If you want a good look at the internal debate over the Church Universal and Triumphant's new direction, go to cyberspace, where a pair of Web sites are dedicated to airing viewpoints pro and con.
People speculate about
the sex life of CUT guru Elizabeth Clare Prophet, rehash her
alleged misdeeds going back as far as the 1970s, and argue about
the future of the church. They express their dedication, their
hostility or their indifference.
mostly criticism of the church and its leaders, past and present.
It recommends books critical of the church, debates topics like
"mind control" and whether the church practices it, and lets former
members catch up with each other and swap
Another site, http://origin.org (then
click on The Phoenix), is more sympathetic to the church but
acknowledges that members are having problems adapting to the new
way of doing things.
"We will work for
reconciliation among the existing members of the church, playing
the role of healer and advisor," the site's opening page
"It's a healthy process that people need to
go through to strengthen the church," said church spokesman
"I don't care what they were
doing in the 1970s," site Webmaster Bruce Schuman of Santa Barbara,
Calif., said of church leaders in an interview. "I want to know
what's going on in 1999 and 2000." He calls his site The Phoenix,
because "it's rising from the ashes."
belonged to the church in the 1980s but drifted away in 1986, when
CUT headquarters moved to Montana. "They wanted to go to Montana
and build bomb shelters," he said. "I didn't want to do that."
He said the church is dropping the "radicalism"
of the past and he wants to help it become a part of a more
mainstream, modern, worldwide mysticism. "They have to find new
ways of doing things," he said. "And in the meantime, they go a
The transition is painful and
difficult, he said, but worth it. "It's a disciplined, demanding
path that expects a lot from people," he said. But with discipline,
"you're going to find that your life is blessed."