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Stair’s Way to Heaven


Brother Stair

3,897 words

Millions of prayers are daily unanswered because man prays to a God who does not exist. — Neville Goddard[1] [2]

When last we caught up with (perhaps poor choice of words for someone so jail-prone) Brother Stair and his Overcomer Ministry,[2] [3] the “Last Day Prophet of God [4]” had emerged from detention on a ridiculously extreme load of felonies[3] [5] and begun an apparent return to his divinely-ordained fifty-year project to bring God’s latest message to his cringing or defiant creatures:

“Jesus Christ is Coming in Your Lifetime! This is the Last Generation[4] [6] . . . The Last Hour . . . Prepare to Meet your God!”[5] [7]

Readers of my first report on Brother Stair[6] [8] will recall that having discovered his broadcast on a late night/early morning AM radio station, I had become fascinated with his mad ambition. Cobbling together not so much a network as an unstable and rapidly mutating rhizome [9] of AM and short-wave stations, the Internet of course, and even a phone line for grandma to listen in on all day, like an apocalyptic party line (“Make sure to call during low rate times!”), Stair claimed to be able to broadcast his message 24/7 to every corner of the planet, apparently – as in Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Nine Billion Names of God [10]” – intending to immanentize the eschaton [11] and bring about the Apocalypse by fulfilling Jesus’ command to preach the Gospel – or at least, Brother Stair’s unique version of it – to the whole world.[7] [12]

Although has at least once mentioned J. Vernon McGee, he seems to have never noticed that Magee’s project (Through the Bible [13]) seeks to deliver “the whole Word to the whole world” by actually translating his programs – a five year Fundamentalist tour of the entire Bible – into hundreds of languages so that people can actually understand them [14].[8] [15]

In fact, he seems not to have read Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

The epistle says the gospel has already penetrated the whole world (1: 6), that it “has been preached to every creature under heaven” (1: 23). What? Already in Paul’s day? You mean the Great Commission (Matt. 28: 19-20) is already completed? Well, that’s nice to know.[9] [16]

It occurs to one that Br. Stair seems more interested in having his own voice heard worldwide than actually communicating anything of value, however dubious.[10] [17]

But then there was the message itself, or more importantly, as McLuhan would point out, the medium. Stair’s broadcasts, drawing on almost a half-century of recorded material, were a surreal mix of deliberate eclecticism – long out-of-date “prophecies”; corny gospel songs (mostly sung by a high, though unsteadily-pitched, female voice); thunderous Mormon Tabernacle-like choruses; bitter, Fred Sandford-style attacks on listeners who dared to call in with doubts, or even questions; stolen news broadcasts of supposedly apocalyptic events (“another earthquake!”) or Illuminati shenanigans; Bible readings professionally recorded in some plummy “ac-tor” style; blasts on a shofar (perhaps Br. Stair himself?), and so on – overlaid with technological incompetence, as material would be not so much “mixed” as violently assaulted and slammed into, not unlike the editing style of a Coleman Francis or Ed Wood.[11] [18]

I’ve never heard any radio broadcasts from the Church of the SubGenius, but I imagine they would sound just like this.

Stair seems to have rebuilt his audio empire,[12] [19] rising from the ashes like, if not Lazarus, then like Jeffrey Epstein circa 2008; proving, as I speculated in my first article, that shortwave and AM broadcasters are so hungry for material, and fees, that they’ll broadcast anything.[13] [20] So, why not the Dissident Right Hour [21]?

Indeed, if anything, he’s moved into the mainstream. Being a natural-born cheapskate, my Overcomer phone app has ads – actual brief little thirty-second commercials before Stair kicks in – from perfectly “legitimate” companies like GEICO and Progressive. I assume they sponsor the app rather than the program, but surely they would be very surprised by who and what Flo [22] precedes.

But there have been some changes. Devotees have purchased a wireless mike for Stair, and now he frequently wanders around his compound – restrained by his GPS ankle bracelet[14] [23] –  reminiscing, meditating on the seasonal changes, and so on.

More importantly, his theology seems to have shifted a bit, in a rather worrisome way. Brother Stair has reached the super-Biblical age of 86, and death seems to have perceptible features at the South Carolina farmstead.[15] [24]

Brother Stair will soon die, he assures us – “or be killed!”[16] [25] – and the mystery of why the apocalypse has been awaited in vain for fifty years is explained: When he dies, it will come.[17] [26]

More concerning – to me at least – was a recent comment about his monetary needs. Stair casually mentioned not just that he needs ten million dollars to keep renting a particular shortwave rebroadcaster, but that he’s already raised over forty-five million – “all of which,” he assures us, “goes to broadcasting.”

