Harold Klemp

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Harold Klemp (born 1942, Wisconsin, US) is the spiritual leader of Eckankar, Religion of the Light and Sound of God. He holds the titles of Mahanta (spiritual leader) and Living ECK Master. Eckists (followers of Eckankar) believe he is the 973rd Living Eck Master in an unbroken line of Masters. He is the third American to hold this position since the founding of the organization in 1965 by Paul Twitchell. Klemp's spiritual name, according to his books and the official Eckankar website, is "Wah Z" (pronounced WAH Zee). He is also known as Sri Harold Klemp. In India, "Sri" is a conventional Sanskrit title of respect, used when addressing or speaking of a distinguished person.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Harold Klemp was raised on a small farm in Fremont, Wisconsin. He attended high school at a religious boarding school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[2]

After preministerial college in Milwaukee and Fort Wayne, Indiana he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he trained as a language specialist at Indiana University and a radio intercept operator at Goodfellow AFB, Texas. Afterwards, he completed a two-year tour at Misawa Air Base and later at Yokota Air Base in Japan, where he was first exposed to the teachings of Eckankar.[3]

In 1981, Klemp was appointed to a leadership role in Eckankar by the 972nd Living Eck Master, Darwin Gross. In 1984, leadership challenges, including accusations of misappropriation of Eckankar funds and other conflicts, brought the two leaders of Eckankar into formal legal battles in court.[4] At that time, Klemp was allowed public use of the two Eckankar titles of distinction - the title "Living Eck Master" and the title "Mahanta."[5] After court settlements, Gross began ATOM—Ancient Teachings of the Masters.[6] In Eckankar the "Living Eck Master" refers to the "spiritual leader of Eckankar."[7] The term "Mahanta," while translating historically in Sanskrit, Tamil and Pahlavi as the "superior of a monastery,"[8] refers in the Eckankar lexicon to "the highest state of God Consciousness on Earth."[9]

As the author of more than 40 books on spirituality, Klemp has been credited for shifting the focus of the Eckankar teachings from a largely esoteric movement to what is known today in Eckankar as "Everyday Spirituality." Klemp has changed the use of words in the Eckankar vernacular from "The Ancient Science of Soul Travel" to a new term—the "Religion of the Light and Sound of God." This corresponded with Klemp's shifting the focus of Eckankar from the meta-scientific approach of Paul Twitchell to a more "religious" focus. Along these lines, Klemp encourages Eckists to be self-reliant, yet involved in community service.[10] During his tenure, Eckankar moved its offices from Menlo Park, California, establishing offices, the Temple of Eck, and a spiritual campus in Chanhassen, Minnesota.[11]

Klemp transformed the path from an individual spiritual teaching "Ancient Science of Soul Travel" to a religion, "Religion of the Light and Sound of God" during his time.[12] This was done in opposition to the purpose of the ECK Masters, as lined out in the Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, bible of Eckankar.[13]

Harold Klemp and his wife, Joan, currently reside in Minnesota. He speaks at major ECK seminars held in Minneapolis.

Books[edit]

Harold Klemp's autobiographical writings include the following:

Other books by Harold Klemp, which often consist of edited transcripts of his seminar talks, include the following:

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Merriam-Webster Dictionary - "Sri" definition
  2. ^ bio reprinted from Who's Who of Intellectuals, 9th edition Accessed September 23, 2006
  3. ^ Klemp, Harold (1987) "Soul Travelers of the Far Country", Chapter one, Library of Congress Catalog Number: 87-82675
  4. ^ [2] United States District Court, District of Oregon July 12, 1984
  5. ^ Religious movements Accessed September 21, 2006
  6. ^ [3] Atom - Ancient Teachings of the Masters
  7. ^ [4] Eckankar online glossary of terms
  8. ^ [5] Colgne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon - add term "Mahanta"
  9. ^ [6] A Glossary of Eck Terms
  10. ^ religious movements Accessed September 21, 2006
  11. ^ http://www.eckankar.org/Harold/ Harold Klemp biography
  12. ^ "The Eckankar Journal" 2008 Volume 32, p.3
  13. ^ Paul Twitchell "The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad" book one, second edition, third printing p.194

External links[edit]