A Course in Miracles


What you Need to Know

Sitting on my bookshelf is a book called “A Course in Miracles,” (ACIM) a 1,249-page book and study manual, authored by research psychologist, Helen Schucman that was channeled through an “inner voice”. Between 1965 and 1972, Helen, a professor at Columbia University, and an atheist at the time, claims that she heard the “voice” of Jesus Christ who dictated to her over a seven-year period.

Many people today are at least familiar with Helen's book, as the title is very catchy, as well as that it has sold three million copies since its first printing and promoted by American talk show host, Ophra Winfrey. Although I have the book on my bookshelf, I have never read it. I inherited it from my husband when we divorced. After he became a messenger for Jesus he wrote his own yearly course study from his "Jesus" he called, Master Keys to Personal Christhood. It did not sell millions of copies, to say the least, probably way less than a thousand since it was published in 2008. The title includes the word "miracle" but the word does not mean miracles such in the way that Jesus performed. In this title it means " expressions of love"

Almost a decade ago I did read the story about the creation and creators of this book through my local library in a book called A Course In Miracles: The Lives Of Helen Schucman & William Thetford, written  by Neal Vahle. The book is no longer being published, so I cannot quote from it, but I came away from that book quite astounded with the characters in the story and how ungodly was their behavior and interaction with each other. The first two main characters were Helen, the scribe for "Jesus", and her coscribe and editor Dr. William Thetford, an agnostic teacher and research assistant to the famed psychologist Dr. Carl Rogers.

The other two important people connected with the publishing of ACIM were Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, who met Helen in 1972 and Judith Skutch. Dr. Wapnick was born a Jew but became an agnostic, then becoming a Catholic so he could become a Trappist monk. He admitted he had little interest in Jesus or the Catholic doctrine, or Christianity, he said, and his only interest was to be alone and live a monastic life, but after meeting Helen he gave that up to become a teacher of Helen's materials. He was a psychologist, psychotherapist, author, and after the publication of the book, a teacher of the Course in Miracles. He helped Helen edit the book word for word during 1974-75, which caused Bill to step back and cease almost all involvement anymore with the book. Bill eventually separated from any further relationship with Helen. Kenneth later stated that Bill and Helen never healed their relationship, and Bill told him before his death that he believed he had forgiven Helen (who had been dead seven years).

Kenneth got to know Helen very well. He later said in an interview that Helen was a complex person. She carried anger all her life, which later turned to resignation. She kept Jesus away from her, wanting nothing to do with him after the book was finished. He said that she would not apply the principles of the Course, although he felt she knew them very well. It appears that neither Helen or Bill practiced the Course or desired to. Kenneth said she helped thousands of people over the years, before and after they met, but she did not usually like the people that she helped and resented the fact that she would have to help them. 

Judith Skutch, a Jewish parapsychological  investigator met Helen the year the book was ready to be published, realizing that they could not get the book through a publisher without severe editing, Judith, and her husband Robert, through the Foundation for Inner Peace founded in 1972, published the book for them. Judith said, in answering what her friends and colleagues thought of the Course, that "it seems to have a great appeal to psychiatrists, psychologists, hypnotherapists and other people who are concerned with psychotherapy, since it has a direct application to their work. In a sense, it is a psychotherapeutic system; it says that only the mind can be sick or mistaken—and the body simply responds to the errors of the mind in terms of physical illness."

Helen Schucman (1909-1981)
Helen was raised in a wealthy Jewish family, but not by strict Jews. She was encouraged to sample many faiths before choosing her own belief system. Helen's mother had been a Christian Scientist, and read to Helen the writings of Mary Baker Eddy all during her childhood. Helen tried Catholicism, Judaism, Southern Baptist teachings, atheism and agnosticism, remaining a somewhat agnostic in her adult years. She earned a Ph.D in psychology in 1958. She held positions as Associate Research Scientist, Chief Psychologist at the Neurological Institute of the Presbyterian Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. William Thetford hired Helen to work as a Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City in 1958. Their relationship was turbulent, and they clashed constantly.  While they seemed to care for one another at times, believing they had this important joint work together to do that no one knew about but Helen's husband, they kept focused on their goal, still with their clashes that gave the appearance that they had a love/hate relationship. Helen was known for her overtly critical and judgmental stance on things, as well as being very controlling, while Bill had a more passive aggressive personality.

Helen had many fears and paranoias, and acted like a typical neurotic—phobic and anxious. I read somewhere that many who enter the field of psychology do so out of an initial interest to heal themselves. Whether this is true or not, some prominent psychologists have revealed that they have dealt with their own mental illnesses. Few can actually come forward and admit it though because of the fear that their revelation would diminish their professional credibility. From my own personal experience this idea was confirmed with one of my cousins who had a doctorate in psychology. He has been an alcoholic all his life, and is gay, and definitely has major issues. Helen certainly had symptoms of mental illness.

