Sunday, 21 October 2018

Q81: How much did Freemasonry influence Doukhobor theology?

Yuri Zbitnoff of Boston, Massachusetts, USA explains:

I was doing a little digging to better acquaint myself with the spiritual origins of the Doukhobor world-view.

Can you confirm or elaborate on the claims from this piece: 'Spiritual Origins and the Beginnings of Doukhobor History', by Svetlana Inikova, on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website?


Answer by Koozma J. Tarasoff and Andrei Conovaloff

We know that Freemasons affected Doukhobor history, but we do not know 'how much' they influenced Doukhobor theology or beliefs.

The documentation of the spiritual history of our Doukhobor ancestors in Russia is sparse, scattered and complex. Much more research is needed to fully answer this question.

Freemasons selected, altered and transmitted ideas gathered from various sources, and interpreted and translated them into local languages. Many books and articles have been published about their influence in Russia.

A key figure in the history of Freemasonry in Russia was Ivan. P. Lopukhin, an aristocrat, attorney, judge, and senator, who was interested in Pietism, the doctrine of the 'inner light'. In 1801 he ‘masterminded’ a plan to protect and reform Doukhobors by gathering them from scattered exiles (maps below) and concentrating them into their own ‘self-contained community’ along the west bank of the Molochna River in Tauride Governate (now south Ukraine).

Click on maps to enlarge. Maps by Johnathan Kalmakoff.

Several historical tracts were attributed (not proved) to Ivan Lopukhin. One of these was the ‘Note of 1791’, which contains one of the earliest descriptions of Doukhobor beliefs. A prominent theme was the ‘inner church’ which later was considered to have been adopted by Lev N. Tolstoy in his ‘Kingdom of God is Within You’ — a conversion to a new non-doctoral Christianity that rejected violence and taught the ‘Spirit Within’.

The Note of 1791 (the original was never found) resembles Freemason ideas, with reference to the ‘inner church’, ‘spiritual knights’, and ‘hidden saints’, but the form of language with the use of ‘church’, ‘knights’ and ‘saints’ is foreign to Doukhobors. Doukhobors broke away from this usage in their formative development while searching for the evolutionary God/ Love Within.

The 'piece' you read was a paper presented in 1999 by Svetlana A. Inikova in Ottawa, at our conference: 'The Doukhobor Centenary in Canada, A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective on their Unity and Diversity’. Because 'Masons' are mentioned 8 times in her paper, you probably became curious for more.

There are 4 articles on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website by Jonathan Kalmakoff, about Freemasons and Doukhobors. Also study references cited.
More:
Tarasoff: In my opinion Lev. N. Tolstoy is the major origin of the world-view of Canadian Doukhobors. Many other European Protestant influences on Russia can be speculated about, some of which are listed in my 2013 lecture: ‘Evolution of the Doukhobor Movement’, see slides 5 and 7. The Masons could be added to these incomplete lists. We know that the Doukhobor movement evolved from centuries of acts of survival and adaptation by preceding human populations and societies, and more research can be done.

In the meantime, I view the Canadian Doukhobors as a type of 'Tolstoyan social movement' with a focus on creating a compassionate and caring world based on love and nonkilling. Lev Tolstoy is indeed an inspiration for the Doukhobors.

Conovaloff: Both Tolstoy and Gandhi were influenced by Freemasons, and Masons may have impacted the non-Doukhobor sectarians more than the Doukhobors.

Lopukhin’s policy of concentrating Spiritual Christians in New Russia probably caused the formation in 1833 of a zealous movement of religious ecstasy and enthusiasm, that was labeled in 1856 as Pryguny due to their jumping with the Holy Spirit. Doukhobors moving to Canada led to some neighboring non-Doukhobor ecstatic tribes of Spiritual Christians scattered in the Caucasus to concentrate in Southern California and create a new family of faiths called Dukh-i-zhizniki. Research conducted in the 1980s by Phillip and Ludmilla Efseaff (Oregon, USA.) speculated that Russian Freemasons influenced some of the most zealous Spiritual Christian Pryguny (Jumpers), which was transmitted to their offshoot tribes of Dukh-i-zhizniki. The links above and below support their speculation.
The Freemason translations to Russian of selections from Jung-Stilling sparked a ‘Great Trek’ by some Mennonites to the ‘East’ to meet Jesus during his Second Coming. Similar treks, or pokhod (flight to refuge), have been conducted by Dukh-i-zhizniki several times, and are still active in their prophecies and oral history.

At least one Spiritual Christian immigrated to California as a Mason, and in the 1980s his grandson, John Spoldsoff continued the family Mason tradition by joining and being elected to Head Mason in Fresno, California.

Many groups have different terms for these overlapping theological concepts, for example:

Saturday, 13 October 2018

World Beyond War Conference 2018

Toronto, Ontario September 21 - 22, 2018.



Brief report from Greta Zarro, Organizing Director of World Beyond War:
  • #NoWar2018 was a huge success.
  • More than 200 attended.
  • See the conference on our video channel — youtube.com/worldbeyondwar
  • The theme of replacing war with the rule of law was well explored by activists and experts who formed new alliances, strategic plans for future work on education, closing bases, and divestment, and developed possible ideas for creative actions.
  • Our small budget and 3 half-time staff impressed several who thought we were a large well funded organization. Please donate.
  • Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink did some amazing illustrations to capture the vibe of the conference plenaries. See her work and more in our Facebook photo album.
  • Website updates will be posted as time permits.

Koozma J. Tarasoff’s Comments

On June 24 2018, I posted: Suggestions for 'World Beyond War' Conference in Toronto Sept. 21 - 22, 2018.

After watching the conference video Highlights of #NoWar2018, here are some of my quick impressions, questions and answers:
  • How can we persuade the world powers to get rid of nuclear weapons? Today the stockpile of nuclear weapons is 14,575. They are a serious threat to our civilization. Making money from killing is evil!
  • Canadian military heads are not too interested in peace because they look to the USA as a favourite country with their many dangerous toys of war. (William Geimer).
  • Canada’s Foreign Affairs Dept. claims it needs ‘hard power’ instead of peacekeeping resulting in increasing the military budget to $22 billion, the highest ever. Only 173 Canadian soldiers are in peacekeeping today. And we have Canadian soldiers in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland provoking Russia. (Tamara Lorincz).
  • Many or most soldiers returning home from the field suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. War is evil. Let’s stop it and begin the process of living as civilized homo sapiens.
  • We are facing nuclear war, dying oceans, decaying cities, water shortage, growth inequality, etc., all adding to a breakdown of civil society. We need peace urgently so that we can work together to deal with the looming ecological global crisis. (Kent Shifferd).
  • We need to find alternatives to war with compulsory international mechanisms for nonviolent dispute resolution. (James Ranney).
  • Departments and other infrastructures for peace to promote legal frameworks for conflict resolution by peaceful means at home and abroad. (Saul Arbess).
  • Misinformation technologies are challenging the role of diplomacy in society. We need to persuade FaceBook to be accountable for its actions. (Branka Marijan).
  • The United Nations charter states that war is illegal, ‘with exceptions’. But the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact had no exceptions; it was an international agreement in which signator states promised not to use war ‘to resolve disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they might be, which may arise among them’. (David Swanson).
  • Humans have the ability to choose not to go to war. We can, for example, create Departments of Peace in our governments. Where there is a will, there is a way. (Karen Johnson).
  • Americans have over 1.3 million military personnel in about 5,000 bases around the world requiring a $610 billion budget to service them. Yet only 5% of this budget ($30 billion) could solve starvation in our world. Where is our wisdom?
  • Peace education should apply to all levels in our education system, beginning with Grade one. Peace is everybody's business. (Rose).
  • There is a nationalist myth that Canada is a peaceful country that does not believe in wars. Advancing empire support and businesses abroad contradict this myth. (Yves Engler).
  • Colonial domination of indigenous peoples was an act of genocide and war. (Azeezah Kanji).
  • Mass movements win, while fringe movements don’t. We need to mobilize minorities for national consensus by resisting wars and building peace. (Kevin Zeese).

Saturday, 6 October 2018

I Love Therefore I Am!

Koozma J. Tarasoff, 2018.
I read this poem at an Open Mic session Sept. 28, 2018 during Peace Arts Night at the First Unitarian Congregation in Ottawa as part of the 12th Annual Ottawa Peace Festival. It was inspired by Henry Beissel during a conversation about the Ottawa Peace Festival 2018 as we pondered whether our intervention made any difference on the journey for a peaceful world. Henry suggested that we need to change the paradigm of René Descartes First Principle to 'I love therefore I am.'

I Love Therefore I Am!
The Evolution of Homo Sapiens

In evolutionary history
we know that continuity and change are constant.
Darwin discovered this on his research ship Beagle.

We also know that during the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century
René Descartes proclaimed the First Principle of Certainty, saying
‘I think therefore I am.’
Meaning—‘I am, I exist’.

As well, we know that wisdom people for centuries
have sought to create a world without wars.
We’ve seen futile attempts by politicians of all stripes
proclaim ‘this war is the end of all wars’.

Yet violence and wars — corporate murder —
continue to cause havoc with
the use of weapons of mass destruction, regime change,
and all kinds of human indignities. Countless victims suffer.

Today we need a new discussion on human development —
a discussion that would lead to humane behaviour,
such as envisaged by the late Glenn D. Paige of Hawaii
on the nonkilling society — the responsibility not to kill and the right not to be killed.

We need to talk about something simple, yet profound —
the power of love comes to mind
as penned in the 1800s by Tolstoy, author of War and Peace.
We need to discover the merits
of the Inner Spirit
and apply it to our Charter of Love and Compassion for the living.

Friends, my fellow homo sapiens,
it’s time to build a new world order
that will save us from the scourge of wars and
give a supportive structure to us, to our children and to future generations.
It is time to upgrade Descartes’ maxim to a new authentic identity:
I LOVE THEREFORE I AM!

The Inner Spirit of love opens the way
to a new world of common humanity.
So let’s embrace the new charter of life:
I love therefore I am’!

Posted on the Transcend Media website.