Item Details

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

Issue: Vol 27 No. 3 (2014) G.I. Gurdjieff

Journal: Journal for the Academic Study of Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies Islamic Studies Biblical Studies

DOI: 10.1558/jasr.v27i3.24170


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.

Author: Johanna Petsche

View Original Web Page

References :

1978 Note from the Editor. In Secret Talks With Mr. G. by E. J. Gold. IDHHB, Nevada City, CA.
Beekman Taylor, Paul
2012 Gurdjieff and Children. Gurdjieff International Review 11(1):unpaginated. Online: (accessed May 9, 2014).
Cusack, Carole M.
2010 Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey.
de Hartmann, Thomas and Olga de Hartmann
1992 [1964] Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff.Arkana, London.
Feuerstein, Georg
1991 Holy Madness: The Shock Tactics and Radical Teachings of Crazy-Wise Adepts, Holy Fools, and Rascal Gurus. Paragon House, New York.
Gold, Cybele
1977a Introduction. In Autobiography of a Sufiby E. J. Gold, iii-xxxii, IDHHB, California.
Gold, E. J.
1973 Shakti: The Spiritual Science of DNA. IDHHB, California.
1977 Autobiography of a Sufi. IDHHB, California.
1978 Secret Talks With Mr. G.. IDHHB, California.
1989 The Seven Bodies of Man. Gateways/IDHHB, California.
1991 The Hidden Work.Gateways/IDHHB, California.
2005 American Book of the Dead. Gateways Books & Tapes, California.
n. d. E. J. Online: May 9, 2014).
Gurdjieff, George Ivanovitch
1984 [1973]Views From the Real World. Penguin, London.
1999 [1975] Life is Real Only Then, When ‘I Am’. Arkana, London.
2008 [1933]The Herald of Coming Good. Book Studio, London.
2002 [1963] Meetings With Remarkable Men. Penguin Compass,New York.
Harkounian, A.
1977 Foreword. In Autobiography of a Sufiby E. J. Gold, i, IDHHB, California.
Howarth, Dushka and Jessmin Howarth
2009 It’s Up To Ourselves: A Mother, A Daughter, and Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff Heritage Society,New York.

Kherdian, David
1998 On a Spaceship With Beelzebub: By a Grandson of Gurdjieff. Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vt.
Lourie, Iven
2005 Editor’s Foreword. In American Book of the Dead by E. J. Gold,xiii. Gateways Books & Tapes,California.
Melton, J. Gordon
2009 Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions. Gale Cengage Learning, Detroit.
Moore, James
1991 Gurdjieff: The Anatomy of a Myth: A Biography. Element,Shaftsbury, Dorset.
Naranjo, Claudio
2005 Preface. In American Book of the Deadby E. J. Gold, xv-xviii. Gateways Books & Tapes,California.
Nott, C. S.
1978 Teachings of Gurdjieff: A Pupil’s Journal. An Account of Some Years With G. I. Gurdjieff and A. R. Orage in New York and at Fontainebleau-Avon. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.
Ouspensky, P. D.
1977 [1949] In Search of the Miraculous: The Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff. Harcourt Inc., San Diego.
Palmer, Susan J.
1998 All That Glitters... Crazy Wisdom and Entrepreneurialism in the Spiritual Schools of E. J. Gold.Telos 5(2): unpaginated. Online: May 9, 2014).
Petsche, Johanna
2013a A Gurdjieff Genealogy: Tracing the Manifold Ways the Gurdjieff Teaching has Travelled. International Journal for the Study of New Religions4(1): 49-79.
2013b Reflexivity and Objectivity in the Study of a Modern Esoteric Teacher: In the Footsteps of G. I. Gurdjieff. In Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning edited by Alex Norman, 159-176.Cambridge Scholars Press,Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Rawlinson, Andrew
1997 The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions. Open Court, Illinois.
Reitman, Janet
2011 Inside Scientology.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, MA.
Urban, Hugh
2011 The Church of Scientology. Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford.
Webb, James
1980 The Harmonious Circle: The Lives and Work of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky and Their Followers. Thames and Hudson, London.

Wellbeloved, Sophia
2002 Gurdjieff, Astrology & Beelzebub’s Tales. Solar Bound Press, New York.