eastern mysticism, Christianity, and neo- Gnosticism. It shares with other New Age groups a belief in monism, that the one fundamental reality of humanity is deity and the one task is to actualize that deity. From theosophy it borrows a belief in a body of omniscient teachers in the spirit realm known as the "Ascended Masters."
From gnosticism comes the belief that we are not fallen creatures in an inherently good world, but divine beings trapped in an imperfect universe. The "etheric plane" is to be attained by a mystic journey, a spiritual flight to transcendent realms, with the necessary knowledge gained from the ascended masters.
This brand of eclectic occultism views Jesus Christ as a mere human being who became "a christ" when he discovered the "christ-presence" that is within us all. We are challenged by the masters to recognize the Holy of Holies within us and to bow down to our own Trinity--which is ourselves.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet claims a worldwide following of 30,000. Her present husband is the reincarnation of Captain Cook. She has authored many books, including The Lost Years of Jesus and St. Germain on Alchemy. (They are not available through the Mini-Catalogue.)