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Prophet's Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet inside the Church Universal and Triumphant
Erin Prophet
(Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press, 2008)

A Review by Someone Somewhat Involved

In the spring of 1990 one of America's most controversial new religious movements, Church Universal and Triumphant (also known as The Summit Lighthouse) went through its most defining moment of its now 50-year history. During the Cold War its leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet had always been very concerned about the rise of communism, the possibility of nuclear holocaust and the naïve, inadequate US defense strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction. This was based on geo-political analyses, plausible prophecies and explicit warnings coming from the Masters, for whom she claimed to be an emissary. Consequently it was only logical to engage in some form of civil defense preparation, especially in the late 80s when some journalists and experts were convinced that the USSR was implementing a devious play of strategic deception through Gorbachev's Glasnost and Perestroika policies. The organization, and many members in private capacity, build fall-out shelters and prepared for the worst.
In March of 1990 the word came down to realistically test the just completed facilities in a 3-day 'drill,' which was understood as the signal for the high possibility of nuclear war in the form of a first strike by the USSR and possible Blitzkrieg to take over Europe. Fortunately nothing happened and shortly afterwards the USSR, instead of militarily exploding, it imploded by the weight of its own contradictions. Though the communist party was dissolved, the other two pillars of the USSR, i.e. the military and the KGB, went underground and arguably re-emerged later with Putin. But that's a different story.

The aftermath of this 'drill' was very challenging for the organization. The press had already come down heavily on them and many members had a hard time coping with the 'failed' prophecy and the effects of the decisions they had made during the preparation like maxing out on credit cards, giving up jobs and taking children out of school. Many left, recriminations proliferated and even her own children decided to distance themselves from the perceived follies. This period, which ran between ca. 1987 and 1992, went down in the annals of the organization as the Shelter Cycle and can be seen as sandwiched between the organization's ascendancy in the 80s and its decline in the 90s.

Personally I experienced all this from the vantage point of lecturer and board member of The Summit Lighthouse of Holland Foundation. I got involved with them in 1986; gave workshops on geo-politics, economics (predicting and explaining the 1987 crash) and conspiracy theory; became member; and when most of the leadership emigrated to the USA in 1988 I filled the vacant position of treasurer till I emigrated in late 1990 and settled in New Mexico. Those days in Holland were both fearful and exhilarating. We did not construct fall-out shelters, but did research on reasonable measures to mitigate any exposure to different weapons of mass destruction and made some of these items available to the membership. Some members did have spots in US shelters, took leave in March 1990 and came back later. Most of us in Holland slept in our own beds during the 'drill' and I spend one night on a mattress under the staircase of the building I used to live in. After it was over I remember that we were neither perturbed nor elated by the 'failed' prophecy and we just went back to our daily lives.

Last year October Erin Prophet, Mrs. Prophet's daughter, published the memoirs of her life in the organization and gave an inside account of the Shelter Cycle. I was neither really shocked nor surprised by her revelations, as I already knew much information through the grapevine and from the manuscript "Purely for Prophet" which her sister Moira had written in the 1990s. The only really big new things (much small stuff is in the book I obviously did not know) was the fact that it was Erin Prophet who had made the decisions on the 1990 dates to go underground during the Shelter Cycle and that she was the source of the indeed bizarre imagery of the astral battles occurring around the Royal Teton Ranch in those days. I often had a hard time with these fantastic imageries, though dutifully transmitted them to the Dutch membership.

Later I engaged in research on those days to look for possible scenarios that might have given a sufficiently serious reason for the 3-day 'drill' of going underground. I found that the very tense India-Pakistan situation was many times on the brink of getting completely out of hand that fateful spring and saw the dangerous possibility of escalation to the point of nuclear exchange between the super-powers. One of the most dangerous days was on the 13th of March, which was one day before the 'drill' started, when the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, went to Kashmir and delivered her most belligerent and provocative address regarding the Kashmir problem with India and promised India a "thousand-year war" over Kashmir if necessary. The situation needed then some deft diplomacy by Robert M. Gates (US Secretary of Defense under both Bush II and now Obama) to get temporarily defused. So, though Erin Prophet might not think so now nor even then, she might have been in spite of herself 'inspired' to call the correct dates and in that way she was an instrument of divine intervention.

I do appreciate the fact that Erin Prophet wanted to share her story, and, given her new agnostic worldview, I do understand her effort to make sense of her past. I think she tried to be honest and respectful, and also critical where she thought it was necessary. The only criticism I have, while I continue sharing her agnostic point of view for the sake of argument, is that she did very poor in contextualizing her story. She did a poor job in giving a more balanced view of the life-world inhabited by her mother and her followers (often called 'Keepers' as they almost all were member of the Keepers of the Flame Fraternity). No mention of the many rather sophisticated researches and lectures, which Mrs. Prophet and her staff had conducted regarding world events, the international power elite, parapolitics, UFOs, AIDS, Soviet communism and its false liberalizations during Glasnost and Perestroika, and the actually then, and still now, existing danger of a nuclear holocaust. The world we lived in as Keepers was more real, complex and rich than that of average people, because of the (for us) illusion-shattering interpretative political paradigm that came with The Summit Lighthouse doctrines on the nature of evil and Mrs. Prophet's processing of many diverse prophecies. From an average, mainstream, mass-conscious perspective it was of course quite wild what The Summit Lighthouse was saying and doing and I'm still grateful to Erin that she mounted a good fight in those days in defending the organization by challenging the many myths that were out there distributed by the mainstream media, sometimes maliciously so as I saw happening in the Netherlands. So, without this contextualization of her mother's and her followers' life-world we do indeed look like a bunch of sheep at the beck and call of a delusional leader, all living in a fairy-world full of imaginary dangers and incapable of critical thought. Erin of course doesn't say so, but she leaves the door wide open for this inference and might have done so intentionally, hopefully not with malice, probably done to evade the great complexity to put her story in a metaphysically neutral, but in-depth perspective.

