Sunday, April 3, 2011

Early Life of James Arthur Ray

In searching for information about the early days of James Arthur Ray it became shockingly apparent there is a paucity of information. What exists primarily comes from the various press releases, books, or programs where Ray deems to mention his past. This portion of the Ray story can be told quickly in his own words.

His website bio states

James’ father was an Oklahoma minister and his family had very humble beginnings. Ray’s father pastured Red Fork Church of God in Tulsa, and at times they had to live in the church office…“The hardest part of my childhood was reconciling how Dad poured his heart into his work, how he helped so many people and yet he couldn’t afford to pay for haircuts for me and my brother,” Ray wrote in …“Harmonic Wealth.” in 2008,
“How could a loving God keep me from Cub Scouts on account of not being able to afford a uniform?"

The Science of Success marketing page reveals:

Growing up, he was the kid every one loved to ridicule. His Coke bottle glasses earned him the name of "Four Eyes;" his buck teeth snagged him the nickname "Bugs Bunny." His self esteem took a beating every single day. Day after day he'd wonder aloud, "Why me?"
At the age of 18, most kids focus their attention on movies, dances, parties, and their raging hormones. Not James.
He knew deep inside no girl would want to have anything to do with him so he became a virtual hermit feeling sorry for himself. … After a brutal motorcycle accident that nearly took his life and ended up shattering his knees, his left forearm, and his lower back

In an interview with Donna Strong he said:

Twice on the edge of bankruptcy, I lived on vision sandwiches and faith cookies for a couple of different times in my life. For a large portion of my existence I struggled with low self-esteem and self-worth. In retrospect, I would both bully and discipline myself into some grand achievement. Yet I was rooted in low self-worth then, so once I got it, I felt guilty and I would do something to self-sabotage.

Aside from this there is not much more to tell except of course this juicy tidbit I spotted in the comments of Salty Droid's trial update and it comes from Jean D. March 5th talking to Moxie:

The Rays lived in Ohio, West Virginia and Hawaii before moving to Oklahoma. They were not poor, they lived far better than many in their congregation. James was known for hating poor people. He was also known as a hateful, arrogant bully; a spoiled momma’s boy (Did anyone notice his mom on his arm entering the courthouse? She’s the poster child for Enablers Anonymous.) Ray always wanted the prettiest girl, the fastest car; to be better than others. He started injecting steroids at an early age, pumped up to a huge size very quickly.
… Important observation: James Ray has a serious case of strabismus, a condition which can lead to mental and social malfunctioning.
Ray was a professional bodybuilder, his first wife competed, also. They divorced, lost their house, James couldn’t finish Junior College (he makes CONSTANT reference to how worthless education is) James moved to Kansas, still worked for AT&T, learned sales, was competing in bodybuilding and dated bodybuilder girls. He seems to have continued a sexual conquistador attitude throughout his life and as a LGAT seminar leader.
James wasn’t allowed to be a rebellious teen like many of us. His parents wouldn’t allow it…Ray describes how he was much older when he started exploring other religions and drugs. He always injected himself with some form of drug; has admitted to using steroids and bragged about shooting DMT, a powerful hallucinogen. Claimed that drugs are essential to “kick-starting” spiritual enlightenment.
Ray later continued using DMT in the form of Ayahuasca drink while visiting Brazil and Peru. Ray goes into lengthy descriptions of “nearly dying” during an Ayahuasca ceremony. He drank the “boca grande” which was apparently the strongest form of the drink. He vomited severely, and became unconscious; claims to have confronted “Death” and looked it right in the face; for him an important “life-changing experience” that he decided to share with others.

That my dear friends in cyber world is all I have for you. What do you know about the formative years of Mr. Ray?


  1. There is a bit of information (probably from Ray himself) in a CNN article from 2008:

    "He married and divorced young, but now, at 50, has been single a long time and has no children."

    "Born in Honolulu, James grew up mainly in Tulsa, where his father spent several years as a minister. Today Gordon Ray too has a business selling audio CDs, with such titles as "Six Dimensions to Achieving the Life of Your Dreams" (three for $25.90, plus shipping).

    When I mention to James that he and his father are in the same business, he says, a bit defensively, "He likes to think so, yes. As much as he likes to say he's not, he's a podium preacher." Ray says he was bored in junior college and eager to start making money. He worked in telemarketing at AT&T, mostly in the South, and his biography highlights more than a decade working at the AT&T School of Business, the phone giant's internal training operation."

    Link to the full article:

  2. Another tidbit from a recent article in the Arizona Republic:

    "His 2008 book "Harmonic Wealth," describes his childhood in Tulsa, Okla., as the son of a preacher, ignored by classmates and too poor to afford a baseball glove or a Cub Scout uniform. A high-school classmate recalled things differently, telling The Republic two years ago that Ray always dressed well and knew he'd make something of himself."

    Read more:

  3. The original article referred to above has a few more details:

    "Ray has come a long way from his roots in a blue-collar community in Tulsa, where his dad ministered for a decade until 1973 at Red Fork Church of God."

    "Several years ago, Ray described himself to the Tulsa World as nerdish - "buckteeth, thick glasses, voted most likely to be ignored.

    A classmate said Thursday that that's not how he remembers Ray. "He kind of dressed well, and he always knew he would make something of himself in the way he expressed himself," said Tim Connor, who graduated with Ray from Tulsa's Webster High School in 1976. "It depends on what you call poor, but his dad made more than my family made."

    After high school, James worked in a variety of jobs while living in a studio apartment in Tulsa. He went to junior college for two years but didn't obtain a degree."

    Read more:

  4. From the comment section of a post on Salty Droid:

    "Gordon, the Dad worked at the Sears in Woodland Hills in Tulsa. We bought a washer and dryer from him. Also, the Mom Joyce worked at and retired from American Airlines. Also, they own/owned a trailer park, not sure the location but it was in the Tulsa area."

    There's also another good comment a little ways above explaining more about the church where his dad was a pastor:

    Read more:

  5. Thanks for scoping stuff out. I appreciate it.

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  7. Does James Ray say much about his growing up in Tulsa, apart from High School, church or attending TCC (Tulsa Community College). Is his father still an active minister in the area, or have they all relocated out of state?

  8. ENLIGHTEN US was a terribly produced documentary. It was short on factual accounts from victims and authorities who prosecuted Ray and very heavy on Ray's personality and the self help, motivational speaking industry. The Doc never mentioned seminar attendees injuries at events prior to Sedona event (which included broken bones and a suicide). Ray's childhood/past was entirely told by Ray and his brother and parents without any corroboration of other sources. It never mentioned his early life of deprivation, bodybuilding, steroid/drug use and his first marriage. I also noticed that Ray changed his appearance (longer, streaked hair and goatee) and softened his demeanor, presenting himself more as a reformed man, yet he comes up short on taking responsibility for what happened. He seems more concerned that he tried to "help people and this is my reward". Ray's negligence stems from his lack of common sense and his avoidant behavior right after the event, and his inability to step forward and do the right thing.

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