Christadelphian founder John Thomas
and a Christadelphian Hall in England
“I know from experience how difficult it is
to reach people whose minds are closed...”
Note: Although this vintage audio has been enhanced, some interference remains.
Please read the full transcript below as you listen...
Present: George Woods, Betty Greene, Leslie Flint.
Communicators: George Briggs, Mickey.
George Briggs, when on Earth, he was a very strict Christadelphian. The sitters were Mr S.G. Woods and Mrs B. Greene and the tape was taken on the 5th of February 1963.
[We can hear you quite] well friend...
Hello, hello, hello...
Good morning friend.
Good morning to you. I am very pleased to be here to speak to you, if I can, for a few moments. I rather feel something like an interloper, because I'm not really in any way linked with your band, but I've often been present when you've had your meetings and have felt the urge to come.
I hope you will not mind, but I would like you to know that I have been very interested indeed in everything that you are doing, you know.
Can you hear me?
Quite well, yes.
May we have your name, friend?
My name is Briggs. George Briggs.
I was, for many years when on your side, a member of the Christadelphians.
I had no time for this sort of thing, you know. I had no interest in Spiritual-ism, as you call it. In fact, I was very much against it.
But I have been very blessed since I have been here; a number of people have been very kind and very good to me and have helped me tremendously. I always thought, because... I...well...of my own beliefs, I always thought that Spiritualism, as you call it, was wicked, of the Devil, you know...
...but now I know different.
I find it extremely difficult to explain, in a way, but I do feel now very different about everything and would very much like to try, if I can, to impress my belief and knowledge on the minds of those who are prepared to listen. Because I now know that religions, as such, though they are important, and play a very...should play a very important part in the lives of man.
But the foundation of all religions is this realisation that life continues and that communication is a fact, given the proper conditions under which we may return. And I realise now that mediums, as such - providing they are sincere and they are approaching this subject in a spiritual manner - can do tremendous good for mankind.
Because if only the people of the Earth realised the full impact of this that life is continuous and that one can, under certain conditions, communicate, it could make all the difference to the people of Earth and it would abolish all the barriers that man has created through his prejudice and his intolerance and his ignorance.
The foundation of all creeds, all religions, is the life to come. If it were not so, there would be no point, of course, in religion, as such. And in my own narrow way, when I was on your side I sincerely believed at the time, that only those who accepted and believed as I did, would inherit the kingdom of God.
I know this is a fallacy now, that all peoples inherit the kingdom of God, because it is a natural law. No one is barred, no one is kept out, for the simple reason that it is the natural law - that when man dies, his spirit inherits the spiritual realms which are all around and about your Earth world. It is inescapable.
There is no one who is left out and there are many, many conditions of life over here and man inherits, according to his nature and his achievement or lack of achievement, going to a lesser condition or place. In other words, man receives exactly what he himself has created by his life, his outlook and his way of life.
Religion, in itself, cannot save a man. Religion, no matter what it may be, cannot necessarily make a man a better person; this is something that can only come when man realises that he is already - in embryo - a spiritual person, a spiritual being. He has all the attributes, all the possibilities already within himself.
And it is only when man, while on Earth, unfolds these spiritual faculties, these spiritual gifts, becomes conscious, as it were, of the power of the Spirit all around and about him and of the possibility of linking up with all those forces of good and all those people who come from this side of life to help him, to guide him, to instruct him.
I now know, that in the early days of the Church, that the men and the women were inspired by the Holy Spirit. When I was on your side I often used to talk about the power of the Holy Spirit; I often used to discuss, with other friends and members of my belief, these things, but never understood them.
Now I do understand them and I feel compelled to come and to speak and in the hope I shall, in so doing, be able to impress those particularly who have the faith that I once had, that they might find, through my coming, the real path to spiritual harmony and spiritual progression.
You have been very fortunate, because you have been able to communicate with many people from this side. Indeed, you have been more than fortunate, you have been greatly blessed and you have received from all manner of people great comfort, great illumination of the mind and, in consequence, you are endeavouring to bring this truth to people in all walks of life and all nationalities.
I realise it is a tremendous task which you have undertaken, but I do know that you are surrounded by power which is beyond your Earthly comprehension. The numbers of souls that I have seen when you have been at these meetings and when you have gone with your machines and you have played these recordings to people in big halls, where they have listened intent... and in some cases, there have been, I know, dissension by people who, like myself in the old days, would not accept and were not prepared to accept, because our minds, my mind, was closed to truth.
