A Little-Known Country, Part 28 (Ordained Chaplains: Out of the Depths #79)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #79.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Psalm 18:18-19 which reads, “They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Thomas Moore. He said, “Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 28):

OPENING DOORS
I was transferred downstairs on June 4, 1921. The first week was spent doing little else but eating and sleeping and recuperating from the long ordeal upstairs. Then I began to look around for something to do. My first request for work met with the reply that I was not yet strong enough. This was the situation at the time of the following memorandum, which was written on June 15 and given to the physician the next day.

From: A. T. Boisen
To: Dr. Chambers
Subject: Amusement on Codman Lower

It is now eleven days since I came to Codman Lower. During the first week I was chiefly engaged in recuperating from the ten weeks of tub treatment up-stairs and I did little but eat and sleep. This week, however, I am beginning to accumulate some surplus energy and I am looking around for some way of spending it to good advantage. To my surprise I find that this is no simple or easy problem.

The striking feature of this ward as compared with the other wards with which I am familiar is the lightness of the ward work and the lack of occupation for most of the men during the major part of the day. This results from the fact that there are no bed patients here, while more than half of the men are regarded as not yet fit for regular work. At this present moment (2 PM) twelve patients are at work outside the ward while thirteen are now here on the ward and have been here all day. These thirteen got up this morning between half past five and six o’clock, washed, dressed, took breakfast, and helped with the ward work. This was completed before nine o’clock. At ten we took half an hour’s work. The rest of the day we’ve been chiefly occupied in doing nothing. As I look around me here on the porch, I see one asleep, two are talking together, four are reading news-papers, five are looking into the dim distance and, judging by their expressions, they are thinking very gloomy thoughts. In fact, the remarkable thing is that more are not engaged in ruminating, for there is little else to do. There has been no work since nine o’clock, except in the kitchen and serving room, and there are no facilities for recreation. At present Codman Lower possesses the following recreational equipment:

1 victrola–a treasure which is a great source of comfort to us all.

1 set of checkers safely locked up in the reading room and accessible only by grace of the attendant.

6 books, viz., Newcomb: Popular Astronomy, 1879
Bruce: Scientific Mental Healing
Roosevelt: Hunting Trip in South Africa
Ralph Connor: Patrol of the Sundance Trail
On Holy Ground
Holy Bible

Sundry copies of the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, Country Gentlemen, Harper’s, Munsey’s, National Geographic, all much appreciated, but mosly consumed.

These books an magazines are now safely locked up in the reading room. In addition there are two books drawn by two men from the Patients’ Library at Center.

My judgment is that some additional facilities for occupying the time and attention of the men on this ward would be beneficial. Speaking at least for myself, who generally have little difficulty in finding plenty to do, I would emphasize the fact that time does hang heavy on my hands and that the general atmosphere is one of gloom. I venture therefore the following suggestions:

1. The supplying of additional equipment for indoor recreation:
2 collapsible tables for cards, checkers, writing etc. (No tables at all are now available.)
Sets of checkers, cards, dominoes, chess etc.
Traveling library
Bulletin board
Book case
1 set of ring-toss

2. Equipment for out-door recreation
Playground balls and bats
Horse shoe outfit
Volley ball and net

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 29 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!

A Little-Known Country, Part 27 (Ordained Chaplains: Out of the Depths #78)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #78.

Our Scripture Verse for today is 2 Corinthians 12:9 which reads, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Richard Eyre. He said, “We can alleviate physical pain, but mental pain–grief, despair, depression, dementia–is less accessible to treatment. It’s connected to who we are–our personality, our character, our soul, if you like.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 27):

8 April 1921
Dear Fred:

Just a few lines, while there is yet time, to tell you that I am still in the land of the living. I have, however, been deep down in the valley of shadow and I do not know whether I shall ever emerge.

Yes, I wrote despondently the week before Easter and I still adhere to what I said in those letters. The reality is far more terrible than I had ever believed and I fear the world is in for very troublous times. Christian civilization seems doomed.

