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Channeled testimony from the other side: A spirit-person offers account of how, while on Earth, he learned to trust in the whisperings of his own soul, though condemned for this by religionists.
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The following was received from the other side via the mediumship of Mrs. Elizabeth Sweet, November 10, 1853, as reported in “The Future Life.”
The spirit-person addressing the group, Sir John Pensley, attested that he had left the Earth fifty years prior, circa.1800, at the age of 90.
According to your mode of reckoning time, I have been in the spirit-world about fifty years. I originally lived among the people called Puritans, and was brought up to conform strictly with all their creeds and notions of religious freedom. I was brought up among them, but did not always think with them.
In my youth I was a straight-laced, sober-minded, long-faced, church-going member of the community. I thought there was no safety for me, or for any one, beyond the pale of that particular sect. I was constantly praying and laboring with all my might to convince others of the happiness they might find in doing as I did.
Editor's note: We detect the ironical note here. The miserable-looking one wants to recruit us for his cult. Well, we can hardly wait.
more than drinking the koolaid
The long reach of cultism encompasses much more than crackpot churches. The root idea of cult offers the sense of "cut." This core concept of "cut" leads us to images of refinement and refashioning and, by extension, development, control, pattern, order, and system.
Cultism as systemization finds a ready home in religion and philosophy which seek to regulate and redistill the patterning and ordering of ideas. However, in a larger sense, the spirit of cultism extends to every facet of society. We find it scheming and sedulously at work in politics, academia, family, corporations, entertainment, science, artistry – anywhere power might be gained by capturing credulous and fear-based minds.
See the “cultism” page for a full discussion.
Now, it so happened that I was obliged to leave the scenes of my youth, and live in a large city. There I was thrown into many different kinds of society, and urged to visit one expounder of the truth after another, as models of purity and perfection in his way.
When I had heard one, I was confident he could not be surpassed, till I tried the next ; and then my whole soul would chime in with the splendid talents and exalted purity of the last I heard; and thus I went on, dazzled with one, delighted with another, charmed with a third, convinced by a fourth, confused by all, and not knowing which was the truth-teller, which was the liar, or which the one I ought to follow.
It seemed as though my former ideas were all hashed up, and the new ones were so confused and contradictory that I knew not which way to turn. I thought where so many different teachers abounded, there must be someone right, but I was not able to select that one from among the many.
I became very uneasy, I, who had before been so calm and tranquil, and so well satisfied, walking in my straight and narrow path. But my path grew narrower and was blocked up after hearing such a variety of opinions, and finally disappeared from view when I began to separate my thoughts one from another, and get my ideas in shape.
This state of mind lasted some time, creating a conflict neither pleasant nor profitable to my peace. At length I came to the conclusion that I would discard every opinion and form my own, and I marked out my own course.
I determined to see for myself whether there was within me any true,, unerring guide to lead me right; for I reasoned: If I am a spark of intelligence emanating from God, the Great Sun and Center of all Intelligence, is there not within me enough to show the light by which to travel back to the source whence I sprung? and I said, I'll try. I'll wait and seek, and if the Bible, which I have so much and devoutly reverenced in early years, is not a vain and empty fable, I will knock, and it will be opened to me.
I was not mistaken; gradually light broke in on my firm-bound soul. It was so new and strange that it frightened me, even though coming in little flashes.
Editor's note: I have frequently commented, to myself, that, as one's mind opens to the previously-unseen reality, it comes in tiny flashes! - every day, new flashes!
I would sometimes start back affrighted when receiving an answer to my inmost thoughts, and I was led to ponder deeply and alone.
Editor's note: These answers to inmost thought, most often, it seems, come so quickly, that their arrival is noted even before the question can be fully verbalized!!! How often I have experienced this.
Not alone, as I now find, for I had bright and glorious companions, unseen by me, who were trying to whisper into my dull and leaden-hued mind thoughts of wisdom to enlighten and assist me in my earnest researches.
And now, as I began slowly to emerge from the confines of my former resting-place, I encountered many enemies; some called me hypocrite, some heretic, some atheist, some crazy. But I stood unmoved, for the hope of eternal life, which had been nigh being extinguished in my breast, had become firm and strong. And when men opposed me with stale arguments borrowed from others' minds, how I despised them, for I leaned on myself.
How I looked inwardly and felt there was that in me which had taken hold on eternal life. No bandying of words, no ridicule or opposition, could turn me aside from the path I had chosen for myself, for I felt that the energies of my soul had been called forth in its conflicts, and I was daily growing stronger, and being sustained with more than human power.
When I thus rose up against opposition, and in spite of prejudice asserted the truth as I felt it in me, they were ready to stone me, and said I was mad, because I had dared to think for myself and speak for myself. Still I lived on in my madness, and most happy it made me, and not only me, but some few brave hearts who through my instrumentality had been brought to feel the truth as well as enjoy the blessing of thinking for themselves.
Having lived near in accordance with the ideas I professed to believe, I laid my body down, and my spirit took its flight to its next and better habitation. Oh, well I remember as my remains were borne to the grave, how the by-standers said to each other,
'The teacher is dead—the man who saw and knew what no one else ever heard of—he's dead, and now has not even a minister to breathe a prayer over his remains. Fit burial for such as laughed to scorn the teachings of the holy men of God, who by their zeal and knowledge are redeeming mankind.'
I was not mourned—not regretted—I saw it all, but it did not grieve me. I had made myself a mark to be shot at, and had made myself obnoxious to all who professed to be truth-loving Christians, not by my opinions so much as for the great and unusual liberty I had taken of thinking for myself and drawing my own conclusions.
But my entrance into the spirit-world was remarkably pleasant and joyous. I was welcomed, by many who had been considered while in this world as lost sheep, as having no claim on eternal life, because they had no name in the Christian Church which would lead to eternal life, as was supposed…
Every step I took [in my home-world] I felt myself growing stronger and more free, and I felt myself filled with a great gust of gladness to find myself surrounded by such beautiful companions. I was very unlike them in my outer garb, but still my heart claimed companionship with their spirits in its love. I gradually felt the material part of my being giving way as I became more and more filled with the invigorating influence of the atmosphere surrounding me…
Those present with Mrs. Sweet reported: Here ended the communication, and on a brief conversation with him we learned he died in England fifty years ago, at the age of ninety ; that during his life he published a book called "The Memoirs of Sir John Pensley," which was his name; that he left no children, and that his wife died ten years before him.