The purpose of this article is clarification, not defense. It is written mostly for the people who are personally involved, in order to correct the phony "controversy" that is based on an absurd article that was written by an unknown author named Bruce MacDonald, who claims that I "stole" Pursah's Gospel of Thomas, which is part of chapter 7 in my second book, Your Immortal Reality: How to Break the Cycle of Birth and Death. The deliberately slanderous and libelous title of MacDonald's article is "Gary Renard's Stolen Gospel." This latest, ludicrous controversy is being championed and promoted by Robert Perry and the so-called "Circle of Atonement." Robert has a long track record of attacking other A Course in Miracles teachers, including Ken Wapnick and myself. For 15 years, Robert has been the most divisive force in the A Course in Miracles community. His actions over this long period of time are an insult to everything that A Course in Miracles stands for.
Let me point out that I feel no need to defend myself. First of all, I am not a body. And secondly, on a purely practical level, the bond that exists between my readers and I is such that the likes of Robert Perry and Bruce MacDonald do not understand it, and they probably never will. They cannot have an effect on it. Robert Perry has tried to destroy my career at least 3 times in the last 4 years. It's not working for him. Maybe if he spent more time developing a real message instead of attacking other teachers he'd be more popular. His goal is controversy, mine is clarification.
I used a quote from the Course in 2006 in a response article at that time. Robert Perry had talked two other Course teachers into ganging up on me and putting out 3 simultaneous negative articles about my books. MacDonald actually mentions those scandalous articles in his article. Rogier Van Vlissingen, the author of, Closing the Circle: Pursah's Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles, published by O Books, whose blog I will be relying on heavily in this article because he knows more about the Gospel of Thomas than I do, recently described those articles by saying of MacDonald, "Curiously, the author (of the article, MacDonald) relies once again on the discredited journalistic drive-by shooting that appeared in the form of a series of articles in Miracles Magazine a few years ago." And indeed it was a now discredited journalistic drive-by shooting. Dr. Michael Mirdad, the author of You're Not Going Crazy, You're Just Waking Up! wrote at the time about my response article (titled "My Response to the Witch Hunt that is Currently Going On Among Some in the Course Community") that, "For the most part, Gary recently offered his detractors, and all interested parties, a brilliant blow-by-blow defense that exposes many inconsistencies and un-truths." What those articles were saying about me was not true, and the article by MacDonald is simply not true. It is a call for help and a defense against truth. The quote I speak of from the Course that I used three and a half years ago, and which also applies here, says, "....those who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well. They must, however, be willing to overlook controversy, recognizing that it is a defense against truth in the form of a delaying maneuver." (Clarification of Terms, page 77.)
As for Robert Perry, his jealousy of me is so severe I think at this point the only thing that would stop him from trying to attack me would be if someone drove a wooden stake through his heart. I remember when I first met him. We were at a Course Conference is Salt Lake City. I was the keynote speaker. Of course he thought he should be. I went up to him, shook his hand and introduced myself. His response? He wouldn't even talk to me. He wanted to have the next hit book about the Course, and I had it instead. Imagine snubbing a new Course author who is getting people excited about the Course again (which Robert had turned many people off about with his grim intellectualism, lack of humor, and approach that was totally devoid of spiritual experience?) He's an emotional cripple. I didn't know he had whined like a baby to someone who had been connected with the publication of my first book, The Disappearance of the Universe, exclaiming "How could you do this to me? How could you do this to me?"
Two years later I was scheduled to speak before the whole group at the International A Course in Miracles Conference in San Francisco. I had earned that right because more people enrolled for the Conference due to my publicity than any other individual speaker. Robert called people connected with the Conference and threatened to boycott the Conference if I was allowed to talk! Never mind playing by the rules. Never mind fairness or human decency. Let's just get Gary. Well, that didn't work for Robert either. Next year will be my fourth consecutive Course
Conference where I speak to the entire group. But now he's at it again! MacDonald said at his website that he was "asked" to re-write a portion of a book he did in the form of his article and to "change its emphasis." I wonder who it was who asked him to do that? Robert then posted the article at the Circle of Atonement website at the same time Mr. MacDonald posted the article at his website. He then linked his website to the Circle of Atonement. There is no doubt who was the initiator of all this. It's the same person who always initiates attacks in the Course Community.
Robert Perry will try to tell you this isn't personal with him. Don't believe him. He'll try to tell you that he's a "scholar." A scholar? That's odd. I don't see a PhD next to his name. How honest is that?
