A couple of weeks after the Kenneth Copeland convention, Muriel made a profound announcement during the midweek Bible-study class.
"Jesus has told me that the masters of the Hierarchy are no longer to be involved in the activities of the Lighted Way," she said. "We are now connected only with Jesus of Nazareth, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. I have been clearly informed that we are not to study any teachings other than the Bible."
We had been working with the masters for years, and I was not able to comprehend Muriel's radical statement. Finally, I rationalized that, since we had been studying the Bible for several weeks, perhaps the spirit supervision of our metaphysical center really was now coming directly from Master Jesus, and he was making appropriate changes.
I remembered reading in the Alice Bailey books that the supervision of a group is often transferred from one master to another. This transfer is supposedly part of the process known as the divine movement of energies. It seemed reasonable that if we were now supervised by Master Jesus, we would focus on the Bible and temporarily discontinue our work with the other masters.
A week passed since Muriel's interesting announcement. The night before the next study class was to be held, I awakened from my sleep. While in a state of semi sleep, I received a clear, strange message. "You need to adopt a conventional religion," the inner voice said. Deeply impressed, I mentally took note of the message before falling asleep again.
When I awakened in the morning, the message was still in the forefront of my mind. Though I wrote it down in my journal, I had no idea what was referred to by the term "conventional religion."
Later that day, I attended the Bible-study class. Only a handful of people turned up, and we seated ourselves in a small circle. Muriel began her talk. "Last night Jesus awakened me and told me that Djwhal Khul is not one of us," she said abruptly. I leaned forward to listen carefully to what she was saying about my master.
"Jesus explained to me that Djwhal Khul's teachings are inaccurate. He is not a perfect being. Djwhal Khul cannot be involved in the Lighted Way now that we are following Jesus Christ."
I wondered what on earth Muriel was getting at. Looking over at my friend Peter, I watched for his reaction. His eyes flashed over at me, gave me a blank stare, and then focused back on Muriel. He looked as surprised as I felt.
"Jesus told me that Djwhal Khul has fallen," she continued. "He desired knowledge and became filled with pride. This caused him to consider himself more intelligent than he really was. He was totally mistaken in the statements he made in the Bailey books regarding the identity of Jesus."
I started to feel uncomfortable with what Muriel was saying. How could she put down my beloved master? I sat in stunned silence as Muriel explained. "Jesus of Nazareth was not of human descent as Djwhal Khul claims. He is a divine being. He is the only begotten Son of God. He was divinity incarnated in human flesh. He is God. Jesus is not a master who has had past lives. Djwhal Khul was wrong. Jesus is the Christ. He has more power than any master."
Then Muriel grinned and said, "I think Djwhal Khul may be Satan."
I was dumbfounded.
My anger welling, I almost got up to storm out of the class in protest over this blasphemy against my beloved Djwhal Khul and his teachings.
But I calmed myself and tried to sit tight and hear out the rest of Muriel's revelation.
She continued, "In the Bible, Jesus said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' It is absolutely true; there is no other way to reach eternal life than through Jesus Christ. You cannot obtain immortality through a master. A master or a guru can raise your consciousness, but at some point everyone has to come to Jesus. It is only through him that a person can receive eternal life."
I was now in a state of utter shock. It was the only time in six years of attendance at the Lighted Way that I had felt like walking out of the group. It was like torture listening to Muriel's preposterous statements. I felt relieved when the class was finally over, and I left immediately.
Feeling angry and confused as I drove home, I then recalled the message I had received in the middle of the previous night. The mysterious inner voice had told me I needed to adopt a conventional religion. I wondered whether this was the voice of the Holy Spirit telling me that I needed to become a Christian. I did not know what to believe; I certainly didn't accept Muriel's testimony at face value. My main question was, "Is it really possible that the conventional Christian churches teach the truth about Jesus?"
In a mood of utter suspicion, I attended the following week's Bible-study group. I wondered what incredible statements Muriel would make this time.
She began with another shocker. "Jesus has been explaining lots of things to me. During each night, he has been waking me from sleep and has been telling me the truth about himself and the plan of salvation. He tells me to write things down before I forget them, so I scribble messages on a note pad as he talks to me."
