In this three part series, Todd questions how members of a church based on the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg could harbor as much fear about contact with spirits as the New Church seems to. He examines communicating with the other world from a fresh perspective. (Part 2 and part 3 will be published at the end of April). - Editor.
Here we are as a church, with the greatest spiritist of all time as our special revelator, and yet most people I come in contact with are very much conflicted regarding talking or communicating with spirits. On one hand, they LOVE to talk about it, but it is a subject that carries a lot of fear and uncertainty as well. From my point of view, there is something along the lines of an underground conversation regarding spirit contact, something that typically goes like, “I had XYZ experience, but don’t tell anybody.”
So why don’t we tell anybody, or at least tell anybody publicly? I think most of it stems from the general rules in the Writings that we should not be contacting spirits, and that only evil spirits are interested in contacting us. Therefore admitting that you had contact with a spirit means that 1) you did something the Writings warned against (tsk, tsk) and 2) an evil spirit talked to you. What good can come out of that? Maybe none. Maybe lots. Or at least some, some times. The way I read the Writings, it seems there are loop holes or exceptions to these rules.
Those of you who have read my prior articles can probably deduce that I find spiritism and new age stuff terribly interesting. So it should come as no surprise that when I had a trip to LA to preach a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t resist but to stop into a shop called, “The House of Intuition.” It seemed like a pretty typical new age shop. They sell incense, books, oils, rocks, crystals, and had the obligatory hippie sitting out front smoking something that I was pretty sure wasn’t something I could buy legally. Then again, who knows, it was southern California.
I had time to kill, so I spent some of it talking with the clerk. Marlene seemed normal, and probably about 30 years old. Eventually she commented that she used to be in the trucking industry, and based on a tarot card reading she gave it all up and opened up this shop. She couldn’t be happier she told me. Maybe it was the incense talking, but I don’t think it was. She really did seem happy, and watching her deal with her customers for about 2 hours I saw that she was really good at her job. All because of a tarot card reading. Yet there didn’t seem to be any “consulting the rational” in her thought process.
Similarly another friend of mine really enjoys a book titled The Vortex. Essentially the two authors allow themselves to be possessed by a spirit who calls himself “Abraham” (not the Biblical Abraham). Abraham dispenses his wisdom to all who are willing to listen. Some of it jives with what the Writings teach. But some of it clearly does not. Abraham teaches that there is no God, but that we are all gods in our own right, and there really aren’t evil spirits, just bad thoughts out there that we get tangled up with. These are big things to get wrong.
But Abraham does teach some useful things. He teaches personal responsibility, and that whatever we get in life, we have attracted to ourselves. The teachings are less than perfect, but utilized properly they can be useful. Much like Marlene’s tarot card reading that turned out well, many people are getting some good advice about how to live their life from Abraham, even if he’s got some very important things wrong.
But is Abraham trying to lead us to hell? Possibly. The Writings do warn of spirits who work very subtlety, gently bending us to our own destruction. We are also told that evil spirits really love this world more than their own, so an opportunity to converse with us is quite delightful to them, like a day pass from prison. Based on what I’ve read about Hell, I can’t say I blame them. If given the choice of rolling a rock up a hill for eternity or giving earthlings spiritual advice, which would you choose? Plus if they love being loved by others, they must love the adoration given to them by us. There is another side though. Believe it or not, even the Writings say we can be contacted by good spirits. Really? Yep. Stay tuned.