How the Urtext
On June 19, 2000, in connection with
copyright litigation in the United States a photocopy of the Urtext material
was supplied to certain litigants under the terms of a very specific signed
agreement with the U.S. Copyright Office in which the recipients:
It appears that one or more of the individuals
who signed this statement has violated the obligations created therein,
by making these photocopies available for publication on the Internet.
If this is the case, it would be a criminal law violation. It now
appears that the individual who represented herself to the Copyright Office
as a legal representative for her "clients" the Endeavor Academy, was not
a member of the bar and had only days before resigned her administrative
position with the Academy.
"[Upon their signature] . .
. hereby affirm to the Copyright Office that a controversy exists and that
the requested copy will be used only in connection with the specified actual
or prospective litigation. I also acknowledge that any other use of this
copy would be in violation of the Regulations of the Copyright Office 37
In any case, unauthorized publication
of the Urtext material without permission of the copyright owner
constitutes infringement of a legally registered and recorded copyright.
Cooperating in the obtaining and distribution of the Urtext constitutes
contributing to the infringement of the copyright involved.
Court Order of Injunction
On September 6, 2000 Judge Sweet of
the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York issued
an Order of Preliminary Injunction in connection with a case captioned
"Penguin Books et. al. v. New Christian Church of the Full Endeavor," No.
96-4126 (RWS). This case is an ongoing litigation regarding copyright
infringement of the book "A Course in Miracles©." The injunction
prohibits certain parties, and those acting in concert with them, from
publishing on the Internet any portions of published and unpublished materials
encompassed by my client's registered copyright in "A Course in Miracles©."
[Note: The litigation was concluded
in the spring of 2004 with copyright in the first edition of the Course
being invalidated based upon the evidence that an excessive number of manuscript
copies were distributed prior to the copyright registration. Copyright
in the urtext was registered separately, however, and was not affected
by this judgment.]
On November 8, 2000 at a hearing in
Judge Sweet's court there was presented an affidavit by a member of the
who stated that in the summer of 2000 members of Endeavor had been extremely
excited about the availability of the Urtext; were studying the document
and presenting it to others. This Endeavor member also reported that
the Academy had dedicated a section of its computer facility to stations
where students were doing nothing but inputting the Urtext so that it could
be stored, accessed and transmitted electronically. It was reported
that this effort was taking place in a hurry in the hope that the process
could be completed promptly.
Further, in a message to his eGroup
entitled "Just_JCIM," Doug Thompson indicated on August 1, 2000 that he
was in possession of the Urtext and in the process of reading it.
Not long after this, on the weekend of August 12-13 I became aware of a
widespread coordinated effort to release the Urtext on the Internet.
Later, in a personal email message to me, Mr. Thompson has suggested that
he himself has authored websites for the purpose of offering downloads
of the unpublished manuscript materials -- websites which had been taken
off-line by ISP hosts because they were in violation of copyright law.
Joe Jesseph, PhD
Response to Claims and
Assertions of the "Source Text Crew"
The "Source Text Crew" has published
some questionable "information." In the interest of the truth about
the Urtext I am here offering some facts and raising some questions for
consideration. (Incidentally, this "crew" is composed largely, if
not entirely, of members of the Endeavor Academy. Email from them
has been traced back to Endeavor and its principle Internet Service Provider
The following questions and answers
are selected from publications of the "Source Text Crew" (STC) and are
followed by my comments.
QUESTION: Who is the "old friend"
of Helen Schucman's who was asked by Jesus to publish the Urtext?
STC ANSWER : We are not at liberty to
divulge too much information about her. Suffice it to say that she
is a British woman, who prefers to be known simply as "Christie". She lives
in London, England. And knew Helen extremely well. She says: "Helen and
William were colleagues but Helen and I were very old friends."
COMMENT: There is no known factual basis
for this story. (After the initial publication of the false "English lady
story it was later claimed that her full name is "Christi Zalyvandwell."
There is no such person.) No one who was close to Helen knows of
any such English friend and the idea that Helen sent copies of her ongoing
secret work with Bill Thetford to anyone else is hardly believable.
Helen and Bill were very secretive about the dictation and transcribing
of the Course. They were particularly concerned about their professional
reputations as they both held faculty positions at the Columbia University
College for Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. They knew that
their colleagues would be quite suspicious and critical of them for being
involved in "channeling," which would not have been regarded by professional
psychologists as a professionally responsible activity in the late 1960's
and early 1970's.
