St. Albans AL3 4JR,
+44 1727 864257
To the Editor,
Scotland PA29 6YW
The three items in QF part 3, Chattell (top dog) p104 (and P.T.O.), Catt p106, Latham p108, make a delicious sequence. Noticeably, Dandelion figures in two of them.
I remember that a few decades ago, before Equal Opportunities were in full swing in BYM, I was invited to be Auditor for my PM, which role I carried out for a few years.
The second time I was invited to take up a duty was recently, when Equal Opportunities had got going. I was asked to join the PM Catering Committee, to which I agreed. A few months later I was asked to change to First Reserve for the Catering Committee, which I accepted. However, I have never been told about Catering Committee Meeting times and dates.
Publishing in Quaker journals is easier if one adopts a woman's alias, as I have done. I have published in The Friend and Quaker Monthly (QM) under such names as Jane Leppard (QM nov97), Penelope Lyon and Jane Lince. I try to keep a feline element in my aliases, Lince deriving from Lynx. However, there remain strict limits on what even a woman may publish in BYM's heavily censored journals. For instance, although proffered by a female alias, no Quaker journal would publish my prediction that after Southall, we would not make the same mistake, and again appoint a male heterosexual to our most senior executive post in BYM.
My article, Statistics as the Sword of Truth, on my website, points out that in this era of Equal Opportunities, the remaining male quota is preferably filled by homosexuals, as it largely is in the Cabinet. My article disccusses the statistical impossibility of getting four gays into the Cabinet. It is not males, but heterosexual males, who have been ousted from Quaker decision-making. The alliance between the Sisterhood and Gays derives from their both feeling ouside the traditional family (see Janzen, What price the family?, The Friend, 3dec93, p1557), and from the heavy representation of lesbians in the Sisterhood. Since gays represent only 1% or 2% of males, it is proving difficult to get enough to fill 50% of posts, which is why the preponderance of women remains. One Dandelion cannot make a Spring. The removal of Section 28 will help us to train up more gays to fill the posts and achieve balance.
cc Elsa Dicke, Recording Clerk,
BYM, Friends House,
183 Euston Rd.London NW1 2BJ
Content-free quakerese. e.g. Chattell, THE FRIEND, 19sep97, p20. (After an initial falter; 'surprising decision', which has a smidgen of content, it settles down to pure quakerbabble.)
Useful for generating togetherness and consensus, providing willing parties ignore that it is unity around a void. The ideal technique for its construction is similar to my way of making a mixed vegetable soup. Much variety of content, but nothing we have to chew on.
Quakerbabble is not the same as Quakerspeak, which latter is the use of a different (slang) term from the normal, to describe ordinary roles and things; e.g. chairman of a committee, or a committee's report. Quakerspeak ensures that only Quakers understand the content, whereas Quakerbabble has no content.
Ivor Catt 22/26sep97
Thank you for your letter in THE FRIEND dated 19sep97, which prompted me to develop the ideas (above) in my letter to THE FRIEND.
Ivor Catt, 24.9.97
121 Westfields, St. Albans AL3 4JR
This copy printed 25/04/00
11 Monks Horton Way,
St. Albans AL1 4HA
Thank you very much for your letter dated 11.1.98
Without re-reading it, I shall take you through some analysis I have done in the last few days. The essential implication of this analysis is that we are having imposed on us an ambience which is obstructive, suffocating, unquakerly and illogical. Because Jill and Elizabeth are elders and more, they think that their actions are quakerly, and also sensible. This is not so. I have to conclude that they are either stupid, or obstructive, or both.
The local situation only matters because of sclerosis in Friends House at all levels, which in turn throws pressure onto the local. To remain a member of the Society of Friends, I have to (1) see the possibility of forward movement at some level, or else (2) protest periodically, on the record, or (3) resign. I doubt that other near organisations are in much better shape than the Society of Friends, so I would rather protest than move on. I am not only protesting locally. However, now that Jill [Kenner] seems to have become so active in stopping forward movement, taking up Elizabeth's [Fowler] mantle, I feel that it would be unreasonable to keep pushing against the (now reinforced) local brick wall. However, I am advised that if I move to another Meeting, a smear will precede me. One remaining option is to move to another meeting and stay silent and inactive for five years, to let the smear subside. Then, at the age of 67, I might start to try again to get some forward movement. There will probably still be a reduced but surviving Society of Friends to work at. Another possible option is to take a group to another nearby Meeting. Then the Jills in our midst would perhaps be unable to write the event off as some sort of ego advertising.
