SNU bans Eric Hatton’s book

Minister Eric Hatton

by Sue Farrow.

In a move that has left many of its loyal members outraged, the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU) has made the astonishing decision to ban the autobiography of its own honorary president from sale at the Arthur Findlay College (AFC).

Eric Hatton’s long awaited book, Taking up the Challenge, was published in December 2010, in response to requests made over many years by Spiritualists and others who wanted him to set down a permanent record of his extraordinary life at the heart of Spiritualism.

Always modest and self-effacing, Eric resisted those requests, but following a long period of serious illness in 2009, reluctantly agreed to embark on the lengthy process of writing his memoirs.

The result is a book which has captivated readers with its dazzling array of evidence gained through all forms of mediumship, including full materialisation in light.

The book also tells the lesser known story of Eric’s career as a successful businessman, alongside an account of his 66 years of service to the SNU. Those years included a lengthy spell as chairman of the Arthur Findlay College – the very place from which his book has now been exiled.

So what is going on? Why would the SNU decide to ban a book by one of its best loved and most respected figures?

Speculation is futile, so I decided to go straight to the horse’s mouth. Current SNU president David Bruton has long expressed his admiration and respect for Eric, describing him as “inspirational”, “so special”, “unique”, “a true pioneer”, and praising his “mighty contribution to Spiritualism”. Surely David would not have sanctioned such an extraordinary act towards a man he has admired for three decades?

I e-mailed David to let him know that I was preparing this article, and, in the interests of fairness, I asked him a number of questions:

Has Taking up the Challenge, the autobiography of the SNU’s honorary president and lifetime achievement award holder, Eric Hatton, been banned from sale in the Arthur Findlay College bookshop?

If so,

  • Were you – as president of the SNU – aware of the decision?
  • Was the decision taken collectively by the SNU’s NEC, or by the new AFC chairman alone?
  • On what grounds was the decision taken?
  • Why was the book on sale in the College bookshop from its publication in December 2010 until the resignation of Duncan Gascoyne as College chairman on 31st March 2011, yet banned shortly after the new chairman took over?
  • How does the SNU justify this decision in light of Eric Hatton’s almost 70 years of service to the SNU, and his chairmanship of the J.V. Trust, which has to date donated in excess of £2 million to the Arthur Findlay College?

I received no reply from David Bruton. I did, however, receive – just hours before our deadline – an e-mail from the SNU’s general secretary, Charles Coulston, who wrote:

“The President of the Union has asked me to reply on his behalf to your email to him of 4th May.

To begin with, the internal decision-making processes within the Union are a matter for the National Executive Committee and its Officers and not for private individuals to question.

Secondly, the Union has exercised its right, in common with all organisations which sell books, to decide what it will stock and what it will not. In the case of Minister Hatton’s book it was discovered late in the day that there were a number of references in the book to the Union’s activities which were inaccurate, misleading and denigratory of the Union: our minutes show the accurate versions of events, which clearly differ considerably from the book. The Union sees no reason why it should stock any book which contains unfounded statements and derogatory innuendoes about the Union: no other organisation would countenance the promotion of a publication which contained such baseless and unwarranted assertions and insinuations against itself and its governing body

Sincerely
Charles Coulston
SNU General Secretary”

David Bruton has more than once spoken of being his “own man”, yet is apparently not up to the task of answering his own e-mails. So much for leading from the front.

The discerning reader will also notice that Mr Coulston has neatly avoided giving a straight answer to a single one of my questions.

He writes that “the internal decision-making processes within the Union are a matter for the National Executive Committee and its Officers and not for private individuals to question”. What gives Mr Coulston the right to tell me, or anyone else, what may or may not be questioned? I recall similar views being expressed by regimes in the former USSR.

He also states that “the Union has exercised its right, in common with all organisations which sell books, to decide what it will stock and what it will not”.  Are we to assume from this that every book sold by the Union has been pored over from cover to cover by some kind of vetting committee? And if so, are SNU members aware that their reading matter is being censored in this way?

