William Thetford’s Final Independence

April 25, 1923 – July 4, 1988

Article by Rev Reja Janaki Joy Green*

The following is an EXCERPT from the NEW REALITIES interview of Bill Thetford Sept/Oct 1984 Issue:

NR:  The authenticity. . ?

WT:  Well, the material was something that transcended anything that either of us could possibly conceive of.  And since the content was quite alien to our backgrounds, interests and training, it was obvious to me that it came from an inspired source.  The quality of the material was very compelling, and its poetic beauty added to its impact.

NR:  It seems quite unusual that you, an established psychologist holding two very prestigious positions, would even consider embracing such material, considering your training and the rigid tenets within academia to which you no doubt subscribed and adhered.

WT:  I think if it had not been for many of the extraordinary experiences that occurred during the summer of 1965, neither Helen nor I would have been willing to accept the material she scribed.  You have reported some of those experiences in these pages in the material from Robert Skutch’s new book “Journey Without Distance, The Story Behind A Course In Miracles“.  However, our experience associated with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was not reported in “New Realities.”  Perhaps as much as anything, this series of events crystallized the whole new direction that we would take.

NR:  The Mayo Clinic even occurred in September and didn’t the Course begin the next month in October?

WT:  Yes.  I had been asked to go to the Mayo Clinic and find out why they made money on their psychological service operations, while at Columbia-Presbyterian it seemed that we were always losing money.  I thought I knew the answer to that question because we saw primarily clinic patients who couldn’t afford fees, and the patients at the Mayo Clinic were middle or upper class and able to pay.  Nevertheless, it seemed this was an important trip to make and I asked Helen to accompany me.  Just before we took off – I think it was the night before – Helen had this very vivid image of a church, which she described to me in great detail, she even made a sketch of it.  It was an old church with a number of turrets and towers.  She thought it was probably a Lutheran Church.  She was convinced that somehow we would see that church from the airplane window as we were about to land in Rochester.  That, of course, seemed rather unlikely, since the airports I know aren’t built near churches.  Anyway, we kept our attention very closely focused on the windows during landing, and much to Helen’s disappointment and distress no such church was visible.  In fact, Helen was so upset at not finding her church that I didn’t hold out much hope of accomplishing our business the next day unless she could somehow be reassured.  Rather desperately I suggested to Helen that we hire a taxi and see if we could find her church anywhere in the Rochester metropolitan area.

So Helen and I went church hunting.  At first we thought we would confine ourselves to Lutheran churches.  I think there were two of those, and neither one was remotely like Helen’s image.  Then we decided that we might as well see all the other churches while we were at it.  I think there were twenty-seven altogether in the environs of Rochester.  And not one of them bore any resemblance to Helen’s image.  Obviously, she was pretty crushed, but we pulled ourselves together in preparation for the following day’s business.

The next day after we had successfully completed our survey, Helen and I prepared to leave our hotel.  I went down to the lobby to wait for her with the luggage, and noticing a newsstand I decided to get a paper.  Instead, I saw a little booklet entitled, “The History of the Mayo Clinic.”  Thinking it would be nice to have a souvenir of our visit, I purchased it for a dollar.


As I leafed through it very quickly, I saw a picture of Helen’s old church, exactly as she had described it with all the turrets and towers.  It was even a Lutheran church.  The only problem was that it had been razed and the Mayo Clinic was actually built on the former site of this Lutheran church.  It was a very dramatic moment, and I was eager to share it with Helen.

When she came down, I said quickly, “Helen you really weren’t out of your mind after all.  Your church was there but it’s no longer around.  When you thought you were looking down on it as from an airplane you were really looking back through time.”

Helen displayed a peculiar mixture of emotions.  On the one hand, relief that she wasn’t totally crazy, on the other hand, it was clear that she was doing something which she regarded as highly paranormal, and this was an area that made her very uncomfortable.

On our way back to New York, we had to change planes in Chicago.  While we were sitting in the waiting room, Helen spied a young woman in the corner reading a magazine and looking vaguely unhappy in the way people frequently do when they are waiting for planes in airports.  I was surprised when Helen said to me, “See that young woman over there, she’s really in serious trouble – she’s got a lot of problems.”  Helen insisted that she would go over and speak to this woman.  As it turned out the woman, whose name was Charlotte, had never been on an airplane before.  She had flown on Ozark Airlines to Chicago en-route to New York and was in a state of panic.  She knew nothing about New York.  We later found out that she was leaving her husband and two young children, and was in a state of great distress.

Charlotte was booked on the same plane as we.  During the flight, we sat on either side of her, holding her hand, and trying to calm and soothe her.  We asked where she was going to stay in New York since she didn’t know anyone.  She said that since she was Lutheran, she thought she would contact a Lutheran church and somehow they would find a place for her in the city.  It was at this point that Helen and I exchanged glances.  The message was clear to both of us. Helen heard her inner voice saying, “And this is my true church, helping your brother who is in need; not the edifice you saw before.”  The authority of this inner voice became increasingly familiar to both of us when the Course began a few weeks later in October.


Article “Bill Thetford’s Independence Day”


*Reverend Reja Joy Green is one of the founding members of the Course in Miracles Society [CIMS]; She is the CIMS webmaster, eMagazine editor and producer of the Daily Lesson Mailings [example of mailings]. Rev. Reja Joy facilitates the Course in Miracles study group in Omaha and is ordained as a Community Miracles Center minister.  Rev Reja Joy facilitated the 2013 free ACIM DAILY Lesson Conference Calls along with Rev. Pamela Whitman.

As a registered Yoga Instructor, Rev. Reja Joy teaches through her RejaJoy-Yoga-Studio from the perspective of A Course in Miracles and hosts several social media groups for those who share this journey. Rev. Reja Joy currently resides with her loving husband Chris Green in Omaha, NE.

Course in Miracles Society (CIMS) is an international group of Course students and teachers organized to discover, authenticate and propagate the divine teachings of A Course in Miracles. As students, we seek to increase our knowledge of Jesus’ words and to deepen our experience of his teaching. As teachers, we work to circulate the message of A Course in Miracles throughout the world by our words, by our deeds and by the example of our lives.  Jcim.net