Sunday, September 14, 2008

Washington-Based "Channeler" Sues Former Student

I have Dr. PZ Myers' blog Pharyngula to thank for bringing this story to my attention. The story was originally posted on the website of The Seattle Times.

The Times reported last Wednesday that alleged channeler J.Z. Knight, (full name: Judy Zebra Knight) has brought a lawsuit against a former student of hers who allegedly started teaching Knight's spiritually-themed material without Knight's permission. Knight is the founder of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment located in the small town of Yelm, Washington, approximately 63 miles southwest of Seattle. The case was heard in Thurston County Superior Court in Olympia, WA.

Knight testified last Tuesday that the lawsuit against her student, Whitewind Weaver, was nothing Knight wanted to do. But, as Knight claims, she was so disturbed that Weaver had "moved next door, taken my school's teachings, changed them around a little and then started teaching them," that Knight authorized the lawsuit. The "next door" of which Knight speaks is the town of Lacey, WA, 14 miles northwest of Yelm where Weaver owns and operates Art of Life Coaching Inc.

Weaver's San Diego-based attorney Robert Kilborne asked Knight on the stand why Knight took such strong legal action against Weaver when Weaver had been so supportive of Knight's teachings and school. According to Kilborne, Weaver advised her students in Oregon to follow her lead in moving to Yelm and becoming a student of Knight's. Weaver has since enrolled in more than $8,000 worth of classes. From the article:

"'If you were aware of all the facts, would you have still done what you did?' Kilborne asked Knight during intense cross-examination. 'Why couldn't you have just called her (Weaver)?'"

Who or what does Knight claim to channel and who is this mysterious Ramtha, you may be asking? Apparently, Ramtha is a 35,000-year-old male spirit warrior entity who first contacted Knight in 1977. Among other things, Ramtha has allegedly revealed to Knight that God is within everyone, and that every human being is divine. Knight has apparently made millions of dollars from lectures, books and classes at the School of Enlightenment.

So it's really no surprise that Knight got upset when Weaver allegedly horned in on her action. From the article:

"Knight was the second witness in her case accusing Weaver of breach of contract in connection with a seminar Weaver taught in August 2006. Knight claims the seminar violated terms of a registration form Weaver signed that says teachings at the Ramtha school are for the students' personal use only and cannot be disseminated or taught for commercial gain. Weaver's attorneys deny the allegations."

The second attorney representing Weaver, David Spellman of Seattle, cross-examined Knight's school administrator, Mike Wright. Spellman attempted to show that the registration form in question was inconsistent from year to year, and that the teachings allegedly used by Weaver could be items of public domain. The article goes on to detail one of the teachings, and a particularly humorous exchange between Spellman and Wright:

"Knight's attorneys claim Weaver copied seven school processes, including Fieldwork, an exercise designed to improve the ability to focus attention and intuition by finding a symbolic card on a fence while blindfolded.

'Is "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" focused attention?' Spellman asked Wright.

"'It could be,' Wright replied.

"'So, then is it Fieldwork?' Spellman said.

"'No, it's "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" ' Wright said."

The article reports that the case was expected to continue through last Thursday. No stories in the Times since then have provided any updates on the ruling.

For anyone reading this who may have felt a tinge of familiarity when they read the names "J.Z. Knight" and "Ramtha," that was most likely because both played heavily in the 2004 quasi-metaphysical docudrama What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?. In fact, the film's producers, writers, directors and a number of its stars are members of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. A full review of the movie can be found at the bottom of the page which is linked above.

Since the college I attend is in Bellingham, WA, it seems I'm going to have to take a drive and see this School of Enlightenment for myself within the next year.

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George Nelson said...

Hello Jeremy

You said you need to take a drive to see this school yourself.
I am a long time student of this school.
I thought I would write for two different reasons
scenario one is that I can help you save your gas by letting you know Ramtha's school is not like say Evergreen College. The school takes place in a renovated (it has indoor/outdoor carpeting instead of dirt on the floor) horse riding arena. Horse pastures and fields are also used. It is a beautiful farm, but there are lots of beautiful farms so not that unusual to see. There is also a bookstore but then the same books are sold at Jz's store in Downtown Yelm.
scenario two Is that I would be willing to help you, as a skeptic, to actually check out the school itself by serving as your guide. The actual school is really there when the student body is on the campus and an event is in session.
Of course since you are not a "current student" your event would be a "BEGINNING RETREAT".
I would be very willing to be your guide with you knowing that I myself am a converted skeptic. Although skeptic might be a harsh word - I didnt know how to believe in Ramtha/Jz Phenomena but I wanted the learning and what was happening to me while I attended.
Now for me that place is MY School. The first few years I quit about 50 times but I was always there plunking my money down when the next event began. Then I left for a little over 7 years but read every book the website listed and via conversation there are several people that joined the school due to my conversations.
The reason I would enjoy being your guide is that I could pep talk you to participate and allow your own not what anyone else you have ever met in your life may have given you. I am well aware what many go through. I have listened to many words even from friends that now post on enlighten-me-free. I can get you through the whole process of checking it out such that you make your "Judgment" at the end rather than before you start or while you are still in the swamp fighting alligators.
As an advanced student I get a discount going to the beginning retreats which is nice because it gives me opportunity to participate in disciplines in a supportive environment but more because I can meet people from all over the world. I am a smoker, so I hang out in the smoker's circle between sessions and talk with other smokers. Through the years I have given many words just to answer questions and get them to just do what is done there. I have been told many times that going through the event with even a cheering gallery of one makes it a lot less confusing.
I like your words and attitude on your blog. I think you would be halfway intelligent company for a beginner event.
So How would I tell you my email without having it right out there where everyone else can fill up my mailbox just for their own jollies rather than for my jollies?

Jeremy said...

Mr. Nelson,

As a journalism major in Bellingham, I'm always interested in getting tours of places by people who know them well. I would have to see how my school schedule panes out before I make any promises, but I would be interested in taking you up on your offer. The only other thing that would prohibitive for me would be the cost.

As for the e-mail question, I'll post mine here in a format which will most likely not be picked up by spambots. It serves as my back-up account, so spamming is not a real concern for me. It is schwarj5 (the "at" symbol)

Thank you for your offer.