Interested readers will find abundant
information about Helen, Bill and the scribing of the Course which was
conducted in their offices at Columbia University. See historical
accounts on the archival website of the Foundation for Inner peace: The
Scribes and in Absence
from Felicity . Other accounts may be found in the
book by Robert Skutch entitled Journey
Without Distance and in the DVD entitled The
Story of A Course in Miracles, both of which are available
from the Foundation for
There is reliable evidence that this
"English lady" story was developed by members of the Endeavor Academy as
a cover to protect one of their members who deliberately and fraudulently
obtained a copy of the Urtext from the U.S. Copyright Office purportedly
for purposes of the litigation between Endeavor, Penguin, the Foundation
for Inner Peace (FIP) and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM).
QUESTION: How can I get a copy of the
printed Urtext book?
STC ANSWER: Unless you are on one of
the Brotherhood's very extensive private mailing lists, there is practically
no way that you can get a book right now. This is simply because "money
leaves a very long trail" and they do not want the trail to lead back to
them until the are ready to launch the next phase of the plan.
COMMENT: Obviously the "Source Text
Crew" and the "Illuminate Brotherhood" assume that they are engaged in
illegal activity and they expect to be involved in a lawsuit. If
the English lady story were true, and this supposed woman had a legitimate
copy of the Urtext given to her as a gift, why wouldn't she have openly
identified herself and asserted her right to publish the manuscript which
legitimately belonged to her?
It should not be overlooked that the
reason the activity is subject to the claim of illegality is that it involves
obtaining the property of someone else without their consent, violating
their legal copyright and also violating the rights to privacy of Helen
Schucman and Bill Thetford who specifically decided not to publish the
Urtext. The Course was given to Bill and Helen in response to
Bill's heart-felt pleas for a "better way" and Helen's sincere willingness to
join with him in finding that better way in spite of their very difficult
and conflicted relationship.
The Course was given to Helen and Bill,
not to the world at large. When Helen and Bill decided to publish
the Course in order to share it with others they did so with Jesus' loving
guidance and they published to the world a Course carefully edited under
the guidance of Jesus. That version of the Course is the one that
Jesus and Helen intended as the one that would best be able to be of help
to those for whom the Course was intended.
Those who have improperly obtained and
distributed the Urtext have done so in violation of Helen's and Bill's
wishes and considered decisions. They have attempted to usurp the
"sacred trust" passed on by Helen and Bill to the Foundation for Inner
Peace and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles. The idea that
the unpublished and private manuscripts contain secrets to enlightenment
not found in the published work is simply false as most intelligent readers
will soon enough discover. The only significant editorial changes
were made in the first four (of thirty-one) chapters in the Text volume
of the Course. The reasons for those changes and the way in which
they were made are discussed at length in Wapnick's Absence
from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course
in Miracles. Relevant chapters
from that book are available on the Web. See the list of links located
on this site dedicated to Helen Schucman and entitled "The
Scribe." See especially chapter
12 from that book. Also see Kenneth Wapnick's
recent comments about the scribing of the early chapters as found in
his fall, 2001 series of lectures on the ACIM Text.
CONTINUED STC ANSWER: In a very
short while, everyone will have unrestricted access to A Course In Miracles.
In that moment... Mission accomplished!
COMMENT: The idea that people
have been denied access to the secrets of salvation contained in the Course is bogus. It is an idea promoted by those who are willing to engage
in deceit and dishonesty themselves and then accuse others who have acted
with integrity of being dishonest.
For over twenty-five years ACIM has
been extended into the world through the agency of the Foundation for Inner
Peace. During that time the Course has undeniably served tens
of thousands who could hear its message. The FIP has seen
to it that the Course has been responsibly translated into many foreign
languages, with more translations on the way as of this writing.
Currently worldwide distribution figures number between 1,750,000 and
2,000,000. In addition, far from restriction access to the Course,
not only has FIP seen to its publication and distribution, but it has managed
to keep the purchase price at the same level (currently full retail plus
shipping costs $35.00 from FIP). In addition, FIP has always been willing to give the book
to those who seek a copy but cannot afford the purchase price. Over
the years FIP has given away over 10,000 copies of the Course.
Furthermore, the idea that unrestricted
worldwide distribution of the book entitled A Course
in Miracles will "save the world," or is somehow a holy obligation
of those who read and study it runs counter to what the Course itself teaches
and what both Helen and Bill expected. Most who have read the Course will know that it asks only one responsibility of its students, which is
that they accept the Atonement (as the Course defines it) for themselves.
