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The Nature and Tendency of Modern Spiritualism - Contents
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    Chapter Nine. They Oppose Marriage—Their Present Progress

    There is no one particular wherein Spiritualism is proving itself a curse to the age and to the race more than in this. “Free Love” is a common phrase with a certain class of “reformers,” who wish to abolish not only the Bible, but all its institutions. Some Spiritualists deny being Free Lovers; but this denial cannot screen the system from the charge of upholding the abomination; for, 1. We have never known a Free Lover who was not a Spiritualist, and if Spiritualism and Free Lovism are not identical, they at least have a wonderful “affinity” for each other! 2. It is well known that a large proportion of Spiritualists are Free Lovers, both theoretically and practically; and they go, not only unrebuked, but indorsed as Spiritualist laborers, in lecturing and writing. It avails nothing for an individual to deny the charge as applying to himself, as long as he associates and fraternizes with, and upholds, those who are openly committed to it. He gives it all the aid of his influence and association, which is sometimes much stronger than that of practice.NTMS 138.2

    Our main inquiry is, What are the practical tendencies of Spiritualism? We care nothing for individuals only as they represent the system. Now let the reader turn to Chapter 5, pages 75 to 84, and read again the testimony of Randolph, Whitney, Hatch, Harris, and Potter, and decide for himself. But we propose to give further evidence on this point, that the readers of these pages may be aware of the designs of this class of reformers, as well as of the general tendencies of their teachings.NTMS 139.1

    Dr. Potter further says:—NTMS 139.2

    “So strong has been the Free-Love tendency, and so numerous and influential, media, speakers, and Spiritualists, of Free-Love proclivities and practice, that we do not know of a single Spiritualist paper that has paid expenses, that has not had their assistance and promulgated their doctrines.NTMS 139.3

    “One of the oldest if not the most influential paper has several noted Free Lovers and libertines as special and honored correspondents.NTMS 139.4

    Parting husbands and wives it one of the notorious tendencies of Spiritualism. The oldest and most influential teacher of Spiritualism has had two wives, each of whom he encouraged to get divorced before he married them. When one of the most eloquent trance speakers left her husband, he came out and stated that he knew sixty cases of media leaving companions. We heard one of the most popular impressional speakers say, to a large audience, that she was compelled by spirits to secede from a husband with whom she was living very happily. We lately heard a very intellectual, eloquent, and popular normal speaker say, in an eloquent address to a large convention of Spiritualists, that ‘he would to God that it had parted twenty where it had parted one.’ In short, wherever we go, we find this tendency in Spiritualism.”—Spiritualism as it Is, pages 10, 11.NTMS 139.5

    “After years of careful investigation, we are compelled, much against our inclinations, to admit that more than one-half of our travelling media, speakers, and prominent Spiritualists, are guilty of immoral and licentious practices that have justly provoked the abhorrence of all right thinking people.”—Id., page 20.NTMS 140.1

    It would seem to be some relief to the dark outline if their teachings were better than their practices; but they are not. A Spiritualist paper published in Indiana, called the Kingdom of Heaven, June, 1865, in a platform of principles “adopted at Huntsville, Madison Co., Indiana,” says:—NTMS 140.2

    “It is resolved that it is conceded by all good and wise mortals and angels, that all men and women are born free and equal, so far as natural rights are concerned; that those natural rights are unalienable in the broadest, widest, and fullest acceptation of that term; that amongst these is the right to self, in any and every sense, under all circumstances, at all times and in all places; that as this right is unalienable it cannot be given up, nor justly restrained, with or without the consent of the individual; but that all men and women are endowed with the natural right (and hence unalienable) to pursue happiness in the way and manner they may choose, amenable and accountable to no power but the God who conferred it.”NTMS 140.3

    This, with more to the same intent, is sanctioned, according to that paper, by the following spirits; the accompanying note will show what respect they have for “the authority of the God who conferred it“:—NTMS 140.4

    “Approving spirits or disembodied minds present:—NTMS 141.1

    “Jesus Christ, Emanuel Swedenborg, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Clay, and legions of others.NTMS 141.2

    “Note.-We would have our readers understand that we have no more reverence for Jesus Christ, George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln, than we have for Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, or J. Wilkes Booth. We neither worship nor praise the former, nor condemn the latter. All were but instruments of Omnipotent power; neither of whom were any better than you or I.”NTMS 141.3

    If any are in doubt as to the intent of the above platform, the following remark by the editor of that paper will make it all clear:—NTMS 141.4

    “Yet we arc neither a Shaker nor a Mormon; nor are we to be bound by the popular marriage laws and customs of society as now organized; but we would that man and woman should mate only by nature’s law of attraction, with as little outward law and ceremony as do the little birds in the groves.”NTMS 141.5

    The editor of the World’s Crisis, copying this, makes the following very truthful comment:—NTMS 141.6

    “Persons holding such principles, are the ones who claim that a religion based on the Bible is ‘demoralizing.’ This is very much like a drunkard and rum-seller who should speak of the demoralizing effects of temperance societies, because he had less company and patronage; or a seducer who should call virtue demoralizing because it deprived him of his victims.”NTMS 141.7

    At a Spiritualist Convention held in Ravenna, Ohio, July 4 and 5, 1858, a Mrs. Lewis said:—NTMS 141.8

    “To confine her to love one man was an abridgment of her rights. Although she had one husband in Cleveland, she considered herself married to the whole human race. All men were her husbands, and she had an undying love for them. What business is it to the world whether one man is the father of my children, or ten men are? I have a right to say who shall be the father of my offspring.”NTMS 141.9

    A Spiritualist paper, in reporting this, very modestly said they did not think public conventions the proper places to introduce such subjects! but did not offer a word of condemnation of the sentiment.NTMS 142.1

    At a convention held in Rutland, Vt., in June, 1858, the following resolution was presented and defended:—NTMS 142.2

    Resolved, That the only true and natural marriage is an Exclusive conjugal love between one man and one woman; fend the only true home is the isolated home based on this love.”NTMS 142.3

    People have formerly thought that love led to marriage, but according to the above, love is marriage; so whenever they love, they are married-naturally married! and of course when they cease to love, this relation ceases; they are no longer married-naturally divorced. And of course this may be repeated as often as love finds a new “attraction” Mrs. Julia Branch, of New York, as reported in the Banner of Light, in defending the above resolution used the following words:—NTMS 142.4

    “I am aware that I have chosen almost a forbidden subject; forbidden from the fact that any one who can or dare look the marriage question in the face, candidly and openly denouncing the institution as the sole cause of woman’s degradation and misery, are objects of suspicion, of scorn, and opprobrious epithets.NTMS 142.5

    “The slavery and degradation of woman proceeds from the institution of marriage; by the marriage contract, she loses the control of her name, her person, her property, her labor, her affection, her children, her freedom. Mrs. Gage, Mrs. Rose, and others go back to the mother’s influence. I go back further and say that it is the marriage institution that is at fault; it is the binding marriage ceremony which keeps woman degraded in mental blight-negro slavery. She must demand her freedom; her right to receive the equal wages of man in payment for her labor; her right to have children when she will and by whom.”NTMS 142.6

    Similar to the above resolution is the following from the “Pilgrimage of Thomas Paine,” page 15:—NTMS 143.1

    “I had mourned her death as the severest of all possible calamities. We were united. Nothing but the form of marriage was wanting to make us one in the sight of the world. We were married. I loved her as I never loved another.”NTMS 143.2

    At a Spiritualist Convention in Kiantone Valley, Chautauqua Co., New York, Sept., 1858, Mr. Codding was reported to have spoken as follows under spirit influence:—NTMS 143.3

    “Marriage is slavery, and should be abolished. Those groaning beneath the galling fetters of matrimony should be freed at once, and left to bestow their affections when and where they please.”NTMS 143.4

    It is worth observing how complacently Spiritualist conventions sit and listen to such vile expressions. No one feels aggrieved-no one demurs. They are taken rather as a matter of course, which all Spiritualists seem to well understand. Could such sentiments find acceptance in any other meetings than those of Spiritualists? Never. This sign is unmistakable.NTMS 143.5

    We have quoted several authorities showing that Spiritualism has separated husbands and wives, and that mediums are generally regardless of obligation in this respect. As a sequel to Dr. Hatch’s evidence on this point, we here notice the report of a meeting in Clinton Hall, New York, where Cora Scott (late Mrs. Hatch) lectured, as usual, under spirit influence. At the close of her lecture a discussion arose, and while an elderly man was speaking, a young man interrupted him. The latter part of the scene we give as found in a Boston paper. The young man said:—NTMS 143.6

    “‘I have come here to shame that old man. He is my father. He left his wife and children, and is now living with Cora Hatch, in East Broadway.’NTMS 144.1

