The “I AM” Movement - the beginning of the modern ascended masters teaching
The “I AM” society was founded by Guy W. Ballard (1878-1939) and his wife, Edna W. Ballard (1886-1971). After his serving in the army during World War I, he superintended his uncle's lead mine in Tucson, Arizona. His wife Edna was an accomplished concert harpist, and like her husband also had an interest in metaphysics and the occult. After three years of marriage in 1916 their son Donald was born.
Guy Ballard was an ardent reader of theosophical/occult literature, had heard the reports of strange occult events that had occurred at Mt. Shasta. Guy Ballard was a mining engineer in 1929. Upon completion of a job in the West had decided to visit Mt. Shasta, California. Occultists believed the mountain is the home of a lost race of mystic adepts from Atlantis who live inside. Ballard was a student of occult metaphysics and was captivated with the stories about Shasta. He decided to visit the mountain to investigate the rumor that a group of Divine Men called the Brotherhood of Mt. Shasta were to be found there. This became the turning point in the Ballard’s lives.
One day during his visit while hiking up the side of the mountain, Ballard knelt to dip water from a mountain stream when a young man, who appeared as another hiker appeared and offered him "a much more refreshing drink than spring water." He then filled a cup with a vivifying white liquid which this stranger identified as Omnipotent Life itself,” a substance coming from the Universal supply. The young man claimed to be several centuries old as he spoke of this abundant supply; of reincarnation, and karma. He then changed into the Comte de Saint Germain, a mystic, alchemist and one of the most famous occultists of modern time. A seventeenth-century occultist from France, who is now an Ascended Master.
Saint Germain described his task as initiating the Seventh Golden Age, the permanent "I AM" Age of Eternal Perfection on Earth. During the previous six centuries he had searched Europe for someone in human embodiment strong and pure enough that the Instruction of the Great Law of Life could be released through them. Not able to find such a person, he turned to look in America and located Ballard. He made Ballard’s family, his wife Edna, and their son Donald, the only Accredited Messengers of the Ascended Masters at their time.
According to the I Am teaching of Ballard, in 1929 the Ascended Masters began their new activity. There had been others before, through Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. This new activity began by Saint Germain, the Lord of the Seventh Ray. Who in previous incarnations claimed to be the Old Testament prophet Samuel, Saint Alban, and Sir Francis Bacon. As Bacon, he claimed to have authored the Shakespearean plays. We are told in 1684 he "illumined and raised His body" and spent a period of time in the Himalayas only to return to Europe at the time of the French Revolution. During the past centuries, he had worked in America, where the new civilization is to be the permanent condition on the planet in the future.
Ballard had numerous experiences with Saint Germain and other Ascended Masters through the months about which he regularly informed his wife through a series of letters. Upon his return home to Chicago, Edna's position as a Messenger was confirmed and she began regular contact. The series of "instructions" were "channeled." Using the pen name Godfrey Ray King, Guy Ballard recorded his initial experiences with Saint Germain. This was published in 1934 in two volumes, Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence. These were followed by additional volumes, including The I Am Discourses (1936), a series of lectures by Saint Germain which summarize the basic teachings; 'I AM" Adorations and Affirmations (1935), which gives the initiate a text for the decrees and a hymn book, "I AM" Songs (1938).
Saint Germain taught Ballard about the "Great Creative Word" (I AM) and the use of the Law of Life and the importance of the "I AM Presence," the Mighty Presence of Light, who is God in Action everywhere.
The I AM Presence emanates from the Mighty Creative Fire, the Great Central Sun, the impersonal Source of reality in our world. The Great Central Sun pours forth the Primal Light which is the basis for all manifested form, both the visible and invisible world. Through the individualization of the light, everything comes into existence. From out of the Heart Center comes forth the individualized Presence of God-The "Mighty I AM"-clothed in a Body of Pure Light Substance. This Electronic Body abides immediately above every human being on earth and pours down into the human form, (the higher self) the Life, the Light, the Substance and Energy that enables the physical body to move, breath and have Self conscious Life. This Individualized Focus of the Great Supreme Source of all Life, is what was referred to in the statement made by Moses; which means he had been sent forth by the Divine Power of Life-his own "mighty I AM Presence" (reference “Purpose of the ascended masters “I AM “activity p.14)
The term, "I AM," is the essence of each person. The individual's "I AM Presence" is to be contacted, activated, and then invoked.
It is expressed in a visual chart used by "I AM" students which shows an individual surrounded in a column of violet flame. Above him, connected by a shaft of white light is seen the "I AM Presence," pictured as a person clothed in golden light surrounded by a circular rainbow of light, a color radiance represents the accumulated good karma of previous lives. Then the violet flame pictured around each person is activated as a purifying fire to burn undesirable personal conditions away in their life.
