The City of Levites in the New Canaan
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He shall sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and shall purify the sons of Levi (Mal. 3:3);
where the Lord's coming is treated of (AC 1551).
The priesthood was given to this tribe because it represented and thence signified love and charity. Love and charity are the spiritual affection of good and truth; since affection is predicated of love in its continuity, for affection is the continuation of love. This, too, is what the priesthood and its ministry signify in the Word, for this affection is the essential of the church, for where it is there the church is, and where it is not there the church is not .... The like is said of the Levites in Ezekiel, where a new land, a new city, and a new temple are treated of (AE 444).
Leon James and Diane Nahl are professors at the University of Hawaii. They found the Writings in their university library in 1981 and have been daily readers since, endeavoring to apply the Heavenly Doctrine to their research, teaching, and personal lives. See some details in this article: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/gloss/conversion.html
Later they found out about Bryn Athyn and its New Church community and have been enriched by its intellectual ferment generated by their love of the Writings which the Bryn Athyn citizens call “the Word.” Although we have met some Bryn Athyn visitors passing through Hawaii, and have corresponded with several over the years, this is the first time that we have visited the Bryn Athyn community of New Church people. On January 24, 2003, we gave a presentation in Bryn Athyn College at the Swedenborg Library and the Pendleton Auditorium.
The presentation was introduced by Leon Rhodes, one of Bryn Athyn’s oldest and most famous citizens, who welcomed us and showed the audience two thick manuscripts authored by Leon James, which Leon Rhodes had been reading prior to our visit. He expressed his sentiment that this visit marks a turning point in his mind regarding the history of Bryn Athyn and its foundation in the General Church of the New Jerusalem and the Lord’s New Church Which Is Nova Hierosolyma. To summarize freely from his remarks: this visit, and the knowledge and love of the Writings which Leon James and Diane Nahl have exhibited, demonstrates that two independent scientists, not affiliated to any New Church organization, can discover the Writings in a library, begin to read it, and recognize in it the Word of God, Divine Truth, and a New Scientific Revelation. Then, to go on reading it for many years, and to apply it to their lives, their regeneration, their profession, their science, their publications. Now they can come to Bryn Athyn with an independent message, which we can use to further our own understanding and regeneration. That this has now happened demonstrates that it is possible, and further, that it might and will happen with many others. By this thought, Leon Rhodes was very encouraged, reassured, and thankful to the Lord.
Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman, Chaplain of the College, then read the following biographical note:
Dr. Diane Nahl is Associate Professor and Chair of the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii. She teaches graduate courses in information structure, information access, instructional design and evaluation, cognitive science, and human-computer interaction. Her research interests focus on the human-system interface, particularly discovering how people approach, understand, and interact with information retrieval systems in an information problem-solving context.
Her current research focuses on the feelings of searchers on the Web. She wants to find out if being in a good mood, being optimistic, and believing in your ability help people adapt better to the use of information systems such as Web based libraries and digital databases. Her Web site is: www2.hawaii.edu/~nahl
Dr. Leon James is a full Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii where he has served for the past 30 years. He was born in Rumania, went to high school in Belgium, and attended college in Canada. In 1962 he obtained his Ph.D. in psychology from McGill University in Montreal. English was actually his eleventh language. (The full list in their order of acquisition includes Yiddish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Rumanian, German, Dutch, French, Latin, Greek, Spanish, and English). Leon and his wife Diane are most famous for their book Road Rage and Aggressive Driving. He has also authored books and articles in Applied Psycholinguistics and Social Psychology, which is his academic field of specialty. This year he is working on a book inspired by the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg called A Man of the Field: Forming the New Church Mind in Today's World. A draft of the first three volumes of this work has been posted on the Web: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nonduality.html
Diane and Leon have been married for 21 years. Two months after their marriage in 1981, they discovered Emanuel Swedenborg's Writings in the University of Hawaii library while browsing the stacks for Bible commentaries. They scanned the titles and contents of several volumes while sitting on the floor in the stacks, and were immediately delighted and awed with Swedenborg's work. Diane chose the first volume of Arcana Coelestia and Leon took home Warren's Compendium of Swedenborg's Writings. That was the beginning of their study of the Writings, which they have continuously endeavored to apply in their life, teaching, research and publications. Today, Dr. Leon James is perhaps the most prodigious scientist in the world in the field of Swedenborgian Studies. The presentation at the Swedenborg Library will consist of a 30 minute interview with Drs. Nahl and James on the topic of self-witnessing, followed by ninety minutes of interactive questions and answers on a variety of topics from Road Rage to the Doctrine of the Wife. The complete paper on which they will base their presentation may be downloaded: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nc-self-witnessing.htm
If you would like to communicate with them, you may email them:
Following the introduction Ray Silverman acted as moderator, taking written questions from the audience and asking Leon or Diane to answer them. What follows is our attempt to recreate the answers we gave from notes and memory. We do not have an audio recording of the session, though this may have been recorded by someone. The first question, to which Leon James responded, was:
Leon gave the following answer, based on notes he prepared after a tour of the Academy grounds.
As I was shown around the grounds and buildings I was startled to recognize the names of halls and rooms, office door names and people who introduced themselves to welcome me. To me these names were famous because I had read their books, doctrinal classes, sermons, and songs. And these were not ordinary books but sacred, because they were authored from the perspective of the Writings, not from their own perspective or self-intelligence. To me they were therefore sacred books. And now seeing those names jump out at me, so to speak, was a vivid experience of great delight, shared equally by Diane. But even deeper than this, the significance of Bryn Athyn in both our minds is awesome. Let me tell why we both think this.
Bryn Athyn is the birthplace of the Academy Movement, which we had read about from the General Church literature and publications. To us, the Academy Movement represents the birth of a Divine Child in Bryn Athyn, namely the Divinely given Doctrine that the Writings are the Word of the Second Coming. The General Church of the New Jerusalem, with its academic system, is the keeper of this Divine Doctrine, and this Divine Child is nurtured and fed by the people of Bryn Athyn through their love and passion for the Writings as the Word of the Second Coming. No other place on this planet feeds this Divine Child, which would be abandoned and die to the human race, were it not for the love and endeavor of the people of Bryn Athyn for the Writings. And by extension, of Glenview, and the other places that have become little Bryn Athyns, like brilliant islands in a sea of needful humanity.
From this place there radiates a new Divine light that is provided by the Lord for the survival and salvation of the entire human race, to the endless future. Bryn Athyn is the holiest spot of land on this planet, indeed, in the entire universe. Bryn Athyn marks the place where the Lord has completed the creation of the human race. It is on account of this that Bryn Athyn is called in heaven the City of the New Jerusalem. The Lord has made two personal appearances in the physical universe. He has shown Himself twice to the human race on earth. First, in Bethlehem; second, in Bryn Athyn. The Writings teach that it is not the Writings as books that constitute the New Jerusalem, but the understanding of the Writings as the Word of the Lord’s Second Coming. And this did not happen until the beginning of the twentieth century when Bryn Athyn became a New Promised Land for the those who were willing to base their community and life on the conviction that the Writings are the Word of the Second Coming. Not until then did the New Church exist on this earth amongst a living community. Therefore the Lord has made His Second Coming in the Writings in Bryn Athyn.
