This book, called "Nyandligt" i.e. "New Spirituality", is part of the Lutheran World Federation's program on New Religious Movements. Since 1971 the author has worked as a secretary for Press and Literature on the staff of the Church of Sweden Mission. Before that he was for seventeen years a minister in the Diocese of Lulea, "the Diocese in the North" of Sweden.
The book was presented to the ministers of that dio-cese, at the pastors' meeting in August 1977. Accord¬ing to Swedish Church Law such a meeting takes place at least every six years, and a special thesis has to be discussed. This time it was this survey of New Spirituality in the diocese.
It may seem surprising that there should exist any new religious movements so far up in the very north of Sweden and it is a fact that many of the movements have been unknown, even to the pastors, up to now. One reason why these movements have missions in the north is that here they cross the Arctic Circle, and H. Is good to be able to report to the headquarter In New Delhi or Haifa or Salt Lake City that the new mesHage has been preached in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
WITH THE BIBLE AS KEY
In the first section special attention is given to the Children of God (Cog). The author has a long interview with a young man and a young woman, who were members of the CoG from 1972 to 1976. In relation to their narrative the contents of the message of the movement is commented on.
The two became members of the CoG when they were "in a typical crisis situation", as they say. They were uncertain what subject they should study at the University of Uppsala; they were looking for a larger community than the nuclear family to relate to and they were disappointed "leftists". Both had a Christian background. By pure accident they met the 'CoG and they got what they were looking for: A warm family community, a life-task to offer themselves to for the sake of God and combined with a political analysis.
They left the CoG when they discovered that less and less attention was on the Bible but more and more on the so called MO-letters - letters written by Moses David, alias David Berg, the founder of the CoG -and that all energy and power was used to spread the MO-letters in order to get more and more money with no time to help suffering youth, drug-addicts etc.
Both of them had, during their time in the CoG, maintained relations with their parents, which was.a help when they left the movement.
On pp. 53 and 56-57 appear the first photographs of David Berg to be published in a book. These pictures were taken by a Swedish photographer at Tenerife in the beginning of 1977. In July 1977 at Tenerife the author managed to identify the people seen in the pictures.
Berg has now left Tenerife, where he is persona non grata. One group of twenty-five including three children, which has broken off from the CoG still stays (July 1977) at Tenerife and similar groups seem to be represented also in other countries. It calls itself La Familia del Amor - The Family of Love. Regarding their relationship to the CoG they claim: "We have the same founder but we are totally indepen¬dent. The only leader we have is God". (Interview 20.7.1977).
This section also summarizes the missions of groups such as the Seventh Day. Adventists, Mormons and Je¬hovah's Witnesses in the diocese of Lule5..
WITH THE VEDAS AS KEY
The second section, "With the Vedas as key", gives special attention to TM, Transcendental Meditation. The author suggests that TM is in one way "a de-my-thologized Hinduism", though words like Self-realization and Self-consciousness - God-realization and God-consciousness - are no longer used with the spe-cific meaning they have in Hinduism and in the early teaching of Maharishi. An explanation is given of the "secret" puja, the initiatory rite, and the "secret" mantras, which are by no means "meaningless sanscrit sounds" but code-words for Hindu gods. The deeper one goes into TM, the more the religious aspect is evident. If Hinduism is a religion, then TM is a religion. But this is denied, and it is claimed that TM is "science". But if this is the case, "science" is being used in a quite different way from its common use in Western society.
Most of the Hindu-related movements dealt with in this study - TM, Ramakrishna, Harekrishna and Ananda Marga, are more or less in the tantric tradition of Hinduism, where the serpent power Kundalini, sexual energy, is at the center. By using mantras and other techniques sexual energy is transferred through the seven chakras of the body and the goal, samadhi, is reached when Shakti joins Shiva.
WITH THE KORAN AS KEY
The third section of the book, "With the Koran as key", deals with Baha'i, the Ahmadiyya Mission and orthodox Islam. Baha'i especially has been very active among the Lapps. One of those who introduced Baha'i in Jokk¬mokk, a center of Lapp culture, is now doing mission-work in Greenland.
Most of these movements have two sides. One is the external side which they present to the public and which has been presented in text books; the other side is the esoteric, secret aspect, which is only for the initiated.
Most of the movements have a worldwide program. They have to build up a new society. When existing society collapses, they will take over. The time is short. There is no idea of working within existing political parties. To choose between the Social Democrats and the Center party is like choosing between plague and cholera. What is important now is that the vibrations of the new message reach the end of the world, even north of the Arctic Circle, to the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Furthermore the new religious movements are discussed as a challenge to the Church. What is wrong in the Church of Sweden? What is wrong in Christianity? Why is there a market for all these new spiritual movements?