exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
Father Robert Benson
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As a former priest of the Church, I regret deeply that I ever gave tongue to such misguided teaching... humiliating... absolutely crushing... And there are hosts of others like me! Robert Hugh Benson
RCC Monsignor Priest, Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914)
Editor's prefatory comments:
Robert Hugh Benson passed to the next world over 100 years ago. An accomplished and well-known writer during his earthly time, he learned, with dismay, after his transition, that much of what he had taught was gross error; as such, he asked Spirit Guides to help him formulate a plan by which he might undue some of the damage that he'd wrought with his errant religious writings. A series of books ensued, channelled by Anthony Borgia, the result of his desire for restitution.
- See some of his writings here, to be accessed for free on the internet.
Biographical information from the internet:
"Hugh Benson was lauded in his own day as one of the leading figures in English literature, yet today he is almost completely forgotten outside Catholic circles and is sadly neglected even among Catholics. Few stars of the literary firmament, either before or since, have shone quite so brightly in their own time before being eclipsed quite so inexplicably in posterity. Almost a century after ... Benson has become the unsung genius of the Catholic Literary Revival."
"Benson was the youngest son of E. W. Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, who, as head of the Anglican Church, was the upholder of the Protestant establishment in England. As such, his son's conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1903, and his subsequent ordination, caused a sensation. Not since Newman's conversion almost 60 years earlier had the reception of a convert into the Church caused such a commotion. Shudders of shock shook the Anglican establishment, whereas many Catholics rejoiced at the news of such a high-profile coup with unrestrained triumphalism. There is no doubt that the new convert belonged to a remarkable family. Apart from his father's rise to ecclesiastical prominence as head of the Church of England, both of Benson's brothers became leading members of the Edwardian literati."
some of the most detailed and descriptive accounts of daily life in Summerland ever produced
Father Benson describes for us the moments of his departure from the Earth, transcribed in Life In The World Unseen:
I could not resist the impulse to turn and take a last look at the room of my transition. It still presented its misty appearance. Those who were formerly standing round the bed had now withdrawn, and I was able to approach the bed and gaze at 'myself'. I was not the least impressed by what I saw, but the last remnant of my physical self seemed to be placid enough. My friend then suggested that we should now go, and we accordingly moved away.
As we departed, the room gradually became more misty until it faded farther from my vision, and finally disappeared. So far, I had had the use, as usual, of my legs as in ordinary walking, but in view of my last illness and the fact that, consequent, upon it, I should need some period of rest before I exerted myself too much, my friend said that it would be better if we did not use the customary means of locomotion—our legs. He then told me to take hold of his arm firmly, and to have no fear whatever. I could, if I wished, close my eyes. It would, he said, perhaps be better if I did so. I took his arm, and left the rest to him as he told me to do. I at once experienced a sensation of floating such as one has in physical dreams, though this was very real and quite unattended by any doubts of personal security. The motion seemed to become more rapid as time went on, and I still kept my eyes firmly closed. It is strange with what determination one can do such things here. On the Earth-plane, if similar circumstances were possible, how many of us would have closed our eyes in complete confidence? Here there was no shadow of doubt that all was well, that there was nothing to fear, that nothing untoward could possibly take place, and that, moreover, my friend had complete control of the situation.
After a short while our progress seemed to slacken somewhat, and I could feel that there was something very solid under my feet. I was told to open my eyes. I did so. What I saw was my old home that I had lived in on the Earth-plane; my old home - but with a difference. It was improved in a way that I had not been able to do to its Earthly counterpart. The house itself was rejuvenated, as it seemed to me from a first glance, rather than restored, but it was the gardens round it that attracted my attention more fully.
The time had come, I felt, when I would like to see something of this wonderful land, and so, in company with my friend, we set forth on what was, for me, a voyage of discovery. Those of you who have traveled the Earth for the sake of seeing new lands will understand how I felt at the outset.
To obtain a wider view, we walked to some higher ground, whence a clear panorama unfolded before the eyes. Before us the countryside reached out in a seemingly unending prospect. In another direction I could clearly perceive what had all the appearance of a city of stately buildings, for it must be remembered that all people here do not possess a uniformity of tastes, and that even as on Earth, many prefer the city to the country, and vice versa, while again some like both. I was very keenly interested to see what a Spirit city could be like. It seemed easy enough to visualize the country here, but cities seemed so essentially the work of man in a material world. On the other hand, I could advance no logical reason why the Spirit world should not also build cities. My companion was greatly amused by my enthusiasm, which, he declared, was equal to a schoolboy's. It was not his first acquaintance with it, however; most people when they first arrive are taken in the same way! And it affords our friends a never-ending pleasure to show us round.
