In light of the misinformation circulating
about the early manuscript of A Course in Miracles -- referred to
as the "Hugh Lynn Version" -- I believe clarification is required. Let
me begin by presenting the facts that relate to the history of that early
manuscript. I am here summarizing what I have already detailed in my book
from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course
in Miracles, and in more succinct fashion in the preface to the pamphlet
the Second Edition of A Course in Miracles.
Helen took down her internal dictation
in stenographic notebooks, using her own version of shorthand, and dictated
these notes to Bill. Helen intentionally omitted some material while dictating
to Bill, who typed Helen's dictation. We later termed this the "Urtext,"
a word usually used to denote the original manuscript of a later published
literary work. At that time, Helen and Bill were in occasional contact
with Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of the renowned psychic Edgar Cayce, and President
of the Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach. Helen
valued his opinion and he was most interested in her work. For that reason,
Helen shared the material with him to secure his advice and comments.
In 1972, Helen and Bill gave to Hugh
Lynn a copy of what was then the completed manuscript. This is what has
been called the "Hugh Lynn Version." It was made clear to Hugh Lynn that
Helen and Bill were providing these pages for his personal review and comments,
and that the manuscript was
not to be shared with others except
for his son, Charles Thomas. Hugh Lynn died in 1983, but Charles Thomas
Cayce, current President of the A.R.E., recalls conversations in which
this point -- so central to Helen's feelings of privacy -- was understood
by all parties involved.
After seeing some of the early and later
chapters of the text, Hugh Lynn commented to Helen and Bill that he thought
that perhaps more than one source was involved, presumably since the writing
styles were so discrepant, especially when one compared the early scribing
-- what now roughly constitutes the first four chapters of the text --
with what came later.
Hugh Lynn's observation goes to the
heart of the matter of the editing, and how and why it proceeded.
Again, Absence from Felicity
12] goes into this in more detail, so that interested readers may wish
to consult it if they so choose. There are two relevant issues here, and
they bear on what Helen and Bill (and later I) came to refer to as Helen's
"scribal uncertainty" or "pedagogical caution" in introducing a thought
system that was so alien to the world's thinking:
1) The early months of the dictation
-- again, we are speaking of what are now roughly the first four chapters
of the text -- were experienced by Helen as a dialogue or conversation
between her and her inner Voice, which she identified as Jesus, in which
the actual Course material itself was only a portion of the dictation.
Personal material -- meant only for Helen and Bill -- was part of what
she had written down, and it was her very specific guidance that this was
not to be included in the published version. This personal material also
included many references to psychologists and various psychological issues
and subjects, which were also not meant for the public, but rather were
to help Helen and Bill make the bridge between
understanding and that of the Course.
2) In addition to the interspersal of
the personal material and discussion of various psychological issues with
the Course teaching, there is the issue of Helen's scribal uncertainty
caution. These interferences certainly affected her writing during
this period. I provided one such example in Absence from Felicity,
where the story of the so-called "celestial speed-up" message is recounted.
This "explanation," which Helen never said came specifically from Jesus,
but rather was "given" her, speaks of people losing more than they were
gaining, necessitating a "celestial speed-up" in which certain people were
being called back --including Helen and Bill -- to lend their talents on
behalf of the "plan." Helen later insisted upon removing this inconsistent
Therefore, what was taken out of the
original material was meant to be taken out by Helen, as instructed
by her Voice, since it detracted from the actual teaching message of A
Course in Miracles, and could have seemed to contradict that message,
thus confusing its students. Helen and Bill had removed most of this material
by the time I saw the early manuscript. However, Helen felt that
additional material needed to be removed for the published edition. Helen
made these deletions and changes and did not truly consider them to be
important, as they were never meant to be part of the published Course.
Further, obvious editorial revisions
were also necessary -- punctuation, paragraphing, capitalization, etc.
-- all of which are documented in my book. I might also add that the editing
that Helen and I completed was Helen's work. Any thought that it was I
who did the editing could only be held by someone who clearly did not know
Helen. As I have said many, many times, Helen was extraordinarily protective
of A Course in Miracles, and would not have allowed anything to
be done with the material without her approval. Indeed, during our long
period of editing, I functioned more or less as Helen's secretary, implementing
the changes that she wished.
Again, anyone who knew Helen (and Bill),
would appreciate the fact that A Course in Miracles, as it is published,
reflects the guidance that she followed and then implemented. Therefore,
readers of the published Course (especially now that the second edition
includes the earlier inadvertent typing omissions) can rest assured that
they have before them in the published edition the expression of what was
given to Helen by her inner Voice, the true teachings of A Course in
Therefore, even though Helen's guidance
was to eliminate both the personal material and confusing language from
the final edition, the published Course clearly is intended to be read
and studied by all students of A Course in Miracles. All of
us at the Foundation for A Course in Miracles® and Foundation
for Inner Peace earnestly hope that Helen's fervent wish for privacy
will be honored and respected by all Course students. This can only be
accomplished if the early manuscript of A Course in Miracles remains