274. Do the different degrees of spirits establish a hierarchy? Do subservience and authority exist among spirits?
“Absolutely, the authority of spirits over one another according to their relative superiority is great and morally overpowering over lower spirits.”
a) Can lower spirits reject the authority of their superiors?
“As I said, it is irresistible.”
275. Do the power and respect that an individual may have enjoyed on Earth give that person superiority in the spirit world?
“No, because the humble are glorifed and the great abased. Read the Psalms.”
a) How should we interpret glorifed and abased?
“Are you not aware of the fact that spirits have different ranks according to their merit? Individuals who held the highest ranks on Earth may find themselves in the lowest rank in the spiritual world, while their inferiors may be in the highest. Do you understand this? After all, Jesus once said, ‘For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’”
276. When individuals who have lived in prominent social positions on Earth live in an inferior place in the spirit world, do they feel humiliated? “Often very humiliated, especially if they were arrogant and jealous.”
277. When soldiers encounter their general in the spiritual world after battle, do they still acknowledge him as their superior? “Titles are meaningless; intrinsic superiority is all that matters.”
278. Do spirits of different orders mingle?
“Yes and no, meaning, they see each other, but they are still separated. They avoid or approach one another depending on the empathy or aversion of their thoughts and ideas, just like you. Your world is merely the obscured refection of the spirit world. Those holding the same rank are attracted to each other, and form groups or families of spirits united by sympathy and a common goal. Good spirits are united by the desire to do good, while bad spirits are united by the desire to do wrong, the shame of their wrongdoing, and the desire to be among those they resemble.”
The spiritual world is like a big city where people of every social standing and means see and meet one another without actually mingling. Various social circles are formed based on the similarity of tastes. Vice and virtue rub elbows without interacting with one another.
279. Are all spirits mutually accessible to one another?
“The good can go everywhere, and it must be this way in order to bring their infuence to bear upon the bad ones. However, the regions inhabited by the good are blocked off to lower order spirits, so as to not disrupt those places by introducing vile passions.”
280. What are the relations like between good and bad spirits? “The good strive to combat the immoral propensities of others, to help them rise to a higher degree. This is a mission.”
281. Why do lower spirits take pleasure in tempting us to do wrong?
“Out of jealousy. They have not earned a place among the good and relish preventing other inexperienced spirits from reaching supreme happiness. They want to make others feel the same way they do. Do you not see this same desire among yourselves?”
282. How do spirits communicate with one another?
“They see and understand one another. Speech is a material creation that refects the spirit. The universal fuid establishes constant communication, a vehicle by which thought is transmitted, similar to air being the vehicle of sound in your world. This fuid is similar to a universal telegraph, uniting all worlds and enabling spirits to correspond from one world to another.”
283. Can spirits hide their thoughts from one another? Can they hide themselves from one another?
“No, everything is out in the open, particularly for those who have reached perfection. They may withdraw from one another, but they are always visible. Note that this is not an absolute rule. Higher spirits can render themselves invisible to lower spirits, when they deem it useful to do so.” 284. How can spirits establish their individuality and maintain their uniqueness from other beings around them when they no longer have a physical body? “Their individuality is established by their perispirit, which makes each spirit distinct from one another, as the body does for human beings.”
285. Do spirits recognize one another when they have lived together on Earth? Does a son recognize his father? Does a friend recognize a friend?
“Yes, and from generation to generation.”
a) How do those who have known each other on Earth recognize one another in the spirit world?
“We see our past life and can read it like a book. In seeing the past of our friends and our enemies, we see their journey from life to death.”
286. Does the soul see family and friends who have died before it immediately after vacating the body?
“Immediately is not the right word. As we have said, the soul needs time to restore its self-consciousness and shed the material veil.”
287. How is the soul welcomed when returning to the spirit world?
“The righteous is welcomed back as dearly loved family members who have been long expected, while the wicked are despised.”
288. How do impure spirits feel when they see another bad spirit joining them?
“They are delighted to see others like them who are also deprived of supreme happiness. Similar to thieves welcomed by their peers.”
289. Do our friends and family ever come to meet us when we leave this world?
“Yes, they meet the souls of their loved ones, welcome them like travelers safely returning from a journey, and help them to free themselves from their material bonds. Being met by loved ones is a favor granted to good spirits. Meanwhile, the wicked are punished by being left alone, or as a result of only being surrounded by spirits who are like themselves.”
290. Do relatives and friends always reunite after death?
“That depends on their elevation and their road to advancement. If one is more advanced and progresses more rapidly than the other, they cannot stay together. They may see each other occasionally.
They are reunited only when they can walk side by side, or when both of them have reached equality in perfection. Sometimes, spirits who are deprived of seeing friends and family have had this inficted upon them as an atonement.”