Roy Masters: Foundation of Human Understanding
Roy Masters, founder and director, was born Reuben Obermeister to a Jewish family in London, England. At age 15 he worked at his uncle's diamond-cutting factory in Brighton after his father died.
As a young boy he became interested in hypnotism. He added to his hypnotism techniques after studying African witchdoctor rites during his apprenticeship at South African diamond mines when he was 18.
He came to America in 1949, at age 21, to lecture on diamonds. He legally changed his name to Roy Masters in 1954 (yet never acquired American citizenship) and eventually became a professional hypnotist claiming he could "save people by teaching them self-sufficiency meditative hypnosis."
The American Medical Association pressed charges against him for practicing medicine without a license. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He likens this "persecution" to the persecution Jesus suffered.
He is a self-described "Christian mystic" combining Eastern mysticism and Gnosticism with Christian jargon, yoga, hypnotism and self-help principles.
As with other Eastern-oriented cults, The Foundation of Human Understanding teaches that God is both personal and impersonal, advocating an almost pantheistic God.
In lieu of dependence on Jesus Christ for salvation, Masters teaches dependence on his meditation techniques. He teaches that mankind is inherently good, thus there is no need for salvation or a savior.
All problems man encounters can be resolved through self effort.
"No form of outer assistance can substitute for inner direction. Direction must come always from within. Moved by the spirit of intuition, we move without excitement, effort or strain. The more we exercise our dependency upon the Within, the stronger this relationship becomes, and we know it to be Grace," (How To Keep Your Mind Well, p. 165, Foundation Press, 1971).
Though he claims to have been saved by the blood of Christ, he states that "one of the biggest curses in Christendom is the false idea that Jesus is God."
According to the late Dr. Walter Martin, the Foundation does not mention the Holy Spirit in any of its publications (The New Cults, p. 310).
Instead of relying on the Holy Spirit for comfort and guidance, followers are taught to rely on themselves (made possible through successful meditation).
During the meditative process, subjects are taught to surrender all disbelief and to relinquish control to Masters.
The Foundation of Human Understanding headquarters is in Los Angeles, California where Masters' self-help brand of religion is offered to an audience of 3 million people via his national radio program, "How Your Mind Can Keep You Well."
In 1982, about 2,000 disciples followed Masters to a 378-acre ranch in Oregon. He holds seminars and weekend retreats at the ranch and is currently establishing Evelyn Street School, a Foundation institute for kindergarten through 12th grade there.
In 1989, Masters claimed to have 150,000 people on his mailing list. Over 100,00 have purportedly participated in his courses. His meditation exercise is taught on three cassettes and a book for a total cost of $25.00.
Participants in his week-long seminars pay $1,200 and $50 for one-day seminars held across the country. Masters says he wants to be remembered in the same category as Moses, Jesus, the apostles, Buddha, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.