Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How Contemporary Evangelical Worldview Hastened Defeat in Culture War

For awhile, evangelicals have protested binary thinking and expected nuance.  No one tries that with gravity, because of the short term disadvantage, which is a dismount in the crunch position.  Truth, goodness, and beauty operate like gravity because they proceed from the same source:  God.   The passengers of Germanwings Flight 9525 last week recognized the absolute authority of gravity and its absence of nuance.  Just because many other truths and goodness and beauty don't bring the same quick and emphatic authentication, but consummate at a more glacial pace, does not oblige them an incongruent end.  Living by and, therefore, pleasing God, by faith, necessitates behaving as though deeds met by immediate, tangible confirmation equal those awaiting only heavenly reward.

With foresight of future Supreme Court authorization of same-gender marriage and ensuing lawsuits and their resultant ravaged businesses and incomes, evangelicals pressure lawmakers to pass religious liberty legislation.   But how did we get here?   We draw the line at impeding the anticipated suffering.  If we keep regressing to the initial cause of all this, we can trace it to earlier evangelical capitulation.  When this decision was a principle, evangelicals kicked the can down the road.  There were not short term benefits to standing for truth, goodness, and beauty when it was only principle, when it was only about pleasing God.  Now we are where we are, and it doesn't look that sincere.

What you read on a regular basis right now is exemplified by what we heard from Indiana's Governor Pence, as quoted in the Indianapolis Star today:

Pence answered: "I don't support discrimination against anyone." 
He later added, "No one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love or what they believe."

He said, "Who they love."  Maybe Governor Pence was playing some kind of Clintonian game with the antecedents of who and they, although "no one" is fairly universal, unless he was using the mental air quotes with a different definition of "no one" than "no one."  We know who he means by "who" and "they."  By mistreatment, does he mean, "Sorry, but we won't be doing the flower arrangements for your 'wedding'?"  Air quotes again.

"Love" is in fact a biblical concept.  The Greek word agape, translated "love" in the New Testament, wasn't found much in secular literature, and as it appears in the Bible, it is a unique word.  It spread from the Bible to the culture and then began, like so much vocabulary, to be twisted like salt water taffy.  To love God, it has to be love.  So when we call something love, that isn't love, then love is diminished, and finally God isn't loved.

Evangelicals started twisting love in their own churches with their perverted forms of worship.  A few posts ago, I mentioned the Gettys and singing to God like Marilyn Monroe did to John F. Kennedy on his birthday.  That singing is supposed to be affection.  The feeling contrived by a rock beat is suddenly the Holy Spirit working and adoration being given.   At first it isn't.  Then it is questioned.  Then it is.  And finally when you say it isn't, you're in trouble.  So when two men say they love each other, who are evangelicals to question it?  They've already been offering God something they call love that isn't love.  Same-gender couples don't have a corner on inordinate affection they call love.

When I say contemporary evangelical worldview, I'm talking about the concession to the subjective and uncertainty. Gravity and love were both on the same plane to the premoderns.  Moderns saw they could explain it all with a machine.  The idea was that God isn't better than the machine.  Why should we thank Him? But, as I wrote on Monday, that made morality and art and aesthetics meaningless, so a game was invented, called postmodernism, where someone imagines that his truth or his beauty is a fact.  It's a fact to him.  It's love to them.

This is where we're at today.  Some see the emperor with no clothes, so they leave Chicago and Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin or Nirvana on the playlist of their listening device, while they limit themselves to How Firm a Foundation at church.  They make a pact with the emperor, a type of spiritual detente, as a church Jekyll to a home Hyde.  What you allow is what you become and then who you are.  It really is you already, but now you've just proved it.

You can point a finger at the liberals, at the Democrats, or the President, or Congress, but it really is you, evangelical.  If you are not the cause, then you have at least hastened the defeat in the culture war.  You waved the white flag.  Passing legislation, or even keeping it just like it is, isn't a victory. You need to turn back to the truth, to goodness, and to beauty.  Turn back to the one God of the Bible.  If all that's left is truth that saves, it isn't truth that saves.  The truth that saves is part of all the other truth, that is certain.

Evangelicals already opted out, and fundamentalists are joining them.

If you act like you didn't read this, or you do read it, but deny it, so that you won't be responsible for it, or just call names, it's still true, whether you read it, decide to keep paying attention to it, or even believe it.  You dismiss it at your own peril.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Recognizing the Contradictions: Same Sex Marriage and the First Amendment

There is an almost entire other article added to this one that deals with Apple CEO Tim Cook's editorial at the Washington Post.  Don't miss it.

Maybe I shouldn't, but I marvel at what I see happening around Indiana's recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which essentially says that

a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person's exercise of religion is: (1) essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and (2) the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides that a person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a state or local government action may assert the burden as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the judicial proceeding.

If you read that, you'll see there is nothing in it about same-gender marriage (I'll be using the term gender for the sake of those with internet filters).  We're reminded by its supporters that it is virtually the same law passed on a federal level, signed by Bill Clinton in 1993.  Almost anyone knows why it is being passed, which is why there is such a reaction across the country, obviously pushed by what is known as the political arm of the LGBT lobby.

