Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar Publication date: 1996
E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to go back to the home base now.
Dear Mr. Wong: Thank you for your observation on bias which I read as an excerpt in Steve R.'s post. I do agree with you that we should be quite aware of alternative theories to any facts that we may unearth. But at the same time that does not mean that all theories about such facts carry equal weight. In using Occam's Razor, for instance, when looking at the 1922 birthdate as given on Paul Twitchell's death certificate (sidebar to Steve R.: Gail Atkinson is listed as the "informant" to all the biographical information that is given, including their Del Mar address--no typos there, I checked the street) we discover that there are multiple sources for that date (from Steiger to Jarvis to even Twitchell's own biographical article, etc.). Thus when comparing those listed sources which agree with 1922 (and obviously stemming from Paul directly) with the idea of multiple typos (remember, we are talking about tens of typos, not just one), Occam's Razor points decidely in the direction of the printed record and not to a coincidence of multiple typos. Naturally, one can believe anything they want, but the record states and shows that there are many sources pointing to Twitchell claiming to be born in the early 1920s. There is no evidence whatsoever (outside of vivid imaginations) that there was a conspiracy or a random series of typos, especially when Twitchell HIMSELF states that he had just turned 40 in the early 1960s. Steve R.'s objections are fine with me and I do not take any of his false and misleading ideas about me (instructor vs. professor--Steve could have just asked me, I suppose) personally or to heart. I realize that the Internet is a forum for the exchange of ideas. I also fully realize that what I have written about Eckankar bothers some people. So don't worry on my account; I realize that Steve R. is simply responding the best way he knows how. Critics are our best friends--from both sides of the fence. I applaud the continued rebuttals. I personally wouldn't mind being wrong about Eckankar, like I have said before. It would be really groovy to have a Rebazar come over to my house. It would be cool to have Fubbi and the Golden Temples. But the real problem is this: why trust someone on the inner when you cannot trust him as a guide on the outer? That's the key question and that's exactly why I think it is important that we be hyper critical of our spiritual traditions. If something is true, it will shine all the more because of mine or somebody's else's critique. Gravity has nothing to worry about if I test it one time or a thousand. That is something physical. Why shouldn't something spiritual also withstand some close biographical or genealogical scrutiny. This "hands off" approach to religion ("Hey, I believe it so don't bug me"--otherwise known as the Tom Cruise motto) is to my mind simply silly. We want good T.V.'s, so we court around and ask hard questions. I think God or whatever ultimate truth we wish to follow should be able to handle as much heat as we give our toasters. But then again, if you want burnt toast........ i liked your observations Mr. Wong; feel most free to test my biases whenever you wish. Sidebar to Steve R: You talk about how Paul was not an academician and was not concerned with who was the best author and who wrote what. But Steve, according to Paul Twitchell himself, you are completely wrong. Don't you remember what he tried to do to John-Roger Hinkins of MSIA? He threatened to sue him. Why? Because he took some of Paul's "concepts" (not even whole paragraphs like the Twitch himself had done). Paul was quite aware of what plagiarism constituted, as is Eckankar today. Use Paul's criterion on himself. He loses every time. keep asking, probing, and doubting whatever I say. Instead use Twitchell's ideas of plagiarism on himself. As I have stated to you before, if Twitchell found out that somebody outside of his organization had plagiarized just 1/10 of what he had appropriated from Johnson and others, he would have sued the guy's butt off. But the Twitchell never did look at himself in that literary mirror. Why? Well, when you are over 150 you don't like what you see. signed: 1922 a date that will live in infamy (or at least on Twitch's death certificate, his marriage certificate?, and in his articles). ------------ Steve, I am glad that you are happy to be more civil in your discourse, but personally I enjoy your mud-slinging and psycho-biographies (particularly when they are directed at me). Why? Because they inspire me to write more than I would otherwise. Instead of asking me to repent (sorry Steve, I am a lost cause; I just happen to think that critical thinking is essential to one's being), just practice whatever virtues you think the Ek-detractors lack. That