Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and what made her give up her weapons stockpile

Doomsday predicting cult leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet, perhaps best known to many of you as the visionary musician responsible for works like The Great Divine Rectors Call, has died at the age of 70. I don’t know much about Prophet or her cult – the Church Universal and Triumphant – but I came across an interesting fact in the New York Times just now that I wanted to pass along. Apparently, the government made an interesting bargain with her in the 80’s, when it became know that she was stockpiling weapons. Here’s a clip:

…In the late 1980s, Mrs. Prophet issued warnings of an impending nuclear strike by the Soviet Union against the United States. More than 2,000 of her followers left their homes and gathered at the church’s compound near Corwin Springs, Mont., near the northern edge of Yellowstone National Park. There they began stockpiling weapons, food and clothing in underground bomb shelters.

Mounting tensions with local residents subsided when the predicted attack did not occur, and church members began returning home. At the same time, a looming face-off with the United States government was averted when church leaders agreed not to store weapons in return for a reinstatement of the church’s tax-exempt status, which had been revoked in 1987…

I guess I’m naive, but I didn’t think such things happened. And it makes me wonder if perhaps any creative negotiating took place prior to the siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Texas that ended so horribly.

I just like the psychology of it… the fact that, when push came to shove, Prophet was apparently more interested in keeping her money than in continuing to push the threat of doomsday. I don’t know that I like that our government gave away tax exempt status in exchange for weapons, but I appreciate the creativity.

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2 Comments

  1. Steven
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I wonder if maybe something like this was behind Rev Moon’s DC coronation as the “King of Peace” in 2004. Could politicians have gone along with it in order to get Moon to give up guns?

  2. Steven
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    More on the Moon coronation:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Myung_Moon_coronation

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