Religio-Philosophical Journal (Chicago), November 11, 1865

Formation of the Religio-Philosophical Society, 1864.


To the Spiritualists and Friends of Progress Everywhere.

In accordance with and furtherance of the views and sentiments of the National Convention of Spiritualists, held in Chicago, Illinois, from the 9th to the 14th of August, A. D. 1864, inclusive: We, the National Executive Committee, appointed by said Convention, do most respectfully, but urgently recommend the immediate formation (without creeds or articles of faith), of societies or local organizations, for associate efforts by Spiritualists and all progressive minds everywhere.  To this end, do we present the following form of Articles of Association—comprehensive and liberal—and such as leave individual rights entirely unmolested.

Under these Articles societies will be entirely independent of each other, yet they will possess an inherent power for general associative effort, so necessary for a National expression of the great Principles now being evolved b y the most progressive minds of the Age.

Your committee only assume to recommend, believing that, when uniting for an associative effort, we should be especially careful, to guard sacredly INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.

Societies organized as recommended, can be incorporated under the general laws governing religious organizations in the several States, as well as the Canadas—our rights being equally sacred in law with other religious bodies.

It will be understood that each local organization can assume such name as may be deemed advisable by the individuals composing the society.  We simply propose a name highly expressive of a type of Religion, based on sound philosophy, one which will stand the test of reason, and that for which Spiritualists, Friends of Progress, and all progressive minds boldly content.

S. S. Jones, Chairman, St. Charles, Ill.
Warren Chase, Battle Creek, Mich.
Henry T. Child, M. D., 634 Race Street, Philadelphia.
W. F. Shuey, Elkhart, Indiana.
Mary F. Davis, Orange, N. J.
Selden J. Finney, Plato P. O., Ohio.
M. M. Daniels, Independence, Iowa.
H. B. Storer, Boston, Mass.
Milo O. Mott, Brandon, Vermont.
F. L. Wadsworth, Secretary National Executive Committee of Spiritualists.
Chicago, August 15, 1864.




We the undersigned being desirous of promulgating the great and sublime principles of the Harmonial Philosophy, and of elevating and unfolding the minds of Humanity to a due appreciation of the attributes of Deity, as manifested through Mother Nature, the better to enable us to appreciate a common Paternity and Brotherhood, do unite ourselves into a Society, under the Laws of this State, by the name and style of the RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.


And for the better execution of the will of said Society, it is provided that it shall, each and every year, on the First Sunday in January, or as soon thereafter as convenient, elect from their members a President, Vice President, Clerk, Treasurer, Collector, Janitor, and Five Trustees, which Trustees shall be styled the Trustees of “The Religio-Philosophical Society.”

The duty of which officers shall be to execute and perform the usual functions of like officers in other organized bodies, and especially the following duties, biz:

It shall be the duty of the President to call meetings of the Society, and preside at all meetings of the Society or Executive Board, if present, and act as the general corresponding and financial agent of the Society.

It shall be the duty of the Vice President to perform all of the duties of the President in his absence, or inability to act.

It shall be the duty of the Clerk to keep accurate minutes of the Society and Executive Board, and such other duties as usually appertain to similar officers, under the direction of the President.

It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all money belonging to the Society, and keep a correct account thereof, and pay the same out at the order of the President, under the direction of the Society or Executive Board.

It shall be the duty of the Collector to collect all money subscribed or contributed, and pay the same over to the Treasurer immediately, taking his receipt therefor.

It shall be the duty of the Janitor to take charge of the meeting house, and perform all such duties as are incident to such offices, in other bodies, and act as the general messenger of the Society.

It shall be the duty of the Trustees to perform all such duties as the law, under which this Society is organized, requires.


In case a vacancy in any office in these articles provided for, shall occur, either by death, resignation, removal to a distance, or inability to act, it shall be the duty of the Executive Board to appoint some member of the Society to fill such vacancy until the next ensuing annual meeting; and any office may, if necessary, be filled pro tempore in case of the temporary absence of the regular incumbent.


