How bad is this “mildly dangerous” cult? And what’s their connection to near-death experience scienc

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    Well I get it. :) But we may still have a different opinion about how and why such things occur, it's still profound and worth noting. thx
     
  2. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    Hi Manjit, I realise this is a common accepted belief, but Twitchell's Eckankar was much more than a warmed over version of RS. Yes he did indeed follow and re-use Kirpal Singh's ruhani teachings, as well copy verbatim for RS Mat Prakash and many other RS books. However it is very clear and proven in recent years that he drew substantively from 69 authors (plus many more only lightly) who I have documented and RS is only a minority there. Twitchell was an equal opportunity plagiarist who relabeled everything he believed was useful into his Eckankar Eck master mythological framework.

    The only reason that RS sources were always far more known than the other sources was because of David Lane's (and others) pre-existing knowledge of those writings and Twitchell's connection with Kirpal Singh. If Lane had been a New Thought groupie instead, then the early publicity about Twitchell's plagiarisms/verbatim copying would have been seen as primarily New Thought related. Yes The Far Country book (1971) is almost all RS texts from Julian Johnson etc but that was because Twitchell wrote that in early 1964 hoping it would be the second book that Kirpal Singh would agree with and publish for Twitchell, the first one being The Tiger's Fang.

    For example his Dialogues with the Master, originally written circa 1956/57 but not published until 1970 contains very little RS teachings or texts. At least 20% of that is from New Thought teacher Charles F Hannel alone (the source of ideas in "The Secret" published only a few years back by Rhonda Burn). I could only find two RS sources in the DWTM book ie Julian Johnson PotM 1939 and SSG Hazur Maharaj RSMP 1897, and there isn't very much content from them in DWTM.

    The other major sources for DWTM are: Leo Tolstoy 1869 H. Rider Haggard 1886 Charles F. Haanel 1912 Theron Q. Dumon 1913 Harriett A. Curtiss 1914 Ali Nomad 1915 L. Bolton 1921 A. S. Eddington 1928 Sir James Jeans 1930 Anton T. Boisen 1936 Heinrich R. Zimmer 1951 Paul Twitchell (RS) 1956 Willard L. Russell 1959 Paul Brunton 1941 Brown Landone 1945 Joel S. Goldsmith 1955.

    My point is that even though Lane and others are correct about the RS sources, they have been overstated or more accurately over-emphasized at the expense of all the others. This has been due to an absence of accurate info knowledge about all his other sources since the 1970s. The digitising of books since 2005 onward opened up an entirely new avenue for research that only I and one other have ever pursued properly.

    An example of that is: 'Dialogues with the Master' Plagiarism by Paul Twitchell Written and compiled by Etznab and Santim Vah © 2014
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-M0yAR0UPhPSXlQVUwxbTFyenc --- My best wishes to you.
     
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  3. Alex

    Alex New

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    good point... and I don't have any sure-fire answers, but the way I like to handle religious people is to be as honest as I can about respecting their spiritual journey while remaining skeptical of the associated dogma/institutions. so, I'm ok with the Anglican Priest, but I'd press him on the Baby Jesus hypothesis... and I'd feel obligated to make that part of the conversation. If he leaves the group after a couple good grillings, well...

    that's what seems to be in order here... as discussed.
     
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  4. manjit

    manjit New

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    Hi PTEHA, thanks for the interesting posts! I've found them challenging! Firstly, you very kindly say I'm "a good guy", so I wonder if you're aware of my posts from Dave's forum, or if that was a generalisation? You'd be one of very few who'd think that of me from there haha :D I'm at a disadvantage though, as I'm not sure if recall who you are, though I have vagues memories of maybe some very infrequent posts of yours there?

    Also, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that you are far more knowledgeable about the organisational & social aspects of Eck than I ever will be. So I take this as an opportunity to learn more about it, perhaps you can convince me of how evil it is (joke :) !! I would question though, if that is also the case when it comes to the guru-disciple dynamic, the ancient history & evolution of the practices & experiences Eck is based on, especially Radhasoami (I have read several of Twitchell's books, and can place pretty well his teachings within that spectrum), cults in general, and of course the not oft mentioned psychology of "exers"

    The thing is, I'm not saying that it makes it "all OK" if Eck isn't as bad as scientology. Actually, I wasn't making any judgements of that sort at all was I? I just said it isn't as bad in my personal opinion! I like to deal with truths and reality, not so much judgements (though "bad" can itself be seen as judgemental, I'm just using that as a descriptive word to describe types of behaviour we all understand, so as a linguistic device rather than judgemental).

