Where is the Proof of the Afterlife?

For a video reading of this article on YouTube, click here.

In a comment on my recent article, “If God is Love, Why all the Pain and Suffering?” a reader named Mike wrote:

All good and fine but where is the proof there is life after we die? You contend that there is suffering in this material world but our spirit will go on to another world after this one. Where is the proof? Not enough to just believe blindly (like communism or some other ism).

Great question! Let’s talk about it.

First, as you have gathered from my earlier article, I believe that the afterlife is not in this physical world after some future Last Judgment, as some people think. Instead, I believe it is in a spiritual world that is entirely distinct from the physical world.

Obviously, for that to be true there would have to be a spiritual world. So let’s broaden the question:

Where is the proof that the spiritual world exists?

Now, I assume that by “proof” you mean conclusive evidence by which one person could demonstrate to another person that the spiritual world definitely exists. Is that a reasonable assumption?

If so, then the answer is:

There is no proof that the spiritual world exists.

In fact, God has specifically designed the universe and the human mind so that it is impossible for one person to prove to another person that the spiritual world exists. This is to protect the very same freedom that I talked about in the “Pain and Suffering” article.

But here’s the real kicker:

There is also no proof that the material world exists.

Do you have a brain?

No, I’m not insulting you. This is a serious question!

How do you know that you have a brain? Have you actually seen your brain? Have you heard, smelled, tasted, or touched your brain? If not, how do you know it exists?

Most likely, you “know” that you have a brain because you were told so by your parents and teachers, who were told by scientists and doctors who have actually seen people’s brains. You trust that those people know what they’re talking about. Besides, everyone except a few insulting jerks agrees that you have a brain!

In other words, even though you have probably never seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched your brain, you believe that you have one because people you trust have told you so, and everyone you know believes that you have a brain.

In other words, most likely all of your proof that you have a brain is that other people have told you so.

Is that really proof? No. It’s a reasonable belief based on what you’ve been taught, and on what you have learned about the human body and how it works.

I also happen to believe that you have a brain. But the fact of the matter is that you could not prove to me that you have a brain.

Does the material world exist?

It’s not just that you wouldn’t want to cut open your head to show me that you do, indeed, have a brain inside your skull.

The problem is much bigger than that.

You see, it’s impossible for you to prove to me that the material world exists in the first place.

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s stupid. Everyone knows that the material world exists!”

Well . . . before Copernicus and Galileo, everyone knew that the sun orbits the earth—and we know how that turned out!

“Everyone knows” is not valid proof. And “That’s stupid” is not a valid argument.

Think about it. The only thing you know for absolutely sure is this:

Your consciousness exists.

Your thoughts and feelings are the only things that you experience directly. This is the famous starting point of the philosophy of René Descartes: Cogito ergo sum,” “I think, therefore I am.”

Everything else besides your own consciousness you experience indirectly—apparently through your physical senses and the nerve pathways from them to your brain. But the only place you actually sense anything is in your conscious awareness.

How do you know for sure that anything else besides your own consciousness exists?

The fact is, you really don’t know for sure. It could be that everything you experience every day, including your own body and brain, is being manufactured by your consciousness so that it seems to you exactly as if you are living and moving in an external, material world full of people, buildings, animals, and trees, when in fact none of those things actually exist out there.

Your conscious awareness may be the only thing that exists!

But what if I think that my consciousness is the only thing that exists? Huh?!?

There is no way you can prove to me that anything else but my own consciousness exists. In the same way, there is no way I can prove to you that anything but your own consciousness exists.

How can I prove to you that I’m not a figment of your imagination? The fact is, I cannot. Even if I punched you to prove that I exist, that could just be your own mind manufacturing both me and the experience of being punched.

The stubborn fact is that you can’t even prove to yourself that anything besides your own thoughts and feelings exists.

There is more proof of spirit than there is of matter

Now, thoughts and feelings are non-material things.

Yes, I know. Most scientists believe that thoughts and feelings are impulses in the brain.

But remember, there is no way to prove that the brain exists. The brain is a physical organ made of physical matter. We have no direct experience of it. Therefore we have no undeniable proof that it exists.

The only thing we know for sure is that our consciousness exists. And our consciousness consists of thoughts and feelings, loves and motives, intelligence and rationality.

These things are all non-material.

Love is not a physical entity. It is something that we experience in our mind. The same is true of everything else that makes up our mind—thoughts, feelings, ideas, emotions, motives. And these thoughts, feelings, ideas, emotions, and motives are not material . . . they are spiritual.

Another way of saying this is that everything we have direct experience of is spiritual in nature.

So the plain fact of the matter is that the only thing we have any solid proof of is that the things that are usually called “spiritual” actually do exist. We have this proof because we experience these things directly for ourselves.

For everything else, including the existence of our physical brain and of the entire material world, we only have secondary evidence.

In other words, there is no conclusive proof that the material world exists. But each of us does have direct experience of the existence of non-material, or spiritual, things.

The existence of the material world is an assumption

Now, just to put your mind and your brain at rest, I do happen to believe that the material world actually exists objectively out there.

However, I recognize that this is an unprovable assumption, which can be treated as an axiom. It is something that we just assume to be true because it seems so obvious. We then use that unprovable assumption or axiom as a foundation for a whole superstructure of other ideas and conclusions.

I also happen to think that the objective reality of the material world is a very useful assumption. If we all agree that the material world exists, and that other people are not just figments of our own imagination, then we can go on about the business of living our lives in human society.

However, we must always remember that the existence of the material world is an assumption. We truly cannot prove to anyone else, or even to ourselves, that it actually exists.

So let’s forget about proof, and talk about evidence. How we can have some reasonable confidence that the spiritual world exists, and that the afterlife is a real possibility?

How do we know things?

There are two basic ways of knowing something:

  1. We can experience it directly for ourselves.
  2. We can have it taught to us by other people.

The second category involves not only verbal teaching and demonstration by parents, teachers, ministers, and so on, but also reading books, watching videos, reading stuff on the Internet, and getting information via all of the other media that we use to communicate information to one another.

When we experience something for ourselves, we can have a great deal of confidence that it is true.

When we are taught something by other people, either directly or indirectly, our confidence in the truth of it depends on how much we trust the people who are providing the information. If a particular piece of information comes from someone with a PhD in the field and a high-powered academic teaching position, we’re likely to trust it a lot. But if it comes from some wild-haired person shouting in the street, we’re likely to file it in our brain under “crazy stuff.”

How can we know that the spiritual world exists?

Similarly, there are two basic ways we could know that the spiritual world exists:

  1. We could experience it for ourselves.
  2. We could be taught about its existence by other people who have experienced it.

Obviously, if we experience the spiritual world for ourselves, we’re likely to have a great deal of confidence that it exists.

This is precisely what has happened for millions of people who have had near-death experiences. (For a book with my own take on near-death experiences, see Death and Rebirth, by Lee Woofenden.)

For readers who have had near-death experiences, my whole argument above about the existence or non-existence of the spiritual world probably seems rather unnecessary, if not just a bit silly. They know that the spiritual world exists because they have experienced it for themselves.

Yes, I know. Many skeptics and materialistic scientists believe that near-death experiences are just hallucinations generated by an oxygen-deprived brain. But those who have had a near-death experience can simply say, “You have not experienced it. I have. I know that it is real.”

So for millions of people alive today, the existence of the spiritual world, and by extension, of an afterlife, is a simple fact because they have been there.

Yes, but how can the rest of us know?

That’s all well and good . . . if you’ve had a near-death experience. But what about the rest of us, who have not experienced the spiritual world for ourselves?

Of course, my view is that we all are experiencing a piece of the spiritual world every day in our own minds and hearts. As I said above, all of our thoughts and feelings, ideas and loves, are spiritual. So in our minds and hearts, we are living in the spiritual world every day.

However, as long as we are still living on this earth, we are not fully conscious in the spiritual world. And if our spiritual senses (the sensory organs of our spiritual body) have not been activated through a near-death experience or some other type of spiritual experience, then we have to fall back on the second way of learning about something: being taught by others.

And in fact, there is no lack of eyewitness testimony to the spiritual world and the afterlife. From ancient texts such as the Bible and the Tibetan Book of the Dead right up through the present wealth of literature on near-death experiences, we have the experience and the testimony of thousands of people, over thousands of years, on the existence and reality of the spiritual world.

Not all of those people agree with one another on exactly what the spiritual world is like. But that’s not surprising. Even scientists studying the material world don’t all agree with one another on the nature of the material world.

What all of those people spread over the thousands of years of human civilization do agree on is that the spiritual world is real.

Evidence for the afterlife

For anyone who wishes to learn about it, there is plenty of good information out there. I’m sure you can find as much as you want with a few Internet searches. But let me recommend a couple of credible sources, one new and one old. Just click on the cover image or title link to go to the book’s page on Amazon.

For those who believe in science and want the testimony of a scientist—a neurosurgeon, no less—you can’t do better than this recently published book:

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife
By Dr. Eben Alexander

(Yeah, I wouldn’t  have used “proof” in the title!)

And here is the most extensive eyewitness account of the spiritual world ever published:

Heaven and Hell
By Emanuel Swedenborg

Heaven and Hell was originally published in Latin in 1758. I recommend the edition linked above for the most readable and accurate modern translation.

You might also enjoy reading “A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs.” It lovingly recounts his final days and his last words. For much of his life, Steve Jobs questioned the existence of an afterlife. And yet at his death, to the amazement of those present, he saw something not visible to the rest of the people in the room. His final words were, “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”

Of course, if you truly do not want to believe that there is a spiritual world or an afterlife, all the books and accounts in the world won’t convince you. But if you truly do want to believe that there is an afterlife, there is plenty of evidence available.

For a video reading of this article on YouTube, click here.

For further reading:


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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211 comments on “Where is the Proof of the Afterlife?
  1. Steven C. Parrish says:

    “Now, I assume that by “proof” you mean conclusive evidence by which one person could demonstrate to another person that the spiritual world definitely exists. Is that a reasonable assumption?”

    No, this is not what I understood what Mike was asking. He was very clear. He was not talking about the spirit realm. However, if that is the way you understand life after death, it is very shortsighted and does not take into account of everything the Bible teaches about the resurrection.

    While I do agree, there are some of mankind taken from the earth to live in the spirit realm, it also speaks of a frat crowd that will be here on earth. Those that are here on earth will be the majority. Living a perfect life on earth forever in harmony with Jehovah God righteous principles and laws is no constellation prize.

    The truth is the majority of mankind present and pass will be given the opportunity to show they want to live in harmony with God’s principles and guidelines on earth. The ones that have been asleep in death will be resurrected to the earth to the same. The ones that survive Armageddon will ave the same.
    But not all will be resurrected. Only those who’s heart condition is conducive with living in harmony with God’s will will be resurrected. This is what the Bible teaches.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for your comments. I am happy to agree with you that salvation depends on living in harmony with God’s will, not just on believing in a particular “correct” way. That is why I believe that good people of all religions will be saved.

      Just for the record, if you read Mike’s question carefully you will see that he was indeed speaking in terms of our spirit going on to live in another world (meaning a spiritual world) after this one.

      The belief that most good people will be resurrected physically and live eternally in the material world is based on a rather literal interpretation of the Bible put forth by the Jehovah’s Witness organization, and by various others as well. If those beliefs are satisfying to you, and help you to live a life of love to God and love for your neighbor as Jesus commanded, then I have no particular desire to debate you about them.

      I would only point out that in addition to the 144,000 that John saw standing in front of the throne of the Lamb in heaven, he also saw “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language” standing before that throne in heaven (Revelation 7:9). This vast multitude of people had already been resurrected into the spiritual world at the time John wrote the book of Revelation only a few decades after Jesus’ death. Jesus also taught immediate resurrection into the spiritual world when he said to one of the thieves who was crucified with him: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

      About Armageddon and the end of the world, I invite you to read my article, “Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

  2. I completely agree with you, Lee, that the human mind is a spiritual entity as opposed to a physical phenomenon. It is clear to me, as you point out, that thoughts and feelings (and even experiences like the color blue) are not physical things that can be pointed to and objectively defined in the manner of material objects. Yes, the spiritual and the physical are two distinct realms that follow completely different rules.

    I really like the way you put this: “We are living in the spiritual world every day.” It is as if we live our lives with one foot in one world and the other foot in another. Everything in our lives has both a spiritual aspect and a physical aspect, whether we are aware of this or not.

    You also make another great point: “….as long as we are still living not the earth, we are not fully conscious in the spiritual world.” There is something about the physical world, and our attachment to it, that greatly limits our spiritual connections and awareness. I wonder if these are purposefully created limitations or if they are part and parcel to attaching our spirit to the physical world as we enter into it.

    I have to respectfully disagree with you on one point, though. I disagree with: “There is no proof that the spiritual world actually exists.” If you accept as proof well designed and competently performed scientific research that has been extensively replicated, we do now have this proof. The tools of science are now so advanced that we can use them to study spiritual questions – questions that were previously out of the reach of science. I am working on a blog article that presents my reasoning in much more detail. It will also be the basis for a chapter in a book that I am writing.

    Your article, Lee, is very well thought out and very helpful to me in my own exploration
    of these topics. I hope that others will find it is as helpful as I do.


    • Lee says:

      Hi Chuck,

      Thanks for your kind thoughts! I look forward to reading your blog article when it comes out.

    • Lee says:

      Hi again, Chuck,

      I did not want to make any substantive response to your comment until I could actually read the articles you refer to, which I believe you have now posted on your blog.

      Of course, I agree with you that the spiritual world exists. I even agree with you that there is extensive evidence that it exists.

      Where I would still take some exception is to the idea that we can prove through science that the spiritual world exists. I believe and suspect that scientists who reject the reality of the spiritual world will find ways to reject the conclusion that the experiments you speak of provide conclusive evidence that the spiritual world exists.

      One avenue of such rejection is suggested by the expansion of science from studying the realm of solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that interacts primarily through physical contact to studying the electromagnetic field, which transcends the realm of solid, liquid, and gaseous matter and operates over great distances apparently without a solid, physical medium.

      If such a field exists, and yet is still considered to be a part of the material universe, this provides an avenue of expansion of science to studying and “explaining” such phenomena as remote viewing (discussed on your blog) without accepting the idea that there must be a spiritual reality above and beyond this physical reality. Essentially, such a conclusion would simply require that concepts of the material world be expanded beyond the traditional, mechanical, and largely “solid” view of physical reality. This expansion is already well underway with the study of the electromagnetic field and the theories of quantum physics, string theory, and so on.

      I would simply urge some caution in thinking that we can convince those who don’t want to be convinced that a spiritual world exists. I believe that the ability to deny the existence of the spiritual world is part of the spiritual freedom that God planted very deeply in human beings as a necessary condition of our humanity.

      So while I do believe that science and scientific method can be used to strengthen those who are willing to believe in spiritual reality in those beliefs, I do not believe it can be used to provide conclusive evidence for all, regardless of their inclination or disinclination to accept the reality of the spiritual world.

      • Hello Lee,

        I completely agree with you that you cannot convince anyone of something their mind is closed to. It is futile to even try. With my scientific background, I am pretty aware of the beliefs that most scientists accept. My opinion is that the acceptance of research similar to what I present in my remote viewing chapter is a massive change for most scientists, since they have built their whole lives on a bedrock set of assumptions that are now being brought into question. A few scientists, though, particularly those in the forefront of physics research, have completely come around and accepted that many of the assumptions of the past are completely wrong. To me, it is only a matter of time until this group carries the day. But it may take more of the old guard to die off and more newly trained scientists to approach the new research with more open minds.

        I wish to clarify an important technical point that I think you might be missing. Electromagnetic fields are physical interactions in that they completely follow all the time, distance and causation laws of the material world. These fields can be easily measured by physical devices designed for that purpose. However, nonphysical (you might substitute “spiritual” here) interactions, like those of remote viewing, violate these laws of material interactions. In fact, it is the violation of the physical laws that is the solid proof that the nonphysical effects are real.

        We have always had anecdotal evidence that such nonphysical interactions exist, but they have not been reliably reproducible in the past. It is the advent of more powerful statistical methods that allow us to demonstrate such effects are predictably reproducible and therefore independently open to testing by anyone interested. This has been the major stumbling block in the way of scientific acceptance in the past. I believe this stumbling block is in the early stages of falling away.

        It may take many years before the new data is assimilated into mainstream beliefs. But I would point out that it wasn’t all that long ago that everyone believed the earth was flat. All it took was some new inventions like the telescope to permanently expand our awareness. Now, no one believes in a flat earth.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Chuck,

          Thanks for your further comments.

          Just to clarify, I am not suggesting that electromagnetic field phenomena can account for remote viewing. Rather, I’m suggesting that the expansion of scientists’ conceptions of physical matter from ordinary matter (solid, liquid, gaseous) to include also electromagnetic fields and phenomena suggests a direction by which a scientist could assimilate the idea of remote viewing without positing that a spiritual world exists. Such a scientist would, rather, expand his or her view of physical reality to include further levels and refinements of physical reality to include such phenomena as remote viewing.

          As another step in this direction, gravitational effects as we experience them happen instantaneously or nearly instantaneously over vast distances. This violates the usual physical rules of time and distance, yet it is still seen as a property of physical reality. Why couldn’t the phenomena of remote viewing similarly be attributed to further refinements and levels of physical reality beyond both the electromagnetic and the gravitational–levels that are yet to be discovered? After all, we experienced magnetism and light before we were aware of the magnetic field. Who knows what further discoveries might be made deep in the heart of physical reality?

          Mind you, I’m not saying that I personally believe remote viewing can be accounted for by purely physical phenomena. I tend to agree with you that it happens by spiritual means. I’m simply playing devil’s advocate, and considering how materialistic scientists might come to some accommodation with the statistical analysis of remote viewing without accepting the reality of spirit.

  3. Lee, I think we are in fundamental disagreement on these points. For example, gravitational effects are physically mediated effects. Modern physics holds that the force of gravity is mediated by particles that cannot exceed the speed of light. Thus, gravity’s effects are never instantaneous. Many believe that the effects of gravity radiate out away from physical particles as waves, although these waves have not yet been proven to exist.

    I do not believe there is any way physicists can reconcile the remote viewing data with established physical theories. The violation of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is quite clear in this situation (as it is with all the anomalies I have been discussing). Scientists have only two choices: deny the data are accurate or accept that a nonphysical influence exists in the physical world that has the ability to produce a clear impact on physical events.

    I place such emphasis on this point since all the rest of the inferences I have been developing in the work I have been doing rest on this pivotal point. The research shows that everything that exists has two completely different means of interaction with everything else. There are the physical, local effects that our physical sciences have thoroughly studied. In addition, there are the radically different nonphysical, non-local effects that do not require time to unfold, do not lose power as they move through space, and connect everything in the physical world at all times. Science is just beginning to come to terms with this second mode of interaction. But come to terms it must, the data are far too powerful and consistent to not be real. And the implications are astounding.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Chuck,

      Among people of good will, fundamental disagreements can be a good thing. They expand the frontiers of human knowledge as various people test their differing and conflicting theories against reality. In the process, we gain much more information and insight on the nature of reality than if everyone were testing the same theories.

      So I am happy to have you pressing forward ideas and theories that I may not agree with.

      To be clear, the disagreement between us is not on the question of whether there are phenomena that take place by non-physical, or spiritual means. It is on the question of whether that can be proven scientifically.

      Without actually reading the remote viewing research and your summation and interpretation of it, I can’t comment very specifically on it. However, in general:

      • I would suggest not underestimating the power of the human mind to come up with alternate explanations for phenomena that some people believe can be explained in only one way.
      • Like the unproven gravitation waves you mention, just as our discoveries are commonly ahead of our theories, so also our theories are commonly ahead of our discoveries. This is what presses science forward: the attempt to come up with theories that can explain what we observe, and then to find–or not find–the physical substances, fields, and processes that those theories predict.
      • Phenomena that were formerly attributed to spiritual and divine influence–such as lightning and lunar eclipses–are now commonly explained by standard science based on physical processes alone.

      Based on these points, traditional scientists who believe that all phenomena can be explained by physical processes alone, if they come to take the remote viewing research seriously, will get busy coming up with alternate theories of physical reality that can account for the results of that research. They will be very confident that such theories can be constructed, tested, and found to explain the data better than theories that appeal to spiritual reality. That has been the trend and the reality of science up to this point.

      You and I simply don’t know what theories present and future scientists will come up with. It was formerly believed that Newtonian physics could explain all physical phenomena. Then we began encountering phenomena on the micro and macro level that could not be explained by Newtonian physics. Hence the birth of whole new theories such as relativity and quantum mechanics–which, as far as I know, are both in common use by physicists, and yet still have unresolved conflicts with one another. These new theories require the existence of whole new layers of physical reality that were entirely absent from the former theories.

      Science has many times dealt with new data that does not fit old theories. If remote viewing research goes mainstream in the scientific community, you can bet your bottom dollar that many theories will be put forward and tested by various scientists. Most of those theories will not appeal to non-physical processes, but will instead propose new physical processes and phenomena.

      At that point, all the conflicting theories will be tested. If you and I are still alive when the results are coming in, we’ll find out what sort of new consensus develops in the scientific community.

      And that will be fascinating indeed!

  4. Hi again, Lee,

    I hope I am not belaboring a point that goes beyond the point of what may interest you, but you seem to want to get to a deeper understanding of our differences. Fundamental disagreements can indeed be a good thing and I find they can take us very useful places when different viewpoints are honored and valued. I suspect you already know that I do not feel I have the last word on any topic and am always open to reconsideration of any of my conclusions and beliefs.

    Let me give you a little more background about this issue of remote viewing. First, remote viewing is only one of many anomalies in various fields of science that I have been exploring. As I have explored these anomalies, the commonalities are truly amazing. One commonality is that, by and large, the work in all these anomalies has been pursued by highly trained scientists with excellent track records and success with traditional science topics before getting involved in studying these anomalies. This is not poor quality science we are discussing.

    Notably, working with the anomalies has forced these scientists to completely change their views of how the world works. I have read a fair number of the essays these scientists have written about their findings and how they have tried to reconcile them with traditional scientific theories and assumptions. What you have said you think might happen when scientists look at this research carefully and objectively is not what actually happens. I think that most scientists, when faced with reports like those involving remote viewing, healing by mental intent, and many other anomalies, still have closed minds about these topics and just assume the work is in error since it conflicts so completely with their training. That is as far as most scientists take it, at this point in time. They do not really look at the details. However, when scientists do take the research seriously, they realize that what is being uncovered is profoundly important. What few if any of these scientists do is to try to explain the findings with physical mechanisms. They know from the design of the experiments that all physical mediators for the results are effectively blocked out. (The researchers exploring the anomalous data know this is the crucial question and they take great pains to be sure that their research protocols are exemplary.)

    This brings me to another critically important point. All the different anomalies in all these different fields, studied by teams independently of each other, have come up with the same kinds of violations of accepted scientific theories. If these results were mere errors or if they were just sloppy science, why would they so consistently provide the same kinds of results? The picture all these anomalies show, when taken as a whole, is incredibly consistent and coherent.

    I know you are not a scientist, and you have said you are not familiar with the research I am describing, nor with the extensive discussions that have already occurred among scientists about these anomalies, but there is much more here than I believe you are aware. And the implications are quite profound. I know it would be a very large undertaking for you, but I think it would very much be worth your time to become more knowledgeable about it. I believe what you would learn in this effort would significantly expand your understanding of some of the topics you already find to be very important.

    If this advice is out of line, please accept my apologies. Even if we cannot find more common ground here, this will not change my appreciation of your insightful writings. Thanks for allowing this dialogue on your site.


    • Lee says:

      Hi Chuck,

      I do think this discussion is about to enter the realm of the repetitive, so I’m not sure how much bang for the buck we’d get by continuing it here. I’ve shared my thoughts and theories on the subject, and so have you–which is a good thing.

      As strong as my tendency is to want to discuss and discuss and discuss until some agreement emerges, I’ve discovered over the course of my life that the ability of talk to bring people together on an issue is often quite limited. More often, people’s views must be worked out through experience. Any eventual agreement (or lack thereof) must unfold over time as experience accumulates. When it comes to scientific subjects, since I am more of a dilettante than an expert, I watch from the sidelines to see what scientific consensus emerges over time among those whose lives are devoted to the study of science.

      What gives me joy about this discussion is knowing that the research into unconventional subjects that you describe is opening the minds of some scientists to higher realms of reality. That is a very good thing.

      For my part, I already accept the existence of higher realms of reality. The research would therefore not have the same effect for me as it does for those who approach it from the direction of materialistic science. I am fascinated by science. I spent many happy hours in my younger years studying physics, astronomy, biology, and other fields of science. However, quite early in life I decided to devote my life to teaching and leading people on spiritual subjects. That is where I have my greatest background and expertise. That is where I can have the greatest impact on people’s lives.

      I have long believed that there is no fundamental conflict between science and religion. This is no doubt due to the influence of Emanuel Swedenborg, who had a brilliant career as a scientist before he entered the realms of spirit. He therefore explored those realms based on a solid foundation in the best science of his day. He said that if he had not spent the first two-thirds of his life engaged in a deep and systematic study of science and philosophy, he would not have been able to understand many of the things that were revealed to him when his spiritual senses were opened. He went on to spend the last third of his life exploring the spiritual world while still living in his physical body.

      If you have not yet delved into Swedenborg’s writings, I think you would find them quite fascinating and enlightening. For those of a scientific and philosophical frame of mind, his book Divine Love and Wisdom would be a great place to start–though it requires a lot of mental concentration and dedication to do it justice. Alternatively, Heaven and Hell provides a much more direct and practical description of the spiritual realms as Swedenborg experienced them, and is a much easier read.

  5. Juan says:

    Hi Lee.
    I agree with you that there is no proof of the existence of an afterlife,
    but evidence of the existence of an afterlife, but I would like to comment on what next.
    First, say that near death experiences are not hallucinations because NDErs assert that these experiences are real is not enough to demostrate that NDEs are not hallucinations, but we have to expose more rigorous arguments like that NDEs are hyper-lucid , which casts doubt on the mind-brain dependence and NDErs who provided veridical information that they could not be acquired by the known senses, inference or luck.
    And finally, NDEs are not the only kind of evidence of the existence of an afterlife, but also there are the deathbed visions, apparitions, mediumship and people who seem to remember previous lives. A close examination of these phenomena leads to chances are that there is a form of afterlife.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Juan,

      Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, there are many different types of evidence for an afterlife. I don’t believe it will ever amount to scientific proof–if such a thing exists. But I do think that collating the many sources of information and evidence into a coherent picture of the spiritual realms is possible. It will require testing various hypotheses as to the nature of spiritual reality against the vast amount of information we now have available, and determining which theory best explains it all.

      This is, unfortunately, a slow and laborious process for humanity to go through. But I do believe that in the coming centuries a general consensus will begin to emerge. In this way it will parallel the development of science.

      From my perspective, the answers are already available. However, we humans seem to need to struggle and search for them ourselves in order to have any sense of confidence and trust in their truth and reliability.

      And so the search goes on . . .

