There is so much fascination around cults and extreme religions in popular culture, with movies like Midsommar and series like Wild Wild Country. We seem to have an endless appetite for stories about how people find themselves in thrall to a group and its ideas -- as well as its leader .
But what if you were born into the inner sanctum of such a group? That was the case for Erin Prophet. Her mother, Elizabeth Prophet, was at one time the leader of The Church Universal and Triumphant, which at its height boasted 50,000 members worldwide.
Elizabeth's followers considered her an Ascended Master and Messenger of God. Her 1989 prediction of a nuclear conflagration prompted her followers to build fallout shelters and bunkers in Montana and gather enough food and supplies to last for years. Of course, the nuclear Armageddon didn't happen.
Described by critics as a cult, The Church Universal and Triumphant is where Erin grew up. Her mother worked 24 hours a day, but she also loved to dance and would occasionally indulge in a glass of wine, which was against church rules. Erin’s memoir, Prophet’s Daughter, is her attempt to explore the complexity of her mother.
Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)
Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry
Producers: Alice Hudson, Claire Trageser
Social Media: Ilana Nevins
Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com
Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts.