Note: If you click the above link, the website will play cheesy music at you. You have been warned.
I didn’t get to sit in on a service, because they don’t really have any. Like the Scientologists, they have seminars and classes instead. Unlike the Scientologists, I can actually attend their classes and seminars without having to fork over money.
However, I was unable to attend any today, because I’m not yet qualified, and so this isn’t a full review. It’s a pre-review report.
The “I Am” temple is located a little over a mile from the Oak Lake Baptist Church, which I visited this morning, and as is usual on Sunday, I was on foot. The Baptist church services ended at noon, and I hung around and chatted with the pastor for about twenty minutes. The “I Am” temple opens its doors to the public at noon, and I was afraid I would miss something, so instead of taking the twenty minutes or so to walk there, I hopped on the Metro 358 bus down Aurora, which luckily was just arriving as I approached the bus stop. I got to the temple in about six minutes.
The Temple itself is in an old building that used to be the “Arabic Theater.” That doesn’t mean it used to show Arabic movies or was run by Arabic people. It was just an old theater that was done up in an Arabic theme, like they used to do. The theater was built in 1925, and the person I talked with said he thought the Saint Germain Foundation bought the place in the 1970′s when it had stood derelict for some time. Out of curiosity, I looked at the King County online parcel viewer to see if there was any other information, but their records only go back to 1980 when the Saint Germain Foundation already owned the place. I would have like to see how much they bought it for. It does confirm that the building was erected in 1925, however.
It’s movie theater heritage is quite apparent. There were two sets of brass doors, one side was locked. Inside, there was a nicely appointed vestibule, with plush carpeting, another bank of brass and glass doors that opened up into a splendid-looking lobby, and an office on the south side of the vestibule. That office was clearly the original box office for the theater.
As soon as I went inside, I was greeted by a woman dressed in a flowing gown and with an earthy shawl around her shoulders. She had grey hair, and I would guess her age to be early to mid-fifties. I would also guess that she would have possessed movie-star good looks in her younger years. That’s not to say she wasn’t still pretty. She definitely was. She greeted me quietly and before we could say much, a man in an entirely white suit came out to greet me.
And when I say entirely white, I mean entirely white. White coat, white shirt, white pants, white shoes. Not a stitch of color on him. He looked to be in his late 40′s or early 50′s, and spoke with a pleasant ease about him. I introduced myself, and he asked me if I was the person who had spoken to him on the phone. I said no, but I had emailed their headquarters and had called and left a message. He remembered the email.
He asked me why I was there and what I knew about Saint Germain Foundation. Well, in truth, I know very little about it. I told him I knew about them because I lived nearby, and had been by the temple a number of times, and was curious, and I had looked them up and read the Wikipedia article. He seemed a little alarmed about this, and I added, “But I’m open-minded,” and he relaxed. I told him that I thought the church was about “ascended masters” and that according to this belief, Jesus and other people had “ascended” to heaven and were somehow still active in the world, and that the guy who founded the church was visited by one of these ascended masters while hiking in the mountains.
So, we talked about this for a little while, and I asked if I could sit in on a service. He said no. I would have to read some books first, and “come to an understanding” before I could participate in any classes or seminars. I asked him how much this would cost me, and he said it would be free, unless I chose to donate.
Okay then. I think we’re in business. Now I don’t particularly like getting homework, but if there’s something interesting to experience and write about, I guess that would be okay.
He offered to check a book out to me, and I indicated that would be fine, and he disappeared into the office to find one. The woman and I talked about the architecture, particularly the beautiful stained glass window in the front, which I’ll get a picture of next time I visit. I wanted to go beyond the vestibule, but I got the distinct sense that they didn’t just allow people to go in there.
So, being the cheeky guy that I am, I walked to the second bank of doors and opened one. She started to make objection noises, and I said, “Can I just take a quick little look?” but by the time I was done asking, I was already in the main part of the lobby. She followed behind me and muttered, “Well, okay… I guess that would be okay…”
The lobby really looked all the part of a grand old theater lobby. There was no concession stand, and it had a lot of furniture in it, but you could really tell what it used to be. Marble floors, beautiful portraits (of presumably Ascended Masters) along the walls. There were flowers and lots of gilt everywhere. There were other doors along one wall, and she positioned herself politely but firmly between me and them.
After a few minutes, the white-suited man returned, with a book entitled Unveiled Mysteries, by Godre Ray King. It was pretty old, and had a clear plastic dust jacket protecting it. I gave him my Google Voice phone number (I never give out cell or land line numbers, as a general rule) and put the book in my backpack.
I promised to read it. There are two more in the series that I have to read before I can attend a seminar. From talking to the woman, I gather that anywhere from five to 20 people usually attend the seminars.
After I got home, I looked at the copyright page. This book is the third edition, and was printed in 1939, so I’ll have to be extra careful with it. It’s 74 years old.
I might post a book review, once the mysteries are unveiled to me.
So, there’s not much to judge the church on just yet, but I will keep you guys informed.