  6. Sean Castleton says:

    I have personally explored the entire gamut of religions, have read many books on the occult, studied astrology indepth, and demonology. I believed that I had a personal relationship with Jesus, ect. I came to the conclusion that nobody knows nothing about where we came from or why we are here. Here’s the bottom line concerning faith; You can believe in something from now until the end of time, but that does not make it true. Believing in something is one thing, but actually knowing something to be true is quite another. Man is desparately seeking to know his/her origin and as a result willing to believe in anything that may explain it. For me, science is the only tangible hope for discovering the truth of our existence. We are but infants in space and time. S.Castleton.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Sean,

      Thanks for your comment. If you find science to be satisfying in answering the big questions of life, I have no particular desire to debate it with you. Science is very good at what it does.

      I hope you understand, though, that science is also founded upon a belief, rather than on demonstrable fact. It is founded on the belief that material reality as we perceive it exists objectively out there more or less as we perceive it to exist. As I pointed out in the above article, that’s a very practical and useful belief. But it is still a belief, not something that can be demonstrated to be true.

      Science as a source of answers to the ultimate questions, along with philosophical materialism generally, is very satisfying to people whose focus is on material reality and on the external, physical world.

      However, for those whose focus shifts toward inner reality and the world of the mind and heart–the world of our human thoughts, feelings, and relationships–science becomes less and less satisfactory as a full explanation of human existence and experience.

      In other words, one’s belief in science or in some spiritual understanding of reality is a result of the general focus of one’s mind–whether on external, material reality or on inner, spiritual reality.

      If at any time the focus of your mind shifts again toward inner, spiritual reality, I invite you to explore the spiritual philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg. If you come at it with an open and engaged mind, you will find that it goes beyond the gamut of religions that you have previously studied and even temporarily embraced. You might especially enjoy his book Divine Love and Wisdom. It is a highly philosophical treatment of the nature of reality as a multi-leveled system that stretches from God through spiritual reality down to material reality.

      Those who embrace only material reality will generally reject the existence and relevance of spiritual and divine reality.

      However, under Swedenborg’s philosophy, those who embrace spiritual and divine reality can also embrace material reality, including all of the conclusions of science within its own proper field of study, which is the physical universe and material reality.

      There is no conflict between genuine science and genuine spiritual understanding. Both are the study of laws created and established by God as a unified system.

      • Sean Castleton says:

        Hi Lee, I completely understand your proposed argument, but patently disagree with your perception of science. Actually, science is based on theories until proven. If I may reiterate your statement, I think that you more accurately meant that scienctific theories are suppositions? Not to split hairs, but there is a distinction between theory and faith. Perhaps we are talking apples and oranges here… But more to the point; this blog, if I am not mistaken, is addressing proof of the afterlife. For me, the argument is mute, if you are basing your proof of the existence of the biblical God and the afterlife on something that you simply believe in. Because again, there is a distinct difference between believing in something and actually knowing something to be true. (Logic 101) There are a whole slew of religious belief systems that seek to prove the existence of a spiritual realm. And they all have interesting points, and yet, not one of them have truly proven that these realms or gods exist, because they are based on faith. Really, I have a problem with believing in a God who basically says, “Believe in me or die!”. Or a silly God who wants us to play hide and seek with him. Or a God who casts you into a cruel, chaotic world, whether you wanted to be there or not, and says, “sink or swim baby”. It reminds of lyrics in a song by Enigma, “I love you, I kill you”. These ideas are ludicrous and appeal to masochistic, control freaks. Now, I do admit, that where there is design, there has to be a designer. But who or what that designer is, we simply do not know. Was it panspermia? Or perhaps some alien intervention, as proposed by some? Or was it a messianic figure propped up in the attempt up to overthrow a tyrannus government? Or maybe it was that amoeba that crawled up onto a beach and grew a brain…whatever…At the end of the day, If we are being truly honest with ourselves, we would have to admit to the fact that we just don’t know. I believe that red is actually blue. Why? Because I BELIEVE THAT!!! And if you don’t believe that, then apparently you’re just not seeing it. You need an epiphany brother! Or at least some sort of contrived notion.

        Sigh, Sean Castleton.

        • Sean Castleton says:

          Further, I relate philosophy to the story of a man trying to explain to a blind man what an elephant looks like. The blind man can only feel the elephant, it’s trunk, tusks, ect., but unfortunately, as a result, can only perceive the animal by his own idealic perceptions of reality. In other words, the blind man is the philosopher. We can debate and propose philisophical ideas unto the next ice age, but in the end, it’s nothing more than fodder, or at best, food for thought. Pie in the sky dogmatic, idealism. No thanks, I would rather read an Isaac Asimov novel.

        • Lee says:

          Asimov is good.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Sean,

          Thanks for your reply. However, most of what you have said here is irrelevant.

          I’m not talking about the method of science, which I understand moderately well. I’m talking about a basic assumption underlying science, which is that the material world exists objectively out there more or less as we perceive it.

          That is an assumption. It cannot be demonstrated by science or anything else.

          In other words, the entire edifice of science is based on something that its proponents believe to be true, even though it cannot be demonstrated to be true, and on which they base the rest of their thinking.

          In that, the proponents of scientific materialism are in the same boat as the proponents of the existence of God and spirit.

          Except that proponents of the existence of spiritual reality have a valid claim to have direct experience of the reality that they believe exists–namely, their own consciousness–whereas all experience of the subject of science–material reality–is second-hand and mediated.

          However, to end on a note of agreement, I agree with you that each of the ridiculous conceptions of God you mention is . . . ridiculous. And not true.

        • Richard Neer says:

          Hi Lee,

          You stated:

          “In other words, the entire edifice of science is based on something that its proponents believe to be true, even though it cannot be demonstrated to be true, and on which they base the rest of their thinking.”

          Wouldn’t your evaluation of scientific realities, being based upon one’s belief that they are true and therefore exist, present the same foundation that Swedenborg presents? After all, it was only he, himself, who ‘experienced’ the other side and presented his interpretation of it to the world. It would be different if his experience was observed and documented by others, therefore validating his claim, in much the same way we approach and accept things which are science-based. But that was not the case.

          How does anyone know, irrefutably, that which Swedenborg experienced was indeed real, and not simply a figment or manifestation within his own mind? The subconscious is certainly a deep dark sea, full of unexplored and unexplainable dimensions.

          Isn’t using Swedenborg as a strong proponent in your corner to validate (or justify) your position(s) no different than another’s pragmatic approach to believing purely in science and that which can be, or has been, proven?

          PS – I like Asimov too!!

        • Lee says:

          Hi Richard,

          Great questions. Thanks!

          First of all, I make no claim that we can know irrefutably that Swedenborg’s experience was real. For more on my view of Swedenborg’s writings, including a consideration of some of these questions, see this article:

          Do the Teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg take Precedence over the Bible?

          It was written in response to a question about Swedenborg vs. the Bible, and though it is written in a Christian and Biblical context, it also offers some detail on my view of Swedenborg’s writings themselves.

          As I just said in another response to Sean below, we humans can never have absolute certainty about anything. We can only have more and more confidence, or faith, that something is true based on ongoing experience that supports it rather than disproving it.

          When it comes to Swedenborg, there is actually a great deal of evidence outside of his theological writings to support the things he said in them about the afterlife.

          The greatest source of such evidence and confirmation is the phenomenon of near-death experiences. Not just hundreds or thousands, but millions of people have now had brief experiences of the same spiritual level of reality that Swedenborg explored extensively during the last three decades of his life. And though there are, of course, variations in what is reported, the overall picture that emerges from the reports of near-death experiencers strongly confirms what Swedenborg reported over two centuries ago about the spiritual world.

          When near-death experiences first came to light in the 1970s following the publication of Raymond Moody’s book Life After Life, there was huge excitement among Swedenborgians. At last we no longer felt so alone in our beliefs and understanding of the afterlife, and in our reliance on Swedenborg to inform us about it. At last we had a vast flood of experience and evidence outside of Swedenborg’s writings that what he wrote was true and trustworthy.

          In fact, in the book Life after Life, Swedenborg was one of the previous sources that Moody cited to support near-death experiences as more than a modern anomaly, but something rooted in and harmonious with human experience over the centuries and the millennia.

          For me, Swedenborg’s system of three general levels of reality (divine, spiritual, and material), and his detailed description of how they work in relation to one another, does a far more complete and powerful job of explaining all of the phenomena we humans encounter than any other system or theory that I have encountered so far, including scientific materialism.

          However, the only way to know this for yourself would be to delve more deeply into Swedenborg’s writings, and determine for yourself whether his system is more explanatory than competing systems such as scientific materialism.

          If you are interested in doing this, I would recommend starting with Divine Love and Wisdom if you want to approach it from a more philosophical and abstract perspective, or with Heaven and Hell if you want to approach it from a more concrete and experiential perspective.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Richard,

          Incidentally, Swedenborg himself commonly based the validity of what he wrote on three pillars or foundations:

          1. The Bible
          2. Reason
          3. Experience

          He did not ask anyone to believe anything he wrote just because he said so. He appealed to Scripture (which held great weight in those days, and still does for millions of Christians), to rational thought, and to human experience–including but not limited to his own experience in the spiritual world–in establishing the truthfulness and believability of what he wrote.

  7. Sean Castleton says:

    Lee, I believe that conciousness is nothing more than the body electric in relation to the electromagnetic field that surrounds us, creating certain feelings of elation, bliss, ect., of which people want to believe is proof of a spritual state of being or awareness. When a boxer is knocked out and falls unconscious for example, he is no longer conscious of what just happened or the arena crowd noise because the electrical impulses of his brain have been interrupted and temporarily shut off. But if he indeed had a spirit, would he not still be aware of his surroundings even though his brain shut down? Because as I understand it, proponents of the human spirit believe that it is our life force and the very essense of consiousness and point to what they believe is evidence of it with the near death experience, where even though there body has expired, they remain concious of their surroundings. But scientists have proven that brain remains alive for some time after the rest of the body has expired, and theorize that the brain goes into a dream state, thus explaining away this fictional belief in a spiritual consciousness and/or a spiritual realm.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Sean,

      Thank you for starting your first sentence with “I believe.” That is an accurate statement. You believe that consciousness is nothing more than an electromagnetic phenomenon. But you don’t know that.

      About the boxer, and others who lose consciousness, it’s important to understand that from a spiritual perspective, we have two sets of senses: our physical senses and our spiritual senses.

      Under normal circumstances while we are living here on earth, only our physical senses are active and functioning. That’s why when the boxer is knocked out, he loses consciousness, and his conscious experience ceases. His mind is still tethered to his physical senses, which are currently inactive; therefore he has no conscious awareness at all.

      However, under certain circumstances our spiritual senses become active and functioning. This is true of everyone after death. But it can also happen when the physical body is still alive–and especially when it is hanging between life and death. It doesn’t always happen in that circumstance. But it can happen.

      Near-death experiences are the primary (but not the only) answer to your general contention that consciousness requires the physical body, and at least some active physical and electrochemical processes in the body. In near-death experiences, consciousness continues even though the physical senses are inactive. In some cases, consciousness apparently continues even when there is no measurable brain activity.

      We can debate until the cows come home about whether near-death experiences are a spiritual phenomenon or a purely physical phenomenon. I’ve read a lot of accounts of near-death experiences. I’ve also read a lot of attempts by materialistic scientists to explain them as purely physical phenomena.

      I find these explanations to be unconvincing. They do not do anywhere near as good a job of accounting for all of the elements of the phenomenon of near-death experiences as the much simpler and more explanatory idea that these experiences represent an opening of the spiritual senses of the people involved.

      But the overarching point here is that your interpretation is a matter of belief, just as mine is.

      You believe, based on a position of scientific materialism, that when people’s consciousness and awareness of their surroundings continues even when their physical senses are inactive, this is still a function of, and fully explainable by, the electromagnetic activity of the brain and body.

      I believe that it is a function of the person’s spiritual senses being opened so that they can remain conscious and aware of their surroundings even if there is no brain activity at all.

      You and I each have a set of basic beliefs and assumptions that we rest upon in interpreting the realities that we encounter. Those basic beliefs and assumptions themselves are non-demonstrable. Once we settle on them, we can use them to explain the phenomena we encounter. But we cannot demonstrate conclusively to ourselves or to anyone else that those assumptions are actually true. We can only grow more and more confident, based on our ongoing experience, that they are true.

      That’s exactly how faith works. Faith is not believing something because there’s no evidence for it. Faith is believing something because we can see more and more clearly that it’s true.

      Scientific theories are, in fact, a practical example of faith in action. A theory is something we think is probably true based on previous experience combined with the use of reason and logic; but we must build up more and more experience that supports the theory rather than disproving it before we will throw the weight of our assent to it.

      We humans can never have absolute certainty about anything. We can only posit theories, test them against our experience of reality, and either grow in confidence that they are true or find our theories disproved, or at least in need of revision, based on experience and experiments that do not fit within the parameters of our theory, or that flatly contradict it.

      Nothing I have encountered in science so far contradicts my theories, or beliefs, about the nature of reality. However, many things that I have experienced, and that others have related to me either verbally or through the written word, are not explained well by materialistic theories, while they are explained very well by a view of the universe as consisting of three overall levels of reality:

      1. divine (God),
      2. spiritual,
      3. and material.
  8. Sean Castleton says:

    There, is that more relevant sir? :o)

    • Lee says:

      Yes, it is. Thank you! My response is above.

      • Sean Castleton says:

        Lee, while I do appreciate your open-minded stance on the subject. I must confess that I have grown weary of the mind-boggling challenge and all that it presents concerning the proof of an afterlife and/or spiritual realm. It just seems that all of my years of reading and exploration of this subject have been a precious waste of time, of which could have been spent on other more worthwhile pursuits. It is an elusive subject with no real answers, except that of faith, of which I have tried. Simple believing in something is not enough for me personally. I suppose that I have a “Thomas” type of personality, in that I have to actually see it to believe. And it’s not that I am not willing to believe, it’s just that it is not enough.

        Respectfully, Sean.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Sean,

          Fair enough.

          I’ve enjoyed our conversation.

          If your mind turns back toward the pursuit of spiritual understanding, and you want something more satisfying than what you’ve delved into previously in that realm, you know where to find me.

  9. Diane Higgins says:

    Hi! I am very late to this conversation! Sorry about that.

    I will preface by stating I was raised Catholic, but have not practiced in 30 years. I would best be defined as atheist at this time, though not a peaceful one.

    I feel such frustration with this issue! I know I am not alone in that. The idea of an afterlife is a key aspect of most, if not all, religions. My frustrated cry is this,” Why is such a HUGE issue like where one will spend the endlessness of all time- eternity- left to faith?? Think about the question of buying a home… the place you will spend just a few years, relative to the enormity of infinity. Would you buy a home on faith? Most wouldn’t. You would want to know all about it: where it is, what it looks like, etc…. You would especially want to be sure it existed to begin with… that you weren’t buying the proverbial “Brooklyn Bridge”. Now, with the afterlife, a person is investing more than their money…. they are investing their entire lives and how they will live them. Why does it diminish our free will to KNOW and not have to believe?

    If we are to believe in a benevolent God who loves us, if He wants relationship with us, then why is this shrouded in mystery? Why does He invite us to spend forever with Him, but not tell us where? Why is this, and He, (shrouded in mystery)? Who would enter into a relationship with someone (God) without knowing anything definitive about that someone?

    My years of practicing Catholicism tell me there is one answer to these questions: Faith. I wonder if I convey my sense of frustrated bewilderment at that answer? Faith in… ??? Surely God, in His wisdom, knew that the world could and would offer a plethora of faiths, many stipulating different versions of both Himself and the afterlife? Even within one religion, there are different views of God (for ex: some see Him as wrathful, others merciful). And, here’s the kicker, many views claim that theirs is the ONLY right one! So, if you pick a more (for example) liberal view of God to have faith in, and you are wrong, you could face all of FOREVER in fire and brimstone! How can something so hugely important be left to faith without any concrete evidence to guide where that faith is placed?

    For me, this uncertainty results in strong ambivalence about God. If there is a benevolent God, why doesn’t He give us knowledge of such important things? Why did He make humans such rational creatures, yet on the crucial subjects of His identity and the afterlife, withhold definitive and rational answers? Why couldn’t we just be born KNOWING? Or have understanding divinely imparted to us? Knowing a thing does not eliminate free will… it just enables people to make an informed choice.

    Anyway, thank you for this website and these wonderful blog posts. Your writings are patient, lucid, and more appealing to me than most. I hope that what I have written will come across as intended: NOT hostile, but genuinely frustrated by the desire to understand.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Diane,

      There is no “very late” here. The conversation is ongoing! Thanks for stopping by, and for your good and clearly heartfelt questions.

      I won’t pretend that I can answer a lifetime of soul-sifting questions in one comment. But I can offer you a few thoughts, and a fairly simple suggestion, that might help. Clearly, though you currently think of yourself as living on the atheist end of the spectrum, you’re still looking for answers about God. And that means you’re still engaged with God and spirit, even if from a skeptical and doubting state of mind.

      Perhaps the most basic point is that “faith” does not mean believing something because we’re not really sure about it. For a more sound and Bible-based understanding of faith, please see my recent article, “Faith Alone Is Not Faith.” That article is specifically in response to Protestant rather than Catholic views of faith, but the overall point is general enough that it still applies here.

      In addition to what’s said in that article, I would add that “faith” is a willingness to accept sources of information other than material (and today, scientific) ones. And lack of faith means being willing to accept only what comes to us via our physical senses.

      From a spiritual perspective, the reality is that God has given us a huge amount of information about God and spirit. Every culture and region throughout the earth has its own voluminous sacred literature, or else oral traditions, that transmit that culture’s experience and understanding of God and spirit down the generations. The question is not whether God has given us information about God and spirit. It’s whether we are willing to accept that information.

      The freedom of choice that I’m talking about in this article does not imply that there is insufficient information to provide a basis for knowing and understanding God. Rather, it means that we are free either to accept or reject that information. And if we reject it, we will become atheists.

      Getting more specific, in each era and culture, revelation is given sufficient to reach and satisfy the needs of that culture. In Hebrew culture of pre-Christian times, that revelation is embodied in the Hebrew Bible–which Christians call the Old Testament. For ensuing Christian cultures of the West (and the East), the New Testament provided a further and deeper revelation of the nature of God and spirit.

      The problem today is that those sources of revelation are no longer fully sufficient for this rational and scientific age. That’s why, followers of Swedenborg believe, a new revelation was given in the form of Swedenborg’s theological writings, in order to provide further and more explicit information about God, spirit, and the afterlife, as well as a better and more spiritual understanding of the Word of God (the Bible).

      Of course, there are reams and reams–massive volumes–of other testimony and experience about God, spirit, and the afterlife. The problem, in a sense, is not too little information, but too much information, and how to make sense of it all.

      However, being a believer in Swedenborg’s theology, I will plainly and simply recommend–as I’ve been doing for many people lately–that you get the book, and read it. When it comes to knowledge about the afterlife, “the book” is Heaven and Hell, by Emanuel Swedenborg. There you will find an extensive and clear explanation and description of the nature of the afterlife.

      The information is available. The only question is whether we humans are willing to put out the effort to seek out, find, absorb, and accept the validity of that information.

      Of course, I highly encourage you to browse the articles here on Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life and read the ones that address some of your questions and doubts.

      But if, as seems to be the case, you have an active and intelligent mind, and need a rational understanding of God and spirit in order to allow your heart and mind to go in the direction they clearly want to go, you are simply going to have to put in the time and effort to read, comprehend, and systematize in your mind the basic information (or data) required even to think clearly and intelligently on the subject.

      You can’t learn cosmology without spending many hours, and even many years, reading up on and learning the basics of physics, solar and planetary formation, the mechanics of galaxies and galactic clusters, and so on.

      In the very same way, a thinking person of today can’t just expect to automatically understand God and spirit without seeking out and taking the time to learn and absorb the knowledge and structure of God and spirit.

      So the big question now is: How much do you really want to know whether there really is a God, and whether there really is an afterlife, what they are like, and what it means for our life here on earth?

      If you want these things enough to take the next steps, I would suggest and encourage you to follow the link above to my review of Heaven and Hell, and then order or download a copy in whatever format works best for you. If you’re not sure Heaven and Hell is where you want to begin, here’s another place to start that will help to get you oriented: Who was Swedenborg? What Should I Read?

      • Diane says:

        Thank you for such a quick and thoughtful response!

        I have read many of the articles here and found them to be very helpful. Particularly the ones regarding the afterlife, those were the ones I focused on the most. I also intend to read more about Swedenborg. Thus far, I have only read his wikipedia page, so your essay “Who was Swedenborg? What should I read?” is one I am looking forward to getting to.

        I call myself an atheist, but that isn’t quite accurate. I believe God exists. But I don’t know what He is like- which results in alienation–it is difficult to know which version to relate with, pray to? Which version to believe in? Is God the Catholic version that I grew up with? The kinder more loving God you write about? The hate-filled one that Westboro Baptist Church pickets for? Or more of an “oversoul” (Atman) like in some forms of Hinduism? Or more of an “energy” as I envisioned Him when I dabbled in Buddhism? The answer of which version of God to believe in is one that I wish He would just SETTLE, since there is so much at stake. For example: you seem like a good person, but if you aren’t baptized, the God of my parents would still send you to Hell on that basis alone. For that reason, and many others, WHICH God is the real one matters and seems to come down to… (don’t want to say faith, since after reading what you wrote on that, I see it isn’t blind belief) personal conviction?

        This is really more of a strong feeling of frustration than a question, I realize, but I thank you again for this site, your recommendations (which I intend to investigate), and your sympathetic ear.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Diane,

          These are all very good questions. And they’re ones you’ll have to resolve for yourself over time. I do hope that the articles here, and Swedenborg’s teachings in general, will help you to settle on a God of love.

          I realize that there are many conflicting views of God. But I have to believe that God is far greater than our limited human conceptions of God, and rises far above our often limited and bigoted views of life.

          Ultimately, it will be your own choice what to believe about God. I would simply encourage you to look for the best, most loving, most wise, and most compassionate understanding of God, and go with that one. That is what I have done, and continue to do, in my walk with God. In the realm of Christianity, Swedenborg offers an understanding of God as purely loving, wise, compassionate, and powerful for good beyond any other concept of God that I have encountered.

          As you struggle along and seek soul-satisfying answers, please feel free to ask your further questions here. It is my joy to help you and guide you along your spiritual path toward God.

  10. fredsbend says:

    I do not think the eyewitness testimony of near death experiencers is as reliable as you think it is. First, eyewitness testimony is probably the most unreliable means of ascertaining the truth. Second, near death experiences are universal within cultures, but not between them. In other words, people who’ve never heard of Jesus that have near death experiences don’t see Jesus. They see Mohammad, or Kishna, or their grandma, or anybody else. If Jesus were the spiritual reality that we all see when we die, then we should expect near death experiences to reflect that. Instead they reflect already held beliefs and influences.

    • Lee says:

      Hi fredsbend,

      Thanks for your comment.

      When it comes to spiritual reality, personal experience is the only way to gain information. That’s because spiritual reality is not detectable by our physical senses, or by scientific instruments of any kind. It exists outside of the material realm of time and space. So if we’re going to know anything about it at all, that knowledge must come by a means other than the physical senses.

      Fortunately, we also have a full set of spiritual senses attached to our spiritual body (On the existence of the spiritual body, see 1 Corinthians 15:44.) Our spiritual senses are capable of detecting and sensing spiritual reality when they are active rather than quiescent as they usually are when we are still living in the physical body.

      The sacred texts of humanity, including the Bible, originated with people whose spiritual senses were opened at one time or another to see and hear the realities of God and spirit. They then reported and interpreted those spiritual experiences through the medium of the written word.

      Near-death experiencers are modern-day examples of people whose spiritual senses have been briefly opened before their consciousness returned back to the physical body and its senses. Their reports are present-day corroborations of what prophets and seers have been reporting for thousands of years through the sacred texts of humanity.

      As for people from different cultures seeing different things when they have near-death experiences, that is to be expected given the nature of spiritual reality. Spiritual reality is not “objective” in the sense that physical reality is. Here, no matter who looks at the Grand Canyon, it looks like the Grand Canyon.

      That’s not how it works in the spiritual world. There, our surroundings are not objective and independent of the mind of the observer. Rather, our surroundings reflect and express the mind of the observer. Spiritual reality is akin to, and perhaps identical with, what we on earth call psychological reality. It reflects the contents and flow of our mind.

      This means that those whose minds contain beliefs in Jesus will see Jesus, while those whose minds contain beliefs in Muhammad, Krishna, or grandma will see those figures instead. In the spiritual world as we experience it, there is no distinction between the objective and the subjective.

      Mind you, the spiritual world still operates by definite laws, just as the human mind operates by definite laws. But they are different laws than the ones by which the material world operates.

      • fredsbend says:

        Why do you belive that about the spiritual realm? It seems a convenient explanation. Is there biblical support? Did Swedenborg say it?

        And if it is true, how can we make sense of any thing in the spiritual realm if all observations are subjective?

        • Lee says:

          Hi fredsbend,

          Good questions.

          Yes, Swedenborg did say it, and the vast body of people’s descriptions of their near-death experience affirms it. So we have it from a massive amount of recorded human experience that there is a spiritual realm distinct from the physical realm.

          There is also broad support for it in the Bible.

          Now, the Bible is not primarily a theological treatise, nor is it a discursive doctrinal text on the nature of reality. The Bible’s primary purpose and thrust is to bring fallen humans into relationship with God, and thereby into salvation and eternal life. And it does this, not by expounding on theological and cosmological principles that would cause ordinary people’s eyes to glaze over, but by speaking to people in their own human language, where they are in their own very human lives. So we should not expect the Bible to provide us with a Summa Theologica explicating abstruse spiritual subjects.

          What it does, do, though, is to describe many interactions among God, the spiritual realm, and the physical realm. Every angel encounter in the Bible is an experience of the spiritual realm, because angels are spiritual beings, not physical ones.

          Paul was explicit in saying that we have both a physical body and a spiritual body:

          So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:42, 44)

          Many stories and events in the Bible also make much more sense if we understand that there is both a physical body and a spiritual body, both a physical realm and a spiritual realm. See, for example, the story in 2 Kings 6:15-17:

          When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

          “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

          And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

          Now, the servant’s physical eyes were already open. He saw the physical enemy army of horses and chariots surrounding the city. And if there had been physical horses and chariots of fire filling the hills all around, he could not have possibly missed them. Besides, it would have started a forest fire! The eyes that the Lord opened were not the servant’s physical eyes, but his spiritual eyes, so that he could see the spiritual army horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. This is the only way the story makes sense.

          If you keep reading, you will also see that that spiritual army surrounding Elisha did not physically clash with the enemy’s physical army. Rather, in a poetic turn of events drawing on the spiritual blindness of Elisha’s servant, the Lord struck the enemy army with blindness, which led, in the course of the story, to the end of hostilities without a single drop of blood being shed.

