Universal Life (German: Universelles Leben, unofficially abbreviated UL) is the name of a controversial new religious movement based in Würzburg, Germany, which is described by members as a part of the new revelation movement. The group was originally called Heimholungswerk Jesu Christi, but has been known as Universal Life since 1984.
The founding of Universal Life was through teachings distributed by Gabriele Wittek. These works were claimed to be revelations from Jesus Christ or other spiritual beings, which Gabriele received as a prophetess and promulgated. These are, along with the Sermon on the Mount and the 10 Commandments, the fundamental basis of the faith. In 2003 Wittek published her own bible, Das ist mein Wort (This is My Word).
Members of Universal Life run, among other institutions, a school, a natural healing clinic and a publisher. The beliefs of the group are propagated by Radio Santec GmbH of Marktheidenfeld through two TV stations, Die Neue Zeit TV and Sophia TV, transmitted from SES Astra 1KR satellite at the 19.2° East orbital position. They operate agricultural establishments, which farm according to the principles of Organic farming. However, these establishments are not officially connected to Universal Life.
Gabriele Wittek claims to have heard the first "inner words" after the death of her mother. After a year, she saw her dead mother appear during a spiritual meeting, and spoke to her. Wittek claimed to have experienced several apparitions later, including of a spiritual being named "Brother Emmanuel". Finally, she met Christ himself. On 18 April 1987 Christ allegedly spoke in a great revelation, among other things, about the "Inner Path". It concerns a mystic school of thought in which God is considered to be in people and in all living beings, according to Jesus' saying: "The kingdom of God is 'within' you."
Exact numbers are hard to determine, since there is no formal membership within Universal Life. Georg Schmid estimated, in his book Churches, Sects, Religions, the number of members to be 100,000 worldwide, including 40,000 in Germany. Other estimates claim 10,000 members worldwide, with 3000 in the Würzburg region.
The association Universelles Leben e.V. has around 500 members. The inner circle, who live in communities in the Würzburg region and work in farms, calls itself the "Covenant Community of the New Jerusalem".
The activities of Universal Life are concentrated in Bavaria. The organisation is represented in other regions of Germany, as well as in Austria, Italy and in Switzerland. They also do activities in other countries, as Spain.
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The vast majority of groups termed "sects" by the Government were small organizations with fewer than 100 members. Among the larger groups present in Austria, are the Church of Scientology, with between 5,000 and 6,000 members, and the Unification Church, with approximately 700 adherents throughout the country. Other groups found in the country included Divine Light Mission, Eckankar, Hare Krishna, the Holosophic community, the Osho movement, Sahaja Yoga, Sai Baba, Sri Chinmoy, Transcendental Meditation, Landmark Education, the Center for Experimental Society Formation, Fiat Lux, Universal Life, and The Family.
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- Universal Life - Official website
- Universal Life Yahoo! group - English-language discussion group
- Adherents.com - Estimates of the number of Universelles Leben adherents