Dis-connected Consciousness


On February 21, 2022, Connecting Consciousness founder, Simon Parkes issued an email to the entire UK midlands membership of his organisation in which he alleged – on three separate occasions – that I was a liar. I subsequently requested, through Simon’s lawyer, that he either provides proof of his allegations, or retracts his statement and apologises for his libellous behaviour.

Simon has clearly been unable to provide the proof that would support his assertions. Despite this, he’s also elected not to apologise. This has left me with no choice but to take steps to defend my own good name and reputation. I will use this, my own platform to do so.

So, what drove the founder of a self-proclaimed ‘grass-roots’ spiritual organisation to not only sack one of his unpaid volunteer area coordinators, but to subsequently issue a defamatory email to hundreds of members, in which he denounces that widely-supported and highly-valued volunteer as a liar?


In November, 2021 I was delighted to be appointed to the role of Lincolnshire Coordinator with the Connecting Consciousness (CC) organisation, founded by Simon and Becky Parkes.

CC describes itself as a ‘…grass roots spiritual organisation’.

https://www.connecting-consciousness.org/en/welcome

On February 18th, I was called to a meeting with Simon Parkes, at which I was sacked. As Simon has subsequently issued certain communications that infer wrong-doing – undeed unlawful behaviour – on my part, I write this to set records straight.

Therefore, in the interest of transparency and public record, what follows is a verifiable chronology of events that led to my termination, along with examples of subsequent communications.

I have not sought to embellish the contents with unnecessary commentary or opinion, and I make no effort to generate a point of view. As with all things, I expect readers of this post to use their own discernment.


On February 2, CC co-founder, Becky Parkes, posted an edict on the CC Skype platform, instructing that a protocol be introduced into subsequent CC meetings:

Dear all, this has been created by the US team and I would like it to be read out at the start of every meeting whether hosted by a coordinator , SGL or event host. It very nicely sets the scene / mood for the meetings.

“This is a reminder that a key part of each of our role as members of Connecting Consciousness is to create safe and sacred spaces for members to meet, interact, and have open dialogue.

This space is friendly, honest, and embracing. We encourage members to do their own research and to engage in healthy and respectful debate, but let’s avoid argument. We are here to support each other.

To maintain positive energy and a welcoming space, belittling one another, name calling, and spreading misinformation about CC members, leaders, and volunteers is never acceptable.

Personal information shared at gatherings is confidential. This means that all members will agree not to divulge any personal information (other than their own) shared at gatherings with anyone…including spouses, friends, colleagues or other CC members who were not at that gathering.

We can be living as we long for the world to be…with respect and caring for all…regardless of differences.

Please refer to the CC Code of Conduct for more information.”

I opposed such a protocol, and as it followed others that I understood from individuals’ feedback did not sit well with many members, I aired my concerns within my February Coordinator’s Report. This was dated February 7:

Concerns

As highlighted above, attendance to our weekly Zoom meetings has declined markedly. This may be a reflection of the disappointment felt by many over the apparent back-peddling of the so-called ‘White Hats’, despite the increasing collateral damage to individuals’ lives. However, it also coincides with a number of recent CC initiatives.

One such initiative has been the introduction of Spiritual Topics across the organisation. Whilst this has been well-received by many, the resulting decline in meeting attendance should not be ignored. However well-meaning the topics may be, it concerns me that some members may be uncomfortable with the introduction of doctrines to an organisation that declares itself as undogmatic.

A more recent ‘top-down’ initiative that appears to have come from the USA is the instruction for the CC Code of Conduct to be read out to members prior to each meeting. Please note that I, as coordinator, will not be doing complying with this ordinance.

In joining Connecting Consciousness, I and those members I represent agreed to abide by a Code of Conduct. I have considerable respect for my members and trust them to uphold high standards of behaviour, without the need for further reminders. Indeed, I consider such an edict to be unwelcoming and belittling – in direct contravention of the code itself.

I hope that I will be entrusted to deal with any issues on an individual basis, as and when they arise, rather than demean all members by seeking to constantly remind them how to behave at every meeting.

It concerns me greatly that such ordinances, originating in the USA, are being foisted onto our own members. Middle England is not Middle America. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is inappropriate here and may well have a highly detrimental effect, not only on our membership numbers and engagement, but also the character of the organisation as a whole.

The following day, I received the following email from CC founder, Simon Parkes:

Dear Steve,

I was rather concerned to receive your email.

What do you mean by doctrine? Please explain.

No-one has ever asked you to read out the Code of Conduct at meetings.

You say that your meetings have declined, partly because of more spiritual topics. This is a spiritual organisation and if Lincolnshire CC members are only interested in intel then I suggest they join Whiplash.

Of grave concern to me are your words that you won’t be complying.

Although you are not required, indeed, no coordinator is required to read out the Code of Conduct. By writing to the Founder of CC via Eddi (apparently you asked for it to be forwarded) In don’t see why you’re still a member of CC because you are telling me that you won’t do something that I never even asked you to do.

Now, I am very happy to Skype / zoom with you to discuss this, or take your resignation, whichever you prefer.

All the very best

Simon

I replied to Simon the same day:

Simon,

First of all, whilst I’m happy to discuss those points I raised in my report face to face, given that your immediate response was to invite my resignation, I’m not sure whether it would achieve anything. My concerns were raised in all good faith, and for these to have solicited such a response is, quite frankly, disappointing.

I acknowledge that you were concerned by my comments – this mirrors my own view on those points I raised, which is why I headed that section of my report ‘Concerns’. Had I been unconcerned or apathetic about the apparent dwindling numbers, or how that may relate to those recent initiatives that I pointed out, I would not have bothered to comment. But that’s not my style. If I see something that I consider to be worthy of note, then I’ll speak out. Perhaps you ought to value such a forthright attitude in those working on your behalf.

