of a New Age Scripture
In recent years, trance channeling has
become chic among seekers of spiritual enlightenment. Popularized by
actress Shirley MacLaine's book and TV miniseries, Out on a Limb, and
by lectures and seminars by modern-day mediums such as Ramtha and
Lazaris, trance channelers have drawn a wide, enthusiastic following.
In addition to lectures, a number of
books have been published which were channeled by discarnate
intelligences. Such books include The Urantia Book, A Course in
Miracles, and The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ. One of the
earliest channeled revelations was entitled Oahspe (pronounced
"Oh-ahs-phee"). It was conveyed by automatic writing in which spirit
entities guided the hand of the writer. The word "Oahspe" means
"earth, sky, spirit."1 It purports to be
a revelation that supersedes all previous ones, including the Bible.
It states that Jesus actually was the Jewish teacher Joshu, and that
many of the writings attributed to Jesus were plagiarized from Joshu.
Oahspe is a popular book among New Age and psychic enthusiasts. It
first was published in New York in 1882.
Oahspe was revealed to Dr. John Ballou
Newbrough, a New York dentist. He was born in Wooster, Ohio, on June
5, 1828. He went to California during the Gold Rush of 1849, but
returned to New York and practiced dentistry.2
He became involved in spiritualism and probably had his first psychic
experience in the 1850s. He was a trustee of the First Society of
Spiritualists of New York City.3 He
began experimenting with automatic writing. In a letter to the
periodical The Banner of Light (June 2, 1883), he wrote:
"In my own case I discovered, many
years ago, in sitting with circles to obtain spiritual
manifestations, that my hands could not be on the table without
flying off into these 'tantrums.' Often they would write messages
left or right, backward or forward, [and I could not] control them
in any other way than by withdrawing them from the table."4
Newbrough studied spiritualism for about
15 years, but became dissatisfied with it. Rather than receiving
messages from departed friends and loved ones, he wanted "to learn
something about the spirit world; what the angels did, how they
traveled, and the general plan of the universe."5
To enhance his spiritual receptivity,
Newbrough became a vegetarian and spent time in meditation. His weight
fell from 250 to 180 pounds, his rheumatism was gone and he had no
Early one morning in 1870, Newbrough was
awakened by a striking vision. His room was flooded with "pillars of
soft light" and there were "great numbers of beautiful spirits and
angels." One of them asked him, "Do you want to perform a mission for
Jehovih?" (Oahspe spells the Divine Name "Jehovih" rather than
"Jehovah"). Newbrough was to produce a book, through automatic
writing, which would inaugurate a new era of mankind. The new era was
called the "Kosmon era." It was the seventh age and was characterized
by non-violence. In it, wars would cease voluntarily.7
The angels imposed a beam of light on
Newbrough's hands as he sat at a typewriter. The angels appeared an
hour before dawn and the typing continued for fifty weeks.8
The purpose of Oahspe was:
"To teach mortals how to attain to hear
the Creator's voice and to see the heavens in full consciousness
whilst still living on earth; and to know of a truth, the plan and
condition awaiting them after death."9
The first edition of Oahspe was published
in 1882 and a second edition was published in 1892. The 1892 edition
contained portraits of great spiritual teachers which were painted by
Newbrough while in a trance.10
Oahspe gives an account of the origin of
man on earth. It covers a period of 48,000 years from the creation of
man to the submersion of the continent of Pan. Pan was in the Pacific
and sank 24,000 years ago. The sinking of Pan is referred to by the
ancients as the Deluge or Flood.11
Before the sinking of Pan, man was guided by angelic revelation. Man
often lapsed "into degradation and bestiality, but [he was] ever in
the aggregate [of] making progress toward something more noble."12
The survivors of Pan founded such countries as Japan, China, India,
Peru, Egypt, Yucatan, and Mexico.13
According to Oahspe, Jehovih is the Great
Spirit of the universe. He consists of "earth [corpor], sky, and
spirit."14 Jehovih states,
"I am the soul of all; and the all that
is seen in My person and My body. By virtue of My presence, all
things are. By virtue of my presence is life."15
Oahspe states that:
"Jehovih is Life, Motion,
Individuality, Person. In proof of which He gave unto thee life,
motion, individuality, person. To develop these four entities is
resurrection toward Him, more and more, which is heavenly."16
As Jehovih is the Great Spirit, the word
"God," and "Lord" refers to angelic beings. A "God" is one who "is
sufficiently wise and powerful to take charge of a planet and the
atmospheric heaven." He is assisted on the throne by a "Vice-God."
Angels work intimately with humanity.