This makes Bryn Athyn the new Holy Land, the new Canaan, the spot on this earth on which stands the Ladder of Jacob, where angels ascend and descend in the consciousness and hearts of the citizens of Bryn Athyn who honor the Writings as the Word, and teach it in their schools and homes, and in their worship services. The Lord has chosen Bethlehem and Bryn Athyn as the places of His appearance to the consciousness of the human race. The Lord longs to be recognized by His children. And He has provided only one way by which this is possible. This way is the Writings. He Himself is the Writings, since He Himself is the Word. Bryn Athyn is the Holy Temple where is stored the repository of the future of the entire human race.
The Writings contain the entire intelligence and wisdom of the human race, past, present, and future. The future of the human race is incredibly bright and happy because of the Writings. We predict that the Writings will become to science what it has become to us. We are both professional scientists. Together we have sixty years of earning a living as scientists and teachers in a public state university. Since we discovered the Writings in 1981 our science has become the science of the Writings. We use the terms “Theistic Science” or True Science” in this new perspective. The Lord is evolving the level of thinking and feeling of the human race by means of His revelations of the Second Coming in the Writings. These are revelations that science will eventually be glad to receive. We took the Writings as Scientific Revelations when we first read it, because it was a rational revelation of reality by God through the mind of its author, Emanuel Swedenborg. These scientific revelations detail how the Lord created the universe and by what rational laws and principles He manages it. Every scientist now has a new source for facts about God, the spiritual world, the human mind, evolution, spiritual physiology, anatomy, and geography, medicine, therapy, art, history, the science of correspondences, the method of human development and regeneration, and many other things that future generations will extract from its infinite source, which is the Divine Human Rational Mind of the infinite God.
The Writings are the new science, that is, theistic science or true science, because it is from the Lord and He is God. All true science is from God who is the only True Scientist. The Writings constitute the Lord’s Divine Rational revealed to the human race as the last revelation it needs to be prepared to become an angelic race such as it once was in most ancient times, before the Fall. Through the Writings, and in no other way, the human race now has a consciousness of the Lord in His Human Essence. The true human begins only in the uppermost regions of the human mind, and without the Writings, this spiritual region of the mind remains closed. The Writings are the only means the human race has for becoming truly human, and without the Writings the human race remains as an incomplete creation. The Writings complete the creation of the human race. This is why the Writings call themselves the Crown of Churches, “churches” meaning the evolution of the human mind, the “crown” being its highest possible point or apogee.
Bryn Athyn is the Holy Arc of the higher consciousness of the human race since it is the guardian of the Crown of Churches. It is here that was born the Divine Doctrine that the Writings are the Word of the Second Coming. Bryn Athyn is holier than Bethlehem because that which completes or ultimates, is holier than that which is prior that is not yet the ultimate. The Writings are the Crown of the Threefold Word and contain within it the Old and New Testaments. The Lord loves Bryn Athyn more than any other piece of real estate in the physical universe.
Bryn Athyn is a spiritual community of Levites. This community has taken upon itself to become the faithful guardians of the Divinely given Doctrine that the Writings are the Word of the Second Coming. Because this community acknowledges the Writings as holy and Divine, it guards the Latin Word in all its holiness and Divinity. Every generation that springs from this community rededicates itself to guarding the original Word of the Heavenly Doctrine. It strives mightily to preserve the Writings in its original Latin, producing scholars of Latin and translators imbued with the knowledge of correspondences and the essential need to maintain the inner sense of the Word unbroken in its infinite series.
If I may be allowed to express my opinion as an educator and psychologist, every member of this community can be encouraged to become a spiritual Levite of the Writings. The Writings can be taught to infants even before they can speak in sentences at age three. A culture of spiritual Levites can teach and encourage every one of its citizens to become a priest and a scholar of the Writings. Every Bryn Athyn citizen could be an ordained minister of the Church! Every Bryn Athyn citizen could be encouraged to become a Latin scholar and translator. Every Bryn Athyn citizen would then take for granted the daily study of the Writings. All this priestly activity on behalf of the Writings would be the part time work and avocation of every Bryn Athyn citizen. In this way, Bryn Athyn can grow in glory and splendor with every new generation, testifying to the immeasurable value of the Writings to the human race.
Some might think that these are idealistic and unrealistic views on Bryn Athyn. But I’m speaking here of the spiritual role and representation that Bryn Athyn is providing for the human race on this earth, and on the other earths in the universe, and equally, for the all the heavens in the Grand Human. Without Bryn Athyn, the heavens collapse, and the earths, thus everything of the human race would perish spiritually. Bryn Athyn citizens have warned me not to idealize their city too much, for everyone knows there are human and social problems in the minds and hearts of its citizens. But of course! After all, every individual regardless of place or religion is born evil and unregenerate. Therefore every Bryn Athyn citizen is born evil and unregenerate! But this doesn’t prevent the representation and signification of Bryn Athyn as the New Canaan of the Second Coming. All the unregenerate citizens of Bryn Athyn, and all the regenerating citizens, are equally legitimate representatives of the role of being spiritual Levites and guardians of the Holy Books of the Writings. This is because even the unregenerate citizens of Bryn Athyn acknowledge the Writings as the Word of the Second Coming. They do this from socialization, education, and religion, and later, from personal conviction, rational understanding, and mutual love.
Bryn Athyn is a community of spiritual Levites not only for the General Church of the New Jerusalem, not only for the Lord’s New Church Which Is Nova Hierosolyma, but also for all the religions of this earth. This is because the Writings have been given to all the religions and to science. It is revealed in the Writings that the Lord is the God of all the religions, regardless of the name under which they worship God. Every individual who has good and love in the heart has this from the Lord and the Lord only. Therefore these individuals, when they arrive in the afterlife, are instructed and can recognize the Lord since He has been with them since the beginning. This applies to Bryn Athyn citizens as well. There is no salvation for those who represent the spiritual Levites of the Second Coming except through their personal reformation and regeneration. Without this, they arrive in the afterlife with knowledge of the Writings, but the Lord they do not recognize, no differently from those who have never heard of the Writings and did not live a life of conscience and religion. It is not the Writings that save the people of Bryn Athyn, but living according to their understanding of the Writings.
The Writings teach that the Lord does not try to change people’s childhood religion but strives to work with every individual in total liberty so that there may be no coercion or persuasive rejection of the old beliefs. The universal Heaven, or the Grand Human, depends for its survival and continued perfection, on endless intellectual diversity and individual uniqueness, This shows that the Writings are acceptable as science books to all cultures and religions. I predict a future in which all of science will be congruent with the Writings and will be taught in all schools in every nation just as language, mathematics, biology, and history are taught today. And in that case it is plain that the Writings are compatible with all religions. Religions are cultural forms of behavior and beliefs, and represent the infinite diversity of the Lord’s Rational Mind, and thus, have been produced by the Lord as part of His creation. It is not to be expected that languages, cultures, and religions will reduce in number since they are irrepressible expressions of the Lord’s infinity in creation. Clearly then, the Writings have been given as science to all the cultures so that there might not be a clash between religions, as when one religion attempts to evangelize other religions. Evangelization activities have their essential purposes that deserve our support, but we are not to expect that New Church evangelization will supplant the other religions on this planet.