    A voice.—‘Well, go home, and do not come here to settle your private troubles.’NTMS 144.2

    Young man.—‘You may think I am doing wrong; but if you knew all the facts of the case you would think I am doing right.’NTMS 144.3

    Several voices.—‘Go on. Let us hear the story. Take the stand,’ etc.NTMS 144.4

    Young man.—‘I have done everything to get that man to do right by his family, but I have not been able to do so. I am his son, and am here to shame him in public. His name is William McKinley, and he keeps a store at the corner of Chatham and Pearl Streets. He has beaten my mother and treated her most shamefully, and he has abandoned her to live with Cora Hatch.’”NTMS 144.5

    But such facts as these do not interfere with her “angelic ministrations,” as Warren Chase calls them, nor detract one whit from her popularity as a trance-speaker among Spiritualists. And why should they? have they not declared in their National Convention that immorality is no bar to fellowship?NTMS 144.6

    Dr. Gridley was instructed that there are six circles or degrees in which both men and spirits dwell; in the first are savages, barbarians, and the very refuse of civilized society; in the second, the lowest class of civilized society, including the ordinary church-members, exhorters, etc.; in the third are the best and true-hearted in the churches, and no person can belong to a church in any higher degree than this; the fourth degree is called the day of Judgment or resurrection, and most of the reformers are in this degree-some have passed through it to the fifth-and it usually takes about eleven years to pass through it. By this synopsis of their teachings the reader will be able to understand the references in the following extract from remarks on “Celestial Marriage,” by spirits professing to be in the fifth degree:—NTMS 144.7

    “They affirm that any positive spirit has free access to any negative spirit where there is affinity-that though the male may have a female companion who is constitutionally adapted to be to him a better help meet on the whole than any other, and so generally accompanies him, yet the latter has no jealousy and knows no exclusiveness, that she is glad to have the life of God increased in any way, and anywhere-that the same liberty will ere long be given to men on earth, ‘who are found worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead,’ which can be done without putting off the body.”—Astounding Facts from the Spirit World, page 172.NTMS 145.1

    Evil-minded spirits in all the degrees are represented as given to licentiousness.NTMS 145.2

    But the point to which we call especial attention is the license for promiscuous intercourse which is soon to be given to men on earth. Note that the license will extend to all above the fourth degree-that the true reformers are all in that degree, except a few who have passed through it-and that it usually takes about eleven years to pass through it; what a flood of iniquity these demons intend soon to pour upon the world!NTMS 145.3

    Dr. A. B. Child is one of the most popular Spiritualist authors. He fully confirms the above. He is the author of a work entitled, “Christ and the People,” recently published at the office of the Banner of Light, which is thus highly recommended in Hull’s Monthly Clarion for May, 1866:—NTMS 145.4

    “Everybody knows that Dr. Child never speaks without saying something worth hearing. In this book he has thrown out some of his best thoughts.”NTMS 145.5

    In the Banner of Light’s office advertisement of the book is the following very strong indorsement:—NTMS 145.6

    “This book should find its way to every family.... Its liberality reaches the very shores of infinity. It is born of Spiritualism, and reaches for the manhood of Christ. It is the most fearless presentation of the folly of the present moral and religious systems of the land of any book yet written. It is free from fault-finding; but its truthful descriptions of self-conceived goodness everywhere, in morals and religion, are withering. Through sacrifice and sin it shows the open gate of Heaven for every human being.”NTMS 146.1

    The following extracts show the tendency of its teachings:—NTMS 146.2

    “The present laws of marriage, that now give birth to regrets and sorrows unnumbered, to prostitution, with its long train of curses and agonies, will be abandoned for a holier, purer, diviner revelation that will ere long be given to the people.” Page 27.NTMS 146.3

    “A religion more spiritual will be discovered and acknowledged—... a religion without written laws, without commandments, without creeds—a religion too sacred to be spoken, too pure to be defiled, too generous to be judged, resting upon no uncertain outside standard of rectitude, upon no dogma of another, no purity of earthly life, no glory of earthly perfection—a religion that every soul possesses by natural endowment, not one more than another.NTMS 146.4

    “This religion is simply desire....NTMS 146.5

    “With every one, desire is spontaneous and sincere, pure and holy; no matter what the desire is, whether it be called good or bad, it is the natural, God-given religion of the soul.” Pages 28, 29.NTMS 146.6

    He occupies a chapter in deriding justice; he scoffs at holiness, and exalts sin, as the following brief extracts show:—NTMS 146.7

    “Ere long, man will come to see that all sin is for his spiritual good....To see that holiness lays up treasures on earth.... Sin destroys earthly treasures, and causes them to be laid up in Heaven.” Pages 32, 33.NTMS 146.8

    “There is no criminal act that is not an experience of usefulness. The tracks of vice and crime are only the tracks of human progress.... There has been no deed in the catalogue of crime that has not been a valuable experience to the inner being of the man who committed it.” Page 137.NTMS 146.9

    “Man has yet to learn and yet to admit that all sins which are committed are innocent, for all are in the inevitable rulings of God.” Page 175.NTMS 146.10

    “He who wars with sin leaves nothing lovely in his tracks.” Page 191.NTMS 147.1

    These extracts will serve to show the character of the book. Doubtless the Banner of Light is correct—“It is born of Spiritualism;” it could have had no other origin! And yet the Banner of Light affects to repudiate free-lovism and to plead for morality. Such morality, of course, as it recommends in Dr. Child’s book!NTMS 147.2

    John M. Spear is a noted medium through whom popular spirit works have been indited; but, like a practical Spiritualist that he is, he became the father of an illegitimate child. Some, even among Spiritualists, were so infected with what A. J. Davis calls “a sort of Atheism” as to blame him for this act! But he was safe among his friends-he found plenty of defenders. A Mr. Stearling wrote two articles, which were published in the Spiritual Telegraph, in vindication of Mr. Spear, and Miss H., his affinity. The following is an extract from this defense:—NTMS 147.3

    “Suppose, then, Miss H. has become a mother. Does that fact warrant you in calling Mr. Spear a libertine or a debauchee? May he not, after all, have acted in this affair in perfect consistency with all his past life, a pure, good man? Again, does this fact of Miss H.’s maternity necessarily imply wrong or corruption in the movement? She desired to be the mother of a child; but she was not willing to become a legal wife, in which relation she might be compelled not only to give birth to unwelcome children, but also to yield her body to the gratification of unhallowed passion. Now, sir, will you, believing this, condemn such conduct? I cannot-will not! I deem it a matter with her own soul, and the one she loved, and her God, with whom she is at peace. The smiles of Heaven have been upon her: her religious nature has been greatly blessed; her spiritual vision has been unfolded, and her prospects of health and happiness, and especially of usefulness to her race, greatly augmented, and she feels to bless God that strength and courage have been given her to walk thus calmly, deliberately, and peacefully, in a path ignored by a corrupt and unappreciative world.”NTMS 147.4

    Such a defense of crime-such a mingling together of mock reverence for God with a total disregard of his authority, and insult to the purity of his government, cannot be found outside of Spiritualism.NTMS 148.1

    But Miss H. has also spoken-she asserts her rights as follows:—NTMS 148.2

    “I will exercise that dearest of all rights, the holiest and most sacred of all of Heaven’s gifts-the right of maternity-in the way which to me seemeth right; and no man, nor set of men, no church, no State, shall withhold me from the realization of that purest of all inspirations inherent in every true woman, the right to re-beget myself when, and by whom, and under such circumstances, as to me seems fit and best.”NTMS 148.3

    One would think by the above that woman’s most sacred rights were being invaded by both church and State; but it is enough to astonish Heaven and earth that a woman should rise up in this enlightened age and covet the honor of martyrdom for the cause of prostitution!NTMS 148.4

    Adin Ballou, though a Spiritualist author, has not progressed beyond the common decencies of life. He has pointed out exactly what is developed in the above action and defense; he says:—NTMS 148.5

    “They will receive revelations from high-pretending spirits, cautiously instructing them that the sexual communion of congenials will greatly sanctify them for the reception of angelic ministrations. Wives and husbands will be rendered miserable, alienated, parted, and their families broken up. There will be spiritual matches, carnal degradations, and all the ultimate wretchedness thence inevitably resulting.” 8This and the preceding quotation were handed to me by a friend who cut them from S. S. Brewer’s “Last Day Tokens.”NTMS 148.6

    Warren Chase describes Mr. Spear as “Highly eccentric, and devotedly honest and philanthropic of all mediums. The Lone One was greatly pleased with and strongly attracted to this man, and received through him the singular title of the ‘Elementizer,’ and a commission to do great things if he could, mentally and experimentally, with the elements.”—Life-Line, page 213.NTMS 148.7

