Chapel History - for the 50th Anniversary Celebration by Rev. Jim Mc Caw
Updated: Mar 17
Sunday December 18, 2022 50th Anniversary Celebration –
Sunday Service Speakers – Rev. Jim McCaw and Rev. Bob Sisler
Rev. Jim McCaw shared Historical Information about Chapel.
I have been asked to talk about some history of Chapel. At first I thought…”What do I know about the history of Chapel?” I was here for about 25 years before I got ordained and then for only about 6 years more after that. At that time, I moved to Arizona. So Rev. Larr came to me and started giving me the idea that I should talk about all the things that he said about the formation of Chapel and even before that.
It starts with when Rev. Larr was about nine years old. He saw a spot of light in his bedroom when he went to bed. When he went to sleep, the spot of light just stayed there. It wouldn’t go away. He wasn’t afraid of it because He felt the harmony of it; he felt the love the love that was coming from that. While I was taking notes, I asked him, “Was that Tao Sing?” He said, “Most indubitably so!” He always used this word ‘Indubitably’ which mean undoubtedly. It’s a kind of generational thing that people of his generation said. I don’t remember anyone of my generation saying that.
So he started with that experience in his room at night. At about the same time, maybe when he was a little younger, he met a Buddhist who lived a few houses down from him. He began to learn about Buddhism from this guy. He probably also learned about reincarnation; how we go life to life learning and becoming better. He also started to learn about meditation.
Another thing happened which you might not think is important but he built his own telescope. He was interested in astronomy and seeing what’s in the sky. This might seem significant for a child to do, but it is much more significant to who he becomes. I went to a class that he gave and it was on making the mirror that is part of a telescope. It is a parabolic mirror. You have this heavy piece of glass that you are going to make into the mirror. The top of it has tiles on it that are harder than the glass. You grind and grind the surface down. If you multiply each grind down by a thousand, that’s how much work it is to create. In the class they had this testing apparatus that was a Foucault knife edge test. It could show you whether it was actually parabolic. So we would test our mirrors and they would say, ‘Ok you need to do more in this area or this area.’ So we would grind, grind, grind. I did that for a year and I gave up! I only know one person in that class that actually completed their mirror…that’s how hard it was! But Gene did this when he was young! The reason that I think that it is significant is that if he didn’t already know, it showed him that he could accomplish anything that he set out to do! If he just worked at it, did it the right way. So that’s his attitude towards life and everything he approached.
Later on, he got several degrees. One was micro-paleontology. He got another in Astronomy. One in Biology and one in Geology. All of these degrees taught him about evolution and that became his favorite topic. In fact, when I was going to the lecture series, Evolution was two lectures! At that time it was about the 3rd or 4th lecture and that was the lecture that got rid of about half the people that came! When I first came to a lecture, there were enough people there to completely pack this room…standing room only. I barely got in and found a place to stand. But, by the time we got to the 2nd evolution lecture, there were plenty of seats after that! That’s because it’s not something that a lot of Spiritualist people like…they don’t like science. Since he was a scientist, it was from that perspective that he learned to become a medium.
So this Believing in Yourself is a very important concept. When we ask you to do the ESP cards, we want you to have the attitude that ‘I can do this!’ instead of looking at it and thinking that it is impossible. That’s the wrong attitude. You should have the attitude –‘I can do this! And if I work at it long enough I will.’ And it’s true. If you work at it long enough, you can do it. We also ask students to practice PK, Psychokinesis, and with the pinwheel. We actually ask you to move an object that is maybe 10 feet away from you with your mind. With practice, you can do that too!
During World War II Gene served as an encryption tech in the Navy. If you go downstairs to the Founder’s room there are some pictures of him taken from when he was in the Navy. His best friend in the Navy was Jim Oliver. Jim died when they were serving together and he later became an entity that was in the dark circles and a companion of Gene’s on Spirit side. Every once in a while Jim would have something to say.
After he got out of the Navy in Hawaii, he was invited to go to a Buddhist monastery in Hawaii by Kaido Yashido Sensei. Reverend Larr talked about sitting there playing with a candle, lighting it and putting it out with his mind. He practiced these forms of mind control while he was at this Buddhist monastery. He was there for about a month.
When he returned to the Mainland, he formed a company called Larr Optics which made lenses for some of the Mars Probes. In fact, some of the first pictures seen of Mars were most likely taken through Rev. Larr’s Lenses. During this time, he met Don Schwartz. Don came in to apply for a job. He knew that Rev. Larr was an astronomer and Don was designing and selling telescope barrels that he made out of fiberglass. They immediately hit it off so Rev. Larr hired him. I remember Rev. Larr saying that he was one of the best lens grinders that he knew of. We can thank Don for making a lot of those lenses.
In 1949, approximately, Gene found his way to Saint Michael’s Church in Pasadena and met Rev. Bradley. I remember him saying that one day she grabbed ahold of his watch and she turned right to him and said, “Don’t give up on Christianity.” That was a message she gave him. There he learned about Spiritualism. He was probably her best student. He was the only one who actually started a church. After she passed away then she worked with him as one of his spiritual teachers from the other side. I think he probably met another of his Spirit guides, Ta-nitch-kook then, as well, who helped him with physical mediumship. I think Rev. Bradly was also one of the teachers who helped him with physical mediumship. Things like working with a trumpet and moving a trumpet around. Rev. Bradley also helped him with Trance 3-C. He said when he was supposed to do a circle for some women at a Women Only retreat, Rev. Bradley just pulled him completely out of his body, set him in a tree, and she went ahead and gave readings to these women and conducted the whole circle before she would let him come back. That’s what it can be like doing Trance 3-C. Spirit can just pull you out and put you somewhere else. That’s the highest form of trance, when spirit takes over, you go out of body and travel somewhere else and stay there until you can come back. When Rev. Bradley passed away, she described how she told her husband, “I am leaving tonight.” She was gone by morning. She was over on the other side and had decided she had done enough.
Rev. Larr had x-ray clairvoyance and he worked with a doctor using it. This was before MRI’s and CT scans, way before that. He could look inside of a person’s body and see what was wrong. He worked with this doctor telling him the things that he saw and the doctor trusted him so much that he did surgeries based on what Rev. Larr had seen and shared with him. He was always right.
At some point around 1970 Tau Sing told Rev. Larr “You should start a school and a church where people can learn to do what you can do.” Tau Sing dictated the entire philosophy including the entire Beginning Lecture Series and the Advanced Lecture Series. I think that Rev. Larr added the evolution to that, maybe? Since it was his favorite topic. Tau Sing specified the things that people should learn. I have a list here, which is probably not complete, but it would have been a list like this: Meditation and Stillness of the Mind was very important. Concentration, Vibrations, ESP Cards, Billets, Psychokinesis, and Psychometry; those last four were very important. I asked one of my teachers one time, “Why do we do these things?” Because they are kind of frustrating, you know when you are first trying to do them. They told me that this helps develop parts of the brain that help you communicate with Spirit. That’s why we do them.
I mentioned the various degrees that Rev. Larr had but I didn’t mention this important thing. In Science everything is based on evidence. So what is evidence? When you read an ESP card you say ‘It’s a circle” and you turn it over and whether it is a circle or not, it is evidence. It tells you what you just did. You either got it or you didn’t get it. So you can work on that until you get it right many times in a row. I have calculated the odds of just guessing at those. There are 5 different cards so each time there is a one fifth chance that you are going to guess it correctly. If you get two in a row- 1/5 x 1/5 become 1/25th, three is like 1 out of 125 and 4 is 1 out 625. So if you are doing the ESP cards and you get 5 in a row there is something going on and you are not just guessing them. You are reading them. It is evidence. And when you do PK it’s evidence. You put the pinwheel on your mantle and you look at it and it moves; that’s evidence. If you doubt it, you can keep practicing until you can. I got to the point where I could point to one point on the pinwheel and I could make it go either way, precisely where I wanted it. That’s evidence. That is what science is based on.
Rev. Larr formed this Chapel based on actually giving people feedback on what they are actually doing. He said, “If you have a teacher around you and you get images of a teacher around you and they talk to you…there can always be doubt. You can be asking yourself, “Is this my imagination?’ He would always say, “Ask them to show you something that you don’t know but that you can find out later.” If it turns out to be true, then you have some good evidence that your spirit teachers do actually exist.
Back to the list of things to teach and learn – Healing, Spirit Communication, Trance –where you allow spirit to come in and speak through you, Controlling the mind and body- that was a really important one within Buddhism. Just controlling yourself. You are in control of everything that goes on inside of you. Whether you have anxiety or you are at peace. That is under your control. Doing the meditation definitely helps that and doing concentration exercises. Working on thinking positive. Working on using your energy to do things like moving the pinwheel. And, of Course, Dark Circles – leaning mental and physical mediumship. These are all things that Rev. Larr could do and he taught it to the rest of us.
Rev. Larr joined together with others, besides Rev. Don Schwartz, there was Rev. Nancy Tappe who was very significant. She brought her whole congregation of people to the lectures. And Rev. Rosita Gennewey is another person who was very a positive influence to the people around her.
When it came time to create the Corporation, Tau Sing directed Rev. Larr to go to a specific lawyer who was familiar with Spiritualism and Churches so that he could help create the articles of incorporation in the right way. Once the Chapel was formed, Rev. Nancy Tappe ordained Rev. Larr as the number 1 ordination and the Rev. Larr ordained her as the number 2 ordination. At some point they realized that they had to own the building they were in. At the time it was owned by Methodists. I grew up a Methodist and I know that they would not have tolerated anything that we were teaching here. They could have just said,”Get out of here, we don’t like you!” so he realized he had to buy the church but nobody had enough money to buy the church. Tau Sing gave Gene the phone number of the Sudbury’s. When he called them, they had been expecting his call. He introduced himself and they met and had a circle together. He did all the things that he did, and they were so impressed that they purchased the Chapel and deeded it to Rev. Larr. So that’s how we got this building that we are sitting in today.
They did the first Service here on Christmas Eve 1972. That was the first actual church service. I think for a while, they only had church services in the evenings on Sundays. It was later that they started having them also in the morning because they had so many people that they had to expand the services.
I am going to finish there. That is how Chapel was formed. The rest of it, well…I can tell you when I first came and I heard Rev. Larr, I was so impressed that he was scientist. I thought, “A scientist who communicates with Spirit?” That is almost a taboo in science. I liked that his concept that the Universe has been here forever and it’s going to be here forever. There was not a Big Bang. He told us that Tau Sing said “Because they cannot believe in infinity, they cannot grasp infinity; they have come up with an absurdity.” There were some Astronomers who had this steady state theory..It’s always been here, and always will be…Others had the Big Bang Theory. There has always been this controversy. He identified with the steady state theory. It’s always been here.
I’m going to let it go there. Thank you very much.