As the Sun Rose over Tehran

(Part 2 of the Messenger’s Journey to Iran)

A tapping sound entered my dreams and I labored in my sleep to make sense of it.

There was a man standing in the dark shade of fir trees. Behind him was a hillside of gold aspens and up between the branches I could see white rocky peaks against the sky. Snow was everywhere.

He stood looking at me, tapping his ringed finger on a wooden post at his side. I didn’t see his face and could only concentrate on the metal ring, tap tap tapping on dry wood.

In an instant I was up in bed. The tapping was behind me, on the door, not hard but urgent: tap, tap…tap,Tap, Tap.

I laid there for a moment. The room was dark and shadowy and the hum of Tehran’s early morning streets permeated the background.

I opened the door and my father was there. “Reed, I need to record.” Honestly, in that second, I had no idea what he meant.

But then it all returned to me: where I was and who I was with. I was in Tehran with my father, The Messenger. He had been awoken by the angelic presence to be given a revelation for humanity. It was the first of many nights in Iran and the next stage of God’s New Message was about to begin.

I looked out the door to watch him walk wearily down that brashly lit hall.

Back in the room, Darlene lay awake, looking up at the ceiling. “Does he want us to be there?”

“Yes we can be there.”

“I need to get the recorder ready.”

In the dark I pulled it all together and went back to the door. Darlene followed me but more carefully; she had to cover herself with hijab – the law, even at 4:45am in the empty halls of a hotel.

I entered his room. It was lit only by a candle. Marshall sat in a chair in the far corner, his head bowed and his eyes closed. Hearing us come in he peered up, wanting to know who had entered the room. Then he relaxed down again. Patricia sat ten feet away, looking at him steadily.

I set up the recorder next to Marshall. And then I checked to make sure it worked. It did. I left it there beside him and took my place with Patricia and Darlene.

We sat in quiet. A gray light was in the window behind the curtains. Somewhere a sun was rising over the deserts to the east. Tehran was awakening. And then the revelation began:

“God watches over the world, for the world is a troubled place.

It has always been so.

That is why you have come to the world.

It is a place where God has been forgotten, and your true nature has been forgotten.

It is a place of competition and conflict, where life is difficult, where you must constantly solve the problems of your daily existence.

It is a place where people seem foreign to one another and foreign to themselves, as God has created them.”

It is a place of appearances.

It is a place of sensation.

It is wonderful and dangerous, beautiful but confusing.

It is where the separated have come to live, to learn how to give again and to bridge the gap so that the separation may be ended in time.”

and it continued…

God Speaks at 12,000 Feet

On a fall evening in 2011, Marshall, Patricia and I walked at 12,300 feet in the hills above Leadville, Colorado.

Its a tortured landscape above this former mining town: hewed ridges, residue slides, broken mine equipment and hills that aren’t actually hills, but mine tailings heaped several stories high. The tailings mounds are mono-tone gray, red or jet black and they deny the growth of any plant life. Healthy fir trees grow in tight stands but only in those places where humanity hasn’t touched.

Tortured but immensely still; almost deathly still. A pair of birds flew up the mine road that leads to barren mountains high above. That barrenness is a result of elevation, not humans. But after centuries of human impact, the barrenness of peaks seems to be creeping down into the places where trees should be able to grow, but now never will.

We stopped along the mine road. I sat on a piece of upturned concrete and gazed into the valley below Leadville. Deep rich forests grow unperturbed, filling the valleys thick and spreading up the mountain side until green gives way to gray in a natural gradient we call “tree line.” It’s a beautiful place, healthy and original.

But at the mouth of the valley, patches of brown forest are beginning to appear. This is a sign of encroachment from the adjacent Dillon-Breckenridge valley, which has been ravaged by the Pine Bark Beetle infestation to an astounding degree. Imagine mountains brown with trees, not brown with rock. Of course a brown forest is a waypoint, lasting a geological second, towards a permanently barren place.

Already, 2 million acres of dead trees blanket the Rockies from Colorado to Wyoming. The barrenness which formerly belonged to peaks, which formerly was caused by mining and human industry, is now an unstoppable natural event, a disease spreading into the highest, healthiest, most untouched valleys.

These are the Great Waves of change in motion. Earth has been altered. Dangerous natural forces have been unleashed. And because of this, God has spoken again.