These are the people that are difficult to reach. I know from my own experience how difficult it is to reach people whose minds, like mine once was closed to all truth. Indeed, when I first come here, I found myself in an environment or place, which, for me, was very satisfactory and very happy. I had no desire for change, I had no desire for advancement. To me, I was in paradise. But I realise now that I was in a fool's paradise!
I was in a condition of life which I myself had created by my own outlook. Because I had believed that only those like unto myself would find paradise and, in consequence, I was in a condition of life which consisted entirely of people of like-mind; people who had believed as I had believed, who had accepted as I had accepted - what I thought was the complete and absolute truth and, in consequence, we were content.
We were content with our meetings and our singing of hymns and our prayers and we would talk often of the time when we should be brought back to Earth to be resurrected - as we had been told, as we had believed, there would be a great resurrection day, when we would all be gathered up together and we would enter into our physical bodies and become Earthly people living in an Earthly paradise.
But I was fortunate, because gradually I began to feel, within myself, a little uneasy. I cannot explain how this first came about, because I must admit, at that time, I was quite happy, quite content. But in some strange way I began to feel that perhaps there was something not quite as it should be.
I suppose one might say that, after a time, being in an environment such as I was; with everyone thinking, everyone accepting completely and absolutely, as we all did - that this became, in a way, so repetitious and so monotonous - that in some odd way, I began to wonder if there were other worlds, apart from the one in which I was existing and I suppose, in a sense, you could say it was a form of curiosity which started me off.
And gradually I became conscious of other beings who were not of our sect, who were not of our... our persuasion, and these beings became, not only, apparent to me as visions, as you would call them, but as real people and I became conscious of their thoughts. It was as if they were not speaking and yet I could hear, within myself, the things that they were trying to convey to me.
At first I was very concerned and very worried about this. I thought I was having, if not delusions, I was having, perhaps, things given to me by evil spirits who were trying to turn me against what I still believed to be the true religion, the true way of life and I would not listen; I would close my mind to them and when I did that they could not reach me.
But this curiosity of mine, if that is what it can be called, eventually got the better of me and I began, not only, to see these entities, but I began to hear their voice with great clarity; talking to me as if it were to my soul, trying to explain to me that I was living in a world of illusion, I was living in a life which I had created - because I myself would not accept or would not realise the possibility of other planes, other existences and other truths - and, eventually, I was asked if I would make the experiment, to go on what you would call a trip.
At first I did not understand this. I was baffled. I could not imagine how, if I did take this chance or whatever it was that they offered me, how I would ever get back if I were dissatisfied and found that they were not truthful and that they were deluding me. I was, as you would say, in a state of bewilderment. But, at the same time, my curiosity was such that I thought I would make this attempt and see if there was anything in what they had told me.
And I went with one particular soul, who seemed to be the leader of the group; whose name was Bernard and he told me, as we made our way through many places out into vast, vast countryside which was beautiful and very pleasant; and as we walked - and we did walk, because our feet touched the ground, and yet there seemed to be no tiredness, there seemed to be no feeling of... of exertion - I listened to what he had to tell me and he explained that he, when on Earth, had been a Roman Catholic priest.
This immediately caused me great concern, because in our particular religious body we almost looked upon the Catholics as, really, those - when being combined with the Spiritualists - the Devil's own children. And this caused me great concern and he tried very hard to put me at my ease by explaining to him... to me, that he was a Catholic; the same as I was of myown faith and that we were both wrong; that we both held very strong views which were far from the truth and that we should forget what we were - but rather be concerned with what we might become, if we made it so that our minds were open to receive.
But, after a time, I felt more confident, I realised he was no longer a Roman Catholic and that he was, obviously, a man of great sincerity. But at the same time I felt, in myself, a great deal of concern as to whether I was doing the right thing; because, after all, the world in which I had existed, that is, the plane on which I had existed, was for me a happy one - although there was this feeling at times of, not discontent, but there was the feeling that possibly there was something that I might find, you know, further afield.
But anyway, I went with this soul and we seemed to go through, not only vast countries or countryside, but we went through great cities and many of these cities became, to me, most interesting because they seemed to be representing all manner of nations.
