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
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
Zitko took his social novel from
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
Zitko and Stelle worked together on the book for about a year, though Zitko
still resided in
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
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
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.
set up an office in
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
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
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
Eventually, the office in
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 (
An enquiry was sent with An Earth Dweller Returns to the Lemurian
Dr. Stelle, who was in
“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
Dr. Stelle wanted the Ramona estate to begin the foundation of industry for
Dr. Stelle often spoke of wanting to create an industrially strong community
Meanwhile, Zitko would give a Sunday sermon at the Church in
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
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
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
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