You will want to read all of Father Benson's channeled books in which he offers detailed account of life on the other side:
Life in the World Unseen
Anthony Borgia, Medium
More About Life in the World Unseen
Anthony Borgia, Medium
Heaven and Earth
Anthony Borgia, Medium
Here and Hereafter
Anthony Borgia, Medium
Anthony Borgia, Medium
The following is a collection of excerpts from Robert Hugh Benson's various books, testimonies to life in the world unseen:
Ruth was by now very impatient to be off to visit the city, and she insisted that Edwin should take us there immediately. And so, without further delay, we rose up from the grass, and with a word from our guide, we set forth.
As we approached the city, it was possible for us to gather some idea of its extensive proportions. It was, I hardly need say, totally unlike anything I had yet seen. It consisted of a large number of stately buildings each of which was surrounded with magnificent gardens and trees, with here and there pools of glittering water, clear as crystal, yet reflecting every shade of colour known to Earth, with many other tints to be seen nowhere but in the realms of Spirit.
It must not be imagined that these beautiful gardens bore the slightest resemblance to anything to be seen upon the Earth-plane. Earthly gardens at their best and finest are of the very poorest by comparison with these that we now beheld, with their wealth of perfect colorings and their exhalations of heavenly perfumes. To walk upon the lawns with such a profusion of nature about us held us spellbound. I had imagined that the beauty of the countryside, wherein I had had all my experience of Spirit lands so far, could hardly be excelled anywhere.
My mind had reverted to the narrow streets and crowded pavements of the Earth; the buildings huddled together because space is so valuable and costly; the heavy, tainted air, made worse by streams of traffic; I had thought of hurry and turmoil, and all the restlessness of commercial life and the excitement of passing pleasure. I had no conception of a city of eternal beauty, as far removed from an Earthly city as the light of day is from black night. Here were fine broad thoroughfares of emerald green lawns in perfect cultivation, radiating, like the spokes of a wheel, from a central building which, as we could see, was the hub of the whole city...
This city was devoted to the pursuit of learning, to the study and practice of the arts, and to the pleasures of all in this realm. It was exclusive to none, but free for all to enjoy with equal right. Here it was possible to carry on so many of those pleasant and fruitful occupations that had been commenced on the Earth-plane. Here, too, many souls could indulge in some agreeable diversion which had been denied them, for a variety of reasons, whilst they were incarnate.
The first Hall that Edwin took us into was concerned with the art of Painting. This Hall was of very great size and contained a long gallery, on the walls of which were hanging every great masterpiece known to man. They were arranged in such a way that every step of Earthly progress could be followed in proper order, beginning with the earliest times and so continuing down to the present day. Every style of painting was represented, gathered from all points of the Earth. It must not be thought that such a collection, as we were now viewing, is only of interest and service to people who have a full appreciation and understanding of the painter's art. Such could not be farther from the case.
There was a goodly number of people in the gallery when we entered, some of whom were moving about wherever their fancy took them. But there were many groups listening to the words of able teachers, who were demonstrating the various phases in the story of art as exemplified upon the walls, and they were, at the same time giving such a clear and interesting exposition that none could fail to understand...
The so-called miracles of Jesus, I have tried to explain to you, were in truth no miracles at all, but solely the exercise of his superlative psychic faculties .... Jesus had spent long years in training and developing those faculties, and he combined within the one individual all the psychic gifts it is possible to possess, and they were developed to the highest possible degree. Thus he is unique among men ... Potentially, every human being born upon earth could do precisely what Jesus did. That is a statement which I want to emphasise... In the world of music on earth you have your great instrumental virtuosi... Why should not the realm of psychic faculties also have its virtuosi? Jesus himself was one. He devoted himself, just as the famous instrumentalist does, to years and years of study. He perfected his technique, to continue in our use of musical idiom, since the cases are exactly parallel both in kind and condition, and when he finally emerged before the public he came to serve, his performance was as flawless as it was spiritually and humanly possible to be.
