SK writes: “My sister-In- law was given a book by the author Baird Spalding. I did a quick search and he sound like he’s New Age. I need your help in finding information on the author Baird Spalding.”
Baird Thomas Spalding (1872-1953) is vintage New Age. The author of a series of books entitled Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East, he was very much influenced by the earlier New Thought movement that eventually evolved into today’s New Age movement.
Born in Cohocton, New York in 1872, Spalding spent most of his life serving as a mining engineer in the American west. Known to have had a “lifelong penchant for tall tales” his books are based on alleged journeys to the Far East in which he allegedly made contact with immortal beings who imparted their knowledge to him. These “Great Masters of the Himalayas” taught him that although Buddha represents the way to enlightenment they clearly believed that Christ IS Enlightenment, “or a state of consciousness for which we are all seeking – the Christ light of every individual; therefore, the light of every child born into the world.”
In reality, Spalding didn’t travel to the Far East until 1935-36 when he visited India almost a decade after he published the first books in the series.
In other words, his books are full of tall tales which are drawn from his own experiences in a New Thought group in San Francisco. In fact, the first few chapters of Volume One of Life and Teaching was published in the group’s magazine. His publisher, Doug DeVorss, was raised in another well-known New Thought Church known as the Unity Church and many believe DeVorss’ ideas are also imbedded in Spalding’s work.
It’s interesting to note that it was Spalding who first introduced the now popular New Age concept of Ascended Masters – beings who began their existence as humans but experienced several “incarnations” to become more highly evolved than the rest of us.
In fact, JZ Knight, the medium who claims to be receiving wisdom from a 35,000 year-old Ascended Master named Ramtha admits to being influenced by Spalding’s work.
Spalding died in 1953 but his books live on and became quite popular in the 1970’s as the New Age movement was blossoming.
Although Spalding’s works are believed to be largely fiction, they introduce the reader to occult-oriented metaphysical concepts and a non-Christian concept of spiritual realities and should be avoided.