Oahspe states that:
"Man was helpless [and] understood not
the voice of the Almighty, neither stood he upright. And Jehovih
called His angels ... and He said unto them: 'Go ye, raise man
upright and teach him to understand.'"17
The angelic ministry among humanity was
disrupted by the appearance of a Beast. The words of the Beast are
those of Jesus in Matthew 10:34-36: "Think not I am come to send peace
on the earth; I come not to send peace, but a sword; I come to set man
at variance against his father; and a daughter against her mother."18
The Beast divided itself into four Heads "and possessed the earth
about, and man fell down and worshipped them."19
The names of the Heads were Brahmin, Buddhist, Christian, and
Mohammedan. Each Head had its own army and their "trade was killing
To end the violence and confusion which
was perpetrated by the Beast, Jehovih sent His angels to earth. He
"The four Heads of the Beast shall be
put down; and war shall be no more on the earth. Thy armies shall be
disbanded. And, from this time forth, whosoever desireth not to war,
thou shalt not impress; for it is the commandment of thy Creator.
Neither shalt thou have any God, nor
Lord, nor Saviour, but only thy Creator, Jehovih! Him only shalt thou
worship henceforth forevermore."21
Jehovih concluded that:
"To as many as separate themselves from
the domain of the Beast, making their covenant with Me, have I given
the foundation of My kingdom on earth."22
According to Oahspe, Jesus was the Jewish
teacher Joshu. He was born in Jerusalem and he "labored to bring the
Jews back to their pristine purity." Oahspe states that he was "a
law-giver of sub-cycle ranks."23 He was
denounced as a heretic and was stoned to death at Jerusalem.24
Oahspe states that the word "Christ" and "Kriste" means "wisdom,
knowledge, [and] education," and it is also synonymous with a
"warrior."25 It states that Christians,
or Kriste, were a brotherhood of warriors. They were given that name
by the Hebrews and it meant "one who rushes into a multitude of
rioters and, with a sword, enforces peace ..."
The word "Christian" is synonymous with
words as "Brahmin," "ashtaroth," "vishnu," and "manito."26
Oahspe states that Christians worship a "drujan,"
a lower, mischievous God. In the Book of Es, Oahspe states that when
Christians go to heaven and say, "I want to go to Jesus, I want to go
to Kriste, he [is] shown the drujan God, and [is] told: 'That is he!'"27
The "drujans" were lost spirits who, instead of following Jehovih's
Plan, were enticed by earthly attractions.28
The drujan Gods also inspired the Mormon, Shaker, and Swedenborgian
religions, as well as the divisive competition among Christian
Salvation, according to Oahspe, is based
upon giving. It states, "If ye have great learning and ye give of it,
then shall more learning be added unto you; if ye have goodness of
heart, and gentle words, then, by giving this away, more shall be
added unto you."30 However, "he who
locketh up the light of the Father that is in him cannot obtain more
light; he who locketh up goodness of heart cannot obtain strength of
spirit."31 Oahspe states that one should
not concern himself with his own salvation, but with the salvation of
others. Jehovih declares that:
"Mine shall not concern themselves as
to their own self's salvation; for having their faith in Jehovih,
that if they raise others up, with their own wisdom and strength,
they are already saved, and without fear."32
Oahspe demands of the clergy and the
churches that they "prove that [they] have a good and sufficient
doctrine for the salvation of souls." It accuses them of serving man
more than Jehovih. It admonishes churches to divide up their
possessions and give to the poor.33 It
charges churches with professing a gospel of words and of divisive
doctrines.34 Salvation, according to
Oahspe, is through good works:
"Because ye have learned words, and
practice only in words, behold, I come in this day to command
practice in works... Even the infidel shall accept the Creator and
Oahspe teaches that life continues to
progress in the spirit realm. It affirms the practice of "communing
with angels," and conversing with the "dead."
"From east to west, and north to south,
the communion of angels and a multitude of miracles have stirred up
thousands and millions to know that the souls of the dead do live."36
Oahspe declares, "Behold, I have seen my
father and mother and brother and sister who were dead; they have
spoken to me, [and] there is no devil nor place of hell."37
Oahspe states that:
"It hath been shown thee that not only
the seer, prophet, su'is (i.e., clairvoyant), and miracle worker,
but that all people are subject to the influence of the spirits of
the dead, even though unconsciously to themselves."38
Oahspe claims that the reality of spirits
testifies to the iniquities of earthly religions.
