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Can One Quit Eckankar?

Yes, it's easy enough to quit and tens of thousands of people have. The fly in the ointment, though, is that the Eckankar writings are riddled with fear tactics right out of Scientology and dire threats of what damnation awaits anyone foolish enough to quit. Without the Living Eck Master's guidance, all a person's karma is dumped onto his head and will likely crush the poor soul. Numerous threats promise countless rounds of more miserable lives spent in the astral hells and back here on earth. All is not lost, though, if the hapless student someday crawls back to the feet of the Living Eck Master and asks to be saved. As you may guess, these fear-laden admonitions against quitting are only available to the student after approximately 10 years of conditioning (, so new members have absolutely no idea what less-than-pleasant surprises await them down the road.

Also, after a 5 year period of not sending in membership fees, a student loses all initiations and is busted back to rank newbie. Considering how fervently Eckankar ties in its initiations to a student's spiritual progress, the loss of these have had a devastating psychological effect on some sensitive people who weren't able to move past all these controlling fear tactics. It's not unusual to talk with ex-eckists, people who quit 20 or more years ago, and hear that they're still struggling with these fear messages.

In his day, Twitchell wrote much about the perils of ever trying to quit Eckankar. His book Illuminated Way Letters, has been quietly withdrawn from publication. In it and other books and discourses, he goes on at great length about what happens if anybody tries to leave - they lose ALL spiritual progress and must begin again at the very bottom of the evolutionary ladder; that is, as minerals. A number of his discourses are equally hard on the student. Quite a heavyhanded approach, isn't it? And, in typical Eckankar fashion, this information is never told to people before they join.

Although representatives of Eckankar will always downplay this if confronted, Harold Klemp continues the threats and fear tactics. In fact, some of Klemp's discourses read like the ravings of a very troubled soul.

The wrath of the eck (spirit) crashes down upon anybody who is still a slave to the ego and deserts the master. Not once will he see the connection between his betrayal of the eck and the horrendous troubles that strike him down like a plague on every hand. And thus he goes downward on the spiral of awareness until he leaves this body in hopeless despair, still wondering why the fates have treated him so cruelly.

Eck Satsang Series 3, Chapter 8.

Whosoever...shall divulge the secrets of his initiation...shall be deprived of his sight and tongue in order to never say anything about the degrees of initiation in ECKANKAR.

Shariyat ki Sugmad - Book 2, pages 177-178, 2nd edition, 10th printing, 1988

"But once the chela [member of Eckankar] has become a member of the inner circle, HE CANNOT RESIGN...Those few have found that spiritual decay sets in immediately, affecting the health, material life and spiritual life, and BRINGS DEATH MORE SWIFTLY."

Shariyat ki Sugmad - Book 2, page 197, (page 166 in older editions)