I began my studies with The Gnostic Movement in November 2000 at the Bondi Study Centre in Sydney, Australia. During this period, I was part owner of a Design and Construction company operating throughout the Sydney region, the company specialised in high end architectural and building design. My background is construction, and I’m a hands-on builder with a life-time of experience in the building industry.
Experience in The Gnostic Movement
I found the teachers at the Bondi Centre to be very friendly and welcoming to everyone who attended the classes. I also found them to be very well presented and extremely dedicated to teaching.
The centre was always kept very clean and was exceptionally well organised, and the nine week courses offered were strictly free of charge. The centre had an informal cafe which was run by voluntary donation, and I never once felt any pressure to donate – actually it was quite the contrary. It was made clear that there was no need to donate. Often over the years people attended the classes and ate there, free of charge.
As I worked my way through the very popular courses, I found all the information presented very inspiring and very practical to apply in my daily life. The peaceful messages of love which was taught were exactly what I had been searching for all of my life. I devoted any spare time that I had to these studies, and it very quickly became my passion and way of life.
Serving on the International and National Boards
My wife Daya and I were Members of the Australian Gnostic Movement. For a short period I held the role as Auditor following which I was elected as President, and my wife Treasurer. Both my wife and I resigned as office holders not long after Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub) left The Gnostic Movement in 2012.
Daya and I both served on The Australian Coordinating Board and on The International Board for The Gnostic Movement. During those years both my wife and I worked very closely with Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub).
I was in charge of all building activities related to the Australian retreat property which had been purchased in Australia. My wife assisted me with this task (during this period, my wife worked as a building manager for a large design and construction company operating commercial projects throughout the Sydney region. Daya has a building degree).
Over the years, I was involved in the international search for retreat properties, which also included Australia. I provided building advice on the condition of potential retreat properties, which were inspected from around the world
Daya and I can provide first-hand experience, to tell our story having worked with Mark and on many other matters at the forefront of The Gnostic Movement.
Working with Mark Pritchard on the International Board
The International Board for The Gnostic Movement was made up of elected male and female Members from around the world, and Mark was the International Coordinator. It was set up to deal with global matters related to the running of The Gnostic Movement. Some of these matters included administration, finances, websites, advertising, publicity, designing, books, courses, online activities, radio/TV interviews, centres globally, global retreat property searches and legal matters.
The International Board was very well organised and democratically run and I always found our weekly meetings to be very productive and a very warm experience. Any decisions, action plans, and recommendations made by the board would be passed on to allocated teams to assist with the running of Movement. These teams within the Movement had been established to take care of specific areas in the running of the Movement. For example, there was a design team, a website team etc.
During my long service on the International Board as a volunteer, it was always such a joy to come together for our weekly meetings, and never once did I experienced any negativity from Mark or any of the other Members. Everyone treated each other with absolute respect, and I often felt a deep understanding of brotherhood amongst us. Mark never put himself above anyone else, and he always showed a lot of interest in all of our ideas and recommendations. He never pushed his own ideas onto us. Mark genuinely had complete respect for everyone, and has never once put any pressure on anyone in the team, or anyone else in the Movement to complete any task required. He showed a lot of interest in our health, and always encouraged us to rest. He was never controlling or bossy, and totally respected the will of every individual. He never came across as high and mighty, which is unlike situations in the work force. Mark’s guidance and coordination positively enabled the International Board in the running of The Gnostic Movement around the world, and is the only reason that we achieved such a high standard in all tasks related to the spreading of the amazing teachings of Gnosis.
The Gnostic Movement was truly an amazing spiritual school and the internal system was brilliantly set up to pass on a peaceful spiritual message of love to the world. The running of this spiritual school was superior in every sense, to any organisation that my wife and I had ever been involved in, in the work force. It was beautifully engineered and coordinated by Mark. Exemplary standards of conduct and administration
Throughout my time as the President of The Gnostic Movement, I’ve always witnessed an above standard duty of care, in all aspects in the running of the Movement. Our tax and legal requirements were always fulfilled to a very high standard. Professionals, such as auditors, lawyers and accountants have praised the standard of order upheld in the running of the Movement.
The Australian Board was always very well organised and democratically run. Our constitution, spiritual teachings, and codes of conduct were always upheld to a very high standard. The women and men treated each other with total respect, and the women were always treated as equals. The men were always complete gentlemen toward the women. Everyone took great care to listen to others speak. Votes on all decisions were made, and minutes were recorded. Our excellent way of operating and joyful conduct among each other has been an amazing experience. The direct influence and the understanding of those times is greatly appreciated, and we all have Mark to thank for that. Over the years, never once did the Gnostic Movement and Mark ever make any profit from the courses and the books written by Mark. As a matter of fact my wife and I have personally witnessed Mark contribute a large portion of his personal money to ensure that he got the spiritual message to humanity. He has personally and financially suffered greatly to achieve this legacy.
All donations were always used specifically for the purpose to which they were donated, and never once were donations used for any other purpose. For the use of any Movement funds two signatures were required for all transactions. All donations were always double-checked by two individuals in each centre. I found that the Movement always upheld a very high standard with their internal book keeping.
The running of Absolute Publishing Press was no different to The Gnostic Movement, and it always upheld a very high standard in all its activities. Most of the time during our involvement, it barely had enough money to survive, and all proceeds from book sales were used to print more books and to run the company. My wife and I were involved at one point when Mark decided to obtain a contract to ensure that he receive no royalties from the sale of the books.
As members on both boards, and teachers of the Gnostic Movement, my wife and I have learnt a lot of new skills and gained valuable experience, which has helped us a great deal professionally, and we have become quite knowledgeable and experienced in many areas. Most of all, the teachings and good influence of Mark have allowed us to experience true peace and happiness in our lives.
Experience with Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub)
As a human being and a spiritual teacher, Mark has always been a perfect role model who completely lived by the Gnostic doctrine and his own teachings. He is a brilliant spiritual teacher who has selflessly worked to help anyone who is searching for inner peace, to reconnect to their true Divine source. He is a very kind and humble person, very honest, completely trustworthy, extremely generous, considerate, gentle and very warm, exceptionally fair and caring with all those working with him and to people in general. He has always been very supportive in our lives, which included our families and children. Never once did he put himself above anyone and he has always treated women and men equally, and with the utmost respect. Women were often in charge of many high positions within the Movement and the publishing company.
Humble and selfless nature
Mark has always been very grateful for any assistance, never asking anything for himself. I witnessed first-hand that he lived with the absolute bare essentials in life, with no material wealth of any value. Over many years, Mark struggled personally and financially in the most difficult situations in life – he has always lived very simply. In all the years that I’ve known him, he has never had a comfortable place to live in, and he moved around a lot. He lived in a very run-down cabin, which was totally unfit to live in, and also in very tiny old run down apartments and houses, as well as some cheap hotels and even garages. Very often Mark couldn’t afford proper meals and didn’t have basic utilities such as heating and cooling systems.
Considering his very poor situation, Mark always chose to use most of his personal donations, and eventually his own funds to assist the Gnostic Movement. Mark chose to live on the absolute bare minimum of everything in life. Before he went to the US, he lived on under $60 per week.
Support for families
I was a parent when I discovered the Gnostic Movement, and both of my boys were always welcomed at any Gnostic events. In fact, Mark’s teachings taught me a lot about being a good father, husband and person in general.
In late 2011, when Daya and I announced that we were having a child, everyone in the Movement gave us a lot of support – in particular Mark. I have no doubt that anyone who has truly known Mark would agree that he’s always a perfect gentleman. Today, my wife and I still treasure these great memories of the amazing times that we all shared working together at the forefront of the Movement.
Australian Retreat Project
Towards the end of 2002, advanced students and teachers at the Bondi centre were advised that the Australian retreat property, which had been purchased that year, had been neglected, and was in need of urgent repairs. For this reason Mark moved there to repair the property himself. At the time we were told that he was living under very difficult circumstances. I had no hesitation to volunteer in assisting, and very quickly I organised a trip with a fellow student from the centre.
Condition of property
Upon our arrival we were warmly greeted by Mark who expressed a lot of gratitude for our commitment to help out. Mark showed us around the rural property and briefed us on the many dangers which could be encountered on this property. Very quickly I was quite overwhelmed at the mammoth task which Mark was enduring. Nothing could have prepared us for what we were uncovering. The very steep terrain surrounding the property proved to be quite an exhausting challenge as we made our way around the property, and it was very evident that maintaining this property, and the surrounding land would require a high level of fitness, and a certain endurance to manage the very hot and humid climate. The other very important factor was an urgent need of the right machinery and tools to be able to tackle the hardship of this land.
My friend and I were very happy to meet the spiritual teacher who very soon proved to be an excellent role model of the fundamental teachings of the Gnostic doctrine. My friend and I were quite eager to get started, and for safety reasons the first task to complete was to seal the many gaps in the dilapidated cabin. Small and large gaps could be found in all walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows, and the roof which leaked in many areas of this derelict cabin. The roof and walls were infested with insects, rats, mice and other vermin, and we also found deadly snakes. As a builder, my first impression of this outback shack was that it needed to be knocked down.
The dangerous and difficult conditions Mark lived in
The extremely hot conditions inside the property proved to be unbearable, and to be honest it was cooler outside. The walls and ceilings had never been fitted with thermal insulation, and the windows and doors could not be kept open for ventilation since flyscreens had never been fitted. No fans could be used since it would knock out the very poor and small solar energy system. There was no town power, gas, water and sewage system. The water from the rain water tanks was not fit for consumption, and drinking and cooking water had to be purchased. Also, the internet was terribly slow.
Basically, insects, vermin, and deadly snakes dominated the environment and we desperately needed to keep them out of the cabin.
Throughout the days Mark always reminded us to drink plenty of water, and we were always well fed. Each evening we were invited to stay for dinner, and the inside temperature was still unbearable. We learnt that this was the case all night long especially since windows and doors could not be left open.
There was no kitchen stove, and so a portable camping stove with a gas bottle was used for cooking meals. Due to the very poor solar power system, the lights and power would stop working soon after sunset. At this point candles had to be used, and basic living was extremely difficult. Having no lights was quite disturbing in this environment especially because of the deadly snakes, scorpions and whatever else infested the cabin. Even if the lights worked there was still the issue of the high infestation of insects that made it impossible to have the lights on at night since you would be swarmed by bugs.
The surrounding vegetation on the property was extremely difficult and dangerous to maintain but for many reasons it was a regular requirement. The main reasons were to reduce the potential fuel in case of bushfires, which is a serious problem during summer in Australia. The other was the deadly snakes. Some of the most dangerous snakes in the world could be found at this location, and we certainly found that to be the case. Some of these included Taipans, Brown snakes, Death Adders and Red Belly Black snakes. Taipans were discovered in the cabin and the store shed. During the repairs of the cabin, I also discovered a brown snake inside the wall cavity, and quite a few brown and black snakes were seen on the grounds of the property. Other snakes were discovered in the ceiling which may have been after the mice and rats. The only snake I didn’t come across was the Death Adder 🙂
I found Mark to be quite relaxed about the snakes, scorpions, and all other creepy crawlies on the property, although he took a lot of care and precautions with them. On one occasion Mark casually and very calmly called me to witness a brown snake which had been very close to his feet.
The work Mark did on the property
I never understood how Mark managed to maintain the grass areas with a simple scythe especially since the grass grew so quickly in summer. He also maintained the overgrown landscape surrounding the property with very basic handyman tools which were not fit for the work required.
