I wrote a story about FA for The Everett (Wa.) Herald in 1988 and spent considerable time with Richard Yao and James Luce.
Where are they now?
ED: Thanks for writing, Frank, below is all that I know about Richard Yao. The information has been drawn from Yao's now defunct "Church of Princess Diana website" that I was able to access via the "way back machine" which stores defunct website info! If you find out more anything more about Yao, please let me know! He seems to be keeping himself underwraps, and nobody ever found out who sicked the IRS on him and his organization. The IRS confiscated all of his Fundamentalist Anonymous files, and forced FA into permanent exile.
THE FOUNDER OF THE ORIGINAL "FUNDAMENTALISTS ANONYMOUS" RESURFACES (BRIEFLY)
by Edward T. Babinski
Richard Yao, lawyer, and former fundamentalist Christian, founded the nationwide (U.S.) organization, "Fundamentalists Anonymous" in the 1980s which targeted religious cult leaders and greedy televangelists. Yao wrote, BREAKING FREE and THERE IS A WAY OUT, and edited the Fundamentalists' Anonymous newsletter that kept the group's centers in the major cities of the U.S. connected. He also testified before the U.S. Congress on the dangers that the "fundamentalist mindset" posed for both the political and mental health of a free nation. Religious Right leaders found Yao's organization objectionable though he stressed his group was neither "anti-God," nor "anti-church," but simply anti-fundamentalism.
However, some were displeased enough by the nature of F.A. to suggest that the IRS investigate it, afterwhich all of the files and membership lists of the organization were confiscated and the group ceased to exist. Then in 1999, on the eve of the new millennium, Richard Yao struck back (in a manner of speaking) with the publication of DIANA SPEAKS, a book about alleged afterlife communications he was having with the deceased Princess Diana. The Religious Right condemned DIANA SPEAKS because of its alleged "occult connections" (just as they condemned the Harry Potter series). But the publication of DIANA SPEAKS led to a media blitz for Richard Yao that was reminiscent of his days in the media spotlight during the 1980s when he founded Fundamentalists Anonymous. I suspect that Yao's book, DIANA SPEAKS, was a well intentioned pseudoepigraphical fraud, written in the "spirit" and "name" of Princess Diana in order to gain attention for Yao's basic ideas about peace, love, humanity, and the benefits of living well in THIS life. What makes me think that Yao's book isn't true (but written to promote the IDEAS it contains, which he puts in Diana's mouth), is that I can't believe Yao (who calls himself "Chairman Yao" in the book and whose website, dianaspeaks.org, is named, "The Church of Diana") could ever SERIOUSLY imagine himself in the role of "cult leader," since he spent so much time in the 1980s warning people of the effects of following such leaders. In other words I think he wrote DIANA SPEAKS to parody the fundamentalist mindset, parody millennial fever, infuriate the Religious Right, and also to obtain media exposure for some "this worldly" ideas. Yao let his "Church of Diana" website expire in early 2001 [For those who are interested in the now defunct "Church of Diana," its remains can still be viewed at the following web-archive site: web.archive.org : Diana Speaks
Here are some key quotes from "Chairman Yao's" book that make me suspect it reflected Yao's views and was merely a social science experiment:
"There are no Christians in the United States today. Not the kind that Jesus demanded." --- p. 214, DianaSpeaks
"After you've bought this book, use it as your point of contact to access my healing touch." -- p. 236, DianaSpeaks
Was Yao conducting an experiment on the eve of the millennium to demonstrate how gullible most people are, and perhaps to see how many stories he could collect of people being "healed" by Diana, to contrast such "miracles" with fundamentalist Christian claims? Yet he also kept the book rooted in the here and now, in humane ideals, and had Diana mention the benefits of peace, love, and longevity research. Footnote: The cult of "Princess Diana" has multiple new-age religious offshoots totally unrelated to the publication of Yao's book:
I suspect that Yao's book was written to remind the Religious Right of the gullibility of people who believe in gods and goddesses, but unfortunately, I cannot back up my suspicion with a statement from Yao himself since he has once again vanished into thin air after having ended his latest social experiment and deleted his Diana website in 2001.
