History of The Summit Lighthouse
Founding of The Summit Lighthouse
In 1958, the Ascended Master El Morya called Mark L. Prophet to Washington, D.C., to found The Summit Lighthouse and to publish the teachings of the ascended masters. Seven ascended masters—Archangel Michael, the Elohim of Peace, Saint Germain, the Maha Chohan, El Morya, Gautama Buddha and Godfre—gave the founding dictations of The Summit Lighthouse before the original board members on August 7, 1958, in Philadelphia.
By this time Mark was living in a brownstone house on Kentucky Avenue close to the heart of the nation’s capital. In a room on the top floor, which served as the first sanctuary for The Summit Lighthouse, Mark would sit at his manual typewriter under a 300 watt light bulb and receive the masters’ dictations for the Pearls of Wisdom.
Among the few furnishings in his room were a rug, a large picture of El Morya, a phonograph and one record entitled “Hearts and Flowers.” This phonograph record had been used so much that the needle would stick on a certain spot each time it was played.
One time when Mark was discouraged, he asked El Morya if he would please give him a sign. Immediately a beam of light shot out from El Morya’s picture, picked up the arm of the phonograph, moved the needle beyond the worn spot on the record and the music continued. Mark’s faith was reaffirmed by this startling demonstration, and he promised never to doubt the Master again.
Mother Finds Mark and The Summit Lighthouse
Elizabeth Clare Prophet met Mark, her twin flame, when she attended her first Summit Lighthouse meeting on April 22, 1961, in Boston. (In later years, her students came to call her “Mother” because of her devotion to God as Mother, just as a mother superior is called “Mother” or a priest “Father.”)
Soon after this first meeting, El Morya called Mother to Washington, D.C., to be trained as a Messenger. Mark told Mother that his tenure on earth was drawing to a close but he would stay till she was ready to carry on in his stead. Her knowing this was a heavy burden on her heart. The Messengers served side by side for just eleven years and ten months.
In 1962, The Summit Lighthouse bought its first printing press. It was delivered to Mother’s apartment in Arlington, Virginia, where she printed the Pearls of Wisdom in her living room. Later that year, the organization bought a house in Fairfax, Virginia, and called it Holy Tree House for the abundance of holly trees on the property. Holy Tree House was surrounded by woods and the staff sat on the screened in porch to eat their meals. Mother cooked and ran the press until Bill Harper, a pillar in the early church, joined staff and took over the basement print shop.
Mother and Mark were married March 16, 1963. The Messengers’ first child, Sean Christopher Prophet, was born at Holy Tree House May 9, 1964. In July, Saint Germain anointed Mother as Messenger for the Great White Brotherhood. The Great White Brotherhood is a spiritual order of Western saints and Eastern masters. (The term “white” refers not to race but to the aura of white light that surrounds these immortals.)
In 1964, Mark went on his first people to people tour. He traveled throughout the United States and contacted just about every person on the mailing list. Mother recalls that he was very touched to visit a black couple who were readers of the Pearls of Wisdom. Although they were not educated, they understood perfectly the teachings of the Great White Brotherhood. In fact, they so loved the Masters that they papered the walls of their little cottage with the Pearls of Wisdom.
Mark and Mother were profoundly impressed by the lesson that this dear couple demonstrated: If you have the Holy Spirit, you don’t need a college degree to understand the teachings of the ascended masters. And if you don’t have the Holy Spirit, a college degree will not help you.
Because the organization was bursting at the seams at Holy Tree House, Mark and Mother moved it to its second focus, in Vienna, Virginia, in January 1965. Morya named this lovely house Beacon’s Head.
The Summit Lighthouse Expands in the 1960s
Later that year, the ascended masters directed the Prophets to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Gautama Buddha gave his New Year’s Eve Address at Beacon’s Head and on January 1, 1966, everyone, except Mother, drove to Colorado Springs. Mother flew to Colorado because she was expecting her second child anytime. Erin Lynn Prophet was born January 23. Mark and the staff had just taken possession of the property when Mother and Erin arrived home from the hospital.
