Part Ten: A
Fork in the Road
As the weeks turned into
months, I began to think about my future on staff.
In terms of working on Mrs. Prophet’s household staff indefinitely, I
had several areas of concern.
One area was my basic ignorance
of child-rearing. A few weeks into
my job, Sean had a rash of some kind and he applied a concentrated detergent to
kill the fungus. It gave him a bad
chemical burn. I felt responsible
because I was with him when he decided to try the detergent as a cure. I didn’t see any problem with it at the time.
I told Mrs. Prophet about my part in the incident and she assured me that
I was capable of doing the job. Her
assurance didn’t allay my doubts about myself, though.
Another concern for me was the
fact that my life was taken up with mundane details from morning to night.
I didn’t decree much and missed almost all services.
I was totally out of the loop when it came to any staff functions such as
staff meetings and decree sessions. I
could have lived with that if there had been the reward of learning cosmic
things from the messenger by being in her presence every day.
I can’t say as that ever happened.
There were a few rare occasions
when our conversation involved more than the mundane details of everyday life,
For example, one morning we
were in her master bathroom getting her ready for the day.
We got into a discussion of Catholic nuns all taking the name of Mary.
She thought it was so ridiculous. She
could not imagine why anyone would do that.
I think she saw it as a surrender of one’s identity.
As a Catholic, I totally
understood that it was a matter of respect to the Blessed Mother.
Most nuns in the early days before Vatican II were known as Sister Mary
something. Most gave up their given
names and took names of saints. That’s
how a nun could end up with a name like Sister Mary Stephen.
Catholics thought nothing of it. If
the nuns were surrendering a portion of identity, it was no different than the
CUT teaching of surrendering the lesser self to the guru and Christ Self.
Mrs. Prophet’s attitude and
understanding was so ignorant that I laughed out loud when she
made her serious declaration of how ridiculous it was.
It was a totally spontaneous reaction on my part.
For a tenuous moment, it could have gone either way.
The gods smiled on me that day, and Mrs. Prophet laughed, too, and had me
explain why I laughed.
Mrs. Prophet was not only
ignorant of Catholic doctrine but she had what I called a “Protestant”
attitude towards the Catholic Church. She
would often put the Catholic Church down in her lectures and public comments and
that used to irk me. But at the
same time that she bad-mouthed the Church, she often tried to incorporate the
Catholic understanding of things into the teachings.
Her lack of true appreciation
and knowledge of Catholic doctrine sometimes distorted things and made her look
ridiculous. For instance, she had
no understanding of the Catholic teaching about the Immaculate Conception.
Whereas the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception refers to
Mother Mary’s soul being free of the stain of original sin because she was to
be the mother of Jesus, Mrs. Prophet mistakenly thought it applied to Mary’s
conception of Jesus. She came up
with a mishmash teaching about every conception being immaculate because it is
sacred and we are all the sons of God, blah, blah, blah.
I think some staff pointed this out to her and a couple of feeble
attempts were made to correct it. But she never quite got it and
would revert to her mistaken understanding. I thought it made her look stupid to anyone who knew Catholic doctrine.
If you tired to point out to her these problem
had to be careful how you presented the problem.
She would easily take offense if she thought you were challenging her
authority. Then the whole point was
lost and she would continue in her ignorant way.
Sometimes she would listen only after someone in the outside world had
pointed out her ignorance. Then she
was all ears to hear and correct her error.
Working on the household staff
for those few months, I caught glimpses of how Mrs. Prophet operated.
She was a master at controlling
her environment. She decided who
was in her presence at all times. She
didn’t like surprises. If someone
she wasn’t expecting would show up at a meeting she had called, or someone
whom she had not personally approved to come to her house arrived there, it
could escalate into a major incident.
I learned not to invade her
environment with unnecessary noise. One evening, M.B. and I were
in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner. Mrs.
Prophet was in the living room. M.B.
and I were carrying on a conversation and I think we were laughing about
something. Mrs. Prophet interrupted
our conversation by yelling from the living room for us to be quiet. After that, I was always cautious and quiet around her.
Mrs. Prophet was also adept at
controlling who knew what information. I
observed this early on when Randall would come to dinner.
I sensed the conversation was careful.
There wasn’t open discussion.
I would come to learn that this
was something that was basic to CUT society.
I think it got worse as the years went on.
There were strict controls on who knew what.
It started at the top and ran the whole gamut of staff and beyond.
After the move to California in
1976 and especially at the Ranch after 1986, these levels of “trust” evolved
into the layers of staff ranging from volunteers, to community members, to
probationary staff, to permanent staff, to inner-circle staff.
The structure was explained as levels of initiates and rings
of disciples around the guru.
This social structure was often
reflected in the pecking order of participation in decree sessions called
“tags.” These ranged from the
generic, “anyone-can-attend” tags to secret, inner-circle decree sessions.
As I mentioned earlier in this
story, during my early days at La Tourelle, tags were called only once in a
while and they were usually only one person who would decree for an hour and
then another person would take over and decree for an hour and so on.
