Antonio Leite & Renan Lacerda
As we celebrate GEAE’s 10th
Anniversary we would like to take advantage of this opportunity to
make an inquiry regarding the first steps taken in establishing the
Spiritist Movement in the
Among the information we found in regard to this matter we would like to describe what the Brazilian journalist Marcel Souto Maior writes in the book The Lives of Chico Xavier. (As Vidas de Chico Xavier):
Before doing so, we would like to say
that those might not be the only pieces of information related to the
beginning of the Spiritist Movement in
Within the Chapter
VIII of the above book, which has the title: The Dead are Alive
(Os Mortos Estão Vivos), the following is written:
"In May of 1965,
the two (Chico Xavier and Waldo Vieira) had embarked
for the United States.
It was already time to introduce Spiritism to the Americans. Followed by two friends,
Maria Aparecida Pimental and Irineu Alves, they had arrived
in Washington on the
afternoon of Saturday, May 22nd. In the following day they had visited
At the end of the meeting, one lady indicated the four "brothers of another country" present at the meeting and spoke about their task in the United States, which was to bring spiritual renewal and to stimulate a fraternal approach between the two nations. Promptly thereafter, in trance, she announced the presence of a "teacher" and a “doctor" close to the Brazilian visitors. Chico and Waldo were already aware of the presence of the spirits of Emmanuel and André Luiz.
In July, Waldo Vieira wrote a text message in the paper signed by the “doctor”: "Basic points for the spíritist in a trip." It was a guideline for the followers of the Spiritist Doctrine who would travel abroad for the first time. The advices, signed by André Luiz, seemed to have been written by Chico Xavier. These guidelines directed that the word foreign must be scratched from the dictionary. "The children of other homelands must be treated as true brothers". Besides prejudicial comparisons which would cause humiliation, it was necessary to refrain from being boastful, to be discreet and humble, to prevent from critique, quarrels, anecdotes and aphorisms of bad taste. In order to be more useful, one would have to study the language and the customs of the country that he or she visited.
For the quartet,
there was much work to be done. Allan Kardec was an illustrious stranger
(unknown) in the
The pupil was a phenomenon, but according to his professors he didn’t have the required skills to write the texts, which in a few minutes was placed in the paper with the signature of a certain Ernest O'Brien. The English words flowed from his hand hastily, astounding even the Americans and left Mrs. Phyllis amazed. One of the articles, titled "Family," soon began with a description of the first impressions of the afterlife:
“Tremendous surprise takes place in our mind at the moment of death. Contrary to our own former opinions we are alive. The body came back to the inorganic Kingdom as subject of universal change and we recognize that death is rebirth.”
Waldo Vieira was not left behind and also would present texts signed by O'Brien:
“On what basis shall we localize the problem of death? Of course, there is no death. Life itself demands death as a rebirth.”
Suicide would be a pure loss of time. Life is inevitable.
Between a lesson
and a "message", Chico Xavier would write books and he would occasionally
take a walk with the hosts throughout the city. Mrs. Phyllis
remembered two phrases of
“We must forgive seventy by seven times daily.”
“And a lot more patience every day.”
At the end of one
of the classes, a young man from
“Let us take care of charity that suppresses the sufferings of the flesh, but do not diminish the aid to the necessities of the soul. Let us divulge the light of the Spíritist Doctrine. Let us assist our neighbor in helping him to discern and to think.”
Chico would repeat the words of Christ:
“Learn the truth and it will set you free.”
Emmanuel would complete with a firm statement: “Free to be happy in our obligations and to be more responsible before God.”
In this first trip,
Chico Xavier has initiated this trip with the aim
of taking an important step in the goal of disseminating the teachings
of the Spiritist Doctrine in the
The trip would be profitable. Books
such as Christian Agenda and Our Home (The
As a result of this trip, Francisco Cândido Xavier and Waldo Vieira published a fascinating book in 1966: Entre Irmãos de Outras Terras (Between Brothers of Other Lands).
The second part of the book is comprised of a number of messages that were dictated in English through the spirits Ernest O’Brien and Anderson. These messages are available at GEAE’s homepage.