    But of Mr. Ballou, who seems to grieve over the licentiousness of Spiritualists, he speaks in tones of pity, as follows:—NTMS 149.1

    “He goes as far as the creed he has set up will allow, but dare not step one point over. He is not like a convict, with ball and chain, but like a martyr, tied to a stake, from which he cannot escape.”—Life-Line, page 217.NTMS 149.2

    Those who are acquainted with the course of Warren Chase (self-styled the Lone One) will not be astonished that he is much more strongly attracted to the libertine and fornicator than he is to a man who yet retains respect for the Bible and for purity of life!NTMS 149.3

    No one, perhaps, in the whole clan of disorganizers, has done more to lower the standard of right and purity, and to destroy respect for the institution of marriage, than Warren Chase. As a representative, he stands prominent. He is not as boldly outspoken as some; he is too crafty for that; but he will do tenfold more harm by his smooth, insinuating manner than the more open advocates of lewdness, though they are laboring for the same end. And, as claimed by a Wisconsin paper some years since, he has prepared the way, in many communities, for the theory and practice of licentiousness in its most repulsive form. He is a very popular lecturer, his popularity proving that his views are indorsed by that people. He never lets slip an opportunity to speak disparagingly of the marriage institution, and to revile the Bible and all that pertains to Bible religion. In his autobiography, or “Life-Line,” speaking of his own marriage, he says:—NTMS 149.4

    “The priest said God put two beings together so that no man should dare to put them asunder. If God did do it, then the priest did not; and if God did not, then the priest surely did not; and hence his act was useless either way, except as a license to society to call them man and wife.” Page 67.NTMS 150.1

    But if the marriage rite is useless, it is evident that men and women may, as he quotes approvingly, “trust their attractions” without any restraint to protect society. And to carry out the idea of the uselessness of the marriage rite, he publicly and privately advises to disregard its obligations where it has already been solemnized. Thus with the present wife of A. J. Davis-if it be proper to call her his wife-he was the first, according to his own showing, to advise her and her husband to separate, though living peacefully together, but as he says, only legally married-not otherwise! It is doubtful whether he ever stopped in his wild career to reflect that by that act he was instrumental in bringing grief to more than one Christian household of sorrowing relatives. He seems to pride himself on his expertness in discovering family difficulties (which he does by denouncing marriage and thus enlisting the favor of the restless and reckless), and on his forwardness in advising separation. And he is not only quick to discover, but he, too, has done somewhat to create such difficulties, if we are permitted to judge by reports and circumstances combined. True, he pleads innocent, and lauds his own purity of life and motive to the last degree of egotism; and so do all of that class. But what does purity of life mean among anti-marriage or free-love people? Read the defense of Mr. Spear for an answer. That he has given occasion for these reports he cannot deny. But he is too shrewd and discerning not to know that to abolish legal marriage, in the present and prospective state of society, would be to bring upon our sinful race the greatest possible calamity; that, without the restraints of law over the vicious, society, as such in any civilized sense, could not exist. What, then, are his motives for persistently opposing the legal relation of marriage? What substitute will he offer? The law of attraction, or the “religion of desire,” as Dr. Child has it?NTMS 150.2

    But there is one name we must mention in this connection, and we do it with especial regret. It is that of Moses Hull. Having associated with him on fraternal terms, having loved him as a brother, and esteemed him as a Christian, we can but lament the course he has pursued and the position he occupies. Eccentric and impulsive, he needs the restraining influences of Christianity to be useful to society. We have intimately known him when he believed the Bible, and loved and defended its truth; then he highly honored and appreciated the institution of marriage. But he embraced Spiritualism, and where is he now? Let his own words answer. He has written and published a pamphlet entitled, “A Few Thoughts on Love and Marriage,” which the Banner of Light recommends as “a very worthy pamphlet.” In it, he says:—NTMS 151.1

    “Whether there are wrongs in the marriage relation or not, people are very generally getting the idea that it is so. The idea is proving contagious, and when the American mind gets started, who can tell where it will stop? Nothing short of a revolution-of anarchy-of an opposite extreme, even to the total annulling of the marital tie, will be the result.NTMS 151.2

    “When we look at the commotion ahead merely as a revolution, we pray, ‘O God, stay the elements;’ but when we look at it as being the work of disintegration, the preparatory work for the soul-union, the true marriage that shall follow, we say, ‘Let the battle rage, and if necessary put us in the front.’ The result will be cheap enough.NTMS 152.1

