El Morya's Garden
Celebrating the Sangha and the Can-Do Spirit!
by Mary Bentz
I did not know Elizabeth Clare Prophet personally, in a social sense. I did not know her children or her husband other than by sight or through the polite nod or exchange of “hello,” in passing. I never sat at her table, worked by her side or visited her home. Except for one specific time, my encounters with Mrs. Prophet during the last 10 years of her active involvement with The Summit Lighthouse were limited to that of attendee at the quarterly spiritual conferences; participation in various weekend services throughout the years, and as student during three 3-month long sessions of Summit University. It was usually during the conferences and Summit University that Mrs. Prophet, filled with the Holy Spirit, presented the teachings of the ascended masters, shared some of her life experiences, and gave dictations and an occasional special blessing.
Even though we were unfamiliar with each other in the course of our daily lives, the relationship I had with Mrs. Prophet on a spiritual level — on an inner heart level — was, and is, by far, one of the more intimate ones I’ve ever had. While she had many shoes to fill during her life — as wife, mother, friend, author, messenger — it was as spiritual teacher, as Guru Ma, that Elizabeth Clare Prophet entered my life in a most profound way. This deep connection that seemed to span both time and space continued after her retirement in 1999 and has continued to grow stronger since her passing and ascension in the autumn of 2009. This is my testimony to Guru Ma.
I grew up in a Catholic household in the Midwest, where my parents were devout yet independent in their approach to spirituality and the church. My mother had a few books on Catholic mystics and on astrology, along with a very interesting book entitled The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed, by the Rev. Dr. Charles Francis Potter. She let me read all of them. My father’s life as a Catholic began when he was baptized as an infant — my grandparents’ best friends were a Jewish couple named Hen and Jerry and they chose them to be their son’s godparents. At the baptism, the parish priest realized that they were Jewish and refused to go ahead with the ceremony. My 6-foot tall Irish grandfather supposedly looked down at the priest and said, “Fine. Then he won’t be baptized.” He was baptized.
In college I majored in theology and religious studies, and later went on to earn a master’s degree in Human and Religious Studies. It was during this time that I began to investigate other religions and spiritual paths, beginning with Autobiography of a Yogi and Self Realization Fellowship lessons, the Bhagavad Gita; the life of Gautama Buddha, etc. I wasn’t quite sure who or what I was looking for, but I knew that I had not yet found it. While I was in graduate school, I met my future husband, John, who had also been raised Catholic. I soon found out that he not only believed in reincarnation like I did, but he had almost every book the Theosophical Society had in print. I had never heard of Theosophy or the Masters of the Far East before but I became more intrigued with every book I borrowed.
We married in 1979 and the following year, John went to graduate school in Chicago to specialize in orthodontics. After graduation, we ended up living back in Ohio where he started his practice and we settled into family life, welcoming two delightful daughters within the next 3 ½ years. During this time, John brought home several books by Elizabeth Clare Prophet and we both read them. We had always wondered what had happened to the Masters mentioned in the Theosophical books, and were delighted to discover that they were continuing to teach and help mankind through their messengers, Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet.
In the fall of 1987, John and I decided to attend one day of a Summit Lighthouse conference that was being held at the Penta Hotel in New York City. We figured that it was the closest Elizabeth Clare Prophet would get to Ohio, so we flew to NYC, spent that night and most of the next day shopping and sightseeing, and then went to the mid-afternoon presentation before returning home. As it turned out, Tom, a young friend of ours who was living in NYC at the time, was also interested in hearing Mrs. Prophet, so he met us there and I sat between him and John for the next 2 ½ hours.
When we took our seats, Mrs. Prophet was already on the platform talking about some of the ascended masters and their teachings. Behind her was a beautiful altar and to her left was a screen where images of the different masters were shown. Elizabeth Clare Prophet was lovely, radiant and welcoming. To my great relief, she looked quite “normal.” She wore make-up and had a beautiful white outfit on that seemed like a combination of California chic and Bloomingdales. We listened to Mrs. Prophet give a dictation by the ascended master El Morya (the “Morya” and “Master M” of the Theosophical Society), stood in line afterwards to receive a blessing on our foreheads, said goodbye to Tom and then left for the airport. It was the last time we would see Tom—both he and John passed away the following summer. John died at 36 from pancreatic cancer and Tom at 24 from pneumonia. Both deaths hit a lot of people quite hard, leaving many in shock and in that awful “twilight zone” of grief that anyone who has ever lost a loved one understands.
About 9 months prior to his death, John had placed his practice for sale in the hope of relocating someplace out West — Colorado or Montana. After he died, I decided to go forward with our plans and, after several trips back and forth to scope things out, moved to Montana with my daughters. I chose Montana over Colorado for one reason only: Elizabeth Clare Prophet was there and there was a community of people who, like my husband and I, had embraced the teachings of the ascended masters and the spiritual path they offered. Leaving family members behind wasn’t easy, but I knew we’d be returning for a lot of visits and some of them would come out and visit us. It wasn’t so much that we had to get out of Ohio, it was that we had to get where we were supposed to be.
In less than one year, John and I joyfully connected with a spiritual teacher, and sadly disconnected from each other as he left this world in what seemed to be a very untimely death. As Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”
That fall, I attended several sessions of the quarterly conference, and it was during one of them that I recognized Mrs. Prophet as the spiritual teacher I had been looking for the last 18 years of my life. I don’t remember the specific date or service, but I do remember it as if it was yesterday.
I was sitting in the audience, on the aisle, about 8 rows from the front, on the right side of the room. Mrs. Prophet was sitting up on the altar; uplifting mediation music and songs played in the background as people returned to their seats after a break. I looked around and, though quite comfortable in the environment, I was not sure that I wanted to uproot my small family so soon after our loss and move across the country. I was also not quite sure who, exactly, Elizabeth Clare Prophet was.
