Today's Sermon: The Church Of The Armageddon Insurance Policy
There's a church in Montana with a bomb shelter.
A bomb shelter that's been stocked to house 750 people for 49 days. Ready for Armageddon... and it's been this way for decades.
CORWIN SPRINGS, Montana - They're still ready for Armageddon at the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religious sect that for almost two decades has kept a bomb shelter stocked for 750 people deep in a forest near Yellowstone National Park.
Church leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet has been silenced by advanced Alzheimer's disease. And her followers say they've given up the assault rifles and armored vehicles they amassed in the late 1980s — part of a post-nuclear war "re-emergence" plan that brought national notoriety and a federal investigation.
Scrambling to stay current as it reaches its 50th anniversary, the church has transformed itself into a New Age publishing enterprise and spiritual university. But still in the background is its "insurance" against the end — the shelter buried beneath a hillside on the sect's 7,500-acre Royal Teton Ranch.
OK. If you say so, preacher woman.
But wait. The church is changing:
Observers estimate that fewer than 10,000 remain, from a peak of 50,000. Church leaders refuse to give a number, saying membership information is "proprietary."
Those adherents say their mission is no longer to absorb Prophet's message, channeled from on high, but to disseminate her words through books, CDs and online tutorial services.
With spiritual teachings now offered over the Internet, the long-term goal is to expand beyond the church's "physical community" and create an "online community", said its second co-president, Kate Gordon.
"It's time to get in touch with Facebook," she said.
Thus endeth today's sermon.
Go forth today and ponder the evolution of this church from Armageddon Ready to Online Message Delivery System.
And ask yourself: How far are you willing to go to defend the failed predictions and institutional plans of your own church?
And think about the people who tithed $20 million over the years to build a defense against the god they worship.
I mean it, damn it!
-Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Best bar bet in the world: Delilah didn't do it.
Judges 16:19-- And she made him (Samson) sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head.