“People are afraid to be adventurous...”
His famous family were deeply involved in the church,
but Wilberforce says there are many clergy who
'don't believe in what they preach'
Note: This vintage audio has been enhanced for clarity.
Please read the transcript below as you listen...
Present: George Woods, Betty Greene, Leslie Flint.
Communicator: Mr Wilberforce
...[pleased] to be here.
So pleased you've come.
I... I hope I shall be able to manage to speak to you for a little while.
You're doing very well.
Thank you very much.
Uh... I have heard about you from various people; about your many interests in regard to this work and how anxious you are to obtain as much information, as much interesting matter, so that you can have the opportunity to play these recordings to various people at different times, giving you all the varying aspects of life as is seen and experienced by souls from varying planes and degrees of evolution.
And, of course, I'm quite sure that you must have had all manner of people. Indeed, from what I've been able to gather, you've had a very large group of souls attached to you for this particular work, for some years.
Some of these people have been coming to you for a very long time and others have attached themselves more recently; knowing that all help that can be given will be an asset to the furtherance of truth.
I was thinking myself, how very interesting it would be if perhaps, at some future time, not only should people be able to come and to speak, but perhaps to sing.
Now this may strike you as very strange, but I have been thinking myself, how interesting it must be for people to be able to, not only speak, but to be able to sing. I mean, for instance, I'm not saying that this is necessarily going to be immediately, but possibly.
Although I realise, to do this, possibly a new set of circumstances would have to arise and probably it would be, in certain respects, more difficult to bring someone like Caruso or someone, to sing.
Of course, I suppose if that were to be achieved successfully, I am quite sure many people would be amazed and possibly convinced...uh... Of course, one can never be sure what the reaction of some people will be, but when you consider the great souls that have come over here from your plane; great singers, great musicians...
Supposing it were possible to bring someone through who could play the violin - as perhaps only a Kreisleror some other great musician could play... I'm not saying that this is going to happen, but I've been thinking... if we can produce a voice, that is: to speak, that is: vibrate your atmosphere and create sound... it shouldn't be so difficult, perhaps, for a person to sing or perhaps some soul to be able to play an instrument so that you could hear it.
This is, uh, something that I have thought a lot about and I have discussed it with various souls and they all seem to think it's possible - although it might be more difficult particularly with an instrument - and I don't think you could understand the difficulties, even if we would begin to explain them to you. Of course I believe, to some extent, some of these things have taken place before... uh, but of course, it's very complicated.
Not only have you got to create the vibrational sound, you've got other complications in regard to the instrument itself. You may think... some people may think this all sounds very strange and perhaps a little crazy. But if we can materialise one thing, I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to materialise another. It would be doubly, trebly perhaps, more difficult, but we're going to have a go at it at sometime.
Well thank you.
Thank you very much.
Are you a scientist, friend?
Well, how should I answer that question? Am I a scientist? Yes, I suppose in a sense that could be answered in the affirmative.
I have a scientific turn of mind. I'm very interested in science and its many aspects. I was on your side and I am on this. And I'm hoping that, at some future time, that we may be able to try experiments in varying ways. I... and of course, have heard all about materialisation and all the other phenomena that has happened in the course of this Spiritualism, as you term it.
I wasn't myself interested in this subject at all. Indeed, I would've been horrified and possibly would have been very much... in fact, I'm sure I would have been very much against it. Of course, I'm one of what you would call the old school or I should say, I was.
I was a typical product of my age. I went to a good school. Had a good education, lived in a highly respectable district, brought up by a highly respectable family. So you can imagine, from all that, I didn't have much opportunity.
That may sound odd; when one thinks of the Victorian age, one thinks of class distinctions, one thinks of public schools and one thinks of opportunities for the privileged. But seeing things now, I realise that there were privileges in certain directions, but we were all rather churned out like the sausage machine.
Today there's much more freedom of thought, freedom of action. There's not so much snobbishness. There's much more chance for an ordinary chap to make progress, if he is ambitious. In my time you fell into categories. You were either sent into the army or you were put into the church or usually, the future was pretty well mapped out for you - even your wife was discussed before you even knew about it. It was suggested that such-and-such a match would be a very good one.
