One thing I don't see in most of the YouTube alternative videos that I watch during meals, is an honest account of research failures. Another, is a vigorous effort to disprove their own theories. The only time I see this, is in the reported work of the scientists, like Dr. Gary Schwartz, or Dr. Dean Radin. There, the scientific method requires percentages, as for example that a medium was correct, under such-and-such controlled conditions, 74% of the time. Or that a statistically significant result was obtained, in attempting to influence random number generation by mental activity alone, to such-and-such a percentage.
One also sees it in live readings by mediums, though one has to judge the real-time results for oneself. Skeptics unfairly magnify the mistakes, without looking into the dynamics. But the genuine mediums are quite candid about it. Generally-speaking, they are receiving impressions, which they must then interpret. Sometimes, their interpretation is off--perhaps it was an aunt, instead of a mother; or the sudden impact was a bullet instead of a car. Another source of seeming error creeps in when the person being read simply doesn't remember the incident or detail that the person in spirit is trying to remind them of; or, occasionally, when the information is coming from the spirit-relative of someone else sitting nearby. Fraudulent or unethical mediums are obviously tempted to use these caveats as excuses; but that doesn't mean that the ethical, genuine ones do that. If a medium is having an off day (or week, or month), and if they are a celebrity and being paid for their work, there must be a temptation to resort to these excuses. They might get it wrong, and then quickly adjust to make it seem like that's what they meant, after all. But one has to look at hundreds of readings, as I have, and choose the best mediums. The best ones don't resort to these underhanded tactics. They encourage the person being read to speak up if the information given doesn't match, or if they can't "take" it. If the medium, within him-or herself, based on long experience, feels certain that he's getting the message correctly, he "leaves" it with the person being read, and suggests looking into it.
Recently, I was led into an unexpected source of new evidence--published works from 1836 which plausibly could have been written by both Mathew Franklin Whittier, and his soon-to-be wife, Abby Poyen. These were the months leading up to their wedding in early August. So far as I know, Mathew was in town courting Abby in earnest during this period; and both of them might plausibly have been submitting work to various New England anti-slavey newspapers. Some of these were religious papers, which were also anti-slavery. Thus, the content didn't have to be anti-slavery--it could also have to do with religion, or, other pressing social issues and matters of conscience.
I identified two different signatures as possibly being Mathew's temporary pseudonyms. If you are a regular, here, you know that he would adopt a new pseudonym for any particular purpose or occasion, though he had a few that he periodically returned to--a single asterisk (star), and variations on his initials. He also used "Poins" regularly during the early 1840's, when submitting to the Portland (Maine) "Transcript." In 1851, for the Boston "Carpet-Bag," he returned to one he had used in the late 1820's and early 1830's: "Trismegistus."
Here, he seems to have been signing "C.B.H." and "Rokeby." The meaning of the first is impenetrable, and that may have been intentional, as it was dangerous to be identified as a pro-Abolition writer (and still more dangerous to be identified as a pro-Abolition worker). If it is Mathew's, probably it was a very personal acronym of some kind, or an inside joke, like "Could Be Him." I was able to find two references for the second, which would have gone back to Mathew's time. Firstly, "Rokeby" was an estate in Barrytown, New York. But the second reference is far more likely, being a poem by that title, published in 1813, by Walter Scott. Having only read a synopsis, I think the love story in it may have paralleled Mathew's courtship with Abby (if this signature is, indeed, his). "Poins" is a character from Shakespeare, so it would be typical of Mathew to adopt a literary reference as a pseudonym.
But as I follow one clue to another, I find an argument developing between two writers, in this same paper, the Vermont "Telegraph"--and the person defending his work, signs "M." The defense letter, in which he announces his intentions, reads very much like similar literary "duels" that Mathew has engaged in. But when I read the critique of his essay--the one he is defending--I can't imagine that Mathew could ever have asserted such things. The challenger says that "M." had insisted that the blood of Jesus is the only aspect that saves; whereas he, the challenger, quotes scripture indicating that it is Jesus's body, as well, i.e., the entire sacrifice, not the blood only.
