I was sitting at a typewriter (back when we used typewriters) after work pursuing my favorite past time, poetry, when Bob came over to me. He had stayed late to work on a proposal for the multinational consulting firm for which we both worked.
“Hi, Brian. What are you working on?”
“Just some poetry I’ve wanted to rewrite for some time. I figured that nobody’d be here so I could catch up on a few I’ve written lately.”
“Is poetry important to you?”
“Yeah. It’s my first love in certain ways.”
“What else is important to you? I mean, what do you expect to get out of life?”
He broke my concentration on that one. I had been ignoring him because I wanted to finish up this last poem and make the 7:14 Lansdale local train home to Ambler, Pennsylvania. At that point I was still applying to other places for work, and I liked to get at least one resume out each night before turning in. But he got me with that last question.
Most of the time at work people talked about superficial things: the weather, sports, college life (most of my fellow coworkers and I had recently graduated from college). But this was a pretty deep question to ask, especially since I didn’t know the guy that well. I turned to see an enigmatic grin cross his face as he realized he’d stumped me with that last one.
“Well...a lot of things are important to me. I would like to have a good wife and family, although that looks rather remote at this point. I want to leave a few poems and books behind that might mean something to people. My family’s real important. I come from a family of ten and they’re all real special people. I’m pretty religious. What’s important to you?”
“Me?” He smiled. “I’m going to get into Heaven in this lifetime.” He smiled again.
I riveted in my seat. What had he meant by, “... in this lifetime? What other lifetimes were there? Before I could ask, he was lifting his coat and briefcase.
“I’ll talk to you some tomorrow, Brian. Think about what’s important in your life and we’ll talk about it tomorrow. See you then.”
After he left I finished up my poems, packed, left the office, and walked down Market Street in downtown Philadelphia. The usual street people were there--petty thieves offering arms filled with stolen watches ” ... real cheap for you, man. Take a look, brother ... “young dudes blasting ‘bro’ boxes, wino’s asking for change, and an occasional cop maintaining peace by making sure no late night office workers were mugged on their way to the Reading Train Terminal.
I took one last look around before I headed into the Terminal’s filth and wondered if this is what the Founding Father’s meant by “... life, liberty, and the “pursuit of happiness” when they wrote the Declaration of Independence seven blocks from this spot over 200 years ago.
Trains have always put me in a dream-like mood, and that is usually how I ride them. Tonight, however, Bob’s strange comment kept playing in my head the whole way home. What had he meant by “...in this lifetime?”
I’d been raised Catholic, and the only exposure I’d had the ideas of other lifetimes was in history books. What had he meant by that strange comment?
I did not have to wait long to find out.
The next day, as soon as I arrived with my morning coffee and bagel with cream cheese, Bob was sitting in my office smiling at me.
“HI, Brian. Listen. This group I belong to is doing a pray about Camelot this Saturday. It should be pretty good and I thought I’d tell you. Do you know’ anything about Camelot?”
“Only that it was Jack Kennedy’s favorite play and that I sang a song from it in high school choir.”
“So, would you be interested?”
“Yeah, sure, why not? I’m working on this guys’ political campaign on Saturday’s, but they can spare me for a few hours. It’s gratis anyway.”
“Good. It starts at one, but I’d be there about twelve so that you can get to meet some of the people in our group. They’re pretty interesting. You’re creative, so I thought you might like to meet some creative people.”
“Fine. What time will you be there?”
“I’ll be there when I can. I have to take care of some/things on Saturday, so I’ll be a little late myself.
But just mention that you’re a friend of mine and they should take good care of you. Well, Janna is almost ready to come over here and bite my head off because I might be a second late for work. The play’s at the Unitarian Church two blocks over on 21st and Chestnut.
Remember to try to get there early so that you can talk to a few members of the cast.”
Saturday at one I tied up a few loose ends at the campaign headquarters by buttonholing some noncommittal councilmen from Kensington. We were weak there, but the public relations guy on the staff assured me that that was all about the change if we’d just reach these guys on the phone and press them. I did, and then headed for the “Camelot” play at the Unitarian Church.
I took my ’63 Plymouth Fury down the minefields of potholes that is Broad Street, and turned onto Chestnut.
Parking was no problem as it was Saturday in town. The day was hot for March so that the cool air of the sanctuary of the church felt good as I entered it. As soon as I was inside a lovely young woman with soft brown hair who sat at a registration desk smiled and stared at me. I was alert to what Moonies looked like--blank stares with blissful expressions--but she exhibited none of that. She just looked like a healthy college girl from the Midwest, which is what she was until a year ago.
“Hello. How did you hear about our lecture today?”
“Well... I didn’t think it was a lecture. I thought it was a play about Camelot. A guy I work with, Bob Delmore, told me about it.”
“Ah ... yes ... I’d heard you were coming today. Would you like to sign in here? Did he also tell you that there is a five dollar entrance fee?
“No, he didn’t. But I’ll pay it. That’s not too bad for a play in this city.”
“Good. Here’s your ticket. John is one of the ushers. He’ll let you in.”
John was tall, about 6′ 5" easy. He was foreign looking, and somewhere Latin American to judge by the accent. He was very well dressed and exceedingly polite. He led me into the room where the play
was to be taking place and sat me in one of the front three rows. A woman was at a lectern emitting bizarre sounds.
Many in the room were saying them along with her. I looked about the room and observed posters of Mary, Christ, and a number of Eastern religious figures that I didn’t recognize. To the back was a long table with various tapes and books, in vivid colors and the most advanced packaging.
The woman in the front stopped saying the sounds she was emitting as fast as she began them and launched into her lecture as if nothing strange was happening. I looked around again and no one else was bothered by that, so I decided to hear her out.
She went on.
“Now, throughout history there have been mystery schools. King Arthur and Camelot was one among many. Christ studied with a secret mystery school in Egypt and the Himalayas, and Mary and Joseph lived in one with the Essenes.
What all these mystery schools have in common is that throughout recorded and unrecorded history, they’ve all been controlled and directed by the Great White Brotherhood.”
I use the word white not in a racial sense, but in a sense of God’s light, for truly these adepts have always been with us dispensing God is light to the world. Her word “adepts” took me back, as did a number of words that I heard that day, including-decrees, initiates, Kundalini, Lord Maiytrea, family mesmerism, karma, world masters, the science of the spoken word, aura, outpicturing, cosmic consciousness, the book of Enoch, the inner teachings, the mighty I Am presence, and sundry other terms that were totally new to me.
My favorite past time is writing poetry, and consequently my curiosity was peaked when I heard this completely new language that these people spoke. My curiosity got the best of me and I remained to hear some more speakers.
Had I known what I was about to become involved in that day, I would have flown out the door and down the street faster than they could have chanted “I AM.”
But at that time they looked like a bunch of nice middle class people with a different perspective on things, so I remained to hear their thoughts or, as they like to put it, their “outreach program or “stumping,” which consisted of sugar coating their true doctrines in hopes of snagging the unsuspecting long enough that when they do slip in the true intent of their perverse “inner teachings” that person blindly accept those teachings as gospel truth. I know because I was such a person.
Back then, all it was to me was a fascinating group that answered, quite uniquely, many of the questions that I had at the time. For example, during the break in the lecture format, they put on a tape of a woman – a rather plain looking woman that one would mistake as your average suburban housewife with a Ford Station wagon if one did not know the truth about what she was up to–who spoke to two well-dressed young “interviewers” about some of the major issues of their lives. For example the young interviewer asked:
“Guru Ma (and this is what their followers affectionately refer to her as their literature will tell you, why is it that so many young people search for love in their lives and are unable to find it?”
“It’s all tied in with the law of karma” she replied. (Everything with these people is based on karma and other so called “fixed cosmic laws” of the ascended masters. Not God mind you, but ascended masters.)
“We go through a number of embodiments and depending on your karma, as recorded in your ashkashic records, that determines whether you are worthy of being in love or not. You see, it’s all interrelated. So if you were good in a former lifetime, you are attracting only good karma to yourself in this lifetime.
If you acted in a disqualified manner, however, you may have to pay for that in this lifetime. And you’ll never find out who these ascended masters are until you’re into the “teachings” for years, and by then it is too late.”
“There is, however, a way to transmute that energy from former lifetimes, and that is through the science of the spoken word. God has revealed to me through his ascended masters that if we use the science of the spoken word that we can accelerate along the path and quicken our ascension into heaven. ”
“Also, remember the law of magnetization. We magnetize to ourselves what we are. So, if you give off negative karma, quite naturally you attract negative karma. But, if you give off positive karma, then as naturally you attract positive karma. So, seek to become what you wish to attract.”
“It’s a little more involved than that, of course, because we all have a twin flame out there from whom we may have been separated for several embodiments. And we will never be completely happy until we are reunited with that twin flame!”
“Still there is home.”
“There are those who are soul mates, and when they encounter each other they know great happiness. What you want to avoid is a Karmic relationship, hereby all you do is balance out each other’s negative karma.”
“What is important to remember; though, is that we attract to ourselves that we are, so seek to become what you seek to attract and you will be happy. That way, you won’t waste your time going from this one to that one in hopes of finding true love. True love is within each one of us if we only develop it using the science of the spoken word. ”
When she finished saying this, the camera panned back to the two interviewer’s faces sat in numbed attention. I looked around and others had this same look of numbed attention. I had encountered Moonies and they didn’t exhibit that look...glassy eyed.
