As I walked through the Ajo Cemetery in Ajo, Arizona I saw a large cross which looked as if it were constructed from concrete and stone. I first saw it from the back, so it was initially the size of the cross that caught my attention. The cross was taller than all the other markers around it, and I decided to go over and get a better look.
When I walked around to the front of the cross, I found that it was covered with words. I also found an article (laminated for protection and adhered to the concrete over the grave site) about the cross.
The article was from the August 13, 2014 edition of the Ajo Copper News. (A scan of the page from the newspaper can be found at http://ajo.stparchive.com/Archive/AJO/AJO08132014P10.php.)
By reading the article, I learned that the words on the cross are formed from copper letters. According to http://arizonaoddities.com/2012/11/unusual-grave-marker-for-an-ajo-teacher/,
the inscription on the marker contains about 400 words. Even more unusual than that, each letter and number was manually formed with copper wire. After being bent into the desired shape, the letters and numbers were soldered to nails and embedded into the face of the cross.
The letters form words, and the words form the teachings of Louis Conde, the Lahissa. According to the article in the Ajo Copper News, Conde was born in the 1800s and told people he was from Tibet. He
…[Conde] 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.
No one seems to know how he ended up in Ajo.
The aforementioned newspaper article quotes a eulogy written shortly after his death by one of his followers. The eulogy said Conde
plead to be taken to Ajo, where he lived only one week.
bought copper wire and fashioned the letters with pliers…
The cross was built in the Phoenix area
of peacock copper rock from the Bloody Basin and Copper Basin.
If you’re wondering what all those copper letters say,
Here’s the full text of the epitaph
The Master Lahissa
LOUIS CONDE — 18__ to 1931 Teacher & helper of humanityFor 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 God — no matter what you call it — is just but cold — without sentiment or feelings. It is not concerned about you the 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 showed 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.
–1934 THE LAHISSA TEMPLE-
The monument is near the west edge of the Ajo Cemetery.
I took all of the photos in this post.