I also found the following review of his book at amazon.com that sounds like someone had the same suspicions I did concerning his book:
A DAMN GOOD READ! -- SKEPTIC'S CONFESSION, December 20, 1999 Reviewer:
Jack P. from New York, New York
DIANASPEAKS is a fable -- a parable -- for our age. You don't have to believe it's from Diana. The book can stand quite well on its own merits. As one of my book-critic friends admitted "It's a damn good read!" I'm a skeptic. But I must confess that after reading a book galley of DIANASPEAKS, I can recommend it without reservations to all my fellow skeptics. I haven't been so excited or moved since I read Carlos Castaneda in my youth. We learn from the Princess' mistakes how we could live our lives. How we can transform it overnight. How today is always the day of salvation. DIANASPEAKS articulates a breathtaking new paradigm that makes more sense than anything I know of as we enter the third millennium. I can only call it immortalist. But it is immortalism based on science. And it has the real potential to reconcile science and religion in the next century. This is no ordinary vision. With the collapse of Marxism, and the bankruptcy of globalism, Yaoist Immortalism could become a worldview to reckon with. Maybe this will be the secret to its longevity. Without a vision, the people perish. Chairman Yao shows us the difference between form and substance, between appearance and reality. Does it matter who Carlos Castaneda was? Nope. All that matters was his message. The same can be said about Chairman Yao. An unforgettable pseudonym, stage name, or alter ego. So long as he can give us books like this, I say more power to Chairman Yao!
Visit the NEW "Fundamentalists Anonymous" website
And if Richard Yao is reading this, please email me sometime! I would love to speak with you!
Cheers, Edward T. Babinski (author of LEAVING THE FOLD: TESTIMONIES OF FORMER FUNDAMENTALISTS, Prometheus Books, 2003)
INFORMATION ON YAO'S BOOK FROM HIS NOW DEFUNCT "CHURCH OF DIANA" WEBSITE DIANA SPEAKS by Chairman Yao Publisher: Komintern; Limited Collector's edition (November 26, 1999) ISBN: 9197349356
A DISTURBING ENLIGHTENMENT -- Lucia Dlugoszewski, acclaimed avant-garde composer, poet, and choreographer
SHE (Princess Diana) KNEW SHE HAD HEALING POWER. -- Liz Tilberis, the former editor-in-chief, Harper's Bazaar
AUDACIOUS, PROVOCATIVE, AND POSSIBLY GROUNDBREAKING -- Lars Fimmerstad, Swedish critic & commentator
CHAIRMAN YAO ROCKS! LONG LIVE CHAIRMAN YAO! -- Alexander Bard, European pop star & impresario
"On Thanksgiving Eve, November 26th, 1997, I had a dream....It was about Princess Diana who had died in a car crash in Paris on the 31st of August....I saw Diana on my TV screen. She looked radiant, very much alive, as handsome as ever...she is looking straight at me....'Hello,' she says, 'May I speak to you?'" Thus begins the extraordinary odyssey of Chairman Yao, the exclusive conduit for Princess Diana's messages, who has been thrust into controversy and attacked by the tabloids just like the People's Princess. Believe it or not. But read it and decide for yourself if these messages are from Princess Diana as increasing numbers believe. This is the book the powers that be don't want you to read. Discover her message of hope for you in the new millenium. Tap into her healing powers through this book. Discover your evolutionary and spiritual destiny. Find out how she really died. And what she thinks of Prince Charles and his mistress Camilla. Read her predictions about how we shall conquer Old Age and Death - soon! Marvel as she solves the riddle of Nostradamus' prophecies concerning the New World Teacher - when he will appear, and how we will recognize him.
RELIGIOUS RIGHT SEEKS TO BAN "DIANA SPEAKS" FROM LIBRARIES & SCHOOLS New York -- Just like the late Princess, DIANA SPEAKS: THE UNCENSORED MESSAGES FROM PRINCESS DIANA (NY, Stockholm: Periskop, $39.95) has no lack of admirers, detractors, or controversy. Just as with the bestselling Harry Potter novels, the Religious Right wants to ban DIANA SPEAKS from libraries and schools on the grounds that it is "occult," "anti-Christian," and "subversive." Sources also report Buckingham Palace is "furious" about the book and is "moving to discredit it." Chairman Yao, the spiritual teacher who is the exclusive conduit for Princess Diana's after-death messages, has already been on Roseanne, Philly After Midnight, Wireless Flash News Service, and a host of radio talk shows. And all this buzz before the book's publication date. If one is judged by the quality of one's enemies, then Chairman Yao is doing well indeed. "Don't let a Pat Robertson or a Prince Charles tell you what to read! Make up your own mind by reading this book," the preternaturally youthful and telegenic spiritual master challenges us. "Find out why they're so afraid of this book. Why they want to shoot the messenger." 40% of those who have read DIANASPEAKS in focus groups are so "touched" they "believe or are open to the possibility that it contains authentic messages from the late Princess." Another 42% see the book as "an inspiring modern fable." People who have read DIANA SPEAKS describe it as "enlightenment," "inspiring," "life-changing," "healing," "a must for Diana fans." Even skeptics confess it is "a damn good read." Unsolicited reports of healings and miracles attributed to Princess Diana - beginning with Harper Bazaar's ex-editor Liz Tilberis - are sprouting worldwide. The book DIANA SPEAKS is incurring the wrath of the Religious Right by predicting that
i) Science will conquer aging and death in our lifetime - without Christianity;
ii) Christianity will collapse by 2050;
iii) "The New World Teacher" - predicted by The Buddha - will appear soon (the Religious Right attacks him as "the AntiChrist").
In addition, the book contends that Christianity has betrayed Jesus' original "immortalist" teachings and has become pro-Death. The book's claims that Princess Diana has healing power is offensive to the Religious Right, which wants to retain its monopoly on religious healing. "There are incredible reports of healings emanating from The People's Princess," reports Chairman Yao, the author. "Liz Tilberis was just the first publicized case." (Tilberis, the editor of Harper's Bazaar, caused a media sensation when she credited Diana for her remission from uterine cancer.) Now we have testimonials of healings from around the world. And people are discovering that this book is the way to access the healing power swirling around The People's Princess." In death, Diana has become The People's Princess. DIANA SPEAKS articulates an uncannily powerful, comprehensive, and eloquent critique of The New Economic World Order (market globalism). Not only that, it offers a visionary new paradigm. And invites us to resist this "new order" by a simple but subversive strategy - insisting on taking our time to eat, to walk, and to live. It is a novel form of civil disobedience consistent with the teachings of a Jesus, a Gandhi, or a Thoreau. For aging boomers, good news. DIANA SPEAKS reveals why humanity's evolutionary destiny is to conquer aging and death - in our lifetime. For those with excess baggage, the book tells us how The American Way of Life creates this plague of obesity - and how only a totally different lifestyle can banish it. For students of Nostradamus, there is a provocative exegesis of the seer's prophecies regarding The New World Teacher. It alerts us to when he will appear, gives us tell-tale signs to identify him, and explains how he will teach the world to eat and live - in a sustainable and blissful way.
PRESS REVIEWS "The People's Princess has appeared after her accident exclusively to Chairman Yao..." -- Australian Broadcasting Corp., Radio National
"She's been dead for two years but she's written a book... She's Princess Diana. The person through which she has written a book is Chairman Yao."
-- (Philly After Midnight), top-rated late-night TV talk show in Philadelphia.
"...different from all the immortality-in-the-next-life religions...If you want to stay young in this life, this is it."
-- San Jose Mercury News
"DianaSpeaks...was dictated to (Chairman Yao) by the late Princess (Diana)" and...will instruct readers on 'how to access the amazing healing and acts of grace swirling around her'
-- Gannett News Service
"(T)he book will also reveal...how to stay slim and healthy forever."
-- Cincinnati Enquirer
"She (Princess Diana) knew she had healing power."
-- Liz Tilberis, former editor-in-chief, Harper's Bazaar
"Audacious, provocative, and possibly groundbreaking."
-- Lars Fimmerstad, Swedish critic and commentator
"Chairman Yao rocks! Long live Chairman Yao!"
-- Alexander Bard, European pop star & impresario
Excerpt from chapter one of DIANA SPEAKS
I Will Be Your Guardian Angel. Thanksgiving Eve, November 26th, 1997, I [Chariman Yao] had a dream. A strange dream. It was about Princess Diana who had died in a car crash in Paris on the 31st of August. It was my first dream about the Princess. I don't usually remember my dreams. But when I do, it is usually something dramatic. I remembered this dream because it was like a broken record. I saw Diana on my TV screen. She looked radiant, very much alive, as handsome as ever, as I've seen her before. Unlike news footages where she is looking at someone on the reception line curtseying to her, here she is looking straight at me. She smiles her trademark smile - one which reveals a princess with a touch of vulnerability. "Hello" she says, calling out my name. "May I speak to you?" I was so taken aback. She did not leave the television screen. It was as if the rewind button had been pushed. Once more she said hello and called my name but this time I thought she said "May I speak through you?" "Yeah, sure," I chuckled, confident that I will awaken from this dream momentarily. She nodded. She repeated her question for the third time. Even after my answer in the affirmative. Suddenly I realized she was confirming the understanding between us. When I woke up on
November 27th, Thanksgiving Day, The Diana Dream was still percolating in my brain. I didn't tell anyone about it. Not even my closest friend. I'm good at keeping secrets. All throughout the morning, I felt a desire to race to my computer and start writing. But I had promised myself not to work on holidays. So I resisted. But the more I resisted, the more I felt a most awful migraine coming over me. I don't usually suffer from migraines. So the intensity of this was not only surprising but also disturbing. I thought I was going to have a cerebral haemorrhage. The trip to Thanksgiving dinner required about 90 minutes of driving. I was in no mood to suffer through this long trip. Several times, I was tempted to tell my host for Thanksgiving dinner that I was not going after all. Finally, I found myself on the phone muttering "Okay, I'll do it." My host said "Good, I'm glad you're going." But I was not referring to the trip, I was responding to the question of Diana in the dream: "May I speak through you?" And as soon as I said those words, the migraine disappeared.
November 28th. Day after Thanksgiving. Friday. While most Americans went shopping, I decided to put in a full day of work. I started my computer. As it kicked in, Diana's face appeared on the screen. Luminous, smiling, just as I've seen her many times before. "We're going to start now," she said pleasantly but firmly. I abandoned my computer terminal for a cup of coffee. I never drink coffee. But that morning I needed it. When I returned to my terminal, Diana's image had vanished. First thing on my agenda: finish a long-delayed memorandum. I put my hands to the keyboard. They started typing. The words tumbled out of me as if I were taking dictation. "Greetings to all my dear friends." I tried to stop and erase it. Tried to type in my text, my thoughts. Instead, my fingers continued with a mind of its own. "I didn't know I had so many (friends). Didn't know my little life had touched so many." By now, I could definitely hear her voice. Just as she always sounded to me in life - regal, feminine, but with a hint of demureness. She talked to me, as she did in those TV interviews. Sometimes she would pour herself out in a torrent of words and emotions. Then she would stop. Ask if she was going too fast. Apologize. "I've been trying to break through to you since August 31st," she informed me with a hint of impatience and frustration. August 31st was the day she died. It has been almost three months since. "There are so many channelers out there," I reminded her, trying hard to sound unperturbed. "I know, but you're just right," she explained. "I've considered all the prospects out there, believe me. But I've settled on you. I hope you don't mind helping me out." I was annoyed at this intrusion, this hijacking of my day. But I was brought up to believe in duty. And I have a healthy dose of openmindedness and curiosity. Besides, how does one say no to a princess in distress? One might turn into a frog or something. Looking back, I'm amazed how natural she made it seem. Most people would have freaked, would have run away, would have