No, these looked more normal, they were just at peace. I did not know at this point that that look was due to the hypnotic effect of the decrees that they chanted loudly to themselves for hours on end each day.
What I also did not know this “Joint was that this was a carefully orchestrated effort to lure people in using only “outer” teachings, i.e. teachings that upon first hearing were not to be so bold as to reveal the true workings of this church; everything presented should be as nonthreatening as possible. It worked on me.
I was sitting during a lunch break putting down a natural sandwich of carrots and tuna fish--the first lesson of the missionary that very few conversions happen on an empty stomach had not been lost on them--and some apple juice when one of their members approached in a very gentle way.
“How do you like the presentation so far?” She was Church Glorious and Victorious in a Western way -- soft peasant dress and an easy smile.
“It’s pretty good. I’m not sure I understand most of what that woman’s saying, but the part I do make sense to me.”
“That’s good. Many people when they first hear Mary Beth Visionary finds it difficult but appealing.
Are you going to stay around for the rest of the lecture? I think you’d enjoy it if you did.”
“Well...I’d love to except that I have to get my car back. My brother said that he’d work on the wiring for me before going to work tonight, so I’ll be leaving a little early. I work a second job as a guard at....”
He interrupted me.
“I’m glad you came for part of the teaching anyway. Stop back by the books and tapes before you leave to see if there’s anything there that interests you.”
She smiled gently and drifted back. The tall guy who’d accompanied me in was now at the podium giving a talk on one of the saints. He was speaking so rapidly that I couldn’t keep with his talk. About halfway through he pointed to a multicolored chart that had caught my attention when I first came in.
“This is the chart of your mighty I Am presence. St. Francis was an adept who realized that the way to God was through initiations and knowledge, because he was a member of the Great White Brotherhood.
As you can see, Christ is in the middle as the intermediary between God, who’s at the top, and you at the bottom. The white cord that you see connecting all three is your crystal cord of life which everyone has, though some of us don’t know it.”
“This crystal cord is our direct line to God and it is through this cord that we store up positive karma in our treasure house in heaven. Notice the “tube of light” around the person, this tube of light is between three inches and nine feet wide depending on your state of attainment.
Adepts like St. Francis, of course, had a much wider cord than the rest of humanity. (It would be several more months before they would enlighten me with the news that dear old St. Francis, the saint who stood up to Saladin, had to go through another lifetime as an Indian prince so that he be worthy to get into heaven as he was too humble in his saintly “embodiment.”)
That was the same lesson where I was informed that Judas Iscariot ascended into heaven in his next lifetime, as he was really a nice guy who’d just been used by Christ to provide a point. Not harm meant, really.
What he also neglected to sat that day is that eventually we come to be adepts through our own cosmic consciousness, i.e. Christ and God aren’t all that necessary. But that never revealed until you are into the “teachings” for some time.
About this time my car was on my mind more than the adepts, so I rose to leave. As I was almost out the door, the big guy approached us and said:
“This was the same lesson where I was informed that Judas was in heaven because he was saintly in his next embodiment. Notice the tube of light around that person. His positive karma stores up treasure in heaven.”
“The light is between three inches and nine feet in your state of attainment. Adepts like St. Francis have a much wider cord than the rest of humanity.”
“Why don’t you take these with you?”
She handed me a packet that contained “Decrees and Initiations of the Great White Brotherhood.”
“Frankly, it’s a little overwhelming. What has concerned me lately is that I don’t have much of a prayer life. I just don’t know what the best way to read God is.”
That was true at the time. Ever since I’d lost Kathy I thought the bottom had fallen out of my world and that God was no longer the friend he had once been to me.
“They’ll be in your ray. And how about a few to listen to? Do you like music?”
“Yeah. I do.”
“Then you’ll love these tapes. They were done by a guy who used to do scores for Hollywood musicals before he found the Church. It’s a good way to become familiar with the teachings without having to study them too hard.”
I took them and examined them. The prices were outrageous: $170 for the packet and $215 for the tapes. She quickly pointed out that the tapes had the words to many famous poems included. How she knew I liked poetry I don’t know, but it didn’t bother me much at the time.
“David also tells me that you’re thinking about joining the Air Force.”
“Yeah. My old friends would think it’s crazy if they heard I was about to it but I studied in Paris in and met some communists. They’re serious about taking over the world and I thought I’d find a niche to fight them from. The Air Force seems an ideal way to meld those motives and a career.”
“Then you’ll love this tape too. It’s put together by a bunch of kids at Montessori International out at Camelot. It’s a very patriotic tape.”
I looked at the price. Sixty bucks. I looked at her.
She smiled again. I had a couple of twenties burning a hole in my pocket because payday had been Friday, so I forked over the money.
“I know you won’t be disappointed. You’ll discover all kinds of things through the decrees and tapes.”
I would soon learn that was the most truthful thing they’d said to me all day.