June 4th, 1917
Received by James Padgett.
I am here, Gottfried Leibnitz.
Let me write a few lines. I am not an acquaintance of yours, yet I am not a stranger, so far as my being in your presence and observing the different spirits who communicate with you.
I have been in spirit life a great many years and have been through the hells and purgatory and all kinds of suffering and am now in the light and comparatively happy. I am in what is called the Second Sphere, where are many bright and intellectual spirits, working out their own plans for accomplishing certain of their ideas and progressing to higher planes.
I was a professor on earth and gave much of my time to the study of psychology and kindred subjects, and had many ideas of my own on these questions, and especially was I interested in the study or rather speculation - for I did not believe in the Bible or the teachings of the churches - as to the future of man, and my speculations led me to the conclusion that the physical death was not the end of man, for it seemed to me that if such was the case the object of the workings of the great laws of evolution would be defeated by the ending of the existence of the greatest and highest resultant of that evolution, namely man. I was a student of comparative biology and believed without any doubt and with the certainty of knowledge that man was the greatest product of this great principle of evolution and that for centuries upon centuries it had been working to bring or develop man from the mere molecule to the high degree of perfection displayed in his wonderful mind and moral faculties, and that then, in a moment, end it all by this thing known as physical death, was unreasonable and unjustified, and, hence, I concluded, as I say, that men must live after the death of the body.
But when I got that far in my conclusions there came the question, what was beyond; and here my speculations were not so satisfactory for I had very little upon which to base any theories. Of course I thought, that as man in the past had made such wonderful progress in his evolution, and as he would live in the future it was reasonable to suppose that this evolution would continue and that man's progress would be without limitation or ending - provided, he should continue to live forever. And thus arose the question of man's immortality; and here, I was stalled, for I had nothing with which to make a comparison. I knew that it was accepted as a truth in natural science that nothing could ever be destroyed or lost, and that the elements or atoms from which those physical things, perceptible to the senses, were composed should continue to exist forever, but this was not satisfactory to me upon which to base the fact that man would live forever. While these elements or atoms, themselves, could not be destroyed, yet many of those composite things into which these elements had entered, and given form, had been destroyed and as such composite entity and form no longer had an existence.
I had seen the oak start from the acorn and grow to be a mighty tree and live for years and suddenly, by a stoke of lightning, destroyed and ceased to live, and as such tree went entirely out of existence. And, hence, by analogy I could not say that man as the identical individual would not go out of existence, and, in fact, I had seen him as regards his physical existence, cease to be an existence and his body disintegrate and go back to its elements; and I could find nothing in all this to justify me in asserting that man, in whatever form he might exist after his bodily death, would not at sometime in the future cease to have the form that made him the very individual that had lived on earth and continued his existence in the spirit world. No, I could not, in my speculations satisfy myself that man was immortal. And so speculation was compelled to stop, and I was left without any assurance that my theory of persistence of man after death was not one that might not prove to be false.
But I died, and found that I, the conscious thinking man, continued to exist with all the faculties of mind and feelings that were mine when a mortal. And in addition, I soon met those who had preceded me in the spirit world, and who had since becoming spirits, advanced in their evolution, and were more perfect mentally and morally than they had been when on earth; and who, also, informed me that beyond where they had evoluted (evolved) to, were spheres in which spirits of greater intellectual development and ancient in years, lived and worked and speculated upon the same question that I had given so much thought to when on earth, namely: is man immortal?
And they further informed me that these ancient worthies had not been able to solve the problem, but that many who had come to the spirit life thousands of years before were still living, and no spirit had ever been known to have passed out of existence or dissolve into the elements of which it was composed.
So you see, the spirits in the highest spheres with all their intellectual development and thousands of years of study, can no more assert with certainty that man is immortal than I could when on earth. To me now, as when on earth, this is the greatest question that arises, and engages my continuous thoughts, and I see no way to solve the problem. I remember, that when on earth the preachers and the churches claimed and taught the doctrine of immortality, and while I never deeply investigated the foundation of their claims, yet I cannot conceive that they can possess any more certainty of the supposed fact than did I. I can hardly believe that God ever revealed to man the fact of immortality; and in my opinion, in my present stage of development, only God knows, and all the teachings of the churches and wise theologians are mere speculations, not to be relied on.
Well, I have written you a long letter tonight, and you may not be interested, but I am, and as the opportunity came, I thought that I would like to write, for I know that there are many mortals who are working and speculating and attempting to find some basis for their hopes of immortality; and some believe that while they may not satisfy their hopes on earth, yet when they come to the spirit world, the difficulties will be removed and the problem solved; and to these I desire to make known the fact that they will look through just as dark glasses here as they are now looking through on earth.
Well, you surprise me and I can scarcely believe that you are serious, for I have never heard of such a way or of such a knowledge existing among spirits, and if you can show me that way I will, with all the energies of my soul pursue it. Well, you surprise me more and more; but I am willing to do as you say, no matter how absurd it may seem to me, or what little prospects I may see in making the pursuit. I will do as you say.
Well, I see a beautiful spirit who says that he is Prof. Salyards, and has heard what I said and what you said, and that he will be pleased to show me the way to obtain both a knowledge and the actual possession of this immortality, and I shall accept this invitation and go with him. I thank you very much for listening to me and for your expressions of desire to help me; and if what you promise comes true, you may rest assured that I will return sometime and tell you.
So my friend, I will say good night.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz.