A Vital Message From Gary Renard About the Editing of A Course in Miracles
May 2015

Hi friends,
If you attended the International A Course in Miracles Conference in New York City in April, I'm sure you were just as surprised as I was when our host, Rev. Tony Ponticello, who was the final speaker at the Conference, called The Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) edition of A Course in Miracles a "lie," which is the same as calling the members of The Foundation for Inner Peace, Helen Schucman, Bill Thetford, Ken Wapnick, Judy Skutch Whitson, and Bob Skutch, a bunch of liars. Since Rev. Ponticello spoke last, no one had a chance to answer him. I'll do that now. Rev. Tony uses and champions an earlier version of the Course. The wording in it makes it easier for him to try to advance his wish to turn A Course in Miracles into a religion, which it is not. It's clearly meant to be a self-study Course.
Cindy and Gary speaking at the ACIM Conference in New York City

Two thousand years ago, the world took Jesus’ message, severely distorted it, and turned it into a religion that today has many thousands of denominations. I don’t want to see that happen again. As one of my Teachers, Arten, said on page 13 of The Disappearance of the Universe, “Whether then or now, the world needs another religion like it needs a bigger hole in the ozone layer.” I want you to know that although Rev. Tony is entitled to his opinion, I strongly disagree with that opinion, and the purpose of this message is to point out why. This is not meant as a judgment but as a clarification of the facts.

First of all, I've been fortunate enough to get to know two of the original members of FIP, Ken (who made his transition a year and a half ago) and Judy. Everything I have seen, heard from them, and carefully researched about them, as well as Helen and Bill, has not only told me they are not liars, but on the contrary; they are among the most honest people I know of. And their selfless dedication has made A Course in Miracles available to the world, for which millions of people, including me, will always be grateful.

Next, Rev. Ponticello erroneously reported that the Course was edited by "beginner students" of the Course. Rev. Tony's idea couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, the Course was edited over the seven years it was channeled, and after, but it was edited by Jesus, who Helen never stopped working with. Indeed, she channeled The Song of Prayer and Psychotherapy sections of the Course after the larger books of the Course were completed. Are we to believe that Jesus was somehow strangely absent during the three times that Helen channeled and re-typed the Course over the period of years in between? (Bill Thetford had typed the Course out once when Helen first read the words to him from her shorthand notebook.)

There have been many false stories about the history of the Course, made up by people who weren't even there, including one that says Bill Thetford edited the early, so-called "Hugh Lynn" version of the Course that was given to Hugh Lynn Cayce, Edgar's son, by Helen and Bill. Some have even gone as far as to call that the “Bill Thetford edit” of the Course. That is completely false. Bill was never what could be considered an editor of the Course, nor did he wish to be. His one contribution to editing the Course was to combine two of the miracles principles found at the beginning of the Course into one, so there would be 50 of them instead of 51. He thought it looked better.

It has also been falsely stated and believed by many that Ken Wapnick edited the final version of the Course. That is also completely false. Helen Schucman (with Jesus) was always the editor, and the only one. Ken Wapnick acted as her assistant at the end of the editing process, helping with consistent capitalization, punctuation and sub-chapter headings. He did not change words, and Helen would never have allowed anyone to tamper with what she herself described as "her life's work." Yes, she probably would have listened to Bill Thetford’s opinion about the editing, but there was no need to; he never expressed any objections to what Helen did with Jesus’ advice.

Over the years, Helen was always edited and corrected by Jesus. Ultimately, the Course is His Course, and it's the Course He meant to give. That is the truth, and any misinformation, judgments or attacks to the contrary are factually incorrect.

I'd like you to know that just as Helen, Bill, Ken and Judy publicly used the beloved "Blue Book" of the Course while introducing it to people during their trips to California in the late 70s, as well as later in London, and Bill, Ken and Judy later in other places, I also use and trust the Helen-Jesus edited FIP edition of the Course. In addition, I find it curious at the least, and also very interesting, that people have harped so much about editing that was done mostly in the first five chapters of the Course, when the Text alone has thirty one chapters! And that’s not counting the other books.

Throughout all of its sections and thirteen hundred pages, A Course in Miracles is relentlessly consistent and uncompromising, and so should its students be. I sincerely believe that the FIP edition of the Course, which has proven to be extremely effective for forty years, will continue to help countless people find the peace of God and salvation. I invite you to join with me in continuing to use it in order to save an incredible amount of time on your journey home. We are all going to the same place, but remember, the Course says, "The miracle minimizes the need for time." (Text, page 8).

It also says, "The miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years." (ibid). The miracle is a certain kind of forgiveness that comes from a place of cause and not effect. Understanding and using it on a daily basis allows the Holy Spirit to literally heal the unconscious mind you cannot see. A Course in Miracles is a unique and complete non-dualistic thought system. Aside from the Course itself I know of nothing else available that understands and accomplishes its time saving feature, including the Course spin offs that have surfaced over the years. The latest one, called "A Course of Love," is being promoted as a "continuation" of the Course. It is not that, simply because it doesn't contain the most important elements of the Course, including its vital time saving characteristic. I've met and worked with the person who channeled that book, and incredibly she said in public, on stage, "I do not believe the world is an illusion." Could anything be more the opposite of what the Course is teaching? These unnecessary Course alternatives are confusing to new students, to say the least, and forays into such Course imitations merely distract and delay people. Why not stick with the real thing and accomplish its goal of awakening?

