Walking Away: A Former 6th Initiate's Story



To: alt.religion.eckankar
Author: Sworddancer
Date: January 29, 2001
Subject: Walking Away



Hi Folks,
I did a post a few days ago and just mentioned that I used to be an eckist for quite a while......I got so many personal e-mails that I thought I better just post the answer here instead of carbon copying a bunch of replies.
The question was "Enjoyed your post and agree about not lying about what happen with Darwin and others. Here's a web site that gives Darwin's side of the story. Don't know for sure, but I'd guess about half of it is true.
Also, why did you decide to leave eckankar, if you don't mind sharing that here?"
"Lurk"

Dear Lurk, and others...... Allow me to apologize in advance for the length at which I must write in order to give a comprehensive answer to your question....I know it's against good netiquette to post a huge message here, but I don't want to do this again, so this time, it better be correct.
I'm sure that those who follow eckankar and read this will find it upsetting.....In fact, If any of you readers out there are now following eckankar, there is probably no good reason for you to read further here....if you're happy, stay where you are and don't bother with the ramblings of one who went another way. Follow your own heart and your own way and I guarantee that if you are honest with yourself, that eventually you will grow beyond your wildest expectations.
I don't suppose anyone would walk away from something they have been dedicated to for 28 years lightly!....And I didn't either.
I joined eckankar under Paul Twitchell in 1970 and stayed until mid 1998 or so. I was a 6th initiate and had just about all the jobs in the local eckankar organization that anyone could have, except that I was never an initiator, esa, or resa. As an hi, I did recommend others for initiation and it was usually granted to them within 2-3 months and on an occasion or two, I was called by the resa for information about another chela or 2, regarding possible initiations and I thought it might be better for these people to wait for a while.....(I really tried to ask myself if they were ready and I definitely NEVER thought that I was truly qualified to make a determination about anothers spiritual growth) In these circumstances, I usually just asked myself if this person was balanced, and > I have met and shaken hands with Paul Twitchell, Darwin Gross and Harold Klemp.
I was around when Paul wrote and sent out a letter (early 1971) that spoke about a child in training who would be his successor in 10 years or so...(that letter has been misquoted so many times!) I was around when Darwin was named by Gail T...... married Gail T, divorced from Gail T. , tried to raise the membership fees by 400% and failed.....stole a couple of million dollars from eckankar, and got fired....I was around when a lot of changes occurred in eckankar and I even got a copy of David Lanes book back when it first came out and circulated around eck centers all over the country......( this one almost sent me away from eckankar)
I remember when eckankars official title was Eckankar, The Ancient Science of Soul Travel.....Later (quite briefly)...Eckankar, A spiritual Path....later...Eckankar, The Path of Total Awareness.....later Eckankar, The New Age Religion, later, Eckankar, the Religion of the Light and Sound of God........I don't know what they call it today but it's probably changed again......I think they are still trying to find something that will lure the masses, even though I still remember sitting in a seminar audience when Paul Twitchell said that "Eckankar is an individual pathway and will never be for the masses" (probably not in those very exact words), and probably his only accurate prophesy!
I survived a lot of stuff in eckankar and there seemed to always be a controversy in eckankar.....always a dynamic change going on.....always a new book or "truth" to be revealed at the next seminar.......things were constantly changing.... and those new books always had a price tag....
I remember trying to get a consultation with Harold, and being told at the consultation desk that it would require a donation ( I think it was $200.00 or so back then but I don't remember the exact amount)...to get the time with Harold.
I well remember when eckankar posters used to promise..."Attain Mastership "in this life or the next".....(I haven't seen that many new masters in the last 28 years though)
I remember when we would give talks that stressed that "eckankar is definitely not a "religion, philosophy etc". That changed a bunch.
I remember Pauls books and the chapters on the virtues of being a "free thinker" and a "cliffhanger"....attitudes that eckankar seems to downplay today!
I remember when we were told that it is healthy to be skeptical.....today eckists seem to be asked to just have faith until the truth is revealed......
I remember Pauls many predictions in "The Eck Yidya" (The small paper phamplet from the late 60's, not the bound book that was released in 1972) I remember the prediction of the "moon plague"....never happened......world wide economic depression....never happened...
I remember the prediction of the Nuclear war which would have a 90% chance of occurring by the middle to end of the 1990's.......speaks for itself......
I remember the prediction of the catastrophic earthquake to hit California in the mid to late 70's....never happened........
I was once admonished (as an hi) and asked by the resa to stay away from the eckankar center for 6 months to balance out) They later reviewed their decision after 3 months and I was given another initiation within 6 months of that occurrance along with more responsibility.
