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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Oops. Our Bad.

Sorry, people. it turns out were were mistaken about Martin Luther, and indeed about many other things. Such as Jesus. An anonymous reader sets us straight, with the following cheery note:
Hi, I am from Australia.

Luther was not a genius. He was essentially an emotionally constipated sexual neurotic -- as indeed were and are most Christians.
Our first response was delight at the conventional spelling and punctuation. So few authors of crazy letters take the time, and that just makes us wonder how much they care. Bad writing is not a sign of sincerity, people!

And honestly, calling Luther "constipated" and "neurotic" isn't especially crazy. (Or novel. Paging Erik Erikson!) We briefly considered the possibility that this was going to be a note from a reasonable person possessed of dubious social skills. A Christopher Hitchens without the wit, let's say. We were rather pleased by the thought of our humble little Egg becoming a place for reasonable people to discuss the foundations of religious conviction.

But then, alas, our anonymous correspondent added some links. We followed them, but don't intend to share. They lead to some classic 70s-era faux Hindu claptrap. Here's a sample:
Sexual communion is the technical term used by Bubba Free John to describe the process whereby the emotional-sexual functions of the psycho-physical being are first yielded into Communion with the Current of All-Pervading Life and then sacrificed or transcended in perfect God-Commnion [sic].
Claptrap, to be sure. But "Bubba Free John"? You don't come across names like that every day, so our curiosity was piqued. Turns out that Bubba Free John, who went by about a dozen other made-up names, was a 1970s cult leader. It's the usual story: a lonely kid on a spiritual quest hooks up with a bogus "yogi" in Greenwich Village; moves to San Francisco (during the Jim Jones years, mind you); builds a commune; does a lot of drugs; has a lot of sex with a lot of people who think he may be God; makes a few porno movies; and lives out his days on Raymond Burr's private island near Tahiti. You've heard it all before, right?

But here's the part that stuck with us. Bubba Free (or Mr. John? One never knows) started life as Franklin Albert Jones, a nice Lutheran boy from Queens. Altar boy at his home parish. He even studied at the Philadelphia seminary for a little while, as well as at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary.

Dodged a bullet on that one, didn't we? Can you imagine if a whack job like that had been ordained?

Well, actually, yes. We can imagine it all too easily.

For some years, we served on Long Island, very near the birthing-grounds of something called Shoresh Yishai. To make a long and painful story short, a couple of bright young ALC boys made a big splash there in the 1970s. People always describe them the same way: Charismatic. (Side note: When we at the Egg hear the word "charismatic," we reach for our pistol, or at any rate our aspergillum loaded with holy water.) Pretty soon, one of the pastors, Jack Hickman, revealed that he was the scion of a secret line of rabbis, or maybe the Messiah, and things went downhill from there. The damage that Hickman did to the spiritual and emotional lives of his congregation is almost incalculable, and we say this after spending several years helping to mend the wounds.

So, pardon us, anonymous reader from Australia, if we don't jump on the bandwagon. Luther may indeed have been "an emotionally constipated sexual neurotic," and so may we and those who share our Christian faith. We don't think so, but we'll admit the possibility. Still, at the end of the day, we can live with our neurosis. We aren't sure that you can live long or happily with the teachings of Bubba Free John, and we hope that you will shake free of them. When you do, call us. We'll be there to help pick up the pieces.


Anonymous said...

it all fits together. bubba free john, the law and order arizonans and the driving while talking on a cell phone perhaps while under the influence of charismatic drugs or even alcohol. and pj sanfer is so right to point out our freedom to behave in so many odd ways.

Father Anonymous said...

Of course, "strange" ways and "criminal" ways are different. If a guy wants to wear his hair funny and leave his lawn unmown, that's a perfectly legitimate use of his freedom. if he wants to endanger other motorists or diddle children (a la Jack Hickman), that's an abuse of same.

moderndoomsdaycult said...

Father Anonymous,

Shoresh Yishai mutated somewhat in the years after Jack fled New York with his protege. The cult was rebranded in 1996 with the remnants of his followers who brought their teenage children back to Jack during the 1996 retreat. I am one of those children who has been lied to and harmed by the cult.

I started a website, moderndoomsdaycult.com, to put accurate information up for those still in the cult. The kids who are now adults like me have the right to know what happened. I plan to post a brief history of the the cult soon. At the moment, the site has a few articles that were written in the 70's and 80's.

Jack died several years ago, but his protege who he fled New York with is now in charge. He is claiming to be a prophet (he may believe it himself since he is using hyperventilation and emotional prayer meetings to achieve a strong altered state of consciousness). There is a consolidation of power going on right now and this worries me since my family is still involved.

Would you be willing to write in your blog about your experiences with the cult and any knowledge that you may have had of the previous abuse in detail? If you are willing, I would like to put a link on my website to your blog so that people that want to know the truth could read your post.

Thank you.

Father Anonymous said...

To be honest, my own experience with those guys is pretty slight. basically, I am one of the many pastors who have served in the area over the years, and have had the privilege -- and the pain -- of tending to the hearts and spirits broken by the cult. Beyond that, there isn't much that I can write.

But I will happily provide a link to your site.

moderndoomsdaycult said...

Thank you for your prompt reply. If you would put a link on your site, I would appreciate it.

I have read several of your other posts. You are an excellent writer.