Claude Rex Nowell, also known as Corky King, Corky Ra, and Summum Bonum Amon Ra (November 2, 1944 – January 29, 2008), was the founder of Summum, a 501(c)(3), philosophical and religious organization that practices a modern form of mummification which has become known worldwide.[1][2]


Nowell was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the United States. When he was four years old, his parents divorced and he and his mother moved to Southern California. That same year (1948), his mother married Robert Williamson King and she had Claude's name legally changed to Claude Rex King. When he was young, Claude was given the nickname "Corky" which was how he was known to friends and family.[1]

Up until 1959, Corky King lived in Monrovia, California. Then his family moved to Tustin, California, where he graduated from Tustin High School in 1962. He went on to attend Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa and graduated in Construction Technology. Corky King moved back to Salt Lake City in 1964 and about that same time, he legally changed his name back to Claude Rex Nowell.[1] He attended Brigham Young University and graduated from the University of Utah.[3]

Founding of SummumEdit

In 1975, Nowell founded Summum following an experience he describes as an encounter with highly intelligent beings.[4][5] The purpose of Summum is to share with others the information he received from his encounter and to provide an environment for those on a path of spiritual development. In 1980, Nowell legally changed his name to Summum Bonum Amon Ra as a representation of his spiritual path.[1]

Pyramid and wineryEdit

In 1978, Nowell began construction of a pyramid that would be used as a winery to produce Summum Soma Nectar.[4] Despite Utah's strict liquor laws and the rigid controls it places on alcoholic beverages, a Utah law allowed him to establish the winery provided the wine was used for religious purposes.[6] The winery was finally established in 1980 and is one of a very few in the state of Utah.[7] The Soma Nectar is also referred to as Nectar Publications and are used in a practice of meditation for the purpose of developing mystical potentials.[8][9]

Modern mummificationEdit

Through Summum, Nowell re-introduced mummification in a modernized form and at one point was a licensed funeral director in the state of California.[6] Nowell has been referred to as "the father of modern mummification,"[10] and the mummification services offered by Summum have received attention in international publications.[11][12] The process begins with the body's submersion in special fluids for 77 days and is otherwise complex, requiring about 1,000 hours of labor over six months. Those wishing to be mummified write a "spiritual will" outlining where they hope their soul will go in the next lifetime, to be read to their body at least once a day during its 77 days of submersion.[13]

The first human to undergo the mummification process was Nowell himself, who died in January 2008. As of November 2008 his body was still being processed. When the process is complete, Nowell's 2,000-pound bronze mummiform, or casket, will be installed in the group's pyramid.[13]

Summum philosophy and litigationEdit

Since founding Summum, Nowell, under the name of Summum Bonum Amen Ra, authored books published by Summum that delve into the organization's philosophy.[14][15] In one of the books, Ra outlines principles upon which the Summum philosophy is based.[14] Summum has requested that monuments displaying these principles, known as the "Seven Aphorisms", be placed next to Ten Commandments monuments in city parks. In one case, where the city of Duchesne, Utah rejected the request, Summum filed a lawsuit on the basis of freedom of speech and discrimination.[16] The city opted to relocate its monument rather than allowing Summum to erect its monument, rendering the lawsuit moot and leading to its dismissal.[17] Another lawsuit, Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, was unanimously decided by the Supreme Court against Summum.[18] The case could have national implications and could potentially impact many of America's cities.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Claude Rex Nowell (King) aka "Corky"". Summum. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  2. "About Summum". Summum. Retrieved 2007-10-27. 
  3. Henetz, Patty (2002-04-22). "Utah-based church melds wine, sexuality, meditation". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Murray, John (May 8, 1978), "Summum philosophy: a cosmic view", The Daily Utah Chronicle (Salt Lake City, Utah) 87 
  5. "The First Encounter". Summum. Retrieved 2006-09-13. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Cromer, Michelle (2006). Exit Strategy: Thinking Outside the Box. Penguin Group. ISBN 1585425052. 
  7. "Utah Wineries". The WineWeb. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  8. "The Summum Nectar Publications". Summum. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  9. Fuller, Robert (2000). "Wine and the Varieties of American Religious Life". Stairways to Heaven: Drugs in American Religious History. Westview Press. ISBN 0813366127. 
  10. Halls, Kelly (2007). Mysteries of the Mummy Kids. Darby Creek Publishing. ISBN 158196059X. 
  11. Kienle, Dela (2007) (in German). Ägypten Geheimnis am Nil. Stuttgart, Germany: Kosmos. 
  12. Enklaar, Jasper; Maarten Raven, Herodotos van Halikarnassos, Frank Mutter, Bas de Leng, Mark Wiegman (2007) (in Dutch). Balsemen, thanatopraxie & koelen. Den Haag, Netherlands: Uitvaart Media. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ravitz, Jessica (November 15, 2008), "Spotlight on Summum: Journey of one's essence", The The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah),, retrieved 2009-07-14 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ra, Summum Bonum Amen (1988). SUMMUM: Sealed Except to the Open Mind. Summum. ISBN 0943217008. 
  15. Ra, Summum Bonum Amen (1994). Sexual Ecstasy from Ancient Wisdom. Summum. ISBN 0943217008. 
  16. Template:Cite court
  17. "Move of Ten Commandments monument ends lawsuit against Duchesne". Salt Lake Tribune. 2009-07-10. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Sherman, Mark (February 25, 2009). "Court rules for Utah city in religious marker case". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2009-02-29. 

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