Tags rarely went on overnight.
I don’t recall tags becoming
an around-the-clock thing on a regular basis until we had moved to Camelot.
By the early 1980’s, they were in full swing. A tag ranged from one to four people. At first, they were two hour sessions. Then they were three hours.
The taggers usually decreed in
proximity to the physical location of the messenger.
At her homes, there were designated decree areas.
Over the years, these ranged from cleaning closets to a back office off
the laundry room to a small guest bathroom.
When the messenger was on campus at Camelot, there were several locations
the tag could be. It
depended on where the messenger was working or where she wanted the tag to be.
Most of the time, the tag was in a Winnebago parked at the back of the
chapel. There were similar set-ups
at the Ranch after we moved there.
The tag had a large notebook
with all the information that taggers were to decree about. Some of it was
sensitive material. Anyone who was giving the church "trouble"--e.g.
the Internal Revenue Service, the Immigration and
Naturalization Service--were decreed upon. Any former staff or church
members who had left and turned against the church were also decreed about.
The information arrived in the
tag through various methods. Sometimes a typed message came from one
of Mrs. Prophet's secretaries. Or Mrs. Prophet would call the tag directly
and tell them what kind of energy she was feeling and what the tag should decree
on. Sitting by the telephone was considered a hot seat since Mrs. Prophet
might call at any moment. There were staff who did nothing but coordinate
getting taggers and information to the staff. Sometimes the tag
coordinator would send new information to the tag. It was all a trip as I
look back on it today.
Tags evolved over time.
At first, all staff could be part of a tag. Then there was a tag for permanent and probationary staff
only and so on. I think the various
tag categories came about partly because the organization had grown too large
for Mrs. Prophet to know each staff member individually.
She wasn’t sure who she could trust with what information.
I think another factor that
influenced her growing lack of trust was what was happening in her life.
After Mrs. Prophet’s divorce from Randall King, she became what I would
call paranoid. I think she was
afraid Randall might harm her in some way.
I found this out one night in
the early ‘80’s when I had occasion to drive her home from the Camelot
campus to one of her beachfront homes in Malibu.
After we drove into the garage and closed the garage door behind us, we
got out of the car. I mistakenly
pushed the garage door button and it opened again.
Mrs. Prophet literally ran to the light switch, turned it off and dashed
into the house muttering that I had placed her in danger.
In 1981 or ’82, there was a
crisis of some sort at Camelot, Mrs. Prophet hand-selected a special group of
staff to hold special decree sessions and tags on the crisis.
I didn’t make the cut so I can’t say what the issue was.
I think it may have been when Monroe Shearer left staff or when Sean was
in a rebellious stage. Anyway, that tag group became known as the “special tag”
and from that time on there was always an elite group of staff personally
approved by the messenger as “special taggers.”
There were also subsets of
“special taggers” whom Mrs. Prophet selected to decree on top-secret issues. I guess you could a call these inner-circle tags.
These elite “in-the-know”
groups of staff became a point of division and mistrust among staff.
Many of the so-called “special taggers” felt superior to the
rank-and-file staff who weren’t chosen to be part of the “special tag.” Special taggers often treated the rank-and-file staff with
disdain and arrogance. Sometimes, if Mrs. Prophet wanted to reward a staff member
for something, she would allow that person to become a part of her special tag.
The implication was that the
special taggers were higher initiates and closer to the guru than those not
selected to be special taggers. Which
tag group you belonged to helped to define your community standing.
Even above the special taggers
on the ladder of staff society were the subsets of inner-circle staff. Most of these people really
looked down on the rest of the staff. Their condescension was sometimes
overt and sometimes subtle but always demeaning to those whom they perceived
beneath them. It was human nature
at its worst. Murray Steinman was
one of the inner-circle staff who always conveyed (usually non-verbally) that he
was really in-the-know and superior to everyone else.
I am getting ahead of my story
here. Back to early 1976 at La
Tourelle in Colorado Springs.
During those few months I was
working in the household, there was a staff meeting at La Tourelle about A.K. leaving staff. It was
always a big deal when anyone left staff in those days.
There was a sense of high drama around A.K. leaving. He had been
one of Mark Prophet's closest staff members.
One morning I mentioned to Mrs.
Prophet that I had heard about the staff meeting.
I told her I could not understand how anyone could leave staff. She told me to get the tape of the staff meeting and listen
to it, which I did.
In the meeting, Mrs. Prophet
described how she had a vision of a giant hand removing a link from a huge chain
that represented the Great White Brotherhood.
After the link was removed, the chain was put back together again. She said the vision represented A.K. being removed
from the chain of the Great White Brotherhood.
Hearing the dire spiritual
consequences of A.K. deciding to leave staff had a tremendous impact on me.
It was scarey stuff. I vowed
to remain faithful to the Great White Brotherhood no matter what.
Little did I know that my resolve was soon to be tested.
One Thursday night in late
April, Mrs. Prophet came home late—about 12:30 am.
I was there as usual and I told her that Moira had been up very late
because she just wouldn’t go to sleep.
