Albert: Hey John, how long were you involved with Eckankar?
John: About 3 years. After two years, as my involvement level increased and I began doing volunteer work for Eckankar, my life took a serious nosedive.
Albert: I finally discovered the truth about Eckankar when I bought this computer in 1996 and accessed the Internet.
John: I discovered the David Lane research on the Internet after I had quit Eckankar, but it was still very important to me. According to Lane, significant portions of the Eckankar Bible were plagiarized, and many of the spiritual truths that Paul Twitchell claimed were channeled to him from his master Rebazar Tarz were derived nearly verbatim from a book by Julian P. Johnson. I felt betrayed- by Paul, by Harold, and by Eckankar for continuing to publish the books in question.
At the time, I was thinking about getting back into Eckankar, and the Lane research squelched that idea for good. From there, the whole Eckankar belief system began to unravel for me. Since Paul Twitchell was a self-appointed spiritual master, anyone whose critical reasoning abilities are still intact would have to seriously question his claim that he was the equivalent of the Son of God. According to David Lane's research, in addition to plagiarizing, Twitchell re-wrote one of his seminal works on spirituality, changing the names of actual spiritual masters he had known to ones whose historical authenticity has been difficult to establish. I find it hard to comprehend how someone of Twitchell's purported spiritual status could indulge in what appears to be outright fraud. Once you yank on the thread of the unprovable and highly unlikely assumption that Paul Twitchell was some kind of Godman- the whole fabric of Eckankar comes apart.Anything we experience of a positive nature spiritually is the work of God anyway, rendering the concept of needing an Eck "master", like Paul Twitchell or Harold Klemp, irrelevant. If God wants to communicate with us or guide us in our dreams to higher planes of consciousness, He would be able to do so without the assistance of an Eck "master." The troublesome thing about Eckankar, in my opinion, was that it incorporated a mixture of valuable spiritual wisdom, half-truths, and what I felt were outright lies. Parts of Eckankar's spiritual program worked well, while other parts of it caused immeasurable damage to my mind and to the minds of others I know.
Albert: John it has been a strange experience for me. I did have some experiences out of the body, but what really puzzled me was that I could not find Harold in the other worlds!!
John: I had my best OBE's after I officially quit Eckankar. I had one in which I exited from my third eye in my sleep and was able to fly around an Earth-like world at high speed. After reading David Lane's research, I concluded that this could have been an hallucination mocked up by my mind in congruence with what Eckankar taught me to expect. I had a few very vague dreams involving Harold that were no more real than dreams that included relatives, friends, and co-workers. Never did I experience what the Eck books claimed I would in terms of other worlds, Golden Wisdom temples, and Harold as a being of pure light, etc. I also never encountered the historically undocumented Eck masters, like Fubbi Quantz and Reebazar Tarz.
Did you ever read Harold Klemp's autobiography in which he recounts how he stripped naked in an airport, was arrested and then committed to a mental institution where he did battle with three Astral demons? This book is sold at the Eckankar Temple bookstore, so Harold is not trying to keep this part of his life a secret. It's a very disturbing story that, for me, casts doubt on his claim that he is God's primary representative "in this, and all other universes."
Albert: I read in one of the Mystic World magazines that Joan, his wife, books his appointments in the other, inner worlds.
John: Albert, I'm surprised they would dare to print something as unbelievable as this.
Albert: Hmm, I say. You mean the Mahanta is not all that omnipotent?
John: If Harold is claiming omnipotence, then I would seriously question his theological principles. Only God is omnipotent, not mere human beings. People who follow spiritual leaders claiming to be incarnations of God are falling prey to a common human need to relate to God in human form. There are untold numbers of gurus and spiritual masters claiming to be one with, or incarnations of, God. This will continue as long as there are people foolish enough to believe such claims.
Albert: You have to book an appointment in the other worlds to have an experience with him?
John: That must be one huge appointment book, considering that Harold claims to the "Mahanta" for "all people in all universes."
Albert: Harold sure seems to blame everybody, but himself! In a letter that appeared in Mystic World magazine, he points out the faults of those who leave Eckankar.
John: At the same time, he preaches that those who join Eckankar will receive his love, protection, and guidance. If so, then why do so many Eckists fail? He claims that it is his God-ordained job to get his chelas back home to God. Sounds like someone is falling down on the job. I personally followed Eckankar and Harold's teachings TO THE LETTER, Albert, and I ended up with serious psychological and emotional problems. I was a textbook Eckist, and yet the end result of my devotion and dedication was misery and suffering. When I began reading Harold's own admissions that Paul Twitchell, Eckankar's founder, was prone to lying on a fairly large scale, I began to suspect that the religion of Eckankar might have been a fabrication similar to the spiritually oriented science fiction novels he wrote.
Albert: I have also heard Harold blame his chelas for his continuing health problems.
