Thursday, September 25, 2014

Conversations with David O. McKay and John R. Howard, Part 8

Posted: Thursday, 25 Sep 2014
Updated:  Sunday, 5 Oct 14

[Continuing the conversation.  See part 7]

David O. McKay
John (Jack) R. Howard

ENK: To continue where we left off, David, but before saying much more about my current dream work, I want to add some comments by Howard Salisbury about dreams that made a profound impact on me. That is because I did not yet know much about understanding or interpreting dreams. Here is the last paragraph of Salisbury's much longer letter of June 14, 1965, on the more general subject of existentialism. I had traveled to visit him in the Bay Area of San Francisco a few days earlier:

:"...You generously asked me to relate experiences with dreams under therapy.  Yesterday and today, thinking back on our too brief visit—I have spent all the time thinking about it—several have come to mind which I want to tell you about during our next one, hopefully very soon.         Dreams, under conditions of “freedom”, serve up the crises of the past and recreate them as the self experiences them in the present.  In this presentation, they are uncolored and undistorted by the rationalizations which the institution helps the mind to render acceptable, socially, religiously, intellectually.  There is no face-saving, no exhibitionism, no hypocrisy, no affectation.  The self is shown its own reality.   It sees its truth."
DOM: That is a very cogent comment, Eugene, and I wish I had been better informed about the subject when I was in office. Unfortunately none of the Brethren were well informed on the subject, either.

ENK: Yes, well, I'm now sure I had unrealistic projections on you and the other general authorities when I came to Salt Lake City in crisis only three months later. I expected you to be wiser and better equipped to deal with such crises and subjects.

DOM: I'm sorry you were so ill-served and misunderstood then, dear brother, but perhaps now we can address such a subject more effectively and practically.

ENK: Thank you. I hope so. Shall we proceed?

DOM: Please do.

ENK: I think brother John Howard will be a big help in this. Yes, Jack?

JRH: I'm willing to try. You might begin by telling David how you approached the subject professionally after you and I had met some years earlier.

ENK: OK, Jack. You know from our conversations in  spring 1972, when I was a guest in your home for six weeks, that I'd been remembering and recording my dreams since having had that nightmare of July 1962 and then later after reading Hugh Lynn Cayce's 1964 book Venture Inward, which gives a clear protocol for remembering dreams.

JRH: I remember this well. Those were exciting, stimulating days and weeks of great conversations!

ENK: Yeah. Well, my attempt to present this subject professionally began several years later.In early January 1976, to be exact. It began with a dream where a clear, powerful masculine voice issued me a command: "It is time to wake up and begin a grace-filled ministry!"

JRH: How did you understand that dream?

ENK: Actually, I didn't at first. but I couldn't dismiss it. One of the first people I shared it with was Brother Taylor, a black Pentecostal minister in the Watts District of Los Angeles, who had hired me to sing Negro Spirituals every Sunday on his regularly scheduled radio program. He thought the dream was meant for him, since his church was called "The Greater Grace Memorial Church of God in Christ." And he understood my spiritual work assignment.

JRH: And how did you meet "Brother Taylor"?

ENK: Gosh, that's really an important story! But I'm reluctant to tell it here because I fear it will be a distraction.

JRH: Don't worry, Gene. I know this story and think it belongs here.

ENK: Well, OK. It begins with two dreams on the morning of my previous birthday, when I would be introduced to Brother Taylor later that afternoon:
17 Nov 75 0500
 a. I am in a car (open?) driven by Diane proceeding down a street. Passing by, going the other way in another vehicle, a teen-age Negro boy grabs my hand and holds on. I tell Diane to keep going and not get pulled off center. I disconnect from the teenager's grip and am pleased to continue without complication or difficulty.  
b. Later, I am in a men's locker room with my briefcase and another small case of overnight effects.  A small Negro boy comes up to me and silently grabs hold of my right leg, which surprises and alarms me.  I try peeling the boy off my leg, but he won't let go. I push on his head with the heel of my right hand against his face with all my strength, but he is tenacious and surprisingly stronger than my best effort to dislodge him.  And, he still will not let go.  
Suddenly I realize that I am not being attacked as I had feared! My fear immediately turns to compassion as I realize that all this small boy wants is a connection!  And so, as I reach down to scoop him up to hold him, he never says a word, but now is happily beaming and broadly smiling in my arms. 
[As an old Southern ballad comments: 'He never said a mumblin' word!] ....
On brief reflection after waking that morning, I realized that my inbred, Mormon-based prejudice against blacks had wonderfully transformed into understanding and acceptance. And I began to feel that that small black boy in my dream was a wondrous version of the Christ child!