checked into a shrink's office. It is not natural, not rational, not explainable. But I didn't want to leave her. Especially her voice. That soothing, seductive voice. I wanted to keep hearing that voice. And I wanted to see that face again. So I decided to carry out my side of the bargain. Besides, how does one escape? It would have been futile, like Jonah fleeing Yahweh's demands. She gave me the ground rules for taking down her message. "Don't edit," she warned me. "I want people to know it's me. I want to talk to the people who came out for me. I want to say thanks to the millions who believed in me. The people who cried for me. I want to give them love and hope and healing." Diana said she didn't want to just take over my brain when she was dictating. She's doing it different from the other spirit entities. "No, that [taking over my brain] would be disrespectful, too imposing," she told me. I had to agree. "And I promise you're not going to have my voice, a female voice, coming out of you. No stunts like that. It's not necessary." I was relieved. No lip-synching for me. She assured me she would merely talk to me and let me type her words directly into my computer. "You'll influence me too, you know," she explained. "In some ways, it's a two-way thing. Since you live in the United States, I'm going to sometimes sound American. And I love your Asian heritage. It makes the American more cosmopolitan." She laughed. A nice, confident laugh. When a friend came into the room he apparently heard nothing since he left without a word. It seems no one can hear the Princess except me. Fine, I didn't want to disturb the neighbors.
November 29th, Saturday. She can be a task-master. She confided that she is "depressed" about all the books coming out this holiday season about her. "Why depressed? You should be flattered, overjoyed," I retorted. "No, it's all about my past!" she fumed. If spirits could snap, she just did. "That Kitty Kelly book is vicious, nasty, and most of all, lazy! She's regurgitating old gossip, old innuendoes, old news. Even the [Andrew] Morton book is recycled. I want to move on. Cover new ground. Start my new work." Poor little Princess, I thought. "And how are you going to do that?" I challenged. "I'm already doing it. Through you, my dear." "And what am I doing for you?" "Well, I can't write my memoirs anymore because I'm dead," she pointed out, bursting into a grin. I chuckled; she hasn't lost her sense of humor. "So what can you do?" "I can put all my messages and predictions into a book," she informed me. "That's what you're doing for me." I paused to let it sink in. So I'm writing a book for Princess Diana. High-concept. "But remember I'm only going to take it down for you. I'm not an agent. I'm not a publisher. You have to find others to do your bidding after this, my dear Princess." "Don't worry," Diana responded, dismissing my doubts and caveats. "We'll get this book published sooner than you can imagine. The right publisher will appear and get it out in record time. If the cards are played right, it will sell more than any of the others. And it will be the publishing event of the year." I tried to remind Her Royal Highness that it usually takes a year to get a book out. She would have none of this earthling's pessimism. "No, it will come out very soon," she predicted. "If a publisher needs a year to get this out, he or she is obviously not the right one. A smart publisher can get this out in a very short time." November 30th, Sunday. Bleary-eyed from bar-hopping the night before, I was not a happy camper. But Diana was raring to go. We started at around noontime with me kicking and screaming. I made all sorts of (human) typing errors. She called my attention to them. I said don't worry, I'll clean them up. We worked without breaks for three and a half hours. "I must stop!" I protested finally. "You're running a sweat shop! I simply can't go on. I'm so exhausted." She pleaded flirtatiously "Twenty minutes more, then we'll stop." I had to do laundry (was entirely out of underwear) and mop the kitchen (a disaster area). Even called my parents. Then I collapsed into my bed. Awakened to a purring voice. "It's time to wake up, you big baby." It was Diana; she was like a cat that won't be denied. And she was more effective and gentle than my alarm clock. She drove me to the computer terminal once more. From about six thirty until midnight, I took her dictation. At around midnight, she stopped. "Open a bottle of champagne," she instructed. "We're celebrating!" Her messages were complete. "So tell me, why did you choose me?" "Because you chose me," she said. I raised my eyebrows. "Because you're strong. You're tested. You