    I actually found it interesting to look at Twitchell as just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was on the cusp of an age and in a country where such deception couldn't pass. Actually what he was doing was what nearly every single Radhasoami guru before him had done, right back to the very first one (which one WAS the first one? Nobody knows, too much deception haha!). But outside of the context of Indian culture, the mysterious turbaned, bearded, magical "God-men", the mysteries of the east, and the obscuration of fact by poor recorded history and mountains of hagiography, he was caught out and exposed as just a charlatan!

    Deary me, Blavatsky & her Hidden Brotherhood wouldn't have got very far in 1970, I tell you that. (and perhaps Jesus, Buddha, Nanak, Kabir and a million other revered ancient mystics and saints, protected by the obscurity of the past and hagiography)

    Am I saying "it's OK"? Absolutely not! I think it's all a farce! Nonsensical! But I just can't say it's "good" or "bad". It is what it is!

    Re. this "psychotic" experience of Klemp. Interesting, can you please share more of the experience here if possible? I'm sorry, I personally have absolutely no respect for how "spiritual experiences" are sanitised by RSSB and Ruhani, and how psychiatry and western science diagnose "spiritual crises" (and how it increasingly moves towards classifying ANY psychic, synchronicitous, altered states etc as psycho-pathological psychosis....most of us psychotic on this forum you know :). If you could post his experience here, perhaps we can discuss the REAL biological & psychological effects of a powerful spiritual awakening, those never mentioned in mainstream schools for "laymen" like Radhasoamis or Eck, and if there is any possibility at all that is indeed what Klemp was experiencing or not?

    Kirpal claimed many things which are comparable to Twitchell, btw. Have you heard anything about the possible contents of his personal diaries? Or some of the things he said in more private settings? Actually, I think Twitchell was the natural product of a Kirpal.....

    Re. Anne's book.....that it is published by Eck is indeed troubling. First really troubling thing I've heard. But only mildly so....what does it contain? I don't know, so I cannot put Robert's remark to Alex in context. I won't rush to judgement about something I'm ignorant of, sorry!

    Millions donated? Yes, people do that to things they are passionate about. Silly humans! Some donate millions to cat shelters, some to the Catholic Church, some to militant terrorists, some to murderous political parties, some to their local football club. Very often, many of these organisations don't disclose that information (btw, can't anyone access a registered charities accounts? Isn't that public info?). Dastardly human organisations!!

    The only real question is, is there any pressurizing to donate money? You include them selling books to make money in your argument....that does give the appearance of really over-stretching to make your point imo?

    You also mention that Twitchell didn't only plagiarise RS books. He in fact plagiarised 69 authors no less! Fair enough. But please try and see my perspective here, for a moment, whether he plagiarised 1 author, 69 authors, or 8569 authors....it does not increase how "dangerous" his "cult" is with each author, does it?

    I noticed also you had edited your original post to remove the claim you knew "thousands" of ex Eckers who felt abused or whatever? I wished to comment to that. As on your several mentions in your posts of sexual abuse & slavery by religions, as if there is some sort of guilt by association to be had here?

    Here's the point. If somebody asked me to list "dangerous" things about Scientology, I could write a list of 20 seriously and obviously concerning things, no problem.

    When it comes to Eck, the list of 20 things would be 1) Twitchell plagiarised, 2) Klemp was diagnosed by western medicine to have had a psychotic breakdown, which he claimed was a spiritual crises or awakening or whatever 3) they sell books, for a normal book price 4) Twitchell plagiarised again 5) He did it again you know! 6) Uh oh, another case of plagiarism 7)........;)

    Personally, I find Eck (and indeed most of Radhasoami) to be absurd and nonsensical. I also personally don't think they are any more "dangerous" than just living your every day life, which if you think about it is an incredibly precarious position to be in at all times.

    The only Radhasoami guru I would ever recommend anybody read up on is the magnificent Baba Faqir Chand Ji:

    http://dlane5.tripod.com/point2.html#FA
     
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  5. manjit

    manjit New

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    Haha.

    I don't really have a solid opinion on either how or why such things happen. And if I do, I haven't yet discovered any semantic or linguistic structures to express it :)

    What is your opinion?

    I hope it isn't Dave's sceptical, reductionist "Littlewood's Law" theorem, for which I personally have had enough experiences with major "synchronicity-clusters" to know quite confidently this Law does not apply. I also understand the philosophical weakness of such post-hoc rationalisations for such experiences......it doesn't even begin to touch on the importance and significance of "meaning" to these experiences....
     
