A Course in Miracles has an interesting history and it all started when Dr. Helen Schucman, a non-religious Jew began working with Dr. William Thetford in 1958.
It seems Dr. Thetford had ties with the CIA and was working on Project Bluebird, which was later rolled over into the MK-Ultra Project. MK-Ultra was a program focused on mind control created in the 1950s by the CIA with the goal to learn ways to manipulate people’s mental states, alter brain function and create Manchurian Candidates often through the use of drugs and hypnosis.
Under the MK-Ultra umbrella there were purported to be over a hundred sub projects from the 1950s well into the 1970s and Thetford purportedly worked on Personality Theory, subproject 130.
Schucman was employed at Columbia University with Thetford as a research psychologist for seven years without incident, but then one night on the subway she had a vision. A beautiful light filled the subway car and upon arriving home, the quiet voice, claiming to be Jesus, spoke to her for the first time. Soon, she and Thetford, a relationship that had always been strained according to reports, developed a close partnership while transcribing what this voice relayed. It’s an interesting coincidence that while working with Thetford, Schucman, a spiritual sceptic and scientist, had such an amazing transformation of spirit and mind.
Father Groeschel met Schucman at Columbia University while she was scribing the Course and he was writing his dissertation on the relationship between science and theology, he found her to be witty, engaging and a stimulating conversationalist. “Helen was a very scientific lady,” he recalled, “a Jewish intellectual who considered herself to be an extreme agnostic, though not quite an atheist, and very sceptical about everything having to do with religion or spirituality.” Groeschel also found Schucman to be an enigma, while writing the Course, she spent a lot of time in the Catholic Church, but refused to join, stating that as a Jew and a former Catholic “you Gentiles came along and made all these rules.” He was confused by her reactions to writing A Course in Miracles, as she would often state, “I hate that damn book.” The Making Of A Course In Miracles
Groeschel also knew Thetford during his time at Columbia University and described him as “probably the most sinister person I ever met” and “the most religious atheist I have ever known.” Groeschel stated that Thetford was very excited about A Course in Miracles and personally arranged for its publication. It seems Thetford was quite a mystery at the University and none of his colleagues knew, until after he retired, that he had also been working for the CIA during his employment.
Although a friend of Schucman, Thetford, and Wapnik, Benedict J. Groeschel has since criticized ACIM and the related organizations. Finding some elements of the Course to be what he called, “severe and potentially dangerous distortions of Christian theology”, he wrote that the Course is “a good example of a false revelation” and that “it has . . . become a spiritual menace to many.”
Although Father Groeschel felt that A Course in Miracles undermined authentic Christianity, he and Dr. Schucman maintained a friendship until her death. Most disturbing to him was the “black hole of rage and depression that Schucman fell into during the last two years of her life.” According to Groeschel, who sat with Schucman while she was dying, “she cursed, in the coarsest bar-room language you could imagine, `that book, that goddamn book.’ She said it was the worst thing that ever happened to her. I mean, she raised the hair on the back of my neck. It was truly terrible to witness.”
Other Christian authors, such as evangelical Bob Larson, have similarly criticized A Course In Miracles, saying it contradicts basic tenets of Christianity, twisting its core teachings and “deceiving people who are sincerely looking for God.” Larson also criticizes ACIM populariser Marianne Williamson personally, saying that her work on behalf of ACIM denies “essential qualities of faith” such as guilt and forgiveness, and necessitates the Biblically forbidden practice of transpossession mediumship.
Evangelical editor Elliot Miller says that Christian terminology employed in ACIM is “thoroughly redefined” to resemble New Age teachings. Other Christian critics say ACIM is “intensely anti-Biblical” and incompatible with Christianity, blurring the distinction between creator and created and forcefully supporting the occult and New Age world view.
Dr. Colin Ross, a psychiatrist specializing in dissociative disorders, has written a summary about Project Bluebird based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Ross states that many prisoners and mental patients were subjected to unethical mind control experiments by leading psychiatrists and medical schools and that academic psychiatry has never acknowledged the truth of these events. Dr. Ross believes that the “network” of mind control doctors utilized in the Bluebird Project has done great harm to the field of psychiatry and to psychiatric patients.
He states, “The participation of psychiatrists and medical schools in mind control research was not a matter of a few scattered doctors pursuing questionable lines of investigation. Rather, the mind control experimentation was systematic, organized, and involved many leading psychiatrists and medical schools. The mind control experiments were interwoven with radiation experiments, and research on chemical and biological weapons. They were funded by the CIA, Army, Navy, Air Force, and by other agencies including the Public Health Service and the Scottish Rite Foundation. The psychiatrists, psychologists, neurosurgeons, and other contractors conducting the work were imbedded in a broad network of doctors, and much of the research was published in medical journals. The climate was permissive, supportive, and approving of mind control experimentation.”
Dr. Ross continues to list a disturbing number of experimentations and manipulations done on ill-informed and innocent American citizens, including the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, where illiterate, poor, rural black men with syphilis were recruited as subjects, told they had bad blood and were deliberately not treated. He states that unethical radiations experiments were performed on about 600 people beginning in the 1940s and ending in the 1970s, including injecting patients with plutonium, without their informed consent. And in Washington and Oregon state prisoners were offered five dollars a month to have their testicles irradiated.
But besides the frightening evil of the physical experimentations done on innocents, Project Bluebird was focused on the mind and how to manipulation and control through the use of drugs and hypnosis. The goal was to create Manchurian Candidates by causing amnesic barriers, by shattering the old personality to birth new and efficient ones and implanting hypnotic codes and triggers so that the person being manipulated would never understand his role. And according to the documents obtained by Ross, they were actually quite successful.
Interestingly enough, this was the world in which Dr. Thetford was involved when his research assistant suddenly began hearing the voice of Jesus in her head and A Course in Miracles was born.
A Course in Miracles was published in 1975 and Dr. Schucman signed over the copyright to the Foundation of Inner Peace, later FIP assigned the copyright and trademark to the Foundation for A Course in Miracles. The same year Gerald Ford instructed the Rockefeller Commission to investigate the CIA’s activities in the US and MK-Ultra briefly became known to the world, before drifting back out of the minds of most Americans. Dr. Schucman left Columbia University in 1976, never claiming financial rewards or celebrity status for the book that has been sold around the globe and translated into 17 different languages. Schucman often lamented to Father Groeschel that she was afraid that the book would gain a cult following and it seems she was correct.
According to The Miracle Times website, in January, Marianne Williams will begin teaching the 365 day Course on Oprah and Friends XM Satellite Radio. The site states, “A Course In Miracles is a masterpiece of mind training, impeccably crafted to catalyse within the individual an experience of thought not bound by the constraints of time, space, or human organizational principles. Through our practical application of lessons in the art of forgiveness and in the psychology of self-responsibility, we are awakened to the memory of our Divine Inheritance.” The Miracle Times
I wonder if the black despair and hatred for all things spiritual Dr. Schucman felt at the end of her life had anything to do with the dawning realization that she may have been brutally manipulated? I wonder if the people pushing this book and “mind training” have any idea of the dark place this New Age Jesus was hatched? If intention is everything, what was the intent of this book? To relieve suffering or to instill it? To point us in the right direction or trap us in a web of deceit? Perhaps to many how A Course in Miracles was crafted does not matter, but to me, to adopt a spiritual “truth” developed on a foundation littered with dark deeds, suffering, government intrusions and deceptions seems like the ultimate manipulation.
Victoria Hardy, American Chronicle, Dec 2007