Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 79—Hypnotism and Its Dangers

[See chapter 78, “Mind Controlling Mind.”]

Be on Guard—In these days when skepticism and infidelity so often appear in a scientific garb, we need to be guarded on every hand. Through this means our great adversary is deceiving thousands and leading them captive according to his will. The advantage he takes of the sciences, sciences which pertain to the human mind, is tremendous. Here, serpentlike, he imperceptibly creeps in to corrupt the work of God. 2MCP 711.1

This entering in of Satan through the sciences is well devised. Through the channel of phrenology, psychology, [Note: In appraising fairly this use of the word psychology employed by the author, the reader should take into account its connotations and associations in the 1850's through the 1880's, often being linked with mesmerism (hypnosis) and phrenology. See explanatory note on pages 720 and 721 of this chapter. See also chapter 2, “The Christian and Psychology,” and chapter 3, “Dangers in Psychology.”] and mesmerism, he comes more directly to the people of this generation and works with that power which is to characterize his efforts near the close of probation. The minds of thousands have thus been poisoned and led into infidelity. 2MCP 711.2

While it is believed that one human mind so wonderfully affects another, Satan, who is ready to press every advantage, insinuates himself and works on the right hand and on the left. And while those who are devoted to these sciences laud them to the heavens because of the great and good works which they affirm are wrought by them, they little know what a power for evil they are cherishing; but it is a power which will yet work with all signs and lying wonders—with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Mark the influence of these sciences, dear reader, for the conflict between Christ and Satan is not yet ended.... 2MCP 711.3

Neglect of prayer leads men to rely on their own strength and opens the door to temptation. In many cases the imagination is captivated by scientific research, and men are flattered through the consciousness of their own powers. The sciences which treat of the human mind are very much exalted. They are good in their place, [See explanatory note on pages 720 and 721.] but they are seized upon by Satan as his powerful agents to deceive and destroy souls. His arts are accepted as from heaven, and he thus receives the worship which suits him well. The world, which is supposed to be benefited so much by phrenology and animal magnetism, never was so corrupt as now. Through these sciences, virtue is destroyed and the foundations of spiritualism are laid.—The Signs of the Times, November 6, 1884. (Selected Messages 2:351-353.) 2MCP 712.1

Mind Control Originated by Satan—The theory of mind controlling mind was originated by Satan to introduce himself as the chief worker, to put human philosophy where divine philosophy should be. Of all the errors that are finding acceptance among professedly Christian people, none is a more dangerous deception, none more certain to separate man from God, than is this. Innocent though it may appear, if exercised upon patients, it will tend to their destruction, not to their restoration. It opens a door through which Satan will enter to take possession both of the mind that is given up to be controlled by another and of the mind that controls.—The Ministry of Healing, 243 (1905). 2MCP 712.2

Satan Hypnotized Adam and Eve—Satan tempted the first Adam in Eden, and Adam reasoned with the enemy, thus giving him the advantage. Satan exercised his power of hypnotism over Adam and Eve, and this power he strove to exercise over Christ. But after the word of Scripture was quoted, Satan knew that he had no chance of triumphing.—Letter 159, 1903. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1081.) 2MCP 713.1

Tamper Not With Hypnotism—Men and women are not to study the science of how to take captive the minds of those who associate with them. This is the science that Satan teaches. We are to resist everything of the kind. We are not to tamper with mesmerism and hypnotism—the science of the one who lost his first estate and was cast out of the heavenly courts.—Manuscript 86, 1905. (Medical Ministry, 110, 111). 2MCP 713.2

Warning to a Physician Who Favored Hypnosis—I am so weighed down in your case that I must continue to write to you, lest in your blindness you will not see where you need to reform. I am instructed that you are entertaining ideas with which God has forbidden you to deal. I will name these as a species of mind cure. You suppose that you can use this mind cure in your professional work as a physician. In tones of earnest warning the words were spoken: Beware, beware where your feet are placed and your mind is carried. God has not appointed you this work. The theory of mind controlling mind is originated by Satan to introduce himself as the chief worker, to put human philosophy where divine philosophy should be. 2MCP 713.3

No man or woman should exercise his or her will to control the senses or reason of another so that the mind of the person is rendered passively subject to the will of the one who is exercising the control. This science may appear to be something beautiful, but it is a science which you are in no case to handle. There is something better for you to engage in than the control of human nature over human nature. 2MCP 713.4

