SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION IN REVOLUTIONARY PAN-AFRICANISM
A Paper Dedicated to Comrades Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., and Alhaji Ali Anum-Yemoh
At the core of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism is the ideological system of Marxism-Nkrumaism. We have consciously referred to ‘Marxism-Nkrumaism’ and not just ‘Nkrumaism’. For, the use of ‘Nkrumaism’ lends the concept to a variety of ideological misinterpretations the majority of which seek to drain it of its essential Marxist foundations. As an ideological system founded on materialist philosophy, Marxism-Nkrumaism unusually projects within the school of materialism a spiritual dimension wherein the objective Spirit is seen as a material force; that is, it asserts Spirit as a material being. In this respect, we do not find it surprising that the least explored area of Marxism-Nkrumaism among philosophical materialists is its position on spirituality and religion. We address this position here in part one. This follows with a case study report on a church’s practice in spirituality rather than religion in part two to illustrate the position of Marxism-Nkrumaism within the context of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
In The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism we go to great lengths to explain how Dr. Kwame Nkrumah distinguishes in the philosophy of his ideological system, Consciencism, between ‘spirit’ and ‘Spirit’. The first ‘spirit’, spelt with a small ‘s’, we find, refers to ‘mind’ – be it the mind of man or the Mind of God – which is dependent on man or God as a possession, a predicate. The second, spelt with a capital ‘S’, we find, refers to operative forces that are independent of man and exampled in references to ‘God’, ‘Satan’, ‘Angels’, ‘demons’ and such like entities. Here, we go further to consider some brief but pointed statements he makes in June Milne’s Kwame Nkrumah: The Conakry Years – His Life and Letters regarding ‘Spirit’, an independent being.
At page 197 of that book, June Milne, Dr. Nkrumah’s research assistant and publisher, tells us that he ‘[b]elieved in some “force” rather like electricity, which was motivated by “natural laws”.’ When Milne asks him whether he thinks that that ‘force’ is benevolent he also asks her ‘What do you mean “benevolent”?’ She then explains, ‘Well-disposed. Kind.’ Dr. Nkrumah then laughs and says, ‘No. It’s not benevolent. If you break the natural laws, then that’s the end of you.’ This exchange takes place within the period November 15-22, 1967. Later, on August 4, 1968, Dr. Nkrumah, according to Milne at page 250, states his belief ‘in some “motive power” (ether, electricity, or something), not planned exactly, but following its own natural laws’.
Hence, Dr. Nkrumah acknowledges that there is something, apart from the mind of man, in the nature of ‘force’ which he also describes as a ‘motive power’. The word ‘motive’ denotes among others ‘reason’, ‘purpose’, ‘cause’, ‘drive’, ‘aim’ and ‘intention’. Thus, the force alluded to is said to be a conscious one with power. As a conscious entity, this force is also said to be motivated, that is, moved by its own natural laws, that is, laws that originally, primordially form its being. In Consciencism, at pages 89-90, Dr. Nkrumah says that ‘Force itself is the way in which particles of matter exist; it is their mathematical or quantitative constitution. Force is not a description of a particle of matter; it is not something that they wear on their face. Rather it is internal to them.’ In other words, the force is material. It has its own internal drives, the laws.
In his thought, therefore, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah asserts the existence of a material force which he describes not only in terms of purposefulness but also in terms of ether. Ether denotes ‘the air’, ‘the upper air’ ‘the atmosphere’ and ‘the heavens’. He likewise likens it to electricity. In fact, he sees it as ‘something’. In all this difficulty at naming the phenomenon, he falls short of calling this material force ‘God’ whose natural laws we can only break to our destruction. But when at page 84 of Consciencism he says that ‘Philosophical consciencism, even though deeply rooted in materialism, is not necessarily atheistic’, we know that God is the name of the conscious and purposeful force that he talks about in the discourse. No other nomenclature approximates to that force in living consciousness. Thus, we can comfortably assert Dr. Nkrumah’s belief in God; whatever name he ascribes.
