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Bruce Fraser MacDonald, PhD

A Message of Hope for Troubled Times

Email: TheThomasBook@gmail.com





Considerations which have arisen from emails
Concerning Gary Renard


©Bruce F. MacDonald, PhD

            A number of people have enquired about the purpose of the above article.  Rogier van Vlissingen, for instance, comments in his blog, "I have perused the website on MacDonald's book a bit, and it seems to me that he comes from a very different frame of reference than Gary does, and it's not clear to me what purpose could possibly be served by his pretty pointless accusation of plagiarism." (http://acimnthomas.blogspot.com/2010/04/gary-in-news-again.html). 

            Just to clarify the matter for readers, my "frame of reference" is certainly different.  It is diametrically opposed to what Gary teaches.  When I first wrote about Renard's plagiarism, it was in Part One, Chapter Four of The Thomas Book:  Near Death, a Quest and a New Gospel by the Twin Brother of Jesus, and in that context it made complete sense.  Since the article is now out of that context, I will try to clear up where this evidence for plagiarism fits into a range of other ideas which are expressed in that book.

            I present a great deal of evidence in The Thomas Book that Gary has not just stolen the gospel – he has also stolen and mixed up the identity of St. Thomas,  St. Judas Thomas and St. Thaddaeus as well as the teachings of Jesus.  
He has also committed what I call “reincarnation identity theft.”

            The first context for the article is plagiarism itself.  Some of the email responses suggest that it is not important if Renard plagiarized or not.  These writers seem to think it does not matter if Pursah’s Gospel is stolen.

            It would seem to me that, even taken out of context, the discovery that a major writer has plagiarized a major part of one of his books from a published source is hardly a "pretty pointless accusation," as van Vlissingen says. I am very surprised he cannot see the significance of this proof.

            It is important to make sure that writers are honest.  If they lie, then the reader has no way of knowing what is trustworthy and what is not.  Since evidence of plagiarism undermines the credibility of the rest of what an author has written, it is a service to readers of that author to point out that they will have to deal with a lot of questions about what else the writer lied about.  Do people want to waste their time reading more things from a writer who lies to them?  And do people want to follow a spiritual teacher who steals the work of others?  I, for one, would prefer to follow someone who tells the truth.

            Quite frankly, if Pursah’s Gospel is not from Pursah but is stolen from another writer, then that is pretty convincing evidence that Pursah does not even exist and is also a fabrication of the author.

Plagiarism is theft.  It is important to blow the whistle on theft so that we may live in a more law abiding society.  I would suspect that, if someone took a chapter from van Vlissingen's book, published it in a magazine and made $10,000.00 from it, van Vlissingen would want to make sure he got that money, since it came from his work.  Writers make their living from their writing, and when someone steals their work and profits from the theft, the original authors lose part of their income as well as title to their property.  Plagiarism is property theft and is a criminal act in most countries.

Discovering that "Pursah's Gospel of Thomas" has been plagiarized from Patterson/Meyer is very important.  There is great concern in almost all publishing, academic and literary circles about the recent rash of plagiarism made possible by the internet. Plagiarism is taken very seriously everywhere it is found. 

Students found plagiarizing their essays fail their class. Graduate students who plagiarize theses or parts of their theses have their degrees rescinded.  University professors who plagiarize their research papers are dismissed from their jobs.  It is not a "pretty pointless accusation," and I am surprised van Vlissingen would make that kind of observation. 

I can see why he might do that, however.  He has published a book based entirely on "Pursah's Gospel of Thomas" and, if it is proved that "her" work was actually stolen and that "she" is actually merely a fictitious character, then his book and its conclusions are next to worthless. 

As a scholar I sympathize with him because, if this is proven to be plagiarism, as I think I have done, he is also a victim of what Gary has done and all his labour is in vain.  This is another example of the great harm that is done when writers plagiarize and other writers spend countless hours working on plagiarized text only to end up with nothing for their work.  That is why the courts have provisions to deal with this kind of loss.