As for the content of MacDonald's article, we'll get into the silliness of it. But first, let
me say for the record that I have never read the translation of The Gospel of Thomas by
Patterson and Meyer that MacDonald erroneously claims I "stole." I've been advised that
I should sue him for slander and libel. That decision has not been made yet. An apology
from him would go a long way toward healing his mistake. He is not a student or a
teacher of A Course in Miracles, and as far as I know he doesn't claim to be. That's good,
because at least that's one false claim he is not making. However, it also explains why he
doesn't understand Pursah's Gospel of Thomas. It's the same reason Robert Perry doesn't
understand A Course in Miracles. He can't see the forest through the trees. I teach the big
message of the Course, or the forest. Perry nitpicks the sentences and paragraphs of it, or
the trees. His approach is intellectual, mine is spiritual. Robert doesn't get it, and
MacDonald doesn't get Pursah for the same reason.
So what do we really know about Bruce MacDonald? What other stupid claims has he
made in the past? Why is he making these false accusations now? It's simple. He has an
ulterior motive. Read the following two paragraphs very carefully.
As "MikyE" writes in
Rogier's blog on April 29:
"Pursah recommends us to compare her version with the current version to know which
part is omitted and changed, and Meyer and Patterson's is a most famous translation. That
simple fact told me Bruce MacDonald must have got it twisted.
I surveyed MacDonald's other articles to know what made him misunderstand the
simple fact, and I found his claim that he is a true reincarnation of St. Thomas and Gary
Renard was once Simon Magus. I don't care what he believes in himself, it's free, but too
absurd for me is that he seriously insists Simon Magus (Gary, he means) made up A
Course in Miracles... Fortunately, that joke made it easy for me to forgive."
Excuse me? Bruce MacDonald has written (conveniently in a different article than
the one in question) that he is the real St. Thomas, and I was really Simon Magus, and
that I made up A Course in Miracles? Isn't it interesting that neither Perry or
MacDonald bothered to mention that along with their spurious accusations? I don't blame
them. Can you say off the wall? Over the top? Out to lunch? It's very clear that Jesus
dictated A Course in Miracles to Helen Schucman. For Robert Perry to be endorsing the
writings of a man who says otherwise destroys his credibility with the Course community, and for Bruce MacDonald to be saying these things should do the
same to any credibility that may have been given to him by any serious student of the
As for details, I know from reading Rogier's blog that the translation of Thomas by
Patterson and Meyer is the standard, 114 Saying version of that Gospel. Both MacDonald
and Perry lie about Pursah's version of the Gospel on the home pages of their websites by
saying it was "plagiarism" and "mostly unaltered." That is so far from the truth it's
bizarre. Pursah has heavily edited Thomas. She literally threw out 44 of the sayings
Patterson and Meyer and everyone else used, saying they were added on later by others,
leaving only 70. For anyone who understands A Course in Miracles, Rogier says in his
book that Pursah's version makes more "intuitive sense." He says that Pursah's Gospel is
the "bridge" between The Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles. Of course
MacDonald and Perry wouldn't see that. How could they when MacDonald doesn't even
study the Course and Perry teaches an incorrect version of it? Pursah also edited many of
the other sayings, at one point combining two of them that were separate in the other
versions. Rogier, who calls MacDonald's criticism "unfortunate," says in his blog, which
is abridged for this article:
Spring has sprung, and criticism of Gary's work is circulating again, and once more in
connection with the Circle of Atonement. Predictably, a number of people have come to
me in recent days for comment on this material, because of my own book on the subject -
to which this blog is dedicated. (I am slowly moving my material here, from my Xanga
blog at http://rogierfvv.xanga.com.) New blog address:
I have perused the website on MacDonald's book a bit, and it seems to me that he comes
from a very different frame of reference than Gary does, and it's not clear to me what
purpose could possibly be served by his pretty pointless accusation of plagiarism. Simply
put, it is very hard to be original in these types of translations, and I say that after
following Thomas translations in 4 languages for the past 40 years. You either believe
Gary's explanation of how he received the translated text which is published in his books,
or you don't. That much is a personal decision. I have no truck with any one who chooses
not to believe Gary's story, but it does not overly bother me either. For me at least, this
gratuitous attack on Gary hardly enhances the credibility of what Mr. MacDonald's book
might have to say. On the most practical level, it simply represents another viewpoint,
and if disbelief in Gary's work is part of that viewpoint, so be it.
