Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
These Frequently Asked Questions are presented in the form of a conversation. Reading them in the order presented will provide a full understanding of the Science, Philosophy, and Religion of Spiritualism.
- What Is a Spiritualist?
- Can a Spiritualist Accept the Teaching of Jesus?
- Is Spiritualism a Religion?
- What Should Convince Me of Its Truths?
- How Should I Go About This Investigation?
- How Can I Study the Philosophy?
- How Can I Study the Phenomena?
- What Is a Medium?
- What Is This Influence?
- How Do You Know This Influence Is Exercised by Spirits?
- Then Are These Mediums "Fortune-Tellers?"
- But Do They Not Foretell the Future?
- Then of What Use Is Spiritualism, If Not to Predict the Future?
- In What Way Could That Be Possible?
- Is Spirit Communication Necessary to Bring This About?
- What Other Benefit Is Spirit Communication?
- Why Do Your Mediums Not Confine Themselves to This Teaching, Instead of Giving the Messages We Generally Hear?
- But Why Do Mediums Accept Fees for Their Work?
- Why Was Spirit Communication Not Established Long Ago?
- Then Must We Be Highly Educated to Receive Spirit Communications Direct?
- But Some of Your Mediums Seem to Have Little Education?
- Some Manifestations Seem Childish, of What Use Are "Rappings," and the Like?
- To What "Natural Forces" Do You Refer?
- Are You Willing to Submit to Scientific Investigation?
- Then Why Has Not Science Demonstrated Your Claims?
- Then Why Do Scientists Reject These So-Called Facts?
- Why Do You Not Attempt to Convince The Scientific World?
- Would Your Beliefs, if Accepted, Upset Modern Science!
- Why Then Do We Not Hear More Scientific Teachings From Your Platforms?
- Does the Exercise of Mediumship Harm the Medium?
- Are Spirit Communications Always Correct?
- Are There Other Methods of Communication Besides Spirit Raps?
- How Can I Know That Any Particular Medium Is Trustworthy?
- Is Not Mediumship a Supernatural Gift?
- Is There Any Way of Knowing Who Are the Recognized Mediums in the Spiritualist Ranks?
- Can Any One Get These Certificates?
- Can I Depend Upon Getting a Satisfactory Spirit Communication Through Any Medium Holding Such Certificates?
- What Class of Spirits May One Expect to Come in Contact with When Visiting a Spiritualist Medium?
- Can You Classify Them According to Their Desires and Intentions?
- Do Not Messages Sometimes Come from Spirits Who Have Never Lived in a Physical Body?
- Do You Not Often Come in Contact with Evil Spirits?
- Are You Not Afraid to Come in Contact with Such Spirits?
- Will a Knowledge of Spiritualism Produce These Results?
- What Effect Does the Fact of Spirit Communication Have on the Undeveloped Spirits?
- Will All Then Have An Opportunity to Progress, and to Undo the Many Mistakes Committed on This Side of Life?
- What Other Principles Does Spiritualism Proclaim and Uphold?
- Do You Believe in "Good" and "Evil" Spirits?
- Do You Mean That We Must Be Reincarnated Into a New Body?
- Are Not Your Teachings Allied to Theosophy, Hinduism, Etc.?
- Then You Do Not Believe in "Magic?"
- Then What of Biblical Miracles?
- Cannot Ill-Disposed Spirits Harm Us?
- Can We Choose What Spirits Shall Approach Us?
- Can These Spirits Influence Us Consciously?
- In What Form Do Such Influences Come?
- Do These Spirits Come from a Heaven, a Purgatory or a Hell?
- Have They Any Special Place of Abode?
- If There Is No Hell How Are the Evil Punished?
- Then Even Criminals Can Progress?
- Then You Do Not Believe in "Vicarious Atonement"?
- Will Not Such Teachings Encourage Selfishness and Crime?
- Judging by This, Spiritualists Must Be Very Moral People.
- Will Your Teachings Affect Our Political and Social Life?
These Frequently Asked Questions are presented in the form of a conversation. Reading them in the order presented will provide a full understanding of the Science, Philosophy, and Religion of Spiritualism.
Extracted from The NSAC Spiritualist Manual
A Spiritualist is one who believes, as the basis of his or her religion, in the communication between this and the spirit world by means of mediumship, and who endeavors to mold his or her character and conduct in accordance with the highest teachings derived from such communication.
Yes. A belief in spirit communication does not conflict with the Teachings ascribed to Jesus. The Christian Bible confirms its truth repeatedly. However, Spiritualism is not a branch of Christianity or other major religion. Spiritualism has been recognized by the US Congress as a separate and distinct religion.
It is a Religion, Philosophy, and Science in one. It has a national organization, state associations, numbers of churches, and a solemnly ordained ministry.
