Pathena / Dorie: Former Gopi’s Insider Perspective on Excommunication, Donato, etc.

Pathena / Dorie’s FAQ

Q&A – Why a Cult? What Really Happened to the Gopis?

The following are my answers to some questions I have been recently asked. My answers are, of course, my own opinions and represent my perspective both while a member of Morningland and my perspective of today.

Question: Why the cult? Why does Morningland have to be a cult? That’s all I don’t get. Did Donato run a cult?

Lets start with the basics. Webster’s defines cult as: “A system of religious worship”. Well, that fits, I guess. Morningland definitely had and has its own system of religious worship. And that system has changed radically over the years. It has gone from a Metaphysical center that blends the highest truths of the religions of the east and west, to now being known as a “Center for Extraterrestrial Contact,” and only a few years ago as a, “Vision Healing,” center, and other things before that. I can only share with you what I know from my own experience.

Morningland WAS a spiritually elite organization. The proscribed dogma was an innate understanding that there was no place on earth like Morningland, and that the followers of ‘Donato the Christ’ were in a class far and away above the rest of the souls on this planet. We were The Way. We were The Plan. We were the best bet the planet had for not only survival, but for assimilation into the accelerated consciousness of the next dimension. This, by definition, defines a cult.

Morningland certainly does not have to be one, but chose and chooses to be one. Donato, himself, was basically uncomfortable with labels of any kind. Yet, in all honesty and in my opinion, he did, indeed, run a cult. He always stayed in the background and told Sri repeatedly to never refer to him as ‘the Christ’. And, as most of you probably know, as soon as he died, that is exactly what she did.

Question: Was there a sense of superiority that came out of him regarding our ashram?

Not specifically out of Donato, in my opinion. He was basically an unpretentious person. He just did what he did. He was of the opinion that every person who sought one, would find the right path for themselves at the right time. He really didn’t look left or right – he just kept his focus on the task at hand. I never observed any sense of superiority from him. However, having said that, I must also say that he did indeed, spearhead the organization, running it from the back seat, so to speak.

Question: Was there a sense of separation from the outside world back when he was handling things?

He worked as a Director of the Boys Club in Long Beach right up till the day he died. He was a very ‘in-the-world’ person. His Morningland hours were confined to evenings and weekends. I’d have to say that no, he did not espouse an idea of separation from the world. As a matter of fact, the main thrust of his teachings had to deal with how to be in the world, but not of the world.

Question: What was his (Donato’s) vision of Morningland? Why is it that “We Are All One” only seems to apply to those within active service at the temple?

Here we have a matter of perspective. In my opinion, from the disciples’ perspective, it’s true that the We Are All One ideal only applied to those other members active within Morningland. However, as a Universal Concept, We Are All One is certainly not isolated to any group – not Morningland, and not any other – nor indeed is it isolated by species. However, the living reality was, that coupled with the Divine Service aspect of our Path – there was indeed a spiritual segregation between us and them. We were the chosen ones after all. In hindsight, this seems to me to have been a fatal flaw.

It’s hard to realize that Donato never even saw Morningland in the new temple. His vision of Morningland was as a place of healing and community – where the Divine Sciences would be taught as tools to help people and where something big could happen in time – and his vision came out of the corner store front location on 7th street. Donato always said that there were many groups in the running at any one time – so that if any one failed, They,(meaning Upstairs,) would simply go to the next. They didn’t care who did the job – only that the job was done. What was the job? To raise the consciousness of the lightbearers and gather them together, creating links through which to prepare for the consciousness shifting that was to occur as the Plan unfolded.

Question: Why does Morningland have to be a cult? It doesn’t honestly make any sense to me.

It doesn’t have to be – it chooses to be. Or shall we say, Sri Patricia chose and continues to choose to make it so. As long as there are others willing to accept the intent or set up, and to energize it with their own energy, (which we did when we were there,) then it stays alive. Without the willingly given energy of the followers, the leader becomes a disempowered voice in the night….

Question: And for that matter, why send away disciples who were clearly, perhaps desperately devoted to the master. Perhaps that’s more an act of compassion than anything, but there were many to whom this doesn’t seem to apply.

I can only say that if you were sent away it was because you were in some way either disruptive to the desired order of Morningland at the time you were a member, or you were a liability financially – not able to give much in the way of support – or you were undesirable in some way that meant that your image was not the ‘correct’, projected image of Morningland, as defined by Sri, or some other leader, at the time you were a member. (In my opinion,) the whole sabbatical concept was a brilliant ruse to effectively get rid of the undesirables – for whatever reason.

Question: What actually happened when the Gopis left?

