Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar Publication date: 1996
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Joseph Polanik writes: "Absent some proof (or even a tiny bit of evidence) that any of this palaver about Paulji's true and correct birthdate, affects the seeker's relationship to the Eck as developed and maintained by the spiritual exercises, there is a real (in)significance issue lurking in our midst. What I am calling the (in)significance issue is raised by asking 'What difference does it make'. So far, Lane has not addressed this (in)significance issue and his exclusive focus on documents and public records can be seen as a 'desperate' attempt to avoid discussing it. Since Steve has been able to enter the dispute about the records and is also able to discuss the (in)significance issue, I would be inclined to say that his 'methodology' is more open than Lane's." DAVID LANE REPLIES: Thank you for your observation. However, I would be most happy to discuss the significance of Twitchell's birthdate. In my replies to Steve, he was calling into question the documents I was using to state that Paul Twitchell had lied about his birthdate. I have clearly shown (and any close reading of Steiger's narrative will doubly confirm) that Twitchell did indeed try to pass himself off as a decade or so younger than he was. On that score, it was important for me and interested readers to see the lines of evidence I was using. I have written a line by line response to Steve, which he claims he will not download. So be it. Contrary to what some may suspect, I listen to critics very carefully. For that reason I have not been upset with Steve R's continual critiques (even when he makes things up) because it has allowed me the great opportunity of checking my facts once again. Now on to your question of significance: I would think that Eckankar members would be highly interested in the history of their founder. I think they would also be concerned when that same founder tried to pass himself off as much younger than he was (at least a decade). Why? Because if you take Twitchell's invented time line (using 1922 as a birthdate for instance), it calls into question not only his supposed travels to India, but his alleged meeting with Sudar Singh. Let me give you one example from IN MY SOUL I AM FREE which may better illustrate my point: Brad Steiger writes: (page 41, IWP edtion) "Paul had polished off high school at the age of FIFTEEN [my emphasis] with top marks." ----- But according to Steiger's narrative, before Twitchell would attend college he would be allowed to visit his sister, Kay-Dee, in Paris. So Paul goes to Paris at the age of FIFTEEN. -------- Yet Steiger writes: (page 47, IWP edition) "Paul had little time to get adjusted to Paris, to his sister's left-bank friends, or Kay-Dee's brand of artistic expression before Pop cabled them from China point that Mom was dying." ----- When does Paul Twitchell's mom die? April 26, 1940. Now Steiger then goes on to relate how Twitchell was with his mother when she died. But right after her death he goes back to Paris for the second time. ------- Writes Brad Steiger: (page 51, IWP edition) "It was upon their return to Paris that Paul met Sudar Singh for the FIRST TIME [my emphais]. The Indian holy man was lecturing in France." ------- Right after this, Paul then goes to India to stay at Sudar Singh's ashram, according to Steiger's narrative. ------- Writes Brad Steiger: (page 53, IWP edition) This year in India was not spent totally in an attitude of holy learning. Paul had reached his SIXTEENTH birthday....." ------------------------------ What is so wrong about this narrative? Well, several things: 1. Paul's mother died on April 26, 1940, and Steiger says Paul Twitchell was 15 when she died. That's not true. He was much older (remember the Registrar has him at 22 in 1933, quite a few years before his mom's death) 2. Paul is then reported to be 16 when he meets Sudar Singh after his mom's death (which was in 1940). Well, that's very problematic because Sudar Singh is dead, according to Twitchell. He supposedly died in 1935/1936. 3. Furthermore, we know that the whole time line in Steiger's narrative is wrong. Twitchell is approaching 30 when his mom dies--he is not 15. This is quite significant because it shows that Steiger's narrative is wrong. It shows that Twitchell's account of his travels cannot be trusted. It indicates at the very least that an interested Eckist should want to know why he/she is being lied to? Look, the signficance can be summarized this way: If Twitchell is going to lie to you about his birthdate, his age at meeting Sudar Singh, and his travels about Paris (all things which can be empirically verifired), why should the Eckist then believe via faith in Twitchell's encounters with Divine Beings? (things that cannot be empirically verified). I hope that answers your point, Joseph. I highly recommend that anyone out there re-read IN MY SOUL I AM FREE and read it with the knowledge that Twitchell's mother died in 1940. Just another point which puts another nail in this issue: "Wilson Gantt, dean of admissions and registrar, says the school's records show Twitchell graduated from Tilghman High School in Paducah in MAY 1931 and entered MURRAY that September. He remained a full-time student until March of 1933, Gantt said" (quoted directly from Tipton's published article on Paul Twitchell) Naturally, we got another problem here. Why? Well, if we accept that Twitchell was born in 1912 (at the very latest and a date that even our beloved Steve asserts is accurate) then Twitchell graduated high school at the age of 18, not fifteen. Indeed, if we accept Harold Klemp's time line for Twitchell (he uses the 1908 birthdate), then Twitchell was 22!!!! Let's see again what Steiger himself said: "Paul had polished off high school at the age of FIFTEEN with top marks." Well, we know that's a lie and Steiger--being the "official" biographer--is simply stating once again what Twitchell wanted known about himself. He lied about his age of graduation, he lied about his birthdate, and he lied about his travels to Paris. I call that VERY significant. But others may have a different opinion. I await the dialogue dave who was born in 1856...... oh yea 1956
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