About The Gnostic Order of Christ
and The Holy Order of MANS

The following will address just a little, lineage, teachings, vows, and Father Paul Blighton for those who might need some clarification. We hope the reader finds this short article helpful.

The Gnostic Order of Christ

The Gnostic Order of Christ was founded to preserve the essence of the lineage of The Order of The Holy Cross as it was originally conceived - in freedom, love, and service by one of the former founding members of The Science of Man Church and The Holy Order of MANS, Master Timothy Harris and others.

Master Timothy Harris and another, in 1988, at the time of the HOOM's conversion to orthodoxy, were the only teachers of those former bodies
having the lineage and Rite to Ordain of The Order of the Holy Cross passed through the laying on of hands, by Father Paul Blighton.

Our structure is designed to preserve the lineage and the original democratic form of the priesthood as it was originally received and transmitted. All of our vows are to God. The priesthood made up of those who have been ordained, determines the liturgy and validates the lineage and its passage, however...

The Gnostic Order of Christ has an entirely different structure than either of the two former monastic organizations. Gnostic Order of Christ ministers are Independently Ordained into The Order of the Holy Cross, not into The Gnostic Order of Christ. The Gnostic Order of Christ is a locally organized body incorporated in California formed for the express purpose of passing the lineage of Father Paul Blighton as he orginally received it through revelation.

Any Spiritual Communities formed in various locales by those ordained are independent from The Gnostic Order of Christ. As a body, we have no spiritual hierarchy, although we are associated with other Communities and Orders, and especially those persons who may have been ordained through The Gnostic Order of Christ with whom we may share a common liturgy and tradition. Some of us take vows and are ordained and some of us choose not to take vows and are not ordained. Our common bond is the Spirit we share through our communion, rituals, and spiritual practices.

We live with our families and work in various capacities in the communities of which we are a part. Some of us are professionals and some are not: we are teachers, carpenters, artists, doctors, nurses, psychologists, musicians and so forth. We perform our spiritual practice and devotion in our homes, in our communities, and at gatherings.

Our individual commitment is to change the world by changing ourselves; we strive to be better people and to live the spiritual teachings as taught by Jesus Christ and other Great Teachers. We are organized similarly to the early Christian Church. Each community determines its own structure and selects its own spiritual leaders.

About the Historical HOOM

The Holy Order of MANS was built upon a seminary model. In the beginning there were no vows to the order. As time wore on however, Father Paul added a vow of obedience (1972) that all order members were required to take (some did not take this vow and either left the order or stayed within the order without taking the vow). This vow required order members to obey their superiors and the Esoteric Council. This vow changed the entire structure of the order. After the passing of Father Paul in 1974, the order changed further. An elitist, dictatorial organization developed. This pattern is continued by some of the groups who claim lineage today. We have eliminated vows of obedience to a superior. All vows given by the Gnostic Order and her associates are to God as it was at the beginning of the order. Vows to God allow total freedom of conscience and enhance one's relationhip with God.

A word about the teachings we use and those of Father Paul: Historical changes in the order are difficult to document through reading some of the writings that are found on the internet, but after critical examination of these teachings, we can safely assert and guarantee that the majority of these teachings presented as those of Father Paul Blighton are largely, either dogmatic corruptions of the original teachings by another body and/or consist of lecture notes adapted and taken out of the context of time and period without consideration for the audience addressed then or the audience now. These writings, for the most part, are taken piecemeal from a variety of sources and are not original.

Through the years these "lessons" and "writings" have been rewritten and edited numerous times. In many cases, these were edited by those who did not actually understand the original teachings, thus they do not reflect the actual teachings of the Holy Order of MANS or Father Paul, but actually reflect dogmas that developed in the later order at various times. The lessons in the beginning were rather dry, unedited copies of lessons from elsewhere; they were in a simplified form to introduce new uneducated students to a variety of subjects. The later order added dogmatic statements and then presented these lessons to the order members as "the words and teachings" of Father Paul. Other writings presented as Father Paul's are collections of excerpts lacking context of audience and period taken from lectures.

