Have you ever wondered what famous scientists such as Einstein, Planck, Steinmetz, Pasteur, and Burbank might have to say about the future? Wonder no longer.
Now you can find out by reading the Tesla Speaks Series, in which "prominent scientists who once lived on Earth speak in the first person in 13 volumes from the non-atomic plane describing the vast unknown cosmogony and the future science of the New Age of logic and reason."
Perhaps you'd prefer the Biography of an Archangel. "Many books have been written about the history of mankind, but none have ever given the full picture of the reality of the Spiritual Forces interpenetrating the life of the Earth people!"
Learn about "hierarchical minds . . . who have penetrated the psychological smog of Earth to rescue the individuals who had fallen into its depths long, long ago." "Recontact your own Higher Self through the inner experiences of mental recall, back to Atlantis, Lemuria, Yu, and other worlds, as a result, free yourself from the obsession of negative forces!"
Maybe you're more interested in The True Life of Jesus of Nazareth. "Slashing through 2,000 years of Christian fanaticism, this book presents the true biography before and after the crucifixion of Jesus. It exposes for all time the great hypocricy [sic] of the Christian religion as a culmination in a villainous plot, contrived by the archvillain, Saul of Tarsus and his cohort, Judas Iscariot."
Read this "true life story of Jesus, telling who his mother and father were, his truly espoused, and of his life teachings! . . . This book will completely vindicate the Unarius Mission and its reestablishment as a continuity of the Mission of Jesus, and will effectively help prove that Unarius is the beginning of the 'Second Coming'--the Unarius Moderator, Ernest L. Norman, was the reincarnate Nazarene!"
These books and others--such as The Confessions of I, Bonaparte; The Principles & Practice of Past Life Therapy; and Interdimensional Physics--can be obtained from Unarius Publications of El Cajon, California. (Unarius stands for UNiversal ARticulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science.)
The founders and "channels" of Unarius are Ernest L. and Ruth E. Norman, who set up shop in 1954. They're New Age pioneers. A booklet giving a resume of their beliefs and a pitch for their products sports a watercolor of the pair. They seem to be in their seventies: he with gray hair and bushy, unkempt eyebrows; she with a bouffant hairdo (no hint of gray) and an orchid corsage. The corsage suggests this portrait was made for their wedding anniversary.
Unarius holds classes three nights a week, and its center is open daily for inspection. "Our Library at this time numbers over 125 volumes, the last several received are not yet published." ("Received" from the beyond, that is.)
On display is a "model of the linkage of 33 planets of the Interplanetary Confederation, reflecting their joining with the Cosmic or Central Sun." You can also see "the replica of the Power Tower [no, this is not Oral Roberts' prayer tower], which shall be erected on Earth to supply the complete and entire needs of Earth people. This gigantic structure will, of course, be built after the Space Brothers arrive." Of course.
If you join Unarius, you "help create within you a sense of belonging to the great Universal Brotherhood of Inner Worlds. . . . A certificate of membership, laminated I.D. card, and the gold Unarius lapel emblem are available at minimum cost."
Richard John Neuhaus, a prominent Lutheran pastor and author of the widely-reviewed book The Catholic Moment, became a Catholic on September 8. He will prepare for the priesthood, but will continue to serve as director of the Institute on Religion and Public Life.
In an open letters to friends and colleagues, Neuhaus says his conversion was a product of 20 years' thought, and he concludes he "could no longer give an answer convincing to others or to me as to why I was not a Roman Catholic." He argues that "the separate ecclesial existence of Lutheranism, if it was once necessary, is no longer necessary; and, if no longer necessary, such separate existence is no longer justified." He asked Lutherans to consider that the Gospel "can be proclaimed today in the Roman Catholic Church, and in fact is so proclaimed. Moreover, it is by no means evident that the Lutheran denomination of our time does, as a matter of fact, bear witness to the Gospel."
The problem with Lutheranism, insists Neuhaus, is that it "has not understood that the Church is an integral part of the Gospel. The Church is neither an abstract idea nor merely a voluntary association of believers, but a divinely commissioned and ordered community of faith, worship, and discipleship through time."
In a generous praise of his former co-religionists, he asks them to try to understand his conversion, no matter how displeased they might be by it.
Neuhaus is well-respected by people of varying faiths. His conversion will no doubt impel others to think more seriously of Rome's claims, and we can expect to see a continuing wave of conversions of well-known intellectuals. The last time that happened in the English-speaking world was in the twenties.
When they met him for their ad limina visits, Pope John Paul II warned the bishops of the West Indies about Fundamentalist sects. He said "various sects, sometimes using unworthy means, are disturbing Catholics in their beliefs, especially when instruction in the faith is limited." He asked for "sound formation" and said confession must be stressed.
On the left of the large ad, the Bible. On the right, a sensuous model in high heels and silky blouse and pants. Between the two, the headline: "LOOK & FEEL 20 YEARS YOUNGER WITH BIBLE HERBS."