A reality check is needed here. Eric Hatton is the SNU’s most venerable and respected figure, its only lifetime honorary president, a minister for more than three decades, and its first Lifetime Achievement Award holder. Yet the SNU leadership has not even had the courtesy to inform him of their decision to ban his book from sale. Surely if they had a genuine issue about the accuracy of something contained in his book, they would simply have phoned him to say so. But they have not. Why not?

In describing Eric Hatton’s words as “inaccurate, misleading and denigratory of the Union” Charles Coulston has stepped into potentially dangerous territory.  Is he accusing Eric Hatton of dishonesty? I trust not, for if ever there was a Spiritualist universally respected for his integrity, it is surely Eric Hatton. Indeed, in the personal tribute he offered on 9th August 2009, when Eric was presented with a specially created SNU Lifetime Achievement Award for his ‘Services to Spiritualism’, Charles Coulston described him as “a wise man” and “a past master of self-effacement”, adding:  

“We all recognise in our lives those who have in some measure imbibed the true meaning of Spiritualism and lived it in their lives, and they act as a beacon to all of us. In the years that Eric was president, that is how I saw him. He was the kind of man you wanted to emulate. You wanted to draw within your own attitude and stance towards the world the qualities and characteristics that Eric brought to the job.”

Over the past two weeks, numerous SNU members – four church presidents among them – have contacted Spirit of PN to express their concern at this latest and most worrying in a long line of decisions taken by the current SNU leadership. One such is Al Potts, president of Bournemouth Spiritualist Church, in Dorset, who told me:

Al Potts

“Whilst attending the presidents’ day at the Arthur Findlay College on May 4, my brother and I called into the book shop to purchase a copy of Eric Hatton’s autobiography. I was made to understand that the book was no longer for sale at the Arthur Findlay College, and have since found out the terrible truth as to why.

“Has the NEC gone mad? Eric Hatton is one of the greatest assets we have in Spiritualism, a man who has served the Union for at least 66 years and whose reputation in our movement is completely untarnished. What is the Union doing to this incredibly compassionate man, whose only intention is to tell the truth at all times? Eric’s experiences are something that we would all like to have been a part of, and it has taken years to get him to write down his wonderful experiences and knowledge.

“The NEC now finds it necessary to remove his book because they think that he has some of his information about the Union wrong. It has taken three months for them to discover this, so why have they been sleeping?

“Many of the books on sale at the College are by mediums who definitely do not agree with Union policy, but they are still offered for sale. I feel ashamed to be a Spiritualist when I hear what the Union does in my name, and without my consent. But still the NEC seems to think that the Class B members’ opinions don’t matter. I wish to remind all concerned that members’ opinions are very important if this Union is going to continue as a viable Union. I beg David Bruton to rethink this terrible decision – that is if he has any influence at all – and to reinstate Eric’s book at once. My brother and I voted for David in the hope that someone at last was going to listen to the members. Please don’t prove me wrong, David. You said at the presidents’ meeting that the NEC was prepared to listen to the members. Please listen now, and stop hurting this wonderful man.

In David Bruton’s first presidential address, delivered at the SNU’s annual general meeting in July 2010, he pledged to delegates that there would be greater openness and communication with members of the SNU.  Assuming that his pledge was delivered with honest intent, I challenge him to communicate openly about what it is that he objects to in Eric Hatton’s book.

Few Spiritualists would dispute that Eric Hatton has been the SNU’s finest ambassador in living memory. Now 85, he has defended, protected and advanced the cause of Spiritualism and the SNU since he was 19 years old. Where on earth is the spirituality in the way the SNU leadership has behaved towards him? For an organisation supposedly dedicated to the promotion of spiritual values, their behaviour can only be described as shocking and disgraceful.

All is not well in the State of Stansted. We don’t always think of history as being shaped by silence, but, to paraphrase the philosopher Edmund Burke: The only thing necessary for the triumph of bad guys is for good guys to do nothing. Perhaps it is time for the good guys to stand up.

Taking up the challenge by Eric Hatton is published by Saturday Night Press, priced at £10.50, and is available through the Spirit of PN Amazon Store.

195 responses to “SNU bans Eric Hatton’s book

  1. Terry Gardener

    How very sad! but having said that if there is one thing that promotes a book it is a ban…. I know that I would have got round to reading the book sooner or later. Now I shall definitely purchase it to find out this dastardly untruth!!!…
    I met and listened to Mr Hatton at an open day at Stansted many years ago. I was impressed by his genuine warmth and sincerity.

  2. As a Canadian medium and Spiritualist of long standing, and as Acting President and resident medium at Two Worlds Spiritualist Centre, Nanaimo, BC, I am shocked and disturbed that a national organization such
    as the SNU NEC would act in such a way. It seems tyrannical, and such is NOT the Spiritualism I have valued for 43 years. Paul D. Biscop, Ph.D.

  3. John Morris

    Iam staggered to read this and will be considering my future as a class B member of the SNU.
    Certainly this data will be discussed at our home circles which are linked to a number of other circles and spiritualist groups made up of many SNU members.
    Cetainly in this day and age more than ever before spiritualits need to stick together but at what price when one of our most loved and respected father figures is treated in this fashion.
    What a very sad state of affairs for the executive to have placed us all in.
    John Morris.

  4. “To begin with, the internal decision-making processes within the Union are a matter for the National Executive Committee and its Officers and not for private individuals to question.”

    This sounds like dictatorship to me. I was a union member for years of TGWU, and was a shop steward for many years.
    Members are the most important part of any organisation,
    The NEC are the elected spokespeople, not the be all and end of.
    I had enough of this in the 70s and 80s where certain people thought they were the union.
    This story is taking me back to times I thought we had moved on and learned from. Reading what I am reading I can understand where Mr Al Potts of Bournemouth is coming from,and I agree with every word the man says. I have only just started learning about spiritualism, but am finding this article very alarming.
    If there is problem with what is in the book, then explain as to why, and let the members decide. If The NEC are correct, if all that the NEC say is correct, then they will have the backing of members.
    This is how I understand a membership works – consultation.

  5. Janet Harrison

    I surmise that the main problem is that they have disagreed with Eric’s description in the book of what took place in a particular meeting. Minutes of meetings are often incomplete in my experience, and they cannot be relied upon to tell it “how it was”, so I feel inclined to disregard the statement about his account not being in accordance with them. By banning this book it has now become an even more “interesting” book and I’m sure people will be leaping to buy it from Amazon, which is where I got mine. Very enjoyable it was too. I have just checked and they currently have only eleven more in stock though they say there are more on the way, so hurry to get yours.

  6. This news is truly appalling. I am not an SNU member and I try to stay away from spiritual politics but I have met Mr Hatton several times and he is the nicest gentleman you could wish to meet. Over the years there have been so many rumours about the SNU trying to keep tight control of its members and this ban certainly comes into that category. But at the end of the day it is the members who allow the SNU to tell them what to think. If they did not allow it, it could not happen. Mostly they seem like sheep waiting for the farmer to tell them what to do. I guess nothing will ever change about the SNU as long as the members allow the leaders to get away with it.

  7. I am not an SNU member and have ever attempted to remain clear of Spiritualist Church politics here in Australia. What I find most disturbing is the apparent attitude of the Council – the sense that SNU memebers are children and need to have their education and development controlled by others, lest they have dangerous thoughts. Our pioneers became Spiritualists, in part, becaause they objected to being told what to believe, how to pray, how to conduct their lives. The comparison with the USSR appears reasonable, although I rather prefer one along the lines of “theinfallibility of Popes.” I thought Spiritualism was supposed to be devoid of dogma?

