the full interview...
The Jeff Knight interview 1992. JZ Knight. Ramtha. Cults. - YouTube
In Knight vs. Knight (1992–1995), Jeff Knight alleges that he lost years of his life by postponing modern medical treatment for his HIV infection, due to advice from his wife that Ramtha could heal him. The court decided against him, but he died before he could appeal the court's decision.
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Worldly and the Spiritual Clash in New Age Divorce - New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/1992/09/25/us/wo ... all&src=pm
Worldly and the Spiritual Clash in New Age Divorce
By TIMOTHY EGAN
Published: September 25, 1992
Few things are more jarring than a forced collision of the spiritual world and the legal. Such is the case in a divorce court here, where a woman who claims to be the medium for a 35,000-year-old warrior has been trying to explain herself, and the riches she made off a movement that swept the nation in the 1980's.
J.Z. Knight, perhaps the most popular of the New Age spirit-channelers, was on the witness stand Wednesday and today, sorting through the financial and metaphysical bramble of her empire. But the real target of this prolonged legal inquiry is Ramtha, the spirit from the Cro-Magnon era who Ms. Knight says has been speaking through her for the last 15 years. God, Spirit or Fake?
In many ways, this marital property dispute has put the New Age movement itself on trial, providing details into how and why so many people have spent so much money on such celebrity spirits as Ramtha.
Although she has readily summoned Ramtha on thousands of occasions, before audiences that have paid up to $1,000 per individual, Ms. Knight has vowed that she will not let her spiritual tenant take the witness stand.
And therein lies the problem. Judge Bruce Cohoe of Pierce County Superior Court seems perplexed about whether Ramtha is a god, a spirit or a fake. Ms. Knight, on the stand, has been little help, saying today she did not know why Ramtha first appeared in her Tacoma kitchen in 1977 or where he came from. What both sides agree on is that Ramtha has power over the lives of many people.
Jeffrey Knight, who was the fifth husband of Ms. Knight, says in his lawsuit that his ex-wife used Ramtha to bully him into accepting a meager divorce settlement in 1989. He said he signed the settlement agreement under duress, and now wants a much larger share of the millions of dollars he says Ms. Knight made from Ramtha videos, books, lectures and personal sessions. In addition, he said he has long been infected with the virus that causes AIDS, and deprived himself of care because Ramtha scorned modern medicine.
Beyond the nasty personal squabble, the case of Knight vs. Knight has been a window into the practices behind the eight-foot-high walls of the 50-acre ranch where Ms. Knight runs her New Age school, in the town of Yelm, 55 miles south of Seattle. With more than a dozen staff members, a fleet of jeeps and a house that has been compared to a palace, Ms. Knight has built a considerable industry from the guttural voice that emerges from within her. Breathing and Jargon?
Mr. Knight and other former devotees now say that Ramtha is a sham, and that the channeling sessions that have attracted celebrities such as Shirley MacLaine and Linda Evans are little more than deep-breathing exercises with psychic jargon.
Outside the courtroom, other critics have described rituals in which blindfolded followers wandered for hours through a maze, or were threatened by Ms. Knight if they disclosed the inner workings of the ranch.
"She raped my soul," said Carey Bowen. "I used to think she was a good fake, but now I think she has a split personality," she said.
Ms. Knight and her attorneys say the allegations are exaggerated or false. In any event, Ms. Knight says she has very little control over how Ramtha may influence people.
She was asked today, for example if Ramtha had the power to bring someone down. "I've heard him say that, yes," said Ms. Knight, who is 46 years old. She goes into a deep, trance-like state whenever Ramtha is said to be speaking for her.
From all indications, Ms. Knight's Ramtha enterprises continue to flourish despite the courtroom revelations. "J.Z. Knight is still the most successful of the New Age channelers," said Dr. J. Gordon Melton, director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Many followers, who call themselves "Ramsters," have moved to Yelm, acting on prophecies from Ms. Knight that the Pacific Northwest is a safe haven from natural disasters, or from space invaders.
In interviews, they say they are nonplussed by recent revelations.
"Everything Jeffrey Knight is saying could be true," said Suzanne Nichols, age 31, who moved to Yelm from Manhattan. A 1983 graduate of Brown University, Ms. Nichols said her desire for spiritual growth led her to J.Z. Knight in 1987. She has since given up any career ambitions to follow Ramtha and lives in a house without electricity or telephone.
But others are extremely angry at Ms. Knight. Nancy Barr-Brandon, age 50, said she followed the teachings of Ramtha for almost eight years until she decided that Ms. Knight was a fraud. That was not before she spent $100,000 at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment and on books, tapes and survival gear.
In an interview, she said she believed Ms. Knight "would frequently rip off other people's ideas from books and movies."
The most revealing court testimony has come from Ms. Knight's ex-husband, Jeffrey. He said he helped his wife transform herself from the middle-class wife of a Tacoma dentist into a spiritual guru who lives in a $2 million ranch house. During their six-year marriage, the Knights went into the Arabian horse-breeding business, which ultimately failed, but made huge sums -- $4 million a year at one point -- off the various Ramtha industries, he testifed.
For most of the last decade, Mr. Knight testified, he was under the influence of Ramtha. "I trusted him implicitly," Mr. Knight said.
He no longer believes in Ramtha and says "mind-control techniques" form most of the teachings.
Mr. Knight ignored his deteriorating health, after he tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, because he believed Ramtha would heal him, he said. Mr. Knight said he is now taking the drug AZT, and that his health has improved.
Although some entertainment celebrities still praise Ms. Knight, the best-known of the New Age proponents, Shirley MacLaine, no longer associates with her. Ms. MacLaine "has moved on to other explorations," said Dale Olson, a spokesman for the actress.
In a 1985 book, "Dancing in the Light," Ms. MacLaine credited Ramtha with helping her solve some or her problems. In what now seems like a prophetic statement, Ms. MacLaine also said, "I want to prove that spirituality is profitable."
Indeed, the J.Z. Knight story, as revealed in testimony, sounds like an American success story. After high school, Ms. Knight said she dropped out of beauty school and business college. Her life was largely uneventful, through four marriages and jobs as a cable television marketer, until 1977. Then, one day in her kitchen, an apparition named Ramtha appeared.
By the early 1980's, Ms. Knight had taken Ramtha on the road, giving performances in New York, Los Angeles and hotel ballrooms in between. Ramtha, she said, was a warrior from the lost continent of Atlantis, and J.Z. Knight was his daughter. Money poured in. Ms. Knight spent lavishly, but settled with her ex-husband for a lump-sum payment of $120,000