I watched as Jerry Mulvin (a friend of mine back then) later left eckankar and started his own religion......I saw Luis Blooth (very popular 8th initiate) go his own way.....and many more.....
I saw probably hundreds of friends and acquaintances join eckankar.....get a few initiations and then leave.....while more would join and stay a while and leave......This is still going on today. In fact, I only know of a handful of people out of probably almost a thousand people that I have personally met in eckankar who are still around now. It's membership is very very fluid.
I remember writing "initiate Reports", little monthly notes to the current "god man" that were supposed to be read only by him (at first). I remember seeing snippets of my own "Confidential Initiate Report' being published in a couple of Harolds H.I. Letters, which was a quarterly news rag that went out to H.I's only...for all to read, and without my prior consent (back then I would have been so proud and pleased by this).
I remember when it was announced by Harold at a major seminar that the initiate reports were reviewed by not Harold himself, but by his "Chosen Ones" who helped him with the reports......
I was so gullible that I never did the math......harold would have needed a year to spend even 10 minutes on each initiate report he could have received in a single month!
I remember my 3rd Initiation which was held in Sedona, Arizona, on eckankars property, where ( I believe she was an 8th initiate) the initiator, after having performed the group initiation, went on to tell some of us how wonderful it was to drink urine, and to urinate on each other as a healing method!....(Yuck) She later died and left eckankar title to the property in sedona.
I remember Harolds grand plan to develop the site in Sedona as an eck retreat complete with guest quarters and meeting areas...only the "god man" didn't have any way to prophesize that the ground under this land, and that the water situation in Sedona, would cause the development to be impossible and that the city would fight against the god mans plans in this regard.....no rezoning would ever be granted.
I remember when I was told that eckankars computer system was harolds tool for determining when an individual had passed a certain amount of time in a certain initiation and should be considered for the next initiation....(that's certainly personal spiritual guidance :-).
I love astronomy. The Hubble Constant is a theory that Edmund Hubble worked on for years in an attempt to discover the age of the physical universe.
Since Hubbles time, many astronomers have tackled the problem and just last year, I was privileged to attend a meeting where one of the prominent head researchers on this project gave us a preview a speech that he would give to President Clinton and the National Science Foundation, at the white house, the following week. His announcement was that by using Cyphid Variable stars and the fluctuations they have, that the age of the physical universe could be calculated fairly accurately at 12,000,000,000 to 13,000,000,000 billion years!
I wasn't very surprised by that announcement. When I heard it, I remembered that back when I was in eckankar, that Paul wrote in the Shariyat-ki-sugmad that the physical universe has a life of 4 Yugas (time periods) that total 8,640,000 years...Thats only 8 1/2 million years....heck, earth is much much older than that.......
I remember the teaching about Agam Des, a supposed city on Venus. Now please understand that astronomy has determined that Venus is probably the closest thing possible to Hell.....Very high temperatures, 24 hour acid rain, and 24/7 cloud cover.....not a place for a spiritual city if you ask me.
I'm still waiting for the invasion from the Jovians (inhabitants of Jupiter) that is supposed to come in the middle of this or the next century. Jupiter doesn't even have a solid surface so I wonder how the Jovians came about to exist there, and what in the heck they would want here!
But none of that stuff is why I left eckanker.
An eckist is subtly taught to form justifications for his disappointments and for the shortcomings of his teachers and masters.......I was a good little eckist, in awe of the H.i's and just went along with the company line through almost 3 decades of this stuff (I'm embarrassed to mention
eckankar today to my friends and family and business associates because upon true reflection, it is just such hogwash and I had to really be a fool to fall so totally for all this stuff and to stay so long)
Today I feel like eckankar hurt me in many ways and helped me some too.....when I joined eckankar, I was certain that I was a lost soul, I used drugs (pot & light stuff), and was sure that life would lead me nowhere...I was only 18 years old at the time......eckankar gave me a new home......and it did help me clean up my act and to start focusing on improving my life. I met many new friends and still am privileged to call some eckists my friends. In fact, my closest friend of almost 30 years was an eckist until about a year ago when he told me he had left as well.....
My real reasons for leaving eckankar didn't have to do with hardly anything that eckankar went through, nor with the shortcomings of Paul, Darwin, Harold or the non provable existence of any of the other named "masters"....nor with anger on my part (Harry Klemp loves to label people who leave with that one)......Nor with any disagreements with the local eckists (which did happen but didn't matter to me).....nor disenchantment with the organization (actually I do miss the social interaction with a lot of eckists and I definitely do miss being put on a pedestal by the newer eckists), and I didn't particularly care then about the charges of plagiarism (I never could spell)...
I left eckankar because it simply didn't work for me and I didn't realize that for a very long time.