Almost every word choice and turn of phrase in the Pursah version could be traced to one
translation or another, and I have most of them here on my shelf, and have studied those
differences in the process of writing my book. However it was my conclusion at the time
of writing my book, that it was pointless to study a comparison of the Pursah material
with the historical texts, except to become aware of when she makes deliberate changes,
or offers unique and different word choices. In other words, the informational value is in
the deliberate differences, not in the parts that are the same as, or similar to other
translations. Prior to the appearance of Gary Renard's Your Immortal Reality, Gary once
told me that Pursah's favorite translation was actually Meyer's own translation, and NOT
the one he did with Patterson. Be that as it may, the controversy seems pretty petty to me.
Either you believe Gary's story or you don't, and the need to pick an argument with him
has little to do with the content of his books. By the same token, MacDonald's book may
contain valuable information for some people, regardless of the controversy, it does
however simply come from a totally different frame of reference than does the Course. I
see no need to make a fuss over that.
Looking at the Pursah material as Gary has published it, and the way she frames her
historical argument, the state of the text, namely, her point is that some of the Logia are
more corrupted than others. It is in line with that observation that I would suggest to pay
attention to the informational value of when Pursah chooses to make different choices
than the standard text, and/or different choices in terms of the translation. The material
contribution that the Pursah text makes in that regard consists of the dismissal of about
one third of the collection which we have in the form of the Nag Hammadi text (which
dated from the 4th century CE), which she declares to be corrupted beyond all
recognition. For the rest of the material she simply thinks that some of it was transmitted
to us relatively unscathed, and in that respect it makes complete sense that the only
possible issue could be about a word choice here or there, but in some instances she
makes some very interesting edits, which amount to a correction of the historical Thomas
text tradition. Her criticism is entirely focused on the reliability of the Nag Hammadi text
tradition, and not so much on the translations, although, again, she makes some
interesting word choices here and there.
Aside from the above, which makes sense if you choose to believe it, and no sense at all
if you don't, there is really very little to say about this matter. From a standpoint of the
Course, there is really nothing else to it, except that it may be another forgiveness
opportunity for some, or simply random noise for others. I would doubt if it is worth
anybody's while to really track down word for word where every word choice in Pursah's
version occurs in the translated material based on the historical text....
On yet another level, we might keep in mind that the entire Coptic language, which died
out in ca. the 7th century CE, consists of a couple of hundred books, a few dictionaries,
and a couple of hundred modern scholars arguing over the fine points. So how easy
would it be to come up with yet another original new translation after forty years? Not very, and sameness and hairsplitting differences tend to prevail except for some fancy
translations which are highly interpretive. Along those lines, I feel that the
Meyer/Patterson translation is about the most neutral version that's out there, in other
words, if you weren't consciously trying to be unique and different, you would end up
with something along the lines of that translation. The point is to address the content, and
that is what Pursah's version does, never mind if you agree with it or not. And again, she
states clearly that some of the Logia were pretty much in tact, so a high degree of
correspondence with existing translations is to be expected. The crux of her argument is
about the whole that emerges with her edits, starting with paring back the collection from
114 to 70/71, and then doing some further edits, some of which are pretty drastic and
thought provoking. She is not trying to fix what isn't broken, which is exactly the
temptation that exists for translators who have to somehow prove their originality.
Lastly, seen with the Course in mind, the accusation of plagiarism is a classic ego ploy.
The ego is a second stringer by definition, for it is the thought: "What if I could play God
by myself?" And since projection is the primary defense, it will therefore always accuse
everyone else of plagiarism. Somehow magically believing that this way it will get away
with it, that nobody will notice that it is the very ego thought itself which was not original
at all. This is merely the archetypical pattern of blaming others for what we secretly
accuse ourselves of, and as experience will show us, projection will not solve the
problem, but it perversely reinforces the cycle of sin, guilt, and fear, and keeps us in the
ego's hell. Once we recognize it for what it is and instead of defending it, we turn it over
to the Holy Spirit, it becomes instead a step on the way Home to Heaven, a miracle, that
brings us closer to accepting the atonement for ourselves. Conversely, it is a call for
Love, and thus another failed attempt to hide the self-accusation of utter un-originality of
the ego, and worse, that nothing really happened, that the thought did not even
accomplish anything, which is the essence of Salvation, of accepting the atonement for
Meanwhile, in other news, as seen this morning in my travels in the Fordham section of
the Bronx, I saw on the safety helmet of a construction worker the following summary:
3 nails +
Of course it's up to us if we want to spend our time with the cross and the nails or with
the forgiveness. (Posted by Rogier on April 21 of this year.)
