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Out On A Limb presented a demonstIa-

tion of spiritual power that has shaken
many Christian viewers. MacLaine' s en-
counter with tIance channelers, her psychic
A BIBLICAL ANALYSIS OF RELIGIOUS AND SECULAR MEDIA connection with other people miles distant,
the apparent directing of her life from some
SPECIAL REPORT unseen powers that seem to have chosen
her for a special mission in life-these all

OUT ON A LIMB worked together to weave a story with

tremendous impact. One of the most un-
nerving sequences dramatized her flTStout-
by Albert James Dager of-body experience while on her trip to the
Peruvian Andes with David Manning.
n February, 1987, ABC-TV aired a It was MacLaine's trip to Stockholm, Sensing MacLaine' s call to be a witness

I two-part made-for- TV movie version

of Shirley MacLaine's best selling
book, Out On A Limb. Though the ratings
Sweden, to rendezvous with her married
lover, that provided an experience that
would set her on a new course in life. While
there she witnessed her first channeling
for the New Age, Manning led her step-by-
step to her own self-realization. Knowing
the impact that an out-of-body experience
would have in persuading her that she was
were not as good as ABC had anticipated,
session-a method by which a spiritual on the path to truth, his flTStapproach was
the number of viewers was substantial.
entity (supposedly a highly evolved being) gentle and seemingly innocent.
In its attempt at good theater the movie Taking MacLaine to a hot mineral
speaks through a willing "trance-chan-
fell shon due to much of the dialogue spring, Manning's objective was to teach
neler" (medium). The spirit's messages are
which was obviously contrived to elicit the generally designed to guide listeners into her to allow her body to relax so that her
philosophical underpinnings of mind-specifically her subconscious-
realms of higher consciousness and afflfffi
MacLaine's testimony. But in terms of their essential deity. would take control of her senses. While in
viewer impact the results were significant,
Miss MacLaine has herself become a the hot spring, Manning told her to con-
as evidenced by a surge of interest not only channeler of a different sort. She does not centrate on the light from a candle located
in MacLaine's writings, but in New Age claim to be a channel for another spirit on a ledge directly across from her, and to
writings in general after the film was aired. being, but rather for her own higher Self think of herself as one with the light-to
Though Out On A Limb was obviously (her subconscious). become the light; to become the candle.
an evangelistic outreach for New Age This exercise caused MacLaine to
philosophy, MacLaine denies that that has momentarily slip into a hypnotic trance,
been her intent in writing her books or but she snapped out of it before entering
promoting her film. Rather, she says, her totally into an altered state of conscious-
purpose is merely to express her own inner ness. Though not knowing where she was
feelings in order to fulftll herself. Whether headed through submission to Manning's
or not anyone accepts what she says isn't direction, she was impressed by the
impottant to her. euphoria that had swept over her.
Out OnALimb traced MacLaine' s quest Later on, in another hot spring, Mac-
for spiritual truth apart from that afforded Laine went fully into an altered state. She
her by her Protestant upbringing. Having saw energy in the form of colored auras
abandoned Jesus Christ as the Way, the emanating from the plants surrounding
Truth and the Life, she was open to the them and from Manning, resting in a trance
possibility that an inward search of self across from her in the spring.
would reveal truth and bring her into con- Suddenly she felt herself rising out of
tact with God (the higher Self in New Age her body, and was soon above the spring
philosophy). looking down on herself, connected by a
Through her acquaintance with David Shl~ey Maclalne thin, silver cord. Her ascent accelerated,
Manning, an artist whose paintings What we saw in Out On A Limb was an taking her above the clouds and into outer
reflected his own New Age beliefs, she account of New Age philosophy packaged space toward the moon and beyond. Seeing
came to believe that she is God, as are all in an entenainment format. Though the a distant galaxy whirling in space, she
people-a pantheistic concept that denies ftlm was a reenactment ofMacLaine' s per- wondered if her silver cord would stretch
the reality of a personal, transcendent God, sonal experiences, ponions of it incor- that far. "With that limiting thought," she
and relegates Him to the position of porated actual channeling sessions. said, she returned to her body.