There was places we went through where all the people and the buildings suggested that they were of this nationality or that nationality and also we passed, not only through cities, but small communities, which I suppose you could call villages; in which there were groups of people who seemed to be dressed vastly different... and indeed, in some of the cities, vastly different to anything I remembered on Earth.
But I was told that there were, sometimes, groups of people who had reached a certain stage of evolution and who were content in their own way of life; but their minds were back in the centuries of Earth and that they were living and existing and dressing in the same way that they did, perhaps three or four hundred years previously, when on Earth - but they would eventually begin to seek for themselves and they would then be helped and then they would be able to get far beyond their present situation.
And also, in my wanderings, I saw all manner of... of animals and all manner of foliage and all manner of... of, of conditions or country that were extraordinary - because you would no sooner go through what was, obviously, to all outward appearances, a beautiful countryside... like you would see in England, but all of a sudden you [would] come across, what would appear to be, a vast desert.
And this seemed - particularly [to] one who had never been to a desert, like me - seemed pretty grim. I thought, 'goodness me, we've got to go through all this desert' and... I suppose it's a throwback to the Earth-mind, but I thought 'goodness me, the heat of the sun', and then I realised that there was no sun.
Everywhere there was illumination, it's true, there was no darkness - but the odd thing was, that although there was this illumination and light, there was no obvious source and I spoke to my companion about this. He said, 'surely you realise that here we have no sun, but we have illumination, but it is a natural illumination which comes from the spheres.'
This puzzled me, I couldn't make head or tail of this; how you could get light from the spheres. Because I remember in my own sphere we had night and we had day. In other words, we had darkness descend and we would sleep, just as we did when on Earth; and I noticed that as we went further and further that the light became, not more intense, but it seemed to have a glow which I can't describe and it seemed that there were no shadows.
As one progressed and as one seemed to get further and further away from the condition of life in which I had existed, there were, not only changes in atmosphere; because atmosphere is very real to us the same as it is to you, but there were changes in so many ways. At first they were so subtle that I didn't realise there were changes - excepting perhaps in architecture, in the way of buildings and the way some people were dressed, and, uh...in various ways I realised that there were subtle changes, but they were not so apparent as all that. I didn't take that much notice.
But when I came to this vast desert I really felt apprehensive, I thought, 'this is a bit steep,' you know. I thought, 'well, goodness me this seems vast', but my friend said to me,
'As far as you can see, you see desert. But', he said, 'have confidence. It will take little time to reach the edge of the desert and when you reach the edge of the desert you will find great changes, and this is your big test. You've come so far with me, this is your opportunity.
If you feel that you wish to return I cannot stop you, but if you have sufficient faith within yourself to go on and to go through the desert, there you will find [at] the other end, all that you could possibly desire and you will have your feet, for the first time, on the path of spiritual progression. It is for you to decide. I cannot force you. It is for you to decide.'
And I deliberated about this and thought, 'I have come so far,' and yet I felt if I were to go further, I felt that I would never be able to come across... return across the desert on my own. I would need companionship and I would need the strength that this person seemed to have, that I had not got within myself. It was a great test for me as to whether I had the strength and the courage and the faith to go forward, or to return; where I knew at least the conditions and the environment and the people.
But something within me had given me that strength to say, 'yes I will go with you', and so we went, and as my faith - I suppose it must have been my faith within me - strengthened, so it seemed that the desert seemed no distance to traverse. Indeed, I realise now that it was a test that had been set me; that the desert, in a sense, was an illusion. In a sense, it did not exist.
It was given to me as a test, to see if I was ready to reach a new environment and a new life that awaited me. It was essential, you see, that I should have gone through all these different places, and seen these different peoples in their different environments and conditions and to gradually assimilate from this, new knowledge - to realise there were other spheres, other places, other peoples, far removed from my own condition of life to which I had become accustomed, and that the desert was the test as to whether I was ready to face this adventure and this great opportunity that presented itself to me.
If I had returned, I should have been in the same position as I had been before. But because I had come so far and I had seen and assimilated, gradually, new experience, I realised that if there were these new experiences and new forms and ways of life, there must be - further beyond than the desert - a greater experience awaiting me.