- Editor's note regarding "miracles": "Through years of systematic investigtion, many of these [psychic] phenomena are now understood in quite ordinary terms. Thus, it is quite reasonable to expect that so-called miracles are simply indicators of our present ignorance... As astronaut Edgar Mitchell put it: 'There are no unnatural or supernatural phenomena, only very large gaps in our knowledge regarding what is natural.'" Dean Radin
At least one famous violinist was accused of being in league with ’the devil’ because of his amazing prestidigitation upon his instrument. It was manifestly impossible, so some of his auditors exclaimed, that a man unaided by ’the devil’ could ever perform such feats of manual dexterity upon any instrument. They did not go so far as to call it a ’miracle’. In this case it was just Satan at work... Jesus was the great exemplar. He showed how man could live on earth, how man should live during his incarnate journey. He showed, too, how man should take cognizance of his full potentialities, and not restrict his earthly perceptions to his five senses alone. He clearly demonstrated how close are our two worlds, that the veil between them is, in truth, thin... Jesus lived upon earth as a natural human being, eating and sleeping, and walking the countryside, where he abided. But, as he lived from day to day, his psychic faculties were always at the pitch of perfection... He performed deeds that simle-minded people could not possibly explain. They seemed miraculous to some; to others it was obviously ’the devil’. At least the sick and the suffering could say in effect and in good truth: whether it be the devil or not, I am cured! A strange devil, to say the least, that went about the land doing good.
We, in the spirit world, may know little of the will of God, but at least we know what He would never do! He would never cause suffering, of any nature whatsoever, to any single living creature, whether upon your earth or in the spirit world. From the Father of Heaven can come only that which is good and that which is for the happiness of humanity!
What an infamous imputation it is to the Father of Heaven that He should deliberately plan matters in this universe in such a clumsy way that vast unhappiness should thus be caused throughout the earth!...
Editor's note: How often the cultish teachers of Earth would attempt to dissuade us from questioning their ungodly doctrines by exclaiming, "It's a divine mystery"! - rather, it's a ploy of intimidation behind which absurdity and claptrap hide.
Robert Benson comments:
We are treated to a farrago of words that collectively possess not one grain of meaning or sense, only to be told that it is a "mystery," or something that under Divine Providence we are not meant to know!
Jesus, the great teacher who was born upon Earth two thousand years ago, was cast out of the Earth world violently and shamefully... This tragic transition was an act of expiation to the Eternal Father for the wrath He felt and as a means of saving the earth world's inhabitants - so it is still taught in the churches of Earth. A blood sacrifice of His only son! Such beliefs as these are primitive and barbaric, and monstrous when viewed in the light of the great truths of the spirit world as we know and understand them here...
To teach that one great soul should suffer all the torments of persecution and a horrible death in order to save the world from damnation, and to teach that this same tragedy should be demanded by the Father of Heaven to appease His wrath, is not only revolting in itself to us here in the spirit world, but it is far, far worse, the grossest libel, the greatest defamation, to put it at its very least.that could ever be contemplated upon the character and nature and the very essence of the Great Father of the universe. We who live in the spirit world can see the might and majesty of the Father's great creation, the universe. But we can also see what is far greater and far more majestic, man himself. It will be said, perhaps, that there cannot be anything very mighty and majestic about those hideous denizens of the dark realms I have described. No! In their present state most certainly not. But resident within every one of those unfortunate beings there is the germ of spiritual evolution and progression. And therein lies his might and majesty. Remember those primitive men who have so evolved and spiritually progressed that they are now dwellers in the highest realms, who are possessed of immense knowledge and wisdom, and who are, in every sense, wondrous souls...
Throughout the whole course of the Earth-world's existence, there have been born into it great teachers of great truths. There has been a long succession of them in the past. And they will so continue to come in the future. It rests with man himself whether he heeds such teachers or rejects them. Entrance to the spirit world is gained in one way only through the death of the physical body. No person or persons can assign to a single soul any other place in the spirit world than that which that soul has merited for himself. He cannot be saved through the intermediation of another, whoever that other may be. His merits for a realm of beauty as his residence must be his own merits. No other person can share his burden if his life upon earth has been hideous. He pays the penalty himself, as I have already tried to indicate to you.
