Elizabeth Clare Prophet (née: Wulf) (April 8, 1939 – October 15, 2009) was an American New Age minister and religious figure, self-proclaimed prophet, author, orator, and writer. In 1963 she married Mark L. Prophet, who five years earlier, in 1958, had founded The Summit Lighthouse. Mark and Elizabeth had four children. In their nine years of marriage, they embarked on spiritual pilgrimages to Europe, Ghana and India, where they met Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama. Elizabeth, just 33 years of age at the time of husband Mark’s death on February 26, 1973, assumed control of The Summit Lighthouse at that time.
In 1975, Prophet founded Church Universal and Triumphant, which became the umbrella organization for the movement, and which she expanded worldwide. Prophet controversially called on her members in the late 1980s to prepare for the possibility of nuclear war at the turn of the decade, encouraging them to construct fallout shelters. In 1996, Prophet handed day-to-day operational control of her organization to a president and board of directors, maintaining her role as spiritual leader until her retirement due to health reasons in 1999.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Prophet appeared on Larry King Live, Donahue and Nightline, among other television programs. Earlier media appearances included a feature in 1977 in “The Man Who Would Not Die,” an episode of NBC’s In Search Of… series. She was also featured in 1994 on NBC’s Ancient Prophecies.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet was born Elizabeth Clare Wulf at Monmouth Memorial Hospital in Long Branch, New Jersey on April 8th, 1939, to Hans and Fridy Wulf. She grew up with her family in Red Bank, New Jersey during the Second World War.Her earliest memories of her childhood she describes as idyllic, however problems arose such as the detention of her father as a suspected German spy in 1942. Upon his release he conveyed the need of her to help others who may also suffer because of their nationality, their race or religion. After seeing the horrors of the Holocaust in media and print, she became convinced of the reality of absolute evil in the world which contributed to her decision to major in political science in her studies.
One of the major difficulties in her early life was her father’s addiction to alcohol. He verbally abused her mother and had a violent temper which he directed towards them and the destruction of his beloved fish tanks. After witnessing this for many years Elizabeth became convinced that when the blood alcohol content creates a chemical imbalance in the body possessing demons take over the mind and the emotions.
In Prophet’s early life she periodically blacked out. This happened in the third grade when she was about to say her lines in a Christmas play, and continued after that throughout her life. Her condition was first diagnosed as petit mal epilepsy, know more commonly today as absence seizures. She did not find medication helpful, and discontinued using it. Her mother later confessed that in 1937 she took some pills in an unsuccessful attempt to abort her pregnancy when she was carrying Elizabeth. Prophet thought that her mother was implying that the medication may have contributed to her childhood blackouts. Prophet herself did some research and found out that the use of quinine sulfate could have damaged the developing nervous system and the brain.
Elizabeth Wulf claimed mystical experiences while growing up. When she was about 4, she claims that she had a vision of herself playing on the sands of the Nile river in Egypt (her mother told her it was a past life). As a child, she claimed to feel God’s light around her naturally, and to hear a sound in her inner ear like that of an ocean wave or the roar of Niagara Falls. Another experience she had while water-skiing was that of being suspended in a place where other spiritual beings existed who were joyous in the light, radiating love. This motivated her to find out more who these “saints robed in white” (Rev. 7:9-17) were for she had always believed in the “universality of all true religion”.
Betty Clare grew up in a home that was mainly non-religious except for major holidays. Her father was Lutheran, her mother Catholic. Yet it was her mother’s interests in Theosophy, the I AM Activity, and Christian Science that had the most influence on Elizabeth. In Theosophy and the I AM Activity she heard about the Ascended Masters, Karma, and Reincarnation; in Christian Science she was told that matter was not the only reality and that the spirit part of us made in the image of God was our true nature. Prophet stayed with Christian Science until she met Mark Prophet at the age of 22.
Elizabeth Clare Wulf spent her junior year studying French in Switzerland in 1956 and a year later graduated from Red Bank Regional High School second in her class. She attended Antioch College in Ohio from September 1957 to March 1959 majoring in political science and economics. She transferred to Boston University in September 1959, from where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in political science in August 1961.
