Neo-American Church

Chapter 15


The truth is, Alisande, these archaics are a little too simple: the vocabulary is too limited, and so, by consequence, descriptions suffer in the matter of variety; they run too much to level Saharas of fact, and not enough to picturesque detail, this throws about them a certain air of the monotonous; in fact the fights are all alike: a couple of people come together with great random—random is a good word, and so is exegesis, for that matter, and so is holocaust, and defalcation, and usufruct and a hundred others, but land! a body ought to discriminate—they come together with great random, and a spear is brast, and one party brake his shield and the other one goes down, horse and man, over his horse-tail and brake his neck, and then the next candidate comes randoming in, and brast his spear, and the other man brast his shield, and down he goes, horse and man, over his horse-tail, and brake his neck, and then there’s another elected, and another and another and still another, till the material is all used up; and when you come to figure up results, you can’t tell one fight from another, nor who whipped; and as a picture, of living, raging, roaring battle, sho! why, it’s pale and noiseless—just ghosts scuffling in a fog.

The next morning, an hour before the hearings were scheduled, I went for a long walk around the Capitol area in an attempt to become a little physically tired. I hate giving speeches and lectures, except perhaps to small groups of high-IQ, college-age kids and, even then, only when I’m well prepared and stoned out of my gourd. Reducing physical tension reduces emotional tension, and I was tense. I had one double vodka and 7-Up, not more, no more, Kleps.

The scene at the sub-committee office reminded me of the hustle and bustle backstage just before a church service. In a group, we took an elevator and walked down a long hallway. I was getting tenser by the moment. Lockjaw or a complete mental vacuum seemed to me a definite possibility. Suddenly, however, I was stoned. I felt like I was walking on air. There wasn’t a trace of anxiety in my body. I looked forward to the whole scene with buoyant anticipation. I felt like the corrupt pope who remarked, “God having seen fit to give Us the Papacy, let Us enjoy it.” I started talking animatedly to Bellinger, who had been saying something to Carl a moment before that I could hardly hear, such had been my concern for my internal condition.

In the hearing room, Baird, Berger and I were seated directly behind Bellinger, who was shown to a table in front of us adorned with several microphones. Senators Javits and Burdick and a couple others I didn’t recognize were seated behind a long, high, curved, paneled bench facing us. Behind them were secretaries and assistants. Sandy gave me a big wink. She was behind Javits. To my left were two television cameras, which started humming, but soon stopped, as first Bellinger, then Baird and then Berger, delivered their statements.

Bellinger’s statement was standard copovenoid logic, not unreasonable if you granted certain utterly undemonstrable copovenoid assumptions, but Baird’s statement was so crazy and incoherent I must have reacted with a look of astonished disbelief that such horseshit should be tolerated without derisory comment. Here are some selections:

Dr. Baird: ” minority of the college professors have been spewing this poor propaganda upon the college campuses that there is nothing wrong with marijuana and LSD. It was just recently we had a professor from Adelphi University who stated that marijuana does not necessarily lead to addiction. It is this type of propaganda when foisted upon the children at our colleges and high schools which is causing more and more of a problem of drug addiction. And he came out with another remark. I would like to know which Senators they are. He said, ‘Many Senators, doctors, ministers, and theology students and thousands of others use LSD for their betterment.’ I would like to know the doctors and Senators who use the LSD for their own improvement.

Also, he came out with another remark.”

Senator Javits: “I can assure you, Dr. Baird, that I have not seen any evidences of hallucination of Senators.”

Baird continued:

“I plead with you that this problem of drug addiction and narcotics addiction is spreading rapidly more and more every day.

“Now we are concerned with the increased consumption of LSD, which to me does not mean just lysergic acid. It stands for a nasty little word, ‘Let’s sell decadency or let’s start degeneration.’

“The individuals that I have seen on this have been chaps that, No. 1, are very hedonistic with a marked gratification complex; two, extremely insecure people. One, they are psychologically unaware of their own mental inadequacies. No. 2, they are extremely hypercritical of their own physical shortcomings and project their hostilities sometimes overtly, and these are generally people who have many of these things in common.

“Now I know we all wear glasses, but some of these people suffer from severe strabismus; they are extremely thin, very asthenic type, have receding jaw, large pugnacious nose, or they might be short, but their own physical defects bother them.

“Then you have latent homosexual or overt homosexual conflict.

“Then you have a group of the young college intellect or the self-taught pseudo-intellect, and these are mostly students who are being trained for the arts, music, and literature who will take LSD.

“Then you have the college marijuana graduate. He is the chap who goes to college and thinks there is nothing wrong with marijuana, and then after having been on this hallucinogenic marijuana wants to increase his consciousness and then he starts to take LSD.

“And then the last group you have are escapists from the stark world of reality of education, economics, and social business.

“I would like to just give you a few sad stories of this LSD, this great drug which I think can be great if it is used under very careful limitations by physicians and only by physicians …”

Bernie came over behind my chair and whispered in my ear. “Don’t lose your cool, Art,” he said, “but cut out the contemptuous smile. You gotta play it solemn in here.”

I nodded, and adopted what I hoped was an appearance of stoical unconcern.

Baird went on and on, as monomaniacal paranoids tend to do. Finally, one of the Senators cut him off. Berger gave a brief, fairly liberal and rational statement, granting his undemonstrable assumptions, which were pretty much those of Bellinger, except that medicos, not cops, should control by force everything and anything people ingested that was not commonly sold in grocery stores. It was my turn. Here’s how it went:

Senator Javits: “The chairman wishes me to announce that Mr. Kleps was called as the director of the Neo-American Church located at Morning Glory Lodge, Cranberry Lake, N.Y.

“Mr. Kleps is essentially a psychologist with a bachelor’s degree from Utica College in New York, and a master’s degree from Syracuse University in school psychology.

“The purpose in calling Mr. Kleps is that he represents another discipline which has experimented with or used LSD without medical supervision, apposite to the testimony we heard from Dr. Leary, representing the largest group of users in the country on a scientific basis, and as some allege, a pseudoscientific basis.

“Mr. Kleps represents a religious approach to the use of these drugs, and hence the possibility that his testimony may be of use to us in determining what legislation shall be passed.

“Mr. Kleps, again may I ask you to confine your statement if you can to ten minutes, and it will be received without objection and printed in full.”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir, my statement is fairly brief. It’s an honor to be here. I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to present my views.”

Senator Burdick: “Mr. Kleps, would you mind telling me if you are really called Chief Boo Hoo?”

Mr. Kleps: “I am afraid so. It is difficult to explain this. That is always the first question that comes up. The reason we do it is to distinguish between the church and the religion. We think it is very important not to take ourselves too seriously in terms of social structure, in terms of organizational life. We tend to view organizational life as sort of a game that people play.”

Senator Burdick: “So is the appellation a spoof?”

Mr. Kleps: “It is sort of a spoof.”

Senator Burdick: “Sort of a spoof.”

Mr. Kleps: “It is so people will not get beyond themselves too much.”

Senator Burdick: “Please proceed.”

Mr. Kleps: “It is a help to me to have a title like that because I do have to explain it as I am doing now.

“Listening to the testimony before your subcommittee on Monday, I was, of course, struck by Dr. Goddard’s characterization of what we call consciousness expansion as ‘bunk,’ and I would like to reply to the reasons he gave for making such a judgment when Senator Dodd questioned him further.

“Dr. Goddard said that consciousness expansion did not occur with LSD because the results of objective tests of intelligence and so on given during the session showed negative results; a drop in performance. His argument contains the unspoken assumption that consciousness expansion is necessarily associated with a rise of measured IQ during the psychedelic session. I do not know of any psychedelic person who would agree that that is the case.

“If I were to give you an IQ test and during the administration one of the walls of the room opened up giving you a vision of the blazing glories of the central galactic suns, and at the same time your childhood began to unreel before your inner eye like a three-dimensional color movie, you would not do well on the intelligence test.

“LSD puts you in the mind of God, and God has little interest in our IQ tests. We might say that God has no IQ. God is not a verbal being as we are to such a large extent.

“Now this assumption that consciousness is somehow equated to, or is an aggregate of, those mental faculties which are measurable by objective tests is representative of an entire approach to the subject of psychedelics which is superficially plausible and yet is fundamentally erroneous. It is the only approach which finds favor in the eyes of those administering research grants. It is based on the assumption that if you cannot measure something, it does not exist. In psychology it is rooted in a kind of professional, if not personal, atheism. It produces the horror stories we read about in the field of animal vivisection experimentation resulting from a narrow-minded fixation on trivia, an almost trancelike inability to see the forest for the trees. It results in thousands of people each year earning advanced degrees because they have proved, in effect, that when you put 13 rats in one end of a box, lo and behold, 13 rats come out of the other end of the box in some combination or other.

“Senator, I spent ten years working with young people in the public schools and in my career as a psychedelic activist, since then I have come to know the younger generation very well. They do not buy the kind of pseudoscience I have described. They are looking for the truth, they are trying to find out ‘what life is all about.’ Their cynicism about the conventional answers, the conventional routines, the conventional games is so profound as to pass beyond cynicism into a kind of entirely praiseworthy honesty and bravery of the highest type. Their eyes are open in the midst of all the death and heartlessness around them.

“It is difficult for us to imagine what it is like to have been born in 1948, but it is very much like being born into an insane asylum. I will not repeat what Dr. Leary told you; I am referring to his concern with the lack of communication between the generations; but I will draw your attention to this week’s issue of Life magazine which contains two articles very apropos of LSD and the gap in communication between the generations.

“The first article is about Allen Ginsberg, the poet, who is also a member of our Church. In your generation or in mine, this man, who is the living antithesis of all that is officially pronounced admirable, would have made, at best, some small stir in Greenwich Village. Today, he is a folk hero. The article does a beautiful job of explaining why that is so.

“It is because he is a man who has always disregarded the conventions when they have interfered with his personal quest for beauty and truth. Today’s young people insist on direct experience; they are suspicious of all secondhand reportage; what they admire above all else is honesty and personal commitment. I think we can see this in the civil rights movement.

“The second article concerns the latest style in discotheque interiors, which may sound trivial, but is actually very revealing. The synchronization of light patterns and sounds, the cryptic flashing pictures, the constant random flow of colors; these are all well-developed techniques for approximating that inner world which is the common experience of all of us; a world both exquisitely private and yet wholly universal. To those of us who have had the experience, it is very obvious that all of this is the result of LSD, right down to the fact that little alcohol is consumed in these places. The people who go there do not need to get drunk, they have found something better. These are the style setters, not people in some cultural eddy or backwash.

“Now before I get into the religious aspects of this, I would like to say that the incident Senator Murphy described as occurring near his home, Senator, in which some LSD was surreptitiously introduced into the punch at a party, is not the kind of thing I advocate, nor does anyone I know advocate it. It is a very silly and cruel, or at least thoughtless, kind of thing to do. If you pass laws against such sneak attacks with LSD, none of us will object. But we are surrounded by all kinds of potentially dangerous materials, machines, and chemicals. Book matches, for example, or automobiles. How many children are killed each year from drinking cleaning fluid? If safety were the only goal of life, we would have to prohibit everything, and not even that would work, because as far as I know, life itself is invariably fatal.

“It is our belief that the sacred biochemicals such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, and cannabis are the true host of God and not drugs at all as that term is commonly understood. We do not feel that the Government has the right to interfere in our religious practice, and that the present persecution of our coreligionists is not only constitutionally illegal but a crude and savage repression of our basic and inalienable rights as human beings.

“The leader of the psychedelic religious movement in the United States is Dr. Timothy Leary. We regard him with the same special love and respect as was reserved by the early Christians for Jesus, by the Moslems for Mohammed, or the Buddhists for Gotama. I am merely the head of one of several psychedelic churches.

“The psychedelic churches exist to promote and defend the psychedelic religion, a religion which sees in the transcendental experience produced by the sacred substances the key to understanding life and improving the condition of man on earth.

“We have been in existence a year; I am speaking of the Church; and have 500 members. Perhaps if the growth of the peyote religion and the Native American Church is any guide, we will have 500,000 members in a few years. Perhaps the psychedelic people will find some other church more to their liking. It is not important. What is important is that the religion, as distinguished from the Church, is spreading at a fantastic rate, and the Government, in the case of Dr. Leary, and the repression in general, has put itself in the position of attempting to destroy by force a genuine indigenous religious movement. I see no moral difference whatever between putting our religious leader in prison for thirty years and the incarceration of a rabbi in a concentration camp by the Gestapo of Nazi Germany. Perhaps Hitler was less hypocritical. If he operated the way our religious enemies operate in this country, he would not have mentioned Judaism at all in the laws designed to oppress the Jews; instead, he would have (a) made ceremonial wine illegal on the grounds that it was a narcotic intoxicant given to minors; and (b) made the nonpayment of so-called wine tax result in enormous confiscatory fines and thirty years in Buchenwald or Treblinka.

“The history of Treblinka, by the way, constitutes a perfect example of how the psychedelic people of the United States will not respond to persecution and imprisonment. The Jews, in that instance, cooperated completely in their own destruction. We have no intentions of cooperating.