          Another example is Jesus’ statement to the thief on the cross:

          Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

          Now, if there were no spiritual body or spiritual world distinct from the physical, this would make no sense at all. We know from the Gospel accounts that “today,” after his death, Jesus’ body was lying in the sepulcher. And we can presume that the thief’s dead body, too, was still very much present in the physical world after the soldiers broke his legs to hasten his death. So how could the thief be with Jesus in paradise today, as Jesus said he would be? This is possible only if both the thief and Jesus could meet in a non-physical, meaning a spiritual, realm.

          Further, when questioned about the Resurrection, Jesus said:

          Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken! (Mark 12:26-27)

          And yet, physically Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were indeed dead. Their burial places are recorded in the Hebrew Bible. Further, there had been no universal physical resurrection in Jesus’ day, nor has there been one since then. So if there is no spiritual realm, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have already risen from death and are living today, then Jesus’ words make no sense.

          Finally (for now), in the book of Revelation, John regularly speaks of being “in the spirit” and “heaven being opened to him.” In fact, everything he narrates in the entire book is described as taking place in another realm—the realm of heaven—not in this physical realm. How could that be, if there is no spiritual world?

          I could provide more and more examples of stories and events in the Bible that simply make no sense if a spiritual realm is denied, but that make perfect sense if we realize and understand that, as Paul said, there is a physical body and there is a spiritual body, and that, of course, for there to be both physical bodies and spiritual bodies, there must also be both a physical realm and a spiritual realm for them to exist in.

          I realize that materialist Christians have come up with fancy explanations as to why none of this means that there is a spiritual realm. But I find their explanations far-fetched at best, and completely nonsensical at worst. These and many other stories in the Bible make much more sense if we simply recognize that there is both a physical world and a spiritual world.

        • Lee says:

          Hi fredsbend,

          What I said is that in the spiritual world there is no distinction between the subjective and the objective. And I meant that to apply to an angel’s or spirit’s own perspective and experience of things. In the spiritual world, our surroundings reflect our inner state, meaning our thoughts and feelings. So what we see around us is a reflection of what’s inside us. In other words, for us our subjective view of things becomes our objective view of things.

          However, even in the spiritual world there is truth and falsity, and there is reality and illusion. Evil spirits in hell live in an illusory world in which they see things that for them are very real, but that for angels and good spirits outside of hell are fantasies and illusions. That’s because evil spirits live in the illusory light of falsity, whereas angels and good spirits live in the genuine light of truth.

          So for outsiders looking in, there is, or at least can be, a distinction between the objective and the subjective. But in our own experience in the spiritual world the subjective becomes the objective.

          To answer your question more directly, we can make genuine sense of things in the spiritual realm only if we are living in the light of truth. And that happens only if we have repented from our sins of selfishness and greed and lived instead out of love and compassion for others, according to the teachings and commandments of God. Only then can we see things spiritually in clear and true light.

          That is the thrust of Jesus’ statements in John 8:31-36:

          To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

          They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

          Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

          Jesus was not talking about mere intellectual belief in his teaching, but about repenting from sin and living by his teachings. Only those who do this will know the truth, and be set free by it.

  11. dal says:

    There’s a reason the uncertainty principle was founded. There’s a reason it’s called the uncertainty principle.

    Same with falsifiability.

    • Lee says:

      Hi dal,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. What do you see as those reasons?

      • David says:

        Just had to butt in after trying to scan through all these multitude of ” words ” ..
        People wanting relational , scientific proof and evidence of
        God and Heaven no less !! Who do we think we are ?
        If we understood God and His purpose we would be unable to grasp most of his world . I am only a simple person in reality but know when my room filled with floral aromas after my wife’s service , when myselfsnd my friend10 miles away bothsmelt her nail varnish , when 12 red roses were at the end of my oath with no message or address – lots of unexplained things .. God demands faith from you and to live your life a certain way . I don’t want him to be explained , examined and anyalised by science – He can’t be – don’t you see that ?

        • Lee says:

          Hi David,

          Yes, as I said in the article, for those who have experienced it for themselves, all of this argumentation will seem
          rather unnecessary, if not just a bit silly.

          But . . . some people need to have their rational minds satisfied.

          Of course, people who are determined to be skeptical won’t believe no matter how rational the explanation. But for some people, having it explained in a sensible way will help to nudge them over toward being able to believe in their head what their heart whispers to them is true.

  12. Dipak Bhattacharya says:

    I Have great belief in afterlife. I read number of books on the subject. One of them has been referred by you “Proof of Heaven” Hindu religion is based on afterlife too. In a auto writing session in which I participated my father (dead) had talked about how he spends his time in the spiritual world. He was a recognized sportsman I wonder how he still can enjoy sports which was his past time. He said much of his time was spent in prayers etc. Does he still meet his brothers, parents or that relation exists in this world only. Thanks for the article anyway

    • Lee says:

      Hi Dipak,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.

      My answer to your question is that yes, your father can still enjoy sports in the afterlife. See my article: Is Heaven Physical? Can Angels Play Tennis?

      And yes, I believe that we meet and reunite with family members and friends in the other world after we die. See: What Happens To Us When We Die? For an article I wrote about death and the afterlife after both of my parents had died, please see: When Death is a Celebration.

      I hope these articles are helpful to you in thinking of your father continuing on with his life and doing the things he loved, together with the people he loved, now that he has passed on from this physical world.

  13. Richard Neer says:

    Hello Lee,

    A related question:

    How would a sportsman, assuming we are referring to someone who, perhaps, hunted rather than simply destroyed clay targets, be allowed to continue such activities in the afterlife? Killing animals for thrill or pleasure, or for the simple fact one can pay enough to, is against many people’s moral code in this plane of existence. Even those who hunt legitimately for food are often frowned upon by those who don’t. Though animals are considered lower life forms to us humans, I can’t imagine such killing acts would be permissible, even if, in spiritual reality, animals don’t really exist!

    How does THAT work??

    • Lee says:

      Hi Rich,

      Interesting question!

      Offhand, I can’t think of any actual descriptions of hunting in heaven. However, I have a Swedenborgian minister colleague who is a hunter, and thinks of it as a spiritual activity, invoking, among other things, Native American beliefs and traditions about the sacredness of the hunt and the animal willingly giving its life to sustain the life of others. And you’ve got to admit, the predator/prey relationship certainly is a vital and well nigh universal part of the life cycle of the animal kingdom.

      So although some gentle, vegetarian members of the human race may see hunting as immoral and beastly (Swedenborg himself made similar comments in Arcana Coelestia #1002), others view it as a moral and even spiritual pursuit, and as simply a part of the cycle of nature.

      I might add that for anyone who eats meat, it would be rather hypocritical to condemn hunting as immoral. Where do they think meat comes from? And is hunting wild animals really worse than raising domesticated animals in feed lots, or even in wide pasturelands, when the intent is to kill them for their meat?

      So is there hunting in heaven?

      As much as some people may find hunting loathsome and objectionable, the fact that large swaths of humanity in the present and the past think of it as a perfectly moral and legitimate activity, and even have available good and reasonable arguments for that view based on the cycle of nature all around us, suggests to me that in the areas of heaven where those swaths of humanity ultimately reside, there probably is hunting. After all, as I state in one of my articles, the afterlife is not as different as you think!

      This would not necessarily create any disturbance for those in heaven who find hunting objectionable. Heaven is a big place! It has many different regions and communities. Some of those communities are in direct communication and commerce with one another. Others keep largely to themselves in their own regions of heaven. It seems likely that gentle, vegetarian angels would live in different regions and communities of heaven than our presumed earthier angels who enjoy a good hunt. So the two types of angels would not bother one another, or impinge upon one another’s sensibilities and favorite activities.

      As an example, Swedenborg states that the angels of the highest heavens go naked. Angels from lower heavens generally cannot be with them in their unclothed communities because they find their nakedness to be problematic. And when the angels of those higher heavens have reason to travel to lower heavens where the angels are clothed, they themselves are clothed as well, until they return to their own heavens. In this way, each region and community of heaven has its own atmosphere preserved, without disturbances from other areas of heaven where the angels are very different in character.

      As for animals not really existing in the spiritual world, see these articles—one of which is a response to a question you asked:

  14. Richard Neer says:

    But would hunting just for the sport of it, without the need for consumption, be permitted? It would seem to be more of a ‘hellish’ pleasure and pursuit rather than one enjoyed by those with more noble ‘heavenly’ characteristics. I don’t see how killing, for the sole purpose of killing as a pleasurable pursuit, would be tolerated, or even possible.


    P.S. – So, angels of the highest heavens live in nudist colonies?? That’s a drastic cultural juxtaposition from what exists down here! ;-P

    • Lee says:

      Hi Rich,

      Just try to tell my Swedenborgian minister friend that his hunting is more of a “hellish” pleasure and pursuit. You’ll get an earful!

      Personally, I don’t really like the idea that hunting would be permitted in heaven. But others strongly disagree with me. And my general belief is that there’s room for all types of people in heaven.

      In fact, Swedenborg describes a whole region of people from pre-Christian Asia who are in heaven (they do worship God, unlike people in hell), but whose worship is about as close to idol worship as you can get, and who are polygamous (see Marriage Love #78). They have to be periodically reminded by an angel from the eastern parts of heaven that the sculptures they use in their worship are not to be worshipped, but are merely images representing various virtues and powers of the one God of the universe.

      If people like that can still be in heaven—even if on the outer fringes of it—it’s hard for me to argue convincingly that there aren’t hunters and hunting cultures in heaven.

      What about people who grew up in hunting cultures, and spent their entire lives hunting as part of their way of life? Is God really going to tell them that they can’t hunt anymore in heaven? What about the happy hunting ground of some of the Great Plains tribes? Is God going to turn it into a celestial wildlife refuge ringed with “No Hunting” signs? And what about the billions of people on earth for whom meat is the greatest culinary delight? Is God going to say, “Sorry, you’ve got to eat tofu!”? Would you and the people you know be happy in a vegetarian heaven?

      And about “nudist colonies,” nudists hate that term! “Nudist resort,” please! And they do exist right here on earth, even if most ordinary people are blissfully unaware of them because nudist resorts here on earth also exist in their own separate areas, fenced off from the clothed mainstream.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Rich,

      Here, for your reading pleasure, are some of the passages in which Swedenborg speaks of the nakedness of the highest angels, and about the meaning of nakedness in a positive sense:

  15. Richard Neer says:

    Hi Lee,

    Well, I was referring to only the hunting subset which do it for mere fun, not in any way for food, nor do they consider eating what they kill. That’s just pointless killing. Your position and reply seems to be more focused on culture hunting activities throughout the ages and across denominations.

    Though I do admit, I chuckled a bit over your comment that God would tell those whose lifestyle and culture including hunting for food, to now eat tofu! Sort of like, “OK, you’re here now, so away with all those earthly bad habits and unhealthy ways! Oh, and by the way, we only serve green tea here, too!” LOL!!

    OK, nudist “resort”! 🙂 I’m well aware of their existence here – I have a couple of them not more than 10 minutes away!! (I’m not sure they have fences, but they are behind a lot of trees!) And, admittedly, I’ve certainly entertained the thought more than once of visiting ones in foreign tropical destinations, however my self-esteem has typically taken an over-ruling stance on the matter!! ;-p

    My comment was that here on earth such living areas (not necessarily vacation destinations, though many consider them to be hedonistic and bad places too), and those who dwell in them, often carry an unjustified stigma which is typically looked down upon by the common population, culturally, mostly due to people, in general, being wound WAY too tightly in their conservative views of things.

    Hence, I found it odd that the highest angels would be living in such a way that is frowned upon and considered “lower” here on earth.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Rich,

      About hunting, my general thought is, “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

      If there’s hunting in some areas of heaven in order to accommodate hunting cultures, where do you draw the line? If it is not evil for those who do it as part of their way of life, why is it evil for those who do it for sport? As far as sport hunters are concerned, it’s no different than other forms of recreation such as football or video games. So whatever my personal opinions might be, I’m not sure I could say with certainty that those who hunt purely for sport would be forbidden from doing so in their areas of heaven.

      And about clothing vs. nakedness, we humans come out of the womb naked, we evolved naked, and we remained naked until relatively recently in our evolution. How could the natural state of human beings be “lower” or “evil”?

      Aside from its utility in enabling us to live in climate zones that we’re clearly not designed for by our evolution, and aside from its social function in expressing our particular character, personality, status, and position in our various social settings, a primary purpose of clothing seems to be to shield our bodies from other people whose minds are impure when it comes to sexuality—which is probably most of us.

      So really, clothing becomes necessary precisely because of human evil—and because we’ve moved to areas of the planet that we really weren’t designed to live in.

      Take away that impurity and evil in our minds, and put us in a warm climate, and why would clothing be necessary?

      Angels of the highest heavens are precisely the ones whose minds have moved beyond lewd and impure sexual thoughts. They are instead focused on a true, deep, and spiritual love for their own marital partner. Though they may appreciate the aesthetic beauty of someone else’s body, they have no sexual interest in anyone besides their own wife or husband. That’s why they can be naked in their communities without shame, embarrassment, or impure thoughts, while lower angels, who had not progressed to that level of love and innocence in their spiritual rebirth process here on earth, cannot.

  16. Richard Neer says:

    And, I do find the thought of a celestial wildlife refuge, where hunting is not allowed, quite pleasing, actually! ;-p

    • Lee says:

      Hi Rich,

      I’m sure there are plenty of those as well. As I said, heaven is a big place! Personally, I don’t want to be shot at while hiking a nature trail and enjoying the flora and fauna. 😉

  17. SM says:

    I’m sorry but I can prove to you that I have a brain, I can take a picture of it using x-rays, cat scans, rmn and so on. So it is not the same. But can you prove to me that there is a spirit world at least as much as I can prove to you that I have a brain ? No, you can’t, but instead you try to dodge the need to offer prove by convincing people not to ask questions. There is no spirit world, it is all just a delusion !

    • Lee says:

      Hi SM,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.

      However, I have to ask: did you actually read the article?

      Sure, you can show me X-rays, cat scans, and so on. But those still depend on believing that what we see outside of ourselves actually exists objectively out there, and isn’t simply a product of our consciousness.

      Saying “Of course they’re really out there” is simply an assertion. You can’t prove it. All I have to do is say, “No, it’s just a product of your consciousness creating images of something that appears to be out there, but is actually just a figment of your imagination.” And there’s really no way you can prove otherwise. You can only make a counter-assertion.

      I would encourage you to think more deeply about your own assumptions about the nature reality.

      And please do read the whole article! 😛

  18. Dib says:

    I was gonna put this is spiritual conundrum, but here is good.

    I can’t deny the afterlife, but I miss when I didn’t believe there was an afterlife. I miss when I didn’t know life was all about love, I enjoyed being in despair and sorrow, it felt good. Now that I know this stuff I cannot feel as bad as I used to, I have much less thoughts of suicide (which was actually comforting for me before), sad music no longer feels good because It’s like my depression went away… My whole world view changed, my personality improved and I took all the bible verses to heart. The problem is it’s boring. Before I accepted there was life after death I had more fun thinking about these things, now it’s like the answers are here and what’s most amazing is I once tried to kill myself and leave everyone who needs me behind, but now my personality will not allow me to kill myself and I just want to help others more. I never had a goal in life and now my “goal” is to leave the mire of sin that I have been in and grow in love.

    However this is conflicting, because I actually enjoyed being depressed and experiencing wonder, asking “what” and “why” questions. Now that I feel I have a good grasp of things I long for when I didn’t.

    If there are people in the afterlife who died atheist, and aren’t aware that they are dead, it would be nice to forget all I know and just be like them. I kind of wish I never learned about the afterlife stuff, the mysteries are gone. It all started from a google search that went something like “What happens to us when we die?” and from there I ended up in swedenborgs camp.

  19. Dib says:

    I wish I could combine my comments, it’s very important to note that my change wasn’t black and white, bad to good, selfish to selfless. Like I felt a lot more sorry for people who go through tortures when I didn’t know there was an afterlife, now my view of suffering and torture is too optimistic, like Mother Teresa I think that accepting your suffering is “beautiful” because after all, “this world is small” it lasts for 70 years and then begins eternity. I’m aware of these drastic changes and I don’t really like them.

    The main difference is that now I generally have a “warm” view of life but before it was “damp” and “cold”.

    I was happier when I was unhappy.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Dib,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comments.

      Perhaps you can gain some happiness from the fact that now that you’re happier you’re unhappy about it? 😛

      But seriously, our life here is a work in progress.

      The reality is that many people in black and negative places actually get a perverse sort of pleasure out of being unhappy. There are hypochondriacs who spend much of their time talking about all of their aches and pains, as if it were a badge of honor. But more than that, why would anyone do evil things if there weren’t pleasure in it? Evil has its own pleasure, and those who enjoy it find it exciting, while they find being good tedious.

      I’m not saying you’re evil. I’m saying your feelings are natural, having left behind a darker life that you clung to. Some people find their new religious and spiritual life dry and uninspiring compared to their old life. That’s what Jesus was talking about when he said:

      “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43–45, italics added)

      The “waterless regions” are a reflection of the feelings of the person who has left behind the old faithless and evil ways. It’s easy to look back with longing at our old life. The Israelites had similar feelings when God rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. Whereas their life had been very harsh, filled with hard labor and brutality at the hands of their masters, after they were freed, when they were wandering in the desert, they remembered it quite differently:

      The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:1–3)

      And once again later on:

      The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11:4–6)

      In short, your feelings of longing for the bad old days when you were miserable but it was exciting are par for the course at this point on your spiritual journey. (How’s that for mixing metaphors!) And it may last for a while.

      However, if you keep at it, I predict that these feelings will gradually pass as you find new goals in life and new reasons to live. The Israelites found it when they finally reached the borders of the Promised Land, and began conquering and settling in their new home. And that’s what you’ll need to do spiritually within yourself in order to build a new life that will in time become much more exciting and fun than the one you left behind. Not that life is all about fun and excitement. But when you gain a clear sense of what you’re here on earth to accomplish, that will become a challenge that you can throw yourself into and gain great satisfaction from it.

      Okay, that’s enough for now. I hope this is helpful. If you want to pursue it further, feel free to add further comments. Meanwhile, hang in there. It may feel like you’re wandering through the desert now, but it will get better.

  20. Adam says:

    Fantastic article. And great comments folks. I appreciate you all. Nice how conversations migrate and ideas pop up.

    So I know it wasn’t the point of the article but I want to comment on “hunting in Heaven” and why I think it’s possible.

    At first I thought – silly humans, there is hunting in Heaven but it’s “nerf” hunting. There can’t be true violence. Maybe the deer gets hit with that nerf dart, wiggles its nose as if to to smile and project “good shot! Got me again! Ready? Count to 10, I’ll go hide! Yaaaayyy! I’m useful!” This comes from my surely natural love of hoping to fly an X-wing in Heaven and the associated activities. A two seater X-wing of course (you know, for my conjugial partner). Snicker if you will, but know that someday we’ll buzz you 🙂

    Back to business. Stay on target. This next part will be hard to put into words so I hope I don’t loose myself along the way lol… So I remembered that the spiritual world is intertwined with the natural world on earth. And it occurred to me that if a hunter here on earth, hunting with the proper intention and with whatever degree of goodness in his heart (just NOT for the pleasure of killing)… perhaps when this human hunter draws his bow, so do multitudes of hunter Angels draw their bows… thereby nothing is harmed in Heaven and the hunter Angels, for a lack of a better word, become satisfied or even delighted to contribute to the hunt. And the human on earth eats, or maybe the food chain benefits, point is good things come from this type of hunt because the activity had a good use. And of course hunting is a somewhat solitary activity, so these Angels, because of the way Heaven works and communities can be cloaked, aren’t standing shoulder to shoulder… spiritually decimating a deer in a hail of weapons fire.

    Now to go to the other extreme, someone who is just doing it because they love to kill and snuff out life… I don’t think there would be any Angels at all drawing their bows along with them, but rather attracting evil spirits that nurture this love of killing, that whisper and stir feelings of power, etc. In this extreme case I can envision the evil spirits lining up together in a firing squad.

    So those are my thoughts on the spiritual side of this matter. I wonder what your hunter minister friend would think. Not to be confused with “minister hunter,” for which I’m sure they sell a lot of those licenses in hell, poor… Calvin…

    Almost done. I like responsible hunters and would never try to tell someone not to hunt. But I have a possible alternative for those that may worry they are feeling a joy in killing and want to neuter that love before it rules them… consider photography. It requires great skill that approaches a hunters skill of calculating distance, wind, and temperature. Not quite the same thing, but achieving perfect focus and finding the right settings for that moment takes much practice. There are nuances with the settings that parallel the skills required of a hunter. Who knows, they may find a favorite animal to check on every season? Or they discover the joy of having in their “sights” animals you aren’t allowed to kill, such as a beautiful owl 🙂 And again, this suggestion is for those who have begun to love to kill for the sake of killing, and who know it, and want to stop it.

    Thank you Lee and Annette for this site and the opportunity to share thoughts.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for your kind words, for your thoughts, and for your humor! There is much to think about here. The bottom line, I believe, is what’s in the hunter’s heart. That’s what determines everything, isn’t it?

  21. Gary P says:

    Thank you Thank you so much for your site and articles. You made me feel like I have been sitting in a room with you dicussing my most inter thoughts.Bless you; keep up the great work and again my heartfelt thanks

    • Lee says:

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks for your comments and your kind words. I’m so glad this website and my thoughts expressed here are helpful to you on your spiritual journey.

  22. Eric Rosenfeld says:

    Shouldn’t we be basing our beliefs on things that are testable if that’s what all of our scientific evidence points to? I understand that there’s no way to prove anything beyond our consciousness with absolute certainty. That doesn’t mean we can’t try to make the best of it and observe how materials react around us.

    To me, that’s the basis of sound epistemology. I could say that I have faith that white people are better than black people, and I would be terribly wrong. There’s no evidence to support that claim. Same thing with the spiritual world. I could say that I have faith in the spiritual world but that again, could be wrong. We shouldn’t believe these things without testing them and trying to confirm them in some way. There doesn’t appear to be enough evidence on NDEs to support the claims they make. From what we can observe, the evidence does point to a lack of oxygen in the brain when it comes to NDEs. So shouldn’t we be diligent, do research, and base our beliefs on the scientific consensus? That seems to be the most reasonable thing to do.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Eric,

      Well, that’s what the above article is all about.

      The problem with using science to investigate spiritual phenomena is that science is not the proper tool for that. Science deals in physical and material things that exist within the realm of space and time. Though scientific method can be extended somewhat into psychological areas, its usefulness there is rather limited. That’s because science requires things to be measurable and quantifiable in order to study them. Psychological phenomena can be reduced to statistics to some extent, but it’s just that: a reduction. Psychological experience itself is not measurable or quantifiable as, for example, fluid dynamics and nuclear physics are measurable and quantifiable.

      According to those who go there, our material-world phenomena of time and space, which are fundamental to the physical universe, do not exist in the spiritual world. Yes, there are analogs of time and space there. But in the spiritual world, you can’t take out a ruler and measure something, nor can you time something with a watch. It just doesn’t work that way there. This makes scientific investigation of the spiritual world impossible. Science depends upon repeatable measurement and experimentation.

      As with using statistics to study psychological phenomena, science can be extended into some spiritual-related phenomena to a certain extent. But doing so will always involve reducing spiritual phenomena to a “flat” and generalized view, and will yield little useful information about the spiritual realm.

      As stated in the above article, the basic issue is people’s assumptions about the nature of reality. The fact is, we can’t even prove that the material world exists as a material world. To this day, there are people (philosophical idealists) who do not believe in the existence of an objectively real material world, but believe instead that what we perceive as the physical universe is a projection of consciousness. Meanwhile, there are people who do not believe in the reality of the spiritual world, but who believe that it is simply a function of brain chemistry, which they believe is the source of consciousness. Neither position is provable. Both are simply assumptions, or axioms, about the nature of reality. People who accept one or another such axiom about the nature of reality will then base everything they believe on that fundamental assumption.

      Materialists believe that their conclusions about reality are “solid” and “provable,” because they have whole phalanxes of scientists studying nature and drawing conclusions about it. But all of that goes out the window if the “nature” that they are studying doesn’t really exist, because it is all a projection of the human mind.

      As I say in the article, personally, I happen to think that the material universe does exist objectively out there, and not merely as a projection of the human mind. But there is no way I could prove that to someone who disagrees with me.

      It all boils down to our basic assumptions about the nature of reality, and to what sort of evidence we are willing to accept. If we are willing to accept only the evidence of our physical senses, and of material science, then of course we will conclude that the spiritual world does not exist, and that reported experiences of it, such as NDEs, are just a function of brains struggling with low oxygen levels, or other chemically induced alterations of normal brain chemistry. But drawing such conclusions is merely the product of the assumption that the spiritual world is not real.

      People who have experienced the spiritual world, and people who don’t reject the possibility of its existence, are willing to accept evidence that does not come from the physical senses and scientific experimentation. This doesn’t make their conclusions or understanding of reality “unscientific” in the sense of being contrary to science, but rather in the sense of extending into areas that science is not equipped to investigate.

  23. Chad says:

    Hi Lee, I was curious: some people who have been clinically dead (not brain dead, but no pulse for several minutes), say they’ve glimpsed the afterlife, and that’s awesome! Some people say that they experience, quite literally, nothing at all, complete and total unawareness, and that’s kind of unnerving, if not existentially dreadful. I really want to believe in an afterlife (especially the marvelous one Swedenborg was given knowledge of!), but I don’t know what to make of those “other” experiences (really, lack of experiences), even if not having an NDE is the exception rather than the rule (and it seems to be).

    How do we reconcile Swedenborg’s experiences of the spiritual world, and the literally countless NDEs reported by people around the world, with those who have experienced “the void” or “nothingness”, pure unawareness, while they were dead?


    • Lee says:

      Hi Chad,

      The human mind/spirit is a complex thing. Different people have different experiences in life. I can’t say why one person has an NDE when he or she comes close to death, while another person doesn’t. However, presumably God, and probably the angels as well, know who is going to die permanently and who is going to go back. And if a person is going to go back to his or her physical body, the purpose of the death experience will be different than that of actual death for people who are moving on. And so a person will be given an experience of the spiritual world, or not, according to their particular state of mind and spirit, not to mention according to the particular physical circumstances involved.

      In terms of physical circumstances, the human body, like the human mind, is a complex thing. There is still much that we don’t understand about the processes of life and of death. Perhaps in some cases of a person nearly dying that look similar to other cases, the physiology isn’t actually the same, and the person doesn’t come close enough to death to experience a separation of the spirit from the body.

      On the mental/spiritual level, it is just as complex. Some people may be so philosophically opposed and inimical to the idea of a spiritual realm that having an NDE would be shattering for them, and not in a good way. Some people may not need an NDE because they already have a good spiritual life. Some people may not be able to bear having closely held beliefs challenged and broken in the way an NDE tends to do. And I’m sure there are many other possible factors involved in one person having an NDE while another person doesn’t. From our outside human perspective, we may never know for sure why this one does, and that one doesn’t have an NDE. But God knows all, and gives or withholds experiences from us according to our spiritual state, and especially according to whether it will be best for our eternal spiritual state.

