Friday, June 1, 2007

Chanhassen Newspaper Scratches the Surface on Eckankar Fraud

Source: Chanhassen Villager

Book questions foundation of Eckankar religion
Richard Crawford, Staff Writer

Ford Johnson spent years as a leading speaker for Eckankar and traveled across the U.S. and overseas to spread its message. Now, Johnson is on a mission that questions the historical foundation of the religion, which is based in Chanhassen.


Johnson, who lives in Washington, D.C., is author of a new book called "Confessions of a God Seeker: A Journey to Higher Consciousness."

The book revolves around his nearly 30-year association with Eckankar and his break from the group in 2001.

The book, now being sold on Amazon.com, alleges that the modern-day founder
of Eckankar, Paul Twitchell, now deceased, fabricated the historical underpinnings of the religion and plagiarized much of the material that forms its basis.

In July, Johnson said he sent an open letter to Harold Klemp, the current religious leader of Eckankar, and informed him of the pending publication of "Confessions" and invited Eckankar to point out any inaccuracies in the book.

Johnson said he has received no direct reply.

But Eckankar President Peter Skelskey issued the following statement in response to questions posed by the Villager:

"Every religion has its critics," according to the statement by Skelskey. "This is why there are so many religions and spiritual paths in the world. The real question for any seeker of truth is this -- does the teaching work for you? Does it bring more of God's love and charity for others into your life?

"Each of us must decide our own path home to God. This is the gift of spiritual freedom.

"Those who want to know more about Paul Twitchell and the beginnings of Eckankar can visit our Web site at www.eckankar.org. There they will find an extensive archive of talks and articles from the spiritual leader of Eckankar, Harold Klemp, including a series of public talks that he gave almost 20 years ago.

"Religious critics come and go. Ultimately, people make their own choices about what rings true in their heart."

Johnson's book isn't the first to take aim at Eckankar's history. In 1993, a book by David Lane titled "The Making of a Spiritual Movement: The Untold Story of Paul Twitchell and Eckankar" also questioned Eckankar's foundation.

Lane, however, did not hold the stature in Eckankar that Johnson had obtained.

Johnson has been one of the foremost speakers for the religion worldwide and in the past 10 years he said he's traveled to Eckankar seminars in Europe, Africa, and Canada as a keynote speaker.

"I had committed my life to spiritual service in Eckankar," according to Johnson's July letter to Klemp. "Over a period of 30 years, some working directly with you, I have traveled as many miles and spoken before as many people as anyone in Eckankar. I was perfectly prepared to continue this service for as long as I was capable, such was my dedication, belief and
love for this teaching."

Johnson said he came to his realization about the alleged "fictitious" background of Eckankar, after he attempted to notify Klemp about a person in England who was having religious experiences that Johnson thought Eckankar leaders should hear about.

But after informing Klemp of the man's experiences, Johnson claims he was disciplined and told to undertake a study of Eckankar materials.

Johnson said that rejection from Klemp and the period of intense study prompted him to write the book.

The 500-page book raises questions about the historical accuracy of some of the religious experiences Twitchell claims to have had in his life as well as documents how some of the historical basis of Eckankar contains information attributed to other religions. Eckankar, which began as a modern-day religion in the mid-1960s, claims to have an ancient lineage
of spiritual leaders.

Johnson maintains in his book that Twitchell had a condition that contributed to the alleged fabrications:

"'Confessions' reveals that Paul Twitchell was troubled with a condition called Mythomania," Johnson said in the July letter. "Paul deceived himself and others because he could not control his impulse to lie and fabricate the most incredible stories, which at times he fervently believed. And they literally number in the hundreds."

Eckankar leaders have addressed what Johnson refers to as plagiarism, in part, by explaining that there is an "astral library" where some of Twitchell's writings came from.

In a 1984 essay by Klemp, which is posted on the Eckankar Web site, Klemp refers to the astral library: [editor's note: If this is true, then Eckankar wouldn't mind people stealing its writings or using its trademarked logos and artwork. Afterall, we could just claim these things exist on the inner planes and would be free of the arm of the federal law. In other words, Eckankar and Klemp have a convenient explanation that only holds water in their manufactured world of delusion. Would this kind of rhetoric hold up in court, in the real world wherein the Eckankar teachings say you should uphold the law of the land?].