For whatever reason, she might have reflected too much on her past and opened herself probably too much to editorial and sibling pressure to produce a metaphysically correct and commercially acceptable book, that the effect, and that's just my personal assessment, is that it reads as coming from her own overly subjective bubble into which she seems to have retreated. Again, her book lacks this contextualization to come to a more balanced perception of the point of view of her mother and us, members of her different organizations. No robust discussion of her mother's political and metaphysical ideas like her brother Sean Prophet does, though his aggressive, atheist epistemology is quite questionable in its own terms, leave alone from an esoteric perspective. Instead we are treated with complaints about the unfortunate side effects of Mrs. Prophet's geo-political realism and her human frailties. Sure, many eggs get broken to cook a big omelet and many things, in the heat of the moment, were hard to predict or prepare for during the Shelter Cycle, like the fear- and panic-factor, the stress on families and their budget, and the thing that is thrown into the face of The Summit Lighthouse most, the 'failure' of the prophecy afterwards. Well, I do remember that part of the dire prophecy was its possible, and hoped for, failure. Actually, all the preparedness engaged in was not only to reasonably survive nuclear catastrophe, but also to prevent it from happening in the first place! Its failure would have been enabled by the sheer fact of being prepared and face the 'beast' eyeball to eyeball. And with the 'beast' we meant the hidden combo of Soviet and Chinese communism and the malignant meta-empirical powers behind it, which we belief can be engaged and bound through theurgic mantra-yoga or, what we call, mantras and calls. But all of this is probably only fully understandable when seen from the esoteric point of view, which Erin has tossed. I think though that she is smart enough to see the rationale from that esoteric perspective even while not believing it anymore.

I think we did stare the 'beast' down, for a while; at least to have us bought another 18 years or so of relative peace to get regrouped and finish the job, though the still unsolved 9/11 false flag terror attack and the Iraq war were very disturbing exceptions. Unfortunately we are facing another financial meltdown, even worse than the 1987 crash and the 1930s depression, with the real possibility of the rise again of fascism, militarism, Chinese communism (still in secret league with the Russians), and local and global war. Just look at the enormously dangerous situation the ongoing Indo-Pak crisis moved into again after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, blamed on Pakistani elements and possible help from high-placed officials. To have Erin's book published in the middle of one of the worst months ever [October 2008] in international financial markets might be actually a good thing, for it will force Keepers, ex-Keepers and many others close to the Ascended Master and Theosophical movements to confront again the current world and the Shelter Cycle in the past in more realistic, spiritual, geo-political terms and take again appropriate spiritual and physical measures, not only to be prepared for the most dire possibilities, but again, to be able to face down the 'beast' as it sees great opportunities to make further headway to enslave humanity in poverty, ignorance and tyranny. The other side of the coin is of course the opportunity for Lightbearers (i.e. people of goodwill regardless of their metaphysical background) to step up the plate and contribute to the possible reforms of society which now become so obviously and painfully necessary, especially the hardly understood devastating nature of our monetary system, about which the Masters and Mrs. Prophet tried so hard to educate and warn us.

Giving this timing it makes me wonder if Erin Prophet isn't still helping her mother's cause, despite her outer agnosticism, and is just driven by her higher self, or even (imagine this!) the Masters, to still fulfill some of her higher calling, which she abandoned in a free-will decision. If she had kept to her candidacy and training for messengership things might have been quite different of course, but like Krishnamurti, she passed the opportunity. At least she had the decency to give something of an accounting. It was probably too much of a strain on her psyche to push through with a task that can only be imagined as enormous, frightening and utterly demanding as she saw up close her mother's travails, successes and failures. And now I'm sorry to see that she switched horses and joined the pack of 'average agnostics.' I think we just were very fortunate with a 30-plus-year run of Mrs. Prophet as messenger, warts and all, fulfilling the role of arguably the Blavatsky of the 20th century, as she was the emissary of the Mahatmas for that 'centennial cycle.' And we are fortunate that we still have some competing candidates in the wings, any of whom might be legitimately carrying her mantle. And now Erin's book came out to remind us of the possible very serious consequences of the current political-financial situation and the fact that Lightbearers are facing this without the inspiring rallying figure of neither Elizabeth Clare Prophet nor any of her offspring.

Govert Schuller
April 9, 2009



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