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men and women, who seek the necessitous and endeavor both to relieve and elevate them, and also to prepare them to get their own living.
What is known as modern spiritualism began with “demonstrations” in the Fox family in Hydesville, N. Y., in March, 1848. The same phenomena had been common in Shaker communities before that date, and, indeed, in almost all ages and among many different peoples; but it was then that these demonstrations, generally in the form of rappings, began to be interpreted as communications from the disembodied spirits of men and women who had, in the ordinary course of nature, passed away, but whose spirits were still in a living and active state. From this time individuals began to investigate these spirit manifestations, circles began to be formed, mediums were discovered, lecturers recognized, and a literature established.
Spiritualists claim that the miracles of Christ are explained by the central doctrine of their belief, and they regard the demonstrations of spiritualism as establishing by evidence the fact of a future life. They do not hold that God is a personal being, but that he exists in all things. Eternal progression is the law of the spirit world, and every individual will attain supreme wisdom and unalloyed happiness.
A few spiritualist societies employ permanent speakers, but usually they appoint lecturers for limited terms, varying from a week to several months. A large proportion of the
lecturers are mediums, who are believed to speak under the influence or direction of the spirit who guides or controls them. They follow the Scriptural injunction : "Take no thought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” When a lecturer appears before an audience, therefore, he asks that a subject be given him, and when he receives it begins to speak upon it without hesitation. Summer gatherings or camp meetings, which continue from one to ten weeks, have become prominent among the spiritualists. In 1891 twenty-two such meetings were held.
The spiritualists report 334 organizations, with 30 regular church edifices, not including halls, pavilions, and other places owned or occupied by them. There are 45,030 members, and the value of the property reported, which includes camp grounds as well as church edifices, pavilions, etc., is $573,650. Not many of the halls are owned by them. There are members in thirty-six States, besides the District of Columbia and the Territories of Oklahoma and Utah. Among the States Massachusetts has the greatest number, 7345; New York stands second, with 6351; and Pennsylvania third, with 4569. There are 307 halls, with accommodations for 72,522.
I 20 2,562
665 7,345 2,565
20 290 672
100 6,351 2,174
26 751 4,569 150
65 354 50
$573,650 45,030 CHAPTER XXXIX.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
THE first branch of this society in the United States was founded in New York in November, 1875. Its declared objects are:
“First, to form a nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, or color.
Second, to promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literatures, religions, and sciences, and demonstrate the importance of that study.
“Third, to investigate unexplained laws of nature and the psychical powers latent in man.”
A circular, issued for the information of inquirers by the general secretary of the American section, states that the society is unsectarian and interferes with no person's religious belief. Another circular, entitled "An Epitome of Theosophy,” issued by the secretary of the executive committee of the Pacific Coast, states that some of the fundamental propositions of Theosophy, or “Wisdom Religion,” are: That the spirit in man is the only real and permanent portion of his being; that between the spirit and the intellect is a "plane of consciousness in which experiences are noted,” and that this spiritual nature is “as susceptible of culture as the body or intellect"; that spiritual culture is only attainable as the grosser interests and passions of the flesh are subordinate; that men, systematically trained,