Spiritualism/Christianity and spiritualism
I am a Christian who is very interested in Spiritualism, and I would like to ask you 2 questions if I may?
My first question concerns 'spirit guides': I have heard differing stories about them and their nature. Many spirit guides seem so wise and gentle, and yet I have also heard accounts of them 'turning nasty' when questioned about their identity. So what are they exactly?
My second question: if I became a Spiritualist could I still remain a Christian?
Dave, thank you for your question. Spirit guides are beings in the spirit realm who offer guidance to people on earth. You might compare them to what Roman Catholics call "guardian angels" or even "saints." I say this because spirit guides, as guardian angels and saints, give us help on the "other side." There are many schools of thought regarding guardian angels. Commonly, a major spirit guide is called a "control." You might compare a "control" to the producer of a talk show--they screen callers who want to go online. A control does much the same thing. He or she will oversee the spirits who want to speak through a medium. A famous control was "Fletcher" who spoke through the American medium Arthur Ford. Other spirit guides have been called "spirit doctors" or even "spirit ministers." In many seances, there will be a guide called a "joy guide." A joy guide is usually a child spirit. Many spirit guides are the spirits of Native Americans because such guides were part of their belief. In a book called OAHSPE, which was compiled by the American Spiritualist John Newbrough, it says that many spirit guides are the spirits of stillborn children. These are descriptions of spirit guides as they work through mediums, but they can work through individuals as well. Often, in a Spiritualist service or circle, a spirit guide will give a message. One psychic gave me messages that he said came from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.
Certainly, you can be a Spiritualist and a Christian. Most Spiritualists I know profess to be Christian. I went to a Spiritualist church where they sang revivalist hymns. There are different schools of thought on this. Some Spiritiualists are less Christian than others. The writings of Allan Kardec, who founded Spiritism (which was a kind of Latin American Spiritulaism) was quite Christian. This is a matter of choice and preference. Spiritualists do tend to lean toward liberal Christianity. In the United States, many Spiritualists were part of the Universalist Church, which was a very liberal, progressive Christianity. As a matter of fact, William Stainton Moses, a British Spiritualist, was a priest, I believe, of the Church of England. Some Spiritualists believe that Jesus was a medium, especially in the account of the Transfiguration. Some Christians believe that Spiritualism is anti-Christian because of its contact with spirits, linking it with witchcraft, diviners, or magicians; however, much of this, I'd say, is cultural. What makes a Christian is their faith in Christ. Personally, I see little difference between invoking a saint for help and invoking a spirit guide.
Spiritualism was quite prominent in Great Britain. A famous British medium was Daniel D. Home. He was said to be able to levitate. Emma Hardinge Britten, a medium, founded the Spiritualist National Union in 1901. Of course, the most famous British Spiritualist was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He wrote a two-volume history of Spiritualism. Joel