PODCAST: A Little-Known Country, Part 28 (Ordained Chaplains: Out of the Depths #79 with Daniel Whyte III)

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):

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”.


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!