Briefly – after Donato’s death, and the subsequent ‘Battle of Armageddon,’ a two year period of growth ensued. Then, at a certain point, things started to change. I can only tell the story from my own perspective. As a Long Beach Gopi, we began to get the message from Escondido that all was not well and that things were going to change. At that time, it was Sri Patricia and her assistant, Melikia, who were suddenly confronting the group of Gopis with the fact that they were not in Oneness and were hurting the Plan in some way. What ensued, (along the same time line as many of the disciples were going through the terrible time of the ‘clearing sessions’,) was, that the Gopis went through their own clearing sessions. That is to say that all the Gopis except Patricia and Melikia, did. We went to Crestline for an intensive ‘clearing’ session among ourselves. It was a gut-wrenching, soul-exposing experience. At the end of our weekend, we were feeling pretty good – very unified and solid. Then, Melikia, and Mohanta came up to Crestline with two other Escondido Brahman, who proceeded to tell us how screwed up we still were and that we were in no way clear enough to continue as leaders of Morningland. We were devastated, but our mistake as a group, was to buy in to the accusations of those we considered to be far ahead of us in clarity and understanding. In other words, we bought in to their representation of the truth – giving them the power of our own energy. Their intent was stronger than ours. It is amazing in hindsight to realize it, but it is the truth. And also, it was a gift, though at the time, deeply disguised.

When we returned to Long Beach, we had to go through an excommunication ritual in the temple, with several Brahmans, (mostly from Escondido,) as witnesses. We were stripped of our positions and medallions by Sri and Melikia, and told that we had to leave the state. We were accused of failing in our commitment to the Plan and told that our knowledge would eventually dim and we would return to our ‘pre-Morningland’ level, never able again to attain the levels we had achieved as the inner circle of Donato’s disciples.

It was a devastating and humiliating experience that I can barely begin to describe – I can only say that of all of you who have been evicted for whatever reason, my own experience at least meets yours in intensity and I was responsible for YOU as well as myself and the Plan also. The main message here, however, is that we did not just all decide to leave one day – which is what I recently learned you were told.

Each Gopi was instructed to get out of the state of California within weeks, and most of us did right away. I have recently learned that several of the Gopis returned to Morningland after their eviction. I can only relate that I was contacted by Sri some days or maybe even weeks after this even, at which time she told me, “It’s ok, you can come back now.” I just told her, “No, Sri, I don’t think so.” And I never went back.

To put together the rest of the picture, it was indeed Melikia and Mohanta who orchestrated the demise of this phase of Morningland. They were able to convince Sri that not only were the Gopis a failed group but that she should get rid of us. I have found this rather incredulous over the years, that anyone would be able to do this to someone who was ‘One with the Master’ and had the etheric vision or knowledge of reality, as well as being a Spiritual Leader.

Obviously several things must have occurred. For one, Sri bought into the reality that Melikia created – Melikia and Mohanta had fallen in love and they were planning on starting their own center/group/life/whatever in Arizona – supposedly a place for ex-disciples to recuperate and get a new start on their life. This never happened – or I should say that it was a failure. However, they did take most of the possessions from the Escondido Temple and sold them for money. Morningland also paid them a large sum of money to keep quiet and stay out of the way. This was all handled through the attorneys. Andrew Zanger and Ed Masrey. It was strictly a business deal. I have often asked myself over the years, how anyone could have undermined such a solid organization. It was truly ingenious and an arrogant power move of theirs that worked. As well as kicking myself for not standing up to them in their moments of ultimate humiliation for me, I have since come to the realization that it was a great gift to be set free, even though the price, at that time, seemed pretty high to pay. Of course, if they were going to destroy the organization, they had to first eliminate it’s greatest strength, the Gopis. To do this, they had to destroy our reality – which they did – or I should say, we allowed them to do. Their intent was certainly stronger than ours. Once we were gone, they turned on Sri and basically told her to pack her bags and get out. It was at this point that they attempted to lock the doors to both temples, but Sri managed to contact a few disciples loyal to her and to return to Long Beach and secure that temple for her new base of operation.

Of course, this was never disclosed to the disciples, who were told that the Gopis just left… I am amazed that anyone would believe that – but not really. I believed much less believable things, myself! Why is it that hindsight always seems so much clearer?

Anyway, that is the story of the eviction of the Gopis – we did not voluntarily leave – we were excommunicated with full ceremony, witnesses, and legal demands as to the decisions of our futures. We had to leave everything we had of Morningland behind – all books, personal items, notes, pictures, charts, addresses, furniture, jewelry – everything. It was a total esoteric stripping of our souls. I hope someday to hear from others of the Gopis – perhaps through this web page.

I’m sure that once Sri realized what she’d allowed to occur, she tried to call back as many as she could reach – I was just one who did not go back.