Saint Germain is attributed to bringing the "Violet Consuming Flame" to purify a person, so, that the person can get rid of "negative influences." The activity of the flame is connected to reincarnation, the belief that a soul lives through numerous lifespans coming back as different people to evolve to greater levels of being until they are self realized.
This "I AM Presence" is invoked by the use of repetitive decrees, affirmations which are commands for the "I AM Presence" to initiate action. To attune oneself to the "I AM Presence" is by the repetition of affirmations and decrees. Affirmations are sentences which both affirm the individual's attunement to God asking for angelic help and cleansing by the violet consuming flame. Decrees are also commands spoken to call forth the visible manifestation to change conditions often to dissolve evil. One calls upon angels to do their bidding, as angels are prevalent in everything from the decrees to personal growth. Ascended masters, great cosmic beings and limitless legions of light! ” (I Am healing decrees Saint Germaine press 1976 p.30)
Daily Decrees are spoken: “The conscious use of the Violet Consuming Flame is the only means by, which any human being can free himself or herself from his or -her own human discord and imperfection....Thus he can dissolve and purify all unnecessary discordantly qualified substance and, energy which he has used in all lives.... (Unveiled mysteries Godfrey ray king p.35)
Several decrees target specific conditions for annihilation, to be blasted by the purifying fire from existence on planet earth decreeing “annihilate, annihilate; consume consume.” One can dispense the violet consuming flame to others….”you may call to your mighty I Am presence to send healing flame…in and around an individual or a condition and let the flame enfold it, and hold it close until perfection is completed.” (I Am healing decrees Saint Germaine press 1976 p.7) Which means they order God to do their will and bidding, all for the good of course
The negative force are apparently eliminated in cities and countries as one decrees the violet consuming flame to dissipate imperfections. They have no effect upon that which is good, and are not directed against any individual, though they may be directed to a negative condition surrounding a person.
The students practice of decreeing demands and controls this power. They decree instantaneous healing …everything I touch or contact to instantly become self luminous and as pure as the heart of the Goddess of purity; and compel (3 times). All this is repeated for hours for days which brings them into a state of self hypnosis. This happens has to be the greatest of delusions which bring and enhance the feeling of power.
The violet flame is able to extinguish illnesses and balance and prosper any situation. ”The more you understand the reality and the presence, the more you can accept the presence of these healing violet flame angels, the closer, they will come and the greater their strength and power of that sacred fire wrapped around you” (I Am healing decrees, Saint Germaine press 1976, p.6)
After becoming Adepts, in 1932 the Ballard’s released their message of the Ascended Masters to the public. They formed the Saint Germain Foundation to administer the work and the Saint Germain Press to publish their materials. In 1934 they held the first public ten-day class in Chicago at the Civic Opera House. He and his family were the appointees and began to spread the message of the Ascended Masters. Ballard began a movement in 1936 holding large meetings across the United States. During the next few years similar classes were held from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, to Miami and Los Angeles. More than seven thousand attended the Los Angeles classes. They were leading an Occult revival in America.
In the spring of 1936 Ballard began to publish his monthly magazine, Voice of the I AM, which contained the teachings and messages of the Ascended Masters.
Guy and Edna Ballard also drew from occult sources such as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's Theosophy (1875), and the writings of Baird Spalding (Encyclopedia of Religions)
The "I AM" movement of the Ballard’s given in the Books of the Saint Germain Series which claims to present the Original Ascended Master Instructions ...The "I AM" Activity is offered through "I AM" Sanctuaries, "I AM" Temples and "I AM" Reading Rooms throughout the world. In 1985 there were over 300 "I AM" sanctuaries and centers which are mostly located in the United States.
"In His Unlimited State, our Blessed Daddy can wield more Power of Light Rays, than he could through the physical body or than I can wield in this body. I want you to understand this clearly, so when the outer world has anything to say about it, make your statement with positive force; for I assure you I am telling the Truth and will never tell you anything but the Truth" (Mrs. G. W. Ballard, 1940. The Voice of the "I AM". Saint Germain Press, pp. 26-27, 31).
These "instructions" originally published in 1937 by Saint Germain Press. Inc. The lengthy series was more recently published in 1993. From the Table of Contents in "I AM" ADORATIONS AND AFFIRMATIONS, (by CHANERA, Saint Germain Series Volume V, Part I, Schaumburg, Illinois, 1993),
The Forward found in "I AM" ADORATIONS AND AFFIRMATIONS":
“All who read or use these commands shall be held, by the Love of the 'Mighty I AM Presence,' in constant conscious communion with that 'Master Presence of Light' within themselves.
