The following text is an open letter to an individual who had posted the NBC Dateline video on-line. As we've had to deal with this issue again and again since Dateline was aired over 20 years ago, we've decided to make this communication public in order to help people when they are caught in the debate of deciding whether Dateline was true or not.
Spiritualution—Justice to the People.
We are writing this letter on behalf of not only Gabriel of Urantia, but the fathers, mothers, children, grandmas, grandpas, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and so on who have devoted their life to serving Christ within the church and religious order of Global Community Communications Alliance (GCCA). Specifically we’re writing to you in the hopes that you will consider removing all the references to the Dateline video on your website.
We’d like to start by explaining more about who and what we are and the foundational beliefs of the Spiritualution movement. Fundamentally we are all believers in Christ and do our utmost to follow the will of the Father every day. This applies to our leadership (Gabriel and Niánn) all the way down to the children (our youngest is about 1 month old) who are being raised in this community to be unselfish, Godly, and service-oriented members of society. We strive to follow the first and second commandments: To love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. We especially rejoice in the fellowship of the body of Christ, and work wholeheartedly to live as the Christians of the first century did:
And all that believed were together, and had all things in common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, as every man had need;
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
We of GCCA have, of our own free will, given up the pursuits of materialistic acquirement and with that, all of the disfiguring pressures of mainstream society so that we can pursue the service of God and humanity and for this we have many outreach ministries. We are volunteers to the religious order of GCCA and actively seek the Father’s will within this context of religious order life that we have been called to in this 21st century monastery, where we strive to be a prototype of inspired Godly living for the whole planet. This is what Spiritualution—Justice to the People is all about. This is what Avalon Gardens is all about. It cannot be divorced from Gabriel of Urantia or Global Community Communications Alliance or from the Christ who walked on this planet 2,000 years ago.
It is no small understatement to say that the media that is controlled by the 1% has seriously and deliberately misrepresented us. Those same people who would sell their own children for a profit have no compunction about siccing their corporate dogs on anyone who desires to live according to fairness, righteousness, and justice under the Creator. They will lie and lie with impunity. People who want to love and worship God and be generous with their time, talents, and resources are a direct threat to people who would rather exploit others for their own selfish purposes. This is what capitalism is and we do not subscribe to anything associated with it. True community can only emerge where the reality of God is included in every decision of life, true community creates a communal society where communion with God is a moment-to-moment reality.
Now we’d like to address some of the issues you raised about Gabriel of Urantia.
It’s natural to want to question the validity of Gabriel’s leadership. In today’s society, what sane person wouldn’t? Corporate and governmental leadership is full of the kind of sociopaths that Gabriel is accused of being. Indeed, that’s why they accuse him of it, because they are it, and they can’t imagine anyone being able to lead others by anything other than fear and intimidation or other selfishly manipulative means, but that’s not the case here. Every adult of responsible age and of sound mind is here by their own choosing and because they all believe that the leadership of Gabriel of Urantia and Niánn Emerson Chase is worthy of their recognition and wholehearted cooperation.
Gabriel owns nothing in his own name, neither can he nor will he leave anything that is stewarded by the community to his own children. He lives in a humble home, smaller than most other community homes, and up until recently was using his living room as an office.
Regarding some of Gabriel’s past, we’d like to clarify a few things that have been included in your article, but first we want to include a few things about Gabriel that you should incorporate into your understanding of him and his motives. Basically his primary, fundamental, and single motive is to love God with all his heart, mind, and soul, and his neighbor as himself. If you could meet him, talk to him, and experience him as a person and not as either a laughingstock or a de-humanized monster, which the media is so willing to portray him as, you would definitely get a different perspective (this change of mind does actually happen, please read this comment.) He has dedicated his whole being to this single purpose, and because of that, he is very misunderstood. Real leaders, pioneers, activists, change agents who are willing to take tremendous risks for the good of others and whose purposes are directly opposed to the status quo are always maligned by that status quo, and Gabriel—whose leadership and activism is spiritually oriented—is no exception.
Gabriel was a ghetto kid; he grew up on Watson St. in Pittsburgh behind a saloon (back then it was a rough neighborhood.) He grew up with people struggling to survive and make ends meet. His dad was a steel worker and a decorated soldier of World War II. You’ve read Gabriel’s resume on our website, so you are familiar, then, with how much time and effort he has spent as a spiritual student. He did not just make it an intellectual pursuit but actually lived the commandments of Christ. His service record includes having worked for numerous ministries as a counselor, often living in tightly cramped quarters, and sharing rooms with many other people. He housed and fed the homeless, hauled alcoholics and drug addicts off the street and cleaned up their vomit and shit, gave them a place to stay, and tried to get them back on their feet; he served in prisons as a counselor, and has basically been one step away from homelessness himself since he was 24 years old and made the decision to walk in faith with Christ and nothing else. He is not a religious fanatic. No man of unsound mind or morals could do what he’s done in serving the poor and the needy, but claims of fraudulence against his character will come up no matter what.
