Former Eckankar Author James Davis Speaks Out
- A Repost of James Davis (from Ford Johnson's
"Truth Seeker" site) that explains why he left
Rosetta Stone of God author J. Davis Responds to Confessions
From: James Davis
Being the author of a book on the Mahanta titled THE ROSETTA
STONE OF GOD, I would like to add my voice to those who have
chosen to leave Eckankar. I quietly left Eckankar several years ago,
having come to many of the same conclusions Ford arrived at in
his own book. At the time I left, I wrote a letter to Harold saying
I would make no announcements about my leaving. But I have since
learned that it is a very "open secret" that I left - not through any
acts of my own, but from various Eckists in who work at the main
office, and a few others. So I now feel it is appropriate to say a few
words about my leaving, and about Ford's book.
During my almost three decades in Eckankar I became increasingly
troubled by what I perceived as the weak integrity within the
teachings and of the leaders. At the same time I struggled against
these impressions because I deeply WANTED Eckankar to be the
ideal teaching I had hoped and dreamed of. I deeply WANTED to
Living Eck Masters to be more than I was witnessing.
I came to the point in the late Nineties where I decided to give
the teachings the fullest and deepest study I could (both on the
Inner and the Outer) in order to settle my doubts once and for all.
I chose to focus on the Mahanta as the theme of my study and
contemplation since this doctrine is the heart and soul of Eckankar.
I spent over a year researching every word ever written or spoken
on the Mahanta that were available to me. I poured through decades
of my personal journals looking for clues from my own experience
to supplement the outer teachings. I inwardly invited the Nine Silent
Ones and the Eck Masters to help with my project. Then I set about
writing the best book I could on all I had found.
The finished manuscript was sent in and quickly got approved
for publication by Harold Klemp. For a few months I was euphoric
and felt I had finally laid to rest my misgivings about the teachings.
But the effect soon wore off for, after all, the issues that gave
rise to the writing were still there - as Ford's book aptly
demonstrates. The issues can't be made to go away by an act of
fervent devotion. Or should I say, they can be made to go away for
awhile, or by denial. But for many people, such avoidance tactics
wear thin after a time.
I realized the whole writing project of THE ROSETTA STONE OF GOD
had been an utter failure in its prime objective of settling my issues.
Whatever value it held for others, it failed for me.
Yet, with the publication of the book came the usual attention
that goes with being an Eckankar author. And in this I discovered
how eager many people are to elevate the spiritual status of those
who are reporting intimate spiritual experiences with masters.
A number of Eckists, including Higher Initiates, either intimated
that I was a candidate for Eck Mastership, or openly made comments
or wrote letters to me to this effect. Some even had "got it on the
inner" that this was the case. Those who know me well and were
privy to some of this, found this elevation amusing enough. But
it became abundantly clear to me how easy a person like Paul,
who could not only write well, but who had a certain charisma
and claimed an abundance of experiences with inner masters,
would sweep followers off their feet.
I have little if any charisma, but I can write a fairly decent book.
This apparently was sufficient for many. The experience of being
on the receiving end of admiring Eckists was a sobering first hand
look from the other end of the scope of my own tendency to elevate
the leaders of Eckankar.
I won't go into the details of the issues I have with the Eckankar
teachings, for most of these issues are addressed in Ford's book.
My conclusions are not the same as Ford's in all cases. For example,
whether people such as Rebazar Tarzs are real or not real hardly
played a part in my decision to leave, whereas Ford categorically
asserts the Vairagi masters are pure fiction. I had decided that,
if men like Paul and Darwin and Harold were truly the best and
brightest candidates that a band of high inner masters would choose
to be the head of their order and be the chosen supreme channel
for God on Earth, than I was not interested in following such an order.
On the other hand, I felt, if there is an order of very high masters
similar to the Vairagi that Paul protrayed, I seriously doubted they
would hitch their wagon to a movement like Eckankar. So the whole
debate about whether some of these masters are real or not is not
a central one for me personally.
There are a few other conclusions I reached that differ a bit
from Ford's, and this is as it should be for anyone thinking for
themselves. But on the whole, my own research and experience
support Ford's conclusions. If you read Ford's book, you will find
a multitude of issues worth carefully thinking over - a number
of which you may never have considered before.
Incidently, Ford has been accused by some critics as being too
mental, of not showing an attitude of love. It would be hard for
anyone to write a book deconstructing Eckankar without seeming
hard-hearted to an Eckankar devotee. How do you call the beloved
founder Paul Twitchell a liar and a fraud and still sound like a Golden
Heart? But there is more to the demonstration of love than sweet
platitudes, warm feelings, and cute stories. Tough-love is real, and
in the spiritual tradition it leads (or pushes) Soul onwards towards
God. I see no love in comforting others with gentle lies, nor in
telling them they will suffer spiritual decline and misery if they
leave the Eckankar club. One of the primary reasons I decided to
leave Eckankar was precisely because the pronouncements of love
made by the leaders was contradicted all too often by their actions
and harsh denouncement of those who disagreed with them, or
those who choose to follow another road, or of other "inferior" paths.
As with many who leave the Eckankar religion, I have felt a certain
amount of loss. Not just the loss of an ideal, but the absence of a
community of friends, and the wonderful sharing that happens at
many Eckankar events. But I have not regretted for a moment the
spiritual implications of leaving. To have stayed, for me, would have
been a rejection of what Eckankar calls The Call of Soul - a call which
urged me to let go of a religion which had served its purpose in my
journey, and had become an impediment to my further growth.
Truth Seeker added these comments at the end of James Davis' post:
Thank you for coming forward. There are many who hold on to your
book as the final validation of the mahanta. That is why Harold was
so quick to promote it. I hope that your candor and courage will
encourage others,who are hanging fire and holding on to this last
fabricated vistage of Eckankar doctrine, to also have the courage to
read the book and then act on their inner spiritual guidance. Only
then can the Eckankar spell be broken.