These were extremely difficult and dangerous living conditions, and to top it off, he was coordinating the many Gnostic Movement affairs globally with a candle, and a very slow internet. I felt that after my experience on the property, there would have been no chance that I personally would have been able to live and work from this cabin. Even today, the thought of sleeping in it under those conditions still sends chills down my spine.
At the time, I found it difficult to understand why our spiritual teacher had been left in such a terrible condition, and upon my return to Sydney both Daya and I began to organise ongoing working trips. Luckily other dedicated students, Teachers and Members were happy to help out.
Mark’s vision for a retreat
This was the beginning of an amazing friendship with Mark, and the beginning of his quest with our support, to build an Australian public retreat. His vision was to have a sanctuary place for anyone in the world to come and experience, free of charge, this magical ancient spiritual wisdom, which could have the potential to bring true peace, happiness and love in anyone’s life.
Inheritance used to help the retreat project
In 2003, Mark left for UK after being the caretaker for just under a year, and although we all shared some magical times during the renovations, Mark had lived under terrible and very difficult conditions during this period. The physical and financial hardship in Mark’s life would prove to continue during the following years.
While Mark was overseas, his mother passed away and he inherited a small rundown terrace property which needed a lot of work. It was very damp and mouldy and needed to be renovated in order to be able to sell it. Mark and I communicated regularly to assist with the building work necessary to renovate. I also sent videos to show him how to do certain building tasks. During these renovations Mark lived in very difficult and cramped conditions. The dust, damp and mould from old Victorian Terrace building sites is very harsh, and potentially very toxic for the physical body. Also, during building renovations, dust becomes airborne, and is extremely hard to manage. This was certainly not a fit environment for anyone to live in. However, somehow Mark managed to complete all the renovations, again, while coordinating the Movement and doing media interviews.
It became clear from the local Council, that the Australian retreat property could not be developed as a retreat property. Therefore the Members decided to sell the property and search for a suitable retreat location. By this stage a lot of love and care had gone into the renovations and we didn’t want to sell the property to an outsider, so the Members offered it to Mark to buy it, as they felt that it would be a suitable house for Mark to live in.
Mark accepted the offer after checking that no other Members were interested in buying it, but he insisted that we get an independent accredited property valuer to ensure that we were getting the proper market value from the sale. Mark was able to use the money from his inheritance to purchase the property.
I was the Member who met up with the valuer on behalf of the Australian Board. The valuer proved to be very knowledgeable with the local property market, and he gave the Movement a very good market valuation for the property. The valuer also told me that we were very lucky to have a buyer since he felt that it would be very difficult to sell this property while so much work was required, and the property was a building site. He explained that there were other properties for sale in the area which did not require any building work, and these would surely attract any potential buyers before ours.
All the Australian Members were very happy that Mark had agreed to buy the property, especially since we got such an amazing deal The Movement could have received a lot less money for the property.
The Members felt that Mark was paying too much for the property but Mark insisted that he wanted to give the Movement as much money as possible to go towards the purchasing of an Australian public retreat property.
Once the property was sold to Mark, the people who were skilled tradesmen and handymen wanted to help Mark. We very much enjoyed working on the property. Whilst there, we were able to spend special moments focusing on our spiritual values but most of all we all enjoyed giving.
Mark’s idea for a monastery
It was during this period that Mark shared his future vision for the dedicated ones (those who wanted to work seriously on themselves spiritually). He wanted us to complete the renovation, and once he enjoyed living there for a short period, he wanted to sell his home and purchase a monastery for the dedicated ones to be able to practice, and even to live there. He also mentioned that the dedicated people could even build their own houses on the land. This would be a separate retreat to the public Australian one, therefore there were two visions.
With the building experience of my wife and I, and thanks to the passion and hard dedicated work of the others, the renovations went underway for a fraction of the true building cost. A lot of recycled and brand new building materials were acquired for free, and sent up to the property. On one occasion Daya was able to obtain the finishes of a brand new two bedroom display apartment, and we were able to keep all the new items and send them to the property for the renovation. We also saved a lot of money by shopping around for the cheapest deals for new and recycled materials. Mark and I spent many enjoyable hours working on ‘self-sustainable green building’.
