Testimonial letter from A Durwood Foster

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This letter is one of a remarkable series of over 2650 letters amassed in 1983 to support Osho's attempt to get permanent resident status in the US at the time of the Oregon ranch. The image is reproduced here with the kind permission of The Oregon Historical Society. Information about their collection of these letters and other supporting material -- the "Jeffrey Noles Rajneesh Collection", named for Osho's immigration lawyer Jeffrey Noles, who compiled them in 1983 and donated them to the OHS -- can be found at this page. The wiki is grateful to the OHS for making access available for these documents. For more information and links to all the letters, see Testimonial letters.

This letter is from A Durwood Foster. It is "Exhibit A-63" in the Noles collection.

The text version below has been created by optical character recognition (OCR), from the images supplied by OHS. It has not been checked for errors but this process usually results in over 99% correct transcription. Most apparent "errors" are correct transcriptions of typos already in the original. The image on the right in the text box links to a pdf file of the original letter, it has one page.

July 15, 1983

To Whom it May Concern:

It is a pleasure to acknowledge Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh as a person of exceptional ability in arts and sciences.

My credentials in offering such an acknowledgment rest upon my professorial standing as a religious scholar and theologian. I am presently Professor of Christian Theology at the Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union. I have taught at Pacific School of Religion since 1959. Prior to that I was Associate Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion at Duke University for five years, and prior to that I was an instructor in Theology and Philosophy of Religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

During my career I have taught consistently not only in the field of Christian studies but also in the general history and phenomenology of religions. A special interest of mine has been the so-called new religious movements. It is in this setting, of course, that Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh has come to my attention.

I am not in any sense a specialist in the thought of Bhagwan or of the Rajneesh movement. In addition to what I have learned through the media, I have done some reading in his publications and have talked with colleagues whose investigation of him and the movement has been more specialized. From the impressions I have gathered it seems obvious that Bhagwan Rajneesh is possessed of a prodigious intellect as well as remarkable spiritual creativity. His knowledge of religious traditions, as well as his ability to synthesize the great teachers with contemporary experience, is truly extraordinary. This can be said emphatically, without undertaking any evaluation of his religious viewpoint as such.

I believe Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh should by all means be admitted into the United States, if he so desires. He is a person of rare spiritual attainment. I have no doubt that many would find his presence in this country very beneficial.

PACIFIC SCHOOL OF RELIGION / 1790 scenic avenue Berkeley, California 9470

(Please note: We assume that the above letter is still copyrighted, but we regard its historical interest to constitute a Fair Use exception for publication in this wiki.)