Universal Truth Ministries is located on Moss Side Avenue in Richmond’s North Side. Its services are held on the premises of the Love Outreach Church, which allows Universal Truth Ministries to use its space. The church was founded by Ayaba Bey in April of 2008 as a church that welcomes people of all faiths. Services are held every Saturday morning, and there is an additional service Wednesday evenings. The service on Saturdays is organized as a sermon that allows for audience participation, and those in attendance are encouraged to inject comments and questions throughout the service. The service also often includes watching relevant videos, and Ayaba Bey also plays acoustic guitar and sings old blues and spirituals. The Wednesday service functions more as a teaching session than a sermon. Ayaba Bey also appears frequently on Richmond’s local community access channel (95).
Ayaba Bey was raised as a Baptist. When she was sixteen, she had a revelation that she was chosen by God to go on a journey to discover the one true religion. She reports that it was such an intense experience that she fell to her knees and began to shiver. Her grandmother told her that she was “called out” and that she should follow God’s message by pursuing the truth. She says that at first, she resisted, but over time she accepted her calling and began to search out the true knowledge of God. Part of her calling has been to start Universal Truth Ministries.
Those who attend the services are, according to Ayaba Bey, individuals who have not been able to find spiritual contentment in other religions or churches. The Assembly has Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Atheists, and practitioners of both Native American and African religions. The only people to whom the Assembly closes its doors are individuals who bring with them, “disharmony, discourse, and confusion.” Universal Truth Ministries accepts people of all faiths and preaches a positive message of resurrection and forgiveness as opposed to a philosophy of sin and crucifixion. Ayaba Bey states that Universal Truth Ministries does not exist to save anybody; instead, its purpose is to inform and bring people to the well of knowledge. She believes that the wide array of religious beliefs and practices all share a common thread that links them. She cites as an example the Tree of Life, which appears in Christian, Jewish and ancient Kemetic teachings. She states that she doesn’t see how God “could care one way or another how our worship goes,” and she finds fault in religions that claim a monopoly on the truth. Bey believes that it is arrogant for Christian missionaries to travel the world and tell other people that their religion is wrong. She draws attention to the fact that, in the past, Christians in Constantine killed those who didn’t convert to Christianity, and that today they claim those who don’t accept their God and their savior are condemned to hell.
Ayaba Bey sees her task as “bringing researched information based on historical documentation dealing with universal principles of life.” The services function as an opportunity for attendees to investigate, reveal, and research the beginning of ancient religious systems. She tries to teach on a level that a child could understand, and she feels that she has failed if she has done otherwise. For her, Christianity is just one of many representations of the Universal Truth, and Jesus is one of many members of a great Fraternity of Perfected Men, all of whom presented the same message to mankind. Likewise, the Bible is not unique. Its message is repeated in the ancient writings of other religions. Bey states that Christianity draws all of its beliefs and rituals from so-called pagan religions.
One way that the congregation deciphers and reveals true religious meaning is through the investigation of the etymology of words. Words are stripped down to their root, and if a word has a Greek or Latin root, they know that they must delve further because these civilizations learned and appropriated words from the ancient Egyptians (Kemets). The congregation is encouraged to research the origin and true meaning of words and to share them, as a way of furthering their knowledge by being as accurate as possible. Words such as convert, congregation, and convent are examples of this process. These words all share the prefix, “con”, which can be a verb meaning “to do or believe something, typically by use of a deception.” Bey believes that many of today’s religions masquerade as truth and deceive people. Universal Truth Ministries seeks to provide an atmosphere in which those, who are willing to open their minds can seek the true knowledge of God.
Universal Truth Ministries
( Love Outreach Church)
3800 Moss Side Avenue
Richmond , VA 23222
Profile prepared by Chris Montgomery