A Course in Miracles: a CIA exercise in mind control?

Monday, 25 June 2007

 A Course in Miracles, published in 1975, is a book considered by its students to be their “spiritual path” – some have labelled it the “New Age Bible”. It has sold millions of copies. But could it have been part of a CIA mind control experiment? One of its authors, was a key MKULTRA scientist.

Its promoters describe it as “A Course in Miracles is a complete self-study spiritual thought system. As a three-volume curriculum consisting of a Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers, it teaches that the way to universal love and peace – or remembering God – is by undoing guilt through forgiving others. The Course thus focuses on the healing of relationships and making them holy. A Course in Miracles also emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum, of which there are ‘many thousands.’ Consequently, even though the language of the Course is that of traditional Christianity, it expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. A Course in Miracles therefore is a universal spiritual teaching, not a religion.” According to Dr. Helen Schucman and the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP), she and Dr. William Thetford “scribed” the book by means of a process coming from a divine source through a form of channelling, which Schucman referred to as “inner dictation”. Schucman described the divine source of her channelling as none other than the person of Jesus Christ – thus making one think that the notion that this is just a spiritual teaching “not a religion”, somewhat suspect.

The source of A Course in Miracles was said to be Jesus ChristChannellers of Jesus Christ would – perhaps should – be treated with suspicion. But amongst the usual list of possible explanations for mounting a hoax, “A Course in Miracles” has an unusual candidate: CIA sponsored mind control. Dr. William Thetford, co-scribe of the book, co-headed the CIA’s “Mind Control” MK-ULTRA SubProject 130: Personality Theory, while at Columbia University, between 1971 and 1978. His colleague on this project was David Saunders. Thetford’s Professional Bio, also available on the A Course in Miracles web site, makes reference to his involvement in a Personality Theory Research Project while Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University, but the information does not specifically cite this as a CIA MK-ULTRA SubProject – an omission we would expect to find. When we check dates, it is clear that A Course in Miracles was written in the middle of this project’s existence. The next question should therefore be whether it was part of this project. After all, the project addresses “personality theory” and the Course tackles how heal the personality.

Some might argue that though the book was published in 1975, the sessions predated Thetford’s involvement with the CIA in 1971. But can we be sure? The story goes that in late 1965, Schucman began to “channel” this voice in her head. From 1965 to 1972, Thetford directly assisted Schucman with the transcription of the first three sections of the work, which was in fact the great bulk of the material. But one year into his involvement with the CIA, in 1972, Thetford and Schucman were introduced to Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, whom they invited to assist with the editing that was required to render the rough draft of the ACIM manuscript into a publishable format. So though it is possible the actual sessions fell outside of Thetford’s MKULTRA employment, the promotion and publication fell squarely within it. Furthermore, it has been alleged that among the subjects deleted from the original versions were remarks concerning “the CIA.” When some of these original versions were first published on the Internet in the late 1990s, they were almost as quickly removed by a court injunction brought by none other than Wapnick himself.

The publisher of the Course was the Foundation for the Investigation of Para Sensory Phenomena. Some observers wonder whether this may have been funded by members involved with or employed by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Menlo Park, California, which at the time was home to the Remote Viewing project – itself sponsored by the CIA. One of the people with connections to SRI was Judith Skutch, the president and founder of the foundation. In 1973, Skutch was one of Uri Geller’s first supporters. According to Andrew Tobias, most of Geller’s private demonstrations were done in Skutch’s apartment and it was this foundation that put up $60,000 to pay for SRI’s further study of Geller. As it is now known that funding for such experiments also came from the CIA, we can of course wonder whether the Foundation was a front for the CIA… which would mean that it was the CIA itself who published “A Course in Miracles” in 1975. That would mean that the Course was from beginning to end a CIA affair.

ThetfordCould this couple have faked everything? Father Benedict Groeschel, a Catholic priest, knew Schucman both as a teacher and friend. He described William Thetford as “a mysterious character”, and “probably the most sinister person I ever met.” That is an interesting assessment. Only after he retired from teaching did Thetford’s Columbia colleagues (who knew him best as a rare-books expert) discover that during the years they worked with him, he had been employed as an agent of the CIA – one who was, among other things, present at the first fission experiment conducted by physicists assigned to the Manhattan Project. Thetford also was “the most religious atheist I have ever known”, Groeschel recalled. Equally, Groeschel uncovered that Schucman, though outwardly an atheist, had been an admirer of the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes – quite an uncommon fascination for a Jew. She was also embarrassed and feared, Groeschel remembered, that the book would create a cult, or a cult following, which of course it did. In her eyes, it was that “damned book”.

Was Schucman the unknown victim, or active participant, in a government-sponsored experiment? As an associate professor, she definitely had the intelligence to figure whether or not she was abused. Furthermore, J.W. Gittinger was the primary personality assessor for MKULTRA. He pioneered scientific methods to enable him to identify the most susceptible types of personalities for Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, one of the leading scientists on the MKULTRA project. Gittinger’s work eventually surfaced as his “Personality Assessment System” (PAS). Two years after Schucman went to work for Thetford, they co-authored a paper on Gittinger’s PAS, suggesting they at least knew of him… or may even have written this paper within the framework of the MKULTRA project.

So could the book be part of some mind control experiment? Author and Yogi Joel Kramer states that the Course could be considered a classic authoritarian example of programming thought to change beliefs. Long time teacher of the Course, Hugh Prather, notes that the Course students often become, “far more separate and egocentric”, with many ultimately, “[losing] the ability to carry on a simple conversation”. He admits that he and his wife Gayle, “had ended up less flexible, less forgiving, and less generous than we were when we first started our path!” Furthermore, the book starts off as a psychic channelling session and this is an area that the CIA was involved with in the 1970s. So not only was Thetford an MK-ULTRA employee, the book itself, and the method in which it is said to have come about, also fits a CIA area of interest.

SchucmanWhile occult phenomenon has long been ridiculed by the scientific establishment, the CIA seriously entertained the notion that such phenomena might be highly significant for the spy trade. The Agency speculated that if a number of people in the US were found to have high ESP capacity, their talent could be assigned to specific intelligence problems. In 1952, the CIA initiated an extensive program involving the search for, and development of, exceptionally gifted individuals who could approximate perfect success in ESP performance. The Office of Security, which ran the ARTICHOKE project, was urged to follow all leads on individuals reported to have true clairvoyant powers so as to be able to subject their claims to rigorous scientific investigation. The CIA began infiltrating séances and occult gatherings during the 1950s, which may explain why they were interested in a bizarre UFO/medium case in Maine in 1959. A memo dated April 9, 1953, refers to a domestic – and therefore illegal – operation that required the planting of a very specialized observer at a séance in order to obtain a broad surveillance of all individuals attending the meetings. During the late 1960s, the CIA experimented with mediums in an attempt to contact and possibly debrief dead CIA agents. These attempts, according to Victor Marchetti, a former high-ranking CIA official, were part of a larger effort to harness psychic powers for various intelligence-related missions (PROJECT SCANATE) that included utilizing clairvoyants to divine the intentions of the Kremlin leadership. Early in 1981, a well-known syndicated columnist Jack Anderson said, “my associate and I revealed a Pentagon secret that raised eyebrows from coast-to-coast. To the sceptics who wrote in, no, we don’t take hallucinogens. The Pentagon and the Kremlin are, indeed dabbling in the black arts, they are seriously trying to develop weapons based upon extrasensory perception…”. A Course in Miracles seems to have been a part of this psychic warfare… the question is: what was its intended purpose?



Filed under Conspiracy/Coincidence, Metaphysical/Religion/Secret Societies/, Social/Society

35 responses to “A Course in Miracles: a CIA exercise in mind control?

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  5. I take exception to the referring of Helen as a Jew. Both her parents were half Jewish and non observant. Her mother read from the writings of the Christian Scientists. In order for this to be a CIA creation they would have had to do something to Helen as she did the writing. I’m not a follower of any of these so don’t have a dog in the fight. Chances are that Helen was having a spiritual emergency which is essentially psychotic. Any savvy person knows that CIA spooks are nuttier than a good fruitcake. They wasted multi millions probably billions of dollars on such absurd things as distant viewing. None of the expenditures yielded anything worthwhile. I think this is just another witch hunt.

