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The Passing Over of The Overcomer

[1]11,114 words

Mr. Reagan is not going to make it to the year 1987, I can tell you that much. Now you mark that down.

— Brother Stair, 1987

We don’t reckon time the same way, do we, Clarice?

Silence of the Lambs


Another Watchman has died.

The End has finally come, really, and on Passover at that. The Voice of the Last Day Prophet is stilled. Say what you will about Bro. Stair, the man had a theatrical flair. He passed away late Sabbath evening, April 3, at the age of 87, exactly one month away from his 88th birthday.

Official Announcement of Brother Stair’s Death [2]

With great faith in the power of the resurrection and the nearness of Jesus’ second coming. The Overcomer Ministry announces the passing of our dear Brother, Prophet R.G. Stair. On the third of April 2021 at 11:17 PM, Brother Stair passed away at his home in Canady’s, South Carolina.

On behalf of the saints here we would like to thank you all for your faithful and continued support throughout these many years. Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward and seek God’s direction for the Overcomer Ministry. Continuing on, by faith, and holding fast to the precious promises of Christ’s soon return. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Maranatha!

In this essay, I want to examine the Stair Phenomenon, and look at ways it sheds some light — perhaps — on various issues of interest to Counter-Currents readers, such as the nature of Christianity, its value to the kind of society valued by the Dissident Right, the light it sheds on the Dissident Right itself, and, of course, the teachings of Neville Goddard.

Constant Readers will know of my longtime fascination with Brother Ralph G. Stair [3], whose broadcasts uniquely combined hardshell rural American apocalypticism with a naïve approach to editing on the fly that approached Sub-Genius levels of accidental Dadaism. Before there was an internet, [1] [4] Bro. Stair had cobbled together a worldwide network of shortwave satellites and AM stations — and more recently, an iPhone app — that brought his message of the coming Judgement — ever nigh, these past 50 years — to the Elect in every nation on Earth. [2] [5]

Why the interest in Stair? Well, from first to last, sheer amusement: not only the aforementioned accidental Dada, but also his abrupt and peevish way of dealing with anyone foolish enough to take him up on the offer to leave a message. Stair seldom talked to anyone live, but would direct listeners to a line where a message could be recorded, which he assured them he would listen to, and respond, “as the Lord directs me” — a neat way of shrugging off responsibility to “get back to you as soon as possible.”

Messages he found particularly irksome would be played on the air later and then he would offload a torrent of abuse: “You peanut brain! How stupid you are! You spawn of Satan!” [3] [6] Even sermons would veer off into attacks on the hard-hearted and hard-headed audience — “Do you have a Bible? Would you like to get it? Would that help you to understand?”

There was no charm offensive from Bro. Stair; long before PUA and “game” he had perfected the shit test. But say what you will about him, there was no attempt to leverage his vast radio audience into the creation of a fabulously wealthy mega-church to rival the usual “televangelist.”

Over time, however, as one began to grasp the outlines of his theological perspective, he began to seem a valuable live specimen of original, primitive, Christianity, a veritable coelacanth of the pulpit. It may be only one strand of Christianity, of the many that were taped together into the collage we recognize as Christianity, [4] [7] but it is a powerful one. [5] [8]

Of more relevance to Counter-Currents readers, however, is the question of the value of that specimen for the Dissident Right; I think it is two-fold: first, can Christianity be a reliable ally to the Right, and secondly, what traits of Christianity does the Right itself manifest, to its misfortune?

It might be useful at this point to sketch in some of the homemade theology that provides the backdrop for Bro. Stair’s message. Like many self-styled “fundamentalists,” Stair may sneer at “non-Biblical” sources, from Catholic Tradition to the Book of Mormon, yet fundamental to his thought is a rather dubious bit of scripture: the Book of Enoch [9]. [6] [10] This was a piece of very late Jewish/very early Christian apocalypticism, whose claim on canonicity rested on the slender reed of a short quote or paraphrase in the Epistle of Jude (itself a late, minor, somewhat dubious text).

If you’ve never heard of it, I guarantee you’ve heard of what’s in it. Its equivocal status has made it a magnet for those seekers seeking the “hidden books” or “what they left out of” the Bible. Moreover, it’s sort of like the Star Wars prequels: intended to fill in some gaps in the original account, while actually creating some new ones. But unlike those, it actually proved to be quite popular with the fans, and contains many tropes of “Christian culture” that aren’t actually “in the Bible” or taught by any denominations; as Wikipedia concisely puts it:

Enoch contains unique material on the origins of demons and Nephilim [“giants” or “Watchers”], why some angels fell from heaven, an explanation of why the Genesis flood was morally necessary, and prophetic exposition of the thousand-year reign of the Messiah.

You see, dear readers, God originally created three orders of angels, one of which was tasked with nothing but continuous praise of the Almighty. [7] [11] In charge of this essential function was Azazel:

Azaz, as in Azazel, means strength, so the name Azazel can refer to “strength of God.” But the sense in which it is used most probably means “impudent” (showing strength towards), which results in “arrogant to God.” This is also a key point in modern thought that Azazel is Satan. Also important in this identification is the fact that the original name Rameel, is very similar in meaning to the word Lucifer (“Morning Star”) which is a common Latin name of Satan in Christianity. (Wikipedia)

Well, you can see where this is going. Satan (let’s call him that for simplicity) was too big for his britches and organized a revolt of other malcontents. [8] [12] After a “war in Heaven” God creates the Earth, to the center of which Satan is hurled and thus imprisoned (although he is also thus the “ruler of this world,” so there’s that).

The Earth will play another role as well. For Heaven is now empty of praise! I know, right? But why couldn’t God have foreseen this revolt, and maybe made Satan a little less stuck up? Don’t know. Why can’t some of the other angels pitch in and help out while they’re short-handed? Why can’t he just create more angels? Don’t know.

Instead, God creates a new creature, Man, a little lower than the angels, [9] [13] and sends him to Earth, and then deliberately tempts him to sin (“See that tree over there?”), i.e. revolt all over again, joining up with Satan, so that again most of them will be damned, but after the entire universe is destroyed, [10] [14] the faithful remainder — the saints — will first rule over a new Heaven and Earth for a thousand years, and then rise to Heaven to praise God forever and ever; or else.

Why? Don’t know. There seems to be some kind of unsolvable problem which the tradition keeps returning to, as here — God for some reason needs constant praise, but only a being with free will would be worthy of even praising him, and such a being is capable of revolt (indeed, likely to, since an eternity of praising God really sucks [11] [15]) — but that need not detain us. In the spirit of “God said it, I believe it, and that’s that,” Bro Stair invites us to believe this story, or else: go to Hell. I mean literally: “Go to Hell, you Satan!”

So this is the background for the message of the Last Days Prophet. And what was that message? What are we to do, and when are we to do it?

Basically, the same as Yahweh’s message to Abraham: “Get up! Get out! Get away!” [12] [16] The Hebrew lekh lekh-ha is an abrupt command demanding immediate action, unlike a timeless commandment such as “Thou shalt,” somewhat along the lines of “Move your ass [17]!”

RG Stair’s so-called “Commands of the Lord [18]“:

Get out of the cities.
Get out of debt.
Get out of the churches.
Get the TV out of your home.
Stop going to doctors.
Get with God’s people (few in number).
Be prepared to wait for His coming.

There’s a lot to chew on here, but first, let’s set this against the theological background we just sketched. As Satan is the Lord of this world, those who participate in the world are aligning themselves with Satan, against God. Conversely, those who have faith in the Lord have no desire for, and more importantly, no need for, the world and its (literal) trappings. God will provide food and raiment for those who do his will; to will, and so require or covet other stuff, is sin — “Thou shalt not covet!” — for which service to Satan is required.

“But how will I buy what I neeeed without moneeeeeeeeeeeeey!” Stair would sneer in a voice not unlike a hillbilly Eric Cartman. [13] [19] I need a job: why? For money; why? To pay my mortgage: don’t buy a house. To pay my cable bill: get rid of the TV. [14] [20] To support my family: don’t marry. To pay my car loan: don’t buy a car. To buy food: live on Stair’s farm. It’s a tightly interconnected series of imperatives; you can begin at any point and you will be brought around the whole circle. For example, I don’t need a car, since I don’t have a job to go to; I don’t need a job, because I don’t need to pay off my car; I don’t need a house to hold all my unnecessary possessions, including the TV, which isn’t there to sell me more stuff; etc.

All roads lead to life on Stair’s farm with other believers, waiting for the apocalypse. And when will that be?

[21]

You can buy James O’Meara’s book The Eldritch Evola here. [22]

Excursus on Watchmen

I alluded to Watchmen at the start, and I think it’s a worthwhile angle to spend some time on. [15] [23] (Spoilers — major ones, at that — to follow, of course, though at this point everyone reading this must have seen or read it.)

Obviously, the title makes reference to the Latin tag Quis custodiet ipsos custodes [24]? There are, however, many Bible verses making reference to watchmen [25], and Bro Stair had a liking for Ezekiel 33 [26], a recording of which was one of his favorite interstitials. [16] [27]

7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Watchmen indeed draws heavily on the Biblical apocalyptic tradition; a street person holding a “The End is Near” sign appears from time to time and is eventually revealed to be the masked vigilante Rorschach, whose voiceover has from the first established the end-times corruption of this alternate version of the 80s.

But the character who most resembles Bro. Stair is the ex-vigilante turned business tycoon Ozymandias. Of course, at first glance, the two seem completely unalike. Ozzy is young, handsome, superstrong, fabulously rich, ambiguously gay; Stair was a toothless, wheezing old wreck, compared to whom Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo was an Adonis [28], although he did make it to 87 — almost 88 — without any “doctoring,” and while he somehow raised the millions needed to fund his broadcasts over the decades, it must be admitted he gave no signs of personal wealth or extravagant tastes.

I am not proposing them as doppelgangers but rather as two radically opposed ways of operating in the apocalyptic tradition. While Stair awaited the apocalypse, Ozzy engineered it. Stair saw the signs of the end times in our world and counseled his followers to save themselves by abandoning the world and sheltering at his farm community. Ozzy, seeing the signs of the end, built a lair for himself and sought to avert the end by artificially creating an apocalypse, which would, homeopathically, save the world by bringing the East and West back from the brink and forcing them to work together. [17] [29]

Speaking of sheltering in place: more dissimilar similarities. Both men live/lived off the grid; Stair in his South Carolina farm community, Ozzy in an Antarctic fortress. Ozzy has a wall of TV screens, Stair bans TV but has his “radio room”; Stair broadcasts out to the world (although his message is passive), Ozzy hides away and “is programmed to receive” like Hotel California. As we’ve seen, Stair mocks the mockers and doubters he considers to be already damned, and Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons says of Ozzy [30] that “One of the worst of his sins [is] kind of looking down on the rest of humanity, scorning the rest of humanity.”

Most notably, though, Ozzy is alone, while Stair — although alienated from his own family, and counseling others to leave their families behind — lives with a congregation of several dozen (down from about 200 before his last arrest), and in his last days enjoyed the services of a congregant’s wife as a concubine [31]. [18] [32] We can connect this to the most obvious difference: while there are various clues that Ozzy is homosexual, Stair is a very active heterosexual (which he plies among his female congregants).

This brings us to an interesting feature of Stair’s theology. Stair considers both Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (which he insists on calling “Gomorrow”) as type scenes for the coming End Times. In common with many Christians, including Jude (though not Christ or Ezekiel), he considers “the sin of Sodom” to be homosexuality. Now here’s where it gets interesting; Stair diagnoses homosexuality as a turning away from God to love oneself, and then generalizes that to the nature of sin as such: all sins are really just varieties of homosexuality, a kind of auto-adultery. The modern world, having turned from God to glory in its own willfulness (relying on medicine rather than prayer, for example, science rather than Biblical history, private interpretation of the Bible vs. obeying the Prophet, etc.), is a “world of sodomy” in which any creeping “homosexual agenda” is a bit player (although you can find the literal “Gay Agenda [33]” on his website). [19] [34]

It’s rather like the way Evola, or Michael A. Hoffman II, argues that however tricky Jews may be, they would be small potatoes unless the world itself were “becoming Judaized”; there is no “Jewish conspiracy” to blame for our woes: Jews didn’t force modernity on us, modernity is itself “Judaic” and the actual Jews only taking advantage of the situation — symptoms, not causes. [20] [35]

One amusing consequence is that while homosexual apologists often point out that Leviticus calls a lot of things “abominations” that we don’t think are worth even mentioning, much less killing people for, Stair boldly grasps that particular nettle. Worried about the Transsexual Takeover? A mere splinter; what about the beam in your own eye? Have you seen these real womenfolk who call themselves “Christians”?

You women who defy God and want to be like men! [There’s that “turning from God and glorying in your own willful iniquity” bit] Smoking cigarettes, wearing pants, and bobbing your hair! Painting your faces like harlots! [21] [36] You are all abominations! [22] [37]

With all too typical irony, Brother Stair appeared to have been an adherent in the Bill Clinton view that oral sex “isn’t really sex,” so as to minimize many of his numerous escapades with the ladies. [23] [38]

Anyway, we can see Ozzy and Stair as personifying two opposite poles of apocalyptic politics. Ozzy is the quintessential liberal; [24] [39] he can foresee an apocalypse — presumably man-made, due to the usual liberal bugaboos like “nationalism” and “patriotism,” as well societal blight caused by previous liberal panaceas (which haven’t really been tried) — and he engineers a man-made apocalypse of his own to fix it. Brother Stair exemplifies the conservative response: the apocalypse is man-made (by ever-increasing levels of human sinfulness) [25] [40] but for that very reason man can do nothing to avert it: he must patiently await the gods.

