Lemurian Fellowship-Stelle Connection


David Childress December 14, 1986


          Two years ago I interviewed Howard John Zitko, co-founder of the Lemurian Fellowship, as I was curious as to the truth behind the Fellowship and his relationship with Dr. Stelle. Furthermore, I was curious as to just who was Dr. Stelle, anyway?

          While living in the remote Amazon jungle during the summer of 1986, I decided to write down the story of the Lemurian Fellowship as told to me by Zitko. This was only for my own personal use, so I would not forget it.

          At the urging of a number of people, I have decided to formalize my notes into this letter. Because of my conversations with Howard John Zitko, The Lemurian Fellowship, Richard, and other researches, I believe that I may be in a unique position to discuss the story of the Lemurian Fellowship. It is one that few people are aware of.

          One thing that I will say right away, Howard John Zitko made it very clear to me that Dr. Stelle’s greatest desire was to build an industrially strong, self-sufficient city near Chicago based on Lemurian Economics and Philosophy. According to Zitko, Dr. Stelle talked about this a great deal.

          What follows is the story of the Lemurian Fellowship, as I have been able to piece together over the last few years. It is a fascinating story and I have left out a great deal (Dr. Stelle’s early life is incredible!). It is the story of the Lemurian Fellowship as told to me largely by Zitko, the co-founder, but pieces of it are put together from other sources, including conversations, etc. with Richard and other people. Certain portions, probably obvious, are my own interpretations. I do not claim that this is exactly how it happened, but in my opinion, that seems pretty close to the truth. I would appreciate any corrections to this story that people may have to offer.

          At the end of this “story,” I have included an “epilogue.” This is my own opinion only, based upon what appears to have happened over the last fifty years. It is nothing personal, but just an observation of sorts. If you have not read the Lemurian Fellowship’s letter in the appendix to the Greenlee paper, I urge you to do so before you read this “story.”


The Story of the Lemurian Fellowship


          The beginning of the Lemurian Fellowship really begins with the meeting of two people, Dr. Robert D, Stelle, a fiction writer who specialized in Westerns (his best known book was “A Cowboy in Africa” later made into a film starring Chuck Connors in the mid-60s, some fifteen years after Dr. Stelle’s death. As far as I know, he was given no credit), and Howard John Zitko, who was a young man from Wisconsin. At the time Dr. Stelle was in his fifties or so, and Howard John Zitko was 23 (?). Zitko celebrated his 75th birthday in the autumn of 1986, hence, he was born in 1911.


          It was the early 30s (1934-35), and Zitko, who claims to have “Egoic Memory” of Lemuria, was writing a social novel of economics, social values, and politics based on advanced concepts of socialism.


          Whether Zitko as a young man truly had “Egoic Memory” of his former lives in Lemuria, no one at this point can really say. However, he did grow up in Wisconsin, the only State of the U.S. to have a Socialist government. Furthermore, Zitko lived through the Depression in Wisconsin, a State whose economy and socialistic policies were working well at the time. These factors must certainly have been powerful influences on Zitko’s concepts of politics and economics. Furthermore, he was familiar with such occult books as, A Dweller on Two Planets by Phylos the Thibetan,” the Churchward “Mu” books, and other occult books, which dealt with ancient civilizations and their supposed advanced societies and technology.


          Zitko took his social novel from Milwaukee, where he was living, to Chicago to see some publishers. One publisher was interested in the book and suggested a writer known to them who was living in Chicago at the time—Dr. Stelle! (Who supposedly went to the University of Missouri).


          Zitko went to see Dr. Stelle, already a fairly elderly man and somewhat overweight, although he was in good health. Dr. Stelle seemed to be expecting Zitko. Dr. Stelle was very eager to help young H. John Zitko with his proposed book. He even offered to help him for nothing. He apparently wanted no monetary compensation, yet was extremely eager to work with the young man from Milwaukee. Zitko could not understand this, and although he willingly agreed to have Dr. Stelle help him with his book, he insisted that the Doctor receive money for helping him write and edit. It appears as if Dr. Stelle had foreknowledge of Zitko’s coming and had been instructed to work with him closely; something that was indeed going to happen.


