Yvonne Mochel ( at right) with Patti Rayner and Russell Bishop (c. 1978)
Long-time MSIA minister and initiate, Yvonne Mochel, was introduced to John-Roger in the early days of the Movement. MSIA minister, Jackie Peterson, interviewed Yvonne as part of a project to compile stories from elders in MSIA. This article is excerpted from that interview.
JP: What year did you first become involved in the teachings?
YM: I believe it’s the end of 1967. I don’t have any documentation that is written down as to what year it was.
But I believe that’s correct. It’s ‘67, ‘68.
JP: And what was going on in the world and in your life at that time?
YM: I was married, had a young daughter. I was in the adventure of a mother having a family. And I wasn’t real focused on political events. I have a personality of a Cancer, so having a home and a family to cook for and a daughter to sew clothes for, I was just a very happy camper in that environment. And then we became interested in flying saucers. I really don’t know what drew us into that. I didn’t have all that much interest in physical flying saucers, but I did have an interest in what they were sharing.
I was in my early 30’s when I met J-R.
JP: And what was it that made the Teachings attractive to you?
YM: The presence of the Christ. When J-R spoke, the Christ came present. And I had known the Christ through my life and through my upbringing. To me, the energy of the Christ made all things new. There just wasn’t anything like it. It’s like the Christ makes all things new. When J-R spoke I experienced that presence.
JP: And what was it that made you recognize the presence of the Christ in John-Roger?
YM: I was raised in Christian Science, and the way that religion is set up, there’s weekly lessons, and they come from quotations in the Bible, and quotations from a book named Science and Health which was written by Mary Baker Eddie.
Each day in school we’d read in the Bible and we’d read in Science and Health and focus on that. I went to a school for Christian Scientists. Two years of high school and four years of college. To me personally, Christ is the healer, and in Christian Science they relied on God to heal. That was their intent. And I saw it demonstrated so many ways. with so many people. To me that was the Christ. When the Christ came present, there was healing.
JP: So you saw the same healing energy with John-Roger.
YM: Yes, that’s the Christ. And I did have healing. The day after we went to see a J-R Seminar, I was just going in and out of my body to the ceiling and down and I looked as though I was out altogether. But I knew healing was taking place because at my daughter’s birth I had kidney failure. And they didn’t think the doctor could save me, but he was able to. So that experience was the last of the healing that needed to take place from that kidney failure.
JP: And you knew it as it was taking place?
YM: I did. I did. And because my husband didn’t quite understand what was going on, he called the people who invited us and he said: “who’s this person that we went to see?” And so that evening John-Roger phoned us and he said: “I hear you’re trying to reach me.” So we both got on the phone and he did verify that healing was going on. And of course I was very grateful for that. It wasn’t that I felt sick or ill, but I just knew that that’s what was taking place.
JP: Wow. Are there any guiding principles or concepts in the Teachings that particularly stand out for you or that have helped guide you through life?
YM: I would say that the gift J-R gave me — coming into the Movement when I did — he gave me the gift of… you know that statement “God is in heaven and all is right with the world?” That’s a very child’s verse kind of statement, but in reality that’s what he gave me.
Through his Seminars and sharing, everything in the world had its place. It’s like it’s all perfect here and he was able to explain it in ways that were so clear and logical. And it filled me with so much gratitude that finally some of the things I couldn’t understand about the human planet were all very clear. And it was all very perfect. It expanded me in my beingness in a way that nothing else could have. You know there’s a saying like “the only game in town.” There isn’t anything except the Traveler energy that could have done that, that could have given me that experience. It wasn’t intellectual. It was God speaking, it was God presenting. The perfectness. Everything suddenly had a place.
JP: So what about now?
YM: I would say now I’m having the opportunity to receive those gifts more fully, and in more places in my consciousness that I really thought I was not going to have the opportunity to change in this lifetime. And while I had the opportunity to do many trainings, like the first Insight and all of these pioneering efforts, there were certain things that just never moved. So I said, “okay in this lifetime this is what Spirit has for me.”
Now it’s like there is nothing outside of anything I created — in any lifetime in any circumstance — that is outside of my love, my loving, my acceptance, my gratitude. Unconditional loving has become a reality in a way that I don’t think I’ve fully experienced in the way I’m experiencing now.