Legal Contradiction

The law was passed in accordance with the language of the first part of the first amendment to the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

The government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion, the free exercise clause.  And here's the question:  Is a Christian baker required to bake a cake for a same gender marriage? Everyone knows that this is the essence of what this Indiana law is about and why it was passed.

The magnitude of the reaction dismays.   Parades.  Marches.  CEOs of companies vowing to cut off business with the whole state.  Threat of Indiana losing major, revenue raising sporting events.  Big named celebrities tweeting in opposition, several of them foul language.  Because of the timing with the NCAA tournament, it has showed up on sports talk and I heard a sports reporter call the legislation and the people, "ignorant."  Do you hear any support from similar companies or action for religious freedom?   I haven't read anything.  I watched the Indiana governor, Pence, on RCP duel with George Stephanopoulos on This Week.   Stephanopolous, former Clinton press secretary, had one goal in mind, and that was to goad an answer to this question:

So when you say tolerance is a two way street, does that mean that Christians who want to refuse service or people of any other faith who want to refuse service to gays and lesbians, that it's now legal in the state of Indiana?

Of course, that question purposefully glosses over the issue, which is a kind of propaganda.  It's not about refusing service, but whether Christians should make a cake or provide the flowers for a wedding.  A wedding.  It's not about not serving a particular people, but participation in a sacred ceremony or rite.  Everyone.  Knows.  That.  The law would give the right to a Christian bakery not to bake that cake.

Those attempting to bully Indiana ask if they will get service there when they visit.  They know they'll be served.  There is no widespread lack of serving them in the United States.  They know that.

A legal question surrounds a contradiction that occurs between various rights:  one, ownership of private property, i.e., your own business, two, freedom of religion, and, three, the equal protection of the fourteenth amendment.  No contradiction exists in God's law.  All the rights we receive from God operate in harmony.  The contradiction arises on the application of the fourteenth amendment, which violates private property rights and freedom of religion.  The fourteenth amendment was designed around the rights of freed slaves after the Civil War, but has adapted to same-gender situations. Should a private citizen with his own business be compelled by the government to sell a product or produce a service?  The application of the fourteenth amendment was also the biggest controversy of civil rights legislation, but that is complicated even further now.

Why would Indiana pass the law, especially right now?

When I was growing up, stores sold these replica NFL uniforms that could be worn as a costume.  I haven't seen them for awhile -- probably too many lawsuits because of injuries.  They were replicas.   They were not the real NFL or even football uniform.  Most people recognized it wasn't a real uniform.

We're going to hear soon the U. S. Supreme Court decision on same-gender mirage, what I've read Douglas Wilson label it.  The state can call it a marriage.  Same-gender couples can call it a marriage. That doesn't mean it is a marriage.  It isn't.  I'm not calling it one.  It's just the replica NFL uniform, not a real marriage.

Even if you believe it is a mirage, if you have to do the flower arrangements for one of these ceremonies, they're making you call it a marriage.   You lose your religious freedom.  I don't think its a real marriage, even if they say it is.  The law should allow your religious freedom when the Supreme Court decision finds a way to read same gender marriage into the Constitution.

Worldview Contradiction

The premodern world, which includes the founding fathers, operated on the assumption of design, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.  Premoderns enforced moral absolutes based upon that assumption.  You accept the marriage definition of God and nature.

Enter modernism.  The world is a machine and truth arises from human reason.  Values and aesthetics did not submit to the new criteria of truth, so they became meaningless.

Enter postmodernism, and values are personal and subjective, while facts are scientific and objective. Everyone can choose his own morality, so marriage can be redefined to accommodate that choice.

If you can't choose to reject same-gender marriage, then it has become a moral absolute.  Its advocates  have no tolerance for anything but acceptance.  They contradict their own postmodern worldview.  Same-gender marriage has become a moral absolute in their world of moral relativity. Its advocates contradict their own worldview, which indicates that their belief in same-gender marriage is religious to them.  They are treating it with the dogmatism of a religious edict, as if it were a premodern moral absolute.

It's like Governor Pence said.  Toleration goes both ways and so does discrimination.  If moral values arise from individual choice, either choice must be tolerated.

ADDENDUM  ON TIM COOK, APPLE CEO, AND HIS ATTACK ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Tim Cook, the most recent CEO of Apple, the biggest and richest company in the world, has bullied religious folk, Christians, and Bible believers with his recent actions over the Indiana religious freedom law, one of which is an opinion piece in the Washington Post (owned by Amazon.com CEO, Jeff Bezos), entitled, "Pro-discrimination ‘religious freedom’ laws are dangerous."  He among others calls the rejection of same-gender marriage, "discrimination."  Based on even the most recent use of the word, "discrimination," this is again propaganda coming from the Apple head, a type of lie intended to shut-up those who deny same-gender marriage.

According to the oldest understanding of discrimination, the word is good.  If you are discriminating person, it means that you are thoughtful and not easily manipulated, but that's not what people think it means anymore.  If someone had used the word very recently, I would have thought it was a form of prejudice to discriminate.  For instance, you presupposed a negative opinion of a person before ever meeting him or knowing him, because of his race, for instance.  Not until even more recently did that apply to folks in same-gender relationships, because most still believed that people were born with their skin color, but they weren't born with proclivity for same-gender relationships -- the latter was personal choice, not genetics or instinct or natural.  That latter also has still never been proven by science.  So you couldn't be prejudice against them, because they belong to a category you reject outright as a Christian as sin.  You haven't prejudged them because you know what they are doing by their own choice.  However, if you are a Christian businessman, you still serve them because you don't think it's wrong to do so.  If they come to your restaurant, they get to eat, if they come to your store, they can buy things, and if they need some plumbing and you're a plumber, you can do their work.  That would still mean that you haven't discriminated.

Tim Cook might not be the first, but the word discrimination is taking on a new meaning in a very selective way for those like Tim Cook.  You can read that in his article.  Activity is being labeled discrimination that had not been so before.

I want to pick my way through his article to explain what I'm charging.  The first is the last line of his second paragraph:

individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.

I'm not going to rehash this, because I dealt with it in my article above.  This is not a refusal to serve, but a refusal to participate in a ceremony by baking a cake for it.  I've heard good arguments as a comparison, that is, requiring a Jewish baker to bake for a neo-Nazi event.  I know people don't like the comparison, but it is helpful.

The next one comes in the third paragraph:

Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ marriage ban later this year.

This is an easy one to understand.  Texas law says marriage is between a man and a woman.  Texas doesn't want its officials to disobey the law, so they're getting serious.  A good comparison would be what happened in California when the state passed an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage, and the San Francisco mayor defied it without consequence.  This lawlessness seems typical today from liberal politicians.  Some of the Texas clerks might dislike the law, but they still are authorized to enforce it with penalty.  Cook might be good at making electronics, but he isn't good at basic comprehension of civics.  Or he is good and he's just lying.

Here's his worst line, the first of the fourth paragraph:

These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear.

Is Cook saying he holds religious freedom dear?  I don't think so.  I think it's just a very poorly written statement that needed editing.  That's how the sentence reads, but I'm sure it wasn't what he meant.  The bill didn't pretend to defend same-gender relationships.  It wasn't pretending anything.  I believe that Cook meant that the bills pretend to defend religious freedom in order to rationalize injustice, but it isn't what he wrote.  You don't have to be a very good writer to lead Apple, I guess. I'm quite sure that those who authored the bills were not pretending to protect religious freedom. Cook makes it all the more evident why the law was necessary to write and pass.

His next line is bad too.

They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.

Wow.  How do you think the founding fathers would have treated same-gender relationships, even the deists?  "Unnatural" would have been the least of their labels.  When Jefferson wrote that people were created equal, he wasn't saying that all behavior is equal.  Should we assume that God created same-gender relationships?  No one believed that then.  And the fourteenth amendment didn't come until much later, written by those who were not founding fathers, and not even its authors contemplated same-gender relationships.  Not even Brown versus Board of Education foresaw same-gender relationships.  These big lies that Cook tells have become fashionable in modern debate.  Just say whatever whopper you want, the bigger it is, the more convincing, because of the sheer audacity.

If we're going to talk about equality, we should talk about something that is in the Constitution, that is, the free exercise of religion.  That is an actual right that the founding fathers believed in.  Cook would like that taken away.  He would like business owners forced by the government to participate in a same-gender ceremony.  This is taking away an actual right to support the arbitrary choice of someone else.  This does not advance civil rights, but diminishes them, as I argued above.  Abortion does something similar, maybe the same.  It gives the woman a right of "privacy," a questionable right at least, by taking away the right of the child to live, the most fundamental of all rights.

I could spend a lot more time with Cook's article.  You can read it yourself.  It's bad.  If anyone is pretending, it's Cook.  Later he writes that he was baptized as a child in a Baptist church.  Does anyone really think that Cook believes the Bible?  He says that religion shouldn't be used to discriminate.  Jesus said no man comes to the Father, but by Him.  He said that narrow is the road that leads to life eternal and few there be that find it.   Cook likely knows this and is pretending that Baptists teach something totally different than what he heard as a kid growing up.

His opposition to religious freedom, and the way that he attempts to bully those who wish to practice it, gives me pause concerning Apple products.  Could we as Americans apply some pressure by not purchasing from Apple?  That is a way to push back.  Could you join me by saying, "Goodbye Apple"?  I don't think I even want to look at one of their products anymore.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hannah W. Smith, erotic "Spirit baptism" and the occult: part 12 of 21 in Hannah W. Smith: Keswick Founder, Higher Life Preacher, Quaker Quietist and Universalist Heretic

            The broadness of the Mount-Temples’s views embraced not only Irvingism, continuationism, and broader spiritualism, but even and especially the filthy religion of the occult perfectionists and free-love practicioners Thomas Harris and Laurence Oliphant,[1] since spiritualism and sexual immorality were the natural handmaids of each other.[2]  As Hannah and Robert P. Smith adopted the doctrine that the baptism of the Spirit was associated with erotic thrills, so the only way to receive the true Spirit Baptism was through sexual immorality, taught Oliphant as Harris’s disciple.  “Laurence Oliphant, together with his disciples, actually carried out, to the utmost possible extent, the practices of which Robert Pearsall Smith was suspected.”[3]  However, only those initiated into the Higher Life were brought into these depths of Satan;  publicly Harris and Oliphant were more vague, as were the Smiths.  Nevertheless, Oliphant held that “sexual passion was the only real spiritual life.”[4]  Oliphant explained to Mrs. Smith, and to many others, at the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Cowper-Temple, his unspeakable abominations.  Hannah W. Smith explained:
[T]he Baptism of the Holy Ghost, [which we were to] seek the experience [of] for ourselves. . . . was to be the aim of our desires.  . . .  Mr. Oliphant . . . told me that he believed my husband was called to enter into and propagate the views he held, and he urged me to beg him not to stop short of the full consummation. . . . “Come and get into bed with me.” . . . I asked him if it were not possible to lead people into this glorious experience he spoke of without personal contact.  He said no, it was not.[5]
Such was the Higher Life Harris and Oliphant spread with the patronage of Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple.
It was Mr. Mount-Temple’s seeking to “gathe[r] all the good he could from spiritualism” that led him to make the acquaintance, his wife explained, of Harris and Oliphant.[6]  Mrs. Cowper-Temple, who was especially attracted to Oliphant[7] because of his turn from materialism to spiritualism after necromantic contact with his dead father,[8] narrated concerning the dirty duo:
[N]o one . . . ever attracted William [Mount-Temple] more . . . [than] Mr. Harris. . . . It was through him we became much allied with Laurence Oliphant, whom we first met at Broadlands . . . All there were interested in him.  [Oliphant had] turned his back upon all and went off . . . to find God under the guidance of Mr. Harris. . . . [H]e always said he owed everything to Mr. Harris. . . . [Laurence] married [one from] our house [that is, one from the Cowper-Temple household], who was of one mind with himself . . . upheld by the hope of bringing others [by sexual contact] into the new and higher life . . . [They resided] with us at Broadlands [among other places].[9]
The Mount-Temples “considered joining . . . Harris [and] his cult in New York State,” but they decided instead to simply make their “home at Broadlands a haven for . . . Harris,”[10] from whence they “might help in [the] unfolding”[11] of the spiritual Kingdom of which Harris was the messenger.  From Broadlands Harris and Oliphant could propagate their ideas and seduce others into the Higher Life of sexual immorality and the thrills of the erotic Spirit Baptism, for Mr. Mount-Temple was zealous to promote such spiritual growth in all those whom he could influence from Broadlands.[12]  The Mount-Temples founded the Broadlands Conferences, the root of the Keswick Conventions and the capstone of their personal spiritual quest,[13] for the purpose of promoting such Higher Life theology as that of Harris and Oliphant, and the special spiritual Baptism that accompanied it:
These [Broadlands] Conferences were established . . . to seek the outpouring of the Spirit[.] . . . A meeting . . . of universal character, all speaking as the Spirit moved them, not of doctrines or of systems, but of the wonderful things of God. . . . In 1874 a few persons were led together on this new basis . . . their participation in the same desire to lead a higher and deeper Christian life.[14]
People sought “a tangible sign of the Spirit,” and received “ten times more [than they] expected” in his “felt presence.”[15]  Mr. and Mrs. Smith were consequently invited by the Cowper-Temples to lead that first fateful conference at Broadlands in 1874, that others also might enter into that same Higher Life and Spirit baptism that they four had experienced with all its physical thrills.[16]
Hannah W. Smith was well aware of the spiritualism and the immoral abominations practiced and propounded by the Mount-Temples.  She wrote:  “Lady Mount Temple is about as sweet as a human being can be.  But she is a spiritualist, and told me that nothing had saved her from absolute infidelity but the proofs she had seen in spiritualism of a life in another region . . . she . . . had so much Scripture on her side[.]”[17]  Hannah Smith believed “so much Scripture” was on the side of Mrs. Mount-Temple’s spiritualism despite the clearest and direst warnings against this demonic practice in texts such as Deuteronomy 18:11 and Isaiah 8:19.  Thus, Hannah Smith allowed Mrs. Mount-Temple to introduce her to numerous spiritualists and mediums, and they sat under their teaching together.[18]  Was it not good that Mrs. Mount-Temple had been kept from agnosticism[19] and atheism through the close communion with Satan and his devils into which she was brought as she engaged in familiar intercourse with demons pretending to be dead people who had come back from the grave?  However, notwithstanding her preservation from agnosticism and atheism at the time, at a later time “Lady Mount Temple” began to “rav[e] against God one minute, and d[id] not believe there is any God the next minute.”[20]  Furthermore, “Lady Mount Temple could never grasp the difference between right and wrong;  when no cruelty was involved she couldn’t see why people should not do what they like”[21]—why they could not, as Hannah advised, “always . . . do the thing they really and seriously wanted to do . . . and . . . with a good conscience.”[22]  That such advice could lead to the most monstrous iniquities, and extreme lasciviousness, was apparent.  Indeed, Mrs. Mount Temple’s “family, the Tollemaches, were a wild family, much given to misbehavior” that led many of them into “disgrace,” as a result of which they would be invited to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Mount Temple for a while.[23]  Mrs. Mount-Temple’s “only answer” when confronted with the fact that a servant of hers named Sarah, “under the almost intolerable domination” of whom she had fallen, “was the mother of a large family of illegitimate children,” was:  “‘I am so glad poor Sarah has had some fun.’ . . . [A] charge of misconduct made no impression.”[24]  Indeed, Lady Mount Temple even “wrote . . . a friendly letter . . . [to] Oscar Wilde [while he] was out on bail between his two trials . . . inviting him to pay her a visit,”[25] although Wilde was a notorious and serial pedophile, and his two trials were connected to his despicable sodomizing of countless boys and men.  Lady Mount Temple also thought—as her conection with Laurence Oliphant makes most unsurprising—that it was “incomprehensible and silly” that Mr. Smith was removed from his leadership of the Keswick Convention[26] after the Brighton meetings because of his espousal of erotic bridal mysticism:  “If these good people wanted to kiss each other, what, she wondered, could be the harm in that?”[27]