It is also very difficult when the person who has brought meaning into your life is shown to be a fraud, and I have great sympathy for the great number of people who will be affected by what Renard has done.  Van Vlissingen is an ardent follower of Gary Renard, as is shown in some of the material quoted on Renard's website.  He therefore has great vested interest in discrediting anyone who finds evidence that the primary material on which he based his research and his life is fraud.

On his blog, in trying to defend Renard's version of the gospel, he makes the odd claim that "Along those lines, I feel that the Meyer/Paterson translation is about the most neutral version that's out there, in other words, if you weren't consciously trying to be unique and different, you would end up with something along the lines of that translation."  He seems to be trying to defend the fact that Renard's "translation" is identical to Patterson/Meyer by saying that, if you are trying for something neutral, you will end up with what they have written (which is not very complimentary to the skill of Patterson/Meyer, by the way who have not produced a “neutral” text but one that is both elegant and clear). 

But “Pursah” does not claim that “her” translation is neutral:  she/Renard claims it is entirely different from anything that has been produced so far, and Renard even exclaims after "she" has finished reciting her "gospel," that this version "flows so much better" and is so much superior to the other translations.  He is not aiming at something neutral – he promises us something completely original.

Related to this matter, some people have asked if I have been in touch with Renard.  Yes, I have.  In fact Renard sent a very angry email to me and to Circle of Atonement(which has been concerned for a number of years that Renard has not been honest in his claims).  After a lengthy email he concluded, "You need to be stopped. Either stop yourself or I will." 

He threatened to sue, but after it was pointed out that we were not the ones who had plagiarized and were not the ones who might be taken to court, our discussion became more productive.

I cannot quote all of our correspondence, but a sampling of what I wrote might make it clearer why I wrote the article and why I have continued my disagreement with Renard.  I will quote from my email to him (in bold italics) with amendments which will make certain matter clearer:

   You can certainly be forgiven for not understanding what is happening here.  This is not just a matter of my finding that you have plagiarized the gospel.  I tried to explain that in my last email, but I guess it needs greater clarification.  In 1966 I died because of a very serious industrial accident.  I fell feet first down a 37 foot piling shaft, crushed one of my vertebrae to half size and badly fractured two others, tearing all my inner organs out of place at the same time.  A couple of days later in the hospital I died. 

I went through the whole process of death (described in The Thomas Book)) and then talked in a Near Death Experience with Jesus, Elijah and Moses about a project in which we were  involved.  Apparently, I was in the body as Bruce MacDonald in order to carry on my part of the project. I was given the choice whether to come back or not.  Yeshua (Jesus) told me that "we can do this another way.  You do not have to go back."  He warned me three times that the body was very badly smashed up, but I still decided to return. 

It took seven months in hospital to get the old machine going.  I have spent the rest of my life working on this project.  I was told in the 1980's, while writing the Gospel, that I was the reincarnation of Didymos Judas Thomas but refused to believe it then. [This was confirmed by a very important source – Kevin Ryerson --  in 2007 – this is also in the book.]  I did, however, write the Gospel of Thomas which is in the Thomas Book as well as a book on meditation 
which will be published later this year.  It was Judas Thomas through whose eyes I saw while writing the gospel and it was Yeshua who dictated the teachings for the gospel. 

Then, when it came time to publish the books, I discovered that you had taken the name of Judas Thomas as your own, and were presenting a very different version of Jesus' teachings.  In fact, you had so tied up the spiritual publishing industry with the idea that you were the reincarnation of Thomas/Didymos Judas Thomas [both at the same time – they are actually two people, not one], that it was impossible for Judas Thomas, Yeshua and me to publish our book without exposing your deceptions.  In order to have this project come to fruition it was necessary to remove the blockage which you had put in the way. 

