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Unusual Experiences, Philosophy,Hinduism, Buddhism, Reincarnation
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I was very saddened to hear about this situation. In a Skeptiko interview, IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) board member Robert Mays talks about IANDS new affiliation with a group called Eckankar. Researcher Dr David Lane wrote a book about the group that provides the history of that organization for those who are interested (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Spiritua ... 36&sr=1-63 ).

Here is the interview with Robert Mays:

http://www.skeptiko.com/mildly-dangerou ... e-science/

In the interview, Robert Mays admits that a high ranking member of the Eckankar clergy is now a board member of IANDS. While I would not discriminate against anyone based on their personal belief system, having a high ranking spokesperson for a cult (which is how it is described in Dr Lane's research and in a number of scholarly works by other researchers as well) appointed to the board of IANDS hurts the credibility of the organization.

I should point out that IANDS has faced similar issues in the past. Sadly, they didn't learn anything from those situations. This paper by Dr Kenneth Ring gives a history of past troubles with credibility issues faced by IANDS:

http://www.newdualism.org/nde-papers/Ri ... 15-244.pdf
Ace, I had already heard about this issue in another forum.

I don´t really understand what Eckankar is.
Dina wrote: Ace, I had already heard about this issue in another forum.

I don´t really understand what Eckankar is.

According to researcher Dr David Lane, it's a cult.
What objective reason could there be for Iands accepting this pseudo-religion in their board?
Dina wrote: What objective reason could there be for Iands accepting this pseudo-religion in their board?

Apparently the cult has a lot of experience in public relations and marketing that IANDS wants to take advantage of.
I fail to understand why I (or anyone else) should care about IANDS. There are lots of others sources studying the NDE phenomenum that are more credible than IANDS. I also understand that many people reporting NDE's have no credibility whatsoever. People have to have discernment.
That´s true Joshua.
There are hundreds of sites nowadays through which you can get informed
The problem is that IANDS was considered an "authority" in NDEs
I agree with you, Dina. IANDS provided more than just info on the internet. It provided a place to meet other NDErs, and hear about the research from researchers first-hand. I just think the situation with the cult is terrible. But there is nothing anyone can do about it since the leadership of IANDS isn't accountable to anyone. Having an IANDS membership does not give you a voice in the organization. You have to trust the people in charge to do the right thing, and when they don't, all you can do is walk away from the mess.
Incredible, Ace. I know of an NDEr who was expelled from a website because he didn´t agree with the cult´s presence in the Board, and it seems that lots of the cult followers practically invaded the IANDS conferences.
It all looks totally absurd.
Hi dinah, welcome to the forum!

I'm at a loss to understand why IANDS would let this happen. I feel sorry for the researchers who have affiliated themselves with IANDS because this kind of thing tarnishes everyone's reputation. Dr Long has spoken at IANDS. I wonder how he feels about this situation.
Being that I have no idea what this group is all about , can someone fill me in in a few sentences as to why they are considered bad and by whom.
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One Look Dictionary
Eckankar (meaning Co-worker with God) is a non-profit religious organization with members in over one hundred countries. The spiritual home is the Temple of ECK in Chanhassen, Minnesota. It is a modern-day religion, introduced by Paul Twitchell in 1965, but claims ancient roots.

Eckankar
is not affiliated with any other religious group.

Followers believe its purpose is to help individuals find their way back to God through direct personal spiritual experiences.

One of the basic tenets is that Soul (the true self) may be experienced separate from the physical body and in full consciousness travel freely in other planes of reality.

Eckankar emphasizes personal spiritual experiences as the most natural way back to God. These are attained via Soul Travel shifting the awareness from the body to the inner planes of existence.

The movement teaches simple spiritual exercises, such as singing "HU", called "a love song to God," to experience the Light and Sound of God and recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckankar
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"There is a battle between two wolves inside each one of us. One is evil. It is jealousy, greed, resentment, lies and ego. The other is good. It is peace, love, kindness, empathy and truth. Which wolf will win the battle? The one that you feed the most."
Garry wrote: Being that I have no idea what this group is all about , can someone fill me in in a few sentences as to why they are considered bad and by whom.


Much like Scientology, it is ex-members of the cult that tend to say the worst things about it.

http://www.colleenrussellmft.com/Touche ... ng.en.html

There are quite a few websites out there set up by people who feel victimized by their dealings with this group. The link I posted is one of the best written that I could find, but if you google "eckankar cult" you can find others (some are quite inflammatory). Dr Margaret Singer, a noted researcher on cults, wrote about the group. So did Dr David Lane, who spoke at the beginning of the Skeptiko lecture linked to in the original post.

The group currently follows a man called Harold Kemp (who they believe is a living Eck Master, or living embodiment of god) and members pay money to move up initiation levels within the organization. They can lose those levels if they don't continue to pay money to the group. Many people are unaware that this group is actually a religion (at least for tax purposes it is), because it often represents itself as a kind of self-help study program (much like Scientology used to do). The group benefits from free labor provided by members. The money brought in by the members supports the cult leader.

This group targets people who have had unusual experiences such as NDEs and OBEs. They offer "explanations" for these experiences in return for unwavering loyalty to the cult.

Sadly, if more serious researchers and scientists studied OBEs and NDEs, and if mainstream science didn't deny these experiences or label them as hallucinations or dreams, people wouldn't be so venerable to groups like Eckankar.
Joshua wrote: I fail to understand why I (or anyone else) should care about IANDS. There are lots of others sources studying the NDE phenomenum that are more credible than IANDS. I also understand that many people reporting NDE's have no credibility whatsoever. People have to have discernment.


I'd be interested in which sources of information on NDEs you feel are the most credible.
Yes, Joshua, I am also interested.
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