          Zitko and Stelle worked together on the book for about a year, though Zitko still resided in Milwaukee and Dr. Stelle in Chicago. Then, Dr. Stelle moved to San Francisco. In early 1936 Howard John Zitko made a trip out to San Francisco to visit Dr. Stelle and discuss the book. He stayed in San Francisco for about a week and then just as he was boarding a bus back to Milwaukee Dr. Stelle told him that the material would make a very good lesson plan. Instead of a book, they should make a series of lessons with it!


          This took Zitko by surprise, but after thinking about it he agreed. He and Dr. Stelle then published the first of the lesson material and formed the Lemurian Fellowship on September 16, 1936, in Milwaukee. Dr. Stelle was in California at the time. This is a date which is supposedly prophesied in the internal structure of the Great Pyramid.


          To quote The Ultimate Frontier, “The most ancient of the seven Lesser Brotherhoods opened its first and only school just three years ago. The inauguration of this school on September 16, 1936, is one of the most important signals planned by Christ and the Great White Brotherhood. On that date was celebrated the Feast of Trumpets as the Seventh Angel sounded the Seventh Trumpet, thus heralding the revelation of Gods mysteries to men. That day was prophesied in the Great Pyramid of Gizeh and in the Book of Revelation (10:7).”—TUF, page 63, “blue clouds” edition. It is also interesting to note that this is the only reference in TUF to the “Great White Brotherhood.” Richard and the Fellowship have said that their headquarters are in Tibet, my own opinion is that this is so; in the Kun Lun Mountains of north-western Tibet. According to the Lemurian Fellowship lessons, the Great White Brotherhood is the remnant of “The Thirteenth School of Lemuria (Mukulia).


          Again, it appears as if Dr. Stelle were following instructions given to him, and had some foreknowledge of the events that were to take place in the future, not to mention that he seemed to have been instructed as to what he should do to bring these things about.


          Zitko’s idea of the Lemurian Fellowship (and the lessons) was that they were to be a vehicle for his writings on politics, economics, and sociology and, possibly, but not necessarily, derived from an actual memory of Lemuria, which he believed in and was familiar with. This was almost certainly influenced by his experiences and beliefs of this lifetime. Dr Stelle, however, apparently had other ideas.


          And so, this was the conception of the Lemurian Fellowship; ostensibly, to publish Zitko’s writings. Though in reality, this may have been, (and probably was) the vehicle for Dr. Stelle to expound the information assigned to him by the Council of Seven and the Lemurian Brotherhood.


Zitko set up an office in Milwaukee while Dr. Stelle set up an office in San Francisco. Zitko sent his material to Dr. Stelle in California who edited it and put his own information in it. There was to be 12 sets of lessons (with a possible “secret” 13th, which no one has ever seen or if they have, will not reveal its contents). Each dealt with various truths, techniques and the history of mankind, the lost civilizations of Lemuria, Atlantis, Osiris, Rama, and the dissemination of man throughout the world.


          Yet, the writings that Zitko sent to Dr. Stelle, and the eventual lessons that Dr. Stelle published were radically different. Zitko once said when asked about the contents of some of the lessons, “I didn’t write that!” Yet, he believes that he wrote the key material in the lessons!


          Why should Dr. Stelle have needed young Howard John Zitko to start the Lemurian Fellowship, when he could have just as easily done it himself? For one thing, Dr. Stelle believed that in a past incarnation, some 78,000 years ago in Lemuria, he and Zitko had helped found the “Mukulian Empire” with the help of Mukulian elders and the “Masters” [Angels] of Venus.