I recognise that you’ve been attacked of late, but I am not your attacker. Indeed, I’m one of your volunteers, devoting several hours each day, unpaid, toward what I consider to be a worthwhile cause. As [the England Coordinator] will attest, my performing this role comes at a price to me in terms of my well-being, due to issues that I’ve dealt with all of my life. I’ve accepted this, regardless. What drives me is my commitment to my members, and my wish to do what I can to enhance their experience of CC.

My role – and that of your other coordinators – allows me to be an intermediary between yourselves and your members. As such, I’m in a position to assess member’s reactions to those initiatives you introduce. Where I feel it necessary to provide feedback – whether that be positive or negative – I’ll do so … and have done so since accepting the role in November last year.

You queried my use of the term ‘doctrine’. If you read my previous reports, you’ll note that I’ve given positive feedback regarding the monthly topics. My inclusion of the subject in my February report centres on their introduction coinciding with a marked decline in member engagement. You’ll note that I’m unable to draw a definite conclusion, but view this as worthy of comment. In order to express my misgivings I’ve taken CC’s assertion of being an ‘undogmatic’ organisation – one free from tenets, beliefs and ideologies – and shown that some members may perceive the introduction of obligatory ‘instruction’ to be … tenets, beliefs and ideologies. I’m not suggesting, either way. I’m simply asking the question, as one concerned that this may be impacting on attendance. You could say I’m adopting an empathic approach, trying to understand members’ unspoken views in light of a troubling trend.

I did not state that meeting numbers had declined because of spiritual topics. I began by stating:

“As highlighted above, attendance to our weekly Zoom meetings has declined markedly. This may be a reflection of the disappointment felt by many over the apparent back-peddling of the so-called ‘White Hats’, despite the increasing collateral damage to individuals’ lives. However, it also coincides with a number of recent CC initiatives.”

On the matter of the recent directive relating to meetings, Becky’s Skype post of last Wednesday, 11:09, stated:

Dear all, this has been created by the US team and I would like it to be read out at the start of every meeting whether hosted by a coordinator , SGL or event host. It very nicely sets the scene / mood for the meetings.

This is a reminder that a key part of each of our role as members of Connecting Consciousness is to create safe and sacred spaces for members to meet, interact, and have open dialogue.

This space is friendly, honest, and embracing. We encourage members to do their own research and to engage in healthy and respectful debate, but let’s avoid argument. We are here to support each other.

To maintain positive energy and a welcoming space, belittling one another, name calling, and spreading misinformation about CC members, leaders, and volunteers is never acceptable.

Personal information shared at gatherings is confidential. This means that all members will agree not to divulge any personal information (other than their own) shared at gatherings with anyone…including spouses, friends, colleagues or other CC members who were not at that gathering.

We can be living as we long for the world to be…with respect and caring for all…regardless of differences.

Please refer to the CC Code of Conduct for more information“.

Whilst this isn’t the Code of Conduct per se, it is a reminder that such must be adhered to. I therefore stand by my response to this, contained in my report:

In joining Connecting Consciousness, I and those members I represent agreed to abide by a Code of Conduct. I have considerable respect for my members and trust them to uphold high standards of behaviour, without the need for further reminders. Indeed, I consider such an edict to be unwelcoming and belittling – in direct contravention of the code itself.”

I’ve raised these concerns to prompt thought and adult debate – not trigger a backlash, nor a call to resign.

I can assure you that Lincolnshire’s members are not focussed on intel. One glance at the Telegram Chat Page – [Link attached] – will serve to show that members’ focus is on support for one another and raising collective vibrations. It will also show that since December, when I introduced the group page, my members have, without exception, adhered fully to the code of practice pinned to that page. I therefore re-assert that constant reminders on how members should behave are unnecessary and, in my view, derogatory.

Whilst I accept that I may be considered fortunate, and that some coordinators have experienced difficulties with disruptive members, I refuse to tar my members with a brush which should be reserved for the minority. I have had occasion to take one member to task concerning an unacceptable outburst during a meeting, and following discussion with other coordinators, I dealt with the matter swiftly, discretely and effectively. I needed no top-down edict to do so. I was untrusted with the task and carried it out to the very best of my abilities. I would like to believe that I may continue to be entrusted with using my own initiative in such matters.

I trust I’ve clarified my views here. Yes, I’m happy to discuss these concerns if such would be constructive. However, should you continue to hold the view that my airing such concerns, and asking that they be escalated to CC’s policy-makers is unacceptable and warrants my resigning my position, then please let me know and you shall have it. Should such be the case, be assured that my approach to this matter will be strictly confidential. I have no wish to cause dissent or disharmony.

Kind regards,

Steve Wand

The following day saw a scheduled England Coordinator’s Meeting, hosted by the main England Coordinator. During the meeting, we were given the opportunity to air any concerns, and I repeated those within my report. I also described the content of Simon’s subsequent email and declared that, as coordinators, we should be concerned by his attitude. The other coordinators, agreed with my stance and shared my views.

I subsequently received the following support from other coordinators, within private messages through Telegram:

Hi Steve. I really appreciated you speaking up tonight and so glad you didn’t resign there are plenty of challenges ahead And we need you. If you ever need a friendly chat with another coordinator my number is [No. supplied]. I hope it’s not been too stressful for you. Most of us have had a wrist slap at some point. You are obviously doing lots of good work. Coordinators do need to support each other sometimes. I really respected what you said and did tonight Steve. Lots of love xxx

This further message of support also suggested that an unhealthy culture exists within CC:

Hi Steve. Thank you for the email you sent out. You have expressed it in such a clear way. I am responding here though because I have attempted to do the same in the past and it was not dealt with in a healthy way. In some ways I think it is important that it is a man doing this – to help Simon. I hope it will because, as you say, there is still much work to do and the organisation has the potential to be a great force for good. Thank you. I think [the protocols are] more about fear and the constraints and responsibilities of running a large org! Simon has shut down any dissention before and I expressed that it was a shame but was not supported in that. I too highly value what S &B have done and the vision for it. I pray they have the right people around them going forward.

