by Peter Arnone
Forbidden Romance, Printing Errors and Conspiracy Theories
Florence Scott (Miller) was the most beloved and respected staff member of all time. She was the executive secretary and eventually became a board member and director of the church’s publishing department. While Mark and Elizabeth valued her immensely, I’m sure they even loved and respected her too. But even Florence was not immune to the messengers’ wrath. While giving 110%, Florence made the big mistake of becoming romantically involved with a really fine man on staff, Charles. Mark (and Elizabeth) went through the roof. They couldn’t stand not being the absolute focus of Florence’s undivided attention. She was fired. I got the call from Mark in the middle of the night around the New Year’s Conference in Santa Barbara in December 1972 when most of the staff were there and I remained in Colorado. I had to wake up Margaret. Mark notified her she would be taking Florence’s place. As it turned out, Florence was irreplaceable. She was reinstated, given a little vacation to bring her to her senses, and her relationship with Charles terminated. I’m not saying Florence was worked to death when she died at the early age of 43 in 1979, but it might have helped if she had taken a little time off to get proper medical attention before it was too late.
Bill was the most likable minister in the Summit. Not only was he able, well-versed, and intelligent, but compassionate and a regular guy. He was the Summit’s treasurer and front-line pressman. He worked tirelessly.
Bill got into hot water when the first text signature of the messengers’ long-awaited book Climb The Highest Mountain was being printed on the Summit’s new high-speed press. There was recurrent fading of the purple ink. Mark was all over Bill for allowing the problem to happen and fined him $50 for the cost of the paper which had to be scrapped. Most staff salaries were less than $50 a month.
We had a staff meeting and Bill was castigated in his absence. Mark cited Bill’s rebellion and refusal to give 100% to God as responsible for the mishap. It was Bill’s vibration that precipitated the accident. Bill was a tool. Mark failed to mention the Summit didn’t have a densitometer to measure the ink coverage. Without one, it is impossible for even a journeyman pressman on a high-speed press to maintain uniform ink coverage, especially if the color is purple. The Summit purchased a densitometer and the fading problem didn’t happen again.
Mark could not stand rejection. Staff would be called to attention if they crossed their arms while Mark was speaking to them. He claimed it was body language that implied one was rejecting what he was saying. But Mark had already made his pact with the devil. In order to enjoy his power and control over others, the tradeoff was a life of isolation, looking over his shoulder, self-doubt, and absence of real friendship and intimacy, even with his own children. It seemed that Mark was always trying to be one of the guys. But the wall was always there. He was the messenger of God. And while at a certain point he was unapproachable, at the same time he could never really reach out. To do so, he would lose not the respect of his followers, but their fear that enabled him to maintain his tyrannical position and keep his little army of disciples in lock step.
There were times when you would let Mark make a fool of himself rather than reap his ire for making an innocent, loving, suggestion. If snot was hanging from his nose, or a crumb of food from his mustache, you’d hope Gilbert would notice and tell him. If he was ready to conduct a service and his suit-jacket collar was standing up, or his hair wind-blown, likewise. Mark would try to impress everyone with the interjection of foreign language and seldom-used English words in his lectures. Some of them over and again. He would mispronounce them, and to anyone familiar with that language, it was really embarrassing. But you dare not correct him. Mark thought it was chic to have discovered Raj Kumar, a Hong Kong tailor in Denver. He had custom suits made that looked like they were tailored in Russia. You said nothing. Nor did you comment on his pink suit, or golden (brown) suit with color-coordinated yellow socks.
Half the time Mark Prophet was condemning everybody and everything under the sun. 20% of the time he was trying to impress everybody what a great guy he was. 20% of the time he was whining to everybody how he was being persecuted. And I’ll be generous and say that 10% of the time he was normal.
The story goes that Mark Prophet alone, the messenger for God, carried the weight of the world (karma) upon his shoulders for years until Elizabeth, his twin flame, came along. In time, increments of that weight were transferred to her shoulders as she grew in spiritual strength and maturity. When Mark died the whole load was dumped on her. As staff members, we were never allowed to forget the great sacrificial burden our beloved messengers so magnanimously volunteered to bear.
I never actually saw Mark do anything more than telling people what to do and how to do it. He hardly lifted a finger. But he was an authority on everything, including physical fitness. Mark would let everyone know when he was fasting. He would go to the health spa regularly. But the only sweat I ever saw him break was from sitting in the sauna. He died at age 54 of a massive stroke. If he had moved his body a fraction of what he moved his tongue, he might have lived longer.
Politically, Rev. Mark Prophet was not a conservative as many would think. Similarly, Rev. Jim Jones was not a liberal. While Rev. Jim was a left-wing extremist, Rev. Mark was a right-wing extremist. But they had a lot in common. They were both dictators.