Every time the Great Creative Word, "I AM"! is read, thought, or spoken, the feeling released should be that of exclamation; because "I AM"! is the Life from the Great Central Sun announcing Its Presence through the individual who thinks, speaks, or feels the Great Eternal Fiat of Life's existence. Therefore, always release that strong powerful feeling whenever you use the Great Creative Word -"I AM."
In this way, the limitless Energy of Life releases through you to fulfill your call for assistance and Perfection.
If the student will read these decrees slowly and with deep, deep feeling in each word, as he comes to it, he will feel instantaneous manifestations, when he can feel meaning in each word deeply enough.?
New students are introduced to the Activity by their reading, the first three books of the eleven volume Saint Germain series. The first two volumes, Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence, tell the story of Guy Ballard's original contacts with the Masters. Volume three, a series of dictations from Ascended Master Saint Germain, outline the basic beliefs of the "I AM" Activity. These are required reading and students are told to read them 7 times. Over 3,000 dictations from the Masters were received during the Ballards' lifetime.
I remember going to a meeting at the I am center in Honolulu (St. Germain society) a few weeks before my wife and I became Christians. We waited outside as a group of elderly men (who all had pronounced skin spots over most of their faces and arms walked out of there meeting). Some were discussing out loud how they just heard from the archangel Michael -- if the church only knew. We attended a smaller meeting right afterwards where we were calling on angels and powers for hours and were gradually filled with a force that I knew was ancient but could not rationally explain at the time.
After this meeting we spoke to the administrator in another room which had an electronic violet light seen on the wall. Their plan, like many other new age groups was to bring this knowledge into the church. He told us this I am that we were calling on was the God of the Old Testament, the I AM presence of everyone. I knew deep inside this was wrong, even at the same time its influence was being felt and expanding on us.
The Ballard’s interpretation of the I AM presence, which was explained to me by the head of the society at that time (who was also a 33 degree Mason) is: When Moses was told to go forward and lead the children of Israel out of the wilderness,-hesitating he asked: "Who shall I say has sent me unto them?" He was told: "Say unto them: 'I AM' that I AM' hath sent me unto you." Who in the teachings in the outer world today, knows what that statement means yet, within that statement, lies the whole of the law. "I AM" is the individualized God presence of every human being on earth, which in the "I AM" Instruction is known as the "Mighty I AM Presence".
This did not sit right with me as I knew from my upbringing the actual truth. It was not Moses’ own I AM presence that sent him to Pharaoh, the actual of context is that God said He is the I AM who is sending Moses. This is typical how occultists find other meanings in the words because of their own preconceived ideas and beliefs.
The steady progress of the "I AM" movement was interrupted by the unexpected sudden death of Guy Ballard in 1939. The movement claimed over one million students at this time. The cause of his death was unknown, according to former members of the group, and they waited vainly for him to rise again the third day just like Jesus.
Edna Ballard then assumed leadership and helped the I AM (God) cult to grow, by 1942 they claimed a membership was between three and five million people. Several former students became vocal critics of the Activity. One, Gerald B. Bryan, wrote a series of books against the Foundation. Finally in 1941, Edna and Donald Ballard and several members of the staff of the Foundation were indicted for mail fraud, and promotion of the "I AM" movement through the mails. In a trial, which began in December 1941, the Ballard’s were charged with making a variety of fraudulent misrepresentations and false promises to ex-members who testified that the Ballard’s were not only advocating a false religion but that they knew to be false. They were convicted. Subsequently, the postal department denied both the Foundation and the Press their privilege to use the mail.
The conviction was appealed, and in 1944 a landmark decision in religious liberty was granted in the Supreme Court's ruling which reversed the judgment. Justice Douglas, in stating the opinion of the Court, asserted, "Men may believe what they cannot prove. They may not be put to the proof of their religious doctrines or beliefs." The case, sent down for review was finally dismissed in 1946.
Her son Donald had resigned in 1957 as vice-president of the Foundation and withdrew from the "I AM" Activity. He managed his own manufacturing business but continued to handle most of the recording activity for the Foundation and Press.
At that time the board of directors assumed collective leadership of both the Foundation and the Press.
By the mid-1960s Edna was heard on twenty-five radio stations. Edna Ballard then led the work until her death in 1971. After her death in 1971, the movement's leadership passed to the Board of Directors, which was established in 1932 serving under the Ballard's guidance. The board’s original five members was expanded to eighteen in 1982. The board charter; the local centers and sanctuaries, which otherwise are independent and autonomous. It also oversees the work of Appointed Messengers (who teach introductory classes) field workers and regional counselors. The Foundation sponsors a variety of national and regional gatherings, several of which are held at the Shasta Springs the retreat center located at the base of Mt. Shasta in northern California.