Freedom Now

1995 Excerpted

By Val Scott

Cults and Gurus

I think there is "a better way" for Endeavor Academy. Please feel free to ignore this presentation. What follows is only for people who are genuinely interested in going more deeply into this subject and are willing to join me in my endeavor to go beyond projections making perceptions. I begin with Chapter 2 from my book, FREEDOM NOW, which is as relevant today [1999] as it was four years ago.

Let me begin with a contextual perspective on the general subject of cults and guru-figures as we "normally" experience them. From a Course perspective, a cult is nothing more than "insanity WITHIN "insanity"--a metaphor for the world itself! In such a world, the ego is ALWAYS the guru, no matter what form he, she, or "it" might appear to take. I have also taken it upon myself to study the cult-guru phenomenon in several cultures; in the interest of being properly informed at the level of perceptual information--and perhaps also because I strongly agree with Benjamin Franklin when he said, "If a man expects to be both ignorant and free, he expects what never was, and never will be."

The point is, without apparent exception, all so-called cult-guru trips, sooner or later, become vehicles for some kind of spiritual slavery and corruption - sustained primarily by groups of spiritually greedy, gullible, and inherently feeble-minded devotees. In reality, the very OPPOSITE kind of people these so-called spiritual masters write or talk about so eloquently. And the communities they make for themselves with this kind of mental set are (or invariably turn out to be, given sufficient time) anything BUT genuine vehicles for spiritual transformation.

My frame of mind was totally open and receptive when I arrived on the Wisconsin scene. At the beginning of 1993, just when Endeavor Academy was opening up, I was one of the very first new "students" in this new facility (converted from a large summer motel complex for a hundred or so people). Just before and at the time of my arrival, there was talk that 10,000 new people were expected to arrive on the GCP scene very shortly; that the Master Teacher had a master plan for financial support, what he referred to as his "pyramid to God," that would grow exponentially into the 144,000 figure mentioned in the Bible. There would be 12 satellites set up around the world, run by 12 people whom MT would fully illumine for this special purpose. Although MT promises that he would "flash out" to Heaven with everyone who was with him, the "fully illumined twelve," however, were obviously [on] his very "special" list.

To my astonishment and embarrassment, MT declared in public, shortly after my arrival, that I, Val, was ON that list! He kept emphasizing that almost right up to the time of my departure--giving me extreme personal attention at all the public sessions, which could be taken as a very POSITIVE sign of how much MT "loved" you. After several weeks of this so-called special treatment, I started to ask those brothers who seemed to be so thrilled with the attention I was getting from "The Master," whether they might like to "share" some of this so-called love with me, since I was obviously receiving it in such great abundance! But they only smiled and declined. And I, of course, was left wondering why?

Could MT and his self-declared, "fully-awakened," advanced teachers of God actually accelerate such a process - as he and they claimed. In other words, could MT and his "fully illumined twelve" (which, again, was to include me, even though I was never consulted on whether I even wanted to be one of them) ACTUALLY DELIVER on what they were claiming and promising? All of this, of course, was predicated on the assumption that MT and his chosen twelve were, in fact, who they claimed and declared themselves to be, both in private and in public. And if they COULDN'T get us all "out of here" as promised--what then? Would the fault, then, be somewhere OUTSIDE of us?

In any event, MT and his self-declared, awakened, advanced teachers of God were telling everybody that, with them, salvation was "here and now," and to give up to God their hell on earth; that is, EVERYTHING that they did not like or want in their earthly lives and follow him "out of here." As I see it, God's Country Place and its residents are currently in a dead-end bypass. Some time during the past few years they appear to have lost their way, and are now apparently only thrashing around in spiritual circles of their own making--getting nowhere fast; least of all "out of here" (if that is still their primary goal). I am saying is that with all their vision and power as a collective entity, they are now headed more away from Heaven than towards It. In short, they are, in my opinion, "off" Course rather than "on" Course. And there is a simple reason for that. My sincere and devoted brothers in Wisconsin live in repressed terror because they have come to believe that the world outside of [Endeavor Academy] is holding them back from ascending to Heaven NOW. And in this they are clearly mistaken. If they are following the teachings of Jesus in the Course, and not something else--backed by only certain selected Course abstractions.

If you are following faithfully what Jesus is teaching in the Course and not some kind of fascinating hybrid --you reach the conclusion that we "flash" into Heaven ONLY through "true" Atonement, which is synonymous with forgiveness and NOT any other way. Thus these extremely devoted and passionate brothers [at Endeavor Academy] and in supreme irony, "do not find." the very thing that they seek--because they have been looking in the wrong place! There is nothing really wrong with that place, because it WILL return them Home; however, it is NOT the "fast track" that they think it is, because it is not purely and wholly A COURSE IN MIRACLES track - which I believe is most probably the fastest track of all, by design - with no bypasses whatever - because it takes us THROUGH our fear of God, TO our love for God, through unsullied forgiveness.

So the message to me is very simple and clear: Do THE COURSE and only THE COURSE, just as it has been designed to be done. What could be more simple and direct than that?

However, it is altogether another thing to ignore or deflect questions which come from students of the Course such as Kalie Picone and myself, who DID go to [Endeavor Academy a.k.a. "God's Country Place] GCP in a committed way; who DID participate in, and contribute to, what was offered at all levels; and who were STILL left with all kinds of questions unanswered - especially as to what is REALLY being taught there, as well as HOW--only to be told to leave GCP if this reasoning was not acceptable. The most important question of all, it seems to me, without taking anything away from the experiment itself--why everyone there, students and teachers alike, are so passive or mindless when it comes to asking basic questions of this nature?

In particular, why are they so passive when MT and/or his associates offer that "the solution" is always some form of separation; such as, "This is not the place for you," or, "It is now time for you to leave" (by force, if necessary)? And all because "students" in "a learning environment" (like Endeavor Academy) are asking searching, perceptual questions!

Indeed, if you can't ask such questions there, especially after you have even invited to come to Endeavor and immerse yourself in its programs and have sincerely contracted to do so, and at the same time have obviously made the required personal commitment to go "all the way" with the Course (as Kalie and I have, for instance)--just where or how DO you ask such questions?

In Kalie's case, after a very intense three-and-a-half-week experience at GCP, from which she was asked to leave when she was obviously still insisting that her legitimate questions be answered in some respectful way, she did leave, and without bitterness; but then wrote a comprehensive, unpublished article (which she has given me permission to quote from) for Paul Ferrini's Miracles Magazine, "A Lesson About Authority: My Experience at God's Country Place."

Kalie's questions

  • What is God's Country Place?

  • Who is "Master Teacher" [MT]?

  • Does MT enlighten his devotees?

  • Do MT's followers have light experiences?

  • What is the purpose of their movements/demonstrations?

  • What is it like to live there?

  • How do they support themselves?

  • What does MT teach?

  • How do MT's followers see the world?

  • Is MT teaching A COURSE IN MIRACLES?

  • Why don't people question what MT is teaching?

  • How does MT deal with relationships?

  • How does MT perceive other spiritual teachers?

  • How does GCP recruit people?

  • What did I learn from this experience?

Kalie's insights and comments

"MT promises that he will enlighten everyone who follows him, and he promises that it will happen soon. He says that only his followers are on the list to 'get out of here' and go Home with him. They plan to 'flash out' of here together. He asks people to give up everything they don't like - working for a living, paying bills, painful relationships, sickness and death. How can anyone turn down such a deal? What an enticement! People want to believe MT…He fosters feelings of superiority, specialness, and separation in his students by elevating them and demeaning everyone else."

"MT says he doesn't like to appear in public, give interviews or talk to anyone on the phone, because 'people will try to kill the Christ if they know where He is.' He prophesies that someday they will come to destroy him and his church."

"To be enlightened, (his devotees) had to make a commitment to MT and give up everything. MT doesn't tell his followers when they are enlightened. They tell him. The way they know they are enlightened is that they recognize who MT really is."

"[On demonstrations] ...The question is, what do they demonstrate? They do not demonstrate enlightenment, not even by MT's standards. Outside of GCP, they appear only to call attention to the 'specialness' of GCP people, thereby setting them apart or separating them from others."

