Plaintiffs: The Foundation for Inner Peace and the Foundation for A Course
Defendants: New Christian Church of Full Endeavor
Ken Wapnick of the The Foundation for Inner Peace and the Foundation for A
Course In Miracles took the witness stand on Wednesday to resume his
testimony. He spoke very softly. As had happened the day before, the court
stenographer found it difficult to hear him.
On Tuesday, the defense lawyer had established through questioning that a
Karl Hatcher had received a non-copyrighted manuscript of A Course In
Miracles. As had a John Mundy and Hugh Lynn Cayce (the son of Edgar
Ken Wapnick did not remember whether the son of Hugh Lynn Cayce had also
received a non-copyrighted copy, and the defense lawyer refreshed his
Jim Bolen and Gerry Jampolsky had also received copies, and a Douglas
Ken Wapnick recapped the story of the San Francisco meeting given by Judy
Skutch in her testimony, and said he had seen no copies of the Course
given out at that meeting.
On Wednesday morning, the defense lawyer asked Ken Wapnick about the
Foundation for Inner Peace, and there was some information given about
The defense lawyer also asked Ken Wapnick whether Jesus were the author of
the course and the plaintiff’s lawyer objected. This was over-ruled, and
Ken Wapnick said that Helen said that Jesus is the author of A Course In
The defense lawyer asked Ken Wapnick about an article in a newsletter
published by the Foundation for A Course In Miracles. In the article, Ken
Wapnick wrote that Helen and Bill knew the Course was not intended “for
their eyes only” and that the idea of copyright was “out of character” for
a spiritual document of this kind.
Then the questioning moved to the way in which Ken Wapnick had interpreted
the “fair use” provision of copyright law over the years.
In 1992, Marianne Williamson published a book, Return to Love, which was a
bestseller. The copyright provisions became stricter after that book.
Before 1992, it was “looser,” in Ken Wapnick’s words.
Did the sale of Marianne Williamson’s book increase the sales of A Course
In Miracles, the witness was asked. I don’t know, Ken Wapnick said.
The question of having the book published by Penguin was raised. Defense
lawyer referred to an opinion on record from Helen Schucman, the scribe of
A Course In Miracles, that the book should be published by “a non-profit
organization”. Helen Schucman also said that the book should be given to
those for whom it is the most important thing in their lives.
The lawyer for the plaintiff established the existence of a series of
letters between Hugh Lynn Cayce and Bill Thetford, who had typed up the
manuscript of A Course In Miracles in conjunction with Helen Schucman. The
purpose of this exchange was to indicate a semi-business relationship
between the two men. Bill Thetford said in a letter to Hugh Lynn Cayce:
“We look forward to any suggestions or comments you may wish to offer.” A
series of quotes from the letters were read out.
Then there was a discussion of copyright and the San Francisco meeting….
The plaintiff’s lawyer emphasized the secrecy with which Ken Wapnick had
treated the manuscript. Ken Wapnick had not given a copy to his own mother
because of his secrecy. Why then, the plaintiff’s lawyer asked, would
Helen Schucman have given a copy to Judy Skutch? Ken Wapnick said that
Helen Schucman gave Judy Skutch a copy because she felt that Judy was “the
The judge asked Ken Wapnick if “your foundation” – the Foundation for A
Course In Miracles – holds the copyright. He said, yes, and the Foundation
for Inner Peace publishes it.
Then there were some questions about Penguin, and the plaintiffs rested
The defense called two witnesses, Anne Puryear, a minister, and Kevin
Rice, a Christian evangelist teaching at Unity Church in Florida. Both
witnesses referred frequently to Jesus as the author of An Course In
Miracles and the lawyer for the plaintiff objected each time.
Anne Puryear spoke of a dinner with Judy Skutch. There was never a plan to
copyright the Course, Judy told Anne. In cross-examination, the
plaintiff’s lawyer underlined the fact that the witness had not seen the
book before it was published by Penguin.
The plaintiff’s lawyer made an objection to testimony from the second
defense witness, Kevin Rice, on the grounds of hearsay, but the judge
Kevin Rice was asked: Did he know anyone who received an original
(non-copyrighted) copy of the Course. The witness said that Edgar Mitchell
told him he had received an uncopyrighted manuscript in 1973. Plaintiffs
raised the objection: How could he have received it in 1973 when Judy
Skutch did not receive it until 1975.
The plaintiff’s lawyer was jubilant, and thanked the witness for the
In his closing remarks, Judge Sweet said that the case
was very, very difficult. He complimented both sides, saying that their
cases had been professionally presented.
The judge adjourned the case for the taking of depositions. Two weeks have
been set to enter depositions then two weeks for the cross-examination on
the depositions. The case resumes in the courtroom on June 25th for final