way you can be an example of what you believe and you can become a good advertisement for your religion, Eckankar. But if you do get that backsliding desire, just can't get the taste of sin out of your mouth, I want you to feel most free to go back to your old performances. Performances where fact, fiction, and wholesale psycho-babble intertwine into a most delicious mix. Indeed, you can pour that martini of misinformation right over me if you wish. That way I get to consciously clarify yet again why I think Twitchell lied about his birthdate (have you gotten Gail's and Paul's marriage certificate yet? Notice any similarities on Paul's age with his death certificate?), lied about his spiriitual roots, and why the Twitch remains one of the truly great plagiarists of this century (hate to tell you this, but a new book is coming out which has at least 130 new examples of plagiarism..... could be typos, though?) You see, Steve, I think there is nothing wrong in critically analyzing the roots of any religion--whether it be Radhasoami or Catholicism or MasterPath. Granted we may not like the interpretations or conclusions that one may bring to such studies, but that's part of the process: the ability to differentiate the core from the merely circumstantial. Good luck on your conversion to civility. I just hope it also comes with an added feature: accuracy. signed: the unredeemed civilist ----------- Dear Steve: Just when I think you have retired or have transformed your modus operandi, you out do yourself with another classic post. You are back in the swing of things again and for that I congratulate you. I guess that truce or olive branch you offered Sam didn't last long. Let's review your latest gem of misinformation. This time I have listed a few of your allegations and have numbered my responses. 1. You mention that I am the only person you have heard talking about the Jim Peebles episode, implying (as you usually do) that it is either untrue or inaccurate. Well, like I have told you about 10+ times before, go do some of your own research. Why not check the newspapers at the time (where Eckankar took out half page advertisements saying they had to sue because they were being attacked by "Christians"--never informing the public that they were suing one of their own and one Professor who made a copy of Peebles term paper. Keep in mind that the one copy he made he gave to an "Eckist" who had flown down to L.A. for the express purpose of getting the paper. Talk about Catch 22.) Peebles didn't "libel" Gross (as if Darwin could ever be innocent of such a thing....). He simply stated things he knew about his own Master at the time. Please keep in mind the term paper was positive overall. No, Peebles got caught in a power play between me, SCP, and Eckankar. Eckankar couldn't sue me over the content of the book because it was substantiated and documented and they didn't want to sue SCP. So instead they sued the hapless Peebles and Gruss in order to get back at me and to get back at SCP. Why? Because I cited Peebles in my own term paper. But then again you don't believe this happened, so go ask Eckankar for their records, go as Ed Gruss, go ask Peebles. But do something rare: do some fudging research before you stick your foot in your mouth once again and find out that you were dead wrong about the facts. Yes, you are right the Peebles affair still rankles my mind. I find it to be one of the saddest episodes in Eckankar's nefarious history. You don't, but you should. Peebles believed in Eckankar. He was absolutely devastated by the lawsuit. He had no idea that he had done something wrong. Quite the contrary. Eckankar didn't give him a warning, they didn't give him a detailed response..... they gave him instead a huge debt, a legal nightmare, and finally after they used him for their advertising ploys proceeded to "drop" the suit. But only after thousands of dollars were spent on both sides. And guess what Steve, Darwin did turn out to be a scum bag. Not to me mind you (I just love being legally harassed, and then after that blows over being asked by Darwin to be his "expert" witness when he needs me in his counter suit with his former "employer"--talk about cognitive dissonance!). But Harold and company don't like Darwin. How many Darwin books were for sale at the World Wide? How many talks were given on Darwin's tenure or his contributions? I lost count, I think it is between none and zero... A very interesting number indeed. Eckankar even sued their own former leader. Talk about strange. And this was the guy who took Peebles to task. By the way, I am not the one who came up with Darwin's philandering. Ask Harold about it. Better yet, ask the office workers.... I have talked with several women who were "hit" on by the then Living Eck Master. Why don't you talk with them Steve instead of digging your head in the sand and calling me names. But then again, I like being called names since it incites me to at least write something...... 