Oddly, the plot of Watchmen conforms to one of Brother Stair’s favorite tropes: the revelation of the Man of Sin (aka the Antichrist), who will find followers as one who appears to be offering peace, health, salvation, etc.; “yet when they cry Peace, peace, then . . . the hour of destruction will rain down as the heavens melt with fiery fury.”

Speaking of which — we can also move out and notice the way time itself is woven into the Watchmen saga, from Rorschach’s sign, the Doomsday Clock, the way his father’s profession of watch repair prefigures Dr. Manhattan’s ability to reassemble his molecular structure, etc. Time is also the key to Bro. Stair; the voice of the Last Time Prophet, he is the last Time Prophet.

Reading the Bible as a continuous document, from Genesis to Revelation, Bro Stair has discerned a temporal pattern signaled by the number seven; applying Peter’s admonition “that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8 [KJV]) as a hermeneutic principle, [26] [41] he has evolved a picture in which God first creates Time (“’In the Beginning. . .’ Beginning of what? Time!”), which is then structured in six periods of a thousand years each, [27] [42] ending with Christ’s return, followed by the thousand-year Reich –, no I mean, reign of Christ and the saints (the Millennium). Within this framework, other sevens serve their roles; the seven churches addressed in Revelation are the seven “church ages” as various distortions of the True Faith evolve; the seven thunders of the same book are the Voice of God “speaking” the stages of the End, a countdown that mirrors Genesis 1. [28] [43]

*  *  *

While wisely eschewing setting a date, Stair was constantly on the lookout for “signs of the times,” and as we’ll see, he had lots of material to work with.

But first, let’s address the donkey in the room. The more sophisticated readers will have already recognized this as original, or “primitive,” Christianity, as found in the Book of Acts (2:42, “All who believed were together, and had all things in common” [29] [44]), and in accordance with many of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, as we’ve already seen. And it makes sense, if — as Jesus seems also to have taught — the Second Coming/End of the World is “at hand.”

That this sort of thing seems like “a typical cult,” rather than the Christianity we know and perhaps follow, is the result of an obvious fact: the Second Coming didn’t take place in the first or second century, and Christianity was forced to take this into account; a process that can be traced in the Epistles, if read with a critical eye. While some abandoned the faith, and I suppose a few others stayed true, like Japanese soldiers after the Second World War, the strain of Christianity that survived made more or less significant accommodations with the world; producing what Stair denounced as “apostate Christianity.”

Robert M. Price describes the process of “second century bourgeois retrenchment”:

In earlier Pauline letters, the typical Christian is a rebel, an outcast, someone persecuted for his allegiance to “another king, Jesus.” But in the [epistles of Timothy and Titus] the goal of Christian families and churches is to live in peace and quiet, happily praying for the emperor and the stability of his regime. Christian values are re-assimilating those of the world outside. No longer interested in turning the world upside down, Christians are more concerned that fanatics not embarrass the church before outsiders. Within the church, sacramental ordination is replacing charismatic gifts that were once freely distributed, week by week. Where once there could be female apostles, now women are not allowed to teach or to hold any position of authority. [30] [45] The primitive sectarian egalitarianism has disappeared. Spirit-inspired wanderers, itinerant charismatics who once commanded hushed audiences with prophetic bulletins from the heavenly Christ, are now suspected of being freeloaders and charlatans. Growing families have less and less interest in the itinerates’ tales of heroism, how they left their families and possessions behind. . . . We are in a different world in the Pastorals, one in which the chief goal is the inter-generational transmission (2 Tim. 2:1) of the tradition, which is to say the apostolic succession of bishops. [31] [46]

Earlier epistles were revised as well, and by the time 1 Corinthians reached its final form, the writer mocks those who “would have to leave the planet to avoid sinners” (5:10).

Jason Jorjani expresses quite well the conflict between primitive Christianity and any possible ongoing human society, focusing on the “abandon your family and friends” tenet, and using many of the same scriptural passages as Stair would, and even approximating Stair’s own words:

Jesus preached that for the kingdom of God to come the family must be abolished. He says that his message is not one that seeks to artificially “impose” peace, but a sword that tears families apart by dividing blood relatives from each other, presumably based on which of them understand and take up its revolutionary call and which of them do not. In the same breath it is also compared to a fire, which blazes in the heart of the seeker and consumes his household in strife (Luke 12:49-53). In fact, Jesus assumes that a profound person who understands his call will necessarily have contempt for the superficial kin to which s/he was bound by no choice of he/r own or by senseless deeds done while still blind [Jorjani presumably means marriage and childbearing as seen by a gnostic]. This is a part of the general contempt for one’s ordinary life that is a prerequisite of embarking on Jesus’ dangerous path to doing God’s will alone [pure Bro. Stair!]: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Those who leave their ignorant family members behind will find true spiritual kin among others who have paid the same price to serve God [down on Stair’s farm]. Jesus sets the example for this himself by publicly disowning his ignorant mother Mary and his brothers, to whom Jesus is an embarrassment who they have come to condescendingly “take back home for his own good.” Refusing to acknowledge their presence or even know who they are, he tells his followers that they, who do God’s will are his true kin. (Mark 3:31-35) When one man wants to follow Jesus but asks to first be allowed to bury his newly deceased father, he is told to “Let the dead bury their dead” and when another man who wants to follow Jesus asks to first take leave to say farewell to his family back at home, he is told that he does not have the necessary commitment to be a follower because he did not leave them behind then and there without a second thought. (Luke 9:58-62) These acts surely constitute insults to one’s mother, father and siblings, of the highest degree possible — transgressions that carried the death penalty in Jewish law.

Anyone who insists that there must be some way to reconcile these statements of Jesus with . . . decent conduct in a civilized society in general, is suffering from cognitive dissonance. [32] [47]

More to the point, this is not simply an embarrassing part of early Christianity which we have “stepped over,” [33] [48] but rather a recurrent feature that threatens to break out over and over. For example:

At one precarious moment in 1653, in fact, Parliament nearly fell under the control of the so-called Fifth Monarchy Men, a radical faction of soldiers, clergy, and poor folk whose name refers to the divine kingdom that is predicted to follow the four earthly monarchies described in the book of Daniel. [Check] These self-styled “saints” [Check] looked forward to an apocalyptic revolution of the kind predicted by Hildegard of Bingen: church and government alike, and the rich and powerful along with them, would be replaced once and for all by a biblical theocracy under King Jesus himself. [34] [49] [Check] Cromwell deemed it necessary to suppress the Fifth Monarchy Men by force of arms in 1656: “Lord, appear, now or never,” they cried as a detachment of soldiers broke up one of their public rallies and escorted them to prison. Needless to say, the Lord was once again a no-show. [35] [50] [Alas, check again]

When they came to America, however, the Puritans interpreted the New World as the coming of the Heavenly City, but Stair cleverly sidesteps this optimistic theme by declaring that God raised up the USA in order to serve as an example of his power, bringing it down as punishment for its iniquity. [36] [51]

[52]

You can buy James O’Meara’s book Green Nazis in Space! here. [53]

Excursus on Neville

Well, you didn’t think I could write at this length without bringing in Neville, did you? Neville Goddard, who went by the singular “Neville,” was the greatest exponent of America’s homegrown Hermeticism, native-born Neoplatonism, and two-fisted Traditionalism, known as New Thought. [37] [54] The contrast of this urbane figure with our backwoods preacher makes their similarities the more interesting.