Gary again: And so we see that the value of Pursah's version lies in its differences, not
in the similarities. And how great are the similarities? Lucia Espinosa, the author of
Spoken Miracles: A Companion to The Disappearance of the Universe, published by Hay
House, writes about MacDonald's article:
"Most translations of any document into any language are going to be similar in
contents, and even in form. But there are quite a number of these sayings that are not
even close between these two versions (Pursah vs. Stephen Patterson / Marvin Meyer)...
nope. Not the same. I checked it out myself....This guy is WRONG."
Gary again: And even if these two versions were as similar as MacDonald pretends
(which they are not) it brings up an interesting question: If one person translated a phrase
from the Coptic language into English and it came out, "Mary had a little lamb," and
someone else translated the same phrase from the Coptic language into English and it
came out, "Mary had a little lamb," is the second translator a plagiarist? Does anybody
really believe that? They're the same phrase! Dah!
I wonder if Bruce MacDonald is aware of the forgiveness thought processes in Your
Immortal Reality and the lives they have saved? I wonder if he has a clue about the
clarification that Pursah's Gospel of Thomas brings to people as a bridge between
Thomas and A Course in Miracles? That's highly doubtful.
At a time when you have people masquerading as Course teachers, passing along any
false rumor on the Internet as though it's true, I call on students of the Course to wake up
and start doing the Course instead of pretending to. I call on Bruce MacDonald and
Robert Perry to apologize to me and take down their slanderous articles from their
websites. I call on Robert Perry to STOP attacking other Course teachers. Or do you need
an official intervention? Just because American culture has become completely
uncivilized, it doesn't mean the Course community has to go the same route. At the end
of the day, this is all about love and forgiveness. I have more than my share to forgive,
but I will do so.
In closing, I ask, is it really Gary Renard's stolen Gospel? The answer is no, not at all.
Bruce and Robert, the book is called, Your Immortal Reality, chapter 7 is called, Pursah's
Gospel of Thomas, and unlike your work, people will still be reading it two thousand
years from now.
UPDATE: ABOUT ROBERT PERRY AND COMPANY
Note: This is an update to the above Article I wrote titled, "My Response to the Latest Absurd Accusations." It's not for the squeamish. If you are not interested in this subject then there's no need for you to read it. Thank you, Gary
For those of you who don't know, I was recently accused of certain things by an unknown author named Bruce MacDonald, namely that I "stole" Pursah's Gospel of Thomas, which is part of chapter 7 of my second book, Your Immortal Reality. Ordinarily I would not have bothered to answer him. As far as I'm concerned, he's just another nut from Internet land (you'll see why I say that as we go along.) The only reason I had to answer was because his accusations were published and enthusiastically publicized by Robert Perry, a Course author with a history of attacking other Course teachers. Since my initial response article, more information has become available to me which I think casts even more light on this situation.
In a recent article by Bruce MacDonald, he says, "in almost every article on my (MacDonald's) website, my Guides teach that ACIM is not a reliable spiritual guide," and his "Guides teach against ACIM". Bruce MacDonald is against A Course in Miracles. On the other hand, while gutless cowards like MacDonald and Perry and company have been hiding behind their computers slinging false accusations at me, I've been out there almost every week for the last seven years, whether in America or around the world, actively promoting the Course. For Robert Perry to be seriously publicizing Bruce MacDonald and his attacks on me is beyond comprehension. What's going on here? MacDonald also claims that his Guides are Yeshua (Jesus) Elijah and Moses. Perry doesn't seem to have any problem with supporting a man who presents Jesus as teaching against A Course in Miracles, yet he attacks my Guides, who love and teach the Course, as frauds and plagiarists. What is this man thinking? He's hurting A Course in Miracles, and has been for 15 years with his attacks on other Course teachers.
Add to this the following paragraph, (and a one paragraph comment by me) which have already appeared in my E-Newsletter, from Rogier F. van Vlissingen's blog, which quotes "MikyE", and which has been verified, and I think you'll get the picture:
"Pursah recommends us to compare her version with the current version to know which part is omitted and changed, and Meyer and Patterson's is a most famous translation. That simple fact told me Bruce MacDonald must have got it twisted. I surveyed MacDonald's other articles to know what made him misunderstand the simple fact, and I found his claim that he is a true reincarnation of St. Thomas and Gary Renard was once Simon Magus. I don't care what he believes in himself, it's free, but too absurd for me is that he seriously insists Simon Magus (Gary, he means) made up A Course in Miracles... Fortunately, that joke made it easy for me to forgive."