      This, I believe, is also why NDEs don’t necessarily go according to the description Swedenborg gives of the death experience. An NDE is a learning experience more than a death experience. Think, in a contrary sense, of some programs in which teens who have started in on a life of crime are placed in a prison overnight to get them to think about where their life is leading them. They’re not actual prisoners, and they don’t necessarily go through all of the intake procedures that the regular prisoners and lifers do. But they have what is intended to be a learning experience that may cause them to rethink their choices and direction in life. Similarly, NDEs are not necessarily the experience of death that those who will be continuing on have, but are more in the nature of learning experiences for people who will be returning to their life in the physical body, giving them a different perspective on what their life here on earth is all about. Certainly there are similarities to actual, final death experiences. But there are also differences.

  24. rex415 says:

    I’ve researched NDE’s for years and find them amazing. My mother had one and has confirmed with me many of the things we often hear about from all of the other reports. The fact that so many people return from these experiences changed for the better is very telling.

    As for some having them and some not, I tend to agree with Lee’s comments above. Here’s an article that addresses the specific question: https://angelicview.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/why-do-some-people-have-ndes-and-others-dont/

    • Chad says:

      Thank you, Lee, for your informative and enlightening insights on the issue, and to you, rex415, for the great article! I myself have a bit of experience related to the spiritual world, primarily through dreams, but for so many people to have these experiences is, from my perspective, overwhelming and corroborating evidence that something incredible (or horrible for truly evil people, let’s not mince words) awaits us in the hereafter.

      Also, Lee, while we’re related to the subject, do you think dreams are related to the spiritual world? I know Swedenborg discusses the spiritual significance of dreams sometimes in his writings, but what exactly are their nature? Are they experiences of the spiritual world itself (either heaven or hell), messages from the angels around us, or maybe a little of both?

      God bless,


      • Lee says:

        Hi Chad,

        You are most welcome.

        About dreams, I think of them, not as experiences of the spiritual world, but as “spiritual movies,” so to speak. Yes, dreams are related to the spiritual world because the spiritual world is the world of the human mind, and everything that goes on in the human mind is related to the spiritual world.

        Whether we are aware of it or not (and usually we’re not), there are angels and spirits around us all the time, connected with our thoughts and feelings. If we didn’t have this spiritual community around us we would not be able to have any thoughts or feelings at all. We humans are community beings, both in our material-world life and in our inner spiritual life. However, most of the time neither we nor the angels and spirits around us are aware of the other. The angels and spirits are just going about their daily business, thinking their thoughts, having their feelings, doing their jobs, and we here on earth are doing the same. Unbeknownst to those on both sides, our thoughts and feelings are constantly connected across that spiritual world / natural world dividing line, so that the spiritual and material worlds are actually a seamless whole especially through the human mind.

        Dreams, too, are connected to the angels and spirits around us, whether or not we or they are aware of it. Dreams are portraying spiritual realities related to our own thoughts, feelings, and experiences in such a way that if we pay attention to them, we can gain valuable insights about our own inner processes and our spiritual and emotional life.

        However, not all dreams are the same. Some dreams are rather silly and trivial, whereas others have deep significance. Some dreams are personal only to us, whereas others have a broader message—such as, in the Bible, Pharaoh’s dream as interpreted by Joseph, and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as interpreted by Daniel.

        Not every dream has world-changing importance. But if we pay attention to our dreams, we can learn some things about ourselves, our relationships, and our life that our conscious daytime mind would not necessarily pick up on its own. Swedenborg himself kept a dream journal for two key years during his transition from being a scientist and philosopher to being a spiritual seer. It contains much fascinating material in which Swedenborg’s dreams and his struggles with his inner processes give us much insight about what was happening in his mind and heart during that crucial time of paradigm shift in his life. Later, in his theological writings, he spoke about the significance of dreams in his interpretations of parts of the Bible where dreams occur. And of course, his entire system of correspondences between spiritual and material things is a great aid to dream interpretation.

  25. Magnum says:

    I don’t understand any of this?

    I can prove I have a brain because there have been a million autopsies done over the last few years alone… I have seen a skull cut open, I have held a brain in my hands, I have felt it, I have smelled it, etc. I know the brain exists in most humans.

    I have also had CAT Scans, Xrays, MRI’s, etc. that are clear evidence I have a brain in my own skull.

    So yes, this is 100% proof my brain exists.

    But how does any of this prove there is an afterlife?

    I’m completely missing the logic in this discussion?

    A dream is a dream… some people have crazy dreams from various medication, other people have bad dreams from movies, others from stress, etc. How are we jumping from dreams to the afterlife or spiritual world?

    Angels and spirts around us all the time? There is no proof of this… as badly as people want it to be true, there is absolutely no proof of this.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Magnum,

      As I said in the article, you can’t prove you have a brain because you can’t know for sure that it isn’t a projection of your mind–along with everything else in what we experience as the physical world.

  26. Eric Rosenfeld says:

    Hello Lee,

    First off, this is one of my favorite articles that you’ve written. But please correct me if I’m wrong, because I believe to have found an issue with one of the arguments here.

    You seem to assert that thoughts and feelings are indeed spiritual (meaning non-material). The fact is, we simply don’t know if it’s either spiritual or physical. There isn’t any proof that thoughts and feelings are spiritual, just as there’s no proof that they are material. We know that our own consciousness exists, but we aren’t certain how or by what process it exists.

    I happen to believe Swedenborg and many others who claim the spiritual world is real. In addition, from what I’ve read so far from the writings of the Bible and Swedenborg, they express wonderful values and principles with very descriptive details. They appear trustworthy. Their ideas provide hope, comfort, and spread the message of love and unity. I think if we lived according to what they teach, it would ultimately make this world better, so I support that.

    I guess the point I’m getting at is related to having sound epistemology. Just because we can’t prove the material world exist, why would that automatically make thoughts and feelings spiritual by default? We can’t really prove that either.

    Come to think of it, if something is spiritual or non material, what does it consist of and how did you come to that conclusion?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Eric,

      Glad you enjoyed the article so much.

      Of course, materialists of all stripes will dispute much of what is in it. And they will probably focus just where you raise a question: on the assertion that thoughts and feelings are non-material, or spiritual.

      In response, in line with the general course of the argument, I would ask: How do we experience thoughts and feelings? Do we experience them as material things? Do we experience them as perceptible to our senses? Do we experience them as extended in space? Indeed, do we experience them as extended in time in the usual sense of time?

      Physical things are all perceptible with our physical senses, albeit sometimes only by our physical senses as enhanced by various instruments. They are all measurable in units of space and time, though some of the more exotic forms of matter border on being non-measurable. Thoughts and feelings, meanwhile, we cannot perceive with our senses, nor can we measure them, even with the most sensitive instruments. Yes, we can detect and measure brain waves with our scientific instruments. But we do not experience thoughts and feelings as brain waves. We experience them as . . . thoughts and feelings. We do not experience them as physical, material things.

      Though our measurable brain waves do seem to correlate in a general way with our thoughts and feelings, it is mere assumption to assert that our brain waves are our thoughts, or even that they cause our thoughts. Correlation does not equal causation. It is just as likely that our thoughts cause our brain waves as the reverse—if, indeed, there is any causal connection at all. Materialists like to believe that our brain activity is the ground of our thinking, or is our thinking. But all they can show is correlation. And saying that our brain activity is our thoughts and feelings is like saying that the rustling leaves of a tree are the wind.

      In short, we cannot demonstrate that our thoughts and feelings are physical in any sense. Only that they correlate with some physiological phenomena. Meanwhile, we experience them as something entirely distinct from our experience of physical phenomena, including the electrochemical processes of the brain.

      This is significant to the argument because it is all about what we experience directly in our mind vs. what we experience indirectly, through the physical senses, scientific instruments, and so on. The point is that everything we directly experience, as we experience it, is non-material in nature. And in historical human thought, the usual word for non-material things is spiritual things.

      But even those who reject the reality of spirit have to admit that we do not experience thoughts and feelings as material, touchable, measurable things. That is the basis of the argument.

      As for the nature of spiritual reality, that is a huge topic. If you really want to dig into it, get a copy of Swedenborg’s book Divine Love and Wisdom.

      In general, though, the realm of spirit is the realm of thoughts and feelings, of love and understanding, and of relationships with other people on the level of the mind and heart. It consists of an entirely distinct order of substance—spiritual substance—which, while it is not living in itself (only divine substance is living in itself), is highly responsive to life, and therefore feels to us as if it is living, in contrast to physical matter, which by itself, and in its default state, is dead. (Scientists still have no real understanding of how dead matter becomes living organisms.)

      As suggested in the above article and in this comment, we experience spiritual reality here on earth in the form of our thoughts and feelings, and in the form of relationships of mind and heart with other people. In the spiritual world, thoughts, feelings, and relationships become our primary realities, to the extent that everything we perceive with our spiritual senses (which are analogous to our physical senses) is an expression of our thoughts and feelings, and of the thoughts and feelings of the spirits and angels around us—who, Swedenborg says, were all also once human beings living in the physical universe.

      As a result of this distinct difference between physical matter and spiritual substance, in the spiritual world, when our thoughts and feelings change, our surroundings immediately change to reflect them. If we are having bright and sunny thoughts, the sky is clear and the sun is shining down on us. But the moment our thoughts are clouded with doubt, and our feelings with hesitancy or negativity, dark clouds roll in and obscure the sun, and a sudden darkness and chill fills the air. That’s because spiritual substance does not have an objective existence as we think of physical matter having. Rather, it directly reflects the thoughts and feelings, or the spirit, of the people in the vicinity.

      Mind you, spiritual things are real. If you cut open a spiritual animal, it would have all the parts and organs of a physical animal, and they function in the spiritual realm in a way exactly corresponding to how they function in the physical realm. Spiritual things are solid, and they are highly structured. But they are just as permanent, or just as evanescent, as our thoughts and feelings. Basic, stable parts of our psyche are reflected in stable surroundings, such as our house and our neighbors’ houses in the spiritual world. But changeable parts of our psyche are reflected in changing surroundings, such as animals that appear or disappear along with our changing feelings, and ongoing changes to the decor or even the layout of our house reflecting ongoing variations in the expression and development of our character.

      I hope this gives you some sense of what spiritual reality is compared to physical reality. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already read Divine Love and Wisdom, I highly recommend it. It is Swedenborg’s great work of divine, spiritual, and natural cosmology.

  27. Eric Rosenfeld says:

    Divine Love and Wisdom is definitely something I plan to read in the near future. The way you describe the spiritual world is somewhat reminiscent of the film: What Dreams May Come. This movie’s imagery and structure of the spiritual world, I vaguely remembering hearing, was influenced by Swedenborg’s writings. Although, I’m sure there are some major differences. The visual effects and art direction of it still impress me today.

    It makes me wonder, what would you say to many of those that depict heaven as the type of paradise where everyone is always in a state of eternal bliss? With no suffering, sadness, pain, etc? One reason I could conceive that this isn’t the case, is because that type of world would give us no reason to develop our character any further. I understand this is a different, and rather large topic in relation to this article, so a brief answer would be completely fine.

    With the initial questions I had regarding the process of the mind, I want thank you for bringing clarity to your stance on that. I now understand that thoughts and feelings seem non-physical when we experience them… although it does feel like I have a brain that processes information constantly. My head physically begins to feel fatigue whenever I try to articulate what consciousness really is! Like you said, this could be correlation and not causation. I don’t mean to sound as if the materialistic view is more probable because I’m still trying to figure it out. However, it does help to hear materialists’ side of things and weigh-in what they say about it.

    Perhaps I’m back-pedaling here, but is it possible that consciousness, thoughts, and feelings are illusions? I became self aware at an early age once my language skills progressed. Sounds that I would hear my parents or others around me create would eventually become words that had meaning. Then, I could piece together a sense of self by forming sentences that convey such a thing. This all could just be a reaction in the brain based on a reward system to keep me alive. And why is it that people with severe brain damage lose their sense of self? We also don’t have any evidence of something without a brain being conscious. Could all of this count as evidence towards causation of consciousness from the brain? Or….no because we can’t prove the brain exists?

    Finally, we may not be able to measure thoughts and feelings now, but in the future we could have a better understanding and measure it then. Or would all of that evidence go out the window because even though we are faced with this reality, we can’t absolutely prove the material world?

    Apologies for all of the questions. I want to have sound beliefs and reasons for doing the things we do. I really value your insight and I’m fully aware that this is one of the most difficult subjects among philosophers around the world.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Eric,

      First, about the movie What Dreams May Come, yes, it was influenced by Swedenborg (the book has a quote from Swedenborg). But as you say, it also diverges from Swedenborg, especially in its acceptance of reincarnation, and in its idea that suicide causes a person to go to hell—which comes largely from Catholic theology. You may be interested in this discussion of the movie from a Swedenborgian perspective:

      What Dreams May Come: A Comparison of the Motion Picture and Swedenborg’s Concepts

      This review and comparison is a little soft on reincarnation (it doesn’t happen) and on hell (it is indeed eternal for those who choose it), but is quite thoughtful, and well worth a read.

      When the movie first came out, we took a group of teens at a Swedenborgian youth retreat to see it, and it sparked a lot of discussion. Though it does diverge from Swedenborg in some respects, it is probably the most vivid portrayal of something like Swedenborg’s afterlife in any popular movie. It’s too bad it ended in reincarnation, but I enjoyed the movie anyway. About reincarnation, please see:

      The Bible, Emanuel Swedenborg, and Reincarnation

    • Lee says:

      Hi Eric,

      About heaven as a state of eternal bliss, that is the overall picture. However, zooming in on the day-to-day lives of angels, though joy is their primary state, and suffering, sadness, and pain are largely things of the past, angels do go through their ups and downs, just as we do here on earth. And in their down states, they can experience sadness and depression, though probably not as bad as many people on earth experience. This happens when they lose their focus on God and the neighbor, and begin focusing on themselves with a sense of pride in their own goodness. They then temporarily fall out of their place in heaven until they come to their senses, and recognize that they are nothing without God, and that everything good and true in them is God’s, not their own. Then they are raised back up to the joy of heaven.

      And yes, this is part of angels’ ongoing spiritual growth. No created human being is perfect; not even the angels. Only God is perfect. Angels are always growing toward the perfection that is God, but they never reach perfection to eternity. They are still tinged with some of their old evil of selfishness and worldliness, and when that asserts itself, they must face and overcome it just as we do here on earth. The main difference is that the outcome is not in doubt: angels have already chosen heaven; there is no chance that they could become evil and descend into hell permanently.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Eric,

      On to the main subject: Yes, these are very complex and difficult questions, which have exercised the minds of the greatest philosophers and theologians from time immemorial. I do think, though, that Swedenborg threw a brilliant new light on these big questions, and that in this light, real and satisfying answers are possible.

      Several points to get at the issues you raise:

      First, it’s important to understand that the conclusions we ultimately reach do not depend upon pure reason, as many skeptics and atheists (and some theologians also) think.

      We humans are not dispassionate thinking machines. Rather, our loves, desires, and choices ultimately carry our thinking mind along with them. People who want to believe that only material things are real will ultimately convince themselves that this is true. People who want to believe that God and spirit are real will ultimately convince themselves that this is true. Both can be quite rational in their thinking. But it is ultimately the heart, not the brain, that determines what we will think. (I’m using “heart” and “brain” metaphorically here, of course.)

      It is indeed good to consider things from all angles, including angles that we ultimately reject. Listening only to one side of a question, and shutting out input from all other sides, causes us to have a rigid and brittle view of reality that is easily fractured when we encounter something that our limited views can’t deal with. When we consider things from all angles before coming to any definite conclusions, we build a broad and flexible view that can handle challenges and struggles in a way that narrow, blindered views of life simply can’t.

      About the impossibility of achieving a spiritual view of things based on pure rational thought, see Arcana Coelestia #2568.

      About the necessity of considering other, and opposite, possibilities before coming to any conclusions, see Arcana Coelestia #7298.

      Second, as long as we are living in the material world, our physical body is necessary for us to learn, grow, and develop our character.

      During our life on earth, our physical body is an integral part of us. Our soul is closely and intricately linked with it, and functions through it. If our physical body is damaged, this affects the ability of our soul to express itself, and to grow and develop.

      Although we leave our physical body behind when we move on to our permanent home in the spiritual world, this does not mean that our physical body is unimportant. We begin our life here in the material world for a reason. The material world is where we form the structure of the character that we will carry with us into the spiritual world. And in a brain-bending passage (True Christianity #103), Swedenborg even says that when we go to the spiritual world, we carry with us kind of “border” that is “made of the finest substances in nature.” In other words, our physical body, and our time here on earth, is essential to our development as a person.

      Whatever character we develop here on earth, during our time in our physical body, that is the character we will carry with us into eternity. If, due to physical impairments such as brain damage, we are unable to develop a fully adult character, then in the spiritual world we will start out as children at whatever level of mental growth we had achieved here on earth, and grow up from there.

      As an analogy, think of an aspiring carpenter who is deprived of a carpenter’s tools. Such a person cannot develop the skills of a carpenter, not because there is a lack of aptitude or ability, but because the physical necessities of doing the job—a hammer, a saw, a drill, and so on—are lacking. Though we may be tempted to think that physical, external things are merely adventitious, this example shows that they are essential to the development of our character and skill, in this case, as a carpenter.

      However, it would be a major mistake to think that the hammer, saw, and drill are the skills of a carpenter. No. They are simply the tools necessary in order for the person to become, and practice the skills of, a carpenter.

      Similarly, the physical body, including the brain, are not the actual person, nor the actual mind. But they are necessary for the spirit to become the actual person, who is a spiritual being.

      Third, it is necessary to understand that things in the spiritual world are every bit as structured and complex as things in the physical world.

      There is a popular notion that our spirit is a pure wisp of ether, with no structure or form, and that it acquires structure and form only by inhabiting the body. But this is a fallacy. In fact, our body would have no structure and form at all if it did not reflect, or correspond to, similar spiritual structures.

      In the spiritual world, we have a body that has all the parts and organs that our physical body has, including the brain. These parts and organs have all of the detailed structure and function that their physical counterparts have, right down to the cellular level. There is no such thing, even in the spiritual world, as disembodied thought. Even in the spiritual world, complex thoughts and feelings require complex structures to support them. If our spiritual bodies did not have all of the parts, and all of the detailed physiological functioning, that our physical body has, we would be no more human than we would be human here on earth if we consisted of a blob of unorganized jelly.

      Fourth, it is necessary to understand that our soul, like our body, does not start out fully formed (contrary to the dreams of the reincarnationists), but rather develops from a state of largely unformed potential into a fully formed soul, or spirit.

      Physically, we humans do not start as a “homunculus,” or mini-human, that then just gets bigger as we grow. Rather, we start out as little more than a genetic blueprint. From that blueprint, the body is formed, starting with a single cell (the fertilized ovum), which then divides into multiple cells that become differentiated and form the various structures of the body. Until those structures are sufficiently developed to exist as an actual, quasi-independent human organism, there isn’t yet a human being.

      Similarly, by Swedenborg’s principle of correspondence, our soul starts out as little more than a blueprint, and develops into a fully formed human being along with the body in the womb, and then throughout our earthly lifetime. Only after it has developed its own structures sufficiently to have its own quasi-independent existence is there an actual human being. And as stated above, this must take place in connection with a physical body, here in the material universe.

      All of this is to say that our physical brain isn’t just some unnecessary add-on to our thinking processes and our development as human beings. When the physical brain is not functioning properly, we cannot fully develop as a human being. When specific structures of the brain are lacking or dysfunctional, it affects our ability to think and to develop our cognitive abilities.

      Materialists can point to these facts and argue that our brain is the structure that thinks, and that there is no need for any spirit to make us fully human. And for those who want to be materialists, this can be very convincing.

      However, this is just as fallacious as saying that since a carpenter can’t be a carpenter without a hammer, saw, drill, and so on, therefore the tools are the carpenter, and there is no need for anything beyond the tools of the trade. In fact, the soul “wields” the body, including the brain, like a physical tool to accomplish its purposes as long as it is living in the physical realm. Granted, the body and brain are incredibly intricate and complex tools. But they are still mere tools, not the person itself.

      This, of course, is stated from a perspective that accepts the reality of the spiritual world and the human spirit. Materialists will reject all of this, and insist that the body and its physiological processes are the person, and that when the physical body ceases to function, the person ceases to exist.

      You, of course, will have to make up your own mind about all of this. The above article presents the case for accepting the reality of God and spirit. What you ultimately decide about all this is entirely up to you.

      • Eric Rosenfeld says:

        Hey, thanks Lee. Sincerely appreciate all of those responses.

        I was (Is a spoiler alert even necessary? Where’s the rulebook on that?) mostly disappointed with the ending of What Dreams May Come as well! Even if reincarnation was true and we were actually given the chance to choose it or not, there’s no way in hell (pun intended) Chris and Annie would want to hit the reset button after all of that! But otherwise it was a very thought provoking, imaginative movie. I’ll check out your article about it.

        After contemplating much of what you’ve written on this site, I am impressed. Honestly, I haven’t come close to hearing any other explanations for a spiritual world than what’s been proposed here. No other theist, from what I’ve encountered, has defended their faith so well. That is something many religious people, from all walks of life, seem to have a problem with. Further, while materialists’ views can help with many things such as innovating technology and enhancing critical thinking skills, it isn’t possible to test the spiritual world through measurable criteria, like you said. You’re right, the scientific method isn’t equipped to study it, but that doesn’t mean spirit-believing people have to contradict or go against science.

        As I’ve mentioned, I agree with much of what the Bible and Swedenborg teach. I get joy from helping others and being around other selfless people. That’s a compelling, foundational principle that I hear from Swedenborg quite often. I’m also very open-minded. I genuinely want to believe that there is something more than this physical world. That’s a very comforting thought. However, from time to time, I question whether or not the Bible, Swedenborg’s works, and spirituality are really true. And I don’t just want to believe something without having sufficient reasons that I could provide for myself and to other people. Isn’t one of our main purposes here to evangelize, or at least be able to defend what we believe? I think sometimes it’s more than just wanting to believe something. Anyhow, this site does seem to help me.

        Though I’ve read/heard many other things about Swedenborg, just from reading the excerpts from Arcana Coelestia that you listed, he gives the impression of being very intelligent and authentic. He’s right about being open to learning and furthering our knowledge in order to grow our faith and understanding. In your opinion, what would you say are the main reasons that you trust Swedenborg with such strong conviction? There’s no debating that he has given us an abundant amount of literature to ponder over. He obviously cared enough to write many things about the spiritual world.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Eric,

          I’m glad our site is so helpful to you in supporting your wish for a deeper, more spiritual view of life, while not ignoring your rational mind.

          That is precisely where Swedenborg excels. Though brought up in a very religious household, he jumped into science and reason with both feet right from his youth. Only later did he begin seeking spirit within nature—particularly within the human body. And only when the Lord opened his spiritual eyes did he find any really satisfying answers. Before that, he was mostly feeling around in the dark.

          Full disclosure: I was brought up in a strongly Swedenborgian family. There are Swedenborgians, and a number of Swedenborgian ministers as well, going back five or six generations in the patrilineal line of both my parents. I almost literally drank it in with my mother’s milk. So it is very easy for me to accept Swedenborg’s teachings.

          Having said that, I did go through a period in my late teens when I recognized that I could either accept or not accept God, spirit, the Bible, and Swedenborg, and that either way I went, my rational mind would likely convince me that I had made the correct choice. Though it won’t satisfy the rationalists out there, what ultimately swung me in the direction of accepting what I had been taught from childhood was a recognition that the world would be a much better place if people accepted these teachings. Or in more abstract terms, the true Christian religion that Swedenborg taught represented a far greater good than any other philosophy I was aware of, materialist or spiritual.

          Since then, I have compared Swedenborg’s system to many other systems, both religious and philosophical. And though I am certainly not an expert on any of them, I simply haven’t found anything else that even comes close to the depth and power of Swedenborg’s teachings. Yes, there are some very beautiful beliefs out there. But to my mind, none is as beautiful as what Swedenborg taught.

          It has also become increasingly clear to me over the years, especially in the context of many doctrinal and biblical debates with traditional Christians, primarily Protestants but also some Catholics, that on the basics, Swedenborg’s Christian doctrine is simply what the Bible itself teaches, whereas other “Christian” beliefs draw primarily on the formulations of various councils, creeds, and theologians—which depart greatly from the plain teachings of the Bible. See:

          1. “Christian Beliefs” that the Bible Doesn’t Teach
          2. Christian Beliefs that the Bible Does Teach

          Of course, skeptics and atheists will reject the Bible also as any kind of authority. However, in the Christian world, the Bible is the primary authority—or at least, it’s supposed to be. And the fact that Swedenborg’s basic teachings about God and salvation are stated quite plainly in the Bible’s own words, whereas those of the traditional Christian churches are not—and many of them are even contradicted in the plain words of the Bible—gives me additional confidence that Swedenborg was on the right track.

          If the Bible really is the Word of God as Christians believe, then it makes sense to me that God is perfectly capable of teaching the essentials of Christian faith and salvation in plain words in God’s own book. And it seems to me that if we wish to call ourselves Christians, we should actually listen to what the Bible says, rather than following human-originated doctrines that are stated nowhere in the Bible.

          When it comes to Swedenborg’s spiritual-world experience, I am not aware of anyone else in history who even claimed to have been fully conscious in the spiritual world at will for a period of nearly three decades. Of course, those who reject the reality of God and spirit will consider it all to be a hallucination or a fabrication. But once we accept that the spiritual world is indeed real, or at least are open to that possibility, it seems to me that the person to listen to most about the spiritual world is the one who has spent the most time there. Swedenborg is that person. For more on this, and other points about Swedenborg and his theological writings, please see:

          Do the Teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg take Precedence over the Bible?

          In short, Swedenborg’s teachings are entirely satisfying both to my thinking mind and to my heart.

          And yes, Swedenborg is almost universally recognized as one of the most brilliant people ever to have lived. He regularly appears near the top of lists of people with the highest IQs in history.

          That in itself doesn’t necessarily mean he is right. But that together with his evident sanity and sensibility right to the end of his life (charges that he had gone insane were thoroughly debunked soon after they were originally made, and shown to be fabrications of his theological enemies), and the coherence and power of his system, give me great confidence that he spoke the truth—even if he did get a few things wrong here and there. He was, after all, a human being, not a god. And he himself said (not in these exact words) that it’s best to keep our thinking mind engaged, and accept something as true only if it makes sense to us.

        • Lee says:

          P.S. I should mention that the article I linked comparing the movie What Dreams May Come to Swedenborg’s teachings was written by another Swedenborgian minister, not by me.

  28. Luna says:

    Is there any other proof of an afterlife besides Ancient Texts (which for all we know, we could be interpreting wrong) or NDEs (which although people claim they’re real, it is possible they are just scenes put on by the brain near death)?

    Sorry if that sounded rude.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Luna,

      There is Swedenborg’s book Heaven and Hell! Get a copy and read it! (Sorry if that sounded rude. 😛 )

      • Luna says:

        Actually, I have already started reading it.

        Are there any other instances of evidence of the afterlife?


        • Lee says:

          Hi Luna,

          Glad to hear it. I think it will be a big help to you in your questioning about the afterlife.

          But . . . if you exclude what people have experienced (such as NDEs) and what people have written (spiritual texts such as the Bible and Swedenborg’s writings), what’s left that could be “evidence”?

          There are other types of experiences of the spiritual world besides NDEs. Some people have visions when they are not near death. Some people hear voices. Some people feel the presence of loved ones who have died. And so on. So yes, there is other evidence. But it’s all evidence of people’s experience. There is not going to be scientific evidence of the afterlife, because science is the study of material reality, not spiritual reality.

  29. Luna says:

    I think what I mean is some type of evidence that cannot be proven by science and is not written by other people because technically, all the instances you have given can be explained by science and what happens in the brain. Are there any instances of evidence that is not able to be proven by science?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Luna,

      Some materialists and atheist think that science has explained near-death experiences as natural phenomena. The common “scientific explanation” is that they are hallucinations of an oxygen-deprived brain. But that is not based on any actual scientific experiments. It is pure speculation by people looking for an explanation other than that these people actually experienced the spiritual world, which materialists don’t believe exists.

      Further, it really doesn’t do a very good job of explaining what people experience when they have an NDE. Hallucinations of a malfunctioning brain are commonly fuzzy and unreal feeling. But people who have NDEs say that the experience was far more real than their everyday waking consciousness. People who have had both hallucinations and NDEs say that the two are nothing like each other.

      Anyone who has actually had an NDE will laugh at the materialistic scientists’ “explanation” of their experience. They will say, quite simply: “I was there. You weren’t. You don’t know what you are talking about.”

      • Luna says:

        However, scientists don’t explain NDEs as hallucinations. They give the explanation that endorphins released during stressful events produce something like NDEs or that ketamine released can also cause NDEs. What I want to ask is, is there any evidence of an eternal afterlife in heaven or hell that cannot be “explained” reasonably by science, or evidence that defies the laws of science?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Luna,

          That explanation is equally unconvincing to people who have had an NDE, or who haven’t, but who take the experiences seriously.

          The fact is, materialists and skeptics will always come up with some purely physical explanation for anything at all that a more objective person would reasonably take as evidence for the existence of God and spirit. The “faith” of a materialist in materialism depends upon explaining away everything that suggests or shows that the spiritual world is real.

          This is how God has arranged things, in order to protect our spiritual freedom, without which we would not be human. We must make a choice about whether to believe in God and spirit, and no external evidence can force us to make one decision or the other.

          Materialists have made a choice not to believe in God and spirit. And once they make that choice, their thinking mind gets busy marshaling all sorts of support for that choice.

          You, too, will have to choose whether or not to believe in the reality of God and spirit. And once you make that choice, your thinking mind will see all kinds of evidence to support it.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Luna,

          I should add that the endorphins and ketamine explanation is basically the same as the oxygen-deprived brain explanation. Both explanations see NDEs as hallucinations produced by the chemical state of the physical brain.

          The reality is that science still cannot explain the phenomenon of consciousness, as honest scientists will admit. Science can find correlations between mental and emotional states and electrochemical states of the brain, but it has no solid explanation of how the brain could produce consciousness. It is just as reasonable, of not more so, to think that our consciousness, i.e. our thoughts and feelings, produce the changes in brain activity as the other way around.

          In short, science has in no way, shape, or form provided an adequate and conclusive explanation for NDEs and other spiritual experiences. Materialistic scientists have come up with various theories to explain them without admitting that the spiritual world is real. But they are just theories, and not very good ones at that. There is no real evidence to support these theories, and they do a poor job of explaining the actual experiences.

        • Luna says:

          I think right now I’m at the boundary because although I want to believe in evidence of the afterlife, I don’t know if I can without evidence. Even if NDEs are proof of the afterlife, is there any other examples you can give that are not directly stated in the article?


        • Lee says:

          Hi Luna,

          As the article says, it’s all a matter of what sort of evidence you’re willing to accept. If you need scientific evidence of the afterlife, you’re never going to get it. Scientific evidence is for material things, not spiritual things.

          This doesn’t mean that God and spirit are contrary to science. Just that the are in a different realm, outside of the purview of science (see Wikipedia -> Non-overlapping magisteria). Science and religion dovetail quite nicely with each other if both the science and the religion are genuine, and not spurious.

          If you’re skeptical of non-scientific evidence in general, then no amount of piling up of different sources of evidence for the afterlife will satisfy you, because it will all be evidence that is not acceptable to you.

          But if you are willing to accept non-scientific evidence from human experience, as the above article says, you will have all the evidence you need in ancient and modern literature about people’s spiritual experiences. There are NDEs, dreams, visions, encounters with God / Christ, after-death communications, angelic visitations, appearances and touches by deceased loved ones, and on and on.

          But really, this is a decision you will have to make. If you choose to trust only information that comes to us by way of our physical senses (i.e., scientific evidence and personal experience in this world), then you will become a materialist, and you will reject the existence of God and spirit. If you choose also to accept information that comes to us by way of supernatural experience, then you can leave materialism behind and become a spiritual person. And if you make that choice, then I can guide you to the best sources of spiritual information, and address your questions.

  30. Luna says:

    What about all those people who have an NDE and just see and feel nothing?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Luna,

      If you mean people who almost die but don’t have a spiritual experience, then that is not an NDE, and it is much more common than having an NDE.

      • Luna says:

        But why do they just see nothing? Why does god let some people see the afterlife and not others?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Luna,

          Only God knows why particular people have a spiritual experience when they come close do death, while others do not. I suspect that God sees which people will be helped long-term by such an experience, and allows only those people to have them.

          It may seem as if anyone and everyone would be helped by such an experience. But the human heart and mind are complex. Many people, though they would at first be convinced by such an experience, would later come to reject it. The result of this would be, instead of opening them up to God and spirit, causing them to harden their heart even more against God and spirit. Strange, but true.

          I believe that God allows spiritual experiences only to those who have the necessary foundation within themselves to be receptive to them, and able to follow the path that they point out for the rest of their lives.

  31. Luna says:

    How can we believe God exists if his very existence defies all laws of science and the very existence defies all laws of science?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Lona,

      God’s very existence doesn’t defy all the laws of science. God was the one who created the laws of science.

    • Luna says:

      Is there any evidence of God’s existence?

      • Lee says:

        Hi Luna,

        Yes, there is.

        • Luna says:

          Is there any evidence besides ancient writings? If so, what are they?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Luna,

          Evidence for God generally comes in written or oral form, because it is based on people’s experiences of God. Many, many people have written about their experiences of God, both in ancient times and in the present day. And in these days, many, many people have made videos and posted them on YouTube or elsewhere, talking about their experiences of God. Plus, many written stories of experiences of God were originally oral stories that were passed down through the generations, and then later written down.

          There are also experiences and stories of miracles and such, but I don’t consider them to be as good as people recounting direct experiences of God. Yes, the Bible is full of God speaking to people, as are other ancient writings. But it didn’t stop with the Bible. There are millions of people walking this earth today who have had visions of Christ, experiences of God, near-death experiences, and so on. Most of them haven’t told their stories, but enough of them have that we now have a massive body of oral and written stories and experiences of people’s experiences of God.

  32. Luna says:

    You quoted a book from Dr.Eben Alexander bud he supports reincarnation. Does this mean that reincarnation is real?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Luna,

      No. It means that people who have only a brief experience in the afterlife haven’t spent enough time there to get a real understanding of how things work spiritually. Swedenborg spent twenty-seven years visiting and traveling in the spiritual world almost every day. That’s how he was able to get a much more accurate understanding of how spiritual things and the afterlife work. And he stated that reincarnation does not happen, even though some people believe it does.

  33. Hi,
    This is another great article! I remember reading it a few years ago. I write a lot about the afterlife on my blog, because I’ve experienced a lot of spiritual experiences. I searched about the afterlife to find a way to understand what I was experiencing. It was some really profound encounters with the other side!

    If you’d like to read about them, Lee, feel free to visit my blog, Jimi Heaven (https://jimiheaven.gonevis.com/). It’s a nonprofit personal site devoted to the truth about Jimi Hendrix, God, and afterlife experiences. I hope you enjoy it.

    I think it’s really fascinating to see how people experience the afterlife when they’re close to passing away. Even if these experiences were just hallucinations (to be honest, I don’t believe they’re just hallucinations), they still change your whole perspective on making the transition from this world. I think people would be less afraid of dying if they could see the transition doesn’t have to be painful and scary all the time.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Autumn,

      Thanks for the link to your blog. I did go over and look at what’s there, and read one of the articles, which was good. And yes, even for people who can’t quite believe there’s an afterlife, near-death experiences and other experiences of the afterlife do give people who hear and read about them something to think about!

      • Hi Lee,
        Thanks a lot for reading! I hope you enjoyed the blog. I know some of the experiences may seem really far out, but they’re just what I’ve experienced in my life. I try to be as honest as I can be, learning each day.

        You’re right, near-death experiences and afterlife communication can really make you think. I just have a question, if you don’t mind. Have you ever experienced a really profound spiritual experience, which changed your whole life?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          I’ve read only one of your articles so far, but I do plan to go back and read more of them. People do have some “interesting” experiences. As long as they inspire people to good, it’s all good.

          Personally, I have not had a near-death experience or vision of heaven. I have a few times felt the presence of angels with me. But mostly, I just focus on learning and living according to God’s way of love and truth. God has been part of my life all my life. I don’t ask for extraordinary experiences. If God blessed me with such an experience, I would be thankful. However, I don’t think it’s really necessary for me. I know there are far greater things awaiting us in the other life. For this life, I focus on what’s in front of me, while keeping my eyes on the long-term goal.

        • That’s very wise! I didn’t ask for these spiritual experiences either. They just came to me in my life. I still keep my focus on God, but I also appreciate the blessings He has given me with these experiences. I feel it’s good to focus on the present, while still appreciating the afterlife, too. 🙂

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Yes, spiritual experiences can be a blessing, though in some cases they can also be a burden. I am fascinated by people’s spiritual experiences. Another reader is asking me if there is any evidence for God besides in the Bible and other ancient spiritual literature. I point to the millions of people who have had near-death experiences and other spiritual experiences, and say, “Yes, there is.”

        • I agree, this is evidence in itself! Of course, if you want purely scientific evidence, there’s only so much you can find, but even scientists are beginning to see that these experiences can be real. I personally feel that all of these anecdotal evidence and experiences are certainly enough proof for people who can see the spiritual side of life.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Science isn’t designed to study spiritual reality. People who require scientific evidence for God and spirit are barking up the wrong tree. But yes, many scientifically minded people do accept the reality of the spiritual world, and of our experiences of it. See, for example:

          Near-Death Experiences and the Doctors

          Anyone who is willing to accept the reality of God and spirit can find plenty of supporting evidence for it. But those who will accept only the evidence of the physical senses will never accept the reality of God and spirit.

        • I know, that’s true. The most science can do is organize the data so we can see how often these spiritual experiences happen. I think science is useful for organizing the data and doing studies on how these experiences happen, but if you’re looking for definitive scientific evidence, that’s not going to happen!

          But science is not the only way to see reality, anyway. It really just focuses on the material, physical world, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only world there is.

          I checked out Egogahan, and I really love that site! It’s absolutely beautiful, and it has some of the most touching experiences I ever read. Some of them remind me of the afterlife communication I’ve experienced, like when Jim said that there wasn’t really a sense of time in the afterlife. That’s also what I learned in my own experiences of spiritual communication. Years can pass on the earth, but to the people in the afterlife, it’s like a few days, or something like that.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          I’m glad you enjoyed the Egogahan site. I knew you would! I’ve lost touch with Judy. She finally had to step back from her intensive outreach and caring work, and live a quieter life. But I often think of her. She left a wonderful body of work, and touched many people.

          And yes, as Swedenborg says, if people are willing to trust only the evidence of their physical senses, they will never come to a belief in God, no matter how much evidence is put in front of them. But for those whose minds are open to higher reality, there is all the evidence we could ever need.

        • Hi Lee,

          That’s right, that’s what Jimi Hendrix talked about when he was on the earth. He said that the physical senses could only take you so far. He said that the eyes can only see but so much; you have to learn how to use a deeper, spiritual sense to see life more clearly.

          Yes, I loved the Egogahan site. I’ll definitely go back. I’m glad Judy shared her experiences! 🙂

        • Oh, I’m just curious: which article did you read on Jimi Heaven? I forgot to ask. 😀

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          I went back there to look just now, and there are a lot more articles there than I remember seeing when I first went there. Anyway, I read all of the “about” pages listed on the menu, and I read two of the blog posts, neither one of which was about Jimi Hendrix. I read the one titled “The Truth About Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit.” How could I not, since it refers to my blog! 😀 I also read what I thought was the first article you posted, about your spiritual journey, but now I think it was probably not your first post, and I’m not sure what the title is. I do hope to go back and read more of your posts.

          I do appreciate brilliance in almost any discipline. And Jimi Hendrix was certainly a brilliant musician and guitarist. Beyond that, I don’t know a lot about him. I listened to all of the popular folk and rock music while growing up in the 60s and 70s, but never paid much attention to the bands or the musicians lol.

        • Oh, thanks for reading! 🙂 I’m glad you liked the posts. Actually, I’ve been writing on Jimi Heaven for quite some time. The earlier posts were more about the truth behind Jimi Hendrix and his music. I wanted to show what he truly stood for, and clear up the myths about his character. He did believe in God and the spiritual world, though not in an organized religion kind of way.

          Jimi was a really gentle kind of guy, actually, off the stage. He was really thoughtful, and he tried his best to treat people with kindness. He had a very rough childhood and a lot of challenges in his life, but he overcame them through music.

          Yes, I referred to your blog because it gave such a great explanation about the meaning of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. 😀 I always had such a hard time figuring out what it meant, but now I finally get it!

          The later posts go into a lot of spiritual things, including my own spiritual journey, so those are probably the ones you saw.

          Yes, there are lots of articles, and the tags show which categories they’re in. I’m glad you like them! 🙂

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Perhaps you answer this question on the site, but just out of curiosity, what prompted your great interest in Jimi Hendrix and his spiritual life? The short version! 😀

        • Oh, all right! I’m happy to explain. Well, my father introduced me to Jimi Hendrix’s music at a young age, and so I kind of knew a lot of his music. And I also felt his spiritual presence in my life. I saw Jimi a lot, with my eyes, throughout my life, in fact I still see him. Those are called visual ADCs by the way.

          I wasn’t sure at the time if this afterlife communication was real or not, but one thing’s for sure: it really opened my mind. I had to consider the possibility that spirits live on, that the afterlife and God really exist. At the time, I wasn’t really deep into God and spirituality, but I was getting closer on that path – and then Jimi showed up! 🙂

          I always had the feeling that there was more to Jimi than what the media showed, especially when I began to communicate with his spirit, and I saw how thoughtful and spiritual he was.

          Sure enough, once I started to learn more about him, from hearing his family members’ interviews, they talked about how he had a deep spiritual side.

          So I think what prompted my interest were those two things: having the afterlife communication with Jimi, and then learning about the depth of his character in later years.

          I know the afterlife communication with Jimi part may sound kind of far-fetched. But I’ve always seen Jimi as a person, not just as a famous star. He has a really human side, just like anybody else, and I really care about him.

          Yes, the long version is on several posts on the site. This post is the first one I wrote about it: https://jimiheaven.gonevis.com/the-afterlife-experience-what-jimi-means-to-me/

          I was so nervous, I thought people wouldn’t believe me, but now I’m not so nervous about writing about it anymore. Maybe people with open minds may understand it; and it really helped me to see other people experience these connections, too.

          Hope that was short enough! 😀

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Thanks for the short version, and for the linked article, which I did read. It all makes more sense now.

          It’s not my place to judge someone else’s spiritual experiences. But I do believe, based on what Swedenborg wrote, that communicating with angels and spirits is perfectly possible for people on earth whose minds are open to it. And especially if the person did not seek it out, but it came unbidden, and especially especially if it has a positive effect on their life, strengthening their faith in God and spirit, and inspiring them to live in a good, compassionate, and loving way, then I am inclined to think that the experiences are genuine, even if I have no way of verifying them.

          But really, the experiences are primarily for the person to whom they are given. It doesn’t matter whether anyone else believes them or not. Still, as you’ve discovered, sharing them with others, especially others who are not skeptical and materialistic, but who are open to the possibility of such spiritual connections, or have experienced them themselves, can help people who have them to realize that they’re not going crazy! We humans are designed by God so that we have the ability to interact with angels and spirits. Only our materialistic mindset and culture prevents many more people from having such communication.

          Judy of Egogahan was the first one to open my eyes to ADCs. And she is such a wonderful, grounded, and spiritual person, and also well-versed in the Bible and Swedenborg’s teachings, that although once again, I have no way of verifying her experiences, I accept them as genuine because of the clearly positive effect they had on her character and her life. They did not lead her off into some sense of personal greatness, but rather led her to learn more about God, the Bible, and Swedenborg, and use that knowledge to help many struggling and questioning people. That’s not to say that her ADCs didn’t also cause some issues and upheavals in her life. But issues and upheavals happen in our interrelationships with various and conflicting people even here on earth, so that is not terribly surprising.

          I do look forward to reading more of the posts on Jimi Heaven as I have bits of time to do so here and there.

        • Thank you so much for being so understanding! It took me years to realize that my experiences were genuine, because of how skeptical people can be. Even I was kind of skeptical at first. But as I learned more about Swedenborg and spiritual communication, I began to see that it can really happen to people!

          I’m reading the Bible and learning more of what Jesus had to say, and it’s so wonderful. There is a lot of wisdom and truth in it.

          You’re right, if our culture was not so materialistic, more people would be aware that it’s very possible for spirits and humans to interact. It just seems impossible to the materialistic mind-set – if you look at it from spiritual eyes, it makes sense, because humans are really spirits in physical bodies, I think? I’m not an expert, it’s just my intuition here. 🙂

          The later posts on Jimi Heaven go into more details about the afterlife experiences, and the concept of twin souls. Although I use the term “twin soul” to help describe my experiences with Jimi, I try to avoid getting into the elitism mind-set (unfortunately, sometimes people who have a twin soul connection get too caught up in the “specialness” of it). I think all good spiritual connections have value, whether it’s a twin soul, a soulmate, or really good friends.

          I’m very glad that Judy opened your eyes to ADCs. They happen to people all around the world, but because there’s not as much knowledge about them, people may not always understand when it happens to them. I’m so glad Judy shared her experiences and helped others with them! 😀

          I agree, if the spiritual experiences help you become kinder and more loving, guiding you to God, then it’s probably a real experience. It’s true that ADCs can cause a few challenges. The main challenge for me was that it took me so long to realize my experiences with Jimi were genuine. I doubted and questioned so much, I’m just glad he had a lot of patience with me. 🙂

          But I’m slowly growing beyond the doubting. I think I’ve done more than enough of that. These experiences have shown me that God and the afterlife are real!

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Yes, your intuition is accurate. We are spirits inhabiting physical bodies even while we are living on this earth. The only reason we can’t ordinarily see and hear things in the spiritual world, and use the rest of our spiritual senses, is that during our life in the body we are ordinarily focused on the physical world around us, and therefore on our physical senses, so that our spiritual senses are “asleep.” They are perfectly functional. We just aren’t using them.

          What happens in spiritual experiences is that one or more of our spiritual senses are opened so that we can sense things in the spiritual world, sometimes at the same time as our physical senses are open and operating. In that case, we are experiencing spiritual events superimposed on material events and scenery. This is what is happening in most of the angel visitations described in the Bible, in which people such as Abraham, Gideon, and Mary see angels appearing within their own usual earthly surroundings.

          In other spiritual experiences, such as NDEs, our physical senses are “asleep,” and we experience everything with our spiritual senses only, usually meaning that we are experiencing the spiritual world. However, in the case of an out-of-body experience (OBE), our spiritual senses are seeing things in the material world—which they are capable of doing, though usually they perceive only things in the spiritual world. The physical senses, however, are not capable of sensing spiritual things.

          And yes, one of my concerns about people having ADCs is that they can get caught up in the “specialness” of it, as you say. In that case, instead of making them humble and loving, it can make them proud and egotistical. They may think that they are better than other people because of their special spiritual experiences with a special person—commonly a celebrity or a famous person from history. This is similar to the disproportionately large number of people who claim to have been some famous person in a past life, when statistically speaking, it is overwhelmingly likely that they would have been some peasant (if reincarnation actually happened, which it doesn’t). There were millions of peasants for every one famous personage at any given time in history.

          When I was in my 20s, there was a woman living up the street who thought of herself as much more enlightened than other people because of her spiritual experiences. For me, that bubble was burst when a friend of mine ruined one of her cooking pots by burning something in it hard on her stove, and she completely flew off the handle! If she were as spiritual and enlightened as she thought she was, she would not get so upset about a cooking pot, and she certainly wouldn’t say some of the things she said to my friend! 😦 People are more important than cooking pots.

          Though I do believe that ADCs are usually (unless they are outright fakes) actual contact with people in the spiritual world, the one piece of skepticism that I do have about some of them is whether they actually are a real contact with a famous celebrity, or whether it is a “representative” of that celebrity.

          In the spiritual world, memories are easily shared. Here on earth, ordinary people are always writing memoirs about some famous person they knew personally. In the spiritual world, you don’t even have to write the memoir. You can directly transfer your memories of that person to someone else’s mind. Also, every piece of information about a person that is available anywhere here on earth is available in the spiritual world. This means that it is not difficult for spirits to impersonate someone else, especially famous people about whom there is a lot of information floating around. Swedenborg describes this sort of thing happening in the spiritual world fairly often, such as people impersonating Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve Apostles, or even figures from other religions, such as Muhammad.

          In a sense, as long as the experience leads people to live a good life, it doesn’t really matter if it is actually the person they think it is on the other end. The effect is the same. I simply have my doubts that celebrities and famous people would spend their time in their eternal life visiting with ordinary people here on earth. Even here on earth, celebrities tend to hang out with each other. With other celebrities they can have an ordinary peer-to-peer relationship. You know, Jay-Z and Beyoncé don’t marry people from their fan club; they marry each other.

          When I read about ADCs and other experiences such as psychic regression in which someone reports contacting and receiving information from a famous person or celebrity, I think of it as a personal experience for the person experiencing it. I don’t rely upon those communications to say anything definite about the celebrity or famous person. Rather, I look up what is known about that person from history, biographies, memoirs, and so on, and that is the information I rely upon to know something about that person and who he or she was. Any information from the spiritual world that isn’t supported by information about that person known from history and biographies I consider unverified and unverifiable.

          I apply this principle even to Swedenborg’s reports of contacts and conversations in the spiritual world with people known to history, such as Aristotle, Paul, and Luther. Since I have no way of checking whether what he describes happening to these people in the spiritual world actually happened, or whether they actually said to him the things he attributes to them, I just file it away in my mind as interesting eyewitness accounts that I have no way of verifying. And I consider whether it squares with what we know of that person from history and from that person’s own writings.

          A number of spirit mediums have claimed to “channel” Swedenborg after he died, and to deliver messages from Swedenborg. These messages commonly contradict what Swedenborg wrote in his own writings during a time he was experiencing the spiritual world more fully than anyone else in history ever has. These spirit mediums have “Swedenborg” repudiate his own writings, even though he himself solemnly affirmed on his deathbed that everything he had written was true. Clearly, the spirit that the medium was in contact with was not Swedenborg. Rather, it was someone pretending to be Swedenborg in order to deceive and mislead people. And the followers of those mediums commonly do take their word about famous people such as Swedenborg over what the famous person himself—in this case, Swedenborg—wrote and said. That’s just wrong.

          So . . . do I think it is actually Jimi Hendrix that you are in contact with? To be honest, I really don’t know. I do plan to read more of your articles about your ADCs. But I have no way of knowing if it is actually Jimi Hendrix you’re in touch with, or some good spirit who is representing Jimi Hendrix to you because you have such a connection with him due to his meaning to you as a young girl in relationship with your father. In my mind, given the good effect those ADCs have had on your heart, mind, and life, it doesn’t really matter to me whether it is actually Jimi Hendrix or not. I would still check anything in your ADCs against what we know about Hendrix, and give them credence or not based on that.

          Though I have spoken of lying spirits impersonating famous people in order to deceive people on earth, it is also possible, and also a common phenomenon in the spiritual world, for good spirits to serve as intermediaries between two spirits, providing communication between spirits who would not ordinarily have a direct relationship with one another.

          Also, impersonations in the spiritual world are not necessarily cases of deception by deceptive spirits. Rather, they are reasonably faithful representations of the actual person, similar to Rami Malek playing Freddie Mercury in the film Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s not deception. It is an honest effort to represent and depict the actual person as faithfully and realistically as possible, often in order to inspire people to great accomplishments themselves.

          So . . . do I think your ADCs are real? From what I know so far from what you’ve said here and the little bit I’ve read so far at Jimi Heaven, yes, I do. Do I think it is actually Jimi Hendrix? It could be. It’s not impossible. But that is something I just can’t know for sure, for all of the reasons that I just gave.

          Still, whether it is Jimi Hendrix himself, or some spiritual actor honestly doing his best to give you an accurate experience of the real Jimi Hendrix, the effect is the same: the experiences have led you to become a more thoughtful and spiritual person. And that, I believe, is a genuine gift from God.

          This is also, I believe, a call not to fall into the trap you mentioned: of people who have had ADCs involving a famous person or celebrity getting all caught up in their own specialness, and getting their ego all pumped up. I watched the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and it did have an effect upon me. But that doesn’t make me any more special than anyone else who watched that movie, or who went to Queen concerts in which Freddie Mercury performed live. We’re special only if those special experiences prompt us to live a life of love, kindness, and service to our fellow human beings.

        • This is a very logical point of view! Thank you for your view on the matter. 🙂

          I actually did everything you described, throughout the years. I was always questioning and checking to see if what Jimi said matched up with how he was in life. I never really got all caught up in the celebrity part, because he was always really human and gentle.

          I’ve done a lot of fact-checking throughout the years, very detailed fact-checking. And so far, everything that Jimi has said and done matches up with his character and thoughts on the earth.

          Of course, as you said, it could just be a good spirit being Jimi to help guide me in life; I’ve thought before that that was a possibility. But even if that was the case, I’ll always love and appreciate Jimi Hendrix. 🙂

          Although I agree that celebrities often tend to spend time with celebrities, I have to respectfully disagree about them not visiting ordinary people. I think it all depends on the character of the person. Some of my favorite tennis players, for instance, are really big stars, but they spend time helping kids, or they have everyday people as their partners, friends, etc.

          I think that Jimi visits many people on the earth, not just me. I do feel that it wouldn’t be unusual for him to do that, because he never really hung out with just famous folks when he was alive. He really just hung out with people he liked, whether they were famous or not. He often looked into the inner character of a person. He said in the 1960’s that sometimes he could just “click” with certain people’s vibes, and he could be friends with them even if he didn’t know their names!

          On Jimi Heaven, I sometimes include conversations I’ve had with Jimi, but I also make sure to verify information I use for the fact articles. Most of the information on the info articles comes from what I’ve researched about.