Several organizations are using these corrupted writings, some with the knowledge and some without the knowledge that these writings are not original teachings of Father Paul. However, they are misled, we reject these corrupted teachings and assert that overall as a whole they are not in accord with true spiritual teachings or what Father Paul actually taught. While The Gnostic Order of Christ sometimes uses teachings of Father Paul, we are extremely selective. Many of our number were of the original early order and know what he actually taught while he was alive.

Father Paul often said, he did not actually teach anything new. In the beginning, Father Paul recommended to students that they study whatever they were attracted to and he used standard texts in his classes (especially the Bible). While some of the texts were Rosicrucian in origin, most came from many other disciplines. Today many of these texts are recognized as foundational works used as references by present writers in the area of Gnostic Religous Studies.

Contrary to popular notions, Father Paul was extremely well read. In the beginning of his ministry, he taught in the Oral Tradition without notes. He simply lectured accessing large amounts of information in his mind that he had gathered and correlated over the years. References to the writings of the Theosophists, the Transcendentalists, the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, early publications of some Gnostic writings, Jung, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christian history and especially the New Testament and so on my be found throughout ,many of his lectures and writings. See: What did Father Paul read?

What is new is the priesthood and the liturgy Father Paul authored. (These were also altered over the years). The Priesthood stemmed directly from Father Paul's revelations. The validity of this "New" Priesthood was ascertained by those he initially ordained, both men and women. While Father Paul is often accredited as the founder of this lineage, the tradtions were actually established by numbers of people who were students of Father Paul. Murshid Sam Lewis also influenced the early order; he was also one of the incorporators and was a frequent speaker. The Oral Tradtion was in the early order the primary means for the transmission of teachings through lectures and questions and answer periods.

Those ordained by The Gnostic Order of Christ teach in the Oral Tradition and use materials readily available. We have no "secret teachings". As did Father Paul, we also recommend and advocate persons study all that is available. The Oral Tradition is akin to that called the Socratic method. Together we discover what specific teachings mean. Many of our teachers are also initiated in other traditions, thus they may add materials and lecture about those traditions as well. You may like to visit www.gnosticbooks.com to survey a variety of books and writings we might include.

Vows of Obedience

People of many tradtions take vows including the vow of obedience. In most systems and in our system the vow of obedience refers to learning to listen and to being obedient to, first of all one's own conscience; being able to discern one's own conscience clearly is a result of authentic spiritual practice and focus. Learning to follow one's own conscience is a matter of discerning what is good and using one's will to do that which is good.

Generally, true vows of obedience in most spiritual systems actually refers to one or all of the following four ideas:

(1) obedience to instruction: the authentic pursuit of a person to follow guidance given by a mentor in respect to meditation, contemplation, and study followed by authentic questions and discussion of spiritual principles with one's instructor; in this instance obedience is in regard to study and being a sincere and authentic spiritual practitioner.

(2) obedience to the striving, as in, "We strive to live our vows and be of service in the world"

(3) obedience to our conscience: following our own individual conscience is first of all a matter of personal integrity; personal reflection and action is the premise of the principle of self-examination.

(4) obedience to the Ten Commandments and The Commandments of Christ to: Love God first and our brothers and sisters as ourselves.

