There is a great responsibility on us all now if we care about our Spiritualist way of life. The first point of contact with Spiritualism is through our mediums. Then our speakers. We have to ensure that there is no room for error under scrutiny.
No sermon or address that offends others’ belief systems or faith but that complements a general spirituality while promoting our understanding of other sacred texts as well as the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus and the ministry of his followers.
We recommend commentaries on the Bible by Rev Maurice G Elliot – ‘The Psychic Life of Jesus’ & ‘When Prophets Spoke’ and to read the Bible and discuss it from a Spiritualists’ understanding of its phenomena with others you can invite to a circle or group. To help yourself and others to come together to develop your own abilities as an organic process in a non-hierarchical manner.
Here are some points to ponder – and perhaps debate with friends in a non-confrontational philosophical way! The results for Spiritualist mediumship of ‘teaching’ programmes by some organisations leave a lot to be desired when it comes to those who’ve elected how to develop their latent abilities by a course of learning, and to thereafter attempt to produce evidence through demonstrations of mental mediumship that all survive physical death.
We have all been subjected to watching mediums standing in front of those of us gathered at Spiritualist meetings throwing out disjointed scraps of information and asking for anyone who can ‘take’ or ‘understand’ any one or several items mentioned to ‘please either speak up’ or otherwise signal their acceptance of same.
We have listened askance to many of these same mediums tell their audiences that their ability to gather and impart said information relies on some kind of energy or even energies plural, emanating from these hopeful recipients, to enable this mental interaction between this world and the next to take place. The equivalent exhortation by the non-scientifically minded is the ‘send out your love to the medium/me’ brigade.
We may even be treated to further explanations of the reasons that more information is perhaps not being easily relayed owing to the sort of energy the individual in spirit brings with them – reflecting on their character in life perhaps – and other words to that effect.
When Einstein postulated that E=MCsquared he wouldn’t have had any idea that having brought his concept of energy output to the general public’s notice in a big way, that Newton’s laws of motion and thermo-dynamics would also stir the imaginings of those involved with some sections of the Spiritualist community. Or that Spiritualists of a certain mind-set would attempt to explain the fact of survival of the spirit after physical death by applying a physical energy principle to it.
Who can recall when the notion of ‘intelligent energies’ crept in to the common parlance of some healers being taught by teachers from these particular Spiritualist organisations? It became an easy, natural, cross-over concept sliding into the spheres of a less finely attuned mediumship serving the spirits of friends and relatives gone before, rather than acknowledging the ministry of angels – highly evolved beings providing comfort from the more rarefied realms of light.
The problem inherent in teaching Spiritualist subjects is that the student is subject to the prevailing diktat of the Spiritualist faction – group, church, centre or organisation – of which the tutor is an adherent.
It is obvious that the outcome in terms of philosophy/doctrine and methodology of presentation of Spiritualistic practices, especially in the rendering of prayers, addresses (as Spiritualist sermons are commonly called) and mediumistic demonstrations to offer evidence of survival of those passed over to the world of spirit in public, will differ commensurately and in direct relation to those many differences.
It is often declared within its enclaves that Spiritualism itself has no doctrine, and yet in its many concatenations along with the basic principle common to all Spiritualists and Spiritualism, that there is life after this life and it can be proved through mediumship, attendant doctrine is just as often used to preserve the unity, to bolster the sense of fellowship, and to foster the idea that the members of these various groups are correct in thought and practice.
The organisation with the most property and therefore churches centres and meeting places is the one that came into being as a company and a charity at the turn of the 20th century to enable itself to own property and to raise funds amongst other aspects that company and charity law in England allow.
It has a myriad rules and regulations as required by its constitution, and also offers many courses for the would -be Spiritualist practitioner. Like all the other Spiritualist organisations in the United Kingdom it has its own interpretation of all matters Spiritualist. Where Spiritualism meets the population at large, its mediums and speakers, it is most active and most dictatorial. It issues awards to all categories of Spiritualist exponent, and withdraws them if the exponent steps out of line according to their stipulations.
This company is the Spiritualists’ National Union. It used to say that it was the religion of Spiritualism – but now at least states that it represents the religion of Spiritualism. It gives the Seven Principles as its substantiation, incorporated at its inception as a legal requirement, but then has expanded its own concept of what Spiritualism is. It was noted in 1939 in the ‘Report to the Archbishop of Canterbury’ on Spiritualism that it was ‘one considerable Spiritualist organisation… definitely anti-Christian in character’.
It may be of interest at this point to note that Ms Mercy Phillimore, Secretary of the London Spiritualist Alliance and the Quest Club concluded her evidence as a witness thus:
‘….rightly understood, wisely taught and practised, it [Spiritualism] could serve the Church in meeting the needs of the 20th century…….if the Church could find a way of adopting this new experience….the Church would most surely receive vitality and impetus. The Spiritualist movement badly needs leadership. Either this will come from outside, in which case Spiritualists will form another church, or the Church could incorporate Spiritualist teaching and practice.’.
While the New Spiritualists’ Society accepts that all kinds of demonstrations of mediumship given the individuality of the gifts of the spirit and the different methodologies of expounding those gifts are taught by a myriad different teachers from many different Spiritualist groups, it is the end result, the evidential proof of survival to the public that is of the essence as a first necessity, we wish mediums to place their communicators’ messages direct to their chosen recipient.
In that way there is no room for accusations of fraud, deception or mistakes when a clear yes, no, or don’t know suffice as a response. As for Christianity, if it wasn’t for Christianity there would have been no Modern Spiritualism. The first 19th century mediums who began the movement were Methodists. Spirit rappings that were the harbinger of our movement were first heard at the house of the founder of Methodism, the Wesley house in England – but had been ignored some years earlier.
It is considered that adopting methods redolent of the sporting coach would benefit aspiring Spiritualist practitioners, rather than the teaching method employed up to now. To encourage students to become better than their mentor rather than just aim to be ‘as good as’ their teacher.
To shed the quasi scientific references to mediumistic work that may only serve to confuse prospective mediums – and thereafter via them to the public who may become confused. To have circle leaders who desire to help circle members develop at their own rate as a spiritual exercise. For circles to set up their own groups for the public to have access to our understandings that will only complement their own religious beliefs or faith, welcoming all.
To include all who would join them on the spiritual pathway to Spiritualism as the denomination, the church it should be and is. To follow the pathway of one who gathered followers to spread the word that love is the key and to shed light in a dark world.
To be the ‘new church’ that was forecast to the Archbishop founded on good practices by coaching as a participant in others’ development encouraging them to research and discover and discuss their findings and progress with them rather than offering teaching that includes brainwashing from a lofty height!