If this be the case, and it is, of what use is the constant repetition of elaborate creeds and the perpetual reiteration from dismal and protracted formularies, in both of which the spiritual life of incarnate man is hemmed in and suffocated? There is no magic formula upon the pronouncing of which a safe journey to the spirit world is assured and a salubrious destination procured. Our merits alone will provide those, and no one can plead for us before the Great Throne. Our life upon earth is our sole advocate and our most eloquent for the state of our being when we arrive in the world of spirit. And that same life is also our incorruptible judge.
The many orthodox religions that have sprung up during the course of the two thousand years past are all of them completely out of touch with the realities of the spirit world. They are all of them based upon entirely false values and conceptions. Some religious bodies are presumptuous enough to profess to know exactly what is in the Heavenly Father's mind. Others lay stress upon the saving power of Jesus, that great soul whom the Earth rejected two millenniums ago. They claim that none can be saved except they be saved through him. By constantly reiterating this in the many rather fulsome and frigid prayers that are said publicly, it seems to be believed that some magical process will be put into operation whereby the soul can be assured that wherever else it may go when death takes place it will not go for all eternity to hell.
It may be said that Orthodoxy bases its only hope of the soul's salvation, upon the merits of another, it is in this respect that Orthodoxy has taken the spin and made of it a Christian spirit world, or, at least the religious teachers would say that the Christian element more than predominates...
As an inhabitant of the spirit world, I soon discovered that the spirit world is so much greater than what the Earth-world denunciates the Christian religion... Indeed it is away beyond all earthly religions of whatever denomination. It is made up of peoples from every quarter of the earth world, representing every school of earthly religious thought. In the realms wherein I dwell, we have cast aside forever the allegiance to the Church of our earthly lives. We have no orthodox religion here. We are all of one mind and that mind is regulated by the strict truth...
The spirit world, in short, is undenominational. Orthodoxy may make as many claims as it wishes in respect of its self-arrogated right to be the guardian of man's immortal soul. Admittance to the spirit world is not through any one Church or collection of Churches; nor is it obtained through the merits of any one person or body of persons. There is no saint of the ecclesiastical calendar whose merits will assist us to escape or dodge the results of our wrongdoing when we were incarnate. We must pay ourselves alone. Nor will membership to the Church which makes the greatest claims of assuring salvation for ourselves avail us one fraction. We undergo the experience of passing through the portal of physical death alone, although we may have willing help in the actual procedure from those who are already discarnate. But it stops there.
Such helpers cannot assign us to any destination other than that which we have earned for ourselves. It is plain, therefore, as the noonday sun.and I speak from exact experience, that the tragedy that took place at Calvary nigh upon two thousand years ago, although a personal sacrifice of sublime beauty, yet that tragedy does not and cannot have any bearing upon the individual souls who have been born upon earth since that time, or who were born at that time or before it.
That great event demonstrated a profound truth of which I and countless millions are the living witnesses, namely, that the death of the physical body is but the beginning of a new life and that as we have sown during our life in the earth world, so shall we reap in the life of the spirit world. But great as that sacrifice was, neither its grandeur nor its merits are communicable, just as the sacrifice and merits of us all are incommunicable. We are each and every one of us responsible for our own misdeeds.
All this, you will perhaps say, is a far cry from the supposed story of our first parents. It is not so really. Adam and Eve were our first parents, so you are taught. They committed the first sin, and were punished by being cast out from their garden of paradise. Up to this time these individuals were strangely constructed. They were, in fact, immortal in their physical bodies while at the same time they were living upon a corruptible earth. They lost this strange attribute when they committed their sin, death. was introduced. The whole race of mankind that was to come was involved in the crash, and it was only the promise of the visitation from on high to the earth-plane of one who would redeem the earth world that made life possible upon it. I have tried to show you that this story is fantastic and in doing so to bridge the immense gap between the formation of the world, with its subsequent steady evolution, and that era which commenced two thousand years ago. Adam and Eve as our first parents had no existence in fact. The story is a fantasy.