Later that same day, my then fiance Diane (who appeared in my dream that morning) introduced me to her black minister friend "Brother Taylor" so that I could sing for him. This was the first time since my experience in the US Army (where I was beat up in a fight by a black man who had called me a very bad name) that I had ever met another black man. Brother Taylor hired me on the spot to sing Negro Spirituals for his Sunday radio program after hearing me sing a Negro Spiritual and a Russian folk song A Capella. We soon became the best of friends. Months later he would smile and chuckle while telling me and others that no one in the radio audience beyond his church congregation ever knew it was a white guy singing!

JRH: Keep going, Gene. What's next after telling Brother Taylor your "grace-filled ministry" dream.

ENK: I met my good friend Bob Rees, then a Mormon bishop, second managing editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and an administrator with UCLA's adult education division. He asked me to teach a course for the university and asked what I was interested in. When I told him I had just taken a new interest in dreams, he asked me to write a prospectus. But I didn't have the confidence to do that at the time.

JRH: But you then got help from the Bel Air Presbyterian community, didn't you?

ENK: Yes. Diane and I had become members of Bel Air Pres, which formed a small group of spiritually gifted and psychologically sophisticated church members to help me figure out a way to develop such a prospectus. After two or three months I had developed the confidence to respond to Bob's invitation.

(click on images to enlarge)
Los Angeles Times article about dream course

Reference letter from UCLA's Bob Rees

JRH: OK, Gene, this is helpful, but it doesn't get to the point where you were able to present it to the Mormon Church. I'm sure David is more interested in that point. Isn't that so, David?

DOM: Yes. I find this interesting in several ways, but especially because of your interaction with the minister from the black Pentecostal church.

ENK: Yes?

DOM: It is my understanding that you returned to the LDS Church after years of absence. 

ENK: That is correct. That date was July 25, 1975, the tenth anniversary of having had the revelation. Our mutual friend, President Ferren Christensen, presided over that re-baptism and allowed me to choose the date, location and circumstances for it. He even allowed me to choose my 17-year old son Nick, officially a Mormon priest, to do the baptism, which was in the Pacific Ocean under the cliff of the beach house in Laguna Beach. This was where I'd been handed the official excommunication letter a decade earlier by two high councilmen, whom I'd never met informing me of a high council decision in absentia. I didn't think that was necessary to mention here in order not to get too distracted.

DOM: The priesthood ban was still at issue, wasn't it?

ENK: Of course, you know that. What did you do with the revelation that Pres. Christensen sent to you in fall 1968?

DOM: That's a fair question. I couldn't do much with it, let alone talk to many of the Brethren. You know President Joseph Fielding's views on the subject. I was confident he would not give it any attention at all.

ENK: Easy to understand, especially after I met him in his office in fall 1965 and he seemed a bit senile. I don't think President Harold B. Lee would have given it any attention, either.

DOM: Yes. But President Kimball did. I discussed this with him at length before my passing over. He was most interested.

ENK: Didn't you brethren discuss or debate it at all?

DOM: Unfortunately no. There was no discussion or debate.

ENK: Boy! That I don't understand! I once sent a copy of that document to a rabbi friend in California who had retired after being the chief rabbi in Idaho. He knew many of the LDS general authorities personally. He told me that whenever someone came to his Jewish leadership with something saying "Thus saith the Lord....", which was not uncommon among his people, they would take it seriously and debate the issue. That is the way they dealt with all such difficult issues.

DOM: Unfortunately that is not the way it is in our church.

ENK: I understand. Did you know that my black minister friend thought it was right on?

DOM: No.

ENK: Also, Bob Rees told me, after I showed him a copy, that the Black Muslims had a similar belief. This was a surprise to me, but I want you to know that I never attempted to defend or promote the substance of that revelation. I still don't. Nevertheless, I'll never forget having had the experience and can never deny that I had it. What it means for the Church, if anything, is another matter altogether. I find it interesting that the word "priesthood" never appears in it. Did you notice that?

DOM: Actually no. I didn't give it serious attention, because I knew I could do nothing about it. But brother Spencer did.

JRH: Gene, wasn't this the subject of the play you wrote when we were talking about you publishing something serious? We were trying to find an agreeable subject to write about together.

