Talk:Ramtha's School of Enlightenment

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Comments[edit]

Copy/pasted relevent post-split material from Talk:Ramtha -Tydaj 5 July 2005 21:18 (UTC)

Helpful !![edit]

I saw the movie and despite being open minded do like to check my sources. This article has been valuable in that regard. With the number of poeple watching this movie worldwide and the apparent lack of intelligent disection available I think this article is right on the money.

I just want to say: Thank the (gods, fates, positive protons, whatever) for wikipedia! I put their movie on the other night (thinking it was going to be a scientific approach to quantum physics, but I was tired and fell asleep within the first 15 minutes.) Tonight, I happened across a post on IMDB which mentioned the movie, in turn leading me to this movement's website. I was taken in. I was interested. Then, I wanted an objective view. I came here. NPOV is very close to becoming my new religion/philosophy (I just want to check out Judaism first.)

Autopilots 05:43, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Background[edit]

I am interested in the questions surrounding the factual accuracy of this article - what are the disputes? I have added some information which was presented to me by a friend who is a member of the organization, and have attempted to illustrate some of the items of interest he has told me about the organization. However, including definitive facts about the organization known as Ramtha is very difficult as the group represents something of a "closed society". Emails and questions to their website pertaining to their beliefs and practises go largely unanswered. Judith Knight may or may not be a charlatan, I do not have and cannot get enough information to positively determine this. James Randi, the noted magician and fraudulent psychic exposer, has made his position very clear with regard to Ms. Knight. Certainly her practises (as related to me by a member of the organization) are closely aligned with those of the proverbial 19th century snake oil salesman. What we have attempted to do on this page (and I did not start the page) is simply to provide genuine anecdotes to illustrate the behaviour of the organization. Those who want the "ramtha brochure" can visit the website (link attached to mainpage) and make their own judgements. Posthocergopropterhoc 5 July 2005 02:35 (UTC)
I see parallels here with Lazaris. -Tydaj 5 July 2005 20:51 (UTC)
What about Blavatsky, Theosophical Society and G. I. Gurdjieff --Salimfadhley 00:40, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

"Bronze award for ecommerce sites"? From who?

J. Gordon Melton[edit]

The current wikipedia entry for J. Gordon Melton makes extensive reference to his having been repeatedly labelled a cult apologist, along with a number of details relating to why some have labelled him such. (His activities and statements relating to Aum Shinrikyo, Children of God, Scientology and Jim Jones' Peoples Temple are deemed especially noteworthy in this regard.) Indeed, his name is among the most prevalent in the cult apologist entry itself.
Given that J. Gordon Melton's name appears in this article in the context of his having written a book rebutting the alleged "cultishness" of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, perhaps it is not quite appropriate to use the somewhat bland descriptor "religious scholar" when introducing him here.
In my view, while it would almost certainly be POV to actually use the words "cult apologist" to refer to him, "religious scholar" lends a definite air of detachment that a simple Google search suggests is undue. Accordingly, I have changed it to "controversial religious scholar", although I feel this is still not sufficient, since most if not all religious scholars could be considered controversial in some sense. Suggestions? Cdswtchr 17:02, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

What about "cult buster"? Love-in-ark 04:09, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
His book should be summarized and he should be introduced as a religious scholar. I am no fan of his methodology (and hence his conclusions), but he is a serious scholar. The book is a better source than many other sources for criticisms. See also https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/J._Gordon_Melton Andries (talk) 06:59, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
"Controversial religious scholar" or "scholar and defender(?) of new religious movements" might work as well. John Carter (talk) 16:15, 21 June 2014 (UTC
"J. Gordon Melton is a religious scholar whose stated methology is to exclude testimonies of critical former adherents or at least to be very critical of these testimonies." That is neutral and can be referenced. Andries (talk) 17:56, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Newly-organised content (and "Controversy and Criticism")[edit]

I've made major changes on the article regarding its content.

These changes involved mainly the re-organisation of already existing content (with the addition of sources, and addition of some more relevant information from the same or similar sources), the addition of the new section "Controversy and Criticism", and some clean up regarding the external links and references (some ELS were turned into references, as they were particular to some content in the page)

Regarding the additions, if anyone would like to object, feel free to do so here. I have done my best to source the content as well as possible, but of course I may have omitted something, or I may have sourced something wrong. Please do let me know, or fix the referencing yourself if you spot such a mistake. • jujimufu (talk) 22:50, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Added cites to Introvigne, CESNUR, Atrocity story, and apostacy for context as to why some former members hold such strong opinions while most do not.Mwright1wa (talk) 00:07, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Merged section on "Infamous members" about Meniere and jardel into controversy. Shorten the portion to the noteworthy portions of the story. Minor grammatical changes to other portions of the section. .Mwright1wa (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:48, 29 April 2012 (UTC).