Both, of course, were fanatical readers of the Bible — Neville claimed it was his favorite daily occupation, indulging in it for hours — developing unique interpretive schemes backed up by passages that could be easily recalled when needed (Neville was famous for challenging supposed experts and shutting up know-it-alls). The only book that could have challenged the Bible in his affection was the works of Blake, and while it’s hard to imagine Bro. Stair reading “The Four Zoas,” he might have sympathized with Blake’s anarchic Protestantism, sexual shenanigans, [38] [55] and certainly with his apocalyptic interests. [39] [56]

Both derived from their reading [40] [57] what might be called a radical doctrine of Faith Alone, based largely on the same passages, such as “We walk by faith, not by sight” or Matthew 17:20 [58]:

And Jesus said unto them, . . . “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” [41] [59]

At this point, however, the two diverge just as radically.

Both read the Bible day and night,

But thou read’st black where I read white.

(Blake, The Everlasting Gospel)

As we’ve seen, for Bro. Stair faith, and the related concept of doing the will of God, entails complete disengagement from the world, and reliance on “God will provide.” Neville, however — at least initially, for there was a certain development in his teaching, as we’ll see — takes our desires themselves to be what God wants for us — the voice of God, not Satan, within. Before one can make us of Neville’s “simple method for changing the future,” one must first take care to discern what one truly wants. [42] [60] This may — indeed, almost certainly — involve disengaging from the false desires planted in us by the media or our social set, and so be in itself a valuable tool for self-development; [43] [61] but the presumption is that some needful thing or ultimate goal in the world will remain, rather than the emptiness of Stair’s bare acceptance of the Divine Will. [44] [62]

Neville’s teaching may seem to have as little to do with Christianity or the Bible, as Bro. Stair’s commune, but it bears a considerable resemblance to many contemporary Christian exponents of what Bro. Stair likes to call “the prosperity gospel,” [45] [63] which he mocks with some bitterness as “’God wants me to have a nice house. God wants me to have a big car.’ No, he. . . does. . . not!” While this is how they interpret John 10:10 — “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” — for Stair the “more abundant” life is eternity in heaven, with supposed delights that “eye has not seen” etc. As we’ve seen already, this is rather problematic: would an eternity doing nothing but praising the supposedly praiseworthy Deity be at all preferable to anything else than damnation?

Curiously, Stair’s reliance on faith alone — in particular, “stay away from the hospitals!” — actually aligns him with Christian Science, while modern exponents of Neville’s method prefer to “take a D-Day approach,” as Horowitz says, and use it alongside more conventional treatments. [46] [64] God helps those who help themselves.

As in Heaven, so on Earth: these opposed paths led to systematically different lifestyles. I have described Neville as a member of the haute bourgeoise — and that’s a good thing! Neville is an excellent model for the average man in today’s world. His early first marriage, with a son, and second, lifelong marriage with a daughter [65], are a societal ideal, and compare favorably with many “alt-right” figures, to say nothing of Stair’s record of divorces, alienation from his children, and pattern of abusive sexuality. Rather than living on a communal farm, Neville traveled between furnished, upscale residential hotels in New York City (Washington Square) and Los Angles (Beverly Hills), as he alludes to in his lectures, and the “success stories” he tells come from the same upper-middle-class milieus of nice houses, restaurants, and vacations.

One interesting similarity was the source of income. While Stair’s farm is self-supporting (his model for how one can abandon the cities and jobs and still survive), his 24-hour, worldwide broadcasts were supported by donations (about $43 million over 50 years, he boasted; presumably, from a few really big donors). Neville had no need to “work,” [47] [66] and allowed his lectures to be taped and distributed freely (rather like the Grateful Dead, as Horowitz says, or MST3k; unlike both, his “official” publications were free of copyright as well), as he lived off the dividends from stock in his family’s business, which grew from his father’s grocery store in Barbados to today’s Goddard Enterprises, the largest conglomerate based in the Caribbean [67] — since this was accomplished by his brother Lawrence’s use of Neville’s method, it too can be attributed to faith.

After a mystical experience in 1959, Neville’s teaching bifurcated: in addition to The Law (which would become Oprah’s “Law of Attraction”), he also began to teach The Promise. The Law was given to enable you to live in the material world; the Promise was that you could then work to obtain union with God (for “one must completely saturate himself with the things of Caesar before he is hungry for the word of God”). One wonders what Bro. Stair would say to that!

Interestingly, then as now, Neville’s listeners were more interested in The Law than in The Promise; they wanted him to return to stories about how people had obtained new cars and bigger houses. [48] [68] As Horowitz recounts [69] it:

Many listeners, the mystic lamented, “are not at all interested in its framework of faith, a faith leading to the fulfillment of God’s promise,” as experienced in his vision of rebirth. Audiences drifted away. Urged by his speaking agent to abandon this theme, “or you’ll have no audience at all,” a student recalled Neville replying, “Then I’ll tell it to the bare walls.”

That was Neville at his most stubbornly Stair-ish; but one’s admiration for Stair’s relentless sixty-some years of prophecy is still tempered by knowledge of his immense personal faults. For Neville was anything but a cult leader; as Horowitz observes, “With Neville there’s nothing to join, no label to wear, and little or nothing to buy. There’s just the man and his ideas — and you option to experiment with them.” [49] [70]

Neville and Bro. Stair represent the two extremes of Christianity as they have developed in the USA, one fully embourgeoised, the other defiantly primitive. [50] [71] Due to Bro. Stair’s early start and long life, he paralleled Neville’s career and survived him into the XXth century. Though he never had a TV show as Neville did (briefly), [51] [72] they shared the media of stage and radio, while Bro. Stair ultimately turned to international shortwave and the internet, although Neville’s public domain transcripts and recordings have filled the latter as well. If only they had met, or debated! Enthralling as the prospect might be, I doubt it would have helped decide the issue between them. Like Naphta and Settembrini on the Magic Mountain, we must leave them behind, and take up matters perhaps less exalted but more pressing.

[73]

You can buy James O’Meara’s End of an Era here [74].

*  *  *

Apart from intrinsic interest, which I know my readers have been reveling in, this has been to suggest that one of the values of listening to Bro. Stair is to come to appreciate how dubious and dangerous an ally or weapon Christianity is for the Dissident Right.

Christianity in its most primitive, authentic, radical (note the word) form, is an unworldly doctrine that doesn’t simply denigrate the everyday world but actively denounces and works against such basic elements of a successful, ongoing society as getting a job, marrying, and raising children. In this is differs not a bit from the most extreme Wokism, and whether the former is indeed the root of the latter, as some on the Right argue, it cannot be denied that the Woke relish their ability to call on its social prestige and aura of “doing God’s work.”

Of course, the Christianity that has been an integral part of post-Classical Europe — monasteries, cathedrals, discouraging cousin marriage, what Spengler would call the Faustian Culture — has been a Christianity more or less first “retrenched” as Price would say, and then Germanisized, as James Russell would say; [52] [75] exactly what Stair would denounce as “apostate Christianity” with as much fervor as any Wokester. At the same time, this very epoch has seen periodic recrudescence of the primitive model, often with disastrous results for society (and without the corresponding “benefit” of Jesus’ return). Christianity may be a useful tool for returning to a more Faustian society — dialing back the primitive Christianity of Wokism to a more comfortable level — but it is a dangerous one, and prone to treachery. Be warned.

Moreover, the example of Bro. Stair has some utility for the Dissident Right itself; both good and bad. First, the good.

Stair’s point, if I haven’t made it clear yet, is that if you buy into what most of us accept as normal life — job, marriage, medical care, retirement plans — you not only are implicitly turning your back on God, you are acclimating yourself to a system that will leave you with no choice but to accept the Mark of the Beast: an explicit acknowledgment of your denial of God, resulting in your damnation.

People who think that everything from Social Security to the Universal Product Code are signs of the Beast may be worthy of tin foil hats, but the general picture may be all too true for the fellow on the Dissident Right.

That “the modern world” is, or is about to become, an infernal machine that has/will destroy our lives and humanity (if not perhaps damn our souls) is a common theme on the Right, often using the very same Christian vocabulary as Stair: “the system of the Antichrist” (Charles Upton) or “Leviathan” (Sam Francis and many others).

A key aspect of this is that while the Left writes ideologies and manifestos to plan the future, the Right wants to locate the point in the past where things went kerflooey. Some look to FDR and the New Deal; some lay the blame on the “Modernism” promoted by the Lost Generation after the First World War; [53] [76] some Woodrow Wilson and the Federal Reserve (among lots of other things). Southerners cite Lincoln and the Civil War, but while Evola famously cited the French Revolution [54] [77] (as have others), an increasingly widespread group would include the American Revolution and, indeed, the Enlightenment itself. E. Michael Jones and Nick Fuentes would pinpoint the Reformation, as would Rene Guenon (although ultimately for him and Evola the rot set in at the end of the previous Yuga, and it’s been all downhill since).

One problem here is that, as you can see, once you start on what Ken Wilber (in a similar context) called the “Wayback Express,” it’s hard to find a place to stop or even to rest [78]. It’s interesting that the Woke share this obsession with the Right, hence its war on the past, which has gone from FDR’s redlining to Confederate heroes and, increasingly, the Founding Fathers (and don’t forget Columbus). [55] [79] The presence of all these nodes on the Right is perhaps due to its decentralized form; ultimately, it’s hard to see why the Right wouldn’t find itself in the same vortex if it came to power — a historical “purity spiral” — and wind up close to Stair’s position: a “natural,” “Godly” life back on the farm with perhaps the internet and nukes.

That’s not an immediate concern, however, since another problem is the more or less explicit passivity, or “quietism;” not only is the System all-powerful, but any attempt to turn its weapons against it is surely be absorbed by it (the message of Lord of the Rings, whatever Tolkien’s intent). Hence the appeal of such notions as Accelerationism [80], or the idea that the system is “unsustainable.” [56] [81] To paraphrase a bit of Wall St. wisdom, the system can remain unsustainable longer than you can be alive.

Andrew Anglin recently posted a list [82] of “things that are not a waste of time” which include:

One is struck both by how similar the language is to Bro. Stair’s — flee the cities, get away from the hospitals, start farming! — as well as the important differences: family, local politics, and secession. Anyone inspired by that list needs to keep an eye on the latter items, as they have a tendency of dropping off, a la the Overcomer Ministry.

On the other, more positive hand, Stair’s example may already be useful, as for some the Apocalypse has arrived, or threatens to any day now.

I doubt very many who were not already complete social losers would buy into such a worldview (or “anti-worldview”); it seems tailor-made from those with no skin in the game anyway. [57] [83]

Yet consider the plight of the otherwise normal chap who dares to partake of the Dissident Right worldview. Like Bro. Stair’s Joe Christian, he is (likely to be) totally dependent on a system that may turn on him at any point and demand he sell his soul. [58] [84] He may lose his job, for something he says, something he writes online, or for refusing to undergo mandatory training in Critical Race Theory. There goes his house or apartment; or perhaps he’s driven out of his apartment by neighbors alerted to “a Nazi among us” by Antifa. Perhaps he’s holed up in some white or at least not anti-white rural redoubt, but now he needs a car — and money — to buy food and other supplies. Oh, and he also needs the internet, because he has no IRL community, only his online compadres. And he needs Amazon to sell him books; each on purchased generating subsequent “suggestions” from Amazon, who tracks his reading, as does the NSA.

Such a one would do well to meditate on the Overcomer, to judge just how much he needs to engage in the system, and consider ways to live without, it either proactively or forcibly. [59] [85]

*  *  *

One thing we know, at least, is that Stair is no longer with us. The funeral took place privately and with some unseemly haste, but no rumors of hidden survival or dirty work, a la Hitler, L. Ron Hubbard, or Jeffrey Epstein, seem to have emerged.

The broadcasts continue, being paid for into October. The shofars continue to howl, announcing each new segment, and in some ways, the show is better than ever. [60] [86] There’s 50 years of material, and the remaining staff are going through it like archival fans producing a box set of rare outtakes and b-sides.

Although, as we’ve seen, he liked to rope in current events, he was not above shamelessly rebroadcasting long ago exploded predictions as if they were freshly minted or had in fact come to pass; [61] [87] an occasional reference to Reagan or Gorbachev might jar the listener, but the Pope, after all, is always “the Pope.” [62] [88] His last broadcasts already dropped this topicality; elections were all rigged — another theme shared by dissidents of both sides — and unworthy of a Christian’s attention, but after years of fun with “Obamanation” and “The Last Trump” the Biden selection passed without notice (some suggest that being out on probation awaiting trial, he didn’t want to rile up the state’s Democratic government) and COVID, seemingly — as noted above — tailor-made for him — combining both worldwide pestilence and the Mark of the Beast — was barely mentioned (perhaps he was desperate to get new people to move in, despite travel restrictions). [63] [89]

There’s a new voice, a Pastor Rice, from one of the satellite farms, apparently a Negro of the slow-talking, serious sort, who comes on the deliver the weekly sermons, invoking the teachings of the late Stair; and recorded personal testimonies and mutual encouragement from devotees. [64] [90] We may be witnessing the bourgeoise retrenchment of the cult in real time.

Being paid up to October, however, is interesting. Although they’re still pitching for donations, one recalls that one of Bro. Stair’s last revisions to his ever-changing timetable had Jesus returning “in a year where the Fall festivals (of the Jewish calendar, as adopted by Bro. Stair and others [65] [91]) all occur in September.” The next such year at that time was … 2021.

