Rev. Simeon Stefanidakis
What is Spiritualism?
Is it a religion? Is it a science? Is it a philosophy? Does it deal
with the living or the dead? Is Spiritualism a concept indigenous
to modern minds, or does it have its roots buried deeply within
ancient mysteries? Does Spiritualism deal with "things that go bump
in the night" or is there a more meaningful side to it? How does
Spiritualism relate to other religious beliefs? Is it in opposition
to those beliefs? Are there any references to Spiritualistic concepts
and phenomena in the Bible? What is a Spiritualist Church?
all questions which any serious investigation of Spiritualism must
address. The study of Spiritualism and its implications to the matters
of the spirit is, truly, a lifelong pursuit. Knowledge is wonderful;
something which the serious student should always strive to attain.
But knowledge alone is not enough. Once the objective facts of Spiritualism
are mastered, the fascinating process of transformation must begin.
That transformation is a process whereby knowledge (the acquisition
of fact) becomes digested, assimilated, and synthesized into wisdom
(the use of that knowledge in order to further the unfoldment of
soul qualities for the benefit of self and others).
So, let us
begin. Before we do, though, I should indicate that the First Spiritual
Temple has never been part of the organized Spiritualist Church
body; thus, our views and perceptions on Spiritualism may differ
from those of more traditional Spiritualist Churches. As usual,
the best place to begin is at the beginning: what is Spiritualism?
Here are three
definitions of Spiritualism:
Spiritualism as: The belief that the dead
survive as spirits which can communicate with the living, especially
with the help of a third party, called a medium.
Spiritualist Association of Churches defines Spiritualism as: The
science, philosophy and religion of continuous life, based upon
the demonstrated fact of communication, by means of mediumship,
with those who live in the Spirit World.
adopted in 1948, during the centenary of the movement known as Modern
Spiritualism, very succinctly defines Spiritualism as: The
proof of survival.
the following key words:
definitions, we can see that Spiritualism focuses on three major
is personal and conscious survival of bodily death. (Please note
the words personal and conscious.)
itself, is the transition from one realm of awareness and life
of some form between this world and the world of Spirit is possible,
provided that certain conditions prevail.
the three fundamental concepts of Spiritualism.
of the Modern Spiritualist Movement is most widely accepted as having
taken place on March 31, 1848, with the events surrounding the Fox
family, in Hydesville, New York. In reality, though, Spiritualism
is as old as humanity. Spiritualism, in its pure essence, has its
roots in ancient religion and spirituality. In effect, Spiritualism
represents the alternative to Materialism. Furthermore, it is the
basic essence from which all religious thought appeared and continues
to appear on this great Earth plane. As such, Spiritualism really
belongs to no group, nor to any religious movement or denomination.
It is a gift from God, given to all people, of all faiths and denominations.
what is a Spiritualist church? Well, I guess all churches, temples,
synagogues, and mosques are spiritualist in nature, because all
houses of worship are supposed to be places from which the message
and inspiration of a higher Spirit can come forth.
itself, as a concept of communication between those in the body
and those in Spirit, has been a part of the human story for centuries.
The Old and New Testaments are, in effect, a grand recording of
ancient Spiritualism; they talk about spirit intervention and communication
from approximately 1800 B.C. to around 200 A.D. Throughout their
pages, we are warned to discriminate carefully between true and
false prophets. Many were the people of Biblical times who were
admonished to "test the spirits".
in of Christianity involved several spirit visitations, and it is
recorded that Jesus appeared eleven times after his death upon the
cross. Jesus died in the flesh and resurrected in the Spirit; thus,
demonstrating the reality of ancient Spiritualism.
Spiritualistic concepts were not confined to Biblical personalities
alone. Boscawen, the famous anthropologist, states: "In dreams and
visions the primitive Akkadians no doubt saw, as they declared,
the shadowy forms of departed human beings." He further adds, "Inscriptions
as early as 3800 BC on tablets show their beliefs in ghosts and
the precarious events which surrounded the birth of the movement
known as Modern Spiritualism, we must look at the work of two men
who helped lay the groundwork for the events which took place on
that fateful evening of March 31, 1848: Emanuel Swedenborg and Andrew
in Series: Forerunners to Modern Spiritualism: Emanuel
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