Sitting there on that mine road, I thought of these words: “Certain regions will be devastated. Others will be impaired….Large areas of the world that are now highly inhabited will become uninhabitable…there will be immense migrations of people away from such areas. There will be environmental refugees and there will be war refugees on a scale never seen before. The areas of the world where humanity will be able to live will shrink, forcing millions of people to move elsewhere. You must prepare for eventualities. Nature is unmerciful to the unprepared.

God has provided a New Message for humanity to warn humanity of the Great Waves of Change, to warn humanity of intervention from the Greater Community and to teach that humanity has a greater spiritual power called Knowledge that represents its core strength. Humanity must use this Knowledge and its own native abilities to restore the world.”
The Great Waves Prophecy

Below us the town was darkening. The last rays of light shot across the valley and lit the peaks and slag hills above us a profound red or purple or yellow.

Across the valley, a massive body of mountain cut a sharp silhouette into the sky; Mount Elbert, second highest peak of the United States, was descending into its massive shadows. Below it, the small lights of Leadville shined out.

Despite what it brought into this valley long ago, the town looked innocent and guiltless; a small human settlement that could never alter the vast and powerful landscape that surrounds it. Though that’s not really true. Down the road, Climax, one of the world’s biggest molybdenum mines, is still carving deep into the mountain side.

The New Message from God speaks of retribution, not from God but from Nature. It says that humanity has violated the life-systems of this planet to such a degree that there will be retribution from the world – “the times to come are the fruits of humanity’s labors, the bitter fruits of deception and conquest, of greed and ambition, of the misuse of the world.”

Sitting on that hillside, I looked out on the scars of mining and at the patches of brown disease now creeping into this valley. On the surface, it was a quiet evening; pleasant and still scenic. But I could feel the disturbance. Something is approaching: “bitter fruits,” retribution from nature, a series of eventualities we cannot stop.

This is why God has sent a new Message and a new Messenger into the world. And tonight, seeing the tenuous situation of this single valley of Earth, I could feel that burning need. It burns in so many other tenuous situations across the world. Doesn’t humanity need a New Message from God?

We passed down the mine road and back into the neighborhoods of Leadville. In that moment, I didn’t know that Angelic forces were already in motion, responding to the presence of my father, the Messenger in this one valley. In the morning, when Marshall Vian Summers would awaken, God would speak again; here at 12,000 feet delivering a message for world titled “Living in a Time of Revelation.”

The Messenger in Tehran

(In 2008, I accompanied the Messenger to Iran. This is part 1 of my recollection of that important journey. Part 2)

Heat rose like steam off the streets of Tehran. Every few blocks we came upon a new river: six lanes moving fast and no street lights to slow the rushing cars. It was 5pm and a city of 8.5 million was eager to get home.

Darlene and I were on a day’s walk through this vast city, trying to find our feet so that we could better accompany the Messenger. He was arriving that night on a plane from Frankfurt.

It would be a three week journey in Iran, taking us from Tehran to Mashad, near the Afghan border; from Shiraz to Yazd, one of the last centers of Zoroastrianism; then on to Esfahan and Qom, the center of Shiia Islam; finally returning to Tehran.

A yellow sun beat down between the high buildings and combined with the car fumes to create a sepia glow. Like in Manhattan, Tehran’s avenues are long and straight. But today we couldn’t see far into the ochre haze which seemed to consume everything on the horizon.

We stood at the gates of Tehran University. This campus has been at the epicenter of nearly every Iranian freedom movement to arise in recent years. As a result, it’s shut to foreigners by law.

But the guard was far too sweet for the law. I told him we were from the United States and that we just wanted to see the campus. With furtive looks and a smile of pure satisfaction he pushed aside the road block and showed us onto the main pedestrian thoroughfare which runs down the campus.

Along the way, we met a group of medical students gathered on the steps of the School of Dentistry. A young guy asked where we were from. “Uniteeed States, alright!” he said with great energy and a big nod. “That is so great. Welcome to Tehran.”

Their friendliness and desire to connect was palpable, as it was with so many others we would meet in the days ahead.

Yet right after his emphatic welcome, the call to prayer sounded at the University mosque nearby. A discomfort entered the air and some of the medical students turned away and began talking about other things. The young man continued to look at us with a warm smile, along with another another girl in the group. Yet for some reason, a moment later we were on our own again, walking south.

We passed the campus gates and stood outside. The fervor of the streets seemed even greater; taxis fought for lane-space and an aged city bus dumped its fumes and sounds on us at gunned forward to make a light.

By now, the sun was sinking into a red horizon, red beyond belief. 30 minutes later, we were watching it from our hotel window 10 floors up. A beautiful sight, but grim. The sun setting on miles of humanity forced to live beneath a poison sky.

It stirred in me a feeling of the future. Today, this is Tehran. But some day, it will be Earth; oceans dying, farm land drying up; broken governments and cities crowded beyond capacity; the world’s resources being depleted for survival.

I thought of Marshall, who was then somewhere high above the Black Sea coast. Soon the Messenger will be here, I thought; with these people, in this city. He brings with him the wisdom of the Creator and a New Message from God for humanity.

“Soon the Messenger will be here.” What a remarkable thing. Soon the Creator will be able to speak to all humanity under this red sky, alongside these millions of people, in a city ringed by deserts and dry mountains, facing an uncertain future.

After all, this is why we came: for the Messenger to be with these people and to receive in Iran a series of revelations from God.

Several hours later, I stood alone in the lobby of our hotel. A black car pulled up and with a wave I stepped outside.

My driver took me through the southern slums of the city. Orange and green lights illuminated the empty streets. Alleys winded in a thousand directions leading into dense neighborhoods; so many families packed into a single room, another night leading to another day when the sun rises hot over Tehran and the grinding press of daily life continues.

At the edge of the city all lights flickered out. The road became a highway, fully lit by hundreds of lamps in tight succession. We were the only car on it; like a lone particle traveling down a light tunnel surrounded by total dark.

I remembered this darkness from several days ago. Even as my plane neared the ground everything was dark – not a single light, except for one lone highway, brightly lit, snaking for miles like a canopy boardwalk above a deep unknown.

The Messenger Marshall Vian Summers was now seeing the same. Soon he would join me and take this lone highway back into the city of Tehran.

Is the New Message the only path to redemption?

This is in response to the questions asked about the New Message on the Universal Life Church Blog.

No. The New Message says that God has sent different revelations to meet the needs of different people at different times. And though the needs and circumstances of people change, God’s core intention is constant across all of God’s revelations.

According to the New Message, this intention is to redeem the separated through knowledge.

“God is everywhere, redeeming the separated through Knowledge, through a deeper intelligence that God has placed within all sentient beings.”
God, Knowledge and the Angelic Presence, 2008

If God works everywhere and redemption occurs within the individual (instead of in a gathering, ceremony or physical building), how could any religion claim to possess the sole path to redemption?

The New Message is one path of redemption amongst others in the world. Yet it is a very pure path. It is freshly given from the Creator and lacks human interference, idealism, ambition and institutionalization. It exists just as God gave it, unaltered and unfiltered and unadorned. A religious path that still retains the purity of the original revelation is something very special.

“God’s New Message has been sent to raise up the individual and to teach about spirituality at the level of Knowledge. It has been sent to show that all the religions were initiated by God and changed by people, that God has created many pathways of redemption to meet the different needs and temperaments of people living in different times and different cultures.

People should never assume God’s will or proclaim that their religion alone is the only true religion. For God has created many pathways for redemption. Human ignorance and human arrogance here must be corrected if humanity is to find the strength and the will to unite for its own preservation and the preservation of this beautiful world that has been given to humanity as its home in the Universe.”
The Great Waves of Change, Chapter 13: The Great Message of Hope

Yet a New Messages from God is a rare occurrence. God sends teachers and prophets throughout time. But the arrival of a new Messenger and a new Message is a once-a-millenium event. It happens only because there is a new, urgent and global need that existing religious traditions can not address.

“This New Message is not just for one nation, for one group, for one religion. It is for the whole people of the world. It is a Revelation for the world. It is not meant to replace the world’s religions, but to call for their unity and their strength, to emphasize their common truth, to end the ceaseless conflicts between them and to unite them so they may serve humanity in its time of great need.“
The Message and the Messenger, 2008

Part of the great need which has brought the New Message to Earth, is our emergence into a Universe of intelligent life. Contact with extraterrestrial life will be the greatest threshold our world has ever faced. It brings with it certain dangers and opportunities that we must be prepared for. Yet how could we prepare for something so unknown without new wisdom and guidance from the Creator?

