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Leader left Divine Light behind him

Michael Cecil, whose father helped found the 4,000-member religion, walked away when adherents refused to embrace the outside world

By Douglas Todd

Lord Michael Cecil Exeter once led one of the most successful New Age religions in North America. But he walked away from it all.

Michael Cecil, as he prefers to be known, headed the international Emissaries of Divine Light from his ranch in B.C.’s Cariboo for eight years after his father died in 1988.

He tried, he says, to open up the 4,000-member spiritual organization to the wider world. But, he laments, too many adherents didn’t want to leave their spiritual cocoon.

Also known as the Marquess of Exeter, the title of one of the most aristocratic families in Britain, Michael now co-directs a growing spiritual centre in Ashland, Ore., a city he believes has become North America’s newest hub of alternative religion.

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