Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Six - The Church of the Quacks


And here is another and even more startling revelation from Chicago, given to a seer by the name of Dr. Otoman Printe of Adusht Ha'nish, prophet of the Sun God, Prince of Peace, Manthra Magi of Temple El Katman, Kalantar of Zoroastrian Breathing and Envoy of Mazdaznan living, Viceroy-Elect and International Head of Master-Thot. If you had happened to live near the town of Mendota, Illinois, and had known the German grocer-boy named Otto Hanisch, you might at first have trouble in recognizing him through this transmogrification. I have traced his career in the files of the Chicago newspapers, and find him herding sheep, setting type, preaching prestidigitation, mesmerism, and fake spiritualism, joining the Mormon Church, then the "Christian Catholic Church in Zion" and then the cult of Brighouse, who claimed to be Christ returned. Finally he sets himself up in Chicago as a Persian Magus, teaching Yogi breathing exercises and occult sex-lore to the 'elegant society ladies of the pork- packing metropolis. The Sun God, worshiped for two score centuries in India, Egypt, Greece and Rome, has a new shrine on Lake Park Avenue, and the prophet gives tea-parties at which his disciples are fed on lilac-blossoms - "the white and pinkish for males, the blue-tinted for females." He wears a long flowing robe of pale grey cashmere, faced with white, and flexible white kid shoes, and he sells his lady adorers a book called "Inner Studies," price $5 per volume, with information on such subjects as:

The Immaculate Conception and its Repetition; The Secrets of Lovers Unveiled; Our Ideals and Soul Mates; Magnetic Attraction and Electric Mating.

A Grand Jury intervenes, and the Prophet goes to jail for six months; but that does not harm his cult, which now has a temple in Chicago, presided over by a lady called Kalantress and Evangelist; also a "Northern Stronghold" in Montreal, an Embassy" In London, an "International Aryana" in Switzerland, and "Centers" all over the America. At the moment of going to press, the prophet himself is in flight, pursued by a warrant charging him with improper conduct with a number of young boys in a Los Angeles hotel.

I have dipped into Ha'nish's revelations, which are a farrago of every kind of ancient mysticism - paper and binding from the Bible, illustrations from the Egyptian, names from the Zoroastrian, health rules from the Hindoos, laws from the Confucians - price $10 per volume. Would you like to discover your 17 senses, to develop them according to the Ga-Llama principle, and to share the "expansion of the magnetic circles"? Here is the way to do it:

Inhale through nostrils for four seconds, and upon one exhalation, speak slowly:

Open, O thou world-sustaining Sun, the entrance unto Truth hidden by the vase of dazzling light.

Again inhale for four seconds, and breathe out the following sentence upon one exhalation as before:

Soften the radiation of Thy Illuminating Splendor, that I may behold Thy True Being.

I have a clipping from a Los Angeles newspaper telling of the prophet's arriving there. He takes the front page with the captivating headline: "Women Didn't Think Till They Put On Corsets." The Interview tells about his mysteriousness, his aloofness, his bird-like-diet, and his personal beauty. "Despite his 73 years, Ha'nish evidences no sign of age. His keen blue eyes showed no sign of wavering. There were no wrinkles on his face, and his walk was that of a man of 40." The humor of this becomes apparent when we mention that at Halnish's trial, three or four years ago, he was proven to be 35 years old!

Being thus warned as to the accuracy of American journalism, we shall not be taken in by the repeated statements that the Mazdaznan prophet is a millionaire. But there is no doubt that he is wealthy; and as all Americans wish to be wealthy, I will quote his formula of prosperity his method of accomplishing what might be called the Individual Revolution:

When hungry and you do not know where to get your next piece of bread, do not despair. Thy Father, all-loving, has provided you will everything that will meet all cases of emergency. Place your teeth tightly together, with tongue pressing against the lower teeth and lips parted. Breathe in close lips immediately, exhaling through the nostrils. Breathe again: if saliva forms in your mouth, hold your breath so you can swallow it first before you exhale. You thus take out of the air the metal-substance contained therein: you can even taste the Iron which yon convert into substance required for making the blood. Should you feel that, although you have sufficient Iron in the blood, there is a lack of copper and zinc and silver, place upper teeth over lower, keep lower lip tightly to lower teeth. now breathe and you can even taste the metals named. Then should you feel you need more gold element for your brain functions, place your back teeth together just as if yon were to grind the back teeth, taking short breaths only. You will then learn to know that there is gold and silver all around us. That our bodies are filled with quite a quantity of gold.

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