NEVADA STATE JOURNAL, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 1976 - 17

Johnny Rodgers Says Guru Maharaj Ji
Has It All Over Former President Nixon

DENVER (UPI) - Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers says a weekend Meeting with his religious mentor, the 17-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji, was more exciting than meeting former President Richard Nixon.

"It was good. I got a feeling of sincerity from him. I was happier to meet him than the President (Nixon),” said Rodgers, who now plays for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Rodgers, who wears a silver trimmed medallion of the Guru, said he became a follower, or "Premie" last year after trying find out what was missing in his life.

"When you accomplish as many things as I have, there isn't much left," said Rodgers. "I was happy about all the things I had achieved but I was searching for something more than fortune and fame."

He won the Heisman Trophy while playing for Nebraska and later turned down an offer from the San Diego Chargers of the NFL. He said he signed a $100,000 a year contract his first year with the Alouettes.

Before his conversion, Rodgers said he tried other religious groups, including the Black Muslims, but found them lacking.

"Those didn't really move me like this did," he said. "I've learned that life is more than making touchdowns and money. It's learning to come in contact with yourself."

Rodgers was one of 25 influential members of the Divine Light Mission who met with Maharaj Ji over the weekend to discuss plans for 1976 including the Guru's international tour.

He said he didn't have a chance to discuss his future role in the mission with the young religious leader, but did receive a better idea of what his role in the organization would be.

"I came up in the world very fast and I have now learned that I should also contribute to that world," he said. It is time for me to start showing appreciation for all the touchdowns and money.

In addition to financial gifts, Rogers said he plans to use his financial abilities to help the mission avoid future problems and speak to others on the guru's teachings.

"I will give money of course, but I will also find ways of getting it for the mission. I want to take the problem of funding from the mission" said Rogers, who added he would also be a good example for others that religion does not mean poverty.