I had the privilege of giving a guest lecture to Soni Werner’s social psychology class. My eyes kept going back to the upper shelf of a bookcase in the classroom where I could see the green volumes of a full set of the Writings. I couldn’t keep my eyes from returning to that spot throughout the class. It was glowing with warmth and light and spoke to me of the future when every classroom on this planet, regardless of religious background, will contain a set of the Writings on the book shelf, or in the computer. It will serve as the general encyclopedia of knowledge that will elevate the human race to heaven and its sphere of love and wisdom.
“The ‘glory in the clouds’ is revealed (HH 1), and now the era of true science is gradually dawning. The two foundations of truth (SE 5709), the Word and nature, will meet and support each other.” (Childs, p. 77)
I’m quoting from a book I received from its author during our visit in Bryn Athyn. Geoffrey S. Childs handed me The Path: The Inner Life of Jesus Christ, and I read it on the flight back to Hawaii, and for several weeks thereafter. It is a wonderful and stimulating book that faithfully presents from the Arcana Coelestia, the inner sense of the Old Testament stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in a coherent and brief series of chapters tracing the mental and spiritual development of the Lord as a Child. To be able to grasp the entire series of the Lord’s mental development brings me closer to knowing and loving the Lord. It is an exhilarating feeling to be able to see that our own mental development is occurring directly because the Divine Child Jesus created the way in Himself, thereby making it possible for every individual thereafter to step through the way He created in Himself as He united His Human essence to the Divine essence in Him. The quote above is remarkable because it uses the phrase “true science,” and says that it is “gradually dawning.” The Word of the Second Coming constitutes “the two foundations of truth.” The Writings form the basis of the New Church and of true science. The age is now dawning in which the Writings will become the foundations of science, and in that new state, it will be called True Science, just as the New Church is called in the Writings “The True Christian Religion” (TCR 1).
Earlier that day Leon had the privilege of receiving a personal tour of the Swedenborgiana Collection, led by Erik Sandstrom up and down the awesome rows of books. Erik showed him the Children of God contained in the various editions of printings of the Word of the Second Coming throughout its two-hundred years of history. Those volumes, carefully collected and lovingly maintained, testify to the incorporation of the Writings in human consciousness. Each printing, each translation, each edition include so many testimonials from those early receivers of the Writings, their love and dedication for it. Leon was very moved with gratitude for the Lord, for bringing him into this holy sphere, for allowing him to come so near to Himself through these holy books.
And today, now, we both feel deep gratitude to the Lord for allowing us to be present here, together, as a conjugial couple in the Second Coming. The Writings tell of angel husbands who were momentarily separated from their wives so that Swedenborg could witness what they are like that way. The husbands bitterly complained that they had lost all their wisdom, for an angel man without a wife is not an angel, and vice versa. The upper region of the human mind cannot be reached by a single person, but only by a couple united in conjugial love. A single individual is not yet fully human, but conjugial union makes them each fully human. It is symbolic therefore that we are making this presentation together.
On the flight back home, Diane wrote several letters to some of the new friends we had made in Bryn Athyn:
Our visit with you was extraordinary. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of your graciousness and hospitality. We will always remember this first Bryn Athyn visit. ... We never had the opportunity to speak with those who love the Truth so deeply. We will always treasure the time spent with you and plan to return before too long.
Visiting with you was so uplifting that I know we will be basking in the glow of your loving kindness and the truths we share. ... thank you for sharing your extraordinary lives with us and for welcoming us so completely. Our happiness has been multiplied and the glow will endure. It is glorious to be able to discuss the Word with you, who study it so deeply and speak from it with depth of perception and understanding. Thank you for sharing so deeply.
For us it was an unimagined joy to discover truly kindred minds who love the Writings as the Word itself. We plan to return. Your hospitality was very special to us and we thank you for all you did for us. Our visit to the Cathedral the morning of our departure was memorable. We were astounded by its beauty, serenity, and craftsmanship. ... After our presentation we were overwhelmed with joy by the response of the audience who sang two moving songs, which we wished we could also sing. We have been in choirs and felt a deep joy during each song, sung so beautifully, a capella!
We were struck by the quality of sweetness in all of the young people we spoke with. ... The young people of Bryn Athyn are so precious and they share an innocent sweetness that is palpable. They stand out as radiant affections of truth. We love them. Our entire visit filled us with gladness. ... We are so grateful for your lives and your love of the Writings as the Word.
It was extraordinary—every moment, and we will treasure them all, recounting each delight over and over. We hardly slept the last night we were in Bryn Athyn because we are so in-filled with the splendor of Bryn Athyn, its glorious community, its loving inhabitants of the Earthly Heaven…we felt so alive there because our purpose for being was fulfilled and we felt completed. We have never had an experience like it and want more. For now we have our vivid memories and love that we can picture you at home and at work, going about your heavenly occupations, spreading goodness, love, peace, truth—all originating from the Lord, the Word.
1. Could you comment on your view of new Church Education and your paper on 14 Scientific Fallacies?
A copy of the article is available: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/fallacies.html
The article states that “separation of scientific and religious concepts in the NC community, weakens both foundations within our intellect, and leads to materialistic thinking, a forbidden mode of thought defined by the 14 fallacies in AC 5084.” The fallacies listed therein are:
1. The sun revolves around the earth.
2. The space between the stars and planets is a vacuum.
3 and 10. Genes have the power to reproduce life, or, biological organisms have life within them.
4. Atoms are simple substances.
5. Nature is all there is in the universe (materialism).
6. Life ends at the death of the body.
7. The human race is on a continuum with animals.
8. It is the brain that senses our outside environment.
9. Light and heat originate in the sun (or stars).
10. (see 3)
11. Marriage evolved for adaptive purposes for the survival of the species.
12. Competitiveness is compatible with unity and love.
13 and 14. Being good to others for the sake of self merits reward, and faith alone merits salvation.
The basis of all the fallacies is a view of reality that is godless, hence spiritually insane, leading to beliefs that are taken for truth when in fact they are fallacies and leading to insanities. New Church education must be based exclusively in the Writings. Everything outside the Writings must be interpreted in the light of the Writings. No scientific fact or theory that contradicts the dualities of the Writings should be presented on its own merit just because it is taught in other schools. Instead, all secular and materialistic science should be contextualized and contrasted with the worldview and true science that we are given in the Writings.
It is sometimes argued that religious schools should not cut off instruction in the science of society and education. A compromise is often reached. Science textbooks written by materialists will be used in science courses, while Sacred Scripture will be used in religion classes. This intellectual bifurcation creates a divided mind that lives as a materialist all week and a spiritual believer on weekends. It is hardly possible that an individual can regenerate under those conditions. This intellectual schizophrenia makes it harder for a New Church person to undergo reformation in young adulthood. The mind is then filled with innumerable nondualities that oppose the dualities of the Writings. (See A Man of the Field, Volume 1 for a full development of this thesis: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nonduality.html
What makes sense then is to make use of dualist science books written by New Church teachers and scholars. The effort ought to be made to produce true science books that present in a New Church context the facts and theories of science taught in public schools. These textbooks would present the same or similar information as that found in public education textbooks, to insure that students acquire all the knowledge they are expected to know as defined by degrees and national tests and standards. But they will know it in an entirely new way, the way of dualist thinking. We are both career scientists and teachers and we have found that there is no research and theory in our field that cannot be fully contextualized within the dualist science of the Writings. In our teaching and publications we adjust the dualist context to what is appropriate in each situation. We must get published in the regular journals in our field in order to advance in our career. Therefore we leave out the dualist context and its Divine origin in those publications, and focus on the particular data and its specific application to individual behavior or to computer systems.
Other articles that we publish ourselves on the Web retain the dualist context and its Divine origin. Here we are able to make greater progress in that direction of our work and development. The dualist context we retain is such as we have been discussing in this presentation, and the related articles to which we are referring.
2. Could you share with us your personal experience of "the love of self-intelligence" as distinguished from wisdom?
I myself struggle with the love of self-intelligence as any woman in the professions could, as we strive to bring forth new knowledge and understandings, demanded by our positions in institutions of higher learning or other fields of endeavor such as business. Each of us deals with this universally inherited evil and we can overcome it bit by bit with a continued focus of identifying it in our feelings and thinking and behavior, and repeatedly rejecting it in favor of attributing all of our accomplishments to the Lord through us, as of self.
This is why we teach the self-witnessing method to college students, to enable them to develop a method for self-examination, creating vessels for reception of truth by practicing objective self-observation and attempting to modify unwanted behavior. To permit them to gain a view on themselves that reveals many unresolved contradictions they are holding, and a method for making changes and monitoring their progress. This is now known as the field of emotional intelligence or self-science, that assumes people are responsible for their behavior, thoughts and feelings to the degree that people can and must control their own maladaptive behavior.
Please see the answer to Question 3 below.
3. (For each of you) Do you have any observations about an effective way for women to "hold the space" most constructively in situations where the men, who the women are in relationships with, are in self-intelligence? Thank you so much for coming, writing, living!
My approach, since I first read the Writings, has been to hold my husband responsible for his stated principles, which, thankfully, are based in the Writings. When I experience him as opposing his own stated religious philosophy, I have learned to make that clear to him and ask him to reconcile his behavior with his principles. It is certain that husbands are at times not aware of the exertion of their own self-intelligence, and need their wives to show them those areas where they need to (and want to if they are truly devoted to their religious principles) conform to the tenets in the Writings. The Writings make it clear that wives are sensitive to these truths and serve the purpose of a light to their husbands, since where else will they obtain such valuable information on themselves as spiritual men? This can be difficult to grasp where the Writings speak of differences between men and women, because we forget that in the Writings every characteristic is a representation of something within each of us. So the passages about men’s qualities are not simply about men’s qualities, but about the male qualities and their attendant spiritual societies within each person. When we reason at that level as a couple there is no sex discrimination and we stay focused on our eternity together.
I can speak from my own experience in relation to the Writings and my wife. My insights are summarized under the rubric “the Doctrine of the Wife” and I have posted several articles on the Web giving the details of my journey toward conjugial love. Here I give a brief explanation. The Doctrine of the Wife is expressed most practically by the following rule for regenerating husbands:
Learn to love to act from your wife more than you love to act from yourself.
I received this idea while reading Conjugial Love and other books of the Writings. I took it as a Divine Commandment, just as I take all statements of the Writings, which I acknowledge as the Word, as Sacred Scripture, as Divine Truth, as the Lord Himself in His Divine Rational. The Lord has commanded that I leave mother and father and cleave to my wife. Men leave mother and father and cleave to themselves, not to their wife. This is their downfall. It is self-intelligence, or, the love of one’s own intelligence. One’s own intelligence is death and hell, therefore men love death and hell more than they love their wife, they are self-destructive by inheritance.
After I received this enlightened perception from the Lord, I was able to confirm it everywhere in the Writings. I wrote about the Doctrine of the Wife and proposed it to the attention of other New Church husbands. Meanwhile my poor wife was crying inconsolably, unhappy, feeling abandoned and betrayed by the promoter of the Doctrine of the Wife. When, when, will you live up to this Doctrine, O husband? When will I be free of your ineptitude, your willful inability or unwillingness to live up to the Doctrine of the Wife that you have proclaimed to others?
Indeed, though my understanding was elevated by the Lord to the level of heaven itself, perceiving celestial and spiritual things in the Writings, my love of self-intelligence obscured my understanding the minute I stopped writing or reflecting. Now, as I was interacting with my wife, my guide and beacon was no longer the Heavenly Doctrine but my self-intelligence. The husband’s self-intelligence hates conjugial love and experiences it as idealistic and unpleasant. This aversion for conjugial unity with a wife is implanted in every man from birth, just as the opposite is implanted by birth in all women of faith who have “conjugial love inborn from nativity.”
This is a universal battle between man and woman. Everything is at stake in this battle. The man’s eternal welfare or suffering is at stake. My wife knew it because she is a woman of faith and she worships the Writings as the Word of her Lord. She warned me repeatedly. I was playing around with hell and damnation. My only chance was through her, if I could bring myself to enact the Doctrine of the Wife that I considered sacred and Divine. The journey to conjugial love is an experience of agony and ecstasy. But I strive to remind myself on an hourly basis every day, that I have no choice but to kill my love for my self-intelligence, to destroy my enormous arrogance and belief in myself as the only standard that matters between us.
My standard is a man’s standard, which is automatically contrary to my wife’s standard. A woman in my mind doesn’t rate as high as a man, especially when it comes to opinion and understanding. A wife’s requests can be ignored when convenient, her opinions can be discounted when they are inconvenient, her intelligence need not be consulted except perhaps in a sort of ritual way to get the credit for seeming to be cooperative. These ideas of mine are generic to all husbands because they come to us from the spiritual world. The process of letting go of them scares many men. But it’s the only way for a husband to be saved for heavenly life. A husband and a wife can be married for decades and reach a level of agreement with each other that allows a relatively peaceful and civil life together for the raising of children and for enacting one’s duties in life. But it is the wife who provides the internal assessment of the relationship, whether it is merely external, or also internal.
The husband doesn’t know this from himself. He believes all is well when his wife has a long list of her unhappinesses and longings which he doesn’t wish to fulfill. She lives in her hopes that the Lord will provide her with her true husband, and that this man she is married to, will be that soul mate in Heaven she craves for from her inmost being and life. But she can see that this man is not interested in that inner union with her. He thrashes about and hurts her every time she comes really near to his spirit. Sadly at first, then more and more frantically, she hopes he will change, that all this will not have been in vain. She does everything she can to turn his attention and focus to herself. I am your salvation. I am your heaven. And he must eventually capitulate, abandon his mother and father, and cleave unto his wife.