Mark could not tolerate oneupmanship. He would not take a back seat to anyone. He always had to be in the driver’s seat. He always had to be the authority. This included politics. A member was once expelled from the Summit’s Keepers of the Flame fraternity because of his John Birch Society membership. Mark gave him an ultimatum. It was either Saint Germain or John Birch. The man chose Birch. The real reason Mark got rid of him was because he was being upstaged. Mark was further to the right than this guy. He was a conspiracy nut. He wouldn’t buy Ford automobiles for the Summit because of Henry Ford II and the Ford Foundation. According to Mark, the real Henry II was stolen from his cradle and replaced with another baby by the forces of darkness in embodiment. It was a “plot” (another of Mark’s overused words). It explained why Henry II was so far to the left of his father.
Richard Nixon was too moderate for Mark. Mark despised him even more because Nixon, according to Mark, refused to shake his outstretched hand when Nixon was pressing the flesh on a visit to the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. It was not only an affront to Mark, but to El Morya, the entire Darjeeling Council, the Great White Brotherhood, and God Himself. The current of blessing flowing through Mark’s handshake was spurned to the detriment of America and all mankind.
To Mark Prophet, the real leader of the United States was the Ascended Master Saint Germain. Hence, it was the physically embodied Mark L. Prophet himself, who envisioned a theocracy with the Summit Lighthouse as the state religion of America, the home of the I AM race, and he as its leader. If he could not achieve it in this lifetime, his son Sean would be the next-in-line heir. If Mark Prophet had his way, all of this would come to pass.
Curiously, Mark’s “chief” benefactor and sponsor, El Morya, dictated The Encyclical On World Good Will to Mark in the mid 60’s. According to Morya’s (God’s) rock-solid advice, the world would solve its problems “under the United Nations.” In consultation with his Darjeeling Council of geopolitical wizards, and with the assistance of the Ascended Master K-17 and the Cosmic Secret Service, El Morya laid the foundation for mankind’s entering the great Golden Age of Aquarius. But El Morya’s booklet of cosmic import was soon removed from the bookshelves of the Summit Lighthouse and no longer available for purchase.
With a little help from his mortal contacts, Mark Prophet discovered the United Nations was not the benign organization his immortal mentor had stated. El Morya, his cosmic cronies, and God Himself, had goofed! What other conclusion could be drawn?
Why did Mark Prophet become a megalomaniacal cult dictator? It was because of his acute inferiority complex. It was because of his lifelong perception of self-failure and disgust with a world that defined him as such. His abysmal self-esteem led to his lifelong re-creation of himself as the greatest among men, and a fantasy world that would support his self-delusion. Mark Prophet’s insecurity led to his sociopathic behavior. He could not bear the thought of coming down from the mountain and returning to his roots. This in turn led to his pathological lying to feed and support the Narcissus he became. In essence, Mark Prophet was playing God with people’s lives.
What is the legacy of Mark Prophet? In death did he become a revered religious leader, a saint for the ages, a giant among men? What has become of all his disciples who sang his praises on the day of his passing? What has become of the book his daughter was assembling to preserve his memory?
The greatest leaders lead by example. Was the example of Mark Prophet one which elevated his disciples, his religion, and their future generations? Or was the example of Mark Prophet corrupt? Has his legacy, out of necessity, evaporated?
Perhaps one more story will answer all of these questions.
Not too long after Mark passed away in 1973 I was on all-night phone duty for the Summit Lighthouse. One night around 11:00 that I received a call. There was a tearful plea for help from one of our members in Colorado Springs who had just been raped. She was calling from the police station. She was a former staff member, Barbara L. Barbara was a sweet girl who had some serious problems. Mark did not give her the boot, but excused her that she might deal with those problems in a different environment, away from the Summit. She had been severely sexually abused by her grandfather. I assured Barbara help was on the way.
I called in a Summit minister who was also a board member. I told him what had happened to Barbara and that I had assured her we would send someone down to the police station to comfort her. The minister refused to help.
This Summit Lighthouse leader looked to Mark Prophet as his father. He was the epitome of a true believer in our church of divine love. He said that Barbara had brought the rape upon herself. She was not the Summit’s responsibility. Her vibration and history precipitated the assault. It was her karma.
Mark L. Prophet, everything he set in motion, established, and was built upon by Elizabeth Clare Prophet is now in the twilight of its existence. With her alleged Alzheimer’s disease, Church Universal and Triumphant is without a spiritual head. As such, it is dying, running around in circles, and going nowhere. Though the present leadership believes it has a future, it refuses to address its burdensome past. It will linger, but never achieve its delusion of world recognition. Thankfully, the theocratic fantasy of Mark L. Prophet is history.