On February 11, the main England Coordinator emailed the nation’s regional coordinators with the following update:

Hi all,

In light of the feedback from the England team during this Wednesday’s England Coordinators meeting, I have spoken to Becky Parkes and she is open to suggestions for rewording the piece that she put in the Skype Notifications Group recently for Coordinators to read at the beginning of CC meetings, and where it would be best to put or use it. Becky says it doesn’t have to be read out at every meeting necessarily, but the amended and approved version would have to be in a written form somewhere, for examples whether on Mighty Networks, Telegram or in newsletters once a month, or in CC Zoom meeting invitations, etc.

This is the piece that is being referred to:

“Dear all, this has been created by the US team and I would like it to be read out at the start of every meeting whether hosted by a coordinator , SGL or event host. It very nicely sets the scene / mood for the meetings.

This is a reminder that a key part of each of our role as members of Connecting Consciousness is to c   reate safe and sacred spaces for members to meet, interact, and have open dialogue.

This space is friendly, honest, and embracing. We encourage members to do their own research and to engage in healthy and respectful debate, but let’s avoid argument. We are here to support each other.

To maintain positive energy and a welcoming space, belittling one another, name calling, and spreading misinformation about CC members, leaders, and volunteers is never acceptable.

Personal information shared at gatherings is confidential. This means that all members will agree not to divulge any personal information (other than their own) shared at gatherings with anyone…including spouses, friends, colleagues or other CC members who were not at that gathering.

We can be living as we long for the world to be…with respect and caring for all…regardless of differences.

Please refer to the CC Code of Conduct for more information.”

Please let us know by response to this email your suggestions of how we might proceed with rewording this going forwards.

Thank you and have a great weekend.

Kind regards.

I responded to this the following day, February 12:

Hi,

Thanks for your valued update – and for taking coordinators’ shared concerns to Becky and Simon.

I’m sure you would agree that we, in the East and West Midlands sections of CC are blessed with a group of amazing, interesting, well-grounded and (in the main) well-behaved individuals. I realise not all areas are so fortunate. That said, given that Becky and her team have updated the CC Code of Conduct in January, I suggest that this revised document is emailed to all members across the board. Indeed, this revision provides an ideal opportunity to reinforce such standards.

May I strongly suggest, however, that we resist the urge to have members sign or acknowledge their agreement, for such is the domain of corporations and contracts. But perhaps the mailshot may be worded in a manner which makes it clear that, unless specific objections are received, agreement to abide by the CofC will be implied. Such a move will serve to provide the reminder that Becky considers to be necessary, and will negate the necessity for further, verbal or written reiterations.

I recognise that we coordinators may be faced with taking individual members to task, on occasion, but such actions may be conducted on an individual basis, tactfully and discretely – as indeed you may recall I needed to do with one member in December. I, for one, would far rather be entrusted to act in such a manner, than to seek to question the integrity of all my members through statements such as that which has been proposed.

I must add that I continue to have serious issue with the statement created by the US team. We ought to be mindful that our membership includes like-minded souls who joined CC having viewed its mission statement and ideals. As such, reminders that ‘belittling one another, name calling and spreading misinformation about [others]’ is, I consider, unnecessary and condescending.

And here’s the reality: Constant reminders such as this will do no more to prevent occasional bad behaviour (from those so inclined), than a robust health and safety policy in the workplace prevents accidents from occurring. The reasons for this are the same in both cases. We’re dealing with people, and human nature is a fickle thing. I therefore stand resolutely by my assertion that I find it distasteful to have to tar everyone with a brush which should be reserved for a tiny minority – and only ever used when warranted.

I sincerely hope this helps to put this matter to bed.

Kind regards,

Steve

The subject was raised again on February 16, when one of the other coordinators offered alternative wording to the protocol:

Hi all,

Myself and —— have made a few suggested changes to the piece as below – we also agree with the other Co-ordinators that emailing this out to the membership at regular intervals as opposed to reading it out would be a preferred option.

“This is for us to know that a key part of each of our role as members of Connecting Consciousness is to create a safe and sacred space for members to meet, interact, and have open dialogue. This space is friendly, honest, and embracing. We encourage members to engage in healthy and respectful debate and to do their own research. We are here to support each other.

To maintain positive energy and a welcoming space, we can connect in a respectful way with CC members, leaders, and volunteers. We all know the ill-effects from being on the receiving end of belittling, name-calling, or hearing that misinformation has been spread about us and so we can aim to let others finish what they are saying, acknowledge we can have a different opinion and maintain confidentiality.

For personal information shared by others at gatherings, all members will agree not to divulge without express permission with anyone, including to spouses, friends, colleagues or other CC members who were not at that gathering. We can live as we long for the world to be, with respect and caring for all, whilst acknowledging our differences.”

With kindest regards.

This move, although well-meaning, was unfortunate as it missed the point of our shared objections, namely that such protocols, however they were worded, were unnecessary and demeaning. I considered that it weakened our argument. On Thursday, February 17 I therefore emailed all the coordinators with my response to this:

Hi Everybody,

First of all, the text that ——- and ——- have compiled is excellently written and appears to express the points that the author(s) of the original wished to make.

