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Chapter 8

Spiritism Encourages Suicide

AS Spiritism has set itself to improve man's religious outlook and uplook in this world,-- even to supersede Christianity as the religion of the future,-- we have a right to put it upon trial and ascertain whether it has done so or is likely to do so. We have found in its teachings and in the fruitage of its teachings that which indicates a failure in that matter all along the line. Having taught individuals to believe that when a person dies, he passes immediately into another sphere of life and activity, and that only a thin veil hides the departed loved one from those left behind, it has placed in their souls an urgent longing to pierce that veil and join that loved one. Some have that longing appeased in a measure by communications which purport to come from the departed; but others are not satisfied with this, and messages often come calling them or enticing them to join the departed one "on the other side." Some resist the temptations to suicide which Spiritism holds before their minds. Others do not. The following will illustrate:

In the much-advertised book by Sir Oliver J. Lodge, entitled, "Raymond, or Life and Death," are given many reports of communications purporting to come from Sir Oliver's dead son, Raymond, who lost his life in the Great War. These words are addressed by the "spirit" to the father, Sir Oliver:

"You know that I am longing and dying for the day when you come over to me. It will be a splendid day for me. But I mustn't be selfish. I have got to work to keep you away from us, and that's not easy for me."--"Raymond," p. 248, ed. 1916, Doran.

Notice in this the thinly veiled enticement to hasten the day when father and son will be together again. And this is not the only occasion when such a suggestion was made through the spirit medium to England's distinguished scientist. The "spirit" Feda, pretending to speak for Raymond through the medium, Mrs. Leonard, says this:

"He does wish you would come over. He will be as proud as a cat with something tails -- two tails, he said. Proud as a cat with two tails showing you round the places. He says, Father will have a fine time, poking into everything, and turning everything inside out."-- Id., page 269.

There is no disguising the enticement here. The "spirit uttering those words is putting into the minds of those who consult the spirits the thought of hastening by their own hands the time when they shall rend the veil and speak (as they suppose) face to face with the loved ones gone before. If the loved ones gone before are dearer to them than the loved ones who would be left behind, the temptation, through frequent repetition, preys upon the mind until, in many cases, the mind yields, and the victim of the delusion snaps the brittle thread of life, and breaks the unchanging law of God at the same time. That soul will stand unshriven before his Maker in the great judgment day. Satan has accomplished that soul's ruin through the deceptive teachings of Spiritism.

The idea that we have been considering,-- spirit suggestions to suicide,-- is directly taught in the work put out by the Rev. G. Vale Owen, vicar of Orford, Lancashire, under the title of "The Life Beyond the Veil," Book 3 (" The Ministry of Heaven"). Mr. Owen, whose hand is taken charge of by the spirits at a certain time in the day, is writing of the experience of Judas Iscariot at the time of the crucifixion of Christ. These are the words thus written under spirit control:

"As the betrayer [Judas Iscariot] looked upon the face and form of Him [Christ], there came into his soul a voice which mocked and said: 'As you would have gone with Him into His kingdom, and there have taken high place of power, go now into the kingdom of His adversary: there you may have power for the asking. He has failed you. Go now where He will not be at hand to reward you as you have served Him.'

"So voices came about him, and he strove to believe them, and to look into the face of the One on the cross. He was eager, and yet in fear of those eyes into which he had never been able to look with comfort at any time. But the sight of the dying Christ was all too dim, and He did not see Judah [Judas Iscariot] there. And still the voices hummed on and taunted him and cajoled him more gently, and at length, in the gloom about the place, he rushed away, and let out his life in a place where he found solitude and a tree. He took off his girdle and hung himself to death on a tree."--" The Life Beyond the Veil," book 3, p. 144.

The voices that taunted and cajoled Judas Iscariot, and induced him finally to take his own life, as this spirit-controlled writer says, were voices from the same class of beings that subtly insinuated to Sir Oliver Lodge to speed the time of his departure.

The spirit-guided hand of the same writer, Rev. G. Vale Owen, records this sentiment, which we can but regard as an encouragement to the same end:

"Thus you will see how little it matters that, when the time comes for you to cast off the body of earth, you stand discarnate. Your earth body was a body of vibrations and no more. Very well, you now have a body of vibrations more substantial and enduring, because of a higher quality, and nearer to the energizing Will which brought it into existence, and so sustains it."-- Id., book 2, p. 126.

This teaches one to place a very slight valuation upon this present life, and to look forward with longing to the time when, snapping the brittle cord of life, one is to step full-fledged into the life of higher "vibrations," where he will be nearer to God. There can be no question in the mind of right-thinking human beings but that such teaching encourages suicide. There are specific instances on record of its having done so. The following will be to the point:

On June 5, 1919, an inquest was held in Whangarei, New Zealand, over the death of a woman who went by the name of Jessie West. The woman's body was found on June 3 floating in the water, she having drowned herself in the Whangarei River on the previous night. The following quotation is taken from the report of the inquest as published in the Auckland (New Zealand) Star of June 5, 1919:

"Deceased had said she was married to an elderly gentleman; that she had married him for his money, not for love. Deceased used to hold Spiritual meetings every night in the deceased's room. They held a meeting on the Monday evening. 'We used to sing, say a little prayer, the spirits would come, and we received spiritual messages. Her spirit would say, "Love Freddie."' Freddie was a friend of the deceased's. Witness did not know his other name.

"Witness, who was visibly affected, and evidently gave evidence with difficulty, continued: 'We left the hotel at half past eight, walked down to the town wharf together. She said she was going to a friend that wanted her. I told her not to go -- not to be foolish. She said: "My Freddie is calling me."'

"THE CORONER: 'Where was Freddie?'

"WITNESS: 'He is dead. It was his spirit calling.'

"Continuing, witness said: 'We walked down to the wharf. When we got there, deceased took off her costume and other clothes, gave them to me, and deceased kept only her nightdress on. I then left, as deceased told me to go.'

"Witness said she knew what deceased was going to do; she had told witness a week ago that she was going to drown herself.

"In answer to Sergeant Moore, witness said deceased told her not to tell any one. She realized now that she was foolish to go away or leave deceased, who had said, 'Let me go; I have nothing to live for;' that her loved one was gone, and he was calling her.

"THE CORONER: 'At this meeting of Spiritualists did you hear anybody in the room?'

"WITNESS: 'No; but I heard a sound in the room. It was not the deceased speaking. I heard a voice say to "love Freddie." They had been carrying on this alleged Spiritualism about a month, or three weeks.

"THE CORONER: 'Did you not try to persuade her not to do it?'

"WITNESS: 'Yes, I said to her, "Don't go, Jessie; you are young yet ; you have a lot to live for."' Deceased replied, 'No, I have nothing to live for. My Freddie has gone; I must go, too.'

"William Thomas Simons, licensee of the Whangarei Hotel, said deceased never complained, but always seemed cheerful. Her conduct was never such as to lead any one to suppose she was likely to commit suicide."

But she did commit suicide, and she was urged on to the committing of that deed because of her belief in the teachings of Spiritism -- that the dead are still living, still conscious, still able to love, and still yearning for the association of their former friends and loved ones.

Had she believed the Scriptures, which plainly declare that "the dead know not anything; " that "their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished;" that "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest" (Eccl. 9: 5, 6, 10) ; that "his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Ps. 146: 4) -- had she believed these teachings, she would have known that the voices which she heard calling her and urging her to destroy herself were the voices of demons, doing the work of him who "as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter. 5: 8. Or had that poor, deluded soul understood and believed this scripture, "He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more" (Job 7:10), she would have detected the impostor, and been able to say, as did our Lord, "Get thee behind me, Satan." That Job there referred to things temporal rather than eternal, is seen by this additional testimony from that afflicted but faithful patriarch:

"I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another [or "not a stranger," margin]." Job 19: 25-27.

There is in that utterance a demonstration of strong faith, saving faith,-- faith in the power and love of God, faith in the redemptive work of Christ, faith in the resurrection, and faith that he himself would have a part in the resurrection, through our Saviour's work on his behalf. That faith is further emphasized in these words:

"So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that Thou wouldst hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldst keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldst appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands." Job 14: 12: 15.

Job, an inspired prophet of God, had no instruction from Divinity to the effect that when he died he would pass at once into a higher sphere of life. He had never been informed that when the door of the tomb closed upon him, he would pass at once into the presence of other living, sentient beings, mingling with them in the busy activities of a higher and grander and more glorious existence. No; he said, "If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness." Job 17:13. Speaking again of the dead, he says: "His sons come to honor [that is, to honorable positions], and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them." Job 14: 21. In other words, he believed and he wrote what the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes believed and wrote, and also what the writer of the Psalms believed and wrote. Here is a triumvirate of witnesses, all speaking by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, all testifying to the same thing, and all teaching that the dead are unconscious. They are quietly awaiting that appointed time when the Creator shall call, and they shall stand up in their place to answer Him.

They who believe the testimony of these inspired witnesses will never be caught in the deceptive snare which Satan lays for the feet of the unwary in the doctrine that the dead are conscious and actively interested in the affairs of those they loved in life. They who believe those prophetic penmen of the divine will can never be driven to suicide through the belief that their departed friends are calling to them to destroy themselves in order that they may join in happy association "on the other side."

Those spirits that speak out of the darkness, urging individuals to break God's law (" Thou shalt not kill ")' convict themselves, by that very suggestion, of being the enemies of God, and therefore the enemies of mankind. They know that he who breaks that divine command goes to his grave with no mediator, nothing to shield him from the just penalty of that law -- death.

Spiritism teaches doctrines that are plainly opposed to the divine precepts; doctrines that make it possible for the cunning sophistries of Satan to lure men and women to their doom. Therefore it cannot escape the charge of joint responsibility with the great deceiver for the death of those who, through the enticing words of spirit voices, are urged on in a course that can end only in their eternal destruction.

On May 27, 1909, a famous psychic of Flinders Street, Adelaide, Australia, Mrs. Adderson Miller, granted an interview to Pastor E. S. Butz, who wrote out a report of the interview and submitted it to her for authentication. In that interview, which was a lengthy one, occurs this question with its answer:

"Question.-- Are suicides led to the deed by evil spirits?

"Answer.-- Yes, all of them."

This spirit medium speaks without hesitation, and affirms the proposition we have put forward. Spiritists will doubtless contend that it is only evil spirits who encourage suicide, and that good spirits would teach and urge the contrary. But we contend that any spirit that comes to any individual claiming to be the discarnate spirit of any deceased human being, is an evil spirit. It purports to be what it is not. It is a deceiver, and is deceiving for a wicked purpose; for by the declarations of God's own spokesmen, the righteous dead are quietly resting in their graves, awaiting the command of God that will speak them into life again at the second coming of our Lord; and the wicked dead are awaiting their summons also, at a later time, to stand upon their feet and receive the reward which a just God considers meet for their evil course.

Frederick C. Spurr well says concerning King Saul's experience with Spiritism:

"The story of the first sťance recorded in the Bible is very suggestive. Saul had lost his hold on the living God. The door of heaven was closed against him by reason of his own moral unfitness. He was a degenerate in more than one sense; and he tried to find in the sťance what he had missed in his soul. What he found was not the gate to heaven, but the doorway to the abyss. The spirit told him no good news about the beyond. What it did tell him led to Saul's suicide. When men are living in the joy of communion with the living God, they do not need nor desire the questionable revelations of the sťance. It is, generally speaking, people who are bankrupt of faith who seek to force the door of the great mystery."-- Australian Christian World, Feb. 20, 1920.

In the Melbourne Argus, of Feb. 8, 1921, was published the report of a coroner's inquest upon the death of the "veteran actor and playwright, George Darrell." The inquest was held at Sydney, the body having been washed ashore at Dee Why, near Manly, New South Wales. Mr. Darrell left a note to Mrs. Barnet, his landlady, telling that he was "going on a journey," and directing her what disposition to make of certain of his belongings.

Mr. Nathaniel Barnet gave evidence at the inquest that Darrell had been despondent for some time; that he was worried at not having heard from his son; and that he was a great believer in Spiritualism. This, witness believed, made him regard life in this world as not being of much consequence -- as a "mere detail."

A verdict of suicide was rendered. There was no evidence given as to whether the deceased had been hearing voices from the darkness calling him to the other side; but the teachings of Spiritism themselves lead exactly where the witness intimated that they did,-- to a cheapening of one's estimate of the value of this present life, and a desire to cut adrift and launch out into the" higher life."

Dr. Otto G. Freyermouth, famous neurologist and psychologist of America, has thought it necessary 'to issue a warning against the ouija board , the use of which has become so prevalent throughout the world . He calls attention to three cases of insanity that had occurred at Oakland, Calif. From his warning I quote:

"The three cases were women who had become victims to their own devotion to the occult. One, fully clothed, was walking calmly into a lake when rescued with difficulty. Another constantly 'heard mysterious voices.' The brilliant mind of the third had become shattered."-- Washington (D.C.) Herald, Nov. 7, 1919.

A tree which bears such fruit needs to be uprooted rather than cultivated; for when one has listened for months or years to these "mysterious voices," and sincerely believes them to come from loved ones who have gone before, he will be very likely to heed the suggestion of suicide when such voices bring it to him.

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