The beautiful Broadmoor mansion, called La Tourelle, became not only the home of the messengers and their family but also the worldwide headquarters of The Summit Lighthouse from which our books, Pearls of Wisdom and Keepers of the Flame Lessons were printed and distributed.
In July and August, Mark lectured in the eastern and central states. In September 1967, he toured the western states, lecturing in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and California. In those days Mark spoke of the dangers of drugs and rock music, prophesying a great rise in murder and crime as a result of the opening of the astral plane through the hippie lifestyle. How right he was!
On October 25, the Messengers’ third child, Moira Ellen Prophet, was born. In August and September 1968, immediately following the International Re-Source Conference, held in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Mark, Mother, their three children and several staff members boarded the S.S. Bremen and embarked on their European tour. They lectured in major cities and visited Keepers of the Flame. Part of their mission was to clear the records of black magic and witchcraft in Europe and the false hierarchy behind those records.
In Europe the Messengers broke new ground. Even though they did not speak the language, they rented hotel meeting rooms and delivered lectures in English. Their message was always well received. Some of our members remember to this day meeting Mark when he lectured in a hotel in Amsterdam. As a result of this tour, we now have many Teaching Centers and Study Groups in various European cities where the Messengers traveled.
The Summit Lighthouse continued to grow. In 1969, we established a focus on the West Coast, the Motherhouse in Santa Barbara near beautiful Mission Santa Barbara. For many years the Motherhouse was a central focus for the ascended masters and their students. It was here in July 1971 that Mark Prophet inaugurated the first session of the ascended master University (AMU), now called Summit University. The opening session of AMU lasted two weeks. Mark lectured on Cosmic Law in the mornings and on God government in the afternoons.
As late as 1982, students from Summit University convened at the Motherhouse for special gatherings and services. Mother would take busloads of students from Camelot, our headquarters in Southern California, to the Motherhouse to teach them for the day. We sold the Motherhouse in 1983.
The 1970s Bring Many Changes
In April 1970, following the Easter conference, Mark, Mother, their children and fifty Keepers of the Flame and staff made a pilgrimage to India. They visited Darjeeling, Kashmir and many religious and historical centers throughout India. They met with the Dalai Lama, Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa, holy men and people from all walks of life. Mark delivered a sermon at Sarnath, where Gautama Buddha first began to teach.
Although the group toured sacred sites and scenic spots, Mark told them that their goal was to carry the light of the resurrection flame from the Easter conference held in Santa Barbara to India—to return the light from the West to the East. The Rev. Annice Booth, who traveled to India with the Messengers, notes that several of the students who went on the India pilgrimage are now ascended masters—George Lancaster, Helen MacDonald, Ruth Jones, Marguerite Baker and Marguerite Wurtsbaugh.
In November 1970, Mark and Mother founded Montessori International, a school for children one and a half to seven years old, in Colorado Springs. The curriculum was based on the educational principles set forth by Dr. Maria Montessori and the ascended masters. One of our two original teachers spoke Spanish to the children. This was our first bilingual program and we continue to stress the study of foreign languages for children of all ages. Enrollment swelled when our headquarters moved to Pasadena and Camelot in California, where more than two hundred students attended nursery school through high school.
Montessori International incorporated techniques developed by Romalda Spalding, Glenn Doman, Marva Collins and Anna Ingham as well as methods advanced by our own teachers to create a unique and accelerated educational program for children not found in other schools, public or private.
At the 1971 Easter class, the Divine Mother Omega dedicated the focus at La Tourelle as the Retreat of the Resurrection Spiral. When La Tourelle was sold in November 1984, the flame of the Retreat of the Resurrection Spiral was withdrawn and later transferred to the Inner Retreat.