Universal Mind or Cosmic Consciousness. MacLaine conversed with the spirits Such an experience attested to by some-
Her trips to Peru with Manning proved through the mediums or "trance-chan- one as reputable as Shirley MacLaine can
spiritually satisfying, and resulted in her nelers" beforehand so the spirits could easily plant seeds of doubt in Christians
flfst out-of-body experience as well as the rehearse their lines. who take their eyes off God's Word. It is
consideration that UFO's are real. Many As shocking to the sensibilities of many difficult to maintain faith in Jesus 'as the
New Agers believe that they are manned Christians as the overall message was, only way to truth when unquestionable
by superior beings who are observing there were specific points within the film spiritual experiences of a seemingly
humanity and guiding us along the evolu- that caused inordinate consternation and beautiful nature take place among those
tionary path to perfection. must be addressed. whose beliefs conflict with God's Word.
I have no doubt that Shirley MacLaine' s REINCARNATION Bible?" and David Manning gave her some
out-of-body experience was genuine, and Because mankind has rejected Jesus opinionated reference to the sixth-century
that such experiences are common among Christ as the only Way to God, they have Roman Catholic council, doesn't mean a
those who seek them through occult also rejected belief in the resurrection. Al- thing. He never answered the question
meditation techniques. I particularly found most every religious system in the world about reincarnation and the Bible, whiclt
of interest her reference to a silver cord believes either in reincarnation (the soul had been completed in the ftrst century;
which, in death, would break and sever experiencing many human rebirths until it instead he tells us what he thinks happened
completely the attachment of the soul and has purged itself of all negative karma), during the Council of Constantinople.
spirit to the body. Ecclesiastes 12:6 makes transmigration (the soul being reborn The Council of Constantinople had
reference to just such a silver cord. through different life forms, sometimes as nothing to do with establishing Scripture.
But what of such experiences?Why an animal, an insect, man, etc., depending The Scriptures had been completed
should Christians not seek to have them? upon its previous quality of living), or hundreds of years before.
The answers are found in Scripture. some form of eternal existence as a spirit. There are other considerations in the
When sin entered the human race Reincarnation is the prevalent belief movie's allusion to reincarnation as a tenet
through Adam, God pronounced a curse among New Age adherents, resulting from of early Christianity. Manning says, "In
upon him and his descendants (Genesis 3): the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism. spite of the fact that reincarnation could be
a life of hardship and, ultimately, death. It is also the central theme of Shirley found in many of the writings of the early
But man did not want to accept his lot. MacLaine's teachings and an important Church fathers, his [Justinian's] council
He turned to spirits in rebellion-fallen element in her movie. condemned the idea of the pre-existence of
angels and demons-who offered The film stirred controversy and caused the soul."
know ledge that would provide man with a consternation for many Christians by In the ftrst place, ..the early Church
technology capable of alleviating the giving the impression that reincarnation fathers" does not refer to the Apostles, but
hardships placed upon him by God. was a tenet of early Christianity, expunged to the hierarchy of the early Roman
from the Scriptures by Roman emperor Catholic Church. The Apostles never en-
Thus were established the various
Justinian in the sixth century. This was dorsed belief in reincarnation. On the con-
mystery religions which offered secret
conveyed in a segment that, unless one was trary, they pointed to the resurrection as the
know ledge of the sciences in return for hope of the Church (I Corinthians 15). The
allegiance to evil spirits masquerading as listening very carefully-in fact, unless he
could play it back and listen to it-he argument that reincarnation could ever be
gods and goddesses of nature. The
would think that some historical truth had a tenet of Christianity is put to rest by
privilege of contact with the spirit realm
been stated which would affmn reincarna- Hebrews 9:27: it is appointed unto men
was given to the priests of the mystery once to die, but after this the judgment."
tion as a basic tenet of Christianity.
religions. The methods and means in- In the second place, the Council of Con-
cluded meditation, hypnosis, and drugs. Shirley: Why isn't reincarnation in
stantinople focused on defming the nature
The latter tWowere also used to bring their the Bible? Why isn't it taught in Chris-
of Jesus Christ; the issue of the pre-exist-
subjects into obedience and to initiate them ence of the human soul was also addressed.
into the realm of demonic spiritism, David: Ah, well, that brings us to the
controversial Second Council of Con- David Manning's statement that
making them channels for spirit entities. Justinian's council "condemned the pre-
stantinople in 553 A.D. which was so
Soul travel, a practice of many in the existence of the soul" is made in a very
dominated by the emperor Justinian that
deeper occult mysteries, provides a means the pope, in protest, refused to attend. So deceptive way, tying it in with reincarna-
to contact spirits above the earth and, by Justinian got his way. And in spite of the tion. But belief in the pre-existence of the
some reports, on other planets and even in fact thatreincarnationcould be found in soul does not necessarily entail belief in
other galaxies. Many practice it just for the many of the writings of the early Church reincarnation. Many believe in the soul's
euphoria and excitement of discovery. But fathers, his council condemned the idea pre-existence but not in reincarnation.