"I have drawn aside the veil of death,
[and] your sons and daughters, your fathers and mothers, the dead
and the living, stand face to face. And the angels are testifying
unto you that your doctrines, as you practice them, are a blasphemy
against the Almighty."39
The spirits reveal the truth of heavenly
existence. Oahspe contends that:
"Ye have no personal knowledge of
heaven, and, in stubbornness of heart, ye dispute with my seers and
prophets, who can prove before you [that] they have powers to see
unseen things, and to hear that which ye cannot hear. Ye study
spiritual things with your corporal [physical] senses; neither have
ye capacity to see and hear the spirits of the dead. How much less,
then, shall ye presume to interpret Jehovih and His kingdom.40
Oahspe charges the Christian faith with
professing doctrines, rather than beneficial works, and of denying the
reality of spirit existence. It characterizes churches as being
benefactors of wealth. It declares, further, that "the selfishness of
man hath made the world a place of wretchedness. The people are in
misery and want."41
The "new religion" proposed by Oahspe not
only encouraged spirit communication, but also social reform. This
reform was implemented in an Oahspe-based community called "Shalam,"
located near the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
Newbrough and his followers began an
orphanage in New York City. Oahspe envisioned a "new kingdom of man"
and a prophet named Tae was given the responsibility of establishing
this kingdom. Jehovih commanded Tae to:
"Go, seek, and bring out of Uz (i.e.,
the world) babes and castaway infants and foundlings, and these
shall be thy colony, which shall be a new kingdom on earth."42
The word "Shalam" meant "a land of peace
and plenty."43 It began in 1884 and was
incorporated in December 1885.
At Shalam, no one was to rule over
another. However, dissension began after Newbrough and his associate
Andrew Howland tried to impose autocratic control over the members.
Several were evicted and many others left voluntarily. Newbrough died
at Shalam on Aug. 22, 1891. The community continued to decline and the
property was sold Sept. 30, 1907. Several communities were begun, but
Currently, the major Oahspe organization
is the Universal Faithists of Kosmon in Salt Lake City. "Faithist" is
the name for Oahspe students. A Global Council, also based in Salt
Lake City, was organized in 1982-1983 and it elected its first
officers in 1986. The Council is a consortium of Oahspe readers.
Oahspe sharply criticizes the Christian
faith. Its claims about the life of Jesus, the Bible, and the
historical Christian faith likely cannot stand the scrutiny of
critical Biblical or historical analysis. Like any other channeled
work, its content is of questionable origin. Some may conclude that it
is the product of demon spirits, and others will presume that it is
the result of the author's subconscious mind.
Historically, Oahspe is probably the
first channeled revelation. Apart from other channeled writings, it
puts itself on the level of the Bible, purporting to be a work which
is even greater than the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Channeled works
often claim that the New Testament has distorted Jesus' actual
teachings, or that it does not contain his real teachings. Claims of
this sort must be evaluated according to the soundest Biblical,
theological, and historical evidence. Regardless of what Oahspe or any
similar writing may boast about its own authenticity, its claims must
coincide with the most accurate Biblical and historical sources
Readers of Oahspe are likely persons who
have had negative experiences with churches and with Christianity. In
talking to them, listen carefully and do not judge. A personal witness
of love is the greatest testimony.
Oahspe makes no claims of infallibility.
It does not profess to be a final revelation. Its stated purpose is to
enable mortals "to hear the Creator's voice." Multitudes of people are
earnestly striving to hear the voice of the Lord. As we are able to
share our experience with God in a loving, compassionate, and patient
way, the light of God's truth will surely shine forth and give
direction to wandering souls.
Book of Oahspe, 1:26.
Percival (Percy) Wiksell, "Oahspe and Shalam, New Mexico,
Information," in Oahspe and Shalam History Materials by Jim Dennon;
Seaside, Ore., by author, 1987, pg. 1.
- Jim Dennon,
Oahspe and Shalam History: According to Those Who Were There,
Seaside, Ore., by author, 1985, pg. 6.
Origin of 'Oahspe,'" letter written by John Ballou Newbrough to the
editor of The Banner of Light, Boston, Mass., January 21, 1883, pg.
- Ibid., pg.
- Letter to
author from E.J. Lee, Universal Faithists of Kosmon, to author,
November 25, 1987.
- "Origin of
'Oahspe,'" op. cit., pg. 3.
Book of Oahspe, 1:24.
of 'Oahspe,'" op. cit., pg. 4.
The Wonder Book of the Age, Salt Lake City: Universal Faithists of
Kosmon, n.d., pg. 1.
The World's Teacher, Salt Lake City: Universal Faithists of Kosmon,
n.d., pg. 6.
Definitions, New York and London: Oahspe Publishing Association,
1882, 1892, pg. vi.
Book of Jehovih, 1:3-4.
God's Book of Eskra, 4:9-10.
Book of Oahspe, 1:2.
List of Portraits, New York and London: Oahspe Publishing
Association, 1882, 1892, pg. xiv.
Definitions, op. cit., pg. xv.
Book of Es, 18:6.
Book of Sesthantes, 23:14.
Book of Es, 18:6-14.
Book of Osiris, 6:13.
Book of Discipline, 7:20.
Book of Judgment, 18:5-7.
Book of Discipline, 2:2.
Book of Judgment, 19:15.
Book of Jehovih's Kingdom on Earth, 1:9-10.
- Ibid., 4:3.
Copyright 1991-PFO. All rights reserved
by Personal Freedom Outreach.