"On these planes there are main libraries connected to the wisdom temples. But there are also many branch libraries. The main library of each wisdom temple is like the Library of Congress, providing the greatest source of all the books and materials ... There are very few writers who can come to this library. Most of the writers from earth go to the branch libraries, so
they don't get to use the best sources. But the good researchers, such as Paul ... can come in here and select the paragraphs that suit their audience."

In a recent phone interview, Johnson said Eckankar should "clean up" the mythology on which the religion is based. He said he believes the religion could flourish and become stronger if the alleged inaccuracies were addressed.

Johnson also maintains that he has heard from many members of Eckankar in
the Washington, D.C., area who have left Eckankar since his book was published.

At the worldwide Eckankar seminar in Minneapolis last month, 4,500 people attended, according to Eckankar officials. During his keynote speech at the seminar, Klemp indicated Eckankar membership was strong in Canada and he said growth in Africa was "astounding."

Johnson, however, believes that membership will decline unless the alleged
mythology behind the religion is addressed.

Johnson said he doesn't regret having spent so much time in Eckankar or having discovered its alleged inaccuracies.

"It is really a good thing," he said, "It allows you to correct your path."

Copyright, 2003, Chanhassen Villager (MN). All Rights Reserved.

25 comments:

rorick19 said...

The truth that Ford speaks is needed greatly. Eckankar is a dangerous mind controlling organization. It is hard to shake of the illusions of truth when you finally have to face the fact of the lies. I speak from experience. Thanks for your article.

Kemosabe said...

I am a former member of 30+ years in Eckankar. Discovering the lies and fraud is only part of the problem. The real problem is Eckankar is dangerous!

Paul Twitchell states "Eckankar was brought to earth millions of years ago by a race called the God Eaters" – Eckankar, Compiled Writings Vol. 1. What Twitchell was referring to was an Alien ET entity that steals "soul energy" (psychic vampires). These beings are well known through out history. The problem is that these beings exist just outside normal human perception and cannot be seen with the physical eyes but felt as energy. They will kill their target!

They take the devotee on a “roller coaster” ride while they are in Eckankar. Our emotional misery is their blood.

Twichell was a student of L. Ron Hubbard, and Hubbard was a student of Aleister Crowley , dubbed “the most evil man alive” during his lifetime. It is well know that these men practiced black magic, summoned demons from different dimensions, and participated in communicating with evil forces.

We are dealing with the same evil that rules planet earth today. The problem is only a few can sense the presence of these creatures. Finally, as we move into 2012 many people are becoming aware of these beings.

Lastly, the spiritual exercises are real. They just are not unique to Eckankar. The Light and Sound practice to generate a positive electromagnetic field has been with humanity since humans were put on this planet. Twichell, Hubbard and others wrapped a religion around this ancient practice and called it their own.

Don’t be angry by the lies and deceit of Eckankar; just be glad you made it out alive! Search Kundalini energy and you will find out more about raising positive energy.
http://www.soundlightmeditation.com

I wish you well on your journey to recovery.

JN

Omotayo said...

I joined Eckankar after several years of doubtful suspicion. The circumstances that led to my membership are entirely personal in their mystical appeal.I was not one who gave much to organised religion as I belived each individual has to decode thier personal mythological dimension before delving into the collective as expressed by mass religion. Now, being an avid reader and one who's open to truth from all sources (as encouraged by Eckancar), I did not only come across literature that were reflective of Eckankar's Ideas but some obviously lifted words and ideas by Mr Twitchel in his numerous works. Was I stumped! I remain in Eckankar till date and still derive my spiritual benefits form the teachings. I was never a Cheala of Paul Twitchel and I also have reasons to sometimes differ form Harold Klemp's views. My divergence from these two Men's methods and (sometimes) ideas did not and will not diminish my quest for truth. I have had the ideas that they have wisely packaged into "religion" being more lucidly delivered by many people who do not long for or lack the ego associated with religion hence the unrestricted wish/will to continue studing these other individuals.

I have known Ford Johnson to be an Eckankar Champion for years. These years include those that I've known about the Eck truths from other avenues and also quitely confirmed Paul Twitchells plagarisms from such books as Path of the Masters and fashioning Starnger by the river after The prophet. Why did it take Mr Ford so long to come out with his position? Could he have a personal situation with the organization? This I ask because I expect a person of his intelectual stature to have known about these situation way before now and probably make its unvailing less sensational.

JulieCatalano said...

