Apologetics Index

Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness | MSIA

Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA):

  • What: Legally incorporated (in California on June 25, 1971) as a nondenominational and ecumenical church: Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness. Students in MSIA (sometimes pronounced as ‘messiah’) work with the Mystical Traveler, a spiritual consciousness that exists throughout all levels of God’s creation. 
  • Purpose: The stated purpose of MSIA is to “teach Soul transcendence, which is becoming aware of yourself as a Soul and as one with God, not as a theory, but as a living reality.” [1] According to MSIA its students work with the Mystic Traveller, which the organization claims to be a spiritual consciousness that exists throughout all levels of God’s creation. MSIA says this Mystic Traveller is a guide “into the higher levels of Spirit, the greater reality of God.” [2]. According to MSIA this guide resides within each person, describes working with it as “submitting” to oneself, “to the Christ within, to the God within.” [3]
  • Founder: John-Roger Hinkins (often just, ‘John-Roger’ or ‘J-R’), born Roger Delano Hinkins. His titles were: Spiritual Director of MSIA (retired), Ordained Minister of MSIA (1971). Hinkins was raised a Mormon and later dabbled in Eckankar
  • Current Leader: John K. Morton
  • History: According to Wikipedia, which cites James R. Lewis,

    Hinkins claims to have had a near-death experience while undergoing surgery for a kidney stone in late 1963, after which he fell into a nine-day coma. After this experience, Hinkins claims he became aware of another “spiritual personality” that had superseded or merged with his previous personality. He began to refer to himself as “John-Roger” in recognition of this transformation. […]

    In 1968, five years after his purported religious experience, Hinkins began to hold seminars as an independent spiritual teacher in homes of friends in Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks. The demand for his seminars grew and spread, until in 1971, Hinkins resigned from his secular job as a high school English teacher and formally incorporated the Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness. [4]

  • Membership: About 5,000 active students (estimate)
  • Sacred or Revered Texts: Soul Awareness Discourses. Discourses form the core teachings of MSIA. These texts provide introductory metaphysical information about MSIA’s beliefs. The Discourses are a requirement for participation in retreats and advanced classes sponsored by MSIA’s Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy.
  • Associated names:
    • Peace Theological Seminary & College of Philosophy, the educational arm of MSIA. It is an unaccredited institution which Hinkins founded in 1977.
    • University of Santa Monica (Unaccredited). “… dedicated to communicating the principles and practices of Spiritual Psychology worldwide through the process of Soul-Centered education.” Owned by John-Roger
    • Insight Seminars. An LGAT program.
    • Network Of Wisdoms (NOW) Productions. Established by John-Roger in the late seventies. Has recorded over 6000 of his seminars, and also produces his national cable TV show, “That Which Is.”
  • Controversies: MSIA has been criticized by a variety of people over the years, and according to Wikipedia MSIA has frequently been accused of being a Cult of Personality. Much of the criticism is focused on the role of John-Roger. [5]
  • MSIA and Christianity: In one of its online FAQs, the organization answers the question, “Is MSIA Christian?” in part as follows:

    The Christ Consciousness is the spiritual line of energy undergirding MSIA. At the same time, MSIA has no argument with any other religious or spiritual tradition. There are people in MSIA from all backgrounds and traditions–from Judaism to Bahaism. [6]

    The organization also says:

    Jesus Christ is the head of the Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, and the Traveler’s work through MSIA (Soul Transcendence) is based on Jesus’ work. Jesus was a Mystical Traveler, and he made it possible for all people to enter the Soul realm; before that time, this was available to only a few people. John-Roger’s and John Morton’s work of Soul Transcendence builds upon Jesus’ work and makes it possible for people to go above (transcend) the Soul realm, into the heart of God.

    The Christ Consciousness is a universal consciousness of love and pure Spirit, which exists within each person through the Soul, and it is the spiritual line of energy supporting MSIA. [7]

  • Our View: The publishers of Apologetics Index reject MSIA’s claims regarding its alleged compatibility with Christianity, as well as its claim that MSIA is headed by Jesus Christ.

    MSIA’s teachings and practices reject or otherwise militate against the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

    The Bible’s teachings regarding Jesus Christ are completely incompatible with MSIA’s claim that he is a ‘Mystical Traveler.’ In fact, the teachings of the Bible do not in any way support any of MSIA’s teachings on how to obtain a relationship or ‘oneness’ with God.

    In our view, MSIA’s teachings teachings and practices should be identified as New Age.


  1. MISA website, www.msia.org/soultranscendence, last accessed Tuesday, August 09, 2011 – 4:57 PM CET
  2. MSIA website, www.msia.org/faqmsia, Last accessed Tuesday, August 09, 2011 – 5:08 PM CET
  3. MSIA website, www.msia.org/faqtraveler, Last accessed Wednesday, August 10, 2011 – 12:07 AM CET
  4. Wikipedia, Roger Delano Hinkins, Last accessed Wednesday, August 10, 2011 – 12:06 AM CET
  5. Wikipedia, Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness; section: Criticism and controversy Last accessed Wednesday, August 10, 2011 – 12:15 AM CET
  6. MSIA website, www.msia.org/faqmsia, Last accessed Wednesday, August 10, 2011 – 12:33 AM CET
  7. MSIA website, www.msia.org/faqmsia, Last accessed Wednesday, August 10, 2011 – 12:33 AM CET

Article details

Category: Movement Spiritual Inner Awareness
Related topic(s): , ,

First published (or major update) on Wednesday, August 10, 2011.
Last updated on January 24, 2012.

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