You could read all of Christopher Hitchens’ reasonable arguments that Mother Theresa was a fraud, and think “he’s right, she is a fraud,” but if you got down to the work that she was doing, and had service contact with those people she was helping, the argument would seem totally absurd. And that’s what more people need to do: give an unprejudiced look at Gabriel, our community, and most importantly, the work we do and why we do it. Do we look at Gabriel as some lofty and unreachably high being who can levitate and is the second coming of Christ? Of course not! But we do honor him for the choices he’s made, for the unselfish service he’s provided, and for the wisdom and spiritual guidance he’s given us in our personal walks with Christ and trying to make sense of the world we live in from a spiritualized perspective. Gabriel and Niánn are pastors, priests, abbots, monks, whatever you want to call them, and we acknowledge that they have walked longer and farther in spiritual shoes than we have.
So, down to some details from your article:
- First, Gabriel did not join a commune in the Superstition Mountains. He spent time there attending the Reevis School of Self Reliance run by Peter Bigfoot, which was a program to train people how to live directly off of the land.
- Your statement “… because the Urantia Book, at only 2,000 pages, contains insufficient knowledge for the human race, he was selected…” The URANTIA Book itself states that it is an incomplete revelation. No book can contain the vastness of God: not The Bible, not The Koran, not The Book of Mormon, not The URANTIA Book, and not the continuation of The URANTIA Book, The Cosmic Family Volumes, which Gabriel of Urantia has brought through thus far.
- That Aquarian Concepts Community was organized as a “typical religious cult.” GCCA (then ACC) has a board of 7 elders, men and women, who are vital to the administration and decision-making processes for the entire community. In addition to the eldership is a team of ordained minister assistants and function leaders who (along with the elders) have a large degree of autonomy in their day-to-day decision-making.
- Regarding Gabriel travelling around “performing ‘transmissions’.” Gabriel has not travelled anywhere to do a transmission since 1993, 20 years ago. That experience was enough for Gabriel not to try to bring through those celestial beings to URANTIA Book readers, as they want to believe the UB is all there is. As a student of the Bible, you should note that throughout the Old and New Testaments, angels have visited men and guided many prophets to write the scriptures. Although this is highly unusual, it is also nothing new.
- Keith Graham may have said he was excited about attending, but he was there only to heckle, and that’s what he did. Although one of the celestials did not say, “the most evolved,” they did say, “one of the most,” and if you review his record of spiritual service to humanity, it may not seem so far fetched that they would say that.
- The couple that supposedly spent “3 months” in our community back in 1997 was only there on 2 separate occasions, and probably for no more than a week total. That was Dateline’s claim to make them seem more credible. It’s a lie. Their hidden camera experience encompassed maybe 2 or 3 days, and probably not much more than a few hours of footage. From the perspective of Dateline, obviously not much could be used. They had to take statements completely out of context such as Gabriel yelling, “Don’t DO that,” which attempted to make him seem like he was being domineering and controlling, when in reality he was talking about the responsibilities of leadership in relation to an intentional community where there is a large degree of freedom for its members. He was saying, “When does leadership have to say, ‘Don’t DO that!’” when people may be engaging in activities which might be selfish and irresponsible or that actually could bring harm to themselves and to their neighbors.
- The comparisons to James Arthur Ray by the Arizona Republic are ridiculous, as is the implication that we are “waiting for the apocalypse.” We’ve actually got better things to do.
Jesus was a rebel. He was a rebel against evil, sin, and iniquity. Likewise are all those who are called to follow him expected to be a rebel against the system of greed and unfairness that is destroying the lives of millions of innocent people today. It’s the same system that puts shows like NBC Dateline on the air. Oh yes, they win awards (that they give each other), and they do from time to time show real situations that are real problems. But propaganda isn’t just lies, it’s broadcasting truth at the wrong time to hide what’s really important.