"Living with the people at GCP can be a wonderful experience. The residents are very loving people, that are committed to their own enlightenment process. They live in a vacation atmosphere, since few of them have any responsibilities there. It is a great life for them, having left their jobs, bills, and usually [their] families behind to be there. Most of them are new to this place and are full of the anticipation of greatness, the feeling of specialness, and the safety of being taken care of by MT."

"MT's followers do not question anything that goes on. They spend their time going to sessions, feeling the energy, relaxing, playing or being in silence."

"When asking a question, the questioner can be asked, 'Who is asking the question?' Or, 'What is the purpose of your question?' Some people are told that their questions can't be answered because it is too difficult for an enlightened person to communicate these things to unenlightened ones."

"MT teaches that the Course is a transformational journal designed to enlighten people and take them Home to Heaven without having to die to get there. He inspires people to realize that they can be enlightened now, not lifetimes from now, just as the Course says. Enlightenment is a foreign idea to most people, receiving little attention from many Course teachers. He gets people to take this part of the Course literally. This makes the Course come alive with new meaning and attracts many people to his Teachings."

"MT approaches the Course like a 12-Step program. He says people are 'humaholics,' because they are addicted to their limited identities as human beings. This keeps them from remembering who they are and waking up. According to MT, people need to 'bottom out' with pain and realize the consequences of their addictive behavior by seeing just how much they are hurting themselves and others, before they will be motivated enough to even want to go Home."

"Can a person be in a state of love and hate the world at the same time? Since the means and the end are the same, can hating lead to the state of love? How can the world cause pain when it merely reflects our state of mind? Wouldn't a person have to be in a state of fear to see a fearful world? Can a person be enlightened and hate the world? "

"People get depressed even thinking about leaving GCP, because MT paints such a hopeless view of their lives."

"MT teaches that the Holy Spirit is ego and can't help people get out of here. He discounts the Holy Spirit, because it was made along with forgiveness during the separation."

"MT gets rid of every source of love that people have, until they are totally dependent on him. So there they are, hating the world, needing to get out of here, and having no one to help them except MT. According to MT, he alone can help them because he is from "out of time." He is their future Self calling back to them to wake up."

"In my opinion, MT uses guilt and fear to intimidate people into surrendering to him."

"By saying, with an air of authority, that everything he teaches is from A COURSE IN MIRACLES, he uses the Course to validate his opinions and authenticate himself. Everything MT teaches is not from ACIM, but people can't safely question his interpretations of the Course, nor do they ever hear anyone else questioning them, which only serves to give his interpretations credibility."

"While the students are told MT's attacks are only happening in their minds, MT doesn't apply the same principle to himself, even though he is always seeing people attacking him. Don't the attacks MT sees happen only in HIS mind?"

"By applying principles only one way, MT can blame his students for anything."

"MT says, 'Every word of the Course is literally true,' but he uses Course principles selectively and out of context, thereby distorting their meaning."

"Contrary to what the Course teaches, MT says it's impossible to have a holy relationship, except with God. He also discourages marriage."

"Conflict, not peace, follows God's Country Place people wherever they go. Some ACIM groups have broken up over them."

Kalie then concludes her long article with the observation that--"I can see now just how painful and dangerous it is to give authority to anyone but God. To be inner-directed, all authority must be given to God. Therefore, The Course teaches us to see everyone as our equal brother and follow the Holy Spirit instead of any outer authority. Our master teacher lies within."

This article came to my attention just before I left for Wisconsin, together with a long distance phone conversation I had with Kalie herself. However, nothing in this article or in our subsequent conversation influenced me to change my mind--the "pull" to Wisconsin was that strong.

Paul Ferrini and his Miracles Community were the hosts of the 1991 Omega Conference, at which 60 members of God's Country Place had suddenly appeared as a group--at the urging of their Master Teacher and literally dominated the scene with their presence.

What Paul [Ferrini] has to say about [Endeavor Academy]:

"Recently I met a group of people who were students of A COURSE IN MIRACLES and members of a community in the mid-west. These people had surrendered to a teacher who called himself 'master.'"