Of course, you did not know that Judas Thomas would actually come back to life.  You did not believe in reincarnation that much and thought you could get away with adopting his name.  But Judas Thomas did come back and wanted his name back, and with the help of several other people in Spirit, was able to prove the plagiarism and hence the fraud in the rest of your writing.  [All of this is explored in detail in The Thomas Book.] You apparently did not really think Yeshua could speak, either, so thought you could put all sorts of words in his mouth just by writing them into your book and copying them from Patterson and Meyer.  

But Yeshua is very real, I assure you, and fighting against him will not be possible, as you will find.  I have fought against writing what I must for many years, like most of the OT prophets who ran away rather than listen to that Still Small Voice of the Divine within.  I now know the power of both Yeshua and Judas Thomas.   

You are not just working against me in this, then.  You are actually 
standing in the way of Jesus and Judas Thomas and a project which was 2000 years in the making.

In the earlier email I had written:

Only later did I read in your books that you had claimed to be a reincarnation of Thomas and Judas Thomas at the same time, and that you had claimed Arten was a reincarnation of Thaddaeus.  You obviously did not know that Thaddaeus was just another name for Judas Thomas, not a different person.  And you did not know that Thomas and Judas Thomas were different people.  (You can read about that in The Thomas Book, as well, and you can find there the evidence from the first century and from the New Testament, of the existence of the Twin brother of Jesus.) 

Also, I was told by my inner guides that you had been claiming a great many things as having been the teachings of Jesus, when they were not.  So the folks in spirit came up with a plan to expose you.  It had to be a very subtle plan because others had tried and failed.  It had to be fail proof.  That is when I was led to read Pursah's Gospel of Thomas more closely and found that it had been plagiarized.  Of course, the implication of that fraud is that all your other claims are suspect by any thinking person.

By the way, ACIM did not come from Jesus.  It came from a very influential magician of the first century named Simon Magus.  I am told that you are a reincarnation of Simon Magus and that is why you have had so much success in teaching the philosophy which you originated in the first century and developed while in spirit and then persuaded others to write and think came from Jesus.  Whether you know it or not, you also have considerable psychic power to influence others, which is also, I am told, a carryover from that lifetime. You can read about that on my website if you want.  It is under the title of "Simon Magus and the Trinity." You might find it interesting. 

My guides assert that ACIM is leading a lot of people into some profoundly unhealthy social and psychological habits, because they believe that the world and human relations are an illusion, and that it is not worth trying to change anything in the world.  They are becoming entirely passive in the face of world problems which need all our efforts to solve. 

This is exactly the kind of philosophy the Hitlers of the world love, because if enough people really believe this, then they can get away with any lies or intimidation or injustice and people will dismiss it as nothing but illusion.  That is why my guides teach against it. The conflict in the Course community should be enough evidence of this negative influence. You can read about that also, if you want, on the website under the entry "Sample Chapter readings." You have to scroll down on the left side to find Chapter Four readings.  You must surely realize by now that your beliefs have led you into a great deal of trouble and that it is time to change those beliefs. 

The trouble with ACIM is that it takes a lot of the good things from the actual teachings of Jesus and combines them with a lot of the negative things which arose in the Dosetic philosophy of Simon Magus and so twists everything around to make it ultimately destructive.  It looks like it should be good, just because of the words it uses, but it is destructive because of the underlying philosophy of life which I outline in the two places I mentioned above.

I have also put some passages from the Gospel which Yeshua and Judas Thomas wrote through me in the right column on that same Sample Chapter Readings page.  You might find that of interest as well, since there you actually do get a sense of the message which Jesus was proclaiming.  Read the rest of the Gospel and you will have a very complete sense of what that message is.

After some more discussion he asked if he could place a reply to my article on my website.  I said I didn't have room here but might be able to put a link to his article.  I had read his response to the three earlier critics of his work and knew it was mostly character assassination, so I responded,   

I would have to see what you have written before putting the link.  The last "response" you wrote was, in my opinion, mostly directed at personally attacking and discrediting the writers who criticized you and not at answering the questions they raised.  I have no desire to link to an article which is merely character abuse. 