understand my trials and tribulations. You understand all the falsehoods, the innuendoes, the scandals. You can withstand the uproar, the abuse that might be visited on you. To dismiss my messages, they'll attack you." "Thanks for your vote of confidence," I replied, toasting her with the glass of champagne. "But..." "But?" she queried. "But they won't believe me anyway," I said with a feeling that this is an exercise in futility. "They'll destroy me just as they destroyed you." "No, it'll be different with you," she assured me. "You will have able helpers. Once you emerge, people who have been touched by me and my message will come forward to offer their support and help. You will have what you need to fulfill your mission." "What's my mission??" "Search your heart, Chairman Yao. What have you passionately wanted all your life?" "Chairman Yao?" "Yes, that is the name you'll use from now." I shook my head. "And what has Chairman Yao passionately desired all his life?" Suddenly the answer flashed into my mind. It was childishly simple, pure, and unquenchable. It was the most ancient dream of the species. I knew from childhood that it would be my mission in life. I saw The Princess nodding in encouragement. She could read my thought, but she wanted me to say it. Out loud, out proud, to her first. Except you become like a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom. Suddenly I understood why. "To Stay Young, Live Forever, In This Life," I said softly. She beamed. "You got it. You have to stress In This Life." "I have to stress In This Life." She continued. "Just ask them to test me out. Both believers and skeptics. Ask them to read this book. I promise that I will speak and heal through you and only you. This book will be my point of contact." "What should I tell them?" I asked. This was her response. "You will go to the people, and you shall tell them this. If they listen, they will hear me speak. If they call upon me, I will come to them. I will be their guardian angel; I will watch over them."
QUOTATIONS FROM DIANA SPEAKS
I will be their guardian angel; I will watch over them. - Princess Diana to Chairman Yao, p. xxiii, DianaSpeaks
I bring you good news! I see science scoring major breakthroughs which will dramatically slow down your aging and greatly extend your lifespan. - p. 218, DianaSpeaks
Death is not necessary. - p. 55, DianaSpeaks
We eat as we live...If we're greedy and grasping and hoarding in our lives, we will do the same at the table. And we will overeat and become fat. It's as simple as that. - p. 71, DianaSpeaks
There are no Christians in the United States today. Not the kind that Jesus demanded. - p. 214, DianaSpeaks
Until the so-called New World Order collapses, the New Age cannot be fully ushered in. Because the so-called "New World Order" is the opposite...the antithesis of the New Age. - p. 215, DianaSpeaks
Diet gurus are a dime a dozen. But this guy combines the best in science and spirituality...he can impart the power to you to act on your dietary, nutritional knowledge...Suddenly, you're able to do it! - pp. 65-66, DianaSpeaks, on the teacher who taught her how to eat Can I see into the future? Yes, I can. What can I see? Many things. I won't dwell on trivia. I'll tell you the important things - the ones I feel a great urgency about. - p. 154, DianaSpeaks
I've always been different. I've always felt different. Always felt I'm in the wrong shell, the wrong box. I was the girl who was meant to be a boy. - p. 82, DianaSpeaks
I remember I had certain gifts even as a child. And it seemed so natural to me...To me it was as natural as if I were lefthanded. Or being blue-eyed. - p. 140, DianaSpeaks
I smell the fear, the uncertainty, the dread which pervades your life. I see it hover over the land like a radioactive cloud. Work is now like walking on land mines. You never know when you might be blown to bits and pieces...All the bankers care about is efficiency and productivity and profits. It breaks my heart! - p. 48, DianaSpeaks
There will be a new world teacher. - p. 174, DianaSpeaks
I want to heal your hurts, your disappointment, what's eating your heart and soul. I want to heal all that, and your body too. - p. 237, DianaSpeaks
You kept faith with me And now I'll keep faith with you. You sustained me in my darkest hours. And now I'll sustain you in yours. You surrounded me with your affection and power. Now I'll protect you with my affection and power. I'll be your guardian angel. You crowned me The People's Princess. And so I shall always be. -- A Healing Prayer, p. 243, DianaSpeaks
After you've bought this book, use it as your point of contact to access my healing touch. - p. 236, DianaSpeaks