    • I think that those of us who have followed the whole story about the death of Psychic News, watching the way the NEC acted, were well aware that this body was capable of nearly any deed. At no time in the sad saga have they acted in a manner which reflects the type of moral, ethical or philosophical manner which should be expected from the peak governing body of the largest Spiritualist organisation in the world.
      To behave in this manner to Eric Hatton is totally unacceptable and should clearly indicate to all SNU members the approach their NEC has chosen to adopt.
      I note the analogy with the USSR, yes the NEC have persisted with their attempts to try and keep Psychic News to use in house. With a need to control information, shut out any criticism and refuse comment this would just have become Pravda News.
      I also noted a comment about Papal Infallibility. David Bruton indicated in his inaugural speech the importance he placed upon the Ministers and the Ministry in the future of the SNU. It made me wonder whether he saw himself as the first Arch Bishop or Pope of Spiritualism. Of course control and censorship is then even more vital.
      Very interesting, clearly Mr Bruton is a wannabe who admired Eric greatly, if anything he said in the past can actually be believed given the many things it appears he has reneged upon. However by his actions he is totally unsuited to stand in the role Eric and other great Presidents held. Were anybody to be of the calibre to be an Arch Bishop of Spiritualism it would be Eric, who would never have sought such a role.
      One also wonders, since this” blasphemous” book has been banned from the AFC, how long before it is banned from the churches? When will SNU members be told not to read it as unsuitable and offensive reading? How many more books, web sites, newspapers, periodicals and magazines will also be banned? Clearly the NEC will soon hold its first auto-da-fé to destroy seditious and heretical material.

      Jim

  8. My heart aches for Eric Hatton. We all know that Eric is a good man, a sincere and honest person. A mighty Spiritualist who has shown the way for many by his example of quiet, dignified, and sincere expression of what Spiritualism is about and how good Spiritualists should behave.

    We all know that in recent years he has been suffering bouts of illness, and to see the SNU NEC act in this way towards him and his book is shocking, outrageous, and so un-spiritual that it beggars belief that this executive body can dare to claim the right to run a Spiritualist organization.

    If the SNU executive believe that there are errors in Eric Hatton’s book, and those errors adversely affect the image of the SNU, the very first thing they should have done was make contact with Eric Hatton to point out what they believe are the errors, and to express their concern at the potential impact on the Union which Hatton has championed for so many years. They would provide evidence that supports their claim of errors. They would ASK Mr Hatton to respond, and, if he agreed an error had occurred, to provide an insert for the book to that effect, or ensure that further printings of the book contained the necessary corrections.

    That is what a responsible, rational, ethical, and given the nature of the SNU, the Spiritual way, in which to deal with a perceived problem.

    The NEC of the SNU have not so acted, and their handling of this matter brings shame not only on them but on all SNU Spiritualists.

    I do not believe that the body of SNU Spiritualists would support the action taken by the NEC. Yet, I fear that once again, though unhappy with what their elected leadership has done they will remain largely silent. Why? Because the current leadership of the SNU is making it very clear it will not tolerate criticism. It will not tolerate questions being asked. It will not tolerate any challenge to their power. It is being made very clear that anyone who dares to disagree with their actions will be attacked, will be removed. Surely that is dictatorship of the worst kind.

    David Bruton claimed he was going to be the man that ensured better communication between the executive and the membership of the SNU. In reality, to date, quite the opposite situation has been seen. If Mr. Bruton really believes in his own rhetoric now is the time to start acting upon it and make a public statement saying what the NEC believe are the errors in the book, why they felt it appropriate to handle the situation in the way they have, and why they did not even give Eric Hatton the right to defend himself against the accusations before the NEC acted to remove his book from the shelves of the AFC.

  9. So, Mr Charles Coulson, on behalf of the SNU, has made it quite clear that the opinions of the membership are of no consequence whatsoever to the Union. Private individuals are not allowed to question decisions made by the SNU/NEC.

    When will the members wake up to the fact that THEIR union is being run by a DICTATORSHIP? They are a disgrace to the name of Spiritualism.

