Joel S. Goldsmith

        Authentic Writings

A Course in Miracles

Recently, many Course in Miracles students have been reading Joel and enjoying the Infinite Way. We welcome you and hope to explain how we are not The Course in Miracles.

Joel teaches that IW teachers should not compare and contrast religions with The Infinite Way. We are not even to teach Christian history (see books of Barbara Muhl). The students should do this themselves.

Some students seem to feel that The Infinite Way is similar to, or the same teaching as, A Course in Miracles. (Perhaps because new editions of Joel's books have quotes from major celebrity metaphysicians like Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dwyer, etc.) Also, the Course uses Christian Science vocabulary learned in childhood by both the founder and the scribe of the course, who were psychologists (see more below).

(The Infinite Way never condemns or criticizes other religions or spiritual teachings, for we each must find our home and many of us are very happy in other religions.)

Comments here are to help students with a confusion caused by those following ACIM and also saying they are IW teachers and/or students.  Joel stresses that a student on The Infinite Way path must be solely focused on Infinite Way principles. 

Eventually, the student comes to understand the difference between a mental teaching and The Infinite Way, and realizes that the mental, material realm is not the same as the spiritual realm. 

If you are interested in The Infinite Way, please take some time to study it by itself, without trying to combine it with other teachings.  


Keep in mind that we, in the Infinite Way, do not subscribe to channeled messages, nor do we support Psychology, Psychotherapy or mental materia medica. Learn more by investigating what others have discovered about ACIM. Incidentally, Wikipedia has removed the background information which described Thetford's links to CIA and MKULTRA.  You may find some of that material below.

ACIM Founders

Dr. Helen Schucman

Helen Schucman, the psychologist and channel who received the material later incorporated into A Course in Miracles (ACIM), the most successful channelled work of the late twentieth century, was born Helen Cohn, the daughter of Sigmund Cohn, a chemist. Her mother had dabbled both in Theosophy and Christian Science, but Helen had not been interested in either. She was influenced by a Roman Catholic governess and throughout her life she periodically attended mass and possessed a number of rosaries she had collected over the years. During her teens, she was attended by an African-American maid who saw to her baptism as a Baptist. However, through most of her life, she was a professing atheist who was quite aware of the dominant secularism of her professional colleagues.

She attended New York University, aiming for a career as a writer or possibly an English teacher, but following her graduation suffered a traumatic experience from complications following a gall bladder operation. In 1933 she married Louis Schucman, the owner of an antiquarian bookstore, and settled down to life as a housewife and sometime assistant to her husband. In 1952, however, she decided to return to school and entered the psychology program at her alma mater. She specialized in clinical psychology and concentrated upon the problems of mental retardation in children.

Following her graduation with a Ph.D., in 1958 she accepted a position at Colombia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Here she met William N. Tetford, the new head of the hospital's Psychology Department. The pair was temperamentally very different, and the next seven years they had an often stormy relationship. Then in 1965, Tetford, who had been dabbling in metaphysical literature, suggested that they attempt to change their relationship and shortly thereafter, at Tetford's suggestion, they began to practice meditation. Schucman began to have vivid visual experiences. Tetford suggested that she record her experiences, but and on October 21, 1965, she heard an inner voice that told her, "This is a course in miracles. Please take notes." Again Tetford suggested that she do what the voice told her.

Dr. William Thetford
William N. Thetford, Ph.D. (April 23, 1923�July 4, 1988) was trained as a psychologist, and remained professionally active in this field throughout his life. Thetford worked in a collaborative venture with Dr. Helen Schucman in writing A Course In Miracles (ACIM), and also with its initial edits. [1] He died in 1988, aged 65, in Tiburon, California, after having made his involvement with the ACIM material and its study the most central focus of his life.

Early childhood

Thetford was born on April 23, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois to John R. and Mabel K. Thetford as the youngest of three children. At the time of his birth and early childhood, his parents were both regular members of the Christian Science Church. At the age of seven, the untimely death of his older sister caused his parents to disavow their affiliation with the Church of Christian Science. Afterwards, for the next few years, Thetford sampled various other Protestant denominations.

At the age of nine he contracted a severe case of scarlet fever, which led to rheumatic fever and a debilitating heart condition. These resulting health problems forced him to spend the next three years at home recuperating. During his forced recuperation period he took advantage of the many free hours, using the time to satisfy his voracious appetite for reading. Despite his absence from the classroom, he entered high school at the age of twelve.
[edit]University education

Following graduation from high school, he was awarded a four-year scholarship to DePauw University in Indiana where he graduated with majors in psychology and pre-medicine in 1944. During the course of his university studies, Thetford eventually settled on the idea of specializing in psychology, and in 1949 he received his Ph.D. in this field from the University of Chicago.

