Wednesday, February 19, 2014

#922: Roy Masters


A.k.a. Reuben Obermeister (original name)

Roy Masters runs a weekly talk radio “Advice Line” (and has done that for nearly 50 years), is the author of numerous books including Finding God in Physics, and is the founder of the organization Foundation for Human Understanding – which seems to be more of a ministry or perhaps a cult. In both the books and on his show he promotes an incoherent mix of fundamentalist Christianity and New Age kookiness (he “teaches an exercise designed to help troubled people transform spiritual and emotional suffering into understanding” according to his Wikipedia article, which is rather obviously whitewashed by his fans – though his Basic Meditation Pack still retains for $59.95, I believe).

The primary idea, predictably, is that handwaving in the direction of quantum physics proves the existence of God and the efficacy of abstinence-only sex education. Apparently, Masters used to be a full-time hypnotist, but it seems that he at one point decided that most people are hypnotized anyways and instead needs to be freed through being exposed to the truth. In other words, you get a fascinating range of wingnut conspiracy theories mixed in with reincarnation and past-liferegression. He also performs exorcisms, cures cancer, blindness, and homosexuality (his book How Your Mind can Keep You Well is just one example). He is also into alternative energy, and has “proposed new ideas that contradict current conventions in physics” with regard to how to generate electricity from gravity – indeed, he claimed, with a straight face, to have found a modern-day perpetual motion machine. Physicists reviewed his ideas tactfully as “balderdash” and “it doesn’t make any sense” (Reinhardt Schuhmann).

As with so many church leaders Masters has participated in several tax-related controversies, and he is an enthusiastic birther.

Michael Savage, Matt Drudge and David Kupelian have apparently come out as fans of Masters’s teachings.

Diagnosis: While he doesn’t wear his fundie insanity on his sleeve as so many others of his ilk, Masters has nevertheless managed to synthesize every branch of crackpottery into a single, rather obviously incoherent doctrine (which is admittedly not that hard). He is, however, rather frighteningly influential. 

4 comments:

  1. I listened to Roy for five years when I was a young housewife, I learned a lot from him. His intentions are good and I found his message did help me.

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  2. I know Masters and his teachings very well as I was once a follower of his in the 1980's. Some people claim to get benefit from what he teaches. Others get their lives nearly destroyed. He's such a kook I don't think he'll ever really have the sweeping influence that he craves, and yes he is considered a religious cult leader by authorities on the matter.

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  3. Correction: Roy has stated that he does not believe in reincarnation many times. He does not engage in past life regression and is opposed to it. He teaches a simple meditative method which is standard fare. He also exposes hypnotic influences that people are subjected to and awakens people to them. Overall he is a positive influence.

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  4. There is nothing new in what Roy masters preaches. It is simply to return to ones neutral non reactive self as opposed to being driven by the emotion filled ego self. It is a common theme in many religions. But Roy is able to explain the concept in the context of our own sometimes troubled lives.

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