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Bruce Fraser MacDonald, PhD

A Message of Hope for Troubled Times

Email: TheThomasBook@gmail.com

 

Gary Renard and Simon Magus

 

 

This article gives some surprising insights into the origins of A Course In Miracles as well as into the relationship between the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Course and in a number of Christian churches. It also makes you wonder who was really the first Pope.


It also presents some compelling parallels between the lives of Simon Magus and Gary Renard, a present day writer and teacher of the principles of A Course in Miracles and suggests some cautions for the use of "channeled" materials.

 

Gary Renard and Simon Magus


By
© Bruce F. MacDonald, PhD

            The fraud which we have explored in the sample chapter readings from The Thomas Book, and in the article on Gary Renard's plagiarism, found elsewhere on this website, has implications which stretch back in time and affect a great deal of what we understand about Christianity.  I hesitate to raise all these issues, since the main purpose of my writing is to present the new Gospel, The Thomas Book, and to teach a new type of prayer and meditation in The Prayer of Silence.

            However, a dream I had on the night of Thursday, November 19, 2009, shortly before The Thomas Book was to be released, compelled me to reconsider.  I knew from the dream that it was my responsibility to explain some of the implications of the fraud of Simon Magus many centuries ago – a fraud which has extended into the present and which is distorting our understanding of the teachings of Jesus.  Since correcting the distortions in the teachings and life story of Jesus (in The Thomas Book) is the reason for my present life, it is entirely appropriate to address these issues here.

            But let’s look at the dream.

            I dreamed I was in a house with many rooms. In them were people who had been turned into wooden statues, struggling to get out of their wooden confines.  I knew immediately that they were living under a spell of some sort, so I went from room to room removing the spell “in the name of Jesus and of God.” Once the spell was removed, the people jumped up, looked around, realized they had been trapped in this house, and fled.

            I then found the “workshop” in which the wizard put spells on people, complete with intricately tangled paraphernalia hanging from the walls and ceiling.  I cleansed the area of all psychic power and sealed it “in the name of Jesus and of God” so that the wizard would never again be able to entrap the unwary. 

            After I had completed this cleansing process, the wizard came into the entrance hallway where I stood.  His face seemed familiar. He did not recognize me, however, but seemed to assume I was yet another person he could put under his power.  I had thought this wizard would be frightening, but he was very friendly, with a round, smiling, jovial and pink face. He attempted, laughingly and in great good humour, to put a spell on me as well.  I had the sense of dealing with a very skilled salesman.  I looked directly at him and, “in the name of Jesus and of God,” removed his power to cast spells.

That was the end of the dream.

            I have not met Gary Renard in the flesh but, when I woke, I realized the smiling man looked exactly like the pictures I had seen on his website.

            Elsewhere on this website I have demonstrated a number of problems with the underlying philosophy in A Course in Miracles.  I had been told by my Inner Guide while writing the introductory chapters of The Thomas Book that Gary is a reincarnation of Simon Magus.  What follows here demonstrates in more detail the relationship between Simon Magus, Gary Renard and A Course in Miracles.  The problem is no longer with Gary Renard, now that his fraud and plagiarism have been exposed conclusively.

             Reflecting on the dream later, I understood that I had a responsibility to explain further what had been happening over the past centuries because of the teachings of Simon Magus, the wizard who had put many people in a trance.  These effects are not merely in A Course in Miracles but affect the whole of the Christian Church. 

            What I disagree with is the claim that A Course in Miracles teaches the ideas of Jesus.  Of course, now that it has been proved that Gary was committing fraud, all of his claims are suspect.  But there are still many people who think of A Course in Miracles as the words of Jesus and many people who assign other beliefs to Jesus which seem to have come originally from Simon Magus.

            During the Near Death Experience in 1966 I had talked with Yeshua (Jesus) about a project which would clarify a lot of things which were wrong with the Gospel stories.  I fulfilled that part of our shared project when I wrote The Thomas Book, but I now know that it was not just the Gospels which had been distorted over the centuries.  Many of the doctrinal distortions have been discussed in the first three chapters of Part One of The Thomas Book, but here I would like to look at some matters directly related to Simon Magus and his influence on the Christian church.  Because I have been told that Gary is an updated version of Simon, it will be helpful to look at some of the similarities between the two.  This will help us identity the specific doctrines which seem to have originated with Simon, carried over in the present by Gary, including the doctrine of the Trinity.

            I quickly realized that the dream was a replay in modern form of an encounter Simon Magus had with Simon Peter in the Book of Acts in the Bible. Recognizing this repetition from one life to another led me to understand that there are other repeated patterns in the way Gary is fulfilling his role as the reincarnation of Simon Magus.

            Walter Semkiw, MD, reincarnation researcher, has found that in order to confirm the identity of someone who is reincarnated, it is necessary to find similarities in the rhythm of the names, in similarity of ideas and of life patterns.  All of this can be found here.  At the simplest level, the rhythm and number of syllables of the name, Gary Renard, is the same as the rhythm of Simon Magus.  But there are many more parallels.
In the Book of Acts in the New Testament, Simon had been watching the Apostles bring the power of the Holy Spirit on the believers in Samaria. Then the story concludes:

“And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’  
But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:18-23). 

Simon asks for forgiveness at the end of this story, but the traditions of the early Jewish and gentile church and of Josephus, the Jewish historian, state that Simon really did not repent.  He went on to deceive many thousands of people in Rome and throughout the empire with his magical powers and his personal claims.  Some traditions state that Simon even tried to buy a position as an Apostle. 

            Simon became very influential in Rome as the leader of a powerful group called the Simonians or “Samaritans” (since Simon was himself a Samaritan) who later claimed to be the true Christians.  Some people even believe that it was not Simon Peter who was in Rome in the early years of the church, but Simon Pater (Priest, Magus), the person who, with his consort, Helen, claimed to be incarnations of God. 

            The Roman Catholic Church bases the authority of the Pope on their claim that Simon Peter was the first bishop of Rome and that he was in Rome during the early years of the church. However, it is easy to demonstrate that this claim could not be true just by looking at the letters of St. Paul in the New Testament.

            Paul’s letters TO the Christians in Rome, which list the Christians who lived in Rome at the time before Paul went there, do not mention St. Peter.  The letters of Paul FROM Rome to other Christian churches (after he was taken there as a prisoner) do not mention Peter either, even though Paul again lists the Christians who were in Rome at the time he was there.  Paul would surely not have missed mention of such an important disciple if Peter had actually been in Rome during those early years.

            Paul was careful to mention in his other letters every time he met with Peter, and none of those meetings took place in Rome. Paul was officially the “Apostle to the uncircumcised” – the gentiles -- while Peter was the “Apostle to the circumcised” – the Jews. The Roman church was a gentile church, not a Jewish church; another reason Peter would not be the Bishop of Rome.  Early church historians, Irenaeus and Eusebius, state that Linus was the first Bishop of Rome, and Eusebius writes further that Peter was the lifelong Bishop of Antioch. 

            Therefore, although official Catholic doctrine lists Peter as the first Bishop of Rome from “30-64/7,” and thus the “first Pope,” it is obvious from biblical and early historic sources (including official Roman Catholic sources) that Peter did not live in Rome during those years.  He may not have visited Rome even once in his lifetime. In addition, when Paul was arrested in Rome, he said that everyone deserted him, except Mark.  Peter is never mentioned.  If St. Peter had been in Rome, he surely would not have deserted Paul.

            The Roman Catholic Church claims that St. Peter’s body was buried in the cemetery  which was recently discovered beneath the Vatican.  This also could not be true.  That cemetery was reserved for influential Pagans, as can be seen in the section of the cemetery which was opened to the public in 2008. The body of a despised Jewish Christian, executed for treason against the emperor, would definitely not be interred there (even if Peter had been in Rome).  However, someone like Simon Magus, who was worshipped by many of the ruling elite of Rome as a god, could have been buried there, and it is likely his burial which has been passed on through the years, but substituting Simon Peter for Simon Pater.

            It would seem from the New Testament witness and from that of early church historians, that Simon Peter was not in Rome at all, and was certainly not the first Bishop of Rome.  But that leaves us with a very important question – who was the Simon who was in Rome – because there definitely was a Simon there in the first century?

According to a number of sources, Simon Pater WAS in Rome, even if Simon Peter was not, during those formative years of Christianity.  And Simon Pater was very influential.  He was causing so much confusion for the early converts, in fact, that the “Church Fathers” thought fit to devote considerable space to trying to discredit his teachings. Although the evidence is by no means conclusive, there seems to be enough evidence to conclude a number of things.