I had then cast aside my chains and I had become free and therefore the desert, which, in a sense, was but an illusion, [sound of dog barking] soon passed and I became... I became, in consequence, ready to receive that which awaited me. And there, very shortly, I found a vast city and it looked, in the light that shone upon it, as if it were made of mother-of-pearl. All manner of colour seemed to be there; soft and suffused and radiant and beautiful.
And as I entered there were many peoples lining, I suppose you would say, the streets. And yet, they were vast, these streets; they were not like streets as you would understand them on Earth. There were vast roads leading, what seemed to me to be, to some great edifice. Like, I suppose you could say it was a palace and yet, I know now it was not a palace.
But it was a great place with an enormous dome which seemed to shine and to glisten and to have almost life of its own - which I realise now it did. Because when places here are built on certain spheres, by the thoughts of the individuals, coupled with their effort and all the love that goes into it, those places are living and breathing, because the human element that enters into them is strong because so much of goodness is given to the construction, by the individuals who create.
Anyway, in this vast building I found great, uh...numbers of people dressed in robes of great beauty; in many hues, many colours, and they seemed to blend with the buildings and their faces shone with a great light and their eyes; they seemed to have a vitality and a life that I had never seen before. And they were carrying great bouquets of flowers and they were singing or chanting, and there was great music in the background - and I did not know this, but this was a welcome that was given to one who had been rescued, one who had been taken out of the darkness, you might say, of the mind and brought into the reality of the truth of the spirit.
In this vast place, all these people had assembled just for one person. It made me think of something that I remembered from the long ago in the 'good book', that how the shepherd rejoices when one is found and one is gathered into the fold. Here, there seemed to be such a great spirit of rejoicing, such a great spirit of love, such great comradeship, such great understanding, and here I found that peace, which I feel I want to give to the whole world.
I want to tell everyone that there is no barrier, there is no barrier at all to man - once his mind is unshackled, once he is free to think for himself, once he is free to accept the truth of the spirit, once he is able, as it were, to open up the door of his mind to let the power of the Holy Spirit flow in. And all around and about you are these souls who come with love, to open the door for you, to make possible the path and the way and to give you the insight and to give to you the opportunity that they have found.
And believe me, if you accept the opportunity, if you accept the illumination of the spirit, if you accept the love and the power of the spirit that comes to you while you are still on Earth, that is the greatest blessing. So many have to wait, so many have to go through varying degrees and conditions of life here before they reach that stage of illumination that I have found, for instance.
You have been blessed and those who listen to my voice I say, 'accept the power of the Holy Spirit, accept the word of the Holy Spirit, accept those who come to you with illumination of mind and spirit, who come to show you the path that you may tread it, that they may help you over the difficulties of life, that they may make possible the way for you, that we and they - all of us have found.'
Be of good faith, be of good heart. Know that all is well, that God is; that God loves all his children and that all have the opportunity. Accept proof, cast away the shackles that bind you and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and know that all the great saints, all the great teachers, all the great souls that come to you, come in love to serve and to help, to guide and uplift and to bring you that peace that the world cannot give.
My blessings be upon each and every one who may listen to my voice. May God bless you all.
Mr Briggs... please, before you go, can you tell us the name of the Christadelphian church where it was that you were a minister? I gather you were a minister of the Christadelphians? Can you give us the name of the actual church [where] you were? Please?
I think, madam, with all due respect, at this stage, it would be best for me not to do so.
I have my reasons.
And if you will bear with me in this, perhaps at some later date, I may be able to do this for you, [sound of passing traffic] but I have a very special reason for not saying so. Although it may strike you as odd, but I understand more than you can understand. My people, those who were my friends and those who still believe in the old way, we shall reach them with God's will and God's help. Be patient in all these things.
I had to... had to learn how patience was necessary for the unfoldment of truth and learning and of the spirit. When the time comes and I am permitted, I will tell you. In the meantime, my special blessing to you dear friends, who give your lives in service and in love to illuminate the minds and the hearts of those who seek truth.
May God bless you, as indeed I know he will. Farewell.
Thank you Mr Briggs, very, very much.
Thank you very, very much.
Cheerio Mickey. A lovely talk.
Thank you Mickey. Thank you Mickey, very much.
Oh, very interesting.
END OF RECORDING
This transcript was created for the Trust by K.Jackson-Barnes in April 2020
The original recording was digitised by Jack Terrence Andrews on November 2nd 2004