          I do trust that God will reveal everything in time, and one thing’s for sure; I will always be grateful for learning what true love is through these experiences.

          I try to make it very clear on Jimi Heaven that I don’t feel I own Jimi, or that I have an extra special knowledge about him. I simply share what I’ve experienced. I really don’t want to get into that trap of thinking, “I’m so special because I’m in contact with this celebrity!” That doesn’t really help anyone.

          I think those mediums who claimed to channel Swedenborg got a little deceived there. But once again, they probably were trying to make the experience happen, you know, trying to force a spiritual connection to manifest. I don’t think that’s really a good idea.

          Goodness, that lady with the cooking pots story did make me grin a little. It showed she still had a human side, no matter how she put herself on a pedestal. I do feel sorry for her and the friend, though. I hope she apologized.

          But back to fact-checking… well, you won’t believe how much I did! 🙂 I checked nearly everything. I wanted to make sure that everything that Jimi said matched up with his life, and so far, it has. So far, there aren’t any real discrepancies.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Yes, it sounds like you’ve done everything right. I do look forward to reading more of your posts, including some of the specifically Jimi ones. I’m just not one to beat around the bush. I’d rather say what I really think. People can take it or leave it, but at least they know where I stand. Any continuing connection will happen on the basis of real thoughts and perspectives, not on the basis of mere pleasantries put on for the sake of external harmony. I don’t have time for that sort of thing.

          I meant to mention in my last response that the reason I found Judy’s ADC believable, it being the first one I had encountered “in person,” so to speak, was that the person contacting her was her fiance, meaning someone she had known well in this life, and had been close to. It made sense to me that there would be a continuing spiritual connection with someone she had been so close to that she was moving toward marrying him. I think it was providential that this was my first close-up encounter with ADCs, rather than one of the more “far out” ones.

          Another related phenomenon: Swedenborg says that before God came to us in human form as Jesus Christ, in order to communicate with people on earth God used to fill an angel, or a whole community of angels acting as one, with the divine presence, such that while this was happening the angels thought of themselves as God, and spoke as God. This, Swedenborg says, is how God spoke to people in the Old Testament. And if God spoke to people in this way, through an intermediary, it would also be possible for angels to speak through intermediaries—as I mentioned in my previous reply to you.

          I’m not saying that’s what’s actually happening in your contacts with Jimi Hendrix. I really don’t know, because I’m not watching these things from the spiritual world. Only that, once again, whether or not you are speaking directly with the man/angel himself, what is being communicated to you can still be genuine.

          That’s why I don’t get all worried about whether people who have these ADC encounters with famous people are actually in contact with those famous people themselves. I’m more interested in the effect that the ADC has on the person, whether good or bad. Good would be making them more thoughtful, loving, and spiritual. Bad would be making them prideful and egotistical and stuck on their own greatness. But you already know all about that!

        • Thanks very much for your response! I think that is a good and healthful way to look at it.

          Personally, I’m glad you say what you really think. You’re just like my Dad in that respect. You just tell it like it is! 🙂

          I was thinking last night about what you said, and I had to weigh it in my mind. That is an interesting perspective. To be honest, though, it would kind of hurt me if it wasn’t really Jimi, as I really care about his soul. I would certainly manage to accept it over time, but yes, it would kind of hurt. I really care about his character, and he’s told me really personal and loving things, so that would kind of hurt, just to be honest. But at the same time, I felt that if it was a good spirit or angel helping me through life, well, he must be awfully good to go through all that trouble to stay with me through thick and thin. 🙂

          Yes, it’s definitely more believable when you meet the person on the earth. I do feel other kinds of connections can be possible, though. However, I’m not a full-fledged Swedenborgian yet, so maybe that’s why. I hope it’s not wrong of me, but I rarely get particularly caught up in one way of thinking. I’ve tried so hard to fit in a particular view or religion, but it’s hard for me to do it. I guess I just like to explore all the different viewpoints in the world.

          I’ve found Swedenborg immensely helpful, and I’m glad he’s grounded in the Biblical teachings. But I also appreciate the wisdom of ancient African cultures and other cultures around the world.

          Maybe it’s not so strange to me because Jimi and I see the world in a similar way – there is so much more to life than what we can see with the physical eyes. And we know so little about the universe, I really feel quite humbled when we humans experience the amazing beauty of it.

          Yes, what really matters to me is the truth. I just didn’t want to believe in something untrue. Even if it was wonderful to dream about. But I’m glad the ADC encounters can still be genuine.

          I am leaning towards the encounters with Jimi’s spirit being real because of some of the things he has told and expressed to me. It fits in with some other experiences people have had. However, I don’t mind keeping my viewpoints open. Really, only God knows everything.

          Whew, I know this is a long comment! 🙂 But you’re right, the effect the ADCs have on the person is just as important. That’s one way to know if they’re from God.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Whatever is going on, I do think that there is a real connection between your spirit and Jimi Hendrix’s spirit. Otherwise that soul connection would not be so meaningful to you. What that will turn into after you die, I have no idea. But I’m pretty sure you’ll meet Jimi Hendrix in person there, and have the opportunity to find out. It’s clear that he likes people, and that he has a spiritual outlook. Why wouldn’t he want to hang out with a kindred spirit?

          Whatever your relationship with him turns out to be, perhaps you’ll at least be living in the same area of heaven, and you can finally go to a Jimi Hendrix concert live! 😀

          As for becoming a “full-fledged Swedenborgian,” if that means joining one of the Swedenborgian church organizations and going to one of their churches for Sunday services, that may or may not be your thing. Swedenborg himself never started a church organization. It’s not at all clear that he even intended or expected there to be a separate church organization devoted to his teachings. It seems more likely that he thought his teachings would gradually leaven the loaf of the existing society and church organizations. It was fifteen years after his death that a group of Swedenborg readers and believers in London, none of whom had known Swedenborg personally, first started a church organization. Though I grew up in a Swedenborgian church organization myself, I don’t think a person has to be part of the organized New Church to be a Swedenborgian—or as Swedenborg himself would say, a genuine Christian.

          If you are touched by, and live by, the things Swedenborg teaches about Jesus truly being God with us, and about living a good life not only of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but of following his commandment to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34; 15:12), then you are as full-fledged a “Swedenborgian” as anyone who was born and bred in the Swedenborgian Church.

          One of the things I love about Swedenborg’s teachings is that they are not exclusive. All people, of any religion, can go to heaven if they believe in God as their religion teaches them to believe, and live a good life of service to their fellow human beings as their religion teaches them to live. This is something Swedenborg taught hundreds of years before it became popular. In the earlier years of this blog, this was the most popular post on the blog:

          If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions?

          Though Swedenborg himself was strongly Christian, and his teachings are thoroughly Christian, he also taught that God is present with people of all religions, and that God has given different religions to reach out to people of different times and cultures. This means that we don’t have to reject the validity and wisdom of other religions, even while we hold to our own. During the decade that I was a pastor in a mid-sized town in eastern Massachusetts, I enjoyed bringing together the pastors and spiritual leaders of all the different churches and religions in the town. Ironically, the conservative Christian churches and pastors were the hardest nuts to crack! But I even managed to get them involved in a few of our ecumenical services and activities.

          And now, as you know if you’ve been following our blog, Annette and I have moved to South Africa. We are currently living in one of the Black townships, at the headquarters of the New Church of Southern Africa, a Swedenborgian Church that was founded by Black South Africans over a century ago, and whose 88 churches are in Black townships all around the country. We are greatly enjoying our immersion in the people and the culture of South Africa, especially the living sense of the presence of God’s spirit among the people here. As we learn more about African spirituality, we don’t see any real conflict, but rather great harmony with what Swedenborg taught from his European Christian perspective over two centuries ago.

        • Hi Lee,

          Oh, that is so good to know, that you are bringing these beautiful messages to Africa. And you are right, the African spirituality really does have a great harmony with Swedenborg’s teachings.

          I truly feel that God blessed Swedenborg to bring the truth back to Europe at a time when Christianity was losing its truth and purity. An interesting fact is that Christianity began in Africa, and from there it spread to other parts of the world.

          I’m glad you enjoyed bringing all the people of faith together. That is such a blessing. Now that’s a church I’d like to visit!

          I’m glad you and Annette enjoy South African culture. I hope to visit my homeland one day, but until then, I keep the connection to it in my heart.

          I would love to see a Jimi Hendrix concert live, in person! That would be terrific. I’ve always loved his music.

          Yes, I definitely am touched by Swedenborg’s writings and the teachings of Jesus. I try my best to live by them, because I love God.

          I’m so glad Swedenborg teaches that all people can go to heaven if they live good lives and treat others with love. That shows the humanity and love of God. He would never condemn thousands of people just because they didn’t follow a certain religion.

          I’m glad you believe there is a connection between me and Jimi. The reason I opened up about it was that I wanted to share the beauty of this connection with others. And I wanted to show people that afterlife communication isn’t always scary.

          I realized that these spiritual experiences I have are not something I own or possess; they are a blessing from God, and that means sharing them means sharing a blessing. So that’s why I’m glad I opened up in the end.

        • Hi Lee,

          Oh, just one last thought.

          To give you another example about the celebrity situation, and how it depends on the person, I’d like to mention my Dad. (I’ll keep him anonymous, though, for privacy reasons). He’s quite famous and well-known in his field, but although he is very particular about the people he spends time with, he really cares more about the mind-set of the person, rather than his fame.

          He is friends with all kinds of people, from all walks of life. Some of his closest friends didn’t even get famous, but he still cares very much about them.

          What my Dad cares about is whether the person has good character and a professional mind-set. Fame or lack of it doesn’t really matter to him. So I guess I kind of inherited a similar approach to people from him. 🙂

          Here’s one last post which goes into depth about how I feel about fame and spiritual connections. Please forgive me if I put a whole lot of posts in here, but it’s easier to explain it that way. 🙂

          Here is the post on fame and spiritual connections:

          Hope you enjoy it!

    • Lee says:

      Hi Autumn,

      Speaking of after-death communications and Swedenborg, you might enjoy this website:


      Be aware that the site has been inactive for quite a few years now, which means that not everything on the site still works.

      Judy, one of the hosts of the site, is an independent Swedenborgian and an all-around wonderful person. And there is a tremendous amount of wonderful material at this website, which I think you would very much enjoy.

      Judy also hosted a site for my sermons and lectures during the ten years I was pastor of a church. She created beautiful pages for each sermon. They are still there, though once again, not maintained, at:


      (The link for “Rev. Lee Woofenden” under “Judy’s Pages” used to go there, but now it goes to my blog, because I transferred the leewoof.org domain name to the blog when I started it up.)

  34. Just a thought on spiritual experiences: the ones that I’ve had have actually guided me closer to God. I think that’s a real blessing. I’m learning more about God and getting closer to Him every day. I think that when people do have extraordinary experiences, it’s important to make sure those experiences guide you closer to God, not farther away from Him. That’s where discernment comes in. It’s important to be aware.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Autumn,

      Yes, as the Bible says, we must “test the spirits,” and not just uncritically accept everything we hear from the spiritual world. In addition to angels, there are confused spirits and deceptive spirits that can mislead us. That’s why it’s important to learn what is good and true from the Bible and other spiritual literature that God has to us here on earth, so that we have a foundation in truth that enables us to stay on track and not become deceived.

      Too many people who have had spiritual experiences believe things that aren’t true because they were told or shown it in the spiritual world. Because it came from the spiritual world, they believe it’s absolutely true. But many things that come from the spiritual world are not true, because there is both a heaven and a hell, and the mixed state of the word of spirits in between. People who hear things from the spiritual world don’t necessarily know who’s “at the other end of the line.”

      Angels and spirits don’t usually try to teach us things, because they respect our freedom and our integrity as a person, and they don’t want to short-circuit our learning process here on earth. Rather, they will draw out things that are already in our mind, things that we’ve learned along the way, and use them to inspire us toward a good and loving life. Even if the person who had an experience with angels has mistaken spiritual ideas, the angels won’t usually correct them, but will use them to inspire the person to live a good life.

      The main thing is that if a spiritual experience leads a person to become more thoughtful and loving, then that is a spiritual experience that was given by God. And because more people today are open to spiritual thinking and spiritual reality than in past ages, God can give these experiences of the spiritual world to more people these days than was possible in the past, when fewer people allowed their thinking to go beyond the material world and material things.

      For a related article, please see:

      What about Spiritualism? Is it a Good Idea to Contact Spirits?

      • Hi Lee,
        You are absolutely right. Andrea Mai, a photographer who has spiritual experiences, mentioned this on her blog – you must test the spirits. You may find her blog really interesting. Although I don’t agree with every single point of view on it, there is a lot I can relate to on it, and I really like reading it. Her blog is called Andrea Mai.

        Yes, you’re right, you can’t trust everything just because it came from the spirit world. People can make mistakes and be misguided, too. For instance, I thought that God was leading me to a certain person to be my soul-mate, and I spent much too much time thinking about this person instead of growing closer to God. I realized later that I hadn’t actually been hearing from God, because He would never lead me away from Him.

        Since then, I’ve become much more discerning. And the spiritual experiences I’ve had really do bring me closer to God and goodness, so that’s how I know they are from a good source.

        You’re right, the main thing is that if the spiritual experience brings you to goodness, then it’s from God. I’m glad that people are more open to the spiritual side of life now. I will definitely check out that article, in fact I’ve read it before, and I can agree with a lot of what you said.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Is this the blog you’re talking about?


          And yes, spirits can be tricky, leading us astray by using our own hopes and dreams against us. I am glad you were able to wake up from that particular dream, and come back to a higher reality. Not that soulmates aren’t real. They are. But to use that to lead you away from God? That’s not good or nice!

        • Yes, that is the blog!

          You are right, it was a good thing for me in the long run to stop holding onto that dream. It was tough for me to let it go at the time, but once I did, it actually helped me see reality more clearly.

          I began to understand the spiritual connection I feel to a musician who passed away, I felt it all my life, but because I was so distracted by this soul-mate dream I had, I didn’t notice it for a few years.

          The beautiful thing is as I grew closer to this musician’s spirit (you can probably guess who he is!), I actually grew closer to God. I started waking up and seeing how God works in our lives. And that’s when I knew I was on the right track again, because I was getting closer to God.

  35. Just one last thought: as I said about celebrities visiting ordinary people, I really do feel it comes down to the character of the celebrity. Like some celebrities may prefer to stay in their groups, while others feel like one of the people. I think Jimi always felt like one of the people, because he was very humble and kind. He also was quite poor when he was growing up, so he never forgot where he came from.

    Here is an actual quote that Jimi Hendrix said about how he met people (in this case, girls). It’s from the biography, “Starting At Zero”, which includes Jimi Hendrix’s own words, interviews, and letters. I think this quote shows how Jimi looked into people’s souls:

    “I’m the biggest square of all when it comes to approaching someone I really dig. You don’t go by appearance, ’cause boy, we know the story. Some of them are the worst people in the world. There are other things that girls have to offer besides their looks. The first thing I look for when meeting a girl is to see if she’s human. It’s so nice meeting girls not wearing masks, who dare to be kind.

    I get sad about all the girls I see walking on the street when I’m in a taxicab, because I’ll never meet them, and perhaps one of them is the right girl for me….”

    So those were Jimi’s real life thoughts about meeting people.

    I can understand being skeptical about spiritual contact with famous celebrities. I often feel it would be easier to write about my experiences if Jimi hadn’t been so famous, but that was a part of his life, so I accept it.

    If you’d like to read some thoughts I’ve written about skeptics, here’s a post I wrote on it:

    You might also find this post interesting. By evidence, though, I meant logical conclusions based on other afterlife experiences and facts:

    And here’s another really interesting look at how ADCs manifest:

    All right, I’ll stop there! 😀

    • Lee says:

      Hi Autumn,

      I just read the article you linked on healthy vs. unhealthy skepticism. Good stuff!

      For comparison, here is a fairly long quote from Swedenborg that says basically the same thing you said in that article, only it’s more focused on believing or not believing spiritual teachings drawn from the Bible. The translation is a bit old-fashioned, but I’m sure you’ll get the idea.

      When the doctrine of faith is regarded from rational ideas, that is, when someone does not believe until he is persuaded on rational grounds that the thing is so, it is not only in that case brought to ruin but also whatever is contained within it is denied. But when rational ideas are regarded from the doctrine of faith, that is, when he believes the Word and after that confirms the same things by means of rational ideas, doctrine is in that case living and whatever is contained within it is regarded affirmatively.

      There are therefore two basic attitudes of mind, the first leading to utter stupidity and insanity, the second to perfect intelligence and wisdom. The first occurs when someone denies everything, that is, says in his heart that he is unable to believe those things until he is convinced by things which he can grasp in his mind and perceive with his senses. This is an attitude which leads to utter stupidity and insanity and must be termed the negative attitude. The second occurs when someone regards affirmatively the things which comprise doctrine drawn from the Word, that is, when he thinks within himself and believes that those things are true because the Lord has spoken them. This is an attitude that leads to perfect intelligence and wisdom, and must be termed the affirmative attitude.

      The more those who think from the negative attitude consult rational ideas and the more they consult factual knowledge and the more they consult philosophical concepts, the more they pitch themselves headlong into darkness, till at length they deny everything. The reasons for this are that nobody is able from things that are lower to grasp with his mind those that are higher, that is, from those that are lower to grasp those that are spiritual and celestial, still less those that are Divine, since these go above and beyond his entire understanding. And what is more, when this is the case everything is regarded from a basically negative attitude of mind. On the other hand, however, people who think from the affirmative attitude are able to confirm themselves by whatever rational ideas, and by whatever factual knowledge, indeed by any philosophical concepts, which they are able in any way to make use of, for to them all these matters are confirmatory and enable them to have a fuller idea of the matter.

      In addition there are those who are in doubt before they deny, and there are those who are in doubt before they accept affirmatively. Those in doubt before denying are people who are disposed towards a life of evil; and when carried away by that life, then insofar as they think about those matters they deny them. Those however in doubt before accepting affirmatively are people who are disposed towards a life of good; and when they allow themselves to be turned to that life by the Lord, then insofar as they think about those matters they accept them affirmatively. (Arcana Coelestia #2568)

      (Click on the link to read the full section from Swedenborg, which is part of a commentary on a particular verse in the book of Genesis.)

      • Hi,

        Wow, this is so true. This reminds me of the disillusionment some scientists have when they find no concrete evidence for spiritual things. They get so discouraged, they end up denying everything spiritual, because it doesn’t fit into their box of proof.

        I will definitely read the full section later today!

    • Lee says:

      Hi Autumn,

      Yes, it’s certainly possible that it actually is Jimi Hendix himself coming to you. It’s just . . . all these people (or should I say, all these women?) having ADC relationships with celebrities does strain credulity a bit. Why not with some ordinary person who is their twin soul? It’s not impossible that they should all be in contact with deceased celebrities. Just very unlikely that it should so often be a celebrity, not an ordinary person. That’s why I keep open the possibility that it is someone portraying that celebrity, not the actual celebrity himself. Even though celebrities really are just ordinary human beings, people will listen to them more than they listen to ordinary people, precisely because they are celebrities, and not only ordinary people.

      Still, I do understand that some celebrities do connect with ordinary non-famous people, and have close relationships with them. As you say, they are still just ordinary people who happen to do something that has made them famous. Probably one of the reasons celebrities often hang around with other celebrities is that they get tired of people treating them like gods instead of like human beings. A case in point is what you bring up in one of your articles about Hendrix’s difficulty in finding a girlfriend who would relate to him as a regular, flawed person, and not as some perfect being—which he couldn’t actually be—and that once they realized he was just as imperfect as anyone else, they got mad at him and left him. They were projecting their own idol-worship onto him rather than seeing him as he actually was.

      But as you say, the experiences are yours. It’s not my job to tell you who it is you’re talking to. Perhaps Jimi Hendrix actually is waiting for you on the other side.

      One thing I will mention is that although you say in one place that you see him with your physical eyes, I think it must actually be with your spiritual eyes, even when you are seeing him within your physical surroundings. If you are seeing his spirit, then only your spiritual eyes can see him, because physical eyes cannot see spiritual things. The only other possibility is that he’s projecting some sort of physical manifestation of himself, which is visible to your physical eyes. However, that seems far less likely than that you are actually seeing him with your spiritual eyes, but because things we see with our spiritual eyes are just as real as things we see with our physical eyes, it’s often hard to tell the difference. It’s not really an important point, but just something I noticed and had a reaction to.

      One other thing I had a reaction to is the idea that science is beginning to support spiritual phenomena such as ADCs.

      I know it is important to a lot of people that anything believable should be scientifically verifiable, or at least supported by scientists. But that, to me, is a symptom of the reality that due to the materialism of our modern culture, science has taken the place of religion in many people’s minds. If science supports it, it must be real!

      Yet as I say in the above post, and as you say in some of your posts as well, science itself is also based on various unprovable assumptions. Science cannot even demonstrate that the material universe exists as a material universe, and not merely as a projection of the human mind. So the idea that science must support something in order for it to be believable is, to me, not believable.

      Mind you, I do think that the material universe exists as a material universe, and that it isn’t just a projection of the human mind. But as soon as scientists begin to think they have a corner on some sort of absolute, dependable truth, and that things can be believed only if science approves of them, they are making science a religion instead of science.

      Real science is an open-ended and open-minded search for knowledge. And science as we know it is a search for knowledge about the material universe and material reality. It is not science’s place to determine and promulgate the ultimate nature of reality, nor is it science’s place to determine what is real and what isn’t. That’s especially so in relation to spiritual and divine reality. Rather, it is science’s place to study and learn about this material plane of reality, and how it works.

      So although I understand people’s desire to have scientific evidence for God and spirit, if that’s what they require before they will believe, then they will never believe. Science cannot supply such evidence any more than someone with a telescope can supply evidence about microscopic life forms. It’s the wrong tool for the job.

      I know I’m not disagreeing with you here. It’s just good to keep in mind that if people come to you insisting that you provide scientific evidence for your claims, those people aren’t going to believe you anyway. It’s not worth spending your precious time trying to convince them.

      Having said all that, once we do accept the reality of God and spirit, there is no conflict between our knowledge of God and spirit and our scientific and rational knowledge. Science and reason are meant to support our knowledge of God and spirit by providing them with a material-world foundation. It’s just that science and reason on their own can never lead us to an understanding and knowledge of spiritual reality and of divine reality (God).

      These were just a few of my reactions. I did really enjoy reading the articles, and agreed with much of what you said. Whatever my personal thoughts may be about your experiences, it is clear that they are having a major positive effect on your life, and especially on your spiritual life. And that is certainly a good thing.

      • Hi, Lee

        Thanks for responding! And that is a good point to make. You had several good points to make, actually. I can edit the article to include these points of view.

        Feel free to give me feedback on Jimi Heaven if you wish. I think of it as a project where the readers can participate. 🙂

        Yes, that is an interesting point, about why celebrities hang out with other celebrities. But in Jimi Hendrix’s case, sadly, he still had difficulty even with the celebrities. He didn’t really fit in with them, either, because they knew where he came from, they knew he’d grown up from a hard life in a little town in Seattle, and he couldn’t really fit in with them. He said in the 1960’s that he was always uncomfortable going to celebrity banquets and balls, because he really didn’t fit in. He just would come in for a little while, and then run out again. His only real home was with music.

        I was thinking about that as well, the fact that many women seem to feel they have these connections to celebrities. However, one possible reason is that it’s easier to become aware of celebrities, because you see them on TV. So you may be able to learn more about the person through that way, and recognize that you share a soul connection with him. So yes, I can understand the skepticism, but that’s also another idea for it.

        Another thing is that not everyone opens up about these experiences. It’s very possible there are men having these spiritual experiences, too. In fact, Gary Duncan, a psychologist who dealt with the Jean Cline and George Reeves case (which he finally concluded was genuine) said there were men who admitted they had twin soul encounters, but they didn’t want to be interviewed. I think our culture makes it hard for men to admit they have a more emotional side, so that may be why they didn’t open up.

        In the beginning, I was absolutely certain I would never open up about my experiences, because I thought I was too shy, and I might be wrong, and so on. So you would never have heard of them if I didn’t take the chance and open up. So that could happen to people, too.

        Christina puts it this way:
        If you are a highly sensitive and empathic person, you may be able to detect that you share a soul connection with someone, even if they are deceased. It really does not matter at all if they are deceased. They are still alive and aware in another plane of existence that I believe is closely entwined with this one. To me, this is why afterlife communication is possible.

        I had the luxury of being able to detect my connection with Robin’s spirit because he was in the public eye. But even if your twin is not in the public eye and you never met them, it’s still possible to connect and get to know each other after death if they find out who you are and contact you through dreams for example. Your twin could be someone you would least expect, take it from me. I think God takes great pleasure in bringing together people who don’t seem to go together at all from an earthly perspective.

        She is very humble, and very grounded out of all the cases I described. You may really enjoy her blog, Paisley and Poppies.

        In my case, believe it or not, I was like, “Jimi, don’t come to me!” 😀

        I didn’t know anything about after-death communication, and I did not want anyone from the other side communicating with me. So when it first happened, I tried to explain it away so hard. But over time, I just couldn’t do that anymore.

        Thank you for your insight about the spiritual eyesight. I’ll include that in the article. I think you’re right.

        Well, as far as science goes, I like to write about it because I’ve always had an interest in it. So to me it’s a thrill to connect the dots like that. I have nothing against science, and I do feel it can help show more evidence for ADCs and spiritual phenomena. But as I said at the beginning, these are just logical conclusions I made, not hard-core evidence.

        I will definitely make that more clear in the article, though. For me, it was fun just connecting the dots. I have an analytical mind, so I do that sometimes.

        I agree, though, that science can become a religion if you believe solely in what it has to say. I think I’ll write an article about my views on that. Personally, I don’t see science as a religion. I’ve never been a materialist, it just has never squared with the spiritual intuition I feel about life. So I’m actually less inclined to use science as the sole tool to prove something is true. It’s more like a support, rather than the ultimate knowledge.

        I’m glad you enjoyed reading the articles! I think I will make a little edit and say that scientists, rather than science itself, are finally beginning to admit that spiritual things are possible.

        I agree completely with you that science and reason alone cannot give us the full answers. As I said, they’re simply tools to help us understand the universe a little better. By themselves, though, you can’t find faith in God through them.

        Thanks for you advice. I actually realized some of that a while back. I mention science because I really like science and see the new discoveries do confirm a lot of people’s experiences. But you’re right, science is not the ultimate truth.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          You make some very good points. None of this is impossible. And of course, many people think that the very idea of a spiritual world is outlandish and impossible!

          I also love science, even though I devoted my life to religion rather than science. I particularly enjoy space and astronomy. I have a small telescope that I sometimes set up at night to look at the moon, planets, and stars. And I’m a big fan of Elon Musk and Spacex! The fact that Swedenborg was a scientist before he became a seer makes his writings all the more attractive to my scientific mind. But it is the spiritual insight and knowledge he offers that puts him in a league all his own.