This is the sort of hair-splitting that one might typically find in a religious newspaper of that period--but Mathew, having learned esoteric teachings from Abby, would never have touched such a thing. So here, "M." is highly unlikely to have been Mathew. But, the important point here, is that I was tempted to claim it as his, based just on the tenor of the announcement, before I read the text of the challenge. Either my intuition was right, and Mathew's original thoughts are being wildly misrepresented; or, my intuition was fooled by the signature and the tone. Obviously, there were many in that era who knew how to debate; this skill wasn't unique to Mathew.
But I also found something confusing as regards Abby's submissions. I identified a series of poems, in the same newspaper, signed with the single initial "A.," which seem to be her work. So much so, that I added two of them into my compilation of Mathew and Abby's poetry. Their content is plausibly responsive to events which were occurring in her life (their engagement, and then, a month later, her father's refusal to grant permission, which then led to their elopement). And, they are demonstrably in her style. Finally, they are of excellent quality, which simply narrows the field. These are far better than the usual that one sees printed in such papers. If you combine all three variables, you have to have 1) a person with the initial "A.," who 2) writes in this style, and 3) at an exceptional level. One might add to this variable, that she has to live in New England. Now you have narrowed it down to a literal handful of possible candidates. Still, on the "con" side, the poems suggest someone a little more traditionally religious than Abby was. This "A.," for example, pities the Indian as having no legitimate spirituality of his own, and pleads that the white man compassionately teach him about Jesus, rather than exploiting and persecuting him. It's possible that Abby, not having personally known any Indians, was too much influenced by the white portrayal of them in popular culture--i.e., that they were primitive savages. But this part of the evidence may be a red flag (no pun intended) arguing against Abby's authorship. Just as plausibly, however, it might suggest that I have put young Abby's level of understanding on too high a pedestal.
Now, searching online, I found yet another period New England newspaper, the "Herald of Freedom and Gospel Witness," out of Bethel, Connecticut. But this is the Dec. 5, 1832 edition--when Abby would have been 16 years old. On the front page, there are two pieces signed "A." The first is No. 8 of a series, entitled "Proofs of Universalism." Abby would have been in sympathy with Universalism, which asserts that all will be saved--or, perhaps, that all can be saved (as opposed to the Calvinist notion of the elected saved, and damned). But here, the writer briefly quotes the apostle Paul; whereas I think that Abby saw through Paul, and that this was something of a bone of contention between her, and Mathew (who defended him). The writer also quotes Peter, and Abby would have been raised Catholic, so that is consistent with her authorship. The gist of "A.'s" argument, here, is that God's promises are represented in scripture as being unconditional, and hence, universal.
But there is a second article by "A.," responding to an essay by "S.M." He opens with a concept which my Guru, Meher Baba, has also taught--that all errors contain elements of truth. But he appears to be using it for his own purposes. Here he paraphrases one Mr. James Douglas regarding the "errors of religion":
...'error,' says he, 'to be believed, must include a considerable portion of truth.' The wisdom of this remark, it is presumed, will be extensively, if not universally acknowledged. There is, perhaps, no system of religion, however absurd and dangerous in its tendency as a whole; which does not comprise many important truths. Even the rankest infidelity, which withers and blights all that is lovely and desirable and of good report, must be acknowledged to contain under its hideous mask, some truth to which the real lovers of truth, will most cordially assent.
* * *
So in respect to that class of people who profess the tenets of Universalism. And here, permit me to say, that I refer not to this class, in the spirit of acrimony. I have no feeling of personal malice to gratify. I believe I cherish the kindest regard to their everlasting well-being. But I do it to illustrate the principle of Mr. Douglas, and to guard the minds of your readers, more especially those who are young, from an error, than which I fully believe, there is none fraught with more imminent peril to the undying soul.
The advocates of this doctrine say, and say truly, that 'God is Love,' that He has made ample provision for the salvation of sinners; that Christ has died for every man; that the proclamation has gone forth into all the world, 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come yet to the water,' &c. All this is true. But there are other things equally true, and of course equally important to be implicitly believed, to warrant a well founded hope of salvation. Such, for example, as the following: --'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; and again, he cannot enter the kingdom of god; then shall ye be my disciples of ye obey my commands; except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish; he that hat this hope purifieth himself even as he, i.e. Christ is pure; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still, and he that is holy, let him be holy still,' &c. &c.--Now it may be asked, if these last truths are not as explicitly and fully revealed, as the former! If so, putting them apart, is separating what God has joined together.
"A." then responds in defense of Universalism:
It is of no consequence, at present, that we have not the honor of an acquaintance with the writer to whose principles S.M. alludes in the above article. Our object is not so much to object to the idea advanced, that 'error to be believed must include a considerable proportion of truth,' (although we do not believe that error can ever include truth, strictly speaking,) as to examine the application S.M. makes of this idea to the doctrine of Univesalism.--In the outset, he remarks that even the 'rankest infidelity must be acknowledged to contain some truths, to which the real lovers of truth will most cordially assent--such for example, that there is one God--that he is eternal, unchangeable, infinitely wise, beneficient, and good.' If such be the 'rankest infidelity' known to S.M. all we have to say, is, that we infinitely prefer it to that which is by some called 'evangelical religion.' We had before thought that a denial of the very Being of a God, and of course, all the attributes above named, constituted the grossest 'infidelity' of the age,--but here we have a different version of the term, whether characterized by good sense or not, the reader must judge. S.M. proceeds to remark that the difference between infidels and good men, [partialists,] consists in the fact, that the latter believe many other truths not less important, honorable to God, and indispensable to salvation, which the former reject. What those other truths so 'honorable to God' are, we are left to infer,--probably they are the sublime and consolatory truths of an endless Hell and omnipotent Devil! &c.
Among those who believe some important truths, yet in the opinion of S.M. do not believe all the truths that are revealed in the Bible, the writer sets down Universalists! Their doctrine is an 'error' it would seem, than which he fully believes 'there is none fraught with more imminent peril to the undying soul;'--or rather, those things which they do not believe, and which S.M. thinks equally important and 'indispensable to salvation' comprise the error with which they are charged.
I'll provide the link to this entire page, in a minute. But the gist of it is that if you assume there is one lifetime only, with an eternal heaven and an eternal hell, then it follows that if all are to be saved, it doesn't matter how you live your life, or whether you follow Jesus. So the people who deny reincarnation are (pardon the expression) screwed either way. If it matters what you do, then there is an eternal hell, which is an absurdity. But if all are saved, it doesn't matter what you do, or what you have faith in.
Both are absurd--and both are a toxic mixture, fraught with both truth, and error.
But the Universalist position is closer, because it denies an eternal hell. It may be that "A." is aware of this answer, but that she (if "A." is a she) knows she dare not broach the subject of reincarnation, such that her hands are tied.
Here, in her rebuttal, "A." turns "S.M.'s" proposition about truth mixed with error, back on him:
"The 'error' accordingly, is not in what we do believe, but in that which Partialists believe, over and above the belief that 'there is one God, that he is eternal, unchangeable, infinitely wise, beneficient, and good.' Be it so, we have no objection to the proposition that there is error 'of imminent peril' in the extra faith of our Partialist brethren. We have no doubt whatever of the fact.
This kind of devastating humor is precisely what I seem to remember being one of the things that most endeared Mathew to her--and, it was something they shared in common. I question, however, whether this could be Abby (though she is quoting and responding to points brought up by her adversary):
Universalists firmly hold to the sentiments that 'he that loveth is born of God'--that the 'kingdom of God is peace and joy'--that those who obey the commandments of Christ 'are his disciples'--that except the Jews had repented they 'should all likewise have perished,' as did those upon whom the tower of Siloam fell;--and that those who were 'filthy' when the writer of the Apocalypse was about to close the sayings of his prophesy, 'should be filthy still,' at the quick coming of the Son of man, 1800 years ago, to destroy the rebellious house of Israel. It is unjust then to insinuate that Universalists do not believe these truths because their interpretations of the texts may not agree exactly with those of their neighbors.
But looking up the passage in contention, I see it is the following:
There were present at that season some that told him of the Gallilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except yet repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
What's going on in this exchange, is that Jesus is teaching reincanation and karma. He means that, in countless past lives, everyone has committed such awful acts, that the karma will rebound on us sooner or later, "except ye repent." Repentance can mitigate karma; the Avatar can mitigate it even further, by taking that suffering on himself. This was the teaching for the inner circle, which never made it to the published Gospels.
If you take reincarnation out of this passage, you are in a dilemma. What does he mean by "perish"? Does it mean eternal hell? No. It meant, in this case, literally, perish, i.e., suffer violent death, in one incarnation or another. This passage had nothing to do with the question of salvation. That interpretation was put on it, via inference, by later translators.
It would seem that "A.," despite being closer to the truth by defending Universalism, is either unaware of reincarnation, or that her hands are tied and she dare not invoke it, here. I would tend to interpret that it is the former, but I could be wrong. In any case without reincarnation, this argument is doomed to be unresolved.
It is possible that a 16-year-old Abby had studied teachings, like Hermeticism, which include reincarnation; but that, as an esoteric Christian, she was not convinced of it, and had not yet applied it directly to her Christianity. I simply don't know. As of now, I have put this page in a section of my archives for works which may possibly be Abby's. Unless I could access the rest of this publication--which I can't afford to do, being entirely unfunded--and thus examine more of these articles by "A.," I can't know for sure.
"A." must have been a regular contributor, because here on the front page of the Dec. 5, 1836 edition, there is a third article by her, entitled "The True Faith." The gist of this does not seem to be that everyone will be saved (i.e., in this one lifetime), but rather that the gift of salvation is extended to everyone (rather than there being an elect saved, and an elect damned). I am not familiar enough with the doctrines of Universalism to know which was the official doctrine. I do know that I am convinced that Abby was the original co-author, with Mathew, of "A Christmas Carol." If so, she would have written the religious speeches or "sermons" given by characters like Marley's Ghost, and "Tiny Tim." Thus, it would be Abby's voice when Tim says, "God bless us, every one." I have pointed out, before, that this is clearly written by a Universalist--and that Dickens wasn't even genuinely religious at all, no less a Universalist.
I had a past-life glimpse, verified in its plausibility by a passage in one of her own short stories, that when a male guest would come for dinner, he might talk down to Abby as though she were a child. She was, in fact, petite, and she would listen, with those big eyes of hers, saying nothing. Meanwhile I, as Mathew, would be rubbing my hands together under the table, anticipating the carnage that was shortly to come. When the guest was quite finished, she would calmly rip his arguments to shreds--and some of these men would leave the table in a huff. One of them, as I recalled, told Mathew to "curb your bitch." Meaning, of course, a dog.
Certainly, this sounds like Abby, as I understand her from past-life intuitive memory, from Mathew's tributes to her, and from her own writings:
We would in conclusion ask S.M. if he thinks it possible that the faith of the creature can make that true which did not exist as truth before he believed it? Will our disbelief of the existence of the sun blot out the light of that sun forever? Will our want of faith in the existence of a great First Cause alter the fact of such an existence? If so, we have nothing to do but to believe what we please, however absurd, and we by the act of faith make it true! We may believe the greatest falsehood, and change it into truth with the quickness of thought, by this process.
A sinner, accordingly, in your endless hell may believe that he is in heaven, and forthwith he is transformed into an angel of light! and so on, ad infinitum. The reader can now easily discover on what side of the question lie the 'sophistry' and 'absurdity' spoken of by S.M. He can also readily see that the 'example' brought forward to prove the conditionality of the promise of future and eternal salvation to man in another state of being, is nothing to the purpose. God never promised to his creatures that he would give them an estate in Paradise [referring to S.M.'s example], if they would pay him for it, by a stipulated sum of good works! On the contrary the bliss of immortality is the free gift of our Heavenly Father. It is the rich legacy bequeathed to us by a kind parent through the medum of a beloved messenger and only Son. True, we may not believe that we are interested in the glorious inheritance, until we are put in possession of it,--but that will not, blessed be God, destroy [missing copy] for us confirmed and sealed as our Father's WILL is, by the blood of the testator, even that 'Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.' How vastly important, then, is it to the welfare of men, that all should joy and rejoice in the unspeakable promises of God. 'This is the wisest and only safe course. Error is bewildering, polluting, ruinous; truth enlightens, guides, purifies, and saves.' A.
"A." is correct on all counts--but in order to avoid some sticky remaining problems, reincarnation has to be restored to the equation. Whether "A." has that in her "back pocket" here, is difficult to say.