2. You say I have spent my "entire adult life" criticizing religions. Boy that's a surprise. I guess I didn't surf all summer. I guess I didn't go to Switzerland or France just recently. I guess am not in London right now on sabbatical. I guess I never went to India 8 times, or read too many books, or watched too much T.V., or drank too many cokes. I guess I never did lay in the sun all that much or play basketball or play ping pong. I guess I never did go to Hawaii for summers or to Cabo San Lucas. No, Steve, you know exactly what I have been doing my "entire adult life." I never did write or edit the UNKNOWING SAGE or THE ENCHANTED LAND (both quite positive--but perhaps you have never read them). I never did teach for 17+ years. So when you see me surfing in Del Mar, just come up to me and say "Hey you are not Lane. He's busy spending his 'entire adult life' against my religion and others." I will simply catch another wave...... 3. You mention that you don't want to indulge in personal attacks. But I actually like them, so keep them coming. Again, get your facts straight. 4. You say "no one should challenge Lane's sincerity or honesty." Why not? I think you should (and have told you this about 10 times, but I guess you forget easily) and so should everybody else. Why? Because then you will yourself read and find the comparisons between Paul's writings and others, and in the process maybe discover some new plagiarisms (that would be helpful and insightful). You could then see how Twitchell covered-up his past. You could then see Paul's marriage and death certificate for yourself (are they the same Steve?--try getting them, then tell me the answer--another typo?). Yes, by all means "doubt" the medium. But do more than that, check the sources directly and do so more research. I like being ripped and doubted. I also prize accuracy, but I guess that's not your strong suit. Better to repeat over and over again the very charges I have demonstrated to you are wrong. 5. You call my allegations of plagiarism "baseless"? Hmm.... You better read Kent's post on this (he is an Eckist by the way). But you know what: try asking this one question, Why Did Klemp come up with the astral plane library excuse in the first place? Because there were "no" similarities or because there were? I think you should look up "baseless" in the dictionary. I have proven the comparisons, the cover-up, and the biographical changes. Even Klemp would admit that. 6. My "stock in trade is rumor?" Hmm. Steve, you are the one who said that Twitchell's death certificate which mentions his birthdate was most likely due to a "typo." But you failed to mention whether the age 48 which also appears on the death certificate for Twitchell's age when he died was also due to a "typo." You also fail to mention what age Twitchell gave on his marriage certificate with Gail in the early 1960s. Another typo? I based my dating system precisely on the available documents. You have based yours on how many "typos"? Better also look up "rumor" and "innuendo" in the dictionary. I didn't even know how to spell the latter word until I saw your post. I have listed my sources. Did Paul do the same in the FAR Country? By the way, why is that book no longer published? Hmm... 7. You say I have "perpetuated lies about Paul." No, Steve, actually it was Paul who perpetuated lies about himself. I simply exposed them to the public--something Eckankar didn't do until THE MAKING and the SCP Journal came out. 8. You say my "effort is shameful." Shameful to whom? To thousands of Eckists and Ex-Eckists who now have a better understanding of the context out of which Eckankar was formed? Shameful to thousands of naive seekers who can now make a more informed decision before plunging into the waters of Eck? Or is it shameful to those who would rather have Twitchell's past hidden, Darwin's books burned, or Eckankar's historical roots denied? The only shame I see in this affair is the lack of honesty. 9. You say, "What does Lane leave them with?" Maybe just one thing: more information than you would otherwise have gotten. That's reward enough. keep up the fine work, Steve. You are outdoing even your previous efforts. I raise my coke to you! But oops, I don't drink coke since I don't have time. I am too busy spending my "entire" adult life ripping religions. I await yet another tome from your legendary pen. P.s. You say "huh"....... You know what, that's exactly what I said when I found out that Twitchell told Gail he was 40, when in fact he was much older..... I guess it's tough when you are 150 looking for a young babe....... --------------- Steve, I must say your posts are really conducive in getting me to write more about Eckankar and its history. You have inspired me to discover more plagiarism, more cover-up, and more biographical inconsistencies. And for that I want