Doctor Timothy Leary began to preach the gospel of LSD and left Harvard in search of disciples. As high priest of the drug scene, he taught us that the risk of rational disorder is worth taking in view of the possibility of rational expansion. In other words, the risk of a horrifying head trip was worth taking in view of the possibility of a euphoric experience.
We were taught that LSD offered new perspectives, new horizons never before dreamed of. We learned that we could expand our minds, deepen our consciousness and thus lift ourselves out of the mundane existence we saw in society. We began to dream of a state of anarchy in which glorious liberty dwelt, where we could be transported into fabulous, mind-bending realms. We thought drugs could make a note of music take on an infinite variation of tone and make flowers more glorious in a thousand ways. Colors took on new meaning and the total man was deepened and enriched and made transcendent.
It was preached as a means of religious experience and we swallowed it, hook, line, and sinker. After all, what credibility did Christianity have as a valid religious experience?1 So drugs were the answer to a false hope called Christianity. We wanted to be set free to act in a way that would benefit all mankind.
We were prepared, at least some of us, to take the calculated risk. Taking LSD was no longer viewed as an irresponsible action, but rather as a way to find oneself, one’s purpose on this earth. It was worth the gamble simply because we saw the possibilities of enlargement and discovery. When Timothy Leary began to preach the drug gospel, we were ready to listen and believe in his hope and his future. He was our high priest and prophet, leading us into realms undreamed of. We were fed up to the gullet with a false hope, with broken promises of a religion that didn’t work. So we dropped out of church (which was absolutely no different than the rest of the insane world), dropped out of school, and dropped out of mainstream society. After all, most of us who were a part of the drug scene shared a common experience of Sunday school (as if we needed another day of school), and one hour of boredom once a week in our upbringing.
By smoking pot and taking LSD, we were searching for something that the Christ of Christianity could not give to anyone. We were searching for adequacy, meaning, and fulfillment, and we were shouting it out loud and clear with all our heart. Since no one told us the truth, we had to be set free by our own gospel, a gospel we were more inclined to accept. All our life growing up we heard the words, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” but no one told us the truth. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” was the message we heard over and over again. But the freedom we experienced on LSD seemed far greater than anything the bamboozlers on TV or in church pulpits were offering. None of them showed us the life of being a disciple, of obeying the wonderful commands that would truly set us free.2
So when Timothy Leary came along,we were ready to leave everything to follow him, since he was going somewhere we wanted to go. He offered a measure of hope and we were enthusiastic about his gospel. We were ready for it. The time had come. Christianity had run its deadly course and we were ready for life!
Christianity never told us the most vital things that the Son of God had to say — to leave everything and follow him; to leave our possessions behind, our family and friends; that no one could be his disciple unless he gave up all of his own possessions.3 He also said, “Do not think I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword... He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” 4
To a materialistic Christianity, this was absurd and blasphemous. We were looking for a real family and love, the love described in the Bible, but we had never seen it lived out or practiced.5 If someone had told us, for example, about a real family of love, and said that if we obeyed his commands, we would not be destroyed like the communes we were once members of, we would have done it. If there had been such an example thirty-five years ago, we would have realized that those who suffer hardship to endure in his word are really his disciples. They are the ones who really know the truth and are set free indeed. It would have saved us a lot of heartache and disillusionment.
We wanted a new life; we wanted to give up our old, boring life. We were looking for the life Messiah offered us, but no one could show us where to find it! Christianity was a circus of confusion, with its many rings of shows going on all at once, where everyone was doing their own thing a" whatever was right in his own eyes. Not only did it draw attention to itself, but each preacher, who, like a performer in a circus, drew attention to himself.
That is why we Christian kids rebelled (It wasn’t really a rebellion, though, for we had nothing substantial to rebel against). The risk of a bad experience on drugs was worth taking in view of possibly finding what we longed for. But, really, a drug experience wasn’t what we wanted! We longed for something deeper, and hoped that by taking drugs we would find it. In other words, our experience in Christianity was so empty that it was unable to satisfy the gnawing void inside.
We went into the drug scene with open eyes, longing and hoping and yearning for something to fill us up. We were willing to take that calculated gamble with drugs since the glorified truth spoken by the clergy was not in the least being lived out by them, much less by the church who were their students. “And many false prophets will arise and mislead many.” We were some of the many, for you can know a tree by its fruit.6
We had a case against our parents who got high on caffeine and uppers and downers prescribed very righteously by their quack physicians. Pot was not proven addictive and they called us addicts while they were addicts on every conceivable legalized drug, including alcohol and tobacco. We gloated in our righteousness as they did in theirs. We were disgusted with the whole hypocritical scene of the establishment, with Christianity being the most disgusting!
?We shouted, “Unfair!” when they refused to give up what they demanded us to give up. Instead, they condemned the innocent and made us lawbreakers because they would not legalize pot. All the while, they were dying with emphysema, cancer, and liver problems (all quite legally).
The adult society of cigarettes and alcohol and prescription drugstore drugs became the champions of honesty and integrity, while we were demoralized and exasperated until there was no more hope of recovering and fitting into their way of life. They engaged in a perverted rationalization to arrive at the conclusion that we were the rebels and they were the standard by which rebellion was measured.
They told us that we could only be saved if we became like them, finding adequacy and meaning for our lives and fulfillment when we abandoned our lives to an all-sufficient Christ. But in one voice, we all scoffed at them and asked, “Where is this all-sufficient Christ of yours who makes a difference and makes those who believe in him all one?” We were searching for the Christ the church was supposed to represent. We were looking for the unity promised by Messiah in John 17:21-23. Then we would have believed.
So where are we today after all this injustice we endured? Are we bitter and hopeless about the past? No. Are we still taking drugs and searching for fulfillment? No, we have found something better. We have put our mishandled past behind us and have begun something new. What we have found has filled the void inside us. No, it’s not LSD or even legalized pot. It’s the Master — Yahshua the Messiah. His life is filling us. It’s worth a chance, even a gamble, to risk all and come and see. We will personally talk with you and you can meet our friends, our brothers and sisters. For we have met the One who does make a difference.