The text begins this way: "Miraculous Bible herbs can make you look and feel 20 years younger and give you boundless, youthful energy, says an expert. And they'll even lower blood pressure. . . . At least 100 herb-producing plants are mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. When taken alone, added to food, or brewed as tea, they help restore vigor, calm nerves, lower blood pressure, fight pain, flush poisonous waste and fat, improve circulation and digestion, and strengthen functions of the heart, lungs, and kidneys."
Seventeen herbs are touted, among them these:
"Cayenne--Biblical experts say this sweat-producing pepper cleans the stomach and fights sore throat, fever, and colds." (The next time you have a sore throat, throw some cayenne pepper on it and see what happens. For a similar effect, the next time you have a wound, pour salt into it.)
"Coriander--This healthful herb is the manna that miraculously fed the Israelites during their 40-year journey through the desert." (Test: Eat nothing but coriander for just one week. If you live, let us know how you're feeling.)
"Horseradish--Eaten at the Last Supper, this bitter herb dissolves fat in the cells, rids the body of harmful toxins, flushes excess water, and purifies the kidneys." (Nowadays Christians use Grey Poupon instead.)
"Saffron--Mentioned in the Song of Songs (4:14), it energizes the body and flushes poisons and gas from the stomach and intestines." (No comment.)
Christianity and Crisis is not what you would call a magazine tied to traditional Christianity, as you can tell from a quick look at the classified ad section in the September 10 issue. One of the ads:
"PRO-CHOICE: FROM WOMB TO TOMB--A CONVERSATION ABOUT EUTHANASIA. The issue of the right to die is discussed by an 84-year-old widow who is choosing suicide, since active euthanasia is illegal, to avoid enforced survival should she suffer a massive stroke. This 30-minute video is intended as an educational tool and to encourage changing state laws to allow persons to opt for a humane end to life when the quality of life is gone." The graphic on the cover of this issue features, quite appropriately, a pair of skulls.
One of the letters to the editor, from the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Granville, Ohio, offers conclusive proof that not all Baptists are Fundamentalists:
"Only when the official voices of the ecumenical church can say unequivocally that homosexuality is not a sin, that 'just as I am without one plea' means homosexual lovers too, that the Bible gives us an inescapable directive not only to embrace our lesbian sisters and gay brothers but to stand with them in the path of this Christian- sanctioned violence, to become indistinguishable from them, only then will the redemption of the cross reach the church in the sin" [sic].
It's a bit garbled, but you get the drift: There's nothing wrong with homosexual acts; the problem is the attitude of Christians toward homosexuality. There is every indication this letter reflects the ethos of the magazine in which it appears.
Christianity and Crisis has been around a half century, which is a long time for a magazine, but will it have an audience in another half century? Will people who endorse what it seems to endorse today still bother to call themselves and to think of themselves as Christians? Will they feel comfortable with an essentially secular magazine which calls itself Christian?
In the Western world we see a shaking out. Today the condition is muddled, but it's easy to imagine that in a few years, a few decades at most, it will be self-described secularists on one side, believing Christians on the other, with no confusing the two. "Secular Christianity," to use an awkward term, may have disappeared as being a false middle group.
Christianity by then may be reduced, mainly, to the churches which consider themselves "orthodox"--whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or traditional Protestant. They hold in common such basics as the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the reality of sin, and the continued relevance of the Ten Commandments. On the other side, the majority side, will be the secularists, many of whom will be former Christians now mercifully free from the need to pretend to be Christians.
Will such a drawing of clear lines of distinction be good or bad? Our guess: in the long run, good.
Scientologists are a clever lot. Whatever else you may think of them, give them credit for marketing savvy. The Church of Scientology has been placing a full-color insert (16 oversized pages) in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, and the insert is attractive and has been noticed. It praises Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
The insert asks if there is a solution to today's woes, particularly drugs, stress, and violence. "YES: SCIENTOLOGY IS THE SOLUTION." For proof, just look at the bar chart to see what Scientology can do for you. "Made me much happier": 64 percent. "Enabled me to help others better": 80 percent. "Improved my life": 89 percent. Above the chart are photographs of a smiling young couple, a pair of middle-aged joggers (also smiling), a junior executive being congratulated by his colleagues (all smiling), and a performing artist (not smiling).
What does Scientology do and teach? "The Church provides individual counseling called auditing. . . . Scientology auditing takes up areas of a person's life that he is having trouble with or that he is confused about and relieves the upset and trauma associated with them, restoring happiness and lost abilities. . . . Auditing is the only workable solution which allows one to reach full spiritual freedom."
The auditing process uses what's called an E-Meter. "The E-Meter does not diagnose or cure anything, but is a religious artifact used by Scientology ministers to assist in locating specifically what to address in auditing. It is the only instrument that can accurately measure thought."
