Riverland student uses faith in religion to better himself

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Fernand Dorcus of Togo, West Africa and a business student at Riverland Community College, was born into Eckankar, the religion of light and sound of God. Dorcus says the teachings of Eckankar are ancient wisdom for today.

"The teachings of Eckankar are as old as the universe. It surfaced in 1965. It emphasizes the value of personal experiences as the most natural way back to God," Dorcus said.

On Oct. 25, 26, and 27, Dorcus will be going to the Temple of ECK in Chanhassen, Minn., for the annual world-wide seminar. His parents are followers of this religion, along with his two sisters. Dorcus' family is coming from Africa, Belgium and California to be at this seminar along with followers from all over the world.

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Eckankar is a modern-day religion that was introduced to Paul Twitchell in 1965. Twitchell was introduced to a group of spiritual teachers, called ECK Masters who changed the course of Twitchell's life. They trained him to become the Living ECK Master. He wrote several books on these teachings.

Since 1981, the spiritual leader of Eckankar has been Harold Klemp. Klemp will be in Chanhassen for the Eckankar seminar, at the Temple of ECK. The public is welcome to attend this seminar.

According to the beliefs of Eckankar, the soul is eternal and we are sent to earth to gain experience to go back to God. Eckankar teaches simple spiritual exercises to experience the light and sound of God. These exercises help the follower to move into greater states of consciousness. A spiritual exercise that Dorcus does is sing or say the word Hu, an ancient name for God.

"We sing Hu to feed ourselves. I feed my soul when I sing Hu," Dorcus said.

Dorcus sings Hu for 20 minutes every morning and 20 minutes at night. He says he does it often, even quietly while he is speaking to others. Dorcus said that he has become more spiritual because of chanting and he is more sensitive to others. He sees himself in others and says we are all the same, we are souls.

"I pray for help and surround my problems with my spiritual teacher, I don't see the Living Master often, but I feel God every second of my life. When we feel the inner state, then we can feel the outer state," Dorcus said.

He described that because he is aware of his inner feelings, he is more aware of his outer experiences. For example a voice told him over and over one day he would have a quiz in his micro-economic class. He didn't want to believe the voice, and he even argued with it. Sure enough he had a quiz, but because he had listened to his inner voice, he had glanced at his notes and he passed the quiz.

To learn more about Eckankar, the Web site for this religion is http:// www.eckankar.org

Sheila Donnelly can be reached at 434-2233 or by e-mail at newsroom@austindailyherald.com