When I retired I shifted my life, like from AC to DC. The parts of me that were hidden away and locked away in childhood were…the Light was shown on them, and they were able to come out of the closet, literally. I had experiences of being put in the closet at nursery school. And it’s been a learning. And in that learning, it’s taught me not to be afraid of what life presents. And that God’s in all of it.
We know from the Soul, looking from the Soul, that it’s all perfect. But actualizing that — a good day with everything up and wonderful, and a bad day where you’re grumpy and things happen, you break a dish or whatever — that it’s all the same. What a concept. It’s all the same. And I’m getting to experience that bliss of God in everything, and there really is no separation.
JP: Wow. Thank you. How would you describe the impact of Discourses to you?
YM: That’s the one way that I experience as though the Traveler would come in and sit with me or be present with me. It is almost like, if I want to go to the Traveler or I want to call him up, the Discourses are the one thing that connect me and it’s not in blinding flashes or mystical experiences or euphoria or any outer kind of trappings. It’s in the simple presence of reading his words. I have them on my computer, which I do love because I can make the print any size I want, and I can roll the screen. It’s like talking to the Traveler. And I know people have said — and of course I think everybody has had the experience — that it’s like you can read the same Discourse and have an entirely different experience than the next time you read it. So it has, in a way, not the word content necessarily fully at all. It’s the experience of the Traveler and how he’s speaking to you at the time you’re reading the Discourse. So it’s a very alive thing.
JP: Do you have that same experience with the Soul Awareness tapes?
YM: No, I don’t. So that’s interesting. The audio versus reading. It’s not the same experience. So a SAT tape is like sitting in a Seminar. A Discourse is not like sitting in a Seminar. It’s like J-R’s talking to me. And a SAT tape is like a recording of a Seminar that I have sat in at some point. And I understand that it is a Seminar and, as such, then he’s present. The Christ through him is present, the Holy Spirit. They’re all present. But I do believe that I get caught up in the format of a Seminar. Because as I hear a recorded Seminar, he’s speaking to all the consciousnesses that are present in the room. So it’s not about any kind of intellectual understanding or theme. It’s like “it is what it is.” I will have places in the SAT tape that make a connection, and then there’s parts in the Seminar that are just — he’s talking. Reading a Discourse I can pretty much guarantee that at any one time that connection’s made. I don’t know how. But in a SAT tape, I don’t have any guarantee that it will be made. But, that tells me that I’m listening to it on the mental level and, I think, not realizing.
JP: What was your impression when you met J-R physically and how did it change over time?
YM: My first impression was he’s a very ordinary man. I’m in a group and I don’t know who he is. I don’t know what he does. He begins, as he used to, with contributions. And I still don’t know the theme. I’m just there. And then he starts talking, and I don’t know at what point, but at a point, it’s like the Christ is here. It didn’t make me put him on a pedestal or separate him out, but it drew me in to the Christ. In other words, if you experienced the Christ I think you follow that, well, “see you later” isn’t one of the things you do. You know what I’m saying? So my experience was then I could not get enough of hearing him speak. He was doing Seminars in several parts of Los Angeles, almost every night he was doing a Seminar.
JP: Actually for two or three years he did Seminars six or seven nights a week.
YM: I was then also transcribing in the beginning because they weren’t recording the Seminars. We were recording them. And I had the tape at home, and so I was transcribing. So if I wasn’t in the room listening, I was home transcribing what he was saying. What he said — and again almost it wasn’t what he said, it was the presence that came present when he came present. I think just about anybody you interview will have the same experience. It wakes you up to a place that you know inside of you. And no one’s awakened it in quite the way it’s awakened in the presence of the Traveler.
JP: Well if no one has said this to you for a long time, I want to personally thank you for doing all of those recordings and the transcribing because we would not have those early Seminars if you and Marvin hadn’t done that.
YM: It was like Spirit’s — this is the opportunity — the willingness to do whatever we could. I do understand it has been my opportunity in this life to be a pioneer and go in when something’s new, and hold for it until people come that can establish the energy and ground it. Somebody needs to hold. So I’m the holder of that. And that was true before I even came into the Movement.
