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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream.

Stevens, Jay. (1987).
New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press.

ISBN: 0-87113-076-9

Description: First edition, xviii + 396 pages.

Contents: Prologue, 26 chapters divided into 3 books: I. The Door in the Wall, 2. Pushing the Envelope, III. The Pure Void, epilogue, acknowledgments, chapter notes, bibliography.

Excerpt(s): Huxley preferred a kind of quiet diplomacy that would spread the word "in the relative privacy of learned journals, the decent obscurity of moderately highbrow books"; American TV, with its audience of "Baptists, Methodists and nothing-but-men plus an immense lunatic fringe," should be avoided at all costs. But decent obscurity was not [Al Hubbard's] forte. He seemed determined to sell LSD as a specifically Catholic nostrum. "Would it not be best to let Hubbard go his own way within the Church?" Huxley wrote to Osmond. "It is evidently there that he feels increasingly at home. It is evident, too, that his loyalty to the Church makes him increasingly anxious to use LSD-25 as an instrument for validating Catholic doctrines and for giving new life to Catholic symbols." But the irritation lasted only until their next dinner, when Hubbard again charmed Huxley with his geniality and vigor. "Please ignore what I wrote in my last letter about him," he told Osmond, adding, "I still have doubts about the general validity of his methods."

But Hubbard's methods generally worked, and late in 1957 his campaign within Vancouver's Catholic hierarchy won a rather astounding victory in the form of a notice issued by the Cathedral of the Holy Rosary, which read in part:

We are aware of man's fallibility and will be protected in our studies by that understanding and recognition of the First Cause of all created things that govern them. We therefore approach the study of these psychodelics and their influence on the mind of man anxious to discover whatever attributes they possess respectfully evaluating their proper place in the Divine Economy. We humbly ask our Heavenly Mother the Virgin, help of all who call upon her to know and understand the true qualities of these psychodelics, the full capacities of man's noblest faculties and according to God's laws to use them for the benefit of mankind here and in eternity.

Today the Catholic hierarchy of western Canada, tomorrow the first psychedelic corporation-Al's aspirations certainly weren't modest. But in this case the one precluded the other. Although Myron Stolaroff had laid the groundwork perfectly, persuading Ampex's new general manage to overlook Al's flaws and give LSD a chance, the result was disastrous. The general manager was Jewish. The last thing he wanted to do was look at pictures of Jesus Christ, but that's what Hubbard kept waving at him. (pages 71-72)

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