    “Enough of this. If we continue, our readers will say, ‘He has turned prophet.’ Not so; we only judge of ‘coming events’ by the ‘shadows cast before,’ and where are there no shadows? where are there not evidences of dissatisfaction in the marriage bonds? One only has to pick up the daily papers to find the history of the infidelity of husbands to wives and wives to husbands. Read the record of the suits for divorce, the elopements, prostitution, lewdness, and almost every other imaginable crime, which can be traced directly to the inharmonies of the matrimonial relations of the parties. Such things can do no less than result in a conflagration. Let its fires purify the institution, nay, let it consume the institution, and give us the true marriage in its stead.”—Love and Marriage pages 4, 5.NTMS 152.2

    If these were the sentiments of some lone fanatic, they might be passed by as unworthy of notice; but when we reflect that there are thousands upon thousands, and their numbers fast increasing, who are all pressing to the “front” in this horrid warfare, it is enough to make the heart sick. He may well call it a “rebellion,” tending to “anarchy;” it is a rebellion as much worse than that against our nation, as Heaven is higher than earth; a rebellion against the authority of God, who created man, male and female; who instituted marriage, and ordained that the “woman is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth.”NTMS 152.3

    More recently, in his paper called the Crucible, Mr. Hull informs us what he thinks is the true marriage:—NTMS 152.4

    “We believe that true marriage is the union of two souls, the blending of two natures; that where this soul-blending does not obtain, no priest can make men and women husbands and wives; that where it does obtain, no priests are needed to make men and women husbands and wives; that marriage lasts while the blending lasts, and no longer; when the blending ceases, the law of divorce steps in and does its work without the aid of judges or jury.”NTMS 152.5

    In preparing the edition of 1866 of this work, we remarked that “they may go some further in practice than they have gone, but the theory of lawlessness is fully developed.” It was also remarked that people do not generally rise above the level of their teachings, or their aim. Lawlessness, or freedom from restraint, to the fullest extent, has been taught for years by all the leading Spiritualists; now they are openly avowing the practice of what they have been teaching.NTMS 153.1

    At the National Convention of Spiritualists in Chicago about three years since, almost the only subject of discussion was that of free love and freedom from the restraints of marriage. The following extracts from the report of that convention, given in the Chicago Times, give a good idea of the spirit of the meeting:—NTMS 153.2

    “Mrs. Woodhull contended that the issue was before them clearly. They had to vote whether they were in favor of free sexual relations, unrestricted by law, or whether they were in favor of tyranny.”NTMS 153.3

    “The speech was received throughout with cheers from the thronged galleries, and the delegates in the body of the hall.”NTMS 153.4

    “She defined freedom to be in general terms, that each and every individual has the right in his or her own proper person to make use of all his or her powers and capacities as he or she may elect to do.”NTMS 153.5

    “It is simply none of your business what other people do, nor any of the business of society what any of its members do, unless they interfere with somebody else without his or her consent.”NTMS 153.6

    “What does it matter whether the child or any one knows who is the father? Is he, or is society, any the better for the knowledge?NTMS 153.7

    “If it cannot be determined what will become of the children, that fact should not be held as an obstacle to freedom, if it be proved that freedom itself is right.”NTMS 154.1

    “Relationship in the future will be based upon kindredness of spirit, rather than upon ties of blood; while family clanship, like all similar cliqueisms, the remnants of barbarism, will be forever banished from the earth.”NTMS 154.2

    “They say I have come to break up the family. I say, Amen, to that with all my heart. I hope I may break up every family in the world that exists by virtue of sexual slavery.”NTMS 154.3

    “Mrs. Loomis, of Battle Creek, wanted to read a poem on ‘progression.’ She did so, and at its close announced that copies could be had for 25 cents each. There was an immediate rush to get copies. The poem was rather blasphemous.”NTMS 154.4

    “Mr. B. Tod, of Michigan, also was moved by the spirit. His address was devoted chiefly to proving that no law prevented the free use of his eyes, his hands, and his feet; that it was wrong altogether to impose any restrictions upon the use of his sexual organs.”NTMS 154.5

    “Laura Cuppy Smith ascended the platform and delivered a thrilling address, in which she defied all the elements of society, religion, polities, etc.”NTMS 154.6

    A delegate charged Mrs. Woodhull with resorting to prostitution to advance the cause she was advocating. To this she replied in terms which we do not wish to publish, that it was nobody’s business what she had done; and she was not ashamed of anything she had done.NTMS 154.7

    This convention was largely attended from all parts of the country, and did not lack in intelligence. But Mrs. Woodhull was the leading spirit; the platform adopted fully indorsed her position, and she was elected president of the National Association of Spiritualists. Soon after that the State Convention of Michigan also indorsed her.NTMS 154.8

    The following we take from the Boston Daily Globe, being extracts from a report of a meeting in Vineland, N. J.:—NTMS 154.9

    “Free love, atheism, ignorance, and presumption were the most noticeable features of the addresses then and there delivered. The grand speech of the occasion was delivered by the notorious Victoria Woodhull. It was characterized by almost revolting coarseness, and hurled defiance at every precept that social law has enacted for social decency. This was no more than was to be expected from such a woman, and the fact would scarcely be worth the chronicling were it not that it was warmly applauded throughout by her listeners, who only too plainly showed the goal whither Spiritualism was tending. She calmly advocated the abolition of marriage, and was proclaimed by Mrs. Laura Cuppy Smith as the ‘Redeemer,’ while virtue and respectability were stigmatized by the same eloquent creature as ‘the two thieves on the cross.’ It was argued that every married couple should separate, and the wife was denounced as a creature worse than the street-walker. This woman announced that she has declared relentless warfare against marriage, and has sworn to wage it ‘until the last vestige of this remnant of savagery shall be wiped from the otherwise fair face of present civilization.’NTMS 155.1

    “These reformers, who defy God and society, assume the tone of philanthropists, and pretend to work for the good of their species; but, after all, they simply attempt to defend their own vicious practices by advocating a general indulgence to them.... After having blasphemed religion, laughed at the decencies of social life, scoffed at marriage, and advocated universal prostitution, this notorious woman concluded by stating that it was the sublime mission of Spiritualism to free the human race from the thralldom of matrimony and to establish sexual emancipation. There was not one word of dissent from her listeners. On the contrary, the filthy theories and the disgusting arguments were applauded to the echo. No woman was shocked and no man offended by the upholding of a theory that would reduce humanity to the level of beasts.NTMS 155.2

    “We would not dwell upon this revolting subject were it not for the fact that the sentiments so boldly uttered by Mrs. Woodhull were fully indorsed by a large body of Spiritualists. We do not intend to enter upon the question of the truthfulness or the falsity of Spiritualism. We simply take its teachings as here exemplified, for the past fifteen years. What the few timid hangers-on to the skirts of this great delusion may do or believe is nothing to the point, while it is indubitable that the leaders give their support to the vilest and most destructive of doctrines. It matters not how many tables may have jumped about the room, how many raps have been heard upon the wall, how many folded papers may have been read unopened, or how many people have been told things that nobody but themselves could have known; the fact is undeniable that the most disgusting theories are accepted by Spiritualists, and that the most advanced advocates of the ‘new religion’ receive the vicious ravings of a Woodhull ‘with cheers and enthusiasm unbounded.’ Lord Brougham, Louis Napoleon, Bulwer, Lytton, and a score of other eminent men, may have been believers in the manifestations, but their belief will in no wise palliate the fact that immorality and Spiritualism go hand in hand. Even as we write we learn that one of the leading female lights of Spiritualism has just eloped with another woman’s husband. In this case, it is evidence that Spiritualism is progressing, since her three previous ventures she submitted to matrimony. There must be something wrong in religion that accepts a Woodhull as its high priestess, and numbers a Cora L. V. Hatch Daniels Tappan among its most active proselytes and propagandists.”NTMS 155.3

    At this meeting, a Dr. Fairfield said:—NTMS 156.1

    “The Jews needed a Moses to lead them out of Egyptian bondage; so we need a Victoria C. Woodhull to lead society from the bondage of the marriage relations.”NTMS 156.2

    And the same speaker, professing to be “inspired” by the spirit of Lorenzo Dow, dismissed the meeting with the following “benediction“:—NTMS 156.3

    “And now may the life and power, the wisdom, love, and mercy, of Victoria C. Woodhull save us from all our married curses, and bring us into individual and universal freedom, with love and good-will for all. Amen.”NTMS 156.4

    These are not the utterances of a few ultra fanatical Spiritualists, but they are the words which received the assent and the cheers of the whole body, with comparatively few exceptions. To prove this, Mrs. Woodhull contrasts the last with other meetings in Vineland. Formerly, the conservative element prevailed, and they, she says, “were numbered by fifties;” in this was hailed “with yells of delight the most extraordinary radical speech ever uttered,” and its attendants were counted “by thousands.”NTMS 156.5