  6. S

    I don’t understand how something promoting forgiveness and love can be labeled ‘demonic’ (by the religious) and some sort of evil CIA mind control scheme by the uber paranoid?

    While I’m disinclined to jump on any bandwagon (including this one), the fear factor of anything new or unknown – ever had at work – never ceases to amaze me.

    • A Course in Miracles has brought me happiness. If that is what you are in pursuit of, perhaps you should give it a try. Happiness will never come from conspiracy theories, bashing others, or creating conflict.

    • Hard Lessons

      A Course in Miracles attempts to leave you defenseless. “In my defenselessness my safety lies” is only one of many daily lessons to be repeated like a mantra. At least Christ warned to be as wise as serpents. The Course teaches that your body is not real and any form of abuse you suffer is a result of your own misperception. It is a wicked and dangerous teaching to attempt to remove someone’s natural defenses and leave them feeling responsible for the way others treat them. It is an invitation for sociopaths who take advantage of the goodwill of people, among many other damaging consequences of it’s belief system. Beware the Course. It is a year of daily brainwashing exercises, though many study for years, and will circulate unwanted in the mind long after one has returned to their senses.

      • Joely

        YES. I had a dear friend who has been transformed into a world-class a$$ after a year of practicing the Course. Personally, I believe the Course’s real purpose is to get people to renounce Jesus as their Savior, and to think there’s something “unspiritual” about noticing and calling out wrongs. Nice way to shut people up while the powers that be run them into the ground, no? This book is pure evil.

  7. Mary Hall

    You can’t make extreme statements like, “One of its authors, was a key MKULTRA scientist” without some evidence to back it up. It seems your whole argument rests on this one unsubstantiated claim. That makes for a very unsound, invalid argument.

    You wrote, “Thetford’s Professional Bio, also available on the A Course in Miracles web site, makes reference to his involvement in a Personality Theory Research Project while Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University, but the information does not specifically cite this as a CIA MK-ULTRA SubProject – an omission we would expect to find.”

    This doesn’t prove anything. Wow, imagine. A psychologist studying personality theory. Shocking. That must mean he’s doing nefarious mind control work with the CIA!

    You wrote, “When we check dates, it is clear that A Course in Miracles was written in the middle of this project’s (MK-ULTRA) existence. The next question should therefore be whether it was part of this project. After all, the project addresses “personality theory” and the Course tackles how heal the personality.”

    I noticed you wrote, “The next question should therefore be whether it was part of this project.” And then you go on to “answer” this question through making loose connections without any evidence whatsoever. And you make conclusions based on these tenuous connections and consider the question “answered.” You didn’t answer anything. You just made a completely unsubstantiated conclusion. And then you go on to misrepresent the Course in Miracles with this statement, “the Course tackles how to heal the personality.” No it doesn’t. Did you even read the book? How can you genuinely critique a book you didn’t even read? Any Course student with a basic understanding of the book knows you can’t “heal” personality. Personality is an illusion, being an aspect of the ego. You don’t heal illusion. You set it aside and let the truth be what it is. If you have a problem with this concept, that’s fine. At least you would be critiquing the course in a valid, genuine way instead of the fallacious nonsense you are presenting here.

    You wrote, “Dr. William Thetford, co-scribe of the book, co-headed the CIA’s “Mind Control” MK-ULTRA SubProject 130: Personality Theory, while at Columbia University, between 1971 and 1978.”

    Where is the citation? Where did you get this information? This seems like a very foundational part of your argument, I would think you would want to cite it.

    You wrote, “Furthermore, it has been alleged that among the subjects deleted from the original versions were remarks concerning “the CIA.” Alleged? Alleged by whom? Anybody can “allege” anything they want. It doesn’t mean anything. Why would you even include it in your argument? Seriously, you need to take a philosophy course or some kind of course that actually teaches you how to present a valid argument! This is ridiculous.

    You can’t throw things out there and make absolute conclusions without backing it up. The only people you are going to convince with this so-called “argument” are people who want to believe it, not anybody who has a sincere interest in the actual truth.

    Since it’s obvious you can’t prove William Thetford was involved with MKULTRA, or even give a valid argument for this claim, your next logical step would be to use the text itself to prove your point that it is designed for some kind of nefarious mind control. But I’m not seeing that argument either. I should think if the text was “written by the CIA” you could use the text itself to prove your point. It’s telling you don’t use the text at all! Your argument couldn’t be more ad hominem if you tried. And the one time you actually referenced the book itself, you misrepresented it!

    Your argument is so sloppy, so intellectually undisciplined, so full of fallacious and nebulous connections and invalid conclusions that it could seriously be used in a philosophy course to teach the students the true meaning of ad hominem, strawman, and a multitude of other logical fallacies.

    Also, just because Helen felt the voice who wrote the Course was Jesus, doesn’t mean there is any religious connotation. I really don’t understand your connection there. What religion? Christianity? I mean, that’s silly. Christians don’t have exclusive claim on Jesus. I believe many of the things Jesus spoke of in the Bible but I’m not a Christian. You don’t have to be a Christian to believe in what Jesus taught. I would say Christianity is a particular interpretation of the teachings in the Bible. Not everybody agrees with that interpretation, something some Christians conveniently forget. Christianity, as a religion, is a particular “packaging” of a thought system based on a particular interpretation of the Bible. As much as some Christians would like to egotistically believe they have the exclusive claim to understanding and truth based on the Bible, they would be wrong. It’s all subjective. It can’t be otherwise. That’s just how it is. But that’s what dogmatic thinking is about. You read a book and then you think only you and your community has the truth about it. But you don’t.

    You might come to the conclusion (since you like to come to unfounded conclusions, obviously) that I am writing this because I am defending the Course in Miracles. But you would be wrong. I am defending intellectual discipline and rational thinking. If the Course in Miracles did not stand up logically, I’d toss it. I can see through irrational arguments like yours a mile away. Besides the fact that you didn’t prove any of your points, your basic argument is ad hominem and fallacious to begin with! Seriously, if you want to attack the Course in Miracles, attack the book itself. Present some parts of it you take objection to. That would be honest, at least. A lot of people have issues with the content of the book. That’s fine. Attack that, why not?

    Seriously, why have you made this strawman about the Course in Miracles if the book itself is so vulnerable to an argument against it?

    The amazing irony in this post is you are the one clearly attempting mind control because you are attempting to manipulate academically uneducated individuals who don’t know the difference between a sound, valid argument from a completely specious argument. And they will eat it up because they haven’t got the intellectual discipline needed to see right through your nonsense.

  8. Brenda Boyce

    Whatever has been written in this report, A Course in Miracles has been my saviour! ACIM allowed me to understand exactly how my ego had operated throughout my life and how it had been the cause of all the pain I had ever suffered in my special relationships. I caused it all myself and nobody else was responsible for it. This was true liberation for me. I’m now 72 and am authoring a book which will prove without doubt that this is so. To all ACIM students I say please keep up with your studies. It will be your saviour as much as it has been mine.

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  10. See joe Atwill book “Caesar’s messiah”and website same name, how Jesus was invented by Rome to control the Jews, love your enemies give to Caesar what is Caesar the Rome emperor became the pope.
    So the dead can talk to you? If you think so,when they talk to some one else how do you know if there telling the truth?
    Has the government with war nuke bombs nuke plants fuk u shima 3-11-11 gmo etc done bad things ?? Yes
    Do gov. Want to control and get you to pay more and more tax? As they send jobs to China there new USA ? Do your home work, also see Jan’s work at gnostic media, I have read the CMI meet bill T! And it will hurt you!
    Are you not a body? Is there a world? Do love some one as he rapes your children? Or do you fight like hell to defind them? Does mother bird sit doing nothing as a birds hurts here children? Send love? No
    Why would you?