  6. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    You vocalised my words before me, Manjit! I was just going to say that most psychiartrists are not like Bruce Greyson and Jim Tucker - they make no distinction between psychotic episode and spiritual/psychic experience, for them all these phenomena are equally "delusional". So, I won't grant much importance to the diagnosis of official mental health system here; for the vast majority of people working there, mystics and psychics are either "frauds" or "mentally ill".
     
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  7. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    I don't know why you are laughing or being dismissive when I was affirming your own comments.
    I don't understand why after decades involved in such teachings and meditation practices that you would not have your own solid opinions about such matters from your own experiences and broad knowledge. That makes no sense to me.
    NO it isn't.
     
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  8. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    Yes. and I was being sincere.
    No, and I didn't say you did. My comments follow the topic under discussion and prior posts as well as your own comments. What I said was not all about you, it was all about Eckankar. Can you see the difference? Maybe have another read of what I said and try to separate yourself from that. What I said was what I wanted to say at this point to keep clarifying the key issues as *I* see them. Doesn't matter who I reply to, that intention never changes.
    No I don't have the time or motivation to do so. It's on the public record, it's on a.r.e. & RSS look it up in the archives. Read HKs biographies http://www.eckbooks.org Read up on psychosis, schizophrenic events and also http://psychcentral.com/disorders/schizotypal-personality-disorder-symptoms/ in particular.
    I'm using this as an example as to why I am skipping the rest of your comments and will not be addressing them. I'm not interested in argument for arguments sake, nor spending my life correcting others basic errors. You're the one stretching what I said and building a strawman here as you have what I said totally back to front. For I discounted the books sales and member fees as being low and irrelevant and then I drew people's attention to the fact that Multi-Million Dollar Donations are the main game and the ONLY reason (imo) that Eckankar has been able to survive as an institution and able to defend itself against litigation going back to the 1960s and 1970s. Money is Power. Common sense says Follow the Money as deep throat said to uncover the truth. That isn't my responsibility either, for that rests solely with the Justice Dept of the USA and Voters. btw Spotlight is a good movie to watch to learn about the "psychology of leaders" inside a religion in defense and cover up mode and their loyal followers. As is Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief , -- if it walks like a Duck and all that. :)
    and thanks for your interest and the reply.
     
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  9. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    1) From Jan 2005 by a 6th Initiate and 30 year member of Eckankar
    https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.religion.eckankar/CRCwR2NcAyA/Jql7z2tiVwIJ
    He was ostracized by Eckankar in Sydney and by Klemp and was dead by April 2005
    I personally checked with the Coroners Office in Sydney to confirm that because no one would speak about him.
    ... the tip of an iceberg of decades of harm done to dedicated members of Eckankar.
    Finding out about the Plagiarism is often a trigger for severe long term mental and emotional reactions and disorders.
    Luckily finding and exposing the massive amounts of plagiarism not previously known about before 2009 did not affect me like that.
     
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  10. Laird

    Laird Member

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    PTEHA, you've written some very informative posts, and I was especially impressed by the detailed plagiarism research document that you shared.

    I want to get clear about a few things you've written though with respect to "psychosis" and "schizophrenia" in the context of Eckankar, before potentially offering my own view. You might want to understand why I'm asking these questions first before deciding whether to answer: it is for two reasons, one objective and one personal. The objective reason is that the way in which these experiences are interpreted makes a difference to the way in which we view Eckankar's culpability for them. The personal reason is that I suspect that you interpret these phenomena in a different way than I do, and, having been labelled with them myself, and having extensive experience with the psychiatric system, I might be able to offer some insights into them in the same way that you have offered us all insights on Eckankar through your personal experiences with that group. So, should you choose to answer, here are my questions:

    Could you please clarify what your understanding of "psychosis" and "schizophrenia" are, in particular: do you view them as biophysical phenomena - the typical psychiatric view of an "ill" or "diseased" brain - or as spiritual/psychospiritual phenomena, or as some combination of the two (biophysical versus psychospiritual), or as something else? If you go for the psychiatric interpretation, which seems likely given that you linked to Psych Central, and if you do not believe that these phenomena have anything to do with spirituality, then do you believe in the existence of genuine spiritual phenomena? If so, how would you distinguish psychiatrically-diagnosable experiences from genuine spiritual experiences?

    Too, could you clarify what you make of the self report of the Eckankar member whose alt.religion.eckankar post you linked to above? Firstly, do you view his experiences as psychiatrically-diagnosable or spiritual (or both)? Secondly, do you believe that what he experienced corresponded with reality (that there really were spirit entities interfering with him in the way he described) or that it was an hallucination or delusion?

