When Rev. Dr. Sandy Jacob won the category Best Spiritual Leader in last week’s Best of Northern Nevada readers’ survey, a bunch of us around the office began asking, “Who’s this Dr. Jacob, and where’s the Circle’s Edge Spiritual Center? Turns out, she came to Reno in 1999, after spending 15 years as a pastor in Visalia, Calif. Her church meets on Sundays, 10 a.m., at Laxalt Auditorium, inside the Nelson Building on 401 W. Second St. (the old Reno Gazette building).
Tell me about your ministry.
Circle’s Edge Spiritual Center is a metaphysical church. We use the teachings of the science of mind. There’s another church in town called the Lakeside Community Church, and they’re the same thing. What we do is we—this is really hard to tell you in five minutes because I want to do it justice. People sometimes have a little bit of misunderstanding in terms of what we do. We’re a very inclusive spiritual community. We attract lots of people who want to improve their lives. We’re very loving, and our intention is to move forward in the world in a way that impacts the world in a positive way. But it really is a complex teaching in terms of telling you over the phone in five minutes.
There’s no interview, even a 500-hour interview, that can capture a religious experience or belief, but we’ve got to operate within realistic limits. Is it Christian?
It’s not predominately Christian. We believe in God as a universal presence. That God is universal energy. That God is the creative force through and behind all people and all things.
Is it possible to communicate with that God?
The way that we know each person on the planet communicates with that presence is to know that God is within them. It’s listening to the inner voice. Putting aside the influences of the outer world, things that trap us, and moving to a place where we know the truth comes from. That pure place. That essence. The idea that God is truth. God is love. God is peace. We look for that clarity rather than to be influenced by societal or cultural beliefs that occur out in the world.
It sounds like it may have some relationship to Buddhism.
Very closely related. I wouldn’t say that we are Buddhist, but certainly Buddhists feel very comfortable with our teaching, as do many Christians. Many Christians feel very comfortable knowing that Jesus, in relation to our teachings, is a master teacher. He’s one that knew the truth of that sense of the sacred within and used that in his teaching. If you are familiar with the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, he’s been a great influence in terms of the evolution of the teaching itself.
Is there a “primary prophet,” for lack of a better term?
We don’t believe that anyone has a greater access to truth than anyone else. Every person on the planet has the ability to access what they need for themselves in terms of their own spiritual evolution. If there’s a person who founded what we’ve kind of organized into an organization, it would be a man named Ernest Holmes. He wrote a book called the Science of Mind Textbook, and it’s used by most of the people that use our belief system. That textbook is probably the primary guide, but the writing in that book is not dogmatic in any way. It’s a way for people to understand that they are in control of their own lives through the power of their own thoughts.
I think this is enough. Does this work for you?
Absolutely. The main thing is I don’t want to be confused with Scientology or Christian Science. It’s very clearly something different. And when you talk about Buddhism, it’s probably closer to Buddhism than either of those two things.