Jesus was born upon earth two thousand years ago, and he is today an immense force upon the earth-plane. That is fact. The fantasy and the fact have no relation whatever to one another, but the Church has made the one dependent and consequent upon
the other. From this there has arisen all the strange variety of religious sects and religious observances that are to be seen throughout the earth. It is against every law of the spirit world that one person can assume responsibility for another's wrong doing. There are no merits belonging to another person of which we can avail ourselves and by which we can evade our responsibilities. But, it will be said, this great soul who perished so tragically, is different. He is one apart. He is Divine. He is the Son of God come down to earth to redeem us. He is, in fact, God Himself. With God all things are possible. Therefore, by virtue of his Divinity, Jesus will wash away our sins if we have sufficient faith and do what the Church teaches. We must be repentant, of course, and being repentant, we have one who will plead our cause by the merits of his supreme sacrifice we shall he saved. That is a very comforting and comfortable thought belief, but there is just one flaw. It simply is not true...
As a priest of one of the principal of these religious denominations, I upheld, when I was upon earth, all its doctrines and creeds. When I eventually came to live in the spirit world, I found that the whole of my theological knowledge was completely negative or stultified by my first sight of the truths of the spirit world, of its people, and of its laws. I found that as far as the people of earth were concerned, they had never lived for one single fraction of a moment under the wrath of God, for the all-sufficing reason that the Great Father of Heaven cannot entertain wrath against any person or persons whatsoever for any reason or reasons whatsoever. How do I know this, it may be asked? The answer is simple: it is common knowledge in the spirit world. We, in these realms, all know it. Therein lies the immeasurable beauty of it. It is apparent at every turn.
Jesus, the great teacher who was born upon earth two thousand years ago, was cast out of the Earth world violently and shamefully by the people of earth. This tragic transition was an act of expiation to the Eternal Father for the wrath He felt and as a means of saving the earth world's inhabitants. So it is still taught in the churches of earth. A blood sacrifice of His only son! Such beliefs as these are primitive and barbaric, and monstrous when viewed in the light of the great truths of the spirit world as we know and understand them here...
The Wrath of God is a stupid and wicked fiction. Numberless false theories have been propounded from it, and numberless false doctrines have been formulated. The most elementary acquaintance with the laws of the spirit world will at once show that the wrath of God is a contradiction of terms. The two words cannot exist together. That is also common knowledge in these realms, elementary knowledge. The wrath of God, indeed!
Man, as he now is, was not created upon the instant, as the Church teaches, in the image and likeness of his Creator. He was slowly and steadily evolved from a lower order of creatures. The image and likeness were to come later. The Paradise of Eden is the best attempt at an explanation of the creation of man that man himself could that time evoke. The story of the first man and woman, whom the earth world has come to name Adam and Eve, is natural corollary to the legend of their creation.
Had the story ended with this supposed couple enjoying to the end of their earthly days the pleasures and delights their ideal abode, the earth world would have been saved immensity of pain and suffering, of persecution, wars, and bloodshed, and a score of other tribulations and calamities. But some explanation was bound to be given as why this earthly paradise was not still flourishing, and so there was invented the utterly nonsensical and completely false doctrine of the Fall of Man, and that, from this fall, the whole of mankind is forever tainted with original sin...
Every man is his own saviour. Salvation is by personal effort alone. I am using the word salvation, not in its theological sense, but in the sense that a person must carve out his own spiritual destiny, though he will always be under the care and guidance of wiser spiritual beings.
Editor's last word:
"The wrath of God is a stupid and wicked fiction."
C'mon, Father, don't speak so guardedly - tell us what you really think.
I very much like the channeled writings of Robert Hugh Benson. I consider his reports to be among the most valuable, even in a crowded field of evidential others.
Summerland is a congeries, a patchwork-quilt, of all sorts of lifestyles. Our Earth is home to a vast variety of cultures, and not everyone would consider it to be "heaven" and ideal living to take up residence in Father Benson's "picture postcard" society of quaint houses-with-garden, small farms, as a kind of suburbia to majestic city-center. Each person will have complete choice concerning how one wants to live and where - in the mountains, by the seashore or desert, or someplace else. And you can have more than one home, as well. It's up to you.
For myself, however - I have already decided - Father Benson's "neighborhood" in Summerland will suit me just fine. I can already see my small farm, for my animals, and as bucolic retreat for me, situated just outside that City of Learning, a "university town," which he describes so tantalizingly, where I will study and teach. I see my interests and work, eventually, taking me to distant recesses of the universe; exploring, in a "Star Trek" way, exotic civilizations and peoples; but, no matter how far-flung my adventures, I feel I will always want to return to my familiar small farm, a psychological hearth. It's a North Dakota thing.