All that aside – and I’ll try to be brief, as I think I’ve adequately expressed my views on this issue – we’re dealing with people. There are those who (I consider) comprise the vast majority, and who, as it’s in their nature to do so, already embrace these sentiments and far more besides. And there are some others who perhaps aren’t so steadfast in this regard; those who – despite repeated encouragement to the contrary, will on occasion demonstrate poor judgement. In short, they’ll make errors in their behaviour. And that’s where we come in as coordinators and moderators.

To continue the point raised in my previous email, during my time working on a local oil refinery, we introduced numerous measures to prevent slips, trips and falls – the number-one cause of lost-time incidents in that workplace. We invested in state-of-the-art work boots, anti-slip mats for work stations and targetted training. We printed posters etc., etc. Did this prevent slips, trips and falls? No, of course not. People will sometimes foul up – irrespective of those measures taken to prevent such events.

We have a code of conduct. All members receive this. Will repeated calls for compliance prevent errors of judgement? Again, of course not. Indeed, I believe such measures will be counter-productive.

I will not seek to alienate the majority in order to try to prevent the unpreventable. In short, I’ll not be reading out any such statement should I be called to do so. If this places me on a collision course with those who seek to introduce such measures, then so be it. I sincerely hope it doesn’t as there’s much for me to do here on their behalf, and I’m up for the task. As are we all. None of us knows what lies ahead, but we can be sure we’ll need to be strong in our resolve and in our commitment to serve our members in the best way we can, going forward – even if that means resisting adverse or self-defeating ordinances right now.

During the past two years we’ve all been forced to endure constant coercion, manipulation and attacks on our sovereignty. It’s therefore essential that our meetings remain free from such an atmosphere.

I’ll close with comments made to me recently by one of my members – comments that I know full well are shared by others in my group:

“The CC group zoom meetings should be a relaxed weekly event to give members chance to chat as every day life in our world can be so restricted as far as conversation goes. Once they brought the protection prayer in things started to change adding red tape, and honestly a protection prayer can be done by the host prior to the meeting starting, many of us if not all of us are spiritually aware enough to do these things without the need to be told but that’s just my opinion.

I have my crystals around my home and I wear crystals and honestly I feel a little uncomfortable with all the new protocol at the beginning of the meetings. I feel like I’m back at school and that triggers me at my age of 55 but I have to do it to be involved in the meeting so have the choice of accept it or not attend the meetings.

… after all it’s about us being sovereign beings and not being controlled by anyone who sees themselves superior to us. We are all equal.”

The writer of this piece has been a CC member far longer than I have. But, in the short time I’ve been involved with CC, I too have seen it begin to take on a character that wasn’t there at the beginning. Perhaps it’s time to reflect on this, and on how we can continue to provide the very thing that drew our members to CC in the first place.

If something isn’t broken, fixing it is unnecessary.

Kind regards,

Steve

This latest email then prompted a request that I join the overall England Coordinator and Simon Parkes in a Zoom meeting, scheduled for Friday evening, February 18. I attended the meeting, during which my appointment was terminated, my connections to CC servers and databases severed, and my CC membership, and that of my wife was cancelled.

Having spent many years in a corporate environment, and witnessed the actions of what I considered to be unscrupulous individuals, I recognised that, by his actions, Simon Parkes had sought to silence me in order to suppress truth and control the ensuing narrative.

I then drafted a response to this, detailing the meeting’s discussion and outcome, and on Monday, February 21, after first of all giving CC two opportunities to explain why my membership and that of my wife had been cancelled, I emailed it to all England coordinators:

Good day, everyone.

Re: Concerns aired during the England Coordinators’ Meeting

I feel I ought to give you an important update to the above, ongoing matter. You will note, first of all, that this email is being sent from my personal email address. The reason for this will quickly become evident.

Having initially aired my concerns in all good faith within my February coordinator’s report, I was given the opportunity to discuss these issues in an open forum, namely the England Coordinator’s Meeting. We have continued this discussion – again openly and in accordance with good practice – through a number of subsequent emails. You will recall from both the meeting and emails that many of you shared my concerns and, indeed, supported me in my stance.

On Friday (18th), Simon took it upon himself to withdraw this issue from an open forum, and address the matter of my objection to certain protocols within a closed meeting, in which only he, Eddi and I were present. I was given the opportunity to say whether I would be prepared to comply with the protocols, to which I replied that I would not. Here’s how the conversation went:

Simon: ‘Are you saying that you’re not prepared to read out any such statement?’

Me: ‘Not if I believe it contravenes CC’s own code and standards.’

Simon: ‘Then I don’t want you in my organisation.’

Me: ‘I’m not challenging your authority, but I am questioning your judgement in this one issue. None of us are infallible, and I think you’re wrong here.’

Simon: ‘Why would I want anyone in my organisation who questions my judgement?’

Simon then went on to compare my attitude with that of a Boy Scout who refuses to obey an instruction from Baden Powell (the scouts’ founder). This was ironic. For unbeknown to Simon, he was speaking to a Scout; one who was invested into scouting in 1969, had been a scout throughout his teens and went on to become a scout leader; a guy who was told at age eleven that ‘once a scout, always a scout’.

Simon was questioning the integrity of one who, as a boy, pledged to uphold for life a sacred promise and its code of conduct – for this vow has been my mainstay for my whole life, imparting a sound moral compass and a cast-iron ethical code that allows no compromises.

It was a code that led to my confrontation with a man who quickly revealed himself to be a dishonourable hypocrite; a man who publicly applauds those who refuse to comply with unethical mandates and who choose to stand in their truth, while being intolerant of such individuals within his organisation.

Therein lies the truth behind Simon Parkes. And truth will out. It always does.

Simon then closed the meeting abruptly. There was no word of thanks for the four months freely-given service, and not even a ‘goodbye’.