“On the day the prison doors close behind Tim Leary; if these ill-considered laws of religious suppression are upheld by the courts, this country will face religious civil war. Any restraint we have shown heretofore in the dissemination of psychedelics will be ended. We can, without difficulty, render most of the prisons in the United States inoperative, if it comes to open conflict. Open conflict will most certainly result if the courts uphold these laws against us, if our men are imprisoned, our wives sterilized, our children consigned to unloving institutions and so-called reformatories; and I would most certainly advise my people to use LSD to fight back, to make life impossible for the prison administrators, rather than resort to actual violence. But I will never ask them to passively submit to such outrages. The police of the United States, ordered by their superiors to function as terrorists, as destroyers of happy and decent families who only ask to be left alone to practice their religion as they see fit, will have to make a moral choice, just as did the police of Germany when Hitler took over. Those who remain would do well to regard themselves as a military rather than a civil force. If I seem to exaggerate I direct your attention to a story in yesterday morning’s paper about a woman who was ordered sterilized because a quantity of marijuana was found in a room when she was present. This was in California I believe. I personally will never forget sitting in on the assignment board at Sing Sing and watching a parade of armed robbers and grand larcenists go by with three- or four-year sentences, only to be followed by a poor weak little Puerto Rican with an IQ of 85 or so who had been sentenced to seventeen years because three or four sticks of marijuana had been found in his possession. At the time I was under the common illusion that marijuana was a dangerous drug, but I was still shocked. Now I know marijuana is a mild psychedelic and I am no longer shocked, I am numb. I have seen so much cruel injustice it seems commonplace.

“The Food and Drug Administration has seen fit to attempt to establish one psychedelic church as legal, the Native American Church of the Indians, on the grounds of historical longevity, leaving the rest of us open to the kind of punishment visited on Dr. Leary. This is a constitutional outrage, of course, and I would like to submit my full reply to the FDA letter announcing this attempt at the unique establishment of a religion in the United States for the committee’s study. However, I see in this exemption, unconstitutional though it may be, some grounds for hope that the people responsible may come to their senses. Apparently those in control of the instrumentalities of coercive power in the United States have no difficulty in recognizing that a psychedelic religion is a psychedelic religion when that religion is safely encapsulated in a racial minority group living outside the mainstream of American life. All that is required then is that we should follow the Indian example and make ourselves as peculiar as possible. Perhaps the Government would allow us to live unmolested on reservations. We would be willing to discuss this, if it would prevent open conflict. Possibly the Government would negotiate a treaty with some foreign power which would grant us religious sanctuary in return for receiving to its shores the large numbers of scientists, technicians, teachers, doctors, and intellectuals of all kinds who constitute a large proportion of our members. Most of us love this country dearly. It would break my heart to think of never seeing the Adirondack Mountains again. But we must think of our children, and we could always hope that some day the Government of our beloved country would return to that fierce defense of human rights, to that spirit of freedom and tolerance under which it was founded, and we could come back.

“But there will either be some kind of accommodation or there will be conflict. We are not drug addicts. We are not criminals. We are free men and will react to persecution the way free men have always reacted to persecution.

“There is no reason why anyone need be surprised by all this. To understand our emotions and our attitudes it is only necessary to imagine how you would react if we were in the majority and passed laws making the practice of your religion a criminal offense.”

“Senator Burdick: Thank you, Mr. Kleps. I have a few questions here that I would like to ask you.”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “Would you care to tell us something more about your Church? How does one become a member?”

Mr. Kleps: “It requires agreement with three principles, the principle that the psychedelic substances are not drugs but actually sacred substances, that they are a sacrament.

“It requires agreement to the principle that people are not to be given these substances unless they are prepared for them, and agreement to the principle that everyone has a right to free access to the sacred substances, since they are a gift of God. If one agrees to this, we make him a member of the Church. We do not make distinctions on the basis of intellect, education or anything of that sort. I feel, by the way, that this is the difference between a church and a cult. We are frequently called a cult, but cults do make these distinctions. They are small groups. They want to be small groups. We are a church. We will take anybody. We take people at face value.”

Senator Burdick: “Do you contend that the substances, whatever they are, do not have harmful effects?”

Mr. Kleps: “Not entirely. In very rare cases, particularly when they are improperly administered, if they are taken by people who are unsuspecting of the results, have not done any reading on the subject, have not discussed it with anyone who knows, they can have bad effects. I have seen some bad effects myself. But there are many, many, many other substances in this world that are much more harmful, much more dangerous.”

Senator Burdick: “Does your order appeal more to the young people than to old people, or of all ages?”

Mr. Kleps: “Mostly to young people. I would say at least 50 percent are college students, perhaps more.”

Senator Burdick: “How many churches are there like this in the country?”

Mr. Kleps: “We have twenty boo hoos, approximately twenty. We are getting new people all the time. We have a fairly large group in Miami, fairly large groups in New York State, California. There are about 500-plus members at the present time, but we have only been in existence a year. I hope for better things to come.”

Senator Burdick: “You have 500 members in your Church?”

Mr. Kleps: “There are 500 members in all of the organization.”

Senator Burdick: “All of the churches?”

Mr. Kleps: “In the whole country.”

Senator Burdick: “Well now, you have told me something about membership. What about the tenets, the precepts of the Church?”

Mr. Kleps: “We mainly we feel that these psychedelic substances give you a vision, an entry, a ticket, a trip ticket in a sense, to a higher level of awareness, of an expanded consciousness. It is almost impossible to describe in words if not in fact impossible to describe in words what this is. Words fail. As I said, God is not like us. He does not have an IQ. He is not a talker. When you are in the mind of God you are beyond everything that you ordinarily experience. Everything that you ordinarily consider to be real. There are higher levels of reality than this one, and I believe it is very important for people to see this. It gives them an entirely new outlook on everything, a better outlook, a much better outlook.”

Senator Burdick: “Is it correct to say that your Church does not have any creed?”

Mr. Kleps: “No, we do not.”

Senator Burdick: “Or any tenets or anything like that.”

Mr. Kleps: “Tim Leary is generally accepted by most of us as the equivalent of Christ for the Christians and so on, not in any foolish way. I think Tim makes mistakes and so on, but we look upon him as a great religious teacher, the books he has written, the papers and so on constitute the creed of our Church, if there is any creed. But we do not have a dogma in the usual sense. You might say that it is more like the Society of Friends in that regard. We do not insist on any specific definition of these things.”

Senator Burdick: “Do I understand you correctly to say that in view of your establishment of twenty churches, in view of your membership, that you believe this organization will grow?”

Mr. Kleps: “I believe it will, sir. I believe it will.”

Senator Burdick: “In what proportion in your opinion?”

Mr. Kleps: “I honestly believe that we will have a million members in ten years.”

Senator Burdick: “Are these churches located near college campuses for the most part?”

Mr. Kleps: “Many of them are. The older members of the Church and the many, many people who are associated with our Church but who do not join are the older and the more respectable people, the people with something to lose. We are being persecuted, and the people who fight persecution most effectively are those who can take some chances, who do not have families to worry about, who do not have to worry about their jobs and so on. The older people are very hesitant to join up because they are afraid to stick their heads above the ramparts. They are afraid to be known in public, but they are there. They are there in very large numbers.”

Senator Burdick: “How frequently do you have church services, if that is the correct word.”

