Bradley Whitsel's vivid account of the Church Universal Triumphant (CUT), from its modest origin as a tiny fragment of the esoteric community to its growth into a wealthy and formidable organization in the 1960s and early 1970s, constitutes one of the most compelling stories to emerge from the larger movement of American religion. Founded in 1958 by the charismatic Mark Prophet - and subsequently headed by his wife, Elizabeth Clare Prophet - the Church combines New Age beliefs with an anti-Communist mindset based on the conviction that America was imperiled by left-wing enemies. In his deft examination of the group's evolution, Whitsel uses internal church documents as well as other resources to trace CUT's development of a dark apocalypric vision. He places the Church Universal and Triumphant within the context of other millennial groups sharing a similar psychology of crisis and disaster, and analyze the church's interactions with its political environment. This book will appeal to general readers as well as political scientists and sociologists specializing in the fields of political sociology, millennialism, and radical religio-political movements.
Bradley C, Whitsel is assistant professor of administration of justice and political science at the Pennsylvania State University, Fayette campus, and author of several articles on millennialism and New Age groups.