The true teachings of Jesus of Nazareth came into my life during the
winter of 2000, through a spiritual guidance group to which I belonged
for about 15 years. It was a group in which I had developed and
discarded many ideas. One day, our group leader, Charles, told us about
finding the web site for the Church of the New Birth. He gave us several
papers he had written regarding these truths, and he gave us the Prayer
which Jesus related to us through Mr. Padgett.
Upon first hearing about the FCNB, I gave the church little serious consideration; I had not been interested in joining any church or synagogue for many years, preferring to pray at home, and share my spiritual search with my study group. Our beliefs were never orthodox ones and I never found anyone outside of the group who shared my beliefs, or was even interested in hearing about them.
Charles' papers written about the beliefs of the Church were of great interest to me, and I was glad to hear there were others who rejected the belief in vicarious atonement and the virginal birth, as well as the need for rituals and sacraments. I did not believe in praying to Jesus and felt that Christians worshipped him as a God rather than recognizing him as a great Hebrew prophet. I believed that Jesus had learned something that was available to all of us. However, I did not know at that time very clearly what his teachings had been, because, as the True Gospel Revealed Anew by Jesus points out, they had been largely obliterated. We learned, from the Gospel of John, that God is Love, and we studied and prayed to understand this more fully in our study group.
But it was The Prayer that really led me to want to find out more about the true teachings of Jesus. When I first read it, I saw how important it was, yet I was somewhat overwhelmed by its length. I read it carefully, and felt strongly that the core and most important part of it was the words: "We pray that Thou will open up our souls to the inflowing of Thy Love, and that then may come Thy Holy Spirit to bring into our souls this, Thy love in great abundance" ... I memorized these words and let this be my continual prayer after that. I hung on to these words as one would a buoy in a storm.
There is really nothing more important than this prayer, although I see that there is a long process that must take place in order for the soul to develop, to be opened, in order for Divine Love to enter the soul. Whereas other spiritual paths may teach that only feeling happy and peaceful are signs of one's spiritual development, I see that the process of expiation, and soul development, can involve uncomfortable feelings and experiences, as the soul is cleansed, which allows Divine Love to enter into the soul. I welcome this process.
Once I started to say this prayer frequently, I felt the need to read the first volume of the True Gospel Revealed Anew by Jesus. I ordered it and read it. I couldn't wait to get home from work to read it, and I read it quickly. I had to suspend my long-standing suspicions towards mediums. My only exposure to the notion that people can receive messages from spirits was coupled with a deep distrust of fraudulent individuals who dupe others, or well-meaning but misguided people who think they are receiving messages but are not. In fact, I was very unsure about what spirits really were and whether they could, or would, communicate with humans. At that time, I was unsure if the soul, once it left the body, retained memories of its human life.
By bracketing my reservations about mediums, I was able to hear the love in the voices of those who wrote messages through Mr. Padgett. I could see that the truths they spoke about were good, and intended to help us. Perhaps the messages were comforting to my soul, bypassing my scientifically trained mind. I had spent years meditating and knew that I could not trust my "mind" to give me certain truth because the mind is constantly changing and uncertain. As I read the messages, I also embraced the idea that spirits could recall their human existence and found that this idea made much more convincing sense to me than my previous notions.
I went on to order and read Volume two, and then Volume three. I kept looking for something, wondering if the messages would reveal something else. I think this was evidence of my cautious mind, looking for some proof. But, just as I had felt for years that certain pieces of great music have something else "behind" the sounds we hear, I felt that these writings had something "behind" them--something beyond the words. I sensed that it must be the good will of the individual spirits that was coming through the messages. I felt that their love was affecting me.
In my spiritual study group, we had often talked about God's Love being "non-self-interested" and I understood that this meant that such love did not seek anything for itself in return, but was given freely. We learned that it was different from the love which humans usually have for each other. Charles shared a prayer with us that was very helpful; one of the lines read: "May Your Highest Good be served." However, because of my personality, I think I tended to believe that I could achieve this love by my own effort. The true teachings have helped me to grow in seeing myself more as a "child of God", someone who needs to be completely reliant on God for everything. Divine Love is a gift available to me, but I must ask for it, I can not achieve it by my own efforts. It is God's Love; it is not automatically in me by virtue of being human.
I also have a different idea about "free will" and what it is, and what purpose it can serve. I didn't really understand why the messages to Mr. Padgett often mentioned free will as the greatest gift given to man. At first, I may have had the dim wish that we not have it, because we have so abused and misused this gift. As I have prayed and contemplated, however, I sense that it is a great gift, after all. It was given to our first parents when first created in order to assist them in asking for the greatest gift of all, which our Father was waiting to give them--His Divine Love. Free will gives us that precious opportunity to turn our face to Him and say, "Please Father, give me your Divine Love." I understood free will, not just in the context of selfish action, but as an opportunity to make a great choice--the only important choice we ever make. That is the choice to ask for God's Love to fill our souls and to guide our lives, and to provide evidence in the world of our Father's Love.
The information given us in the messages through Mr. Padgett about the spirit world and the possibility of continuing to progress has affected my thinking. I feel somewhat less cut off from those I have known who have passed into the spirit world. I feel a greater sense of hope that they can progress and I feel a greater sense of connection to them, knowing that my prayers for them will be heard. I have had many tiny examples in my daily life where some good has occurred following my prayers for someone. This gives me a sense of assurance that God really does listen, really does want good for us. My assurance is regrettably short-lived and my faith far too weak. But this realization has led me to see the importance of praying for faith and praying for our Father to strengthen my soul yearnings. He can and will help me to pray to Him more earnestly.
In any case, it is a great revelation to me to learn that there are spirits around us, trying to influence us, and that through our prayers, we can request that Celestial Angels offer their loving influences to family and friends who have entered the spirit world. Even though I prayed in the past for those who had passed on, I did so with very little sense of what might be the effect of my prayers. The letters through Mr. Padgett gave very clear and real ideas of those effects. A "bright spirit" would go and speak to the troubled spirit, or, if that suffering spirit was not in the condition to see the angel, their loving influence would be available to them. I was astounded to learn that God's Love is all around everyone, even those in the deepest hells. I felt closer to what "compassion" must really mean; a wish to help raise up, to lighten the hearts of those surrounded by darkness, not wishing another to suffer.
I have also developed a somewhat deeper understanding of the compassion which we can have for ourselves as we experience remorse for our own dark feelings. As we seek Divine Love, our earnest desire for it helps us to face more honestly those painful feelings and experiences that have been hidden for so long. Our guardians understand that our past experiences made these encrustations almost inevitable--and our Father's Divine Love will strengthen us to face the dark feelings of anger, grief, or hatred, and it will lift them off of our souls bit by bit. We can be grateful when this happens because we can be assured that it is Love that is cleansing us and preparing us to be filled with our Father's Love.
I was a very religious Catholic until my twenties, and later on, I was very devoted to another spiritual path referred to as "metapsychiatry", which is similar to Christian Science.
In Catholicism, I was taught about the "Holy Trinity", meaning that God was made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. As Catholics, we were taught that Jesus was God's "only begotten son" and that "he died for our sins." We know, from the True Gospel, that Jesus is not God, nor is he part of a "triune" God. He was the first human to realize Divine Love and his mission was, and is, to share with mankind the wonderful possibility of praying for, and receiving Divine Love into our souls to such an extent that we might share in Divine Essence and Immortality. He is our "elder brother", and filled to a greater extent with Divine Love than any other soul. He is Master of the Celestial Heavens, however, he is not God. He did not "die for our sins", his mission was to teach about Divine Love. The Catholic belief that he "died for our sins" is actually derived from early Pagan beliefs and customs.
The Catholic Church, in not understanding the important difference between natural love and Divine Love, teaches that the human soul is immortal. They do not realize that the human soul is only assured of immortality if it is filled with Divine Love. They believe, as do many religions, that man has the Divine spark within, and they do not realize that the potential for receiving Divine Love was Jesus' important message. We have learned that this privilege was lost after the first parents chose not to seek Divine Love, and it was again made available when Jesus realized his mission. Instead, the Catholic Church continues to teach, essentially, the same message taught to mankind prior to Jesus' human existence, and that is to obey Mosaic law. They think that obedience to the commandments is sufficient to enjoy eternal life with God after death.