"This 'master' said that A COURSE IN MIRACLES was literally true and that by following its teachings one could undergo a physical transformation, which he likened to the resurrection of Jesus--and escape the world. He claimed to have done this himself and to have come back to help us do the same. In his community, members were encouraged to let go of their attachment to their ego-identities and their entire past experience. They could then become 'of one mind,' and experience God directly."

"While the ecstatic experiences of community members seemed legitimate, the passivity in relationship to their 'master' was alarming. They did not question any of his teachings and looked upon such questioning as fearful and a form of attack against the 'master.' This encouraged an attitude of blind obedience to authority on the part of community members. Leaders on the other hand exhibited distrust, if not outright paranoia, when challenged to describe their ideas in an open forum. 'The only way you can understand this,' outsiders were told, 'is if you come here and experience it.'"

"Those who bought this reasoning went to visit the community. Many of them were impressed by their energetic experiences and any objections they might have had were washed away in the fervor to surrender to the master's teaching. Some decided to sell their belongings and join the community. A few who continued to question were told they were resisting and encouraged to leave. Meanwhile, outsiders could get little information about what went on in the community."

"The situation was set up perfectly to keep critics away, and to keep in the community only those members who were willing to surrender to the group norms. It was a classic environment for mind control and manipulation. Thus, even if the teachings of the 'master' were enlightening and the experiences of community members were ecstatic, the structure was still set up for abuse. In addition, teachers from the community exhibited the attitude that 'we have the way and you don't; we have the real A COURSE IN MIRACLES experience; the rest of you are just wasting your time.' They tended to put down people outside their community, and played to the unhappiness of potential members by promising them a more ecstatic experience."

"Clearly this phenomenon has happened many times in many religious contexts. I guess we should not be surprised that it has happened under the banner of A COURSE IN MIRACLES. In spite of the Course's clear emphasis on inner authority, some of us have been seduced by the 'old world' claims of an authority that lies outside our own experience."

"This old world solution to our spiritual crisis offers us a guru or master, a dogmatic teaching, and a quintessential experience. For students who are impatient with the gradual process of undoing, the promise of a sudden awakening, or one that can happen in a few months in a supportive community, seems very appealing."

"It's also seductive to think that a 'master teacher' could be available to us here. 'What if Jesus were here and we missed the opportunity to learn from Him?' That type of thinking and we all have it--just fosters the tendency to look outside of ourselves for answers."

"We must see this tendency to look for a savior outside of ourselves for what it is--another call for a special relationship. We want a special teacher, a special teaching, and a special experience."

"Then we are ready to believe. Of course, our belief in specialness gives us exactly what we ask for. Unfortunately, it is not the answer to our problems, but yet another test of our willingness to trust the holiness within."

"In my opinion A COURSE IN MIRACLES is a radical teaching precisely because it does away with the need for intermediate or religious hierarchies. A Course that tells us plainly that the answer to our problems lies in our own minds is difficult to exploit or tamper with. The problem is that we have trouble believing this. We are not willing to trust our innocence or explore our equality. Our guilt runs very deep."

"Our guilt tells us that beauty does not lie within us, but only in others. It tells us that we better listen to the teacher who plays to our unhappiness and invalidates our experience because he's probably right about us. We've always known there was something missing in our spiritual practice, and now we know what it is!"

"We find it easier to hear this message than the message that we have everything we need right now. It's hard to believe that we have an inner teacher who has perfect understanding. It's hard to believe that right now we hold the key to our own enlightenment and that key is forgiveness. It's hard to see the illusion the ego creates with compassion for ourselves and others."

"Yet that is what this process is all about. Without developing this deeply rooted compassion for one another, ecstatic experience simply becomes another addiction, another block to our awareness of love's presence. With it, however, our joy manifests in rituals of inclusion that dissolve the perceived barriers of separation between us."

"In the final analysis, it does not matter whether I agree with my brother. But it does matter that I love him. For, lest I love him my disagreement with him is but an attack. And then it means nothing. But if I love him my fidelity to my own inner truth becomes a lifeline for both of us."

