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LEARNING DAY

Learning Day: 9 Cats, 9 Lives 🌭

I’m furious at this book, because its cover is its first and last mention of cats.

It should discuss cats! Look at the title! The title is 9 Cats 9 Lives: Influential People & Their Past Lives: Karma, Reincarnation & You. Wow. A lot going on there. That word salad has some zesty dressing. But it is a lie. I want cat stuff. I love my cats! And I thought this book would be about cat reincarnation. Nope: this book is a human reincarnation book, dominated by boilerplate Wikipedia history, and ghost-co-written by a dead cult leader’s acolytes. All of that frustrates me on its own. Yet across 200+ pages, I got most angry about the total lack of cats. Cats brought me here. Cats purr beside me as I type this. But author Elizabeth Clare Prophet is such a megalomaniac, she forgot cats are a more interesting topic than herself.

I discovered this book while pursuing a noble goal (cat toys) on a horrible website (Amazon dot com). The listing did not meet my wonderful beautiful pets’ needs. But it proceeded to hook me with its immediate powerful question:

That non-haiku is a better title than the book title. And great news: they follow through on that question. It turned out this book lacks cat stuff because it is chock full of Atlantis stuff. You might’ve noticed the cover features famous dead 1900s Americans and Britons:

According to the book, most pictures of Anglo-Americans are pictures of Atlanteans.

I quoted that passage to a friend the other day. I laughed about it. They showed concern. They suggested that by reading this book, I’ve accidentally and hotdoggily versed myself in the entire belief system of a cult. Turns out they’re right. Whoops! I should’ve searched Amazon for something better-phrased than “cat toys for my darling angels who I worship with a fervence bordering on cultish cult Atlantis Reincarnation henryford”. Anyway, don’t worry. I entered and exited this book a-ok. I am not joining its “Summit Lighthouse” cult. Partly because both the leaders are dead. Two out of two dead leaders makes me feel like the party’s over. If I’m culting up, I want to touch the O.G. manipulator’s garment hem. I can’t fanboy an urn.

This book’s credited author is Elizabeth Clare Prophet. She gained that try-hard last name when she and cult leader Mark L. Prophet left their spouses to marry each other. A few years later, Mark died. Then she died. Then “The Summit Lighthouse, Inc.” published this book. The legal, official copyright page lists Elizabeth as the author of this book, published in 2021, even though she died in 2009. Huh? What? Don’t worry: a note at the very end clarifies this miracle.

Stunningly, that is not the only Good Research Practice carried out by this cult’s runnin’-on-fumes membership. The Summit Lighthouse Inc. peppers the book with a handy footnote every time its reincarnation claim is “as of 1992.”

Those footnotes thrilled me. They achieved total fidelity to the truth, in a situation where “The Truth” is a cult leader’s second wife spouting Atlantis Stuff during a Chicago Bulls three-peat. That devotion to Doing The Work brings the whole book together. Also, this is a book in desperate need of bringing together. It is all over the map. Maybe its wacky smorgasbord of beliefs is less surprising if you’re already in the cult? I hadn’t heard of “The Summit Lighthouse”, possibly because its name sounds more like a seafood joint in Colorado. Now that I’m versed in its [AS OF 1992] cosmology, I can tell you they practice at least six belief systems. The book dabbles in all of the following:

1. Reincarnation stuff

2. Karmic balance stuff

3. A loosey-goosey version of Christianity centered on “The Universal Christ”

4. Theosophy, via an alleged guru called Morya

5. “because Atlantis” stuff

6. The regional myth that “cats have nine lives”

6a. An implied corollary to that mythical belief, which is that many famous Americans of the early 1900s happened to be living their ninth life specifically. No reason is given why their ninth life happened to sync with “The American Century”.

6b. A variation on the “nine lives” myth, where some famous Americans proceeded to live a tenth life. In one chapter, an American lived fourteen significant lives and countless other minor ones. Nobody addresses whether these tenth-plus lives debunk the “nine lives” belief about cats.