Muriel looked perfectly relaxed as she continued her dissertation. "Jesus told me that he has intervened in the Lighted Way to bring me into eternal life and to enable me to bring the knowledge of eternal life to others. He told me I was being influenced by satanic entities and was in danger of being led astray by false doctrines and half-truths. Jesus is now teaching me about the resurrection."
I felt insecure and intimidated as my total philosophy came under attack from the fundamentally new concepts Muriel expounded.
"Jesus has told me that the Lighted Way is now no longer a metaphysical center," she stated. "We are to reorganize ourselves as a Christian church. We will have to change our name."
I felt as if my whole belief system had been pulled from under my feet.
"We are going to do a lot of hymn singing," she continued. "We are going to do a lot of prayer work and Bible study. We are definitely not going to study any of Djwhal Khul's teachings." Muriel picked up her Bible and read several passages. We then had a prayer session followed by silent meditation and closed the meeting by repeating the Lord's Prayer.
I drove straight home. Confusion again clouded my mind. Walking into my apartment, I sank to my knees before the altar and prayed as sincerely as I knew how: "Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless me with wisdom and clarity of mind so that I may know the truth regarding these matters. I beg that the Lighted Way be protected from any false and astral influences. May only truth prevail. Heavenly Father, I ask these things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
In my meditations, the voice of conscience gave me firm advice that I should not leave the Lighted Way, but should continue to attend the classes, even though I was unsettled over the changes taking place there. I still felt a deep love for Djwhal Khul and was reluctant to let go of the relationship with him. How could he be satanic? I wondered.
Gradually, I began to reason that perhaps Jesus really was the only begotten Son of God and was now calling me into his fold. One thought predominated. It was Muriel who had led me to the religious path in the first place. She obviously knew a lot more than I did about divine matters, and I needed to give her statements very serious consideration.
At the next class, Muriel again narrated what she had been told by "Jesus" during the previous week. She emphasized that only one path led to eternal life, the Christian path. "Ultimately all the people following the Hindu teachings will have to accept Christianity in order to be saved and obtain eternal life," she affirmed.
She stressed that to obtain salvation, one must believe in Jesus Christ, be his disciple, and become one of the "saints" described in the book of Revelation.
Muriel told us that the esoteric books were impure and misleading, and advised us to be on our guard against deceptive astral spirits who were trying to lead people astray. "These entities, or demons, may try to influence you and draw you away from the Christian path," she warned.
Picking up her large Bible, she began to read. "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
She explained that this passage from Paul's letter to the Ephesians warns us about the evil powers and principalities lurking in the spirit realms. We need to go to Jesus in prayer and ask him for guidance and protection from satanic forces.
This idea of "satanic" forces intrigued me. It was a concept that Djwhal Khul had repudiated, not that Djwhal Khul's statements were supposed to matter anymore. According to Muriel's dissertation the previous week, she thought he might be Satan. I wondered whether Muriel really believed Satan existed.
My attention switched back to her dialogue. "Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ," she declared. "He is God. Of his own free will he decided to incarnate as a human being in order to take upon himself the karma, or sin, of the world and give humanity the opportunity of obtaining eternal life. Through his death on the cross, he lifted the karma of humanity. If we accept Jesus as our savior, our personal karma is lifted from us; he takes over our lives and leads us into immortality."
I had never heard Muriel speak so powerfully. Her words struck deep into my psyche. It sounded as if Christianity were the religion closest to God, after all.
Raising my hand, I asked, "Muriel, do you think that there is a real being of supreme evil, called Satan?"
"I am not sure," she replied. "Jesus has talked to me only about satanic forces. There may have been a great devil called Satan. In the Bible, Jesus said, 'If you are not with me you are against me.' Everyone who is not a Christian is Satanic, in a way."
I didn't want to pursue the question further, so I remained silent. We had an intercessory prayer session and again closed with the Lord's Prayer.
During the following week I did a lot of soul-searching. Through Bible reading, prayer, and earnest meditation, I started to accept the idea that Jesus really was not of human origin and evolution, as Djwhal Khul had claimed. Concluding that Jesus was rightly the King of kings and Lord of lords, I decided to let go of all attachment to the masters and accept Jesus as my personal savior.
Getting down on my knees in prayer, I humbled myself and cried out to God: "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to die for our sins. Thank you for bringing me into this new light. I give thanks that I am saved by my belief in Jesus. I give you thanks for the gift of eternal life through the death of Christ on the cross. Thank you for his mission so that I can be forgiven of my sins and have my karma lifted. I ask for wisdom to understand your plan of salvation. I ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
At this time, the Lighted Way was temporarily operated from Muriel's home, and we were not conducting any Sunday morning services. Muriel advised us to go to a Christian church each Sunday to worship the Lord. She stated that "Jesus" had instructed her to attend a particular church in her neighborhood. However, we could go to any church we were impressed to attend.
In response to Muriel's advice, I attended services at a variety of denominations in my neighborhood. The sermons were not as fascinating as Muriel's talks, but I enjoyed the opportunity of worshiping the Lord.
In response to directions coming from "Jesus," Muriel reorganized the Lighted Way as a Christian church group, choosing the name the New Lighted Way. We were to start as a house church prior to leasing a new center in a commercial building. Our brochures were embellished with the motto Jesus Is Lord.
My diary records the first Sunday morning service, held in early January.
We were just a small group gathered in Muriel's large apartment, sitting on neatly arranged folding chairs. The service started with the singing of a few contemporary Christian songs followed by a traditional hymn. Muriel prayed and asked for a blessing upon the work of the New Lighted Way. Ending the prayer, she invoked, "May all that we do glorify the Son. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ."
After we were seated, she read from the Gospel of John. "In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.... I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'"
Muriel followed the scripture reading with a sermon based on the necessity of becoming a born-again Christian. She stated that at some time in the future, when she had access to a swimming pool, we could receive a water baptism from her. "For now, we have to be born again by accepting Jesus as our savior," she declared.
After the sermon, Muriel conducted a candle lighting ritual. It was similar to the candle lighting ceremony we had been performing for years when we operated as a metaphysical church.
In turn, each person went up to the altar at the front. He lighted a candle from a source candle called the Christ candle, which was burning in the center of the altar table, and placed it adjacent to the Christ candle.
Muriel asked each person to kneel down before the altar. She laid her hands on their heads and recited a prayer of blessing. She then proceeded to channel a message from "God" for that person.
From Muriel's wording, it appeared that the Christ candle was now regarded as a representation of Jesus Christ himself, rather than being a vague symbol for the "Christ energy," a term used when we were a metaphysical church.
When it was my turn to go to the altar, Muriel told me to kneel down and hold my hands together in prayer. "Are you in need of any kind of healing?" she asked.
"Yes," I replied, "I have been having trouble with my gastric system again."
Muriel placed her hands upon my head and said, "Father in heaven, we ask for a healing of Will's stomach sensitivity. We ask that he will be completely healed from the tip of his toes to the top of his head. We ask this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ."
She now began to channel a personal message: "You are blessed by the Father. You will have oneness with him. You need to detach from all the metaphysical teachings, throw away all your books except for the Bible, and come into the personal presence of Jesus."
This message was difficult for me to accept. I had loved all my esoteric books. Returning home, I meditated on the advice.
The inner voice of conscience spoke to me. "Come unto me and I will give you rest. Seek ye first the kingdom, and all else shall be added unto you," it said.
Stepping out in faith, I decided to completely give myself to Jesus Christ. Throwing into the trash dumpster my library of metaphysical books, I cleaned out my whole apartment of all books, magazines, flyers, and brochures connected with the New Age. I resolved to spend my spare time meditating, praying, and reading God's Holy Bible. Regarding myself as a born-again Christian, I aspired to come into the living presence of Jesus as the sole means of my salvation.
This new focus did not mean that I gave up all my metaphysical beliefs. On the contrary, I still held to many of them. However, as I read the Bible, some of these beliefs started to come under pressure.