We are even more comfortable when in a letter to June Milne, dated December 11, 1966, at page 95 of The Conakry Years, he appreciates Cronin’s novel The Keys of the Kingdom thus:
‘I went to bed last night very late, reading Cronin’s novel The Keys of the Kingdom – a very fascinating story, but not my world. Have you read it? You know I am not interested in novels. I read very few of them. I only read the so-called famous ones and forget them. But there’s a cryptic statement in Cronin’s which I like: ‘We are like tiny ants in a bottomless abyss. Striving to see the sky. O God, dear God, give me humility, and give me faith.’ You see, June, humility elevates and faith conquers.’ (Our italics)
Here we are listening to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah asserting his appreciation of a statement of a prayer calling on God to give humility and faith. This endorsement of faith in man’s relationship with God does not only portray Dr. Nkrumah’s ‘force’ as a reference to ‘God’ but also spells out for us in clear terms the assertion of ‘faith’ as a prime requirement of being in harmony with the ‘natural laws’. In this respect, Dr. Nkrumah himself, according to June Milne at page 250 of The Conakry Years, ‘[f]eels [a] sense of identification with the “natural laws”.’ This is self-identification with the natural laws (of God, therefore) and cannot be but through the agency of faith.
We are here anxious to explain that the philosophical materialism of Marxism-Nkrumaism or Nkrumaism, for short, asserts the existence of a Spirit about which Dr. Kwame Nkrumah says in his letter to June Milne, dated August 7, 1967, at page 168 of The Conakry Years thus: ‘… I also believe that there is a source of all power in the universe. I liken that power to, say, electricity or atomic energy, millions of times more powerful. This is the sustenance of all that there is.’ This material Spirit, we emphasize, is different from spirit as mind, a human possession. It exists independently of man. It is endowed with laws that require man’s faith to live in harmony with them. Infractions on them invite self-destruction. Reference to those laws as ‘natural’ or ‘spiritual’ means same. That Spirit is God.
There is the tendency to attribute any reference to God to the existence of religion. But that is a mistaken view. The discussion above is in the realm of spirituality. Religion involves spirituality but goes beyond it. Religion organizationally formalizes spirituality and mystifies it through add-ons like ritual observances and symbols. Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, through its ideological system of Marxism-Nkrumaism, asserts Spirituality as we see in the discourse above. Through the agency of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, it renounces religion as an organized practice. Dr. Nkrumah never tires of denouncing ‘organized religion’. At page 200 of The Conakry Years, in a letter to June Milne, dated November 28, 1967, for example, he says that
‘You may remember when you were here I tried to discuss religion with you. I did not go further than to say that I did not believe in organized religion. Religion, qua religion, and as a social and cultural phenomenon, evolving as it were through man’s aspiration to a higher self, is not incompatible with scientific socialism (Marxism) or Communism. As I say, it is the organized form of religion e.g. organized Christianity or Churchianity which I loathe. I loathe it because it destroys the freedom of man and turns him into a spiritual slave.’
From June Milne’s Notebook at page 250, again, of The Conakry Years, she notes that Dr. Nkrumah ‘does not believe in any formal religion.’ On March 27, 1970, he writes to Milne, at page 370 of The Conakry Years, that
‘With regard to the Author’s Note I wanted to write for Allen, it refers principally to page 12 of my Autobiography. I quote: ‘Today I am a non-denominational Christian and a Marxist Socialist. And I have not found any contradiction between them.’ Since I wrote those lines, my ideas on religion have changed, but the idea of an impersonal source of all power. I am still a Marxist Socialist, and much more so. On second thoughts, to avoid unnecessary controversy I think I should not write any Author’s Note for Allen. Ask him to print the book as it is. If I ever have the time to write a second volume, I might mention my views on religion.’ (Our italics)
Before this, he states in a letter to June Milne, dated July 1, 1967, at page 161 of The Conakry Years, that ‘I have no belief in religions; the organised religions of the world have done so much to bring pain and misery to man; indeed they have been spokes in the wheels of man’s progress. I have my own views on these matters. I will write about them some day. So far, I have kept to myself. I have not discussed them in print or in public. In my Autobiography I called myself a Marxist Christian. I think that was wrong. I am now simply a Marxist, with historical materialism as my philosophy of life.’