Concerning the NBC Dateline video from 1998. There’s really not much we can do about it at this point, and there may not be a whole lot you can do either. Now that it’s been disseminated on the P2P networks, it’s nearly impossible to remove. We had made attempts in the past to have it removed using whatever tools we had, which included takedown notices, etc. If we did that now, you’d take it as proof of our (or Gabriel’s) evil and push it out there even more. Unfortunately, NBC did such a good job with their cut and paste job that they convinced even the good people of this nation that Gabriel of Urantia was an evil cult leader with the way they put the spooky music on, the pictures of Jim Jones and Charles Manson in sequence with Gabriel’s, the carefully selected cut-and-pasted sections of interview that were very deliberately taken out of context and sequence, and of course, the testimony of the people that Gabriel and Niánn tried to help and counsel, who, by the way, did end up divorcing for the very issues that they were counseled about. No pastors should be held accountable by anyone for the people they’ve tried to help.
John Larson grilled Gabriel and Niánn for 4 hours. Among other things, he tried to make Gabriel look like a polygamist. Gabriel very frankly told him that Niánn was his ex-wife and that they had publicly announced their separation to the community at the time, and although they had separated in one sense, they still maintained a close spiritual relationship and they were spiritual complements to each other. Gabriel also talked freely about TiyiEndea, his current wife, whom he’d met at least a year after his and Niánn’s separation. But NBC cut all of that information and made it appear as if Gabriel was keeping TiyiEndea secret by the presentation of a grainy photograph to imply she was being kept in the shadows somewhere. Dateline used less than 5 minutes of the total interview.
Larson knew that something was wrong because his hands shook so badly that he dropped his notes several times as he attempted to conduct the interview. Gabriel and Niánn knew they were being smeared the minute the interview started but they tried to make it through it all with dignity and tried to minister to those present how ever they could, but it was nearly impossible with the kinds of insincere and manipulative questions that NBC had prepared for them. But somehow, they made it through the interview with tremendous self-control. What they thought was going to be a great chance at media exposure for alternative community living—because that’s what NBC told us—turned out to be a horrible experience for them, and for all of us, and it continues to be so.
Dateline’s True Believers episode represents one of big media’s most successful and enduring stabs at the heart of all communities with legitimate leadership that want to live according to the freedoms of religion set out in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers of this nation. We understand that you believe anarchy is one of the tenets that you choose to live by and we respect that. We believe that you should have the right to live as you see fit and we would not be so arrogant as to impose our mode of living and believing on you. The 1% do not respect your desire to live as you see fit, they certainly didn’t respect ours, and they are actively working to turn the other 99% into economic slaves at best. The middle classes are vanishing. Why? Evolution? No, it’s a deliberate maneuver by the powerful to seize control over the people.
Of course we tried to stop the airing of Dateline using whatever meager means we had at our disposal. How can a community of all volunteers and 1 volunteer lawyer with very little financial resources take on a corporate monolith with well-nigh unlimited legal resources? Of course our efforts were “dubious.” Dubious because we basically knew we didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of being able to stop these people, who are backed by very powerful corporate interests, from character assassinating Gabriel, Niánn, and by association everyone in the community. This malicious and fully conscious misrepresentation starting with Dateline resulted in death threats to Gabriel and has caused the people in this community to fear for their safety for the last 16 years.
This is what happened at Waco.
Every day that the media misrepresentation continues it puts us and our children at risk of religious hate crimes, which are numerous and are increasing every day. So I ask you, if something terrible happened to one of our children, would you want to be responsible before your God when the time comes for you to face him? After reading what you have just read, when the time for reckoning comes, are you going to stand before the Judge and say that you had no responsibility for the persecution and maybe even injury and death of innocent people and children? Can you wash your hands of guilt like Pontius Pilate for the crucifixion? Would you want to live with that karma?
We ask, in the name of Christ, that rather than taking only one side of the story, you will give equal or perhaps even more consideration to our perspective and remove all Dateline content from your website and any others which you may have the power to influence. David Sunfellow has had a vendetta against our founder going back over 22 years. Although he won’t admit this evil to himself, he is very jealous of Gabriel’s success in both spiritual work and in music. He and others like him try to get hits on their sites and raise their own personal profiles by using those lies of propaganda brought against Gabriel and GCCA as an activist organization for global change. Our solace is that they will be held accountable before God when they are called to face him, or upon the return of Christ to this earth. The fact that NBC Dateline is a corporate bought and paid for operation ought to be enough for you to at least begin to think that they were not telling the truth about Gabriel and GCCA. Why would you believe that these same corporations whom you know to be motivated by greed and selfish interests would give us a fair review?
And this is where we stand. If you decide to publish this on your website to ridicule it, then please publish all of it.
Spiritualution—Justice to the People!
The Staff of Global Change Multi-Media,
The Staff of Global Change Media