I’m sure it does. One thing you can say about Br. Stair, however iffy his sex life may be, is that he’s not spending the money on silk suits and Bentleys.

But wait a minute . . . Great googly-moogly,[18] [27] has this guy burned through fifty-five million dollars!? Fifty-five million dollars?! What could the Dissident Right have done with such money? Or Counter-Currents?[19] [28] Or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital? But rather than sounding like someone’s grandpa – stop wasting your money, you damn kids! – let’s take a look at a deeper problem.

It’s easy to laugh at, or despise, the apocalypticist – folks who absurdly overemphasize a few books, or even a few verses, of the Bible and spend their lives in cringing anticipation of an event that never occurs. But are they any worse than the average Christian . . . perhaps you, hypocrite lecteur?

What is apocalypticism other than taking the Bible seriously – as a history of the past, and the future? I mean, if Genesis is “true,” and Matthew is “true,” isn’t the Revelation of St. John true, or will be? The apocalypticist simply focuses his attention on the future, not the past.

What the apocalyptist and the ordinary pew potato share in common, of course, is a particular way to take the Bible seriously – rooted in a desire to respond to the Bible by focusing on anything other than . . . the present; i.e., on themselves. Yet isn’t that the message of the Bible? As the archaic torso says to Rilke, you must change yourself.

How else to take the Bible seriously? Neville Goddard suggests another way:

The Bible has no reference at all to any persons who ever existed or to any event that ever occurred upon earth.

The ancient story tellers were not writing history but an allegorical picture lesson of certain basic principles which they clothed in the garb of history, and they adapted these stories to the limited capacity of a most uncritical and credulous people.

Throughout the centuries we have mistakenly taken personifications for persons, allegory for history, the vehicle that conveyed the instruction for the instruction, and the gross first sense for the ultimate sense intended.[20] [29]

As always, your mileage may vary, but for myself, I found this reorientation – which Neville reiterates in almost every book or lecture – to be quite liberating; almost a Kantian or Copernican turnabout. Max Schenk, quoting this same passage, expresses [30] the same sense of “great doors suddenly flung open”:[21] [31]

It’s funny to me now that, several years ago, after years of exploring the history of the Christian church and finding irreconcilable contradictions at every turn, I had NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in the Bible. Any interest I had was that of a skeptic: I explored (superficially) authors like Bart Ehrman [32], who has made an academic career out of delving into the Bible’s historicity. But I really felt like, as a book that contained any sort of message of relevant truth, the Bible was bullshit.

I’m seeing, in exploring these texts even superficially, with Neville’s teachings as a guide, that the “historicity” of the Bible that matters most is not that of the events or people it purports to depict. . . . While I would dispute Neville’s assertion that “the Bible has no reference at all to any persons who ever existed” (Jesus, Pilate, Paul and others depicted in the Bible were, according to other accounts, real people whose existence is corroborated in non-scriptural historic records, although they may not have said or done what is attributed to them in the Bible),[22] [33]do agree with Neville’s core belief about the Bible: that its meaning and importance is …, as he put it, that the people in its stories were depicted symbolically, as representative of states of consciousness… in particular, the states of consciousness a person passes through on his journey to awakening to his or her true identity as God embodied. (Neville’s excellent piece “The Twelve Disciples, [34]” a chapter from his book Your Faith Is Your Fortune [35], typifies that interpretive approach.)

Scholars of apocalypticism – yes, there is such a discipline – have identified the sociological profile – the Sitz in Leben [36] – of those to whom apocalyptic literature appeals: Jews living under Roman occupation:

Richard A. Horsley and John Dominic Crossan have suggested that apocalypticism, with its apparent quietism, yet simultaneously rooting for the overthrow of the evil powers, must be seen as the impotent response of the retainer class. The ruling class (e.g., high priests Menelaus and Jason, the latter paying for Olympic sacrifices to Hercules!) sees nothing amiss, since they are collaborating with the Hellenizing foreigners. The lower classes and the dispossessed, more suited to pragmatic action, less literate and less likely to live in a world of abstractions, pay little heed to written apocalypses and instead field actual warrior messiahs. But the retainers (scribes, lower priests, etc.) merely dream of a better day.[23] [37]

Consider, Price suggests, the Left Behind [38] series of low-budget post-apocalypse films:

The viewers would dearly love to see the End come for real, but in the meantime, playing pretend with these awful movies is about all they can do. But it’s good enough for the moment. That’s what the written apocalypses were for, too.