Many spirits, one
of which is a very dear and celebrated writer known to all
The message can be found on page 23 of the book and is titled: Vinte Assuntos Com William James (Twenty Subjects with William James). This message was already translated into English by A. L. Xavier Jr. (one of the members of GEAE’s Editorial Board) with the title: An Interview With William James and included in the newsletter Spiritist Messenger # 30.
The message will be transcribed below with few changes in regard to the first translation, which was permitted by the translator Ademir Luiz Xavier Jr.
AN INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM JAMES
Taking into account the specific cultural
environments of the Spiritist Movement in the
Question 1. Dear friend, since we are
Answer. Yes, indeed. Even after death,
we generally maintain the same line of interests that we once had on
our Earthly journey. If these interests were of some benefit to us,
and if such interests presented a way of helping us in ridding ourselves
of vices and imperfections, we ought to take advantage of opportunities
that will eventually come to us.
Question 2. Do you retain the same enthusiasm
regarding Spiritualism studies as you have before?
Answer. Absolutely. The principles of the New Revelation constitute
a field of infinite possibilities.
Question 3. Is there anything you would like to tell us about the application of scientific research regarding Spiritualist matters?
Answer. I now understand how important and urgent the scientific
approval is for widespread acknowledgement of the afterlife. Nevertheless,
we must understand that the researchers (with a few exceptions), waste
much time repeating exhaustive experiments, trying to escape from the
moral consequences that the matter implies.
Question 4. Do you believe that it would be fair to restrain scientific cooperation from the subject of Doctrinal study of Spiritism?
Answer. It would be unwise to imply that scientific research is not needed. Rather, we would like to affirm that the researchers are not exonerated from the duties of listening to their own conscience. A wise man is not merely a machine that creates technical terminology, but rather a spirit who acquired a vast amount of knowledge. Due to this position he is called forth by a Superior Order to work towards the improvement of human life.
Question 5. What do you think about parapsychology?
Answer. This subject is actually as old as mankind. We will find
numerous examples in the Bible. In the II Book of Kings, chapter 12,
verse 6, it is written that the prophet and medium Elisha absorbed
telepathic transmissions originating from the King of Syria, much like
the best “sujets” of experiments undertaken by Rhine and others.
Question 6. What do you think about Spiritist collaboration in
Answer. We understand that Spiritists should cooperate with the
development of parapsychology in order to avoid the possibility that
the research should fall into the hands of those less compromised with
truth, be they religious or scientific personnel. However, in our opinion,
this will occur only if the worker does not forget about his own obligations
Question 7. How would you define the level
of knowledge regarding Spiritism on the planet Earth?
Answer. The knowledge of Spiritism in a plain and simple way is
required in order to balance the moral aspect of the personality, as
it is important to get rid of the euphoric exacerbation that affects
the physical part of the being and supplies it with healthy hygiene.
Question 8. Would you care to expand on your definition of Spiritist
Answer. The Spiritist knowledge is an orientation of the profound
and essential life of the being. Obviously, the law of evolution applies
to all living beings, but Spiritism intervenes in the conscious plane,
providing us with behavioral guidelines, which are capable of carving
a path towards the ascension of the soul, free from obstructions which
can lead to suffering.
Question 9. Do you believe that Spiritism
plays a decisive role in guiding human will?
Answer. Certainly. If the spirit does not abide by the evolutionary
principles, and refuses to attend to his earthly obligations, his reincarnation
is nothing but a repetitive cycle that yields no benefits throughout
the span of the millenniums.
Question 10. What can you tell us about mediumship?
Answer. As a resource for incarnated spirits to gain access to
Superior Spheres, Mediumship has yet to receive the earthly recognition
that it deserves.
Question 11. Do you believe that it is
required for mediums to receive extensive and adequate instructions?
Answer. In order to allow the seed to produce, we must guarantee
its protection. How is possible to strengthen and conserve the foundations
of mediumship without educational resources?
Question 12. Is it possible for more advanced spirits to overcome the difficulties of mediumship?