Our Vows

All of our vows are to God and all are optional:

Simply the vows are five or six:

poverty (recognizing that all belongs to and is given to us by God: this vow is about detachment from wanting what we do not need)

humility (recognizing that all persons are loved unconditionally by God; when we vow to be humble, we vow to love unconditionally and respect all others as equals knowign that we are also loved by God; all are equals)

service (we vow to be of service in the world, the members of our families, and all of our brothers and sisters in our communities)

obedience (we strive to discern and act according to our own conscience and strive to be authentic in our spiritual practice)

purity (to see all persons and the world as God created us and it)

harmlessness (some take a vow of harmlessness: to harm or kill no person, or animal and to respect and not harm the earth in any way)

We have added these additional vows for Priests and Teachers: these are not optional for anyone being ordained.
1. Priests take a vow to "never" vow anyone to themselves, and to "never" vow anyone to any order or community. The vow is "Do you promise that you will never vow any being to thyself or to any earthly order... and do you promise to protect this right of freedom knowing it is our divine birthright to the utmost of your ability?"

2. Teachers take a vow to "never" close the door to anyone. That means that teachers vow to remain available to all for spiritual counseling and/or assistance when asked (of any tradition or walk in life). The vow is "I take this solemn vow, that I shall never close the door on anyone, for the Grace of God through Our Lord Jesus Christ has given to all forgiveness."

We are in the process of adding other vows as people ask for them and are presently considering administering vows incrementally, one at a time as people ask for them. All vows are optional as some people wish to take formal vows and others do not. Exceptions to this rule are the priest vows and the teachers vows above.

Structure of The Gnostic Order of Christ

1. All who take vows live in the world and support themselves; all are householders. We assert we are all on the spiritual Path from the moment we are born. Our spiritual path assists us in being better persons.

2. We encourage and support family and friendships and collectively agree that we are obligated spiritually, ethically, and morally to maintain and strengthen those relationships in a loving manner. Jesus taught the Ten Commandments. One of those is to honor our parents. Even on the cross he had concern for the welfare of his mother and he laid down his life for us, who he called his friends.

3. Our members associate with one another by choice. Our organizational structure is based upon the early Christian Community model. Each priest and teacher is personally responsible to God and their community for their actions and conduct. Communities accept and reject a priest or teacher based upon their own discernment of his or her merits.

4. Priests and Teachers are required to accept the Code of Ethics and The Conduct Policy prior to Ordination.

5. We ordain priests and teachers, however we do not supervise persons once they are ordained. Each person has the freedom to begin their own ministry. Persons ordained maintain their ministries at the discretion of their congregations. We believe, the response of the communities which the minister serves, facilitates spiritual integrity for both the congregation and the minister. We assert the Holy Spirit manifests in the body according to the spiritual practice and devotion of the body as a whole.

Lastly: Dispelling a Few Myths

A number of erroneous myths regarding the beliefs of Father Paul have made their way around the internet. I would like to dispel some of those here now. The lineage of The Gnostic Order of Christ is called The Lineage of The Order of the Holy Cross. The lineage is a product of numerous revelations received by Father Paul in meditation between 1965-1967 prior to the foundation of the orders. Father Paul believed these revelations came from St. Paul. He highly regarded St.Paul and took his name for his own because he felt he was carrying on the work in the Spirit of St.Paul. In later years, Father Paul at times asserted he was St. Paul. The Gnostic Order respectfully does not accept this notion, however. We do not know if he truly actually believed this or not; in any event, it is simply not provable and certainly is not germane to the essence of the priesthood he established. The Priesthood is After The Order of Melchizedek. We accept the validity of our Priesthood on the basis of the powerful experiences we have with Jesus Christ at the times of our respective ordinations and during communion.

Other myths regarding Father Paul abound. These may be addressed in a future article. For now, what needs to be known is that Father Paul was raised a Free Methodist. He disagreed with many of the teachings of his childhood years, however he was a Christian. In fact, his sermons were Evangelical in nature. He taught, lived, and preached a Christian message. This message was Gnostic Christian in nature as in " Know ye the Truth and the Truth shall set you free."

While Father Paul was not a traditionalist, and at times referred to himself and the orders he founded as Gnostic, in the tradition of all Christians, he believed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit including revelation and healing through the laying on of hands. He also believed and taught that revelations should be tested for their validity. His intention was to establish on earth an order according to traditions of the early church as he perceived them.