It seems Simon Magus had reached sufficient status that the Emperor Claudius considered Simon Pater a god and many of his teachings were accepted by the Roman populace.  That may reveal why many of the things which Simon Pater/Magus taught became part of the belief system of the early Roman church, including the belief in the Trinity, the belief that the Messiah (Simon) was the direct incarnation of God and actually a part of the tri-une God (a very non-Jewish idea), the veneration of saints and statues (which were abhorred by the Jewish Christians but practiced by Simon's followers), and the hierarchical church structure, with one person (Simon) being the undisputed leader or Pope of the Simonian Christians. 

It seems it was difficult for early believers to distinguish between the teachings of Simon and the Apostles because Simon drew from the Jewish Scriptures in formulating his doctrines, in the same way the Christians did.  Inevitably, many of the Simonians entered the Christian Church, except that they considered themselves the "true church," and managed to impose their ideas on the formation of the official version of Roman Christianity, which was then legalized by Constantine. (For a collection of Simon Magus information see the Gnostic Society Library, G. R. S. Mead Collection,http://www.gnosis.org/library/grs-mead/grsm_simon_magus.htm ).

            It is very difficult to make complete sense of the stories coming from the first centuries of the Christian era, but the above conclusions seem to be appropriate given the materials which have come down to us.  G. R. S. Mead, from whose collection of Simon Magus material I have drawn, has a much more positive attitude to Simon Magus than I do, but I am seeing his life through the lens of reincarnation in relation to modern documents – A Course in Miracles and the books of Gary Renard -- which bear striking resemblance to the teachings of Simon Magus.  

            If I am right that Gary Renard is a reincarnation of Simon Magus, it is strange how life patterns repeat from one life to another. Simon's desire to be an Apostle and to buy the power of the Holy Spirit was carried over into this lifetime as Gary claimed to be an apostle – Thomas.  But his desire was so strong for this favoured status that he tried to claim more than would be justified, if he actually was Thomas -- and he also claimed to be another Apostle, Didymos Judas Thomas – both at the same time. Gary wanted so badly to speak in the voice of an apostle that he plagiarized "Pursah's Gospel of Thomas" from a modern scholar. It is partly this overarching desire which betrayed his fraud. In many ways I feel sad for Gary because he so much wanted to be an Apostle and to speak the words of Jesus, but he was also so out of tune with the message which Jesus preached, just like Simon Magus.  Or did he, like Simon, merely want the power and influence that went along with calling himself one of the Apostles, willing to try to buy the power of the Holy Spirit for money?  The plagiarism suggests the latter.

There are a number of other parallels.  Simon's claim to be the only direct incarnation of God was carried over into Gary's more modest assertion that he is only one lifetime away from being an “Ascended Master.”  

It is said that Simon Magus could levitate.  Gary claims to have traveled physically in time, something scientists say is contrary to all the known laws of the universe, although it is common in science fiction movies.  On one occasion it is said that, while Simon was demonstrating his power to fly, he came crashing to earth when Peter and Paul rebuked him.  Quite a number of people have been rebuking Gary from the very beginning because they see the impossibility of his claims.

            Another early tradition holds that when Simon’s marriage ended, he bought a young and beautiful slave-prostitute from one of the temples in Tyre, renamed her “Helen,” and then “revealed” that she was the reincarnation of Helen of Troy who, he claimed, was an incarnation of Sophia/Wisdom, the feminine aspect of God and of Ennoia, the “Thought of God.”  Many Romans worshipped him and his consort as a variety of combinations of the gods, as the Messiah (Jupiter/Zeus-Pater, the Power of God) and Sophia/Ennoia (Minerva/Athena/Helen, the first thought of God). They even had temples where the images of Simon and Helen were displayed for worship.  Their disciples were initiated into the “mystery” of how Simon and Helen are incarnations of the divine, in the same way as Gary has initiated his followers gradually into believing that he is Thomas and Judas Thomas (both at the same time) and his present wife, Cindy, is the reincarnation of Thaddaeus.  Simon also taught that people were not saved by works but by the grace of either Simon or Helen (who, in some sources, is called the Holy Spirit).  Similarly, Gary and ACIM teach that people are not delivered from what they call “the illusion of the world” by their actions, but merely by changing their beliefs and giving up the ego, while following Gary. 

