by Peter Arnone
Wine, Meatballs, and Horseplay
For those who think one has to be a moron to join a cult, they are grossly mistaken. The most articulate and honorable people imaginable were members of the Summit Lighthouse. One of those people was Sigrid Carlson. She never married and had a career with the FBI. After retirement, she joined the Summit staff as organist and secretary. You couldn’t help but love Sigrid. She could be a tiger, but had a heart of gold. She also had a very bad back that everyone was aware of. During lengthy services it was necessary for her to go out and lay flat for awhile to ease her pain.
On a trip from Colorado Springs to Santa Barbara, Sigrid was the only woman among a half dozen young men, plus Sean and Mark. We all rode in the Dodge Travco which had a small rear bedroom for Sean and Mark only. The two day trip was agonizing for Sigrid. She needed to lay down, but Mark would not allow her to lay on his bed. Her vibration was incompatible. You got the feeling Sigrid was going to soil the bed or something. I can’t remember for sure that Sigrid was brought to tears, but Mark finally relented and gave her a special dispensation to lay on his bed.
It was in April 1971, that a new mandate was enacted for the Summit Lighthouse staff. During the Easter conference, the Ascended Lady Master Omega came for the very first time to give a dictation through the messenger Elizabeth. It was a cosmic event. So I learned the following day.
There was a staff member who had fulfilled his six month probationary obligation to the Summit and decided to leave. Billy was no pushover. He had made up his mind and Mark could not change it. Whatever arrangement he had with Mark, Billy was not kicked out but allowed to stay even while everyone knew he was leaving. I worked with him. We had become buddies. And two days after Omega spoke, Billy would go back to his ranch in Idaho. But first, Billy and I would go out for a farewell dinner with our co-worker Alex.
Up to this time the Summit staff was allowed to eat meat, though it was not served. You had to go to a restaurant for a hamburger, or whatever. The night before he left, Alex and I slipped out with Billy to an Italian restaurant for spaghetti, meatballs, and a glass of wine for the special occasion. When we returned to La Tourelle, the karmic hammer fell. Word got to Mark we were back. He took me into a room and questioned me about where we had gone and what we had done. I told him exactly. He told me it was a disgrace to do such as I had within only hours of the dictation of Omega. I was scolded and fined only $5.00 because I was still a neophyte and the naive victim of Alex’ poor example. Alex was rebuked and fined $25.00. Billy was hopeless. He was leaving in the morning and not worth Mark’s time or attention. But the matter was not over.
The following morning Billy left and we had a staff meeting. Mark informed us that Billy only came to the Summit to avoid the army. He was a draft dodger, a coward, and a bum for using and taking advantage of the Summit Lighthouse ministerial program to keep himself out of the military while the Viet Nam War was being waged. This was news to me. I wasn’t aware of any ministerial program. Billy wasn’t doing anything different than I was for the more than three months I knew him. If there was a ministerial program it was Mark Prophet ordaining someone at his own pleasure, like Monroe Shearer. He was ordained with no formal training specifically to avoid the draft. Mark told us so. It was so Monroe could continue working for Mark and the Summit (God).
Back to the new mandate. After Alex and I returned from dinner the night before, confessed our sins and were reprimanded, we were told that Mark already knew what we had done. He sensed a tremor in the “force-field” of La Tourelle. He had felt our vibration. Meatballs and wine glasses were seen floating in our auras when we came back onto the property. In that morning staff meeting, Mark announced that henceforth and forevermore, staff were no longer allowed to eat meat. We officially became vegetarians. Imbibing of wine and spirits was forbidden. To this day, I’m not sure that included Mark drinking his beer.
While some staff could only speculate they saw things “on the inner,” Mark and Elizabeth were the only ones who could really see meatballs, etc. Long before Star Wars, Mark could see “the force.” But for Mark, the force was the bad guys. The force was demons and entities and discarnates. And they were everywhere. It was like the bogeyman, around every corner and under your bed. And it was after Mark, the messenger of God. Every single thing that bothered Mark or didn’t go his way, or the Summit’s way, was because of the force. And he told you about it all the time. The force did this and the force did that. There was a “ray” of the force on this or that. Or so and so was a “tool” of the force. Even staff members who goofed up were tools. It was Mark Prophet versus the world. He was a classic paranoid. Mark gave birth to the “us versus them” mentality that dominated the Summit Lighthouse, and yet dominates Church Universal and Triumphant today.