Your own reason and common sense after a thorough and scientific investigation.
By obtaining literature from the National Spiritualist Association of Churches and by questioning the officials of state associations or pastors of local churches. Study the Philosophy of Spiritualism and the Phenomena which demonstrates and proves its Philosophy
By carefully reading and thinking over the literature mentioned, and by taking the trouble to ask questions of our officials and others qualified to answer.
By attending services held by local Spiritualist Churches, at which these phenomena are actually demonstrated by our mediums.
A Medium is one whose organism is sensitive to vibrations from the spirit world, and through whose instrumentality, intelligences in that world are able to convey messages and produce the phenomena of Spiritualism.
It is the transference of impressions or ideas by a disembodied spirit direct to the brain of the Medium. The most noted scientists of today recognize that thought transference is possible and call it "Telepathy."
Because under it Mediums accomplish things which would be impossible to them under ordinary conditions and plainly show in many other ways that they are being used as a medium of communication by some other individual.
NO! Our Mediums, many of whom are ordained clergy of our church, thus perform a sacred duty. Communications coming through them, frequently refer to material and everyday matters because you ask for such, and because, to a certain extent, such are necessary to arouse interest and induce further investigation.
It is sometimes done to a certain extent through their means. An inhabitant of the Spirit World can, to a degree, predict future events with greater or less accuracy, according to conditions. This is done by reasoning based on observation of past and present conditions and events, and is more accurate than is the same process as used by us, because the Spirit is not hampered by a physical body, nor by the conventional and set ideas that go with the limitations of such a body.
This is a mistaken idea held by many people. The prediction of, the future is of, very little importance. Spiritualism's greatest value lies in the fact that, when its truth is generally accepted, it will completely revolutionize many accepted but antiquated ideas and customs.
Because Spiritualism proves not only that we continue to exist consciously after the death of the physical body, but that we are then still responsible for our actions while here. We cannot escape the consequences of our acts, good or bad. Therefore, if a majority of earth's inhabitants become firmly convinced of this fact, plainly the glaring defects and abuses of our present life will gradually disappear, as each individual will exercise greater care not to injure others, because of the consequences and resultant injuries to self.
YES. Because that is the only definite and positive way by which the fact of unavoidable personal responsibility after "death" can be unalterably proven to man. All present-day religions teach this to a certain degree, but all absolutely fail to convince their followers beyond doubt, because they must rely on faith alone and cannot give definite proof.
It completely removes the fear of death, by proving that there is no death of the actual person. It convinces us that it is merely stepping from a lower state of existence into a higher, exactly as the caterpillar apparently "dies" to become the butterfly. It does away with absolute separation of those closely united, thereby relieving us of the worst of material sorrows. It also inspires us to purer and more progressive ways of life, by proving beyond doubt the advantages of right action and the disadvantages of wrong action.
Because, like a baby, the average person must creep before they can walk—that is, they must first become interested in investigating, then become thoroughly convinced that the manifestations are caused by friends in Spirit Life and then they may begin to study the philosophy. These questions and answers are designed to be a groundwork in such investigations and study, exactly as one must learn to read before one can study the higher sciences.
For the same reason that ministers and priests accept fees for weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc., in addition to their regular salaries. They are special, personal services, for which the clergyman is entitled to a special and personal fee for their knowledge and time.
In history, people at large were not ready to receive it. Spirit communications have been constantly given during thousands of years, but only the priesthood of each nation were sufficiently educated to recognize and receive them. The people were taught that they could not communicate with spirit, so there was no way open for spirit communications to be understood.
No, but you must remember that the least educated American citizen is far more enlightened than were the common people of even a century ago. There must be at least some ground work of education and the right to free thought, in order to remove superstition and lay a foundation for the proper understanding of spiritual manifestations.
That is one convincing proof. We often receive, through mediums of a moderate education, communications which plainly come from a trained and educated mind. That alone is strong evidence that the message does not originate with the mediums, but comes from without.
Such conclusions are not the result of careful thought: as the rapping’s of a telegraph Instrument, when properly interpreted, carry messages of vital import from nation to nation and around the world, so rappings from spirit world, when properly interpreted, carry messages of vital import and of highest philosophy from the inhabitants of the spirit world to man on the earth plane, by the use of natural forces.
Electric currents, the same used in operating the telegraph instrument, also used in sending the wireless message from city to city and from continent to continent. It is not logical to call the spirit rap childish as it is not to call the dot and dash of the telegraph childish. As the telegraph instrument is only a toy to a child, so the rap from the spirit world seems only a toy to the uninformed mind that fails to grasp the vast import of the fact that there is no death, and that definite communication has been established between those in their physical body and those who have made their transition to the spirit world.