Mr. Kleps: “Usually there are meetings once a week. There are some of the local groups that just function as information centers. Lisa Bieberman of Boston runs information centers, a newsletter. People come and discuss problems. She does not hold any regular meetings. I understand she is planning on setting up a seminar this summer. It all depends on the individual. Now as we grow, I am sure that we will develop more structure. There will be an accumulation of hallowed patterns, traditions, and so forth. This is the way these things always grow. But at the present time it is all pretty loose and free and we like it that way.”

Senator Burdick: “You mentioned the American Church of the Indians.”

Mr. Kleps: “The Native American Church.”

Senator Burdick: “The Native American Church, that is right. Is this patterned much after that church?”

Mr. Kleps: “I cannot say that it is except that we also use a psychedelic as they do. From what I understand, they do have a very definite ritual that they follow, and they do not deviate from it very much. We do not have any rituals. I am not saying that we do not develop them. There are some things that are already in the process of development. The use of the techniques I described in the case of the discotheques, the light machines, certain kinds of music, this kind of thing can be used to heighten your experience, and even to produce it in some cases without the use of psychedelic substances.”

Senator Burdick: “You said not infrequently but it does have a harmful effect. Being on the Indian Committee;”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick (continuing): “I have learned that this peyote does have an ill-producing effect. It causes vomiting.”

Mr. Kleps: “I know. I have tried it, and I have had the same experience.”

Senator Burdick: “Does this drug which your Church uses have the same effect?”

Mr. Kleps: “No. Very, very rarely people will suffer some discomfort during the early stages of an LSD experience, but that is a psychological conversion of anxiety in the physical form. Peyote does, however, routinely produce intestinal upset and this is a very negative way of going into the experience, throwing up. I do not know how the Indians manage to do it. Somehow they have overcome the nausea.”

Senator Burdick: “You think that the experiences that the members have makes them compatible with society, makes them eligible for pursuits that the nonmembers follow?”

Mr. Kleps: “Sometimes yes and sometimes no. We have members in almost every walk of life. We have people who are successfully pursuing almost any career you can name.

“On the other hand, some people who are of religious temperament perhaps to begin with, there are degrees of true religiosity in our Church just as there are in other churches. I would say Tim is more religious than I am perhaps. These people, the people who are extremely religious, may want to withdraw from ordinary life for a period of time. I personally see nothing wrong with that. It is accepted in other traditions, the monasteries and so on. Why not in this?”

Senator Burdick: “If you will permit a personal question, do you participate yourself in these ceremonies, the use of this drug?”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “And part of your answer is based upon your own personal experience.”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “I have heard that these drugs produce a ‘color television effect.’”

Mr. Kleps: “It can do that. It depends on the individual. There are a lot of people who have had many psychedelic experiences and have never really had that kind of a vision. They come back with the same messages when they are all through. This is very strange. Other people will have extremely colorful and brilliant detailed three dimensional movie kind of things. I have had both. I have been in both situations.”

Senator Burdick: “I wonder if you would also tell us whether this practice is indulged in every time there is a Church meeting.”

Mr. Kleps: “No. The Church actually is more in the tradition of the mystery religions of ancient Greece. The key experience is not the weekly meeting as it is in the Christian tradition. The key experience is the big transcendental experience that comes to you maybe once or twice in a lifetime. But we center around this. The meetings are secondary. Now at the meetings perhaps a very tiny amount of LSD, 5 or 10 micrograms, will be distributed, just to increase the feeling of communion, to produce some of the effects. Or marijuana may be smoked for that matter. None of this is laid down in our regulations. It is up to the individuals.”

Senator Burdick: “When this substance is distributed you say to the members, who pays for it? How is it acquired?”

Mr. Kleps: “Well, it is easily available. That is all I can really say. To discuss the details of the economics of the matter probably would not be proper for me.”

Senator Burdick: “Does it operate like a farm cooperative, which I am acquainted with?”

Mr. Kleps: “Well, I would say this. That it is not at all like the heroin world. The people in the psychedelic world are kind and loving people. It is almost like automatic affection. Oh, of course there are exceptions, but it is not this sick, greedy, vicious world of the addicts. Nothing could be more dissimilar.”

Senator Burdick: “The committee knows that it is acquired. We do not know how it is acquired but it is paid for, is that right?”

Mr. Kleps: “That is right, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “And you cannot enlighten us any further.”

Mr. Kleps: “I really cannot.”

Senator Burdick: “But whether it is given to these members of the Church or whether they buy it for themselves, they do participate as a group in this.”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “You mentioned marijuana. Is that brought into religious services, too?”

Mr. Kleps: “Occasionally. We regard marijuana as being a very mild psychedelic. It is very similar to a very tiny, tiny amount of LSD. The effects are almost identical. One of the best things about marijuana is that it is very easy to control the amount ingested because you are smoking it. If you take something orally, you are leaving it more to chance. When you are smoking, there is very good control. I consider marijuana to be a completely benign substance.”

Senator Burdick: “You see no harmful effects.”

Mr. Kleps: “None at all.”

Senator Burdick: “Have you read or heard the testimony given before this committee?”

Mr. Kleps: “I have.”

Senator Burdick: “And you dispute that?”

Mr. Kleps: “Completely.”

Senator Burdick: “The results and findings?”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “Is it your intention to continue to personally experiment with and to advocate the use of LSD by the others?”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “Would your answer be the same in regard to marijuana?”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “Or similar drugs?”

Mr. Kleps: “Any drug; I do not even like to call them drugs.”

Senator Burdick: “Substance.”

Mr. Kleps: “Any of these substances that are psychedelic that are not narcotic I believe to be sacramental. I believe that they come under the protection of religious freedom, the right to practice one’s religion as one sees fit, and I do not believe that there is any evidence to the contrary, no real evidence to the contrary.”

Senator Burdick: “You think there is no evidence to indicate that marijuana is habit forming or a narcotic?”

Mr. Kleps: “There is no evidence to indicate that marijuana is a narcotic. In fact even our most severe critics admit that. To say that the substance is habit forming is really to say nothing, because Rice Krispies are habit forming in the sense that if you like something you do it again. This is true with a lot of things.”

Senator Burdick: “You should not equate marijuana with Rice Krispies.”

Mr. Kleps: “It is even better.”

Senator Burdick: “What was your answer?”

Mr. Kleps: “I would, sir: I would say that marijuana is a very good thing. I believe in it very strongly. It is certainly better than alcohol.”

Senator Burdick: “Just for the record, are you aware of the testimony before this committee which indicates that the uncontrolled, unsuspected use of LSD can result in panic reactions, psychotic episodes, suicidal tendencies, and other bizarre reactions requiring hospitalization?”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir: and I do not dispute these things have happened, but it must be understood in the context of the broader picture. There are hundreds of thousands of people who are having these experiences and out of this tremendous number there are going to be a few misfortunes. It is inevitable. If these people were taking LSD under religious circumstances, if they were allowed to, if they were given accurate information, if they were warned of the dangers, if they were asked to read the literature on the subject, they probably would not go through these things.”

Senator Burdick: “Have any of these effects that I have related to you here visited upon any of your Church members?”

Mr. Kleps: “Not that I know of. I would like to say in this connection too that much is made of people being hospitalized after LSD, but this hospitalization in most cases is just a simple matter of someone having a panic reaction because they do not understand what is happening, and there is no one present who does, being taken to a hospital, given a shot of a tranquilizer, spending the night in the hospital and going home the next day. Sometimes they are kept for longer periods, but this is because the psychiatrist in charge says that the man is sick. And then if you ask him are these people sick, he will say, ‘Yes, they have been hospitalized so they must be sick.”

Senator Burdick: “In view of this conflict in testimony that has developed in this committee, would you agree that we should establish control over private and unsupervised use of LSD until we can make a scientific determination both of the potential harmful and useful properties of this drug or substance as you call it, either way?”

Mr. Kleps: “No, sir; I do not believe that you should.”

Senator Burdick: “Do you not think it would be safer for the community to find out scientifically what the effects are?”

Mr. Kleps: “I do not believe that there is any scientific relevance in this area. Science is not competent to deal with this. This is religion. It is philosophy. It is a philosophy that goes beyond the narrow confines of the kind of science that we accept in our society. Science will never accept the psychedelics. It may pretend to, but it will not.

“One must understand how terribly threatening this kind of experience is to the average scientist, physician, psychiatrist, psychologist. Just to hear about it is an insult to his whole notion of the world and of what is real and what is not real and so on. So they go into it with a tremendous desire to destroy it, to bring about its downfall.”

Senator Burdick: “We referred to the fact that most of your members are young people, college students, and that most of your churches are located near college campuses.”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “I wonder if you could generalize and tell me in what area of the country are your churches most prevalent?”

Mr. Kleps: “In the Northeast and Florida.”

Senator Burdick: “The Northeast only?”

Mr. Kleps: “Northeast; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York State, and in the State of Florida. This may not be the eventual pattern. We have just started. It has only been in existence a year.”

Senator Burdick: “Do you think that this committee should recommend any legislation regarding the sale, distribution, or possession of LSD?”

Mr. Kleps: “I would have no objections at all, and perhaps it would be advisable to prohibit the giving of LSD to people unsuspectingly, a sneak attack of LSD.”

Senator Burdick: “The punchbowl type.”

Mr. Kleps: “Right, this is very cruel, very dangerous, I think.”

Senator Burdick: “Should any criminal charges be imposed on administering LSD to an unsuspecting person?”

Mr. Kleps: “No. Oh, well, perhaps so. I am not an expert in law enforcement. I do not know what would be the most effective thing. I am against this kind of practice. I think it is socially destructive. I would not recommend any penalty going further than that.”

Senator Burdick: “I do not think in your statement you gave me your personal educational background.”

Mr. Kleps: “I have a master’s degree from Syracuse University. I was a school psychologist in New York State for ten years. I also worked as a clinical psychologist in a prison, Sing Sing, Dannemora, on a summer per diem basis.”

Senator Burdick: “Did you have any particular major?”

Mr. Kleps: “Psychology. I was a psychologist for ten years.”

Senator Burdick: “And it is your purpose to dedicate your life to this church work rather than to follow the scientific areas.”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “Why?”

Mr. Kleps: “I feel it is more important. I think the profession of psychology is going around in circles.”

Senator Burdick: “First of all I ask you if your statement contains this language: you threatened civil war by saying you would make the prison system inoperative. In a previous letter to this committee you stated you would contaminate the entire Nation’s water supply. Did you make a statement like that?”

Mr. Kleps: “No, sir. I did; what I said was that in the event that our religion is persecuted, if our wives are sterilized as in this hideous example in California, people are imprisoned for a term of thirty years as in the case of Dr. Leary, a sentence anyway, if these laws are upheld by the courts, if our basic human rights are violated, then there is going to be some kind of conflict, and I would much rather, if the conflict does occur, I would much rather do it nonviolently, turning on prisons, to use the vernacular, which would do less harm than shooting people.”

Senator Burdick: “But you at no time threatened any uprising.”

Mr. Kleps: “I have not threatened; no, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “Violence.”

Mr. Kleps: “No.” Senator Burdick: “Not having law and order.”

Mr. Kleps: “No, sir. I am speculating about a possible future which I would hate to see come about.”

Senator Burdick: “Apparently the basis of my question is as follows from your statement: ‘I would most certainly advise my people to use LSD to fight back to flood the prisons with LSD and make life impossible for the prison administrators rather than resort to actual violence.’”

Mr. Kleps: “Yes, sir. If that was the choice, I would rather see the prison system made inoperative, and it would be if enormous amounts of LSD, in terms of LSD; an enormous amount is an ounce, for example; could just be delivered into a prison and distributed among the inmates, it would be impossible to locate it. The entire place would fall apart as a functioning operation very quickly. I know how absurd this sounds.”

Senator Burdick: “What would your mechanics be? How would you intend to flood the prisons?”

Mr. Kleps: “I do not intend to flood the prisons, sir. I am talking about a possible future. It could be done in hundreds, in thousands of ways. Smuggling things into prisons has always been very easy. The places are designed to keep people inside, not to prevent things from coming in from the outside. You could shoot it over the wall in a slingshot, with a slingshot.”

Senator Burdick: “Do you not consider this a breach of law?”

Mr. Kleps: “We would have to regard these places as concentration camps; if our people are being imprisoned because they are practicing religion, then it is a concentration camp. It is not a prison anymore. It is outside the framework of decent law. We would have to think about it the same way the Jews in Hitler’s Germany thought about it.”

Senator Burdick: “But this is a product of one of our institutions, a product of our country, the laws of our country.”

Mr. Kleps: “Well, we would maintain that it would be unconstitutional. That to persecute us would be a violation of the first amendment.”

Senator Burdick: “And to that extent you would take the law into your own hands?”

Mr. Kleps: “Rather than submit to the violation of my basic human rights, I would if I had to, I would resort to violence. I think free men have always done this. This is the way this country started.”

Senator Burdick: “But a free country does not maintain itself without law and order.”

Mr. Kleps: “I believe in law and order, but I also believe in basic human rights. Basic human rights I believe come first. This is the most important thing.”

Senator Burdick: “Is there anything further?”

(No response.)

Senator Burdick: “Well, I must say that your testimony has been forthright and most unusual.”

Mr. Kleps: “Thank you, sir.”

Senator Burdick: “I cannot agree with your conclusions, but it will all be considered with the rest of the testimony.”

Mr. Kleps: “Thank you very much.”

(Whereupon, at 12:40 p.m ., the committee was recessed, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.)

The TV cameras had covered the other guys very briefly, but had remained live throughout my testimony and the questioning which followed. When the show was over, the reporters concentrated on me while Baird and Bellinger, ignored, sulked in a corner. Berger vanished.

Back at the office, everyone was in a gleeful mood, but there was a fly in the ointment. Carl had just put in a call to someone he knew in Bobby Kennedy’s office. It was already clear, from local coverage, that we had deprived JFK’s kid brother of the space-time he expected to get, more or less as a divine right. It was obvious, Carl said, that we would get all the national coverage too.

“He’s foaming at the mouth, Art,” Carl said. “My friend says you had better get out of town fast. I guess the party is off. I wouldn’t put it past him to have you picked up. If you play against Bobby Kennedy and win you’ve made an enemy for life.”

Delightful prospect. Ironic, also. Compared to most politicians, I liked the Kennedys. I had actually gone to the trouble of voting for Jack. “What about you?” I asked.

Carl grinned. “Oh, I’m not worried.”

So I packed my bags and took the next train. On the way up the Hudson on a local, I sat in the back of a car and read all about myself in the New York Daily News. Not only was the story in the front of the paper, I rated a photograph, which represented me as looking pretty much the way I hoped I looked.

A dozen or so of my fellow commuters were reading the same paper. One girl turned around and looked at me intently for a couple seconds. When I grinned, she looked away. The sensations engendered by knowing that millions of people were having my ideas, second-rate and imperfectly expressed though they were, implanted in their craniums was not at all disagreeable.

At the time, I liked it, although it didn’t seem all that amazing and wonderful to me that a good sermon would attract a crowd. Tell people stuff they like to hear, and they will come out for it, etc. My father had done it for as long as I could remember, very often twice a Sunday, once in English and once in German.

But where was the collection plate? For that matter, where were the church, the steeple, and all those furiously wiggling peeple? Now, I thought, is the time to get busy. I would, I resolved, concentrate on writing and trying to set up lecture appearances.

“Enough of this penny-ante shit, Kleps,” I instructed myself in no uncertain terms. “Strike while the iron is hot, and all that sort of rot. Grasp the day, for many a rose is born to blush unseen and waste its fragrance on the desert air,” and so forth. A little of this stuff goes a long way. Being hectored by myself is worse, in some ways, than listening to someone else do it.

“Ah, the conquering hero!” Tim said, when he saw me.

As it turned out, the benefits I anticipated from my penetration of the frequency spectrum turned out to be far from spectacular. I just wasn’t ready to exploit that kind of publicity. I didn’t have anything to sell. No book. No magazine. No regular public appearances. NO MONEY.

On the other hand, much later, Carl would tell me he thought my testimony that week did more to hold up the passage of federal possession laws, for about two years, than any other single factor. (The laws already passed only covered distribution.) I had convinced a few key Senators, Carl said, that belief in the religious nature of psychedelic experience could be passionately felt by a person who appeared otherwise rational.

Could be, I guess, but how much difference did it make? Most of the heat came at us at the state level anyway, in laws passed by Republicrat punishment freaks to satisfy the needs of their brainwashed and sadistic constituents. Nelson Rockefeller showed no sign of having been impressed by my testimony, nor did any of his counterparts and imitators in other statehouses around the country.

Snazzmly speaking, I didn’t deserve better results because, imitating Tim like some kind of god-damned wooden dummy, I had resorted to the “Mind of God” image and invoked other cosmic crap as well, although I knew it was public-relations smarm designed to suit the mentality of my audience and not the pure and highest doctrine. The laws would not have been delayed if I had preached the pure and highest doctrine, and there probably would have been less coverage, but it would have cleared the air, and distinguished Neo-American doctrine from the general media mulch then being spread around by all and sundry of a Psychedelian persuasion. So, shame on me.

Millbrook, I found, was practically deserted. Dick, Ralph, Maynard, Hollingshead; all gone. Tim showed me a “shrine table,” with flowers and incense on it, standing next to the front door. The centerpiece was a nicely framed photograph of a dark-haired young woman with large and lustrous, if somewhat vacant-looking, brown eyes. This was Rosemary. Not my type, but very good-looking by the usual standards. Tim seemed sincerely smitten, and assured me that I, also, would revere this woman as a virtually celestial being, as did all who knew her, when I beheld the whole works going in all four dimensions, although I don’t recall that those were his exact words.

Rosemary, and good for her, was confined to the Dutchess County jail for refusal to testify at a grand jury hearing about Tim. There had been a major assault (“Liddy’s Raid,” April ’66) at a time when the Big House happened to have an unusually high number of straight visitors on hand, including reporters and photographers, who had never before been treated like enemy aliens. Once released, these people saw to it that Liddy and his thugs did not enjoy anything resembling a public relations triumph, but they could do little more. I had managed to miss it. Blatant civil rights violations all over the place or not, grand jury hearings were being held in the Place of Overflowing Shitholes, and Liddy was not the target, as he should have been.

Tim introduced me to a tall, saturnine new recruit named Bob Ross. According to Tim, Ross, who seemed to want to turn the place into a cabbage patch with himself as chief manure spreader, was one of the leading lights of the Psychedelian world. It was my first contact with a true acid-head primitivist, and I wasn’t impressed. Ross’s motto, I learned later, was “Don’t think!” But Tim and three or four other newcomers appeared to be following Bob’s lead. The house looked like a deserted cattle barn, everyone was dressed in dirty, colorless clothes, and grunts and terse comments about the weather seemed to be the general order of conversation during the day. Once the sun had set, however, and we gathered in the kitchen to drink red wine and exchange gossip, I got the feeling that perhaps things at Millbrook hadn’t changed so much after all.

I asked Tim about the old crew. Where were Dick and Ralph and, whatshisname, Hollowhead? Hollingshead?

Well, Dick was here, Ralph was there (I really don’t remember) but the subject of Michael Hollingshead seemed to interest Tim a great deal more than the locations and activities of his former close associates and he proceeded to acquaint me with some of the facts of Hollingshead’s gyrations which he later wrote about in High Priest.

“I keep getting reports on him that are hard to believe, Arthur. He’s in England now and I hear he is doing all kinds of really diabolical things.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Like turning people on to LSD and then turning them in to the police.”

“Jesus H. Christ,” I said, and then mentioned that it had been Hollingshead who had bombed my morning brandy during my visit when Tim had been away in India, although I remembered a comment of Ralph’s which strongly suggested that he had at least known about it in advance also.

Now it was Tim’s turn to be astonished; nobody had ever said anything to him about it. I told him the whole story and it immediately became clear to me that it was to be a case like the exploded candle all over again. He didn’t want to believe it and didn’t want to hear about it, so I changed the subject.