The year 1972 was Mark’s last on earth and it was a busy one for both Messengers. Tatiana, the youngest of the Prophet children, was born on January 15. In June, Mark opened the Four Winds Organic Center, a restaurant and health food store in Colorado Springs. Mark loved to meet the people who came to eat at his restaurant. The grand opening was recorded in articles in the local newspapers, The Sun and Gazette Telegraph.
In June, the Messengers also published book one of Climb the Highest Mountain, the Everlasting Gospel and scripture for the Age of Aquarius. Mark, Mother, their four children and several staff members vacationed in Hawaii to celebrate the completion of the book. Upon their return, Mark took great pleasure in autographing the first copies of the newly published book for the staff.
While the Messengers were in Hawaii, Mark gave lectures from town to town. Many people recognized him as their spiritual teacher and followed him back to La Tourelle, where they joined staff. During this trip, El Morya told Mother that she would begin walking the fourteen stations of the cross with the Divine Mother on June 27. Subsequently, the Blessed Mother dictated thirteen scriptural rosaries for the New Age.
In July, the messengers toured and lectured in Ghana. In October, they led seventy pilgrims to the Holy Land. On this trip they visited the sacred sites of Jerusalem and toured Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Greece. The messengers received many dictations from the ascended masters during this trip.
Mark Takes His Leave
On Sunday, February 18, 1973, Mark delivered a lecture and his final dictation at the Santa Barbara Motherhouse. The dictation, by Saint Germain, was called “A Tale of Two Cities.” Simultaneously in Colorado Springs, Jesus gave a dictation through Mother entitled “The Alchemy of the Marriage at Cana.” Mark knew his time on earth was drawing to a close and passed the torch of the mission to his beloved twin flame. Mark Prophet ascended from Colorado Springs on February 26, whereupon he revealed his ascended master name to be Lanello.
Shortly after his ascension, Lanello gave two private dictations to the staff. As Jesus taught his disciples for forty days after his resurrection, so Lanello offered his staff access to his causal body for forty days. Each night at 10:00 p.m. the staff gathered to form a circle and give ascension decrees.
At the 1973 Easter class held at La Tourelle, Lanello spoke to four hundred Keepers of the Flame. This was the largest gathering of Keepers to that date. Mother recalls that since the sanctuary could not hold this large a group, the staff had to move the beds out of their rooms and put speakers upstairs so that everyone could hear the dictations. People rotated from room to room so that everyone would have a chance to be in the sanctuary. That was when we realized we needed a larger focus.
Mark’s ascension brought a virtual explosion in the membership of The Summit Lighthouse. That summer, one thousand students attended the July Freedom conference, which was held at the “Land of Lanello.” It was by far the largest conference held to that date.
Those of you who never met Mark may wonder, “What was he really like when he was in embodiment?” People who knew Mark say that he was the most deeply spiritual human being they had ever known. His face shone with the inner light and his reading of the soul of everyone he met was so accurate it was awesome. At the same time, he was fun loving, spontaneous and practical. He was a down to earth kind of a guy who loved to talk to people from every walk of life.
Mark brought the elements of everyday life into his sermons, even as he revealed the most profound spiritual truths. His anecdotes juxtapose the sublime and the ridiculous in human nature, freeing us to laugh at ourselves and take spiritual correction when we need it. Because of the depth of his wisdom and his accurate foreseeing of the future, Mark Prophet was and is the prophet of the century.
Worldwide Expansion through Publications and Outreach
In September 1973, Mother inaugurated the first full time, twelve week session of Summit University at the Motherhouse in Santa Barbara, where she taught three quarters per year. Summit University outgrew the Motherhouse, was held in Colorado Springs from fall 1975 through spring 1976, and then settled at the Nazarene campus in Pasadena until the Church moved to Camelot in 1978. Starting in 1988, Summit University convened at the Royal Teton Ranch.