While he was a student during the early 1940s he served for a time as an administrative assistant for the Manhattan Project, the World War II atom bomb development project.[citation needed] The Metallurgical Laboratory where the first atomic reactor was assembled was located under Stagg Field at the University of Chicago during those years. In his graduate studies he was fortunate to be one of the first students of the renowned psychologist, Carl Rogers.

Career and hiring of Dr. Helen Schucman

For the next five years after his graduation in 1949, Thetford worked as a research psychologist in both Chicago, and later in Washington, DC. According to Dr Colin Ross, from 1951 to 1953 Thetford worked on Project BLUEBIRD, an early CIA mind control program [2]. He spent 1954 and 1955 as the director of clinical psychology at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. From 1955 to 1957 he was an assistant professor of psychology at Cornell University's CIA-funded[3] Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology[4].

In 1958 he accepted an assistant professorship, which later developed into a full professorship, at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. During a portion of this same period he also served as the director of clinical psychology at the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. It was here that he would stay for the next 20 years, and it was here that he first met and hired Dr. Helen Schucman, hiring her as a research psychologist and assistant.

Points of Divergence with The Infinite Way®


Use Google to research the origins of the Course (particularly the background of the founders) and read the following quotes from the third volume of A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers and determine the truth for yourself:

  • "An ACIM teacher is anyone who chooses to be one. pp.3 "The teachers of God have trust in the world, ..."pp.3 (Not an IW understanding.)
  •  "The peace of mind of advanced teachers is largely due to their perfect honesty.[The term actually means consistency.]"pp.10 (Much too subjective.)
  • "Tolerance: Judgment implies a lack of trust, and trust remains the bedrock of the teacher of God's whole thought  system.....No teacher of God can judge and hope to learn."pp.11 (Our brain and intellect were given to us for critical discernment.)
  •  "Generosity: ...To the teachers of God, it means giving away in order to keep."pp.13  "Faithfulness..It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son."pp.14 (We do not teach "blind faith.")
  • "Open-Mindedness ...Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God's Teacher, so open-minded-ness invites Him to come in." pp.14 (We tyle at the door of our consciousness. Joel cautions against this "open-mind" attitude.)
  •  "Healing is accomplished the instant the suffer no longer sees any value in pain. Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized."pp.16 (This is not our practice.)
  • "...The existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision-maker...The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing." (We are not a mind-healing teaching. We are not New Thought.)
  • "Healing is the change of mind that the Holy Spirit in the patient's mind is seeking for him." pp.19 (This is unintelligible.)
  • "How to deal with magic thus becomes a major lesson for the teacher of God to master." (We do not believe in magic.)
  • "Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive." (We do not pray this way.)
  • "The truth in their minds reaches out to the truth in the minds of their brothers..." pp.18  (We refuse to touch another's mind or consciousness.)
  • "In the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense."pp. 57 ( The mystical understanding of Reincarnation is a tenant of The Infinite Way.)
  • " It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this course aims at complete reversal of thought."pp.58 (We are not a thought-changing message.)
  •  "Clearly, there are many 'psychic' powers that are clearly in line with this course."pp.59  (The Infinite Way is mystical not mental.)
  •  "To follow the Holy Spirit's guidance is to let yourself be absolved of guilt. It is the essence of Atonement. It is the core of the curriculum." (This is not our teaching.)
  • "God's teachers have the goal of wakening the minds of those asleep, and seeing there the vision of Christ's face to take the place of what they dream...THE FACE OF CHRIST has to be seen before the memory of God can return."pp.79 (Christ has no face, it is incoporeal.)
  • "God's gifts can rarely be received directly." pp. 55 (We practice spiritual healing in all areas of our life. We are the son of the King, not the prodigal.)
  • " remembering Jesus, you are remembering God." pp. 55 (Jesus is our Master, God is our being.)
  • Terms used throughout the book:

God's Curriculum

(God has no curriculum) 

God's Thought

(God does not think, God KNOWS) 

Holy Spirit's lessons

God's Teacher

Face of Christ 

Let us bless and end with Joel's words:

"Remember: You are the keeper of your brother, but you not the keeper of your brother's religious convictions." - Joel, Hawaiian Hotel Talk Sept. 21, 1963