Back in the saddle, folks! There’s more nonsense coming our way.
First and foremost, the reason why these folks are really supposed to be scary:
“They don’t believe in any God — they are God.”
The idea that human beings can have power and control over their own lives terrifies people like Peretti. If people don’t have someone to tell them at all times what to do and how to think, how can they be sure that they are doing the Right Thing? I’ve heard similar statements before, let me think where…hmmm..
KNEEL! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It?s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.
Oh, right, that’s Loki. From The Avengers. The villain. Let’s face it, human beings don’t like to be told we’re nothing but pawns, tools to be used. But that’s exactly what many extreme branches of Christianity preach: that we were made to be ruled by Jesus, and that any attempt to understand or control the world around us is sinful, wicked, evil. It seems obvious to me why a person would want a lot of people to believe that; just set yourself up as the intermediary between Jesus and the people and bam, you have a whole cult full of willing slaves who will do anything you say. You have power, control, wealth, anything you dreamed, at the expense of subjugating a whole lot of people under your thumb. The idea that someone else out there is telling them they can actually make their own happiness is therefore a threat, something to be explicitly demonized and rejected.
Hence, books like these.
Alright, back to the main event: understanding what exactly Harmel is railing against here.
“I was intrigued by it all — the parapsychology, the strange phenomena she was documenting. I started having these counseling sessions with her myself. I let her read and photograph my aura and my energy field. I let her probe my mind and read my thoughts. […] after a while I started picking up on some of the same things she was heavily involved in: I’d leave my body, go out into space, talk to my instructors–“
Parapsychology is another blanket term, but this time not for a spiritual tradition at all. Parapsychology is a branch of pseudoscience, purporting to study supernatural phenomena with all the rigors of the field of psychology. It was more or less debunked in the 80s when it failed to produce anything conclusive, but it’s a fun area to look into and there are many hobbyists in the field. And, of course, it makes for good entertainment.
Aura Reading is actually connected to some Indian spiritual practices; it’s been tested a few times under the umbrella of parapsychology but failed to produce results in any rigorous testing. Aura photography was an interesting fad for a while, but has been basically debunked, as many of the early images turned out to be explainable by lens malfunctions or outright hoaxes. If you’re curious and rich, though, you can still have your aura photographed.
Mind-reading was covered in the previous post.
Astral-travel and Out of Body Experiences were covered in the previous post.
Here, by the way, Harmel cuts himself off for the sake of dramatic tension. He’s trembling, pale, terrified. With some coaxing, he adds more:
“Inner teachers, spirit guides, ascended masters. . . they’re called all kinds of things […] they come from nowhere, they speak to you, sometimes they appear to you when you’re meditating. Sometimes you visualize them yourself, but then they take on a life and personality of their own […] beings,. . . entities. Sometimes they’re just like real people, sometimes you only hear a voice, sometimes you only feel them– like spirits, I suppose. Juleen works for them”
Ascended Masters is a term coming from the various traditions in which they believe man can ascend to a higher form of being; an ascended master is someone who has done so. This is interesting stuff, particularly the obvious Christian influence (“I am He who is called I AM” being from the Bible), but it’s fairly obvious here that he’s talking about Christian demons being mislabeled so they seem benign.
The message of the book is clear: The spiritual beliefs of Peretti are true and real and need to be worried over; his metaphysical beings are the real metaphysical beings, his religion the true one, his spiritual beliefs valid and authentic. Everyone else is lying or being manipulated by demons.