An archive of news items related to child abuse or neglect, or infringement of children's rights, in a religious context.Copyrighted materials appearing on this blog are provided under Fair Use provisions to facilitate education and further research into the issues documented in these news reports.The Los Angeles Times - October 16, 2009 Religious sect leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet dies, leaves legacy of Armageddon church behind By Associated Press BOZEMAN, Mont.
Steinman said he was not aware of any other complicating health issues. Prophet led the Park County church that once boasted 50,000 members.
In the late 1980s, church members amassed assault rifles and armored vehicles in preparation for a nuclear missile strike that Prophet predicted was on the way.
The plan brought national notoriety and a federal investigation.
The church's beliefs combined icons from the world's major religions, mixing western philosophy and mysticism.
It was 1978 and her supervisor had invited her to hear the New Age sect’s leader, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, speak at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
“I was 27 years old and it was a Friday night,” Nicholson, now 58, recalled. “She started talking about all the things I had been looking for -- a marriage between science and religion,” said Nicholson, who was raised Presbyterian, but had pulled away because she disagreed with the belief that people who didn’t believe in Jesus didn’t go to heaven. “I put down my Louis Vuitton purse, with my acrylic nails and my makeup, and I whipped out a pad and started taking notes.” Nicholson is one of thousands of people around the globe who have joined the church, based north of Gardiner and perhaps best known for followers’ preparations for nuclear Armageddon in the late 1980s.
“I was all dressed up in my skirt and heels to go to the bar, but it was my supervisor, so I thought I’d go.” Initially, Nicholson said she was turned off by the Indian spiritual music and followers weighed down with neck beads who filled the conference room. Prophet, who retired from the church 10 years ago and died in October from advanced Alzheimer’s disease, preached a mix of several of the world’s religions including Christianity, Buddhism and mysticism.
Yet even without Prophet, who served as an earthly conduit for the teachings of higher beings known as “Ascended Masters,” leaders say the church is growing.
Despite her disease, videos and writings of Prophet continued to dominate church teaching, transformed into a New Age publishing enterprise and spiritual university.
The church was still prepared for Armageddon in recent years, and kept a bomb shelter stocked for 750 people deep in a forest near Yellowstone National Park.
Gone are the weapons amassed in the late 1980s that got church leaders into trouble with federal authorities.