            Similarly, this time around, now that Gary’s first marriage has ended, he has married a talented young woman, Cindy Lora, and has “revealed” (his word on his website) that she is an incarnation of the Ascended Master, Arten, in the same way Simon made excessive claims about Helen. Unfortunately, Gary tells us that Arten/Cindy is a reincarnation of St. Thaddaeus, but we know from the research in The Thomas Book that Thaddaeus was another name for Didymos Judas Thomas, who Gary claims to be.  Thus, Gary is married to himself, yet again. What strange parallels!  Does Cindy know she is playing the role of Helen in Gary’s reincarnation drama?  If not, it is a sad situation for her to be in, but she is young and talented and can survive this.  If she shows Gary love and the forgiveness he preaches, perhaps he can survive this as well and they can put their considerable creative ability to good use together.

            My Inner Guide tells me that A Course in Miracles was not dictated by Jesus, as many in the Course Community believe, but was dictated by Simon Magus.  There are interesting similarities between the philosophies of Simon Magus and those of the Course.  This gives us an insight into how whole philosophical systems can be carried from one life to another and can even be developed further in the stage of life outside of the body.  We can continue to explore ideas in the stage between lives and can try to influence the living while we are in the non-incarnate state.

The basic premise of Simon’s teachings was that Ennoia/Helen was the first thought of God.  The universe was a secondary creation, because Ennoia/Helen created the angels and then the angels created the universe.  Thus, God did not create the angels or the universe.  Simon claimed that the universe is thus an illusion.  He taught further that he was an incarnation of God and Helen was an incarnation of Ennoia (the Thought of God), so they were real.  Their followers became real through worshipping them and thus participating in their reality.  It would seem that their followers were persuaded that the universe of suffering would vanish and they would be in a paradise of God once they were fully committed to Simon and Helen and once they understood fully the mystery of the relationship between the divine and the illusory world, since suffering and the world, Simon (a true Dosetist) taught, only “seem” to exist.

 A Course in Miracles (ACIM) has a similar basis.  It teaches that God did not create the universe. God created human souls who are, collectively, “the Son of God.”  Because they were created directly by God, human souls are real and are part of the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  However, the Son manifested the universe through false perception and the universe itself is like a movie which human beings project (that is what the angels did in Simon’s philosophy).  The universe is, consequently, not real and was not created by God.  Gary goes so far as to say that God is not even aware of what is happening in the world because the world is not real and God can only know what is real. 

It is reported also that Simon claimed he was incarnate in Jesus and was crucified, but he did not really suffer because he only seemed to be a real human being. In reality he was God and could not suffer.  This is almost identical to what is taught in ACIM.

The way to be delivered from the illusion of life in ACIM is to “forgive” the error in the illusion and to “choose a better way,” which opens one to the action of the Holy Spirit and to reality.  Any other motivation is said to be unreal.  In ACIM, once the world is fully forgiven for being an illusion, it will vanish and the Son of God (humanity) will be reunited with God the Father.  The Holy Spirit was created by God merely as a solution to the problem which the Son made as soon as he projected the false universe around him.

Notice that the basic philosophy is the same -- only the terminology has changed to make it more acceptable to a civilization which tends to think in Christian terms.  The philosophy of A Course in Miracles is certainly not Christian in any orthodox sense – only the words mirror the doctrine of the Trinity.  Most churches would have difficulty finding even a small part of their doctrine of the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in this mythic drama.  ACIM is obviously a direct development from the philosophy which Simon Magus taught and even incorporates Simon’s desire to speak in the words of Jesus and to have the power of the Holy Spirit at his command.  Gary is so effective at explaining the philosophy because he (or the spiritual essence of which he is an expression) was the one who developed it over many centuries.