Later, when Tim wrote a review of the Boo Hoo Bible, it dawned on me that Tim’s reason for refusing to believe that I had been bombed, despite the presence in the house at the time of someone whom he knew to have the character and inclination to do it, was the classic quality of the trip I reported. I had to be lying about that, according to his scheme of things, so I probably was lying about everything else also. I had once pretended to have an “Enlightenment” experience, hadn’t I, complete with some kind of trick candle explosion? Well, I had probably looked up the Kundalini experience in a book and faked that also. Such things were not supposed to happen to Art Kleps, who was filed in Tim’s highly compartmentalized cerebrum under “comedian, alcoholic, paranoid inclinations.” I was not worthy of the honor. Such things were supposed to happen to Timothy Leary and, I imagine, when they didn’t happen to him, he decided they were a crock of shit anyway, and gave up the Tantric kick he had been on and returned to his first loves: gigantic entities from outer space, science fiction and mob politics.

“An Irishman’s imagination never lets him alone, never convinces him, never satisfies him …” says George Bernard Shaw. I think Tim and Shaw had a lot in common: faddishness, Mephistopholean conceits, philosophic barbarisms (Shaw’s “Life Force” and Tim’s Genetic Code God) and great talent largely wasted on the ingenious seduction of fashionable simpletons.

Tim also, as H.G.W. said of G.B.S., was a “philanderer with facts,” which can be highly amusing unless you, yourself, happen to be the fact being philandered with.

Once loosened up, Tim wanted to know every detail of my adventures in Washington, and he seemed particularly impressed by the good treatment accorded me by the Juvenile Delinquency Subcommittee staff. When he had appeared, he hadn’t bothered to prepare a statement, and he admitted to being disappointed with his own performance on that occasion. To make matters worse, Ted Kennedy, who was a member of the Dodd subcommittee, although he usually didn’t show up for hearings, had walked in after things were underway, and barraged Tim with a series of hostile questions.

“I tried to be conciliatory,” Tim said. “I can see now that I shouldn’t have done that.”

The fat little volume of the Congressional Record which contains the transcripts of these hearings makes fascinating reading. Every Psychedelian activist of the day, with the odd exception of Ken Kesey, seems to be represented, including Walter Bowart and Allen Ginsberg.

Tim had been conciliatory all right, as the following examples of his testimony demonstrate:

“… As, for example, in Mr. Tannenbaum’s testimony, you notice that the LSD users are very eager to talk about their experiences. They weren’t like junkies. They didn’t feel like criminals. They wanted to have this committee and have Mr. Tannenbaum know why they were using these drugs.”

Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts: “Mr. Leary.”

Dr. Leary: “Yes.”

Senator Kennedy: “Mr. Chairman, I am trying to follow the best I possibly can some themes that must be coming out of your testimony here this morning, and I am completely unable to do so. You talked in the beginning about the communications problem which exists between different generations, and then you indicate and describe why that exists. Then we hear a description and analysis, as valuable as that might be, about the different reactions to different drugs. You talk about the statistics which are going to be larger next year. Then you say you are not alarmed by them because if they are in training, people have them, and there is a careful distribution, then this isn’t really a problem. And then I hope we are going to have at least a discussion on who those trained people might be and what the regulations might be.

“I am completely unable to follow anything other than just sort of a general hyperbole of discussion here. Since your testimony isn’t written, and this is a matter with which we are deeply concerned, I hope at least for those of us who are not inimitably as familiar as apparently you are with LSD, that you will try and see if you can analyze this somewhat more precisely. At least I would find that helpful. As I say, I haven’t had the background or experience in this area as I am sure the other members of the committee have, but I think it would be extremely valuable to the members of the committee if you could at least outline to some extent what you are going to try and demonstrate here today, and then if you could somewhat more precisely and exactly come to those points.”

Dr. Leary: “I was, Senator Kennedy, just about to do that. I am pointing out the differences that exist among drugs, and I am going to suggest that special types of legislation are needed.”

Senator Kennedy: “Are you going to talk about the lack of communication between the generations before that or after that?”

Dr. Leary: “I finished doing that. I hope that that is clearly on the record. I feel that constructive legislation is obviously and badly needed, and I recommend respectfully to this committee that you consider legislation which will license responsible adults to use these drugs for serious purposes, such as spiritual growth, pursuit of knowledge, or in their own personal development. To obtain such a license, the applicant, I think, should have to meet physical, intellectual, and emotional criteria.

“I believe that the criteria for marijuana, which is the mildest of the psychedelic drugs, should be about those which we now use to license people to drive automobiles, whereas the criteria for the licensing of LSD, a much more powerful act, should be much more strict, perhaps the criteria now used for airplane pilots would be appropriate.”

Senator Kennedy: “So we are going to train high school students? Are we going to have high school courses as well?”

Dr. Leary: “I would let research, scientific research answer the question as to at what age the nervous system is ready to use these new instruments.”

Senator Kennedy: “Then what are we going to do now for the boys that, say, go into the Army prior to the time they get to that age? Are we going to have the Army give training courses too on how to use it?”

Dr. Leary: “I should think that in the Army of the future, we all hope there won’t be, but in the Army of the future LSD will be used to expand consciousness so that these men can do their duties more effectively.”

Senator Kennedy: “That is very responsive. Now you feel that anybody who distributes this ought to be carefully trained, is that correct?”

Dr. Leary: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Kennedy: “And you admit that it can leave an individual so that he does not know the difference between right and wrong in the socially acceptable terms, is that right?”

Dr. Leary: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Kennedy: “So that he is relatively unaccountable for his actions?”

Dr. Leary: “Well, I don’t think anyone.”

Senator Kennedy: “Does he know the difference between right and wrong?”

Dr. Leary: “You are talking about hypothetical persons.”

Senator Kennedy: “I am not talking about hypotheticals.”

Dr. Leary: “What are we talking about, sir?”

Good question. Of course, Tim went on to say that he was against criminal penalties for use, even for unauthorized use by non-holders of “pilot’s licenses,” but he had given Kennedy all the opening he needed to make Tim sound like a nincompoop:

Senator Kennedy: “I could not agree with you more, that he mentioned in there about when it was used, particularly for terminal cases, administration in the case of intractable pain, mostly in patients with terminal cancer, we do not question that.

“We do not have any dispute about that, Mr. Leary. But I think what you have testified to is indiscriminate possession of this, as well as use, that it is dangerous, and I think the question now is for legislators to determine whether it can be controlled by legislation or whether it cannot be.

“I think that you have testified as well that you want to see the control over its being brought into the United States, its production, and you have also testified that you think the indiscriminate use of this is dangerous, and I think you have pointed out what you feel personally are some of the advantages of it. You feel as well that it is a matter which cannot be legislated over. I think that is a question for the Congress.

“But is seems to me that your testimony has been extremely convincing about the dangers of this drug, as well as its opportunities. And I think for someone who has been associated as long as you have been, have been intimately involved in it as long as you have been, I think that is extremely weighty evidence which you have given to this committee this morning, and we want to thank you.”