The day I started applying the Doctrine of the Wife to my daily willing and thinking, I experienced the ecstasy of conjugial union, at first in an irregular manner, but later more and more regularly. I became more and more willing in my interior mind to adopt Rule 1, namely, to actually strive to learn to love to act from my wife more than I love to act from myself. It was a clear battle the Lord was facing me with. Choose between love for your understanding vs. love for your wife’s understanding. I loved my own understanding; I did not love my wife’s understanding unless the two were compatible. But whenever there was a difference, I loved mine more than hers. The difficulty of switching from mine to hers, played itself out in my awareness as the superiority of my understanding over hers. Once in a while I was happy to rely on her understanding, in all areas where I acknowledged her expertise as being superior to mine. But never in other situations where I considered my understanding superior to hers. And this centered around self-knowledge.
The Doctrine of the Wife plainly states that the wife is given by the Lord perception of her husband’s inner affections, and that this perception is not given to the husband, either of his own affections, or the affections of the wife. Despite my acknowledging this principle as Divinely given, I still did not perform according to it whenever my self-intelligence gave me the certitude that I was right and she was wrong about myself, about what motivated me, why I was doing something, why I was not doing something, when I was denying the truth, when I was being arrogant, negligent, cruel, stiff-necked, rough. I reserved the right to decide on these things about myself, despite what I acknowledged in the Doctrine of the Wife!
The Lord gives us moments and phases of sweet victory. My wife can at last acknowledge my improvement without fearing that I will use it as an excuse to fall back to earlier modes of exchange and denseness. My wife no longer has fear in her heart on a constant basis, as she used to, due to my ability to precipitate her into dread and depression, and my ready willingness to do that for the sake of indulging my beloved self-intelligence. One thing is plainly visible to me, namely, that I must continue to eliminate in my interior mind, all exceptions to Rule 1 of the Doctrine of the Wife. Even when I refuse, in the midst of the refusal, I already know interiorly that I am wrong, that I will regret it, that I must stop now.
Some of the young people in Bryn Athyn college with whom I have discussed the Doctrine of the Wife opined that it may be better if there were some sort of “equity” between a man and a woman so that each would share their understanding, sometimes the woman prevailing, sometimes the man. Some women also expressed the thought that a woman could be wrong about this or that issue, and therefore the husband shouldn’t have to listen to her if he sees that she is wrong. But my reply is that the status quo gives man a big edge in the relationship so that his understanding is made to prevail, regardless of whether he turns out to be wrong later. The wife has to live with the consequences of her husband’s mistakes in decision making. Therefore it should be acceptable also that he should live with the consequences of his wife deciding on something and being wrong. So the fact that the wife is fallible is no reason for the husband not to listen to her all the time and in every case where there is a difference of opinion or understanding of something.
The Writings teach that Christian women have conjugial love inborn from nativity. This predisposes them towards conjunction with a husband whom they believe to be provided for them by the Lord. A man on the other hand has a resistance to conjugial love inborn from nativity. This predisposes men towards loving their self-intelligence, which then makes it more difficult for them to undergo reformation and regeneration. As a result of this inborn imbalance in men, wives regenerate faster and earlier than their husbands. A woman undergoes reformation when she meets her husband to be and falls in love. For a woman, falling in love involves reformation of her character and the opening of her interior spirituality. The reason is that she strives to conjoin with her man from within, and this striving is done in the wisdom of innocence, from the Lord, from whom the wife receives the irresistible desire to conjoin. The husband on the other hand is cold and exhausted by his inner battles against conjunction. He lapses into a deeper arrogance, a stronger attachment to self-intelligence. Reformation is retarded; regeneration is prevented.
Meanwhile the wife is suffering. She is spiritually ahead of her mate. It is almost as if a lamb has to live with a bear, a bull, or a snake. The Writings describe the nature of unregenerate men as rough, coarse, external, task oriented, angry, cold, ready to be violent, stubborn, and aversive to all things celestial. Women on the other hand are described as having a gentle and mild nature, relationship oriented, caring, warm, involved in celestial things of harmony and inner wisdom. The Writings describe the Lord’s nature in the same terms as it describes women’s nature, and in contrastive terms used to describe men. The celestial husbands described in the Writings are “feminized” in the sense that their former masculine characteristics of the unregenerate state, has been left behind, replaced by the new celestial nature that is now, like women’s nature, and like the Lord’s nature—gentle, caring, warm, wise, involved in mutual love and relationship, with an affectional understanding they have from their wife, since they now form a one with her.
For all these considerations, based on reasoning from the plain teachings of the Writings, it is clear that the husband should learn to act from the wife rather than from himself. This ought to become a preference, a free choice made on principle, which is that it is a commandment from the Lord given to husbands that they may be prepared to undergo regeneration, without which they can have no part in salvation. The Doctrine of the Wife, when acknowledged by a husband as a Divine commandment, becomes the instrument of his regeneration. A husband cannot regenerate apart from his wife. His regeneration progresses to the extent that he lives by his principles. If he makes the Doctrine of the Wife a principle to live by in his marriage, he empowers his wife to become an instrument of his regeneration, consequently, salvation.
Living by the Doctrine of the Wife brings the husband closer to the Lord. It is an exhilarating experience to realize this. A false religious view is the triangle concept of the couple, with God being the third element. But God would never demand or want a man to make a choice between Him and his wife. Rather, God is to be loved within his wife, since all the good that his wife possesses is nothing else but the Lord in the wife. This is true of every neighbor whom we are to love not from person but from the good in the neighbor, hence the Lord who is wherever good is. Hence the more we love our wife, the more we can love the Lord, and we do not love the Lord to the extent that we love our self-intelligence more than her intelligence and wisdom.
A wife strives not to disagree with her husband. She does not desire to contradict him, to think differently from him. Every fiber of her spirit strains to conjoin herself to him mentally and spiritually. She values his thinking and his understanding. She does not oppose them, to the extent that they are good and wise. A husband need not fear that he would be dominated by his conjugial wife or that his opinions would be disparaged by her. Within this context, a husband continues to exert leadership and expertise in his chosen areas of work and duty, both domestic and forensic. But at some point their progress in inner union is hampered because the husband will not undergo himself what she was willing to undergo. She was willing to absorb the husband’s thinking while he remains in his own. He is unwilling to absorb her way of thinking in all the areas of their relationship and mutual concerns and involvements. Thence comes conflict. And yet this is necessary for regeneration, for them to become one soul (CL).
In my case, my wife was able to exert rational pressure on my mind, and therefore, from within. Outside pressure would not work because my stubbornness was stronger than her ability to pressure me. But inner pressure worked because I did not dare to resist it. The inner pressure was made possible by her knowledge of the Writings and that I acknowledged the Doctrine of the Wife as a Divine commandment. She would never tire of pointing out the inconsistency in my behavior and my doctrine. I was caught in that spiritual force field and I could not escape. I had no choice but to capitulate, to make myself go along, to listen, to agree, to simulate these things even if I did not feel them. I compelled myself out of sheer power from the religious principle, from the conviction that it is a Divine commandment given for my sake that I may be saved by cooperating with the Lord who is creating a celestial husband.