In December 1973, Mother and a group of pilgrims embarked on “Mission South America” to help prepare South America spiritually to receive incoming souls of Light from the Great Divine Director’s seventh root race. The New Year’s conference, The Origin of Cycles, was held in Mexico City. The group spent several days climbing the pyramids in the Yucatan, offering prayers and decrees to clear the ancient records of human sacrifice.
In the mid 1970s, we expanded our publishing efforts. When Mother first joined The Summit Lighthouse, Pearls of Wisdom were being published weekly, but we had no books in print, no decree sheets and no published tape recordings. By 1973, we had published Studies in Alchemy and Intermediate Studies in Alchemy in addition to Climb the Highest Mountain.
After Mark ascended, Mother quickly went to work to print all the books the masters had dictated in serialized form in the Pearls of Wisdom. Among the books she published by 1977 are Cosmic Consciousness by Lanello, Studies of the Human Aura by Kuthumi, Intermediate Studies of the Human Aura by Djwal Kul, The Chela and the Path by El Morya, Quietly Comes the Buddha by Gautama Buddha, and Vials of the Seven Last Plagues by the Seven Archangels.
El Morya told Mother that each book she published was designed to reach a special group of souls who would know that this book was for them. And Mother has noticed that this always happens; every time we print a new book, our organization takes another leap in size, just as it did when Mark ascended.
A major milestone in the history of our organization was the founding of Summit University Press in the mid 1970s. We put the Summit University Press logo—the flame in the bowl—on our books, and salesmen went out to distribute our publications to bookstores in the United States and around the world. People bought our books and then wrote to us and said, “I read your book!” We put them on our mailing list to receive our announcements and advertisements and they started coming to our quarterly conferences. Our movement kept growing and it has never stopped.
Another activity that contributed to the expansion of our movement in the 1970s was postering. We postered every where: on telephone poles, trees, vacant buildings, bulletin boards, in health food and new age stores—any place that we could find. We had great posters! Especially memorable was the one for Shasta 1975. People came from all over the world prepared to camp out. This was the largest conference we had ever held.
Jesus Calls Mother to Found Church Universal and Triumphant
In 1974, Jesus called Mother to found his Church. In a dictation in February, the ascended master Pope John XXIII announced its name to be Church Universal and Triumphant. Mother holds the office of the Vicar of Christ for our Church. The Church was then formally incorporated, with articles, bylaws and a board of directors. As a result, Keepers of the Flame now have the opportunity to become communicants of Church Universal and Triumphant.
On March 22, 1975, Saint Germain inaugurated a program that resulted in the founding of Church Universal and Triumphant Teaching Centers in major cities. The first Teaching Centers were established in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and New York. Teaching Centers and Study Groups soon sprang up everywhere.
In December, Jesus directed the messenger to move our headquarters to Los Angeles, the City of the Angels. By this time Mother was already recognized as a prominent religious leader and Church membership kept growing.
In 1976, Mother moved the Church headquarters to a leased campus in Pasadena, California. She also established the Ashram of the World Mother in downtown Los Angeles. In July 1977, Padma Sambhava bestowed the mantle of Guru upon Mother and provided the link for us to pursue the Guru-chela (Master disciple) relationship through the embodied Guru in the lineage of Sanat Kumara, Gautama Buddha, Lord Maitreya and Jesus Christ.
Mother Stumps for Saint Germain
In 1978, Mother stumped sixty seven cities in the United States and Canada. She delivered her message of the Coming Revolution in Higher Consciousness, inaugurated by Pallas Athena at the 1976 Freedom conference. Mother traveled and lived in the “gold bus,” a large Trailways bus that Mark had refitted for their earlier tours. The staff traveled with her in another bus and the equipment for the Stump followed in a semitrailer. Although Mother lectured every night in a different city, she filled her days with media appointments and continued to edit Pearls of Wisdom and other publications.