        • Hi, Lee, wow! That’s really neat! I love space and astronomy, too. The universe is so mysterious, and so beautiful.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Speaking of Seattle, I spent my 20s and early 30s living on an island about fifty miles north of Seattle. I went down to the city fairly often during some of the years I was there, but only or short visits. I never really got to know the place all that well. My life was on the small island where I lived, along with my brother and his family and a few other Swedenborgians, plus the general population of the island. So it was interesting to hear that Jimi Hendrix grew up in Seattle.

        • Yes, that’s right, that’s where Jimi grew up. Sorry it took me a while to reply, I had to do some chores.

          He lived most of his childhood and teenage years in Seattle, he had quite a hard childhood, but music changed his whole life. In some ways, it was good for him to be famous because that helped him spread his message. But fame was difficult for Jimi, too, because he had to deal with all the chaos that can come with it. He had such a simple background to begin with, it actually was kind of hard for him to deal with the pressures of the music business.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          It is similar to sports figures who rise up from poverty to become rich and famous, and who have no idea how to handle all that wealth and fame, because nothing in their background prepared them for it. See, for example:

          Spiritual Growth 101 with Mike Tyson: “The Virtue of Selfishness”

        • Hi Lee,

          All right, I will check out that article. You’re right, it’s very similar to that.

        • Hi Lee,

          By the way, I thought I’d just explain the concept of twin souls. very briefly, so you can kind of understand what I mean.

          The twin soul connection, when it is genuine, is a connection which brings you closer to God, goodness, and love. That’s what it’s really all about. It’s a connection between two souls who deeply bond with each other on the spirit level, and who share a similar essence. It’s sort of like what Swedenborg wrote about partners who are so close together, in mind and in spirit, that they feel like one.

          Unfortunately, the mainstream view of twin souls makes some people think it’s all about relationship troubles, which isn’t what it is at all. So when I mention the twin soul connection, I mean more of a very close, kindred spirit, loving kind of connection which can bring you to God.

          I do tend to stay away from getting too deep into labels, though. To be honest, it’s hard to put into words how much I care about Jimi, and how much love and guidance he has shown me throughout the years. So the term twin soul does help, but it can only explain but so much.

          I think it really would break my heart, and his as well, if we were forced apart from each other in the afterlife. So I hope that doesn’t happen. Although I believe we will reunite in the afterlife one day, I know that only God knows for certain what will happen.

          The beautiful thing is this experience has shown me what it truly means to love someone’s soul, to really experience love from the heart. So no matter what happens, I will always keep this beautiful experience of that with me.

          This has also deepened my faith in God. To know He is pure love means I know He will do what is most loving and best for everyone, so I feel at peace knowing that everything is in His hands.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Thanks for that. I have been struggling a bit to wrap my mind around the “twin soul” idea. It sounds almost like a spiritual marriage relationship, but it seems not to be what in earthly language is called a romantic connection. I also thought it might be a guardian angel type of relationship, which is sort of like a mentor and protector relationship, but your connection with Jimi Hendrix seems more than that. Or maybe it is a relationship of close friendship. So yes, I’m still pondering that one. In Swedenborg’s teaching, the closest possible relationship between two people is a marriage relationship. So in my mind, a twin soul connection could not be closer than a spiritual marriage relationship.

          Meanwhile, please know that no one is forced apart in the afterlife. People do depart from one another, but it is at the will of at least one of them, if not of both of them, because it becomes clear that the two have disparate minds and hearts, and are heading in incompatible directions from each other.

          It is true that sometimes one makes the break when the other would not, but that’s just human life. Sometimes relationships aren’t what people think they are. A wife may divorce her husband, and to him it is a lightning strike out of the blue, but she’s been contemplating it for years, and just finally got up the resolve to actually go ahead and do it. Still, in these cases, even if it wasn’t the choice of one of them, the relationship actually was broken; it’s just that only one of them realized it.

          If it actually is Jimi Hendrix that you’re in contact with, and if the relationship is as you describe it, then there is a mutual desire to be in relationship with one another, and that will not be torn apart in the spiritual world.

          Honestly, I do get concerned for some people who believe they have a relationship with someone, and it’s not what it seems. It can be devastating for a person to learn the reality of the situation when she or he has invested a great deal of emotion and life into it. I had a version of this myself when my previous wife divorced me. Yes, there were certainly certainly foreshadowings of it. Still, it was hard, and I had to go through a huge change in my mind and heart in a very short period of time.

          One such situation of unrealistic feelings that were likely to lead to heartbreak came in a submitted question that I answered here:

          What If I’m In Love with Someone I Can’t Have?

          I really felt for the person who submitted the question. But I had to be honest about the vast unlikeliness that she would actually have the relationship she dreamed of with an unnamed famous man.

          So . . . If I say some things that may be hard for you to hear, and call into question the relationship you have with Jimi Hendrix, it’s not because I want to be cruel, but because I get concerned about people thinking they have a type of relationship that realistically is not what they think it is, and isn’t going to happen the way they think it will. I would hate to see you crushed in this manner if your connection with Jimi Hendrix turned out not to be what you think it is.

          On the other hand, given how much effort you’ve put into verifying things, and given the length of the connection, and given its positive effects, I have a hard time believing that it is a complete sham. And I don’t believe that you will get to the spiritual world and be crushed by whatever you find out about what’s been happening between you and the spirit of Jimi Hendrix. If it isn’t quite what you think it is, I believe that God would make sure that this was broken to you gently, and not in a hurtful and devastating manner.

          Further, from what little I know of Jimi Hendrix, I do think he was a good person, and I do believe that he would continue to make music in the spiritual world. That is what he loved to do, and we carry our loves with us into the spiritual world. Because of this, there is no reason whatsoever that you shouldn’t be able to go to Jimi Hendrix concerts there, see him backstage, and either make a connection with him or continue the connection that you already have with him. If indeed you and he are kindred spirits, that commonality of soul will continue in the spiritual world, because in the spiritual world, all connections are connections of people who have things in common with one another in heart, mind, and life.

        • Hi Lee,

          Thank you very much for your response. I would go into more detail about the experiences I have with Jimi, but at the moment I prefer to keep some of them personal right now.

          Thank you very much for your point of view on the situation. It is hard to put it into words, but to be honest with you, I do love Jimi very deeply in many ways.

          I can only share but so much because it is very personal, but I do believe that as you said, only God has all the answers.

          I do believe there is a mutual desire from both of us to connect in love in this way, because as I wrote on my blog, I was actually suggesting to Jimi that perhaps he ought to visit the people he knew and loved on the earth, instead of me. Although I loved him deeply, I didn’t want to hold him back in any way. I even said to him, “Your spirit is free, you don’t have to stay with me.” I really just wanted him to be happy, whoever he ends up with.

          But Jimi always came back to me, throughout the years. Although he has always given me time to be on my own and live my life (he even said in the past that if I did find a husband on the earth, one that I truly love, he would not get in the way of that), he’s also shared with me that he really loves and cares about me. So I believe there is a mutual love between us; I don’t feel it’s one-sided.

          But what matters most to me is the truth, and that’s why I did so much fact-checking and verifying throughout the years.

          I am so glad that God does not tear apart people who love each other (I’m getting a little teary-eyed with happiness about that). But what matters the most to me is Jimi being happy. If we somehow were not partners for each other, as long as he was happy, then I would be happy for him.

          Yes, the twin soul idea is hard for people to understand unless they have experienced it. I understand that you have not had ADC encounters, so I can see how it’s hard to understand. Words can only explain so much, but it can be like a spiritual marriage in some ways. If a spiritual marriage is the union of mind, heart, and soul, then a twin soul connection is similar to that in some ways.

          Actually, there is often a romantic connection in a twin soul experience, though not always. Everyone’s experiences are unique.

          But at the same time, this is not the kind of love which wants to dominate and control someone. I really just want Jimi to be happy, and he said he was happy to stay with me, so I let him stay.

          I actually would prefer not to be married in the traditional sense on the earth, because I feel more inclined to do useful service for others, and do creative work, and travel a lot. I never had a really strong desire to have a family in the traditional sense. So it would be hard for me to force myself to do something that I don’t really feel I want to do in my heart.

          But that doesn’t mean I’ll never form loving connections with others. Jimi has always encouraged me to make friends and meet people (even the guys!).

          Yes, as long as God shows me the truth, I’ll be at peace. And I guess that’s why I’m more at peace now, because whatever happens is truly in God’s hands. He’ll do what’s best for everyone.

          I do feel that Jimi may be drawn to me because we are so similar in so many ways. And he was never happily married on the earth; in his later years, he hoped to be married, but he just could not find anyone who understood him and truly loved him.

          So although I feel Jimi and I are spiritual partners, I am humble about this because only God knows everything. Only God know for absolute certainty whether we will be together or not. So I don’t get too hung up on that, I try to focus on the present moment, and enjoy the spiritual connection.

          The connection I’ve had with Jimi has evolved over time, which is why it’s hard for me to put it into a box. There were times in my life when he felt more like a best friend, and times when he felt like a loving partner. And he felt like a guardian angel during the toughest times in my life. On the other hand, Jimi sometimes even withdrew from my life, because he wanted me to experience the world. So for us, it can often change over time.

          Thank you for expressing your concerns, Lee. I think I will be okay, though. I always try to keep a balance. Jimi sometimes encouraged me to not get too attached to him, which is why he has given me moments of alone time throughout the years.

          Yes, people all around Jimi knew he was a good soul. His brother Leon, who grew up with him, said, “Jimi’s soul was good, Jimi’s soul was pure.” Jimi did face difficulties from abuse in his childhood, the music business temptations, and so on, but his heart always tried to find goodness.

          I try to be as truthful as possible, although I am shy, about what I experience with Jimi. It is a beautiful connection ,but not without its challenges. So here is a post which explains some of that:

          Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Thanks for the link. I read that article and several others in your “Electric Love” series. There are many good thoughts in those articles. I enjoyed reading them.

          I do think it is good that you are not trying to make your relationship with Jimi Hendrix’s spirit be some particular type of relationship, but are just letting it be whatever it will be. Sometimes we get stuck on wanting to make relationships be a certain way, and when they stubbornly refuse to actually be that way, we get all hurt about it, when we could have just accepted and enjoyed what the relationship actually was.

          I speak from experience in this. I tried to make the relationship with the person who became my first wife be something that it was never going to be. Eventually, reality won out. After that marriage fell apart, I decided that I was never going to get married again on this earth, but would wait until the afterlife. God had different plans that time, too! 😀

          And yes, real marriage is a union of heart, mind, and soul. It is not forced, but free. In fact, Swedenborg says that any attempt by partners to dominate or control one another destroys the marriage. In his 18th century language, marriage is based on “mutual consent,” meaning freely chosen mutual love. It is not based on some compulsion that I must be married to this person. It comes from the heart of each partner, and what comes from the heart is free, not forced. There is more about spiritual marriage in this article:

          How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?

          The attempt by various religions and cultures to make marriage fit into a particular pattern of duties and gender roles may have been okay in earlier centuries when people didn’t have the idea or experience of spiritual love as many do today. But now that we do know about spiritual love relationships and soulmates, those attempts to fit marriage into particular required patterns can be very damaging. Spiritual marriage is real only if it is free and flows spontaneously from the hearts of each of the partners.

          This doesn’t mean it will be easy. Anything worth having requires work. And the work of marriage is putting aside our own self-centered desires and preconceived notions about how things are supposed to be, and acting out of actual love and care for the other person, not out of trying to get something (sex, money, social recognition, and so on) from them for ourselves.

          Married partners in heaven love each other deeply, and have no interest in anyone else romantically, not because that’s what they’re supposed to do, but because their hearts, minds, and lives are bound up with one another so that they are really one angel, not two. Yes, they keep their distinct identities. Each is still an individual. But they are bound together with one another so that each is like half of one angel.

          Given your views and experiences about relationships, I certainly wouldn’t recommend getting married just for the sake of getting married, or because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a young woman. If someone comes along who is your spiritual partner, and it isn’t Jimi Hendrix, you’ll know. And based on what you’ve told me about the things he has said to you, if that happens, he will be happy and joyful for you. If it never does happen here on earth, you will still be able to get married in the spiritual world if you want to. Whoever your spiritual marriage partner is, whether it is Jimi Hendrix or someone else, it will come freely from your heart. You will not be able to imagine being with anyone else, because your partner will be not only a twin soul, but the other half of your own soul.

          Here is another article you might find helpful in clarifying in your own mind what marriage is all about. It’s aimed primarily at men, and it starts out tongue-in-cheek, but it then goes through three different types of marriage that have existed and do exist in our world, and what they are all about:

          What Do Women Really Want?

          And another one that also starts out tongue-in-cheek, but then gets serious:

          How to Attract the Opposite Sex—and Keep ’Em

          And finally (for now), here is one that takes a more biblical look at what God originally intended marriage to be compared to what we humans made it when we started moving away from God and God’s ideals:

          Man, Woman, and the Two Creation Stories of Genesis

        • Hi Lee,

          Wow, that is so true. We can give ourselves so much unhappiness when we try to force a relationship to fit into a certain box. For me, at that time, the twin soul box was becoming too limiting, so I let go of the label for a while. I only returned to it because the connection does bring you closer to God, so I felt it was important to mention it. But I always try not to get too caught up in labeling things.

          Yes, you never know what God’s plans are. I’m glad everything worked out for you the second time around! 😀

          Marriage love is at its loveliest when it’s natural, when you don’t have to force anything to happen. And it can happen when you least expect it.

          Swedenborg is spot on about how domination and control can destroy a marriage. When you love someone for real, you genuinely want him to be happy. You don’t want to keep him in a cage and tie him down. If there is a mutual love there, that would be a horrific thought, to have to control someone to make them yours.

          Thanks for your advice. I agree completely that getting married for the sake of marriage is not a good thing. I would not want to marry a man while my heart is still so deeply connected to Jimi, because it would be unfair to my earthly husband. I also wouldn’t want to force myself to get married.

          You are right, a real spiritual marriage comes from mutual love and consent, not from forcing anyone into anything. That’s one reason why I was always careful to not make Jimi feel he was bound to me, because I respected his freedom.

          Thanks for reading the Electric Love Series.
          I’ll definitely check out some of your articles. Some of them I’ve read before, and I could agree with many of the points you wrote about. 🙂

        • Hi Lee,

          Just some final thoughts on the article you shared about the reader who hoped to be in a relationship with this famous man; I know she wrote that she was in love with him. But I can’t help but feel that if you truly love someone, you want him to be happy, whether he is with you or without you. Since the famous man was happily married to his wife, I don’t think it would actually be very loving to hope that he would choose the reader over his own wife. I don’t want to judge here, because it isn’t right to judge others’ feelings. But I just can’t help but feel that if the reader truly cared about this man, she would want him to be happy, and if his happiness was with his wife, she would want them to be happy together in the afterlife.

          Jimi was never happily married on the earth, as I wrote before. But if that had been the case, if he had married a loving wife, I would want him to be happy with his wife. I would try to control my emotions and let things be, although it could be very hard. But for Jimi’s sake, I would do it, because I would want him to be happy. And I know it would not make him happy if I tried to convince him to stop loving his wife. It also just doesn’t feel right to me.

          So those are my thoughts. As I said, I don’t want to judge. But that’s just what came to mind.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Yes, I agree with you about the reader who posed that question. My own thoughts inside my head were much stronger than what I wrote in the article. But I wrote it to speak to her, not to beat her over the head. So I said what I had to say as gently as I could. People can get crushed when their fantasies are exploded. Religion is about helping people, not about rudely destroying all their hopes and dreams.

          When I was serving as pastor of a church, I once had a young woman call and ask if I would perform a private wedding ceremony for her, with no guests and no marriage license. When I asked her why there would be no guests and no marriage license, it turned out that she was engaged in an adulterous relationship with a married man. She had the fantasy that he would eventually leave his wife for her. Meanwhile, she wanted a special ceremony to celebrate their love for each other. I really felt sorry for her. Her fantasy and the reality were two entirely different things. She was being used by this man for his sexual pleasure, and was headed for a huge emotional crash whenever she realized that he would never his wife and children and marry her. I tried to break this to her as gently as I could. But she was in no state to listen to me.

          These are some of the things that happen when people live in a fantasy world rather than seeing reality as it is. It’s also what happens when people don’t follow the basic rules of morality, such as, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

          Speaking of marriage, you’re probably aware by now that Swedenborg wrote a whole book on marriage love. Some of what he said is now dated because it was written in a different time and culture. However, what he wrote about the origin and nature of true marriage love is still far beyond anything else in print today. If you do decide to read it, I recommend the translation by David F. Gladish. Here is a link to its Kindle version on Amazon:

          Love in Marriage, by Emanuel Swedenborg

          While I’m recommending books, I hope that by now you’ve gotten yourself a copy of Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell. If not, here’s my notice of it, which has links to where you can purchase it or download free electronic versions:

          Heaven and Hell, by Emanuel Swedenborg

        • Hi Lee,
          Thanks a lot for these books and suggestions. And you’re right, it’s unfortunate that when people live in a fantasy world, they have a hard time facing reality. I do feel sorry for the woman who wanted to have this relationship with a married man, but I’m glad you were as gentle as you could be with her. I have read some of Swedenborg’s Love in Marriage, and I plan on reading more!

          I’ll also check out Heaven and Hell. I’ve already read some of what Swedenborg wrote about the afterlife, and I find it very fascinating, especially since it relates to the afterlife experiences people have had around the world.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          In response to this:

          Feel free to give me feedback on Jimi Heaven if you wish. I think of it as a project where the readers can participate. 🙂

          I wouldn’t want to tell you how to write your blog, especially since it’s such a personal project. But I will mention just one other thing that catches in my mind. That’s when you speak of “God and Jesus.” This makes it sound like they are two different beings. I know that this is a traditional “Christian” way to think and speak. But from a Swedenborgian perspective—which I believe is simply a truly Christian perspective—they are one and the same being. Jesus is God come to earth to love us and save us and form a direct relationship with us. Please see:

        • Hi Lee,

          Thanks very much for the insight. You know, the interesting thing is that when I spoke with Jimi in spirit, he told me the same thing: Jesus is God. But I grew up in a family which spoke of God and Jesus, so it tends to come out in that way. However, I think it actually is more truthful to say that Jesus is God, so I will make that more clear. It’s also a lot simpler. Thanks for the insight! 🙂

      • Hi, Lee,

        Yes, the experiences have had a very positive effect on me, personally. The only hard part is that it’s difficult for my family to understand them. Sometimes I wish I could tell my family members more about my experiences, but I tried in the past, and they didn’t really understand. I love my family members dearly, but they don’t really think about spiritual things as much as I do. But my Dad is very spiritual-minded in some ways. However, out of everybody, I’m the most into these kinds of spiritual and God things, and it can be a bit lonely sometimes. So I’m glad to connect with others like you who also care about God and the soul.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          As Jesus said, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house” (Mark 6:4). It is hard for people who have known us all our lives to see us and our mind and experience differently than what they’ve seen in us from the outside, and before our life turned in a different direction.

          Fortunately for me, I grew up in a family with deep Swedenborgian roots, which means I don’t have any problem being accepted as a Swedenborgian minister by my family. But for people who came out of a family that wasn’t particularly religious or spiritual, or whose religion is not compatible with the person’s new spiritual direction, it can be very hard. Jesus himself faced this issue when his family came to get him because they thought he was out of his mind. His response was that his family are the people who do God’s will. But later, some of his family members did also become his followers.

        • Hi Lee,
          Jesus was right, it can be very challenging. I didn’t know Jesus’s family thought he was losing his mind. I guess they couldn’t quite understand where he was coming from, but Jesus was right; his family are the people who do God’s will. The good thing is that my immediate family members are good people, they try their best to do what’s right, so even if they don’t fully understand the spiritual side of me, I know they follow God’s will in their own way.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          It is not crystal clear that his family thought he was crazy. But they got wind that people were saying that about him, and they didn’t stick up for him, but wanted to restrain him, which suggests that they thought it might be true. Here is the passage, in the Gospel of Mark:

          Then he went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” (Mark 3:19–21)

          It is later in the same chapter that Jesus does not recognize them as his family:

          Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31–35)

        • Hi Lee,

          Wow, that is a powerful passage. It must have been hard for Jesus to deal with all of this, but he did have extra strength from being God in a human form.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Yes, he saw and felt things far more deeply than the rest of us, but he also was the infinite God within his own soul, so that he was able to face and deal with everything that was thrown at him, both from the outside and from the inside.

        • Yes, only God could face some of the things Jesus had to face. I’m so glad Jesus came to spread the truth to the world, and save it through love and wisdom.

      • Hi Lee,
        Just one last thought, on the subject of ordinary people and celebrities.

        I remembered a vision I had a few years ago. In the vision. Jimi was the school teacher next door, and he wasn’t famous at all, but the essence of his soul was still the same. Even though he was just an ordinary school teacher, I loved him just as much as I do now. We talked about things, and I took care of him when he got sick.

        It was a really touching vision. Even though he was just an ordinary school teacher, I still cared about him, because his soul was still the same.

        I hope you don’t mind me sharing this little vision with you. It just came into my mind this morning. 🙂

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          If it is the real Jimi Hendrix that you’re in touch with, then I’m sure the fact that you think of him as a human being first means a lot to him.

        • Hi Lee,

          Yes, it means so much to him. It really helps him to know that I can see into his soul, see him for who he really is. It was very hard for Jimi to find that kind of acceptance on the earth. Even his own family members had great difficulty in understanding his visions and dreams for music. But they did care about Jimi and helped him as best as they could.

  36. K says:

    What do you think the story is behind ghost sightings?

    I heard the paranormal explanation that spirits can leave a “recording” of sorts on the environment in the natural world. Of course the skeptical position is that such sightings are just natural phenomenon, hallucinations, fraud, or a combination of such.

    Hopefully spirits can’t get stuck lingering in the physical anyway.

    • Lee says:

      Hi K,

      The “ghosts” people see are most likely very materialistic spirits who have died not too long ago, and long to be back on earth rather than in the spiritual world. They may “haunt” places where they used to live, or places that have an aura of “spookiness” about them in the minds of people still living on earth. Spirits are associated with people still living on earth, and will respond to and be attracted to thoughts and feelings in people’s minds that accord with the spirits own way of thinking and feeling.

      Spirits are not visible to people’s physical eyes. Any sightings would involve people’s spiritual eyes being partially opened. That’s the only way we can see spiritual things, including seeing the spirits of people who have died and gone on to the spiritual world. This also explains why some people see them, and others don’t. People of a materialistic mindset are unlikely to see spirits because being materialistic tends to block any spiritual awareness, which includes blocking having the person’s spiritual senses opened.

      Spirits, on the other hand, do have the capability of seeing physical things, though only under unusual circumstances. More often, for spirits to see things in the physical world they must look through the eyes of a person who is still living in the world. (Though even this is not usually allowed.) Nevertheless, we know that it is possible for spirits to see physical things with their spiritual eyes from near-death experiencers who see themselves lying on the operating table as the doctors are trying to revive them. Swedenborg also mentions in one place that it is possible for what is spiritual to see what is physical, but not the reverse. This is relevant because “earthbound spirits” of the sort I mentioned just above are able to move around in a building that they are “haunting,” and see the rooms, objects, and people who are there.

      And of course, some reports of “hauntings” are in fact fraud or hallucinations by people who are either looking to make a buck or looking for notoriety or just mentally unstable. Personally, though I don’t reject the possibility of actual hauntings, I also don’t put a great deal of stock in ghost stories.

      • K says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        I thought the physical couldn’t perceive the spiritual, and the other way around too. Do spirits who look into the physical when “disembodied” do so by looking at a spiritual “hologram” of the physical, like New Age claims to be the case with “astral projection”?

        Also, when a spirit is “allowed” to look at the physical, does it feel allowed in the sense of a natural “law” permitting something, or do they have to get actual permission from God to do so? The former sounds more in line with what I know of New Church.

        And what about ghost sightings supposedly caught on camera, if only spiritual eyes can see ghosts? Of course they could be faked, but there’s doubt with that. Maybe spirits can have influence on the physical, like Swedenborg describing powers of angels in the physical in Heaven and Hell (IIRC)?

        • Lee says:

          Hi K,

          Here is the specific quote from Swedenborg:

          Nevertheless, the spiritual self cannot be visible to the earthly self, because what is earthly cannot see what is spiritual. What is spiritual can see what is earthly, though: this is in keeping with the divine design, but the reverse is not. Therefore there is an inflow from what is spiritual into what is earthly but not the reverse; and this applies to our ability to see, because sight flows in as well. (Last Judgment #24)

          He also says at one point in Other Planets, after describing things on a physical planet:

          What I saw on that planet I did not see with my physical eyes but with the eyes of my spirit; and our spirit can see things that are on a physical planet when allowed to do so by the Lord. (Other Planets #134)

          The New Century Edition has this note there:

          495 (in OP 134). Contrast this statement (that Swedenborg saw physical things with the eyes of his spirit) with the statement in Other Planets 135 and its parallel passage in Secrets of Heaven 1880, that angels and spirits cannot see anything in the material world with their own (spiritual) eyes. In accordance with the latter rule, the typical manner in which spirits see material objects is through the eyes of someone still living physically on earth. However, here Swedenborg makes it clear that there are exceptions to this rule and that spiritual eyes can indeed see material objects directly if the Lord allows it. Compare Swedenborg’s statement in Last Judgment 24:2 that “what is earthly cannot see what is spiritual. What is spiritual can see what is earthly, though—this is in keeping with the divine design, while the reverse is not.” [LSW, SS]

          If it were not possible for spiritual eyes to see physical things, much of what happens in out-of-body experiences would be inexplicable. Clearly this is not something that requires specifically asking the Lord for permission, since it does happen regularly for people who have near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences. To what extent it happens for people living in the spiritual world, I don’t know. But I think it is fairly rare, and happens mostly, as I said before, for physical-minded spirits who ardently wish to be back on earth, in the material world.

          Still, it must be be possible for angels and good spirits to see physical things. Otherwise, how could angels have visited people on earth in various Bible stories? Swedenborg says that the people involved saw the angels with their spiritual eyes. Yet the angels commonly appear in specific earthly locations, such as at the door of Abraham’s tent, or at Jesus’ empty tomb. This suggests that the angels were aware of the physical locations in which they appeared. The story of the three angels visiting Abraham takes things even farther: they eat a meal that Abraham orders to be prepared for them. If we take this story literally (which we’re not obliged to do), this suggests even greater interaction between spirits and physical matter. And of course, after his resurrection, Jesus ate food and interacted physically with his followers, even though his body was no longer made of physical matter, but (according to Swedenborg) of divine substance.

          In short, interaction between spirit and matter is significantly more complex than it may at first appear to be. Still, one clear and explicit principle Swedenborg lays out is that spirit always flows into matter, and never the reverse. Similarly, divine substance (God) always flows into spirit and into matter, and never the reverse.

          Back to “permission,” of course, everything happens under God’s providence or permission, whether or not we are consciously aware of it. Obviously nothing can happen if God does not allow it.