Stripped of sociology, we can see here a tri-fold typology: the worldly (William James’ “once born”) who feel entirely satisfied with the ways things are and see no reason to seek anything else; those who are content (or forced) to merely dream of a future redemption (accompanied by just retribution directed to their tormenters), and those who take action. As a more positive model than “lower class and dispossessed,” consider this from Francis Parker Yockey:

The picture of life most suitable for the man of action is that life is an artistic task to be performed in the service of the will-to-power. . . . His ethic of discipline is the one least divergent from the true nature of higher man as a type. Such an ethic is an ethic of fact as distinguished from that advocated in the Sermon on the Mount, which is completely at variance with fact in every word.[24] [39]

It’s not to say that Stair’s perspective has nothing to say for it. In my original article, I mentioned how his post-housing bubble mockery of those who failed to join his homestead in order to be “big shots” with expensive homes and are now too broke and indebted to even try to join up had a certain mordant amusement value; it’s also true, in a backhanded way. In general, his – I mean, God’s – demand that everyone abandon the cities (God plans to nuke them first, and real good [40]), their jobs, cars, cell phones, computers, fancy restaurants, the whole consumer lifestyle of the Godless system, strikes a kind of chord with the Dissident Right.[25] [41]

For example, I recently learned from Br. Stair that shopping is a sin. “Did you know shopping is a sin? Did you? No, you didn’t, did you, you damned heathen!” Indeed, I didn’t; it turns out to be just another “normal” activity that (some) evangelicals have a grudge against, like dancing or Halloween. But at least there’s a logic to it, as part of the anti-Babylon stance, and indeed chimes in with Greg Johnson’s admonition to “stop shopping for Christmas [42].”

Nevertheless, once his followers (now apparently reduced to 30 or 40, about ten percent of their all-time high)[26] [43] are ensconced, they seem to have little to do but attend to chores (i.e., support Stair and his family) and wait for the end.

No wonder rapper Craig Mack was attracted to the cult, eventually dying not in a hail of bullets but from Brother Stair’s disdain for worldly medicine.[27] [44]

The manner in which [Kanye] West structures his full-length releases is a perfect glimpse into the psyche of American blacks who have been thrust into a world in which eternal salvation is promised to them in spite of their generally abhorrent behavior. Volumes of output, mostly in the form of uninteresting hip-hop, have been created by American blacks from walks of life as unsavory as gangbangers and drug dealers about the importance of God and the premise of eternal life. It’s such a recurring theme in the art of various dark-skinned ne’er do wells that one wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the average American black loves Jesus more than a white farmer from Minnesota.[28] [45]

Neville’s approach to the Bible also counsels us to withdraw from the world – though not to withdraw ourselves, but rather our attention. All people and things, however evil and degenerate they may be, are there to show us what we think we are, and what we give our attention to (which is what makes us what we are), since the world is nothing but our imagination “out-pushed.” To change ourselves – to better ourselves, actualize ourselves, “become who we are,” however you want to put it – we must work on ourselves, withdrawing not ourselves but our attention from the world – to gradually change ourselves; and thus change the world. This is the real Apocalypse.

I now know the truth of Blake’s words: “If the Spectre would enter into these images in his Imagination, approaching them on the Fiery Chariot of his Contemplative Thought. If he would make a friend and companion of any one of these images which always intrigues him to leave mortal things as he must know, then will he rise from the dead; then will he meet the Lord in the air and then he will be Happy.”[29] [46]

Brother Stair also rightfully mocks the “prosperity gospel – another favorite of the black community[30] [47] – but for Neville “The Law” (as in Oprah’s “Law of Attraction”) is only a preliminary step, a kind of clearing of the decks, before one can experience the fulfilment of “The Promise” (unity with God):

One day you will be so saturated with wealth, so saturated with power in the world of Caesar, you will turn your back on it all and go in search for the Word of God.[31] [48]

And what would Neville say about Brother Stair?

I turned on the TV, and things were coming on. And here’s this man . . . I don’t know who he is, and I don’t want to know; and he’s talking of two kinds of hell: an upper hell and a lower hell. Well, Lord! There’s no one better equipped to enter them than he is! And here he is spieling off this nonsense to the world about an upper hell and a lower hell; and people think because someone is on TV that they are suddenly endowed with intelligence; that when someone spends twenty million dollars to publicize himself, suddenly he is a wise person. What nonsense! My father had a saying: “Money doesn’t care who owns it.” If you have twenty million dollars, and you want yourself publicized, spend your twenty million dollars, and think yourself wise because you spent it.[32] [49]


[1] [50] Your Faith is Your Fortune (1941), Chapter Seventeen, “Prayer.” Neville continues, “Consciousness being God, one must seek in consciousness for the thing desired by assuming the consciousness of the quality desired. Only as one does this will his prayers be answered.” As Sartre would say, consciousness is always consciousness of.

[2] [51] See “Overcomer to the End: The Return of Brother Stair [52].”

[3] [53] Three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct; one count of assault with intent to commit first-degree criminal sexual conduct; one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor; one count of second-degree assault; and, in a prosecutorial burst of “oh, what the hell,” one count of kidnapping and one count of burglary.

[4] [54] As opposed to the Lost Generation.

[5] [55] Brother Stair maintains (I almost wrote “argues,” but Brother Stair hardly argues) that when God decides to take action, he first selects a spokesman to bring the word to humanity, and only then strikes.

[6] [56] See “If Not the End of the World, At Least the End of An Era . . . [57]”.

[7] [58] “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 15:16 (King James version).

[8] [59] “Praise God for this exciting report: ‘Over the last seven years TWR-Romania has distributed more than 6,000 fixed-tuned solar panel radios, produced by Galcom-Canada, to listeners inside and outside Romania. The radios allow Roma people throughout the region to listen to Thru the Bible programs in their own dialect.’ Pray for God to reach more gypsies with the hope of Jesus Christ!”

[9] [60] Robert M. Price, Holy Fable Volume Three: The Epistles and the Apocalypse Undistorted by Faith (Mindvendor, 2018).

[10] [61] It should be noted, as both Dr. McGee and Br. Stair have emphasized, that if one hears the Gospel and then fails to assent to it, one is irretrievably damned (the sin against the Holy Ghost which cannot be forgiven), and thus worse off than before. Thanks, guys!

[11] [62] The effect was very much like a jump cut in Coleman Francis’ Red Zone Cuba, which prompted Mike Nelson to exclaim, “Whoa, my neck got broken in that jump cut!” (MST3k episode 619). Stair also liked to mix in a random thunderclap, not unlike the one that appears in every Ed Wood film (and perhaps is exactly the same sound bite).

[12] [63] “Brother Stair is building up his radio station outreach, assuring them that this is all blowing over, which it’s not. This is against his words in late 2017 when he said his radio ministry was over and he would not be going on radio any longer.” See Brother Stan’s report, “Despising God,” updated May 29, 2019 [64].

[13] [65] Dog of Flanders! Could Stair, like Epstein, “belong to Intelligence [66]?” That would certainly explain the broadcasting.

[14] [67] “Despising God,” op. cit.

[15] [68] “I’m beginning to get scared shitless, because all of a sudden it’s closer to the end than the beginning, and death is suddenly a perceptible thing to me, with definable features.” Max Schumacher (William Holden), Network (Sidney Lumet, 1975); for more on “the best movie ever made,” see Trevor Lynch’s “Ten Favorite Films [69].”

[16] [70] Lieutenant John Harper: “But one thing’s sure. Inspector Clay is dead . . . murdered, and somebody’s responsible!” Plan Nine from Outer Space (Ed Wood, 1959).

[17] [71] Price (op. cit.) notes that “[b]esides, death would only be in Paul’s interest! As a martyr, he would not need to wait for the End-Time resurrection along with everyone else, but would go straight to join Christ in heavenly glory (cf., Rev. 6: 9-11; 20: 4-6). You can’t beat that!” Interestingly, Stair rants against those who preach the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture (as in the Left Behind series), insisting that his listeners will have to go through the whole ordeal, while apparently he will be upstairs laughing. “Pre-tribulation Rapture [72]” was taught by the Plymouth Brethren, which included Aleister Crowley’s parents.