I will ask you to ponder over that suggestion about the family of four as a means of keeping intact the family line. I think my suggestion that life is in two cycles is true and the family-of-four idea with unselfish love as the basic principle will be the means of preventing syphilitic infection and of breeding up the race until Christianity can come into its own.

I hope you will think of me kindly. My opinion of myself is not very high.

It may be noted that I was still dominated by the idea of impending world disaster and by the idea of the family-of-four. One reason for the persistence and strength of the latter may be found in the fact that the tubroom contained just four tubs. These stood in my mind for that idea. It seemed that it was a new type of cell, and it was associated with the idea of rebirth. It seemed that the psychopathic ward was the meeting place between this world and the world beyond, and the tubroom was the place for the regeneration of wornout personalities. I regarded it as my duty to stay on guard in the tubroom and I actually spent a large proportion of the ten weeks in that room. Somehow or other through those tubs the destiny of the world was going to be determined. It was my job to defeat the plans of those whom I regarded as enemies, some of whom, it seemed, were representatives of the devil himself. This required constant watchfulness, and throughout those ten weeks I scarcely dared to sleep.

All the time the idea persisted that if I could destroy myself, I could save the situation. On several occasions during the previous fall I had made such attempts. Now again I made repeated attempts. I had the idea that the way out was down and not up, and that I must descend to the lowest possible level. On several occasions I lay for hours during the night on the cold cement floor with no clothing on so that no one might be able to get below me and that the enemy might thereby be discomfited.

Symbolism was of course a prominent feature of such an experience. Things were not what they seemed to be. Everything had some deeper meaning. The patients around me were embodiments of good and bad spirits. So also were the attendants and the doctors. The different kinds of food all stood for something. I would eat no meat, no fruit, no pie, no sweet stuff of any sort, but lived on bread and water and beans, and very little of these. To have eaten of the other things would have brought misfortune upon my friends. But it was always a difficult matter to know what to eat and what not to eat. The different tubs also meant different things, though just what they meant I was not sure, and I was always wanting to be changed from one tub to another.

Gradually, however, some sort of solution seemed to be taking shape. The terror was disappearing and I was beginning to stay put instead of plunging around and throwing things into confusion. I was also getting fearfully tired and I was beginning to question some of my premises. But I kept going back to the tubs until I felt that nothing further could be accomplished. I finally consented to stay out if assured that I might be able to “help.” I was then transferred downstairs.

Immediately then the old fears and the old ideas vanished, fears and ideas which, so long as I remained on the disturbed ward, were picked up from other patients or absorbed from old associations.

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 28 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!

A Little-Known Country, Part 25 (Ordained Chaplains: Out of the Depths #76)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #76.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Philippians 4:6-7 which reads, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Charles Spurgeon. He said, “Fits of depression come over the most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 25):

20 March 1921
Dear Fred:

The feeling is growing within me that before committing myself to the doctors at Bloomingdale I should like to talk things over with you carefully. You see, I have been doing quite a bit of thinking since I read the book you sent. It opens up a wide view and gives rise to questions which require intensive thinking. It draws my attention away from the problem of insanity to another problem of which I fear the doctors might not approve.

I am still planning to come down to New York Friday or Saturday night, arriving early in the morning.

21 March 1921
Dear Fred:

I am very sad to-day.

Last November, after your visit here, you wrote me a fine letter in which you gave precisely the right suggestions. The time of my stay here is drawing to a close and the task you set me is unaccomplished. Your friend Anton Boisen has failed and his task remains undone.

My eyes are opened now through the book you sent me. I see and am much troubled. The failure is a tragic one. Its awfulness I can scarce imagine.

Have you noticed in reading The Unseen Guest that while the facts related there may be true, as I believe they are, it is not Christianity which it teaches. It implies a religion of ancestor worship. You notice, don’t you, that Stephen is “of the same degree” and that the doctrine of evil and pain is inadequate. Evil and pain in this world are for him merely hallucinations. I tremble when I think of what this means.