I lift the danger signal. The only safe and true mind cure covers much. The physician must educate the people to look from the human to the divine. He who has made man's mind knows precisely what the mind needs.—Letter 121, 1901. (Medical Ministry, 111, 112). 2MCP 714.1

Appears Valuable and Wonderful—In taking up the science you have begun to advocate, you are giving an education which is not safe for you or for those you teach. It is dangerous to tinge minds with the science of mind cure. 2MCP 714.2

This science may appear to you to be very valuable, but to you and to others it is a fallacy prepared by Satan. It is the charm of the serpent which stings to spiritual death. It covers much that seems wonderful, but it is foreign to the nature and spirit of Christ. This science does not lead to Him who is life and salvation.... 2MCP 714.3

At the beginning of my work I had the mind-cure science to contend with. I was sent from place to place to declare the falseness of this science, into which many were entering. The mind cure was entered upon very innocently—to relieve the tension upon the minds of nervous invalids. But, oh, how sad were the results! God sent me from place to place to rebuke everything pertaining to this science.—Letter 121, 1901. (Medical Ministry, 112, 113). 2MCP 714.4

Tends to Destruction, Not Restoration—I wish to speak plainly to you. You have entered upon a work which has no place in the work of a Christian physician and which must find no place in our health institutions. Innocent though it may appear, this mind cure, if exercised upon the patients, will in its development be for their destruction, not their restoration. Second Timothy 3 describes persons who accept error, such as one mind exercising complete control over another mind. God forbids any such thing. The mind cure is one of Satan's greatest sciences, and it is important that our physicians see clearly the real character of this science; for through it great temptations will come to them. This science must not be allowed a particle of standing room in our sanitariums. 2MCP 714.5

God has not given one ray of light or encouragement for our physicians to take up the work of having one mind completely control the mind of another so that one acts out the will of another. Let us learn the ways and purposes of God. Let not the enemy gain the least advantage over you. Let him not lead you to dare to endeavor to control another mind until it becomes a machine in your hands. This is the science of Satan's working.—Letter 121, 1901. (Medical Ministry, 113, 114). 2MCP 715.1

Cut Loose From Hypnotism (a second message of warning to the physician employing hypnotic methods)—Brother and Sister N, in the name of the Lord I ask you to remember that unless your sentiments regarding the science of mind cure are changed, unless you both understand that you are in decided need of having your own minds converted and transformed, you will be stumbling blocks—pitiful spectacles to angels and to men. 2MCP 715.2

The truth has had but little influence over you. It is dangerous for anyone, no matter how good a man he is, to endeavor to influence another human mind to come under the control of his mind. Let me tell you that the mind cure is a satanic science. Already you have gone far enough in it to endanger seriously your future experience. From its very first entrance into your mind until the present time, it has been a most injurious growth. 2MCP 715.3

Unless you can see that Satan is the mastermind who has devised this science, it will not be as easy a matter as you suppose to separate from it, root and branch. The whole philosophy of this science is a masterpiece of satanic deception. For your soul's sake, cut loose from everything of this order. Every time you put into the mind of another person ideas concerning this science, that you may gain control of his mind, you are on Satan's ground, decidedly cooperating with him. For your soul's sake, break loose from this snare of the enemy.—Letter 20, 1902. (Selected Messages 2:349, 350.) 2MCP 715.4

God Forbids the Learning or Teaching of Hypnosis—Neither one of you should study the science in which you have been interested. To study this science is to pluck the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God forbids you or any other mortal to learn or to teach such a science. The fact that you have had anything to do with this science ought alone to be sufficient to show you, Brother N, the inconsistency of your being the leading physician in the sanitarium.... 2MCP 716.1

In dealing with the science of mind cure you have been eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God has forbidden you to touch. It is now high time for you to begin to look to Jesus, and by beholding His character become changed into the divine likeness. 2MCP 716.2

Cut away from yourselves everything that savors of hypnotism, the science by which satanic agencies work.—Letter 20, 1902. (Selected Messages 2:350.) 2MCP 716.3

Satan Has Great Power (further counsel to the physician and his wife)—Remember that Satan has come down with great power to take possession of minds and to hold them captive under his sway. Neither of you can do anything acceptably to God unless you follow the Saviour, who says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). In all things Christ is our example.—Letter 20, 1902. 2MCP 716.4

A Science Fraught With Peril—We do not ask you to place yourself under the control of any man's mind. The mind cure is the most awful science which has ever been advocated. Every wicked being can use it in carrying through his own evil designs. We have no business with any such science. We should be afraid of it. Never should the first principles of it be brought into any institution.—Manuscript 105, 1901. (Medical Ministry, 116). 2MCP 716.5