Their department was filled with competition and hostility between coworkers. There were a lot of scenes of strife and competition, despite the fact that all of them were psychologists. One day Bill, dreading a staff meeting and the typical conflict involved, especially between he and Helen, suggested to Helen before the meeting that “There must be another way.” He declared that he was determined not to get angry in the meeting and not to attack his coworkers. He said he was going to look for the constructive side in what people said, and cooperate with them rather than compete. Helen, surprisingly, agreed.

It is believed that the birth of ACIM began with their "peace" agreement. Over the months that followed Helen experienced a series of dreams and psychic experiences. She had dreams of a large book that was somehow “her” book. She began having mental conversations with a voice she identified as Jesus. She began asking questions to this "Jesus" about her life, and about Bill’s, then she wrote down the answers. However, she describes she was not at peace with this process, as it brought up fears that disturbed her, one being the fear for her own sanity.

As Helen wrote about her thoughts at the time:

"It made me very uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete. It represented a truly collaborative venture between Bill and myself, and much of its significance, I am sure, lies in that. I could neither account for nor reconcile my obviously inconsistent attitudes. On the one hand I still regarded myself as officially an agnostic, resented the material I was taking down, and was strongly impelled to attack it and prove it wrong. On the other hand I spent considerable time in taking it down and later in dictating it to Bill, so it was apparent that I took it quite seriously. I actually came to refer to it as my life's work. As Bill pointed out, I must believe in it if only because I argued with it so much. While this was true, it did not help me. I was in the impossible position of not believing my own life's work. The situation was clearly ridiculous as well as painful."

She eventually shared with Bill what was happening to her. He encouraged her to continue and thus began their collaborative work together. The actual process of the scribing Helen said was not difficult. She would write down Jesus' words in shorthand notebooks, and whenever she and Bill had time during a very busy schedule, she would dictate to Bill what had been dictated to her. Bill would then type it directly from Helen's dictation, acting as transcriber.  After publishing the manuscript neither Bill or Helen wanted their name attached to it, concerned with what some of their colleagues in the scientific community might think. Thus there was no author credited in any of the publications.

Dr. William Thetford (Bill) - (1923 –1988)
William was born into a Christian Science family. Christian Science shares a lot in common with A Course In Miracles. His family turned away from Christian Science when he was a boy because of the death of a sibling of his from a failed Christian Science healing. That experience soured them of the Christian Science religion and they became more agnostic.

He graduated with majors in psychology and pre-medicine in 1944 and in 1949 he received his Ph.D. in psychology. When he was in college he worked as an administrative assistant on the Manhattan Project, which is known for producing the first nuclear weapons. in 1951 to 1954 he worked for the CIA in something called Project Bluebird which was about mind control. This project was later called ARTICHOKE. From one document on this project:

During the course of experiments, thousands of Americans, often from the most powerless segments of our population, like mental patients and prisoners, were subject to disgustingly perverse and grossly unethical procedures performed by the best and brightest psychiatrists and medical doctors at the most prestigious institutions in all the land. BLUEBIRD researchers worked tirelessly to create Manchurian Candidates as well as controlled amnesia and hypnotic couriers. Next came Project ARTICHOKE, which intensified research into interrogation, hypnosis and forced opiate addiction.

This program gave people mind altering drugs, including LSD, without the people being aware of it and then the CIA observed their behaviors to see if they could control the minds of people. Apparently Bill was not a part of these mind control activities but was involved in creating something called the Personality Assessment Program.

When Bill left the CIA in 1954 and then went to work for Cornell University the department he went to work for was funded by the CIA. It is possible this job had a connection to his work for the CIA because later there was found some connection. In 1958 he began an assistant professorship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, which later developed into a full professorship. It was here that he would stay for the next 20 years, and where he first met Helen Schucman after hiring her as a research psychologist and assistant.

Bill Thetford was a closet gay man. He lived with a few men during his life in New York City. He led a low-key private life because he didn’t think that it would be good for his professional career, or later for people to know of his lifestyle as one of the main writers with Helen after the ACIM was published. Twice he had relationships with woman, with no sexual involvement, most likely to bolster his heterosexual image to the public. Bill had bad habits like smoking and ate very poorly, had health problems, and bouts with depression himself.

After working with Helen for seven years on the Course, Bill left Colombia University on sabbatical leave in 1976, which was the year A Course In Miracles was published. He was only 53 years old when he took his sabbatical and when the Course was published. He never did return to Colombia. Until his death in 1988 he never taught anyone the Course, although he was present at many study groups after he moved to California.

A Course in Miracle Content
A Course in Miracles contains two parts. Volume 1 is the text itself received from Helen's "Jesus." Volume 2 is a “Workbook for Students,” which offers 365 spiritual lessons and exercises for each day of the year, and Volume 3 the Teacher's Manual. The Workbook explains:

Some of the ideas the Workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.