it is also a method by which the personality of the pre-existence of the soul. That some Christians who watched Out
of the individual is removed in order to Shirley: Emperor Justinian. Whatdid
he want to do a thing like that for? On A Limb were shaken by this segment
make his body available for possession by demonstrates how easily we can be swayed
David: Well, I guess once you get
one or more spirits. used to the idea of being an emperor.you by what we think we hear rather than what
Through these spirit entities man has don't want to have to believe thatsome- is actually said. It also demonstrates how,
received genuine knowledge of the day youmighthave to come back as apig unless we know the Word of God and are
universe and its mechanisms. But Scripture stemper. walking in faith by the light of the Word,
tells USthat ..the secret things belong to the Shirley: Yeah, but why did the we can easily be led from the truth.
Lord our God: but those things which are Church go along with it?
revealed belong to us and to our children David: Well, I tIrink at filst Justiniao GOD WHO?
for ever, that we may do all the words of pressured them into it But then later I tIrink
The lie that has led to all lies is recorded
they went along with it because they just
this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29). God chose in Genesis 3: 1-6:
didn't wantpeopJe to aaswneresponsibility
to reveal His Word to us in order that we Now the serpenJwasmore subtil than
for their own kannic destiny.
may live righteously by faith. What He has any beast ofthefietdwhich the Lord God
not revealed belongs to Him. One might get the impression that belief Iwd made. And he said unJothe woman,
The alleged goal of man's spiritual and in reincarnation was once a part of Scrip- Yea, hath God said, Ye shallrwt eat of
physical evolution is to attain to godhood. ture, and held by the early Church. But the every tree of the garden?
The occult sciences promise immortality fact is, it never was held by the Church. Nor And the woman said unto the serpent,
and godhood through reincarnation, each was reincarnation purged from Scripture, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the
stage of which supposedly leads man to because it was never a part of Scripture. garden:
higher levels of consciousness and realiza- Simply because Shirley MacLaine But of the fruit of the tree which is in
tion of his inherent godhood. asked, UWhy isn't reincarnation in the the midst of the garden, God hath said,

Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye person goes through an altered state of experiences and beliefs are coming into the
touch it, lest ye die. consciousness to re-experience his initial Church through some prominent teachers.
And the serpenJsaid unto the woman, birth. This is done in order to overcome the Although some who are involved in occult
Ye shall nol surely die:
trauma of that birth and to become more philosophy and false teachings may not be
For God dolh know Ihat in the day ye
enlightened and more perfected in his path recognized as brothers in Christ by
eat thereof, then your eyes shall be
opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing of evolution toward godhood: knowledgeable Christians, the fact
good and evil. ...breathing is not only the focal point remains that they exert considerable 'in-
And when the woman saw that the tree of birth, but is the primary vehicle of fluence among the weak in faith and among
was goodfor food, and that it was pleasonJ restoring divine energy into the hwnan new Christians as well as others-teachers,
to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to mak mind and body. So rebirthing primarily pastors, and so-called "lay persons"-
one wi.se,she look of thefruit thereof, and means the rehabilitation of breathing. having itching ears, blown about by every
did eat, and gave also WIIo her husband Rebirthing is male descriptively called
wind of doctrine.
with her; and he did eat. conscious brealhing or energy breath.