For more justification on the Doctrine of the Wife and how it operates in the regeneration of husbands, see Chapter 2 in Volume 3 in A Man of the Field: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nonduality.html
4. A topic of interest in Bryn Athyn (as well as the world at large) is the interface between science and religion. Greg Baker published a book a decade ago; a number of other people have recently tried to close this gap which began to open in the time of Galileo and became a chasm roughly a century ago. An open-ended question: what do you think of this issue? How are you contributing to a solution, if you are?
Our approach is somewhat different. We see the Writings as the foundation simultaneously for science and religion. The science based on the Writings we call True Science, and the religion based on the Writings, is called by the Writings the True Christian Religion. True Science and True Christianity are both contained within the Writings. The future development of science will allow scientific theorizing and experimentation over the full range of reality, from sensory observation to rational descriptions of how the universe was created and how it is maintained by the Divine Laws of Providence.
The structure of every object will be known in its three discrete degrees. Correspondences across these degrees will be mapped out by scientists, which will permit prediction of series and the creation of new knowledge. Human mental development will be studied by working out the correspondences that the Writings specify between the organ of the will and the circulatory system in the body, as well as the correspondences between the understanding and the pulmonary system. All the physiological and genetic details that science discovers about the body will be applied as correspondences to the mind, and its two organs of the will and understanding.
The view implied in the question is the traditional historical view that science and religion began to grow apart with Galileo and continued into modern science where there is a denial of the relevance of God or heaven and hell to the study of reality by science. We believe that there never was a time when science and religion were united, and after that, they came apart. Therefore we don’t see the solution as reuniting the two. We see instead that the Second Coming has given the human race a new science, which is true science. This true science was not available to humanity before the Writings for it did not exist and could not exist. The last Last Judgment took place and was made possible by the scientific truths that the Lord has revealed through Swedenborg’s mind. Now at last the human race is completed in creation. The race has been prepared by the Lord over the centuries since His First Coming in His Divine Natural. Now it is permitted to enter into the mysteries of God and reality, because the scientific revelations have been given that allow scientists to dispel the clouds of mystery by means of rational explanations of everything.
This orientation towards the Writings is expressed in our own scientific research and theorizing. One concept we work with is called “the threefold self.” For example, in our investigations on improving driving skills, drivers observe themselves behind the wheel in traffic, monitoring their threefold self, which is defined for them as “my feelings,” “my thoughts,” and my “sensorimotor actions.” The existence of the threefold self is revealed in the Writings as it systematically presents the lawful relationship in the interaction between the will and the understanding, and the two together, in causing the sensorimotor actions.
Since we started reading the Writings in 1981 Diane has made the affective domain her principal area of contribution in information science. See her articles available on the Web: www2.hawaii.edu/~nahl/articles.html
Her current research is investigating the feelings of searchers in the information world and how they learn computer literacy skills to accomplish their tasks. In her theory she emphasizes the connection between the affective and the cognitive in learning and performance, an idea that is based directly on what the Writings say about the necessary interaction between the will and the understanding in the performance of uses, namely, that the will determines the quality of understanding and behaving, and therefore it is essential to focus on the will in information seeking research.
“The doctrine of the wife” collects from the Writings the various things that are revealed about marriage and the relationship between husband and wife. Improving the theory of marriage among health professionals is an urgent task that faces society today. Existing theories and practices are not capable of stopping the astonishing failure rate in marriages today. The consequences in human disruption and suffering is staggering, affecting current and future generations. The Writings present a full and complete set of scientific revelations about marriage. Now scientists can formulate a true knowledge about marriage, its Divine origin, and the steps by which all couples can achieve inner unity as “conjugial love.” The concept of the doctrine of the wife embodies the revealed knowledge about marital union and its spiritual physiology. Now we can expect a new therapy that is based in the Writings, and new educational and social practices that orient towards preparing people for conjugial union. True science will be able to reverse the Fall of the human race from celestial to natural level. The Doctrine of the Wife is discussed in these Web based articles and chapters:
Still another concept is “self-witnessing” and is discussed in the article we prepared for our visit to Bryn Athyn. The paper is available:
Further examples of our scientific concepts are given in these articles:
Another example of creating the new “true science” is the work of Dr. Ian Thompson, a physics professor at the University of Surrey in England. He recently presented a paper in Bryn Athyn at a Swedenborg Scientific Association meeting and his articles are available on the Web at his Theistic Science site: www.TheisticScience.org
The new “true science” of the future will acknowledge God’s role in creating and managing the universe. It will acknowledge, accept, and use the numerous scientific revelations in the Writings as a gift from God to the human race. This intellectual gift of truth could not be received by humankind prior to the Writings. The Second Coming marks the completion of the creation of humankind. Now it is permitted and possible to treat of holy things in a scientific way and by the rational methods of science. God has revealed Himself completely, in His Divine Rational, as a result of which human minds can draw near to God by means of the Divine truth applied to one’s daily living, feeling, and thinking. This application of Divine truths to one’s life elevates the consciousness and intellect of the individual to the celestial level, which is the highest level that was created in human beings. True science can help raise the consciousness of the human race to its celestial level of functioning and existing, bringing to the diverse peoples of this earth, mutual understanding and love, hence peace, and also, full control over the environment. This promise of the future rests on the Writings.
5. Distinguish between science and new science/science and revelation/scientific errors in the Heavenly Doctrines.
As indicated in the answer to Question 4, we see the Writings as the twin foundation for “true Christianity” and “true science.” The current science is thoroughly characterized in the Writings. Two aspects are notable. First, that science based on self-intelligence and sense-based empiricism, is a false science that turns the interior of the mind into spiritual insanity and leaves the person in an unregenerate state in the afterlife. Second, that the Lord through the angels and spirits, inflows into the interior mind of every human being, and arranges the internals of thinking into a rational order. Regardless of how evil or unregenerate an individual is, this unconscious Divine operation causes the natural external conscious mind of the individual to think intelligently and rationally, the majority of time.
Consequently, in today’s society, materialistic monist science has been apparently able to create a logic structure for the management and operation of society, so that scientists produce intelligent artifacts and theories by which to control the environment. To self-intelligence and to scientists today, the evident success of modernism and engineering is taken as a demonstration and proof of the intelligence of scientists and the rationality of science. But from Divine revelation in the Writings we now know that the success is to be attributed not to the scientists, who are internally in spiritual insanity and in evil, but to the unconscious influx from heaven which arranges their interior mind into a rational order. In the afterlife, when this influx ceases and changes, the external mind dissipates and the interior mind comes to the fore. Then one can observe the insanity and the evil of those who have lived a life that denies God, heaven, and hell. Denying these facts traps a person in spiritual insanity.
Since science is made universal by means of public education in every country, it is the fate of every individual now to become imbued with materialistic concepts while being socialized, educated, and trained for social and cultural life. But now with the Writings available, every individual has the means to realize the destructiveness of remaining in a godless state of understanding and in the choices of one’s life. With the advent and development of true science based in the Writings, this capacity for regeneration and consciousness expansion, will become available to the entire population of the planet. Regardless of religion and culture, people can benefit equally from true science based in the Writings.