The President, Vice-President and Clerk shall form an Executive Board, and a majority of them may transact business in the name of and on behalf of the Society, but subject to the approval of the Society, when an amount exceeding fifty dollars is involved.

The Executive Board shall be qualified to give Public Lecturers Certificates which shall endow them with fellowship as “Ministers of the Gospel,”—such Ministers of the Gospel as are referred to in the law under which this Society is organized; and authorize such Lecturers, in the capacity of such Ministers of the Gospel, to solemnize marriages in accordance with law; which certificate may be as near as practicable in the following form:


To all whom it may concern: Know ye that the Religio-Philosophical Society, reposing especial confidence in our ___________ as a public Lecturer, do here grand this Certificate of Fellowship and recognize __________ as a “regular Minister of the Gospel,” and as such authorize ___________ to solemnize marriages in accordance with law.

Given under our hands at ________ , this ______ day of _____ A. D. 18__

__________ President
__________ [Vice] President
__________ Clerk
Executive Board of the Religio-Philosophical Society.


“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” That we are all children of a common Parent who, through the kind care of Mother Nature, and the instrumentality of Angelic Messengers, ever holds the lowest, or least developed, as well as the highest of His children in his loving embrace, and provides impartiality for their every want, and is continually bringing them to appreciate His unfailing love for all: Therefore it is the duty of this Society to receive all who desire to unite herewith, by subscribing to these articles, each individual alone being responsible for views entertained or uttered, or acts performed or approved.  And for these reasons no complaint or charge against members of this Society shall ever be entertained, nor shall any member of this Society ever be suspended or expelled from membership.

As all things in nature are subject to change, so the mind is governed by the same law; and what appears to be truth and right to-day, may appear otherwise to-morrow.  For these reasons, any person becoming a member of this Society, is at any time at liberty to withdraw therefrom, and have his or her name stricken from the roll of members, on application to the Clerk, without imputation for so doing.

That man is a progressive being, and at all times acts in accordance with the internal forces of his own being and external surroundings; it therefore becomes the duty of every brother and sister to extend the hand of charity to all, and use their utmost endeavors to unfold the higher faculties by enlightening the mind of humanity, and especially of the erring, downtrodden and oppressed.

That the most highly developed inhabitants of earth, are intermediate between those angelic beings of expanded intellects, who long since passed from earth, and now inhabit the “Summer Land,” and the lower races of humanity, who occupy the rudimental plains of this sphere of existence; and that, as the Angelic World tender their kindest offices to us for our unfoldment in health, comfort, wisdom and happiness, so it is our duty to extend like loving care to our brothers and sisters of every grade, alike, for their unfoldment in health, comfort, wisdom and happiness.

To “err is human;” “no man liveth and sinneth not,” therefore, it is the duty of man to encourage his fellow man in well-doing, and to chide and judge not, as all in turn need encouragement, and not censure and reproach.


A majority vote of the members present at all regularly called meetings of this Society, when it does not contravene these articles, shall govern.


All money required for the furtherance of the great objects contemplated, and to be used by this Society for any and all purposes deemed expedient, shall be raised from free donations, voluntary subscriptions, and rents and profits or sales of property owned by the Society—but never by taxation of its members.


This Society may from time to time adopt such By-Laws at meetings duly called for that purpose as shall be deemed expedient, provided that they do not in any manner contravene or conflict with the true intent and meaning of these articles, or the laws of our country.


These Articles of Association may be amended by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Society present at a meeting called therefore, provided such amendments shall have been submitted in writing, at a regularly called meeting of the Society, at least ten days before being acted upon.  And provided further that such amendments shall in no wise infringe upon the largest and broadest interpretation of these articles in favor of individual rights, freedom of action—thoughts, and expression thereof.  And no amendment shall ever be made allowing complaints to be entertained against members, nor for their censure, suspension or expulsion, nor in any wise to restrict or hinder any person from uniting with or withdrawing from this Society in the manner herein before provided.


And, lastly, it is agreed that the following named persons shall constitute the Board of Officers, provided for in the foregoing articles of association, until the first Sunday in January, A. D. 18__ and until their successors are duly elected and enter upon the duties of their several offices, viz:


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