Be Alert to Dangers of Spiritism
Why is spiritism dangerous? How can you protect yourself from its influence?
WOULD you put your hand on a stove to see if it was hot enough to burn you? If you were thirsty and saw a dark-colored bottle containing some sort of liquid, would you drink some of it, hoping that it would do you good?
“Why, that, would be unreasonable,” you may say. Well, it is the same with becoming involved in spiritism in its many forms and variations. Not only is such involvement unreasonable, it is also dangerous. In fact, it can be even more dangerous than touching a heated stove or drinking poisonous liquid.
For this reason God long ago commanded his people: “There should not be found in you anyone . . . who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.”—Deut. 18:10-12.
Then why do so many people dabble in spiritism? One reason no doubt is that their religious organization has not taught them what God’s Word has to say on the matter. It has not pointed them to the Scriptures.
Why People Consult Spiritists
In the island of Puerto Rico a large number of persons were asked why they go to diviners, fortune-tellers, those who cast spells, and to others who claim spiritistic powers. Their answers were very revealing. They showed that in the majority of cases there was a selfish or materialistic reason. The individual hoped to gain something thereby.
For instance, in certain cases the person consulted a spiritist because he was sick and desired a cure. Other individuals were afraid that their marriage mates were unfaithful, and so visited a spiritist in order that some sort of spell might be cast upon such unfaithful ones. Still others sought success in business or help in getting out of difficulty. On the other hand, some visited spiritists simply out of curiosity. In God’s eyes there is no valid reason for consulting spiritists.—Gal. 5:19-21.
Is there really anything to spiritism? Can it produce any results or effects?
Obviously there is a powerful source connected with spiritism. Fortune-tellers, spirit mediums and other spiritists without question have produced supernatural effects. If it were not so, world leaders would not regularly consult them. For instance, Jeanne Dixon, a fortune-teller in the United States, has frequently been consulted by men of prominence.
Not long ago James A. Pike, resigned Episcopal bishop, now deceased, visited spirit mediums for the purpose of getting in touch with his son who had recently died. In Look magazine of November 12, 1968, Pike himself reports on the results. Included among those present at one visit by Pike to a spirit medium in England was Vice Provost of Southwark Cathedral Canon John D. Pearce-Higgins. The following is part of the conversation that Pike reports having had with his son Jim on this occasion:
“‘Thanks, Jim,’ I replied. ‘. . . I’ll be calling your mother to tell her about what’s going on here now.’
“‘Good,’ was the response. ‘I want her to know—to know I really love her—that I’m alive.’
“‘She believes that, Jim,’ I responded reassuringly. ‘She did all along. By the way, about things in your new situation: are you . . . alone, or—’
“‘I have masses of people around me, and hands lifting me up, as it were,’ came through—and, after a pause, ‘I was so unhappy until I could make you know.’”
Pike was deeply impressed by such communications produced as a result of his visits to spiritists. “Taking everything together,” he said, “I feel the whole thing is sufficient for an affirmation that there is continuity with people who have passed on.” Many other people have had similar spiritistic experiences, and have reached similar conclusions.
Why Spiritism Is Dangerous
But someone may ask: “What is wrong with such consultations with spiritists? Why does God’s Word condemn all spiritistic practices? What is wrong, for instance, in trying to communicate with dead loved ones?”
This is wrong and dangerous because it exposes a person to demonic influence. Actually, spiritism is getting in touch with wicked spirit creatures. One of the common ways in which these wicked spirits mislead people is by talking to them, either through a spirit medium or by a “voice” from the invisible realm. The “voice” pretends to be a departed relative or a good spirit. But “anyone who inquires of the dead” is inviting communication with the demons.—Deut. 18:11; Rev. 21:8.
Nevertheless, a person may feel convinced, even as did Bishop Pike, that the one with whom he has communicated is a dead loved one. Yet this simply could not be the case, for the dead are not conscious. The Bible emphatically says: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all . . . there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol [the grave], the place to which you are going.” At death man’s soul does not survive, but the Bible shows that it dies: “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.”—Eccl. 9:5, 10; Ezek. 18:4.
Since the dead are not conscious and hence are incapable of communicating with the living, it is to the influence of wicked spirit creatures that a person exposes himself when he dabbles in spiritism. It is with good reason, therefore, that God warns his people to keep free from every form of spiritism. Do not treat lightly the Bible command to avoid anyone or anything that has to do with spiritistic practices. (Eph. 6:11-18) Coming under demon influence can be a terrible thing. It can lead to permanent disability and death.
Be Alert to Danger Signs
To keep free from demon influence it is vital to recognize danger signs. First it would be wise to examine the teachings of your religion. Does it teach that the dead are still conscious, and that, therefore, there is possibility of communicating with them? If so, flee that religion! As the scriptures that you have just read show, it is teaching untruth. And if you believe this falsehood, then in time of need or grief you might turn to spiritism in an effort to communicate with ones you believe are still alive.
Also, be alert to customs that may seem be harmless but that can expose one to demon influence. For instance, in Puerto Rico many persons put a small amulet on the arm or wrist of a newborn baby. This is known as the “Piedra de Azabache” and is usually a little figure of a hand. Its purpose is said to be to turn away the “evil eye.” Another practice of many in Puerto Rico is to build a little house in their garden to entertain spirits with shelter, food and water. It is felt that this will keep the home free from harm by such unseen ones. However, such practices involve spiritism and one should have nothing to do with them. They lay one open to demon influence.
It is wise also to be alert to objects in the home that are definitely associated with spiritism and to get rid of them. Recently a young couple who had been subject to harassment by demons began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses. The lady of the home was accustomed to hearing noises and seeing figures in the house. When the Bible study would begin, a small bell would be heard ringing. Then the sound would grow louder and louder until it was impossible to study. Since the family had a history of association with spiritism, it was suggested that a search be made for objects through which the demons might gain entrance to the home. Even though this was done, the harassment continued.
Then one day the husband noticed that his wife had a chain around her neck to which was attached a wedding ring that had belonged to her grandmother, who had been a spiritist. So they got into their car and drove down to the water’s edge, and soon out over the water sailed the ring. What a surprise they both had at that moment! For as the ring left the thrower’s hand a voice was heard crying, “Ah . . . aah . . . a-a-a-h” until finally the ring hit the water and there was silence.
Now there is peace in the home of this couple. They can study the Bible and attend Christian meetings, and all is tranquil. This illustrates that when such difficulties are being experienced, it is important to get rid of everything that has anything to do with spiritism.
Break Free and Remain Free
How can a person break free from demon influence? What should you do if attacked by demons?
First of all remember the words of the prayer Jesus taught his followers: “Deliver us from the wicked one.” (Matt. 6:13) Yes, turn to Jehovah God and rely on him and his Word for guidance. Study God’s Word the Bible and then apply Bible principles in your life. Be positive and alert, and take action even as the disciple James wrote: “Oppose the Devil.”—Jas. 4:7.
The apostle Paul agreed with this ‘opposing’ action and so tells us: “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a fight . . . against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:11, 12) A person who puts on armor expects to fight. He cannot let himself get sleepy while in the thick of the fight, but must be alert. Otherwise, he may be overcome.
Sometimes even those who claim to be Christians have let themselves think they are so protected that they cannot come under demon attack. However, this is dangerous thinking. Satan and his demons are particularly interested in waging war against God’s servants. (Rev. 12:17) Therefore, one should never let down the barriers, but should always “oppose.”
Take as a warning example the case of a family in a small town in Puerto Rico. They had for some time been bothered with demon attacks, which caused them much distress. Windows would open and shut by themselves, noises could be heard all around the house and the small child would wake up with teeth marks on her arms as if some animal had held her arms in its mouth. But then a Bible study was started with this family by Jehovah’s witnesses. As the family began to put on the “complete suit of armor from God,” the influence of the demons diminished.
About a year passed and all was at peace in the home. Then one evening when the family returned home from a group Bible study, the father put his Bible and books on a table and said: “We now have the truth and are free, so just let us see if the demons can do anything to us now.”
Almost at once books started to fly in all directions. They were put back on the table and a Bible was placed near the door. But once again the books began to fly from the table. Since the Bible was not found in the room, the door was opened to see if it was outside. Sure enough, there it was on the steps! Then screams were heard from the daughter’s bedroom. She was found almost choking, with her nightdress wound around her neck! The whole family had to take refuge for a while in the home of a minister of Jehovah’s witnesses.
What a mistake this father made! He did not oppose the demons, but taunted them, and they accepted the challenge. Do not become overly confident. Continue to pray for Jehovah to ‘deliver you from the wicked one.’ Look to Jehovah as your refuge.—Prov. 18:10.
Another person who had broken free from spiritistic practices was overcome by a sickness that caused partial paralysis. No doctor could find the cure. However, it was noticed that during Bible sermons he gave he used certain appendages of demon worship to illustrate his points. Could these items be responsible for his sickness? Yes, for as soon as these articles were destroyed the Christian minister began to recover from his sickness.
Do not these examples emphasize the need to be alert to the dangers of spiritism? Do not fool yourself. Spiritism involves contact with wicked spirit forces. It is for this reason that God Almighty warns his people against all spiritistic practices.
Do you desire to come under demon influence? If not, be alert to the dangers of spiritism! Have nothing to do with anyone or anything that is connected with spiritistic practices. Put on the complete suit of Christian armor. Study the Bible. Pray to God incessantly. Associate regularly with God’s people, his true witnesses. Oppose the Devil at every turn. In this way you will realize protection from wicked spirit forces.