to give you a warm thanks. Indeed, keep writing what you do about me and my methods. It is actually a source of inspiration for me. Otherwise, I get a bit bored and don't post anything. So in the spirit of thankfulness for awakening my critical faculties once again, I will number my response to your latest charges (or, as Kent my say, here we go once again): 1. You keep repeating in your posts about me that you find it somehow offensive that I actually have "fun" researching Eckankar. Sorry Steve, but it is fun. I find research of all types fun and Eckankar has been a treasure trove of forgotten gems. You may desire that I have a higher motive, some higher purpose. If that were the case, of course, then I would be all over John-Roger Hinkins and MSIA like a cheap suit. But I am not, because as I have stated before I find him and his organization "boring." We gravitate, for better or worse, for those things/projects that at least give us a little juice. 2. You seem to think that objectivity demands purity of motive. Not at all. Objectivity simply demands that you give people the opportunity to verify for themselves (outside of the tainted medium, e.g, Lane the Kal force, or Lane the Evil Influence on Catholic School children, or Lane the Fun Guy....) what has been disovered. So here we go once again with the mantra: Did I demonstrate which passages Twitchell cribbed from Julian Johnson? Yes, and because of that anyone can then do their own research and verify the similarities. Which, by the way, has already been done by thousands of Ex-Eckists and even by those who remain in the organization (see once again Kent's fine post illustrating his own understanding on this). By the way, Steve, did Twitchell give you that opportunity in THE FAR COUNTRY to track down his Julian Johnson sources? I did; he didn't, so if i were you I go rag on the Twitch. Did I demonstrate how Twitchell deleted the names of his former teachers in the the FLUTE of GOD? Yes, and because of that today Eckankar admits that Twitchell was associated with Kirpal Singh, L. Ron Hubbard, and Swami Premananda. Please also don't forget that until John Sutphin, myself, and others came out with this information, the official "Eckankar" story was that Kirpal Singh had "forged" Twitchell's names on many papers and documents to use Twitchell (see Eckankar's 1977 letter to me about this). Klemp doesn't say any of that now. Yet the Living Eck Master, Darwin Gross, repeatedly said Twitchell had no association whatsoever with Kirpal Singh (and he said this while he was the Living Eck Master, replete with the Rod of Eck Power). What caused that change? I know why and you should as well. It was due to the "tainted", "non-objective", "kal-influenced, "fun-guy" research of some loser surfer who has the audacity to teach higher psychic techniques to hapless Catholic school children. But, you know, what makes objectivity and research so neat is that despite Lane's motives, despite Lane's fun guy antics, despite Lane's water-logged sensibilities, the interested reader can take the provided sources and see for him/her self whether there really is plagiarism, cover-up, deceit. And what's even more fun is that the same interested reader can discover new plagiarisms, etc., because they have now been given a lead, a way to track it down. 3. You keep talking about "out-dated" methodologies. What you seem to forget is that you have never point-by-point refuted me on any of Twitchell's plagiarism, on any of Twitchell's cover-up, or on any of Twitchell's biographical inconsistencies. I can amply demonstrate each of those three charges over and over again. In fact, due to your inspired essays, I have discovered more new plagiarisms/lies/deceits about Twitchell than I have uncovered in year. Instead you resort to all sorts of personal claims, personal attacks, personal characterizations about my motives (all of which I enjoy, since it wakes up the alt.religion.eckankar game a bit), and forget in the process that the very best way to make me eat some Taco Bell and cause a shock wave in the skeptic-Eckankar community is to find some evidence for Sudar Singh's empirical existence. (sorry to bring up Sudar again, but he's my running metaphor for the problem of historicity in Eckankar) You don't have any, you have never pointed to any, and nobody in Eckankar has a clue on this guy, but Lane is full of shit when he says that Sudar doesn't exist, because he has actually spent some time in India and elsewhere trying to confirm the dude....... So i say negative and can show you why I think so. You say positive and can show me nothing, except that you "believe it to be so." Fine, but again with that bit of magic logic, Pokey and Gumby and Jonny Quest are in a succession battle with Sathya Sai Baba at the local Burger King to find out who is really going to be Elvis' successor on Mars (see there really is life there!!!!!!!!) and who will finally take over as the front counter guy and get to hassle all the drive-ins (actually each of them have a crush on Judy Jetson--just can't wait until she shows). Don't get it? Doesn't make any "sense"? Well, now you know how an interested reader feels when trying to get some clue on Sudar Singh. Or, how one feels after showing plagiarism after plagiarism, cover-up after cover-up, and getting lame astral excuses. Believe it if you want, but please don't start tagging me with lines about objectivity. Hey, I have told you this so many times I am beginning to see things at the third eye from this repeated mantra, but the fact remains that I don't mind being proven wrong. I would really like to know that Sudar Singh existed. Try this in reverse, are you willing to admit that you may be wrong about Eckankar and its origins? If so, that is a good start. If not, then look up the word objectivity again in the dictionary. I would be stoked to admit that Eckankar was genuine, that Rebazar Tarzs exists, and that I was fully wrong. The universe would be a funky place indeed, especially with Fubbi Quantz and the Eck Quartet. But the empirical evidence has shown me something quite different. I have found Twitchell to be a systematic liar and I can demonstrate that. That offends you, but such is what I and others have uncovered. You can spin doctor my research any way you want, but I didn't come up with the lies/inventions. Twitchell did and for better or worse Eckankar is a house built primarily on Twitchell's ideas. Either Sudar Singh existed or Twitchell bull-shitted. I have seen so much of the latter in Twitchell's case that I am convinced (but not unwilling to see new evidence if shown) that Sudar Singh is a fictional character and a cover-name (even the former editor of the ECK world news admits that Kirpal Singh's name was crossed out in the manuscript edition of Letters to Gail and the name "Sudar Singh" written above it.) Creative editing or creative cover-up? Finally, you mention this thing about "crossing the line." What line Steve? The line where you make-up things about my motivation without ever reading my other books and then telling the public about what I really believe? You mean, that line where you say things that are completely wrong--and i face you point to point on them--but you never admit it in this forum? Hmm, i think you like that line very much. I don't mind you crossing it; I just wish I knew what it was, since when it comes to "facts" about my motives you seem to be lacking a deck of information. I don't mind the personal attacks, but as I told you in e-mail and on this forum you could rip me a lot better if you would do something remarkably rare: Be accurate. end of part one.............. With kudos to Steve................ ---------- Dear Steve: I am glad that you are now clear on my academic status. Next time you can save yourself a lot of bother and just ask me directly before you say things that are incorrect. I also perfectly understand why you do not think my research on Eckankar is any good. You also have the full right to doubt or question whatever I have written on the subject. Indeed, I encourage you to do so (as I have mentioned many times in the past) because I really do think that it is conducive for getting more information out to the public. In fact, it was due to your efforts that I discovered much more plagiarism on Twitchell's behalf than I have even imagined. To challenge my findings and others is an altogether good thing. However, your views--as you are aware--are not shared by all. Many in the academic community have found the work I have done on Twitchell and Eckankar to be quite useful and have quoted or cited it extensively. You may not like this, you may even disagree with them for doing so, but the fact remains (despite your claims to the contrary) that a large number of encyclopedias, books, and journals have utilized the Making as a primary source. Just to give you but two examples: I went to Cambridge and Oxford (great college towns, but I must say I find Cambridge to be the more inviting and beautiful) and naturally hung out in a number of bookstores. One of my favorites is Blackwell's in Oxford. It has a great section in science and philosophy. When I happened on the religions section, I remembered your post about my research on Eckankar not being academically sound. Already seeing the Making cited in numerous texts, I thought I would see what two new encyclopedias and dictionaries had to say about Eckankar. The first one, and a relatively new one at that (1995 edition) was called the DICTIONARY OF RELIGION (published by Basil Blackwell) and compiled by a world-class team of scholars (they are listed in the back). They have an entry on Eckankar which more or less says much of what I stated in the Making. Indeed, they cited The Making as one of the chief sources. The second one, THE PENGUIN DICTIONARY OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS, also retold much of what I had discovered on Eckankar. It too listed the Making as a chief source. In another post I will list a large number of titles so that you can see for yourself (in response to your request) how and why they have cited my findings. Again, you may think that whatever I have written on the history of Eckankar is shit (and that's your right), but it is not accurate to say that it has not been used by the academic community at large. It has and will, I imagine, continue to do so. Why? Because the plagiarism is overwhelming. Because the cover-up (changing names, etc.) is overwhelming. Because the biographical deceit is overwhelming. Nevertheless, the larger issue is not me nor my academic standing. It is rather for interested seekers or scholars anywhere to have the pathway to follow up on what I and others have found out about Twitchell. That's the key. As I have said a hundred times (or at least very close to that number): Even if I am a major scum bag, the key is whether I have given you a trail by which to follow the comparisons, the deletions, etc. I know of hundreds, nay thousands, who have done their own research and seen that Twitchell has indeed plagiarized, covered-up, and lied. keep questioning and keep doubting whatever I write; you are a nice foil. ---------- Dear Steve: I am glad that you are now clear on my academic status. Next time you can save yourself a lot of bother and just ask me directly before you say things that are incorrect. I also perfectly understand why you do not think my research on Eckankar is any good. You also have the full right to doubt or question whatever I have written on the subject. Indeed, I encourage you to do so (as I have mentioned many times in the past) because I really do think that it is conducive for getting more information out to the public. In fact, it was due to your efforts that I discovered much more plagiarism on Twitchell's behalf than I have even imagined. To challenge my findings and others is an altogether good thing. However, your views--as you are aware--are not shared by all. Many in the academic community have found the work I have done on Twitchell and Eckankar to be quite useful and have quoted or cited it extensively. You may not like this, you may even disagree with them for doing so, but the fact remains (despite your claims to the contrary) that a large number of encyclopedias, books, and journals have utilized the Making as a primary source. Just to give you but two examples: I went to Cambridge and Oxford (great college towns, but I must say I find Cambridge to be the more inviting and beautiful) and naturally hung out in a number of bookstores. One of my favorites is Blackwell's in Oxford. It has a great section in science and philosophy. When I happened on the religions section, I remembered your post about my research on Eckankar not being academically sound. Already seeing the Making cited in numerous texts, I thought I would see what two new encyclopedias and dictionaries had to say about Eckankar. The first one, and a relatively new one at that (1995 edition) was called the DICTIONARY OF RELIGION (published by Basil Blackwell) and compiled by a world-class team of scholars (they are listed in the back). They have an entry on Eckankar which more or less says much of what I stated in the Making. Indeed, they cited The Making as one of the chief sources. The second one, THE PENGUIN DICTIONARY OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS, also retold much of what I had discovered on Eckankar. It too listed the Making as a chief source. In another post I will list a large number of titles so that you can see for yourself (in response to your request) how and why they have cited my findings. Again, you may think that whatever I have written on the history of Eckankar is shit (and that's your right), but it is not accurate to say that it has not been used by the academic community at large. It has and will, I imagine, continue to do so. Why? Because the plagiarism is overwhelming. Because the cover-up (changing names, etc.) is overwhelming. Because the biographical deceit is overwhelming. Nevertheless, the larger issue is not me nor my academic standing. It is rather for interested seekers or scholars anywhere to have the pathway to follow up on what I and others have found out about Twitchell. That's the key. As I have said a hundred times (or at least very close to that number): Even if I am a major scum bag, the key is whether I have given you a trail by which to follow the comparisons, the deletions, etc. I know of hundreds, nay thousands, who have done their own research and seen that Twitchell has indeed plagiarized, covered-up, and lied. keep questioning and keep doubting whatever I write; you are a nice foil.
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I want to go back to the home base now.