"I cannot affirm myself by rejecting my brother. Nor can I affirm my brother by denying my own experience. I must remain faithful both to him and to myself."

Experiences, as we all know, can be particularly deceptive in the context of spiritual relationships, and nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to relating meaningfully to a self-styled, charismatic spiritual teacher like Chuck Anderson, GCP's "Master Teacher." Daan Dehn, a highly respected Course writer and broadcaster, who until very recently had his own A COURSE IN MIRACLES television program operating out of Phoenix, Arizona, is a good case in point.

In April 1992, Daan Dehn wrote:

"Well, I finally got to see 'The Master Teacher.' I must admit that I went with many preconceived notions and opinions. Recognizing that, I doubled my determination to be as open-minded as possible. This is what I experienced."

"First of all, the man himself (his name is Chuck) is fifty something, short, balding, with a large paunch hanging out over his pants, the eyes of a madman and false teeth--who drools out of the left corner of his mouth and his head ticks and rolls spastically from time to time. What the hell did you expect? Perhaps someone tall with a longish face, intense blue eyes; long flowing hair and neatly trimmed beard who speaks in a soft baritone?"

"If one is into appearances, the 'Master Teacher' is certainly a disappointment. What the hell did you expect? A COURSE IN MIRACLES is about seeing beyond appearances, experiencing content, not form. One cannot think of considering himself even a beginning student of The Course if he is at all concerned with the form."

"'The Master Teacher' is intelligent, educated, charismatic. He may be crazy or he may be what he says he is. How could I know? Light is insanity to those long accustomed to darkness. So, sane or no--if one wants to hear the essence of A COURSE IN MIRACLES as it is, hear this man."

"If one is willing to observe and experience one's judgments, the opinions of the tiny self, experience this man."

"If one truly wants to uncover the fundamental error of self-identity, sit with this man."

"If one would like to laugh a bit at the human foibles we all take so seriously, see this man."

"At least once!"

"In addition, you will receive digressions into other philosophies and psychology (much of which is worthy of deep consideration), a fairly large dose of Twelve-Steppery, a great show, much hand waving and noisy display, and an occasional flight into metaphysical folderol, and a real potential for healing."

"No, I am not moving to Wisconsin. The truth of A COURSE IN MIRACLES abides equally in New River (or your home) as well as Baraboo or Clarkdale. Why would I move? Who would follow? The Holy Spirit is as present here and now as he will ever be--at work, at home, wherever. The person standing next to you, the first one who comes to mind is as equally your savior as Chuck Anderson. God needs not be sought externally and he is not the kind to wind up only on Sunday. Who is it, after all, that seeks God or wants to follow someone outside themselves? Is that not the character that is the false one? Who believes that there ACTUALLY is anything outside?"

However, two years later, Daan DID pack up everything and go to Wisconsin to join the Master Teacher at GCP; stayed a few months; was also declared "on the list"; then left totally disillusioned - telling me in a letter last September that GCP "was just another version of the world."

Beyond Fear and Separation

I have at least tentatively come to the conclusion that it is BECAUSE [participants at Endeavor Academy] still "believe" in separation that they have not been compellingly attracted to the "love through forgiveness" approach that Jesus teaches in his course, and therefore substitute the real truth with a bypass--a pleasure island called "God's Country Place" (and all that that has come to represent). Because [they seem to fear their critics such as] me and actually force separation. [They question then is]--are they are as "enlightened" as they claim to be?

I was once nothing less than a full and enthusiastic participant at GCP--in work, play, prayer and experienced many, many holy encounters there with the brothers I got to know quite well, which of course is why my overall experience with them was such a happy one. However, my experience was that this was not mutual, or reciprocal, with them. And, until recently, I never really understood why. I was also very active in probing or questioning, in a respectful way, a few of GCP's metaphysical premises and assumptions during some of the Academy's sessions, when there was an open invitation to do so; but when it became obvious that I disagreed with the teacher, I was cut off (in one case told that I was being disruptive, when I wasn't at all; in fact, just behaving like any normal, intelligent, questioning adult student would--assuming that we were there to honestly inquire and experience the truth and not just to be indoctrinated).

The only "working answer" that seemed to emanate from the Holy Spirit, in answer to my prayers, was that these loving, well-meaning and devoted brothers have not yet learned the difference between "spiritual transcendence" and "spiritual transformation," which comes through the medium of true forgiveness (something they regularly bypass rather than truly experience). Thus bypassing, indeed, the Love of God itself--the one thing they claim they want more than anything else. A true paradox!

Separation, in any form, is never the answer. Only healing is.. And for Course students, that means learning to TRULY forgive. This is the very area, I am suggesting, that MT and some of my GCP brothers experience the least. That is, because they live in so unacknowledged fear. Let me make clear that I do not see any of my brothers at GCP other than as the true Christ--particularly MT. I have tried in my relationship with them and him to try to demonstrate that fact.

"Falling Apart," Letter to MT on March 6, 1993

"What I want you to do is help me to remove the obstacles to my love for you, obstacles, which take on the form of perceiving you as a potentially dangerous guru figure, which in my darkest moments looks and feels like a gifted, but arrogant megalomaniac who feeds off a pathetic collection of 'spiritual junkies' who have deluded themselves into believing that their "Master Teacher" is some kind of man-god who can be trusted to take us all back to Heaven through the power of his singular mind together with the 'mechanism' of A COURSE IN MIRACLES. So 'hooked' are these spiritual junkies that they will not even entertain for one moment that their guru might be flawed with an ordinary ego (as all guru figures are), because they are totally unable to discern what is going on without fear--so strong is their addiction to their guru's all pervasive power over their lives in the dream. In that state of mind, as we all now know, people have been known to drink poisoned Koolaide. That's the extreme version of my dark thoughts--thoughts which I have asked the Holy Spirit and Jesus and now you to help me let go of entirely."

"In a much more benign state, I see you as simply a reincarnation of that Kansas snake oil salesman who was transformed into a Wizard of Oz--a character who was as it turned out, merely full of huff, puff and bluff. So there it is. That is the darkness which is clouding up my vision of you--a darkness, which I very much wish to see shined away."

Like The Wizard of Oz observed and experienced at close range--MT is a very loving being. I tried to capture this side of him in [another] letter dated April 22, 1993--first completed on the day of the Waco, Texas, disaster."

Gentler and balanced approach--April 22, 1993 letter excerpts:

"So what I am suggesting is a much gentler and balanced approach, one much more in keeping with the love we all know from the Jesus energy each and every one of us experiences from the Course--energy that always honors both the heart and the head in us with that powerful One Mind.

"So what I am talking about is an approach that is designed to teach people like me, as well as many of the people I happen to know and have associated with in the world, who do not and don't wish to experience themselves in the space of 'hating' the world. In other words, people who clearly see and experience the world as an absolutely INSANE place, rather than a 'hateful' place and realize that it makes no sense to relate to something insane with fear, which is what hate is."

"Jesus does not tell us to 'get the hell out of here' he tells us that there is no hell to get out of! I want the complete message straight--taught with total integrity and nothing less…"

Specialness vs. Holiness

Spiritual Specialness Does Not Work. A fundamental teaching in the Course is that "specialness" and "holiness" can NEVER be mixed--no matter how sincere the attempt is. Because all that results in is an Ego based bypass. There is nothing wrong with specialness; it is NOT an "evil" thing we need to "tear out" of ourselves. It just simply does not work. It is an error, which only needs to be seen for what it is and then discarded. That's all. In Course terms it is simply an idol, which the ego uses to delude us into thinking that we have found some kind of an easy substitute for God or Reality. And cults and gurus are designed to serve that very purpose, especially through bypasses, which always lead us away from God. It is simply an error, which needs to be corrected with love.


Some of the most difficult sections in The Course to comprehend and accept at face value are the sections, which deal with idols and the anti-Christ--especially the last three sections of Chapter 29.

  • "Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls."

  • "But it is given you to know the truth, and not to seek for it outside yourself…"

  • "All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you… It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols."

  • "... Your idols do what you would have them do, and have the power you ascribe to them. And you pursue them vainly in the dream, because you want their power."

  • And speed the end of idols in a world made sad and sick by seeing idols there. Your holy mind is altar unto God, and where He is no idols can abide."

  • "This world of idols is a veil across the face of Christ, because its purpose is to separate your brother from yourself …"

  • "What purpose has an idol, then? What is it for? This is the only question that has many answers, each depending on the one of whom the question has been asked ... Each worshipper of idols harbors hope his special deities will give him more than other men possess."

The Spiritual Bypass/"Advaita Shuffle"

MT and our GCP brothers "promise" a fast track to Heaven if we would only interpret the Course THEIR WAY (or the highway!). But they have not "delivered" on any of their major promises and are losing credibility everywhere. And of course they are a long, long way from 10,000 people arriving to join them in Wisconsin "very shortly," much less twelve satellites with MT-trained "illumined beings" running them, leading up to the 144,000 figure of enlightened beings mentioned in the Bible. Indeed, they appear to be further and further away from what they have been promising, having no more "students" than they do had two years ago (buttressed mostly with foreign--e.g. Australian - students, newcomers who are NOT deeply grounded in the Course and its abstractions, and others who come from a 12-step background of some sort).

Significantly, some of [Endeavor Academy's] best leaders and teachers have left, and are now doing the GCP routine on their own, often drawing on former GCP students as their main clientele. Nor are they able to attract AND HOLD new, first-rate minds in their fold. So they obviously do not have a good record of accomplishments, or promises fulfilled to point to. Indeed, as a group, they appear to have become more and more extreme and desperate in their passion to "get out of here"--with MT leading the way (as anyone who has been recently exposed to their "light teams" will testify). And, of course, there are those who now literally have nowhere else to go--having "surrendered" to MT in order to become personally enlightened, which of course includes all their personal assets and possessions. In other words, they are now totally dependent on MT and his cadre of core teachers, with literally nowhere else to go. They are, in short, slaves or captives of the system they now find themselves in - and do not see a way out.

At the same time, they also have all kinds of people in the Course world talking about them in a very negative way, and even dismissing them outright as a serious Course-based community. Indeed, it would probably be fair to say that they are mostly perceived as a pure and simple cult-guru trip, hitch-hiking on A COURSE IN MIRACLES.

As a consequence, they are neither trusted nor respected. If anything, they are only regarded as a place to stay away from (if you have any sense!). Indeed, "check and find out for yourself"--is the general message given to the average inquirer these days.

Given GCP's dismal track record to date, it would appear that "reflecting on one's condition"--rather than the "conditioned reflex," would be the primary focus within the community. But no, they are becoming even more defensive and extreme, and lately have developed a very peculiar "siege mentality" for A COURSE IN MIRACLES group. They seem to see themselves as constantly "attacked" and "murdered" from "the outside"--of all places.

When the spiritual bypass does not seem to be working at all, MT and his adherents start invoking "The Advaita Shuffle," a psychological device frequently used by disreputable, and spiritually insecure, Hindu gurus who use abstractions from the highest spiritual truth (The Advaita) to obscure or distract followers and would-be followers from what is actually going on around them--particularly in their personal relationships. Andrew Cohen, a New York born spiritual leader in the Vedantist tradition has written and spoken extensively on this subject. However, our brothers at GCP, instead of correcting their obvious errors or perceptions, use the "Advaita Shuffle" as a way of avoiding the realities around them. So, at GCP there is an interesting combination of the spiritual bypass and the "Advaita Shuffle" at work as a defense system.

In this state of mind fear can empower both slavery and the slave masters who call themselves by various mystical names, such as "Master Teacher." Within this mental and psychological state, they seek escape, rather than true freedom. They live in a state of mystical illusion, believing they can realize Atonement without a collaborative venture of holy relationships. They actually think it is possible to have holy relationships under the auspices of a special relationship--especially, apparently, through a figure [of authority such as MT]. Such followers find their powers of discernment have atrophied to a point of total dependency and powerlessness. In the name of God, they live in hell and call it Heaven. But like all addicts, their "highs" are experienced with diminishing returns, and their destiny is to "bottom-out," which is inevitable.