Dead link replacement[edit]

Trying to find replacement for link marked as dead in Nov 2010. Hitting reliability problems of course. Would these fit? here or here ?? CanadianLinuxUser (talk) 16:45, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

I'd suggest using the rickross link as the archiveurl for a {{cite news}}; there's enough information from unreliable sources to fill in the cite template for the date/original source/etc. tedder (talk) 17:15, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I substituted the rickross.com link as archival url for Brenner online article as suggested. Mwright1wa (talk) 17:58, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Introduction revisions[edit]

Added a short summary of the facilities from the school’s introduction. Moved paragraph three from the History section up to the introduction. Removed the claim in the introduction that the school is “popularly seen as a cult.” WP:NPOV That claim is robustly addressed and cited in the Controversy and Criticism section. The source[1] for the claim was an archival cite to the Olympian article by Keri Brenner which is still directly cited in the paragraph I moved up to the introduction from the History section. Mwright1wa (talk) 21:17, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

References

Research efforts[edit]

Added three brief paragraphs about the research on the school initiated by Gordon Melton.Mwright1wa (talk) 22:48, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Hi,
We appreciate your input and efforts in improving the impartiality and quality of this article. I noticed you removed a lot of material without justification. Before major edits (e.g. removing whole paragraphs, merging sections etc), it is recommended you start topic on this talk page and discuss the changes with other members of the wikipedia community.
I have reverted the text which you removed, while keeping your additions.
I am not sure about your comment with regards to the non-neutral point of view of "popularly seen as a cult." As you said, the particular phrase reflects the conflict between Ramtha and the scientific community (which is detailed in the later section) - it seems to me, though, that it is impartial in that it doesn't say "it is a cult" or "it is not a cult" but rather "it is popularly seen as a cult" which is a fact, not an opinion or a point of view.
Thanks! ¬ laonikoss (talk) 07:33, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Rewriting this entry[edit]

Hi there! My name is Calstarry and I am working with Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. The school is aware that this Wikipedia page is not in very good shape and they have hired me to act for the organization on Wikipedia to help improve it. I'm currently looking to see what information is available on the school, but in a little while I plan to write up and post here what I think would work better for the different sections of this page.

If anyone here has concerns about this page they'd like me to keep in mind as I work, or if you would be interested in looking at the new sections when they are ready, let me know. I hope to have something to share in a little while.

One final note, I understand that editing with a "conflict of interest" is strongly discouraged on Wikipedia. I will only be posting messages on discussion pages and won't make any changes to entries myself. Calstarry (talk) 21:14, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Proposed rewrite for this entry[edit]

Hi there! As my message above mentions I've been working on improving this page on behalf of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. I've finished writing this and have used my user page as a place to share what I've written. You can see this new version here: User:Calstarry.

I have some notes to share about what I've done here to help guide anyone who reviews my version and wants to compare it to what is currently on the page. I'm going to put my notes below, and sorry they're a little long, I'm just trying to be thorough. If anything isn't clear or you have any questions please leave me a message.

A few general comments:

  • I've added the schools infobox to this page and a short "About the school" section because I noticed that there wasn't any sort of simple overview of the school and Ramtha.
  • I've looked over all of the current articles used to support information in the entry and have kept what I was able to. I have removed the ones that were primary sources, dead links, ersonal websites that are not reliable for use on Wikipedia or not really about the school, for instance the reviews of the movie What the Bleep Do We Know!? If you are wondering about any specific sources let me know and I can be more specific.

"Introduction":

  • I've taken out the part about it being described as "cult-like" because I feel that the opinion of a certain group of people is not important in a top-level summary of the school.

"History" section:

  • I've updated this section with information about a lawsuit from 2012-2013 that is not mentioned on the page right now.

"Teachings" section:

  • Right now this section includes some criticisms of the school and gets into the debate over whether the school is a cult or not. I've taken this out because this is what the "Criticism" section is for.
  • The information about Melton's research has been moved to the "Research" section. Again, there is no need to repeat this information in both sections.
  • This section uses some phrases that very clearly push a particular point of view (for example: "Other skills allegedly obtained ... which have been criticized by various skeptics around the world.") I've tried to write this section in a neutral voice sticking closely to what the available articles say.

"Research" section:

  • I renamed this section "Research into Ramtha" because I thought that "Research" alone wasn't entirely clear.
  • I've taken out some unsupported information and information that doesn't inform the reader. For example, in the final paragraph of this section the information about Krippner's study doesn't add anything to the reader's understanding of Ramtha and I cannot find the paper to support this information and get a better understanding of what this means.
  • Also, the part about Knight's motives for sponsoring the conferences cannot be verified in any of the articles I've found and I wasn't able to find the reference currently used. Based on the sources I've found, Melton was the one who brought the idea of the research project to Knight so this information doesn't seem necessary.

