February 17th, 1917
Received by James Padgett
I am here, Luke.
I heard the doctor ask, what do the Celestial Spirits think of this war, and I will in a few words tell him.
Well, first he must know, that the Celestial Spirits are not so much interested in the war, and the success or defeat of nations, as in the salvation of the souls of the individuals who compose those nations; and the fact that the individual is a German or an Englishman or a Frenchman has no influence upon the desire of the spirit to help the soul of the individual. All are alike important and dear to the Celestial Spirits; and the same Love that will save the one, will save the other. So you can see that the war is not of so much importance.
Of course, many mortals are made spirits who are all unfitted for the life in the spirit world, and in that view, the war is of importance to the Celestial Spirits, as their opportunity for doing work among mortals, either directly or through other spirits, is by such slaughter interfered with. And the spirits who come so suddenly to our spirit world are subjected to greater suffering, and are more difficult to impress and teach the way to truth and life, than they would have been if allowed to live their ordinary mortal lives.
All wars, to some extent, interfere with the orderly living and dying of mortals, and we deplore them, but as to the right or the wrong of wars, we do not judge, but leave that to the conscience and judgment of the individuals who bring about the wars, and are responsible for them. The acts of individuals, whether they apply personally, or affect others in the way of being members of nations, are all subject and responsible to the laws which control the thoughts and deeds of mortals, and the recollections of the same; and these laws do not call for or demand the paying the penalties of the individuals as parts of a nation, but as individuals, irrespective of the fact that they belong to and control the affairs of a nation.
No sin is of less interest to spirits because it arose from the wars of nations, than if it had arisen from the act of the individual as such, and we Celestial Spirits are interested in the war that is now going on, and because of that fact; for I say, it causes the paying of the penalties demanded by the law much sooner than it otherwise would (sic). And we are interested also, because war creates hatred and desire for vengeance on the part of those engaged in them, and hence adds to the burdens that the individual so affected will have to get rid of when he comes to the spirit world, in order to progress and find happiness.
War to us is an incident of human existence, and the right or wrong of it does not enter into our consideration of what should be the penalties that those who are responsible for it should suffer. The soul of each individual shows its own sins and wrong done, and only this condition of the soul determines the state of its possessor, and the destiny that its own thoughts and acts have made for it.
Now, from what I have said, you may suppose that we are indifferent to the happiness or misery of mortals while on earth, but that is not true. We realize that man, to a large extent, must work out his own destiny on earth, and that we spirits cannot control that work, except as we may influence the individual mind and thoughts of men; and that there are times when men give way to their passions and evil ambitions, in which we cannot influence them. Even God Himself does not attempt by His omnipotence to do so, but leaves men to the exercise of their own wills, and the consequences of their own acts; and this, although many suffer physically and mentally who are innocent.
But all men live not unto themselves, but are so united in society that the acts of one must have their influence on others, and, hence, those who live in these societies are subject to these influences, and to the consequences that flow from them. It may not seem right that the innocent should suffer because of the acts of the guilty, and if the Celestial Spirits could prevent it, such sufferings would not take place; but they cannot so prevent the intermingling of suffering between and among those living in societies, for to do so, they would have to interfere with the operations of the laws controlling these things, which they cannot do. So you see, war does not mean to the high spirits what you might suppose; and while they have their sympathy and love for all the children of men in these terrible conflicts, yet, they must leave men to the consequences of their own deeds and thoughts, and man must do the suffering.
But, nevertheless, we do try to influence those who have the control and determination of these things, and our work is always to try to influence them to do that which will bring to men the greatest happiness.
We do not interest ourselves as to whether one belligerent nation or the other will win the battles, because we know that only men themselves can decide this matter; and we don’t try to interfere to bring about the success of the one party or the other, as we know that we are powerless to bring about any result.
Think for a moment, and you will understand, that if we had the power to determine the issues of war, we should have the power to destroy sin and error, because both are the subjects of the creation and control of men; and I say that if we had such power, sin and error would long ago have disappeared from the world, and men made free.
No, we can work only with the individual; and as the individual soul is made pure and righteous, the aggregate of these individuals composing a nation will become pure and righteous, and war will become impossible.
I do not think it best to write more now, but will say, that we Celestial Spirits think of war as the creature of mortals, to be controlled and ended by mortals, and that we cannot decide the issue one way or the other; and hence, to us, war is an incident in the living and dying of mortals that we cannot prevent or create.
Your brother in Christ,