ing...the pUlpOse of the breathing is to Whether those who propagate these er-
Satan told Eve that she and Adam would rors are deliberate deceivers or naive vic-
bleathe life energy as well as air. Breath-
become like gods. Fallen man has gone tims of deception themselves is not mine to
ing life energy cannot be done with a
even further, succumbing to the ultimate mechanical breathing technique. Enelgy judge. But to demonstrate the degree to
deception-that he is God. This is why is the sOUlceof the physical body and the which occultism is entering the Church I
David Manning and Shirley MacLaine universe. (Emphasis authors.) quote Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Notice
could boldly proclaim in unison on nation- the similarity between Peale's testimony
The concept behind eastern religious
wide television, "I am God!" and that of Sondra Ray:
breathing techniques (including yoga) is
David: Do you want to know a good that energy is God. And if energy is really Marilyn Helleberg [author of Beyond
exercise that helps you to get in touch matter in a different form, then matter is T.M.:A Praclical Guide to the Lost
with the realization that we each have God. It follows, then, that we are aU God. Tradition of Chri.slian Meditation, pub-
God inside of us?" lished by the Paulist Press] suggests a
Meditation coupled with breathing exer-
Shirley: Exercise? meditation in which you visualize a
cises is believed to lead people to full self-
David: Here's what you do. Just
realization, or realization of Self as God. white mist filled with myriads of little
stand up, hold YOUlarms out like this and
Ray also tells of an out-of-body ex- points of energy that gleam like
say, 'The kingdom of heaven is within. I
perience similar to MacLaine' s, while diamonds. Scientists say this is the life
love myself." No, wait! Better than that.
say, "I and God are one." No, wait, waitl engaged in a group therapy session: substance. the life force-this creative
energy beyond that which we conscious-
Better than that, I've got the best one; this And then they carried me to the Rolf-
is the best one. Just say, "I am God." ly experience I Visualize this mist high
ing table in the middle of the sunny above you, around you, and at your feet,
Shirley: David, 1 can't say that.
meadow. I still hadnot opened my eyes. cascading down like a waterfall of scin-
David: See how little you think of
John pressed on my body gently and the tillating light.
yourself. You can't even say the words.
ecstasy was so great, I floated. I was Then deeply breathe in the white
Shirley (aner much hesitation): 1
above the trees. I suddenly realized I was mist. and visualize it as proceeding up-
am God. (pause) 1 am God.
David: A little louder please, with
having an out-of-body experience. I ward into your throat, into yom nasal
maybe a little more conviction. wondered if he could tell. And then he passages, into your brain, vitalizing,
Shirley: 1 am God! (pausing) Well if said, "Well, Sandra, there is no point in shatpening and quickening YOUl mind,
I am God. what does that make you? working on your body if you are not in making it alive with a new power, filled
David: We always see in others what it." How did he know? What was all this with light and wondennent. Then expel
we see in ourselves. I am God. telepathy going on? When I got back in the white mist; draw it in again until it
my body it was just as good. so I stayed permeates every element of your physi-
MacLaine's testimony was not a fIrst in. It seemed like the first time I had ever cal being again and again and again. The
among Hollywood's elite. In 1977, John entered my body totally. It was a new creative energy of Almighty God is all
Denver, appearing with George Bums to experience to be in it totally like that. around us all the time.
plug their movie, Oh, God! on The Dinah And I loved my body more than I ever ..1 have been practicing this type of
Shore Show, told the audience that George thought possible. meditation for several days and I can
report that after using it only a half dozen
Bums really is God. And so is Denver, So 1 told Jolm, "I am going to open
times one begins to feel different. It in-
Shore, and everyone else. To this the studio my eyes now," as if I knew it was going
duces a sense of vital energy; an aware-
audience gave resounding applause. Many to be something special. 1 didn't feel
ness of God's presence.
celebrities (possessive of inflated egos) funny about announcing it like that.
Who is God? Some theological
have succumbed to this philosophy. What I saw was areal spectacle. I actual-
being? He is so much gleater than theol-
ly "saw" all the electrons in the universe
The idea of the inherent godhood of aU ogy. God is vitality. God is life. God is
at once, all the particles in the air, and all
persons stems from the eastern mystical energy. As you breathe God in. as you
of it was sparkling. And then 1 began to
and western esoteric belief that the visualize His energy, you will be reener-
see the trees. They were vibrating many
universe is really one giant organism. gized! You will live longer, you will live
colors of green that I had never seen
There is but one intelligence that per- better, you will have greater health, you
meates the cosmos and manifests itself in will have dynamic energy.
the form of energy. This is what they call THE CHURCH DECEIVED Peale has the unique ability to be aU
, things to all people. His affeciion for
"God." Therefore, God is everything, and Many Christians expressed shock at the
everything is God. idea that MacLaine and Manning could religious tradition of all sorts is apparent by
In their book, Rebirthing in the New equate themselves with deity. But if aU this reading his works. To Christians he speaks
Age, Leonard Orr and Sondra Ray relate sounds far-fetched and alien to our Chris- of Jesus, but he will lend credibilitY to any
the process called "rebirthing," whereby a tian faith, the reader should know that these religious system as long as it produces