I am feeling anxious about my release, for I am under a heavy strain and I am afraid they may keep me here, when what I need is to be with friends who understand. If anything should prevent my release this week, I fear for the results. The doctors have no understanding of my problem. I hope you will do all you can to hurry the thing through.

I see it all so clearly now. We are indeed just part of larger personalities, but with our eyes closed to that relationship. Our responsibility here is to do the allotted task. And I have failed.

22 March 1921
Dear Fred:

In my recent letter I flew some signals of distress. I am sending you a few lines to-night to ask you to take those signals down. The problem has cleared up and all is right again. I suppose it is the fact of being still in custody which makes me so fearful.

I still feel that if I could get a place to stay and a little something to do outside of Bloomingdale, that might be a better plan.

I have not yet figured it out, but I am feeling rather happy now.

P.S. One hour later. It comes to me again that the situation is now very, very critical. Everything is hanging in the balance. I need your prayers and your help. You must get me out of here this week, no matter what happens. Oh, it is indeed terrible. Our Christian civilization is doomed and the battle will have to be fought all over again. It must now be fought against evil forces which are greatly augmented.

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 26 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!

A Little-Known Country, Part 24 (Out of the Depths #75)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #75.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Matthew 11:28-30 which reads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Charles Spurgeon. He said, “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 24):

RELAPSE
After three months of negotiations my mother and sister withdrew their objections, and arrangements were completed for my transfer to Bloomingdale, where I was to pay the nominal charge of ten dollars a week. The date was set for March 25, but on March 24 I became acutely disturbed and had to be sent to Codman Upper, a disturbed ward. The causes of this relapse were somewhat complex.

I had been eager to go to Bloomingdale; and yet, as the letter of December 16 shows, I dreaded the psychoanalytic treatment by men I did not know, perhaps even more than the incarceration at Westboro. For the psychoanalysts were doctors, and my fear of the doctors still carried over from my forcible hospitalization.

Then, back of it all was the conviction that I was not wholly wrong. I had been plunged into a strange new world, and the specific ideas from the previous delirium had been stowed away in the back of my mind with big question marks after them.

Just about a week before the transfer to Bloomingdale was to be made I was given a copy of The Unsee Guest. This was a book on spiritism, one that does not make much impression on me now, but at that time I became intensely interested in it, and under its influence the slumbering ideas were reawakened. They began to seem possible, then probable, then true. Meanwhile I had become more and more absorbed. I could think of nothing else. All night I lay awake thinking, all the time knowing that further detention at Westboro was sure to result. The dominant emotions were intense interest and intense fear.

My condition did not remain unnoticed, but the authorities were planning to go through with the transfer anyway. However, on the morning of the day I was to have left, I took matters into my own hands and visited one of the physicians in his apartment in order to discuss with him certain propositions pertaining to the family-of-four, which at that moment had become for me a plan of collaboration between medical and religious workers.

The following five letters to Fred Eastman show the development of my state of mind at the time of onset.

18 March 1921
Dear Fred:

I had a talk with Dr. Lang this morning and learned with satisfaction that he had acted favorably to your proposition and that all that now remains to be done is to attend to the customary red tape. At first he was inclined to insist upon your coming to get me. Finally he consented to allow Mother to sign the needed papers and to let me go down to New York alone. I am hoping to be released next week so that I can be with you on Easter Sunday.

I have just finished The Unseen Guest, and have found it of absorbing interest. In fact the impression it made on me is tremendous. It seems to supplement and clarify and support so startlingly the experience through which I have passed and the ideas with which I have been struggling. Once more, just as in that book of Freud’s, I have seemed to check up ad find my answer right. I suppose I am pre-disposed to accept this book at face value. Perhaps for this very reason I ought to be more cautious.

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 25 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!