As for different editions of the Course itself, I'd like you to consider what Pursah said on pages 155-156 of my third book, Love Has Forgotten No One: "The earlier versions of the Course that have become available include material that was stolen from the U.S. Copyright Office and the library of The Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach. There's no integrity in that. How would you like it if you went through the whole process of writing a book, had it published, and then someone stole your first draft, put it out illegally on the Internet, and then claimed that this was the right version of the book, and that you were selling the wrong version? Yet that's exactly what happened with the Course. And because a rather confused judge - who ignorantly described the Course as "sophomoric" - later invalidated its copyright and put it in the public domain, today people are free to sell the earlier drafts and make money off of stolen material. If you want to support that then be my guest."

And what does Robert Perry, one of the biggest critics of FIP think about what edition of the Course you should use? He wrote, "For now, I myself will continue to teach from the standard Course, though supplemented by material from the Urtext." Now wait a minute. If one of FIP's biggest critics still uses the FIP published edition of the Course, then just how bad can it be? I'll go one step further than Mr. Perry. Forget about the Urtext. Jesus did not choose His scribes and the publisher, and edit the Course, without knowing what He was doing. Do the critics of FIP seriously believe that Jesus made a mistake when He chose them; that He picked people who would not be faithful and true to Him and His Course?

At a time when numerous Course teachers, who are not teaching the Course, have their students singing songs, making noises, and tapping their wrists, it’s time for those who have been delayed to come home to the Course.

Rev. Tony chose distraction, delay, and controversy in New York City by calling the Course that most of us know a lie. On top of that, he couldn’t have been more inappropriate in his choice of time and place; the birthplace of the Course where Helen and Bill received it, and the 50 year anniversary of the beginning of its scribing, as well as the 40th anniversary of when the public started to use it. As the Course 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.” (Manual for Teachers, page 77, Clarification of Terms.)

Will I speak at the next Course Conference in Las Vegas? I will if I’m allowed to. I consider it part of my job to teach the message of the Course. But the script is written, and we’ll see how it plays itself out. No matter what happens, it always comes back to doing the Course’s brand of forgiveness. Writing this message is part of the job I’ve been Guided to do, but forgiveness is the real job.

As for my study and application of Jesus’ teachings, I’m certain that I’m using the edition of the Course that is designed to facilitate the Divine, time saving process of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will join me in continuing the collective undoing of the ego, and I wish you God's speed on your journey, a "journey without distance to a goal that has never changed." (Text, page 150).

Gary Renard,
author of The Disappearance of the Universe trilogy -- See Update Below

Update! July, 2015
The One About Not Going to the Vegas Conference

Hi friends -

Cindy and I have been asked during the last three months if we'll be speaking at the ACIM Conference (if you can call it an ACIM Conference) next April in Las Vegas. After much Guidance and communication with the organizer of the Conference, the answer is no. This decision was not made lightly, as I have spoken at six of these bi-annual Conferences in a row and have consistently enrolled more people for them than anyone else. But this Conference has changed over the years, and not for the better. So at the end of the day there are two reasons for not going. First, for private reasons, we couldn't agree on a contract. Second, it is well known publicly that Cindy and I are not happy with the lack of respect that has been shown by some people at the Conference, including the organizer, towards The Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP), Helen Schucman, Bill Thetford, Ken Wapnick, Judy Skutch Whitson, and Bob Skutch, the original publishers of the Course.
Cindy and Gary teaching this year at the University of Toronto

We do not believe that this disrespect represents the overwhelming majority of Course students. Indeed, if there is an appropriate attitude that should be held and expressed toward FIP it is one of gratitude. We simply would not have the Course without them, and I think love, not disdain, is the prevalent way in which most students of the Course think and feel about them. If I chose to, I'm sure I could have gone to the Conference, worked hard to enroll enough people so I would be allowed to speak to the entire group as usual, and communicated whatever I felt Guided to at the time. The question is, do Cindy and I want to work so hard to bring our friends to an atmosphere of non appreciation for the Course's scribes and publishers, and also to a Conference that has as one its missions the strange idea of turning the Course into what it is not, namely a religion instead of a self-study Course?

You can add to the mix the fact that the organizer is allowing speakers at the Conference to buy large blocks of tickets to give away or sell at a large discount in order to get credits for enrolling enough people so they can get onto the main stage and speak to the whole group instead of doing break out sessions (the top four ticket sellers get to be on the main stage.) I've always played by the rules and enrolled people the old fashioned way, but I'm not going to spend $20,000 of my own money, even though I could, in order to compete with people who are speaking at a Conference that doesn't feature first the people who have done the most to share the Course with the world, and instead rewards those who have enough money to buy their way on stage.

Cindy and I have also been asked if we would be willing to start our own ACIM Conference. We do not feel Guided by the Holy Spirit to do that at this time, but we never say never. In the meantime, we'll be doing at least a couple of Retreats next year, along with our many other appearances, which I'll let you know more about in the fall. BTW, if you'd like to see more about my thoughts on all of this, you can read my article about the last Conference in New York City as well as the other editions of the Course at my website here:

http://www.garyrenard.com/urtext.html (posted above)

Please feel free to share this article with your friends and study groups.

In the end, it always comes back to forgiveness. You'll notice that no matter what Arten and Pursah and I talk about in the books, sooner or later it always comes back to the subject of forgiving from a place of cause and not effect, because that is the main tool of the Holy Spirit. But just because you forgive something that doesn't mean you have to support it. I wish you all a wonderful summer full of happy dreams, and I'll continue to communicate with you about many things in the future.