"Criticism" section:

  • I've also renamed this part of the page "Criticism of the school" to be more specific.
  • The anecdotes and criticism from Glenn Cunningham have not been covered in independent news publications, and I cannot locate the original videos. I feel they should not be included here because they are self-published claims of one individual.
  • The criticism of Melton's book in this section is not supported by a reference and is out of place. If this can be supported his article would be a better place for this kind of criticism.
  • I've taken out the names of the former students, but have kept their allegations and criticism in this section.
  • I've taken out the criticism from Michael Shermer because the only reference to support this is his own book. Since this information cannot be found in news articles too, it doesn't seem to be noteworthy criticism.

"Related projects" section:

  • Describing the film as controversial and including criticism here is inappropriate. There is an article on this film and the critical response should be covered there. I've kept the focus here on how this film relates to the school.

"See also" section:

  • My revision links to the New Religious Movement page so including this link here isn't necessary. I've taken it out of my version.
  • The other links seem to have been added by people who oppose to the school. This doesn't really seem like an appropriate use of the section to me, but for now I have left them as is. I suggest taking them out, but I'd like to know what other people think.

"External links" section:

  • My revision includes links to the school's website, their TV website and JZ Knight's official website. I've taken out the link to the EnlightenMeFree website because linking to an article about a group opposed to the school doesn't seem appropriate. I've also taken out the "UK Co-ordination website" link because the web page does not exist.
  • Just today a link was added to the school's 2014 world tour events, I have not included this because it seems too specific and will become dated within a year.

Again, if you are unsure about any changes between my version and the current page that I haven't explained please leave me a message and I'll answer as quickly as I can.

