This page includes the opinions of the web master and reviewers. Readers are encouraged to form their own opinions.
From from the lunatic fringe of apostasy ~
Arthur Chappell and his book
"Reading this book is it's own punishment."
Arthur Chappell, a contributor to forums run by the so called 'ex-premie group, has self-published a book laced with contradiction. The book is titled Brainwashed! A cult survivor's tale.
Chappell describes meeting happy, smiling, sinister "cult recruiters." He admits that he asked to received 'Knowledge' (taught by Prem Rawat) only to "expose it for the sham it was." However, he decided to hang around for a few years with those happy, sinister folk, and while doing so he concocted his own self-styled religion. He fails to see the irony of his apostasy: while blaming others, he is rejecting a religion that he himself created. It is unlikely that he ever actually practiced Knowledge. ('Knowledge' - as taught by Prem Rawat - is not a religion, nor is it associated with religion.)
His account is a poorly written product of his imagination. For example, he writes, "We had to keep our identity secret, because there were people out there who want to hurt us and laugh at us." Reviewers have suggested that he needs psychiatric help, however, it is also possible that the book is a cynical attempt to 'cash in' on a niche market. It is unlikely that anyone with a degree in psychology - as Chappell claims - could have written, with any honesty, such paranoia-laden rubbish.
If the book reviews are any indication, he is fooling very few people. Six reviews are presented below.
The photos presented here were selected from the 125 photos of himself that Chappell has made available on the internet. Almost all of them depict him in fancy dress, occasionally in drag and/or wearing makeup.
I sincerely hope Mr. Chappell, eventually, some sunny afternoon when the weather is just right, has an Aha! moment, and realizes what we all know, or should know: The only singularly clear fact about all the troubles he has ever had is that he, himself, was always there. If such a thing could happen, Mr. Chappell can graduate from the ranks of being a victim, move on, and as a collateral benefit, his life would get better than he can imagine as a result." D. Yates
"Without wishing to be unkind to Mr Chappell, his book is not what it purports to be. A more appropriate title would be, for example, The Delusions of a Paranoid Psychotic Person. In his misspelled but sobering account Chappell describes meeting happy, smiling, open and friendly people, and feeling that they are somehow sinister. He perceives them to be somehow acting in concert, as though connected by single thread of consciousness for a purpose that is vaguely threatening, but not clearly understood or defined. Chappell wants to escape, but is drawn to them, perhaps by their warmth or kindness. His book may be useful as a reference for therapists engaged in treating patients who remain functional in society while suffering from various forms of psychoses or displaying obsessive behavior similar to Chappell's.
The people Chappell encountered in the early 1980s were students of Prem Rawat, an Indian bourn teacher who emigrated to the United States as a teenager in the early 1970s and who has for many years traveled the world speaking about inner peace. His early followers were drawn from the counter culture movement of that era. U.S. academic, J. Gordon Melton, has described the evolution of Rawat's teaching. In 1982 he abandoned the trappings of Indian culture and dissolved his own support base. He then established a new organization and began moving it into mainstream society. Powerful consciousness changing techniques comprise the core of Rawat's teaching. He makes these techniques freely available to anyone who expresses a sincere desire to learn them. Evidently, Chappell slipped through whatever screening process existed in 1981. He was insincere from the beginning. He writes, "I dreamed of getting the Knowledge and then showing it for the sham it was." Chappell's book is not a reliable source of information on the subject. Detailed information is available in new biography, Peace is Possible, by independent author, Andrea Cagan." J. Singleton
"Oh my ....
As someone who works closely, with folks trying to recover from alcoholism and drug addiction, the tenor of Arthur's book is patently familiar to me. I did read the preview, as far as it would let me, but the Autobiography sketch on page 3, says it all: Arthur writes to prove that he is more than just a victim.., the operative word here being victim. Anyone in the helping professions knows exactly what I mean.
