Saturday, January 26, 2008

Book Review: The Diamond Shield

Book Review of The Diamond Shield by Colin Althouse NY: Vantage Press ISBN –533-12339-5 $14.95

Colin Althouse shares spiritual revelations in The Diamond Shield. With twentieth century understanding and language, he reiterates the common themes of most major religion. Using religiously cross-relevant terminology, the author prepares the reader for an induction into a budding movement which will provide for spiritual understanding by which a devotee chooses to live by the tenants of The Diamond Shield. Through a stream of thought writing style, the author promises a great many disclosures to come. He fails to deliver any original ideas. However, he does present an intermingling of intercultural belief systems and suggests that this book should be used as the basis of a religious evolution or creation of a higher religion. Ultimately, The Diamond Shield as a manual for life falls short of other similar contemporary texts.

At the beginning of the book there’s a warning to the reader, that many people just won’t understand the contents of this book. Only “chosen” people will truly comprehend the messages set out in both prose and poetry. It’s hard to believe that all readers wouldn’t understand this book, the messages are basic. Written in simple language and with such broad generalities, only people adhering to a specific religion might not "get" certain points.

The Diamond Shield is divided into four sections. The first portion explains the author’s complicated lives. Althouse has extensive memories of past lives – so much so that he is able to identify persons in present life with that same reincarnated person in a previous life and the relationships that they held with each other. Many of the lives of family and friends were similarly intertwined in pervious lives. Amazingly, many from the spiritual group around Jesus Christ at the crucifixion have reincarnated into Althouse’s group. Althouse, himself claims to be the reincarnation of John, writer of books of the Holy Bible. The third Mary at the crucifixion has reincarnated into Althouse’s wife in this life.

He documents this life’s childhood and coming of age stating that he’s an outsider to his community and has been for at least the last few lives. His outcast status provides some explanation for the lack of repercussions when he takes spiritual trips in astral body for days at a time.

The second section is split into compact sections of information: Simplicity, Justice, Restoration, etc. The information provided asserts the tone of authority explaining unknown truths to the reader. Revelations attempt to make sense of this life by putting this experience into a large cosmic scope, which simultaneously boosts and diminishes the importance of the personal experience in the here and now. In this section, I found the writing was so general that a reader could interpret much of these sections to fit with any established belief systems.

One particular passage I read and re-read over a period of several days was the section on “Entity.” Althouse speaks of vibrational plains and the calling of Dark Forces out of their confinement because the dominants in our society seek to control others. He continues, by suggesting that a possession by such an entity result from unfulfilled desires of that person and really has nothing to do with anyone else. But then he says the entities are independent of us just waiting for the opportunity to engage us. Then he says the entities are “real and living.” They can’t be destroyed. Yet they are our creations.

Another apparent contradiction comes in Althouse's belief in Restoration of the soul. The Restoration comes from Virgin Purity and Harmony found through abstinence, which he suggests everyone practice. Immediately followed by the “One Basic Problem of Human Kind” which is the unfulfilled Father-Mother Principle, which must be lived to be fulfilled, and he suggests that we all practice this too. How can one practice the virgin purity Principle and the Mother- Father Principle at the same time?

These types of seeming contradictions, I believe, leave the text open to reader interpretations rather than providing an actual written plan of the Diamond Shield as the opening statement promises.

The third section of the book is entitled, “The Poet’s Challenge.” For me, these writings are reminiscent of Old Testament Psalms and the Song of Solomon. Here again, I feel that Althouse’s writing is so vague that nearly any religious/spiritual interpretation could be applied.

The section, “Guiding Principles” is 270 rules to live by. While I agree with his assumption that some people need specific direction perhaps more than the 10 commandments of Moses or the 1 rule of Jesus. Althouse gives so many rules that surely no one could remember let alone be sure that they are indeed following all 270!

Obviously, this book didn’t speak to me as an authority, but staying with the rules of the book, perhaps I’m not chosen. However, I sure that this book will and does speak to some just like the other religious books.

I agree with many of Althouse’s assertions that the human race is in need of direction and uplifting from its present state and perhaps, he has provided that direction.

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