Below is only a first, draft pass at the nonsense of the obstructions faced in our Society by forward looking Quakers.
The idea that too much should not be imposed on local Quakers directly contradicts the (now entrenched) concept of the Quaker Steeplechase, whereby Friends House will refuse to address any communication (even facts, let alone opinion or worries,) which has not been packaged as a 'Concern', and gone through the daft steeplechase of PM, MM, GM, Suff, (as Amber did,) gathering other people (barnacles) on the way. (This is typical of the inconsistent nonsense that Elizabeth, and now Jill, impose on us.) It is truly rich that you cite Genetic Engineering, and I am furious that because of the delays in the Society, I now learn about it on prime time TV, not through the Society of Friends. Similarly, you cite Trident. Did you know that I put in enormous effort on the weapons industry, leading to interview with top MoD officials in Whitehall organised for me by the Attorney General ten, fifteen years ago, when the Society did not want to know? Now you ask me, when the M.A.D. policy is over, what I am doing about Trident warheads! With minimal support from Friends, I could have shut down most of the British Weapons Industry, but Quakers had to wait until it became fashionable and the problem largely over. (My effort on weapons parallels Amber's futile efforts on Genetic Engineering.) I should send you my report on my meeting with top MoD officials [apr00. See my website.]. Doubtless I forwarded it to leading Friends, local and national, who ignored it, or I decided in advance that the Society wanted to cut a dash re peace, but did not want to engage effectively, even to the extent of analysing and commenting on my strategy. Certainly, the Society of Friends failed totally to contribute to a major anti-weapon initiative by one of its long time members. I was also down at Greenham Common in an 'official' capacity. The Society, local and national, failed to link up with my major initiative there. I could send you that report too. With minimal co-operation from the Society, I could have sent Cruise home. At that time, there was a real risk of nuclear conflagration. I think those are the two social initiatives you cite, and in both cases the Society's involvement has been typically disgraceful. However, I will not at this moment check.
The really shocking thing recently was that Eliz. asserted that, re belief, one could only speak for one's self, not state what were the beliefs of Quakers. This is typical of the insistence by Eliz and now Jill that the true Quaker is only interested in herself, and not in social issues.
I was asked to promise not to speak to new attenders.
Two elders/ex-elders have asserted or nearly asserted the jesuidical idea that what is said in meeting is for the plebs, not for the higher intellects. This idea now has to be investigated.
I now have a new embryonic counter-minister, who will always get up and speak directly after me. A decade ago, I brought my 'concern' about my then counter-minister (who for five years always spoke 90 seconds after I sat down) to PM, and she laid off and became very friendly. I don't want another five or ten years of that! My present one admittedly waits for perhaps three minutes, which is not so bad. The idea that the new, and the faithful, plebs have to be protected from Ivor has to be addressed.
The mishandling (suppression) of a recently voiced concern by A.N. Other.
This incredible unfinished business, contained in my 23sep96 letter to Eliz. She and Ken G did wreck the series of evening meetings re suppression of facts in the Society, and she has to respond to the question as to whether they exist, or take the matter forward in some way.
Similarly, the reversal of the Library Committee's unamous decision to buy the Morgan book, which now costs perhaps £2, has to be addressed. I am not going to sneak books into the local meeting library (as I did my own first book 30 years ago). I want the library committee to make the decisions and then that their decisions be carried out. This is unfinished business. I wait to see the Morgan book in the library, or a statement by the library committee that (a) they never decided to have it or (b) they have changed their minds. Eliz claims to support procedures, but obviously she tramples on procedures.
Many sources say that a Meeting lacking the support of a real Discussion Group is not viable, and wrong material will then burst into the Sunday morning meeting. That is our current situation. The fact that my London choir recently persists in having events to clash with the Discussion Group should not be important. That brings me to the next (totally opposite) point; the assertion that Ivor's presence in a Discussion Group aborts it as a viable Discussion Group. This idea, now mooted, has to be addressed. Even a Quaker should not pretend that we can doze our way through, ignoring these problems.
Yours sincerely, Ivor Catt
Please take this as a first attempt, at least to get all items down on paper, rather than as considered. I feel it might help if you have it before the 16jan98 Discussion Group, which my Fest. Hall rehearsal clashes with. Try not to engage it as a riposte to your letter. I here attempt to get down the key items, and catch the post.
Addendum to IC-CC 15jan98. The awful heresy is that nothing should interfere with each egoistical Quaker contemplating her own spiritual navel. That is, to hell with Quaker Faith and Practice, Clause 1.02.33 and Clause 23.1; "Try to discern new growing points in social and economic life."
17jan98. What has really changed my attitude is the following sequence of events. In a 'discussion group', truncated down to four or five people, the question arose at to what one should reply if someone said; "Oh, you are a Quaker. Tell me, what do you believe?" I was interrogated in depth, as is very reasonable, by Jill and Eliz. I said I would tell the enquirer things like, that Quakers were an alliance between christocentric and universalist, and so forth. However, Eliz and Jill pressed me with; "No, but what do you believe." To which I replied, very little, but I would avoid giving that in my reply to the enquirer. Then came the extraordinary comment from Eliz.; "No, one can only speak for oneself." I then said I wanted the enquirer to join the Society of Friends, not to join Ivor Catt. That put an end to their nonsense, but the dialogue points to the impossible reality, that they insist that self takes central position. Then, blow me, but some days later I talked in Meeting about two events the day before; finding an important article by me published in 1982 which I had thought had vanished, put onto the Internet by someone - good communication of Ivor Catt's contributions, contrasted with one Nigel Cook, who manufactured a magazine which always headlined Ivor Catt; that Ivor Catt had discovered the meaning of life and everything, including proving e=mc2 . I then said that I had just read two articles in Quaker Monthly, one purportedly pushing the universalist and the other the christocentric side. I found that the universalist mentioned others properly, incl. Buddha, but no Jesus, only mentioning Christ, the universal Christ, and so forth. I asked what right had people (particularly self-styled universalists) to add bells and whistles to Jesus, and I had great sympathy for Jesus. I was angry at the time, and so remain, over the treatment of Jesus by his self-styled allies. I mentioned his moral etc. advice, and his parables. The message was very clear, except to anyone who insists that one always and only talks about ones self, and Jesus and Christ was only cover for Ivor to talk about himself. Jill approached me afterwards and asked about what I had said. She said I was very upset about Nigel Cook! I answered that I was not, that I was talking about Jesus. I said that I was very willing to analyse Jesus' problems, but if she wanted to talk about me, we should do so on another day. If we analyse my talk, we see that from Eliz and Jill's world view, the only valid, credible illustration is from one's own experience, so the only acceptable (for them) illustration of Jesus' problems had to come from my own personal experience. Now Jill insists that I am talking only about my own personal experience, not about Jesus! I would have been very willing to illustrate from third parties, but their reaction would have been that I could not be sure of the facts since the experience was not my own. You see the kind of thoughtless Catch-22 nonsenses they have constructed! My change of attitude over the last two weeks has been to realise the very shallow level of their thinking, and the bigotry of their idea that a human being is only interested in herself, subsuming everything to that interest, possibly in a camouflaged way. I am convinced that there is no way to get them even to take on board as a concept the idea of another human who has little interest in herself! I have tested this issue by asking weighty Quakers and Elders whom I respect whether they wanted salvation, to which they have replied, "Not at all." The heresy is to impose this self-centredness as Quaker orthodoxy. It is understandable to find a member of the Quaker central politbureau failing to conceive of herself as being a Quaker heretic. I remember Maurice Webb, the High Tory in Redbourn Labour Party who thought he was Labour because he lived in a council house and got a bigger vote in local elections as an alleged Labour candidate than any other Labour candidate. This is the analogy for Eliz. (fortunately not taken from Ivor, so Ivor cannot be talking about himself!)
What is so astounding is, not the shallowness of Jill and Eliz., but that they can get in the way so much. In the end, it is our problem, and the failure is that of thinking Quakers, not theirs. I think it is the peculiarity of Quaker culture that makes it possible for arrant nonsense to flourish and grow within it, and to be so obstructive.
From your 11.1.98 letter; "None of these groups [which make up the local meeting] is in a position to take up new causes even if they agreed with you." Here we see the destructiveness of the invention of the Quaker Steeplechase, with Friends House refusing to receive input even of facts which have not run the gauntlet of my co-PM members (whom it does not concern) and then oif my MM members, and so on.
"Many on a practical level have been fully occupied in recent years renovating the Meeting House...." - Genesis (Tower oif Babel); "....and they left off and builded the city....". I was concerned when you suggested putting the St. A library fund towards rebuilding costs, and when Friends House shut down library and bookstore during refurbishment.
"Who then should be furthering the campaign....?" I want free flow of information, particularly factual. I want local PM and Friends House to avoid being in factual error, or uninformed - i.e., to stop betraying Clause 23.1 [Quaker Faith and Practice.]. That is nothing like wanting a campaign. I want a little of the money currently being spent publishing bland PC "Quakerbabble", e.g. Chattell, THE FRIEND, 19sep97, p20, to be diverted to publishing up to date factual information on social issues. The current editor of THE FRIEND has never made any response whatsoever to any written approach from me. I want the local library committee to decide what books to buy, and then for them to be bought. This is not asking for a campaign. Buying a map is not the same as making a journey, and it is nasty to claim that one who buys a map is engaged in travel.
"... the retention of Trident warheads. .... it could result in the loss of Charitable status .... " This lie has been floated in another organisation I belonged to. I got in touch with the Charities Commissioner, who assured me that such more forceful action by a charity did not threaten charitable status. This is typical obstructive activity by the sludge which accumulates in a social concern organisation, and tries to obstruct activity. However, I repeat, I am not myself asking for assertive activity; I am merely asking for the withdrawal of the embargo on communication of up to date facts in the Society of Friends.
"You will gather from this that my personal view is that meeting for Worship is not the place for polemic or political campaigns against preceived injustices in ... ,.... ,....". Again, I am asking for the updating of the Society from retaining factual error, and allowing communication of contemporary and emerging facts., so that we can obey the injunction in Clause 23.1. This is far from campaign and polemic. However, it is possible that you, along with Eliz and Ken Goode, believe (sorry, know,) that facts do not exist; that you know that all is opinion, i.e. all is polemic. Contempt for facts, the growing heresy in the Society of Friends, has to be addressed.
In the PM meetings, set up to discuss my concern about censorship of facts in the Society of Friends, which were sandbagged by Eliz and Ken, I gave as an example of a fact, the fact that a man called Duesberg exists. Is that polemic, to inform Quakers that Duesberg exists?
Gilman did not reply when I talked to him, and then sent him material on censorship in the Society.
However, in his very good article, THE FRIEND, 3oct97, p6, I notice the 'concept' crept into his writing.
(Brown responded to this article in his letter.) This admission of the concept of censorship might be
an embarkation on the long road towards discussing it, and then banishing it from the Society.
At present, Fowler, Crellin and N Randles assert that it does not exist in the Society.
If Gilman mentions it, does it remain merely an(other) aspect of Catt's paranoia?
St. Albans AL3 4JR
This copy printed 25/04/00
5 Overton Villas, Launceston,
Cornwall PL15 9AR
Dear David Brown,
The Friend, 10oct97, p17.
The CCBI predicament
The Friend, 19sep97, p20.
I enclose (overleaf) my proposed dictionary entry on the word Quakerbabble.
Since much of my own writing tends to be concrete, it might be thought that I classify the spiritual as always babble, and the concrete as possibly not.(Of course, my own writing is more or less totally censored, so this idea would only come to those who knew me well.) However, I think your excellent item "Positive News" is spiritual but not babble. That is, it has content. Yours is the extreme case, with dense content, compared with the Chattell specimen, which is virtually content-free. Thus, under the present editor of THE FRIEND, the fact that material has content does not debar it from publication.
Perhaps I could set up a sort of "Spot the football" competition, where the reader was asked which he thought was Quakerbabble, and which was not. I predict a 20 : 1 vote. If the Editor of THE FRIEND would like to institute my "Spot the football" competition, I would be very happy to organise it. I address him through his copy of this letter.
What we have, in the Society of Friends, is an incubus who think that the process matters, not the product. "Take care of the sounds, and the sense will take care of itself." Thus, the gradual withdrawal, and suppression, of content, is thought to lead to unity. When these people report on a meeting, they report on how the meeting went, and how kindly (prayerful) it all was. But they do not report on what was discussed, and what decisions were made.
On another matter, Hosking refused to forward my single sheet of information to the Friends House Children's Committee, which she chaired. That was many years ago, which meant the Society has been cut off from my work on behalf of children. My colleagues and I have now broken the (secret) Family Court System, so that it will no longer be able to visit so much damage on our children. If only Hosking had not prevented me from drawing her committee and so the Society into the process, the damage to our children would have been much less. Even at this late stage, the Society could play a valuable role, but only if willing to lift the censorship.
