Attorney's Statement

How the Urtext was obtained

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:

"[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 CFR."
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.

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certain parties, and those acting in concert with them, from publishing on the Internet any portions of published and unpublished materials encompassed by my client's registered copyright in "A Course in Miracles©."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.]


Additional information

On November 8, 2000 at a hearing in Judge Sweet's court there was presented an affidavit by a member of the Endeavor Academy 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 in Wisconsin.)

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 FelicityOther 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 Inner Peace.

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 for publication.

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?

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.

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 Psychotherapy Pamphlet, now included in the official Third Edition of ACIM) are published as scribed, as is the essay entitled "The 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.


Joe Jesseph, PhD





For additional information see the following pages on this website:

    THE SCRIBE - Dedicated to Helen Schucman with links to excerpts from Absence from Felicity




Miracle Studies Navigation Table

Index of Resources Discussion Group FAQ about ACIM 50 Miracle Principles
Biographical: Helen, Bill, Ken Unauthorized Manuscripts The Story of A Course in Miracles The Psychology of ACIM
The Course's Use of Language What is Forgiveness?  Copyright Related Info Question/Answer Service


This Web page is authored by Joe Jesseph
who is solely responsible for its contents