Furthermore, my connection to the CC database and email system were severed within minutes. I was denied the opportunity to apologise to my members for being unable to continue to serve them, or to assure them that I would do all I could to facilitate a seamless transition and continuation of service. Not once did Simon stop to consider those CC members who would be affected by my termination.

In addition, not only was my own membership to CC terminated, but that of my wife, too. Neither she nor I have done anything wrong. I have since asked why this was done, but have not been given the courtesy of a reply. What sort of spiritual organisation acts in such a manner?

It appears that my refusal to comply with an edict I firmly believe to be hypocritical and contrary to CC’s own mission statement and standards, is unacceptable to Simon. It is now apparent that what he required of me, and indeed all of you, was blind obedience. This, of course, was something I was not prepared to give.

So, what is it about the protocols that causes me such offence?

You have all seen Becky’s draft statement, to be read out in CC’s meetings, both virtual and in-person. Spend a few minutes re-reading this … and now, here’s a few extracts from the Coordinator’s Guide:

‘Attitude is an important part of how we treat our members … we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can control is our attitude.’

‘Our attitude towards members is the main element of service which forms a lasting memory of their dealings with us. Courtesy, friendliness, helpfulness, a smile – those are the elements of service that make a warm welcome.’

‘Create a space for others to feel comfortable and relaxed to speak and take part in the conversation.’

‘Listen with an open mind and avoid prejudice.’

It appears that my resolve to adhere to CC’s own codes, and to avoid prejudice, i.e. abstain from pre-judging, anticipating or pre-empting members’ behaviour, is unacceptable to the organisation’s founder. Simon’s attitude toward me, his utter disdain, and his complete disregard for the feelings and views of the Lincolnshire members (all of who continue to support me and remain my friends), lays bare Simon’s true nature and that of his organisation.

During our brief meeting, I saw beyond the facade, beyond CC’s flimsy window dressing, and what I saw was shabby, devoid of spirituality and possessing of an odour that was both unwholesome and indefinable. I also witnessed the actions of an unscrupulous, insecure narcissist.

Simon has made it clear on numerous occasions that Connecting Consciousness is HIS organisation, and you all are HIS coordinators. Friday night’s meeting made it clear that you are all expected to comply with whatever directive Simon wishes to impose and your refusal to do so will be dealt with swiftly and surgically. Indeed, I was sacked to ensure that YOU remain silent.

That said, here’s food for thought: Cult expert, Dr Steven Hassan created what he called a ‘BITE Framework’ – Behaviour, Information, Thought, Emotional – in which he listed several key elements that combine to define a cult. These include:

· Authoritarian control

· Discouragement of individualism

· Promotion of ‘group think’

· Imposition of rigid rules and regulations

· Instil dependency and obedience

· Instil black and white thinking

· Encouragement of ‘good and proper’ thoughts

Finally, as we’ve all devoted a great deal of our time to enhance the membership experience of our members, I’ll let my members have the final word:

Absolutely devastated to lose you Steve.’

You were excellent for the role and carried it out with care and love. I am sorry that Simon has taken this stance and I feel in this instance he has made a huge mistake and I for one will miss your passion and integrity.’

Sorry to lose you Steve, you made me feel most welcome at the last meet up.’

I’m so sorry to hear that. I’ve always felt that you were a good and encouraging coordinator, even though I don’t comment much, I always read the chat and I think you will be a big loss to CC. Although I don’t know the circumstances, you stood up for your beliefs and that’s a credit to you. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet you x

Sorry to hear your news Steve. I enjoyed our meet up in Lincoln. So glad we had our zoom call Monday night. Come find me if you ever come this way as I know you have family near me x

I just can’t believe it you were absolutely brilliant as coordinator, to say I feel absolutely devastated, I’m not sure if I now want to belong to CC.’

I’ve just caught up on the group chat! I can’t believe this has happened! Steve you are such a brilliant coordinator, please let us all stay in touch, I’d rather be together out of CC than cut off from you in CC. Your honestly, caring nature and integrity shine through you, so I too think Simon has made a big mistake. This is indeed sad news.’

I have to say I am not impressed at this development. I have a very arched eyebrow at the moment that may stay arched moving forward.

That’s sad Steve, I don’t really know you but I felt your heart and liked your energy. Keep shining your light and well done for not compromising your authenticity.’

Please be assured that I write this, not out of malice or vindictiveness, but I feel that this matter lays bare vital truths of which you should be aware.

I thank you for your support, your valued friendship and kind comments, and wish you nothing but the best.

Kind regards,

Steve

One particular statement in the above email is worth repeating … for reasons that will soon become clear:

Simon has made it clear on numerous occasions that Connecting Consciousness is HIS organisation, and you all are HIS coordinators. Friday night’s meeting made it clear that you are all expected to comply with whatever directive Simon wishes to impose and your refusal to do so will be dealt with swiftly and surgically. Indeed, I was sacked to ensure that YOU remain silent.

I sent the above email, with its dire warning to my former colleagues during the morning of February 21. Only a few hours later, the coordinator for England’s large East Midlands region attended a scheduled meeting with the England Coordinator. At the meeting’s outset, my colleague – with who I’d previously worked closely due to the geography of our two areas – was assured that the meeting was not a disciplinary, and her position was secure. She was thus put at ease.

She was then invited to comment on my sacking. In answer to this direct question, she openly and honestly expressed her disapproval of my treatment and voiced her own support for my stance regarding the Parkes’ edicts. The meeting ended amicably with no hint of what was to come.

Later that day, my colleague – a dedicated and hard-working coordinator, respected and much-loved by her members – received an email from the England coordinator informing her she too was being dismissed. It was clear that her dismissal was due to her endorsing those same values that led to my own termination.

What was now two sackings had left CC members in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland without the support of a coordinator.

