It is indeed ineffable, yet I will endeavor to convey the journey that has led me to my involvement with The Church of The New Jerusalem. There have been many times over the years that I have attempted to record this journey, without success. It is my most fervent hope that I may be able to succeed at doing so this time around.
In 1974, I made a journey to California. I was escaping from a life that seemed to be predetermined for me. I was escaping from an impending marriage which I was not sure about, being twenty years of age... a family business in which the prospect of being drawn into, without any free will on my part, was overwhelming... and my failure in following through with entrance into seminary for various reasons (which reminded me of my inability to commit to confirmation with the Lutheran church). My intention was to walk the Appalachian Trail to get away from it all, but alas, I missed the date, which according to my calculations was the departure time to succeed in doing the whole trail in one season. The next best thing was a trip to California. It was the farthest point away from where I was without going out of the country. So off I went with my MGB and a footlocker full of my most essential items- a couple of hundred 8-track tapes. Don't ask me why, I still can't figure it out. Now I find Rock & Roll... unappealing.
Jump ahead to Wells, Nevada. I needed water for my radiator but the only source of water I could find was on the outside of town and the proprietor of the service station was rather unfriendly, to say the least. Well, so be it. I'll get water at the next stop. Yeh, right. Blown head gasket, tow back to Wells, order repair kit from Salt Lake City, stay in motel for a week, get solicited by party girls, order a steak sandwich and got... a hunk of steak on a piece of Italian bread. For those of you who know what a Philly Steak Sandwich is, you can see the humor in this. Fortunately, I brought my tools, so I ripped down the engine and fixed the head gasket myself when the parts came in. I was soon back on the road.
After some stops in Colorado, San Fransisco... Haight-Ashbury. Crashed with some friends of a friend. The one saving grace there was Danita Kulp, a woman for whom I am eternally grateful. The woman who typed the first screenplay I wrote when I got there. My actual first screenplay was when I was quite a bit younger. It was a story I wrote for The Twilight Zone. Too bad I never submitted it. It was really pretty good. Maybe I'll rewrite it someday (and probably wreck it). So Danita typed the first version of "I am Alpha & Omega". It was a science fiction story (a screenplay) about the second coming of Christ. It wasn't bad. The dialogue is rather adolescent, but the story is very sound and the character development is pretty good for a first try. Well, I had to get out of San Fransisco, too much depraved moral behavior (to put it kindly). While there, and a primary reason for going there, I checked out The Film School in Half Moon Bay. By the way, before I left- I was studying film at BC3 and won a few awards while there. So I was figuring on continuing in the film industry. Well, the clutch in my MGB was shot, so I sold the car and bought a motorcycle. I roamed up and down the coast a few times ending up in LA.
Los Angeles... more friends of friends, more depravity, fortunately I got to know Chaka Kahn who let me stay with her; another saving grace. She passed my script onto a friend who knew Gene Roddenberry, who as it seems, liked my script. Enter my own fears and self-deprecation. I took the script and left LA. I felt it wasn't good enough. I had to make it better for the man who created "Star Trek". I was too afraid of success, having been brain-washed into thinking that my dreams were a waste of time. So, being utterly fed up with the perversion that surrounded me in Hollywood and very confused about the very existence of God in such an environment, I got on my bike and headed out into the desert.
Somewhere in the desert. Nothing in any direction. Pushing a motorcycle. No fuel. Chewing on a cigar and bitching that there was no God! But wait a minute. If there is no God, then who am I talking to? OK, there is a God. But I know nothing, so you have to show me what you want of me and where to go. Boom. An RV pulls over, the owner gives me gas and five bucks. I can't say how amazed and appreciative I was. So I head back to LA, wrap up business, and head out to return to the East Coast. It was November. Route #10 was the southern route, so I figured it would be warm enough on a bike. Wrong! I found myself wrapped up with newspapers and plastic under my leather to keep warm. It didn't exactly work. I pulled into a restaurant, almost completely broke and ordered a cup of coffee. The waitress brought me a bowl of chili and some bread. She obviously could see I was freezing to death. I was stunned by her kindness, but even more stunned when the guy in the next booth turned and invited me to stay the night at his house. He said his wife would make us some dinner. I might have been stupid enough to make that trip without sufficient supplies, but I was no fool. I said "yessireebob". Lloyd and Dorthy Lopez. I'll never forget them. She made a great chicken dinner with fresh home made tortilla chips. I left the next morning with the twenty bucks Lloyd gave me. Other adventures ensued, but I won't go into them.