So to do that in relation to the Seminars and the transcribing and all, it did come naturally to me. That is kind of how I’m built to express. See it’s not a mental thing. It’s not intellectual, it’s not: “Oh I’ve got the skills to research how to do the sound.” It has nothing at all to do with that. It’s very organic inside of me. It’s like you just step up to the plate. You can do it. No one else quite gets it, so you’re there getting it. Until they wake up and they get it, and then off it goes. I think that’s what pioneers do. And sometimes it’s a lonely place, not in relation to MSIA, but I’m grateful I have the opportunity to have that talent in relation to MSIA.
JP: Are there any inner experiences of the Traveler that come to mind?
YM: Ok, here’s what came to mind. Russell Bishop and John-Roger were sitting together presenting information, I think maybe doing questions and answers in a room that was very large and full of people. They’re answering questions that people have, so it must have been Insight related in some way or other. At one point — I don’t know if J-R said it or I got it inwardly — but he has said this: “I’m the only game in town. If you want Soul Transcendence then this is what you do ‘cause I’m the only one here that can do that.” But I got it.
And Russell — I think I was working at Insight at that time and Russell was my boss — he saw me and he called on me, kind of like, “Yvonne what’s going on?” And I stood up and I shared the awareness of that. That this energy, this gift that is being given to us through the Traveler, through John-Roger, is the “only game in town.” And Spirit came through the room. And everybody cried. We were all crying. And Russell was even tearing up. And J-R said I was just holding onto my seat. I so honor the gift that the Traveler just kept extending and extending and extending, and in so many ways. He set up so many avenues for that energy to go into the world. And then when he left, it was even more present.
JP: Are there any positive experiences around seeding that you could share?
YM: Well you know I would consider this a positive experience. When I heard at one point J-R saying tithing was a spiritual law, suddenly it was no longer a choice. It’s like “oh, okay. It’s like oxygen is down on the planet and so is gravity. So tithing is a spiritual principle.” Seeding took a little longer for me — like he didn’t say seeding was a spiritual law, so it didn’t come in that way. But it’s the gratitude, it’s the acknowledgement, it’s the partnership. It’s the fellowship with Spirit. It’s almost a way of erasing the separation of the non-physical Spirit filling everything and I’m down here in this one little body. And yet, we’re partners. How does all that work? Seeding is, to me, the physical manifestation of the opportunity for Spirit to give back. And then however it does it, or however much you seed, isn’t in the domain of “it has to be a certain way.” It is what it is.
I don’t know the name of the Seminar, but there is a Seminar where J-R talks about when you place a seed it’s as though the waves part. Whatever needs to take place will take place for that seed. He does a Seminar about it and some of the examples are really mind opening for people. A person had to go to Europe for the health of a parent that was there. And the mountains that got moved for that to take place it was like, well, there’s no human planning that could have orchestrated that. It was like Moses parting the waves. And he said that’s because you planted the seed that it all had to take place. And it gave me a very humble appreciation of when you ask Spirit through a seed. It’s like, then, to acknowledge what you’re asking.
I do believe, probably for me, it was the “can’t consciousness” at first, because in the beginning I had a seed of doubt, and it’s like, then you’re planting that too. I was aware of that, so I was not open for seeding because I did not want to create that part.
So it’s come to where it is a place of gratitude, and it is. In the beginning I don’t think I really understood that. I was still in a mental concept of the whole process. But when it moved out of that…to me it’s grace. I have the outpouring of gratitude that I can even do it. That I even could seed. And I love that you can go on the computer and place a seed for someone in this beautiful format. That you could just do it. One of the girls at USM turned me onto that when I worked there, because I didn’t know it was available. She’d say, “you know if I need something right away I just seed for it. I go on the computer and I put the money in.” I said “Wow.” She said, “Yeah it doesn’t take long, I just do it.” It’s one of the nice things that the Internet gives to me. ‘Cause everything’s so at your disposal on the Internet if you know how to get to it.
JP: What is the driving force behind your continued involvement with MSIA?
YM: What is the driving force? The awareness that the Soul says it’s time to go home and the Traveler is the vehicle. It’s Soul Transcendence.
JP: What was the reason behind initiation and ordination for you? And what differences did you notice in your life since?
YM: When I got initiated, J-R was doing individual tones for people, Later he shifted that in order to work with more people. Initiation and ordination? He did suggest that I get ordained. He made the suggestion. He may have also made a suggestion about initiation. Because this was very new. There weren’t a lot of people. You had more access to just being with him, speaking with him. It was a much more informal kind of thing.
