The I AM Movement

The I AM Movement

            Guy Warren Ballard (1878-1939), also known as Godfre Ray King, founded the I AM Movement in 1932 with his wife, Edna Wheeler (1886-1971). Before his I AM activities, Ballard sold stock in imaginary gold mines to Gold Lake in California (Bryan 1940:137; Camp 1970:73). He successfully combined elements of his mythology from Frederick Spencer Oliver, Theosophy, Christian Science, Rosicrucianism, and Hindu Swamis to appeal to followers. Today, the I AM Foundation is based at Mt. Shasta, California, and maintains that Lemurians from Mu live within the hollow volcano.

            Ballard met St. Germain, an Ascended Master, and part of Blavatsky’s Great White Brotherhood, on the side of Mt. Shasta in 1930. According to Ballard, St. Germain had purified himself and became a member of the Divine Spiritual Hierarchy, which controls the lives of individuals and the universe. St. Germain sought Ballard and others to bring messages of the Masters to people because a new age was about to begin (Ballard 1934). St. Germain showed Ballard the secret headquarters of the Great White Brotherhood and his past life as George Washington. Afterward, Ballard claimed he was in direct communication with the other Ascended Masters, which included Jesus, Moses, St. Francis, and Buddha.

Ascended Masters

            For the I AM followers, an Ascended Master is a person who has gone through the process of ascension and has a high state of spiritual awareness. “The Ascended Masters are those Beings who are wholly Divine, for They have made the Ascension as Beloved Jesus did. They are the elder brothers, the teachers of mankind on this Earth” (St. Germain Foundation 1988:13). This concept is derived from the teachings of Theosophy, who believe that Ascended Masters belong to the Great White Brotherhood. Similar beliefs in Ascended Masters exist in Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s Church Universal and Triumphant and New Age channelers.

            An enlightened person, in the Buddhist sense, is different from an Ascended Master. Enlightenment implies that a person has no more need for further lifetimes. Ascension is an alternative to death, where people are in command of the physical realm and can manipulate their energy to shapeshift. Therefore, the goal of life was ascension with God that would result in immortality. In Unveiled Mysteries (1934), Ballard writes how he assisted a man at Mt. Shasta to make his ascension. Additionally, The Magic Presence (1982) describes a golden chair called the “Atomic Accelerator” that helps people make their ascensions into heaven.

I AM Beliefs

            The basic belief of the I AM Movement is that there is one God, who is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. The Great Central Sun is the center of the universe, which is the source of God’s authority. This presence brought existence through a spark in the divine flame, which became individual beings. The I AM presence is the light and the cells of the body, including the mind and heart. Misuse of this energy will result in discord and is responsible for the present condition of humanity. Activities for I AM members include quiet contemplation and repetition of affirmations. These are intended to affirm the individual’s attunement to God, also known as the Mighty I AM Presence. This devotional activity is repeated daily to neutralize the violent Consuming Flame within each individual. Totally committed individuals to the I AM Movement are called Hundred Percenters.

            The I AM group was popular initially because the setting was at Mt. Shasta in California, not the Theosophical’s Near East or other exotic locations. In addition, there were nationalistic overtones, where adherents believe they dispel evil and the enemies of America with thought decrees. The St. Germain Foundation (1988:8) further explains,

            When the individual says, “I AM,” he is using the creative

            attribute of the Godhead and announcing creating at his particular

            point in the universe. The vibratory action of the word “I AM,”

            either in thought or spoken word, is the release of the Power

            of Creation; and whatever quality follows that Decree is instantly

            imposed upon the electronic substance of the ethers.

            Today, the organization is under a governing board of directors based outside of Chicago in Schaumburg, Illinois. It is estimated that membership is between four and five thousand people worldwide and boasts three-hundred I AM libraries. In 1950, the I AM group began putting on a pageant that celebrated the life of Jesus at Mt. Shasta. Jesus is considered an Ascended Master and therefore, the I AM group align themselves with the Christian religion. The pageant has occurred every August and has been open to the public since 1956. “The I AM Activity has achieved a longevity and level of acceptance by the local community beyond that of any other religious or esoteric groups associated with Mt. Shasta” (Zanger 1992:103). Ballard died of cirrhosis of liver December 29, 1939. His followers believed that death and aging had escaped him.

Guy Ballard Revealed

            Psychic Dictatorship in America (1940) by Gerald B. Bryan reveals unpleasant facts about the I AM group. His book “ is a study of strange psychological forces revealed mainly through the history of a single subversive cult, but which have their influence also on other movements operating in American today” (Bryan 1940:7). The purpose of the book is to “reveal that the Ballard cult, too, is really a political movement and that its metaphysics, among other things, is largely engaged in an effort to bring about a weird sort of government in the United States” (Bryan 1940:25-26). There is a belief that the followers of I AM Movement are fighting a war against superstitions and evils of the world. In his book, Bryan shows that Ballard had plagiarized much of his works from earlier Theosophical writings.

            Ballard’s experience on Mt. Shasta is strikingly similar to Frederick Spencer Oliver in his book, A Dweller on Two Planets (1952[1895])). Both meet an Ascended Master at Mt. Shasta and both were led into the mountain, and descended to a large bronze door into circular chambers; there were also white lights (Ballard 1934; Bryan 1940; Oliver 1952[1895]:270-273). Yet, Ballard spoke of his incident forty-six years after Oliver. Ballard’s St. Germain also bears a strong resemblance from The Brother of the Third Degree (1989[1894])) by Will L. Garver. In Unveiled Mysteries (1934) and The Brotherhood of the Third Degree (1989[1894]), St. Germain has strong political ties in the United States and Europe and is described as having blond hair, blue eyes, smooth skin and commanded people to “Come” to him immediately. Both obey St. Germain’s command and travel quickly through time and space (Ballard 1934; Garver 1894:290,353; Bryan 1940). Both, Ballard’s and Garver’s books discuss the “Law of One,” the impending cataclysm and the “Great Luminous Beings” that dispense their knowledge to the elite.

Who is St. Germain?

            Count St. Germain is said to be a member of the Illuminati and the Masons, a conspirator in the French Revolution of 1789, Rasputin, an Alchemist, Templar, Christian Rosenkreuz and in contact with Madame Blavatsky (Bryan 1940:98-99). St. Germain is one of the Seven Masters of Wisdom for Theosophists. His birth cannot be located and he claimed to be the son of Prince Francis Rákóczy, of Transylvania (Fuller 1988). St. Germain has also been identified as the bastard son of Queen Anna Maria of Spain (Lang 1904). Another account makes him a grandson of King James II of England (Lhermier 1943). Theosophist, Isabel Cooper-Oakley (1927[1912]:2) remarks that St. Germain was an occultist that was defamed by the ignorant; his real identity was made secret by the courts he worked, including Louis XV (1710-1774) and his mistress, Marquise de Pompadour, of France (1721-1764).

            In 1745, St. Germain turned up in London, where his music was published and performed. Twelve years later he was introduced into the Versailles court by Carechal de Belle-Isle (1684-1761) and remained in France from 1758 to 1760. He is later noted in Holland and Russia. St. Germain has also gone by the names of Surmont, Count Tsarogy and Count Welldone (Skinner 2001). St. Germain was supposedly the pupil of Johan Georg Schrepfer in Leipzig, a Mason. Cagliostro (1743-1795) was rumored to be a pupil of St. Germain and also possessed the secret to immortality. St. Germain died, at least on one account, February 27, 1784 from pneumonia. St. Germain was later sighted in Paris in 1835 and Napoleon III (1808-1873) kept a dossier file on him. Theosophist, C.S. Leadbeater in his Masters and the Path (1925) claimed to have met St. Germain in Rome. Theosophists claimed St. Germain was the incarnation of the goddess Venus and likewise, Guy Ballard claimed that St. Germain introduced him to visitors from Venus.

            The Church Universal and Triumphant, led by Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, produced a biography on St. Germain claiming that he was the incarnation of an Atlantean, Merlin, Roger and Francis Bacon, and Columbus. St. Germain’s identity has shifted from courtier, to Freemason and Rosicrucian, to prophet, Hidden Master and Venusian (Ellwood 1973:95).

Further Reading

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