In summer 1958, Prophet took a co-op job as a camp counselor in a French immersion school in Vermont. She was in charge of a number of high school girls between 15 and 16 years old and her role was to discipline them. She described the experience as frustrating and said she ended up praying to God that she never be put in a position of authority over others.
In fall 1958 she served an internship at the United Nations as secretary for Leo Rosenthal, a UN photographer. Her experience at the UN showed her that many of the ambassadors were not there to solve the world’s problems but rather were engaged in power politics and manipulation of the world’s economies. Leaving after three months made her depressed, with the opinion that to solve the world’s problems people would need to change their concept of themselves and of God.
After moving to Boston in 1959, she worked as a secretary for the Christian Science church and the Christian Science Monitor. According to Prophet, that is where she learned much about the publishing operations, organization, and administration of a church on a worldwide scale which was to help her later in running her own church.
Prophet claimed that she realized that she was intended to be a messenger while meditating with Mark L. Prophet at a public meeting in Boston on April 22, 1961. He had come to teach about what he called “the Ascended Masters”. She later claimed to have received a vision while meditating with him that her role in life was to pass on a higher teaching to further humanity’s spiritual evolution. She confided to Mark the next day that like him, she was also to be a messenger; he accepted her as a student at his mystical school, The Summit Lighthouse. She said she received another vision in June of that year in the way of a visitation by the Ascended Master El Morya who told her to go to Washington, D.C. to be trained as messenger. attending her first conference in Washington in July, Mark Prophet returned to Boston in August to help her move to Washington to begin her training under him. They married in 1963, and upon his death on February 26, 1973, Elizabeth Clare Prophet assumed leadership of the organization.
Ministry and expansion
In 1965 the Prophet family relocated to Fairfax, Virginia, and in 1966 to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 1970, the Prophet family founded Montessori International, a school based on the principles of educator Maria Montessori. Classes were offered for students ranging from preschool age to high school. Montessori information courses were also offered to parents and students. Staff were trained at Montessori organizations such as the Association Montessori Internationale and the Pan-American Montessori Society,
In 1970 the Prophets went to India with their family and several dozen church members. (Elizabeth traveled again in the early 1980s and established the ASHRAM OF THE WORLD MOTHER in New Delhi, India.) They toured the country, meeting with Indira Gandhi as well as with the Dalai Lama. They also met with Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
In 1974 the headquarters of the Church were moved to Santa Barbara, California, where Elizabeth Prophet founded Summit University, a 12 week program of instruction in her teachings. In 1975, she founded Summit University Press.
The church eventually became the umbrella organization for Prophet’s work, with The Summit Lighthouse becoming the publishing arm of the church.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet in front of the chapel at the summit of Croagh Patrick, Ireland, 1980
In the summer of 1976, the church’s headquarters were again relocated to the campus of Pasadena College, in Pasadena. Summit University, Montessori International, and quarterly church conferences were held there. About 300 staff members were then in residence.
In 1977 the church purchased a former Claretian seminary in Calabasas, a 218-acre (0.88 km2) campus near Los Angeles, and moved its operations there in 1978.
In 1981 the Church Universal and Triumphant purchased the 12,000-acre (49 km2) Forbes Ranch, just outside of Yellowstone Park, near Gardiner, Montana.
Final years in the ministry
In 1986, Prophet relocated her headquarters to Montana near the Yellowstone National Park. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in November 1998.
Retirement and death
She retired in 1999 and died on October 15, 2009. Prophet was survived by her five children
The dogma of The Summit Lighthouse included a doctrine called the Path of Personal Christhood, or the way of the soul’s one-on-one relationship with God through Christ consciousness. Elizabeth Clare Prophet believed that she shared the gift of the word, both written and spoken. She claimed to be in constant communion with God.
The Science of the Spoken word, as Elizabeth and Mark taught it, was thought to be a gift of sound combined with meditation, prayer and visualization. They believed that a Divine Gift (The Ascension) of union with God was possible.