    Cheers,
    Laird.
     
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  11. manjit

    manjit New

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    Hi PTEHA, I was not laughing at you, and I was not being dismissive. I was laughing because, well, you said you "got it" so I guess it was meant to be a shared laugh at how odd the whole RS scene is.

    I guess it's because I'm not smart enough to have solid opinions! To me, reality seems so incredibly complex, multi-faceted, multi-layered, multi-truthed, that most if not all human beliefs and opinions appear to me, at least, as rather simplistic and absurd. Blind men and elephants and all that.

    Well, not sure what you mean there....the comment was directed to Vortex, and was clearly about posters in this thread who you were directly saying were saying "it's okay" if Eck isn't as bad as scientology. Something that I wrote only 2 or 3 posts prior. It is obvious the comment was about posters here, and NOT Eckankar, isn't it? Or is it Eckankar saying "we're not as bad as scientology"?

    That's a shame, that could have been an interesting conversation. My study into the relationship between "abnormal pscyhology", psychiatry and "spiritual experiences" began when I was a teenager when I read a huge book on and I think actually called "Abnormal Psychology". Since then I have read numerous other books directly on the subject, websites, articles, interviews, videos etc, as well as having experienced it myself in quite some depth. So thanks for the suggestion, but I'm good there, thanks!

    Sorry my friend, that is, again, quite incorrect! You wrote:

    I understand where you're coming from....and also why you'd wish to "skip" the rest of my comments and not address them.

    What you're doing is great & helpful work, I'm sure.

    Yes, people will feel abused, let down, hurt - to the point of potentially committing suicide - by the actions of Eck, Radhasoamis, the Church, their job, their family, their football team losing (i'm not being facitious, I'll always remember an Arsenal fan killing themself after losing a major cup final game, as an AFC fan myself who was gutted by the same game, that really got to me), their pop-idol, the army, their political party (most have been in the UK news recently) etc.

    Unfortunately, the world can be a shitty place. How we navigate that is a profoundly personal journey, for each one of us. Some of us will follow "dangerous cults", and some of will stand outside that "dangerous cult" banging drums to warn those inside.

    I wish each and every one nothing but peace, happiness, contentment, joy, serenity etc.

    Good luck to you! :)
     
  12. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    Sure. Q1 - As all of them. Like most things in life there is a bell curve of possibilities/options and each case is different and should be viewed that way, as in specifically not generally.
    Q2 - One link doesn't make a mountain, so the answer is yes but each case and experience is different and should be viewed that way, individually. Personality disorders, psychosis, and schizophrenia are not permanent fixed states of being - we can all move into and out of them. Still some people are severely affected by such matters and that's what usually ends up in the DSM. One doesn't need to be an anthropologist or a Gene scientist to observe someone has Asian, Caucasian, or African features either. But what's obvious to one person may not be to others.
    Q3 - I don't even try to, generally speaking. How would I know? HK is an exception to this rule for multiple reasons not worth getting into.
    Q4 - The main thing I make about the report is the consistent pattern of eckankar members being instantly abandoned when they hit serious troubles and/or question the promises and accepted beliefs.
    Q5 - As I did not know him nor diagnosed his specific issues I cannot say for certain. His experiences could be either, or both, or something else. Others have reported similar "spiritual" things over the centuries. As have others after suffering from non-diagnosed minor strokes etc. The brain is very complex, as are we.
    Q6 - I do not believe either. I doubt the former and suspect the latter, but do not know. I am also aware of variations that might be seen as similar eg via Muktananda (?)
    The main issue is that the man was in distress - a large part of that was his realization that HK the mahanta was ignoring him and offered no protection which he had believed for 30 years. He had no family in Aust. except for his Eckankar "family". He was alone, in extreme distress, and dealing with a full load of false beliefs collapsing. He was obviously not thinking straight and suffering. He had dedicated his entire life to Eckankar. He was an authority, a teacher, an Initiator, a spiritual aid, and a leader in the local area for decades. He's not the only one to hit the brick wall so hard. People can make of it what they will. I can't see how my opinion makes any difference to anyone else, (people must make up their own minds on everything, imo) but I trust that clarifies my general pov. You and others can read what he wrote and draw your own conclusions. It makes no difference to Quoc, unfortunately. Thanks.
     
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  13. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    I am all for making it just a tiny bit less shitty, if at all possible. Thanks for the reply, no worries.
     
