National Spiritualist Association of
Churches (NSAC)
The National Spiritualist Association (later renamed the National
Spiritualist Association of Churches) was founded in
1893 to bring some order out of the chaotic and decentralized
Spiritualist movement and to respond to the charges and revelations
of fraud that had hindered the movement through the
last half of the nineteenth century. Leading in the formation of
the association were former Unitarian clergymen Harrison D.
Barrett and James M. Peebles and the medium Cora L. V. Richmond.
An initial six-article ‘‘Declaration of Principles’’ was
adopted. As later amended by additions, NSAC’s statement affirms
the following
‘‘1. We believe in Infinite Intelligence [i.e., God].
‘‘2. We believe that the Phenomena of Nature, both physical
and spiritual, are the expression of Infinite Intelligence.
‘‘3. We affirm that a correct understanding of such expression
and living in accordance therewith constitute true religion.
‘‘4. We affirm that the existence and personal identity of the
individual continue after the change called death.
‘‘5. We affirm that communication with the so-called dead
is a fact, scientifically proven by the phenomena of Spiritualism.
‘‘6. We believe that the highest morality is contained in the
Golden Rule ‘What so ever ye would have that other do unto
you, do ye also unto them.’
‘‘7. We affirm the moral responsibility of the individual, and
that he makes his own happiness or unhappiness as he obeys
Nature’s physical and spiritual laws.
‘‘8. We affirm the doorway to reformation is never closed
against any human soul here or hereafter.
‘‘9. We affirm that the receipt of Prophecy and Healing contained
in the Bible is a divine attribute proven through Mediumship.’’
These beliefs are largely shared by all Spiritualist groups, although
the NSAC has continually been the target of controversy
as pockets of members and leaders have professed a belief
in reincarnation. Traditionally, Spiritualism in America and
England has opposed the idea of reincarnation in favor of the
idea of continuing mediumistic contact. As belief in reincarnation
spread among Americans in general, however, different
groups withdrew from the NSAC to found new denominations.
To a lesser degree the association also argued against the distinctly
Christian nature of Spiritualism and found itself competing
with the Christian Spiritualist movement. In the 1920s
African American members were set apart in the National Colored
Spiritualist Association of Churches.
The NSAC has been the most stable of the several Spiritualist
organizations. It is affiliated fraternally with the National
Spiritualist Churches of Canada, which has congregations in
Ontario and Quebec. It issues a periodical, the National Spiritualist
Summit. Affiliated youth work is organized through the association’s
Lyceum movement. Address NSAC, 3521 W. Topeka
Dr., Glendale, AZ 85308-2325. Website http
www.nsac.org.
Sources
Holms, A. Campbell. The Fundamental Facts of Spiritualism.
Indianapolis Stow Memorial Foundation, n.d.
Melton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedia of American Religions. 6th
edition. Detroit Gale Research, 1999.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches. http
www.nsac.org. March 8, 2000.
The National Spiritualist Association of United States of
America. One Hundredth Anniversary of Modern Spiritualism. Chicago
The Author, 1948.