Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Children of Light"

I first photographed the "Children of Light" in 2006 and recently went back home to take some portraits of them again. I intend to photograph them once or twice a year from now on. Throughout my teenage years, I lived only a couple miles from this group of people who call themselves "Children of Light." They believe to have been supernaturally chosen and called by God in 1949. The group originated in Canada and thru visions of God ended up in a secluded area of the southwestern part of Arizona in 1963. They acquired 80 acres of land and built their own homes, planted gardens, fruit trees and live a vegetarian lifestyle. They are also "Eunuchs and virgins for the kingdom of heaven's sake." Although they are a religious group they don't claim to be a certain religion instead they say this is a way of life that they've chosen to live. Elect Star, Elect Philip & Elect David are 3 of the original 18 members who remain there. If you would like to see the photos I took in 2006 please visit www.martinezdesign.net and go to the "exhibits" section. Thanks to Sara Placey who joined me on this trip and helped w/the shoot.

–eu•nuch [yoo-nuh k]
A man who has been castrated, esp. (in the past) one employed to guard the women's living areas at an oriental court. In some societies, the notion of eunuch has been expanded to include men who are impotent with women or are simply celibate.


"Children of Light"






"Elect Star"




"Elect Phillip"




"Elect David"





"Way of Life"








39 comments:

  1. Great shot of Elect Phillip and I also like the piano one of Elect Star.

    Sara

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  2. Hi, I was travelling through the desert when I found that road sign....but I passed it, I didn't stop. Now I got curious about it and I serached for it on the web. Thanks for all your info about Children of Light. Come and find me on my blogs: Come to see www.transmongolica.blogspot.com
    www.dendisf.blogspot.com
    www.dendipics.blogspot.com

    Ciao
    Francesco

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  3. Hi, we toured with Phillip a month ago and enjoyed visiting with him.. These are nice photos. Thanks..

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  4. Thank you! They are really nice people I'm glad you were able to spend some time with them :)

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  5. Do you have pics of the WHOLE group? All of the members that is.

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  6. Yahannah, unfortunately I do NOT have any of the entire group that I've taken when they were all still there but I know they do. So next time I visit I will try to see if they will let me borrow a photo that I can scan and post for you.

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    1. Thank you for the memories. I remember the children of the Children of Light attending my school, Dateland Elementary, back in the 60s and 70s. They were so polite. But, shame on me, I remember one incident like it was yesterday. One day in the lunch room I spotted one of their little boys (a newcomer I think) who looked so helpless, alone, and hungry that me and my friends started sneaking our snacks to him whenever we could. Little did we know that he wasn't supposed to have them. But he looked so sad sitting there watching us eat that I couldn't resist. I'm so sorry, and I hope I didn't cause too much trouble for him.

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  7. Next time you visit tell them Rose misses them and hopes to come back and vist. I used to be the mail carrier out there. My sons learned to swim in their pool.We loved going to visit.

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  8. Absolutely, I will let them know! I learned to swim there too!

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  9. I visited them in the early 1892 or 1983. At the time there were nine or ten of them. Elijah Gold and Elijah Silver were the two leaders I recall. I thought they were formed in the depression.

    Nice simple philosophy: a call to live a Garden of Eden existence. I'd love to learn more about them.

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  10. Wow that's amazing Ray. Do you happen to have any photographs of your visit? Every time I visit I try to gather a little more information about them to pass along to those who are curious. Elect Gold and Elect Silver were both the leaders of the group. Sadly, they have both passed away and only Elect Star, Phillip & David remain. I will be posting more photographs of them after I visit them.

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  11. My father knew these dear people well. His name was Jim White and he did volunteer missionary work in the Yuma area through the Southern Baptist convention between 1980 and 1986(?).I do not know how he made the acquaintance of this group. Daddy loved these dear ones and would visit often after moving to Ajo, AZ in 1987.We took a family vacation in the summer 1981 and one day during that trip was spent with "the Children". I well remember Elect Gold, Elect Star, and Elect Philip. What hospitable, industrious, kindhearted people!

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  12. I am a child of one of the members. I have always considered The children of Light to be my family, and would visit them all the time as a child to "see where my family came from".

    There is so much to say - but the tongue gets twisted.

    The last time I visited was at 12 years old. I made a commitment to myself that I wouldn't return, even if it meant saying goodbye to my grandmother on her deathbed (original member).

    I know for a fact via personal experiences that visitors and members have very different experiences there.

    Do you all know that the Children of Light limit the amount of water you drink each day? that was when I started questioning. Limiting the water.

    I wish you all Peace.

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    1. I often wondered about that too. Can you tell me the reason behind that belief?

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    2. There is a time and a season for everything and everything is by measure.They drink by measure. You have your chose of a full measure or a half. You all drink at a certain time, even if you are away from there. And the water is at room temperature. I spent a couple weeks there visiting a good friend. It was a lovely and most memorable experience.