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  14. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Thanks, PTEHA, for answering my questions so specifically. I suspect that you deliberately chose to be somewhat non-committal being that you are posting publicly, and don't want to be "trapped" into an answer that you may regret, which I totally understand and bear you no ill-will for, but it is also possible that you genuinely answered as you would in a private conversation with a trusted friend with whom you were totally open.

    In any case, I'll share my own perspective with you before responding to the implications for Eckankar, especially as you present them. For a general background on my perspective on "schizophrenia" as understood and "treated" psychiatrically, should you be at all interested, you can read my review of Richard Gosden's 2001 book, Punishing the Patient: How Psychiatrists Misunderstand and Mistreat Schizophrenia, as linked to in this post.

    As for my less reactive and more constructive view of "schizophrenia" (I scare-quote that word because it is a psychiatric term, and loaded with psychiatric misunderstanding which I do not share): we living beings are multi-layered, and holistically integrated across all layers. The biological affects the mental/psychological, which affects the astral/etheric, which affects the spiritual, and the reverse. That which is labelled "schizophrenia" - and it is only a label for a cluster of subjective observations, which have evolved over time, and with little evidence of a unified biological/genetic/psychological/physiological cause, as Dr Gosden so articulately points out - is, aside from the other scenarios described in Dr Gosden's book, such as the political scenario, typified by crisis in the spiritual realm of being: in my view, as a spiritual attack/invasion by malignant spiritual forces; an "opening of portals" through which negative entities negatively influence one's stability on all levels. As I wrote, though, all layers of our being are connected, and it is possible in any given case that biophysical anomalies are the "root cause" of one's spiritual portals being weakened/opened to negative forces. This does not, though, change the fact that, ultimately, this type of "schizophrenic" experience is at base a spiritual one: a "spiritual emergency", as Dr Gosden puts it.

    I think that Joseph Campbell, as quoted in Dr Gosden's book, put it wonderfully: "our schizophrenic patient is actually experiencing inadvertently that same beatific ocean deep which the yogi and saint are ever striving to enjoy: except that, whereas they are swimming in it, he is drowning".

    So, you might see that, apparently unlike you, although, given the generality of your answers, it is hard to be sure, I do not grant validity to the "psychiatric" interpretation of "schizophrenia": that which a "schizophrenic" or "psychotic" experiences is inherently of a spiritual nature, even if enabled by misadventures on non-spiritual layers of our being.

    This brings us to the implications for Eckankar. You might have realised by now that I view Quoc Quy Hoang's experiences as essentially real: as a spiritual attack by (likely) negative spirit entities, which he correctly perceived and did not "hallucinate". Of course, it is possible that his attackers, through the rifts in his being, caused him to perceive or believe inaccurately, as is my own experience, which is where there is some legitimacy to the use of the words "delusion" and "hallucination". However, in Quoc's case, as, often, but admittedly not as often as I would like, in mine, it is generally possible to recognise when one's perceptual or cognitive systems are being hijacked.

    OK, blah blah blah... what is my ultimate point? That Eckankar is not and cannot be held responsible for a spiritual attack by negative entities upon one of its members. If it were simply the case that the realisation of plagiarism sparked a "psychological breakdown" which led to some sort of "psychosis" as understood psychiatrically, then, sure, we could hold Eckankar responsible, given that it is the source of the plagiarism and the deceptiveness with which that plagiarism is hidden and denied. The only way the case in question could, though, in my view, imply Eckankar's culpability is if realisation of plagiarism caused a weakening in the mental layer of Quoc's being, which, given that all layers affect all other layers, opened him up to attack on the astral/etheric/spiritual layers. But still, Eckankar would not be responsible for the attack itself, merely for leaving Quoc susceptible to it.

    Nevertheless, I fully accept your point that in his time of greatest need, Eckankar was unresponsive to him. Whether there was anything substantive that the leadership could have done, at the least it could have been expected to have communicated lovingly and caringly with him, or at the VERY least to have acknowledged his plight. That it did not do even this is a sorry indictment, however, that this dereliction makes Eckankar "dangerous" is a questionable proposition.

    Finally, a general comment on this thread: this has been such an enlightening and fascinating back-and-forth, and I am sympathetic to both sides - both in the interview and in the thread. I am wary of committing to a view, so I'll just say that I see it as beneficial for this debate to be occurring, particularly given that at least one member of the IANDS leadership team is involved in it, and that both sides have made good points and acquitted themselves respectably and respectfully. If there is one take-away for me, it is that IANDS needs to deliberately and carefully delineate its own position from those positions of its members, and to make it clear that just because a person may be a board or staff member, his/her religious or other personal views should not be taken to be those of IANDS, and, even further, to make this specifically clear in individual cases such as that of Anne Archer Butler, particularly when s/he is making presentations or publishing as an IANDS member: that at the very least, his/her presentation/publication, when advocating religious doctrine, be prefaced with a disclaimer that IANDS does not endorse the religious content of the talk, potentially even listing the specific disclaimed doctrines, and also potentially (but this is more controversial) that his/her presentation/publication be scrubbed of all such religious doctrines in the first place, avoiding the need for a disclaimer.