Earlier, during the break, I had the opportunity to talk with a few other attendees, who, for the most part, referred to Mrs. Prophet as “Mother,” except for one man who kept saying, “The Messenger this; the Messenger that.” Now, I grew up familiar with the term “Mother” as it related to the Mother Superior of a convent. Whenever we visited my great aunt, who was a nun, we’d always have to say, “Hello, Mother,” if her superior came into the room. As a child, I wasn’t keen on calling anyone but my mom “mother” and that’s about how I felt when I heard people at the conference calling Mrs. Prophet “Mother.” And, after listening to the fellow say “the Messenger” a couple more times, I had to ask whom he was talking about. He looked quite astonished and said, “The Messenger! Elizabeth Clare Prophet!” It really did not ring any bells. I thought, “Uh, oh. What is this all about here?”
So, back in my chair, a few minutes before the session began, I started talking to God (in my mind). I thought, “Well, God, this is a nice place, she’s a very lovely woman with a saintly glow around her and the people are really nice and friendly and I love the books. But, I don’t need or want another mother and I can’t relate to the idea of a “messenger.” So, please, please let me know why I’m even here.” As I finished my thought, everything changed. Immediately, an intense yet comforting vibration went straight through my body. The bhajan that had been playing in the background the last few minutes, Manasa Bhajore, sounded as if someone turned it up several decibels. Though I was unfamiliar with the Sanskrit words and their meaning, as soon as I heard the phrase “Guru Ma,” there was an enormous sunburst of white light that shot out and emanated from the heart of Mrs. Prophet, right through my heart. It filled my body and everyone and everything in the entire room like a scintillating, radiant orb that went through and beyond the walls, out into the atmosphere. I’d never experienced anything like it, and it lasted as long as the bhajan did.
It was in that instant that I knew I found my spiritual teacher, my guru, Guru Ma, and she entered my life and my heart and soul in a most profound and undeniable way. I decided to move to Montana and stay there as long as she was teaching. While I didn’t know exactly how life with a living, breathing guru would unfold, I knew that I was definitely where I needed to be and where I wanted to be.
My family and I lived in Montana on and off for 5 ½ of the last 10 years that Elizabeth Clare Prophet was actively leading The Summit Lighthouse, before she retired in 1999 because of health problems. During those 10 years, no matter where I was living, being a chela of an embodied Guru became the warp and woof of my life. I attended as many quarterly conferences that I could and experienced first hand the comforting and renewing fire of the Holy Spirit through Mrs. Prophet when she gave dictations from the ascended masters and lectures on their teachings. I also attended three 3-month sessions of Summit University, where students studied the Bible and different teachings of the ascended masters, along with the psychology of the soul and Eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
Raising two young children by myself was a challenge in itself, but having a deep connection with a spiritual teacher who was also a chela in the chain of hierarchy and a mother, helped a lot. It wasn’t so much that I was interested in how she raised her own children, because four out of five were grown by then, but rather that I studied the teachings of the ascended masters that Mrs. Prophet put forth regarding children and the importance of their spiritual development, along with their emotional, educational, social, creative and physical development, and then applied those concepts and recommendations to my own family in a way that worked for us. It was the understanding and practical application of the spiritual laws and disciplines taught by Mrs. Prophet that helped me in my journey as a parent.
As a chela of the Ascended Master, El Morya, Elizabeth Clare Prophet was an example par excellence. No one’s life is a perfect piece of cake, without ups and downs and mistakes, and Mrs. Prophet’s was no exception. Regardless of what was going on in her personal life, with the community or on the world scene, she continued to strive upward on her own spiritual path toward her ascension. Faith, hope, love, perseverance, loyalty and obedience to the Guru and to the Law and non-compromise of the Law and the disciplines of the Law were the qualities of the soul, spirit and person of Elizabeth Clare Prophet that I took note of and strove to emulate during the highs and lows of my own life.
When Mrs. Prophet retired in 1999, we had already been living in Ohio for over a year. It was quite disconcerting to realize that she would no longer be physically present during the conferences, and that the number of times we’d even see her in the future were minimal, at best, because of the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. I was taken off guard with the announcement. Later, upon reflection, I realized that although I had been physically away from my Guru for quite some time, the tie between us had become stronger over the years. It was comforting to remember that nothing really changed between us on the inner, even though on the outer, there was an incredible and profound loss.
The years between Mrs. Prophet’s retirement and passing went by in a way that could almost be described as how life goes by when living a long distance from a close friend or family member. During those 10 years, I studied and applied the teachings of ascended masters; raised my daughters through high school; traveled a bit and spent time with family and friends; dealt with the death of my youngest brother; started a non-profit group; welcomed a third daughter into my life; saw the older two off to college and begin their careers, all the while keenly aware of the inner tie to my Guru.
When a friend called to tell me that Mrs. Prophet had passed away peacefully in her home on October 15, 2009, it took a while for it to sink in. It was, I believed, a very big deal, not just for her chelas, who had known and loved her from near and afar, but for those who would now read her books, learn about the ascended masters and encounter Guru Ma for the first time as an ascended guru. I was very grateful that I had the opportunity to know her during a period of time in her life that, cosmically speaking, was but the blink of an eye.
It’s now been 6 ½ years since Elizabeth Clare Prophet moved on to higher octaves. I can witness to the fact that the love of the Guru for the chela and the bond between them spans time and space. Whether at inner levels or through the vast amount of teachings she left us, Guru Ma continues to inspire, comfort and counsel her chelas in a most powerful, personal and practical way.
Dear Mary, thank you for sharing.God Bless you
I do not know you, but in reading your testimony, I do know you if that makes any sense. Thank you. You have helped me more than you know. Dorothy