Mother’s lectures were well attended and brought good media response and little adverse publicity. In the years following Pallas Athena’s announcement of the Coming Revolution in Higher Consciousness, the messenger stumped more than one hundred cities across America and Canada as well as cities in Ghana, Liberia, India, Europe, the British Isles, Australia, the Philippines, South America and Mexico. She also conducted numerous seminars and classes across America.
Do you want to know where Mother got the money to go stumping? The Church’s board of directors had allocated $40,000 to decorate the Ashram of the World Mother in Los Angeles. But Mother said that she wanted to use the money to go stumping instead. As a result, the Ashram never did get its drapes!
Camelot Come Again
The Church continued to grow by word of mouth, through our conferences, through Mother’s stump lectures, and book by book as our publications rolled off the press. Because of further expansion in membership, we again needed larger facilities. In 1977, the Church purchased from the Claretian Fathers the beautiful 218 acre Gillette estate in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu and named it Camelot. It served as international headquarters for the Church through 1986.
On January 14, 1979, Archangel Gabriel announced Mission Amethyst Jewel for the gathering of disciples at Community Teaching Centers of Church Universal and Triumphant. Responding to Gabriel’s call, Keepers of the Flame established new Study Groups and Teaching Centers around the world.
In April 1980, in response to a dictation from Chananda, Chief of the Indian Council of the Great White Brotherhood, Mother and staff members flew to India to open the Ashram of the World Mother in New Delhi. For several years students from headquarters and Teaching Centers staffed the Ashram and held services and lectures for Indian devotees.
In May, Mother and the Montessori International faculty took the school’s students on a trip to the British Isles. They climbed Croagh Patrick and visited Glastonbury and Westminster Abbey as well as other memorable sites in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Our New Home—The Inner Retreat
In September 1981, we purchased the Royal Teton Ranch, bordering Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and in October Mother and Edward Francis, her beloved co-worker and soul mate, were married.
In the summer of 1982, the Ranch Kitchen Restaurant opened in Corwin Springs, Montana, featuring home cooked meals, delicious fruit-sweetened desserts and baked goods that won first prizes at the Montana State Fair.
In August, we held our first conference in the Heart of the Inner Retreat at the Royal Teton Ranch, the Retreat of the Chohans of the Rays. Devotees came from all over the world and camped in our newly opened campgrounds. It was a bit rustic in those first days in the Heart but we were enthusiastic pioneers. During this conference Mother and Edward announced the purchase of the Community of Glastonbury, North and South, and parcels were put up for sale to communicants of the Church. Camelot was sold in 1986 and we moved our headquarters to Montana.
During the 1980s, Mother continued to stump for the Coming Revolution in Higher Consciousness. In 1985, she and her stump team toured Australia, the Philippines, Hawaii and Europe. In 1987 and 1988, Saint Germain stumped America from coast to coast through his Messenger.
From 1987 to 1989, Keepers of the Flame around the world answered the call of Saint Germain, given in a Thanksgiving Day dictation in 1986, for physical and spiritual preparedness. In their home countries and states, they built fallout shelters and stored all that was necessary for their physical survival in times of economic hardship, cataclysm, earth changes or nuclear war.
We Have Come a Long Way
We have come a long way since El Morya founded The Summit Lighthouse through Mark Prophet in 1958. And Mark is still a vital part of our activity. As the ascended master Lanello, he is called the “Ever-Present Guru.” From the ascended state, he continues to direct the activities of The Summit Lighthouse and Church Universal and Triumphant with our beloved Mother.
Mark gave us the vision of our mission with The Summit Lighthouse when he said in a sermon in 1972, “Ours must be a message of infinite love and we must demonstrate that love to the world.”
Lanello is truly our friend of Light. He cheers us on to our own victory—and always reminds us, “Don’t forget to call to me, for Lanello is my name!”
“The Past Is Prologue” – The History of The Summit Lighthouse (published February 1994).