The Course  is sometimes referred to as "the New Age Bible". The title comes from the Course teachings, as it purports to be a "purifier of Christianity." As explained in the book, "Echoing the Bible, [the Course] thus presents the image of a contemporary revealed scripture, a modern-day message from God to mankind." It is laid out with numbered verses and certainly gives one the impression of looking like a Bible with its cover and layout. However, what is within is antichrist, teaching New Age concepts there are mostly not new to New Agers. The teachings are not far from the teachings of the "New Thought" group of quasi-Christian church groups founded in the late 19th century, including Unity School of Christianity, Church of Religious Science, Church of Divine Science, and Christian Science. 

In the book A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue, published by Kenneth Wapnick's foundation, Wapnick defines the Course and Christianity as "mutually exclusive." Wapnick, the first teacher of the Course, who was taught by Helen himself, writes that "to attempt reconciliation between [the two] must inevitably lead to frustration at best and severe distortion at worst.... 'A Course in Miracles' directly refutes the very basis of the Christian faith, leaving nothing on which Christians can base their beliefs."

Some believe the Course is a sort of brainwashing. The definition of brainwashing is to: "make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure." Except there is no force to make you study the course. It is not violating your free will, but there is an obvious goal to lead you to reprogram your brain, consciousness, or soul, to a new way of "Christianity". By including Jesus as the creator of this new way of thinking, it attempts to lead Christians to believe these are the "true teachings" not recorded in the Bible, when in fact they are very old teachings and concepts that have been around in Buddhism and Hinduism and more recently taken up in New Thought groups. The book is really a course in mind training.

Mind Training
Although there is no proof that this course had anything to do with mind training, some have questioned the links of the CIA during the years when mind control was very much something they were interested in and experimented with. Here are some of the odd connections to the CIA.

The publisher of the Course was the Foundation for the Investigation of Para Sensory Phenomena. As mentioned earlier, Judith Skutch and her husband published the Course through their Foundation for Inner Peace, originally called Foundation for the Investigation of Para Sensory Phenomena. They changed the name to something less obtrusive and more acceptable to Christians and New Agers when they published the Course. Some observers wonder whether this may have been funded by members involved with or employed by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), which at the time was home to the Remote Viewing project - itself sponsored by the CIA. Judith and her Foundation sponsored some of the work at SRI she said was connected with Uri Geller, a psychic and magician, after private demonstrations were done in her apartment in 1973.

The CIA declassified documents revealing the results of experiments it conducted on Geller over eight days in 1973, during which he was tested for "clairvoyant" or "telepathic" abilities. It was part of the "Stargate" program which was aimed at weaponising what the CIA called "remote viewing," and trying to recruit "psychic warriors". They determined that he was psychic. Geller later told the Daily Telegraph the revelations released represented the "tip of the iceberg" of what he had been asked to do by the CIA, and that his television show was just a cover for his espionage work.

Bill and Helen worked together with recording the channeled voice of "Jesus" from 1965 to 1972. During the years between 1971 and 1978, Bill co-headed the CIA’s “Mind Control” MK-ULTRA SubProject 130: Personality Theory. His colleague on this project was David Saunders. One year after Bill began this job with the CIA, in 1972, he and Helen were introduced to Kenneth Wapnick, whom they invited to assist with the editing.

Father Benedict Groeschel, a Catholic priest, knew Helen Schucman both as a teacher and friend. In an interview with Randall Sullivan for his book, The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions, he shared a little bit about his experiences with Helen and what he thought of her book. He also described Bill as "a mysterious character", and "probably the most sinister person I ever met." That is an interesting assessment. Only after Bill retired from teaching did his colleagues (who knew him best as a rare-books expert) discover that during the years they worked with him, he had been employed as an agent of the CIA. Father Groeschel also said Bill was "the most religious atheist I have ever known."

Thus it seems there were some interesting connections involving the CIA and Bill's involvement with the Personality Assessment System (PAS). J.W. Gittinger, the primary personality assessor for MKULTRA, wrote an abstract on the formulation and applications of a theory of personality, the Personality Assessment System, which views personality as a continuous interaction between the innate capabilities of the individual and the external forces of his environment. He pioneered scientific methods to enable him to identify the most susceptible types of personalities for Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, one of the leading scientists on the MKULTRA project. Earlier, in 1961 Helen and Bill co-authored a paper on Gittinger's PAS, but as to what connection they had with Gittinger at that time is not known.

Helen was full of contradictions with her love/hate relationship with Bill, and her relationship with the "Jesus" channeling. Groeschel stated that he was puzzled by Helen's admiration of the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes though outwardly an atheist, and after having been raised a Jew. She would often state to Groeschel, "I hate that damn book," and regularly disavowed its teachings. She was also embarrassed and feared that the book would create a cult, which it did.

