All categories

← Back to main page

Can you offer your wisdom on the ACIM copyright trial?

Question: Here is a letter I came across posted on the Internet. Would you please offer your wisdom on the ideas expressed.

Publicly Posted Letter:

On the eve of the long-awaited ACIM copyright trial, I hope that all who care about the outcome of this litigation are in a place of at least intellectually understanding that Judge Sweet does not have the power to affect their peace of mind by his decision. Surely, whatever our opinions about the legal and political matters attendant to publication of the Course, we all share the same goal:

The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my purpose and my function and my life, while I abide where I am not at home" (W-pI.rVI.205.1:2-3)

It has been almost seven years since the initial copyright suit was filed by Penguin, Inc. against the New Christian Church of Full Endeavor. During the intervening years some folks have worked very hard to disparage and discredit the very people to whom I think they ought to offer appreciation and gratitude, not only as brothers in Christ, but as those who have so lovingly dedicated themselves to making this wonderful Course available to us.

No doubt most students of ACIM recognize that what Jesus asks of us in the Course is that we undertake only ONE responsibility, which is to accept the truth of the Atonement in our own mind and heart. And we are only asked to fulfill in our lives the ONE function of forgiveness. In my opinion, those who stir up political turmoil about the copyright litigation have simply found yet one more way to allow the ego to distract them from that one responsibility and one function which have nothing to do with changing how other people go about their lives or whether the Course is copyrighted. Students have not been asked to distribute the Course to others; to make it the foundation for another formal religion, church or any kind of social organization; or to proselytize others to study it.

It's not hard to discern which thought system in our mind it is that seeks to make of the Course a platform for debate and political conflict. That thought system thrives on controversy, believes that it can be cheated and deprived, and sees victimization everywhere.

In the Text Preface it is written: "...the Course can and should stand on its own. It is not intended to become the basis for another cult [defined in dictionaries as, among other things,”a religious system"]. Its only purpose is to provide a way in which some people will be able to find their own Internal Teacher."

We have the book in our hands thanks to the loving dedication of those entrusted with its publication. Now the question is whether we will study the message of that book, form a relationship with the voice that speaks from its pages, and do what it asks.

For those who are not clear on the facts, I want to point out that the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) is now, and has always been, responsible for publishing and distributing the Course. The Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM) is a sister organization which has been primarily responsible for educational activities and publications related to the Course. In 1999 copyright in the Course was transferred from FIP to FACIM, but responsibility to publication remained with FIP.

I know the members of both foundations well enough to be certain that they are not people who have been motivated by greed and personal gain. Perhaps a few facts will be of help to those who might be inclined to think otherwise.

1.) In the 27 years since it was first published, the Course has sold somewhat more than 1.5 million copies. That's hardly a best seller and hardly a sales figure that would generate personal fortunes.

2.) During those 27 years, the Foundation for Inner Peace has always had a program which provided that people who had an interest in the Course, and could not afford to buy it, could receive a scholarship copy. Over 20, 000 copies have been given away as a result.

3.) During that period of time, FIP has accomplished the remarkable feat (a publishing industry "miracle") of keeping the retail price of the Course at the same affordable level while prices of other books of similar quality have risen dramatically.

4.) Both FIP and FACIM are non-profit corporations which could not have achieved the outreach that has been accomplished were it not for the generous donations of others, as well as the personal contributions of the principles themselves.

5.) The Course has now been translated into ten languages other than English thanks to the generous contributions of supporters as well as the selfless efforts of the translators who have been carefully trained and lovingly supported for their work. More translations are on the way.

6.) FACIM receives no money from sale of the Course itself. What FIP receives is reinvested in the Course after expenses are paid. It is my personal experience and observation that what motivates members of both organizations is love, not greed and self-interest.

7.) Everyone associated with FIP and FACIM most certainly believes that the Course is the product of divine inspiration which, for Helen, took the form of Jesus. Kenneth Wapnick has always taught, and continues to teach, the importance of forming a relationship with Jesus as a part of ACIM study for those who are willing to accept that relationship, recognizing that the Course itself says that such a relationship is not necessary and that the Holy Spirit has manifested in the form of other teachers. Nothing in Kenneth's court testimony differs from what he has taught for 25 years, one example of which can be found in "Absence from Felicity,” which was published in 1991, eight years before his deposition related to the copyright litigation.

8.) To date, more than twelve hundred permissions to quote from the Course have been granted. Most recently three books have appeared after the authors consulted with FACIM and received copyright permission to quote beyond the boundaries of what could reasonably be called "fair use." These are,”The Disappearance of the Universe" by Gary Renard;" "God, Self, and Evil: A Miracle Theodicy,” by Robert J. Hellmann; and Greg Mackie's new book,”How Can We Forgive Murderers? And Other Answers to Questions about A Course in Miracles."

In light of what I know, I am quite convinced that if those involved with the lawsuits had approached those entrusted with publication of the Course in the spirit of appreciation, respect and cooperation which is consistent with the teachings of the Course itself, then none of the lawsuits would have been necessary. Furthermore, a large amount of money could then have been available to support the loving extension of the Course into the world. I think it is remarkable that FIP and FACIM have been able to carry out their functions as well as they have in spite of the unwarranted opposition they have faced, and the money it must have cost them.

I sincerely hope that Course students will avoid imposing upon themselves the burden that this "useless journey" of the copyright fuss can become. We have no responsibilities in this matter except to study and practice the Course which has been lovingly made available to us. That means that we would see the political controversies around the Course as offering yet one more classroom in forgiveness. "All things are lessons God would have me learn" (Workbook lesson 193).

In the sphere of our own lives and relationships, if we practice what the Course teaches, we can become instruments of the Holy Spirit's peace and His love. In doing so, we can fulfill the invitation of that lovely prayer from the second chapter of the Text:

"I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him Who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal" (T-2.V(A).18:2-6)

Answer: Thanks for writing and for your willingness to Awaken. The only trial is the attempt to see the seeming split mind of ego belief as if it is "happening" in the world. In Atonement there are no "sides" to see and there is no "controversy" to behold. All things work together for good and the script is written. It is the decision to align with the Holy Spirit that brings peace. In the letter above the goal is stately clearly:

The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my purpose and my function and my life, while I abide where I am not at home" (W-pI.rVI.205.1:2-3)

To say these words is nothing, but to mean these words is everything. To the mind which accepts Atonement there is nothing to defend, no position to take, and no opinion to value. There are no facts in form, for form was made by the ego to deny and cover up Content, Which is All Meaning. Christ is a Fact. God is a Fact. Nothing about the cosmos is factual. It was an image that was forgiven and Now holds no value or meaning. The Holy Spirit used the symbols of the cosmos to teach that Love is real and nothing "else" exists. The Holy Spirit used time to teach that there is no time. Truth is wordless. In Divine Silence our Being resides forever and ever, held Immaculate in God's Grace.

"A Course In Miracles" is a symbol among symbols that was used in My Awakening. You will find in it what you are looking for. There is nothing to protect or defend in Christ Identity, and the mind which seems to engage in trials is the ego. The ego is not real. Identify with Christ and You are Safe. Identify with Christ and You are Home. If the mind seems to identify with a self concept that has no existence, the mind will seem to experience the illusion of fear. Once afraid, the mind can seem to either follow the ego's tactics of attack and defense or it can heed the suggestions of the Holy Spirit and forgive. Forgiveness recognizes that what you thought your brother did has not happened. There is only one mind and therefore there are not "parts" to attack or to be attacked by. Only Oneness exists, and forgiveness shows that attack is impossible because only What God Creates is real. Forgiveness is Still and quietly does nothing. It looks and watches and judges not. Healing was Given the instant the separation seemed to happen, and Now only Healing remains. Accept but this and You are Home at Peace.

In Awakening you remember that nothing can come between your mind and the Holy Spirit, and you are never limited by words. Words cannot be owned or possessed, and neither can they be defended or attacked or confined or freed. Free your mind by accepting Atonement by first seeing that only the sleeping mind needs freeing. A Course In Miracles is not and never was imprisoned, for the book and words are simply neutral images that have no meaning in and of themselves. No thing exists "in and of itself" because Divine Mind is Pure Oneness and duality and multiplicity have no reality. Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. This is the Peace that passeth the understanding of the world. Nothing of the world is true. Accept but this and see that there are no trials or tribulations to perceive at all. You are free Now.

True religion is the experience of Peace. This cannot be organized and involves no sense of structure or ritual. Peace is not conceptual or political or legal in any sense. Peace is the experience of holding only one Purpose in mind. It is really this simple. If a brother seems to behave insanely you can extend healing by seeing that there is no such thing as insane behavior to the Holy Spirit. All behavior is neutral in the healed Perspective. What could Wholeness look upon except a whole cosmos, unbroken and blessed through forgiveness? All My seeming brothers and sisters are Perfect in Spirit, and the Spirit is real and true. Misperceptions cannot veil the Truth of Spirit if you want only Peace. That is the only question: Do you want only Peace? God is not hiding and Peace is not lost. Truth will be returned to your awareness by your desire, as it was lost to awareness by the desire for "something else." There is only Love. Do not see error means do not make it real in your awareness. Release all judgments and opinions and false "knowings" and humbly accept the Truth.

I am grateful for every Loving thought extending God's Love. I appreciate every seeming effort to shine the Light of Truth. For many the seeming "court case" will have an unexpected "outcome." I say this to you: there is never any outcome in form because this world was over long ago. The past does not have variable "outcomes" for it is gone. Peace is the only "outcome" Now, and if you share the Holy Spirit's Purpose you are experiencing this outcome at this very Moment. Ahhhhhhh I feel your smile as you are reading this, for deep within you know it is true. You are Awakening and I rejoice for the Awake State of Mind is ever Present and cannot be denied! Give thanks for all the ones which seemed to people the illusion for they have never failed to serve the One Who offers healing. Give thanks to the Gentle Presence that has abided within your heart and could never leave you comfortless.

All Glory to God for creating All as One in Spirit. Amen.

Love always, David