John: I heard this too- all the more evidence that something is apparently not quite right with Harold. I was amazed at how many Eckists I knew agreed with him on this- that his health problems had something to with taking on the karma of his chelas. Oddly, he rants on and on about how chelas must pay their karmic debt "in the true coin", yet he's also taking on their karma. Which is it? I've noticed, from talking to Eckists and conversing with them on Internet newsgroups, that like Harold, they seem to contradict themselves without noticing it. When called on these contradictions, they spew arrogant, pompous nonsense like:
"I'm operating from soul's perspective, therefore your 'logic' is meaningless to me."
This type of thinking is a frightening example of the kind of influence Eckankar apparently exerts on some of its members. What really did me in regarding Eckankar were the threats contained in their Bible and other writings. For example, an ex-Eckist posted a passage on the Internet from one of Eckankar's secret, members-only discourses that basically said- "anyone who leaves the path of Eck or who commits overt acts against the Eck will be reduced to a mental and emotional vegetable." I found this and the many other fear inducing passages in Eckankar's literature emotionally paralyzing. These fears eventually became lodged in my sub-conscious mind, promoting feelings of despair and paranoia. My involvement in Eckankar managed to pile more problems on the top of the ones I already had, including a profound sense of betrayal and distrust of spiritual organizations. Joining Eckankar was, without question, the biggest mistake I have ever made.
This all started when I was in my senior year of high school. I used to have a newspaper route. I would get up at 4am to deliver newspapers.
It was during this time that I had my first out of body experience. I was laying down in my bed and felt a spinning sensation. I then felt a static electrical charge all over me. I then lifted out of the body and sat up on the bed. I could see the interior of the room clearly, but I couldn't see my self I looked down at my hands, I could feel them there but didn't see them. I thought to my self. I cant die now. maybe if I lay back into my body I will be alright. I did this and instantly I was back in normal awareness. I didn't tell anyone, but I later met someone when I went to city college, who lent me "Eckankar Key to Secret Worlds" and "In my soul, I am free". Needless to say these books really shed light on what I was experiencing! I thought then that Paul Twitchell was next to God. So in 1977, I started the discourse series. I don't remember the name of it, but I was surely hooked. I went to the Sacramento Eckankar Center, which was located then on Marconi & Fulton. When I went there I met the nicest group of people there. I still remember with fondness Frank and Arleene, and Jackie, and Richard G. I was in my first year of discourse study when I volunteered to man the eck center. I can only say that it was great!!
But things have a way of happening, I came down with chicken pox, and my mom found my discourse booklets. (In those days the discourse were in a booklet form, not the cheap 3 or 4 page loose paper that you have to put in a binder) needlessly to say she burned my discourses. I was really hurt by this and held this resentment for many years.
I then joined the service to get away from that situation. I enlisted in the Navy, got drunk alot, chased women, smoked dope. In 1984, I rejoined Eckankar. I was stationed in San Diego, had my own apartment and automobile, so I cleaned up my act, and went to the satsangs in San Diego. If you have read Doddie Bellamys article about a former member revisits the movement where she interviews David Lane. Well I didn't know about David Lane or his work. I knew personally the San Diego Eckists like Kevin McMahon, Bettina Yellman, Charles Richards, and Waddie Wells, who gave me my second initiation. I had then real inner & outer experiences. It never occurred to me to question the historical truth of Eckankar.
But things do change, I was sick of the Navy. I got out in 1988, and moved back to Sacramento,Ca. I kept up my discourses and rejoined the Navy. I was assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln in Newport News, Virgina. It was there that I became aware that higher initiates weren't so high after all. In 1989 or 1990, I received my third initiation. That's when things went from bad to worst in my life, I hated the Ship I was on and was looking for something to do. This is where my scamway story kicks in, but we wont go into that here. I met Scott in Newport News, who was trying to read other eckists fortunes by using the Eck-Vidya. Now he was an unusual Eckist. He was a devoted second initiate, who faithfully did his spiritual exercises, and he was a UFO freak at the same time. His goal was to try and figure out how to build the drive system that powers flying saucers. I really liked being around him! He, myself, and Anna of Newport News did a big no-no which drew some heavy fire from the higher iniates of the Tidewater Area. We got together and made our own hu-tape. Anna, who is a sound engineer, took the recorded sound of hu, and made a continuous tape of it. The HI of the area got wind of it and made us give up our tapes, but by the time that they acted, we had given some of our tapes to friends. We did not charge anyone for the tapes. We gave them away. It is interesting that a few months later, Eckankar introduced the HU song tape. I wonder where they got that idea from?
It was in Virgina that I learned that HIs wernt so high in awareness. I also heard some gossip from some eckists in Virginia that when Darwin was eckmaster, he had to be carried back to his hotel room, because he was drunk. I knew from what I was told that Darwin was a fallen master, because he had held on to the Rod of Eck Power too long and it burned him. I was curious about some thing and I came across some of Darwin's writings. The only place you could find them was at the ARE library in Virgina Beach. ( That Edgar Cayce's group not Alt.religion.eckankar!).
By this time my spiritual experiences became fewer and fewer.
