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I just realized that my mother had a very complicated attitude to religion. She was C of E but didn’t go to church, and my Dad was a lapsed Catholic. Religious subjects were never discussed although we had bible studies at school. I think God hadn’t behaved as she wanted. Fear overtook her sometimes, like the time she had a mass baptism eight of us around the font including Marijke and Nanneke the oldest being Rob at about 21.

She found Nicol Campbell and the School of Truth at about the same time. He was a remarkable man, a Presbyterian minister who decided to prove the truth of Jesus’ words, such as “Ask and it is given,” by following the laws absolutely those being, to him:

1. Man is God in manifestation, not a forlorn entity fighting a losing battle against adverse

situations and events.

2. Love is the fulfilment of the law of progress in all good, and only as he loves all things - great

and small - does the individual truly live.

3. God was from the beginning, and is, and ever shall be the supply of man's every need, the

consummation of his every right desire, his all-sufficiency in all things, his guarantee of

complete well-being here on earth, so that in the entire universe he has nothing to fear, nothing to ask for, nothing in which to seek change.

4. His one duty on this and every other plane of consciousness is to love, first God, and then

his neighbor - who is himself - as himself.

He had some surprising stories. He wanted a Rolls Royce and was given one, receiving a set of Rolls keys from one of his students, but he gave them back because it wasn’t the right model. “The law gives me exactly what I want,” he said (as I remember), “God does not make mistakes.” He wanted money, so he collected those brown cardboard luggage tickets that used to be given away free, cut off the end until it was rectangular and wrote £5, £10 and so on. Then he would walk around the shops, fingering his “money,” imagining himself able to buy absolutely anything he wanted. He became very wealthy but not from his school because he gave everything for free.

When he decided to have a house in Huddle Park, he chose the plot and went there every weekend, laying out the house in his mind, walking around in it, digging in the garden, until it materialized. It did materialize exactly as he wanted I saw it.

The school was not “churchy” but used biblical terminology so was not blatantly “New Age” although he was one of the first to “prove” the power of thought. Trishy, my mother and I attended Nicol's lectures together for years, at the old Oxford Hotel in Rosebank. So we were spared religious indoctrination, except via all the saintly schools I attended – St. Katherine’s, St. Mary’s, Bishop Strachan’s - but observed my mother’s many paintings of Mary, Joseph and Jesus and wondered about her conflict. She never spoke of it. That conflict was perfectly illustrated by her reactions when she got sick. “Oh I have such a headache,” she would say, inviting sympathy, then quickly, “but I mustn’t say that, I’m perfectly well.” What she couldn’t accept was that the Universe responds to vibration, not words. I can say a thousand times that I am well, but if I don’t feel it, I might as well not waste my effort.

Ii had a brief religious phase at seven, when I insisted on attending the local Catholic church. I whined until I got a plaster Mary holding baby Jesus. But my holiness came to an end when I used the collection money to buy comic books. I sat under the hydrangeas outside our front door in Larchmont reading the comics and feeling guilty.