The cult-guru game is the ultimate ego ploy to distract us from the real thing. It brings forth only "fools gold." It is just another nightmare to wake up from. It most certainly has nothing to do with the real world, much less reality as described in the Course.

The Course, it is generally agreed, is not for everyone. However, using the Course for any purpose other than what Jesus designed it for is most definitely NOT the Course.

GCP does not teach the Course and ONLY the Course. Mostly it teaches spiritual specialness. GCP's curriculum is not for the free-minded, but for the slave-minded. They are literally stuck - through flawed or false teaching--in a spiritual bypass/"Advaita Shuffle." They are headed nowhere meaningful because they live in an addictive state of mind. They confuse feeble-mindedness with true strength. [MT's followers] live in an incubator environment, which is now sapping their spiritual strength; a cocoon without a butterfly, or an egg without an eagle. GCP, at the level of form, is a totally artificial support system, a system that only supports illusions. It is, therefore, totally unreal in a meaningless world.

Is MT a "True" False Prophet?

Going by the main thrust of this dissertation on cults and gurus in general, and MT and his associates in particular--it may seem that I am simply a "judgmental junkie" projecting judgments onto the illusions of other "junkies" and in particular onto MT and my brothers at GCP. However, I sincerely trust that that this is not so--for that would simply be yet another bypass! So I hope that by being conscious of that kind of ego trap I have also successfully avoided it.

GCP and MT may be perceived, if you will, as simply the particular classroom and teachers, which I have been learning some valuable lessons from. They, like me, may be, as Ken Wapnick puts it in his book, "Forgiveness and Jesus"--"the biggest 'pains in the neck' of our lives."

However, Ken then very wisely goes on to point out that:

"... the biggest 'pains in the neck' of our lives are the very people for whom we should feel most grateful. The greater our ego reaction--anger, hurt or fear--the more deeply repressed has been the projected guilt" (page 74)

So, as I said at the beginning, I experience them as my brothers--no less, but NOT more! We are equals, precisely in the way equals are described in the Course and particularly as portrayed in Jesus' PSYCHOTHERAPY pamphlet, where earthly roles and relationships are explicitly described. We are brothers. And all brothers - especially true brothers--who LEARN TO LEARN, TOGETHER…and that I have valuable lessons to learn through that process and pass on.

Now back to my brother MT and his core associates.

It has become very evident that MT is NOT a truly awakened being and GCP does NOT really "work" in a meaningful way. Indeed, it is merely filling up time. Moreover, the basic teaching at GCP is seriously flawed, and the teaching style there is the very antithesis of the spirit, which is reflected by Jesus in the Course. As for MT himself, he is, in his present role, nothing but an old world guru figure, with all the encumbrances that go with that role.

In short, gurus are now simply an idea whose time has passed. And MT and his GCP associates need to literally catch up with that fact.

As written in the last three sections of Chapter 29 in the Text, the ego will do everything in its power to put idolatry…in the place of God. Indeed, anti-Christs, by design, are meant for bypassing God, which is what they are for. MT, in my opinion, is a genuine anti-Christ figure in Course terms. He is not a "bad" person; he is simply "an error" from which and from whom we can learn more about the truth of forgiveness. In short, the Atonement.

In my mind he is what is called a "true" false prophet--a Wizard of Oz character who goes Home in a hot air balloon. He thus paves the way for the "Good Witch of the West," who tells our metaphorical Dorothy that she can also go Home any time she wants to and always could--by simply clicking her heels three times. And that's all!

If MT is indeed our metaphorical Wizard of Oz, and a true false prophet, he is inconsistent (and therefore dishonest) ON PURPOSE! THAT IS HIS ROLE!

I see MT as nothing, but a true blessing in disguise; someone I can "joust" with in my mind - in a confrontive, but not in a confrontational, way. He is, in short, the most blessed "pain in the neck" I have ever come across in the Course world. And I now thank and honor him for being that for me. Because, in his inimitable way, he has helped me and I am sure many others--to wake up from my silly dream. And, ironically, he too can be freed to rise up in his hot air balloon just like the Wizard of Oz--the moment we decide that he has taught us all that we need to know about returning to our mutual one-and-only Home.

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