The following is excerpted from Ford Johnson's website on Eckankar. Dr Johnson's work brings to light the multitude of fallacies, frauds and manipulations to which Eckankar is heir...
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From “Confessions of a God Seeker: A Journey to Higher Consciousness,” by Ford Johnson, pp. 145-148.
The Techniques of Fear and Deception
In a particularly revealing passage from a letter sent to his chelas, Paul provides sound advice on avoiding the tricks of fear that other masters use to trap their followers. Yet, even this advice is part of another device. When someone warns you of tricks others may play, he builds your trust and perhaps even lessens your suspicion that he is a trickster himself. Here is how Paul uses this device:
The oldest technique of keeping the loyalty of the chela by many teachers is with fear. This is true in the methods of those teachers on the lower plane levels. Because they grow afraid of losing their chelas to a Master on the higher level, the old fear tactics will be drummed into those who desire to move away from the psychic plane elements into the God planes. 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.”(Paul Twitchell, Eckankar: Illuminated Way Letters 1966-1971 (San Diego: Illuminated Way Press, 1975), p. 94.)
After warning the chela of what to look for and why some teachers indulge in fear tactics, Paul invokes the very same tactic:
The wrath of the ECK crashes down upon anyone who is still a slave to the ego and deserts the master. Not once will he see the connection between his betrayal of the ECK and the horrendous troubles that strike him down like a plague on every hand. And thus he goes downward on the spiral of awareness until he leaves this body in hopeless despair, still wondering why the fates have treated him so cruelly. (See Harold Klemp, The ECK Satsang Discourses, Third Series, Letter 8. See also http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1756/eck/txt. )
A threat of violence is added:
Whosoever . . . shall divulge the secrets of his initiation . . . shall be deprived of his sight and tongue in order to never again be able to say anything about the degrees of initiation in ECKANKAR. (Twitchell, Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, II: 150.)
To ridicule, to scorn, to speak mockingly of the words of the Mahanta, and not to have faith in him and the cause of ECK is to bring woes on the advocator of doubt. It brings his karmic progress to a halt, increases his incarnations in this world, and causes him to suffer untold hardships. The ignorant and the naive will never understand, nor shall they learn by experiencing the slow death brought about by their own overt acts against the Mahanta and the ECK. This is actually creating overt acts against the SUGMAD. (Twitchell, Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, I: 107.)
But once the chela has become a member of the inner circle, he cannot resign. . . . Those few have found that spiritual decay sets in immediately, affecting the health, material life, and spiritual life, and brings death more swiftly. (Twitchell, Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, II: 166.)
And for those who have the temerity to see Paul’s deception and revolt in an effort to free themselves from it, he has planted a final land mine:
When the Living ECK Master’s position is attacked by revolt, or by dissatisfaction by the followers of ECK, he will defend himself. Not in the way many would expect, but in ways that few can recognize. The defense will come from the inner planes, and by means of the ECK. Those who revolt or become dissatisfied cannot bring about any attack upon the Living ECK Master or his position in life. If they do, there is always the swiftest of retribution, which is not always recognized by the receiver nor [sic] those who might have observed the occasion. (Twitchell, Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, I: 119.)
Many years ago, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, our housekeeper refused to come to work because the local witch doctor had placed a curse that made her fear for her life. None of our confidence boosters could persuade her to return to work. Finally, she went to another juju man, who cast a powerful spell that she believed overpowered the first one. She then returned, much relieved that the power of the first curse had been dissipated.
What Paul has working here is the same technique employed by the witch doctor. It is a technique used by those in power to keep people in check and frighten them into staying. Paul was not above this. But the more important point for those who desire to break this spell is to know that no master, or any other person, has control or power over us, unless we believe in his power and doubt the control we have over our own lives. There are countless stories circulating among Eckists about those who have left the teaching and fallen into harm’s way. But these experiences, if true, are of their own making. They were infected by the curses that Paul had created and this infection (belief) caused the curses to manifest in their lives.