I am looking for a thoughtful review of my version and any feedback that I can use to improve what I've written if you have concerns. Though I have written this on behalf of the school, I am not personally a member, and have done my best to write this article so that it is neutral, accurate according to the available sources, and meets Wikipedia's standards. I'm happy to work through any issues in any way possible. However, as I also mentioned in my first message above, because of my "conflict of interest" I will not edit the entry myself. If what I have written is an improvement I hope that other editors will be able to make the changes to the entry for me. Calstarry (talk) 17:01, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Calstarry, I would like to thank you for announcing your conflict of interest and taking the appropriate steps of suggesting your edits on the talk page instead of doing them yourself. I took a cursory look at your suggested edits and see that your knowledge of Wikipedia editing policies is impressively in depth for an account that has only made a 8 saved edits. I ask in good faith, is there another account you used to edit Wikipedia?--Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:08, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi there! I totally understand why you've asked. I do realize that this is not how most editors start out on Wikipedia.
To answer your question, I've made a few typo fixes on Wikipedia in the past, but I don't have another Wikipedia account I actively use. I've set up this account to just to work with editors on this one Wikipedia page and I'd rather not link it to my other account for privacy reasons.
I have been receiving help from a more experienced editor as I've been working on this, though. They've been helping me learn about Wikipedia guidelines and formatting and have reviewed my draft and are giving me tips on how to make requests. The research and the writing is all my own work though. Is there anything else I can answer for you? Calstarry (talk) 21:52, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Cheers, just asking. Looks like JC is gonna take a stab at it for you. Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:09, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Give me a few days to check the article above over against some of the reference sources I can find and I will get back with you. But don't expect anything until Thursday at the earliest, because I'm busy at work till then. John Carter (talk) 17:12, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
J. Gordon Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions has a fairly long entry on this subject, and would likely be a good reference to flesh out some sections. • Astynax talk 07:50, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi there Astynax! Do you know where I could find this article? I can't seem to find it online. John Carter mentioned to me the entry about Ramtha by Melton in the Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions. I just found a version online at Amazon that I can read so I'm going to look this over today and see if I can add anything to my draft. Do you know if the entry you mentioned and the entry he mentioned are the same thing? Also, was there something specific you thought needed to be fleshed out? Anything else jump out at you about what I've put together? Calstarry (talk) 14:48, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
I believe the article that John Carter mentioned would be the same. Articles in Melton and similar encyclopedic references are useful for showing the range of topics that should likely be covered in articles here. They also provide backup for some weakly sourced citations. A more in-depth academic source may be found in Gail M. Harley, 2004. "From Atlantis to America: JZ Knight Encounters Ramtha" in James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, eds., Controversial New Religions. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 319–328 ISBN 0-19-515683-8. • Astynax talk 19:04, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
I've done a quick once-over, and my first reaction is that this article treats Ramtha as if he is real. We don't treat any religion's as if they are making factual claims.—Kww(talk) 20:34, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi there Kww! What parts of the article do you think treat Ramtha as if he were real? Do you have a suggestion about how to change this? Maybe there is a different phrase to use or something?
I've tried to treat this topic neutrally, because some people do believe that Ramtha is real. I'm worried that writing this in a way that implies Ramtha is not real would be inserting a point of view into this page. Do you know how this is handled on other pages like this? Calstarry (talk) 17:54, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
  • One thing I'd do is take out the "cult-like" from the intro and put in what are the real substantial criticisms. For one thing the word "cult" means different things to different people. To the Christian anti-cult movement it means "any religion that came into being after AD 33." To the secular anti-cult movement it means "a group in which group members are abused by group leaders." To the governments of China, the USSR, and now Russia it means "a group that might challenge our authority." -Borock (talk) 18:42, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Borock. Thanks for joining the discussion. I agree with you. Cult is a very broad negative term and part of what I'd like to do here is to clarify who has said the school is a cult. If you look at my revised version on my user page you'll see that I took the cultlike part out of the introduction but have discussed who has called the school a cult in the "Criticism of the school" section. As I've said in my reply above to Astynax I'm going to review the Ramtha entry by Melton in the Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions this weekend and see what I can maybe add in, but I'd love to hear what other thoughts you have about the draft. Calstarry (talk) 19:35, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Have we considered merging this article and J. Z. Knight? Of course both are notable, but they are so related that you can't talk about one without the other. So a lot of material ends up being duplicated. Borock (talk) 13:48, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
  • You raise the big question in my eyes there, at least in passing. On a topic such as this, relating to channeling, I regret to say that we don't have real clear existing guidelines regarding what content goes where, and without a better idea of what content is most applicable to which article we get lots of duplication.
  • FWIW, as a basic proposal, I tend to think that for most religious groups of any sort the three big topics tend to be the founder, his or her teachings, and the church or community that follows them. Based on that idea, I might myself support the creation of an additional article, Ramtha, and break up the content of those three articles (not including potentially separate articles on individual books, tapes, or whatever) more or less as follows:
  • J. Z. Knight would include the biographical details of that person, including material regarding life history and the material about the earlier Dialogues beyond the content of Ramtha's teachings, as well as probably material on the other entities Knight has been said to channel.
  • Ramtha would include the purported biography of that entity, and the bulk of the teachings attributed to that entity, particularly prior to the founding of the school.
  • Ramtha's School of Enlightenment would focus on the teachings from Ramtha since the time of the foundation of the school, the various meetings taking place there, the activities of such meetings, the members of the school, and suchlike.
  • Short summary sections of the material included at length in other articles might be included as per WP:SS as indicated. John Carter (talk) 15:11, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
A few other points. I think a clearer description of the physical campus of the school might be called for. Also, I have recently e-mailed myself a rather large number of articles from newspapers and magazines which I found on databanks, and copied out a few articles I have found in reference books. I would be more than happy to e-mail all of them to any individual who requested such. Probably the best way to do that would be to drop me an e-mail by going to my user page and hitting the "e-mail this user" line in the toolbox, generally on the far left of the screen. If for whatever reason someone didn't want me to have their regular e-mail, I myself have created more than a few one-time-use e-mail accounts for similar purposes, and I do think it might be useful for anyone interested in developing the content on this topic to have as much information available as possible. John Carter (talk) 15:24, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: A lot of these proposals seem good at first look, and applaud User:Calstarry for going about this in the proper way. I haven't done a more in-depth comparison yet, so let me get back to you in a bit for that. Also, does anybody know how to get a full-text version of this article? ~Adjwilley (talk) 17:27, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
I've sent some links and text by email. I believe the Time article requires an individual subscription (couldn't get it through my library). • Astynax talk 22:11, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi! As I mentioned to a couple of you, I've read the essay by Melton in the Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions and I've made some changes and added some new information to the draft in my user space. The updated draft is here: Ramtha's School draft
Towards the end of the essay there was a paragraph about Knight's investments in Arabian horses in the 1980s. Some students of the school invested with Knight, lost their money and were later refunded by Knight. What does everyone think? Is this the type of thing that would go in the article about the school or the article about Knight? For now I haven't added this information to my draft. Calstarry (talk) 00:53, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi everyone. I forgot to mention yesterday that I do have a subscription to Time magazine, but I'm unsure what the copyright rules are since this article has limited access. Are there any portions of the article that I can share or answer questions about? I assume I cannot share the whole article.
Also, I didn't yet respond to John Carter's suggestion that there should be three separate pages. I can see how this could be a good solution, though I'm not really sure if there is enough information about Ramtha to make it its own article. My new draft for this article (here: Ramtha's School draft) has focused only on information about the school and information about Ramtha. I saw that there was a very long page about JZ Knight, so I didn't include information about her background and personal life in my version, unless it directly connected to the history or events surrounding the school.
I haven't read the whole page on JZ Knight too closely, but my first thought is that it is probably longer than it should be. For instance, I see that her page has a pretty long section about the teachings of Ramtha when it seems to me that the teachings are more related to the school than to her.
These are all probably issues that we can work out later. For now I'm wondering if anyone has had a chance to read over the draft I put together and compare it to the current article. Maybe we could use this as a starting off point for revising JZ Knight's page and maybe creating a separate page for Ramtha. Here is the link to my draft again: Ramtha's School draft
Also, this discussion has gotten really long, so I wanted to repeat this incase someone new joining hasn't read the whole conversation. I am not personally a member of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, but I am working for the school as a representative to share this draft I've written and talk to other editors about improving this page. Calstarry (talk) 22:01, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi, I was wondering if anyone had any other thoughts or big issues about this article that they wanted to bring up. Has anyone had a chance to read over what I put together and compare it to what is on the page now?
I don't want to rush anyone along here because I'm sure you all have lots of other things you're working on, but I do want to try and keep the conversation moving. Please share any thoughts or feedback you have on my draft when you're able. Calstarry (talk) 18:15, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Steps forward[edit]

This discussion has gotten fairly long so I wanted to summarize what has happened so far so that any new editors who join this discussion aren't so overwhelmed.

  1. I came to this page with a new draft of this page for other editors to review. Here is that draft: Ramtha's School draft. Up above you'll find my detailed notes comparing my draft and the current page. I'm also happy to answer any questions about what I have written.
  2. Several editors expressed concern that my draft treated Ramtha as if he were a real person. I made a few changes to my draft in response to these comments. Here are those changes.
  3. Several other editors suggested I read an essay on Ramtha, Knight and the school written by J. Gordon Melton who has studied the school closely. I found this essay and made more changes to my draft. Here are those changes.
  4. Lastly several editors began to discuss the possibility of dividing up this subject into three articles. One on Ramtha, one on the school and one on the school's founder JZ Knight. (There currently is no article on Ramtha individually, which is why my draft includes a new section on him.)

It was after this that the conversation died down. I really would like to get this conversation moving again because it seems that other editors agree that this page is not in very good shape and could use some work. As I explained above, I am somewhat limited in what I can do here because of my conflict of interest. I am not a member of the school, but have been hired by the school to address this article on their behalf.

Here is what I'm hoping can happen next so we can continue to move forward:

  • If any editors have time to read my draft and provide me with any notes on its content that would be really helpful. I'm more than willing to continue to make changes to my draft so that everyone involved in the discussion is satisfied that it is thorough and neutral. We've discussed and I've addressed some general issues (treating Ramtha as if he were real, adding the Melton source) but so far I haven't been able to get a good sense of what people think about my draft in comparison to the current version.
  • If you don't have time to read this draft, but know someone who is knowledgeable about new religious movements or has worked on similar articles, let me know and I can reach out to them about joining our discussion.

Thank you. Calstarry (talk) 17:32, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Comment: Although I see nothing objectionable per se, I do think the sourcing should eventually be upgraded. Although newspaper reports are fine for noting events, academic works which pull together various threads to form a more complete and authoritative picture will (and should) eventually be added and/or substituted as citations. Although I regard your "Criticisms of the school" section edits to be an improvement, I would prefer that the section be moved into a sub-section under "Teachings", and called something other than "Criticisms" or "Controversies" (such separate sections carry a PoV implication that outside observations are legitimate/illegitimate attacks). That said, I see no reason that your proposed changes should not be implemented. Others editors will make further contributions over time, especially as supported by new and more solid references. • Astynax talk 19:14, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi Astynax! I understand how you feel about the "Criticisms of the school" section. I'm also concerned that a section with the word "Criticism" in it will just be used as a dumping ground for negative information or complaints about the school. You can already see how full paragraphs were added to the current page's Criticism section using sources that are not reliable.
Still, I had kept this as a section because I was trying to stick closely to the order of information on the current page. I did change the name to match the instructions on the Wikipedia:Criticism page though, specifically this information here. (Even though the school does not consider itself a religion it is often treated as if it is one, so the section title seemed appropriate to me.)
I'm open to your suggestion about making the Criticism section a subsection of the "Teachings" section. Do you think "Skepticism of teachings" would be a better name for this subsection? Other than that I don't really have any idea what else to call it.
I also thought that it might make more sense to break apart the "Criticisms of the school" section and move the information into other parts of the article where it fits, which seems to be encouraged by the Wikipedia:Criticism page. For example, most of the information in my draft's Criticism section is about statements made by former students. Perhaps this information should go into the Students section.
Let me know what you think of these ideas. I'm happy to take a stab at reorganizing the information, or I can move and rename the whole Criticism section if you think that is best.
Oh, I also saw the two edits you made to my draft. Thanks! They both look great. Calstarry (talk) 19:38, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't want to sidetrack from the message above, so if anyone has any thoughts on that please add them, but I just wanted to mention that Adjwilley updated the introduction. Any feedback on the other parts of my draft would be helpful though. Calstarry (talk) 17:24, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Initial discussion of Calstarry's proposed revisions[edit]

[Note: Here is a link to the diff between the current version (as of this morning) and Calstarry's proposed version, to make it easier for people to compare and contrast.]

