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 #66.
Our Scripture Verse for today is 2 Corinthians 1:5 which reads, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from Mignon [MIN-YONG] McLaughlin. She said, “When suffering comes, we yearn for some sign from God, forgetting we have just had one.”
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 15):
One thing which all during my stay in the disturbed ward had much to do with the persistence of my delusions was the appearance of the Moon. I saw it centered in a cross of light. I took that as proof that I was right in ascribing great importance to what was happening to me. The cross stands for suffering. Therefore the Moon knows and the Moon is suffering on my account. But on Wednesday night, as I lay awake on the sleeping porch speculating on this dire portent, I made a discovery. When I changed my position to a certain spot. the cross no longer appeared. The explanation was simple. From that particular spot I was looking at the Moon through a hole in the wire screening! That discovery was a big help toward recovery. The next day I wrote a letter to my sister for the first time. In the afternoon came the visit from you and from here. These visits definitely repaired the broken communications and did so the more effectively because they came on that particular day. After that I improved rapidly and within a week I was transferred to the convalescent ward. This change of ward released me from many hold-over suggestions which had power over me so long as I remained on the disturbed ward.
This is a long and wearisome and fragmentary account of a very unpleasant experience. I have given it with a definite purpose. It suggests what seems to me a very important principle: The cure has lain in the faithful carrying through of the delusion itself. It also shows that the treatment given only made me more violent. So far as I can recall, I have never refused to do anything when I was requested to do it by some one in whom I had confidence. Nevertheless, I have been given severe beatings, all because in my bewilderment I did not obey some harsh order by some young attendant. There was little attempt to make use of persuasion or to cultivate hopefulness and self-respect.
The fundamental difficulty seems to me this: A man whose fundamental derangement is not of the body but in his philosophy of life is sent to a place where they look only at the physical side. Most of the doctors, I think, are not religious men. Many of them regard religion as a superstition which is responsible for many of the ills they have to treat. Such men are not fitted to deal with religious problems. If they succeed in their aims, the patient is shorn of the faith in which lies his hope of cure.
As for myself, I have from the beginning recognized the abnormal character of my own experience. I have recognized that those experiences which have been for me so vitally important would be clased by physicians as insanity. But I have chosen deliberately to follow the thing out. I have been following a trail which has taken me through some very dangerous country. But I believe it has been worth while, and I would make the same choice again. Even this experience, painful though it is, may be an adventure of which use can be made. There has been in my experience so much of the pathological that it is perhaps a fitting end to my life’s adventure that it should lead me to an institution such as this and should open my eyes to an important task which needs to be done. The only wonder is that I escaped hospitalization in Washington, where it would probably have been fatal.
In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 16 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.
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!