Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
In presenting these facts to the public, my object is to reach those that have a desire to judge for themselves of the truths of what is called "spiritualism."
I, for one, contend that no person of any religious belief - infidel or skeptic - can explain these phenomena that are taking place all over the civilized world, from the fact that an error has crept into man that prevents him from being outside of the superstition of the world.
I will show how everyone is a party to his own belief.
It is true man's belief changes - and this is the error that prevents him from giving an impartial investigation.
All men believe in what the world calls "death," and therefore everyone agrees on this point - yet they differ in some little particulars.
There is one class that believes man does not die - he gets out of his body... and his body dies... and the man lives.
Now this is the belief of every person - except those that do not believe that man lives at all - or they are afraid they don't.
Now under these false beliefs, they undertake to investigate their own belief - when all they do is to make it stronger.
The spiritualists have the advantage of all the rest - for all admit the first principle - that every person dies. Thus all the experiments are to prove that they live - so they give an explanation of their belief - and prove it.
They change the skepticism on spiritualism into a belief in it (or drive themselves out of one error into another) - while those that are investigating run against a stumbling block in the dark and say, "I do not believe that it is all spirits - but there must be something to do with the living."
So I say that all the above classes cannot solve the problem. It must come from some Wisdom higher than any that has yet tried to solve it, that the world has known.
Now I propose to solve this problem upon an entirely new theory never advanced to the world.
It is true there have been flashes of light in the intellectual world, but these flashes have never been under any wisdom higher than the church - or some scientific man with religious views - and the religious man, of all others, is the very man to prove it.
It is like taking a man that believes in ghosts to account for their appearance in a house. He goes to sleep in the house all alone - and he is almost sure to see one.
So it has been with all the great professors. They are learned, but they are also very superstitious (or religious) - and if they are infidel - their infidelity is all vapor.
They have no proof of it to offer to the world - and everything to destroy it. So when they begin to investigate it, their fears that it may be true have the same effect that the clergy does that it may be the works of the devil. Both are convinced of what they do not want should be true.
It may look like presumption on my part to stand before the world in opposition to every person and contend that all these phenomena are nothing, governed by superstition - but if you will listen to what I will bring as proof of what I shall say - then you may judge for yourselves.
I will state my principles upon what I believe to be true.
It will not be possible to give my theory in full at this time, but I am preparing a work that will explain all these phenomena upon a scientific truth. The object of this discovery is to show, so far as it goes, that man investigates every phenomena according to his belief - and when he gets stuck, he either admits another belief or arrives at a Science that will explain his error (or belief).
I have no belief in regard to religion of any kind.
Neither do I have any belief in another world of any kind.
I have no belief in what is called "death."
In fact, I am a total disbeliever in any wisdom that ever taught any religion outside of man's beliefs.
Then you may ask, "What kind of a man are you - without a belief?
I have a belief, like all men - but it does not apply to what I have been talking about. I have a belief on all subjects that are agitating the country. My remarks are confined to this one thing - Mind - or belief in what is called "spiritualism" or "religion." To me both are the same.
I believe there was one person who had these same ideas, and to that person I give all the credit for introducing this truth into the world - and that was Jesus.
I have no doubt of his being the only true prophet that ever lived who had ideas entirely superior to the rest of the world. Not that he, as a man, was any better - but he was the embodiment of a Higher Wisdom of that peculiar kind - more so than any man who has ever lived before or since.
Perhaps you do not understand my meaning.
Take the discovery of electricity.
There were men who had conceived in their minds some of the ideas of Franklin - not that Franklin was, of himself, the discoverer or the person who reduced it to a science - but this body was the medium that embraced the Wisdom of the wise into a sort of "focus," so that an experiment might be made to prove the principle.
Then it took the name of Franklin.
The wisdom of the world is not confined to any person, but when it begins to condense into a truth - it must exhibit itself through some medium.
This Great Truth called "Christ" was exhibited through the man Jesus - the same as this Great Truth was exhibited through the man Franklin and called "electricity."
There was a belief at the time of the destruction or overflow of this Great Truth at the crucifixion of Jesus - that it should rise again. Since then, there has been a constant development of facts showing that there was some Wisdom (or power) superior to man - and the superstition of the world has kept it down, as the superstition of slavery has kept freedom in chains.
Now I, as a man, claim no preeminence or superiority over other men - but admit my inferiority to the learned and wise. But then it was said by one who was certainly superior to his followers that too much learning had made men mad (or superstitious).
So learning - when wrongly directed - led to bad results.
So it is with the South. Their learning, being directed by the false instructions of their early religious prejudices, led them to believe that slavery was a divine institution - so their learning will be the cause of their own destruction.
I have none of these sins to answer for.
I am free from all that false religion.
But I have had to contend with the devil (or error) for more than twenty years before I was free. Now I stand as one that has risen from the dead (or error) into the light of truth.
Not that the dead (or my error) has risen with me - but I have shaken off the old man (or my religious garment) and put on the new man that is Christ (or Science) - and I fight these errors and show that they are all the makings of our own mind.
As I stand outside of all religious belief - how do I stand alongside of my followers?
I know that I - this Wisdom - can go and impress a person at a distance. The world may not believe it. To the world it is just such a belief as the belief in spirits. But to me it is a fact - and this is what I shall show.
I shall show by letters what I have said - that mind can produce all the phenomena that the world has ever seen - and I shall show in my work that Jesus never tried to teach anything different from what I am teaching and doing every day.