Read below and check these comments out
(again) by a former friend of Joan "Cross" Klemp.
PLEASE READ THE BELOW COMMENTS
"Disappearing into the black hole of Eckankar"
is how one former friend of Joan Cross described
how she left her husband at Clemson University
for the teachings of eckankar.
Click on the link below for the complete essay,
but I have copied the portion that mentions the
writer's friends Robert and Joan Cross and Joan's
sudden bolt from her husband to join the eckankar
cult in California in the late 1970s.
BTW, the writer is Sterling "Skip" Eisiminger,
a professor emeritus of English and Humanities
at Clemson University, teaching there since 1968.
and the excerpt [#66]:
HONK IF YOU LOVE VOLTAIRE: A RELIGIOUS LIFE
". . . I wouldn't call cults a main dish on the
church picnic table, but I did pick at one dish when
a friend disappeared into the black hole of Eckankar.
When I came to Clemson, I was assigned to Professor
Bob Cross for mentoring. Bob and I hit it off from the
start, but what fascinated me most about Bob was the
relationship he had with his wife. The two were inseparable.
Fortunately, there were no children, for a Cross child
would have found the competition stiff for parental love.
At work, they asked for and received one office with facing
At home, they read science fiction and took long walks
together with their poodle.
Perhaps I missed the warning signs, but Bob missed
them as well, for we were both stunned when Joan
announced, "Earth is the hell for all planets circling
She, for one, was moving to California to have her
astral shoes "resouled" as the new editor of the Eckankar
Journal. In her spare time, she and her fellow Eckankar
disciples planned to travel to various planes of the Sugmad
and serve their Eck master.
In 1997, some twenty years later when I read of the
thirty-nine Heaven's Gate suicides, I scanned the list
of the deceased fully expecting to find Joan's name
among those tailing the Hale-Bopp comet.
Fortunately, Joan's name was not among the missing.
About the only cult that impresses me now is the
Frisbeeterian, not to be confused with the Presleyterian,
which is interesting to me only in an academic, pop culture
sort of way.
The former faction believes that when someone dies,
the soul goes up on a roof, and no one can retrieve it.
It makes as much sense as leaving a devoted husband
for the unexplored Sugmad. . . ."
(Joan later became HK's 2nd wife after he dumped Marge, his 1st.)