I too left Eckankar because of some of the disturbing behavior of the so-called "high initiates." I no longer believe in a religion where hierarchy rules or fear pervades (as in, if you leave, bad things will happen to you). We are ALL equal and any religion that uses fear to retain members is highly questionable. I'm glad I got out. My life is so much more peaceful and productive now.

uncle Bernie said...

Eckankar and Scientology are frauds and scams. Seek Science of The Soulnfor answers.

Tobiwan said...

I knew Paul Twitchell and I disagree with the sour grapes. I never heard of Ford Johnson until years after Paul's passing and his opinions of Paul bespeak, to me, ignorance. It's easy for people to project their own values on others or blame the teacher or the school if one doesn't make the grade. There is no inhibition imposed on anyone who wants to "leave" Eckankar and everyone is encouraged to follow his or her heart. I have many friends who are members of Eckankar whom I count among the most insightful and open hearted people I know. I also have treasured friends who left Eckankar to follow other paths. Religion is not a one size fits all business; it's about growing ones' relation to God. The rabid criticism of the beliefs of others tells me more about the out-of-touch critic than about the intended target. There are always at least two sides to every story and often many more than two!

Jean Hart said...

I was a member for 26 years, dropping out 3 years ago. I felt the teachings were no longer feeding my quest for truth. It was the same thing being said over and over in different words.
Having seen some of the insidious techniques used by scientology, and realizing that Twitchell was an understudy of L. Ron Hubbard, drove a huge 2x4 into my realization. It was truly boarding on mind control. But most religions do that! I have no regrets for leaving and have not been attacked by any "forces" for leaving! I learned a lot and feel there are many very good and loving people in the organization.

Gordon Lofquist said...

I have seen and heard Ford Johnson on many occasions. Even though he is a good man and somewhat curious as an intellectual, I have always seen him as a "power-seeker" - a "diva" type personality (must have his way or no way at all)... who demands front stage attention (under an implied threat that if such front stage treatment is not given, then it's time to destroy the whole show).

On the other hand, I have watched and listened to Harold Klemp, spiritual leader of Eckankar, on many occasions. He is a sincere, intellectually honest and very curious person. He absolutely is not a "power-seeker" and seeks at every opportunity to encourage freethinking and declares "spiritual freedom" as the primary goal for all members of Eckankar.

This type of mental spitting contest that Ford Johnson falls prey to is similar to the "Leibniz–Newton calculus" controversy. Evidence shows that Gottfried Leibniz and Sir Isaac Newton both invented the mathematics of calculus (in the 17th century) at the same time in different parts of the earth where communication between these different parts of the world could take months or even years. How and where did they each come up with the identical complex invention of calculus?

Einstein's mind experiments and dream experiences that reveal the laws and ways of the universe are very common among inventive and intellectually curious grounbreakers. A serious pursuit to discover these "new" truths includes listening to the answers found in contemplation and "travel" to the inner worlds, where these concepts are revealed, discovered...only "hidden" because the awareness (consciousness) was not fully developed/prepared to receive these "new" truths (that always existed prior to discovery).

Paul Twichell's mission and burning drive was to uncover the common spiritual modus operandi that successful explorers of these "inner worlds" have used throughout mankind's accent into greater consciousness. I have no problem at all with the "Leibniz–Newton calculus" controversy...and I have no problem at all with the controversy of some of Paul Twitchell's writings coinciding with other spiritual explorers.

There is no doubt, upon independent examination and full contemplation of the body of work by both Paul Twitchell and Harold Klemp that they are indeed at the master level (personally and in teaching others) in their field of greater spiritual unfoldment into the unending consciousness of truth...of God.

Gordon Lofquist said...

I have seen and heard Ford Johnson on many occasions. Even though he is a good man and somewhat curious as an intellectual, I have always seen him as a "power-seeker" - a "diva" type personality (must have his way or no way at all)... who demands front stage attention (under an implied threat that if such front stage treatment is not given, then it's time to destroy the whole show).

On the other hand, I have watched and listened to Harold Klemp, spiritual leader of Eckankar, on many occasions. He is a sincere, intellectually honest and very curious person. He absolutely is not a "power-seeker" and seeks at every opportunity to encourage freethinking and declares "spiritual freedom" as the primary goal for all members of Eckankar.

This type of mental spitting contest that Ford Johnson falls prey to is similar to the "Leibniz–Newton calculus" controversy. Evidence shows that Gottfried Leibniz and Sir Isaac Newton both invented the mathematics of calculus (in the 17th century) at the same time in different parts of the earth where communication between these different parts of the world could take months or even years. How and where did they each come up with the identical complex invention of calculus?