Of course I am going back a bit. But I was interested in science, but I wasn't... I wouldn't call myself a scientist. I was interested in many things. I was interested in philosophy and religion. I had a brother who was a clergyman. As a matter of fact, he and I never really got on terribly well. I don't blame him, any more than myself.
I suppose really, looking back, in certain respects I was very much a person who hadn't time for the church. And yet I respected it. I went to church but I wasn't a church-goer, in the accepted sense. Although I had members of the family and my brother included in the church. My parents were very religious. Possibly that was another reason why I withdrew a little from it.
I was brought up in a really heavy church atmosphere where morning prayers were said; where one went to church three times on a Sunday, religiously. Indeed, our whole aspect of life was bound up with the church, with the military; my father was a military man. Generations of our family were soldiers or were connected with the army - oh and a few with the navy, but mostly with the army.
We travelled, like most families of our type did, quite a bit. My father served abroad. I went to India. Spent a number of years in India. I, uh, became very friendly - as my position made it possible, of course, to be very friendly - with many of the influential people.
I saw much in India, of course, that aroused my interest in psychic things. I didn't profess... because, as I say, I didn't associate it with Spiritualism as such, but, um, I saw many things there that made me realise that there was a lot more to life, a lot more to... to religion than I'd expected or been taught.
I saw the inside of many extraordinary places which were forbidden, indeed, were not allowed to the ordinary visitor and the white man in particular. I saw many of the experiments and, uh, many of the things done which one has read about... and, of course, I became friendly with several, uh, wise men who would go into trances and who would speak in various tongues and have long conversations in language which was completely foreign to them.
And I had many experiences of, um, being told things that would happen in the future, which did happen. I spent many years in India in the early nineteen...in the early... the late 1890s and the 1900s. I came back to England... I came back to England in the late 1920s.
Friend, may we have your name please?
My name is Wilber... Wilberforce.
And we are connected with the... we are connected with the Wilberforce, of course, that is so well known. We're of the same family.
Woods / Greene:
Can you hear me?
Yes, very well thank you.
Yes. Quite well, yes.
It's just a little bit difficult for me. I...
Now... Mr. Wilberforce, how did you find yourself when you passed over? I mean, how... what conditions did you find yourself in?
Well, very happy ones. I had no doubts. I suppose when I was on your side, really in a sense, I had no doubts about life after death.
I was an odd mixture, of course, with my background and upbringing and my interests in... in religion, inasmuch that I was interested in philosophy and religion. In India particularly, I saw much that aroused my interest, that when I arrived here, I suppose in a way, my having taken that interest, in India, helped me tremendously.
I found myself in a very natural surrounding, in a very large... well, it was a very large room in which I woke. And around me were several people that I'd known. There was my parents, there was a sister who died when I was at school (she was only a young girl then) and, uh, two of my old servants that I'd been very attached to. One actually who had been killed, uh, by a tiger.
...uh, unfortunate, but a fine chap. And the many people that I'd known. But this room was extraordinary I suppose, in a way, looking back and yet, I can see now that it was not for me extraordinary. It was a very large room, beautifully furnished - mostly Indian furniture, which I'd been accustomed to for about thirty-odd years - very nicely laid out.
And I remember so vividly waking into this room and seeing all my friends and relations and goodness knows, it seemed as if this large room was crowded. And they were all trying desperately to make me feel, in a mental way...
I realise now that they weren't actually speaking, but it sounded to me as if several people were all speaking at once and it was as if there was a vast, vast number of people talking at once. And yet, of course, I realise that they weren't talking, I was receiving their thoughts.
I was conscious of many people's thoughts, but it came to me as sound. It was as if I was hearing people saying 'Hello. How nice you've come.' and 'Hello my boy'; that was my mother and my father.
And my sister was very young and very beautiful; a little older than I remembered her, because she died very young. She looked [like] a woman of about nineteen or twenty. Very pretty girl she was, [a] tall, graceful girl. At first I didn't quite recognise who she was and it dawned on me. She made herself known to me, of course.
And everyone seemed anxious to welcome me. It was this wonderful feeling of warmth. It was almost, quite frankly, as if one, uh, had gone to a party - as if everyone was there, everyone was dressed in what one would have thought was their best. But, of course, I realised afterwards that it was the natural way in which people dress here.
The Indians had their usual costume that I remembered and associated with them and my mother had a beautiful gown. Strangely enough, I remembered at the time, when I first saw her over here, that it was a gown that as a boy I had remembered seeing her going off to a ball. I remember very vividly. I suppose, there again, it was to do with my youth, my childhood.
I remember how impressed I was with my mother coming down the staircase in this beautiful dress, which rustled. It was some sort of taffeta or something. And it was a lovely lilac colour and she had beautiful gloves to match. And she had these big leg-of-mutton* sleeves. And I remember how elegant she looked with her hair which was an auburn colour, done very high and she had some egret feathers in her hair. She was going off to a very important do. I suppose I would have been about ten.
*leg-of-mutton sleeves = exaggerated size from the shoulder
But, I somehow always remembered my mother like that. And we had a photograph of her taken in another dress of a similar sort of style. And somehow I always remembered and visualized my mother like that. It was a past memory of youth. And there she was, as much to say, 'oh you always liked me in this dress, that I'm wearing especially for this occasion'.
And there was my father dressed in a kind of grey suit. It's the nearest I can describe it. It's the kind of suit that I remember, again, uh, many years back, uh, when I was a lad and my father was trying to teach me or was teaching me to ride horse; a pony actually. And, um, it was out in the country.
We had two houses in those days; we had a house in London and we had a house in Norfolk and we used to spend the best part of summers down there. And my father used to take me out and we used to go... well of course, there again, he was very interested in shooting, being an army-type. I was never very drawn to it myself, although I was associated with the army all my life later.
But, um, it was as if, somehow, all these people had all come dressed - possibly because in some strange way they knew of my likings. Anyway it seemed as if they'd all dressed or appeared dressed in the sort of things which I remembered and associated - as if they had some miraculous way of being able to think of past and able to think of clothes even that they were... maybe of course that they were clothes that they were very fond of.
In the case of my mother, uh, she was always a beautifully gowned woman, uh, she came, as a matter of fact, from a very fine family - much better than my father's, uh, family and, uh, she had money in her own right. I often wonder, looking back (I suppose I shouldn't say this), if my father didn't marry as much for her money as for anything else. But then again, remembering how happy they were, and they were happy.
But then again a lot of Victorians were. They accepted this idea of marriage chosen for them and so on, planned, and they learned to live together and they were often very happy. But my mother's people were very comfortable... very well-off and my mother was always extremely well-dressed.
As a matter of fact, we were one of a large family... I was one of a large family. In those days it was the thing. My mother died when she was about forty or forty-five, uh, in child-birth. We were eleven children in all, but it was the thing in those days of course.
My father married again and I'm afraid most of us weren't very happy about it. We didn't, uh, associate and most of us had drifted away from home. I never saw my father in the last years of his life - we didn't exactly have words, but I suppose that I was in India. But quite frankly, I was always much more attached to my mother than my father.
But anyway, it was nice to see them here and I discovered, much to my amazement of course, that they weren't living together here. I suppose that was the first big shock I had. I couldn't associate them not being together. I couldn't associate, I suppose, that two people could live together on Earth quite happily, evidently, and have so many children and yet, over here be good friends, not be tied, not be married, not be together.
Of course, I realise many things that I didn't realise then, that it's quite a normal thing here for people who, when on Earth, though they were married and had many children would not necessarily be together here. If it was not a soul-union, if it... in other words, if they were not right for each other, if they were not ideal for each other, if they were not suited... it's very unique indeed, I believe, for two people on Earth to come together who are absolutely ideally mated.
It was easier for me perhaps than most, to accept a lot of the theories and ideas and many things which have happened to me since on this side, I have learned to understand and accept. And much came to me quite easily, whereas with some people it would have been, no doubt, very difficult to accept and to understand.
Of course you know, uh, religion, with all due respect, can be a very good thing of course, for some people. But to a thinking man or a thinking woman, a person who is analytical, who really wants to know truth and is prepared to seek for truth and who is not prepared to accept something on trust, just because a clergyman or a parson says so or because a book says so...uh, a person who really is a seeker, in the highest and the truest sense, uh, he, that person, um, will find that life here is much easier in the beginning to accept, to understand, to appreciate.
Because I've met so many since, of course, who've come here with very narrow prejudiced outlooks and it's been very hard for them to adjust themselves, to settle. And quite often, indeed, some of them have settled in communities where they live in a, what I would call, a fool's paradise.
They're quite happy of course. They...they are living in a world of their own mind, because that's exactly what it is. It's what they expect, what they want, what they are most pleased and satisfied with and they continue in their own little way. Of course, sooner or later, most of them will change and many do change.
They begin to think this is perhaps rather stupid, uh and they begin to think - and once they start thinking we can help them. That is the thing. Have an open receptive mind. Be prepared to listen. Be prepared, if necessary, to learn. Do not be too quick to condemn because you don't understand. Just say to yourself, 'well, I don't understand this, but it's possible. It could be. Perhaps a little later I may receive something which will give me some extra added proof or conviction that will satisfy me.'
You see so many people jump to conclusions. So many people accept things on trust and particularly in religion, one finds it constantly. Everything is accepted on trust and then particularly if the Bible is quoted. I remember my brother used to drive me up the wall with this. Because no sooner as you get in his house, knowing that I was - as he thought - a sinner, he would start on me. Oh and he'd try, but it was useless.
In the end, we agreed to differ and very seldom saw each other. But you know, the most extraordinary task that I've ever had has been with that brother over here. For a long time we could not reach him and he couldn't reach us; my parents and I and other members of the family. We would visit him. He was living in his own environment, among his own kind, perfectly happy.
Oh, you couldn't have found a happier man anywhere. He was still carrying on his preaching, still telling people what they should believe, what they should do. He was happiest when... he was always happy when he was telling other people to be good and what they should do and what they shouldn't do.
He was a real old-fashioned type of course, parson, you know. I mean, he really believed in hellfire and damnation. And the mere fact that he preached these things and accepted these things, it was for him a natural thing that he should still preach those things, still talk down to people, still tell people. And he has his own... had his own community, he had his own church and he still carried on in his old way here.
And for a long time we tried to reach him, but he just would not accept us, not his own family. He just lived in this world which he'd created within himself and everything apart from it was, to him, of no interest whatsoever. Indeed, he just wouldn't accept me and he realised that he couldn't do, as he thought... he did try, to try and convince me that I was wrong, even here!
But, uh, it has taken a long time, but he is now changed. Thank goodness. He's altered his outlook, he realises the futility of going on and on and on incessantly, in the same narrow aspect and viewpoint. And fortunately now he is progressing to the extent that his mind is receptive. He's progressing inasmuch that he's learning greater truths and greater realisations. He's a far happier man, a less bigoted man.
If only people realised that although religion, true religion, can do a great deal that is good; it can impress and inspire people to do great things. Indeed, we all know this is perfectly true and there are many great souls in the churches - and I don't necessarily just mean the Christian churches, I mean all denominations and all religions. But the point is, that so many have such narrow realisations and conceptions, they... they just feel they are right and everyone else is wrong.
Once people realise the immensity of life, that it isn't just something that is divided between the good and the bad; it isn't between heaven and hell; it isn't between Lucifer and God. We can't just have all black and all white. There are all manner of shades, all differences of colour graduation in our thoughts, in our lives, in our actions, in every aspect of life.
We must accept the fact that we are all on the path. Sometimes we are groping a little in the darkness when on your side, but when we see a glimmer of light, when we see a little hope, we should cling to it and try to fan it into a flame. But so many people on Earth are afraid. They're afraid to step out boldly. They're afraid to be adventurous and they're afraid to take chances.
They cling to something which they feel gives them a form and sense of security, because it's been the thing to do; because they say to themselves, 'it was good enough for my father, it's good enough for me', in are all sorts of arguments they bring up. And so it is that very few people progress in your world in regard to truth. They cling to worn-out creeds and dogmas, they have these firm fixed ideas of heaven and hell.
They have so many strange theories and ideas which, they know within themselves, are not true. That's the extraordinary thing about it. Half the parsons that preach, the things they preach they don't believe in them. If they were honest men they would admit the fact that they don't believe half they preach.
And in any case, they know full well that the proof is sadly lacking. But my brother was the same, but you could never beat him down. You could never make him change. He was adamant. Sometimes in those early years I used to try and reason with him. But you couldn't reason with him, his mind was closed, it was warped...
END OF RECORDING
This transcript was created for the Trust by Lorie McCloud - February 2020
Please ask permission before using this transcript.
The recording was originally digitised in June 2005 by Jack Terrence Andrews
and first published online by the Leslie Flint Educational Trust in March 2006