Despite, or perhaps because of, Mrs. Mount-Temple’s spiritualism, damnable heresies, immorality, and rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Mrs. Smith could write to her:  “I think of you as . . . sitting in a bower of heavenly love . . . our true and only [l]and is the beloved and beautiful will of God, which environs us all everywhere and in everything.”[28]  Indeed, Mrs. Smith was happy to have fellowship with a variety of other spiritualists also,[29] as well as receiving prophecies from occult palm readers.[30]  It is unsurprising that Hannah felt that there was “something occult about”[31] the powers that assisted her preaching ministry.  She was certainly not an enemy of the Satanic spiritualism of her great Higher Life patrons.
With the Mount-Temples,[32] Mrs. Smith fellowshipped with Laurence Oliphant, that spiritualist, perfectionist cult leader, and free-love practicioner.[33]  Oliphant taught the doctrine which had already been adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Smith some years earlier, and was publicly proclaimed at the Keswick precursor Convention at Oxford, that Spirit baptism brought erotic sexual sensations,[34] although Mr. Oliphant affirmed with greater clarity[35] that the actual entertainment of lustful and vile passions in acts of shameful immorality was the key and the only way to receive Spirit baptism.  It was essential, Hannah knew, to receive a post-conversion Spirit baptism,[36] for only after the Baptism does one really become a temple of the Holy Spirit and have His indwelling.[37]  And, in truth, it certainly would not be surprising if a supernatural spirit made the body of someone who received the erotic bridal Baptism his dwellingplace.[38]  In any case, Mr. and Mrs. Smith were not alone in receiving patronage from the Mount-Temples;  Oliphant also was received in the like manner and given a stage upon which to proclaim his filthy abominations.[39]  Mrs. Smith wrote about their meeting:
I went to Dorking to join Lord and Lady Mount Temple at a friend’s house there to meet Laurence Oliphant. . . . He . . . has come over to England on a mission to propagate a sort of mystic spiritualism of a most peculiar kind. . . . After dinner Laurence Oliphant read us a long paper . . . [t]he next morning, however, he unfolded his ideas to me . . . similar teaching had [been adopted by] a great many good people[40] in America.[41]
Her letter dramatically understated matters;  as other writings of hers, which she would not allow to be published until after her death, and the deaths of all those involved in the events, indicated:  “Readers of her [Hannah Smith’s] Religious Fanaticism will recognize the moderation of this letter, for, as she there frankly reveals, Laurence Oliphant, together with his disciples, actually carried out, to the utmost possible extent, the practices of which Robert Pearsall Smith was suspected,”[42] speaking of the doctrine that Spirit baptism was associated with sexual thrills, and engaging in practices suitable to such a confession;  for Oliphant held that “sexual passion was the only real spiritual life.”[43]  In her more forthright and posthumous description of her visit with the Mount-Temples to sit at the feet of Oliphant, Mrs. Smith wrote:
On one occasion I was invited to go with two friends of mine . . . to meet Mr. Oliphant.  In the evening, after dinner, Mr. Oliphant read us a paper about some mysterious experience that he declared was the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and was the birthright of everyone;  urging us to seek the experience for ourselves. . . . I scented out what he meant;[44]  but one of my friends did not, and she was profoundly impressed with the mysterious reference to some wonderful “it” that was to be the aim of our desires.  When he closed the paper, she said in her sweet, childlike way, “What would’st thou have me to do in order to gain this?”  Immediately he coloured up to the roots of his hair, and said, “I could not tell you in this company.”  It flashed into my mind that if he had answered her what was really in his mind, he would have said, “Come and get into bed with me.”  However, nothing more was said then, and we separated for the night, but I was convinced from the behaviour of our hostess and her daughters that they had been more or less initiated into the mystic rites of this new religion.  The next morning Mr. Oliphant asked for a private interview with me, in which he told me that he believed my husband was called to enter into and propagate the views he held, and he urged me to beg him not to stop short of the full consummation.  I asked what the full consummation was.  He said, “You noticed the question that was asked me last night?  Do you know what I would have answered?  I did not tell him what I had thought, but asked him, “What would you have answered?  His reply was, “If I dared to I would have said, ‘Come and get into bed with me.’” . . . I asked him if it were not possible to lead people into this glorious experience he spoke of without personal contact.  He said no, it was not.[45]
In addition to contact with Oliphant through the Mount-Temples, Hannah Smith had contact with the sect of Oliphant’s father in his filthy faith, Thomas Harris,[46] although she professed, at least in public, that she did not adopt either of their views.  However, it is clear that she sought out, learned, and “knew personally about” Oliphant’s sect and Harris’s sect,[47] while reading some of Harris’s writings and lending them to others.[48]  On Mrs. Mount-Temple’s request, Hannah even visited Harris’s colony in California.[49]  Since Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple made their “home at Broadlands a haven for all sorts of prophets of new religious and utopian experiements, including the American Thomas Lake Harris . . . [and] his cult in New York State” and they seem to have “considered joining [his] American group,”[50] Mrs. Smith’s exposure to and fellowship with Harris and Oliphant is not surprising in the least.  Indeed, although he may be difficult for her to understand, “Harris” is definitely “in his senses,” as Hannah knew, a fact validated to her by her friend, the New Thought teacher Mrs. Caldwell, who considered his writings “very advanced truth”—and Hannah knew that Mrs. Caldwell was also certainly “in her senses,” with “plenty more people, too” who found Harris and his abominations attractive.[51]  Filthy fanatics like Oliphant were some of the people[52] Mrs. Mount-Temple introduced to Mrs. Smith.  Through Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple, Hannah W. Smith was both influenced by spiritualism and other forms of demonic activity, encouraged in the doctrine of erotic bride mysticism being promulgated by her husband and adopted, for a time, by herself also, and exalted to be the most important leader of the Higher Life movement, so as to become the founder of the Keswick theology.



