Cora L V Richmonds Address to Delegates 1893 Founding NSAC

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Cora L V Richmonds Address to Delegates 1893 Founding NSAC

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Proceedings of the National Delegation of Spiritualists of the United States Of America

Convened at No77 Thirty First Street Chicago Ill 27th Septemeber 1893 opening at 12.40pm

The CHAIRMAN: I now take the pleasure in introducing to you Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond, of Chicago: who will deliver the address of welcome to the Spiritualists attending the Convention. Ladies and Gentlemen, Cora L. V. Richmond, of Chicago. [Applause.]

Mrs. Cora L.V.Richmond: Mr. Chairman and Delegates to the Convention, Sisters and Brothers, all: Your chairman has explained to you the occasion of the call, and outlined in a few suggestions the purposes of the Convention. It is our pleasing duty here in the very outset, and before anyone knows what will be the work of this Convention, to welcome you as Spiritualists to Chicago; to welcome you as the representatives of the proudest, freest and most blessed light that heaven has ever given to man. [Applause.] Whatever shall be your convictions, whatever your course of action concerning the purpose for which this Convention is assembled, we know that you come with one loyalty to truth, one aspiration for the highest human good, one devotion to the cause, and for the work that is bound to be of inestimable blessing to the human race. There can be no doubt of this. You would not have come at all if such were not your motives.
Twenty-five, thirty or forty years ago, to talk to Spiritualists about organization, was like talking to one who had escaped from prison about going back again, or shaking the red flag in front of a very formidable quadruped ;but Spiritualists now know there are organizations and organizations, and although we recently heard in that great assembly, the Parliament of Religions, one very great worker in this line say that he was less and less in favor of organization, we did not wonder at it in view of the fact that all things connected with human life have been organized to death. [Applause.]
But, friends, the view that would seem to present itself when the sunlight is offered by the Infinite, when the atmosphere is free for you to breathe, when all the blessings of the earth and air are at your command, is not shall we organize sunshine or fresh air, or whatever blessings are given, but is it necessary to organize to prevent them from being taken from us? [Applause.] The attitude of Spiritualism towards organization is that it is.
'Of course when the heavens were opened, and without human seeking, the manifestations of spirit power came to the world, doubted on the one side because of materialism, and on the other because of theological bondage, it is no wonder that people broke away from the narrow limitations of creed and dogma and church organization, and found in that form, Spiritualism, their religion.
It is not too much to say - and we have the sanction of Dr. Barrows, the chairman of the Parliament of Religions, for what we are saying - that the spirit world has made it possible for a Parliament of Religions to be held, and it is not too much to claim that Spiritualism has been the means, in the hands of the spirit world, for bringing it about. [Applause.] A little later in this Convention we have something important to offer you concerning the Parliament of Religions. But to-day we have to welcome you as the sunshine welcomes YOU, as the air of Chicago, impure though it is to breathe, nevertheless very free and broad spiritually, welcomes you; as the prairie, the lake, and the boundless freedom of this Western civilization welcome you; not as the church welcomes all devotees who journey neither to Mecca, Medina, nor yet to the altars and shrines of India, but who may journey whithersoever they will and wheresoever they may. Wherever they journey and wherever they assemble, there is the altar of truth.
To-day you are welcome because of this great light that has come into the world and has set you free; free to think your own thoughts, free to worship in your own way, free to name or not name what you believe a religion; free to call it a science, a philosophy, or a religion, or all three combined; but never free to deny the truth as you know it; never free to falsify one another; never free in any way whatever to retard the glorious light that has been shed by the spirit world. The spirits organized this movement, and the invisible world gave the impulse to carry it forward, and with all due thanks to our chairman for the recognition of woman, the spirit world' chose little girls to be the instruments for the ôRochester Knockings," and has chosen men and women to represent the truth because it is the truth of humanity. [Applause.] Spiritualism does not recognize man or woman spiritually in any movement, but recognizes humanity every-where [applause], and men and women are here to represent Spiritualism, because it is the truth for the whole world. Whatever you have to offer, we expect your best thoughts. Whatever suggestions you have to make, we expect your best suggestions, and the spirit world, which has poured out its gifts upon you, expects you to show at this time and place what those spiritual gifts have done for you; how much they have uplifted and strengthened your lives; how much they have aided you in carrying forward the best endeavors for humanity, and when you strike the key-note of this organization, when you make the final report, this should represent the highest testimony of the truth that the spirit world has brought to you : "That you organized for unity in carrying forward the light of the spirit world as it has been brought to you, and that you restrain, restrict, and in no wise bind anyone in the organization or its auxiliaries either to see the light as you see it, or to pursue it as you pursue it, so long as no human being infringes upon the rights, privileges, aspirations, and highest life of any other individual." [Applause.]