    OK, I'll leave it there. That's a long enough post by far! Thanks for sticking with me.
     
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  15. manjit

    manjit New

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    Well, I've just re-read through this entire thread (I had dipped in and out on my phone over several days, and did not post here until I heard the interview).

    I found this whole discussion quite fascinating and all the numerous comments really quite intelligent, interesting, civil etc....great stuff everyone!

    I really "liked" many of the comments, but I really, really liked some others! I think I whole-heartedly agree with everyone!! :eek::eek:

    Seeing as Laird's excellent post above is the last one I've read, I'll just just highlight that and say I entirely agree with the sentiment of that post, and especially Laird's final paragraph - spot on, imo!

    Before I leave the thread, and lest anyone think I am advocating any guru or path or being an apologist for any guru, or downplaying the sense of hurt anybody has felt with any such group, and to follow on directly from Laird's excellent post above, when I had my major "spiritual emergency/crisies/awakening", my (albeit in the recent past) relationship with RSSB was completely useless. Their sanitised description of the "path" was a useless map/guide, and there are no resources within the organisation to deal with such experiences.....even though they are the natural outcome of the practices, beliefs & lifestyle that was encouraged (though probably followed properly by relatively few). As were the doctors, hospitals & dentists I visited to find a source for, for example, the pains I was feeling in my back, neck & throat (I was literally housebound, and had to leave my job). (as a slight aside, one of the very few things that comforted me during that period was reading the book "Talks With Ramana Maharshi".....reading that, feeling Ramana's "vibes" soothed my "soul" during that difficult time......)

    At the end of the day, ultimately, the "path" is an individual one we must tread ourselves in our own unique way, and no guru or religion or organisation can tread it for us. But, I do strongly believe in each to their own, as long as they're not hurting other people.

    PS - I may contact David Lane to see if he would like to provide any further input to this discussion, specifically regarding the "death threats" claim, and how he personally considers Eck to be "dangerous" or not? I personally have a great deal of respect & admiration for David, although I fundamentally disgaree with him on several matters (primarily his fondness for materialistic reductionism, albeit a more nuanced version than most, and his eagerness & willingness to accept mundane/debunker/sceptical/materialistic explanations for all "paranormal" phenomena, even if, imo, the explanation is possibly even more absurd and unsubstantiated than just a "paranormal" explanation!), and I would think his personal opinion to be quite interesting. Other than that I will abstain from further involvement in this thread!

    Thank you all for the wonderful thread!
     
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  16. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    Laird I am ok with Joseph Campbell and others and opening of psychic channels. However while that is a possibility with Quoc there is no way to really know and so I leave it with an open mind but with some valid doubts. I did not intend that "plagiarism" had anything to do with his crisis situation, because it didn't. My comments were about others affected by such things. Whatever triggered Quocs meltdown was something else entirely. On the other hand what Eckankar and similar groups do do is to invite people (without any checks or balances) to engage in "psychic" activities and research. Eckankar takes absolutely zero responsibility for stirring up such matters. Even if one persn is harmed by such encouragement and techniques offered by Eckankar it makes them "dangerous". Zero care with zero responsibility does not ever sit well with me. They operate totally outside any reasonable checks such as most psychologist, MDs, lawyers have to face in their field. People are vulnerable to such abuses and harms of leadership in this kinds of groups. By default it is dangerous. That it was changed into a religion in order to avoid such scrutiny in Court speaks volumes, or should. Quoc isn't Robinson Caruso. What happens in the real world is that Eckankar and Klemp take FULL Credit for all success stories. They deny, ignore and wash their hands of all responsibility or blame for the unsavory outcomes. Eckankar is a "law unto itself" and that itself is partly why it is dangerous and should be seen as such.

    It's a matter of simple ethics and human empathy to me. Quoc if he proves one thing surely it is that Eckankar does not keep it's advertised promises to it's members, or even it;s long term senior members when in difficulty. While many in society also fail, such as psychologists, at least there are processes in place and official standards to be met, and investigations where "professionals" are investigated and found guilty. That never happens in a org like Eckankar. It is always covered up just as the Catholics covered up child sexual abuse. Same bone, different horse. People's individual religious beliefs or those about psychic attacks true or false, should have absolutely nothing to do with Ethics and a duty of care of any Org of any kind. imo.
     