  1. I have no objection to the infobox being included, but some of the facts alleged in it are questionable and should be sourced. 5,000 students?
  2. The biggest problem with the proposed version is treating highly contentious claims as a matter of fact. "According to information provided by Ramtha during channeling sessions" is an example. I think most people would think: "Ramtha did not provide any such information - a bogus guru claiming to channel him did." All similar examples should be cleaned up.

Unfortunately I have to go now (daughter just woke up) but I should be able to return to this in a day or two.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:47, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Ok I have finished my first pass review. The proposed version is ludicrously bad and in no way neutral. Significant criticism is omitted, and puffery is inserted repeatedly. I don't see anything much of value to save, although I will try tomorrow.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:06, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Any legitimate version of this article is going to need to cover the racist comment scandal.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:29, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Another valuable link - this one contains some exact quotes from the notorious video. This needs to be included in the article.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:57, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo, thanks for offering your thoughts here and comparing the current and proposed versions. I do want to reply to two specific issues you mentioned.
Regarding the claims made about Ramtha, I had asked about this above, and explained there that my phrasing is intended to be neutral, since some people do believe in Ramtha. In the overview and introduction of the draft, I made a point of saying that JZ Knight "claims to channel" Ramtha, making it clear to readers that the channeling is based on JZ Knight's word, and not established fact. I can add similar phrasing elsewhere in the article, if it is agreed this is needed. The only limitation would be if the source used for a particular claim does not support that kind of wording.
You also mention the "racist comment scandal". I did include this in the draft, discussing it in detail in the History section, including mention of the school's response and lawsuit against the student who released the video clips. As you will have noticed, the two sources you linked to both focus on JZ Knight, herself. The donation to the Washington State Democratic party was from JZ Knight, rather than the school, so I did not include this detail, instead focusing on the aspects involving the school.
Can you be specific about the instances of puffery that you see in the draft article? Due to the problems in the current article (unsupported claims, information supported only by primary sources), I do not wish to leave this article in its present state. As others have been open to this draft, I am open to making needed adjustments. Calstarry (talk) 17:00, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
As there are not likely to be any reliable sources of any kind which even remotely suggest that Ramtha actually exists (for a rather obvious set of reasons) I think that it is not ok for ANY line of the entry to suggest that it's a simple uncontroversial fact. No, a single mention that she "claims to channel" is not enough to protect the reader from misinformation and bias.
The racist comment scandal is not just about JZ Knight but about Ramtha and the school. It needs to be prominent as it is the most prominent mention of the school in recent memory. I would suggest that both the fact that the school is widely regarded as a cult, and that the leader is known for making racist comments needs to be in the lede for neutrality. Burying such critical information while at the same time pretending that since "some people believe" we have to act like it is true that Ramtha exist gives me little confidence in your sincerity in terms of writing a real encyclopedia entry rather than what you are being paid to do. I recommend that you return the money.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:48, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that Calstarry has introduced puffery intentionally. The problem is that some of the reliable sources that cover Knight and the school (e.g., J.R. Lewis) treat Ramtha as a real entity (at least "real" in the minds of Ramtha followers), and the draft article accurately reflects the language those references use. Introducing reliable sources that cast a more critical eye on the New Age movement would help correct the perception that there is any widespread acceptance of Ramtha's existence. References to the school that go into much detail can be a pain to locate, as they are for other small movements. I will continue to look for additional sources as I have time, but the other reference books on new religions that I have on hand do not include more than basic outlines and mentions regarding the school. I hope that other editors will contribute material from additional reliable references that they are able to access. • Astynax talk 23:19, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo and Astynax, thank you both for your comments. Astynax, I agree with you, it can be difficult to find clear, reliable sources on the topic. If other editors know of sources they think have been overlooked, please share them. Jimbo, the comments below are in response to your message above Astynax's comment.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I understand it is long, but I think all of these points needed to be stated clearly. I understand that "paid editing" is a hot issue on Wikipedia right now, so the intense scrutiny is understandable. I also have gathered that people have preconceived notions about this topic that are perhaps influencing the discussion. Regardless of how anyone feels about this school personally, I believe they deserve fair and unbiased inclusion in this encyclopedia following the same rules that apply to all other topics. Since we seem to be disagreeing on the neutrality of the draft, and debates between two people generally yield few results, I'm going to reach out on NPOVN and COIN to see if there are other editors (in addition to Astynax, whose comments I agree with) who can weigh in. Calstarry (talk) 00:20, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Just a word to the wise: introducing "walls of text" will almost certainly scare away helpful interlopers (Jimmy is financially involved here, but most of us are just hobbyists). Can you express that more compactly? See tl;dr for more ;-). --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 00:29, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
SB Johnny, you know full well that I am not financially involved here. Don't misrepresent the fact so blatantly, please.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:23, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Hi SB Johnny, apologies for the "wall of text", I just didn't want to miss anything in my reply to Jimbo. As you think a more succinct version would be helpful, I have "hidden" the long reply above and summarized the key points here:

