Here’s the true account of the Gnostic retreat projects in Australia, Europe and North America. MovementsofGnostics (MOG) contributors have made false claims which we examine and expose here – they took advantage of a time of preparation to lie and misrepresent facts and events, but in spite of it there will be retreats, and all the monies raised (apart from those in Europe which were under MOG campaigners control – described below) are in fact still intact and going towards retreat projects that are still in the making.
The Australian Retreat
The MOG campaigners are lying about Belzebuub (Mark H Pritchard) and Edith’s involvement in the Australian retreat. They falsely portray Mark and Edith as having taken The Gnostic Movements retreat from them, whereas in fact the retreat project is alive and healthy and Mark and Edith have only acted to help the project to to succeed. However much the MOG campaigners lie and distort facts, the truth is documented and provable; here are the facts.
With great sacrifice Mark H Pritchard and Edith used their own personal residence to create funds for the Gnostics, with no profit made for themselves. They initially helped The Gnostic Movement when buying its property from it when it was found to be unsuitable for the movement, at full market value, which was almost double what The Gnostic Movement had paid for it, drastically increasing the Gnostic Movements own funds. Then they spent considerable time and effort renovating it, and although it was still a building site, they sold it back to the Gnostics for less than half its value, as a way of generating funds for the teaching. The Gnostics then renovated it to completion. Mark and Edith made no money out of it at all, not a single dollar and worked extremely hard on it. Yet this wonderful help has been horribly distorted by the MOG campaign, who have claimed that Mark and Edith had created some luxury property for themselves. They only ever stayed there when it was virtually uninhabitable and a building site. When they left it, it didn’t even have a kitchen.
Events in More Detail
In 2002, The Gnostic Movement in Australia started fundraising to establish a permanent retreat center. By September 2002, enough of a sum had been raised that the members of the organization decided to purchase a small rural property to develop as a retreat. The property was seven acres with an almost uninhabitable hut on it. Mark had asked that the Movement use the property to hold retreats, but they didn’t and had no plans to. Instead the Movement decided to rent another premises as a retreat and the property was left abandoned to vermin and decay. So then Mark and Edith moved into the property and organized working retreats with around 30 people that were new students, teachers, and members, to renovate it whilst continuing to teach Gnosticism in the organization full time. Mark wrote that since the Movement wouldn’t use the property as a retreat that it would be used as a headquarters and people could renovate it to save it falling into ruin. MOG campaigners claim that email shows he took it over for his personal use, but his was a temporary measure to get the property in use and to get it fixed up, and was known to be so at the time. This was also shown to be a temporary measure as after 11 months Mark and Edith left the Movement’s property and went to live abroad for 3 years.
By February 2003, the plans for The Gnostic Movement to develop the property as a retreat were reconsidered, as they were unable to use it as a retreat. The members of The Gnostic Movement in Australia thought it could be best used as a permanent headquarters where Mark and Edith could live and teach from, and so various ideas were looked into and the property was renovated. Mark and Edith didn’t want to have the property without the Movement being paid for it (as evidenced in an email in 2004) and would only purchase it if the Movement wanted to sell it, if no one else wanted to buy it, and at full market value.
Finally, after consideration in a meeting of the Australian members in August 2005, it was decided to sell the property to Mark and Edith for the full market value. Also in that meeting it was stated that none of the members wanted to buy the property and they agreed that they would take a contract for the sale. An independent appraiser was hired and assessed the value of the property, and it was sold at full market value in 2006, which was around double the price the Movement had originally bought it for, and probably much more than it would have sold for to anyone else. This is where the involvement of The Gnostic Movement in the property ceased, and the money that The Gnostic Movement made on the sale of the property formed the basis of their retreat search.
Mark then asked The Gnostic Movement to buy a retreat, but the members delayed doing it; then The Gnostic Movement got into a contract on a property for two years, which eventually fell through. People on the hate campaign blame Mark for the Movement not having a retreat, but that is unjust as he asked when the property was sold in 2006 that the money be spent immediately on a new retreat.
Belzebuub Makes Huge Donation with His Property but MOG Campaigners Still Falsely Claim it’s His
After the sale of the house in 2006, a few members, teachers, and students within the organization decided amongst themselves to assist Mark and Edith in renovating the property as it was a building site. This help was done purely out of friendship for Mark and Edith and was not requested by them, nor expected of anyone. Mark and Edith turned it into a project to benefit the Gnostics, as the property was renovated and eventually was sold in 2010 by Mark and Edith to the Gnostics for less than half the independently assessed market value so that the Gnostics could get funds to help them get a good retreat. In fact, it was sold in 2010 for just the price that they had paid for it in 2006, plus the amount they had spent on renovating it (at cost) since then. Their wish was to allow Gnostics to benefit from selling the property at a much increased value, due to all its renovations, and in doing so Mark and Edith have not made any personal profit at all. It has always been their intention to help build a Gnostic retreat, and that first retreat property was a stepping stone towards it.
Every dollar that has been donated towards the Australian retreat project has been put towards it, nothing has been lost (including money that was loaned to the US organization through a formal loan agreement with the Australian Movement and which has since been paid back). Mark and Edith have done nothing but work to benefit Gnosis with this property and any suggestion otherwise is false; nothing could be further from the truth. The Gnostic Movement paid $125,000 for the property; that’s all that was raised for a retreat for The Gnostic Movement. The value in it above that amount has been created because of Mark and Edith, who have made great sacrifices to make it happen. It’s terrible that so many years of hard work are being falsely used against them by lies by the MOG smear campaigners who only want to harm them.