ENK: Yes, the play was titled The Defense of Cain, and I finished the first draft of it on the morning of June 8, 1978, which I learned only the next day was the date that the Church changed its policy on the Negro and the priesthood ban. That was during the administration of President Spencer W. Kimball. Wasn't that ironic?

JRH: Yes it was, Gene. I didn't realize how significant that date was at the time.

26 Sep 14

JRH: But back to your dream work. You came to see me in the late 1980s and came up with an approach that finally made sense to me.

ENK: Yes. This was a decade after presenting a course at UCLA, which was moderately successful, but that felt too academic to me to be practical. I was looking for something more simple. That opportunity came after being promoted to engineering manager for a small struggling company within the Brunswick Defense Corporation. I had learned about "The Center for Feeling Therapy", which had been founded by three young psychologists in Los Angeles. They had developed a technique for looking at dreams objectively and were having success in helping people deal with anxieties.

JRH: So, your process was not original with you?

ENK: Yes, it was, even though I'd been inspired by the guys at that center to look at dreams objectively, rather than subjectively, as I had learned in Jungian analysis. However, I was soon to learn that that center had been shut down after several of the psychologists lost their licenses after misusing their influence. Not unlike Scientology. I did not want to fall into a power-tripping trap.

JRH: How did you present it to your company?

ENK: Well, the company was suffering from bad morale and I saw an opportunity to address the problem. As engineering manager I now had a small staff, which was sort of a captive audience. Since I'd been with the company for 7 years, my staff and I knew each other well. Nevertheless, almost everyone hated to come to work. They came because they needed a paycheck. 

I began by asking each staff member to see me in my office for a one-on-one conversation and evaluation of their respective assignments and expectations. During those personal meetings I presented the basic concepts of CREEI and asked each member to remember a dream without disclosing its content. Then we would talk about the dream without interpreting it. This turned out to be a generally pleasant experience for most, if not all, my staff members and within a few days they couldn't wait to come to work to see how what they'd learned from that beginning 'inner" work could be applied to their "outer" work on the job. 

Soon my department was the only one keeping its commitments. But most important was my department's high morale. When the general manager noticed this change, he called me in to explain what was happening, I hesitated to tell him about the dream work part. But, after disclosing this, he invited me to make it available to the rest of the company on a volunteer basis. "How much time do you need?", he asked. "Give me three months", I replied and we agreed to meet weekly for two hours for breakfast off site, at company expense. Most of the volunteers were other department managers.

We didn't need three months. Within six weeks the company's morale changed, the downward spiral reversed and the general manager was full of praise.

General Manager's endorsement

Psychotherapist's endorsement

DOM: Very interesting, Eugene, but you said you originally developed this process for an LDS Elders Quorum. What happened there?

ENK: It didn't seem to make sense to the brethren in the quorum presidency, which I was part of. They didn't have any pressing problems, as was the case with my job, and they didn't feel the need for any help. Those young leaders were simply disinterested and felt that they had all the direction to solve whatever problems they might encounter by applying regular church priesthood handbook directions.

DOM: Did they not see that your process was a form of revelation, the "rock" on which the church is founded?

ENK: Great question, David. I tried to speak to them in such terms, but it seemed too far out. That simply amazed me, given what I'd been taught all my life and had recently experienced.

That, by the way, is the very attitude I've experienced with brother George these past several weeks. How would you suggest I approach him now? Or how would you, Jack?

On Saturday, 27 Sep 14, 9:41 a.m., I wrote to Joseph Dillard, creator of the Integral Deep Listening protocol [IDL], which is the technique for interviewing dream characters that I am using to extend these conversations with "David O. McKay" and "John R. Howard". This is because these two figures appeared to me in recent dreams, which were triggered by my inner and outer interaction with George. 

To Dillard I wrote:
[See] the latest [IDLinterview iteration (I'm surprised by how it has evolved so far). The external conversations with [George] continue and I am getting closer to discussing CREEI and IDL with him. Check out the last few inner exchanges with DOM in this post. Let's hope I can get closure on this before I die! Thanks for your continuing responses….
Love and appreciation,
 An hour later, on 27 Sep 14, 10:57 a.m., Joseph replied:
Dear Eugene,
 I like your format. It strikes me as a way for you to get closure with the Church without having to deal with all the resistance of personalities.
We shall see! :-) ...

To be continued in Part 9....

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