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4847Re: [EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous] Dr. Bluth, Gail and the Mahanta - Paul Twitchell

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  • etznab@aol.com
    Aug 6, 2009
      Do you have a link to online version of The
      Path of the Masters? I thought there was one
      posted here recently, but I can't seem to find
      where I saved it in my favorites folder.

      I wanted to give a link for the A.R.E. post
      (Who?, or What? is Rebazar Tarzs Really?)
      that I just sent in.


      I'm hoping nobody from A.R.E. jumps on
      me for bringing up that topic, because I was
      sincere about the questions. It's something
      I really want to know about once and for all.
      What is Eckankar's current position on Eck
      Master Rebazar Tarzs?


      -----Original Message-----
      From: prometheus_973 <prometheus_973@...>
      To: EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wed, Aug 5, 2009 9:12 pm
      Subject: [EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous] Dr. Bluth, Gail and the Mahanta -
      Paul Twitchell


      Hello All,

      Here's more that I found after I GOOGLED



      Translation and Successorship

      John Paul Twitchell died on September 17, 1971,

      of arteriosclerotic heart disease. He "translated"

      (Eck terminology for death) at approximately

      12:50 a.m., in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was

      scheduled to give a lecture on Eckankar.

      [Copy of Paul Twitchell's Death Certificate,

      Ohio Department of Health,
      Division of Vital Statistics.]

      As with his birth, several stories have

      cropped up concerning Twitchell's unexpected

      death (translation). A few Eckists, including

      Jim Peebles, believed that he was poisoned

      to death; some state it was in Spain, others

      claim in Czechoslovakia. No one seems quite

      sure. At the time of his death, Dr. Louis Bluth,

      one-time President of Eckankar, reported seeing

      Twitchell's soul carried out in a celestial cloud

      of light. Yet, he later changed his story, claiming

      instead that Twitchell had disobeyed the orders

      of the Vairagi Masters and was carried away in

      chains. Whichever story one believes--even if

      one belongs to Eckankar--the fact remains that

      an autopsy was performed and the coroner's findings

      were that Twitchell died of a heart attack.


      The Controversial "Five Year Plan"

      When Twitchell first took over as the

      "Living Eck Master" in 1965, he stated at

      the very outset that he had been given a

      "five-year" mission, and that after those

      five years a new master would be appointed.

      [Woodrow Nichols and Mark Albrecht, op. cit.,

      page 19.]

      Yet when 1970 came around (five years

      after his proposed statement), Twitchell told

      his followers at the Fourth World-Wide Eckankar

      Seminar that he had been given a five-year

      extension by the Highest Lord, the Sugmad,

      because the second Mahanta had failed his

      preliminary testing. Therefore, he would continue

      as the Mahanta until the third one was ready.


      Nichols and Albrecht in their paper,

      "Eckankar: The Ancient Science of Deception,"

      have researched extensively Twitchell's self-

      proposed "five-year plan." They consider it

      to be a crucial point of controversy within

      Eckankar. Below is the essence of their study.

      By January 1971, the dispute within Eckankar

      had reached such proportions, Twitchell had

      to devote his entire letter of that month to

      quelling the disturbance:

      "There is a lot of idle chatter going on by

      some chelas in Eck who make the unusual

      claims that they are going to be the next

      Mahanta, the Living Eck Master. But whatever

      you hear about this can be taken with a grain

      of salt, as the old expression goes it simply

      isn't true."

      Dr. Bluth attributes this change of plan

      to Paul's attachment to Gail. . . Paul told

      Bluth that he was training a child somewhere

      on the West Coast to be the next Mahanta.

      A lot of members of Eck began leaving the

      fold at this time sensing a betrayal. Paul

      did not quell the disturbance.

      Even in May 1971, the storm was still raging.

      C. Lydon Harrell, Jr., Twitchell's attorney, signed

      a letter dated May 1, 1971, on his lette

      addressed to the chelas, that once again states

      that the next Mahanta is a child and won't be

      ready for fifteen years.

      Paul Twitchell never lived to carry out his five-year

      extension that had been granted to him by the Order

      of Vairagi, the ascended Eck Masters. He never lived

      to pass the rod of power to another Mahanta, or even

      an interim Master. [Ibid., pages 20-21.]

      The Advent of Darwin Gross

      "The next Mahanta is about fifteen years away.

      He is now in training but where he is nobody

      knows and won't know for a long time yet."

      [--Paul Twitchell (January 1971)]

      [Ibid., page 20.]

      Sri Darwin Gross, Portland, Oregon Eck Mahadis,

      and professional engineer was announced at

      the Fifth World-Wide Seminar of Eckankar, to

      be the new living Eck Master.