Bro. Stair still has time to make good on the main event. And so, let us close, as Bro. Stair would, with a ringing shout of “Maranatha! [92]

*  *  *

Don’t forget to sign up [93] for the weekly email Counter-Currents Newsletter for exclusive content, offers, and news.

Notes

[1] [94] Yes, I know the internet has its origins [95] in the 1960s; I’m speaking of the widespread civilian access that didn’t spring up until the 90s.

[2] [96] “At the time of his arrest, Brother Stair was by far the largest client of private shortwave broadcasters in the United States.” RationalWiki [97].

[3] [98] After getting out of jail in 2002, Brother Stair announced that “God told me to stop calling you people ‘Peanut Brains.’“ However [99], “weeks later, Brother Stair would get angry and say, ‘That was such a good phrase, I wish I could use it.’ Weeks later, Bro Stair went back to dispensing ‘Peanut Brains’ upon God’s people without a second thought, without justification, and without repentance.”

[4] [100] “‘Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters — four yarns — is one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures. Yet what depths of the soul does Jonah’s deep sea-line sound! what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in the fish’s belly!’” Moby Dick, Chapter IX, “The Sermon [101].” Jonah is one of Bro. Stair’s most cited work and main role model: as Jesus says, the last generation will only have “the sign of Jonah” — the prophet himself, Bro. Stair.

[5] [102] As Robert H. Price says of the epistles of “Paul,” so can we say of the whole New Testament: it can’t have any authority, because it has no author. Stair of course would insist that it does have an author, God himself, but that just commits him to either ignoring or more or less reconciling (“harmonization”) passages culled from a half dozen or more conflicting cults. Stair goes even further than ignoring the work of the Higher Criticism, insisting that the English of the King James translation is now the only Word of God, being “authorized” by King who ruled by divine right. Thus “I don’t care what the Hebrew says, I don’t care what the Greek says.” Indeed, as Bela Lugosi says in The Corpse Vanishes, “this will simplify everything,” and make the prophet’s job a lot easier; it also kinda explains his broadcasting to the world in English only — God ensures that the Elect learn English. Martin Luther would have had a great deal of scatological fun attacking the idea that understanding the Word of God, precisely as such, calls for naivety rather than as much scholarship as one can amass. (1 Corinthians 14)

[6] [103] Already the parallels to the “alt-right” are emerging!

[7] [104] Alan Watts pointed out that Jehovah is modeled on an Oriental despot, craving nothing but outpourings of praise from his cringing subjects; see his Beyond Theology (1964). The point goes back at least to A. N. Whitehead: “As for the Christian theology, can you imagine anything more appallingly idiotic than the Christian idea of heaven? What kind of deity is it that would be capable of creating angels and men to sing his praises day and night to all eternity? It is, of course, the figure of an Oriental despot, with his inane and barbaric vanity. Such a conception is an insult to God.” See Lucien Price, Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead, p. 277; sourced from Robert M. Price, “Errors of the Eloist [105].”

[8] [106] “”I think you’re some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversion, and that you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now move!” Sgt. “Bat” Guano, Dr. Strangelove. Speaking of “perversion,” as we’ll see, Stair will assimilate all sinfulness to pride and self-love under the name of “sodomy” as part of his grand unified vision of Satan, the Flood, and Sodom.

[9] [107] “’A little lower than the angels’ is a phrase from Epistle to the Hebrews Chapter 2. It is a citation of Psalm 8:5 and a frequent locus of Christological controversy throughout the history of Christianity and theology.” (Wikipedia [108])

[10] [109] Although one often hears of the New Heaven and Earth, I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone make the point that the entire universe will be annihilated: everything man has seen or ever will see will be gone. This is the root of Bro Stair’s rejection of anything earthly — riches, family, etc. — in a form so extreme as to be called “nihilism” and thus, as we’ll suggest, calling into question the ability of Christianity to address the modern world’s nihilism. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 New King James Version).

[11] [110] I discuss the problematic nature of the Christian Heaven in “Of Apes, Essence and the Afterlife [111],” reprinted in my collection Mysticism After Modernism: Crowley, Evola, Neville, Watts, Colin Wilson & Other Populist Gurus (Melbourne, Australia: Manticore Press, 2020).

[12] [112] Genesis 12:1 Now ADONAI said to Avram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.”

[13] [113] Stair would frequently voice supposedly frequent objections from listeners, usually in an exaggerated hillbilly voice, to convey his boredom and contempt for these crackers. It’s interesting that the “hillbilly = dumb” trope manifests even here, where Stair, as prophet, embodies a kind of “goodwhite” mocking his “badwhite” fellows. Of course, in accordance with “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile,” Stair was anti-racist, usually in a cringy “them black folks is alright, ain’t ya, boy!” way that would get him canceled for sure. Critics of Stair maintain that he preferred black congregations because he thought the young girls were more easily seduced.

[14] [114] The internet too, of course. Stair was the only one allowed internet access at the farm; this led to an infamous incident when he hit the wrong switch and transmitted some internet porn rather than his weekly sermon. He explained that as a prophet he was able to handle such “strong meat” (Hebrews 5:12).

[15] [115] I draw indifferently on the original Alan Moore comic and the Zack Snyder film; I am ignoring the vile HBO series [116] as noncanonical anyway. Trevor Lynch reviews the movie from the Right here [117] (and reprinted in Return of the Son of Trevor Lynch’s CENSORED Guide to the Movies; ed. by Greg Johnson [San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2019]).

[16] [118] For that matter, see my review of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, here [119].

[17] [120] In the comic, Ozzy bioengineers a Cthulhu-like monster that attacks New York; in the movie, he sets off atomic weapons in major cities of the world. The first recalls the Great Beast of Revelation, the second the “fire from the skies” which will kill almost everyone within one hour that Bro. Stair predicts.

[18] [121] Ozzy has a genetically engineered pet lynx, Bubastis [122], which recalls both the Beast of Revelation as well as his overall Egyptophilia, a stark contrast to the Hebrew LARPing that Stair shares with many Protestants.

[19] [123] Stair could if he wanted to find justification in Romans 1, often called the “bedrock” document of Christianity: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, . . . Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

[20] [124] At this point the remark “The Anglo-Saxons are the Jews of Europe” is often heard, or references to the “Anglo-Zionist Empire.”

[21] [125] Painting their faces to be like men?

[22] [126] As Sgt Hartman says in Full Metal Jacket, “There is no racial bigotry [in boot camp]. Here you are all equally worthless.”

[23] [127] But what about the goats? See the testimony and quotes gathered here [128].

[24] [129] Lynch observes: “In short, Ozymandias is a quintessential egalitarian humanist, which is the moral code of virtually every superhero outside the Watchmen universe. But Ozymandias is the only egalitarian humanist in the cast of Watchmen. Ozymandias would seem to be a counter-example to my thesis that Watchmen is a Right-wing comic, were it not for the fact that he is also the villain of the story, the cold-blooded, calculating murderer of millions.”