On board the ship, I became very depressed and was thinking of ending it all. By this time the ship was stationed on the west coast. I became friends with some bible believing Christians. Who prayed with me as I was going through this depression. It was then that I destroyed all my eckankar written material. But my life among them was also drawing to a close. I got out in 1994. I then had some serious doubts about christianity and the bible. Am I screwed up or what?
I had lost all initiations at my own personal request when I had destroyed my discourse, I had written Eckankar to take me off all their records. And so they did. But I wasnt done with eckankar yet. I started taking the discourses again in 1995. But it wasnt the same magic as years before. I had little success in the discourses.
I guess I am getting lazy in my old age. I used to keep a dream journal by my bedside and I had fantastic recall years before when I lived in San Diego, Ca.
The begining of the end came when I got interested in the internet. I went to the public Library to get on the internet to see what information was available. That is when I came across all this information. It sure beat trying to get out of the body. In November of last year I finally bought me a computer and got on line.
I couldn't believe the wealth of information that was available on the net! I visited all the different sites about the subject of Eckankar. I know that in the eckankar teachings one is supposed to trust the mahanta completely to be successful at out of body travel to the other worlds. The only problem was that the few times I was out of the body, the mahanta was nowhere to be found!
I had discovered by reading the internet material, I had been suppressing a lot of doubts that I have had over the years. An example of that would be the character and ethics of Paul Twitchell. Eckankar admits that he was a "master compiler" of the eck teachings which had been scattered around the world. It wasn't until I was able to access the internet that I found out how much he had ripped off teaching from other groups! Then I found out how he had treated his former teacher when publishing "Tiger's Fang". Then there was the problem of Darwin Gross, who was a second initiate when Gail had picked him as Paul's successor. Gail had picked him because of a dream that she had. Darwin served as Living Eck Master until 1980 or 1981. Darwin then picked Harold Klemp as Living Eck Master but retained the title of Mahanta. This did not last to long before Harold had excommunicated Darwin, and took all titles and I was out of contact with eckankar at the time so I missed out on all the fun, since I didn't rejoin until 1984. At this time, I didn't know what to think about it. There was little information that could be gotten about it. The only story that I got was that Darwin still wanted to be Master and tried to steal money from the organization. This had troubled me over the years. I thought to myself that it doesn't matter how high you go in Eckankar you can still fall!
But with the satsang in San Diego I went to and the wonderful friends that I had met in the San Diego Center, I had pushed such doubts aside. There was other doubts too, Like at the seminars, I would see vast amounts of Eck books, and Eck Jewelry being sold there, since I was still in the service I didn't have a lot of money so I would only buy a few things!
You know in the Eck-Vidya, Paul predicted the near future of the United States.
He predicted the Moon Virus(was that AIDS?)
He predicted a military take-over of the United States.
He didn't predict the internet, or the massive downsizing of the military that we are going through.
He did predict that the ulamins from the planet Jupiter would invade the world sometime in the next century!
It is a shame that Paul Twitchell couldn't predict the future.
About Jupiter, I guess we will have to wait a century or more to find out.
From: Albert C. Silva #2232760
Subject: Immediate Termination from Eckankar.
Please remove my name from all of your mailing lists. I can
no longer consider myself a member of Eckankar. I can not
support an organization whose founder and leaders ethics I
have grave doubts about. It may interest you to know that
I arrived at this decision after much soul-searching.
It has been said by some of the eighth initiates, that if
you cannot trust the inner master that you are wasting your
time with the spiritual exercises. This for me really came to
a head when after I bought my computer and got on the internet.
I got a chance to review "The Making of a spiritual movement by
David Lane. That and other materials like the experiences of
fellow former eckists who are on the internet, convinced me that
what I have been following is a pack of lies!! Then I read in
Mystic World , Harold's constant pointing out of the faults of
those who leave eckankar. I ask myself, is this a real god-
realized man. I have reached the conclusion that all your
organization is about is separating the spiritually naive from
their money. Why don't you people be honest about the true
history of eckankar and admit it. I am too angry to write much
Albert C. Silva
More Former Members' Statements
My Resignation Letter
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From: Albert C. Silva #2232760
Subject: Immediate Termination from Eckankar.
Please remove my name from all of your mailing lists. I can no longer consider myself a member of Eckankar. I can not support an organization whose founder and leaders ethics I have grave doubts about. It may interest you to know that I arrived at this decision after much soul-searching. It has been said by some of the eighth initiates, that if you cannot trust the inner master that you are wasting your time with the spiritual exercises. This for me really came to a head when after I bought my computer and got on the internet. I got a chance to review "The Making of a spiritual movement by David Lane. That and other materials like the experiences of fellow former eckists who are on the internet, convinced me that what I have been following is a pack of lies!! Then I read in Mystic World , Harold's constant pointing out of the faults of those who leave eckankar. I ask myself, is this a real god- realized man. I have reached the conclusion that all your organization is about is separating the spiritually naive from their money. Why don't you people be honest about the true history of eckankar and admit it. I am too angry to write much more!
signed Albert C. Silva
More Former Members' Statements