I don’t know about you, but that list makes my head swim. Total swimmy-headedness, as if I ate a discount thin-air shrimp platter. It’s D-minus cult lore at best. I don’t know how The Prophets attracted a following of each other, much less a loyal cadre of Prophetettes. They’ve flooded Amazon with Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s speeches-turned-into-books. In this speech, Mrs. Prophet goes all in on the number nine. She attempts to document nine incredible lives, and their nine-plus reincarnations across the centuries. Basically all of the lives start in Atlantis. Did you know: Atlantis is a concept from history! Or at least from historical people! The book documents these roots in wordy non-detail. We receive insights like “Much of the speculation about Atlantis comes from Plato.” By cult standards, this is somebody trying hard. By reading standards, this is a photocopy of a photocopy of Wikipedia. It’s a snooze from jump. Then, Mrs. Prophet puts Henry Ford on blast for being an ancient mean guy and a modern moron.

The thrills build from there. Also, the humongous boredom. Every time a real person crops up in this book, the Prophetettes pad it out with page after page of accurate facts about their American life. Meanwhile, the non-American lives come in short bursts of vague fables. Mrs. Prophet uses these hastily-scribbled extra lives to build a throughline for each soul, where their mistakes thirty thousand years ago on Atlantis cause them to feel karmic pain. This karmic pain makes them sad, during the Jazz Age or whatever. You get it. It’s what you think. Everything is Atlantis, every American is Atlantis-driven, and there you have it. It’s Mrs. Prophet’s only idea. It’s even the context for a few filler photos. A few Americans who don’t get their own chapter get namechecked as important muckety-mucks of the Continent Lost In Seafloor Muck.

Each of the nine souls featured here gets its own chapter. Mrs. Prophet formats a few of them as Mystery Chapters, where we read along in suspense, wondering which Important American’s soul slummed it as a Greek Sailor or Russian Peasant before they got reborn and drank Coca-Cola. She does this “Mystery!!!” gambit as soon as the second chapter, because you want to make your audience solve riddles before they have enough familiarity with your whole deal. In Chapter Two, we read about a soul with anger management issues, who made several stops in Atlantis before becoming a Sicilian monk and a French merchant. Did you already solve the riddle yet???

Huge red flag there. Clear racism signal. Anybody using the full given name “Alphonse” is about to Um Actually you, about the underrated cultural significance of Cristoforo Columbus Day. On its own, “Alphonse” was fine. But the book reveals some curious blind spots when it comes to Mrs. Prophet’s abilities. For some past lives, she fills entire pages with that soul’s exact locations, organizations, loved ones, experiences, and Euro-American adventures. Yet in other past lives, her powers grow…Cliffs Notes-y, let’s say.

Oh shoot: I forgot to list “yada yada-ing non-white countries” in the Summit Lighthouse Trove O’ Theology. Whoops! I hope I don’t get a karmic payback for that in my next life, when I’m reincarnated as either a white American or an NPC. This book is so white, there’s a whole chapter about the astonishing reveal that Winston Churchill’s soul was previously the 1st Duke of Marlborough. That duke’s name was John Churchill. Winston and John were real-life relatives. The whole chapter is almost Ancestry dot com. Yet Mrs. Prophet knows more about this factoid than she knows about the entire life this soul lived between its Churchillizations. In between glorying in the minutiae of Winston Churchill’s nonfiction publishing career, she handwaves his soul’s eighth life as “unnamed Asian king.”