What I have written is factual.  I have put charts and statistics to show that at least 85% of Pursah's "gospel" is identical to the work of Patterson/Meyer.  It is not similar in form nor is it similar in language.  It is identical in form and language.  Just having omitted parts of a verse does not make the rest of the verse somehow, magically yours.  Even the parts were written by the original translators.  

If you have comments which would shed light on why this should be the case, especially when you portray Pursah as saying that her gospel will be a completely new translation taken from the actual words of Jesus which, as I point out, would have been Aramaic, and thus would have had completely different intonations and implications from the Greek and Coptic from which the Patterson/Meyer translation is taken, then I would be delighted to provide a link to such an article.  

Aramaic is a very different language which does not work with exact meanings, like Greek, but which mostly works with implication and nuance and symbolism.  Any work translated from Aramaic is very different from one translated from Greek.  If you want to get a sense of how such a translation would actually appear, you might want to consult the translation of the Lord's Prayer from Aramaic which is available online athttp://www.thenazareneway.com/lords_prayer.htm . 

It will be obvious that a mere word for word transposition is not possible. I am intrigued how an Ascended Master could commit such an error  in claiming we were going to see a new gospel, taken from the actual Aramaic words of Jesus, and then giving us a repeat of a currently available  translation from Greek and Coptic, word for word. That does indeed puzzle me and I would be very interested in seeing how that could have happened.  

If the article is personal attack, like the last one, I feel no obligation to provide a link.  Also, if it is merely an argument that I have not followed the  principles of ACIM I will not be interested in providing a link either, because  I do not feel ACIM is a valid basis for social or psychological action or  evaluation. In fact, I think ACIM is a source of great discord and suffering for the people who follow it and for the community which tries to put its principles into practice.

            Anyway, since a number of people had asked for this kind of context and to address some of the questions which arose in their minds, I hope this account will give an idea of where things stand at the present.

One other little thing which has come from the emails: 
I would like to recommend to the members of the Course community who claim to be living out of love and forgiveness, that they should really try to act more lovingly, if in fact they have learned about love in addition to forgiveness.  Here is a typical quote from the more negative writers: 

"Is it any wonder when folk are wanting to get away 
from attack, judgment, hate, controversy, anger, jealousy and a myriad of ego traits that us students of the course are working to overcome mate. Get a fucken life jerk. . . Just do the fucken course jerk, and I'll see you on the path, guaranteed. Hahahahaha hahahahahaha."

This is the kind of abuse anyone who criticizes Renard is subjected to over and over. One wonders what they are learning from the Course since this is the kind of thing that comes from it in so many people who follow the Course – they seem to think that if the world is an illusion they have no responsibility for anything they do.  It leads to complete irresponsibility while at the same time leading to this kind of abuse in the name of forgiveness.  It becomes almost pathological. This is part of the reason my spiritual teachers teach against ACIM.


            Gary Renard has asked that I put in a link for a response from him so I include that here:


It is interesting that he has not been able to address any of the issues of plagiarism, merely quoting extensively from the blog of Van Vlissingen which we have considered above. 

He does, however, do exactly what he did in the last “defense” after the articles which asked for clarification of a number of matters.  He attacked people.  In this case, since he doesn’t know enough about me to attack me, except to try to belittle me, he turns his ire to Robert Perry and tells stories about him which turn out to be twisted and even not true so that one had to be withdrawn.  But you can read about that in Robert’s reply which can be found at:


I think you can see from all of this that there are some serious issues which members of the Course community will have to address, not the least being the Course itself and why it produces the kinds of responses it does.  AS I read through Course blogs, I am amazed at the animosity of those who claim to be “doing the Course.”  Don’t be mistaken.  It is the Course which creates these reactions in people.  It is not a healthy teaching to follow.