Dr. Leary: “I cannot agree with that summary, respectfully. I must disagree, Senator Kennedy, with your statement.”

Senator Kennedy: “Let’s take the various aspects of it. You feel that there ought to be control over at least importation?”

Dr. Leary: “The sale, manufacture or distribution, yes.”

Senator Kennedy: “The sale and manufacturing?”

Dr. Leary: “Yes, sir.”

Senator Kennedy: “Why do you think that this should be?”

Dr. Leary: “Because these are matters of commerce and manufacture.”

Senator Kennedy: “And that is the only reason you think this because it is a matter of interstate and foreign commerce? Is that the only reason? I mean, we have things which are produced, textiles in Massachusetts, furniture in Massachusetts that are not restricted, Dr. Leary.

“You have testified. Now why do you think they should be?”

Dr. Leary: “I feel that activity, particularly commercial activities involving the manufacture, sale, and distribution of these substances definitely should be controlled because you do not know about quality, you do not know about safety, you do not know what you are buying. Obviously you have to have laws, just as you have laws about the amphetamines. I want the amphetamines and the barbiturates controlled.”

Senator Kennedy: “Let’s go back.”

Dr. Leary: “I do not want people who use these, who have a handful, put in jail.”

Senator Kennedy: “You said you do not know about the quality. What is it about the quality that you are frightened about?”

Dr. Leary: “We do not want amateur or black-market sale or distribution of LSD.”

Senator Kennedy: “Why not?”

Dr. Leary: “Or barbiturates or liquor. When you buy a bottle of liquor …”

Senator Kennedy: “Why do you not want the indiscriminate manufacture and distribution? Why not? Is it because it is dangerous?”

Dr. Leary: “Because you do not know what you are getting.”

Senator Kennedy: “Is it because it is dangerous? Are you interested only in the consumer and whether, like truth in packaging, whether there are too many strawberries or not enough strawberries in the pie, or is it something more dangerous than that, Dr. Leary?”

Dr. Leary: “No, sir; I think LSD is much less dangerous than the amphetamines and barbiturates.”

Senator Kennedy: “I am not asking that. The reason, as I would gather it, is because this is a dangerous drug; is that right?”

Dr. Leary: “No, sir; LSD is not a dangerous drug.”

Senator Kennedy: “Why have you admitted then, why you have latched that onto the other questions of the control and distribution and manufacturing of drugs?”

Dr. Leary: “I feel the same as I do with alcohol, you want to know what you are getting. It has to be supervised by Government FDA standards of health and packaging.”

Senator Kennedy: “Do you not agree that alcohol can be dangerous?”

Dr. Leary: “I think that alcohol is probably the most dangerous drug around.”

Senator Kennedy: “All right, it can be dangerous, can it not?”

Dr. Leary: “Yes, sir; if it is used improperly.”

I will draw the curtain at this point. The exchange between Tim and Teddy became even more incoherent thereafter, although restricting the use of LSD to people who qualified for “pilot licenses” was probably the craziest idea of all. The most astonishing thing about Tim’s testimony was what he didn’t say. The religious nature of the experience, and the First Amendment rights that therefore applied, were never alluded to in any way by the creator and leader of the Castalia Foundation, chief instigator of and participant in the Marsh Chapel “Good Friday Experiment,” and all of that.

For a person in Tim’s position, facing thirty years in some hellhole, and determined to defend himself with the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause, this seems like self-destructive madness. Was he trying to make some kind of a deal? (OK, so it isn’t religious. I was just kidding. Let’s be scientific about this. Drop the charges and put me on The Dope Commission.) There doesn’t seem to be any other explanation.

Had I known about this testimony before I made my statement, I could not have defended Tim as our religious leader. Instead, I might have attacked him as an insidious menace to the religious spirit and to human freedom in general. But that would just have solidified Tim’s position. As it was, he dropped his pilot’s license horseshit soon after and came over to my side, maintaining that the psychedelic experience was religious and therefore no laws could interfere.

Exactly what kind of lunatic bureaucracy would have arisen if Tim’s proposals had been taken seriously and the government had attempted to regulate Psychedelian religious practices is difficult to imagine. I suppose supervised trips would be part of it. Imagine coming down from a big one in a happy state, only to be confronted by Meat Hook Baird, M.D. with a tape measure, ready to determine if your nose has become more prominent and pugnacious, or your chin more recessive, or whatever.

Trying to control other people’s choice of mental states by force has nothing to do with what I mean by elitism. I mean meritocracy. Tim’s pilot’s-license nonsense was just standard We Are the Masters of the Universe and Everyone Will Think and Act the Way We Do, or Else absolutism. Old as the hills. The villain with a thousand faces.

Well, we all have our “off” days, and Tim deserves credit for admitting his error and reversing his course as he did.

Residents of the United States are assigned, by who knows whom, a kind of bureaucratic pope of an established meta-church, which rules over all associations claiming to be religious by granting or denying them tax-exempt status on the basis of who knows what. During the late ’70s this tyrant was known as “E.D. Coleman” and his title was Chief, Exempt Organizations, Technical Branch, Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury. If you doubt this, just initiate a Freedom of Information Act correspondence with the IRS and demand to know under what laws and rules of evidence and procedure a mysterious bureaucrat is allowed to promote the welfare of the Church of Satan and the Native American Church of South Dakota and the Church of Scientology, but deny equal treatment to the Original Kleptonian Neo-American Church.

If you get anything back from the IRS resembling a straight answer, let me know.

Tim looked tired. Not only was he pulling weeds and milking goats, he was also speaking at any college that would have him and working on his next book. He was explicit about his strategy: we had to take our lead from the kids from now on. If we had them with us, it didn’t matter what the government did.

Could be. Thereafter, whatever Tim said in public was almost entirely determined by what he thought “the troops” wanted to hear. The whole idea was to keep abreast. If they wanted to pretend to be simple peasants, fine. If they wanted to dress up in robes on Saturday night and pretend they were weird monks, who cared? Black pajamas and Molotov cocktails? Why not. Tim had made a fundamental decision about himself.

This frame of mind left me cold. Never in a million years could I act that way. Yet, as head of the Church, wasn’t I the one who ought to be doing that kind of thing, while Tim, our spiritual leader, spoke the truth without fear or favor? After all, I had just seen a demonstration in Washington of what the political game was all about: a mad scramble for media space-time. Tim was better suited, despite his poor showing in D.C., for playing that game than I was. Another identity crisis? Not on your life. When you have had one identity crisis, you have had them all. Let everyone do his own thing. I would go my way and Tim would go his and we would see how everything turned out in the end.

What I would like to see is the substitution of “instruments of torture or images thereof” and “forced circumcision of an infant” for the names of the currently prohibited drugs and the substitution of “negative” for “positive” and vice versa, in all statutes governing urine testing. All property held by the punishment freaks should be transferred to their victims. That would only be fair, and would invigorate the American economy with “fresh blood,” so to speak.

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