Groeschel said he was troubled by the "black hole of rage and depression that Schucman fell into during the last two years of her life." She was dying of pancreatic cancer. He said she had become frightening to be with because of her spewing psychotic hatred not only for A Course in Miracles but "for all things spiritual." He was at her bedside when she lay dying, where she cursed the book in the coarsest barroom language you could imagine, he said. She said it was the worst thing that ever happened to her, which he said raised the hair on the back of his neck and was " truly terrible to witness." Groeschel learned during that time that she was read the teachings of Christian Scientist all during her childhood by her mother. 

The question is was Helen's mind influenced by some kind of mind control? Was the book a part of some mind control from disembodied spirits? or the Devil? Author and Yogi Joel Kramer states that the Course could be considered a classic authoritarian example of programming thought to change beliefs. 

The goal of the teachings is said to be to help people have a spiritual transformation from fear and guilt to love and peace. It aims to remove "the blocks to one's awareness of love's presence," which is every person's natural state of mind. According to a description promoting the book, the "purpose of this system . . . is to draw our minds into a completely different way of thinking.... Education on this level is clearly re-education, which demands, first of all, unlearning." Like all New Age groups and religions, non-dualism plays a large role in the Course, as well as pantheism (All is God, God is All).

ACIM is a "Westernized" Hinduism conforming with the (advaita) school of Vedanta Hinduism, which philosophy is contained within the Vedic Scriptures: The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Oneness is referred to as “Non-duality”, which in sanskrit is known as “Advaita”. Advaita Vedanta teaches that it is through a process called self-inquiry that the Self can be realized. Self-inquiry is encouraged with the fundamental question: “What am I?” Realizing the “I am” consciousness, according to Advaita is the sure path to unlock the mystery of existence and to unleash the gifts of Peace, Freedom and Joy in a pure state of Oneness.

This Vedanta school maintains that the world is ultimately a dream or illusion and that all men and women are in reality divine manifestations of the godhead. Advaita Vedanta does not consider the world as separate from Brahman. Brahman alone exists and due to ignorance we perceive the world as real. The ignorance is illusion and once we realize Brahman, we see all is Brahman, and the Universe and world and yourSelf are all Brahman. One difference between the Course and Vedanta is that the Course says the ego created the illusion and Vedanta that Brahman created the illusion.

The below concepts taught as truth in ACIM include some Biblical terms that undergo drastic changes of purpose in the Course. Often, the new meanings are the opposite of their biblical usage:

  • Man’s greatest problem is not sin, but ignorance. He must learn to control his thoughts and learn to perceive true reality.
  • God is impersonal
  • God is incomplete without me
  • God is a nonphysical love force - no judgment, nor punishment
  • God created you as part of Him, thus you have all power
  • You are a holy Son of God Himself
  • Sin is a grand illusion
  • It is impossible to think of anything God created that could need forgiveness
  • There is no need for anyone’s help to enter Heaven
  • Jesus was just a man who became identified with Christ. The man was an illusion. Jesus came to save us from our illusions. He is the Christ along with you.
  • The First Coming of Christ is another name for creation.
  • The Second Coming is nothing more than the end of the ego’s rule.
  • It is a misinterpretation that God persecuted His own Son on behalf of salvation. Dispel all such thoughts. Jesus was not punished because we were sinful.
  • The Apostles misunderstood the crucifixion through imperfect love and their own fear. Their sense of guilt made them angry.
  • You are one with God. A statement of your true identity.
  • A sense of separation is your only lack you need to correct.
  • The journey to the cross should be the last useless journey - do not make the pathetic error of the old rugged cross
  • Death is the symbol of the fear of God
  • No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners
  • Do not fear the Last Judgment..The Second Coming is merely the return of sense.
  • God did not create the world. The world you see is an illusion.

Atonement is based on the fact that man’s sins separates him from God. Before man can be reconciled to God, there must be a divine judgment of sin. Christians understand Christ sacrificed His own life on the cross and thereby He was judged in our place to accomplish this reconciliation. The Course uses "atonement" to mean one is not, and never has been, separate from God. When "atonement" is used it means correcting the belief that people are separate from God, and students need to help reconcile people to this spiritual truth.

From the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs:

According to the Bible, God freely pardons, or forgives, a believer’s sins on the basis of Jesus Christ’s atonement. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:8-10). Denying the reality of sin, the Course rejects this central biblical teaching, just as it rejects the biblical concept of the Atonement. For the Course, “forgiveness” merely involves the realization that there never were any sins to pardon. Likewise, “sinners” do not exist, because sin is an illusion.

As a result of this distorted theology, the Course’s approach to “salvation” lies in understanding that no one requires salvation in the biblical sense because all men and women are already divine. “Salvation” is merely accepting one’s “true” identity as one essence with God. Therefore, we need nothing from God because each person’s true nature is God.

Sin, guilt, death, judgment, propitiatory atonement, and other biblical doctrines are viewed as “attack” philosophies by the Course; that is, they are concepts that supposedly stand in the way of spiritual “progress” and severely damage the realization of our “true” divine nature. People must become free of these false, enslaving, and evil ideas if they desire true spiritual freedom. Otherwise, they choose to “remain in hell” and to “kill” the God of love.

In this world view, orthodox Christian beliefs (biblical teachings given by the one true God) are held to be “evil,” “insane,” and “anti-Christ.” (Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs by John Ankerberg, John Weldon)

Testimony of a Former ACIM Devoted Follower
Warren Smith grew up in a very liberal church. He had little understanding on the purpose of Jesus' life and death. His interest in the occult and New Age began with a fluke visit to a psychic to please his girlfriend. The psychic told him that angels, loved ones that have passed on, and spiritual beings are interested in your welfare and would like to help you, but you have to ask them to help you. So he made a prayer for all on the other side to help him become more spiritual. The first thing he was led to in two separate incidences were two books on Rajaneesh, which led him to join the cult during the 1980's.

One day someone gave him a book by Gerald Jampolsky called Love is Letting Go of Fear. Jampolsky, a former Jew and then atheist, was introduced to A Course in Miracles through Judith Skutch during a time when he had become an alcoholic and was going through a painful divorce. He said he had difficulty learning and was an undiagnosed dyslexic who became a fearful person, overly controlling, and judgmental. Jampolsky became a psychiatrist, and making money, and then more money, had become his goal. Yet even with money he found little happiness and carried guilt that caused him chronic pain. In his book he explains how the Course changed his life. He wrote:

“I began to change my way of looking at the world in 1975. Until then I had considered myself a militant atheist, and the last thing I was consciously interested in was being on a spiritual pathway that would lead to God. In that year I was introduced to… A Course in Miracles…. My resistance was immediate…. Nevertheless, after reading just one page, I had a sudden and dramatic experience. There was an instantaneous memory of God, a feeling of oneness with everyone in the world, and the belief that my only function on earth was to serve God.

“Because of my Jewish background, however, I found that, as I got into the course, I developed a great deal of resistance to its Christian terminology….

“Because of the profound effect the course had on my life, I decided to apply its principles in working with catastrophically ill children. In 1975, my inner guidance led me to help establish The Center for Attitudinal Healing in Tiburon, California, to fulfill that function."

The center Jampolsky founded was under the direction of an “inner voice,” he said, which instructed him to establish a center where the principles of the Course could be taught and demonstrated. In his book  Good-Bye to Guilt, Jampolsky confesses that “Jesus” became his spirit guide and even possessed him in order to act and speak through him. Jampolsky has been featured not only in New Age circles but has appeared on the Phil Donahue ShowToday, and 60 Minutes and at least twice on Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power and hosted him at his famous Crystal Cathedral. Jampolsky has written at least six bestsellers. Jampolsky does not make those in his center teach the Course to others, but that they at least read the Course and apply its principles.

So it was that Warren found ACIM through Jampolsky. The commonality he found in all the New Age, he said, was that God is in everyone and everything is God. You are taught that God indwells His creation. So it is easy to move from one New Age group to another.

Many people have had amazing coincidences during their lives they believe has a deeper meaning behind them. For example you might think a thought and then suddenly in front of you are the words of your thoughts written on the side of a bus, or on the T.V. screen or someone repeats aloud the words of your inner thoughts. We call that synchronicity. New Agers believe that synchronicity is a higher power that is leading them. Psychology Today described synchronicities as "events connected to one another not by strict cause-and-effect, but by what in classical times were known as sympathies, by the belief that an acausal relationship exists between events on the inside and the outside of ourselves, a crosstalk between mind and matter—which is governed by a certain species of attraction." Jung introduced the concept and believed that synchronicities mirror deep psychological processes, carry messages the way dreams do, and take on meaning and provide guidance to the degree they correspond to emotional states and inner experiences.

Psychologists believe in synchronicities, as did Helen Schuman when she began analyzing her dreams that led up to hearing the words "This is a course in miracles. Please take notes." This was after Bill suggested to Helen that there was another way besides aggression and anger that Helen started her dreams and inner visions that led to psychic experiences and the eventual publication of a book they believed was dictated by Jesus.

How many books have people said they read because it "fell off the shelf" in front of them, or they found it in odd circumstances, or someone gave it to them that changed the course of their life? I found Edgar Cayce on my father's bureau when I was a teen and it started my path in New Age and led to my leaving my church because my church did not incorporate all the beliefs I had garnered to myself through my studies in spirituality. Looking back I have no doubt that I was meant to take this direction in life. Yet after experiencing over forty years of New Age philosophy and ideas outside the Bible I have cast out most of those ideas and returned to the Bible and understanding the true teachings of Jesus from within the Bible context.

This is what happened to Warren as well. He had a profound experience with dark forces that led to his return to the Bible and finding Jesus Christ. This is not to say that some higher force, the Holy Spirit, an angel or Jesus is not behind this synchronicity. It makes sense if we believe in reincarnation, otherwise I have a hard time grappling with why some at a young age are led on a certain path when they have no outward signs of a propensity for such paths. Warren had no Jesus in his life, and through his New Age experiences he was led to Jesus by discovering the false Jesus of the New Age. Maybe likewise, I was too led to the true Jesus through the false.