What does my intuition tell me? I feel relatively certain that Mathew was the author signing as "Rokeby" and "C.B.H." in the Vermont "Tribune." My intuition seemed to recognize his style of argument in the "M."-signed piece, but my intellect tells me he could never have argued in the manner represented regarding the "blood of Jesus" as the only saving element. I don't have past-life intuitive recognition memory for Abby's works, in the same sense that I have it for Mathew's writing. At best, I could recognize the workings of her mind second-hand. Here, I am simply not certain. I would guess it is she, and that I have overestimated her understanding of reincarnation at age 16. There is evidence in her poetry of questioning some of the things she had studied, like astrology. She had, I think, learnt these things from her Scottish mother; some of them she may have assimilated, and others she had simply been exposed to. As a young prodigy, she may have embraced them during different phases--then, begun questioning them under Mathew's (unfortunate) habit of ridiculing anything he saw, during this time of his life, as woo-woo.
So I would guess, looking at all of this more carefully than I had before, that this is Abby, at age 16, during a phase in her life when she had embraced Universalism. But what she really accepts of Universalism, is that there is no eternal hell which certain people are pre-ordained to land in; and that salvation is offered to everyone, and promised to everyone. She simply side-steps the issue of whether there are multiple lifetimes in which to respond to those promises. She closes her third article leaving that question open:
'Follow righteousness, faith, charity,' that ye may be able, at the close of your earthly career to say, we have fought a good fight, we have finished our course, we have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for us a crown of righteousness.
And if this is Abby, she did precisely as she advocated; she remained faithful upon her deathbed, as evinced by her last poem, and afterwards went to a high vibratory plane of the astral realm, where she resides, today.
Of course, if one is to be thorough and rigorous, one has to explore all possible avenues, and this means using up a lot of ink. It doesn't mean the material has to be dull--but it does mean you have to put some thought into it, and spend some time with it. In these days of Twitter and Facebook memes, it is out of fashion to take time out to study anything in much depth. Perhaps the next generation will rebel against all this triteness, and will rediscover the joy of deep investigation in the search for truth.
Here as promised, is the original page.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. Upon reading the criticism of "M.'s" essay more closely, I see that "M." must have been coming from a more esoteric perspective than I had initially judged; therefore, my initial intuitive feeling may have been correct, and this may actually be Mathew's writing.
P.P.S. I finally figured it out, by finding the complete revised published essay. Mathew, who believed that apostle Paul was genuine (I don't, today), was twisting himself into a pretzel to make a consistent system out of Paul's teachings about the subject of atonement. In following the thread of Paul's logic, he came up with a rather different view, which was published but which the editors were very careful to disclaim as being his opinion, only. I already have another series written by Mathew signed "F.," written two years later, in which he similarly attempts to defend Paul logically.
P.P.P.S. I've determined that in late 1832/early 1833, Abby was writing frequently for P.T. Barnum's newspaper, the "Herald of Freedom and Gospel Witness," signing as "A." She was writing exclusively in the cause of Universalism, and in particular against the concept of "eternal hell." This was the same period when Mathew was writing for the New York "Constellation," as its junior editor (I have shared one of his editorial pages, which still gets quite a few views). Her articles appear two or three at a time on the front pages of several of these editions. But in the Dec. 5, 1832 edition of the "Herald of Freedom" (strangely, also published by P.T. Barnum, but not with the full title or decorated masthead) appear, on the front page--back to back--a story by Mathew's brother, John Greenleaf Whittier, about a "Rattlesnake Hunter"; and then, Mathew's own unsigned dialogue, in black dialect, with two men discussing the issue of diet. Of course, no historian has ever realized that this was the two Whittier brothers appearing one after the other. But that they both appear here, makes it far more likely, in my opinion, that "A." was actually Mathew's future wife, Abby Poyen, who had, perchance, sent them in, herself. I don't understand why Barnum was simultaneously publishing two papers, the "Herald of Freedom and Gospel Witness," and the "Herald of Freedom." Perhaps the former was specifically dedicated to Universalism. More on this later--I have to key all these in before I can really comment further about them. This will, of course, have to be added to my sequel.
Music opening this page, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," performed by Ted Yoder