Here in the Midwest, as you can see, hundreds of people have filled the campus's landmark Rockefeller Chapel hoping to have our experts appraise what they think might be genuine antique religions.
Our experts will be looking mostly at Early American collectible creeds, but some rituals and rites from Asia and the Middle East have been brought in, though not as many as on our show last week from the West Coast.
First off, Sheri Wolfe from Grand Rapids, Mich., raised eyebrows when she walked in with a doctrine she thought had a ring of truth. Good afternoon, Mrs. Wolfe.
MRS. WOLFE: I picked this up at a garage sale last summer. It was written on the back of a picture of a big white horse I bought for my daughter. I thought it was kinda cute. Sort of patriotic, but it had what sounded to me like an exciting, dangerous edge on it. Then when I got home later, it started to disturb me. It reminded me of those Aryan Nations people. So when I heard you guys were coming to town.
JUSSELL: Our expert on British-Israel creeds, Bob Antwerp of Johns Hopkins University, took a good, long look at it. Bob?
BOB ANTWERP: Chris, what's interesting about this doctrine is the way it mimics the racist rants of the militia crowd of today. Here's Mrs. Wolfe's quote: "To the Saxons in Europe, to the Anglo-Saxons in Britain, to the American Anglo-Saxons on this continent, God has given the sceptre of Judah, the harp of David, the strength of Judah's Lion and the wealth of the world."
If you examine the writing closely, you see the word "sceptre," uses the British spelling with the "re" rather than the modern American version. Of course, this could have been picked up from an ignorant or dyslexic skinhead. But the more likely explanation is that this is a quote from an earlier time. And sure enough, we found the sentence is part of a speech on "The Destiny of Our Country" by Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of the Disciples of Christ in the early 1800s. (Applause.)
Good show, Mrs. Wolfe. To a follower of the Disciples of Christ today, getting that quote out of circulation could be worth up to $5,000. Mrs. Wolfe, you've got a very good eye for antique American religions!
JUSSELL: Thanks, Bob. And congratulations, Mrs. Wolfe. That's quite a find. Next up, Mr. Steve Willard of Peoria, Ill., almost stumped our heresy expert, Scott Bantam of Plummet Line Ministries in Springfield, Ohio. Tell us the story, Scott.
SCOTT BANTAM: Well, Chris, Steve had what seemed like a very ordinary diatribe that at first pointed directly at a modern satanic cult along the lines of Anton LaVey. And, Steve, didn't you also say that you picked this up in California?
MR. WILLARD: Um, yes, Scott, that's correct. It was at a business luncheon a month or so ago in Modesto, and a few tables over I overheard a conversation, thought the quote might come in handy and I wrote a few phrases down. Little did I know that I'd reeled in a genuine antique.
BANTAM: Can you tell the people what it was you heard?
MR. WILLARD: Yes, Steve, here is what they said: "Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also God. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black. The true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay." But Scott, you didn't seem as excited as I was about the doctrine.
BANTAM: No, I wasn't, Steve. But then I noticed the unusual pairing of the words Lucifer and Adonay, probably spelled with a "y" instead of the usual "i," and thought we might be talking a Zoroastrian/ Persian/dualism origin, which would have made this a very valuable find indeed. But closer inspection revealed it to be only a quote from a speech by Albert Pike, American Grand Commander of Freemasonry, in 1889. Not a truly ancient doctrine, certainly containing not a grain of truth, but an American collectible nonetheless, worth at least as much as a 1945 Coke bottle cap. Back to you, Chris.
JUSSELL: Thanks, Scott, and too bad, Steve. Hope you didn't invest a great deal of commitment in that phrase before you brought it here. Better luck next time.
Before we, go, we'd like to ask our viewers to accept our profound apologies for the fraudulent "discovery" foisted on us all two weeks ago, when our former expert in Greek and Near Eastern Myths conspired with a local farmer to confirm a North American connection to the Eleusinian Mysteries, based on a supposedly rune-covered meteorite he in found in Minnesota.
It turned out that the same story had appeared all over the Internet three years ago. Needless to say, we fired our so-called expert faster than you can say contrantiautosoteriologicalism.
Next week, it's on to Lincoln, Neb., with a special show devoted to Native American religions and the history of Precious Moments sayings. Until then, goodnight and good hunting.