Humane Religion Magazine
March - April 1998 Issue
ESSENE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
"Essene Church of Jesus Christ believes that Jesus is the Messiah and
the only begotten Son of God."
The Essene Church of Jesus Christ also teaches the equality of women and compassion for all creatures. And it stresses the need for a meatless diet. In fact, only vegetarians can become members of the church. However, provision is made for those who are interested in its teachings, but have not yet been able to take that crucial step. They are offered introductory courses in Essene teachings, and many people who study these materials have become vegetarians, and joined this church.
The teachings of the Essene Church of Jesus Christ are taken from various ancient Essene Christian manuscripts.*In a booklet titled The Vegetarian Sayings of Jesus** Rev. Brother Owen offers a commentary on one of these manuscripts: The Gospel Of The Holy Twelve.
* There is debate on the antiquity of some of these writings ** A gift copy is available from the address at the end of this article The Essene Church traces this manuscript back to New Testament times.
In his commentary, Rev. Owen points out the basis for Essene vegetarianism: "animals are spiritual beings." And he quotes what is recorded in The Gospel of The Holy Twelve, and attributed to Jesus.
“Be ye kind to all the creatures of God”
"I am in all creatures and all creatures are in me. In all their joys I rejoice, in all their afflictions I am afflicted. Wherefore I say unto you: ‘Be ye kind to one another, and to all the creatures of God.’”
"Verily I say unto you, for this end have I come into the world, that I may put away all blood offerings and the eating of the flesh of the beasts and the birds that are slain by men.”
"In the beginning, God gave to all, the fruits of the trees,and the seeds, and the herbs, for food [Gen.1:29,30]; but those who loved themselves more than God, or their fellows, corrupted their ways, and brought diseases into their bodies, and filled the earth with lust and violence."
Brother David explains: "not only should we not eat animals, Jesus teaches us to care for them, and defend them from evil." And an excerpt from the Gospel of the Holy Twelve, gives a basis for this statement.
"Some of Jesus' disciples came and told him of a certain Egyptian, a son of Belial, who taught that it was lawful to torment animals if their suffering brought any profit to men. And Jesus said: "Verily I say unto you, they who partake of benefits which are gotten by wronging one of God's creatures, cannot be righteous..."
Brother Owen comments "as modern-day disciples of Jesus, Essene Church of Christ not only teaches vegetarianism, we also teach our members to abstain from wearing leather or fur, and to only purchase products that involve no cruelty to animals. We oppose all cruel forms of animal experimentation, even when done in the name of ‘medical research.’"
This commitment to love and nonviolence, in relation to nonhuman beings, is part of a commitment to The Sevenfold Peace—a way of life attributed to the teachings of Jesus. This sevenfold path embraces the mind, body and spirit, and deals with people's relationship with the earth, to the culture which shapes them, to the family unit and to the larger, human family. And above all, "Essenes practice peace with God via such things as the dedication of our life to the spiritual path for the sake of enhanced God communion...[and] service to all creation, motivated by love for the Creator" #
* * * * * * * * A variety of materials are available from the Essene Church of Jesus Christ. There is a correspondence course, a catalogue of various books and Essene documents, a quarterly journal as well as a gift copy of the booklet mentioned on this article.
CONTACT: Rev. Brother David Owen, D.D., Essene Church of Christ, 45 North 3rd Street, Creswell, OR 97426. Tel: 541-895-2190