This continually evolving rejection of religion and retention of fidelity to spirituality can be traced to December 6, 1966, when Dr. Nkrumah writes to Erica Powell, his secretary from 1958-64 and authoress of the book Private Secretary (Female) Gold Coast, and tells her that
‘You take too much on yourself: e.g. in attempting to give my views on the Commonwealth, Macmillan, Middle East and also on personal matters: e.g. religion, marriage, etc. e.g. ‘Nkrumah was basically a very religious man.’ This is not for you to say because you don’t actually know whether I am or not, for I have not as yet written on the subject.’
And when for at least three times he exclaims ‘Me, a Marxist!’ at the concocted story of he having kept a dead body in a fridge at the Flagstaff House for ritual or ‘juju’ purposes he distances himself from so-called traditional religion. See page 45 of The Conakry Years.
It is instructive to note that while Dr. Kwame Nkrumah disowns religion he is careful not to also disown the impersonal force he talks about. In the cited July 1, 1967 letter to Milne above, he makes haste to distinguish between this impersonal force (God) and historical men venerated in the religions of the world and amongst whom he mentions Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Mohammed. In this respect, what is striking is his distinction between Christ and Jesus. He sees Christ as the impersonal force and Jesus as a historical and personal man. This is how he puts it all:
To me there is a difference between Christ and Jesus. Christ is mystical and impersonal, and Jesus is historical and personal. The two are not the same thing. Christian theologians have messed up the world with this confusion. Jesus is the biological son of Joseph and Mary. He was, however, a wise man in many things1, like Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Mohammed etc.2
This dialectically profound distinction of the impersonal and personal in Jesus Christ and its extension to Buddha, Confucius and Mohammed enables Dr. Nkrumah to assert the spirituality3 of these men without ultimately committing himself to any single one of them in terms of the religions that have evolved around them. Some of us are yet to attain this universal spirituality as opposed to the parochialism of Christian Spirituality, Buddhist Spirituality, Confucian Spirituality and Islamic Spirituality. It is the organized religions that he stands against.
For as long as philosophical consciencism has lived, for that long and perhaps more has Dr. Kwame Nkrumah lived with the notion that religion is a problem that must be tackled. At page 13 of Consciencism, he finds it inappropriate to declare war on religion, nevertheless. He considers religion as a social reality that can be tackled only if it is understood. He holds that to declare such a war on religion is to overlook its social nature and to, therefore, misconceive it as an ideal phenomenon, a mere mental category, which can just be dismissed as we do to illogical statements. It ‘must be understood before it can be tackled’, he teaches therein. In this respect, it is instructive that in a citation above regarding Erica Powell he sees religion as one of ‘personal matters’.
And this offers no surprise to the alert. For, he makes it clear that the issue of spirituality is one of a relationship between the individual and their being in harmony with the spiritual laws which he calls natural laws. It is the individual’s infractions of those laws that result in their own destruction. When he says above that he ‘feels [a] sense of identification with the “natural laws”’, he also adds, according to June Milne, that ‘His whole life, the Ghana coup included, [is] in a sense inevitable since [it is] part of his existence and experience’. That, Milne continues, explains why upon being informed of that coup he experiences ‘no sense of shock’ and is not affected ‘at all’. It is all a ‘personal matter’!
This is pregnant with the suggestion that to deal with or tackle the problem of religion spirituality must be shone off its organized form in religion together with its formalism and mystifying symbols. How this is to be done, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has not had the time to tell us. If we are to observe developments in the religious movement across the African continent, however, what we see in the proliferation and differentiation of churches gives us a hint as to the way out. In this regard, we are called upon to set our gaze on the ground to track down the evolution of a new era of spirituality; for, it cannot be an instant occurrence. It emerges, like any phenomenon of any significant social import, in a process of change crowned with a revolutionary explosion.
In the Christian literature, Jesus Christ tells us that that Era of Spirituality, which he calls the Kingdom of God, is already in our midst. See our article ‘The Kingdom of God’ in the October 9, 2008 issue of the Ghanaian newspaper Daily Graphic. Below here is a report on an African Independent Church – The House of Power Ministry International where this author, on May 3 and 4, 2012, is respectively healed of his nine-year-old diabetes and chronic waist pains in a matter of seconds4 – to provide an empirical case study of the revolutionary process in spirituality that unfolds under our very eyes. It is perhaps one of many such spontaneous developments in the socialist, anti-imperialist and anti-neo-colonialist struggles of the masses of Africa.
As a development within African civil society it cannot be abated even by the combined forces of neo-colonialism and imperialism. For, being widespread it cannot be contained. It is a symbol of the nature of the incipient Pan-African Revolution that nurtures it – its microcosm. Africa’s all-round liberation and unification under the People’s Republican State of Africa, guided by Marxism-Nkrumaism through Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, is the inevitable that shall surely come to pass. Indeed, Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God!
The House of Power Ministry International is an example of what is called an ‘African independent church’ or ‘spiritual church’. It is a product of the decades of rebellions against orthodox churches like the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church or the Anglican Church in the 1950s during the anti-colonial struggles in Africa. Its leadership is not in a hierarchical order. Apart from its Apostles there is a semblance of a Council of Elders the membership of which changes every six months upon selection drawn from the congregation. During church services, the Council of Elders is conspicuous in its absence on the podium – being merged with the congregation in the front seats. Members of the congregation do not hold membership cards to record their tithe payments. These members are fluid as they come from other churches to which some of them return after their healing.
The House of Power Ministry International has no symbols like the Cross of Jesus hanging in the church. It does not also make the sign of the Cross during its prayers. It is a Bible-believing church that uses the Twi translation of the Holy Bible although there is no formal reading of the Bible during services. Twi is its lingua franca. Attempts are being made to get English translators for non-Twi speakers. It has strict dress codes whereby ostentatious and revealing dressing is frowned upon. While women must cover their hair and avoid wearing of trousers, men do not wear hats. Its leader, Prophet Francis Kwarteng, usually wears a simple and now a trademark Lacoste interlock. Suits are not forbidden, though, as he wears them at times.
A band of young men and women with heavy musical instruments provide loud gospel songs, mostly by African musical artistes. Hymns are an exception to the rule, if any. At the Crusade, called at the Nungua Traditional Authority grounds from April 30th – May 4, 2012 and which is the focus of this report, a large lighting system run by a heavy-duty electricity generator oversees the mass gathering. The entire equipment, which is at times purchased on credit from suppliers, is provided from contributions of the church’s congregation which grows into the thousands over the few years of the church’s existence. Diesel purchase for the generator’s use is also made from appeals for contributions.
We have here a simple mass gathering seated in plastic chairs in great expectation of the instant healing of their years-old ailments. Before the healing, however, the Crusade ground goes agog with earth-shaking gospel musical renditions of African origin. We are here upon the advice of our three sisters one of whom had been healed of her fresh diabetic condition a few days before within the week. Upon our arrival and approach to take a seat we get our first correction from an inconspicuous lady usher who politely beckons us to remove our hat. We do so and proceed to take our seat. After a while we remark to our two sisters present that the strength of the music alone might heal us.
A short while after that an ebony-complexioned young man moves to a position behind a simple wooden altar facing the congregation when the music stops. He stands there alone at a distance in front of the band group without Elders sitting in cushioned chairs behind him. He wears a black vest over a white shirt and a pair of trousers. He calls upon those standing behind the congregation to take their seats in the empty chairs in front. He then begins his sermon with a prior but solemn appeal to the entire congregation to help voluntarily in contributions towards the transportation of equipment to the next Crusade grounds at Akosombo the following week.