On the plus side, this book gets around to wild claims about souls achieving multi-fame. This is the author’s basic professional duty as a peddler of reincarnation hokum, and Mrs. Prophet sort of comes through. She says writer Anaïs Nin was artist Marie Bashkirtseff in a past life. She says Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first life was on Atlantis, as the son of Joseph Stalin’s first life. She also says FDR spent a life as an Egyptian slave under the whips of both Stalin’s soul and Khrushchev’s soul. Awkward! And great! The book needed more of this. Elizabeth’s one job is to string dead celebri-figures together in pleasing patterns, like a Sid Meier version of an Oscars Night “In Memoriam”. It’s what we’re all here for! Other than cats! Again, I’m mad she lied about the cats. And Mrs. Prophet dishonors the famous cat-life myth by handing a lot of these folks a tenth life. The first bonus life goes to Al Capone, and her approach to it almost made me applaud.

BREAKING NEWS: Alphonse Capone is a poor child in Bangladesh City. SUBHEADLINE: that fact demonstrates the grace and mercy of the one true Christian God. NEXT CHAPTER: Anaïs Nin is in Astral Jail for Sexy Selfishness Crimes.

As the book goes on, Mrs. Prophet throws more and more surprises at us, with that exact lack of warning. One minute you’re learning Winston Churchill reincarnated in the early 1990s. The next minute, you’re learning Margaret Thatcher’s soul originated on Knock-Off Pacific Atlantis.

Yeah! She throws in a whole ‘nother Lost Continent like it’s a ding dang “a wild [Pokemon] appears!” Terrific stuff. Life is short and I want its nonsense hot and fast. Speaking of which, this book’s best reveals come on Lives #7-#9. After six tall tales about Prime Ministers being from Lemur Land or wherever, Mrs. Prophet’s secret ghostwriter tackles the soul of Charles Lindbergh. It turns out Charles Lindbergh was also Abraham Lincoln, and also the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah. However, our ghostwriter has tragic news about this life:

That’s amazing. That’s amazing! I thought this book was a lazy copy/paste/pad-out of a dead cult leader’s lecture. It’s more! It’s a document of somebody telling a full-on cult leader to cut their sermon short, and telling them that so persuasively, the cult leader complied. Somebody in that 1992 hotel conference room told this cult leader to [gesturing from the back] WRAP IT UP PLEASE… and that worked! How did that work? Elizabeth Clare Prophet is a cult leader. As I understand it, cult leaders do not comply with anything short of a federal raid. Who is this event space’s magic employee? How did they silvertongue Mrs. Prophet into skipping the announcement that Charles Lindbergh is Abraham Lincoln is The Pharaoh?

This situation causes thrilling ripples throughout the rest of the book. In stand-up comedy parlance, Mrs. Prophet tried and failed to run the light. She’d planned nine lives, but she had to cut two of them for time. Then she told somebody Charles Lindbergh and Babe Ruth were next on her list. But she did not tell the Prophetettes any further information about their souls. That forced her modern adherents to finish this book by indexing her other past mentions of Lindbergh and Ruth. Luckily for Lindy, she’d freestyled a couple other lives for him in her other jam sessions. Luckily for us, Mr. and Mrs. Prophet never mentioned Babe Ruth in any other situation. If she prepped anything about him, it’s gone. Can you guess how this book’s authors handled that gap? Do they step up and invent some Babe Ruth stuff themselves? Do they simply not include Babe Ruth in the book? Or do they do the third and by far funniest option?

That’s right: they wrote a middle school “learn to read!” book of basic facts about a dead baseball player. Just when I thought I was done covering baseball’s alienating inhuman madness, I bonked into a dozen pages of snorifying real facts – and somehow no sex facts – compiled by an anonymous flunky in a declining cult. My dear Hotdogger, this chapter was worse than boring. It was a dark night for my soul. I wondered if the book would ever get interesting again. I wondered if the ninth and final chapter could redeem this reading experience. When she skipped Lindbergh/Lincoln/Pharaoh and Babe Ruth, whose life did Elizabeth Clare Prophet make time to cover in full? What final astounding American did Elizabeth Clare Prophet deem to be her perfect lecture closer? I wonder who, to Elizabeth Clare Prophet, was the most important soul to Elizabeth Clare Prophet? Not to be an Elizabeth Clare Prophet spinning out mysteries here, but can you guess where this is going?

