by Peter Arnone
The Staff Meetings
Mark conducted staff meetings every Monday morning. In addition, there were staff meetings that could be called at any time for any reason. La Tourelle, the “Citadel of Freedom” as Mark called it, could be under attack from spiritual forces of darkness, or someone might have forgotten to replace a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom Mark happened to be using. Five buzzes sounding off on every phone in the complex at the same time most often signaled an emergency of one sort or another. Everyone was called to attention. Half the time they announced another staff meeting. Looking back on those meetings, they were Mark’s critique on everything imaginable. Mark did all the talking. And everything from the podium, formal and informal, was recorded for posterity. For up to three hours he would denounce everything that was wrong with the world. But he had all the solutions and answers for every problem. His greatest criticism was reserved for those who opposed him personally, Elizabeth, their children, and his organization. His greatest praise was reserved for himself, his family, and his organization.
Those who opposed Mark personally included most every staff member who had ever left, many of whom remained in the Summit. He railed against them constantly. For the two-plus years I served on his staff before he died, the same names came up again and again. Most of them I never knew. And some had left years before. There was Bob, Michael and Mary, Gary, Ida Mae and her sister Louise, among others. My friend Ron never returned from New York and he was on this list. You would think these people were the enemies of God. Mark derided them mercilessly. Some had left when Mark was away or in the middle of the night. They were cowards one and all. They had betrayed not only Mark and the Ascended Masters, but God Himself. Woe unto their souls. Their karma was great. The message was quite clear. Woe unto anyone else who contemplated leaving.
Once in awhile Mark would mention trials that were held for “recalcitrant” staff members. I never witnessed one conducted by Mark, but I did witness one conducted by Elizabeth after he died. So, I know they did happen. And I know that like Elizabeth, he was judge, jury, and executioner. Though Mark could not put a gun to your head, he had something much more effective. He put God to your head.
One day we were having a staff meeting with Mark, and even Elizabeth showed up. It was revealed to us that the messengers were in fact, the two witnesses, the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth, spoken of in the Book of Revelation (11:3-4). This was an historic announcement. All of us in attendance were true believers. We were in awe, hanging on every word. Elizabeth then asked why we were really there at the Summit Lighthouse as staff members. Some answered to serve God, to do God’s will, or to earn the ascension and go to heaven. Elizabeth informed us none of these responses was the right reason. She stated we were there to serve the “mission of the two witnesses.” There was no higher calling on earth.
If the significance and importance of Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet to God Himself and His children worldwide was ever impressed upon us, it was then. It went without saying, to impede their mission, or harm them in any way, would result in the greatest of karmic punishment. There was absolutely no crime on earth more serious.
This staff meeting made it official. The end would justify the means. “Let he who is great among you be your servants.” To serve Mark and Elizabeth, the greatest of God’s servants, would justify any action taken by any staff or outer member. You could forsake your parents, your spouse, and even your children. All responsibility was subordinate to “the” responsibility of serving the messengers. You could leave the world behind, consuming all loose ends with the “Violet Flame.” As it became necessary, you could lie and cheat and steal. You could even deceive. (Though you were supposed to tell the truth, Saint Germain stated you didn’t have to tell all the truth.) Often presented as the spiritual reasoning behind this philosophy were the words of Jesus, “What is that to thee, follow ye me.”
Mark would parrot other words of scripture as applicable to himself. “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased,” was conferred upon Edward Francis. But did Ed become one of Mark’s favorite sons because, as he stated, “Ed’s got brains?” Or was it because the extremely generous hot-headed rich kid from Dallas was a saint?
This staff meeting also put into perspective Mark’s cardinal rule, “No unilateral action.” The stakes were too high. The world and its destiny could be impacted by the thoughtless error of a staff member. Any action of every staff member that was of consequence to the Summit Lighthouse and its global mission must be reported to the messenger. If you weren’t sure, check with the messenger to be on the safe side. To be remiss could result in infinite repercussions. Needless to say, with this onus on the staff, it was and is, ludicrous to think the messenger has not known every significant action ever taken by any of his/her true believers.
Mark encouraged visualization. He portrayed the experience of Lee Harvey Oswald after he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby. (Summit/CUT members know for sure that Oswald killed Kennedy because Mark determined it was so.) For his despicable crime, Mark described how “on the inner” Oswald was attacked by thousands of demons who tore his soul into thousands of fragments. They all wanted a piece of the diabolical villain. There was another undeniable message. Unless anyone wanted to face a similar fate, don’t mess with God’s messengers, Mark and Elizabeth. To do so would be an awesome offense. The penalty for which would be horrific punishment.