          I am skeptical of supposed photographic evidence of ghosts. However, if spirits can see into the physical world through inflow from spirit to matter, as Swedenborg says, then it might also be possible for them to influence physical things using spiritual forces. Presumably this is how Jesus performed his miracles. Perhaps photos of “ghosts,” if they are genuine and not faked or just optical artifacts, are of spirits influencing the physical atmosphere around them and creating physical mists or vapors out of moisture or particles in the air, that can be seen in physical light. A camera could not see the spirits themselves, but it could see physical phenomena brought about by spirits.

        • K says:

          thanks again for the reply

          So any “magic” of ghosts or miracles in the physical is the spiritual “poking” the physical to behave in ways not normally possible with ordinary natural laws? In other words, “reality distortion” as far as the physical is concerned, like a “glitch” in physical reality that can turn molecules of water into the complex soup of molecules that is wine?

        • Lee says:

          Hi K,

          That’s the theory.

          From a Swedenborgian perspective, all of physical reality is continually held in existence by the spiritual reality flowing into it, and ultimately by the divine reality, which is God, flowing into it.

          This is not only a general sustenance of the physical universe. There is a correspondential relationship between specific divine and spiritual things and specific physical things that correspond to them. So a horse, for example, is a specific manifestation of intellect and intelligence, whereas a sheep is a specific manifestation of innocence. This is the system of correspondence that Swedenborg presents in his writings.

          Normally, this maintenance of physical reality through inflow from the spiritual world and from God takes place invisibly in the background. It sustains the physical world while the physical world moves forward according to its own laws. Those laws are themselves correspondential expressions of spiritual and divine laws. However, they have been built into the physical universe such that the physical universe can operate according to its own laws as if it were independent of God and spirit. This is what makes the scientific study of the physical universe possible. If God and spirit were continually intervening in physical reality and contravening its laws, the repeatability of experiments that scientific method depends on would not be possible.

          It isn’t necessary for God to continually intervene in physical events because God has already designed the physical world to accomplish God’s purposes for it. If God had to continually tinker with the material universe to get it to do the right thing, that would be a design flaw in God’s creating of the universe.

          For minerals, plants, animals, and even humans as biological beings, God’s design of the universe, and God’s continually sustaining the universe moment-to-moment, is sufficient. No special intervention is necessary.

          It’s only when humans as spiritual beings come onto the scene that things begin to change. Unlike all other objects and even sentient beings on this planet, humans have spiritual awareness. We can think about God, the spiritual world, the eternal consequences of our actions, and so on. Humans also have moral agency and free will. We can make choices that will cause our lives to go in one direction or another, and choices that will make our lives go upward or downward. Because of all this, unlike lower animals, our conscious life continues into the spiritual world. And that continuation of our life in the spiritual world to eternity is what God is most concerned about.

          But also because of our spiritual awareness, we humans can gain the knowledge and ability to use spiritual forces to directly influence physical events. Normally we do this by the usual methods of our mind (which is our spirit) using our body to accomplish its goals and plans. This everyone recognizes. But there is also the possibility of acting directly from the spiritual world, outside the agency of a physical body, to affect and change physical objects and events.

          This is what is happening in the case of miracles. Jesus did not use his hands to change the water into wine. He used spiritual forces that acted directly on the water to change it into wine. Ditto for his healing miracles. For the most part, he did not use physical means to heal people. Even the physical actions he performed or had the people perform, such as putting a salve of mud on their eyes or having them bathe in water, were more symbolic ritual than cure. These actions by themselves, without spiritual power behind them, would not cure the people that Jesus healed.

          And yet, even when it comes to miracles, there are rules. One of those rules is expressed quite often in the Gospels: miracles cannot take place where there is no faith. In other words, there has to be a spiritual atmosphere that is created by people believing in God and spirit, and their efficacy, for any miracle to take place.

          This is why scientists don’t have to worry about miracles messing up their experiments. Scientists approach matter from a physical perspective, and expect it to act based on physical laws. And in that atmosphere of mind, it will do exactly that. Meanwhile, miracles are not repeatable, but depend upon specific mental and spiritual circumstances. Therefore they cannot be studied by science. They occur outside of science’s purview.

          Another spiritual law is that God will allow miraculous or supernaturally-induced things to happen only if God sees that some spiritual good can come of it. This is not something we humans can predict or determine for ourselves, in advance. We may pray for a miracle, but we are not wise enough to know when a miracle would actually be a good thing. Only God has that wisdom. Most of the time, God knows that causing or allowing a miracle to happen would do more harm than good.

          For one thing, miracles tend to get people focused on physical things, which is exactly the opposite of raising our minds up to spiritual thoughts and spiritual reality. This is why miracles gradually subsided after the first century or two of Christianity. Initially, miracles were necessary to get a very physical-minded culture to pay attention. But as Christianity took hold, and began raising people’s minds to a higher level, miracles were no longer necessary, and in fact, would no longer be good.

          I believe this is why God still doesn’t allow miracles to happen all that often. And rather than being a sign of “real Christianity,” I believe that Christian sects that focus on miraculous healings and such are some of the most unspiritual and physical-minded groups of Christians. The most important thing about Jesus’ miracles in the Gospels is not the physical healings, but the spiritual meaning of those miracles, which is all about how our eternal soul can be healed, and gain salvation. Getting stuck on the physical miracle is not a sign of spiritual power, but of physical-mindedness.

          That’s why I’m generally unimpressed with miracles, and with people who claim to do them or experience them. Ditto for ghost-sightings and such. If people need photographic evidence of ghosts in order to believe, they are at the lowest level of sense-oriented physical-mindedness. That is exactly what Christ and his apostles were trying to get us away from. But because the people of the time were extremely physical-minded, they had to start where those people’s heads were, and that meant performing physical miracles.

          Even today there are many people at that low level of spiritual awareness and development. That’s why, I believe, some miracles are still allowed to happen even today. And that’s why God sometimes allows spirits to appear to people in the physical world. But it is a low, primitive level of faith. It really should give way to deeper and more internal reasons for having faith in God and spirit. Once people can see the reality of God and spirit with their inner eye, physical miracles have no more usefulness, but are actually hindrances to our spiritual rebirth and growth.

        • K says:

          Thanks for the reply.

          If it’s really possible, I think spiritually-minded people could use “magic” or miracles to do things normally not possible in the physical for useful purposes – like curing disease or space exploration – without hindering spiritual growth.

          At least beyond this planet, maybe.

        • Lee says:

          Hi K,

          It’s possible. The problem is it would tend to sink people down into a materialistic focus. People would become “spiritual” not because they want to develop their spiritual life, but because they want to be able to use that magical power to accomplish physical things. People would gravitate toward spiritual people not because they want to grow in love and understanding, but because they want material benefits of one kind or another. Jesus himself dealt with this very issue after he did the miracle of feeding five thousand people starting with only five loaves of bread and two fish:

          When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

          Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (John 6:25–27)

          Meanwhile, engaging in the work of curing disease and space exploration gives people’s lives meaning and purpose while we’re living here on earth. Taking that purpose away by magically fixing everything would not be a good thing.

        • K says:

          So I guess if a fantasy world with “everyday magic” was real in the physical, “magic” would have to be limited so it doesn’t replace physical labor too much – and maybe even somehow able to be seen as separable from spirituality – to not be detrimental to spirituality.

          In any case, it looks like what we see as “magic” in this life becomes an everyday thing in the spiritual reality, without being detrimental there: it’s just part of the “physics” of how stuff works.

          (thanks again for the replies)

        • Lee says:

          Hi K,

          When you think about it, we already have all sorts of “magic” going on all around us. Technology and machinery have taken over a lot of the menial labor for a sizeable and growing percentage of the world’s population. And yet, despite continual doomsday scenarios that machines and robots are going to leave us all unemployed, the opposite has happened. There are far more jobs now, and more variety in those jobs, than there ever have been in the past—and that reality seems to get greater, not less, every time we have a major technological breakthrough. I don’t expect that to change in the future, no matter how advanced our technology gets.

          It’s not so much that magic would make everything easy, as that for the bulk of the world’s population that is still fairly materialistic, it would tend to distract from any real spiritual growth as “spiritual” disciplines got dragged down into accomplishing physical things instead of spiritual things. This is why the ancient Israelites were forbidden from engaging in magic and witchcraft.

          I suppose that in some far future time when the bulk of the population has become more spiritual in outlook, there might not be this problem. But that day will come centuries after you and I have shuffled off this mortal coil.

          Even in the spiritual world, I have come to believe that God doesn’t do everything for us. Not only would that make us lazy, but it would deprive us of the opportunity to love and serve our neighbor.

          Honestly, I just don’t see the need for magic. It would be cool and all, but I think it’s better for us to do the work of fixing the things we have broken, and engaging in the struggle to make life better on this earth. It is in engaging in that struggle that we learn, grow, exercise our humanity, and become better, stronger, more loving, more thoughtful, and more skilled human beings.

        • K says:

          While it’s good that “magic” is built into the way the afterlife works so reality there isn’t so limited to such a crippling degree, it’s good that God doesn’t do literally everything for us.

          Otherwise it’d get like that “simulated heaven” Swedenborg described where people just lounge around doing nothing. The one where people who believed Heaven was nothing but leisure almost went mad from being allowed to experience it.

        • Lee says:

          Hi K,

          Right. Even here on earth, God could do everything for us, so that we lived a life of ease. But that would not be good for us, so God doesn’t do that. God has given us a sense of independence so that we can have our own identity and build our own life in relationship with God and with our fellow human beings.

          The whole process of creation is a process of God withdrawing just slightly to make it possible for other beings besides God to exist. God then remains in relationship with those beings, allowing them to live their own lives as they see fit, while still loving them and giving them the means to be who and what they are.

        • K says:

          I take it the way to be “spiritual” rather than to have a materialistic focus is to believe the spiritual – the realm of the mind – exists beyond the material (and is more real than the material)? As well as there being a love of God or at least of neighbor, rather than seeing the Ten Commandments as arbitrary laws to obey – especially only out of fear of punishment?

        • Lee says:

          Hi K,

          There are several dimensions to being spiritual rather than materialistic.

          At the most basic level, people are materialistic if they believe only in material reality, and not in spiritual reality and in God.

          At another level, even people who believe in God can be materialistic if they focus most of their mind, energy, and effort on attaining material goods and worldly power and influence.

          This points to the difference at a deeper level: people are materialistic when their ruling love is for worldly things and/or for their own advancement, whereas they are spiritual when their ruling love is for God and doing God’s will, and/or for the neighbor and serving their fellow human beings.

          There are also people who are materialistic in their thinking, but are still good people. These are among the ones you allude to who see the Ten Commandments as “arbitrary rules to obey,” but who still obey them not just out of fear of punishment, but because they believe that this is what God requires of them. People who obey the Ten Commandments from a spiritual perspective do not do so out of mere obedience, but out of assent in their understanding to the rightfulness of obeying them. And people who obey them from a heavenly or “celestial” perspective do so because they love God and care about their fellow human beings, and would not want to do anything that would hurt them.

      • Ray says:

        So not everyone immediately goes to the spirit world when they die, but they do eventually?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          Everyone does go to the spiritual world when they die. But some very materialistic spirits attempt to return to the physical world. They can’t actually return because they no longer have a material body. But they can hang around physical places in spirit, which is what a “haunting” would be. But really, this is quite rare. Most people just continue their lives in the spiritual world.

        • Ray says:

          But what happens to the spirts that haunt?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          Eventually they will move on to their final home, which would commonly be in hell, but some of them might end out in the lowest levels of heaven.

          Incidentally, the spirits who haunt a place aren’t necessarily the figures they might claim to be or present themselves as. It is very common for spirits to impersonate famous or known figures in order to gain notoriety or a following. Most of the spirits people encounter are not who they seem or claim to be. The actual person they claim to be will have long since moved on to his or her final home in heaven or hell, and will no longer engage with people on earth.

          The spirits who are doing the haunting will be more recently deceased people. But they, too, will have to move on within a few decades at most.

        • Ray says:

          Do they ever go to the world of spirits if they choose to remain on Earth for any length of time?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          They are in the world of spirits while they are haunting places on earth. Once they move on to their permanent home in heaven or hell this is no longer possible.

        • Ray says:

          They can still interact in the world while in the world of spirits? So, they’ll have to learn to let go of this world in the World of Spirits, and if they can’t, then they’ll go to Hell where they can presumably do what kept them tied to this world within resson.

        • Lee says:

          Most people don’t interact with the world even while they are in the world of spirits. But the world of spirits is the part of the spiritual world that is closest to the earth in state. So that’s where any spirits that do interact with the earth are most likely to be living.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          In answer to the rest of your comment, yes, after a while they do have to let go of their connection with the physical earth. But they are still physical minded. Most commonly they will end out in one of the milder levels of hell, where people who are not malevolent, but who are still focused mostly on material possessions and pleasures without having much care for the happiness and well-being of other people, end out.

        • Ray says:

          And will they eventually be able to let go and move on from the anything to do with the physical world, or are they always too attached that their destination is Hell.

        • Ray says:

          Not all spirits in Hell are malevolent? Do they just avoid each other then?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          By “malevolent” I mean “very evil.” There are levels of hell, from mildly evil to incredibly evil. This corresponds to human nature as we know it here on earth. Some people are mildly self-centered and thoughtless. They’re just ordinary jerks. Other people derive great pleasure from destroying other people in the most excruciatingly painful and humiliating ways possible. Not all evil is equal.

  37. Ray says:

    No i know that, but it seems in the milder Hells, people have no reason to try and destroy each other, so I guess they just avoid each other with contempt as they do what they want without harming each other like in the more severe Hells.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ray,

      I’m sure it varies depending on the character of the particular people. Some might avoid other people out of contempt for them, as you say. Others might engage with other people, but treat them rudely, insulting them and attacking them verbally, and even coming to blows at times. I expect that there’s a lot of arguing and fighting in the milder areas of hell.

      However, the people there don’t engage in machiavellian schemes to utterly destroy their enemies, or come up with horrendously demonic tortures to inflict upon one another. They’re just ordinary jerks who think very highly of themselves, and think that other people are stupid idiots. Think of a community made up entirely of people like that, and you have a very common type of community in the milder areas of hell—if they can even be called “communities.”

      • Ray says:

        Do evil spirits ever feel misery or regret in Hell, or are they too caught up on their own pleasures to ever care or think about it. I remember the part where Swedenborg said he spoke to two devils and they seemed to love Hell, but when he said you are nothing more than savages (I’m paraphrasing), they got mad at him. It’s almost like his words touched a nerve. Like, for a brief second, they had some clarity of what they had chosen for themselves, and they didn’t like it, so they lashed out like people do when they realize the person is right.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          People in hell don’t have a conscience, and they also don’t have regrets, except that they don’t like getting punished (by their fellow evil spirits) for their bad behavior. It’s like the old saying, “It’s not wrong unless you get caught.” They don’t think there’s anything wrong with their desires and actions.

          Evil spirits in hell are able to think rationally, and even analyze their own character. But for the most part, they misuse their rationality to justify their desires and actions. That particular devil was temporarily lifted out of hell, and therefore was able to analyze himself more objectively than he normally would in hell itself, where the atmosphere supports his evil desires and actions even while punishing them. What happened with him was that Swedenborg’s statement popped him back into his true character, and he then acted and spoke from his own desires, which is why he immediately sank back down to his own home in hell. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it. It’s that he returned to his own self, having gotten out of himself for a brief period.

        • Ray says:

          Wow. So they aren’t just “destroy kill terrorize with no thought process”. I wonder if the pain ever makes them cry, or if it just makes them angrier and fuels their desire for revenge. Not in a sense of “ow that hurt,”but more “how dare you humiliate oh you’ll pay for that”. Is revenge in Hell driven by pain or humiliation I wonder? I doubt they ask for mercy ever! It’s hard to relate to these evil spirits because on Earth, if you get hurt or attacked, you cry and may even ask for mercy.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          There is just as much variety of character and personality in hell as there is here on earth (on the negative side). All that’s gone is any pretense of being good. The inner character of each evil spirit is still the same as it was on earth. Some are strong, some are weak. Some will beg for mercy, some won’t. Some will immediately and directly seek revenge, others will attach themselves to some rising leader to get revenge under cover of a gang with a strong leader. Everything that happens here on earth on the negative side also happens in hell. Only no one pretends to be good.

        • Ray says:

          And is that when the angles will intervene. When the souls if hell are in so much agony that they cry out for mercy.

          PS: Merry Christmas to you and your family

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          Thanks! Happy New Year to you and yours as well.

          Yes, when punishment has moved beyond correction to pure oppression and infliction of pain with no reasonable purpose, the angels will step in and end the agony.

  38. K says:

    Since the afterlife is a “manifestation of intangible concepts” and is “the realm of the heart and mind”, does that mean it’s “everywhere yet nowhere” and beyond relative to the physical? Meaning any one spirit is “everywhere yet nowhere” and beyond relative to the physical, unless they can somehow manifest in the physical?

    I think this is the case, as “location” in the spiritual is a manifestation of state, not how location works in the physical.

    • Lee says:

      Hi K,

      Interesting question.

      First, I would quibble with one of your premises: that the afterlife is “a manifestation of intangible concepts.” Swedenborg is at great pains to establish that divine and spiritual reality are not wispy and intangible, but real and substantial. Love, he says, is not some intangible thing, but a real substance. In fact, he says it is the substance from which everything is made. If anything, divine and spiritual substance, which are love and its derivatives, are more tangible than physical matter, which is relatively ephemeral and unreal by comparison.

      When we arrive in the spiritual world, it will not feel wispy and insubstantial, but very solid and tangible, while at the same time much more dynamic and alive than the physical world.

      Having said that, it is quite true that God, angels, and spirits are not localized in time and space. Time and space as we know it do not exist in the spiritual world, much less in God. They are properties of physical matter. Angels and spirits can interact with particular physical places at particular physical times, but this usually happens through interaction with the spirits of the people who are in those particular places and times. In relation to physical things, then, it could loosely be said that angels and spirits are “everywhere and nowhere.” However, even angels and spirits will tend to be associated with particular places on earth, because they will be associated with particular people on earth whose spirits are compatible with their own. Only God could truly be said to be “everywhere and nowhere.”

      Meanwhile, in the spiritual world, angels and spirits are in definite “places.” It’s just that those places are states, not physical locations as we understand them here on earth. Angels and spirits are not “everywhere and nowhere” in the spiritual world. Rather, due to their ruling love, and to their changing thoughts and feelings, they are “localized” in a particular “place” in the spiritual world at any given “time,” which is really a particular state of mind in the flow of the passage of events in their lives. That state of mind, once again, is not some wispy, intangible thing, but a real and tangible thing that results in an entire set of surroundings being created to reflect it. If those surroundings include buildings and fields and rivers, the angels and spirits can and do live in the buildings, run through the fields, and swim in the rivers.

      • K says:

        I guess a better way to put what I was trying to say with “a manifestation of intangible concepts” is that the “intangible concepts” – like various kinds of loves or truths which themselves aren’t limited* – can manifest in the spiritual as “physical” or substantial subjects that are “more real” than subjects in the physical.

        Or so I gather.

        *(sort of like the idea of 1+1=2 or a happy feeling)

        • Lee says:

          Hi K,

          Yes, I understand. It’s just good to keep in mind that what we here on earth think of as “intangible” isn’t intangible in the spiritual world.

  39. K says:

    Could these 2 issues be evidence in favor of the spirit existing, and consciousness not being a purely physical phenomenon?

    1: Why would consciousness emerge from electro-chemical or “microtubule” activity, when it doesn’t emerge in chemical or electronic processes in inanimate objects?

    2: Metaphysical naturalism claims a consciousness is an emergent property of brain activity? But why that brain? Because that consciousness is an emergent property of that brain activity. Seems to be circular logic there that goes nowhere.

    I think this seems to point at the spirit existing, and consciousness not a purely physical phenomenon.

    • Lee says:

      Hi K,

      For you and me, these issues will be evidence pointing toward consciousness being spiritual rather than purely physical. However, for people who reject the existence of anything spiritual, they will simply be open questions that science has not yet answered.

      Contrary to the expectations and predictions of the hard atheists, I expect and predict that in a few hundred years, the culture of our world as a whole will have returned to a general belief in God and spirit.

      The current wave of atheism and agnosticism is an understandable reaction to the complete corruption of Christianity, and of other religions, over the past two thousand years. Once the old, corrupt Christianity has sufficiently died out that its doctrines are no longer taken seriously, and no longer seen as representing the Christianity that Christ and his apostles taught, I believe the bulk of the people and cultures who have abandoned God and spirit will return to them.

      If and when that happens, we will no longer have to engage in these culture-wide debates about God, spirit, and consciousness. Until then, people who have reason to reject “Christianity” and religion will continue to require their haven in atheism or agnosticism to maintain their sense of integrity and the goodness of life.

      • K says:

        An argument I’ve heard against the immortality of the spirit is:

        “The weakness of the body and that of the mind in infancy are exactly proportioned; their vigour in manhood, their sympathetic disorder in sickness, their common gradual decay in old age. The step further seems unavoidable; their common dissolution in death” (Hume 138)

        I take it that contrary to that argument, the spiritual mind wakes up after the natural mind ends, developed more or less as far as the natural mind was freely developed, but free from mental illness or decay?

        • Lee says:

          Hi K,

          From a purely materialistic perspective, Hume’s argument makes some sense. From a psychological and spiritual perspective, not so much.

          I agree that the mind develops together with the body. However, by Hume’s logic, the mind should reach its peak in the early 20s when the body is at its peak, and then begin a long, slow decline. But that’s not the usual pattern. Usually the mind continues to grow and develop even as the body gets past its prime and begins to decline. The decades from thirty to fifty are commonly a person’s most productive if that person is engaged in work that has a significant mental component. For some people who do mental work, that productivity continues into the sixties, seventies, and sometimes beyond, even as the body is declining significantly. Yes, it is common for the mind to decline in the last decade of life. But not always. Some people’s minds retain their sharpness right up to the point of death.

          In short, the mind does tend to parallel the body up to the body’s point of full maturity and peak performance. After that, mind and body commonly part company. The natural progression, then, would be for the mind to continue on its path even as it leaves the body behind. That is how the progression works from a spiritual perspective. The body is a vehicle to get the mind to the point where it can move on to the next stage, which is its life in the spiritual world.

          As a material-world analogy, consider a two-stage rocket. The purpose of the first stage is to get the payload out of earth’s gravity and into orbit. When it has done this, its engines stop firing, and it returns to the earth it came from. Meanwhile, the second stage powers up and carries the payload the rest of the way to its destination.

  40. K says:

    An argument I heard against the afterlife is that if the afterlife is an infinite amount of time, then the chances of finding oneself in this life are 0. I figure a refutation to that is that one is not randomly dropped in time, but has to start somewhere.

    • Lee says:

      Hi K,


      Further, if people think exclusively in terms of time, as materialists who deny the afterlife generally do, then trying to conceptualize from eternity will always result in a reduction to absurdity because it involves infinite regression. Everything but God must have a beginning. From there it can continue to eternity if it has the capacity to do so—as the human soul does.

      It recently occurred to me that this is reflected in the current reigning theory among cosmologists about the beginning and end of the universe. The almost universal belief is that the universe started with the Big Bang, and hence had a beginning. Meanwhile, currently the most likely scenario on the other end is that the universe will continue expanding forever. This does involve its eventual heat death and inability to support life any longer. However, it also involves the universe continuing onward to eternity in time.

      In short, it appears that the material universe has a beginning, but no end.

      If that is indeed the case, then it reflects Swedenborg’s statements that temporally there is no such thing as from eternity, but there is such a thing as to eternity.

      Even trying to think about God as existing from eternity in time leads to irrational absurdities. Time itself had a beginning, but seems to have no end. God, however, had no beginning. Yet God existed from eternity in state of being, not in time. The core being of God is outside of time, and is therefore not subject to the limitations of time. That is why it is not irrational to speak of God as existing from eternity, unlike everything else besides God. However, this “from eternity” is not from eternity in time, because time itself is a created entity that came into being along with the creation of the universe.

      Even the creation of the universe didn’t happen within time, as if time was ticking along, and at some specific point in time God created the universe. No. There was no time before the creation of the universe. The universe was created from within and above, from the being of God. Time and space began at the same point at which the universe was created.

      I hope you get what I’m driving at.

      TL;DR: Materialists who cannot raise their thinking above time and space will never be able to understand how God, spirit, and the afterlife work. They will always argue against these things using reasoning that seems to them to be logically airtight, but that is narrow and fallacious due to their inability to conceptualize realms and realities that are outside of time and space.

  41. K says:

    Is the spiritual (and _any_ locale in the spiritual) “everywhere and nowhere” relative to the physical, just as the concept of love or truth is?

    I imagine so, as the physical world is based on space and time, while the spiritual is not.

    • Lee says:

      Hi K,

      In a general sense, yes. For example, no matter where we are on earth, we will still be surrounded by the same spirits in the same region of the spiritual world because our connection with the spiritual world is based on the state of our mind, not on our physical location.

      However, precisely because humans do have a mental/spiritual connection with the spiritual world, the picture is somewhat more complex.

      Humans are arranged on earth geographically partly by culture and mindset, which means that certain regions of the spiritual world will be more strongly associated with certain geographical areas of the earth, since that’s where the people whose minds most closely resemble the angels and spirits dwelling in those regions of the spiritual world live. So, for example African angels and spirits in the spiritual world will be most strongly associated with the parts of Africa from which they came, whereas European angels and spirits will be most strongly associated with the parts of Europe from which they came. Due to today’s globalization of travel and migration, this correlation of specific areas of the spiritual world with specific regions of the physical world is not as clear-cut as it used to be. But it still does exist because cultures around the world still are different from one another.

      If we expand this out to various inhabited planets around the universe (assuming there are other planets inhabited by intelligent life), then the correlation will be stronger between areas of the spiritual world and particular planets because the races on different planets will presumably be more different from one another than races and cultures on Earth are different from one another, and because so far we do not know of any migration between inhabited planets analogous to the migrations between regions and continents on this earth.

      Whether different parts of the physical universe itself correspond more strongly with different parts of the spiritual universe is an interesting question. I lean away from this due to the scientific/cosmological uniformity principle, which notes and states that the universe is basically the same everywhere we look. Also, angels and spirits are associated with the minds/spirits of people living in the physical world, which suggests that they are not particularly associated with anything in the physical world that is not conscious. My sense is that God who maintains the existence of physical nature directly, or at least not through the minds of angels and spirits. However, once consciousness does develop on any planet, and especially when spiritual awareness and self-awareness develops, then there will be particular areas of the spiritual world associated with that consciousness and awareness.

      So as I see it currently, the spiritual realm is not correlated with purely physical, non-conscious things in any direct way, but it is correlated with consciousness, and especially human consciousness, quite directly. Unlike the physical realm, the spiritual realm is entirely defined and ordered according to the human communities there—”human” being defined broadly as spiritually aware beings who have eternal life in the spiritual world. Any parts of the spiritual realm that do not have any inhabitants will be empty. So the connection of various parts of the spiritual world with various parts of the physical world is based on the inhabitants of particular parts of the spiritual world having a mind and culture (fundamentally based on the general ruling love) that is similar to and therefore connected with the mind and culture of the inhabitants of particular parts of the physical world.

      This, at any rate, is as far as my thoughts have gone on this question.

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

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