True science requires the acknowledgement of the Writings as a rational and perfect system of scientific revelations provided directly by God through the prepared mind of the eminent seventeenth century Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg. Without this specific acknowledgement and assumption or premise, true science cannot begin in someone’s mind. Scientific dualism is now replacing materialistic monism in our own work:
The idea that the Writings are scientific revelations has met with resistance in the New Church. As we understand this sentiment by some Bryn Athyn Levites, it has to do with the fear or concern that the Writings would be discredited as a Divine Work if scientists would find something in it that is outdated science and no longer accurate. The solution, according to this view, is to deny that the Writings contain scientific revelations. We see this as a harmful belief that is not based in the Writings. It appears to come from an incorrect understanding of science. We are professional scientists and make our living and career out of it. We never had this concern about the possibility that scientists might find some errors and outdated scientific concepts that were proper to the seventeenth century but not today. Indeed, articles have been written in the New Church literature listing and debating some of these errors and alleged outdated scientific concepts.
This intellectual ferment there has generated considerable confusion around such topics as the fertilization of plants, the racial heredity of offspring, inhabitants of the other planets in the solar system, the spontaneous creation of insects, the inheritance of psychological traits, and some others. However, we believe that the approach should be the reverse; that is, take the Writings as the basis for science and scientific theory and explanation, and from there view current science as to how it differs from what the Writings present. This difference is what’s wrong with science and its theories today. It doesn’t make sense to reverse this process and to view the Writings from the perspective of current science, and consequently, find errors and outdated scientific concepts. Rather, the Writings present the celestial science, the only true science, from God’s Mind who is the only True Scientist.
Much more needs to be said on this issue. Please consult some of the articles in which we discuss various aspects of it:
(i) Bryn Athyn will actualize itself as the City of Levites who acknowledge the Writings as the Word of the Second Coming. Every Bryn Athyn citizen will be taught the Writings since earliest childhood until high school graduation, and the study of the Writings will be seen as a daily task in worship of the Lord. By this means, the mind of every young person will be prepared for reformation in early adulthood. Most Bryn Athyn citizens will then undergo their reformation in college and they will begin their regeneration in that same period of life. With the beginning of regeneration comes enlightenment from the Lord as we study the Writings and apply its principles to our daily willing and thinking. As regenerating adults, Bryn Athyn citizens will enter into conjugial relationships and be blessed with children who have inherited their good affections. Bryn Athyn will become a model city for the new age of celestial consciousness and conjugial union. This would be the best way in which to convey the New Church to the world. Further, what is being said about Bryn Athyn is true of all the little Bryn Athyns around the world that have been born from the main Bryn Athyn, where it all started, and from which, like a world center, it radiates its message like a city on a high hill in full view to the entire intellectual life of the planet.
(ii) Bryn Athyn will actualize itself more and more as a mainspring of true religion, true science, and true citizenship. This is a guaranteed outcome for Bryn Athyn, and all others who wish to emulate it. Guaranteed by Divine Seal of Approval and Sponsorship. The Lord has revealed in the Writings that the human race is returning to a celestial state of conjugial love. This is the purpose of the Second Coming, namely, to restore humankind to its highest state of being and functioning. Bryn Athyn therefore represents the completion of the creation of the human race. In Bryn Athyn the Crown of Churches has been born more than 100 hundred years ago and it has survived there, and thrived there, and gone out from there to nearby cities and distant lands. The Lord has chosen this planet to effect His Two Appearances to the human race. First in Bethlehem; second in Bryn Athyn. From Bryn Athyn we will see the architecture not only of a beautiful and significative Church Cathedral and Temple of New Jerusalem, but also the architecture of a new science, this time a true science, begotten from God’s Divine Rational Mind, embodied in the Letter of the Writings through the trained and prepared mind of the scientist Swedenborg. Bryn Athyn will therefore actualize itself to lead the world not only in religion but also in the true science that will bring universal peace, mutual love, and a superior understanding and control of nature and community.
The City of Levites for the Second Coming will also be the scientific headquarters of the world’s think tank and community laboratory. Here scholars, engineers, lawyers, and managers from all the nations will gather together to study the Writings with each other, to open its infinite resources which God has bestowed upon the human race in its completed state of celestial life. True science will come therefrom and with this, complete control over nature and the environment, both outer and inner spiritual. Truth accomplishes every phase of phenomena in the universe. Rational principle moves every dynamic that exists in reality. Knowing this truth brings on the power and virtue of heaven on earth to the extent that this truth is loved and lived.
(iii) More digitizing of the Writings, sermons and doctrinal classes so that people can find them on the Web and hear and read their trues, and be exposed to the loving and rational religion of the New Church. The Sound Recording Library is a treasure for the world and we have made great use of its offerings over the years. The first tape we received was sent by Harold Rand, of Bishop King’s sermon on the internal and the external. We listened to it and loved it dozens of times before we learned that the Sound Recording Library would send many more. Expanding this to offer Web documents and audible sermons and classes will be a great boon because many people can learn this way. Perhaps developing online classes for inquirers and interested persons is a forward thinking method for disseminating the Writings and their splendor.
7. Do you think that fear and/or sadness is always behind anger and rage? Would you speak to the value of acknowledging and communicating this fear or sadness rather than acting out the anger?
One of the techniques we teach in our courses is called “Customizing My Daily Emotional Spin Cycle” The instructions we use and the theory is available: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy16/g16reports-instructions.html
Access to student reports describing their projects is available in this document:
Briefly, the theory we teach is based on what we understand from the Writings regarding the methods of regeneration and how every individual is to cooperate with the Lord by self-witnessing our daily habits of willing and thinking. Once we know ourselves, we can assess each habit we become aware through systematic self-witnessing on a daily basis. To assess ourselves we use the highest principles we have acquired regarding what is good and true. And finally, we compel ourself to modify our reactions in three domains of the threefold self: (1) in the affective domain, which covers our motives, feelings, and inherited loves; (2) in the cognitive domain, which covers our thoughts, reasonings, and imaginings; (3) in the sensorimotor domain, which covers our sensations and motor movements.
Since the three domains of the self are integrated into a functioning threefold self, it is necessary to address all three domains separately, when attempting self-modification. Our instructions and our diagrams are studied by the students and we discuss it in class and read the reports of prior students. In this way students carry out the project fully prepared to participate in this scientific quest for understanding the human mind, how it functions, how it is structured, how the self must be analyzed, taken apart, observed, evaluated, and modified in all its aspects of willing, thinking, and acting.
We do not relate our instructions directly to Swedenborg or the Writings, nor to God, Heaven, hell, or regeneration. This is a public university and we have to respect regulations and practices regarding an appearance of “teaching a religion.” Further, there is no need to make this connection with individuals to whom the Writings are entirely unknown and have no scientific or educational context to receive such concepts. Instead, our principled appeal for the use of the approach is that it creates vessels of reception because it teaches people to “professionalize their self” which means to acquire effective self-management techniques in the three domains of the self—willing, thinking, and acting. Further, the data and understanding thus acquired is to be considered scientific evidence on the human mind. It is not just for oneself but for others. Science needs a cumulative database of self-witnessing reports by as many individuals as possible. There is no other way of acquiring objectively what a person is feeling, thinking, and doing. Systematic self-witnessing thus has a double use. First, to acquire skills of professional self-management. Second, to contribute to the scientific literature on the human mind. This second purpose is achieved by the students uploading or publishing their report on the Web rather than handing it to the instructor. The instructor does the grading and evaluating by reading what the students have published.