Heck yes. There is nothing more CULT LEADER than giving a lecture, learning you are running short on time, and skipping the topics of several world-famous humans so you can talk more about yourself. Er, talk more about yourselves. Elizabeth Clare Prophet has so much Elizabeth Clare Prophet material, she trims her auto-mega-biography down to her fourteen *most significant* lives.

This chapter honestly increases my level of belief in Atlantis. Why? No ordinary continent could support the weight of this gal’s ego. The closest she comes to humility is her account of Life #13, where she admits she merely might have been Marie Antoinette or King Louis XVI.

After that, she declares herself the greatest queen in the history of Atlantis. Then she deftly pre-debates anyone who’d raise the mildest possible criticism of her life story.

So there you have it: Abraham Lincoln was a pharaoh and an aviator and ultimately kind of bleh. He’s nothing compared to the most self-centered cult leader ever to over-stay a conference center room rental. It fills me with awe. It fills me with astonishment. In a twisted way, it’s the sort of transcendent experience a lot of folks seek from faiths. So great job, Elizabeth Clare Prophet. You astounded me even more than I thought an Internet publishing nut could. You’re also allowing me to say “I’m glad you’re dead” without that being a mean thing to say, technically, because you claim death is a brief pause before you start life number one billion. And when you return for your next life as Queen Of The Galaxy, I encourage you to look into your heart, think about what’s important, and focus on spreading The Good News about cats for a change.


This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Chance McDermott, the reincarnation of Bernard Slopely, mid-level draftsman for train bathrooms. Not all reincarnation is sexy.

9 replies on “Learning Day: 9 Cats, 9 Lives 🌭”

I feel pretty bad for Winston Churchill’s Malaysian Concubine. The dude executed her and then she got stuck with him again reincarnated as his wife.

Most of my past lives have been as amoebas or scarecrow abortions, but I was once the shift manager of one of Jennifer Aniston’s past lives at an Atlantean Sbarro. She was pretty down to earth but did not like having to help clean during closing because she said she had been The Big Man Clarence Clemons, the E Street Band saxophonist, in a past life and so it was beneath her. I was like, girl, I was the real life inspiration for Ted Lasso’s nervous breakdown three lives ago so don’t try to big time me and she reluctantly accepted the mop. Atlantis fucking sucked for that kind of thing but they were chill when I bit people so you have to take the good with bad when you drown a continent.

I’m concurrently living 3 billion lives. Every time I die, I live the life of the youngest cousin of the second to last person to talk to my oldest friend, unless that friend was also me, in which case I’m just the person born immediately after the second to most recent life I’ve lived.
I have already been Hulk Hogan, but I don’t want to spoil 2026 for anyone.

I can’t believe you saw Henry Ford and jumped right to the association with racism. Henry Ford was a busy man and only had so much time in his day to spend on racism. For instance, he also had to find time to fit in all of his antisemitism too. He had all kinds of people to hate and all kinds of bizarre paranoid categories to check off.

It’s a horrible oversight that, for all your griping about Prophet not writing about cats, you also failed to include even a SINGLE PICTURE of your own cats.

“Two out of two dead leaders makes me feel like the party’s over. If I’m culting up, I want to touch the O.G. manipulator’s garment hem. I can’t fanboy an urn.”

But that’s the beauty of reincarnation, Alex. You could become the new leader yourself by claiming you already are, just in a new, more geeman looking body. I mean, you already did all the research. Just saying.

hold on, “when Ford was working on developments to the vailx that allowed transoceanic arial travel”. Is that to imply that Lindberg crossed the atlantic in an atlantean zepplin?

The “PLEASE WRAP IT UP” part has aged nicely with how the 2023 Game Awards went. The person who told Elizabeth to hurry it up was clearly a young Geoff Keighley

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