What do you do with a holy book, a book that looks like a bible and which is
revered by thousands as such, when you suddenly discover it might not be holy
at all? Burn it or just forget it?
For twenty-five years the book "A Course In Miracles" has been promoted as
being the miraculously communicated words of Jesus Christ. According to the
widely published story of its origin, it was claimed the lengthy three-part
work had been "dictated" by the "voice" of Jesus Christ "speaking" to Helen
Schucman, who merely "scribed" the "inner dictation" in collaboration with her
professional colleague, William Thetford, and the dictated words were published
"virtually unchanged." Helen Schucman died in 1981 and during her lifetime
she steadfastly denied any claim to authorship of "A Course In Miracles" and
refused to have her name associated with the book.
When faced with legal challenges to the validity of the copyright on the Course
due to the representations of divine origin, the story has been shifted. In
court, Helen Schucman has now been proclaimed as the real author of "A Course
In Miracles." The Foundation for A Course In Miracles, a New York corporation
which presently claims ownership maintains in court papers that the book is
merely a self-study course in psychological mind training and not a religious
document at all. The renewal of a multi-million dollar book contract likely
depends upon the validity of the copyright. The Course has sold over 1.3
million copies and its commercial value has resulted in a U.S. trademark
registration on the name, a residential teaching center in the Catskills in New
York and a teaching branch in California. "A Course In Miracles" has been
translated into a half-dozen foreign languages.
Helen Schucman was a research psychologist at Columbia University in New York
City working as an assistant to William Thetford, Ph.D. Declassified documents
made available through the Freedom of Information Act show that Dr. Thetford
worked at Columbia on part of the CIA's now infamous MK Ultra project on mind
control, or the so-called "Manchurian Candidate" project. Much of the work on
"A Course In Miracles" occurred in their University offices and at University,
or perhaps CIA, expense.
Although Thetford and Schucman may have possessed the combined intelligence and
sophistication to concoct "A Course In Miracles" as a hoax, or as a mind
control experiment, all available evidence indicates that that Thetford and
Schucman themselves genuinely believed the words of "A Course In Miracles" to
have come from some outside intelligence, and that it was not their own
A Catholic priest who was also a Ph.D. psychologist, Benedict J. Groeschel, was
a very close friend of Helen Schucman. He gave a eulogy at her funeral in
1981. Father Groeschel wrote in his book, "A Still, Small Voice, A Practical
Guide On Reported Revelations," Ignatius Press 1993, "This woman who had
written so eloquently that suffering really did not exist spent the last two
years of her life in the blackest psychotic depression I have ever witnessed."
During an October 1994 lecture on "Discernment" given at Holy Cross Church,
Rumson, N.J., Father Groeschel also stated his belief that Helen Schucman's
experience with the channeled "spirit" was possibly a true diabolic
manifestation. As a psychologist and having served as an exorcist for the
Catholic Church, Father Groeschel is professionally qualified to speak to both
the psychological and spiritual aspects of the phenomenon.
To make matters more complicated, an earlier version of "A Course In Miracles"
was recently discovered in the Edgar Cayce Foundation Library, named after the
famous Kentucky psychic, at the Association for Research and Enlightenment
(A.R.E.) in Virginia Beach, Va. It is obvious this earlier typed manuscript
was extensively modified to produce the 1975 published version, in
contradiction to the public claim that the version of "A Course In Miracles"
available in bookstores is substantially the same as the original "dictation"
from Jesus. A copy of this pre-1975 version of ACIM was obtained by
unidentified individuals, digitized, and freely distributed on the Internet,
prompting a storm of controversy and threats of litigation.
The instructional and promotional materials produced by those claiming
ownership of "A Course In Miracles" uniformly misrepresent the true extent of
the pre-1975 editing to the original "dictated" words of "Jesus." Large
portions were deleted and terms were modified. As one example, the term
"spiritual eye" in the pre-1975 version was changed to "Holy Spirit" in the
bookstore edition. Many long-term students of the Course are shocked when they
first discover the true extent of the modification. In the world of academic
scholarship, uncovering this distortion of "history" surrounding the origin of
"A Course In Miracles" might well be considered a major scandal. In the world
where the name of Jesus Christ is used to sell books and build fortunes, it
might be expected.
The repeated claims in print and on video of Jesus' authorship, and the
first-person style of "A Course In Miracles" itself, have convinced many of the
1.3 million purchasers of the book to believe what it says and to act upon its
teachings. This includes the formation of church organizations based upon "A
Course In Miracles" and individuals who are willing to risk litigation to
follow their faith in the Course's teaching. Many believe the mandate
expressed in "A Course In Miracles" is to freely give away what are considered
to be the actual words of a living Jesus Christ.
Ironically, those claiming copyright and trademark ownership have pursued a
strategy of suing the Course's strongest supporters and adherents. Kenneth
Wapnick, president of the Foundation for a Course In Miracles, denies that
Jesus was an actual historical person. Some have suggested a personal vendetta
by Dr. Wapnick against those who accept the literal truth of Jesus' life,
crucifixion and resurrection. The legal attacks may also be explained as an
attempt to placate the Penguin publishing group and to preserve a
multi-million dollar empire.
Penguin/Viking is the current publisher of ACIM under a five-year contract that
is timed to expire early next year.
