I’m often asked about my experience at the University of Sedona and how I felt about my experience there. I love to share my thoughts and I’m honored people contact me to learn more about their programs before they enroll.
The University Of Sedona is a private, post secondary, distance learning, theological school operating under the sponsorship of the International Metaphysical Ministry. IMM is a non-profit, religious exempt organization as designated by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States. The curriculum is strictly non-secular and theological in nature. Students are prepared for Ministerial and other related careers in Metaphysical Theology.
I try to explain to people that IMM and it’s University system is a religious institution, much like Liberty or Trinity Universities are for Christian Clergy. It is a non-secular University system for Metaphysical Sciences, that has been in existence for over 50years. Longer than some Christian University systems that are popular today. The only difference between us and them, is that we study Metaphysical Science and it’s theology.
I was quite satisfied with the programs I participated in at the University of Sedona. I went into the program with 25+ years of formal and self research, study and experience in spirituality, so there wasn’t a lot in the program that I didn’t already know. But what the programs did help me with was to see what I already knew from a greater or broader perspective. It also forced me to approach not only my own study, but my desire to be a better spiritual teacher into a more formal perspective. Which was missing in my previous training and research, at least to this extensive and formal level. It’s one thing to read about spiritual subjects and become knowledgeable about those topics and another to be an effective spiritual leader and teacher of those subjects in your community. And that’s where the programs helped me the most.
I think local organizations, covens or clans, can help their members develop skills to lead, minister and teach. But sometimes I think that training is too focused and doesn’t expand in to the larger community we all live in. The I.M.M. University systems helps you to look beyond your comfort zone and broaden your perspective into a larger world view. This was something I was really looking to learn. Because of my writing, my books and articles, I have been blessed with touching people from around the world. Enlarging the skills to interact with a broader audience had become very important to me. And I believe the system taught me a great deal about what it really means to be a minister and teacher of my faith.
If I take away those two decades plus of knowledge, the program is very valuable for those on their search to understand metaphysical concepts. They teach the basic concepts of metaphysical beliefs and practices. Being pagan I did find the teaching materials to be more ‘New Thought’ in the frame-work of the Christ Consciousness. But the information is written so that it’s easy to rise above that perspective and apply the teachings to one’s own personal views. In my case, from a pagan perspective. Which I really liked. It’s not ‘preachy’, and as a pagan, that was very important to me.
Now some detractors of the system complain that you are required to be a member of the International Metaphysical Ministry, the parent body of the University of Metaphysics and Sedona, in order to maintain your credentials. Being in good standing with an organized church is a requirement of any ministerial credentials. This isn’t just something that occurs with this non-secular organization. Many religious associations require this type of membership and continued work in good standing with their principles.
So I find that complaint a lack of understanding and knowledge about how valid ministerial associations work. The I.M.M. membership is a once a year fee of $60.00, at the time of this writing. In addition to the annual membership fee, your Ministerial status is dependent upon completion and submission of the monthly reporting of your work. This reporting is how the association tracks and manages your ministerial status; or your status in good standing.
Note that your Doctoral Degree status with this organization, if you wish to acquire that degree, is also dependent upon your ministerial status. So if you fail to maintain a relationship in good standing, you will also fail to maintain doctoral degree status. Now this isn’t something accredited universities do. But in my research before I enrolled, I did find many other non-accredited religious organizations that did a similar thing. So this isn’t unusual. But it is something to keep in mind.
The next complaint I hear is that the University institutions, both the University of Metaphysics and the University of Sedona are not accredited. Why not?
A lot of people think that being accredited means being more valid some how and that’s not the case. Accreditation is solely a status of federal government compliance in order for an educational institution to be eligible for taxpayer funding.
In order to receive that federal or state funding, the institution must meet minimum educational requirements and are subject to government oversight. Many religious institutions do not appreciate the oversight part of this requirement and do not apply for federal funding in order to be autonomous in their curriculum. This is the approach of the I.M.M. and its educational institutions have taken. Again, this isn’t unusual.
The Universities Metaphysical degrees are determined by the Department of Education in Washington DC as non-secular and are thus classified and regarded as religious in nature. This religious classification gives the I.M.M. full legal right to award Doctoral degrees to its graduates who have completed educational course work and dissertation requirements through both of their higher education institutions.