            I often wondered why there was such a strong emphasis in A Course in Miracleson the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I knew this could not come from Jesus because the Doctrine of the Trinity did not arise formally until 325 A.D, at the Council of Nicaea, which was convened at the command of the Emperor Constantine in order to formalize Christian doctrine and to make it easier to rule his empire.  The doctrine of the Trinity is still not a part of the belief system of many churches around the world and was responsible for splitting the Empire into East and West because the two sides could not agree on it.  It was certainly not Jesus’ belief because it was a doctrine ABOUT Jesus, trying to explain something about the nature of his place in the universe in relation to God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  But the Course is strictly Trinitarian.  If my Inner Guide is right, that Simon Magus, or the soul group of which he is part, was the source for A Course in Miracles and also, in many ways, the originator of the doctrine of the Trinity, it would seem that Simon had ample time in the world of spirits, over the last 2000 years, to refine this doctrine before he dictated it through Dr. Helen Schucman as A Course in Miracles in the late twentieth century. 

Simon did, after all, claim that he had “appeared among the Jews as the Son, in Samaria as the Father and among other nations as the Holy Spirit,” according to the early church writer, Iraneaeus (and others).  Simon claimed that HE was the Trinity and that Helen was the Ennoia, the Logos or thought of God through which everything was created.  Some accounts say that he taught that Helen was the Holy Spirit.  He would certainly have a vested interest in propagating the Trinitarian doctrine in the present.

            By the way, A Course in Miracles has some profound ideas, especially its emphasis on forgiveness and seeking a better way of doing things in order to allow God’s Spirit to become active in our relationships.  If people wish to believe the other things the Course teaches, that is up to them, and I have no quarrel with them, but Jesus taught that the universe is not an illusion and does not need to disappear before we can find the love and peace of God within our own lives.  Jesus also taught that we must love and be honest, as well as forgive, and that we must take responsibility for our actions because they are not mere illusions and do have real consequences which follow us through many lifetimes.   He taught that asking questions and holding people to account is not attack but rather an attempt to find truth and an honest basis for relationships.  In denying all these aspects of Jesus’ teachings, the Course creates many distortions in human relations and finally makes it impossible for members to seek truth in their relationships or in their organizations.

            I have spent many years talking with Yeshua while writing The Thomas Bookand continue to consult with him on many matters. (This is not just something I can do -- I teach others how they can do this also in The Prayer of Silence.)I asked him what was wrong with the doctrine of the Trinity and ACIM and he said that they undermine his whole message – that is what is wrong! 

            He tells me, “When the New Testament writers mention the Father, Son and Holy Spirit they are incorporating a phrase which became part of the later liturgy of the church, not what I taught.  It is based, in part, on what I taught, but it distorts the true meaning.  I taught people to think of God as ‘the Father,’ because they were accustomed to thinking of God as a distant, cruel and jealous deity.  I knew God as more like a parent, someone to whom I could talk without fear, so I called Him ‘Abba.’ It was a metaphor, not a doctrine.  In turning God into ‘the Father,” as part of a trinity, the closeness I wanted to convey was destroyed.  I could have just as well referred to God as ‘the Mother.’  Anything which would have emphasized the closeness we can feel to God, to the Consciousness of the Universe, would have worked.”

            “The same is true of ‘the Son.’  A Course in Miracles is partly right in calling the whole of humanity ‘the Son' of God,' except that, again, I meant it metaphorically, not literally.  In the same way as God was ‘the Father,’ the loving Parent to whom we could come when we wanted to communicate with the God who is always within us, so ‘the Son’ was metaphorical in suggesting that we are like the children of God.  We are a family.  ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and 'the Daughter' are also implied by ‘the Son.’"

"People need to think of the whole human experiment as a family, with the Divine Parent as the one who can unite and help everyone. We must feel love and concern for everyone within this divine family.  In talking about 'the Son' I was speaking more about the nature of human relations than about the nature of God.  God is not 'the Son' except in so far as everything is an expression of God and therefore everything is in a sense, God – but turning this into a rigid doctrine, where I am presented as the only Son, creates terrible distortions because it prevents other people from achieving the same closeness I established with God, the Father/Mother. Think of it metaphorically and it can be an aid in understanding how you are related to the universe. At some point in history we will be able to treat everyone with love as the family of God.”

            “I did not teach that the Holy Spirit is a ‘person,’ as the doctrine of the Trinity states.  The ‘Holy Spirit’ was metaphor, not doctrine.  Holy Spirit means Holy Wind (Spiritus), Holy Air.  God is not just like a Father, caring for us from outside, but also like the air which is around us and within us.  We even breathe the air.  God, as Holy Air, is everywhere, which is a corrective to thinking of God as a person, a Father, somewhere in the sky.  I spoke of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter as well.  This is because the ever-present God can be a comfort to us in times of need.”

            “Strangely, Gary Renard says that God does not even know that we human beings are in pain.  That is a complete reversal of my teachings, where I use the metaphor of the Father who cares for all people, for the Sons and Daughters, as well as the metaphor of the Holy Wind which is everywhere and which acts as the Comforter who is there to comfort us in all circumstances.  God is thus aware of everything from the blades of grass to the little birds and flowers and animals and planets and we, ‘God’s children, sons and daughters.’”

            “When you turn these metaphors, through which you can learn of the deep love of the Consciousness of the Universe, of All that Is, for we human beings, into doctrines, you reverse the sense of closeness between we people and God and, instead, make an intellectual structure over which you can fight.” 

            “In A Course in Miracles, Simon Magus has even turned the world (which is actually an expression of the nature of God), into an illusion, a form of hell, something which must vanish when it is ‘forgiven.’  He has turned the love of God, as the divine Parent, into a distant, uncaring deity who cannot even see what the Course calls the ‘illusion of the universe.’ And he has turned the Holy Spirit, which should be understood as an expression of the universal presence of God, into a substitute for God – merely something God created to ‘correct’ the error of the perception of ‘the Son.’"

"The whole drama of the human growth to spiritual maturity over millions of years, of learning the meaning and nature of the inner Kingdom of God, has been turned by Simon Magus, Gary and A Course in Miracles into a solipsistic struggle by human beings to overcome the 'error of their perception.' Not only is the earth the centre of their universe, as in the medieval philosophy, but their 'error of perception' has become their universe.  They have thus, effectively, eliminated God from their world and have enthroned themselves at the centre, which is what Simon Magus wanted to do when he claimed to be 'the Standing One,' the only incarnation of God.”

            "And Gary, like all Docetists, also claims that I did not suffer, that I could not feel pain, because, he said, God cannot feel pain. Every time a human feels pain, God feels pain, because the universe is not only 'created' by God, it is a manifestation of the total Divine Reality.  Therefore, everything that happens registers in the Divine Awareness.  Like all those who are incarnate in order to teach human beings about their inner divine potential, I suffered in order to know within my own being what other human beings feel so that I would be able to teach them the way to the God within.  This is also why Judas Thomas and you have suffered – so that you can teach others, knowing what other people feel in themselves." 

            “This is why you had the dream and why you had to write this – because my message of the ever-present God was distorted by the churches and by A Course in Miracles into a system of belief which was so complex that not even the scholars and theologians could unravel it!  All they could do was fight to try to force others to believe the unbelievable.  Gary/Simon, who originated the system reflected in the Trinity, could explain it as no one else could because it was his in the first place, but his claims turned out to be a fraud.”

            “My assertion that God is ‘Abba, Father,’ was originally intended to let even children know that God can be trusted like a loving parent, God can be sensed as close as the air, the Holy Wind, and we are all brothers and sisters of each other in the Divine family!  The Trinity cannot address any of those purposes.”

            From these comments by Yeshua, it became obvious to me that not only the Gospels need correcting.  The doctrines of the churches and of other religious systems need to be rewritten if we are to enter fully into the sense of Divine closeness which Jesus was teaching.

            An important lesson to learn from all of this is that, just because something is “channeled” from a non-physical source, does not mean it is profound or correct.  Those who have died are no more enlightened than those who are alive – some much less so. Do not hang up your brains at the door whenever you listen to “channeled” material or when people start talking about what Alice Bailey and others have called "Ascended Masters," trying to assert that her guides were more advanced that the just plain “Masters” who taught the founders of the Theosophical Society.  Remember that the St. Germaine who is listened to with rapt attention by many people, channeled through many people, also told Elizabeth Clare Prophet, that her organization should stockpile prohibited weapons and massive supplies of food and clothing in preparation for the turn of the millennium, when chaos was supposed to ensue.  They were told to shoot anyone who tried to get at their stash of goods.  What a contrast to the love which is central to the message which Jesus teaches!

            I say the following in the same spirit as Jesus did when he told his disciples not to call anyone “Master or Lord,” because that would only make them think that they were not as equally Sons and Daughters of God as others. 