  17. Laird

    Laird Member

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    PTEHA, I am totally on board with your condemnation of Eckankar on the basis of irresponsible promotion of psychically-inducive practices. I, myself, put down my regrettable psychospiritual condition primarily (although there are no doubt ancillary causes) to foolish experimentation with psychoactive "recreational" drugs. I have no doubt that certain people obtain benefit from such experimentation, but equally no doubt that I am not the only one to fall foul of such a thing. Really, I have no excuse, because the society and legal system in which I live denounce such experimentation, but, as I think you would point out, it is just the opposite in Eckankar: the practices which it promotes are potentially of the same order as experimentation with recreational psychoactive drugs, in that often they have positive effects, but occasionally they leave a person vulnerable to spiritual adversity, and that, as opposed to the social/legal situation in which experimentation with illicit drugs is actively discouraged, in Eckankar, practices which might harm a minority are actively encouraged, without disclaimer nor responsibility for the possibility of if/when things go sour.

    So, yes, in this sense I can see the problems with this organisation especially given that it is based on copying not just the beliefs but the specific expressions of other spiritual traditions, potentially without the understanding that goes with those beliefs/expression, and thus potentially exposing its members to (spiritual) trauma without recourse. I am of the view that a genuine spiritual tradition has a genuine warehouse of experiential data of all of the pitfalls of its practical recommendations, and thus can genuinely advise its members of how to proceed when those pitfalls are encountered. It seems to me, from what you have shared, that Eckankar makes something of a radical break from the traditions from which it borrows, since its only real connection to them is a superficial linguistic copying, and thus that it has no real access to the understanding of the pitfalls of its recommended practices, nor how to deal with them, as a legitimate tradition would have. This, in accordance with your position, is very troubling, but at the same time, it is potentially antithetical to your position (insofar as I understand/intuit it) in that it suggests that a long, unbroken tradition such as Catholicism has a highly developed knowledge of what is and isn't spiritually advisable, and of how to deal with the spiritually unadvisable. I also don't think, as you seem to, that Eckankar's spiritual irresponsibility is directly comparable to sexual abuse, but I agree that it is at the very least unethical.

    I can't think up an adequate summing-up, so I'll just wish you and all the other participants in this thread (and its observers!) a joyous Saturday. :)
     
  18. I don't see this as necessarily being true? After all today's extant major religions have, in some if not all cases, stamped out or suppressed a variety of traditions either for the sake of intolerance or the consolidation of mundane power.

    I can see a good deal of spiritual knowledge having been gutted with victims burned at the stake or just left to suffer for the "greater good".
     
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  19. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Fair enough, I probably got a little carried away and spouted off there, seeing that this is not something that I've really studied, it's more of a semi-educated intuition partly based on bits and pieces I've read. If your view is different, then I wouldn't tell you it's wrong. :)
     
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  20. PTEHA

    PTEHA Guest

    Great reply thank you, as I think you grasp the nettle of why I see eckankar as "dangerous" despite claims by people like AAB at IANDS. And want to add again that Klemp's so-called "spiritual / god-realisation" experience and everything surrounding it was, imo/ime very much a "psychotic break" of his own mind's making. His own subsequent history has proven this out as well. I also submit that I see Eckankar as being totally illegitimate as a teaching and a religion and that I came to this view very slowly. It's the specifics over time that brought me to this place, and not the opposite eg a born again who often see it as the devil's work from the get go without any inquiry.
    That's not quite how I see it for it depends on the specifics inside each tradition and the present. Generally speaking the Sufis and the Buddhists are good at this kind of support. But that in itself isn't a personal recommendation either. In Catholicism cloistered nuns & priests and the White Benedictine Monks would be likely exceptions. Having been born irish catholic i tend to see catholicism and christianity "doctrines" at a kindergarten level and very corrupted mythologies. In regular society in my era some nuns (had a few relatives), priests and brothers and monks were wonderful, most were not. Most presented obvious psychological dysfunction issues. A pity I didn't know that when I was a child and teen. Yet I agree with the Doobie Brothers that Jesus is alright by me. :)

    However, my world view is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Reincarnation is a given for me. The existence & reality of spirit, life force, light & sound, non-physicality is also a given. That most "psychic attacks" are in fact negative energy directed from another in real life and causing problems when we are not "standing solid on our own two feet" psychologically speaking. Acid LSD, ayahuasca, pot, and mushrooms can be good or cause problems - it "depends" on the individual and the settings. I don't judge users across the board, heard of too many positive outcomes insights to condemn it or them. Meth etc is a different kettle of fish.

