What Is Attribution And When Is It Needed?
As lovers of the teachings of the ascended masters sharing them when opportunities arise. Many of us have been trained in various outreach skills and activities where we share the teachings with spiritual seekers. In fact, each of us has a history of speaking and writing about the teachings, whether sharing a spiritual insight with a single soul or participating in a structured outreach event.
By and large, we’ve shared our beliefs freely, usually referencing them to their earthly sources, Mark and Elizabeth Prophet, or to specific ascended masters. However, sharing the teachings in our personal interactions, our local groups and even in our outreach events is quite different from writing a formal article on the violet flame for a website like Wikipedia or an academic piece on the same subject for the Summit University website.
We can think of these types of more formal articles as news stories, whatever their label. News stories have standards of sourcing. Below are three specific areas where giving a source is needed. The first one is obvious:
Whenever we share a fact, such as a statistic or a report, we need to let the readers know where it came from. This allows readers to verify these facts for themselves; they don’t have to take the author’s word for it but can go directly to the source if they want to make sure the author represented the fact correctly.
Example 1A (without attribution)
Over 50% of our town’s population has been exposed to Covid-19.
Example 1B (with attribution)
According to Mayor Roberts in his Monday press briefing, the latest CDC statistics show that over 50% of our town’s population has been exposed to Covid-19. [In an article, you’d add a footnote with a reference to the Mayor’s press release or video recording, and possibly to the CDC statistics themselves.]
But surprisingly, there is more in our formal articles that needs proper sourcing:
Opinions are points of view based on collections of facts. When they are stated in news stories or articles, they must be attributed to those who hold the opinions.
Example 2A (without attribution)
Our town may be approaching Covid-19 herd immunity.
Example 2B (with attribution)
After reviewing the latest Covid-19 statistics, Mayor Roberts concluded that our town may be approaching herd immunity. [Add a note as to where the Mayor made this statement.]
3. Belief claims
Belief claims are statements that are grounded in a person’s values instead of in facts. In news stories and articles, belief claims also need to be attributed.
Example 3A (without attribution)
The pandemic is God’s way of showing us that as a society we are on the wrong track in terms of caring for the environment and valuing life.
Example 3B (with attribution)
Mayor Roberts said on Monday that he believes that the pandemic is God’s way of showing us that as a society we are on the wrong track in terms of caring for the environment and valuing life. [Add a note to where the Mayor expressed this belief.]
So whether your “news story” is a scholarly piece, an SEO (search engine optimization) article, or simply an information article, the opinions and beliefs in the article needs to be attributed.
Attributing the Teachings
Let’s look at what this means for writing about the teachings of the ascended masters.
Interestingly, since the teachings take us into the realm of religion and spirituality, we are dealing less with facts and more with belief claims. As students of the masters, we easily accept our spiritual beliefs as facts. For instance, reincarnation or the power of the Spoken Words are facts for us because we have worked with these concepts, proved to ourselves that they are true, and have come to accept them as spiritual reality.
However, when we write about these concepts for a larger public, we must remind ourselves that for most others who will read our words, our beliefs are not proven to be facts. So, since our readers will likely not be swayed by belief statements without context, we need to attribute them.
Below are two examples of beliefs that are stated as unattributed facts, followed by suggested remedies.
Example 4A (without attribution)
Kuan Yin is an ascended Lady Master who, in her role as the Goddess of Mercy, helps people on earth balance their karma.
This is a belief stated as fact. Therefore, by default the reader assumes that this is simply the writer’s belief. To fix this the writer could add the following attribution:
Example 4B (with attribution)
The Summit Lighthouse teaches that Kuan Yin is an ascended Lady Master who, in her role as the Goddess of Mercy, helps people on earth balance their karma.
Another example of a belief stated as fact refers to Gautama Buddha.
Example 5A (without attribution):
In the cosmic hierarchy, the ascended master Gautama Buddha holds the office of Lord of the World.
Like example 4A, this statement would probably solicit the question, “Says who?” It needs an attribution to become more “grounded” for the reader.
Example 5B (with attribution):
In her book The Buddhic Essence, spiritual author Elizabeth Clare Prophet explains that the ascended master Gautama Buddha holds the office of Lord of the World.
As you can see from these examples, attributing belief claims is very important for our credibility as writers.
The not so good news is that when writing articles and other formal pieces about the teachings, we must constantly be on alert for belief claims that need attribution. This takes some getting used to.
The good news is that once we identify a belief claim, attributing it correctly is not hard to do—and our readers will love us for doing it!
In short, the benefit of making our writing more credible far outweighs the extra effort of adding attributions to our belief claims.
So, let’s do it!
May the Flame of God Mercury be with you!