            There are no Ascended Masters and death does not suddenly make us wise. There are people like us, at various stages of spiritual maturity, in and out of bodies. Many spiritually less developed people who are “in spirit” are very anxious to manifest in someone else’s voice again.  In the same way that people want a following in life, people in spirit also want followers in order to explore their ideas further.  That is not bad, but it does mean that you must think for yourself.  Those in spirit know the prevailing prejudice in favour of “channeled” writing and speech, so they take that form to find a following.  Even those in bodies, like Gary, know that if they claim their source is Jesus and Ascended Masters, they will not be questioned.

            But you must question! I am aware that the claims I have made are in the same category as those of others.  After all, I have claimed that the Gospel of Thomas I have written has come from Jesus and from Didymos Judas Thomas.  I quote from Jesus in the passage above.  Are these credible witnesses?  Why should you believe me and not the other channeled writings?  In fact, the same problem arises in relation to any of the biblical prophets. How do any of the prophets dare to say, “Thus says the Lord”?  It is a tremendous responsibility to have on one’s shoulders, to say, “The Still Small Voice told me to say these things.”  Sometimes this is mental illness.  That is why Moses wanted a sign to give to the people, because of himself he was just a fugitive from Egyptian justice and knew he could not go to Pharaoh and tell him to let all the slaves go free.  That is why I have spent many years and much prayer asking for clarification and making sure that my ego was not getting in the way of the work which I knew came from God.

            I am, therefore, reluctant to “bear witness to myself.”  Jesus ran into the same problem, as reported in the Gospel of John.  There he is quoted as saying, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.  There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth” (John 5:31-33). 

            I cannot bear witness to myself.  That would not be true.  But I know, like Jesus, that “There is another who bears witness of me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of me is true.”  I have tested that inner, Divine witness, as well as the witness of Jesus and Judas Thomas, who have written their Gospel over many sessions in a consistent way and with consistent values. I have experienced the presence of God throughout my whole life, and I know now that this witness is true.  But it was not until 2007, when I wrote to Walter Semkiw and got independent confirmation through him from Kevin Ryerson, one of the foremost trance channels in the United States, and through Ahtun Re, that I am the reincarnation of Didymos Judas Thomas, that I was able to make a public claim of my identity as the reincarnation of Judas Thomas.  Unfortunately, Kevin will not allow me to quote from the readings, but I have them on file and they bear witness to who I am.  That is the modern day equivalent of sending to John the Baptist for confirmation.   

            But still, you must not accept anything on the spiritual path without question.  Look carefully at what I have said and what others have said. Do they seem plausible after you have examined them closely?  Are my words in tune with what you know of Jesus from other sources? I have been gratified by hearing from clergy and devout Christians about how my books have changed their lives.  My father, a minister with the United Church of Canada, kept The Thomas Book (in the privately printed version) by him always in his last days and wanted to talk about it because it gave meaning to his life. These are all witnesses to the validity of the work, but your own inner voice must be your final witness to anything which you accept.

            There are many levels of spiritual understanding in and out of bodies, since consciousness is what continues and birth and death do not bring an end to our desire to learn.  Not all people in spirit are honest or trustworthy.  Some of them are very sly, like a fox (“comme un renard”, as the French would say), and pretend to be people they are not.  Some disguise themselves as Ascended Masters and try to influence the living in all manner of negative ways.  Do not assume that those “in spirit” are more intelligent or more honest than you are – you will also be in spirit some day and will carry over all that you have achieved in this and other lives.

            Seeking enlightenment is like peeing, they say – you have to do it for yourself.  Work out your own salvation, because your spiritual growth depends on you, in your relationship with God, in the end.  Always ask, individually or in groups, if "channeled" material is really worth listening to or if you can figure out the same spiritual truths, or even more elevated spiritual truths, yourselves, from your own perception.  If you can begin to perceive divine truths within yourself, you are fortunate, in the same way that Jesus said, “You are indeed blessed, because man has not shown this to you, but the Father who dwells within you has shown this to you.”  If you continue to follow the Inner Way and seek honestly for spiritual growth, God will begin to speak to you in many ways and Jesus will become a friend with whom you can speak, and finally, you will become aware of your Oneness with God and with all other beings.  That is worth working for.

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