Elizabeth Clare Prophet Wikipedia Article

For years, I’ve resisted the temptation to wade into the controversy surrounding my parents and their church. I wanted to discuss my own views free from a focus on them. Though my father is dead and mother is stricken with Alzheimer’s, they have many devoted followers, even today.

I’ve gone many years without publicly discussing my experiences in more than a cursory way. I’m very happy that my sister Erin has written a book about her life which covers much of that territory. Though there have been many delays in publishing Erin’s book, I think it will be worth the wait.

In the past few months, I’ve felt the urge to start telling some of the story. My first foray into this was the wikipedia article, which I largely wrote. I’ve linked to an older version, which is pretty much the way I left it. A few people have made minor changes, but by and large the article has not been vandalized in about six weeks.

The wikipedia article required me to be factual and somewhat favorable. But I was not about to let some P.R. hacks at CUT get a jump on the story. Anyone can edit wikipedia, but if verifiable facts are removed it is considered vandalism. So I’m hopeful that the article will remain largely intact. Of course the history will remain in any case. I would encourage any readers who have any recollections (which can be documented) to add them to the article. Truth is always the best defense.

You’ll notice that I’ve added this post in a new category, Elizabeth Clare Prophet. That is because I’ve decided to begin to share my thoughts and memories of her and the organization before they fade into distant memory. Stay tuned.

[UPDATE 1.28.06 – On 1.21.06, someone attempted to vandalize the article by deleting the entire section on "controversy." It took all of 8 minutes for an admin to revert the article to its original state. Hooray for wikipedia and open source!]

Comments (8 comments)

Aaron Kinney / December 9th, 2005, 11:53 am / #1

Wow, thats intense. I had no idea you were the decendant of cult leaders. I was born in 1978 so most of this stuff is before my time. While I am fascinated with religions and cults and have read up on many of them, I was unaware of CUT until I read this blog post.

I’m really glad you decided to share this in your blog. It must take a certain amount of courage to open up such a personal aspect of your family life and upbringing. No doubt it had a big affect on how you view the world, and how you got to the perspecitves that you have today. No wonder you have such sharp perception on religious issues!

Although I was never involved in a close knit cult like CUT, I did grow up in a very religious household, I used to be a fundamentalist Christian, and I was deeply involved with my local Church worship and activities. My history with the Church definitely played a big part in the development of my atheistic, individualistic, and materialistic activism that I practice today.

Your Wikipedia entry is very well written, and comes off as very balanced, something that must have been hard to do considering you are her son. Kudos on maintaining a fair and objective perspective.

Don’t take it the wrong way, but when I read about the bomb shelters, guns, and doomsday sermons in CUT, it reminded me of the Branch Davidians in Waco Texas. I’m not trying to compare Elizabeth Prophet with Koresh, as they are clearly quite different people in many ways, but I think the comparison between the two cults and their ideologies is revealing in the degree of similarities. The extreme control of members lives, the bomb shelters/compounds, the large degree of armament, and the predictions of global disaster are all very similar between cults like these.

I hope you write more about this soon, as it’s quite riveting. I will definitely stay tuned.

BlackSun / December 9th, 2005, 6:43 pm / #2

Its interesting what you said about growing up in a religous household. I can imagine that it had everything to do with your views. It certainly does for me. People with a casual relationship to religion can’t imagine in their wildest nightmares how destructive and demoralizing it can be. They only see kindness, charity, etc.

I don’t know if you’ve found the same thing, but as I’ve talked about my experiences, some people tend to discount what I say because they assume it’s an overreaction to a strict upbringing.

I often wonder when I will get the credibility for having had the first hand experience growing up in a cult. After all, if you want to know what it’s like to be in a war zone, wouldn’t you go talk to veterans?

Re: the Branch Davidians, there was an occasion with CUT where there very well could have been a violent confrontation. Unbeknownst to us at the Ranch in Montana, on at least one night in 1990, there were armed federal agents observing the shelters. If anyone had made a false move, I might not be writing this right now…

Francois Tremblay / December 9th, 2005, 8:16 pm / #3

Sean, I’d like to have you on the show. Aaron said he would try to get in contact with you to discuss this. I think your cult experience would be a very interesting topic.

David Salt / January 27th, 2006, 8:07 pm / #4

I really liked the Wikipedia artical and I added some things to it based on reading two of your mother’s books: The Lost Years of Jesus and the 4 books of the Lost Teachings of Jesus. The Wikipedia article was very fair and balenced I thought. Keep up the good work. I know that it must be hard to come out and say something about your family that may seem ridiculing, but if there is something that is wrong than it has to come out. Change is good.

BlackSun / January 28th, 2006, 3:20 am / #5

Thanks David for your feedback. I looked at the article, and didn’t see your additions though?

jonathan squires / September 3rd, 2006, 1:25 pm / #6

Sean, I was member during the early 80’s for a couple of years and met you at the Chicago teaching center one day. I think you were eating a bowl of cereal or something. We said hi and that’s it. I did just want to comment and say thanks for all your commentary on the church. I had no idea until recently about the whole “bomb shelter” crisis. I recently contacted CUT to get back in touch and see how things were going. I probably wouldn’t have sent any money if I had come across all the articles sooner. I hope you do more with the show and or your own thing on the subject. I’ll bet there are alot of people who would benefit. I lived at the “Motherhouse” for most of my staff time, but I guess wasn’t close enough in to see the real contradictions, but obviously I felt something wasn’t right or else I might have stayed longer.
Best wishes, Jonathan

Paul Manley / September 16th, 2006, 4:50 pm / #7

Thanks Sean for your very articulate and honest posts. You mother’s confession to you was very moving. I was a member of CUT back in the early 80’s and a staff member in the AV department. I’ve been away from the church for many years but have been intrigued as of late with the drama of it all – the crumbling of CUT. I just thought I’d share a quote by Nietsche:

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

After so many years of decreeing against the ‘dark forces’ I decided to shift my focus towards optimism and love and I’m much happier as a result. What we put our attention on grows as they say. I remember reading something from Paramhansa Yogananda, “We don’t get rid of the darkness by beating at it with a stick, but by turning on the light.” Best wishes, Paul Manley

L.B. / October 21st, 2007, 5:52 pm / #8

Wow it is very interesting to read opinions of fellow followers of C.U.T. and your own “former life.” It does take a lot from within to deactivate so many feelings. I’ve been caught up in this for years questioning my own beliefs. Truly CUT was a refuge for people who wanted to believe in something better. For years I believed sex was bad. It’s taken years to get over that sex is good and procreation is good too. With these fears and lies directed at us it really was devastating to live a “normal” life. As a young eleven year old I went to Camelot in the summer of 1980 and remember going to the children’s building and listening to children decree for the first time. It was an amazing experience but my brother and I couldn’t stop laughing. There was something harmonious and yet alarming about the whole thing. At the same time it would’ve been nice if they had warned us and greeted us with a warm hello. Years later I resented decrees but then found my way back to decreeing only annoying those around me. I became an addict decreer. I thought this was my only way out. By decreeing “I found GOD.” But like most philosphers love needs to resonate from within. I find this most interesting because near the last days of your mother representing the church she realized we all need love. I wonder why the shift.(?) It seemed so unusual that the decrees were second and love now became #1. The decrees were backfiring and all we needed NOW was to resonate love for each other. WOW what a shift and one we should’ve followed from day #1. Love should’ve been priority for all the true seekers and true believers. Thanks for sharing.

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