In the sermon proper, Apostle Ernest Boateng, a nephew of the founding Prophet, Francis Kwarteng, focuses attention on God’s distribution of blessings. He explains that one’s presence in the premises of a church does not necessarily guarantee one of God’s blessings. Blessing emanates from obedience to God’s laws. A thief, a swindler, a husband or wife snatcher, a murderer should not expect that their mere presence in church can secure for them the blessings of God. Thus in case one’s request for a healing fails to yield results one should look inward and not put the blame elsewhere. The failure to live in harmony with the spiritual laws of God is responsible for the condition. And, above all, to live in that harmony requires that it is lived within one’s faith5 in God to set the condition for healing.
It is within this meaning of the sermon that we observe an elderly lady and listen to her subsequent testimony with profound interest. Let us call her Former Nurse. During the healing session, she joins two other persons – another elderly lady and a young man – when those with spinal cord difficulties are called to the fore. We see her walk with great difficulty and slowly. She holds a walking stick. At her position, she leans on the stick in front of the congregation with her body tilted to her left hand side. She is given a seat beside the other lady who is in like pain. While the other lady is being attended to, she says later that she feels ‘something’ climb from her feet to her upper body. This is when the other lady jumps about and dances after her healing. Former Nurse, on her turn, tells the Apostle that she wants to stand up without the walking stick. He tells her to do so then. She does not only stand up instantly to walk but also starts dancing vigorously. The congregation joins her.
In her testimony as to how it all happens, Former Nurse says she was a nurse in London where she developed a problem with her spinal cord. She was to be operated on with iron rods fixed in her leg. She says that she refused and opted to return to Africa for healing. She has since then been to several places in Ghana to no avail. She says she had faith that if human beings could manufacture cars and provide spare parts for them God, the creator of man, had human spare parts to replace her faulty spinal cord. She had come to the Crusade two days previously without the spinal cord patients being called. On this, her third, day she had prayed to be called and has been called and has received her healing. What can be called her theory of divine spare parts goes down well with the congregation.
This exhibition of faith is shared by several others; including the young man with an abnormally twisted spinal cord. The Apostle expresses surprise at his rare condition but heals him as well. In this theory of divine spare parts we cannot but report the experiences of two other ladies with one each of their fallopian tubes excised. These latter ladies had been healed the previous day, May 2, 2012, and asked to check up their new condition at the same operating hospital for x-ray confirmation. The first of them reports that after taking the x-ray the doctor confirmed not only the restoration of the removed fallopian tube but also the probability of her being pregnant. She complains, however, that the point of excision still pains her. Apostle Ernest Boateng tells her to press that point to see if it still pains. She is asked to press harder. She then reports the pain to have disappeared completely. The congregation breaks out loose in ovation.
The second lady with an excised fallopian tube holds her test result slip in her hand but does not yet know her condition. She reports that she has been asked to see the doctor the following day for an interpretation of the result. Apostle Ernest Boateng asks if somebody around could read the result slip. A young man volunteers and reading the entire result to the congregation he announces that the test declares the removed fallopian tube to have been restored. All the fallopian tubes are intact! The lady cannot support her joy as she prostrates on the floor rolling her body from the left to the right and vice versa. The congregation again breaks loose in ovation with shouts of the church’s slogan ‘There is power in the Blood of Jesus!’
Before these happenings, an elderly gentleman is first called to face the congregation. He comes from the Volta Region of Ghana and has been specifically mentioned to Apostle Boateng. He speaks and understands no Twi. He explains his condition as one of a twelve-year old continual burning sensation in his abdomen. Every medical attention has so far failed after spending so much money. He is asked to check on the sensation and he reports it to have subsided. He is then asked again and again until he reports it to have disappeared entirely. If this does not appear to come easily, a police officer’s hernia takes even hours. He is initially suspended but recalled later when the hernia disappears as his wife, another police officer, confirms. On this healing, the Apostle refers to an initial faith lapse.
