Chapter 6 - It's Promises: How Fulfilled
IT is fair to call Spiritualism to account as to the fulfilment of the promises involved in its challenge to the world when it stepped upon the stage of action. No movement ever opened with more magnificent promises. It posed before the world as an angel of heavenly light. It claimed to be the second coming of Christ. It claimed to have been sent to regenerate mankind, and renovate the world. We give herewith a few of its spirit-inspired pretensions. Its "Declaration of Principles," Article 20, says: --
"The hearty and intelligent convictions of these truths [the teachings of spirits] tend to energize the soul in all that is good and elevating, and to restrain from all that is evil and impure, . . . to quicken all philanthropic impulses, stimulating to enlightened and unselfish labors for universal good."
In behalf of the cause of woman it says: --
"Spiritualism has done more for the advancement of true womanhood than the Church or any of its accessories."-- Dr. Watson, in Banner of Light, April 16, 1887.
Miss A. L. Lull, in the Religio-Philosophical Journal of Jan. 23, 1886, said: --
"Spiritualism is the saviour of humanity, because it is reaching out toward the criminal, and in its effort to lift humanity to a higher plane, it is laying the foundation for future generations. . . . Spiritualism comes to cleanse out the dregs and wretchedness of humanity."
Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond, in a mediumistic discourse reported in the Banner of Light, April 3, 1886, said: --
"The Great Reformer of the world is Spiritualism. When modern Spiritualism made its appearance, it said in so many words, I come to reform the world Spiritualism came to put the ax at the root of the tree of human evil, it came to decide upon the most important and vital thing connected with existence; i. e., Is man only an evanescent, material, earthly being, or is he immortal? . . . Spiritualism came to reform death, to resolve it into life; came to reform fear, to resolve it into trust and knowledge; came to reform the darkness which rests upon humanity concerning the nature of man''s existence."
In the same paper, April 6, 1887, was given the following prediction of the future of Spiritualism: --
"Modern Spiritualism will grow, and deepen, and broaden, and strengthen, until all false creeds and dogmas shall be swept from the earth -- when faith shall be buried in knowledge, when war shall be known no more, when universal brotherhood shall prevail to bless mankind."
In "Nineteenth Century Miracles," p. 79, M. Jaubert speaks as follows: --
"Affirm to your people that man never dies, that his immortality is proved, not by books but by material and tangible facts, of which every one can convince himself; that anon our houses of correction, and our prisons, will disappear; suicide will be erased from our mortuary tables; and nobly borne, the calamities of earth shall no longer produce madness."
Mrs. R. S. Lillie, in a speech at the Thirty-eighth Anniversary services in Horticultural Hall, Boston, Mass., and reported in the Banner of Light, of April, 1886, said: --
"Christianity never had a Pentecost to be compared with modern Spiritualism. The latter is as far in advance of the former, as the electric light is in advance of the tallow dip of the past; for it is nineteen centuries ahead of it."
These are most astounding claims; and if there is any truth in them, Spiritualism ought to have shown itself as a great uplifting moral power, provided it has been able to get any foothold among the people. We therefore inquire what its success has been. On this point Professor Keck, at the Thirty-ninth Anniversary of Modern Spiritualism, at Bridgeport, Conn. (Banner of Light, April 9, 1887), said: --
"It [Spiritualism] has made converts of more scientific men and profound thinkers than any other sect in the world. In thirty-nine years it has grown to ten or fifteen millions of believers, with thousands of mediums, a literature printed in every known language, and converts in every quarter of the globe."
With all these facilities and all this success, it surely has been able to make good its claims, and fulfil its promises, if its nature is such as it assumes, and its promises are good for anything; and its course should be marked by a great decrease of crime, by the promotion of virtue and a general improvement in the moral tone of society, wherever it has gone. For over one hundred years it has now been operating in the world; and with all its glowing professions of what it was able to do, and its millions of converts, "energized to all that is good and elevating," its impress for good should everywhere be seen.
But what are the facts? -- Just the reverse of what has been promised. Free love, which is free lust, has followed in its wake; homes have been ruined, families scattered, characters blighted; while insanity and suicide have been the fate, or the last resort, of too many of its victims. And outside of its own ranks, in the world at large, the one hundred plus years since the advent of Spiritualism have been years of increase of crime and every evil in a fast growing ratio. Liquor drinking, tobacco using, gambling, prostitution, defalcations, robberies, bribery, municipal corruption, divorces, thefts, insanity, suicide, and murder, have increased in far more rapid ratio than the population itself.
The reader will remember the testimony of Dr. Randolph, that five of his friends destroyed themselves, and he attempted it for himself, by direct spirit influences. The Philadelphia Record, of Feb. 17, 1894, speaks of the suicide of May Brooklyn in San Francisco, Cal.: --
"The letters and papers left by the dead woman show plainly that in her grief over the death of Lovecraft she had dabbled in Spiritualism, and had finally reached the conclusion that her only chance of happiness lay in joining her lover in the other world."
A few figures, as samples, will be given just to emphasize the general statements. The following is from the Chicago Tribune of Jan. 1, 1893:-
"The number of persons who have committed suicide in the United States during the year (1892)'' as gathered from telegraph and mail report to the Tribune, is 3860, as compared with 3331 last year (1891), 2640 in 1890, and 2224 in 1889. The total is much larger than that of any of the eleven preceding years."
The Christian Reformer gives the following figures of murders, suicides, and embezzlements from 1891-1893: --
"Murders in 1893, 6615; increase over 1891 of 709.
"Suicides in 1893, 4436; increase over 1892, 576; 1891,1105.
"Funds embezzled in 1893, $19,929,692; increase of 100 per cent. over 1892."
It may be asked, What has this to do with Spiritualism? -- It is a test of the value of its promises. Spiritualism has been posing for more than one hundred years as the "world''s reformer," the great energizing, uplifting force to elevate mankind, the mighty power which has come to empty our workhouses and prisons, abolish suicides and all crime, the "electric light" compared with the "tallow dip" of the gospel. And yet with all these claims, with its millions of adherents, and the funds and influence at its command, it is allowing, year by year, crime to increase much faster than the population. Now if Spiritualism was the purifying, renovating power which it claims to be, such results could not have been seen. It is very evident, that, as a power in the world in behalf of righteousness and humanity, it has been of no account; and as between the forces of good and evil, its weight has been on the side of evil instead of good. It is thus that the author of Spiritualism, the father of deception, fulfils the promises made through that channel to deceive mankind. What organized, aggressive efforts against evil has Spiritualism ever shown? Where are its schools and colleges? Where are its hospitals and benevolent institutions? Where are its organized charities? and what are its millions of members doing to relieve suffering and distress, and turn men to better ways of living? The very aspect it presents to the world to-day, stamps the brand of Cain upon its brow. The Boston Herald of Dec. 17, 1874, said: --
"Let Spiritualism produce some idea, utter some word, or perform some deed, which will have novelty, and yet be of manifest value to the human race, and it will make good its claims to our serious consideration. But it has not done this. For nearly thirty years it has been before the world in its present shape, and in all that time, with all its asserted command of earthly and superterrestrial knowledge, it has never done an act, or breathed a syllable, or supplied an idea which had any value as a contribution to the welfare of the race, or to its stock of knowledge. Its messages from learned men who are dead, have been the silliest bosh; its stories about life upon the planets are wretched guesses, many of which can be proved false by the astronomer; its visions have frightened scores of people into madhouses, and made semilunatics of hundreds of others."
If this charge was good as late as 1874, it is equally so at the present time. And thus are we forced to the conclusion that Spiritualism, judged by the light of its fair promises, is one of the most lamentable of delusions, and most stupendous of failures.