This move was a clear retaliation by CC’s founder, Simon Parkes to any opposition to his absolute authority. It was immediately followed by his following message, issued to all CC members of the East Midlands and Lincolnshire regions:

Dear all,

Just to let you know that Becky was thrown off the East Midlands CC telegram group, which shows everybody what’s going on.

Following an unpleasant letter to Eddi, relating to me, from Steve Wand, I will be passing this whole matter to Jake Rudman, my Barrister who will deal with it.

Anybody who wishes to take the same position as Steve Wand is clearly not a member of CC, but is a member of Steve Wand’s private group, and obviously has no role within CC.

I have taken the courtesy to inform Steve Wand that legal proceedings are being taken against him, as I think this is only the fair thing to do. Obviously when this is in the hands of my lawyers, I will not be commenting, it will be purely a matter between Steve’s lawyers and my lawyers, and any Court case that may come from it.

What a terrible shame that this has occurred at the very moment when humanity is fighting for its freedom in many Countries, this distraction should happen. I won’t tolerate a senior member of CC being thrown off what was still a CC telegram group (at this point it was still advertised as a CC East Midlands telegram group). The only two admins who were on that group who could have removed Becky were either Debs Bruton or Jacqueline Reynard. As Jacqueline has already thrown her support behind Steve Wand, it’s fairly obvious who was responsible. Last night, Jacqueline was removed from her position within CC, and as a member. This was brought about after a conversation between herself and Eddi when it became apparent to Eddi that Jacqueline was clearly associated with Steve Wand’s position. Interestingly, therefore, that first thing this morning Becky found that she had been removed from the telegram group. The independent telegram group, which was originally set up by Debs and Becky as the official East Midlands CC group is now no longer a CC group, although I understand with a name change it is still running. Any members who participate in this group, knowing full well that it has been hijacked from CC, will obviously not be members of CC.

If you wish to get updates on the legal situation between my legal team and Steve, then I suggest you approach Steve Wand personally.

Simon

Simon issued a further email to midlands members. In this rambling diatribe he alleged that I was a liar:

Dear Midlands CC members,

From Simon….

You may have seen by now another rant from Steve Wand. As to be expected, it’s all totally mis-represented verging on downright lies. Fortunately in my discussion with Steve, when I told him to leave CC, the England coordinator was also a witness. For the record, when I asked Steve if he would refuse to read out the amended statement which from time to time coordinators feel the need to read out when they have challenging members, he said that he would refuse to do so. I asked him, ‘Are you refusing to read this out, because you think you are so spiritual and your members are so spiritual that they don’t need it?’.

His reply was ‘Yes’.

This set all my alarm bells ringing, and I further asked him. ‘What happens then when next week you get a new member who does cause issues? And because there is no statement can legitimately say “Well you never told me”?’.

It’s a shame that Steve wanted to become so challenging. I asked him why CC should be different from any other group in relation to requiring some rules. I told him that because he was refusing a reasonable request from me, and because he said he did not respect my judgement, I could no longer have him in CC. Indeed I asked him why he was even in the organisation when his views were so opposed to CC’s make-up.

I asked him to consider the role of the Boy Scouts movement, and one of the Boy Scout leaders refusing to carry out a reasonable request, or the Ford motor company employee refusing also. And where did he think it would end?

CC is a voluntary organisation, but that does not mean that there can be no rules. It does not mean every coordinator can do what they like. Coordinators actually have a great deal of freedom. I wonder what Steve would have done if he had stayed in the organisation and been offered a paid contract. Would he have argued the conditions around his wages? We will never know because he is no longer a member of CC.

There is a big difference between a Coordinator, or member for that matter, wanting a spiritual debate with me, and a coordinator / member who wilfully refuses a reasonable instruction from the Founder of our organisation. To be clear, I did not ask Steve to take a long walk on a short pier, or to do anything that would work against him or CC. I asked him, through my coordinators, to do what everyone else is already doing, but he refused.

Having read his email to you all, I can tell you that the key section in regards to me removing him from CC has been mis-represented by him. What he has written is a categorical lie. I would never, and have never, made any decision that hurts CC, and if he persists in this then I will take reasonable steps to ensure the truth is heard.

If any member or coordinator wishes to discuss this with me, I’m actually very happy to do so. If any member receives any communication from Steve Wand, bear in mind that Steve is no longer a coordinator or a member of CC, and anything he writes no longer has the authority of a CC coordinator or member.

Recently the coordinators and I have noticed an upturn in these attacks against me and our organisation. Some of you may know that last year I took two such individuals to the High Court in London to sue them because of what they had written and said about me. There was a 2 day hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, when all of these two individuals allegations were laid before the Court. At the end of the 2 day hearing the Judge, having made his decision, threw the defendants case out. In other words I won on all points. The matter of them paying significant damages to me will be heard at a later trial.

The reason I bring this up, is to share with you all, that there are people out there who, for whatever reason, normally jealousy and / or ego, set themselves above the high values of CC (both the defendants I sued were members of CC), and their sole intention was to damage all that we hold dear, while themselves standing on a fake platform of supposed truth.

Returning to the Court Case, the documents that my legal team obtained showed without question that those defendants were, in their own words, “out to get me”. Of course, those documents were made available to the Judge. Again, I am bringing this to everyone’s attention because paid agents or people with huge egos are not going to be truthful and tell us that they are ‘out to get me’. They will say they are seeking the truth. I sought the truth in a Court of Law and won, I don’t waste time in trial by social media.

What would be the point of CC having it’s senior Founder weak-willed, incapable of defending himself, or of the very organisation he created?