  10. I think there is a certain ammount of over-reaction on here although it is understandable. Comparisons to Nazi book burning or repression with the old USSR at it’s worse are fairly offensive and should be avoided at all times.
    Certainly Eric Hatton’s reputation is secure and he is so widely regarded within the movemnet I think such a ban will have the opposite effect and increase sales and help spread knowledge as well as bring Eric to a wider audience.
    I believe the SNU has the legal right to keep certain executive decsions confidential. I don’t see why people simply believe they should have access to all decisions made merely because they may be a spiritualist. It will be up to members to vote eventually on that policiy but it is normal practice.
    There may be all sorts of complicated reasons, if as stated, minutes (which one poster accurately stated don’t always reflect what happened at the time) difer from what is in Eric’s books. I wouldn’t know but there is that possibility and the SNU may be distancing itself for legal reasons.
    The best course of action would be for members to voice their disapporval collectively rather that attack with exagerations of censorship which it is clearly not.

    • Re comments by O. Jones
      You suggest that what you perceive is over-reaction is understandable but make clear you find it offensive. I want to say first of all, I respect your perspective and appreciate your taking the time to express your view of things here on this forum. I think it is really a very positve aspect of this forum that you can, as those who see it diffrenetly to you CAN express their opinion and perspective without fear of attack or censorship.

      That is after all what freedom of speech is about. The right to express one’s views freely without censorship or condemnation.

      You suggest, however, that the comments of those who have spoken out about the decision by the NEC may amount to an over-reaction, and that a comaprison with the Nazi’s is offensive and an attitude that should be avoided. While I feel a degree of sympathy with that viewpoint – we should all always err on the side of forgiveness and tolerance in preference to judgement and condemnation as Spiritualists – I do also feel that the actions of the NEC are so outside of the normal way a Spiritualist organization would be perceived as acting when acting spiritually, that many will find those actions hard to understand. Indeed, may find that conduct incomprehensible.

      In suggesting that, despite the ban, Eric Hatton’s reputation is secure, and that the ban will have the opposite effect and increase sales, is surely missing the real thrust of the argument that is being expressed on this forum.

      Those who are shocked and opposed to the actions of the NEC may well now lift themselves out of their lethargy and go and buy the book which might well bring Eric Hatton and his many years of involvement in Spiritualism to a wider audience, but, will that alter in any way the unfortunate actions of the NEC? No. Were Hatton’s book to sell a million copies, it would not alter the fundamental issue – that the NEC banned a book of a deeply revered Spiritualist from the shelves of its college of education, without ever speaking, or writing to its author, without giving him an opportunity to respond to a challenge to the accuracy of his book, without giving him an opportunity to respond with why they recorded the past in the way they remembered it.

      You suggest that the NEC has, and should have, the right to keep “certain executive decisions confidential.” I, having been involved with the running of Spiritualist organizations for many years, agree that may well be right on many occasions. But the reality is, the NEC did not keep this matter “confidential.” It informed someone other than Mr. Hatton, of the rationale of the President’s viewpoint about Mr. Hatton’s book, and did so in clear and unequivocal terms.

      It did so, while at the same time denying the right of the person asking questions having the right to do so, even on behalf of Mr. Hatton, himself. The General Secretary of the SNU, on behalf of the President of the SNU, was prepared to make a series of defamatory statements about Mr. Hatton’s autobiography, to a third person, without providing ANY supportive evidence to substantiate their claim. In my book, based on my legal training and experience, that sort of statement can and should so easily give rise to a legal action for defamation.

      No doubt Eric Hatton is a man with too much integrity and respect for Spiritualism, and what it, and the SNU used to stand for, to want to take an action along those lines, but one cannot doubt that such an action would be reasonable.

      O. Jones seems to suggest that it is unreasonable for any member of the SNU to question the Executive. This surely must imply that SNU members, having elected them, should intrinscially trust them to do the right thing. I agree that when we place our trust in an elected body we should let them get on with the job and in general terms, if we have questions or concerns, address them at the next AGM, but when an executive acts so far outside the ambit of their elected authority, and treats respected members of the Spiritualist community with disdain and disrespect, we cannot, and should not sit back and remain silent.

      The poster would argue that what had occurred is not censorship, but in truth, and in objective terms, that is exactly what has occurred. A publication, by a renowned Spiritualist, published by a Spiritualist body, previously sold by a Spiritualist organization, withdrawn by that organization without giving reason to the author, or any member of the organization, is in the truest, and most fundamental sense – censorship. And censorship without the right of the author to defend themselves or counteract the argument against the accusations.