In many ways he was a man ahead of his time, in that many of the teachings he taught during the time he was alive, may now be found discussed in current books regarding metaphysics, healing, church history, new thought and religious studies, and especially those regarding, the New Testament writers, the Gospel Q, the early Church, and the Gnostic leanings of St.Paul. He also had a special affinity for the Book of Revelations. Regarding the Nature and Structure of the Apostolic Church Father Paul wrote:

... the principle of Apostolic Succession is far older in time and history than the Apostles themselves. For ancient teachers of authority have traditionally passed their spiritual authority and mantle to the chela or the student most suited to receive it by a direct and personal laying on of hands and so the wisdom and authority - the keys to the mysteries - have been passed down from individual to individual throughout the Ages.
Many of the early Church Fathers understood the intimate connection of the Christian Church with the mystery schools of antiquity and the ones of their current day. Some of them, undoubtedly, were initiates themselves. Such men as Clement of Alexandria, and Origen, and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, show in their writings a marked tendency to couch their teachings in terms of Gnosticism or Neo-platonism (both are types of mystery teachings). This cannot simply be ascribed to a tendency on their part to teach Christianity in terms of what was popular at the time. Origen was a frank admirer of Plotinus. Even the great Augustine followed the Gnostic path for many years.
Thus, there existed in early Christianity the knowledge that there was a graded hierarchy of spiritual authority that reflected spiritual function and consciousness as well as material function and office.
Many Christian leaders of that time, who seemed to have forgotten the original connection of Christianity with the mysteries, became uneasy with the success of Gnostic Teachers and especially with their claim that they were heirs to the true Christian Mystery.
After Constantine officially recognized the Christian Faith by decree in the year 313, the Christian Church began in earnest to purge all evidence of Gnosticism or "Emanationism" or the Ancient Mysteries from its doctrine. They did this so systematically and successfully that they themselves lost the full understanding of the true origins of their own priesthood and of their own doctrines....
... Now in the light of truth, we can freely acknowledge our debt to the ancient sages of Egypt, Israel, Greece, and others before and after, who kept the flame of the Light burning in the darkest hours, without fear, for the truth of the Christos is universal and timeless and so is the priesthood that serves that Truth." Father Paul E. W. Blighton.

The above excerpt is quoted from The Philosophy of Sacramental Initiation (Holy Order of MANS) pp.108-109. Sorry, the work is not available to the public, yet.

Many of the churches of today are adapting their doctrines to accommodate more of a rationalist view regarding the identity of Christ and our relationship to Christ and God at the expense of the Mystical View. Many of these rationalist ideas were established during the time of Father Paul's life in the spiritual communities stemming from the period of the Enlightement, followed by the Transcendentalists and the Theosophists, who were the forbearers of modern schools of religious studies, and the multi-religious study cultures of the sixties. Some of the current ideas concerning God and Christ stem back even further and may be found throughout the ages in various mystery schools of reknown. Some of the foundational ideas of current thought especially concerning the foundations of the Early Church and Gnosticism may be found interspersed throughout some of Father Paul's writings.

Given, Father Paul's Gnostic view, it is notable, that no matter to whom you speak about him, that most of all Father Paul believed a Christian was not truly a Christian unless he was serving others. During the time that The Holy Order of MANS was in existence the order served thousands of people through its order centers, Christian Communities, and service centers. Most former members of that body are today for the most part engaged in areas that serve others to the present day.

Also see: What Did Father Paul Teach and Read?

Any questions may be addressed to: Master Timothy Harris at timothy2@gnostic.org.

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The Middle Path: This book is a collection of some of the lectures by Father Paul on various subjects. They were collected and edited by his wife and co-director of the former Holy Order of MANS, Mother Ruth. The book is available through The Science of Man Church.

Preface: "No book ever carried wisdom; books carry knowledge. The only wisdom you can gain is that which comes from within..."
Father Paul