Back in Pennsylvania. I had a book, which I bought at a bookstore in Berkeley. "Journeys Out of the Body". Well I had entered into another sort of journey- to search the world religions and to come to understand them and compare them. I did ask Him to show me where to go and what to do. So He led me on a journey of the understanding. I was trying to understand Spinoza and I had an extensive library of religious & occult books. I was particularly fond of Taoism and the teachings of Lao-tse.
I came to conclude that I wanted to find out if this Astral Projection was, in fact, real. But I set a few foundational terms to my journey. Firstly, no drugs. I knew some people who were talking to me about their experiences using LSD, Peyote, and Hashish. But I knew that anything that was spoken about (in these books I was reading) could not be considered legitimate if the experiences were induced by the use of drugs. Second, but more importantly, I had determined that I was committed to being a Christian and if these experiences were real, they were real whether I was a Christian or not, so I was not about to reject that belief in exchange for any knowledge I might gain and... if that were a requirement, then, as far as I was concerned, it was not legitimate. I had gotten deeply into yoga and eastern philosophy, to the point where I was meditating four hours a day for over two and a half years. Ultimately, I opened the Kundalini, which I don't recommend to anyone without a Master nor anyone who is not prepared. For me it resulted in experiencing the creation at the molecular level and offered me a view of this planet from space. I liken it to the Moody Blues line "you gotta go out and in", or something to that effect. I had many Astral Projection experiences and the expansion of my consciousness extended to the degree that I could feel people living on the other side of the planet. It's difficult to explain this, so I won't really try. But I can say I spent virtually my entire twenties deeply involved in this search for eternity.
I learned that we are so much more than we think we are. Our normal, day-to-day living in this society has dulled our senses, to the degree that we manifest only a small fraction of our potential as the creative spiritual beings we were meant to be. We are assaulted from all sides with unimportant, mundane, degrading behaviors that are based on greed, sensuality and the entropy that infects the material realm. Our society has become so overwhelmed by it that we have lost the capacity to understand our true nature and we interact with each other on a largely false premise of who we are and what we are meant to be. Well, enough of that.
Then one day, I was driving a truck, making deliveries, when I found that the expansion experience started to occur while I was sitting at an intersection. Now, this experience is quite overwhelming and wonderful, but... it is not an experience that bodes well with driving a vehicle. I though to myself, what if this happens while I'm driving and I loose control of the vehicle and kill somebody. That was unacceptable to me. Although I was on a most wonderful journey toward enlightenment, I was enlightened enough to know that selfishly moving forward at the potential expense of others was inappropriate. I came to conclude that: if this journey I had undertaken, was in fact a true journey toward eternity, then it could wait a few years, until the circumstances were better set for me to proceed.
I made the conscious and concerted effort to disengage myself from this most amazing, desirable and wonderful journey. So for the next few years I fell back into the dull and unappealing world of the material society we live in.
I suppose that I should give you a bit more understanding of why I call this journey wonderful and amazing. I guess it is a prerequisite for the most profound experience, which I'd like to convey.
As I've said, I had many Astral Projection experiences. Some of them are clear and profound and some of them are not. Let me begin with the first experience that I had which I can clearly and definitively say was an Astral Projection experience. For those of you who are not familiar with The Silver Cord (which, by the way, is mentioned in the Bible), it is very much like an umbilical cord that connects your spirit to your body. When you "project", your spirit leaves your body, free to travel great distances in space and time. I won't go into detail about that, but as long as the Silver Cord is attached, you are alive in the material realm. When it breaks, you enter eternity, apart from space and time. I've seen my silver cord. In fact, in one projection experience, as I found myself traveling out into space and observed this planet from that high vantage point, I saw my cord, winding it's way back toward earth and I became very frightened that it would break. A great desire to return came over me, which was fulfilled post haste.
