A lot has happened since I gave a talk at the Bozeman Public Library in 2008 regarding my book Prophet's Daughter--my mother has died, I decided to enter a PhD program in religion, and my friend Kathleen Stanley, who was supportive of the talk, has also died. But as I re-watched it recently, I decided it was important enough to post for several reasons.
Much of what I say has to do with boundaries and borders, inclusion, exclusion, how groups decide who's in and out, and how they treat outsiders or those who have been expelled. A lot of what I said is specific to Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT) and how I think it needed to reform in order to move into the future. I realize that a number of people who look for my work may be interested in my thoughts on the church.
I also share my view of dictations and the messengership, and set forth a list of four ways in which I think CUT should change. These are: 1) Formally abandon the practice of identifying people as fallen angels (whether or not this is a formal church practice, it has been done by members). 2) Return the Church Bylaws to their 1995 state to permit greater membership participation (one of my mother's last wishes). 3) Reinstate due process so that people can't be dismissed for minor infractions such as disagreeing with leadership. 4) Permitting members to belong to more than one church, including more than one ascended master group. I sent the church leadership a letter with several of these points but did not receive an answer. I also stated why I thought leaders of CUT should be custodians and facilitators, rather than lawgivers.
I know that a lot has changed in six years, and that the church has made some efforts. But I do not think the reforms I mention have been made. Many people are still excluded, and the church continues to be run by a small group along authoritarian lines. (Please also note that I make comments about some of the other groups that developed out of CUT, and I do not know at this time whether they are still accurate, as I don't keep up with those groups.) During the talk, I also discuss what an ideal church or spiritual organization might look like today, and how it may evolve.
Kathleen Stanley was a former member of the church's staff who tried to bridge the divide between those on the inside and those on the outside. You can't see her in the video but you can see her hat. Unfortunately, her long battle with cancer ended a little more than a year after my mother's passing. I appreciated the way Kathleen tried to encourage CUT members to listen to what I had to say, although many declined her repeated invitations to my talk. I hope that in the interim, some have become at least curious enough to know what I had to say. So I am publishing this video in memory of my mother, of Kathleen Stanley, and with the hope that it will interest those who support the reform of any church or faith.