Einstein's mind experiments and dream experiences that reveal the laws and ways of the universe are very common among inventive and intellectually curious groundbreakers. A serious pursuit to discover these "new" truths includes listening to the answers found in contemplation and "travel" to the inner worlds, where these concepts are revealed, discovered...only "hidden" because the awareness (consciousness) was not fully developed/prepared to receive these "new" truths (that always existed prior to discovery).

Paul Twichell's mission and burning drive was to uncover the common spiritual modus operandi that successful explorers of these "inner worlds" have used throughout mankind's accent into greater consciousness. I have no problem at all with the "Leibniz–Newton calculus" controversy...and I have no problem at all with the controversy of some of Paul Twitchell's writings coinciding with other spiritual explorers.

There is no doubt, upon independent examination and full contemplation of the body of work by both Paul Twitchell and Harold Klemp that they are indeed at the master level (personally and in teaching others) in their field of greater spiritual unfoldment into the unending consciousness of truth...of God.

Gordon Lofquist said...

Corrections: 1.) "groundbreakers", not "grounbreakers"; 2.) "ascent", not "accent"

Trish said...

I was a member of eckankar for a few years and although I loved the fellowship and interesting discussions, always felt that some of eckankar had been "fabricated" There were just things that did not add up and you could not get real answers to some questions. Also, some of the eckists I knew in my area were very manipulative ... and that just didn't sit right with me ... there was hypocrisy and that is not true spirituality ... my quest continues ....

anil patel said...

What happened to the concept of basing your truth upon your personal direct experiences?
as a member of ECK, what Paul Twitchell or Harold Klemp have written about makes no difference to me. I have experienced the indescribable bliss of the sound current. That experience alone was enough to convince me that there was something of value and unique in this teaching. Harold also offers many inspiring messages on how to live a proactive, positive life based on unconditional love and service. Finally, I have met some of the most wonderful, clear, balanced individuals within the membership of ECK. Poeple from all walks of life who are genuine, sincere seekers of truth. Membership dues are charged to offset the administrative costs of newsletters, discourses, and other materials that are mailed out. ECKANKAR is a not-for-profit organization. For those who put in the self-discipline and sincere effort in spiritual exercise and study, will reap the benefits as
documented in the literature. I personally, do not know of a more effective teaching with the tools to discover and prove it to yourself.

Will Thiessen said...

Those who have NOT had high Spiritual experiences, and or are not
perhaps unfolded enough, will tend to criticize movements LIKE Eckankar..

They can only go by the common "subterfuge" acceptance as most population does. Eckankar is on the highest level.. A long time member; W.T.

Mayen Inyang said...

Eckankar is an individual path, which religion has a clear background? Is it christianity? Example, if adam and eve where the first people on earth, where did Cain's wife come from? genesis 4:17. Its not about write-ups. Eckankar is a practical path. People will always find something to say. Ford Johnson should go and sort himself out and play low on his thirst for power. Am an eckist and a VERY proud one at that

omofelawale said...

So let us be clear what the critics of Eckankar are concerned about is the history of Eckankar and some of Paul's writing which were not properly cited so they attribute it to a name we in society have demagogued "plagiarism" Ok but none of them have attempted to discuss the merits of the practicality of the teachings which is to help one get in touch with one's greater self and be real to one's self and the world around us period. In order words are you able to achieve an elevated level of consciousness when you practise the spiritual exercises? How do they help you as compared to the other alternatives out there? Most people in the world today believe Jesus was born on 25th december is it true? Does it matter or does the moral teachings of the Bible elevate me spiritually? The inaccuracies of the Bible and koran are well documented. No religion is perfect but the onus is on us to make the best out of it. Eckankar is a path if it does not work for you does not mean its not ok. Humans existed billions of years before christianity Islam Eckankar Buddisim and every other religion however its possible that some people found a way to connect to their higher selves while others did not. The mere fact that one goes out there to condemn one religion totally on its own is wrong and this is where Ford's argument loose's its merit fundamentally.

Bee said...

Grateful to be an Eckist! My EK tattoo on my left arm is a symbol and a reminder of Sugmads (God) love for me and my love for HU chant.

kermit schmit said...