There will be a retreat, and no money has been lost despite what hate campaigners say. But negative people always assume the worse without checking the facts. Ironically it’s the attacks of the MOGs that have delayed the purchase of a new retreat property, but it’s expected that there will be one bought in 2012.
MOG Campaigner’s Ruin European Retreat
Whilst falsely accusing The Gnostic Movement of “dishonesty” in relation to the Australia retreat, we have since discovered that MOG campaign instigators Vernon and Barbara used most of the money raised for the purchase of a retreat by The Gnostic Movement in Europe towards lavishly renovating the rented Gnostic Movement centers they were in charge of in Greece and London instead. This was done despite the money not being raised for that purpose and with no loan agreement in place for the money to ever be repaid. Their misuse of donations was only discovered once Barbara and Vernon had been asked to leave The Gnostic Movement, as the people who replaced them in their positions then had access to the financial records which Barbara and Vernon had been entrusted with. As Barbara and Vernon had spent the money raised for the retreat on the rented premises they were in charge of, the money was in no way able to be recouped, and the retreat project for Europe, which had been publicly advertised and fundraised for, had to be called off – with only $9,000 Euros left in the bank. This virtually “robbed” the attendees of The Gnostic Movement in Europe of a retreat, which was something completely out of our hands.
This is just another example of how Barbara and Vernon falsely accuse others whilst having acted improperly themselves.
The Gnostic Movement’s North American Retreat Project
The Gnostic Movement in North America raised money for a North American retreat project. They tried to find a property unsuccessfully in the USA for years, having seriously pursued 3 different properties. After putting a contract on the first, they discovered that the road would be too expensive to grade to county requirements. A contract on a second property fell through after a chance conversation with someone from the area revealed locals used the roads for four-wheeling. The contract on a third property fell through after county requirements for soil testing and road grading made it an expensive gamble – one requirement was that they pay for someone in a helicopter to survey the road leading to the property, which would have cost $10,000 minimum. The search has since moved to Canada, but the relatively small amount of money raised is making it very difficult to find anything suitable. Once again, MOG campaigners falsely blame Mark for there being no retreat found in the USA and claim he profited from it, which is completely false as all documentation and financial records show.
Many potential properties were looked into and a lot of work was done to try to make it succeed. As one member writes: “I was only involved in the search for the North American retreat project in its later stages, after several promising properties had fallen through. Though I did not handle any money for this project, I can verify that the search for retreat land was difficult and fraught with issues from realtors or property owners who would lie or hide information in the hopes that a sale might be pushed through. Any claims about the retreat search taking too long, or being a sham, or just another way to raise people’s hopes and get their money over and over again, are completely false. I witnessed one property owner hold back information that could have had serious health implications, had the property been bought.”
Another member writes in relation to the above quote: “I too worked in the search for the North American retreat. It was immensely difficult and a huge amount of effort went into this search. What you mention about the troubles are true, and the donation fund still exists for the original purpose it was intended.”
And from the Treasurer of The Gnostic Movement in the USA: “There have also been some recent claims made about Belzebuub, that he asked students to take out personal loans to buy him a personal retreat home in the USA, where he now supposedly lives. I personally have been heavily involved with the fundraising and retreat search project for North America, and am the Treasurer of The Gnostic Movement USA, so I know firsthand what has taken place and know that claim is a total lie.
First, Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub) never asked anyone to take out personal loans for purchase of a retreat property, in fact when the idea of taking out loans to purchase a retreat property has been brought up, Mark would say things like – it would be better if The Gnostic Movement didn’t have any loans, or that it’s not the best idea, etc. What did happen was that a promising property was found, and teachers and serious students across North America wished to do what it took to purchase the property as everyone was behind The Gnostic Movement purchasing a property to develop into a retreat. At the time people were donating what they could and some teachers and serious students on their own accord took out personal loans to put towards purchasing the retreat property since they truly wished for there to be a retreat for the students of The Gnostic Movement in North America. The subject property turned out not to be suitable, and The Gnostic Movement stopped pursuing it. The donations received from personal loans that a few teachers and serious students took out for that property were promptly returned to them.
Secondly, a suitable retreat property in the USA was never found after years of extensive searching. The Gnostic Movement USA has not purchased property for a retreat nor a ‘private retreat home’ for Belzebuub. The funds that were raised to purchase a retreat property for the students and teachers in North America are forever dedicated to that purpose and will be used only for that purpose. The funds raised for the North American Retreat Project have actually been recently donated to Mystic Light Retreat for the purchase of a retreat property for North America.”
After it became clear that it would not be possible to get a suitable property for a retreat in the USA , the funds raised were moved to Canada, were it is expected that a property will be found for north America by 2012.
The Gnostic Movement retreat project has been at times beset by difficulties and delays as is commonly experienced by anyone trying to find and establish properties for retreats, but there will be retreats coming from it despite all the attacks on people by the MOG campaigners. They have taken advantage of a time of preparation, where much was being developed and put in place, to make false claims. They took advantage of projects that were not yet at the stage of fulfillment as material to base lies upon and to misrepresent facts, knowing that it takes time for retreats to actually be made ready, and using that publicly quiet time to make false claims and to portray Belzebuub as profiting from the Gnostics properties, when he was in fact helping them to be achieved with enormous personal sacrifice.
Apart from the money lost in Europe by MOG campaigners there (as described above), all the monies raised are intact and are still going towards retreats, and although the MOG campaign has delayed them, retreats will emerge and the results of a lot of peoples hard work will be justly seen.