Guy Warren Ballard was an American mining engineer who became, with his wife Edna Anne, the founder of the I AM Activity. Ballard visited Mt. Shasta, California in 1930, where he met another hiker who identified himself as Saint Germain. Mr. Ballard’s experiences take place within the larger North American mountain ranges. Guy Ballard, his wife Edna, and later his son Donald became the sole Accredited Messengers of Saint Germain. Their teachings form the original nucleus for what are today called the Ascended Master Teachings.
The doctrine of the I AM Activity has its roots in theosophy. Its teachings were not new, but the publicity the Ballards achieved spread their teachings into the developing New Age movements in the United States. Many New Age movements now involve the Ascended Master Teachings.
The movement believes in the existence of a group called the Ascended Masters, a hierarchy of supernatural beings that includes Saint Germain, Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Maitreya, and thousands more. These are believed to be humans who have lived in physical bodies, become immortal, and attained their ascension. The Ascended Masters are believed to communicate to humanity through certain humans, including Guy and Edna Ballard. Because Jesus is believed to be one of the Ascended Masters, making the Christ Light available to seekers who wish to move out of darkness, many of the members of the I AM Activity consider it to be a Christian religion.
The movement teaches that the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent creator God is in all of us as a spark from the Divine Flame, and that we can experience this presence, love, power and light through quiet contemplation and by repeating affirmations and decrees. By affirming something one desires, one can cause it to happen.
According to Los Angeles Magazine article, in August 1935, the Ballards hosted a gathering at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles that drew a crowd of 6,000. Guy Ballard spoke under the pseudonym he used in authoring his books, Godfre Ray King, and his wife used the pseudonym Lotus. Their meetings included teachings they described as being received directly from the Ascended Masters. They led the audiences in prayers and affirmations including adorations to God and invocations for abundance of every good thing, including love, money, peace, and happiness.
The Ballards founded a publishing house, Saint Germain Press, to publish their books and began training people to spread their messages across the United States. Meetings became limited to members after hecklers began disrupting their open meetings. Over their lifetimes, the Ballards recorded nearly 4,000 messages which they said were from the Ascended Masters. Guy Ballard, his wife Edna, and later his son Donald became the sole Accredited Messengers of the Ascended Masters.
Ballard died in 1939. In 1942 his wife and son were convicted of fraud after a government audit found that they had stored up $3 million from donations and what it called a retail racket by false statements of their religious experiences which had not in fact occurred, based on their claims of miraculous communication with the spirit world and supernatural power to heal the sick. A landmark Supreme Court decision overturned the conviction, ruling that the question of whether the Ballards believed their religious claims should not have been submitted to a jury.