The influence of Moral ReArmament can be seen in the New Age movement in the world and is also very evident within the church. Frank Buchman, the Lutheran pastor who wanted so badly to change the world that he compromised the gospel and embraced new revelations through occult guidance, was a forerunner of today’s new spirituality. One of his disciples, a close associate during the ‘40s and ‘50s, has written:
“MRA was est and TM. It was consciousness raising and sensitivity. It was encounter and confrontation. Frank Buchman was drying out drunks before AA’s Bill W had his first cocktail. He was moving hundreds of people in hotel ballrooms to ‘share’ with each other before Werner Erhard was born. He inspired thousands on all continents to meditate for an hour upon arising decades before Maharishi Mahesh Yogi left India. He was indeed Mr. Human Potential, ahead of his time…. A Prominent New England churchman…wondered out loud to the writer one day how much the whole encounter-sensitivity movement owed to Buchman and his sharing groups. Werner Erhard’s est carries identifiable similarities. Brother Roger Shultz who founded the Taize Community in Burgundy, France, south of Paris, in 1940, attributes important elements of his inspiration to his association with the Swiss Oxford Group in the thirties. Paul Tournier was identified with the same fellowship in Switzerland from 1933 to 1939 and he has frequently expressed his debt to Buchman for much of his own approach to counseling….”
There are other connections between Buchman and the New Age. We have mentioned Findhorn, on the coast of Scotland, and the fact that occult communication with various spirit entities (nature spirits, devas living in plants, etc.) was a daily part of Findhorn life. It was principally through the guidance received by Eileen Caddy that Findhorn came into being. And as Livesey points out, “Like A. J. Russell…Eileen Caddy first learned about guidance when she was in MRA.” Eileen’s first husband, Andrew, was obsessed with MRA, but she disliked it and at first was unsuccessful, in obtaining the coveted “guidance.”
She began to receive that guidance when she left Andrew and with her friend, Peter Caddy, went to Glastonbury, England. The voice told her, “I have brought you and Peter together for a very special purpose, to do a specific work for me.” She still had enough conscience to be bothered by her adultery, but in the end, the voice won out. She eventually was divorced from Andrew, married Peter, and together they founded Findhorn. Later they too were divorced.