The word 'Christian' had almost no content for me. I knew the Christianities, rather vaguely, by denomination - somebody was a Baptist, somebody else was a Catholic - and of course the word 'Christian' is part of English - but any reality behind it - well, I knew of none.
I first realised that Candace was a Christian, and that in a shocking sense, when Sue and I, with Candace and their mother, went to dinner at a restaurant. Candace prayed! She bowed her head and prayed. I had seen scenes in movies where a family head said grace before a meal - usually at some special occasion, like Thanksgiving. But... right here, in front of everybody, all by herself! I was shocked, and embarrassed.
And provoked to action.
New Year's Eve in 1969 was on a Wednesday, and I couldn't go out then - had to drive taxi, starting at 6AM the next morning. Greg, one of Airic's Scientology protégés amongst the taxi drivers and a good friend of mine, said he was going to have a New Year's party at his house up in Manoa Valley on the Saturday beforehand, the 27th December. Greg lived in - perhaps he actually owned it? - a very large old house in the valley. Would Candace like to go with me?
My request was not innocent. Perhaps something in Candace's overt Christianity irked me. Possibly I imagined a pink-and-white world of sweetness and light as her mental world. Perhaps I thought I would show her what real life was like. So I asked her - and said that I, and some others, would be on 'acid' - did she mind?
No, she didn't mind, she said. I took my LSD, we got onto my Yamaha 50 and went to Greg's house. Arrived there, I introduced Candace to them all, and - maliciously - told Greg that this was Susan's sister - and that she was a Christian. I then sat down on the couch at the far end of the large living room to watch the fun.
It didn't take long. Greg - who was not on drugs, since he was doing Scientology auditing - had been brought up a Catholic. He started in on Candace.
He asked, I suppose, the usual questions about God. Did she believe that God was a bearded man Who lived somewhere up in the sky? He went on at some length with this sort of question. And Candace, instead of responding, in most cases, to what were, after all, not very serious questions, told Greg - and the others, but it was mainly Greg who spoke - about Jesus. She spoke of Him very personally - and lovingly. She talked about how wonderful it was never to be alone; always to have Jesus by her side, helping her, comforting her.
So far as I know - perhaps Candace will comment on this post and tell me if I am wrong - so far as I know, she did not know that I was paying any attention. The house was old and the living room was large, and pretty dark. I was at the far end of it. For all she knew I was engaged in meditating the whichness of what, and uninterested in what was going on.
I was, in fact, listening intently. I remember thinking how very, very moving all this sounded - how wonderful it would be to think - I was still imagining this, you see, as a kind of mental game to play - how wonderful it would be to think that you had an all-powerful, all-loving friend at your side all the time. That, I thought, would be some trip! Candace's face began to shine as though it were an icon of a saint, with the highlights picked out in gold leaf.
I imagine some, hearing of this experience, will suppose that, under the influence of LSD, I was unable to tell the difference between reality and hallucination. I have heard that for some persons, using LSD, this can happen. I can only say that it never did for me. I could see the gold-leaf highlights. I knew they were projections of my mind onto the face of Candace, because of the subject matter and its associations with actual religious pictures I had seen. I was not deceived; on the other hand, I think that what I saw did, in fact, represent a reality. Candace was speaking of holy things; I was 'seeing' holy things.
Seeing holy things, but, nevertheless, still thinking of them as a 'trip' - a kind of mind game, one that might be good to play, but a projection of the mind, entirely, including Jesus Himself.
Greg asked Candace if she believed in Hell. Did she think that he, Greg, was going to be sent to Hell as a punishment for not believing.
Candace responded, not by talking about Hell, but by talking about Heaven. She talked about it in rather literalistic terms, using language from the Book of the Apocalypse, spoke of crystal seas, of transparent gold, of precious gems. And she spoke of the Second Coming of Christ - and of the Great White Throne and the Last Judgement.
My life had been one continual sinking into darkness. It was not always to be night. The crowing of cocks could be heard.