This entire study can be accessed here.




[1]              Perhaps the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Mount-Temple “loved to prove that faults are but twisted virtues” (pg. 141, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple) contributed to the facility with which they adopted the ideas and practices of Harris and Oliphant.
[2]              The connection between sexual immorality and spiritualism is clearly evident historically, so that the Broadlands doctrines of an erotic Spirit Baptism and of familiar intercourse with demonic spirits are naturally connected.  For example:
Mr. T. L. Harris, once a Spiritualistic medium, testifies that the marriage vow imposes no obligation on the Spiritualistic husband. They have been known to abandon their own wives, and prefer the company of those of whom the spirits told them that they had a closer spiritual affinity to them. Mrs. Woodhull, elected three years in succession as president of the Spiritist Societies in America, often lectured in favor of free love; and advocated the abolition of marriage (“forbidding to marry”), stigmatizing virtue and responsibility as the two thieves on the cross. She said: “It was the sublime mission of Spiritism to deliver humanity from the thraldom of matrimony, and to establish sexual emancipation.” (pg. 178, “Modern Spiritualism Briefly Tested by Scripture,” The Fundamentals, Pollock, 4:12).
[3]              Pg. 86, A Religious Rebel:  the Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.
[4]              Pg. 223, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.
[5]              Pgs. 225-226, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.
[6]              Pgs. 107ff., Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890.
[7]              “Oliphant, Laurence (1829-1888).  Author; born in Cape Town, Africa, in 1829. Lord Elgin made him his private secretary in 1853, and in 1865 he was elected to Parliament, but he resigned in 1868 in obedience to instructions from Thomas L. Harris, leader of the Brotherhood of the New Life, a spiritualistic society of which both Oliphant and his wife were members” (pg. 4316, Harper’s Encyclopedia of United States History, B. Lossing, Ed.  Medford, MA:  Perseus Digital Library, elec. acc. Logos Bible Software).
[8]              Pg. 108, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890; pg. 18, Ruskin, Lady Mount-Temple and the Spiritualists:  An Episode in Broadlands History.  Van Akin Burd.  London:  Brentham Press, 1982; cf. pg. 21.
[9]              Pgs. 108-109, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890.  Compare pg. 87.
[10]            Pgs. 6-7, Ruskin, Lady Mount-Temple and the Spiritualists:  An Episode in Broadlands History.  Van Akin Burd.  London:  Brentham Press, 1982.
[11]            Pgs. 108, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890. 
[12]            Cf. pg. 109, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890.  What the Cowper-Temples termed spiritual growth might, by those who hold to Christian orthodoxy, perhaps be better termed cancerous growth. 
[13]            Pg. 115, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890. 
[14]            Pgs. 115-116, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890. 
[15]            Pgs. 127, 148, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890.  Italics in original.  Note the reference to bridal union with Christ a handful of lines after the quotation from pg. 127 on the top of pg. 128.
[16]            Pgs. 116ff., Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple.  London:  Printed for private circulation, 1890. 
[17]            Pg. 67, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Letter to Priscilla Mounsey, January 10, 1883.
[18]            E. g., pg. 27, Ruskin, Lady Mount-Temple and the Spiritualists:  An Episode in Broadlands History.  Van Akin Burd.  London:  Brentham Press, 1982; a goodly amount of the material in Mrs. Smith’s Religious Fanaticism came from the fellowship with spiritualists and mediums she partook of with Mrs. Mount-Temple.
[19]            Likewise, in a letter to Mrs. Mount-Temple, Ruskin indicates that the conversations with the spirits of the dead that have been raised up through spiritualistic necromancy have also convinced him “that there is a spiritual state” (Letter 13, pg. 36, The Letters of John Ruskin to Lord and Lady Mount-Temple, ed. John L. Bradley).
[20]            Pg. 132, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Letter to her daughter, Mary Costelloe, October 3, 1896.
[21]            Pg. 47, Unforgotten Years, Logan Pearsall Smith.
[22]            Pgs. 155-156, Unforgotten Years, Logan Pearsall Smith.
