DECEPTION, FRAUD AND PLAGIARISM EXPOSED IN MINNESOTA BASED NEW AGE RELIGION OF ECKANKAR

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In a new book entitled Confessions of a God Seeker: A Journey to Higher Consciousness by Ford Johnson, the author exposes an insidious pattern of spiritual betrayal, fraud, fabrication and plagiarism that is widespread in the worldwide religion known as Eckankar, based in Chanhassan, MN.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 7, 2003) — The book Confessions of a God Seeker: A Journey to Higher Consciousness (“ONE” Publishing, Inc.) exposes an insidious pattern of spiritual betrayal, fraud, fabrication and plagiarism that is widespread in the religion known as Eckankar. Written by Ford Johnson, a former member and major international speaker for Eckankar for over thirty years, Confessions reveals the story behind this worldwide religion, based in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965, Eckankar has impacted hundreds of thousands through its books, discourses, classes and seminars. Explaining why he wrote the book, Johnson said “Over a period of thirty years, I spoke before thousands of newcomers and Eckists both in the U. S. and abroad. I felt responsible for unwittingly leading many seekers to this path, which unknown to me at the time, was based on lies even though it contained many truths. Once discovered, I felt compelled to inform others of the extent of the prevarication and cover-up. What they do with the information is up to them, but at least they will know.”

Johnson, a graduate of Harvard Law School and president of a Maryland based corporation, uncovered this information during a period of intense study and research. In an open letter to the Spiritual Leader of Eckankar, Harold Klemp, Johnson elaborated on some of the more startling discoveries presented in Confessions:

It was clear from these discoveries that the real story behind Eckankar was different from what is the common belief among Eckists. I was shocked to learn that Eckankar had no ancient lineage whatsoever. Indeed, how could anyone have known that even Gail Twitchell, Paul’s wife and the co-founder of Eckankar, had declared some years earlier, that Eckankar was a fraud and that “Paul had simply made up the whole Eckankar thing?” A startling admission, but one that explains why she has had nothing to do with Eckankar since. How could anyone have known that Paul literally invented an entire “line of masters” and gave them a history that came to life in his imagination and his writings? … And, virtually no one knows that you acknowledged as much…Through your lawyers, you admitted that Eckankar and its doctrines — the Mahanta, a necessary inclusion — were “coined, adopted and first used by Paul Twitchell” in 1965; far from the ancient teaching that … Eckankar books proclaim.

Twitchell invented the concept of a super deity called the “Mahanta” who was supposed to be the most spiritually developed human in all the universes. In his troubled zeal to create the oldest, greatest and highest religion in all the worlds, Paul Twitchell proclaimed “…all the power of God must reach these worlds through the perfect instrument of the Mahanta, the Living Eck Master,” an incredible claim, especially for a religion and an exalted title that appeared for the first time ever in 1965. Even James Davis, author of Eckankar’s most expansive book on the Mahanta, The Rosetta Stone of God, upon discovering the deceit and fabrication at the core of Eckankar doctrine, disavowed the doctrine and his own book and resigned from Eckankar. Davis said, “During my almost three decades in Eckankar I became increasingly troubled by what I perceived as the weak integrity within the teachings and of the leaders. At the same time I struggled against these impressions because I deeply WANTED Eckankar to be the ideal teaching I had hoped and dreamed of.”

Johnson’s search also resulted in the discovery that Paul Twitchell was “one of the most accomplished plagiarists of his era with literally thousand of lines of copyrighted text lifted wholesale from the works of other writers.” Yet, rather than admitting that its founder was a plagiarist, the current spiritual leader, Harold Klemp, covers up the plagiarism by maintaining that Twitchell merely copied them from an “astral library” where, presumably, authors are free to copy the works of other writers.

The deceit that Johnson uncovered is best revealed in an example presented in Confessions and cited in his letter to Klemp. Johnson wrote:

The book [Confessions] also reveals how Paul injected dire warning and “curses” into the teaching. He wrote “The oldest technique of keeping the loyalty of the chela [student]…is with fear. These threats are very common. They usually go like this: ‘If you leave me you will get caught in the astral and won’t get out.’” Having warned us of what to look out for …Paul injected the following warning in his own writings: “Within the Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad [the Eckankar Bible] is found the quotation, ‘He who leaves the path of ECK, or refuses to follow it, shall dwell in the astral hells until the Master takes mercy upon him….’” Confessions illustrates how Paul repeats this pattern over and over again.

Confessions also shows how Twitchell meticulously created the history and legend of a newly minted line of “Eck Masters”. He claimed them to be the most ancient on earth. According to Twitchell, these masters along with Eckankar, were the “source of all known world religions.” Such was the magnitude of Twitchell’s mendacity. But, Confessions goes beyond simply showing patterns of spiritual betrayal and deception in Eckankar. It also exposes similar patterns of deception found in other religions such as the Radhasoami line of teachings [of the light and sound of God], which appear to be the blueprint Twitchell copied to create Eckankar. As such, Confessions sounds a warning to all sincere seekers of what to avoid and how to spot deception in any spiritual path. The full text of Ford Johnson’s open letter to Eckankar’s spiritual leader Klemp can be seen at http://www.thetruth-seeker.com.

Asked about Eckankar’s reaction to Confessions of a God Seeker, Johnson responded, “Rather than confronting the truth of the revelations found in the book, Eckankar has launched a massive disinformation campaign raising the typical smoke screen issues of my motives, and the novel distinction that Confessions is about mind not heart, as though the two can be separated and common sense is not necessary.” Johnson continued, “But perhaps the most surprising thing has been the cult like reaction of many members who, believing the distorted descriptions of the book advanced by their leaders, turn their back on common sense refusing to confront the truth by even reading the book.”

“They are completely unaware of the extent to which they have been deceived. They are oblivious to the spiritual damage that Eckankar has inflicted on those who have dared to ask questions and were greeted with thundering silence if not excommunication.”, said Johnson. Many of these stories can be found on the message board at http://www.thetruth-seeker.com. Johnson continued, “…that is why Eckankar’s disinformation campaign has been so vigorous, they do not want followers to read the book and discover the truth.”

Beyond the cult-like reaction of many followers, who according to Johnson, “…put their heads in the sand believing what they’re told.”, he says that there are also many independent thinkers within Eckankar who are not afraid to confront the facts and make their own determination. “These free thinkers will in time help remove the spell that prevents others in the organization from thinking for themselves. Either way, it is a gradual process. But for those too afraid to confront the truth, perhaps it’s better that they remain with Eckankar until they are ready to take the next step to higher consciousness.”, said Johnson.

Beyond the revelations about Eckankar and other religions, Confessions presents a positive message of spiritual empowerment through a new spiritual paradigm. Johnson explains, “Everyone needs teachers and guidance, but soul cannot realize his final step in awareness so long as it looks to an intercessor, be he mahanta, savior, master, messenger or by any other name. In truth, we are all microcosmic replicas of the ONE and have full access to its power, for this is what we are. Our journey to higher consciousness is to fully realize this reality.”

The web sites, http://www.higherconsciousnesssociety.org/ and http://www.thetruth-seeker.com were created to facilitate sharing the empowering message presented in Confessions. The book is now available through http://www.amazon.com and http://www.onepublishinginc.com and soon in bookstores everywhere. If you are with the media considering a news story or book review of Confessions, and would like to receive a review copy of the book, please contact Darrell Johnson at djohnson@onepublishinginc.com.

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