Newspaper Archive of
Ajo Copper News
Ajo, Arizona
August 13, 2014     Ajo Copper News
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August 13, 2014

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z Ajo Copper News, August 13, 2014, Page 10 The Louis Conde - Lahissa monument is a strange Ajo.attraction ! Not as famous as the open pit mine nor as enticing as the Plaza, the concrete and stone crosswith copper letters in the Ajo Cemetery is still a landmark associated with Ajo. It's featured on websites as a curiosity and the newspaper and historical society get occasional inquiries from people curious about its history and the man supposedly buried there -- Louis Conde, the Lahissa. The Man Even during his lifetime, there was a division of opinion as to whether the selff-styled Lahissa was a prophet or a conman, though agreement seemed general that he was charismatic. Known as Dr. Louis Conde, and said to have been born in the 1800s, he claimed to have come "from sacred Tibet". In an interview in the August 17, 1928, issue of The Southeast Missourian, he pointed to an article concerning the finding of the skeleton of a "prehistoric monster" reported to have been found in China. "We have such animals in Tibet now,"he said. He told the newspaper that the animals were not known by the out- side world because no person from the interior of Tibet was allowed to leave and no foreigner is allowed in. "I am the only one who has come out of Tibet within the past 1000 years," said Lahissa. "No, you would not understand how I came out of Tibet. It is something the occidental mind does not penetrate." In the interview he said he had been in America for 52 years and began preaching and teaching in Boston. Conde taught that the human mind had control over everything. "The human mind has all power," he is quoted as saying. "There is nothing that man cannot accomplish. He can go to the planets." He also spoke of persecution by the Ku Klux Klan. Whatever his true background, he had great success as a mystical teacher in Chicago. Listeners flocked to his lectures and hung on every word. He offered his followers health, peace, and spiritual grace. They offered him money to fund his Temple of Wisdom Conde and his movement prospered, but not for long. As an illustrated wire story headlined, "And in Wafted the 'Miracle Man's' Pretty Girl Secretary. Then Came a Florida Trip and a Legal Row Among Lahissa's Chicago Followers, Who Said They Had Paid for a Temple of Wisdom That Did Not Materialize." Three of his followers (all women) took him to court, demanding to know if their donations paid for his vacation with his private secretary, Ethel Decker, and her young sister Grace. Though he wasn't found guilty of a crime, he did take the time at court to marry his secretary. No one seems sure how he ended up in Ajo. In a eulogy written for the Ajo Copper News shortly after Conde's death, a disciple wrote "In his last days of physical suffering he plead to be taken to Ajo, where he lived only one week, and passed into the great spiritual universe on Friday, November 6, 1931, and where his body now lies in the local cemetery." Oddly, a basic search of Arizona death certificates for 1931 doesn't turn up one for Louis Conde, Lahissa, or any combination of the name. In 1954, two women, Ellen Ethel Biggs and Grace D. Lawson, published a book, Life Is As You Give It, a collection of seven talks delivered by Lahissa. The Monument The cross was built at the behest of the "pretty girl secretary" -- his widow, Ethel Decker Conde. She hired Frank Randall and Charles Dunn to build the monument. According to an article in the November 27, 1967, issue of The Arizona Republic, the two men bought copper wire and fashioned the letters with pliers, then soldered them to nails to be embedded in the cross, which was built of peacock copper rock from the Bloody Basin and Copper Basin in a backyard workshop in the Phoenix area. Dunn said the widow came periodically with more words for the epitaph and he and Randall had to reduce the size of the letters A third man was hired to help, but his name was not listed. When the monument was finished, Dunn said "Randall loaded the cross, weighing about a ton, and took it to Ajo. I never saw him again." The words on the cross: Lahissa , Louis Conde -- 18__ to 1931 Teacher & helper of humanity For all races -- for all peoples, for all beliefs, - he came and they knew him not. Actuated by the same spirit that has guided all the teachers, he came to lead human beings into a new era. A new step in evolution and progress the era of man's full consciousness of the power within him. "Man's power is unlimited" he said, 50 & 10 years ago. ',Mind, intelligence, is God; & Man can reach out and get what he wants from that universal mind. He is in contact with it thru his brain. As it has taken him an eternity of the past -- of reincarnative evolution - to develop 1/6 of his brain, just think what he can do when he has unfolded 2/6 and more/He will overcome the so-called laws of nature. He will go around the earth in the flash of a moment, & to the planets." "Life is activity; it is eternal" he said "A continuous cycle, never ending, never beginning. -, All things are vibrations. There is nO wall separating the material & the spiritual; one blends into the other" "All beliefs are right" Lahissa taught. "Each one is a spoke in the wheel -- leading to the same center." & "Your Go(I- no matter what you call it - is just but cold - without sentiment or feelings. It is not concerned about you th'e individual, but works by certain definite laws -- and you must obey those laws or pay the price. & .... As you give life and your fellowman, so shall you receive from life and your fellowman: that is the inevitable law of compensation. - Give at all times now, the best there -is in you thus will you find happiness and when you are happy, then your God will smile upon you." Indeed, Lahissa showecl the way. He lived all phases of life and mastered its conditions; - was persecuted and prosecuted, until his earthly career was ended. And his spirit is still guiding into the 'new', when the teachings of all great teachers will be the accepted law of life: "Love, tolerance,forgiveness & the seeking of truth and understanding." The foundation has been laid. It is left to others to bring into being: The Brotherhood of Man. --7934 THE LAHISSA TEMPLE-- Please help us purchase two drinking fountains to go in the Plaza Park Make checks to ISDA (with Fountains on the memo lin Mail to: PO Box 687 Ajo AZ 85321 i i i i i CHILD-PARENT CENIERS Child-Parent Centers, Inc. is currently recruiting for the following open positions to join the team at our Ajo Head Start Center: TEACHER COORDINATOR HOUSED SUBSTITUTE COOK For more information and an application packet, please contact us at (520) 623-2512, press "0" or, email: em[ovmentOchildpafentcenters. or, visit our website: www.childparentcentersorg See our full ad on jobingom Child-Parent Centers, Inc. administers Project Head Start. We are an AA/EEO Employer. i ii