A Little-Known Country, Part 23 (Ordained Chaplains: Out of the Depths #74)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #74.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Isaiah 41:10 which reads, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from John Green. He said, “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 23):

The following letter of February 14, 1921, to my old comrade-in-arms, Norman Nash, then teaching at the Episcopal School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers additional evidence of the growing interest in the mental hospital as my future field of work. It reveals also an excessively critical attitude.

Dear Norman:

Your inquiry as to my present whereabouts is not easy to answer. You will readily understand this when I tell you that I am at present an inmate of a hospital for the insane, where I was committed last October. As measured by the ability to work, to think straight and to maintain a fair degree of cheerfulness and confidence, I am now, so far as I can judge, as well as I ever was. But here I am, and no relief is in sight.

The cause of it all was an abnormal condition, similar to others I have had on four previous occasions. Each one of these has marked a turning-point in my life and, along with abnormal and pathological elements which I have always recognized, it has brought me what I have regarded as most sacred and most authoritative. This time I became bewildered and terrified until my sister in turn became frightened and I found myself committed. For three weeks I was in a violent delirium, which nearly proved fatal. Then on October 29, I seemed to wake up and in two more weeks I was as well as ever. But I am now in the hands of doctors who do not understand and with whose view-point I am quite at variance.

This catastrophe has of course destroyed my hopes and plans. I came back last July with the intention of taking a pastorate. From that I am now turned aside. My present purpose is to take as my problem the one with which I am here confronted. I believe that many forms of insanity are religious rather than medical problems and that they cannot be successfully treated until they are so recognized. The problem seems to me one of great importance not only because of the large number of sufferers involved, but also because of the religious and psychological and philosophical implications which inhere in it. I am sure that if I can make to it any contribution whatsoever, it will be worth the cost.

The hardest thing is to realize that those of us who are here are practically counted as among the dead. We have no standing in the eyes of the law. We have no rights. Our word counts for nothing, and our wishes, our feelings, our judgments are only so many reasons for doing otherwise. If I had to describe this place, I would say it is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, where the light is gone and the loved ones cut away, while those in control are industriously engaged in suppressing the symptoms which might lead to recovery, all too often through the agency of devils with the pitch-forks of authority in their hands. Over the door I would write, “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate.” [All hope abandon, ye who enter here.]

Perhaps this is a bit strong, and yet I feel that it is not far from the truth. This is indeed a place of lost souls and the methods of treatment are nil. It is just a great prison which they call a “hospital.”

I am not complaining of my present treatment. I am living very comfortably, too comfortably. I am accomplishing nothing. I am rusting, and sometimes I get very impatient.

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 24 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!

A Little-Known Country, Part 21 (Ordained Chaplains: Out of the Depths #72)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #72.

Our Scripture Verse for today is 1 John 4:4 which reads, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Vincent van Gogh. He said, “I knew well enough that one could fracture one’s legs and arms and recover afterward, but I did not know that you could fracture the brain in your head and recover from that too.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 21):

The reference to my believing that I had not suffered from any mental illness refers, of course, to my attempt to distinguish between cerebral disease and mental disorder, and my assertion that I had no cerebral disease.

In fairness to the doctor it should be said that in talking with him, talking as I did under unfavorable conditions and vexed by his attitude, I probably got somewhat excited. It was this which probably explained his answer.

The chief developments during the month of January were the completion, through Fred Eastman’s unremitting efforts, of the negotiations for my transfer to the Bloomingdale Hospital in New York and my own growing conviction that my vocational future was to be found in the mental hospital. But the way was by no means easy, and when it came time to have the necessary papers signed, serious obstacles were encountered. It was a trying time for all of us, especially for my mother. My own state of mind is reflected in the following letter to here.

1 February 1921

My beloved mother:

I have been pondering this morning over the next step which lies before me. I have already written you of what I have in mind, but I feel that there is a little more that needs to be said.