On occasion, Mark would open his jacket and show you his concealed revolver. He would also flash his badge. You never had enough time to read what it said, but Mark assured you he was “a law enforcement officer.” It was pretty impressive because you knew he wasn’t just talking about being a member of Master K-17’s Cosmic Secret Service. Again, the message was clear. Don’t mess with Mark Prophet. And with a pistol he was even more formidable. But true to form, Mark’s display was a deception. Mark was merely a member of the posse in El Paso County. It was a vestige of the Old West. Anyone could go down to the sheriff’s office and sign up to become an auxiliary deputy in the event of an emergency. You were fingerprinted and had a security check. After you were screened, you were issued an identification card. You could go down to the local police supply and buy a badge and I.D. wallet and impress your friends. After Mark died, we formed our own little staff militia. A bunch of us went downtown and joined the posse too.
Mark liked to jock around with some of the guys on staff. He would gleefully punch them and laugh. But it was pathetic to watch him wind up like a prissy and take a shot at someone. One staff member was sparring with Mark and accidentally landed one on his chin. There was silence. Mark scowled, “You struck me!” The staff member nearly died of fright. Mark would slap and push, and sometimes grab you by the back of the neck digging his nails in, laughing all the while. Russell F. can tell you he drew his blood. But no one would dare retaliate. He would shake your hand giving you his death grip and ask you what you thought of how strong it was. No one had the onions to tell him his sister could do better.
Was there anything sacred about Mark Prophet? Was he really a holy man? I think a lot can be told about a man within the informal setting of his friends. But as hard as Mark tried, we really weren’t his friends. Bending over to show you his hemorrhoids, referring to a Summit member Ms. Fuchs as Ms. F__ks, or always calling the men in his presence to attention while he cut loose with a fart might have been funny at the time. But what does it say about the man’s dignity? How much credibility did it lend to the man among men supposedly chosen by God to be an example for the ages? Where are all of those men today to give lasting testimony to the bedrock greatness of Mark Prophet? They are nowhere to be heard from, because in truth, Mark Prophet was a buffoon. There are a handful of priests I was taught by in high school whose holiness, dignity, and ability to relate with the common man are legendary among guys I went to school with to this day. And those priests were real friends. Mark Prophet couldn’t shine their shoes.
It’s true, Mark Prophet could be serious. Real serious. A kick in the pants (to Tom) or a knee to the groin (of Alex) could happen when Mark was really upset. Again, these guys were those Mark knew would not retaliate. Upon arriving in Santa Barbara from Colorado Springs in June of 1971 for the Freedom Conference, Mark was driving the Travco up the driveway of the Motherhouse when he struck the wall. I was right across from him in the passenger seat with Sean in my lap. Mark didn’t even look where his fist would land, but lashed out at Stanley who was sitting behind him, accusing him of being responsible for the accident. Stanley suffered bruised ribs and was out of service for the next few days. Lester, who was with those greeting the messenger in the parking lot, received a vicious tongue-lashing for not sounding off with a warning of the collision. In front of his wife, and everyone else, Mark bellowed he’d make a man of him yet. Though Tom, Alex, Stanley, and Lester were loving disciples of Mark, they were still possessed of “human substance” and could therefore also be tools of the sinister force. Mark had the wall replaced and the driveway widened.
It seemed that most, if not all, of the “beloved staff” of Mark and Elizabeth were “tools” or “rebellious” some of the time. Because we weren’t always perfect to Mark and Elizabeth, someone was always being stabbed in the back. People who were incredibly generous were not generous enough for Mark and Elizabeth. One summer (if not every summer), there was a stretch in Colorado Springs when we would have a little thunderstorm every afternoon. It would come and go like clockwork. One afternoon Alda was driving on her way from California to join staff and become Elizabeth’s seamstress. She too, was getting on in years. She had not yet arrived. And for whatever reason, Mark was so upset with her that he blamed her negative energy and vibration for the storm that afternoon. The greeting and gratitude expressed to Alda when she did arrive, like for so many others, was so disingenuous, it could make your heart cry for all of us poor saps who thought we were doing good for God. I’m convinced that Mark and Elizabeth believed that everything that was given to them, was owed to them. I am also convinced that Mark and Elizabeth believed they were doing everyone a big favor just by being alive and blessing everyone on this earth with their presence. If you really have a deep love for people, how can you have such a smug attitude toward them behind their backs? How can you write them off or dispose of them when they no longer offer productive value to you? The example of Mark (and Elizabeth) Prophet answered these questions for me. Anyone giving anything less than 100% all of the time was looked down upon. Even if you were giving 100% and goofed up, you were looked down upon.
Next in Part 6: Forbidden Romance, Printing Errors, and Conspiracy Theories