The new, victorious strategy which has defeated a destructive and anti-social community of judges (see my letters in THE FRIEND, 14july95 and 15sep95), who have been wreaking havoc with the lives most children of divorce, is very much in the Quaker tradition of passive resistance and non-cooperation. It is a tragedy that such mainstream Quaker activity will be censored out of the Quaker Universe of Discourse by the ruling, rampant, Quaker Thought Police.
cc The Editor,
30 Gordon St.,
London WC1H 0BQ
cc Jane Chattell,
Village House, High Str.,
Kings Langley, Herts,
cc Elizabeth Fowler,
33 Camp View Rd.,
St. Albans AL1 5LN
cc Beth Morton,
158 The Ridgeway,
St. Albans AL4 9XJ
cc Naomi Randles,
19 Harpenden Rd.,
St. Albans AL1 5LL
cc Jill Kenner,
17 Old Garden Court,
St. Albans AL3 4RQ
St. Albans AL3 4JR
31july95 Minor changes on 4aug95.
R David Langman, Clerk, Stratford PM,
6 Gainsborough Rd.,
Warwicks CV37 9FA This copy printed 25/04/00
Dear David Langman,
Thank you for your 16july95 letter.
I note that both you and Frank Parkinson submitted to Manchester 95 papers on Friends and sexuality, and were both rejected. However, my rejected submission was on another subject, which is the Politics of Knowledge, see my 6apr95 letter to SH overleaf.
Right Thinking (PC) is rampant in the Society of Friends, and we would have serious problems even if the homosexual nonsense did not exist. The entrenched, deeper problem of Right Thinking can be expected to lead to Manchester 95 being limited to the banal. [I do appreciate that man-bashing and family bashing (à la Grace Janzen, THE FRIEND, 3dec93, p1557) will probably occur, but those pervade society at large anyway, and are part of today's Right Thinking, and so are banal.]
Generally, the Society of Friends will attract into membership non-Quakers who seek validation for their bad behaviour. At any moment, such group(s) could take control. It remains to the real Quakers to stay in membership until the carpetbaggers no longer need the cover, and go away.
Friends have been infected by most of the worst deviations of contemporary society, but generally somewhat muted. For instance, the adulation of homosexual practices is not much more pronounced in the Society of Friends than in society at large. However, in the matter of doggedly refusing to distinguish between the Messenger and his Message, Friends are even worse than today's society at large. Quakers believe that the process of acting as a channel for transmitting factual information (even as chairman of a meeting) implies the channel has taken a position on the information. Disastrous. Helen Drewery, chair of the Friends House AIDS committee, blocked factual information of crucial importance, involving matters of life and death. Recently, a New York woman whose husband died as a result of blockage of that same factual information on AIDS got in touch with me. I showed her my many letters to Drewery of two years ago, at the crucial time, the very time when she and her husband desperately needed the facts, and Drewery, for PC political reasons, was blocking the very same information they needed to save his life. I have advised this widow to go down to Friends House and confront the information flow suppressors, particularly Drewery if she is still there. I told Margot Z that if she does not smash things up in Friends House, she will not be taken seriously. They will continue to lovingly, prayerfully, block factual information flow with impunity. Hosking also blocked factual information of crucial importance to the Friends House Childrens Committee.
Before the case of Margot Z , I already knew that suppression of facts can kill, but the New Quaker refuses to believe this. I hope Margot will prayerfully tear their hair out, in memory of her dead husband.
Yours sincerely, Ivor Catt. member, St. Albans P.M.
cc Elizabeth Fowler, Elder,
33 Camp View Road,
St. Albans AL1 5LN
Beth, Elder & Ernest Morton (O),
158 The Ridgeway,
St. Albans AL4 9XJ
cc Susan Hartshorne,
22 Denison Rd.,
Manchester M14 5SQ
Donald Southall,Clerk of Yearly Meeting,
Friends House, Euston Rd.,
London NW1 2BJ
Clifford Crellin, Elder,
11 Monks Horton Way,
St. Albans AL1 1HA
The Editor, THE FRIEND,
Drayton House, 30 Gordon St.,
London WC1H 0BQ
5 Abbey View Rd.,
St. Albans AL3 4QL
John Leary-Joyce, Overseer,
64 Warwick Rd.,
St. Albans AL1 4DL
48 Parkside Drive,
Watford WD1 3AX
Friends House, Euston Rd.,
London NW1 2BJ