On Wednesday night, a Phoenix Police raid led to the 16 arrests at a local house of worship. The "church," curiously called the Phoenix Goddess Temple, has had some hefty allegations thrown its way in the past, as some have claimed that it's more of a prostitution house than anything else.
While police won't say exactly what they're looking for, some believe that the past accusations about the facility serving as a brothel are behind these most recent actions. Of course, the temple has denied these claims. KSAZ-TV has more:
Back in 2009, we asked an employee of the temple, "Do people have sex in here?"
She responded, "Whatever is happening here it's with the intention of healing."
The Phoenix New Times highlights the fact that the temple was also visited by police back in 2009 when it was at a different location in a residential area of Scottsdale. This past visit was sparked by neighborhood complaints.
In March 2010, the temple moved to its current location where it is, again, being investigated. The New Times also reports that the Phoenix Goddess Temple may not be the only "church" catching authorities' attention:
In addition to the raid on the Phoenix Goddess Temple, search warrants were served Wednesday at the Sedona Temple, a similar "church" where Goddess Temple practitioners have worked. Police have not said what they were looking for during the raid, only that the warrant is part of an ongoing investigation
The temple's web site is currently down, but a cached version from May 2011 offers the following description:
Our temple is an open source for all who wish to better know the Great Mother and her unique gifts for healing body, mind and soul. We seek to help women, men and couples discover their own divine connection between soul, light body and sacred vessel. Ours is the universe of the Ma-Matter-Mother! We offer group classes and one-on-one teachings and training, play shops and internships, all designed to bring HER wisdom back in this modern era...Our healing practices make use of the gifts of the Goddess, tools for transformation that have been with humanity since the very beginning. We bring to you the Mother's bosom and body...
This text poses more questions than it does answers. One wonders who the "Great Mother" and "Goddess" is, but beyond that -- what, exactly, is it that these "group classes and one-one-one teachings and training" offer?
On LinkedIn, a woman by the name of Mystic Mother Tracy Elise is listed as "Mystic Mother, Found-Her, Center Holder" of the Phoenix Goddess Temple. Her description of the position continues:
Holder of Sacred Space for the Mother Goddess; School for Divine Union through energy & light practices; Neo-Tantra, Egyptian Mysteries & Polarity; Magnetic Tantra & Whole Body Healing; Ordination & Priestess Path Senior Sister; Teacher of energetic health, feminine mysteries and the Ladder of Light activation of the human rainbow body, preparing for 2012 and the thousand years of light after-party.
Below, watch Mystic Mother Tracy Elise discuss the temple, complaints against it, issues pertaining to the temple's tax status and the like:
It will certainly be interesting to see how this story ends, though the temple continues to deny any wrong doing. We shall see.