Ballard, Edna Ann Wheeler (1886–1971)
Leader of the I AM Movement and cofounder of the Saint
Germain Foundation. Ballard was born on June 25, 1886, in
Burlington, Iowa. She studied harp, and by 1912 she had become
a concert harpist, on one occasion playing for the duke
of Wales. She married Guy W. Ballard in 1916; they had one
son, Donald, born in 1918.
During the 1920s she shared an interest with her husband
in the occult and worked for a time in the Philosopher’s Nook,
a Chicago occult bookstore, and edited the American Occultists.
In 1930 Guy Ballard was at Mt. Shasta, California, where he
had an encounter with a mysterious being, described as an ‘‘ascended
master’’ named Saint Germain. He wrote about his experiences
and sent letters to Edna Ballard in Chicago describing
them.
After his return to Chicago in 1931 she joined with him in
founding the Saint Germain Foundation and the Saint GerEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Ballard, Edna Ann Wheeler
147
main Press, the two main organizational expressions of the I
AM Religious Activity, and assumed the role beside him as an
‘‘accredited messenger of the ascended masters.’’ Through
most of the 1930s she took a secondary role in the organization.
Guy Ballard allowed Saint Germain and other masters to
speak through him almost daily.
Guy Ballard died in 1939, and Edna and her son, Donald,
took control of the movement, but neither operated as a messenger.
Shortly after taking control, she, Donald, and a number
of the national staff were charged with mail fraud. Acting on accusations
of several former adherents, the government contended
that the leaders were defrauding people by selling them
a religion they knew to be false.
Edna Ballard was convicted, had the ruling overturned, and
was then convicted a second time. In 1944 the Supreme Court
ruled in one of its most famous decisions (United States v. Ballard)
that people cannot be made to prove their religious beliefs
in a court of law. It took several subsequent court actions over
the next decade to completely undo the damage that had been
inflicted upon the movement by the original conviction.
During the 1950s, Edna Ballard began to function as a messenger.
For the rest of her life she periodically brought new
messages from the masters (more than two thousand of whom
were recorded). She had a radio show for a while during the
1960s.
After Ballard’s death on February 10, 1971, in Chicago,
leadership of the Saint Germain Foundation and the Saint Germain
Press passed to the board of directors and to several ‘‘appointed
messengers’’ who had served as teachers within the
movement (though never as direct instruments of the masters,
as had the Ballards).
Sources
Braden, Charles S. These Also Believe. New York Macmillan,
1949.

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