This story has not yet been rated.

by WaylandCybersmith




This next section concerns Percy Frobisher, otherwise known as Sakami. I have not been able to get a huge amount of information. Sakami never kept a diary, only a journal of his thoughts on philosophy, religion and the like. Some information is public record. Some comes from Cult Alert, a monthly magazine which discussed new religious movements.

Percy Frobisher was born in Madhya Pradesh, India in 1932, the son of a British major. One of Major Frobisher’s closest friends in India was a man called Christopher Schmidt. Schmidt was a philosopher, a follower of Arthur Schopenhauer, and a pacifist. He escaped Germany at the start of the First World War. Schmidt introduced Percy Frobisher to the Vedas, Upanishads and Buddhist philosophy.

In 1946, Frobisher’s family settled in Ontario, Canada. At secondary school, Frobisher perplexed his teachers. On the one hand, he was highly intelligent, showing exceptional reasoning and debating skills. On the other hand, he gained the reputation for being argumentative and disruptive. He was expelled on five occasions.

Frobisher began studying at the University of Toronto in 1950, gaining his PhD in Philosophy in 1956, a full year before many of those that joined at the same time. He joined the faculty, becoming a professor in 1962.

While in Canada, Frobisher continued to study Eastern philosophy and the works of Schopenhauer. In addition to this, he became fascinated with the Ojibwe way of life and spent much time with Ojibwe families, especially a man he referred to as Nana Busho.

He created his own philosophy, which he called Awasi, and took for himself the name Sakami. He claimed that this came from the Ojibwe word for infinite. Awasi contained elements of both Eastern and Native American teaching, as can be seen in his adaptation of the Lakhota prayer, the Mitakuye Oyasin.

All my kindred, all that have being, draw near. 

Vishnu, for the gift of life, I thank you.

Earth spirits of rock and bone, I thank you

Plant spirits of sustenance and healing, I thank you.

Animal spirits of companionship, I thank you.

Human spirits of fellowship, I thank you.

Fire spirits of guidance, and inspiration. I thank you.

Air spirits of change and growth, I thank you.

My kindred, without you I would not live. We serve one another. We depend on one another. All part of Vishnu.

Thank you for this Life.

Back in the University, he began teaching meditation to some of his students, gaining a large following (some reports say about forty students, others up to two hundred). He was expelled from the university in 1967.

In 1968, he moved to North Tibworth in the UK, along with a handful of disciples. They could be seen dancing and chanting through town, or standing in Prayer Circles around a tree, rock, or fire. Sakami taught his followers not to eat any kind of meat, including eggs.

Over the following years, Sakami visited universities all over the UK, holding spiritual awareness meetings.

Christopher Stoneham first encountered Sakami in 1972, in North Tibworth's market square. At first Stoneham avoided him, but then he struck up a conversation with him. Stoneham recorded some of it in his journal. “This man, Sakami, is a puzzle. He claims to trace his beliefs back through thousands of years, long before Christianity. He seems pleasant and friendly enough, but he's a pagan. He says Jesus was a wise man, and that's it. I tried to tell him the Gospel, but he claims not to need it. I have arranged to meet him again.”

The meeting happened two weeks later. Stoneham describes climbing the narrow staircase to Sakami's room, led by one of his disciples. “Sakami was sitting cross-legged on a bamboo mat, wreathed in a haze of incense, and chanting his prayers.

I asked him about what he was did. He told me he meditated for two hours each day and fasted three days a week. He ate only small portions of vegetables. He didn't watch TV or read newspapers and didn't get involved in anything that distracted him. He had only two sets of clothes and no other possessions apart from the basics. Any money he had over and above his immediate needs he gave to the poor.

How is it that this pagan shows more commitment to his faith than we do? He puts us to shame. I am determined that our congregation will emulate his simplicity and devotion.”

Christopher Stoneham issued what became known as his Simplicity Address.

From this time forward, all members of this congregation must live a life marked by simplicity, much as Jesus and His Apostles did. Much as Francis of Assisi did. From now on, members of this church are not to have TV's, radios, or games of any kind. No alcohol or pop. No chocolate drinks. No sugar in tea or coffee. No evenings out to restaurants, theaters, or cinema. No holidays, excursions, or trips out. No sports, hobbies, or pastimes. No music or books unless it is Christian. No newspapers or magazines. No expensive watches, jewelry, ornaments, or trinkets. No sweets, fish and chips, take-aways, or ice creams. No cosmetics, fancy clothes, or fancy shoes.

Dress simply and modestly. Fast at least one day a week. Let nothing distract you from the task Christ has given us, of building His true church. Any member of the congregation who does not comply with this should find another church to belong to.”

The effect was devastating. The first week Stoneham brought the message, the meeting had to be stopped because of all the arguments. The second time, half of the congregation got up and walked out. Many wrote letters to Stoneham threatening to leave the church if he did not retract the Simplicity Address. So, the following week, Stoneham brought it again. Of those who were unable or unwilling to make the sacrifices that Stoneham was demanding, he said “They are still attached to the things of this world. It is doubtful that any of them were truly saved in the first place.”

Stoneham and the Bettel Chapel people were strongly criticized by the North Tibworth Baptist Association and other church groups. Stoneham himself was called an extremist, a tyrant, and the leader of a cult. Other churches cut their ties with Stoneham, leaving him and the chapel isolated. It was at this time the Chapel People became Blaze Community, a mark of defiance against their opponents.

Although many people left the congregation, many more joined. The sacrificial way of life Stoneham preached attracted people who were tired of a Christianity without challenge. The hospitality houses quickly filled.

So, what of Sakami? By 1980, he had founded 12 groups all over the country. Typically, they operated farms, but there were centers in a number of towns and cities.

By the time Sakami died in 1986, Awasi had grown to 620, with groups in London, Birmingham, and Bradford. However, the movement then began to decline as Sakami had no successor able to continue his work. At the turn of the millennium, there were very few followers.



© WaylandCybersmith 2011


To rate a story please login or sign up as a citizen.