  11. I can understand how reading a book can change your life. Reading ‘Journey of Souls’ by Dr. Michael Newton certainly changed mine. But to give a book all the power for having made a difference in your life is absurd. It is your change in perspective and then acting on that knowledge that changed your life. People like to believe that they are powerless in the unfolding of their lives, when they alone have the power to direct it. ‘If the soul plans the life and the Higher Mind gently guides and nudges you to stay on track, then it is the ego, the personality, that navigates it and sends the richness of the experience to the Oversoul’. That is how we grow and evolve spiritually. A book will always stand alone. It means something that people seem to need to defend it.

  12. Anonymous

    A paragraph or two in, you get it wrong. The author never says it is “Jesus” Christ, simply that it is Christ. Jesus was a man who accepted his Christ Conscioiusness, and so became A Christ–but he is by no means the only one–that is the point of The Course by the way. The man who was Jesus-a-Christ is even said to have spake, thus: “These things and more shall you do” when marveled at for his miracles.

  13. e

    Some dream, eh gents? So what if it did come from a nefarious tree, the fruit came out fine. I know nothing Mr. Faulty.

    This book, this message, is unlike ANY other message I have ever read.
    It’s words reflect the Truth–but they are not THE truth…

    It is you they reflect. it is YOU who are the truth…

    somewhere, in there–past all your idols of yourself, that is…

    B: And Moses came down from the Mt., bearing the Truth, the Word of God,
    but the people were drunk, oblivious, ecstatic in the worshipping of their idol, the golden cow (this COULD possibly be a story taken from ancient sacred books of the Near East however–which in fact, the entire old testament IS–and so the reference to the golden cow may be an astrological reference to Taurus, the constellation the defines an age of man. We are now in the Age of Aquarius for example–my point is that this story might be complete allegory)

    And he said unto them:

    Peace out Doobies.

  14. Jeb

    Ya, sorry author. Bad look on the MK:ULTRA story. But then, what do I know about MK: ULTRA? They’re saying that Mariah Carey is a mind control slave for crying out loud. I’ve read some doosies in my day, and the stories can be fascinating…But now, what is the entire message of the Course? These stories, these dreams, these fantasies…they are not Reality. And so the question isn’t for which story to we believe, true or false, MK or mmkay, that is, what had happened was…

    The question is to dream
    or not to dream

    To be or not to be,

    To merely wander through dreams…derelict ship, mast-less, rudderless…

    Or to BE the

    Crack the book. Lesson 182 or so.

    It’s all perfect for ya, reader.

  15. LYO

    Disbelieve this article at your own risk. It’s the nature of the sheeple to believe only what pleases them, no matter the truth.

  16. Atomic Run

    This article failed to make a point at all. In fact it wasn’t until the end of the article that the author actual raised the question that mattered the most, which is: what was its intended purpose? If the book was CIA “sponsored”, OK…So what? What’s your point? The real value of the information regarding this topic, the real investigative question to write about, is the only one that matters….WHY, What was its purpose?

  17. Orr

    Hey I’m Jewish and I do the course for 10 years now. From my knowledge of Judeism the course for me is pure Judeism although I don’t believe in the god of the Jewish bible. They made god a bad ego that hates and divide is children. The course is purely non dualism and never contradict himself. It is allways about give love and don’t demand love and recpect becouse the only way to have is give and then you share that love. Nothing that harms or make your life bad. And the most important thing to know, it is not another book that tells you stuff and then you forget about it, it’s work to do with oneself to undo the ego. This is a course of love. I’m thankfull for having that course. The best thing that happend to me.

  18. At the time the course was channeled, the CIA had developed “god voice” technology which they could direct at anyone. Thetford hired Shuchman in the late 50’s and I believe she was chosen (targeted) for the task. They wanted an athiest Jewish woman so it would appear even more miraculous. Thetford knew Helen loved Shakespeare so they had AI technology spew it out in iambic pentameter. It’s mind control or mass hypnosis on a grand scale and its purpose is to keep everyone focused on themselves and their own happiness. If evil doesn’t exist, why bother to alleviate the suffering of others? It’s purpose was to undermine the Bible and true Christianity. I first picked up ACIM in 1987 and 30 years later I wish I had picked up the Bible instead. Love your neighbour as yourself. The Bible offers you salvation through Jesus Christ and the course teaches you to become your own god/goddess or evolve spiritually. It’s pure psycho babble and Helen never did accept it. As she lay dying, she cursed the book using much colorful language. If you heard the voice of Jesus for 7 years, I would think you would be left in a state of Grace rather than despair and resentment. ACIM coincides with other new age beliefs so has been widely accepted by fringe Christians. I think it was CIA mind control inspired by demons to usher in the “new spirituality” for the new world order which is nothing but luciferianism. Yes, it’s Lucifer’s bible.