Answer. The Spirit benefactors are able to fulfill great achievements in our world. Nevertheless, in order to do so, they require our aid as interpreters. How would it be possible for a symphony to function without the use of instruments?
Question 13. Does a spirit, even one belonging
to the highest hierarchy, require the aid of the medium in order to
interact in the physical plane?
Answer. Until science is capable of establishing an unbarred channel
between incarnate and discarnate entities, the latter depend on the
mediums to communicate with the former, much like the soul requires
a mother’s womb in order to enter the physical plane.
Question 14. Would it be reasonable to assemble
a special group of well-developed mediums for the purpose of promoting
more persuasive demonstrations of the phenomena of the afterlife?
Answer. We must not forget that the mediumistic resources are at
the disposal of all human beings, who will manage them according to
their own level of spiritual advancement. By improving himself, the
medium will attract other well-improved spirits. However, we must not
isolate these mediumistic resources to a select handful of individuals,
for we risk creating partitions and stimulating a quagmire among them
for the possession of mediumship.
Question 15. We know that the medium has
the duty of improving himself. Besides this, what is in your opinion
the fundamental requirement in order to develop his faculties?
Answer. The development of a medium’s psychic energies is not necessarily
excruciatingly difficult. However, since this development extends the
frontier of his relationship with the spiritual world, the biggest
problem still lies in the mediums’ ability to remain loyal to his companions
from the beyond.
Question 16. How do you analyze the physical
mediumship and the intellectual mediumship?
Answer. Every mediumnistic faculty is important, but I believe that without proper discretion, physical mediumship will do little to fulfill the requirements for improving our inner world. Therefore, we believe that intellectual mediumship will provide better access to superior learning, thus it should be utilized more often than physical mediumship, in order for the medium to avoid escaping from his moral duties to which he is responsible for in his corporeal life.
Question 17. In your opinion, what is the
main task of mediumship in the work of Spiritism?
Answer. We believe that mediumship is an important tool in the
service for the enlightenment of men in the planet earth, especially
in helping those who suffer from the torments of obsession, whose number
presently reaches thousands in every corner of the planet.
Question 18. Is articulated language a
basic factor in the communication between discarnate spirits from the
same country through mediums located in different countries?
Answer. We know that thought is a universal idiom. However, this
is only an immediate reality in the domain of telepathy. It is possible
to ease a sick person with the idea of peace, optimism, healing and
hope; however, we are unable to immediately give him signs of healing
without using the proper language to communicate with him. On the other
hand, the phenomena of xenoglossy could be obtained in the same
manner that we would organize a show. Therefore it is necessary to
understand that in the current stage of humanity, the barrier of articulated
language is inevitable, for the wide majority of discarnate spirits
usually maintain themselves tightly bound to their home environment.
Henceforth, the spiritual friends connected to the United States who
aspire to be heard without delay in
Question 19. When do you believe Spiritism
will be better known on the Earth?
Answer. That depends on the time and goodwill of people. Any human
being may delay his access to the gate of truth, but no one may avoid
Question 20. Would you care to provide
the Brazilian companions (both incarnate
and discarnate) with any particularly wise words regarding the work
Answer. We have learned that stability does not result from improvisation.
The Spiritist cause requires well-seeded Spiritist principles. Furthermore,
there will be no efficient results without the dedication of those
who are working for the cause. We must seek to broaden our individual
participation and elevate the level of understanding toward our
responsibilities to Spiritism. We will count solely on whatever we are
able to achieve. The laws of the universe are fair. In this sense,
every companion, every group and every country will be responsible
for how they choose to utilize Spiritism for the good of their own
future. We understand that we may summarize the main guidelines for
all of us as follows: to maintain
self-control, to think in an elevated manner, to communicate constructively,
to constantly study and to serve more.
The reader should note that the interview was spoken in English. The
Spirit author, Andre Luiz, translated it into Portuguese to facilitate
the communication with the medium. Later, we translated the text back
into English. (Translator note)
(**) II Kings,
- "And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O
king: but Elisha, the prophet that [is] in Israel, telleth the king of
We hope that by publishing this article we
will motivate those who know more regarding the first steps taken in
the past towards the establishment of Spiritism in the