Arthur was a victim before he met the divine lighters, and if he hadn't met them, he would have sought refuge from his inner demons at the next bus stop, or the next one after that. That's what victims do. Just working the numbers, it is a fact that there were a quite a few folks back in the 70s and 80s that were religious fanatics looking for something to make a religion out of, whether it was a spiritual movement, or a historical re-enactment society (which is also a 'cult'ure, by definition).
I have had more than my fair share of interactions with ex cult members, and almost without exception, they have all shared perceptive pathologies that, if you remove the drugs or alcohol, appear exactly like the alcoholic or drug addict, who wants to blame 'them' (as in everybody else. It's not my fault!).
I have to say, I don't intend this review to be unkind, and I mean that. That said, it never fails to amaze me, when someone has the audacity to call hogwash "a true story" (page 1), and even more so, when they direct their distortions at another with the intent to lay blame. But forget about that for a moment! Golly dang dude, didn't you even consider getting some help from a real writer on this? I'm sorry. It's just really bad.
"This guy needs some serious help. The numerous spelling and grammar errors could be forgiven if this 'Arthur' had something to say that was worth reading. From the hilarious to the utter nonsense this is a narrative constructed by a feeble minded individual with too much free time on his hands, an obsession with UFOs and cults, and follies de grandeur. Dunno if to laugh, or to feel sorry for the poor guy. He even goes and writes about himself in the third person in the description... As if it is not clear that this is a self-publishing platform, LOL!" M. Ching
"What a load of rubbish this is. A short read of the preview is enough to tell you that Arthur Chappell is a man of little talent but a huge ego. The number of spelling and grammatical mistakes on every page makes this vanity publication torture to read. Even the title is missing an apostrophe! (He's fixed it now.)
It appears his only motivation, other than claiming to be a published author, is to bad mouth his guru of twenty years ago. His pal Hannah Rosha has written 4 reviews of this book and given it five stars every time in order to boost its rating. I won't ask for them to be removed, reading this book is its own punishment." T.Trew
"You can make a cult of anything, from soccer to religion. I don't see self-criticism in the book but a lot of blaming others. Being a sales person I can understand that it would be hard to sell a book called "I should be ashamed for what I did" or "How I brainwashed myself and wasted my time in the 1980's".
I have been in contact with Prem Rawat (Maharaji) since 1973 and I never felt manipulated or forced to do anything. I just had a wonderful time learning the good values he has promoted. I was never looking for anything other than to learn about myself and why I had that attraction towards feeling really good and happy. My story is not of brainwashing, but of recovering my human memory. If I ever write a book about the years since I first heard from him, "What you are looking for is already inside of you", I would like it to be filled with the beautiful stories that I can recall.
I doubt Mr. Chappell can cover expenses. I wish him to put the binoculars in the right position, and to realize that what he really is looking for is not far off, but still with him." J. Galvez (edited)
Chappell at midnight Chappell parading around with his pike Biographical notes and Conclusion
In an unpublished essay Chappell describes himself as a "male heterosexual virgin." His early years were dominated by his mother and the Catholic Church. He describes narrowly escaping molestation at the age of eleven. At the age of fifteen he was "seduced" by a girl of his own age. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, he and the girl were unable to consummate their relationship. Lost in the ecstasy of their first kiss, they were interrupted violently by an old man who attacked Chappell with a stick. The event must have been terribly traumatic. According to Chappell, he had to declare his love to the young lady to stop her from jumping into the sea.
In more recent years, he has developed an interest in fancy dress, the pike, and re-enactments of medieval battles. To his credit, he has been involved in anti-war and pro-environmental activities. He participated in the latter dressed as an endangered animal. He claims to have degrees in literature and psychology, and to have an interest in humanist psychology.
Does he really have a degree in literature? If so, why is his book misspelt and poorly written. Could he really have a degree in psychology? If so, why does his work reflect so poorly upon the state of his mental health? One fact appears certain: Chappell is as weird as the rubbish he writes.