Eckankar and I finally reached a point where decades of lies, of half truths, of disappointments, finally came to a head. Eckankar lost.
I did my spiritual exercises daily as much as probably anyone in eckankar. I had dreams now and then of spiritual journeys. I had my OBE's and once or twice, I saw Paul in dream state. Darwins appearances were fewer and I only remember about 4 dreams that I had where Harold would appear......this in almost 30 years of spiritual exercises...
Actually, I remember much more in the way of phenomenal experience when I was a child than later, as a member of eckankar. After a run of experiences right after I joined eckankar it seemed to dry up. Now and then I would have an experience.
I have far more interesting meditations and dreams today than I did when I was locked into eckankars perception of reality. Eckankar is so full of subtle do's and don'ts that I honestly feel that it slows one down, and actually holds one away from the deeper personal truths.
Over many years it finally dawned upon me that the writings in eckankar and the different "masters" talks seemed to stress that the physical and astral and even the realm of the mind is "Negative", while only the almost unreachable Soul is positive.......this kind of thinking tends to leave the student feeling that he himself is negative and it definitely discourages spiritual exploration into areas of life that are not covered in the eckankar writings....things like the psychic sciences, or different philosophies, religions, etc.......only eckankar remains as an ok thing to explore!
Such limitations.....They have this nice little borrowed cosmology (the Sufi chart of the planes and such) which just exactly fits their image of the universe, except that no one who is below the line in the middle (soul plane-reachable ONLY through the eck masters) is given any credibility.
The eckankar universe just got too small for me. I needed to explore many things which are not covered, or are even discouraged by eckankar. I actually became quite bored in life and part of that was that nothing was new.....it had all been read and heard and even taught by me, many many times......It truely got old, but I wasn't able to determine the cause of my mental and spiritual stagnation for several years after the symptoms appeared.
Eckists, and esa's that I spoke with would always fall back on the old adages like "It's your karma", "It's just a test for you", "You need to do more spiritual exercises" and on and on.....The real problem, I was to eventually discover, was that eckankar just couldn't provide the tools that would take me into the next step.....I had to go on my own way and completely leave behind the nice little box of the eckankar universe......I had to grow!
Since leaving eckankar, I have found a vastly wider realm of inner experience. Also a completely new kind of freedom inwardly to outwardly explore whatever I darn well feel like without the disdain or judgment of others to contend with. I don't have any imagined images of a mahanta telling me to stay away from this or that.......It's called Spiritual Freedom and folks, You will eventually find that Spiritual Freedom is unavailable to those who need a "master" to run their spiritual lives!
It is a two sided sword though. I found that I couldn't blame my life on "karma" anymore.....I couldn't look down at others as being less spiritually advanced anymore, and had to learn to treat everyone as my teacher and my student as well.....I had to re-invent the universe that I live in and without anyone to provide a guidebook, I'm free of those limitations and am finally discovering what's really out there! Scary and wonderful and challenging.
Since I left eckankar, I have seen just tons of material about eckankar that isn't in the eck books. All this material was invisible to me when I was a member of eckankar. Harold Klemp was a "god man", not an unbalanced, unhealthy, politically conservative, relatively uneducated little guy whose' most responsible position in life (before becoming the "Right Hand of God Itself"), was working as a proof reader or copy editor or whatever. Now, I see him as a little guy with glasses from wisconsin who, with lots of help from a very well chosen Board of Directors of a multi-million dollar non-profit corporation, has made an easy living off having others worship him and pay him for the privilege!
I learned a lot from eckankar and the best lesson I learned was that to find spiritual freedom, you better not embrace eckankar! Embrace life instead and find your own way.
I won't engage in attacks against eckankar or deride the members of eckankar because I was once them.....only today I see more, enjoy life more and am constantly amazed by the diversity of life. I no longer find diversity as a challenge and I no longer feel any need to change anyone else's mind about god, or to be some kind of channel to lead them to my version of truth.......Spiritual Freedom.
Eckankar seems to attract the naive', the lonely, the gullible who will blindly accept it's "truths", and those who are generally in need......so if this is what you are, you should probably join eckankar because it has all the "answers" you will want, for a time.
The folks I knew in eckankar were, for the most part, very kind, loving and friendly people. They seem to have a lack of curiosity though and seem to be content in their world where they live in a nice little box, with a master who will show them the way.....I feel this is sad because the trick is finding your own way and doing it in style.
When you add up all the garbage I've written about above and the many many things I didn't bother to write out here, I think you can see why I left eckankar.
Now, in closing, I will be lurking around here now and then and would love to hear some of your stories about your eckankar experiences and why you are a member of eckankar, or why you might have left eckankar or whatever....
Thanks for asking and reading all of this
Sworddancer

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