  • My aim has been to follow sources in how they describe the school and its activities, but I've been clear about attributing claims (eg. "According to Knight"), so I don't believe readers would come away from my draft thinking the existence of Ramtha is a widely agreed upon fact.
  • To describe the school as "widely regarded" as a cult seems to contradict the guideline on WP:WEASEL words, which specifically says "it is widely thought" should be avoided.
  • Additionally, there are no reliable sources I've seen that state that the school is "widely regarded as a cult", if one is found, I would not be opposed to its inclusion. The only reliable sources I've seen mentioning this criticism attribute it to a group of former student.
  • Regarding the racist remarks made by JZ Knight while she was said to have been channeling Ramtha, this information is not included in the present article, I am not "obscuring" this information but in fact the first to suggest adding this.
  • While I feel the racist remarks should be mentioned, it seems like WP:RECENTISM and WP:UNDUE to mention this in the introduction and highlight it in the article: it was one event out of nearly 40 years of history, was not reported on outside Washington State and was resolved within one year.
  • My agreement with the school is to discuss this article with Wikipedia editors and find improvements. No specific results have been guaranteed.

To invite other editors who are knowledgeable on issues of neutrality and paid editing, I have reached out on NPOVN and COIN. To any editors who are new to this discussion, please review My suggested draft and the current version of the page as you would any other topic. Calstarry (talk) 17:37, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Newcomers to the discussion will also find this link which compares Calstarry's draft to the current version to be helpful.
I think we need to make a decision on the best way to proceed - one possibility would be for people to work together on your draft (which I regard as problematic) to reach consensus before making a move here, or whether we should perhaps break this down section by section and work to compare the two and integrate whatever changes are useful. I prefer the latter approach because it keeps the history of the article cleaner for future editors.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:28, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
"The only reliable sources I've seen mentioning this criticism (that RSE is a cult) attribute it to a group of former student." I don't see how you could possibly have reached that conclusion. Virtually every source refers to it as a cult. There are at least a dozen of them from independent journalists worldwide. Failing to note this in the lede would be a serious disservice to the reader, as it is the single most uniformly salient fact about the organization.----Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:50, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Jimbo. I still disagree that virtually every source refers to the school as a cult. While I do see that two of the sources you shared in the thread below make the statement, with no framing or attribution of the claim to a specific source, that Ramtha's School of Enlightenment is a cult, I think it should be pointed out that this news event is a very "sensational" story and that discussing the two individuals as "cult members" adds to the sensationalism.
When you look to sources that provide more in depth and thorough coverage of the school and it's history you'll see that the school's alleged status as a cult is handled more thoughtfully.
Here are two sources that paint a broader picture of the school and discuss whether or not the school is a cult, and who has made these statements:
Anyhow, if this issue is going to hold up further discussions on other parts of the article I'd like to suggest a compromise so that we can move forward and discuss some of the more pressing issues. Can we agree to add something similar to the following to the lede?
The school has been described as a cult, though it denies this accusation.
This way both points of view are included in the introduction. Let me know what you think. I'm also open to your suggestion of working section by section. I can post a new thread about one of the smaller sections of the article, maybe Related projects, and we can start small. Calstarry (talk) 18:40, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Opinions among independent sources widely describe it as a cult [1]. LuckyLouie (talk) 15:43, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

The term "cult" has legitimate usages in sociology, history, theology, psychology and other fields of study. Unfortunately, in overwhelming popular usage the word has post-Jonestown pejorative meanings. Per WP:RNPOV, I would argue that it usually should be avoided unless the sense in which it is being used can be specified. Alternatively, it should be easy enough for editors to just skip the word and instead describe the idea they wish to convey using other terms. I personally would like to be able to use the word, as its old, formal meaning fits this and other such groups very well, but I understand that most readers will associate "cult" with well-known physically dangerous groups such as Heaven's Gate or Solar Temple. Perhaps one day the useful word will be rehabilitated (some scholars would also like that) without the baggage it now carries, but until then I doubt that Wikipedia should be the venue for such a campaign, except as a subject in the Cult article, which itself needs some cleanup. • Astynax talk 19:35, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, I am inclined to agree with Astynax here. Cult used to be a perfectly good word, but it is too often understood as being a reference to destructive groups, and too often used as a reference to "groups we don't like". ~Adjwilley (talk) 20:12, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Another story worth of consideration[edit]