These events and others take place after the offertory that follows on the heels of the sermon. They end after only two persons own up as diabetic patients when the question is put and are asked to be at the next Crusade at Akosombo for their healing. The next session appeals for financial support to enable the continuation of the Crusade on its next leg at Akosombo in Ghana. Specific amounts are called out – from ¢50.00 to 50p. Nobody gives out the ¢50.00. At the call of ¢20.00 quite a number of us go to drop the currency notes in a plastic bowl. All such donors are asked to line up in front of the congregation. The Apostle goes behind them consulting his large Holy Bible. From that position he instantly asks this author, who is one of the referred diabetic patients, if he could tell when his diabetes is healed. The author answers affirmatively. Apostle Boateng then simply asks him to go and check on the state of his urine. He goes and tastes his urine. It has turned very bitter. No sugar presence. For almost two weeks after this event this author has not taken any of his diabetes drugs and yet remains rarely fit. The other diabetic patient is also called with the same result.
Events on the last day of the Nungua Crusade follow this same pattern with a sermon on Moulding Character in Accordance to the Character of Jesus. Conditions addressed include Hepatitis B, fibroid, ‘white’ and diabetes. Others include debt recovery and marriage consummation. Apart from the mass healing session, healing is conducted according to affliction groups; that is, a particular group of, say, spinal cord cases is treated before, say, the group of diabetic cases. A patient suffering from both diabetes and spinal cord afflictions does not, therefore, have both treated at the same time. Only one is healed at a time. The other awaits its turn. Even during mass healing only one affliction is treated in the same person at a time. Our Former Nurse is thus treated for her spinal cord and fibroid difficulties on the respective days of Thursday and Friday.
In all the healing episodes Apostle Ernest Boateng does not lay his hand or hands on anybody; he stands in the distance and talks with the afflicted. It is not at all times that a prayer is said to heal ‘in the name of Jesus’. We observe in particular that a prayer is offered and addressed to the congregation in general but not in respect of particular individuals. Mass healings are undertaken ‘in the name of Jesus’. In fact, that is the application during which this author gets his second healing – this time his chronic waist pains disappear. We do not also hear the usual screams of ‘Amen’ and ‘Halleluiah’ from the pulpit.
It must be of interest to note that Apostle Boateng expresses the reluctance of the church to extend its hand to residents in the Western countries on account of raw deals from some of them. He narrates for example how, at the early stages of his practice, time and money was once spent in prayers and fasting to free a resident with immigration problems from some adverse court proceedings in Europe. The court rather ordered his freedom and provision with documentation to regularize his stay. That man has since reneged on his promise to defray expenses made. Such experiences form the basis of the church’s attitude. It prefers to operate in Africa where the congregation commits and collaborates in the advancement of the church.
Perhaps connected with such betrayals is the expression of thinly-veiled, if not latent, anti-elitist sentiments in the speeches of Apostle Boateng. He tells the congregation that his education does not go beyond the Middle School Leaving Certificate. Once in a while he tries to express an idea in the English language couched in American accent but gets stuck to the entertaining amusement of the congregation. A young man who tries to deliver himself in English is promptly prevailed upon to speak Twi which is thus projected as the language of the masses as opposed to English – the language of the elite. In fact, he calls on people ‘to come and listen to Twi and not big English in air-conditioned churches.’
He says he was a farm hand and had led a previous life of drinking and smoking – all this only to earn the disrespect of the community. Today, he continues to say, moulding his character in accordance with the character of Christ Jesus even men of high learning necessarily salute him in their pursuit of his services, not to talk about the newly-found respect of his compatriots in the farming community of his origins. All these lend themselves to interpretation vis-á-vis the welling up of anti-imperialist and anti-neo-colonialist spontaneous socialist struggles of the masses of Africa.
Prophecies of the End Time in the Holy Bible and Koran see these days as the period of emerging false prophets who deceive the populace with signs of wonder including healings. For this reason, doubt prevails over the authenticity of such acts of healing as we report above. This author recalls the healing of a man with sight disabilities in Lomé, Togo, in the early 1990s by Crusader Bonke. The excited man could go without his lens glasses for a period after which he suffered a relapse. A similar occurrence of a woman who suffered a relapse after being healed recently of her hypertension in a matter of six days at the House of Power Ministries Int. has been reported to this author.
