Church Universal and Triumphant
A church of the ‘‘I AM’’ tradition, which has emphasized its
Christian Gnostic lineage. The church began in 1958 in Washington,
D.C., as the Summit Lighthouse under the leadership
of Mark L. Prophet. For several years Prophet had been a messenger
of the Ascended Masters of the Great White Brotherhood
and had associated with the Lighthouse of Freedom, another
I AM organization. He began Pearls of Wisdom, a weekly
periodical, as a means of disseminating the messages of the
masters to the public. In 1961 Prophet was joined by Elizabeth
Clare Wulf, whom he eventually married and who, after a period
of training, was also named a messenger of the brotherhood.
The church developed through several stages, beginning in
1962 with the establishment of the Keepers of the Flame Fraternity
at the suggestion of ascended master Saint Germain.
The fraternity was created from among those who received the
‘‘pearls of wisdom,’’ who especially dedicated themselves to the
freedom and enlightenment of humanity. In 1966 the headquarters
of the church was moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 1971 Summit University was founded to provide more
intensive and systematic training in the teachings of the masters
for those associated with the Summit Lighthouse.
Mark Prophet died in 1973 and Elizabeth Clare Prophet assumed
full control of the movement. She aggressively pursued
the growth and development of the movement and in 1974 incorporated
the Church Universal and Triumphant. Headquarters
of the church were moved to California in 1976 and a decade
later to Montana, on land north of and adjacent to
Yellowstone National Park.
The church developed in the midst of the older I AM Religious
Activity and freely admits its debt to Guy W. Ballard, but
in its emphasis upon its Christian nature it has developed a
number of differences from the I AM. It teaches that the human
soul is the living potential of God. Souls are conceived in the
mind of God as an initial realization of God’s unity. They are
then born as separate entities, a realization of the duality of
God, a being of both spirit and matter. The individual is thus
seen as having two parts—a higher, unchanging self and a
lower, changing self. The God-identity of each individual, the
I AM Presence, is extended into matter, time, and space, the
church teaches.
It is the goal of each individual to evolve through many incarnations
to become one with Christ—the higher self—in
physical embodiment. The masters have taught a variety of disciplines
that use prayers, mantras, and decrees to help purify
the soul. These are used in conjunction with the violet flame of
transmutation, the sacred spiritual fire of the Holy Spirit, which
allows a balancing of errors of the soul in this and previous incarnations.
After the process of purification is completed, the
soul ascends to the Divine Source, from which it originated.
Through the 1980s the church was the subject of considerable
controversy, especially from the anticult movement and
from some neighbors in Montana who opposed its moving into
the sparsely populated community. Also, the church has a survivalist
perspective, and members built and stocked a number
of underground facilities should disaster ever strike the country.
It was widely (and mistakenly) reported that at one point
Prophet had predicted a major disaster and ordered the membership
to prepare to go underground. Slowly, as the accusations
against the church proved groundless, the tension between
the church and its neighbors in Montana decreased.
Currently, the church is an international organization with
approximately 240 centers in 35 countries. Address co The
Summit Lighthouse. Dept. 793, Box 5000, Corwin Springs, MT
59030-5000. Website
Ascended Master Network. March 8,
Lewis, James R., and J. Gordon Melton, eds. Church Universal
and Triumphant in Scholarly Perspective. Stanford, Calif. Center
for Academic Publications, 1994.
Prophet, Elizabeth Clare. The Great White Brotherhood in the
History, Culture, and Religion of America. Los Angeles Summit
University Press, 1976.
Prophet, Mark L., and Elizabeth Clare Prophet. Climb the
Highest Mountain. Colorado Springs, Colo. Summit Lighthouse,
———. The Lost Teachings of Jesus. 2 vols. Livingston, Mont.
Summit University Press, 1986.

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