You Get Out, What You Put In
Your decision to enter any of the programs offered at either University system, should be more about what you’re going to get out of it, than what a metaphysical degree is going to do for you.
In my case, I had decades of knowledge and experience, but some how I felt that I didn’t have the right to call my self a teacher or spiritual minister. Even being an initiated Shaman in my spiritual Clan, I had a lack of self assurance on a broader scale. This was simply something I felt was lacking within my own confidence. I was serious about my mission and what I wanted to accomplish with my teaching and I was often praised for my classes and lectures. But those compliments didn’t satisfy my own inner perspective or perception.
I enrolled in this program because, for the most part it fit my approach and beliefs. As I went through the programs I was able to look within and apply the lessons to myself. It provided me with the opportunities to grow, confirmed I did have the knowledge I only thought I had, and gave me a great boost of confidence that I personally had not had before. So the program was totally selfish on my part. But it more than satisfied my desires and the goals I was looking to achieve. But it also gave me a great deal of insight and information to apply that knowledge in the role of minister and spiritual leader. Because of that, I enrolled in the second degree program and I’m ever so glad I did.
I got much more out of the Doctor of Philosophy, specializing in Pastoral Counseling Psychology. Not only from the stand point of helping others, recognizing issues, but also working a professional Spiritual Psychologist. From implementing your practice upon the foundation of your spiritual approach, to the legal issues and the responsibilities of Minister/client relationships and how to resolve conflict or problems. That program touched on information and issues that I had never come across before, and some I had never even thought of before. But provided information on how to face some of those issues and relate to some of those perspectives.
Some people have asked if their degrees are legal in their state/country. They’ve read posts on-line by others who say lawsuits have been brought against the Universities and challenged their degree programs. I’m not a lawyer and I can’t nor will I give anyone legal advice.
What I do suggest is that you check with your local state/county licensing bureau and verify the requirements for legal ministerial status in your area. I had no problem getting this information in my county and I am legally licensed as a Minister in my state. Make sure you fill out the necessary paperwork, submit the required fees and maintain your status of good standing with the I.M.M. and you should be fine. As long as you maintain an ethical standard that is.
Do your research and discover for yourself if the Ministry and Universities are legit. Do an internet search for your state and look for news items, legal filings, court cases siting the International Metaphysical Ministry, University of Metaphysics or University of Sedona. Lawsuits are public information and if one exists, you should find some legitimate source about anything that has been brought against any organizations.
What I discovered in my research indicated the comments made about lawsuits were unfounded. They seem to be false accusations made by representatives of other organizations who try to undermine the I.M.M and its Universities. Either out of ignorance, bigotry or greed. Be careful about these generic reports. If you find such articles, make sure it contains details that can be verified. Such as the state where the suit was filed. A case name or number. Specific details about the case or any judgement that can be verified. If it doesn’t contain any of these, it’s probably a false report.
Remember other degree factories will want you to buy their services and spend your hard earned money on their false credentials. Be cautious who you believe online. Even me. If you can’t verify the story, no matter what it is, then it’s probably a hoax or scam. In a world of digital media and social obsession, there’s bound to be some reliable source for information that does offer details. If you don’t find any, then the initial accusation is probably a scam.
Do YOUR research! I.M.M. is over 50years old and I found nothing to suggest they have been challenged over the years. But do your own looking into your states .gov sites and court records and see what you can find. Paying for any education is a big deal and I wanted to make sure beyond a reasonable doubt that I wasn’t throwing my money away or being taken for a fool. I was satisfied with the research I did. Take a little time to find the peace of mind for yourself. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what I say. It’s your future and your money. Make sure you feel comfortable with your decision.
I hope this helps those of you who are investigating your enrollment in either of the University Systems. Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions, before or after you enroll. I’d be more than happy to discuss anything with you as a potential student, a member of the IMM or as an alumni.
Those of you who are already students and you’re looking for help writing your thesis or dissertation, you might like to see the articles I’ve shared on Spring’s Haven (my business site) about those topics. You’ll find information for writing your essay’s, a template that might help you get started, and PDF copies of my approved papers from the University. Check the Articles menu and look under Collegiate Works.
If you do enroll, I wish you all the success and achievement you set for yourself. And I hope the program you choose meets all your personal goals.
© 2013 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D., Springwolf Reflections / Spring’s Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.