I was brought up Episcopalian, and from my childhood perception, my religion was all about God and little about Jesus. When I joined the Ascended Master Teachings I was not close to Jesus at all. I knew He was important to Christianity, but like many who have joined the Course studies and were immediately attracted to God and this idea of being a God yourself, it was this locking into a God that fit their idea of what God should be, not what God really is. I joined the Teachings because they believed in reincarnation. Unity did not attract me, or Evangelical churches focused on the Holy Spirit and gifts. I wanted to connect to truth and a deeper relationship to God. Through the Teachings I found a closer relationship to the saints and Mother Mary, and the Christ. The Christ became very important to me, but like may New Age teachings, the Christ was what Jesus came to teach us, a wayshower to help us all become the Christ. In this way, we are led to lead a more holy and pure existence to connect to the Christ consciousness, but Jesus becomes just another master. Regardless of our growth in self, we lose Jesus and The Way he taught.

What happened to Warren and his wife Joy involved his wife going through a difficult period where she was like one harassed by a demon or dark spirit. Warren said it was caused by his wife spiritually being harassed by a man who was highly proficient in astral projection (projecting his spirit for great distances.) He shares his path and story in his book, The Light That Was Dark. Warren relates how they faced the attacks. "We tried every metaphysical and spiritual technique we had ever learned—we repeated our Course in Miracles lessons, did visualizations, prayed as best we knew how, sent the spiritual intruder blessings, and kept the whole situation surrounded in white light—but none of it had any effect. We had to wait it out. The spiritual presence was calling the shots."

Joy explained that they "had repeatedly applied their Course in Miracles lessons, such as: 'There is nothing to fear,' 'In my defenselessness my safety lies,' and, 'I could see peace instead of this.' " They tried getting help from the Course study group leader, Frank. He told Joy that it was just an illusion as the Course taught that evil was only an illusion and that the experience was probably something that Joy was working out within herself. Either a synchronicity occurred or the Holy Spirit moved Frank's wife to speak out and say, "Put on the whole armor of God and stand fast against the wiles of the devil!" In amazement at herself she added, "Ephesians 6:10. It's in your Bible." Trudy went on and said, "I'm sorry, Frank. There is a devil . . . read Ephesians!"

There was someone who was on the Course but had not been totally programmed (yet) to let go of the Bible as the Word of God. Joy and Warren did not immediately take action, not understanding what "putting on the armor of God" really meant. Warren visited a bookstore and discovered a book entitled The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelsen, and read it while in the bookstore, taking copious notes. Michaelsen said that all of a sudden there was this presence of evil, and the benevolent spirit guide who had seemed so wonderful to her before became very ominous when in the presence of a Christian woman. Michaelson later turned to the Bible and quoting Scripture, which released her from the demon.

While Warren is reading this book at the bookstore a homeless, mentally ill man came into the bookstore and started shouting at him, “Are you going to buy this book or what? Are you going to buy this book?” Warren began to question why this man came to him, and realized that an evil force was using this homeless man to stop him from reading the book. Having been a social worker his whole life he handled him amicably and the man left.

When the next time his wife went into a depression from an attack of this darkness he did his own exorcism on her, reciting some of the prayers he found in Michaelson's book saying, "Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I command you to be gone! I forbid your presence here. I claim the protection of the blood of Jesus upon us. Go where Jesus sends you!" Immediately Joy's oppression was gone. Every time the force came upon her they would call in Jesus Christ's name and she would be free.

Warren was so impressed by the power of Jesus that he witnessed, when no other words or affirmations had any positive effect, he and Joy eventually quit the New Age scene. While Warren went on to write his book about his experience and tried to talk to other people in the New Age, he said few could hear what he was saying and believe. Warren believes it was because those people have not accepted the real Jesus into their lives. He believes he was saved from becoming a psychic himself and moving to India with Rajaneesh and taking many other steps that would have led to being a channeler of spirits from the other side because of what happened during college.

It began when his fraternity had a mandatory fraternity house meeting where some young men from Campus Crusade gave testimonies to their path with Jesus. One of the men said, “What do you have to lose by asking Jesus into your life tonight?” He was so impressed that he asked Jesus sincerely, “If you’re out there, come into my life.” As he did, one of those synchronicity events happened. A cherry bomb went off in the alleyway next door, and playing on the radio was You Never Walk Alone, affirming his prayer and experience. While he continued to be a regular college guy and return to his way of living he believed that with that prayer he had Jesus in his life to safeguard him from going too far into the New Age before he was saved.

In Conclusion
In studying the story behind A Course in Miracles I was hit with some facts. Most of the prominent people behind the Course at its beginning or were raised to very prominent spokesmen for the book, were Jewish or from a Jewish background, who became agnostic or atheist before embracing the Course. Helen never embraced the course, but cursed it. Being Jewish at one time they of course did not believe Jesus was the promised Messiah, but they believed in the Jewish God. Sometimes this God disturbed them, but when the New Age God appeared that supposedly loved them no matter what they did, and they did not have to feel guilty anymore, or they could keep their anger and not feel judged or the believe the judgment was coming, this was a God they could accept.

Many prominent people with impressive degrees, titles and positions in society have embraced A Course in Miracles. In other words, intelligent people, and some who proudly were atheists in their past, proving they were not ignorant like all those other "spiritual" or "religious" people. The Course is not a religion, it is a belief system that allowed them to feel good about themselves, and still in pride feel above all those other "poor ignorant" saps ("sad and pathetic") who believe in religion or Jesus as the only Christ. This Christ of the Course and the New Age made Jesus into just another highly evolved man. That feels much more comfortable for a Jew than having a Jesus as "the only way to God the Father".

I believe it is important for Christians to understand the Jewish nation and Jews, and what God is telling us through the Old Testament stories. I will write more on this in the future. I learned a lot about the Jewish mindset from working for them in my years in Florida with my business I created after my first divorce. Having been born on Long Island, NY, where there is the highest concentration of Jews living in New York and New Jersey, and then living in South Florida, where another high concentration of Jews are, I believe there was a greater purpose for contact with the Jewish culture, much like I had to experience with living among the Mormons. Though both mindsets are different, their commonality is this sense of superiority over others outside their religion. The Jews emphasize money and prestigious positions and the Mormons emphasize family and Joseph Smith. Both the Jews and Mormons have their own Bible. Now A Course in Miracles had its own Bible.

Betty Eadie, a Mormon, wrote the book, Embraced by the Light which has sold over two millions copies. While promoting New Age ideas, many Christians have accepted the book's concepts as true. Ms. Eadie says that we helped God to create the earth. While we know sin is not our true nature, which her book emphasizes, she said that we are inherently divine, and endorses the New Age pantheism belief that all is God, as she was told that God was in her, in the plants and everything. She says we are all God's children and that we are here on earth to learn the lessons we need for our own spiritual evolution and to remember our divinity and return to heaven. All religions and faiths are equal in God's sight, she writes, and are essential in our development. Spirits from the other side will also help us learn the lessons of life and aid in our progress as she states: "there is a vital, dynamic link between the spirit world and mortality, and that we need the spirits on the other side for our progression."

While Christians may or may not accept that death is a spiritual "rebirth", as we simply make a "transition" to another state of being, Eadie also adds that there will be no judgment day and we will judge ourselves regarding our spiritual evolution. While there is a hell, because of "love," in the end, all will be saved. Eadie exposes more of her Mormon world view with her belief in a pre-mortal existence. She states she was allowed to experience herself there in the beginning when Creation occurred. Yet clearly Genesis said we were created after the heavens and earth. The messenger of the Summit promoted this book and so did Ophra Winfrey.

Another book that Ophra promoted was A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson, which promotes A Course in Miracles. From her troubled life and beginnings, Williamson is now a most celebrated guru, writing twelve books, four of them bestsellers on the New York Times list. Williamson was raised Jewish. She was once married, and eventually became an unwed mother. She lived in a commune and was a cabaret singer and cocktail waitress and went from relationship to relationship. She said "I sank deeper and deeper into my own neurotic patterns, seeking relief in food, drugs, people, or whatever else I could find to distract me from myself. There was some huge rock of self-loathing sitting in the middle of my stomach during those years, and it got worse with every phase I went through. As my pain deepened, so did my interest in philosophy: Eastern, Western, academic, esoteric, Kierkegaard, the I Ching, existentialism, radical death-of-God theology, Buddhism, and more."

She ran a metaphysical bookstore where she had contact with a lot of these New Age concepts.  in 1977, she came across “a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy” A Course in Miracles, at the same time she had nervous collapse (a nice way of not saying a nervous breakdown.) Initially she was turned off by the “Christian” terminology and arrogant tone within it. Later she invited God into her life and started rereading the Course. Her God she sometimes defines as "a force" that loves, or “an impersonal love for all life.” She has said, “He is the energy; the thought of unconditional love…God is love and He dwells within us." Another way she describes God is that human beings are a “part of God,” the creations and extensions in the “mind” of an impersonal force or energy. “We were created in His image, or mind, which means that we are extensions of His love, or Sons of God.” Her God is more panentheistic, where we are separate creations but He dwells within us and is present in everything, but He is more than everything.

Williamson’s second book, A Woman’s Worth, spent 19 weeks at the top of The New York Times list in 1994. Someone gave me that book in the 90's. I was never drawn to read it. I never had issues with being a woman over a man. I did believe that men were wiser than woman and this led to my three marriages and my lessons I had to learn from being in the Teachings and resolving some issue with Eve's listening to the Serpent. More on that in another article.