[23]            Pgs. 48-49, Unforgotten Years, Logan Pearsall Smith.  Logan Smith illustrates the wild behavior of Mrs. Mount Temple’s family with one relative who had left her husband for an adulterous relationship, and who consequently “had been placed under Lady Mount Temple’s roof.”  There, along with exhortations to some kind of morality, Mrs. Mount Temple composed a letter to send to the man the lady was committing adultery with, so that he could come and join her, as the adulteress was “feeling so lonely without” the man for whom she had betrayed her holy vows to God and her husband (pg. 48, ibid).
[24]            Pg. 49, Unforgotten Years, Logan Pearsall Smith.
[25]            Pg. 47, Unforgotten Years, Logan Pearsall Smith.  Compare Hannah W. Smith’s receipt of revelation from seeing Oscar Wilde on pg. 170, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Letter to her Daughter, Mary Berenson, November 10, 1904.
[26]            Robert Smith also thought that he would be able to continue to lead the Convention and expected “encouragement to continue his ministry” after his confession of teaching erotic bride mysticism (pg. 36, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck).
[27]            Pg. 65, Unforgotten Years, Logan Pearasall Smith.
[28]            Pgs. 105-106, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Letter to Lady Mount Temple and Mrs. Russell Gurney, October 3, 1889.  Logan Smith comments:  “Mrs. Russell Gurney, Lady Mount Temple, and H. W. S. formed themselves as a holy band” (pg. 105, ibid).  “Emilia Gurney was among Mrs. Cowper-Temple’s best friends . . . [w]ith Hannah Smith these three ladies called themselves the “Trins,” a holy band comparable to the five mystic birds of ancient Philadelphia.  Mrs. Gurney was at least sympathetic with Mrs. Cowper-Temple’s interests . . . [in] spiritualism . . . and acquainted with members of the spiritualist circle, including Mrs. Acworth” (pgs. 121-122, Christmas Story:  John Ruskin’s Venetian Letters of 1876-1877, John Ruskin, ed. Van Alan Burd.  Cranbury, NJ:  Associated University Presses, 1990.
[29]            E. g., pgs. 155-156 of A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith, record her letter to her daughter Alys Russell of January 24, 1903, where Mrs. Smith discusses her time with a spiritualist named Podmore, who saw spirits materialize and talk with each other, and who believed that both Cardinal Newman and Napoleon appeared to him.
[30]            E. g., pg. 128 of  A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith, records her discussion of the prophecy of a “Palmist” in her letter to Mrs. Lawrence of May 12, 1895.  She claimed that she was skeptical of his prophecy.
[31]            Pg. 133, A Religious Rebel: The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Smith.  Letter to her Daughter, Mary Costelloe, October 29, 1896.
[32]            Compare the references to the Mount Temples on pgs. 310 & 313 of The Memoir of the Life of Laurence Oliphant and of Alice Oliphant, His Wife, by Margaret Oliphant, William Blackwood & Sons:  London, 1892.
[33]            For example, during Mr. Laurence and Mrs. Alice Oliphant’s “missionary” work in the Middle East, “Mrs. Oliphant felt compelled into high-minded but unreticent intimacy with Arabs, ‘no matter,’ as H. W. S. writes, ‘how degraded and dirty they were’” (pg. 86, A Religious Rebel:  the Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith). Mrs. Smith enjoyed reading “some of Mrs. Oliphant’s books” (pg. 196, A Religious Rebel:  the Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Letter to her Daughter, Mary Berenson, February 14, 1908.), referring to the works of Laurence Oliphant’s cousin, Mrs. Margarent Oliphant, who wrote the Life of Irving, a biography of that earlier continuationist fanatic and heretic, Edward Irving.
[34]            The author begs the pardon of the reader for reproducing such blasphemous trash as the following examination of Mrs. Smith’s confusion of the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit of God with sexual sensations.  Although it is so unbelievably ridiculous and appalling, it constitutes a key part of the historical development of the nineteenth century Higher Life and Keswick doctrine of sanctification.  It consequently seemed necessary to this writer to reproduce at length the evidence that Hannah W. Smith, her husband, and others adopted it, that the reader might not dismiss the facts as impossible because of their evidently Satanic, fanatical, and delusional character.