Certainly. We court scientific and philosophical investigation of our phenomena and philosophy.
Every scientist who has investigated thoroughly and without prejudice has been convinced of the truth of these facts. Some of the greatest minds, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alfred Russell Wallace, Sir William Crookes (discoverer of the x-ray), Camille Flammarion, William T. Stead and Sir Oliver Lodge of England, Edgar Lucien Larkin, of Mt. Lowe Observatory, and other world-famous scientific men have announced themselves convinced.
Some people are so prejudiced that they make no investigations. Others investigate unfairly, demanding material proof of spiritual truths without being willing to assist in forming the spiritual conditions necessary to produce the results desired, which is unfair and as impossible as it would be to carry an electrical message from one city to another.
Unprejudiced scientist have found no difficulty in finding absolute scientific proof of the possibility of communicating with spirit people, under proper conditions.
No. Spiritualism is the only religion which harmonizes with science in every way. Not one proven scientific fact contradicts the truths we teach.
Because our teachings must be so explained as to be understood by all minds. Many people can be interested only by tests or messages dealing with material matters. Also we find it necessary to prove our phenomena, before we can interest the public in our philosophy. Very few people accept as a fact the possibility of the continuity of life.
No more than any other work. In fact, it is distinctly beneficial if combined with proper exercise, relaxation, and recreation, which everybody should have. Some Mediums have an inclination to overwork and are then harmed just as anyone would be who carried any occupation to excess. We know of many cases in which Mediums have been benefited physically and mentally, by their work, to an astonishing extent.
Not always but usually so. The spirit merely uses its best judgment in offering advice, and although it can see many causes which produce certain results, more clearly than the average mortal can do, they are still fallible, and so claim to be, and are liable at times to be mistaken. It is also true that there are times, when owing to certain physical conditions or weaknesses, the Medium cannot be reached by the particular spirit who would be best able to give the advice desired. A Medium acting wisely under such conditions would refrain from exercising their mediumship until more perfect mental and physical conditions are obtained. We claim not that our sensitives are infallible but that they are honestly doing their best to help you, and that they DO bring messages from the spirit world.
Yes; since the knowledge of spirit communication came to be understood by the human mind much of bigotry, superstition, and prejudice have been removed, and the human organism has been able to respond to natural impulses without fear of persecution and possible death. As a result we find mediumship manifesting in many beautiful forms, such as those of clairvoyance, clairaudience, slate writing, materialization, spirit healing and inspiration.
Most mediums are honest in their intentions, but none can ever claim to be infallible. Such a claim on their part would of itself be a positive proof of their lack of knowledge and honesty, and would prove them unworthy of confidence. The mistrust, by the public, of mediums and of mediumship, is the result largely of ignorance, or superstition on the part of some who have not learned to understand that messages from the Spirit world are natural and do not claim to be supernatural or infallible.
No. Mediumship is a natural gift, and is subject to the operation of natural laws, as are all the manifestations of nature whether in the material or the spiritual world, which must be understood and complied with.
Yes. The National and State Spiritualist Associations issue certificates each year to mediums whom they believe to be qualified and worthy.
We grant such certificates only after the applicant has under gone certain educational training and examination and has proven their self-competence to receive and transmit communications from the Spirit World. Our Mediums correspond to the clergy of denominational churches. We have Ordained Ministers, Licentiates, Certified Mediums, and Healers.
Not necessarily so. Not even our best developed mediums can reach into all conditions satisfactorily for all people; some can receive messages for one individual and others for another. There are conditions and laws governing mediumship which are not generally understood but which must be complied with in order to obtain satisfactory results.
The character of the spirits one will meet in visiting a Medium is liable to be as varied as are those of the individuals one comes in contact with each day on the earth plane.
Each Spirit communicating through a Medium does so with a special object in view. In a general way they may be classified under three different heads. FIRST, those who are so bound to earth conditions that they will try to come in contact, and communicate with it through any avenue they find available. SECOND, those who are naturally attracted to us by the ties of relationship and the laws of love. THIRD, those advanced and developed Spirits who return from the higher spheres of life in the Spirit world, filled with a Holy Love for Humanity, for the purpose of guiding and leading mankind into higher knowledge and further light.
We have no knowledge of any such Spirits. Those returning even from the higher spheres of spirit life all claim to have traveled this wav, to have met and overcome temptations, to have unfolded a knowledge of God's laws which are nature's laws both on the material and on the spiritual sides of life, and to have earned by honest work and effort the right to the level which they have attained.
No! The true Spiritualist does not accept the words Evil Spirits. Those whom you refer to as evil spirits are poor, ignorant and unenlightened souls who have also lived on the earth plane. Many of them through lack of opportunity, want of proper education, and the influence of wrong social conditions have passed through this world and into the Spirit World in absolute ignorance of spiritual laws. They are, however, no worse than mankind has sent them into the Spirit World, and they are still our Brothers and Sisters.
No. It is no more dangerous to come in contact with the undeveloped in the Spirit World than it is to come in contact with the undeveloped on the material plane of life. Ignorance of the presence of an undeveloped spirit is no safeguard against its influence upon the individual with whom it comes in contact. Only by a knowledge of these laws will mankind ever be able to free itself from undesirable conditions which sometimes cause insanity, drunkenness, murder, suicide and war.
Yes. What ignorance and superstition have failed to do, a knowledge of Nature's laws can accomplish. The TRUTH alone can free the Human mind and start it on the pathway in search of truth, physical, mental and spiritual truth.
The spirits from the darker spheres often are allowed to visit the Spiritualist circle, in order that they may obtain a knowledge of things which were denied them while they were on earth. Oftentimes they come honestly seeking for knowledge and for light. Such spirits on learning for the first time that there is still an opportunity for them to develop and to outgrow the unhappy conditions acquired during their life on earth, seek earnestly to unfold into better conditions. They return frequently to the circle seeking more light, and in time they start on their pathway of eternal progression. Thus, by showing the light in all dark places on both sides of life, by educating both those in their physical body and those in the spirit world will our earth be freed from that darkness which we call evil.
Yes. Every human soul born into life is a child of GOD and the opportunity for development will at some time be realized and taken advantage of by each one. Spiritualism proclaims "The doorway to reformation is never closed against any human soul here or hereafter."
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches, of the United States of America has adopted what is known as its "Declaration of Principles" which consists of nine short articles. The Declaration of Principles can be found here.
We believe there are both intelligent and ignorant spirits. No being is naturally "bad"—evil always originates in ignorance. Merely leaving the physical body does not change the condition of the spirit, which is the actual personality. The spirit must learn to desire, and to progress to higher and better conditions, just as we do on earth.
NO! You can correct the mistakes of earth life, while in the Spirit world, without living on the material plane of life again.
Not at all. Such teachings undoubtedly contain some elemental truths, as do all religions, but their application of them differs from ours.
Decidedly not! "Magic" implies something supernatural; we teach that nothing ever happens, except by action of Natural Law.
"Miracle" means something done in defiance of Natural Law, therefore there are no Miracles. The demonstrations you speak of can be manifested today by our Mediums by the application of perfectly natural forces, when the necessary conditions of such manifestations are provided.
Only in the same way that unfitting companions can harm you. Your associates have a direct influence on you for good or evil, whether they are in this life or the next. If your own desires are good, nothing but good will come to you.
Certainly. Like attracts like. If you are striving to live a pure, progressive life, you will attract personalities who have like ideals.
Yes, if you desire it. No person, spirit or mortal, can influence by telepathy either for good or ill, anyone who does not in some way invite or permit such influence. You can receive great help from your spirit friends if you ask for it and open your mind to receive it.
In the form of impressions, transferred directly to your soul consciousness. You may not receive them without some training; yet, on the other hand, many people get them continually, but fail to credit them to the true source.
We do not believe in such places. Communicating spirits have merely graduated from this form of life into another. That life can be heaven or hell-like, just as each spirit chooses to make it; the same applies to our life here on earth.
They are subject to certain natural laws which regulate the life of each; as the spirit. Advances in purity and knowledge, its sphere of action widens. The World of Spirit permeates the entire universe—as real and tangible to those who have passed into it as this life and world are to us.
Remember, evil comes from ignorance. Hence we do not believe in punishment, but we know that all actions have a direct result. Thus, acts which injure others react on the doer; sometimes physically, but always spiritually, placing him yet lower in the scale of spiritual development, and retarding his progress and development in Spirit Life. Injurious acts must then be offset by generous, helpful and self-sacrificing deeds and thoughts, which, in turn, exert an uplifting and beneficial effect on the spiritual status and condition of the individual.
Yes. Even the most degraded personality can in time attain to the greatest heights. It is easier, however, to begin progression in earth life.
NO. Each must work out their own salvation; each has an equal opportunity to do this when they shall have atoned for the wrongs and overcome the temptations and allurements to the sense gratifications of earth life.
Exactly the opposite. When you know, beyond possible doubt, that you cannot escape by "death" from the consequences of your acts, but must surely face them in a short time, you will feel much more disposed to avoid deeds that will injure yourself as well as others
You will find no more moral or upright people than those who are true believers in Spiritualist teachings.
They will inevitably revolutionize it and purify it for the reasons just given in the several preceding paragraphs. But we aim to build up—not to tear down. Under our philosophy, by the sure, mental and spiritual growth, development out of improper political and social conditions will be gradually righted requiring no campaign of destruction first.