Active Membership Program
Fund Raising is a necessary part of any cult or New Religious Movement and it has been especially important in Prem Rawat's organisations because of the opulent lifestyle he has demanded since arriving in the West. Once Divine Light Mission was operating successfully the young Rawat took over half the cash flow for his personal use. In the first years the bulk of the money came from ashram premies' wages and some large donations that usually came from inheritances as few premies were older than their early 20's. When the flood of new members slowed and stopped in 1974 more organised financing was required especially as DLM had a large debt from the failed Millenium '73 festival. The administrators of DLM attempted to incease financial support by badgering the members, publicising the parlous financial state and making members feel guilty. They attempted to increase funding through requesting all premies begin tithing, the Active Membership Program or AMP.
While Rawat's financial returns in the 1970's were considerable there was a need to obtain a regular cash flow to support Rawat's personal jets and lavish lifestyle, let alone his more than 50 cars, helicopters, $7 million yacht, etc especially after the collapse of support following the closing of the ashrams in 1982/83.
- Part of Bob Mishler's speech at a a departmental staff meeting on Monday, June 10, 1974 printed in Divine Times of June 1974
- Rick Berman's article in Divine Times of June 1974
- Rick Berman and Bob Mishler's speeches at Guru Puja, July 1974 in Amherst: "10% of whatever you earn each week should come off the top and should go to Maharaji's Mission" "I would hope that uh nobody would you know hold back you know in terms of their own personal dedication for fear of how it's going to be used because first of all with that initial 10% that's up to you man, that's up to you, that's for your dedication and you shouldn't have any attachment to it with your mind"
- in an interview in the January 1976 issue of Divine Times magazine Michael Dettmers normal operating expenses exceeded cash flow by $456,000
- An interview with Sherry Weinstein about Divine Light Mission's Active Membership Program.
At Guru Puja '74 in Amherst satsang was given that unless the other 10,000 members of DLM at that festival began to make regular donations of 10% of their income the 800 ashram premies currently keeping it afloat would go crazy. This message was also the theme of the Divine Times of July 1974. However in an interview in the January 1976 issue of Divine Times magazine Michael Dettmers, then vice-president of Divine Light Mission, explained that only some extremely large donations from a handful of premies had made up the $500,000 shortfall in DLM's 1975 finances. They attempted to increase funding through requesting all premies begin tithing, the Active Membership Program or AMP.
This was not an easy hurdle to overcome and much material was published trying to get those people who were interested enough in Rawat and his Knowledge to attend festivals to begin making regular donations and to use their skills for Divine Light Mission for free.
- Active Membership Application Form and Skills Questionnaire which included Instructions For Filling Out Application
- Active Membership Application Form and Skills Questionnaire in another colour scheme
- Washington DC DUO Community Satsang Letter and AMP pledge form
- Active Membership Program Coupons booklet
- Maharaji's League of Volunteers pamphlet
- Guru's Helpers Defend Purchase Of Boat, 56 Cars Los Angeles Times Jun 24, 1974
- Maharaj Ji Buys $400,000 Home Base in Malibu Area Los Angeles Times Nov 27, 1974
- Divine Light aide sees mission just for guru Associated Press, March 22, 1975
- Guru keeps "mission" deep in debt United Press International, March 23, 1975