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  13. Anonymous.. I am aware about the water limitations. It's interesting to hear from someone who formally lived with them. I'm sure the experience is different. I would love to hear more about your experiences if you're ever up to sharing them please feel free to contact me.

    Wendy Martinez
    wendy@martinezdesign.net

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  14. Is there a way to change the batteries in childrens "light up" shoes?

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  15. Hello Dear!!!

    We were just visiting the children of light,they are
    wonderful people.
    God bless them all!!
    Erika

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  16. Thank you for the pictures of the Children of Light. My great grandmother was one of the original group from Canada in 1949 following Elect Gold (Carlson). Elect Sapphire was my great grand mother and I have wonderful memories of visiting in the 1970's. I wondered if they were still there. Thanks to the people who loved and cared for Elect Sapphire.

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    1. Wendy H,
      I have wonderful memories of Elect Sapphire (I lived with the group in my 20s). She was in her early- to mid-nineties and had more energy than I did sometimes. She always had projects that she'd tend to -- mostly gardening (in 110-degree heat!), when she was done with her assigned work (food prep and cleanup, mostly).

      One time she went to one of the storage basements for food and was carrying 2 gallon jars full of something up the cement stairs (that had no real railing), slipped, landed on the cement floor and broke her hip. C-of-L didn't do a lot of doctor visits, so she lay for 6 weeks in bed with a broken hip. I cannot imagine her pain. But after 6 weeks she'd had enough and decided it was time to start walking again. She would get up and force herself to walk with pain so excruciating that at first she would pass out. That didn't stop her at all. Eventually she could walk again without pain. She was a slight woman and maybe 5'5" but she was a fireball. She was a person worth knowing.

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  17. It's always wonderful to hear from people who knew/know them. To answer your question.. they are still there. Only Elect Star, Elect Phillip & Elect David are there now. Please feel free to email me if you ever want to share any stories about your memories there. wendy@martinezstudios.net

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  18. I lived in Hyder and was looking for pictures or information on this group... I use to go swimming there since they had the only pool in our area... I was there in the late 70's and we spent alot of time there...They seemed very nice...

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  19. I was fortunate enough to visit "The Children" just last week. I have a cousin that knows them and lives nearby. A friend from my hometown in south-central British Columbia is Elect Star's sister and I had the opportunity to see her when I was there as well. What an amazing visit. So kind and generous.

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  20. Terry Brown, Peggy SmithMarch 30, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    We visited the site today. Although there were no signs keeping us out, we simply drove in the turnaround drive and continued on our way. We felt we may be bothering the residents. Such a peaceful setting. We will go back on our next visit to the area.

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  21. marie, I spend 2 weeks in may2012 and will return soon,am I DRINK all the water I needed an so my cat. they dont waste water or food,I could eat all the food, was treated very good. I hurt my knee an they sever me in the cottage that I was stsying.God Bless their heart. love them all.

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  22. I am a newspaper reporter living in Yuma. Here is an article I wrote about this wonderful group of people: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/elect-15643-children-commune.html

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  23. Elect David passed away this morning April 16th 2013

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    1. This is the first time I have heard about Elect David's passing. I am sorrowful of this. He was the heart of the Children. He kept everything running- everything mechanically. His presence will be missed. He always had a smile for me when I was able to visit.

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  24. We ran across the Children of Light while exploring back roads in the area in 2007 or 2008. We visited them again in 2010. Very sweet and special people - sad to hear of Elect David's passing.

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  25. Elect David joined the children of light in 1971. He had been diagnosed with cancer, I think, and had been given 2 years to live. He wanted to dedicate his last years in service to God. God apparently rewarded him with a lot more years than he expected.

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  26. I helped a family friend her name is Shirlee P. Move to COL several years ago, Shirlee is a close family friend and I was wondering if anyone met her and would know how she is, the last time I spoke to Elec Star was the day my mother passed away and she said Shirlee wasn't doing well, I have had a hard time visiting these places connected with my mom including the COL and I haven't been in AZ for awhile, I grew up at Sun Spiritualist Camp and Understanding in Tonopah and of course visited the COL, if anyone knows anything about Shirlee I would love to hear about her....C.

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  27. Hello Shirlee passed away last year. She had broken her hip and was in rehab when she passed

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  28. I have visited the Sun Camp in Tonopah a few times and would love to visit the Children of Light, but have been unable to discern their exact location, even using Google satellite maps and images. I live in West Phoenix, near Avondale. --kevin

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  29. follow-up: I found their location and hope to visit soon, if I would be welcome to do so. --k

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  30. Is there any news on this group? Has any of them passed away? This is the only connection I have anymore.

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    1. I was there on Jan 25, 2017 and only one man was there. He was very nice he said Elect Star had gone shopping. I'm assuming he was Elect Phillip he lost his train of thought easily. I think he said he had come from Detroit. He showed us around the home and property. The place was very nice. I visited with my friends, Linda Aragon, Diane Sloncen, Audrey Hall and Cathy Maciel. My name is Peggy Kennedy.

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  31. We have property a few miles from here, always wondered who was still living there.

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