For example, I read a passage in which the writer of Hebrews makes a statement totally contradicting the doctrine of reincarnation. "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment ... " (Hebrews 9:27).
In my thinking, I attempted to make this statement compatible with my reincarnation beliefs by assuming the biblical writer was ignorant about the reality of past lives. He simply was not advanced enough in consciousness and knowledge at that time to know that man lived several incarnations.
Muriel herself was still talking about her own past lives. I concluded that if the reincarnation doctrine were inaccurate, then no doubt Jesus would soon inform us of our error.
My meditations encouraged me to live a sanctified life and withdraw from the secular world even more than I had while on the metaphysical path. I regarded my apartment as a kind of monastery with a population of one.
With candles and incense burning, I often knelt in front of the altar to pray, sometimes combining prayer with meditation as I remained on my knees for an hour or two. I still used the metaphysical visualization rituals and invocations, but modified them to be more in harmony with my new faith. My goal was to seek the living presence of Jesus Christ and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.
"You are going to move into a new, closer relationship with Jesus," channeled Muriel one evening as I stood before her in front of the altar. We were conducting our candle lighting ordinance. Muriel's eyes were closed, and I assumed she was speaking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
"Tonight Jesus is going to wake you up out of your sleep and talk to you directly, just as he has been doing with me. He will give you a message of revelation. You will be surrounded with great glory, and you will walk in a cloak of glory."
I found the message interesting, but did not think about it again that evening. At the end of the service, I drove home, enjoying the Christian music playing on my car radio.
"This is an earthquake," I said to myself as I awakened in the middle of the night. A wave of fear swept over me.
My bed trembled.
I looked up expecting to see the pictures swaying on their mountings. Strange, they were not moving.
Focusing my ears to listen for the creaking of the apartment-building timbers, I couldn't hear anything, even though my bed was still shaking. I thought, "This is weird."
Suddenly, I heard a voice.
"Wilfred, I want you to take death seriously. You may not have long to live. I want you to exercise on a regular basis."
"Jesus," I exclaimed intuitively.
I carefully listened to hear whether the voice would tell me more. Everything was deathly quiet. I noticed my bed had stopped shaking. I felt strange, and a bit afraid.
Recalling Muriel's prophecy, I realized it must have been the voice of Jesus talking to me, just as Muriel had predicted earlier in the evening.
Lowering my head down on the pillow, I relaxed and took a deep breath. I thought, "How unusual; he called me by my christened name, which I had not used for years."
"Jesus" seemed to speak to me audibly, but I heard it with some kind of "inner" ear. It was definitely quite different from the voice of my higher self, that clear voice of conscience which often spoke into my mind.
I felt concerned as I pondered on the content of the message. "Jesus" seemed to be warning me that my health was not very good. Maybe my cardiovascular system was in poor condition, and I lacked exercise. I concluded I had better do what "Jesus" advised and start exercising regularly, perhaps jogging.
Climbing out of bed, I wrote down the message. It had affected me profoundly. I was intrigued that "Jesus" had personally awakened me to give me a direct message. However, apprehension over the content of the message seemed to override my appreciation of this new level of experience with "Jesus."
I recalled how Muriel had often told us in the class that she had been awakened in the night by one of the masters, or recently, by "Jesus." She claimed she was then given prophetic messages. Now I understood what she had been talking about.
I wondered what was going to happen next in this new, close relationship with God.
As you are following my story at this point, it almost seems that the Holy Spirit was intervening in a miraculous manner at the Lighted Way to bring to us the true gospel. The "conversion" of our New Age center now becomes more suspicious. Let me describe to you what happened next.
At the following Bible-study group, Muriel began to speak. "Jesus has been teaching me many interesting things," she said as she opened her Bible. "I am going to read from First Corinthians, chapter fifteen.
She looked down and began to read. "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; for the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality."
Muriel gave an explanation. "Through the power of Jesus Christ, one can start a process of translation into the resurrection body," she said. "The old self, the personality, has to be refined into the Christ self. It takes effort and discipline to do this, but Jesus gives us the strength and knowledge."
