Spiritualists.Spiritualism is a term used to describe the belief of those who hold that communications are sometimes established between the living and the spirits of the dead. The history of modern spiritualism began about 1848, with the "knockings" of the Fox sisters at Hyndsville, N. Y., but the present organization is based upon the writings of Andrew J. Davis, called the "Poughkeepsie Seer," whose workThe Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelation; A Voice to Mankindwas published in 1845, and aroused the attention of many scholarly men in the country, among whom were ministers and college professors, which led to the formation of a cult called Spiritualism. Mr. Davis and his followers found it necessary to go outside the accepted order of religious thought and establish an entirely new movement, and in a short time the interest in Spiritualism became widespread. The meetings in the large cities were attended by thousands of people, local organizations sprang up all over the country, but no attempt was made to organize a national association until 1863. The first association was not a closely organized body and existed only nine years. In 1893 the National Spiritualists' Association of the United States was organized, since which date there have been yearly conventions.
Doctrine is usually ignored or overlooked by the Spiritualists, as they hold to no formulated creeds and confessions and seldom consider ecclesiastical topics which have to do with the past. They believe the spirit world to be a counterpart of the visible world, only more beautiful and perfect; that people who enter it must be free from the evil done while in the earthly form; that in the progressive after death all souls will be restored to perfect happiness; and that those who die in childhood grow to maturity in spirit life. No religious test is required to become a member of a Spiritualist church but that of good character and public assent to the principles of Spiritualism.
The first organization of the Spiritualists in Kansas, of which there is a record, was established at Topeka in 1867. The number of organized societies grew slowly during the '70s and '80s. In 1890 there were 9 organizations, 1 each in Butler, Cherokee, Crawford, Douglas, Lincoln and Ottawa counties and 3 in Shawnee county, with a total membership of 627. During the next fifteen years greater progress was made, due to the denser population which facilitated the organization of local congregations, and in 1906 there were 14 organizations reported in the state with a membership of 1,496.Pages 728-729 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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