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Periodical: Christian Spiritualist (Erlestoke)

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Christian Spiritualist, The.
A Journal of Spiritual Thought, Teaching and Progress / A Journal of Triumphant Fact.
1925--1936 Weekly
London, England; Erlestoke Park, Devizes, Wiltshire, England.
Publisher: Society of Communion.
Editor: Rev. J.W. Potter.
Succeeded by: Immortality and Survival/Survival Magazine; The Spiritualist News
Corporate author: Society of Communion 1/1, August 4, 1925-13/476, August 1936. 8 pp., 2-2 1/2d. an issue, 10/- a year.

This journal and its congeners (Immortality & Survival / Survival Magazine and The Spiritualist News) were the work of Reverend John William Potter (1872-1939) and, later, his son Clifford William Potter (1905- ), published from London and then from their spiritualist center, park, hotel and projected colony at Erlestoke Park, Wilts. Whatever his other beliefs may have been, J.W. Potter, a former Baptist minister, certainly endorsed the Biblical injunction not to bind the mouths of the treading kine (Corinthians 9:9) and regularly engaged in what the mild British spiritualists called "dodgy financial scams" and "questionable financial schemes" to supplement his stipend as a reverend. In 1922 he had flogged around the newspapers sensational articles received from the "ghosts of various eminent murders" who had recently been executed, with the inside story of the crimes. Later he was charged with fortune telling, and publicly humiliated when, in 1928, his prophecy of the destruction of Weymouth by a tidal wave (based on "spirit messages derived through the Great Pyramind") proved less than accurate. Whatever their other merits might have been, the Potter journals smack of an underlying pecuniary int behind Potter's many ventures. He was, as the journal repeatedly proclaimed, Minister of St. Luke's Church of the Spiritual Evangel of Jesus the Christ in South Norwood Park, London, President of the Federation of Churches of The Spiritual Evangel of Jesus the Christ, Secretary and Organizing President of the Society of Communion (Formed to Study and Make Known the Findings of Psychical Research, as Loyal Servants of our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ), of which the First President (in Spirit Life), was Dr. Ellis T. Powell, D.Sc., LL.B. The journal, published by the Society of Communion, constantly and prominently proclaimed: "This Paper is Founded and Continued on Personal Sacrifice," noting that the costs of publishing and distributing the journal for its first year were estimated to exceed revenue by £468, and pleading for gifts. At the same time it was proclaiming its own success: "Each month, it carries more paid advertising space than any other Spiritualist journal."

The journal was part of the wave of contemporary journals trying to reconcile the Christian Church with spiritualism or to spiritualize or save Christianity with the messages and reality of the spirits. It contained contributions by Arthur Conan Doyle, G. Vale Owen, Mrs. St. Clair Stobart, Hannen Swaffer, Frederick Bligh Bond (who contributed a spirit supplement, "The Chronicles of Cleophas," to the Acts of the Apostles – 76,000 words mediated in 56 hours), studies on the Great Pyramid, messages from the spirit of Daniel, interviews with Eugenia, Hereditary Empress of Constantinople, etc. It was contentious in its comments and implored its readers to avoid the evils of "Militarism and Imperialism" -- "Spiritualism is behind the League of Nations. The Spirit World is behind the League of Nations. Fight for the League!" As a consequence it was regularly embroiled in lawsuits over perceived slights and slanders and its own incautious remarks. Besides the expected advertisements for churches, lectures and mediums, the journal featured the likes of "Your Natural Inborn Capacities, How to Develop Them" ("Prof. Dr. Timson, D.Sc., F.P.C., Physiologist, Phrenologist, Psychologist. Postal Training"), "Psycho-Psychic-Analysis" by E.I. Stevens of San Francisco, and "A Course of 29 Lessons" offered by the Latent Light Culture of Tinnevelly, India.

Noted in William C. Hartmann's Who's Who in Occult, Psychic and Spiritual Realms (1925). University of Texas, Austin (inscribed Arthur and Denis Conan Doyle); Lily Dale.

Issues:Christian Spiritualist V1 N6 Sep 9 1925
Christian Spiritualist V1 N11 Oct 14 1925
Christian Spiritualist V1 N12 Oct 21 1925
Christian Spiritualist V1 N21 Dec 23 1925
Christian Spiritualist V1 N22 Dec 30 1925
Christian Spiritualist V1 N23 Jan 6 1926
Christian Spiritualist V1 N24 Jan 13 1926
Christian Spiritualist V1 N25 Jan 20 1926
Christian Spiritualist V1 N26 Jan 27 1926
Christian Spiritualist V1 N27 Feb 3 1926
Christian Spiritualist V1 N28 Feb 10 1926
Christian Spiritualist V1 N29 Feb 17 1926
Christian Spiritualist V1 N30 Feb 24 1926

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