It would not be unreasonable to state that Mark Prophet considered himself a god. He taught that the Ascended Masters were so possessed of God, they became one with God, and hence, they were “gods.” Since Mark was their partner, he placed himself on their level. His inner circle considered the words of Mark one and the same as those of the Ascended Masters.
That Mark Prophet was enamored with himself is an understatement. In spite of outer appearances, the Summit Lighthouse was in reality, a shrine to himself. Just as Church Universal and Triumphant is a shrine to Elizabeth Clare Prophet. The Summit Lighthouse and C.U.T. are in essence cults of personality dedicated to Mark and Elizabeth. For Mark, image was crucial. Pictures of him speaking with the Dalai Lama and Indira Gandhi from the Summit’s India pilgrimage in 1970 were paraded before members and the press alike. The message was clear: like attracts like. It was pure capital for Mark. His cult of idolatry was spawned by flatterers, but set in stone by his core sycophants known as “the cube.” These four men exemplified more than all others, absolute devotion to Mark. They lived, and would die, for him. Sri (father), was what they called him. Subsequently, “Mother,” was bestowed upon Elizabeth who had her own cube of ladies.
In early June 1971 Mark called me into his office. He showed me a mockup of the Summit Beacon newsletter that was about to be printed and mailed out notifying members of the forthcoming Freedom Conference in Santa Barbara over the 4th of July. My name was mentioned as I would be one of the musicians providing entertainment at the “Motherhouse” open house preceding the conference. I told Mark I was sorry, but I was planning on leaving staff on July 3rd when my six-month probationary period was over. I would be giving my two-weeks notice in a couple of weeks and would not be going to Santa Barbara. Needless to say, it hit the fan.
We weren’t alone for long. Mark called in Gilbert and John, my music partner, to witness my rebellion when I would not back down and agree to stay. We went back and forth for almost an hour. Finally, Mark called in Stanley, Elizabeth’s assistant. He announced that Elizabeth was flat on her back, and dying from my horrible energy. The argument was over. I agreed to stay. Mark made me promise I wouldn’t say another word about leaving for six months. You can imagine how I felt when because of my selfishness I was accused of nearly killing the messenger.
That evening, after the Sunday public service, we had a staff meeting. The messengers announced Elizabeth was pregnant (with Tatiana). It never occurred to me Elizabeth was flat on her back from morning sickness earlier in the day.
The next day I still wanted to leave. It was agonizing. I wrestled with myself throughout the day. Finally, I accepted my fate. I went on automatic pilot for the next nine months. I did my job and was happy as a contented cow.
In the spring of 1972 the screws were turning ever tighter. I had my regular job and had been Mark’s full-time radio operator and all-night Summit Lighthouse phone operator for several months. I was losing a lot of sleep and requested relief. Mark refused, but did cut me some slack with a little time off now and then. It wasn’t enough. I was feeling trapped, and that was getting me depressed. I was getting to the point where I didn’t care what Mark, or even God said if I left. But I wasn’t there yet.
Mark was spending less and less time at headquarters, which meant I was spending more and more time chained to the radio. He was the man about town eating at Furr’s Cafeteria and the Summit’s new Four Winds Restaurant regularly. He didn’t care too much for the rice and veggies, and no desserts, we land-locked staff ate all the time. He would also go to the health spa quite often.
In early December 1972 we had a phone patch rigged up with Mark’s radio so he could talk to Elizabeth while he was mobile. It saved a lot of money not using the car phone. The problem was that I had to coordinate the talk and listen buttons between them when they were speaking to each other. It sometimes became a circus. If they started talking too fast or talking at the same time I couldn’t make a proper connect/disconnect between the two of them. Mark would get upset. And I was getting to the end of my rope.
One evening the problem happened again, big time. I had enough. I hung up on Elizabeth and turned the radio off on Mark. I grabbed my coat and walked out. I went to the nearby Broadmoor Hotel and had a cup of coffee. With no money, I thought of leaving all my possessions behind and hitchhiking to California. But winter had arrived, and I still feared the wrath of God. By the time I walked back to La Tourelle, Mark had returned and had the staff out combing the streets looking for me. He asked me to forgive him, which I did. But I knew my days were numbered.
Over the next few days Mark came down with the flu and was bedridden. This is what we were all led to believe, until Elizabeth came down to see me in the mail room. She told me that in fact, Mark had nearly died of a heart attack because of my energy and what I had put him through. It was just one more nail in the coffin.
By mid-February 1973 my plan was to leave in the spring. I knew Mark would kick me out on the spot so I was taking the precaution I wouldn’t freeze to death in the winter and had some time to get a few dollars together. I had my letter of resignation already written. By this time I didn’t give a damn what Mark Prophet, or even God, had to say or did when I left.
Next in Part 4: Mistreatment of the elderly and violation of the priest-penitent relationship