My dear friends, there a number of people with enormous egos who don’t want to create their own projects, they would rather steal away that which has already been created. Ultimately, everyone will choose what they think is the right narrative, however you can be sure that the white hats would not be supporting me and CC if we were in any shape or form anything like the picture that Steve Wand is painting.

I’m sorry to have taken your time with this, but when someone obviously lies as Steve is doing, it has always been my way to get the truth out, just as I did in the Royal Courts of Justice when faced with those two rather unpleasant characters.

All the very best to all of you.

Much strength, much love, much light,

Simon

I am aware that one trait common to narcissists is that they always seek to have the final word. I therefore declined to respond to Simon’s undignified grandstanding and rather ludicrous threat.

A week later I received an emailed letter from Simon Parkes’ lawyer. The lawyer clearly had no wish for his communication to be subjected to public scrutiny, and therefore endorsed it ‘Not for Publication or Dissemination’. I will therefore respect his wishes and resist the temptation to add it here.

This, however, was my response:

Dear Mr —————,

Re: Simon Parkes

I am in receipt of your emailed letter dated February 28 in connection with your above client.

I see that your letter, curiously-marked ‘Urgent’ and ‘Not for Publication or Dissemination’ constitutes what may be termed a ‘gag order’. That said, I find it peculiar that your client, a man who publicly espouses his support for a judicial system based on common law, should seek to utilise the services of a freelance jobbing litigant in a rather clumsy attempt on your part to entrap me into contracting with you under Maritime Law. Such an action suggests – in my considered opinion, of course – duplicity on the part of your client. See also ‘Hypocrite’, below.

Please note, therefore, that as a living, breathing sovereign being of the living soil, I have no contract with either you or your client. Furthermore, I do not consent to contract with you at this time in this, or indeed any other matter.

I will now briefly address those points contained in your document.

Point #1:

I did indeed send an email to fifteen individuals with whom I’d previously communicated in connection with the subject matter. My email contained verifiable facts, and included my own opinions of your client’s character based solely on his actions. This is not a crime.

Point #2:

You refer to a ‘covert’ recording. I shouldn’t need to explain to you that recording a conversation, ‘covertly’ or otherwise, is not a crime. You also state that I had threatened to publish this at a later date. This assertion is incorrect. My email dated February 22, sent to [the England Coordinator] and Rebecca Parkes, actually stated:

I have to warn you that should either you or Simon elect to say one word of a lie about me or [my sacked colleague], or those things that took place within our meetings, then I will release information that I have to hand.’

In that same email I also said:

By all means, do what you must to quell the choppy waters that may be rippling through CC right now. In fact, please do for the sake of the members and stability. But, one lie, one slur, one pointless fabrication to create a narrative and spin a yarn, and I release that which will prove beyond any doubt that, in this matter, Simon has demonstrated poor judgement and acted contrary to his own codes of conduct. Please, don’t push me do that which I’d rather avoid.

This clearly demonstrates that it was not my wish to release information, and any such action would only be in direct response to further slanderous or libellous comments made by your client. This placed your client in control of ensuing events in this regard. No lies, no release. See also ‘Libellous Email of February 21’, below.

The Email:

My email of February 21 headed ‘Concerns aired during the England Coordinator’s Meeting – an update’was sent to exactly fifteen email addresses, not ‘at least 15…’ as suggested in your letter. Your understanding that this somehow constitutes a mailing list is erroneous. All addresses were obtained from emails I’d previously received and/or shared with these individuals.

The mailing lists to which you allude in your letter were no longer accessible by me when writing the email. Your client knows this. Furthermore, the fifteen recipients of my email were not included on the lists to which you refer.

 You state that my email contains ‘numerous false and defamatory allegations’ about your client. You go on to list only three:

That your client runs Connecting Consciousness in an authoritarian manner.

That your client is dishonourable.

That your client is a hypocrite.

I note that no such objection was made to my further assertions that, in my view, your client’s actions were those of an unscrupulous, insecure narcissist. Am I to assume, therefore, that your client concurs with my view?

Later in your letter, under the section ‘Next steps to avoid legal action’, you ask that I retract my assertions. I’ll respond to this request here:

Authoritarian

This term appears in my February 21 email, where I quote an empirical review of those traits typical of a cultish ethos. I make no assertions but simply include this to prompt thought. However, Simon Parkes’ actions clearly demonstrate an ‘authoritarian’ attitude. He sought to unreasonably assert his authority over me to enforce compliance with an unethical edict. These are the facts.

Dishonourable

When accepting the role of coordinator within Connecting Consciousness, I was presented with a ‘Coordinator’s Guide’ containing several codes and standards of behaviour. I also received a ‘coordinator’s pledge’ that I was expected to sign and return. This I did. In doing so I vowed to uphold those codes and standards within the guide. I was unable to agree to Simon Parkes’ subsequent edicts as, to do so, would place me in breach of my former agreement. In other words, by his efforts to coerce me into full compliance, Simon was compelling me to disregard such a pledge and therefore perjure myself. Such are the actions of a man without honour. I therefore stand by my assertion that Simon Parkes acted dishonourably.

Hypocrite

Simon Parkes is on public record as supporting those, such as the Canadian truckers, who refuse to comply with unethical or unlawful mandates and who, instead, stand in their truth as sovereign beings. However, by his actions, he demonstrated that he is intolerant of such individuals in his organisation. These are the actions of a hypocrite. hypocrite: a person who professes beliefs that he does not hold. I therefore stand by my assertion that Simon Parkes acted in a hypocritical manner.

You make reference to Section 1 of the Defamation Act, 2013. May I point out to you that statements, such as those contained in my email, are not defamatory unless their publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant. Be that as it may, any such damage caused to your own client’s reputation in this matter, will be as a direct result of his own conduct, rather than my subsequent and fully-justified commentary.