It is for one thing clear to me that I cannot go back into the pastorate. The prolonged stay here has already made that inadvisable. In this Fred Eastman agrees with me. In fact both of us arrived at this conclusion independently. It is inadvisable because it would be necessary to account for these four months, and questions would be raised in the minds of many people, even though I were far more competent than I have ever been before. It is also inadvisable to think further of the pastorate because, if this experience which I have passed through has any meaning, that meaning would point clearly in another direction.

Two courses then remain. I can go into survey work, or other work which I have done before. Such a step I should regard as a backward one and I should always feel myself a failure. The other course is to take as my problem the one with which I am now concerned. That seems to me the clear course. It would give meaning and unity to the experiences of the past and provide something for me to live for and work for. This is truly an interesting and important problem, one which is just beginning to be understood and one in which religion and medicine meet. In many of its forms, insanity, as I see it, is a religious rather than a medical problem, and any treatment which fails to recognize that fact can hardly be effective. But as yet the church has given little attention to this problem.

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 22 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!

How Heavy This Axe

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #71.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Psalm 139:23-24 which reads, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from C. S. Lewis. He said, “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.'”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 20):

Dear Fred:

My sister tells me that you have been much upset by the thought that all these queer ideas of mine were evolved under your own roof. Let me assure you that such was not the case, at least so far as the abnormal state was concerned. I had never thought of such things before nor had I read of them. They were just ideas which came to me suddenly and insistently as from an unknown source and I simply wrote them down.

I do hope you may be able to make some arrangements by which I can get out soon. I should prefer not to be transferred to another hospital but to come out under your care. Frankly the thought of having to bare my very soul again is by no means pleasant to me. One of the hold-over ideas I can’t get away from is fear of the doctors and fear of imprisonment.

This morning a bunch of us were sent out to get laurel for Christmas decorations and I was ordered to show the way to an especially good place which I had visited in company with our kind-hearted, nature-loving head-waiter. It filled me with fear and forebodings. I can’t bear the thought of taking a crowd like that out to strip the bushes of leaves and flowers, so that all their beauty will be destroyed for the coming year, if not for several years to come. I fear something of this sort for myself. I don’t like to be dissected as a pathological subject.
I don’t want to say more than is necessary and then only to those I trust absolutely.

About the middle of December, while talking with one of my physicians, I remarked that while I recognized the grotesque character of the ideas I had had during the disturbed period, I still felt that in the experience there had been some purpose. It was not all a mistake. He shook his head solemnly and said I was entirely wrong. This remark of mine apparently cost me the visit to New York upon which I had been counting. In any case
it explains the following letter to Fred Eastman under the date of December 30, 1920.

Dear Sir:

Replying to your letter of recent date, I beg to inform you that I do not consider Mr. Boisen well enough to visit you at your home during the coming week-end. He still has many false ideas and although his conduct is not greatly disturbed, it is easy to see that his mind is far from right. He still believes that the experience through which he has been passing is part of a plan which has been laid out for him and that he has not suffered from any
mental illness. This mistaken idea is sufficient to tell us that he is still in need of hospital treatment.

Very truly yours,
W. E. Lang
Superintendent

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 21 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!

A Little-Known Country, Part 19 (Out of the Depths #70)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #70.

Our Scripture Verse for today is 2 Timothy 1:7 which reads, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. She said, “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 19):

During the disturbed period I had over and over again ideas of going through all stages
of evolution from the single cell on. It was all very terrible.

My sister says I talked of dying in order that I might be born into the world again. I cannot remember any such idea as that.

I am setting this down just as accurately as I can as part of the analysis I am trying to work out. I hope you will keep this together with my other letter. I have no place to file things here and I may want to refer to them again. I feel like a traveler back from a distant country and I want to record my observations while they are still fresh. This does not mean that I hold to these ideas as true. While I do believe there may be some truth in some of
the ideas, I am concerned chiefly with the mental processes which are involved.

I am much interested in your suggestion regarding transfer to the Bloomingdale Hospital [in White Plains, New York]. If they use the Freudian method there I should like to go there in order to watch the results. I am well enough contented here. I am treated well. But I want a chance to study other methods of treatment than those prevailing here.