Williamson believes that in a very physical way, Jews became "hardwired for spirit", programmed over thousands of years to "hear God" and "God’s messages", contributing to her eventual acceptance of the channeled material from Jesus through a Jewish woman, Helen. In summing of the Course through Helen she said "it can be summed up very simply in this way: Nothing real can be threatened; nothing unreal exists; herein lies the peace of God. A Course in Miracles, which is not a religion, posits that the love in you is what God placed there, and it is your only true eternal reality. There are many of us who should not have to, in any way, apologize for our — the nature or tenor of our religiosity, who do not believe that God is a judgmental God."

While she said she was born a Jew and she will die a Jew, in answer to how does she reconcile being Jewish and using Christianity terminology, she answered, "I feel that there is, deep within you and deep within me and deep within every human being, an essence, which is the truth of who we are, which is that which is created by God himself. It is not just in you identical to that in me, it is that in me. It is literally a oneness — not metaphorically, but literally a oneness, and if you put together that essence, joined together, of every living thing, every human being, one of its names is Jesus." The answer conveniently makes her okay with Jews and Christians. Jesus is just another man like you and me with this same oneness. Jesus died on the cross but only to prove that death does not exist.

In her A Return to Love the goal of life is to return to love. All that exists, all that is real is this love. Everything else is illusion. Thus all is one and all is God. “We [only] think we’re separate because we have bodies, when in truth, we have bodies because we think we are separate.” You can get confused by what she believes about God, as it seems to change from book to book. About Christ she says the Christ mind is shared by all that exists. We are all one indivisible divine mind. Like all New Age groups she purports that our job is to allow the Holy Spirit to remove the fearful thinking that surrounds your perfect self, so we can return to the real us that is one universal being—God. She dismisses the need for a savior as sin is a universal illusion.

Williamson says that “God’s plan for the salvation of the world is to heal it through the power of love. This “healing” comes, she says, when we realize there is no guilt in anyone, when we see through the illusion to the innocence, and when we consciously decide to focus on love and let the rest go. In effect saying, “If I don’t believe it exists, it can’t hurt me.” While she says we are not different but all alike, we’re unique but we’re not special. Special people would be different. New Agers don't believe in anyone standing out from the crowd with special talents, like Jesus. It is hard to imagine how people can be unique and alike at the same time!

Like Mary Baker Eddy's believe on disease and illness, the Course has Christian Science all through it, and teaches these manifestations are not real. Like Eddy, Williamson teaches that Jesus healed because “Jesus did not believe in leprosy. Since all minds are connected, in his presence the leper no longer believed in it either. And so the leper was healed.” One who is ill only thinks he or she is ill. Illness equals separation from God, and healing comes not from pills but from belief. But unlike Eddy and Christian Science's avoidance against doctors and medicine, Williamson says it is “okay to take medicine because the Holy Spirit enters our lives at our present level of consciousness.”

One ploy of the Devil is to join forces with that which the Devil opposes—God and Jesus—and then from within change the truth of God and Jesus by first embracing the truth, and then gradually leading people away from the truth into the philosophy of evil by subtly changing the meaning of words, or using them in a different context. We see this in all New Age teachings and groups, and I saw it especially in the Summit Lighthouse/Ascended Master Teachings, as well as in my husband's "Ask the real Jesus" questions and answers, which I spent years studying after our separation. I was fascinated with how his "Jesus" would deftly avoid answering a question, while leading you to believe he had answered the question, by leading you to assume something; or my husband's channeled "masters" would intertwine a God truth with a lie from one sentence to another as if they were one inseparable thought, and ever so subtly, that you could not separate the lie from the truth because you easily opened yourself to the lie that went right in your consciousness attached to the truth along side it.

A Course in Miracles is just another spoke on the wheel of New Age channeling to reinforce the belief that Jesus was slightly more than ordinary man because he became the Christ we are all to become under the guise of learning forgiveness and love, and letting go of guilt and the lie of our separation from God.

When someone asked Bill Thatford's definition of A Course in Miracles, he replied:

"To help us change our minds about who we are and what God is, and to help us let go, through forgiveness, our belief in the reality of our separation from God. Learning how to forgive ourselves and others is really the fundamental teaching of the Course. The Course teaches us how to know ourselves and how to unlearn all of those things which interfere with our recognition of who we are and always have been."

I don't believe anyone can sum up what the book teaches in a few words. Each person will get out of it what they believe they need to see and heal about themselves, to assuage their sense of being wrong in something. So many of these influential individuals who promote the Course came to it with serious psychological issues about themselves. There is the key. A Course in Miracles (along with other New Age groups) is an attempt to reprogram our minds and beliefs to make us feel better about ourselves instead of admitting we are sinners and needed a Savior. People are open and acceptable to these many avenues of New Age because they are hearing what they want to hear to confirm their worth and excuse their sins. Are you?