A recently formed non-profit corporation, Course In Miracles Society, was
organized to print and distribute the pre-1975 version of ACIM, as being the
"more authentic words of Jesus." The members of Course In Miracles Society
believe that the copyright on the Course is invalid or unenforceable for a
number of reasons and they are willing to contend with Wapnick's Foundation in
On the other hand, some of the more technically inclined fans of "A Course In
Miracles" have resolved to use the latest Internet technology, including the
anonymous distributed data storage and retrieval protocol known as "the
Gnutella network", to make the digital version of the pre-1975 manuscript
freely available on the Internet and immune from legal threats under the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is the same technology used to make
life miserable for music publishers.
The efforts of Wapnick's Foundation to prevent this Internet distribution has
been largely unsuccessful. The digital version of the pre-1975 manuscript is
still easily located for free download on the Internet, and an informal
international network of computer savvy volunteers, mostly well hidden and
beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts, has grown in response to the threats of
In April, the pre-1975 manuscript was published by Course In Miracles Society
in book form with the title "Jesus' Course In Miracles." Within a few days of
first distributing the book the Society was sued for copyright infringement by
Wapnick's Foundation, and the Society was temporarily restrained from further
activity. One of the possible remedies for a copyright infringement, if the
Foundation prevails in court, is the destruction of all copies of the offending
What do you do with a holy book, a book that looks like a bible and which is
revered by thousands as such, when you suddenly discover it may not be holy?
Maybe a Federal Judge will decide to burn it, but it is unlikely it will go
away or be forgotten.
Secondly, there is information contained below that I was unaware of, thanks
for putting it out there. I've been telling Amy that the whole business is
creeping me out badly, but I simply can't let it go - she has been fairly
alarmed at times and no wonder. After all, I've been studying all this for
a number of years and despite all the problems CIM still feels like my
designated path, although I do plan on sticking with the HLC/JCIM text
version for the moment until something comes along to undoubtedly prove that
it is also a fraud. I've recently also wondered to a great extent if it's
actually the book and the study, practice and application itself, or if it's
all the circumstances behind it that have been/are being revealed in the
recent past and present. I perceive a great deal of progress since the
publication of the older manuscript, Jesus knows. What is someone like me
to do, or not to do?
Like Hmm said one time (paraphrase), perhaps the entire situation was
designed for the Greater Purpose of awakening/forgiveness. I could almost
buy that if there hadn't been so many people (including myself) confused,
deeply hurt and disillusioned (<--- interesting word, huh) to say nothing of
ripped off for money along the way. I may be speaking with my psychiatrist
about the damage done to my delicate psyche and from there, also speaking
with an attorney regarding what sort of compensation I may be entitled to
because of it. Do you know anyone in the state of Missouri that may be
willing/able to take the case on a pro-bono or % after the win basis? Or
does it even have to be an attorney practicing within the state of MO? Any
info would be appreciated at this point.
God Help us all.
"Near Home" finished/unfinished web site:
"TomWFox" <tom...@aol.com> wrote in message
Thus, I suggest, appears the wisdom of the admonition not to associate Bill's
and Helen's names with the book so not to promote confusion on the issue of
authorship. Thus also the deferred consequences of not following the
instructions. But, that this grandeur can blossom amid such a pile of crap
does offer hope and encouragement to us all.
Perhaps the maturation of ANY spiritual community includes having a substantial
challenge to its collective and individual faith. What good - or better, how
strong - is a faith that hasn't been "tested" to discover its genuine VALUE?
Again 0 and as a direct result - my deepest thanks and heartfelt gratitude to
Dr. Wapnick, and all his fellows, for a truly amazing "test" and its
Love and smile as we work it through together,
Please keep the faith just a teensy bit longer (it will undoubtedly prove to be
MUCH more than worth it ; )
What would you do if you found out that the four Gospels of the
Christian Bible were written down from the oral history of the
early Christians and it was not 100% accurate (except to
fundamentalists.) Suppose you found out that the purported
words of Jesus were not His actual words but were inserted later
to support the faith of those undergoing persecution? Suppose
you found out that the Synoptics and St. John present different
views of Jesus? Would you burn the Bible or forget it?
I read your essay and it does not change my view of the Course.
Even if it is conclusively proven that the WSV was written by a
human source as an experiment in mind control, I still believe
that it was divinely inspired. How can any person write such a
pure document of oneness with God and reconciliation with all
humans, based on a CIA directive to subvert the minds of
Americans? Whoever authored the Course was totally blown-out
and practically a saint.
Maybe the background of the Course is hazy and cloaked in
deception but the basis of the Course is pure and radiant with
Light. I think that the HS acted through whomever wrote the
Course to produce an incredible document of hope and forgiveness
in a world racked by fear and division.
If anyone thinks that the Course was written by demonic forces
then I must say that Satan's evil empire has surely fallen.
Satan is supposed to teach the lesson of hatred and revenge, war
and rape yet here he is teaching the same lesson that Jesus
taught 2K years ago
What is in it for Satan to teach that God is loving and
eternally forgiving? Hell is going to be an empty place and a
lot of demons will be collecting welfare if people start
forgiving each other instead of commiting murder.
I suggest that it is the ego that has influenced those who say
that God only loves Christians and hates all His other
There is no such thing as a "holy" war because hatred and
division are not Godly.
What would I do if I found out that the Course was not holy? I
would look for the holy bits and discard the rest.
Patrick, your faithful and believing brother
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