It is said to organize Niagara, or to put the broad prairie under limitation, or to expect the Rocky Mountains to obey the human mind, is like organizing Spiritualism ; but you may make Niagara more accessible to those who wish to admire and worship - not to those who would turn its mighty torrent into subservience for the purpose of commerce - to make the heights and beautiful mountain peaks more accessible to the travelers, and throw into view a vaster expanse from those heights, to make more valuable the transit across the prairies and through valleys and intervening wildernesses, and if such is the purpose, then organization is necessary. [Applause. ]
Truth was organized before you or we or any human lives were born; but those who accept the truth may, under the guidance of that truth, combine for the better observation, the better bringing forward, the better expression of the united truth. There is but one truth that Spiritualism needs to emphasize, and that is Spiritualism. [Applause.] No qualification is necessary. It is neither Christian nor Pagan, it is neither necessarily psychical nor religious, it is not essentially scientific nor theological ; it is Spiritualism, pure, simple, unqualified, and applies to every heart as the sun- shine does, wherefore every flower, and all the trees of the forest, and every living thing shall appropriate as much, and the kind of sunshine as is needed for the individual.
We welcome you in the name of this truth; we welcome you in the name of the purposes that bring you together. As the speaker of the oldest Spiritual Society in this city, and possibly in this country, we recognize you as co-workers, one and all. We believe, as Dr. Barrows says, that the blessing of the spirit world is upon this assembly ; we believe that the blessing of the spirit world is upon the assembly here in Chicago, of all nations; we believe it is the beginning of a new outpouring of the spirit of truth upon the world to mark an epoch that shall one day stand as the beginning of a new truth, or a new presentation of truth to the world.
Spiritualists, co-workers, friends of human life everywhere, both worlds blending in one accord, your separate and several duties are before you. You shall decide whether, in this period of active thought, you require a combination for mutual protection to prevent aggressive legislation, to protect your local societies and your mediums ; to see to it that there is nothing antagonistic to your freedom indicated by any legislature; that is, in our opinion, the most important reason for organization. You are to decide whether that will be best done by a national or by a local organization, or by both, and whether in incorporating those you shall not sink all possible differences of opinion, as you have in the past, in the light of that perfect expression of truth. While in a disintegrated state a truth cannot call upon you to come together, but when you have outgrown the necessary disintegration, when you have become sufficiently individualized, you may then, as separate individuals form a whole that will make you strong, more mighty to conquer and more invincible against the world ; and whosoever would place one barrier in the way of truth, one shadow upon the perfect whiteness of the light of heaven, will find that he and his organization will utterly fail ; for as you expect to serve the truth, men and women, as you say that is your object, if you do serve that truth without individual seeking, asking for nothing excepting the privilege of serving it, so will truth honor and bless you, but if any selfish purpose shall intervene, if any self-seeking shall rob you of the essential lustre of that perfect light, then will truth, as it has in the past, work its way, and gently, but firmly and absolutely silence you - not you - but your attempts at self-seeking. You come here therefore with hearts reverent for truth. You lay your best opinions upon the altar and shrine of this Convention; your best thoughts as to what work is required at your hands in the future, and if in the opinion of this assembly, the best work shall not be in accordance with the plan of the committee, we know they will generously and conscientiously yield. If it shall be in accordance with their plan, we know that you will earnestly co-operate. Friends, again do we welcome you, and may the light of truth so guide your deliberations and the ministering presence of those who are here, that when you shall have finished this convention, you will say, "how much clearer we see this blessed light, because we have commingled our opinions, exchanged our thoughts, extended our sympathies to one another, clasped hands together, and given to the spiritual realm a broader avenue of interpretation unto our lives.'' [Applause.]
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