[18] [73] Defined [74] by the Urban Dictionary as an “interjection, similar to ‘great Caesar’s ghost [75]’ and ‘jumpin’ Jehosaphat [76],’ this nonsense phrase can be heard in the song ‘Goin’ Down Slow’ by Howlin Wolf, and in Frank Zappa’s song ‘Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow.’ Sure, anyone can shout ‘holy shit’ or ‘jesus fucking christ [77].’ but it takes a person of rare insight and a sense of musical history to say “great googly-moogly” without sounding infantile.”

[19] [78] By the way, donate now!

[20] [79] Neville Goddard, “Consciousness Is The Only Reality” in Five Lessons: A Master Class (1948); reissued with a bonus chapter by Mitch Horowitz (New York: Tarcher/Perigree, 2018); reviewed here [80]. In “Doer of the Word,” the Introduction to his abridged edition of Neville’s 1952 book The Power of Awareness (Gildan Media, 2019), Mitch Horowitz says that, “Of all the writers to emerge from the American metaphysical scene in the last century, Neville was the most elegant as a literary figure and communicator. (In this regard, he’s closely rivaled by Alan Watts.)” I would agree, and offer this passage as an example.

[21] [81] “In the more technical passages MacKenna’s vigorous and lucid English is in fact greatly preferable to the crabbed and often careless Greek of the original; and where Plotinus soars, he conveys far better than any other translator that sense of ‘great doors flung open suddenly’ of which he spoke in one of his letters.: E. R. Dodds, “Foreword,” in Plotinus: The Enneads, translated by Stephen MacKenna [82] (London: Medici Society, 1917–1930) (an online version [83] is available at Sacred Texts); second edition, B. S. Page (ed.), Faber, 1956.

[22] [84] Well, Neville certainly painted with a broad brush in denying the existence of anyone in the Bible; Pilate, Caesar Augustus, Cyrus, and so on certainly were “real people whose existence is corroborated in non-scriptural historic records”; but as for the main dramatis personae, Jesus, the apostles, even Paul (see Robert M. Price, The Incredible Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul [Signature Books, 2012]), the evidence is slight to none. Even Bart Ehrman, in his last-ditch defense of the academic status quo, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth (New York: Harper/One, 2012), ultimately clings to nothing but the slender reed of claiming there must have been an oral tradition the gospels (otherwise indeed totally fictional) drew inspiration from. Of course, since the “oral tradition” is, by definition, unwritten and otherwise lost without a trace, it hardly counts as “evidence,” though Ehrman the academic gatekeeper lets his lay readers think he and other academics must have access to this “evidence.” As Richard Carrier summarizes [85] it: “Ehrman . . . is deliberately misleading the public with his choice of words. He is misrepresenting merely possible, and purely hypothetical sources (whose exact and complete content is unknown to us), as if they were sources we have . . . Such evidence is simply not ‘astounding.’ It is in fact deeply problematic. And it grossly misleads the public to say otherwise.”

[23] [86] Price, op. cit.

[24] [87] “Life as an Art,” reprinted in The World in Flames: The Shorter Writings of Francis Parker Yockey [88]; ed. K. R. Bolton and John Morgan (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2019), pp. 53-54.

[25] [89] To be clear, Stair often plays, then ruthlessly mocks, clips from those “doomsters” who want you to think buying a little gold and freeze-dried food from them will enable you to survive the End Times. There’s no way out, no one weird trick: Join Stair’s compound or get to know the Lake of Fire.

[26] [90] In typical fashion, Stair cites the mass desertions, since his most recent incarceration is more proof of the End Times, “for it is said that before the end, his follows will desert him,” and so on.

[27] [91] His story is told in “Overcomer to the End [52].” Admittedly, Stair himself is an excellent recommendation, being all of 86, although he admits his teeth are a mess; when his older recordings are replayed his voice is much less mushy.

[28] [92] Scott Weisswald, “I Miss the Old Kanye [93].”

[29] [94] “Enter the Dream,” 11-21-1969.

[30] [95] I would make an exception for the Rev. Ike, who freely admitted the influence of Neville; in fact, his videos are excellent restatements of Neville’s teachings [96].

[31] [97]A Lesson in Scripture [98],” lecture, October 23, 1967.

[32] [99]Test Him and See [100],” 7-25-69.