          In Dr. Stelle’s book, The Sun Rises, he is the man Rhu, while Zitko is the man Hut. Together they helped create the first real civilization on the “Rhu-Hut Plains,” to the north-east of present day Hawaii. Later, through his own folly, Hut is killed. Dr. Stelle apparently believed that it was important for he and Zitko to work together for karmic reasons and because, as a team, they had been responsible for creating the Lemurian (Mukulian) Empire, at least in its inception and could therefore help recreate it (or had some Karma to work out in the process).


          Secondly, with Zitko’s book and writing on economics, politics and social values, sophisticated as it was, Dr. Stelle was able to use them as a base for his own writings, ostensibly taught him by the Lemurian Brotherhood (formerly of Mount Shasta). A key part of all this, apparently, was that he did not have to claim credit for writing the lessons; Zitko was happy to take that. Today, with Zitko’s World University, he claims to have authored the lesson material, calling it the “Theo-Christic Conception.”


          One “rumor” [information from R. Kieninger] has it that the lessons were found in an attic of Zitko’s house or a relative of his in Milwaukee, supposedly written by Zitko’s uncle. While this may have been the story told at one time (by whom I wonder?), this is not the story told by Zitko today, nor does it seem correct, in my opinion.


          Eventually, the office in Milwaukee moved to Chicago, while Dr. Stelle remained in California. During this time, The Lemurian Fellowship began publishing a newspaper, much like a weekly paper, with adds and news stories, etc. Things advertised were “Lemurian Soap” manufactured in California by the Lemurian Fellowship, books, etc.


During this time, the sequel to A Dweller on Two Planets was discovered by a relative of Frederick Spencer Oliver, the channel for both books, entitled, An Earth Dweller Returns. A Dweller on Two Planets was an extremely popular occult book for forty years and is still in print today (courtesy of Rudolf Steiner Publications). The book is in three parts and is about one person’s three incarnations: one in Atlantis, complete with a vailix trip to Rama (India); an incarnation on Venus; and a third in California in the mid-1800s, where Phylos (Black Mentalist) supposedly meets Quong (spokesman for the Council of Seven and head of the Lemurian Brotherhood) near Mount Shasta.


          An enquiry was sent with An Earth Dweller Returns to the Lemurian Fellowship in Chicago as to whether they would like to publish this second volume. Zitko was familiar with the earlier book (published more than 40 years before). He decided to publish the book and copyrighted the book under the name of the Lemurian Fellowship. He printed a few thousand copies and advertised it in the newspaper that they were publishing.


          Dr. Stelle, who was in California at the time, was furious when he found out what Zitko had done. He cryptically told Zitko that he had been instructed not to “mess” with the Phylos books.


          “Who says?” demanded Zitko, unaware of some higher authority guiding their organization.


          Dr. Stelle refused to say, but hinted that the Council of Seven was giving him direct instructions. Zitko, unaware of such an organization, could not understand Dr. Stelle’s concerns. In the end, the damage was already done, the books already printed and advertised, Dr. Stelle allowed the books to be sold, but not reprinted.


          By then, the Lemurian Fellowship had amassed a great deal of money through donations, legacies, student fees, and tithes. They purchased the estate at Ramona and moved there. Zitko meanwhile moved to Los Angeles to run the “Church” that had been established there.


          Dr. Stelle wanted the Ramona estate to begin the foundation of industry for the “Kingdom of God,” applying the “Lemurian Economics” that were taught in the lessons. The Lemurian Fellowship believed, and said in their lessons, that a pole shift would occur on May 5, 2000, and that before that time, they were to be instrumental in founding a city called Philadelphia on an “Island in the Pacific.” Zitko later said he was unaware of these statements in “his” lessons.


Furthermore, Dr. Stelle often spoke of wanting to create an industrially strong community near Chicago that would apply Lemurian ideals and serve to gather “The Remnant” for “The Kingdom of God.” The beginnings of crafts and small industries such as soap making, basket weaving, and wood working in Ramona were theoretical precursors to this industrial city.


