Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 27, No 3 (2014)

The Value of E. J. Gold: Unearthing the Real Mr. G.

Johanna Petsche
Issued Date: 3 Mar 2015


In the 1960s, Eugene Jeffrey Gold (b. 1941) fashioned himself as a spiritual teacher and established a number of spiritual schools, most notably his Institute for the Development of the Harmonious Human Being (IDHHB), echoing Armenian-Greek spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff’s (c. 1866–1949) Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. Little is known of Gold’s background and career due to his penchant for role playing, practical jokes, fabricating facts, and mythologising details of his life. What is clear, however, is that Gold’s core teaching and eccentric pedagogic approach are largely modelled on those of Gurdjieff. In fact, in his Autobiography of a Sufi (1977) and Secret Talks with Mr. G (1978), Gold goes so far as to blatantly mimic Gurdjieff: his teaching, mode of expression, idiosyncratic terminology, and the very format of his publications. In Autobiography of a Sufi Gold even describes specific events in Gurdjieff’s life, passing them off as his own autobiographical accounts, while on the cover of Secret Talks with Mr. G. (a book deliberately meant to confuse readers into believing that ‘Mr. G.’ is Gurdjieff) there is a photograph of Gold impersonating Gurdjieff in a false wig and beard. This article aims to shed some much needed light on the fascinating figure of E.J. Gold, and interrogate the bizarre ways in which he employs, copies, and unashamedly steals core aspects of Gurdjieff’s persona and teaching.

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DOI: 10.1558/jasr.v27i3.24170


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