    Moses Hull, in a letter in Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, avowed that he was practicing what so many were avowing in theory. A few sentences will give an idea of the whole:—NTMS 157.1

    “I lived years ‘in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity,’ especially the bond that said: ‘Forsaking all others I will cleave unto thee.’”NTMS 157.2

    But he is not free from those bonds, and the reasons he urges in justification of his course are sickening and sometimes blasphemous. For what is it but blasphemy to denominate the depraved lusts of the flesh, “the law of God written in the heart”? See the following as an instance:—NTMS 157.3

    “Several years have passed since the first choice between the law of God and the law of man, and I have never regretted the step, but have continued to repeat the offense against man-made institutions whenever God’s law in me commanded.”NTMS 157.4

    Of his home relations, he said:—NTMS 157.5

    “My wife, so far as I am concerned, has had the same privileges I had taken. Whether she used them or not is not for me to say.”NTMS 157.6

    His wife, in the same paper of date Aug. 20, 1873, avowed the same position; and she said:—NTMS 157.7

    “I am a firm believer in the doctrine, and my friends who know me best will say that I will not preach what I dare not practice.”NTMS 157.8

    The Banner of Light, seeming to forget its indorsement of Dr. Child’s book, denounced Mr. Hull for avowing his practice. It said:—NTMS 157.9

    “If such ideas are an integral part of the church to which he some time since belonged, he had better go back to it again. Spiritualism has no affinity with such grossness.”NTMS 157.10

    To which Mr. Hull replies:—NTMS 158.1

    “Why does Luther make a dash at the church of which we were once a member? More than ten years since, we renounced that for Spiritualism, where we found just what we preach, write, and practice.”NTMS 158.2

    In view of the general teachings of Spiritualist authors for several years past, and of the well-known practices of some of the most celebrated mediums and lecturers, their condemnation of Mr. Hull would seem beyond explanation. But he gives a reason, as follows:—NTMS 158.3

    “The result was that every spiritual society with whom I had a contract, broke its engagement. In every instance where the reason was assigned, it was not my course of life, but its publication. I have more than two score of letters on file now, indorsing my course, yet condemning its publication. Hundreds have said: ‘This is right for you, and it is right for me, but it is not right for the world.’ ... My crime was, not that I urged others to believe and practice as I did, but that I published my experience.”NTMS 158.4

    It is a most disagreeable task to note the follies and vices of our fellow-creatures, especially when they assume a form to meet the words of the apostle in Ephesians 5:12: “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” We cannot record their actions, even in their own language; but justice to the truth requires that the warning should be given, that those who have been slow to believe that our ideas of the signs of the times, of the fulfillment of prophecy, and of the nature of the coming perils, were correct, may be convinced by what is now transpiring before their eyes.NTMS 158.5

    Mrs. Woodhull and her followers talk long and loud of the tyranny of the marriage tie, and they clamor for “freedom” and “social rights” with as much boldness as if right was on their side. They have no higher idea of freedom than that of following their own inclinations without legal or social restraint. They make no distinction between liberty and licentiousness. They are not only fitly characterized, but, we believe, directly referred to, by the apostle Peter in his letter which speaks so much of the last days and of the coming of Christ:—NTMS 158.6

    “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption.” 2 Peter 2:18, 19.NTMS 159.1

    Marriage and the marriage institution are much abused; this all must regret. If the Spiritualists were aiming to correct these abuses of a beneficent institution we should heartily second their efforts. But they are not; they are seeking to destroy the institution itself, because it is abused; and this they call reform! as reasonable, and no more so, as to abolish the laws against theft because some men steal! Why, the fact that men show a disposition to abuse the institution and to commit adultery, is sufficient reason why there should be laws to restrain them, and thus protect society from their outrages. And this necessity for laws on this subject not only exists, but it is increasing by the increasing restlessness and lawlessness of the vicious, who are incited on to this “rebellion” and “anarchy” by just such teachings as we quote from Moses Hull, Warren Chase, and others. They are lighting the torch which must “result in a conflagration.” They are opening the flood-gates of iniquity; and when we think what lies before us; of our Saviour’s prophecy that the last days will be as the day when Lot went out of Sodom; of the youth and children growing up surrounded by such influences, we can but earnestly cry, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”NTMS 159.2

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