When I was young, I was taught that by being baptized, we could have "original sin washed away; if we ourselves sinned, we could have that sin "forgiven" during the sacrament of "confession." Simply by being truly sorry, and having the priest forgive us, we believed that sin was no longer on our souls. In contrast, the True Gospel explains that our souls are encrusted with sin and error. While being sorry for sin, and seeking to obey the commandments is a very good thing, this effort does not wash away those encrustments as quickly and easily as one might hope. It can take a very long time to purify the soul with man's free will alone. Generally, it would take longer than one person's lifetime to do so.
This is probably one reason why the world's religions are failing to help bring about peace and a brotherhood of mankind. They are largely based on man's efforts to purify his own soul and they have no understanding of the need to pray for Divine Love, to not only purify our souls, but to transform our souls to that of Divine Substance, becoming at-one with our Heavenly Father. When that happens, there is no longer any need for Mosaic Law, because a soul at-one with our Heavenly Father is unable to sin. It is free of all evil tendencies and interests, it is filled only with Divine Love.
It is really sad that Jesus' message was almost obliterated by those early writers who changed and deleted his messages. In a way, it was almost inevitable, because those writers and scribes who did the later copying, having no Divine Love in their souls, were unable to understand his teachings, and instead, they inserted their own beliefs, such as the paganistic beliefs of their upbringing. This introduced the many mistaken views about Jesus, especially that of his serving the purpose of the "sacrificial lamb". Although I had believed this as a young person, this concept never really made sense to me and, as I grew older, these beliefs became offensive to me. For ten years during my early adulthood, I considered myself an atheist, feeling completely betrayed and disillusioned. I never understood so clearly what the meaning of the Catholic Mass was until I read the True Gospel and learned the paganistic underpinnings of the Mass and the belief in vicarious atonement. Not only does everything about my early religious training make much more sense; I am more able to have some understanding for those who taught me.
I also had significant disappointments in my early adulthood that led me to lose faith in the Catholic Church and its ability to offer any real strength or love to me, and instead, misleading me in important ways. I lost faith in the existence of God. After ten years of atheism, I turned to "Metapsychiatry." On this path, I was taught that evil was not real, it was simply an "outpicturing" of my own ignorant thoughts. Anytime I saw anything bad, or thought or felt anything disturbing, I was seeing my "ignorant thoughts" and the healing to this was to continually contemplate "Divine Love-Intelligence". I was taught that, if I could only see correctly, I would see that "everything is already all right" and that we are all "living souls". If I had upsetting experiences, they were, essentially, my fault, because they really didn't exist. In fact, all of material existence was considered illusory.
I was faithful to this point of view for far too long and it caused havoc in my personal life. It led to denial of pain in myself, causing me to suffer intensely, and I denied the pain of others, thus lacking empathy for those around me who were suffering. I will always be grateful for the influence which Charles Gourgey had during those years of struggle, in coming to terms with the mistaken teachings of Metapsychiatry, for his many insights, and his loving support.
The True Gospel teaches that evil is real, it is not imagined. It is not something whose existence we must deny, it is the result of actual choices made by human beings. It is not God's creation, it is man's creation. We must come to terms with it, rather than pretend we don't see it. We must face the presence of evil, rather than blame ourselves for our lack of faith when we do see it. When we see evil in ourselves or others, we are guided to pray to our Heavenly Father. The Prayer which Jesus gave us addresses every aspect of this. It reminds us to pray to "overcome all temptations of the flesh" as well as "the influence of the powers of the evil ones, which so constantly surround us," and, most important, to pray for Divine Love: "We pray that Thou will open up our souls to the inflowing of Thy Love, and that then may come Thy Holy Spirit to bring into our souls this, Thy Love in great abundance, until our souls shall be transformed into the very essence of Thyself; ..."