Funny thing happened on the way to the formation of the Christian church. Emperor Constantine, seeking to unify his Roman Empire, legalized Christianity in 313 A.D. Until then, Christians were persecuted, mutilated and thrown to the lions for their refusal to worship the Roman emperor. Dozens of Jesus cults had sprung up after the carpenter's passing, and evidence suggests the modern church is a total corruption of the truth. Gnosticism is an alternative and a source, yet orthodoxy brands it heretical, and only a handful of churches worldwide exist. In 1959, the now snowy-haired Rev. Stephan Hoeller founded the Ecclesia Gnostica to impart Gnostic teachings to those who sought them, spending innumerable Friday nights lecturing on all manner of spiritual (and earthly) subjects. As the 2012 mythos coagulates, Hoeller has turned his eye toward Prophets and Prophecies, wrapping up his six-part series tonight with a talk on Carl Jung's Prophecy of the New Aeon. (Previous lectures, all available on MP3, have covered archaic shamanism, Mayan prophecy, the divine feminine and the kabbalah, but nothing beats the word made flesh.) Those with narrow mindsets may have a hard time here, but as one prophet said, “ 'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.”

Fri., Feb. 25, 8 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly