STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, by Robert Heinlein

A Review by Daniel D. Ziegler

Thou art God. Do you grok* it? If you were part of Valentine Michael Smith’s
Church of All Worlds, you would.

This book was published in 1961 and no doubt had a big influence on the ‘60’
s. I did not read it then; perhaps I would not have understood it the way I do
now, so, it’s not too late for you to pick it up. Some of the ideas of the ‘60’s,
such as “Make Love Not War” would be welcome today.

Smith was born of astronaut parents on man’s first Mars landing mission and
was the only survivor. Having been raised by Martians, he was returned to
Earth some 25 years later where he finds that, although he is biologically
human, in many ways he is more Martian, for he has powers of which other
humans are not aware. Taken under the wings of a writer named Jubal and a
nurse named Jill, he learns what he needs to survive in Earth’s madness AND
he teaches them what they don’t know about themselves.

Having been raised on a planet where maleness and femaleness do not exist,
he understands that the greatest gift that humans have is their sexuality, yet
they don’t understand it and therefore misuse it. Smith leads his followers on a
path that leads from embarrassment, shame, guilt and dysfunctional jealousy
(and often boredom) to one of enlightenment and pure love (and excitement),
and it is through this that they discover that they are, indeed, God.

There are some of Heinlein’s ideas that I have to question, such as the use of
alcohol in finding enlightenment. We know today that alcohol is a depressant
and although it leads to lowered inhibitions, it does so by shutting us down
rather than raising our awareness, thus creating more problems than it’s
worth. I question whether an organization’s excessive use of alcohol would
even allow it to survive and I question whether alcohol can even take us to a
higher state of consciousness in the first place. Certainly safer and better
ways are known to help remove our armor and lead us to higher states of
awareness, such as meditation, chanting, drumming circles or music.

In my estimation. this book should be required reading for all seminary
students, for it raises the questions about religion that they need to be asking
themselves, and that WE ALL need to be asking ourselves. You will grok. DDZ

* grok: To understand profoundly through intuition or empathy.
Back to Articles Index
LESS-ONS FOR TRUTH
Reclaiming Acceptance of our Original State