As I wrote you last time, my doctors says I can go home Christmas if the family invites me and that I can be released shortly after New Year’s.

From the middle of December until early in March of 1921, the correspondence was concerned chiefly with the obstacles to an early release and with negotiations for transfer to the Bloomingdale Hospital. My letters during this period indicate a fair degree of stability. There was however a brief period in mid-December when some of the old fears were threatening to return. This is reflected in the following letter dated December 16, 1920.

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 20 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!

A Little-Known Country, Part 18 (Out of the Depths #69)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #69.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Galatians 5:16-17 which reads, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Marcus Aurelius. He said, “Death is a release from the impressions of the senses, and from desires that make us their puppets, and from the vagaries of the mind, and from the hard service of the flesh.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 18):

I remember distinctly the beginning of that idea. It came first during that abnormal period in Washington, a flashing, blinding, overwhelming idea that I was not after all just what I had thought myself, but that I had lived on this earth many hundreds of years under different forms but always with the same problem which I had not been able to solve. It seemed that I was identified with the woman from whom the seven devils had been cast out; also with the poet Dante. Confirmation of this I found in the fact that my first illumination had come on Easter morning, that the problem was indeed the same, and that the idea was one I had never dreamed of before. It seemed also that in that struggle lay the center of the fight which had been going on for nineteen hundred years. The Christ personality had been imprisoned and crippled by the selfish demands of a love which had been essential to some weaker person’s salvation. He had been imprisoned because he could not destroy the weaker personality in his own interest; also because this problem, that of sex, represented the first and most difficult problem in the making of a better race. It seemed that as a representative of that weaker type, it was my duty to give up what I felt to be my claim. After I had acted on that it seemed that the fight had been won, and I became ecstatically happy. Them I was seized with a terrible panic from which I emerged only gradually.

One of the things which has most puzzled and horrified me in this recent delirium is the ideas which I have had regarding my own identity. Starting with the idea that I was the representative of the Magdalene-Dante type, I surrendered my claim and became a zero quantity. Then I became confused. I was a zero quantity, but I was also its opposite. Another idea which persisted throughout the disturbed period was that I was a representative of the sex instinct. It was in this role, I think, that I attempted repeatedly to eliminate myself. Once I tried to drown myself in the tub and nearly succeeded. Twice I rammed my head against the corner of the brick wall.

As I look back over this, viewing it more in perspective, I still wonder if there may not be some glimmering of truth in these strange ideas. We know so little about the unseen forces. Is it not possible that our minds are the scene of a struggle in which universal issues are at stake?

One such idea was that of life as consisting of two cycles, one in the flesh and one in the spirit. It seemed that the departed spirit had its abode in the subconscious of those whom it loved and that its chances of returning to the world and perpetuating the cycle depended upon the fidelity of the man or woman in whom that spirit abode. According to this idea, it should be possible, if we learned the laws, to select the types which are brought into the world and thus secure an unbroken succession of alternating personalities. That would be eternal life. I am giving this just the way the idea came.

The universe I thought of as a great living organism, or series of organisms. It seemed that out of the present world a new social order was to be formed. This would be a new spiritual body gathering to itself the spirits of those who were fit. In such a body the “family of four” would constitute a new type of cell replacing the simpler cell on which the present order is founded. It seemed that the present order is based upon competition, and competition eliminates the best as well as the worst. The new order would be based upon co-operation and would seek to preserve whatever was worth preserving, guarding carefully the finest and the best. According to this idea, the virgin birth of Christ would represent an actual new element entering into the race and it was made possible by some man giving his place to another. But the Second Coming had not taken place because of the frailty of some of the disciples. It seems that the personality which I represented had been chiefly responsible for blocking the way. Salvation was thus by no means assured. It depended upon the outcome of a titanic struggle which was still undecided.

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 19 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!