Taking Advantage of Weakness—Fearful is the power thus given to evil-minded men and women. What opportunities it affords to those who live by taking advantage of others’ weaknesses or follies! How many, through control of minds feeble or diseased, will find a means of gratifying lustful passion or greed of gain!—The Ministry of Healing, 243 (1905). 2MCP 717.1

Counsel Regarding the Publishing of Books Dealing With Hypnotism—Shall its [Review and Herald Publishing Association] [Note: For years the Review and Herald did commercial work to keep equipment in use.] managers consent to be the agents of Satan by publishing books dealing with the subject of hypnotism? Shall this leprosy be introduced into the office? ... 2MCP 717.2

Satan and his agents have been and are working diligently. Will God give His blessing to the publishing houses if they accept the deceptions of the enemy? Shall the institutions which have been kept before the people as holy unto the Lord become schools in which the workers eat the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge? Shall we encourage Satan in his stealthy entrance into the citadel of truth to deposit his hellish science, as he did in Eden? 2MCP 717.3

Are the men at the heart of the work men who cannot distinguish between truth and error? Are they men who cannot see the terrible consequences of giving influence to wrong? If you should gain millions of dollars by work of this kind, of what value is this gain when compared with the terrible loss that is incurred by giving publicity to Satan's lies?—Letter 140, 1901. (Selected Messages 2:350, 351.) 2MCP 717.4

A Deadly Error—Satanic agencies are clothing false theories in an attractive garb, even as Satan in the Garden of Eden concealed his identity from our first parents by speaking through the serpent. These agencies are instilling into human minds that which in reality is deadly error. The hypnotic influence of Satan will rest upon those who turn from the plain word of God to pleasing fables.—Testimonies for the Church 8:294 (1904). 2MCP 718.1

Danger in Investigating—We have reached the perils of the last days, when some, yes, many, “shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” Be cautious in regard to what you read and how you hear. Take not a particle of interest in Spiritualistic theories. Satan is waiting to steal a march upon everyone who allows himself to be deceived by his hypnotism. He begins to exert his power over them just as soon as they begin to investigate his theories.—Letter 123, 1904. (Medical Ministry, 101, 102). 2MCP 718.2

Do Not Voice Satan's Theories—I have been shown that we are not to enter into controversy over these Spiritualistic theories, because such controversy will only confuse minds. These things are not to be brought into our meetings. We are not to labor to refute them. If our ministers and teachers give themselves to study of these erroneous theories, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. It is not the work of the gospel minister to voice Satan's theories. Go steadily forward, building up the old waste places and restoring the foundations of many generations. Present the truth, sacred, sanctifying truth, and let the seducing theories of the enemy alone. Give him no ground on which to plant the seeds of these theories. I was warned to enter into no controversy over these matters. Let not our ministers or teachers or students give their lips to the repeating of the enemy's sophistry.—Letter 175, 1904. 2MCP 718.3

Ministers and Physicians Drawn Into the Snare—There are doctors and ministers who have been influenced by the hypnotism exercised by the father of lies. Notwithstanding the warnings given, Satan's sophistries are being accepted now just as they were accepted in the heavenly courts. The science by which our first parents were deceived is deceiving men today. Ministers and physicians are being drawn into the snare.—Manuscript 100, 1905. 2MCP 719.1

The Past in New Forms—The experience of the past will be repeated. In the future, Satan's superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God's people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized.—Testimonies for the Church 8:293 (1904). 2MCP 719.2

The Author's Experience With Hypnotism—It was reported all around [in 1845] that the visions were the result of mesmerism, and many Adventists [remnants of the Adventists who had not accepted the seventh-day Sabbath] were ready to believe and circulate the report. A physician who was a celebrated mesmerizer told me that my views were mesmerism, that I was a very easy subject, and that he could mesmerize me and give me a vision. 2MCP 719.3

I told him that the Lord had shown me in vision that mesmerism was from the devil, from the bottomless pit, and that it would soon go there, with those who continued to use it. 2MCP 719.4

I then gave him liberty to mesmerize me if he could. He tried for more than half an hour, resorting to different operations, and then gave it up. By faith in God I was able to resist his influence, so that it did not affect me in the least.—Early Writings, 21 (1882). 2MCP 719.5

Spiritual Magnetism—In New Hampshire [in 1848] we had to contend with a species of spiritual magnetism, of a similar character with mesmerism. It was our first experience of this kind.—Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 79 (1915). 2MCP 720.1

