From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a letter to the author which was published as a preface to the book.
Note that page 7 mentions "Preface", but page 8 mentions "Foreword".
BEING A LETTER FROM SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
I have read the proofs of your book with interest. It is of a very unusual type, direct, modest, honest and full of mellow experience and wisdom. It is strange that we should have been associated in early life, as you state, and that now in the evening we should again have come into contact, through your psychic experiences.
Your general line of religious development is exactly analogous to my own, save that my phases came quicker and therefore I came sooner to that solid ground which both of us now feel to be under our feet. I belonged to a creed which is quite as intolerant of dogmatic doubt as your Plymouth Brethren were, I revolted from such narrow teaching, I wandered in the dark, but I was only 27 or 28 when I came into contact with psychic literature, and began to see a glimmer of hope. My convictions were strong, however, and it was years before I fully understood and accepted the new message. From that moment I have been convinced that it is of enormous importance to the world, and for twelve years now I have given up my life to its propagation. Next month I start for South Africa, the only British-speaking country where I have not worked.
I agree that the hysterical sensational use of mediums is to be deprecated. We shall organise all that when the laws allow us to do so. That will be soon, I think. But I think that your view about withholding spiritualism from any race is worth reconsidering. You have to bear in mind that Spiritualism does not consist mainly of phenomena or of messages from those whom we have loved and lost. The most essential thing of all is the teaching from the higher entities beyond, which explain the common basis of all creeds, and give a preternatural explanation and sanction for a religion which is far higher, nobler, simpler and more reasonable than any now existing. Stanton Moses' "Spirit Teachings" is perhaps the highest expression of that religion, but it has been consistently taught from the other side all the time. It is Christian in its ethics but early Christian in its earnest simplicity. The whole object of the movement is to get that through, and to cut it off from anyone would be a terrible thing to do. It is the antidote to the misuse of the powers for it teaches how dangerous this is. The seven principles on which it is founded are (1) The Fatherhood of God; (2) The brotherhood of man; (3) The Personal responsibility for sin; (4) The survival unchanged of the individual; (5) His power of communication; (6) His continued life in an environment which corresponds with his own spiritual condition. These are roughly the points, but they put the man in charge of his own fate with no room for priests or dogmas, all teaching coming direct. I think it is just what is needed in the more backward countries — but it wants regulating of course. Man has despaired of this knowledge, but once he realises that it is there he will soon regulate it. In England, now, 500 Churches are well organised and run.
There were many smaller points of interest in your little book.
- With best wishes,
- ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.
- With best wishes,
- September 27th, 1928.