|Periodical:||Spiritualistic Free Press and General Record|
From Pat Deveney's database:
Spiritualistic Free Press, The.
This was the organ of the Great Organization, organized on May 4, 1857 to spread the revelations received by the Nottingham Spiritual Circle through the "medium" J.H.G. Brown. At the time this journal was published the organization claimed to have 390 enrolled members, largely drawn, from small tradesmen but with a scattering of the more affluent. The journal carried Brown's story of his experiences as medium, including his imprisonment in his youth as a runaway apprentice. This led him to read the Bible over and over and conclude that "numerous blank contradictions existed in its pages, and much debauchery, obscenity, cruelty, and oppression" but nothing that would lead to salvation. In 1851 he witnessed a display of scrying in Nottingham, at first scoffing and then having a vision of a man grieving the loss of his son followed by his own vision of a scroll on which were instructions to tell the man his son was dead and for him to write the Home Secretary for the details. Thereafter he read the literature on scrying and the "mystic sciences" (especially "Barrat" and Agrippa), practiced as a spiritual healer (offering to cure any curable disease without a fee and even at a distance) and offered his services as a"Crystal Seer" and as a medium for other seers. He came to realize almost immediately that his mirror visions frequently contained erroneous information--including the unfortunate advice of a spirit to advance money to a friend who promptly vanished. This changed with his use of a new crystal in which he first contacted "celestial" rather than "aerial" spirits and received a vision of an angel (Sammiel) "of dazzling brightness, the first ruler of the first order under the swift and solar orb of Mercury." This was vision of an entirely different order and distinguished his own experiences from those of what he called "the aerial spiritualists" and the "pretended magic workers" who attacked him. Brown's intercourse with these celestial angels continued even after he became blind in 1853, with the angels appearing when he placed the crystal against his head. In October 1853 he formed the Spiritual Circle and began to reveal the political future and to receive from the spirits of eminent English dead (notably the Duke of Wellington) and the Angels Sammiel Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, and others) his revelations of the remade utopian society ("The great Millenium will begin, Poverty, Crime, and ev'ry Sin, No mere shall stain the earth") and the Universal Church of Christ to come that he was to make known. His message, which was "the same as that which Christ and his apostles taught" consisted of "denouncing oppression, and exposing hypocrisy, priestcraft, and delusion, in addition to which the Organization exposes the corruption of the Scriptures, and proves that the clergy are aware of their corruption." Brown continued to give forth with his revelations at regular meetings of the Organization, filling the interstices of the original messages. The revelation given at a meeting in 1860, "contains eleven specific clauses, five of which explains all the principles and doctrines which the members of the Great Organization, and every true Christian, are taught to embrace, believe, and propagate. The last six clauses shew up all the absurd doctrines, present teachings, and belief , as now set forth by priestcraft and delusion, and which the members of the Great Organization, and every true Christian, are taught to disbelieve, ignore, and repudiate." Nothing, apparently, was left to chance. Brown's conviction of the corruption of the scriptures led him, as John Buescher has learned from the pages of Punch in 1863, to to solicit £ 100 to publish an "entire new Bible, a "new, correct, and complete Bible, which shall be entitled, ‘A Message from God,' by the highest and holiest angel, to the people of the earth, that their eyes may be opened to the oppression, hypocrisy, and delusion, by which they have been for ages surrounded." This never appeared. The Organization proselytized heavily, at one time sending out 12 chosen disciples (identified by 12 banners) throughout England to spread the word. The journal was filled with the internecine doctrinal squabbles (with those on the outs variously labeling themselves "the Expelled" and being called "the Deserters"), efforts to distinguish Brown's disciples from the Methodists and Mormons, and exegesis of the finer points of Biblical revelation to show the corruption of the text. In a premonition of things to come in more recent times, the journal stressed the severity of the winters, the failure of harvests, and the early onset of spring ("the lark has commenced its sweet and lingering notes") as signs of the approaching catastrophic coming of the millennium. LOC.
|Issues:||Spiritualistic Free Press V1 N5 May 5 1860|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V1 N6 May 19 1860|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V1 N7 Jun 2 1860|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N1 Feb 23 1861|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N2 Mar 9 1861|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N3 Mar 23 1861|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N4 Apr 6 1861|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N5 Apr 20 1861|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N6 May 4 1861|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N7 May 18 1861 Partial|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N8 Jun 1 1861 Partial|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N9 Jun 15 1861 Partial|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N10 Jun 29 1861 Partial|
|Spiritualistic Free Press V2 N11 Jul 13 1861 Partial|
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