No One to Be Passive Instrument—It is not God's purpose that any human being should yield his mind and will to the control of another, becoming a passive instrument in his hands.—The Ministry of Healing, 242 (1905). 2MCP 720.2

Must Be Free From Human Enchantment—The mind cure must be free from all human enchantment. It must not grovel to humanity but soar aloft to the spiritual, taking hold of the eternal.—Letter 120, 1901. (Medical Ministry, 110). 2MCP 720.3

Explanatory Note on “Phrenology and Mesmerism”—“Good in Their Place”: In 1862 Mrs. White published a lengthy article in the Review and Herald entitled “Philosophy and Vain Deceit.” Republished in Testimonies for the Church 1:290-302, it aggregates 13 pages comprised of warning against deceptions and false miracles. In that message she stated that certain sciences would be employed by Satan to allure souls into the net that he has spread by means of spiritistic phenomena. 2MCP 720.4

It seems clear from the context itself and from the author's article “Science Falsely So Called,” published in The Signs of the Times, November 6, 1884, that when she used the terms “phrenology,” “mesmerism,” and “animal magnetism” in 1862 she did so in rather a loose and all-inclusive way, as referring to those sciences which “pertain to the human mind,” for so they were considered at that time. 2MCP 720.5

The 1884 Signs statement is clearly built on the 1862 Review article employing many of its sentences, but rewording some sentences and using more precise terms. This is particularly so in those sentences of the 1862 writing in which the words phrenology and mesmerism are used. 2MCP 720.6

In 1862 she wrote: “Phrenology and mesmerism are very much exalted. They are good in their place, but they are seized upon by Satan as his most powerful agents to deceive and destroy souls. His arts and devices are received as from heaven, and faith in the detector, the Bible, is destroyed in the minds of thousands” (Testimonies for the Church 1:296). 2MCP 720.7

In 1884 she wrote: “The sciences which treat of the human mind are very much exalted. They are good in their place, but they are seized upon by Satan as his powerful agents to deceive and destroy souls. His arts are accepted as from heaven, and he thus receives the worship which suits him well” (The Signs of the Times, November 6, 1884). Because this statement appears to more correctly represent the intent of the author, it is employed in this chapter. 2MCP 720.8

The earlier “Testimony” Statement should be appraised in the light of other statements in the chapter itself and in consideration of the full body of statements both earlier and later from her pen on mesmerism. See note for chapter 3. 2MCP 721.1

To show how the terms “phrenology,” “mesmerism,” and “animal magnetism” were employed in the mid-nineteenth century, we list here certain works advertised at the close of a popular medical work distributed in the United States in 1852:
American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany. Devoted to phrenology, physiology, and self-improvement. A year,_____ $1.00
Chart for recording various developments. Designed for phrenologists. With numerous engravings _____ .06 1/4
Defense of Phrenology. by Dr. Andrew Boardman. A good work for skeptics and unbelievers _____ .50
Elements of Animal Magnetism; or, Process and Practical Application for Relieving Human Suffering_____ .12 1/2
Familiar Lessons on Phrenology. Designed for the use of children and youth, illustrated _____ .50
Fascination; or The Philosophy of Charming (Magnetism). Illustrating the principles of life. Illustrated _____ .40
Lectures on the philosophy of mesmerism and clairvoyance with instruction in its process and practical application _____ .25
Marriage: Its History and Philosophy, with a phrenological exposition of the functions for happy marriages _____ .37 1/2
Mesmerism in India. A superior work, by the celebrated Dr. Esdaile. Highly recommended by professional men _____ .50
Matrimony; or, Phrenology and Physiology Applied to the Selection of Congenial Companions for Life _____ .25
Psychology, or the Science of the Soul. With engravings of the nervous system. By Joseph Haddock, MD _____ .25
Phrenological Guide. Designed for the use of students of their own characters. With numerous engravings _____ .12 1/2
Phrenological almanac: illustrated with numerous engravings, containing illustrated descriptions of character _____ .06 1/4
Phrenology and the Scriptures, showing their harmony. By Rev. John Pierpont _____ .12 1/2
Philosophy of Electrical Psychology. By John Bovee Dods _____ .50
Religion, Natural and Revealed; or, the Natural Theology and Moral Bearings of Phrenology _____ .50
The Illustrated Self-instructor in Phrenology and Physiology, with one hundred engravings and a chart _____ .25
2MCP 721.2