[35]            At least Oliphant was clearer, and the doctrine adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Smith somewhat more moderate and less crude and vile, if Mrs. Smith’s declarations are to be believed—that is, if she did not wish, in describing the erotic Spirit baptism espoused, experienced, and promulgated by both Robert and herself, to make her family and her own person look better than they actually were.  Only if what she wrote about herself in this connection was nothing but unvarnished and brutal truth, to be conveyed without diminution to the public, was Oliphant’s teaching worse than the Pearsall Smiths’s views.  However, the historical record provides clear evidence of Hannah “adjusting” and distorting the facts to cover up and mitigate her and her husband’s adoption and promulgation of the erotic Baptism doctrine.  Oliphant himself publicly proclaimed only a vaguer version of his doctrine, concealing the real depths of Satan in his teachings from the masses—he reserved them for those he privately initiated into immorality.
[36]            Compare her explaining her own receipt of a post-conversion Spirit baptism and her call to the Ladies Meeting at Brighton to do so also on pgs. 376-377, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.
[37]            Hannah wrote that through “the baptism of the Holy Ghost” one received “the full indwelling of the Spirit, whereby we become, not judicially, but really and actually the temples of the Holy Ghost, filled with the Spirit!” (Journal, April 29, 1868, reproduced in the entry for April 15 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).
[38]            It is noteworthy that leading Pentecostal historians connect their doctrine of gibberish-speech as the essential evidence of Spirit baptism with Hannah and Robert P. Smith’s doctrine of erotic thrills in Spirit baptism (cf. pg. 51, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan;  pg. 64, “Wesleyan-Holiness Aspects of Pentecostal Origins:  As Mediated through the Nineteenth-Century Holiness Revival,” Melvin E. Dieter, pgs. 55-80 in Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Synan; cf. pgs. 84-85, A Theology of the Holy Spirit:  The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner, for the Pentecostal “passion . . . to know even physically” that they have received the Baptism).  Supernatural spirits can indeed possess many unconverted people who receive such Baptisms.
[39]            See, e. g., Letters 59, 96, 118, 121, pgs. 117, 181, 223-224, 228-229, The Letters of John Ruskin to Lord and Lady Mount-Temple, ed. John L. Bradley.  Note also the discussion of Thomas Harris and his writings in Letter 112, 121, pgs. 212-214, 228-229.
[40]            Mrs. Smith does not specify who these “good people” are in her letter;  they included her husband and herself, who both adopted the erotic Spirit baptism heresy from the “good” Dr. Foster in America, and also many others, some of whom are described in her book Religious Fanaticism, which she allowed to be published only after her death and the death of all parties mentioned in it.  In her letter, on the contrary, she affirms that she told Oliphant:  “I told Oliphant of the dangers which I saw in his teachings[.]”
[41]            Pgs. 85-86, A Religious Rebel:  the Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Letter to her friends, Dorking, August 1, 1886.
[42]            Pg. 86, A Religious Rebel:  the Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.
[43]            Pg. 223, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.
[44]            Mrs. Smith knew of what Oliphant spoke for she had herself adopted, with her husband, the erotic Baptism doctrine years earlier.
[45]            Pgs. 225-226, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.
[46]            Pgs. 213-239, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.
[47]            Pg. 219, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey.
[48]            Cf. Letter to Sister, July 28, 1881, reproduced in the entry for October 28 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.
[49]            Pg. 112, Christmas Story:  John Ruskin’s Venetian Letters of 1876-1877, John Ruskin, ed. Van Alan Burd.  Cranbury, NJ:  Associated University Presses, 1990.
[50]            Pgs. 6-7, Ruskin, Lady Mount-Temple and the Spiritualists:  An Episode in Broadlands History.  Van Akin Burd.  London:  Brentham Press, 1982.
[51]            Letter to Sister, July 28, 1881, reproduced in the entry for October 28 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.
[52]            Oliphant was by no means the only deluded fanatic Mrs. Mount-Temple introduced to Hannah W. Smith.  For example, Mrs. Smith wrote:
As usual Lady Mount Temple is full of interesting things, and today she introduced me to a mysterious creature, a man he looked like, who is the leader of a strange sect called the “Temple,” and who declared to me that he had not slept a wink for 8 years, but had every night got out of his body and travelled around the world on errands of service for the Lord!!  He declared that he sees angels as plainly as he sees men, and knows them all apart, and that Michael has light flaxen hair, and Gabriel dark eyes and hair, and they all live in the sun! (pg. 102, A Religious Rebel:  The Letters of “H. W. S,” ed. Logan Pearsall Smith.  Letter to her friends, June 10, 1888)