The ‘Covert’ Recording:

Your letter states: ‘You had no legitimate grounds for making a covert recording …

On the contrary, on February 18 I was called to attend what was clearly to be a virtual disciplinary meeting. Had I been in such a situation within a corporate environment, I would have been extended the right to representation and support. No such rights were offered. It is therefore only reasonable to suggest that, under such circumstances, I would seek to record the ensuing meeting. And as I have already stated, it is not a crime to do so. However, through your use of legalese and reference to various Acts you now seek to silence me. This is curious, and brings me to my next point:

Libellous Email of February 21:

On February 21 your client issued an email to the entire East Midlands and Lincolnshire membership of Connecting Consciousness via the mailing list system referred to previously. I have attached a copy of the email for your information. It begins:

 ‘You may have seen now another rant from Steve Wand.

This opening statement is an error and reveals that your client’s knee-jerk reaction to my own email, addressed to only fifteen coordinators, rather than the entire East Midlands and Lincolnshire membership, demonstrated poor judgement.

In the email, Simon also made three separate allegations that I was a liar. He also went on to give a supposed account of the conversation that occurred between us on February 18, and which led to my sacking. This account is demonstrably false.

Here’s the thing, if Simon’s account of the conversation in his email was accurate, without fabrication or embellishment, then the release of my information would only serve to support his statement and bolster his reputation as a ‘truther’.

However, if Simon’s account had been embellished with fantasy in order to supposedly justify his decision to sack me, then of course he would seek to employ a lawyer and impose a ‘gag order’.

May I strongly suggest that you consult with your client to ascertain the reason for him wishing me to remain silent on this issue. I also urge you to advise your client on the laws appertaining to libel, of which you are, no doubt, fully conversant. For, whereas I have committed no offence, your client has made false accusations against me in a mailshot issued to several hundred (if not thousands) of Connecting Consciousness members.

Next Steps:

As I have already stated here, I have committed no wrong-doing. Those opinions I have expressed, and to which your client has objected, were founded entirely on his own actions and were, in my opinion, fully justified. I do not consent to contract with either you or your client and am answerable to neither of you. If you believe there to be a contract, I challenge you to produce it.

However, as I have already shown, through his injudicious response, your client has repeatedly alleged that I am a liar. I now request and require that your client provides proof of these assertions, or retracts his allegations, and does so within seven days. Failure to comply with my request will result in my feeling justified to take any such action as I deem necessary to defend my good name and reputation, which I consider has been besmirched.

I look forward to receiving your reply, rebuttal or Simon’s written apology without delay, and expect this to be received no later than 4:00pm, Tuesday March 15, 2022; or, if a rebuttal, within three days of the receipt of this communication.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Wand

My letter generated a further response from Simon Parkes’ lawyer. This lacked the requested retraction and apology and was simply a repeat of those threats contained in the previous letter. Like the first, this was also endorsed ‘Not for Publication or Dissemination’. Again, I’ll respect the lawyer’s desire that his letters are not open for examination in a public forum. I, however, have no such misgivings. Here then is my reply:

Dear Mr ————,

Re: Simon Parkes

I acknowledge receipt of your exhaustive reply to my letter of March 3, reference your above client. In response, I’ll sidestep your further disproportionate and long-winded legalese and begin by reiterating previously-stated realities that you have elected to ignore:

Your client has no case against me. Furthermore, I am beholden to neither of you. I do not consent to contract with you, nor do I agree to your repeated and wearying efforts to silence me.

That you should tediously implore me to seek legal help under such circumstances is absurd. I will always continue to speak my truth, and need no legal counsel to do so. Nor will I ever allow the unwarranted machinations and inappropriate abuse of law to hinder me in this regard.

As you ought to be aware, while I speak the truth I cannot be accused of defaming your client. Any damage to his reputation is solely as a consequence of his own actions, not my reporting of them. If your client has issues with such truths, that is his problem, not mine.

Moreover, I am not liable for any costs which your client elects to incur through his own egotistical folly, nor will I ever be. I therefore caution you, do not seek to threaten me with such again.

Recourse to law ought to be a final resort when all other discourse has failed, rather than it being a first port of call – as appears to be your client’s predilection. Whilst I appreciate that your current remit of trying to protect your client’s battered reputation may be a lucrative one, I doubt it holds much by way of job satisfaction … akin perhaps to attempting to create a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

Nevertheless, despite such being an impossible – and inappropriate – task for a lawyer, your client appears willing to finance such an effort. Would his organisation’s generous benefactors be quite so willing to fund such unseemly hubris were his propensity to become common knowledge? I wonder.

Your client’s gross errors of judgement detailed in my previous letter under section headings Libellous Email of February 21 and Next Steps not only cast doubt on his ability to run a spiritual organisation, they warrant correction. My letter to you dated March 3 represented such an opportunity, giving your client seven working days to apologise for besmirching my good name. Regrettably, either through your client’s intransigence or your own misdirection, this possibility has been rejected. Instead, you persist in your attempt to apply a legislative smokescreen to protect your client from his own incompetence.

I have to now inform you that you have failed in your foolhardy endeavour.

In his libellous email of February 21 your client alleged that I was a liar. I must now therefore take whatever action is necessary to defend my good name and reputation, which I consider has been besmirched through your client’s shameful and scurrilous behaviour.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Wand


In the ensuing fall-out following my sacking, and that of my east midlands colleague, two further England coordinators have stepped down.

Connecting Consciousness, meanwhile, continues to proclaim itself as ‘undogmatic, spiritually nourishing, mentally inspiring and emotionally supportive‘. Its founder also continues to use his YouTube channel to publicly declare to the world his support for those who stand in their truth and defy authoritarianism.

Simon Parkes – Founder of Connecting Consciousness