The Divine Mr. Morton

UFO Magazine Volume 10, Number 4 (July/August 1995) prints a letter from Steamshovel editor Kenn Thomas defending UFO lecturer Sean Morton, who was labeled as a cultist in the previous issue of UFO. The letter pointed out that a critic of Morton's, Russ Estes, was proven wrong on the Montel Williams Show when he claimed that Morton did not have the undergraduate degree from USC he claims. Morton proved the claim by insisting that Montel's post-production people electronically splice in a copy of the degree on subsequent broadcasts. Estes now admits that Morton has the degree--although he complains he was cut off by Montel before he could fully articulate his charge that Morton lied about it (cut-off or not, this was clearly Estes' message). Readers remain in the dark about Estes' other charge, that Morton doesn't have the Doctorate of Divinity from The Berachah University because "The Berachah Church of Houston, Texas does not issue ANY degrees of that type." Are Berachah University and Berachah Church different institutions? Did Morton go through a course of study at one or the other that was a non-degree conferring institution's equivalent to a doctorate program? Estes answers neither question. And just how divine does one have to be to speak frankly about alternative views of the UFO phenomenon? Thomas' letter makes the glib observation that divinity degrees can be had from the classified ads in Rolling Stone. Estes argues with Morton's credentials, not with his claims, ideas or the interpretation of the video documentation of UFOs he brings to his lectures. He presents his audiences with unusual data, tells them what he knows and what he thinks, and lets them make up their own minds. He does not demand the blind obedience of followers. Estes' response notwithstanding, UFO Magazine's characterization of Morton as a cult leader is still wrong. This should not dissuade readers from picking up the new issue, however. It concentrates on a "UFO and War" theme and includes several articles reflecting good research and fascinating anecdotes, including research director Don Ecker's Vietnam encounter with the infamous black helicopters. In a field rife with disinformation, little doubt remains that UFO Magazine is a standard bearer for credible research. Surely this is part of the reason that it is quick to point a nervous finger at someone with Sean Morton's unusual sensibilities. (Also, poor editing marred Kenn Thomas' letter to UFO, turning the word "geo-psychic" into the nonsensical "geo-physic", for instance. The entire letter is reproduced below.) Dear UFO: I feel obliged to come to the defense of Sean Morton, someone UFO identified as a cult leader in its current issue ("Cults...Or Cutting Edge?", UFO Magazine, Volume 10, Number 3, May/June 1995.) The UFO article left the impression that Sean delivers the dicta of Tibetan monks and Native American spirits to worshipful and incredulous followers. I have met Sean many times and interviewed him once for Steamshovel Press and I can attest that this is far from the case. I am sure that Sean wouldn't deny anyone the right to regard what he says as hooey on the scale of the Republican's Contract On America. I also know that he brings some fascinating video documentation to his lectures and workshops on the UFO circuit and never fails to discuss their merits (or lack thereof) in Q&As with the audience. Moreover, he has done a great deal to bring the Area 51 situation to the attention of the public, even if one views his work only as theater. However, my understanding is that the only pre-requisite to joining Sean Morton's group, Delphi Associates, is to pay the newsletter subscription cost. It does not even require the belief that certain divination techniques (as with the "earthquake sensitives"--people who seem to have the apprehensions that some animals have prior to a quake--that Sean networks with) have information value. Also, Sean's reality paradigm includes the notion of geo-psychic mediation (my term, not Sean's); meditation and prayers can alter the events he "predicts". This renders the success rate of his prophesies, actually quite impressive at times despite what was reported in UFO, a relatively inadequate measure of his work. Also, I don't know that Russ Estes disproved Sean's assertion of holding a Doctorate of Divinity (why hoax it? aren't these available through the classified ads in Rolling Stone?), but I do know that when Estes challenged the existence of Sean's undergraduate degree at USC on the Montel Williams show, he was proven wrong. Montel did not allow enough time for Sean to defend himself, but Sean insisted that the program flash the actual degree on the screen in post-production. It goes by in a flash, and without explanation, but it's there and I'll be happy to copy the videotape for doubters. Best, Kenn Thomas Editor/Publisher ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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