Mrs. Prophet immediately laid
into me and went on and on about everything from my being rebellious and
out-of-alignment to my being dense and I don’t remember what else.
I was very upset when I left. It
was about 1:30 am. On the way home,
the car ran out of gas in the most dangerous area of Colorado Springs.
As I walked to the nearest gas
station, I wished that someone would mug and injure me so that I wouldn’t have
to go back to the house in the morning. I thought any thing would be better than
going back to face Mrs. Prophet the next morning.
And sure enough, first thing in
the morning, she started raking me over the coals as only she could do.
Her tongue-lashing was beyond awful.
I had squeezed some fresh
orange juice for her and she found a small seed in it.
I remember her yelling that she wouldn’t serve it to a dog.
To this day, when I have orange juice I can hear her yelling those words.
I felt smaller than an ant that
morning. I was badly shaken after
all the terrible things that Mrs. Prophet had said to me.
I felt traumatized and I was glad when she left the house for the day.
In the aftermath, I told
someone that morning (I don’t remember if it was E. M. or D. D.) that I wondered if I were cut out for the job.
My remark got back to Mrs. Prophet later that morning.
Soon, I got a phone call to come down to Florence Miller’s office at La
Tourelle right away.
Florence delivered an ultimatum
from Mrs. Prophet: Either choose to
work in Mrs. Prophet’s household or there was no place for me on staff. I asked Florence when she wanted an answer.
Florence went back to Mrs. Prophet with my question.
The answer came back that I could think about it over the weekend.
It was Friday afternoon. I
was forbidden to go back to Mrs. Prophet’s house.
I had to have E.M. bring me some things I had left at the
I wasn’t sure what I would
decide. On Saturday morning, I went to the bus station and hopped a
bus to Denver. I needed to get away
to think about everything. I was
torn. I didn’t want to go home
and I didn’t want to stay on staff, either.
I was afraid of the spiritual consequences of leaving staff.
I was totally miserable.
By the time I got to Denver, I
felt that if I went home to my mom's house, family mesmerism would cloud
my judgment. So after I got to the bus station in Denver, I got on the next
bus back to Colorado Springs.
On the way back, I saw a
formation of clouds that looked like an eagle.
In CUT, we were taught that one of the main outposts of the Great White
Brotherhood in this system of worlds is located on Sirius.
There is supposedly a band of angels from Sirius who fly in a formation
that looks like an eagle. It is
referred to as the mighty blue eagle from Sirius. When I saw the eagle formation in the clouds, I took it
as a sign that I should stay on staff.
I thought about leaving staff
long and hard. In the end, my fear
of the consequences to my soul outweighed my dread and the misery of working for
Mrs. Prophet. On Sunday morning, I
called Florence to set up a meeting with Mrs. Prophet to give her my answer. I was told to come to La Tourelle.
When I got to La Tourelle, I
saw a woman by the name of Mrs. Bashe. She
was a friend of Mrs. Prophet.
Mrs. Bashe was the first of
several rich, shallow, aloof, condescending, phoney and aristocratic women that
Mrs. Prophet always gravitated towards. She
liked having these kind of women around her. These
were not blue-collar, down-to-earth kind of people.
On a previous occasion, Mrs.
Bashe had heard Mrs. Prophet saying some terrible things to me when she was
chastising me for something. When I
saw Mrs. Bashe that Sunday, she gave me a condemning look and I knew why. I wished that I had a rock to crawl under in that moment.
Mrs. Prophet made me stew all
day. I waited for hours. Finally,
she called me to meet with her in the evening.
She asked me if I minded if Florence was part of the meeting and I said I
I told Mrs. Prophet of my
decision: No matter what, I had to
serve her and her family.
She said that since I had
decided to stay, she could offer me a position working at La Tourelle.
I was to answer the phones and help out in graphics like I had done
before. I would no longer work in
She told me that I had passed
my test. She said that I had come
to the same place on the path several times in past embodiments and that I had
always turned back at this fork in the road.
I had won a victory by making the right decision this time.
In the light of Mrs.
Prophet’s instruction to me, I felt that I had successfully scaled a hurdle
that I had failed in the past. Even as I was relieved that I no longer had to serve on her personal
staff, I also felt as though I had failed.
Some of the staff were
surprised to see me answering the phone when I started working again at La
Tourelle. I told one staff member that I was too dense to do the job at
Mrs. Prophet's house right. I remember she said that
everyone was too dense to that job right.
Her remark was a small comfort to me at the time.
Kay Steinman took up the slack on Mrs. Prophet’s staff after I left.
When it was all over, I had
lasted only twelve weeks on the job. I
hadn’t exactly gone into the situation with my eyes open.
I think “eyes wide shut” would describe it:
I was wide-eyed with awe but clueless as to what I was in for.
For many years to come, I felt
that because I had not been able to quietly take Mrs. Prophet’s verbal
chastising that late April night, I had failed.
Another chapter of my staff
service was about to begin. It
could only get better from here.
To be continued.