“Ozymandias is no less the villain because his scheme worked to prevent nuclear war. Indeed, his scheme to goad Dr. Manhattan into exile brought the world to the brink in the first place. Moreover, he is no less a villain because he in effect uses nuclear blackmail to force the other Watchmen to remain silent, and Dr. Manhattan to kill Rorschach, all in order to keep his secret.”

“There is a sense in which even Ozymandias is a Right-wing archetype, namely a Right-winger’s archetype of a villain: the egalitarian, humanist, pacifist mass murderer.”

“Although egalitarian humanists like Lenin, Stalin, and Mao are the biggest butchers in world history, within the world of comics, the heroes are always egalitarian humanists, and the villains are always people who reject that morality, e.g., traditionalists, Nazis, fascists, racists, eugenicists, and the like. Watchmen neatly and completely inverts this code. That is why it is the supreme masterpiece of pop fascism.”

[25] [130] I don’t think that Bro. Stair, like any other Calvinist, has really found an acceptable way to account for God’s role in all this — though that might just be my sinful iniquity talking. As near as I can make out, Stair’s doctrine is [131] that after the fall of Lucifer and the rebel angels (and let’s not start in on that [132] right now), God created man to replace them. So there are only so many who will be saved — the Elect — the rest are damned, and were created as “vessels of iniquity” so as to be damned. Why? Don’t know. In fact, by Stair’s calculations, almost everyone born today is not even really human, but a vessel of iniquity, a soulless zombie born for the pit, which is why he professed to not care about abortion (more small potatoes compared to the world of iniquity). “The flesh is going to do what it’s going to do [sin] — just let it [sin].” (Brother Stair). Here again he approximates to the Dissident Right: “Blacks in the United States make up 14% of the population but 42% of abortions, making them three times as likely to abort pregnancies than Americans in general. In 2010, 37% of black pregnancies were terminated through abortion. Hispanics were twice as likely as whites to have an abortion. The conclusion is inescapable: the great liberal cause of abortion has been perhaps the single greatest force slowing the decline of the white majority in America. Mostly white conservative Christians have fought over abortion as an important symbol of their culture: ironically, had they total victory in that battle, their subculture would be demographically dispossessed even faster than is currently the case.” Guillaume Durocher, “Bumbling Towards the Biosingularity [133],” Unz.

[26] [134] Actual Biblical scholars, who recognized the Bible as the work of a multitude of hands over centuries, regard Peter as a late work that addresses the disappointment over the lack of a Second Coming; Stair’s retrofitting this to explain exactly why it hasn’t happened yet, and when it will, is a fascinating insight into the believer’s mentality [135].

[27] [136] The Earth was created around 4000 BC; Christ first appeared at the start of the 5th period, ending around 2000. The latter date is moved forward as the Second Coming tarries, the others being adjusted accordingly. Stair is especially virulent about those who “postulate” the existence of dinosaurs, or a “Big Bang” billions of years ago: “there were no billions of years ago!” Whims like “Dinosaur Adventureland” would just clutter up the evangelical message.

[28] [137] John was instructed not to reveal “what the thunder said” (as Eliot put it in The Wasteland); over the years Stair has revealed the first four (such as the meeting of Reagan, Gorbachev, and Pope John Paul II where he claims the end of the Soviet Union was negotiated), but the last three are still a mystery — so far.

[29] [138] Robert M. Price observed on a podcast that the church in Rome welcomed Paul’s money-raising missions, because “like a socialists, they had quickly gone broke.”

[30] [139] Stair did not adopt this notion, perhaps because it might hamper his sexual predation.

[31] [140] Robert M. Price, The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2012), pp. 529-30. The phrase “second century bourgeois retrenchment is from his introduction to Titus in The Human Bible New Testament; translated and introduced by Robert M. Price (Cranford, New Jersey: American Atheist Press, 2015), p. 593.

[32] [141]Why Not Christianity [142].” Like most critics, Jorjani simply takes the New Testament as is, without discerning the different stands that have been stitched together; here, the original strata of “get out of the world” preaching. In fact, he seems to reject the very idea: “One response is an attempt at rationalization that adds new elements of belief that one pretends were part of the original, contradictory information in the hope that these artifices will smooth over blatant contradictions or make them appear to be aspects or facets of a larger and more complex phenomenon. . . . [Or] a person suffering from cognitive dissonance will . . . irrationally commit to blindly in believing patently contradictory statements, ideas, or values “on faith.” . . . In the history of Christianity — whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant — the latter response to the cognitive dissonance of the Gospels has generally prevailed.” Loc. cit.

[33] [143] For the idea of “stepping over” see Jonathan Bowden, “Revisionism: Left & Right, Hard & Soft [144].”

[34] [145] Stair taught that no one is in Heaven “looking down on us” and the Rapture involves meeting Jesus in the sky and then returning with him to Earth, to rule (over who?) for 1000 years.

[35] [146] A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization by Jonathan Kirsch, pp. 175-76.

[36] [147] Kirsch, op. cit., pp. 177ff. Stair is a full-throated Calvinist, for whom God created the world, and mankind, knowing they would sin and need to be damned; indeed, created them to be damned. He never successfully squared the circle of free will, predestination, and damnation, but then no one else has. Besides, “reason is a whore” (Luther).

[37] [148] My earlier essays on Neville have been collected in Mysticism After Modernism, op. cit.; these and more recent ones can be found on Counter-Currents, here [149].

[38] [150] See Why Mrs Blake Cried: William Blake and the Sexual Basis of Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard (Century, 2006). See also the same author’s article “Why Mrs Blake Cried: Swedenborg, Blake and the Sexual Basis of Spiritual Vision [151]”; the latter not only includes illustrations from Blake’s Book of Enoch but a modern painting of Blake’s guru, Rabbi Samuel Jacob Hayyim Falk (the Ba’al Shem of London), who bears a strong resemblance to Bro. Stair!

[39] [152] “Both Blake and Swedenborg use the book of Revelation, but they do so not to predict an impending divine judgment or the bodily return of Christ to earth. Instead, they use the book as a means to critique the Christian Church of their day; to call Christians away from blind allegiances to clerical authority; and to urge their readers to wake up and realize a new potentiality for spiritual freedom and enlightenment.” Rebecca Esterson, “Swedenborg and the Present-Day Apocalypse in Blake’s ‘The Everlasting Gospel’ [153].”

[40] [154] Technically, Neville claimed to have received instruction from a “black, Ethiopian rabbi” named Abdullah (the reality of whom has been investigated by Mitch Horowitz: see his “A Cosmic Philosopher,” in At Your Command: The First Classic Work by the Visionary Mystic Neville (New York: Snellgrove Publications, 1939; Tarcher Cornerstone Editions, 2016), reviewed here [155] (and reprinted in Mysticism After Modernism). Bro. Stair’s doctrines are based on a number of conversations with God, starting at the age of sixteen, when he began frequenting houses of worship in search of girls (an early exponent of “Game”?).