Back to that first discernible experience. I've told this to many people. In fact, until this very effort to write it down, I've never been able to document these stories over the last thirty years. You should know that these experience are so profound that they are as clear to me today as when they first happened. In fact, now I have a broader perspective and can actually see more facts about the events... things that I could not see when they first happened.
It had been quite some time that I had been engaged in the practice of yoga. Those of you experienced with this will know that as you achieve balance through the application of assorted exercises, you also achieve progression of your awareness, not only of your own body, but of the world around you. I had gotten to the point where I had, what I consider to be, a most excellent balance... and with that came and expansive cognition of things beyond my immediate sphere. I will not go into the details of what that balance is or how to achieve it, but I will say that I also discovered ancient esoteric teachings, which were quite difficult to decipher and which I applied to my methodology. I do believe that these teaching were the key to the results that I achieved.
I do not recommend to anyone that they attempt to travel this path. I'm not saying that a Spiritual Journey should not be undertaken, because that is the only journey worth taking, but rather, one should pursue spiritual knowledge and the path they are destined to follow based on their inner dictate and not any sensual desire to enter into realms of spirit, which are best left to the proper order of ones destiny. The path I have, very superficially, described to you is one in which the pursuant traveler will expose him or herself to great unknown dangers. It essentially is an opening up of the spiritual sensitivities to the degree where infernal spirits, from the regions of Hell, or those moving toward that destiny, can and will attempt infestation and possession. To one who thinks this is incredulous, there is no fear that they will be possessed, to any greater degree than they already are. For simply stated, the success of any such journey is determined by the degree of purity in both behavior and intent. The World of Spirits is ripe with all the torment and turmoil of the purging that is taking place within those who have arrived there. When one from the Material Realm enters the World of Spirits (even on the fringes) while yet living in this and doing so uninvited, they have done so, as it says in the Bible "through the back door". The consequence of this behavior is severe. Not in any direct punishment, but rather by being exposed to the confusion, distress, torment, malignant intentions, and countless other emotional and behavioral discrepancies through which some spirits must pass as they are purged of their false loves. This may well lead to the aforementioned infestation and or possession. Particularly by those spirits who, for various reasons, desire to return to the Material Realm and can effect that desire (to a degree) through possession.
The quest for spiritual truth is answered when the questions are put forth in supplication to the Creator, with whom all the answers lie. In orderly progression He certain will convey and lead one toward the greater understanding and knowledge one seeks, especially when that knowledge concerns, not only his or her eternal welfare, but also the greater purpose for which that knowledge is sought. Such knowledge need not and ought not be found thru sensuality.
One of the most undesirable results of what I had "accomplished" (more like been permitted to see) was that I had opened myself up to such infestation of infernal spirits. It was a battle I fought for years as a result, and one in which I would not wish on anyone. I assure you that I brought this on to myself because I was unaware of the consequences. I am certain that The Lord has permitted it for a very good reason and it is very likely that you are reading it now. At some point I will need to convey those experiences of being assaulted by infernal spirits, but I will leave that for another time. Rather at this time I will convey a few experiences that were significant and the essence of what I wish to make of record.
The first important projection experience occurred in the evening. I am uncertain of the time, but it was at that time between waking and sleeping, when your body is relaxed enough but your mind is still alert. In the meditation process there comes a time when your body's senses shut down, to the point where you are numb and cannot move, but again, your mind is alert. It is at this time when (what I call) the vibrational energy comes. There are other references to this, but I will not elucidate on this now. I will say that the vibrational energy is like rings of vibrations that come from above and encircle your body, pulsating up and down the length of you body as various rates of frequencies, depending on the depth of your meditation. As the rings pulsate to a certain frequency, your spirit is then separated from your body.
