"Rather Balanced" Article on the Eckankar Cult
- An Eckist posted the link to this story on HuChat.
The eckist found it interesting that even though
the writer "has his admitted bias, yet it comes
across as rather balanced IMO"
I found this eckist's response to this article as
interesting as the article itself! : )
Here's the article:
From The Dog Street Journal,
The College of William and Mary's only daily online
paper and monthly news magazine:
God is Hu/Or Whatever You'd Like
Mar. 26, 2007 | By Dean Edwards, DSJ Staff Columnist
I can summarize spring breaks by pithy quips made by
some of the people I've come across in my travels.
At his front doorstep, John Kerry asked us who visited
him over spring break in 2005, "Why aren't you
somewhere warmer?" Much to the confusion of the
erstwhile presidential hopeful and those college students
yearning for the Mexican coastline, my friends and I have
continued a tradition since freshman year by packing our
thickest shirts and heaviest sweaters to brace for the
Northern Winter. Another spring break, another week spent
This year's destination placed us in Minneapolis, a Midwestern
metropolis set in the heartland of America. Oddly enough, we
spent the break without the heavy sweaters. The Midwestern
winter had paused for the week; the daily temperatures never
dropped below 50. The weather, however, was not the lasting
impression I got from this March hiatus. This year, I give the
accolade to Harold Klemp and his devout following of Eckankar,
or "ECK," the Church of Sound & Light based just outside of
First, a warning: Eckankar is a cult; I have no doubts. If I
provided a synopsis of ECK's beliefs, with their dream masters
and translating from one plane of existence to another and
Harold Klemp coming directly to you in your dreams (just say "Hu!")
-- well, I think it would be a disservice to the fine ECKists out there.
I won't hide my own opinion of ECK: I think this so-called New
Age faith is fairly deranged. That said, whether it's a cult or a religion,
it is still a faith held by thousands of people who believe earnestly
that they are communicating with God through a USAF veteran from
What struck me most about this experience was our group's reaction
to ECK. In hindsight, I thought about what made this faith any more
unfathomable than our mainstream dogmas. Was it Paul Twitchell,
the founder of ECK who mysteriously died a year after creating the
church of Soul Traveling in San Francisco? The ECKists claim he's still
alive, but on a different wavelength. Theories of drug-related deaths
aside, it's not that far out there, in relative terms. Only 2000 years
separate Paul Twitchell's posthumous position from Christ's initial
promise of eternal life.
Perhaps it was the $130 per year membership fee for "Individual"
ECKists. Yet, good Catholics owe the Church ten percent of their
weekly income; I'm sure Harold's deal is a drop in the bucket.
Religion appeals to our insecurities, and in a certain time and place
we would find ourselves members of any number of religions. If I
were an Egyptian, I'd likely be Muslim; in Britain, Anglican and
perchance, if I were born in the Land of 10,000 lakes, I might have
been a disciple of Harold Klemp, the revered Mahanta. Thankfully,
I grew up in a family setting where as soon as I came of age,
religion became an open debate.
Although I tried to engage in metaphysical blather with our French
tour guide at the ECK Temple, an elaborate golden ziggurat that
rises from the Midwestern plains, my efforts proved fruitless. It may
have been her limited English, but she failed to answer anything I
asked well enough for me to nod approvingly. (Notwithstanding she
spoke English enough to suggest Harold Klemp's spiritual
predecessors convinced Christopher Columbus to discover America.
Yet, I've heard worse from non-ECKists.)
To her credit, she provided one clear answer. Perhaps it is the best
retort to anyone who would pass ECK off as a cult. In the end, she
said, "God is God." Amen, Madame.
Dean Edwards is a staff columnist for the DSJ. His views do not
necessarily reflect those of the entire staff.