[41] [156] See this collocation of texts [157] from the KJV on “All things are possible,” which would have delighted both of them.

[42] [158] If you prefer a darker, “sexier” version, compare this with Crowley’s notion of the True Will, and the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

[43] [159] Mitch Horowitz in particular has developed Neville’s ideas into a more general technique of life mastery; see Mitch Horowitz, The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 2018), which I reviewed here [160].

[44] [161] Of course, this is only a brief consideration of Neville’s method; more extensive coverage can be found in the articles cited above, and in particular “Magick for Housewives: The (Not so) New (and Really Very Traditional) Thought of Neville Goddard,” which appeared in Aristokratia IV and is reprinted in Mysticism After Modernism.

[45] [162] Promulgated by “smooth-talking, soothsaying cross-denying, pantywaist prosperity preachers.”

[46] [163] The Miracle Club, p. 25. Horowitz notes on the same page that “the Vatican does not and never did recognize healing miracles in people who eschew orthodox medicine to rely solely on faith,” which Bro. Stair would regard as more evidence that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon and mother of all heresies. The first book to discuss Neville, Israel Regardie’s The Romance of Metaphysics: An Introduction to the History, Theory and Psychology of Modern Metaphysics (Chicago: Aries Press, 1947; online here [164].) also discusses Christian Science and other New Thought movements; see also Mitch Horowitz, One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life (New York: Crown, 2014).

[47] [165] Horowitz obtained Neville’s 1943 Army discharge, showing he was honorably discharged to return to “important civilian wartime employment”: delivering metaphysical lectures in Greenwich Village.

[48] [166] It’s interesting that while Stair rails against nice houses and such, a noticeable number of the “success stories” Neville tells come from the same upper-middle-class milieu of nice houses, big cars, fine restaurants, and vacations as Neville inhabited.

[49] [167] The Miracle Club, p. 127.

[50] [168] Neville was, superficially, a Don Draper figure of the postwar era: tall, handsome, living the good life on the two coasts. Yet it was Neville who lived the accepted Christian life of marriage, while Bro. Stair made Draper seem like a choir boy.

[51] [169] Mitch Horowitz has provided a rare transcript from one broadcast in his collection Infinite Potential: The Greatest Works of Neville Goddard; introduced and edited by Mitch Horowitz (New York: St. Martin’s, 2019). The topic? “All Things Are Possible.” It’s certainly an interesting experience to “hear” Neville saying, “Now after a moment from my sponsor . . .”

[52] [170] The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation (Oxford, 1996).

[53] [171] How then account for Gertrude Stein’s support for Petain [172], or such figures as Pound, Eliot, Wyndham Lewis? See the essays collected in Jonathan Bowden’s Reactionary Modernism [173]; edited by Greg Johnson (San-Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2021).

[54] [174] “My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.”

[55] [175] This comes not from Marx, who thought rural life “idiotic,” but the Frankfurt School, especially Adorno and Horkheimer (see, of course, their Dialectic of the Enlightenment), and perhaps Heidegger, condemning Dasein’s fallenness into technology, from the comfort of his mountain hut. “The burden of Adorno’s critique . . . is downstream from the Old Testament.” Roger Scruton, Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015). As Scruton says, echoing Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim, “the Enlightenment here to stay (a fact for which, when you think about it, we should all be grateful.)” For more on this, see my review of Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences [176], where the conservative icon condemns the effect of the wearing of shoes on our souls.

[56] [177] Literally at random, I pull from the intertubes this recent comment on an article [178] by Dr. Kevin Macdonald: “But it won´t last forever. The lid will fly off at some point. Nature will take its course. It usually seems to take a century between the expulsions.”

[57] [179] Even the greatest world-deniers, like Schopenhauer or Beckett, or Houllebecq, seem to keep going about their daily rounds. “Fail again. Fail better.” (Beckett, Worstward Ho [180])

[58] [181] From the same anonymous comment on MacDonald: “All the historians that [have] read beyond Hilberg, Arad et al. about the Holocaust KNOW what´s really going on. Same for Soviet Union, communism in general, the “British” empire, slavery, etc. etc. The list could go on forever. But since we all have mortgages, and bills to pay, and a social life, and vain cravings, and a hundred other needs and vices the Jews can hurt us through, we pretend we don´t know.”

[59] [182] Even Miles Mathis can get in the can-do-without spirit [183]: “You can throw off their power anytime you like, and it wouldn’t require attacking Saturn or blocking radio waves from the Moon. It would require doing things you are fully capable of doing right now, today, on a human and Earthly level, like SAYING NO. Say no to masks, vaccines, fake events, taxes for nothing, media whores, Hollywood phonies, fake science, non-art, pretend poetry, fake history, and illegal governance. The current system cannot proceed without your participation. So don’t participate. Do not believe what you are told. Do not do what you are told. JUST DON’T DO IT. Like Bartleby the Scrivener, you only need to know four words: ‘I prefer not to.’”

[60] [184] “It’s not a show!” he would scream at well-meaning callers. Unlike the crew of Mystery Science Theater, whose theme song told viewers “Repeat to yourself it’s just a show / I should really just relax.” Stair wanted his listeners to be as unrelaxed as all Hell.

[61] [185] “This everything is current announcement is enhancing the lie of the old messages that are on the Broadcast currently. A Timely Truth will not be heard any time soon (of ever has) on the Overcomer Ministry Broadcast. Think Bush’s martial law, America’s nuclear conflict in the 80s, Planet-X [186], Obama’s bombing the nation, Biological war-scare, Pope coming to Walterboro [187] to meet Stair, Reagan dying in office, Jesus coming before 2000 [188], to name but a few. His audience that does not know about his present truth [189]is then misled by his broadcasts of older material that suggests that he is walking in holiness and teaching righteousness, and has a thriving community and a vast radio outreach. This is not the Brother Stair that we know and witness today.” RGStair.com, “Everything is Current [190].”

[62] [191] A graffito in Belfast: “Fuck the next Pope.”

[63] [192] Another possible parallel: how many “Alt-Right” figures have switched positions or trimmed their sails due to ongoing legal threats from Charlottesville?

[64] [193] “Someone has mastered the device that records phone calls and new ones are coming on air (2145 this evening). Some encouragement for Pastor Rice, otherwise lonely and depressed listeners with no one to talk to.” RGStair Forum, Post #446 [194].

[65] [195] Wikipedia [196]: “A small number of Christian denominations — including the Assemblies of Yahweh, Messianic Jews, some congregations of the Church of God (Seventh Day), the World Mission Society Church of God, Hebrew Roots, Pentecostals and a variety of Church of God groups instruct their members to observe the religious holidays described in the Tanakh, but interpreted, they believe, in the light of the New Testament. Some Seventh-day Adventists have also adopted the Jewish holidays against the wishes of the denominational leaders. Most of these denominations also eschew the observance of Christmas and Easter, believing them to be later, pagan corruptions.” All this describes Bro. Stair’s group (also including a ban on Halloween).