I do know though — from taking the Travelers Through the Ages class — that I’ve been with Travelers before. This is not my first time to be with the Traveler. So it’s perfect how it is. And I think I have gratitude for both initiation and ordination.
It took me two years to understand the first line of my ministerial blessing, which is: “When you walk on the path of the Beloved, the needs of the world meet themselves.” And I didn’t understand what that meant. What do you mean it meets themselves? It took me two years to understand that. It was a process. It was a process of unfolding. All the while I’m of service, and I’m doing everything I can to support his ministry. But I wasn’t having these mystical revelations, or blinding lights, or any of this experience of that kind. I don’t think I was expecting them, either. It wasn’t, “where are they?” I thought that maybe I was a slow learner.
JP: Do you know what year you were initiated, or what year you were ordained?
YM: I think ‘74 was my ordination. And I don’t know the initiation date. I don’t have my ordination tape, I have no idea why I don’t. Because I do have old tapes. Very old tapes. J-R did do my ordination, and he did it in one of the little rooms he had in Baldwin Hills. It was a small room and it had a chair swing. He was in it. That’s where he was, in this swing. Afterwards he jumped up and he went over to the wall thermostat and he said: “Well the room went up ten degrees.” And it’s like, what does that mean? I would never have had the presence of mind to ask him. And I just thought, “Well maybe the energy came in and I wasn’t able to hold it as well, and he held it for me, and that’s what made the room’s temperature go up.”
At the end of my blessing it says: “Yours is not necessarily a verbal ministry. It’s one of holding in the peace of God’s consciousness in the silence.” I spoke with Johnny (Morton) at Asilomar, he was just sharing with me. He said: “You have a silent ministry.” To me, that’s more about a doing ministry, just doing behind the scenes. And I truly do have that. So I think I’ve learned a lot about my ministry. I have a lot of gratitude for it, and I feel that it is kind of a road map for us that Spirit’s given. It’s been a press over the years to go further in, further in. And I think I could go further in still because it is a blessing. And it’s just like picking up a Discourse. There’s a freshness in it.
JP: In your ministry?
YM: Yes. And in everybody’s I think. Spirit’s right in there.
JP: So what differences have you noticed in your life since your initiation?
YM: Oh, well the awareness that the Soul wants to go home. That it’s contracted this as the time to lift above and establish off the wheel of incarnation, and just reestablish in the line of going home to God. I’m just saying what comes present, but what comes present is J-R said: “I’m here as the garbage collector.” He said, “you just have to give me the garbage.” So part of the process is just letting go of all that isn’t us, that isn’t who we are, under whatever context we’ve designed that it is.
JP: Have you had any miraculous experiences you could share?
YM: I wonder what a miraculous experience means. I think when I first met J-R and I kept going in and out of the body, and up to the ceiling and back down, and I was swirling up and down, and knowing that I was being healed. I thought of that as a miraculous experience — in other words, something in Spirit was doing that. I was not doing that, it was Spirit doing that. I think miracles in a way are defined by “we of ourselves can’t do that.” Something’s done something for us that we can’t do, and we can’t really explain it.
Yes I know I’ve had other miraculous experiences and I cannot think of one. But at the same time, I feel like that’s very private and that’s probably why I can’t think of one. In a way, I think some of the miracles have just been: God’s here, the Traveler’s here.
I’ve seen so many what I would call miracles at USM and in Insight — in the vehicles that were J-R’s ministry — people were just, you know, it’s like so much karma was lifted. It was lifted, it was gone. Those are miracles. They’re miracles to us because he’s the garbage collector, just give him the garbage. That’s his job, take it up. He wants to take it up. So he created vehicles for healing in such — I mean just every way that people ask for or could do. He would do it. He set it up. The innerphasing…I remember the first time he talked about innerphasing. I said, “Oh boy I’m going to get one of those,” and I knew just the theme I was going to have it on. I think miracles are ordinary when you are living with Spirit.
JP: Yeah, I would say “amen” to that.
YM: Yeah, yeah. So…don’t separate yourself from that. That’s part of who you are, that’s part of God being with you…and so much gratitude.
JP: What has been the most valuable thing from your involvement with MSIA or the Teachings?
YM: You know what comes to mind is that I’m going home. Is there anything more valuable than that? I don’t know. Yeah, that is the most valuable.