In my reading of the Bible, I had wondered how the resurrection fitted in with the New Age scheme of things. So I listened eagerly to Muriel's revelation.
"Through Christ's divine power, the actual atoms of the physical body are transformed into the refined atoms of the resurrection body. Once you have built up this body of immortality, you are able to live an eternal life here on the planet."
Hmmm, I thought, from what Muriel is saying, it seems that the resurrection is not going to be a rapture process, as most Christians assume.
She continued. "Only through the power of Jesus Christ can one end the cycle of death and rebirth, that process of reincarnation. If you go to Jesus, confess your sins, and ask him to transform your life according to his will, then your karma will be lifted. The power of Jesus will begin the process of building up the resurrection body of immortality. This is the spiritual body that the apostle Paul talked about. It is built out of the mortal body by means of the Christ energy coming from Jesus.
As I listened to Muriel, I recalled that for several years she had claimed that her body was undergoing a rejuvenation process. She had openly stated that she was gradually getting younger and would eventually reach an age of twenty-eight. She had asserted that once she reached this young age, she would live an immortal life here on the earth in the glorious New Age of love and light.
From what Muriel was saying, it sounded as if the Bible talked about the same process, but it was the resurrection power of Jesus that activated the transformation rather than some vague, cosmic "Christ energy."
Muriel again read from her Bible. "Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."
Looking up, she then explained. "This text from the book of Revelation describes the resurrection process I am going through. This process that translates the atoms of the mortal body into the refined atoms of the immortal body is known as the first resurrection. Those who translate through the power of Jesus are part of the first resurrection. They will live on this planet during the thousand-year millennium of peace and prosperity. This millennium is the New Age."
Muriel bent over and placed her Bible on the floor.
"The Bible teaches that there will be a second resurrection," she said. "It is for those who don't make it into the New Age. They fail to accept Jesus and thus do not undergo the translation. They will be judged and will get a second chance later."
Muriel paused and looked at us as if to invite questions. I didn't fully understand what she had said, but remained silent.
"Jesus told me that we are on the path of eternal Sonship," she continued. "We are to live a righteous life by following his example in the Bible. It is our goal to become sons of God and be one with the Father, just as Jesus was one with the Father."
Muriel beamed as she began to speak again. "Jesus informed me that I am now a member of the Melchizedek priesthood. It is the royal priesthood of Christ and is spoken of by the apostle Paul in Hebrews."
Everyone in the class sat motionless. I didn't know what to make of her statement. Who was I to contradict her status?
At the end of the lecture, Muriel invited the class members to come up to the altar to receive a blessing.
Muriel's explanation of the resurrection process was totally different from what the Bible teaches. Christianity has historically taught that the resurrection will be an opening up of the graves of those who have died in Christ - the dead saints. (In biblical usage, the word saint describes all Christians who are saved and have eternal life through their faith in Jesus.) Brought back to life, they will ascend out of the ground, clothed in their resurrection bodies. Scripture states that those "who have done good will rise to live" (John 5:29). They are "raised imperishable," "raised in glory," "raised a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
We are told that this resurrection occurs at Christ's second coming and that "the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). According to the Bible the resurrected saints and the living saints are transformed into glorified beings "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:52).
It is now clear that the Holy Spirit had not intervened at the Lighted Way. We were simply experiencing a deepening of the Mastermind's plot of deception. We were being deliberately converted into a counterfeit Christian church organization in order to attract a new type of clientele and fulfill a new mission. Our function was to help spread counterfeit Christianity.
Even though the Bible replaced all our former metaphysical textbooks and we called ourselves born-again Christians, we still relied upon MEDITATION as a means of receiving doctrinal information from "God."
To prevent any confusion, for the remainder of this book I will use italics to indicate that I am referring to the counterfeit version of the Godhead. For example, Jesus Christ and the Father will denote Satanic angels masquerading as Jesus Christ and the Voice of God, respectively. Where statements are made by others, the use of italics will indicate that in my opinion the counterfeit is involved, even though that person believed in all sincerity that he was dealing with the real Jesus or real Holy Spirit. Italics will also denote counterfeit divine qualities.
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