Excuse me? Bruce MacDonald has written (conveniently in a different article than the one in question) that he is the real St. Thomas, and I was really Simon Magus, and that I made up A Course in Miracles? Isn't it interesting that neither Perry nor MacDonald bothered to mention that along with their spurious accusations? I don't blame them. Can you say off the wall? Over the top? Out to lunch? It's very clear that Jesus dictated A Course in Miracles to Helen Schucman. For Robert Perry to be endorsing the writings of a man who says otherwise destroys his credibility with the Course community, and for Bruce MacDonald to be saying these things should do the same to any credibility that may have been given to him by any serious student of the Course.
Continuation of this article: This also demonstrates that there is no bottom of a barrel Robert Perry won't scrape, and no level that he will not stoop to in his five year effort to destroy my ministry.
After both Perry and MacDonald launched their simultaneous attacks, (Perry would never have the nerve to do anything on his own; he always has to talk one or two other obscure authors into ganging up on me with him) I wrote a response article to their absurd accusations. (That article is available here:)
Robert Perry has to be told in no uncertain terms that it's not all right for him to attack other Course teachers. He's out of control and needs to be held accountable by the people he thinks he should be "leading". He's attempting to take on a function that is not his. Nobody died and left Robert Perry in charge of the A Course in Miracles Community. In fact, there's not even anything in the Course about a "Course Community." This is a SELF-study Course that's done between you and the Holy Spirit, or Jesus, whichever you prefer. That is the focus of my work, to help get people in touch with their own Internal Teacher, just as the Course itself identifies in its Preface as one of the main goals of the Course. No Course teacher has the right to try to tell another Course teacher what they should be teaching or not teaching, or doing or not doing. My work and my books are none of Robert Perry's or Bruce MacDonald's business. As for Perry, only an egomaniac would think it is his function to lead an "A Course in Miracles Community".
Perry and company call themselves, "The Circle of Atonement". They even have a nice picture of Jesus at their website and talk about offering your brother the "gift of lilies", which in the Course is a symbol for forgiveness. How have they extended this gift of lilies to me? As just one of many examples, in an article, an author who is one of "The Circle", Greg Mackie, actually said that I could be a murderer! What a high level to be coming from. Isn't it interesting that Rush Limbaugh said the same thing about Bill and Hillary Clinton in 1994? No reason. No evidence. Just hatred and demagoguery. Robert and his cronies have declared war on me. I NEVER start these things. It's always them. And until they cease their hostilities I've been Guided to do anything I have to do to prevent these pathological people from stopping one of the few teachers who is actually out there sharing the Course. And I have a right to share the Course. Jesus tells me in the Course that, "I am among the ministers of God." (Workbook Lesson number 154.) Who gave Robert Perry and company the right to question that, and to instead side with a man who is against A Course in Miracles?
For 15 years Robert Perry thought he could elevate himself in the Course Community by tearing down other teachers, and this is not limited to Ken Wapnick and me. Never mind that Perry's books are boring and his speaking style is excruciating. He figured he'd move up the ladder by knocking others off. The sooner he figures out that it just doesn't work that way, the better off he'll be.
One final note about my most recent would-be assassin, Bruce MacDonald. He has accused me of "past life identity theft." As we've seen, he says that he is the real St. Thomas. He writes: "... I sent a MS copy of my book to Walter Semkiw (of the "Founding Mystics" group) and he had a reading with Kevin Ryerson's Guide, "Ahtun Re", who said, "You are a reincarnation of the scribe who wrote down the Gospel of Thomas." That's very interesting, Bruce, because if you go to Walter Semkiw's website, he says there, what he wrote to me and friends 4 years ago: "Ahtun Re, the spirit guide channeled through Kevin Ryerson, who I have been working with, confirmed that Gary is the reincarnation of Thomas." I'm sorry, Bruce, but I don't think your past life identity theft idea is going to go too far. Once again, the real question is, why is Robert Perry supporting you and trying to make your false accusations appear to be legitimate? I hope my articles have answered that question.
Mr. Perry asks at his website, "What kind of a Course community do you want?" Well, how about one where Course teachers are free of attacks from him? That would be a great start.
In the final analysis, this whole thing is just another drive-by shooting by Robert Perry, with an assist from MacDonald. Consider the sources, and then make up your own mind. I had a responsibility to go on the record and present the facts. I did that in my two articles. This will be the last I have to say on this subject. Then of course Perry will probably write yet another article based on his warped perception of me. If he does then I'll ask for Guidance as to whether to respond or not, as I always do. It's probably best to take one drive-by shooting at a time.