JP: That makes me think of another question that comes from me personally — have you been with someone when they were passing into Spirit? Like another minister-initiate in MSIA?
YM: Kenny Jones. Ken Jones had quite a journey for his passing. And he left in a very conscious place. Before he left he couldn’t really walk. He couldn’t do much of anything, he knew his body was pretty totally invaded with stuff that wasn’t going to change. And yet they were still taking care of him, feeding him well, and he said: “You know I can’t move out of this place. And I am the happiest man. I am so happy to be here on this planet.” It was really the honest outpouring of his heart. His physical body was not available to him. And he was so grateful to be right where he was, to be in a body that didn’t work, just so grateful and so full of joy just to be.
I remember sitting in his room, I think the night before or the day before he passed, as one of the Light-bearers that come and hold the Light. We were friends, we were going to retire together, we had even checked out places that Gale Honeycutt and Kenny and Carol and I could all retire to. So we had a wonderful connection.
I got to experience the place he was in…that being in the physical is such a privilege. Such a privilege. And that was my big challenge. I didn’t understand that at all. I didn’t have experiences of that at all. And he gave me the most full experience of what a privilege it is. And here’s a person who can’t move. And I’ve read stories of people since then, whose circumstances have brought them to that place where literally they cannot move, and yet they are so filled with joy. It’s like, not being able to move a physical body does not interfere with the joy they have at being physically present. So it wasn’t about the thrill of seeing someone’s Spirit leave — which must be transformational in a way just to have that experience — it was the gift of being here.
That’s one of those things I’ll never forget. It’s with me in a place that was just such a gift. And I’m so grateful that we did that. I think that’s one of the nicest things that J-R provided. That people could come and chant and hold for people as they leave the physical body. And I remember when Steve Small’s partner Allen Ross left, I was very dedicated to supporting him all the way through. And I stayed overnight chanting one night. It was like I was very determined to be there. And then it was like, I don’t have to hold until he actually leaves the body. There was a group of us, it wasn’t just a few. At the same time, it was almost like he’s in two places at once. And that was really — that was a privilege, too. That’s one of the things I have a lot of gratitude for that J-R gave us. The ministry is wonderful, but I think for the recipient it must also be really wonderful. I hope when I leave the planet that I’ll have that opportunity to have a Light circle around me too and chant.
JP: So before we finish up, is there anything else you’d like to share or add?
YM: J-R knew who his people were. He knew who his initiates were. And he gathered them up around the world. He did initiations with people who probably didn’t know that’s what was happening. Jesus in his lifetime, he traveled. They don’t talk very much about that, but he traveled. He went to the mystery schools all over the world. They did all kinds of things. Because it’s not in the Bible, many people don’t really focus on it, but I’m so grateful to be aware of that, to know that, and to have the experience of seeing other Travelers knowing that the planet itself is being taken care of. All the life forms on the planet are being taken care of, and all the beings on the planet are too. And it’s not from some Pollyanna statement out of the Bible, amen, holy roller kind of thing — which I shouldn’t say as a criticism — but it’s not from that emotional overflow. It’s just from that place of gratitude just for the awareness of the order and the separation of the human from the divine.
Not that this level isn’t real, but it’s a made up reality. You know what I’m saying? It’s not real as Spirit is real on the other side. It’s a different quality of real. It’s almost like the ink blot world. You put on your costume and you do your thing because this is what you think you should do. This is what you believe. If you want to see Buddha at the end, he’ll be there for you. If what you’re looking for is the Christ, he’ll be there for you. This is your creation in this life. Just acknowledging that we are creators.
Say we want a red Cadillac and we don’t get it and we think, well this doesn’t work, I’m not really a creator. Well, I remember J-R saying there’s a place in Spirit that is filled with things that people pray for but they didn’t hang in long enough for it to manifest. Which is a way of saying, “it all matters.” To keep in the loving and in the love energy. It matters. It does matter because it’s all your creation.
The trick is, you might be really good right now but that doesn’t mean you’ve been really good in all your creations, so you’ve got to accept it all. I could have been Black Beard. Do I want to accept that? Not very much. But if that were the case, that was my creation, then “yes” I have to bring it into the loving, I have to welcome it in. You know…the prodigal son. Nothing can be outside of my creation. I can’t leave anything out of all my creation. I’m learning, that’s my lesson, and my gift.