    The biggest difference between Twitchell and I is that I was having conscious self-induced oobes before I was 10 years old (with nothing to do with catholicism or eckankar) - but not having his particular ego issues I didn't go and start a new religion out of it when I grew up.

    His entire pulp fiction writing & advertising sales career from 1939 was primarily based on copying and plagiarising, he took that MO into creating his Eckankar mythology. And he was up to his neck in the black arts of the occult similar to Hubbard. He had a talent for manipulating other people easily while others could pick up his "psychic energy" and would steer clear of him totally. He had multiple identities with bank accounts and SSNs at the same time he told his followers in Eckankar to abide by the laws of the land. His personal rationalization was that all "spiritual writings" were fair game and in 1970/71 travelled to India to see RS/Ruhani people to defend his use of their writings. When others used his own writings in the very same way, and at the very same time, he set his lawyers onto them to assert his own "copyright". All the while asserting that he was the Sat Guru, Eck master, god-realised, doing God's will leading "Eckankar" which was said to be the primary source for all other spiritual paths and religions on this Earth pre-Atlantis.

    Harold Klemp believed him totally and then believed he had his own "god-realization" experience in 1971 less than 3 years after joining? It's quite ludicrous. The master after Twitchell said had he known about Klemps claims about his "experience" and his arrest and sent by court to a mental hospital he would never have appointed him as the new Master in 1981. (so much for all knowing Gurus, yeah?)

    It's not easy to draw a line between profound spiritual experiences and psychotic delusions, but then again imo "by their fruits thou shalt know them." Best to pay attention to the details. The devil is in the details and that is what paths like Eckankar insist on controlling and covering up to ensure their beliefs are shored up solid where any and all detailed facts and common sense that conflict with the mythological beliefs are ignored. OR the reputations of those presenting them are destroyed. It's the most disturbed individuals inside such teachings who then believe that non-stop lies & abuse and death threats are wholly appropriate in protecting their cherished superior beliefs. That's what I call "bat shit crazy" :)

    It is my personal view (fwiw) after a lifetime of considerations that almost all founders of religions were essentially incompetent amateur psychologists, social workers, or ethics philosophers using today's "words/semantics". And sure some had some spiritual gems and genuine "inner spiritual" experiences too, but it is so hard to tell when it is usually couched in religious doctrinal terms and lost in distorted histories. For example it looks to me that the prophet Mohammed was having quite a few lucid dreams and oobe's eg when he said he "traveled" to Jerusalem and spoke with the archangel Gabriel. Well there are some Scientologists among many others who can also claim to do that today.

    In all human endeavors it appears to me that massive variations are the norm. Typically all humans are built to run. But only a few can win the 100 meters or the marathon at the Olympics. imo psychology make ups, psychic awareness, and spirituality are just like that. Neither running fast nor profound spiritual experiences qualifies anyone as a guru or being the nation's president, or for outright denying the science of AGW/CC on a whim.

    I see great value in the scientific system involving cognitive sciences, psychiatry, psychology and related streams today as a whole. The last 20 years has seen a massive leap in knowledge and understanding about the human mind and unusual "paranormal" outlier maters. (and yes some people inside these systems are no less extreme zealots and unbalanced as your nearest cult leader is.) People like Einstein are classic examples of a human being in harmony with both science and spirituality (and a very sane mature person to boot.)

    eg my experience with EMDR therapy mentioned before was little different to some spiritual practices from meditation and dream insights only EMDR was much faster and locked itself in better in resolving real ongoing mental trauma and faulty thinking/beliefs. The study of meditation by science has repeatedly proved how healing, useful and dynamic and sane a practice it is.

    I see "psychology" and "spirituality" as two rails (aspects/sides) of the same railway track heading in the same direction with the very same goals and potential for healing and self enlightenment for individuals and society. Along that railroad track are many "religions" that separate from the main track at points off to the side that head elsewhere iow away from truth. Eventually if humanity can keep an open mind to new possibilities and we don't destroy our life support system Earth in the interim, I can see these two rails joining into one. Then there will be a true explosion in human consciousness and potential when our children are taught truths and not mystical BS or only half-human sciencey stuff.

    And so the saying goes: "If you want to destroy truth, organize it as a religion or a cult." -- (and apologies for being so long a comment and for sounding so preachy from a pulpit - each to their own imo.)
     
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