See the following link for greater detail on eckankar.
https://www.ripoffreport.com/Search/eckankar.aspx

My experience with eckankar has been traumatic. It is by far the most insideous subtle form of mind control in a religion I have ever seen. I was- member for 42 years and I saw EVERYTHING, behind closed doors. The spiritual exercises can be had in many other sound and light paths. The whole premise behind eckankar now is mind and emotional manipulation which is done in extremely sophisticated, conniving and cunning ways by the higher initiates. Higher initiates who got there by their skill in dark manipulation of the membership. Eckankar is under investigation in many countries around the world for tax evasion and money laundering. Eckankar is an organization of interest to the authorities now. That is my conclusion. Eckankar is dangerous plain and simple. You will not know the damage that has been done to you until years later when you get off the ride. Beyond the concept of dark magic, eckankar fits that description very well. Paul Twitchell despite his lies had in the end result integrity and compassion for others. The new mob crew running the gears now are highly fraud minded and they should do the right thing and shut down. I think the courts eventually will pull the curtain back and see the wizard as just a sad selfish little man. My advice stay clear of eckankar.

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John Mulvey said...


From: John M. in Wisconsin

Paul Twitchell had an old teaching
that he would often mention, that teaching was, "Is it true,is it necessary,is it kind?" If one of those criteria were not met, then one should question himself as to whether something should be shared.
We each have things in our lives that bring us comfort, and we each have things in our lives that make us uncomfortable. We each are unique as soul and are all beloved of God.
When we speak of others it reveals our heart. If we have love in our hearts, than the things that we say have the compassion of a loving soul, a soul who knows that each of us travel a unique path of learning and growth.
The lower worlds are intended to be a place of intrigue, discord and deception. It is our responsibility as soul to see past such things and find the heart of God. Some find the heart of God through the teachings of Eckankar, some find it elsewhere. We all as soul, have that individual right.


liska v kurniku said...

Please keep in mind that many of the positive comments on this blog are by brainwashed Eckists. I know this because I used to be one myself for over 30 years. I was a so called "HI and ESA" (Higher Initiate and Eck Spiritual Aide).

I had a lifetime membership and gladly gave it up when I started having spiritual experiences that showed what a fraud the organization was. For example, members are never told how their contributions are used. Other religions send out an annual report stating specifically the allocation of funds.

Once you wake up from the entire Eckankar delusion, you realize that you don't need an intermediary between yourself and the Supreme Being, even if this grand poobah carries overblown titles like "Sri Harold Klemp, the Mahanta and the Living Eck Master". Just like in the Wizard of Oz, once you move the curtain aside, you will see a small insecure man with his own troubles and ignorance.

In one of the high initiate discourses, Harold Klemp proclaims himself to be God on earth. It's interesting to note that he waited until you have been in Eckankar at least 10 years. He waited until you are totally brainwashed and delusional before he declares himself God.

I would recommend a cure for the Eckankar delusion by researching a Sant Mat teacher named Baba Faqir Chand.

After I left Eckankar my spiritual experiences became much greater and more profound. Before that, Eckankar with its narrow viewpoint and false teachings had been holding me back.

liška v kurníku

Interested Viewer said...

As far as the financial misallocations, I'd just like to say that the Old Testament says to tithe 10% of your income to the church. Eckankar, when I was in it years ago, charged around $200 for a yearly membership. Maybe it's around $300 now. That is a wayyy lot less than 10% of the income of me or anyone else I know. My second point is that one has to look past certain things in any religion or spiritual path, if the path is generally "working" for you and fits you well for the most part. This is an imperfect world (or plane of existence; whatever) and as such I don't know of any religious group--maybe there is one...somewhere--that doesn't have at least a few fantastic stories that just likely did not happen. As for plagiarism, as a scientist it is unacceptable in my field, but it may be a pardonable 'sin' for Paul bringing in such an interesting and light-giving set of teachings--if one is open to it. Finally, after being involved in a number of groups--philanthopic as well as spiritual--I think it is clear that corruption occurs at the higher levels of just about any organization. What is the saying? Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Regardless of the spiritual initiation level of any one of us, we are all humans that have a body and mind with a personality--and an ego. Unless one is dead, they have an ego. And that is a part of one's self that even the highest of masters must contend with while having a body. In the end, if someone finds utility and workability in Eckankar, then I say more power to them.

johny mcroy said...

so what do you guys are suggesting?
im young,im looking for the truth, where can i find it ?... its same story about every single religions in the world...
they are many followers who prejudice about eckankar while many others simply disagree
i cant find any proved religion.