    • andrew

      wisw comments Connie. Im well familair with voice of god technology that was being experimented with and Schuccman’s either colaboration or vicitmization in the grand expereiment. MK u;ltra did much research in wanting to influence thought and beleif systems as present day TV is a perfect example of just how successful their social engineering experiment has become.., why? for total subjugation and cointrol over the minds of everyone, Aka George Orwell 1984 style..and few wpople understand just how deep the rabiit hole goes..

  19. max rudolph

    I was a student of ACIM for over seven years and spent three to four hours a day reading the Course. It was based on the belief that I would discover what “The Truth” is. Well, since the Course never furnished the answer, it dawned on me there is none. There may be “a truth” but there is no absolute truth.
    The group I met with always read out of the text and lessons like robots and unless I asked any one of the group what they thought, there was no dialog about what was being read.
    About two years ago I ruffled too many feathers by questioning how the Course was always beating up on the ego since the ego is an invention of our ignorant mind. So in a indirect way the Course was inferring that you the reader are a chump and surrender this self or me or I over to some spiritual divine guru to be purified so as for you to become one with all that is.
    What if all this god is some rumor that has been passed around for thousands of years and all this religious jargon is some form of spiritual gossip.
    I suggested that heaven is some kind of theme park waiting for Disney to commercialize so to cash in on this atonement racket. And how about the holy spirit does not exist and the idea that we all are part of the Christ consciousness is just part of so new age religion.
    If I were asked what am I my response would be, I am nothing(no-thing) and in this nothingness is everything there is.
    I thank you all for my awaking and my recovery from the Huya syndrome.

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  21. As a Jew who has converted to Xtianity then left to become a Buddhist, I find this article interesting. Yes, I am rapidly running out of lives on this level….and there is no respawn. I mean no disrespect to anyone on here who thinks the article is BS, but that is dis-information, and I must call shenanigans.

    Thomas R Morrison

  22. Anonymous

    This did entertain me, and although I am aware that some conspiracy theories are not theory and in deed fact, this is a joke. The Course in Miracles is a book about peace and forgiveness, hardly central to the C.I.A thought system, the only book they may be interested in is possibly face book, i am also sure that who ever wrote this has never looked at the book, never mind read It, and proves the point “Contempt prior to investigation keeps one in eternal ignorance”. The Course in Miracles needs no defence, but this sort of contempt needs to be observed for what it is.

  23. Steve B

    The article has some allegations but no evidence or sources for further research. I see evil in this world with armies and organised crime. I see how paedophiles congregate as priests and forgive each other and i see the trauma continuing through the generations. The course teaches forgiveness and i can see how this could stop wars. I see how it could empower organised crime because no-one would stand up against the psychopaths attracted to positions of power.

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  25. David

    This is the biggest load of nonsense I’ve read this afternoon. The Foundation for Inner Peace, Inc. was registered non-profit status on December 17, 1971. The principal “agent” (as all registered businesses have) was Kenneth Wapnick. 5 years prior to YOUR date of publishing. The course was NOT published in “1975”. ALL legitimate publishing dates include month. ACIM was first published in 3 volumes in June 1976.
    You don’t site a single source of reference, such as a docket number for a “court injunction” bearing Kenneth Wapnick’s name. Good works of journalism site references. This is a piss poor, freshman level attempt at slander.
    The metaphysics of ACIM are mostly channeled from ancient eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism and insights of Sri Ramana Maharshi, but written in a Christian vernacular to be more understandable in our culture. They are universal truths that have resonated with millions, asks nothing of its readers and has never espoused anything but kindness and peace.

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