Guy Ballard

Guy Warren Ballard (July 28, 1878 - December 29, 1939) was an American mining engineer who became, with his wife, Edna Anne Wheeler Ballard, the founder of the "I AM" Activity.

Ballard was born in Burlington, Iowa and married his wife in Chicago in 1916. Ballard served in the U.S. Army in World War I, and then became a mining engineer. Both Edna and Guy studied theosophy and the occult extensively.

Ballard visited Mt. Shasta, California in 1930, and reported that he encountered there another hiker who identified himself as St. Germain, who offered to tutor him in the wisdom of the Ascended Masters. St. Germain and other Ascended Masters, often gathered in huge hidden caverns within the larger North American mountains. Ballard provided details of his encounters within the caves in a series of books such as Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence, using the pen name "Godfre Ray King."

The I AM movement started from public lectures about these encounters and grew rapidly in the 1930s. Ballard lectured frequently in Chicago about St. Germain's mystical teachings, in which the great destiny of America played a key role. By 1938, there were claimed to be about a million followers in the United States. The "I AM" Activity represents the Original, Permanent, and Highest Source of the Ascended Masters' Instruction on the great Laws of Life, as first offered to the western world by the Ascended Master Saint Germain through His Accredited Messengers, Mr. and Mrs. Guy W. Ballard.

The "I AM" Activity is spiritual, educational and practical. There are no financial schemes behind it; no admission is ever charged. It takes no political stance in any nation. The parent organization is Saint Germain Foundation, with worldwide headquarters located in Schaumburg, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It is represented throughout the world by 300 local groups termed "I AM" Sanctuary®, "I AM" Temple®, "I AM" Study Groups®, or "I AM" Reading Room®. Saint Germain Foundation and its local activities are NOT affiliated with any other organization or persons.

Ballard informed his wife of what had happened to him in a set of letters from Mt. Shasta, and upon his return to Chicago, they founded the Saint Germain Foundation and Saint Germain Press. The teachings centered upon the announcement of the existence of and the evocation of the I AM Presence, the spirit of God in each individual. A series of mantric-like prayers called decrees were advocated as the means of such evocation.

The I AM movement was one of the most successful, flamboyant, and controversial of the late 1930s. At its height, however, Ballard unexpectedly died on December 29, 1939. His death created an immediate problem as some expectation had spread through the movement that he would not die but physically ascend. Several years after his death his wife and son and many of the leaders of the movement were the subject of a landmark judicial process initiated by several ex-members who questioned the sincerity of the movement. The process resulted in a 1944 Supreme Court ruling which suggested that it was not legitimate for government to place a religion, no matter how nonconventional, on trial.