It tells its students that they have only one function in the world, which
is forgiveness and which requires that the Atonement be accepted in order
for it to be fulfilled. It is far simpler to believe that one's responsibility
is to give the Course to others than it is to actually study it for oneself
and then go about implementing it in one's life.
QUESTION: I am confused. There
seem to be so many different versions of A Course in Miracles. What is the difference and how do I know if
I have the right one?
STC ANSWER: Any "version" or edition
of A Course In Miracles that you have, is the "right" one!
Jesus' message of your divinity is the central theme of all of them!
COMMENT: What, then, could possibly
be the purpose of obtaining and distributing the Urtext by violating the
law as well as the rights and decisions of Helen and Bill and those to
whom they entrusted their Course?
ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY: In addition
to the false story about the English woman purported to be a private friend
of Helen's, another misrepresentation has been developed by the "Source
Text Crew" and others involved in the promotion of the Urtext.
This is the false idea that the published Course, and especially the second
edition, contains errors and inaccuracies intentionally inserted by Kenneth
Wapnick. The labels "Wapnick Standard Version," "WSV," and "WV" are
propaganda devices used by those who, for reasons of their own, dislike
and distrust Kenneth Wapnick as well as the published Course.
No one who knew Helen has ever suggested
that she would in any way violate her relationship with Jesus or her sense
of integrity about being his scribe by allowing his message to be altered.
No one who knew Bill (and his close friend, Judy Skutch Whitson, president of
FIP) would ever claim that he abandoned the Course to be edited in ways
that did not meet with his approval. And, no
one who knows Kenneth Wapnick or understands his loving relationship with
Helen would ever accuse him of wanting to betray Helen or Jesus by somehow
distorting the message of the Course as he worked to help Helen edit it
In the October, 1984 issue of New
Realities magazine published by James Bolen, was printed an
extensive interview with Bill Thetford which Mr. Bolen conducted.
This was eight years after the Course had been published. Regarding
editing of the Course the following exchange is excerpted from that interview:
NR: There has been some
speculation that you and Helen edited the Course. Did you?
I am confident that most intelligent readers will
conclude, as at least one experienced writer and editor has already pointed out,
that the published Course represents a faithful and skillful editing
of the pre-publication manuscripts. The published Course has already
been, and will continue to be, recognized as one of the great works of western
literature. The unpublished manuscripts not only do not clarify the message of A
Course in Miracles, but in some
respects they contribute to confusion about its teachings, especially its metaphysics,
which is one important reason why Helen and Bill saw to it that the Course was
carefully edited for publication. In any case, the differences between manuscripts,
published and unpublished, are minor. Only the first four chapters
of the Text are different in form (not in content). The last 26
chapters of the Text are essentially identical. The entire Workbook
and all of the Manual for Teachers are virtually identical
among all versions. In addition, the supplementary pamphlets (Song
of Prayer and
Pamphlet, now included in the official Third
Edition of ACIM) are published as scribed, as is the essay entitled
Gifts of God", which is published in the volume of Helen's poetry by
that same title, also available from the Foundation for Inner Peace. All
of the Course materials are internally consistent with respect to content
in delivering the same message of light and forgiveness in the darkness
of this illusory world where conflict is the norm, all be it that the message
is so radical in the face of our ordinary understanding, and so threatening
to our ego identity, that it is easily misunderstood and misappropriated.
THETFORD: No. Bear in mind
that at the beginning we didn't know exactly what was happening.
So we asked questions of a personal nature and recorded the answers that
Helen would receive. I would type these answers as part of the continuous
process, no distinguishing them from the inner dictation that Helen was
recording in her shorthand notebook. Later when we realized that
this material was obviously not a part of the Course itself, we did indeed,
delete it. It is true that there has been editing of capitalization,
punctuation, paragraphing and section titles in the Text.
However, these changes were minor and the Workbook and the Manual
for Teachers also appear exactly as they were taken down by Helen.
RETURN TO ERRATA
RETURN TO DISCUSSION OF URTEXT: ORIGINAL SCRIBING
TO DISCUSSION OF THE HUGH LYNN CAYCE VERSION (HLC) =>
For additional information see the following
pages on this website:
SCRIBE - Dedicated to Helen Schucman with links to excerpts
from Absence from Felicity
SHORT HISTORY OF THE EDITING AND PUBLISHING OF A COURSE IN MIRACLES