--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:44, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Hi Jimbo. I did come across this news story in my research of the school. I felt that it didn't belong in the article because the actions of the couple are not related to their former membership in the school. The French couple were 'fanatics': school source notes that the couple had not been in contact with the school, or other school members, for years before the crime was committed. The source goes on to say:
Menell said few people, in response to the media reports on the couple, seemed to take the link of Meniere's actions with the teachings of RSE very seriously.
“It seems quite clear that they acted from their own personal perspectives,” she said.
Menell said it was clear that the “tragic actions” of the couple were in no way consistent with what she had learnt at RSE.
The Huge manhunt for cult couple source makes no connection between their actions and their membership with the school, but simply says that they were members of the school.
The Couple part of doomsday group source also mentions their "links" to the school and says:
Notes on the Ramtha School of Enlightenment were found alongside medical supplies, emergency packs and survival guides in the fugitive couple’s farmhouse.
Again, this doesn't mean that their actions were motivated, sponsored or related to their former affiliation with Ramtha's School of Enlightenment.
What to other editors think about this? Again, if we work section by section we can discuss this event more fully when we get to the History section. Calstarry (talk) 18:42, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
If a reliable source draws a connection to such incidents, then it should be reported in the article. These are marginal, IMO, but may be relevant if (or when) a secondary or tertiary source refers to such behavior. I believe the apocalyptic overtones of the teachings also need to be mentioned, as sources do highlight these (see New Age Religion and Western Culture, Lewis's Encyclopedia). It would also be good to adjust the tone by using more qualifiers (see Historical Dictionary of New Age Movements for an article that does this better). Although a writer in the field of psychiatry or sociology may wish to treat Ramtha, encounters, channeling or narratives as real for the purposes of their work (as I said before, if they are real in people's minds, that is how subjects are approached in these disciplines), it does not mean that we cannot use qualifiers to avoid giving undue weight to unverified claims. The issue of Knight's involving students in questionable investments in her horse breeding business should also be mentioned, as this is also mentioned by several references. Other critical views (such as in Martin Gardner's The New Age pp. 195–205) also need to be noted to balance the text. • Astynax talk 20:35, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Fresh start: Research section[edit]


It seems like our conversations have gotten very complex and too broad to lead to any immediate changes to the article. In hopes of improving this article, and at the suggestion of several other editors, I agree that it is time we look at this article section by section.

I'd like to ask editors to review and work through the Research section with me. I've chosen this section because my version and the current version are very similar and I thought it would be a good place to start discussions. I'd like to go over the concerns I have with the current version and the changes I've made in my draft to help everyone better understand why I've prepared my revision the way I have.

I understand that two of the sources I've used in my draft require a subscription. Let me know if you have any questions about what specifically these sources say. I'd be happy to provide quotes.

I have added my revised suggestion for this section to my user space. This is the exact same section that appears in the full draft version in my user space, but I thought it would be easier for editors to view just this section by itself so you can see exactly which sources I've used. Also, if editors want to compare the two versions side-by-side or make revisions to my suggested version it will probably be easier to do this way.

Here is the current version: Research

Here is my revised suggestion: Research into Ramtha

I hope this will be a more fruitful way to discuss improvements to the article. Please let me know what you think about the two version and my notes above. Perhaps I have not stated this clearly enough before, but I am open to discussing this revision, as it is a suggestion, and making changes. In fact, if you would like to make constructive changes to the draft in my user space yourself, feel free to do so. Thank you for working through this with me. Calstarry (talk) 20:29, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

I have declined your edit request.It is not appropriate to make edit requests to an outside editor for things that are already being actively discussed on the page. If you can point to consensus on this page for any particular edit then I would be willing to make it on your behalf, but not otherwise. SpinningSpark 12:52, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
One big red flag in the proposed revision is the weight given to claims that a supernatural event "could not be verified or denied", which runs squarely afoul of WP:FRINGE. - LuckyLouie (talk) 13:47, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that was one of the things that immediately jumped out at me after seeing that phrase discussed here on the talk page. I presume that it was in the article at one time and got removed. If so, it is doubly inappropriate to make such an edit request. SpinningSpark 18:03, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Testimonies[edit]

This page in general seems to be all critism, there is a subject collumn for that but critism is entered under every topic instead of real facts and relevant information to allow a person to make up their own mind about whats given. The balance is very biased to the critics, I have added a bit of relevant information but don;t know how to fix an unintentional edit I made because it still appears correct on the edit page but doesn't appear on the actual page? Help Carolyn — Preceding unsigned comment added by Carolyn F. GiaMarco (talkcontribs) 21:46, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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Coordinate error[edit]

{{geodata-check}}

The following coordinate fixes are needed for Ramtha School of Enlightenment

coordinates should point to an area NW of Yelm, WA which is near Olympia, WA in the United States.


2601:603:4800:2EF0:59EA:AECB:F09B:D7B9 (talk) 06:00, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

 Done. A simple error of east rather than west longitude. Thanks for pointing out the problem. Deor (talk) 16:03, 15 July 2017 (UTC)