The E-Meter looks not unlike a young child's toy airplane cockpit. It's made of plastic and has fold-out legs so it can stand before you at a sharp angle. On the face are several knobs, three digital read-outs, and a needle indicator. To make it work, you sit with an auditor, who watches the indicators while you c.asp two metal cylinders which look suspiciously like tin cans. You're asked questions, and the cylinders pick up certain signals from your body. These are displayed on the E-Meter and guide the auditor in counseling you.
Auditing can be great fun, apparently. (A photograph shows a man and women sitting across from one another. She's making notes about what the E-Meter says. He's holding the cylinders and laughing.) Auditing also can be expensive--very expensive.
To reach "clear," the state in which your problems have been identified and removed, requires a lengthy series of auditing sessions, some of which are grotesquely expensive. It's not uncommon to hear about Scientologists who have mortgaged their homes and spent tens of thousands of dollars on auditing sessions. The deeper they get into debt, the less reason they have to leave Scientology. After all, they've made such a giant investment.
The principles (or, depending on your point of view, gimmicks) of Scientology were "discovered" by the late L. Ron Hubbard, who outlined them in Dianetics. You've probably seen the television ads for the book, which is claimed to be a best seller--which is true, but there's a twist to the story.
Non-Scientologists don't seem to buy Dianetics. Those few who do buy it don't seem to read it. Most of the purchasers are Scientologists assigned to visit book stores regularly. Their marching orders: buy, buy, buy. Some Scientologists have closets full of Dianetics. Some purchase every copy a book store has.
How are the books getting onto the shelves in the first place? Through sweetheart deals with the book stores. Most publishers give retailers a 40 percent discount off the list price. From this the stores pay their overhead and make their profit. The Church of Scientology gives a far steeper discount, and it "guarantees" sales. (The book stores don't have to worry about "returns," unsold copies.)
This means a fantastic profit for the stores, which, in the industry custom, then report that Dianetics is moving fast. This means Dianetics gets listed on the all-time best-seller lists. And that, in a roundabout way, is how Scientology is "proved" to be true.
After all, the book wouldn't be selling out if the public weren't interested in Scientology, right? And people wouldn't be interested in Scientology unless it were true, right?
Many folks think that makes sense--but not as many as the Church of Scientology would like you to think. No matter how slick its promotional pieces or how ubiquitous its books, the Church of Scientology has few members.
Here is what it claims: "In just over 35 years, the Church of Scientology has grown from one church in the United States to over 700 churches, missions, and groups in more than 65 countries around the world. As the fastest growing religion in the world, it has millions of members on six continents."
This claim is undercut two ways. The insert in the Los Angeles Times lists Scientology churches--41 in the United States, others in Canada, the United Kingdom, even in Zimbabwe and South Africa. In all, 72 churches. But are all of these really churches? The one in San Diego is in an office building downtown. Presumably others are mere storefronts. Perhaps these are what Scientology terms "missions" or "groups." No matter how you add up the floor space, you can't squeeze "millions" of Scientologists into these places.
There's another reason to think the claim of millions of members is advertising puffery. The insert claims that last year 10 million hours of auditing were given. If there are just one million Scientologists in the world, that would be an average of ten hours of auditing for each.
But auditing is the sacrament of Scientology. Without auditing, Scientology ceases. Does it make sense to say each Scientologist spends only ten hours a year auditing? No, especially when you factor in that many of them spend thousands of dollars yearly for auditing sessions.
Assume a modest 200 hours yearly spent in auditing. That works out to 50,000 Scientologists. And if the figure of 10 million auditing hours is inflated (which it probably is, considering the Church's book store scam), then there are even fewer Scientologists.
Is Scientology dangerous? Not as dangerous as some think. It's too silly to be really dangerous. (E-Meters look like toy surprises you'd expect to find in super-giant-sized boxes of Cracker Jacks.) The Church has been in trouble with the IRS, which says it really isn't a church at all. Be that as it may, Scientology is known only because it advertises itself and its founder, not because the masses are streaming into it.
Scientology attracts a certain crowd: mainly young, professional, on the way up the corporate ladder--people who admit they have problems but who seek the solution in technology, not faith. A disproportionate number of Scientologists are avid science fiction fans. (Hubbard wrote science fiction stories--we mean other than Dianetics.)
The folks who are attracted to Scientology seem to consider themselves special, forward-looking, avant garde. Scientology has a certain cachet. It's new, it's fun, and you can spend your way into thinking it works. But don't expect it to be around in a few more decades.
Patrick Madrid was explaining to a Spanish-speaking audience that the Book of Mormon says dark-skinned Hispanics inherit that trait from ancient South Americans who were cursed by God. They can hope to have their skin lightened in this life, if they live as good Mormons.
On hearing that, a Mexican woman left the auditorium. She was overheard to say, "I want to get out of here before I turn white!"