» Class-action lawsuit brewing against CUT
, Livingston Enterprise, July 19, 2001
Founded by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, now retired. Current president, Gilbert Cleirbaut.
This movement has its origin in the Summit Lighthouse, which had as its primary purpose the publication and dissemination of the teachings of the Ascended Masters
. The church took on the liturgical functions of the Summit Lighthouse and expanded its original mission of publishing the teachings of the Ascended Masters.
But prophecy didn't stop with the Old Testament, nor did revelation cease with Jesus' message to John in the Book of Revelation. Down through the centuries, messengers from many cultures have heard and delivered the Word of God. Today the ascended masters speak to us through their messenger, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and bring us the ageless wisdom of God along with prophecy for the Aquarian age.
The religious tenets of
Church Universal and Triumphant are strongly linked to Christian Science
, and Gnosticism
. An emphasis is made on the need to perfect one's karma through continual reincarnation
. Most doctrines of orthodox Christianity
are denied or distorted by C.U.T.
This group also proclaims that all people should strive for the ''initiation of the ascension'' that takes place after the soul has become purified in the fullness of the Christ Consciousness. Once this initiation takes place, the sould returns to the Divine Source and is freed from the cycle of karma and rebirth. The essential mission of Church Universal and Triumphant is to teach people how to attain ascension.
A. Montana Doomsday Religious Cult — "Church Universal and Triumphant"
The GAO investigators found a 1989 case in Montana in which members of a “doomsday religious cult” had stockpiled many weapons, including several fifty caliber weapons. The cult is called the “Church Universal and Triumphant” (C.U.T.), and its leader is Elizabeth Clare Prophet. The cult was in the process of building underground bunkers to prepare for the end of the world. This
investigation began because Ms. Prophet’s husband and another cult member used birth certificates of deceased individuals to obtain driver’s licenses so they could purchase and stockpile weapons.
In an ATF crackdown, agents found that the cult members had illegally acquired hundreds of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Among this stockpile were ten semi-automatic fifty caliber weapons purchased with the false identifications. The cult members were convicted of illegally purchasing firearms. According to GAO, Ms. Prophet continues to lead the cult and was not charged in connection with these offenses.
In April, 1999, CUT president Gilbert Cleirbaut "noted that with Prophet ill and retiring, the church needs to end its "codependence" on her and members need to become more "interdependent" on each other." [Source]
Defended by Cult Apologists
The Church Universal and Triumphant was the subject of a controversial, 1993 study
by cult apologists James R. Lewis
and J. Gordon Melton
. The study is one of the items discussed
by Stephen Kent
and Therese Krebs in their article, ''Alternative Religions and their Academic Supporters
also addresses the study:
AWARE, led by James R. Lewis
, has become a contractor for operations that can no longer claim any semblance or resemblance to research. One symptomatic product of the post-Waco NRM consensus is the Lewis volume titled From The Ashes: Making Sense of Waco
(1994a). It seems like a typical apologetic pamphlet, a collection of 47 statements, authored by 46 individuals and 3 groups. Of the 46 individuals, 34 are holders of a PhD degree, and 19 are recognized NRM scholars. One cannot claim that this collection of opinion-pieces is unrepresentative of the NRM research network; quite the contrary. Most of the top scholars are here. The most significant fact is the participation by so many recognized scholars in this propaganda effort. In addition to From The Ashes
we now have Church Universal and Triumphant in Scholarly Perspective
(Lewis and Melton 1994a), and Sex, Slander, and Salvation: Investigating the Children of God / The Family
(Lewis and Melton 1994b). The last two are clearly made-to-order PR efforts (with a few scholarly papers which got in by honest mistakes on the part of both authors and editors). The Family
and Church Universal and Triumphant
were interested in academic character witnesses, and many NRM scholars were happy to oblige. Balch and Langdon (1996) provide an inside view of how AWARE operates by offering a report on the fieldwork, if such a term can be used, which led to the AWARE 1994 volume on CUT (Lewis and Melton 1994a). What is described is a travesty of research. It is much worse than anybody could imagine, a real sellout by recognized NRM scholars. Among the contributors to the Family volume we find Susan J. Palmer
, James T. Richardson, David G. Bromley
, Charlotte Hardman, Massimo Introvigne
, Stuart A. Wright, and John A. Saliba
. The whole NRM research network is involved, the names we have known over the past thirty years, individuals with well-deserved reputations lend their support to this propaganda effort. There must be some very good reasons (or explanations, at least) for this behavior. The PR documents produced for groups such as Church Universal and Triumphant or The Family are but extreme examples of the literature of apologetics which has dominated NRM research for many years.
Another aspect of these cases is that the reporting of financial arrangements is less than truthful. The fact that CUT financed the whole research expedition to Wyoming is not directly reported. We least that CUT provided only room and board, while AWARE covered all other costs (Lewis, 1994). The fact that The Family volume was financed by the group itself is never reported anywhere, although it is clear to the reader that the whole project was initiated by Family leaders (Lewis 1994c). The Family volume has been recognized for what it is: a propaganda effort, pure and simple, paid for by the group (Balch 1996).
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