The late Harry Houdini was an expert at picking locks and freeing himself from behind prison bars. He said that his most difficult experience was an attempt to escape from a cell, the door of which he thought was locked. He tried for hours to pick the combination, and then by accident he leaned against the door. To his surprise it opened by this simple pressure.

The prison cell in which man has locked himself by the limitations which he has imposed upon his own consciousness is very like the one which caused Houdini so many trying hours. We are held to our mortal state by our own fixed belief that there is no escape. Having accepted life as a prison we either batter ourselves to death against its bars or settle down to the scientific process of trying to pick the lock.

There is but one way out of our mortal prison and that is through the growth of our inner consciousness. We become free as we become wise. There can be no real wisdom apart from the mystical experience. By development of our own spiritual content we outgrow our physical limitations and pass from a mortal condition to an immortal state of being. It is this door upward and inward that has never been locked. The only reason we cannot use this door is that we have denied its existence, and have refused to accept the challenge of self-improvement as the way to freedom.

Manly Palmer Hall

(submitted by Bro. John Logan Parsons, III)

John the Baptist had a flourishing sect- more properly an international organization- that was already well established by the time Jesus began his mission: indeed, it seems that the new messiah began his spiritual life as one of John’s disciples. What happened to John’s religion – or his “Way” as it was known – is a matter of academic conjecture: most scholars think it simply fizzled out, or was absorbed into the new Christian sect. Either way, it is not of much interest to the world of academe – but perhaps it should be, for in the real history of john’s cult lie some of the darkest secrets of Christianity, even perhaps of Christ himself. The apparent disappearance of John’s sect may simply be a footnote in religious history as far as most academics are concerned, but of course we know that certain cabals within the Templars – and others – preserved the Baptists cult. Yet even the very idea that John had a cult will be surprising to most Christians, to whom he is merely a necessary adjunct to the story of Jesus.

Lynn Picknett

(submitted by John Logan Parsons III)