Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: MSAC Philosophy Group Publication date: 1996
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Dear Steve: Just read your latest offering with much anticipation and joy. Why? Because every time you write something I know I am going to get inspired and will end up writing a response. Again, I thank you for at least prompting me to once again post something on the alt.religion.eckankar newsgroup. 1. You have your information about Paul's lying about his birthdate a bit backwards. Twitchell not only lied to Gail about his birthdate (she is the informant, by the way, on Twitchell's death certificate), but to a whole slew of people, including Jack Jarvis of the Seattle Post Intelligencer who stated in print that Paul said that he had just "turned forty" (the article was written in 1963/64). Just look at Twitchell's story about going to India with his sister, Kay-Dee (which is, by the way, fictional) wherein he also lies about his age. If you don't trust marriage certificates, death certificates, or old family bibles, then look at what Twitchell said to the Registrar at Western Kentucky (he said he was 22 when he enrolled in 1933). Yet, some thirty years later (when Twitchell now has a young wife--barely 21?) he changes his age by at least a decade. To whom, you may ask? Brad Steiger, Gail, his employers, his disciples, and any reporter naive enough to accept Twitchell's reconstruction of facts. 2. I don't see anything "honest" about Twitchell saying he was born out of wedlock. His brother-in-law, Paul Iverlet, said the whole story was a fabrication and if his family knew Paul would have gotten an earful. Of course, you don't have to believe Paul Iverlet, who was married for years to Kay-Dee. Much better to believe Paul Twitchell who has never lied, never covered-up, and never plagiarized (I am teasing, lest you don't get the joke). 3. Either you have an atrocious memory (in which case I don't blame you) or you willfully like to misrepresent facts, even after you have been corrected several times. You state that "my findings" have never been substantiated by the academic community. Here we go again: 1. Almost every encyclopedia of religion or cults edited by J. Gordon Melton (from the Encyclopedia of American Religions to the Encyclopedia of Cults) has cited my findings on Twitchell's plagiarism and spiritual background. 2. Almost every academic article on Eckankar (from Juergensmeyer's brief sections in his books to Robert S. Ellwood's at USC to Timothy Miller's latest edited volume for SUNY Press) has cited and "agreed" with the substance of my findings. 3. I have presented my research to a series of academics: ranging from The AAR Stanford University Meeting in 1982 to an invited talk at the London School of Economics (where there was a conference on new religions in Europe). 4. I can list over 25 different publications--not connected with me in any way--which have cited and substantiated the findings of a making of a spiritual movement. Don't get me wrong, I like your skepticism of my work. It is good to rip and shred and lacerate. But you would be much better off and be accurate in your rips. Don't misrepresent things, especially after I have written to you a couple of times on this very issue. Okay, let's say you think whatever I do is tainted (fair enough). Then I would suggest you do what other academics have done (like Melton who checked it for himself, and please keep in mind that he is not at all anti-cult--quite the opposite). Read the review of my work in GNOSIS, read the review of my work in SUNY's latest book on cults, read the original findings of that academic on Dave Rife's homepage. Better yet read your own master on the subject: Harold Klemp. He read the Making of a Spiritual Movement and even used some facts from it, even though he did not cite it. Don't believe me, Steve? Go ask him. Better yet still, go ask Darwin who wanted me to be his "expert" witness at his trial. What you should do is go find the original ORION magazines (I am in London right now, but will in the near future put them on the web) and see how Twitchell changed names, etc. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of ex-Eckists (and even now practicing Eckists) who have researched this issue about Paul and have come to grips with it. Not by making shit up, not by lame excuses, but by simply acknowledging his past, his plagiarism, his lying, and his cover-up. You don't want to do that. Fair enough, but better to be accurate about what I have discovered and what others have discovered. To keep saying the same mispresentations over and over again will only insure the one thing I don't think you want: Lane writing yet another rebuttal. But then again you do me the favor, so maybe I should say keep misconstruing my work and my background. That way I will at least write something. thanks again for the inspiration, dave lane
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