The content of the self-witnessing report varies from semester to semester so that we have accumulated hundreds of reports published by students. We call this the “Generational Curriculum” and it is growing larger with each semester. This semester Leon is teaching Generation 18. (You can take a look at their work at the Class Home Page: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy18/g18classhome.html
Specifically with respect to the question, to address “the value of acknowledging and communicating this fear or sadness rather than acting out the anger,” our self-witnessing techniques, diagrams, and explanations identify anger or rage as allied to arrogance and the love of self exclusively. Our model explains how anger against others automatically and irresistibly turns into anger against self, which is similar to depression and cynicism. This emotional spin cycle between anger against others and anger against self is automatic, culture bound, and habitual, causing the majority of people to experience bouts of unhappiness on a daily basis, with its negative consequences on our development, productivity, and physical health. The venting myth advocates “getting it out instead of holding it in.” However, recent medical and psychological research demonstrates that venting is neither palliative nor restorative because one never removes the angry feelings, but instead recycles the feelings and hatreds mentally and experiences them physiologically, damaging the immune system irreparably.
Learning and practicing systematic self-witnessing techniques enables one to exit from the spin cycle whenever we desire by using the “bridge technique” which refers to exerting conscious rational control over what we think, how we emote, and what we show on the outside or how we affect others by our appearance and demeanor in body, expression, and voice. Once the negative spin cycle is stopped, one enters the positive spin cycle which oscillates back and forth all day between relating to others with compassion and emotional intelligence, in one part of the cycle, followed by the other part, which is to treat oneself with compassion and emotional intelligence by thinking optimistically and realistically about our ability to accomplish our daily tasks and challenges.
Instead of venting one’s anger, or “acting out,” which leads to alienation and cynicism, we bring a stop to it, and begin to think with emotional intelligence about our situation, and to think of the good of others and not just of our own. In this way we can abandon the negative zone or spin cycle, as soon as we find ourselves in it during the course of the day, and thus move into the positive cycle and be free to be a better person, a better citizen, more like an angel than a devil. “The value of acknowledging and communicating this fear or sadness” lies in stopping the cycle from continuing itself compulsively, thus to gain rational control over the socialized habits of the self. Venting anger and rage, complaining compulsively, feeling resentment, feeling cynical and unable to make contact, are all socialized habits within the negative spin cycle. They are not conscious choices and do not represent our preferences. We use the title “Customizing your emotional spin cycle” to impress the idea that we begin with a socialized set of habits we did not consciously choose, but that we can customize them to our liking and benefit. We are taught both the positive and the negative emotional spin cycle. Both have become automatic by the time we are a young adult and begin to ask ourselves what we want to be, and especially, how we want to be. Therefore everyone needs behavioral tools that allow them to accomplish the task of rearranging the preferences and automatic settings of one’s habitual personality. Exercising this control allows us to fashion out of ourselves a new personality, a new human being, with positive loves and rational thoughts.
8. From your knowledge of the heavenly Doctrines--is there one that you consider outstanding? Please explain. Thank you.
There are many lovely doctrines we can cite, including the eternity of marriage. We consider the Doctrine of Sacred Scripture to be the outstanding feature of the Heavenly Doctrine. The Heavenly Doctrine refers to the Writings in its literal or plain meaning. The Writings tell us that the letter of the Word is special and unlike any other writing by any human author. Only the Word contains Divine Truth itself arranged in an infinite rational series that describes all possible knowledge and contains all possible power and holiness. Those who acknowledge the Writings as the Word have access to a new source of knowledge and power, namely, the inner sense of the Writings as the Word of the Second Coming.
The Writings are Sacred Scripture because they are the Word and because they are from the Lord. The Letter of the Word is adapted to the intellectual understanding of the modern generations to whom the new revelation is given. The Word of the Writings has been adapted to the intellectual level of the modern scientific mind capable of understanding and accepting rational principles about Divine Love and Wisdom. This external vessel of the new Latin Word was created by means of the mind of a seventeenth century scientist whom the Lord prepared for the task since his early childhood. The external literal meaning of the Writings is perfectly suited for the true Christian religion and for the true science of the new age.
But the new age for the human race cannot take place in general, but only in particular, and through that, in general. In other words, the new age must dawn in the mind of individuals, or nowhere. This new celestial state of mind and consciousness in the individual can be born only through the method of regeneration as described in the Writings. Every individual must undergo reformation, and then regeneration, in order to open the celestial mind in oneself. The Writings teach that this opening of the spiritual dimension and existence in an individual, cannot take place by study and knowledge of the Writings. It can only be accomplished by the Lord to the extent that the individual cooperates. Cooperation is specified as the daily process of applying one’s understanding of the Writings to one’s willing and thinking, hour by hour, and minute by minute. This cooperation takes effort and the burden of temptation and character improvement by dedicated struggle against inherited and acquired evil loves.
The Writings describe the step by step developmental process of regeneration. As we go through each phase we experience enlightenment of a deeper and deeper kind, giving us perception of more and more interior truths, bringing us to higher and higher intelligence, wisdom, and love. The regenerating person returns to the Writings over and over again, several times each day, seeing new truths in an increasing series that never ends. This is the series of the inner sense of the Writings contained in its literal meaning. This spiritual sense cannot be explained in a natural language in such a way as to give a true description of itself, but it can be perceived when enlightened by the Lord. And the Lord enlightens all individuals who apply their understanding of the Writings to their daily willing and thinking acts.
For more detail on the process of reformation, enlightenment, and regeneration, please consult: A Man of the Field (in 3 Volumes): www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nonduality.html
9. Can you give us a few passages about self-witnessing and regeneration?
Several passages with explanations are given in the paper we prepared for our presentation in Bryn Athyn:
The following is a list of the articles mentioned in this report:
(1) Full Text Articles and Book Chapters by Leon James and Diane Nahl
(2) When We Discovered Swedenborg
(3) A Man of the Field: Forming The New Church Mind In Today’s World
(4) DrDriving’s Web site
(5) Spiritual Psychology: The Mental Technology of Self-Witnessing
(6) The Fourteen Scientific Fallacies in AC 5084: Implications for Science Education
(7) Diane Nahl’s Web site
(8) The Doctrine of the Wife (first version)
(9) Discoveries and Inventions by Leon James
(10) Spiritual Geography--Part 1-- Graphic Maps of Consciousness for Regeneration
(11) Dr. Ian Thompson’s Web site
(12) Theistic Science Glossary of Swedenborg’s Writings
(13) Substantive Dualism: Swedenborg's Integration of Biological Theology and Rational Psychology
(14) Overcoming Objections to Swedenborg's Writings Through the Development of Scientific Dualism
(15) General Instructions for “The Four Options--Customizing My Daily Emotional Spin Cycle”
(16) Leon James Home Page
(17) The Web address of this document: