December 15, 2007

Book Review: The Thundering

First Thunder: An Adventure of Discovery, by MSI (Society for Acension, 1996, ISBN 0-931783-07-0)

This book was written by: MSI, who, according to the last page of the book, "personally trains teachers of the seven spheres described in his books. He presently resides at the Society for Acension's academy in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina." He also writes in the introduction to Second Thunder that "I am an Unbounded Being. Living in a human body, I experience the Ascendant continually, twenty-four hours a day." At the time of the book's publication, MSI was willing to teach seminars on Ascending in exchange for a reasonable fee.

What is in this book: "a Teaching founded by Christ and his beloved Disciple John, a precious knowledge with enough power to transform the Earth within a single generation" (p.28). However, First Thunder lays out this teaching in a first-person narrative, where an everyman with "no fondness for cults or anti-Christian practices" (p.11), who admits that the sight of a parked Acura makes him "irritated at my poverty and chain of failures,"(p.20) finds out that his friend Ollie "has been studying and Ascending with a group of monks who belive they are following the true but hidden teachings of John--and of Christ" (p.11).
Ollie meets a violent death--struck by a car--and the narrator travels to the Ishaya monastery with a love interest and an academic doctor, where the three of them learn that a group of monks "wanted to keep [the teaching of Acension] a secret for monks only; they belive it's too good for average people and belongs only to those who give up all worldly desires and dedicate their lives completely to God." (p.24) The three of them and the monks struggle with the decision to make this knowledge "from the Apostle John" (p.76) available to the public.

What is not in this book: Tables, charts, or easy-to-read lists of the Seven Spheres. This is because in a conversation with Boanerge, Son of Thunder, the narrator learns that "a 'how-to' manual simply wouldn't work in today's world" (p.239). Also, "there'd be a lot of superficial people, just skimming through the pages, not trying the techniques to see if they worked. And, once you'd printed the Attitudes, they'd become public knowledge, there'd be no more confidentiality."(p.238-239)
This is a bold choice, as a dialogue between the everyman, the love interest, and the embodiment of modern scholastic knowledge exploring the teachings that are "most assuredly" from the Apostle John (p.73) could be insightful and enlightening in the hands of a skilled author. However, they risk coming across as repetitive and leaden, with little to break up the pages and pages of discussion if laid out in the inept prose of someone just pushing an agenda.

Would you recommend this book to Lion-O? Possibly, but he would need at least need a "Cats - HO!" and preferably two more instances of thunder if he wanted to get serious about activating the Eye of Thundera in the Sword of Omens to rally the other Thundercats.

Would you recommend this book to Hulk Hogan? Maybe. These meditations are supposed to bring about paradise on earth, but it is unclear as to whether that paradise contains a bitchin' high-tech boat.

What is interesting about this book: The factual liberties taken by the author "to enable those who prefer to belive this book is just a novel to be able to do so easily" (afterword). These include Ollie's death, an explosion in Skala harbor, and the deaths of 105 of the Ishaya monks during the India-Pakistan war. They also help to tone down the electrifying and potentially controversial nature of the Seven Spheres Teachings, which would be completely riveting if separated out on their own:

"Use Cognition after each repetition of each of the Attitudes. Praise Attitude, Cognition; Praise Attitude, Cognition; Praise Attitude, Cognition. Then Gratitude, Cognition; Gratitude, Cognition; Gratitude, Cognition. Then Love, Cognition; Love, Cognition; Love, Cognition. Like that." (p.274-275)

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