By Dr. Leslie R. Stone
(This is a condensed version—the complete text is also available)
...These Messages from Jesus and Celestials, received through the hand of James E. Padgett, are so extraordinary in concept and contents... that it is indispensable that, as the publisher and firm believer in the truths contained in these messages, I give to interested readers and for future reference some firsthand information regarding the man through whom these messages were received, and how it was that he was enabled and selected to obtain these amazing communications.
At this point, I must state that I was very often in Mr. Padgett's room when he was receiving these writings, and that I am the eyewitness to the formation and development of Mr. Padgett as the medium par excellence through whom the truths of the Heavenly Father and life in the spirit world have come to mankind.
My first contact with Mr. Padgett was in September 1914.... Mr. Padgett invited me to visit him regularly at his home at 514 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., where, in the course of time, I met Eugene Morgan and Dr. Goerger. Padgett told me that the messages he was receiving were from his wife, Helen, who had died early that year. She had written him many things about the spirit life she was living, describing her experiences at the time of her death, the sphere of her spiritual abode, and her love for her husband in the flesh who, she had then discovered, was her soulmate. I was thereafter very often present as he continued to receive these messages. They came in a rapid sweep of connected words that obviously gave no time for thought on the part of the writer, and in fact he often insisted that he had no clear idea of what his pencil was writing until he read the messages afterwards. It was in this way then that he received from 1914 to 1923 some twenty five hundred messages, many of them coming, I have not the slightest doubt, from those highest spirits whose signatures were testimony to the personalities they represented.
Interested as I had always been in Spiritualism, and in the possibility of man's communicating with departed spirits, I asked Mr. Padgett what were the circumstances leading to this mediumistic activity. The facts, as he related them to me, were as follows: About six months before I had met him, he had attended a seance held by a Mrs. Maltby in Washington, D.C. She informed him that he possessed the psychic power to obtain automatic writings from spirits, and challenged him to make the effort. He did so, and found that his pencil moved automatically to produce what he called "fish hooks" and "hangers." When this had continued for a short time, he at length obtained a writing which he could make out as a message signed by his wife, Helen. It was a short, personal note which stated she was often present in spirit with him, and how glad she was to be able to write him in this way.
At this point, Mr. Padgett did not believe the evidence of the writings that his dead wife had actually communicated with him. In fact, he wanted to know what proof could she offer, or was there, to show that a spirit was actually writing, and if so, whether that spirit was actually Helen. The writing that followed provided incidents in their lives that could only have been known to both. Padgett thought even this could be explained as material coming from his own mind, as well it might, except that the writings came too quickly for his mind to formulate thought, and the messages kept on insisting that it was not his mind but hers that was operating, with emphasis on her love for him and the happiness she could obtain by being with him.
With his interest in Spiritualism greatly aroused by these strange writings, and anxious to set his mind at rest, he began to read books on the subject. I remember his reading J. M. Peeble's Immortality, and his frequent attendance at seances. There he was given to understand that spirits, if given the opportunity and under right conditions, can communicate with mortals, and that apparently, in his case, the writings he questioned came from his departed wife. He was advised to continue to take messages while learning more about the spirit world. Among those things he learned was that souls have their mates, and that spirit life, contrary to what is taught by orthodox religions, was one of constant progress through the various realms of the spirit universe.
At the end of one of these writings, he asked what plane or sphere she was in. He received the answer that she was living in one of the planes of the Second Sphere, where a certain amount of light and happiness is present, but that she had no desire to make progress to other spheres, because she could at that time make contact quite easily with him on the earth plane and write to him by controlling his brain and hand. Padgett told me he could feel her presence intensely, which produced in him a feeling of happiness that was alien to him, except when she wrote.
Padgett confided to me that he would like to see Helen progress, and told her so. He informed her that through his own spiritual studies, he knew she could make her way to higher spheres and increased happiness as a spirit. Helen replied she would find out from his grandmother, Ann Rollins, who had been a long time in the spirit world, what steps were necessary to make progress to higher and brighter spheres.
I do not know why Helen turned to her husband's grandmother for guidance in the spirit world. Many of Mr. Padgett's early messages were destroyed because they were of such a personal nature that he did not wish others to be acquainted with their contents. But I do know that affinity of spirits in the other world is due to affinity of the soul, and not to any relationship one may have in the flesh. And from what Mr. Padgett told me of his grandmother, and from the messages which she subsequently wrote, she must have been a very kind and warmhearted woman. At any rate, Helen later wrote about her meeting with Ann Rollins who, she said, was a glorious spirit dwelling in the high Celestial Heavens.