In the cold, dark and competitive expanses of space, you only have one chance for success. And the New Message was sent to ensure this success. It teaches that success for humanity will be based on education, preparation and unified action. But could humanity approach these things without a New Message from God? If God’s concern is for the survival and success of the human family, then this may be the most critically important time for a new Revelation.

The purpose of the New Message from God is to prepare humanity for life in the Universe, and to address certain other needs and challenges on Earth:

Declining resources
The suppression of women around the world and their

So while the New Message is not the only path for personal redemption, it offers the only path for planetary survival. That’s because God knows what is coming and we do not. God knows that without a New Message; without a warning, a blessing, a correction, a preparation, and a revelation about the future, humanity will not survive as a free race in the Universe.

“Without the New Message from God, humanity would decline. It would continue to exhaust its own basic, life-supporting resources. It would continue to pollute and disrupt the world’s environment and climate. It would continue to compete with one another, maintaining its conflicts, further depleting human wealth, human resources, human value and human self-esteem. This decline would accelerate into the future, rendering humanity weak and helpless and unassuming to those intervening powers from the Greater Community who are here to take advantage of human ignorance and conflict. The end result would be a humanity whose population has been reduced to starvation, conflict, pestilence and war– a reduced population that now has fallen under the subjugation of foreign powers, new masters whose rule of humanity would be harsh and exacting, far more exacting than anything humanity has ever experienced before. It is because of the gravity of this situation and the great peril facing humanity that a New Message from God has been sent into the world.”
Questions and Answers, 2006

Witnessing the Revelation

When I was 10 years old I climbed to the top floor of our house because I heard a voice.

I went up slowly, pausing to listen. I crawled on hands and knees across the short landing that led to my parents room and pressed my ear against the door.

It was unlike any voice I’d ever heard. My father’s name was mentioned. Something about “Preparation,” and then “You, Marshall…” I pulled back from the door and sat there for a while. The voice continued speaking.

I remember going down each step backwards, my eyes and ears fixed to that door and that voice. I found my mom downstairs in the kitchen and asked her who’s voice this was. “Well, your father is conferring with a great teacher now,” she said.

Day after day, I watched my mother return from work at the local hospital to find my father there at home. He had spent many hours that day receiving the revelation. After being in this state of revelation, he was deeply tired and very disoriented from normal activities. She asked him what had happened that day. “A message for the individual” he would say, or a message for the world, an entire book, another 20 steps of Steps to Knowledge.

Sometimes a single revelation-event continued over a series of days, producing a multi-hundred page text such as Greater Community Spirituality. During most of those days my mother was at work. For years she was circumstantially taken away from my father. She wanted nothing more than to be at his side as he underwent this arduous process of revelation.

As a kid, I rarely understood what was happening. But I knew it was intensely important. It was consequential. It was history being made. And I could feel that. It was like a vast furnace at the center of a small family. It radiated more heat than any of us could handle. Or, as an early student of the New Message once remarked, it was like “drinking from a fire hose.”

This intensity and consequentiality at times abated. But even in quieter times it was there, like a tectonic movement deep below us; always advancing, always taking our family into the unknown.

The revelation has taken us on a vast traverse through the unknown; from Life in the Universe to Inner Knowing, The Angelic Presence, The Allies of Humanity, The Intervention, Inner Development, Spiritual Families, The Nature and Will of God, and the Proclamation of a New Message.

For a kid, this was a struggle. I trod back and forth from home to school to friends’ houses, not knowing how could I explain what was happening to anyone.

As I got older, the size and scope of the Revelation chafed at me. I struggled to accept the reality of these words, these words that kept coming. Hundreds of pages of words. Then thousands. They were there all around our house, bound in early volumes or sitting in stacks. In the presence of a new message from God, how can you have a normal life, the life you think you want?

Yet I’ve had the benefit of seeing this process first hand; seeing Marshall day after day consumed in a process he did not make or control; being in the room as the first words of new revelation came through him, all in the same voice as the one I heard with my ear pressed to the door 17 years ago.

From this life-long experience, it is clear to me that the revelation was prepared. It was laid down by forces far beyond my father before it was ever spoken through him on this Earth. It really does happen as the New Message itself says: “The voice of the Angels transmitting to the world a New Message from God through their messenger, Marshall Vian Summers.”