This raises the issue of the centrality of permanence in healing for the authenticity of the healer as a true Prophet or ‘Man of God’. In this respect, it is instructive to remember Apostle Ernest Boateng’s explanation that being in harmony with the spiritual laws of God within faith is the basis of healing. This suggests that one’s continuation of those acts that precipitated the diseased condition in the first instance makes the healed person liable to a relapse. In fact, the woman with the relapse of hypertension tells this author that this warning was actually issued. She was asked to avoid drinking.
According to her, she did not know that ‘just a bottle of beer’ could reverse her healed condition. And because those healed were specifically asked not to report back on relapse cases, as they would not be retreated, she continues to live with her hypertension. Our man in the Bonke episode was an occasional patron at the author’s former dancing bar and he told his story of healing without his pair of spectacles while sipping his chilled glass of beer at the time. Any wonder? Remember that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah explains that our infractions on natural laws (spiritual laws) lead to our destruction.
But cases of relapse do not always emerge from the healed patient’s side of the equation. Here comes in the question of syncretism whereby the healer employs diverse means, including magic, to effect healing. Such healings are repeated after relapses. The lack of permanence here appears as the sign of the dubious character of the self-acclaimed Man of God. Thus, in the search for the authentic Man of God we are called upon to check on the success rate of the claimant in permanent healing; and where there are instances of relapse the source of the relapse must be identified before passing our judgement on the authenticity of those who make claims to being Men of God.
So, how do we see the House of Power Ministry International in the light of its organization and practice?
Formalism is virtually absent in the practice of the House of Power Ministry International. Hierarchy is so negligible that it can be said to be non-existent. The ‘Council of Elders’ is not a privileged unit of organization that conspires and exploits the congregation. It is routinely dissolved and replaced at short intervals of six months each. It does not have a separate place in cushioned seats facing the congregation and flaunting ill-gotten wealth and ostentation but shares the same seats with the rest of that congregation – all looking in the same direction. Its members, needless to say, are drawn from the congregation and remain with them while serving. Transparency is the result.
Refreshingly, we are not talking about a group renowned for the academic attainments of its leadership and general membership. Its comportment reminds one of the simplicity of the first generation of Christians minded only with the spirituality of their existence which they do not burden with symbols and rituals as well as class differentiations. This spirituality can only be contrasted with the religions championed by the exploiting classes who are intent on conserving the darkness reigning in the mind of humanity. This group is the harbinger of that total revolutionary democratic reconstruction of African society wherein the development of the whole becomes once again the condition for the development of each.
That is in complete accord with the spirit of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism – Marxism-Nkrumaism.
- At page 168 of The Conakry Years, in a letter to June Milne, dated August 1, 1967, Dr. Nkrumah finds some biblical verses rather amusing. He writes to Milne: ‘I am laughing at you now. Yes, about the quotation from the Bible. You quoted rightly: “To him who hath the more shall be given; and to him who hath not even that which he hath shall be taken away from him.” And you commented: “What kind of religion is this?” I think all religions are eyewash and hypocritical. You quoted correctly. I think that is what is found in King James’s Version. The Douai version is a bit different. Why bother? They were all translated from the Greek Testament.’
- Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, not surprisingly, observes Christmas and Ramadan. In the case of the latter when it once coincides with his personal fasting schedule on Fridays. Talking about his painful finger in a letter to June Milne on December 13, 1966 at pages 95-6 of The Conakry Years, he says that ‘It could have been worse if I had not been fasting on Fridays and drinking plenty of water. By the way, the Ramadan fasting begins today. I am trying it out with them.’ He is able to do this because he relates to the impersonal force, the Christ, in them – thus, emphasizing his position within Universal Spirituality.
- Spirituality is not spiritism. Marxism-Nkrumaism makes fun of and condemns occultism which is one thing spiritism begets. See Consciencism, page 82.
- See below regarding issues concerning the permanence of such healing.
- See our article ‘The Christ Concept of Faith’ on our blog atwww.consciencism.wordpress.com/spirituality. It can also be found in the Appendices of The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism.
May 11 – 17, 2012