      [Eckankar News Release (October 1971)]

      The Eckankar News Release reads:

      "The announcement was made before

      an assembly of over a thousand followers

      at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. Gross

      known in spiritual circles as Dap Ren succeeds

      Paul Twitchell, author 30 books, master and

      founder of the present, world-wide Eckankar

      movement who died (translated) in Cincinnati

      Sept. 17, 1971."

      It came as a surprise and a shock to many

      Eckists when Paul Twitchell died suddenly

      on September 17, 1971. Many=2
      0of Twitchell's

      followers had expected their master to live

      at least another five (if not fifteen) years.

      It came as a bigger surprise and shock to

      some of those same Eckists when Darwin

      Gross was proclaimed the new "Living Eck

      Master" a month after Twitchell's demise.

      Shortly thereafter, several esteemed Eckists,

      including Dr. Bluth (President of Eckankar

      and Paul's personal doctor) and Edward Pecen

      (Paul's personal bodyguard and confidante),

      left Eckankar disclaiming Darwin Gross and

      Gail Atkinson. [Edward Pecen, personal interview

      with the author, November 1977.]

      Part of the reason behind the astonishment

      of many Eckists over the advent of Darwin Gross

      was because he had been in Eckankar only since

      1969. Nichols and Albrecht retell the controversy:

      "According to Bluth, Gross was flown to Las Vegas. . .

      from Portland, Oregon, where Gross was immediately

      granted a fifth initiation and briefed extensively for

      days so that he could pass the scrutiny of the experts.

      None of the experts were fooled, and there was a fairly

      large exodus from the movement at the time, including

      Dr. Bluth and Dr. Wiggelsworth."

      "Gail had claimed to have had a vision in the middle

      of the night where Paul had come to her in Nuri Sarup

      body and told her that Darwin Gross was to be his

      successor. There was no more mention of20the child

      that Twitchell supposedly had been training."

      [Woodrow Nichols and Mark Albrecht, op. cit., pages

      23-24.] Jim Peebles makes a similar observation:

      "Here one should remember that Paul

      left no word as to who his successor should

      be. . . As it was, Darwin Gross first became

      interested in Eckankar in 1969, thus he was

      an Eck Chela for less than a complete two

      years at the time he was declared to be the

      new living Eck Master (i.e., Paul's successor)."

      [Jim Peebles, op. cit., page 12]

      Darwin Gross was revealed as the new

      "Living Eck Master" in Las Vegas, when

      Gail Atkinson Twitchell, Paul's widow,

      walked over to Darwin and presented him

      with a blue carnation. Shortly thereafter,

      to the bewilderment of a number of Eckists,

      Gail and Darwin were married. However,

      their marriage was short-lived. In early 1978,

      Darwin sent a personal letter to a every Eck

      chela in the world informing them that he

      and Gail were getting divorced. A couple of

      years later, Darwin got remarried, but it lasted

      only a few months and he got the marriage

      annulled. The ramifications of Darwin's divorce,

      remarriage, and annulment on the membership

      in Eckankar in the 1970's is difficult to ascertain.

      Yet, it can be presumed by the continued growth

      of Eckankar in the United States that its ultimate

      impact, like Darwin and Gail's marriage, was


      Gail Atkinson, according to the personal

      letter sent to all Eckists, is still a member

      of Eckankar and will continue to support the

      activities of the Eck Master and the group.

      Post-Twitchellian Eckankar

      I have used the term "post-Twitchellian"

      because I think it best emphasizes the crucial

      importance of Paul Twitchell on Eckankar.

      The growth of Eckankar, since of the death

      of its founder, Paul Twitchell, and the advent

      of Darwin Gross, has been remarkable. Although

      Darwin has only authored a few books (including

      the small booklet, Eckankar: A Way of Life ), as

      compared to Twitchell's enormous output (over

      sixty texts), Eckankar has increased its membership

      almost triple.

      The exact figures have not, as of yet,

      been released by Eckankar. But in 1970

      the membership was reported not to exceed

      twenty-thousand. In 1991 it is estimated

      that the number is somewhere between

      forty-thousand and sixty-thousand core


      Since Darwin's acceptance of the mantleship,

      Eckankar established its Headquarters in Menlo

      Park--an impressive million dollar building.

      [Now under the leadership of Harold Klemp,

      the central headquarters is in Minneapolis,

      Minnesota.] Yet the most enterprising of Darwin's

      projects was to build a20spiritual center in Sedona,

      Arizona. The project, however, had to be abandoned

      due to lack of finances and a devastating lawsuit

      taken against Eckankar over property rights in

      the Sedona area.

      [See Sedona's Red Rock News (November 5,

      1980) for more on the lawsuit taken over

      Eckankar's land holdings.]

      The Third Living Eck Master: Harold Klemp

      In October of 1981, Darwin Gross passed

      on the mantleship of Eckankar to Harold

      Klemp, a long-standing Eckist. The event

      took place in Los Angeles, California, at the

      World-Wide Seminar. For many members,

      the announcement came as an abrupt transition.

      Apparently, to ease in the appointment of

      Harold Klemp, Darwin Gross agreed to work

      at the International Office in Menlo Park in

      an advisory capacity. But all did not go well

      and in 1983 a severe break occurred between

      Darwin Gross and Harold Klemp, which led

      to Gross' removal and subsequent excommunication

      from the fold.

      [See Part Five for a detailed examination

      of this most unusual chapter in Eckankar's


      Although we have examined briefly Paul

      Twitchell's life and work up to to his death

      and the successorship of Darwin Gross in

      Eckankar, we have not, as of yet, studied

      the most crucial and controversial aspect

      of Eckankar: namely, the untold story of

      Paul20Twitchell. The first two parts have

      served as an introduction, for what follows

      is the most intriguing, yet the most disputed,

      aspect of Twitchell's life and work.


      1. Copy of Paul Twitchell's Death Certificate,

      Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital


      2. Ibid.

      3. Woodrow Nichols and Mark Albrecht,

      op. cit., page 19.

      4. Ibid.

      5. Ibid., pages 20-21.

      6. Ibid., page 20.

      7. The Eckankar News Release reads: "The

      announcement was made before an assembly

      of over a thousand followers at the Flamingo

      Hotel in Las Vegas. Gross known in spiritual

      circles as Dap Ren succeeds Paul Twitchell,

      author of 30 books, master and founder of

      the present, world-wide Eckankar movement

      who died (translated) in Cincinnati Sept. 17, 1971."

      8. Edward Pecen, personal interview with the

      author, November 1977.

      9. Woodrow Nichols and Mark Albrecht, op. cit.,

      pages 23-24.

      10. Jim Peebles, op. cit., page 12.

      11. Gail Atkinson, according to the personal letter

      sent to all Eckists, is still a member of Eckankar

      and will continue to support the activities of the

      Eck Master and the group.

      12. I have used the term "post-Twitchellian" because

      I think it best emphasizes the crucial importance

      of Paul Twitch
      ell on Eckankar.

      13. The exact figures have not, as of yet, been

      released by Eckankar. But in 1970 the membership

      was reported not to exceed twenty-thousand. In

      the early 1990's it is estimated that the number

      is anywhere between twenty and forty thousand

      core members.

      14. See Sedona's Red Rock News (November 5,

      1980) for more on the lawsuit taken over Eckankar's

      land holdings.


      Paul Twitchell (born John Paul Twitchell)

      (October 22, 1908(?) - September 17, 1971)

      was an American spiritual writer, author

      and founder of the group known as Eckankar.

      He is accepted by the members of that group

      as the Mahanta, or Living ECK Master of his

      time. He directed the development of the

      group through to the time of his death.

      His spiritual name is believed by Eckists

      (students of Eckankar) to be Peddar Zaskq.

      Birth and early life

      Much of Twitchell's life is shrouded in controversy

      and uncertainty. His birth date has been disputed;

      his widow Gail believed he was born in 1922, as

      evident by his death certificate, but Twitchell himself

      once claimed his birth year was 1912. Author Ford

      Johnson, on the other hand, has sided with 1909,

      based on census information.[1] The 1910 Census

      indicates that Twitchell was six months old in April

      1910. Twitchell
      's birth certificate (registered in 1941)

      says that he was born 22 October 1912.[2] The young

      Paul was probably born in Paducah, Kentucky, although

      this, too, has been disputed.[citation needed]

      In his later life, Twitchell attended Murray State

      College and Western Kentucky University in the

      1930s but never graduated from either.[3] He

      married for the first time in 1942.[4] He served

      in the United States Navy during World War II,

      and became a correspondent for Our Navy after

      the war. He later went on to become a freelance

      journalist. [5]

      He also investigated a number of spiritual movements.

      In 1950, he joined Swami Premananda's Self-Realization

      Church of Absolute Monism, an offshoot of Paramahamsa

      Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship. He lived on

      the grounds of the church, and edited the church's

      periodical, The Mystic Cross. He was asked to leave

      the church in 1955, the same year that he broke up

      with his first wife.

      Later that same year, he was initiated into Kirpal

      Singh into surat shabd yoga. He also became involved

      in the Church of Scientology, becoming a member

      of the Church's staff and one of the first Scientologists

      to achieve the status of clear. [5]

      In Seattle, he met Gail Atkinson. Twitchell later introduced

      the woman to Kirpal Singh and later married her. They

      moved to San Francisco i
      n 1964, where Twitchell studied

      surat shabd yoga without the assistance of Kirpal Singh.

      During the 1960s he lived in California, with his second

      wife, Gail Atkinson. He pursued a spiritual education

      under the inspiration of Kirpal Singh, but after a postal

      correspondence, during which Kirpal Singh critiqued

      Twitchell's work, Twitchell rejected his teachings. [6]

      Twitchell then went on to study surat shabd yoga

      independent of Kirpal Singh. [5]

      Role in Eckankar

      Some people believe it was actually Gail's idea that

      Twitchell adapt some of his spiritual education into

      a new religion, Eckankar.[7] (Gail broke from the religion

      in the early 1980s, publicly denouncing Eckankar as

      an invention, although Twitchell had claimed the religion

      was ancient).[8] While at first Twitchell allegedly claimed

      his teachings were new, he eventually referred to them

      as an ancient science that predated all other major religious

      belief systems.[9] Indeed, in his book Eckankar: The Key

      to Secret Worlds, Twitchell claimed he received aid in

      uncovering Eckankar from the spirit of a predecessor

      ECK master, Rebazar Tarzs. After the religion was founded

      or uncovered, Twitchell then turned to writing for magazines.

      In that position he gave out spiritual advice, claiming

      to communicate with God about the problems of those

      who wrote to him. He also attempted prophecy, predicting

      0Athat the Vietnam War would end in 1968 and that Lyndon

      Johnson would be elected US President for a second time.

      Many of his answers were concluded with the words

      "I HAVE SPOKEN!"[10]


      Twitchell died of a heart attack in late 1971. His death,

      like his life, was not free of controversy. Some Eckists,

      including the prominent member Louis Bluth, believed

      his death was necessary; it was claimed Twitchell had

      defied the ECK masters of the past. Additionally, many

      Eckists came to question Twitchell's honesty after his

      death, since he had predicted that he would continue

      to lead the faith for another decade and a half. The

      death was also problematic because Twitchell did not

      have a chance to name his successor. His widow Gail

      eventually selected Darwin Gross whom she later married.

      According to Gail, Gross was indeed Paul Twitchell's

      choice, as he had visited her in a dream to give his


      This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-

      contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been

      reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)

      prometheus wrote:


      > Hello Etznab and All,


      > and found a lot of information. The following

      > is one source that showed up on this search:



      > Excerpted from a
      letter by Dr. Louis Bluth,

      > former President of Eckankar, one-time

      > follower of Sawan Singh, and Paul Twitchell's

      > personal doctor when the Eck leader died

      > in 1971:


      > Date: June 19, 1980


      > My wife and I opened the first Eck class

      > in Sun City, Cal. I personally treated Paul

      > [Twitchell] many times and was the main

      > speaker in Cincinnati when he passed away.

      > Paul was a sincere student in the beginning

      > and I considered him honest.


      > Problems between him and his wife Gail led

      > him to believe she was going to leave him

      > and he desperately wanted to keep her.


      > So when she demanded more money and

      > better living, he started to write things and

      > copy from other books. He [Paul Twitchell]

      > borrowed my books on Radha Soami and

      > copied a large share from them.


      > I helped him write the Herb book and went

      > to Riverside University and took Sanskrit,

      > so basically much of the material is good

      > because it is copied.


      > I confronted him [Paul Twitchell] with what

      > he had done and his answer was "since the

      > author the book said it better than I could

      > I copied it." The trouble is that he never gave

      > anyone credit as to where he got20it.


      > As far as Darwin {Gross} is concerned,

      > my opinion is that he is a fake as a Master.

      > I don't think that a Master would divorce

      > his wife and seek many other female companions.


      > Signed: Louis Bluth, M.D.



      > etznab@ wrote:

      > >

      > >

      > > I doubt that Paul wanted to hand Eckankar

      > > over to anybody. I suspect he didn't trust it in

      > > the hands of anybody else (didn't know what

      > > they would do with it).

      > >

      > > Dr. Louis Bluth had a previous connection

      > > to Radha Soami (or something), didn't he?

      > > And isn't he on record saying that Paul read

      > > some of his books? Mr Bluth, more than any-

      > > body else should have known whether plagiar-

      > > isms existed in Eckankar writings. Whether

      > > Paul "borrowed" (and copied from) works of

      > > other authors. What was Bluth's position in

      > > Eckankar anyway? Besides being Paul T.s

      > > personal doctor, wasn't Dr. Bluth the first

      > > president of Eckankar?

      > >

      > > I wonder if they weren't "in on it" together

      > > and that is why one was the Master and the

      > > other the President. What I mean is, the two

      > > must have=2
      0known about "Eckankar's" origins.

      > >

      > > Etznab

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