League for Spiritual Discovery
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The League For Spiritual Discovery was a religious organization based around the works of Timothy Leary, and strove for legal use of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) for religious purposes. It was in existence until the end of the 1960s, and eventually closed by Leary. The organization was re-founded in 2006, to continue and expand upon the original work.
On September 19, 1966, Leary founded the League for Spiritual Discovery, a religion with LSD as its holy sacrament (by doing this, he hoped to legalize LSD based on a "freedom of religion" argument). Although The Brotherhood of Eternal Love would subsequently consider Leary their spiritual leader, The Brotherhood did not evolve out of the League for Spiritual Discovery. The motto of the group, "Turn on, tune in, drop out" became synonymous with the sixties.
On October 6, 1966, LSD was made a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, which made it illegal to possess, manufacture, or use for any purpose. All scientific research programs using the drug were shut down.
During late 1966 and early 1967, Leary toured college campuses to spread the psychedelic gospel by presenting a multi-media performance called "the Death of the Mind" which attempted to artistically replicate the LSD experience. Leary said the League for Spiritual Discovery was limited to 360 members and was already at its membership limit, but he encouraged others to form their own psychedelic religions. He published a pamphlet in 1967 called Start Your Own Religion to encourage people to do so.
In February 1968, Leary was evicted from the Millbrook estate, and shortly thereafter moved to California. He was arrested again on December 26, 1968 in Texas for possession of marijuana. In 1970, Leary received a ten-year sentence for the marijuana arrest.
During this time period, The League was closed down, and all centers abandoned.
In October 2006, The League For Spiritual Discovery was restarted, taking all of the original intents of the prior organization as a foundation, but updating the message and expanding the work.
The new League's goal is to create spiritual centers throughout the world, and generate "League Centers" for exploration, art, music, and instruction among members. It also works to enable communication and convergence of all aspects regarding spirituality within the culture of today.
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- San Francisco Chronicle September 20, 1966 Page One
- Ray, Oakley (1983). Drugs, society, & human behavior (3rd ed.). St. Louis: Mosby. p. 382. ISBN 080164092X.