In another MSIA book, "Initiation to the Sound Current," he wrote: "Initiates of the Mystical Traveler Consciousness are those that I am specifically taking home to God."
John-Roger was a bit more modest in an interview with The Times last year at the $6-million, three-story John-Roger Foundation building on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. Flanked by three associates in his well-appointed office, he said that his motivation as a teacher is "to help people, it's always really been that."
Clearly, though, the scale of his teaching has grown dramatically over the years.
'John the Beloved' Arrives
John-Roger was born Roger Delano Hinkins on Sept. 24, 1934, in Rains, Utah, a coal mining town that no longer exists. The son of Mormons, he attended the church's mutual improvement associations and occasionally gave inspirational "three-minute talks" as a youth.
The only influential reading matter he recalled encountering in his youth was Napolean Hill's "The Laws of Success." His adolescent mind was absorbed more with sports and girls than with spiritual matters, he said.
As he and his brother and sister describe it, John-Roger's childhood was typical. He attended North Emory High School, where he played tennis, among other sports. The only unusual aspect of his youth was his early realization that he could spot the colorful "auras" that some people believe surround the human body, he said.
During this time he worked briefly in the coal mine where his father was superintendent. "I don't think I was meant to be a coal miner, because I broke out in a rash all over my body," John-Roger said. ". . . I think I created that not to have to go home every night to get coal dust out of my ears and out of my eyes. I hated working in the coal mines."
While attending the University of Utah he worked as a night orderly in the psychiatric ward of a Salt Lake City hospital, and later became a part-time PBX telephone operator with the Salt Lake City Police Department. After graduating with a psychology degree in 1958, he packed his car and headed west to California, where he eventually landed his job at Rosemead.
In 1963, he underwent a kidney stone operation at a Los Angeles hospital and, as a result of what might have been a sedative overdose, went into a nine-day coma.
"When I woke up nine days later," he said, ". . . there was another being in me and he called himself John. . . . When I opened my eyes, I remember my mother sitting there saying, 'Who are you?' and the voice said, 'I am John' and she said, 'Is Roger there?' He says, 'Yes, he's in here too.' "
When asked to describe who John is, John-Roger said: "I can tell you who John \o7 says \f7 he is. When he first identified himself, he said: 'I am the beloved.' Later on he said, 'You can call me John.' I put them together . . . 'John the Beloved.' "
After the operation, Hinkins went back to teaching, but his life was never quite the same, he said.
He had been teaching at Rosemead for several years when E. Terry Irvine became principal there. Irvine says his predecessor described Hinkins as "an outstanding young man and an outstanding teacher."
Over the years, Irvine recalled, "the kids always liked him. He was a very interesting person."
But gradually word got back to Irvine that Hinkins was digressing from American literature in his teaching. After several students complained that whole periods in Hinkins' class were spent with the lights off and drapes pulled, and that Hinkins was instructing them in such matters as how to use self-hypnosis to prepare for exams, Irvine went to Hinkins' third-period class one afternoon to investigate. When he opened the door, "It was just as dark as pitch. Usually I'm a very calm person, but I blew up right there," Irvine said. "I turned all the lights on. I jarred the kids out of their reverie. . . . Right in front of the whole class, I said, 'Mr. Hinkins . . . I never want this sort of nonsense to happen again!"
Soon thereafter, Irvine and John-Roger said, the two decided that it would be best if the teacher moved on to pursue his spiritual teaching.
Irvine recalls only one complaint from a parent about Hinkins--a Catholic mother who came to him to protest that her son had abandoned the family's faith to follow his former English teacher. Irvine confirmed, though, that several other students went on to attend their teacher's spiritual seminars after John-Roger left the school, and that at least one of his teachers also left the school to work with John-Roger.
Candy Semigran, who is now chief executive officer of Insight Seminars and has worked with John-Roger off and on for two decades, was 13 or 14 when she first saw him in front of her English class. "He was my favorite teacher in high school," she said. "He was always challenging us to go beyond what we thought we could do."