Mark returned from overseas, and lived at the house for a short period while it was still a building site. Basically, it was still a long way from the finish line, but Mark managed to live there under the difficult conditions of a building site and somehow he managed to continue his work. We all very much loved working alongside Mark, and we enjoyed every moment spent with him. These times were magical in every sense, and I can honestly say that those days are still some of the best memories of my life.
Mark gifts increased value of property to the retreat project
Mark sold the property back to the Gnostics for a lot less than the market value provided by the accredited valuer, which was 48% less, if the property was sold with the remaining renovations done to it, and 30% less, if the property was sold “as is”. However, the property was sold by Mark only for what was spent on it. Mark wanted to gift all profits of the property to the Movement so that we could have a bigger budget to purchase the public retreat in the future. The retreat company of the Gnostic Movement paid Mark about half of the agreed amount and we also agreed to pay him the other half when we had the money. Three years later the retreat company of the Movement paid Mark the other half of the money owed.
Sadly, while Mark owned the property, he never saw it completed. He lived there for a very short period while it was a building site and sold it while there were still some renovations to complete.
Mark Pritchard’s work in the USA
In 2007, the Australian and USA Gnostic Movement organised all requirements for Mark’s mission to the USA. My wife and I were very involved during this period and it was a pleasure to assist.
Mark’s own donations covered salary
In order to be eligible for a USA visa, it was a requirement that Mark be an employee and be paid a salary. Mark wouldn’t agree to be paid a salary. It’s completely legal for a not-for-profit organisation to pay for services, for example Priests from many religious groups are well paid, fed and housed. Even though this is the case, Mark still would not agree to be paid, and he decided to use his personal donations for his salary by getting them deposited into the Movement account. The Movement would then pay Mark, so effectively he was paying for his own salary and meeting the USA requirement for a visa.
People in Australia who had been regularly donating to Mark to support him with his work, began to instead donate into the Movement account to support his USA mission. In some centers in Australia, donations were also specifically collected for Mark’s USA mission.
During this period, my wife and I also did all the salary transfers to the USA Gnostic Movement. Since the donations Mark received weren’t enough to pay for his salary and for his living expenses in the USA, Mark donated a large portion of his personal money, which he had received from the sale of his house.
Living conditions in the USA
When Mark first arrived in the USA, he could only afford to rent an old run-down house since his salary was the absolute bare minimum. This property was located in a very low socio-economic location, and was subsequently quite a dangerous neighbourhood. Sadly while Mark was in the USA he was experiencing a lot of difficulties.
Hate campaign against Mark and The Gnostic Movement
In 2008, Mark stepped down as International Coordinator, and my wife and I continued to work closely with Mark. Around that period, Mark told some members that The Gnostic Movement was finished, and that he was going to be betrayed. I remember hoping that this would not occur, and I couldn’t believe that someone would be capable of betraying him. I was very naive and in time Mark proved to be spot-on.
In mid-2009, two individuals were asked to leave by the Australian Members for misconduct. The Board didn’t allow them to come back because they would not correct their conduct, and in retaliation they began a revenge campaign of vicious lies against Mark and the Gnostic Movement. Very soon, they were joined by other people who didn’t even know Mark.
These vicious revenge attacks lasted three solid years, and caused a lot of harm to so many innocent people. The horrible lies were spread all over the internet. This caused very serious harm to families which included mine and even broke up some marriages. By far, Mark suffered the most, and the effects had damaged his safety.
This vicious revenge campaign created confusion, fear, and even hatred towards many of us, and even threats were made to the innocent. Eventually it completely destroyed our beautiful spiritual school, which had to be closed down.
I hope that we can all seriously learn from our past mistakes and never forget that it’s our duty in this great work to always stand strong in the name of justice.