          Meanwhile, Zitko would give a Sunday sermon at the Church in Los Angeles. Mrs. Stelle later claimed that Zitko had become a channel for “Phylos the Thibetan” and that it was Phylos (Greek for book) that was giving the weekly sermons. Under Dr. Stelle’s direction, the church in Los Angeles was closed and Zitko was removed as a member of the Lemurian Fellowship. He went on to start “The World University,” which he originally wanted to locate in Sedona, Arizona, but settled on Tucson. In late 1985, the World University was relocated in Benson, Arizona, an hour or so outside Tucson, to the east.


The Lemurian Fellowship published Dr. Stelle’s book, The Sun Rises, the first of a planned trilogy, in 1952. Dr. Stelle died on March 8, 1952, one night in his sleep. According to some sources [R. Kieninger], he was “bumped off” while astral traveling by “Black Mentalists” who tricked him into not returning to his body. This is supposedly the only way “Black Mentalists” can take you out of incarnation, by influencing you of your own free will to terminate your incarnation and “return” to the Astral Plane. In Richard’s film script of TUF, there is a scene where mischievous astral entities attempt to trick him in the same manner. He does not fall for it, however (This script was registered at the Screen Writers Guild in Hollywood by me in 1984. It was later rejected by Columbia Pictures).


          With Dr. Stelle’s death, the Lemurian Fellowship deteriorated. In June of 1953, Richard and Dorothy became students of the Lemurian Fellowship. Richard was one of two students, he told me once, that was actually allowed to come, physically, to the Ramona campus. Later, they revoked this privilege. The Fellowship brought back into print, An Earth Dweller Returns, theoretically to make money (didn’t they already have enough?). Dr Stelle had explicitly expressed his wish that the book was not to be published by the Lemurian Fellowship. The cottage industries gradually deteriorated and folded, while the lessons changed over the years. The Fellowship withdrew from the world, and for all practical purposes has done little to promote the Great Plan except publish Dr. Stelle’s book and issue its lessons to a select few students. Reynolds G. Dennis was President of the Lemurian Fellowship during this period.




          Ironically, the Stelle Group turned away thousands (?) of people from Stelle over the years that they held control over the city. What other qualification need a person possess to build Stelle other than the desire to do so? That was not enough, claimed The Stelle Group and the Membership Committee. Who held back the growth of Stelle: undesirables or the Stelle Group?


          Unfortunately, certain uncomfortable parallels between the Stelle Group and the Lemurian Fellowship have been pointed out over the last few years. With membership declining in the Stelle Group as well as income, what was the Stelle Group’s response? To become even more exclusive and withdraw, in a similar manner as the Lemurian Fellowship had. Witness the decision of the Stelle Group last year to have their New Year’s celebration for Stelle Group Members and special guests only, while general residents of the community had to have their own separate celebration (I was in Australia at the time). Another example of exclusivity was the attempt at a newsletter for Stelle Group members only. What else had the Stelle Group to offer? Exclusive tickets to an airlift?


          Did this encourage more membership in the Stelle Group? Their own statistics on membership, tithes, and applications for membership will answer that question. Certain acts and proposals of the Stelle Group were more acts of desperation to gain more membership than to implement Dr. Stelle’s, and theoretically the Lemurian Brotherhood’s wishes to develop a city in the heartland of the United States, based on Lemurian Economics and Higher Principles.


          Will the Stelle Group go the way of the Lemurian Fellowship? It seemed as if they were headed that way, though recent decisions within the group may have reversed that trend. Did Dr. Stelle want elitist, dictatorial organizations named after him, ala Reynolds G Dennis? Probably not. After all, one Lemurian Fellowship is enough. Dr. Stelle’s major concern, according to Zitko himself, was to build an industrially strong city based on Lemurian Economics and Philosophy near Chicago. An organization with his very name attached to it, has, apparently, frustrated that reality for many years. Yet, to Richard’s own credit (and the Stelle Group’s), he spent a great deal of effort to bring this city into being. One can not help but wonder where will the Stelle Group, Stelle, and the Great Plan go from here?