Excerpt from The New York Times, November 16, 1986:
By far the best known of the ”channels” is Mrs. Knight, 40 years old, a native of Roswell, N.M., who is a former cable television industry executive. She lives in Yelm, a farming community of 1,400 people 55 miles south of Seattle.
Mrs. Knight’s teachings are similar in many respects to those of a variety of recently popular ”human potential” groups and quasi-religious sects that have been referred to collectively as the ”New Age movement.” Scholars say most of them combine elements of Eastern mysticism, Western occult traditions and a Norman Vincent Peale style of ”power of positive thinking” about life.
Man Viewed as Divine
Among other things, Mrs. Knight’s teachings include these precepts: God is not a remote entity but an integral part of everything in the universe; therefore, man himself is divine and, as such, is able to ”create his own reality” and achieve anything he desires; and, in the absence of what Mrs. Knight calls a ”judgmental God that you could never please,” there is no sin and therefore no reason for human guilt.
Mrs. Knight contends that cataclysmic events, not nuclear wars but earthquakes and other natural catastrophes, are likely to occur soon. As ”Ramtha,” she warns that people should find a safe place to live, stockpile a two-year-food supply and become self-sufficient by planting their own gardens. Among the safest areas, she asserts, is the Northwest.
#500 to 1,500 Adherents
Because her followers do not live in a single community and seldom have met one another, no one has determined how many people have moved West at her behest. But real estate agents and others who have observed the migration estimate the number at 500 to 1,500 people, many of them middle-aged women.
Mrs. Knight denied allegations by some of her critics that she was the head of a cult. She said leaders of cults asserted absolute control over the lives of their followers, while ”students” of ”Ramtha” acted as individuals in response to her comments.
”I don’t want people moving to live near me,” she said. ”I love my small town the way it is. I’m not their leader. I’m not a guru; there are no such things as ‘Ramtha-ites;’ I’m not somebody’s savior. This is a business.”
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