Ann Rollins, surprisingly enough for Padgett and those of us who were present at the time, had informed her that spirit progress to the higher celestial realms could be obtained only by prayer to the Heavenly Father for His love through earnest longing of soul. In addition, Padgett's mother, Ann Padgett, also in the spirit world, wrote through her son corroborating this information. Both spirits were thus instrumental in giving Padgett (and those like myself who used to be present at these writings) the knowledge that soul progress to the Celestial Heavens was achieved only through prayer to God for His divine love.
These sessions, held to obtain writings from Helen, had become a channel through which a deep, religious note had been injected, replacing the personal material. From the scores of messages from Helen written at this time, and which are in my possession, we can follow her rapid progress to the higher spheres. Helen took the advice of these high spirits and prayed, and she found her prayers for the Father's love were answered, and that It came into her soul in a way that caused a purification of her desires and thoughts, with a corresponding change in her soul and spiritual appearance. She said that her spirit body, reflecting the changing condition of her soul, was becoming etherealized and brighter. She then wrote that she had reached the Third Sphere where happiness was greatly increased.
Shortly thereafter, she suggested that since she had done what Padgett had wished, and had been able to progress to a higher sphere, it was fitting that Padgett should seek to better his soul condition as well. In fact, she suggested that we should all do so. She stated that since the soul is the same, whether in the flesh or spirit body, it could be transformed by prayer to the Father for His divine love - not by ordinary intellectual prayers that came from the head, but from the heart and soul.
Padgett refused to lend credence to this information. The spirits insisted that, as inhabitants of the higher realms, they possessed knowledge of this sacred truth, and that Jesus, himself, ever interested in bringing the truths to mankind, would come to corroborate their affirmations if Padgett would give him the opportunity.
I do not know exactly when the first message signed "Jesus of the Bible" was received, for as I write this, more than forty years later, I cannot remember the date. Padgett evidently felt it was absurd to believe that Jesus had written him and, alas, threw away the message. As a matter of fact, Mr. Colburn, who up to that time had formed a part of our fellowship, declared he could not be persuaded that Jesus had actually written. However, his friends, Dr. Goerger, Mr. Morgan and I had an instinctive feeling that Jesus had written a genuine message.
The earliest message allegedly
from Jesus to Padgett which is in my possession, therefore, is dated
Padgett was doubtful. Though he was not entirely certain of the genuineness of the family spirits, he felt the need of asking whether Jesus had really written. I have published some of the messages which he received from Helen, Ann Rollins, his mother, and his father, John Padgett, all corroborating that Jesus had written. You will also find some of the early messages which he received from the Master. They tell Padgett to have faith that he is Jesus, and they encourage him to pray; but they are simply preparatory in nature, and do not contain the wonderful contents and information which came when Padgett had achieved that condition of soul which enabled him to obtain them.
At this point, it came forcibly to Mr. Padgett and to me that such messages could not possibly be the brainchild of his own heated imagination. He had been, as I discovered, an orthodox Methodist, and had for many years taught Sunday School in the Trinity Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. His conception of religious doctrine was simply that which emanated from this Protestant church. This view of soul progress was contrary to what he had been taught. He had no idea of "divine love" in contrast to the natural love, or what it might be, and realized that such a conception was foreign to his thinking, and never could have been a product of his own mind. He therefore felt assured, and I agreed with him, that these writings were actually not only from Helen, Ann Rollins, his mother, and departed spirits of mortals, but also from the Master, himself. He decided to follow those instructions which he himself had never entertained, and which by that very fact had to come from outside intelligences which were communicating to him in this way.
He—I should say, we—began to pray for the Divine Love, letting our soul longings go out to the Heavenly Father; and in time, a feeling came glowing into the region of our hearts. We felt this emotion grow stronger and stronger with continued, fervid prayers; and as we did so, our faith in God became solidified and absolute. Never before had Padgett, nor I, felt so sure of the real existence of the Father and His divine love and mercy. The cold, intellectual concept which we had entertained of Him had been transformed, through prayers for His love, into a warm, glowing, living feeling of closeness, of at-onement with the Heavenly Father, whose love and mercy and goodness we could sense were personal and real…