I found myself floating above my body. At first, I was not sure that what I was experiencing was actually happening, but it was. I took it in and felt the amazingly soothing sensations. Suddenly I heard a chorus of voices calling to me from the left, down toward the direction of my knee. I looked over in that direction and saw only the dark cavernous orifice of my bathroom door. These voices called out to me in no language I could understand. The voices were not male and they were not female, rather they were a blending of both, which now I would define as specters. I was most curious about this and started to be drawn over toward the voices. As I began to move, suddenly the thought came into my mind that the statue of David was carved with David looking to his left because evil spirits assault man from the left and the right hand is protected by God. (I still don't know if that's the case, because I keep forgetting to check, but...) This thought surprised me. Then suddenly the thought came into my head "Say the Lord's Prayer". So I did. The voices started to wail as though they were writhing in pain and they faded into the distant darkness. Suddenly, I was sitting up in my bed, utterly amazed, not knowing what to think.
The next night the vibrational energy came again and the whole process was repeated. This time, as I floated above my body I felt a presence to my right. There standing in the doorway was the figure of a man glowing white. Immediately my mind went to the events of the night before and I thought to myself "I did not stand up for myself" and so I lunged out at the being of light, who I suddenly realized had come there to help me. Duh!
I had numerous other experiences of little consequence, which I'm sure were designed (or permitted) to give me some familiarity with what was happening. But there were a few very profound experiences which I am most desirous of conveying. This series of experiences led me to The Church of the New Jerusalem.
In what I consider to be a waking vision (and not a dream) that took place between the state of sleep and waking, it is most profound and clear to my mind that I found myself walking into a small vestibule. The walls were made of stone and the doorway that I entered into the room was in the right-hand corner behind me. In what appeared to be the left-hand side (it could possibly have been the centre of the room) on the opposite wall was an arched doorway, which had no apparent doors. As I entered the room I turned slightly and said to whoever it was that was guiding me "it's OK, I can do it now" and they left me to proceed. I walked over to the doorway and stood in the opening. Now, as I walked over to the doorway, the only thing I could see was white light pouring out from whatever was on the other side. When I stood in the doorway, I was bathed in this white light and I knew with absolute certainty that on the other side of that doorway was the spiritual world. I could see nothing at the time. Now I have a vision of what I saw. But as I stood there I longed to step forward to see what was there. At the same time I was frightened to do so because I believed, bordering on knowing, that if I did so, there was a likelihood that I would not come back. I was caught in a dilemma. The world that I had just come from was incredibly dark, dirty and very undesirable compared to the nothingness I was gazing into. But that nothingness was so much more than where I had come from and so much more desirable than anything I had ever experienced. Somehow however, I knew I had a mission to fulfill back here and that I could not leave this planet without doing so. This mission was called "I am Alpha & Omega" the screenplay that I wrote in California. What my views are now about that mission, I cannot say, but at the time it put me in a real dilemma. I wanted to step forward, but I was afraid I would not come back to fulfill my mission. When I attempted to step backward, it was so unappealing to me that I could not bring myself to do it. When I attempted to step forward, my mission had to be fulfilled... and so on and so on. I stood there trapped in indecision in that doorway, for what seemed like a very long time. Suddenly, the walls of the doorway, (which were about three feet thick) started to close in on me. Still I could not make a decision. Until finally the walls squeezed me out like a glue between two boards. I found myself sitting up in my room, baffled. I would say that ten years, probably twelve if numerology is playing a role, after this experience, I suddenly realized that the golden figure of a man stood in front of me as I stood in that doorway. No one will be able to convince me that it wasn't the Lord or one of His angels representing Him. Maybe He was preventing me from moving forward or maybe He was waiting for me to make a decision. I guess I'll find out when I get there.
This experience happened before the Kundalini expansion at the intersection, when I decided to discontinue my studies, fearing any injury I might inflict upon an innocent vitum of an accident. But as the years passed I became very depressed about the state of the world and how dark it was compared to what I had been experiencing. Soon, I became overwhelmed with the desire to go back there and I embarked on another endeavor to bring about these experiences. So I entered into meditation once again, only this time I knew what my goal was and I was working toward that end. Not cool.
I, in fact, managed to bring on the vibrational energy again. Now I need to explain something here. One of the factors that I discovered about this is that no metal can be on (and probably too near) your body during the mediation process. Metal interferes with the magnetic impulses which have to be properly aligned. (I don't want to teach anybody how to do this, so I won't say more) I will say this: I found that the fillings in my teeth cause a great deal of problems with this. Everytime the vibrational energy came I felt as though my teeth were going to expload. Since, I could not do anything about that, short of having my fillings taken out (which I almost did), I more or less tried to hack through it.
When the vibrational energy came again, once again I had the pain in my teeth. Suddenly I achieved the goal I thought I desired, only I was wrong. Instead of the very positive experience I was seeking, I found myself in a void. Complete separation from life, from light, from anything except complete and utter darkness and emptiness, absolute nothingness. It was the most terrifying experience I have ever had and I completely panicked, thinking that I had condemned my soul for all of eternity to this fate. I was in a blind panic not knowing what to do. Suddenly, the thought came into my head "Say the Lord's Prayer". I did not need any further prompting to do so and I found myself back in my bed, praising the Lord for saving me. I swore I would never mess with that again. A peace came over me and I fell asleep.
The next night, the vibrational energy came again. This time I did nothing to bring it on and more importantly, my teeth felt no pain, something that had never happened before. I said to the Lord that I did nothing to bring this on and that it felt so perfect that I had to go with it. Suddenly I heard choirs of angels sing praises to God. It was so beautiful that tears were running down my face as I felt a hand take me by the right elbow. Then I felt another hand on my left elbow and suddenly I felt myself being lifted up. I could feel the wind blowing in my hair as the choirs sang in most wonderful adoration of God. After a moment, my sight was suddenly opened as if a shroud were peeled away from my eyes. I looked up and saw a resplendent blue sky with silvery white clouds and I was in ecstasy as suddenly a towering cathedral appeared from the periphery of my right side. As the towering cathedral appeared before my eyes I started to become very afraid and cried out "put me back, put me back". My request was granted immediately, much to my current regret.
Needless to say I was stunned. I walked around in a haze for about two weeks trying to assimilate what had just happened to me. I was driving a truck again when I found myself sitting at the intersection of Second Street Pike and Cathedral Road in Bryn Athyn. It was very different then, much more hidden from view and uninviting. Today the Cathedral is opened for tours and very inviting to new visitors and people who wish to worship there. As I sat at the interscection I glanced over and saw the Cathedral. I was stunned at what I saw and immediately turned into the parking lot. There in front of me was the Cathedral in my heavenly vision. I didn't know what to think. At the time, I didn't even know it was a church. I don't know how you can look at a building like that and not know it was a church, but I thought is was some kind of museum. I got out and walked up to the building; unable to take my eyes off the tower. As I looked closer I began to decipher the carving at the top of the tower. " He is the Alpha & the Omega, the Beginning and the End, Who is and Who Was and Who is to come, the Almighty".
To say I was floored would be putting it mildly. Here I had been working on a screen play titled I am Alpha & Omega and here it stood right in front of me, I had to check this out. I came back on Sunday only to find all the doors locked. What kind of church is this? I checked every door and found only one unlocked. The service was in progress and the door I found was right next to the stair that led into the basement. What better place to start than the basement? So I crept down into the basement and followed the sound of the service that was in progress. I found a spiral staircase that seemed like the sound was loudest at and positioned myself on the stairs. I struggled to hear was was going on when suddenly the door opened and someone in a robe came down the stairs. I jumped up but he said "that's OK, that's OK" and he disappeared around the corner. Well as it turned out he was Bishop King, Who ended up marrying my wife and me. Go figure.
So, That's how I came to The General Church of The New Jerusalem or New Church as it is called.
When I found the New Church and began studying it's teachings, I gave my entire, large collection of religious and esoteric books away. I felt I no longer needed to search for what I had finally found. I discovered the New Church in 1977, three years after the Lord set me on the path to discovery and I joined the Church four years after that, a well balanced seven years after He pointed the way. My steps have been guided by Him ever since, with significant events occurring at disctinct intervals and I am completely confident that He will always be with me for all of eternity.
My wife now lives in Heaven with the Lord and I know she is happier than she ever was in this life because she is with me often and tells me so.
Unfortunately for me I still have to complete my mission. I'd better get busy, "cause I want out of here ASAP". AG
p.s. In the hope that anything I may say would be of assistance, I may convey other related experiences, because I continue to have the most profound spiritual experiences, which seem so normal to me, yet unfortunately, so alien to others. The date of this posting is correspondential. AG