      When Salman Rushdie’s book was banned and burned we stood up and were outraged. Are we to now argue that a Spiritualist organization intrinsically behaving in the same manner is ok? If we are, then the last 45 years as a committed Spiritualst have been a lie and a waste of my life.

    • do you think this is the only action by the NEC of the union which should have caused an uproar? how about Mr Wilfed Watts a man who had been a spiritualist and made a SNU Minister for over over forty years. He was stripped of his titles as a Minister and his awards but ther was no mention of why this hardworking man was so treated. I met this man once but he struck as very gentle man and as Spiritual an any other in Spiritualism. So one wonders how many more eminent Spiritualist are going to be treated in this cavalier way I for one do not agree that the comments over the ban are over the top. As comments go I think they havre been restained.

  11. What a sad and thoughtless bunc we are. The book was banned for seeming innaccuracies that appear to show the SNU in a bad light. Instead of going to court to ban the book outright, or challenging Mr Hattons interpretation of events, they have simply taken the decision not to stock his book. They are not challenging it, nor denigrating Mr Hatton. Simply not stocking it. Anyone who wants it can get it. All these references to Russia are irresponsible and inflamatory as are a lot of articles in spirit of PN. something that sadly I find worrying. Please moderate your views. The SNU like any organisation experiences problems, especially when run by committee’s. My own church committee often has disagreements and we will agree to differ. We do not try to force our views on anyone, and neither will we be forced to adopt someone elses views we disagree with. Any book that puts forward information that may be innaccurate is often challenged in court and possibly banned nationally by the government, often done in Russia. Yet the SNU even believing that the book contains innaccurate information and seem to promote a poor view of them have chosen not to attack Mr Hatton, nor oppose the publication, nor go to court, but simply refuse to sell the book with these beleved innaccuracies.
    If you want to attack the SNU at least have the common decency to attack it on reasonable grounds and not on such a petty thing. Constantly attacking the SNU does not promote Spiritualism but denigrates it and even more so when you embark on personal attacks. Any organisation has the right not to stock any item it disagrees with, only in a dictatorship would it be forced to.
    Does the Spirit of PN now support dictatorial attitudes then. Probably not but your response to this issue seems to promote this idea. Perhaps Spirit of PN should now be banned?

    • Hi Richard
      As you would expect I am sure that the NEC will ban Spirit of PN just as they would any independent publication that criticised them.

      However banning and ensuring members do not read internet news is quite another thing. Spirit of PN is presenting honest and open news with alternative viewpoints. The intention is not to destroy the SNU but challenge the terrible decision making of the NEC. I do hope that SNU members will take issue with their committee without fear. Then they can always remember that democratic processes can bring about change.

      Surely it is time to ask for a Special General Meeting to do this.

      This last 12 months has done nothing for Spiritualism, which transcends any man made organisation like the SNU, which appears to have forgotten its basic principles, or either, in an excess of zeal, its Executive Committee has.

  12. I read this article with growing horror. The SNU seem determined to implode under their own incompetence. I can add nothing to the chorus of disapproval already voiced above, but to the Class B member considering leaving the Union, I can only advise that “change only comes from within”.
    Reconsider this nonsensical decision NEC, before you disenfranchise us all!

  13. I have known Eric for over 30 years and have always without exception, found him to be an honest, truthful and sincere man who has given much of his life to serving spiritualism. Knowing him as I do he would have endeavoured to get his facts right, as I have always found him to be meticulous in this regard, but even if one or two are found to be incorrect it surely does not change the fact that the book was written in the right spirit – designed to give readers the benefit of his knowledge and insight of the movement and the many wonderful mediums with whom he has worked over the years? Eric has been and still is, a treasure to all who know him – always willing to advise, support and help anyone in need. It is the measure of the man and only there were more like him in the spiritualist movement and life in general, the world would be a better place. Sadly, there are many ego’s around and spiritualism has its fair share. Fortunately, Eric Hatton isn’t one of them.

  14. Perhaps now we can see why the NEC wanted to get rid of PN because it now lets them do what they like without the membership knowing, using funds to buy (1) Stafford Church for £500.000. and taking £55.000 of the churches money for roof repairs. and (2) £1 million pounds for a building in Edinburgh.
    So is it suprizing that they have removed Erics book? The next thing will be to strip him of all his awards.
    How much longer will it be before you the membership give Mr Bruton and his henchmen a vote of no confidence, and demand an EGM.
    Also ask yourself why Duncan resigned.

    • Hi Mac so if your information is right we now have 1.5 Million pounds spent. Yet the SNU ten year plan for one Union carries no monetary calculations. If you look at the costs the AFC is committed to tripling its income to cover new expenses. Then the plan says there will be more centres.

      So if there are 3 more centres, many without accommodation, the AFC has to generate 6 times the income of Stansted for each centre to remain viable. Yet the only centre that a property developer would find viable for resale is Stansted Hall.

      An interesting thought for everyone to ponder upon.

  15. Re Eric’s book and its banning…I notice that my book ‘More Principles of Spiritualism’ is not on any Spiritualist groups’, SNU AFC or other, ‘do buy this book’ list…It is however still available as there are some copies left having sold well despite that cicumstance, from my website http://www.lynguestdeswarte.com

  16. Dr Malcolm Lewis

    What a dictatorial bunch. I only met Eric briefly while I was giving a talk on Physical Mediumship in Scarborough. Quite an honour for me, and a true gentleman with a lifetime of knowledge.
    I have been in Spiritualism myself for over 40 years and have NEVER been in the SNU. The organisation is going from bad to worse. What is happening to the movement when individual expereinces are being ‘banned’ from being aired. It is no wonder that modern Spiritualism is seen as a joke by many. To quote our great pioneer EH Brittain ‘There was fire in the movement in my day’ .Today there are a few sad embers. IF I was a member I would resign forthwith. It is up to others to decide what they would do.

    • Agreed malcolm at this stage I wonder why I devote so much effort to a belief who’s organisations seems to behave so badly accross the whole world

  17. sue taggart

    I never get involved in spiritual politics and never wish to but the snu do not appear to be doing themselves any favours. There are many spiritualists but not many spiritual people as I have found over the years of being a committed member. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr Hatton and what a wonderful sincere man he is. I have no doubt whatsoever of the truth and integrity of his truth in writing his book. I do know as “spiritualists” they have some very strange ways of running our churches. I have gone into a couple of snu churches across the country and find them very unwelcolming and this is from experience. Is it any wonder our churches are getting emptier? Mr Hatton carry on your wonderful work!!!!!

  18. Phil Mortiboy

    Yes this is a very silly decision that the SNU should have a good rethink about. Whatever the content of Eric’s book, I must admit I am now keen to read, his loyal service to Spiritualism must be taken into account. The merits and views expressed in the book can be argued out elsewhere.

  19. I know very little about Mr. Hatton, but from what I have read I see him as an honest and sincere man. I feel sure that someone of his high standing would not tarnish his reputation by stating untruths about an organisation that he has served for decades.

    I would question why the SNU/NEC are so keen to silence Mr. Hatton’s memoirs and opinions of the organisation he has served with such dedication. What are they afraid of? The truth perhaps?

    As with all organisations of this nature, the people at the top, once given a title, seem to be taken over by a ‘power’. This they feel entitles them to make decisions that make no sense to anyone else. They also seem to be untouchable when it comes to being questioned on any of these decisions.

    The SNU should be ashamed of themselves. They represent a large body of people whose views and opinions never seem to be taken into consideration. As a spiritualist I want no part of an organisation that acts in this way.

  20. I am a class B member of the SNU, all I can say is that I feel the spirit world support Eric, his book will be a sell out now, he will be getting his financial reward after years of working for the SNU without pay. I for one never intended buying the book, I will now. The book will become part of the History of the modern Spiritualist movement, I have been attending the Arthur Findlay College for several years and so did my Grandmother who was a minister of the church. Surely in those early days things were different. At the beginning of any religion / charities / committees, things are done and said that should not have been ,and sometimes recorded incorrectly people make mistakes and things are addressed adjusted and changed this is how we grow. Who is perfect?
    There are books on sale in the AFC shop that I consider to be very weird they do not portray the fantastic teachings of the AFC and can be very confusing to the beginner and the overseas students that worship there.
    So well done to the committee, I think this could be described as positive discrimination.

  21. I have something that I wish to know to illuminate the situation for my own understaning of the events. Did Eric have parts of the book ghost written or did he compile it all by himself. If Eric did have another to help then I could see how problems could have arisen. This has been the problem with the Gordon Higginson book it has been seen through the eyes of another and it is not quite accurate.

    • Busterkeats, you raise a valid and important point.
      Eric Hatton had no ghost writer. He did have an editor who helped him with the process of dividing his book into chapters and advised him on technical matters, and that editor was me. The book is written in the first person and everything contained in it was painstakingly handwritten by Eric himself. As soon as each chapter was compiled it was reviewed and checked by him. When all chapters were complete, Eric reviewed the entire proof copy not once but twice. It was with his complete approval of every word that his book went to press. All who know Eric would vouch for his absolute integrity and dedication to truth.

      • busterkeats

        Thank you for your answer it helps me to understand a bit more about this saga, I believe the SNU NEC have over- reacted here. In saying that it seems others are grinding thier own axes and doing a bit of SNU bashing to boot, they are clouding the issue which does not help any-one.

        • we are unable to discuss the subject without being critical of the NEC. Are we supposed to restrain our opinions because it loks like SNU bashing? It is after all the executive committe of the union that has made this decision to ban a book which probably shows how good Mediumship and philosophy were many years ago. The contents must show how the standards have fallen in the last 20 years, as there have been many complaints in the PN in the last few years, including from myself. I would not be discussing these opinions if the headquarters did their job.

          • busterkeats

            Yes we are all entitled to our respective opinions in any matter however in this case some posters are going to far not only are they bashing the SNU NEC they do a disservice to our movement and give succor to the skeptics and others by the tone of the remarks made.
            Many of the remarks made tell me more about the posters own minds not the mindset of the NEC who although in the wrong are actually helped by the unkind remarks made and my thoughts go out to dear Eric who must be appalled by the situation.
            I expect and look forwards to an amicable solution to this parody with an apology from the NEC or at least a change in attitude if the rhetoric stops

  22. Mervyn Boliver

    I am a Medium but I am not a member of an SNU Church, although I have served a few SNU Churches. I feel like many others who have commented on here that it is an outrage that they have banned this book and also stopped printing their magazine. For a group such as the SNU NEC who are there to promote the “Spiritual Movement” they are doing more harm than good. What does Spiritualism mean to many? To me it means free will, like it’s intended to be. Yes, I can understand there have to be rules and regulations, but a dictatorship? That in my view is not spiritual.

  23. Mike Goodall

    With the exception of two of the posts above that seem to approve of what the SNU has done, I agree with all that has been said. Certainly their action will double or triple the number of copies sold of Eric’s book. I think all this dictatorial nonsense by the NEC started when members letters in PN were published criticising and disagreeing with the article published by the NEC from info gleaned from a few top Mediums. For some reason they thought that we were all going to accept these ‘teachings’ without question, and when people spoke out about some (in my opinion) inaccuracies in the article they just got annoyed. When an opportunity arose to kill of Psychic News last year they saw this as their chance to stifle any criticism of NEC views. The way they treated the staff of PN was atrocious and certainly not spiritual in any sense. This latest episode shows that they are without doubt a dictatorship who cannot accept any criticism from anyone inside or outside the Union. How glad I am that I have now broken all ties with this organisation. How can any true Spiritualist condone what they have done over the past year, and wish to be part of it? I just cannot imagine what they will do next. I’m pretty sure that if the members were allowed to vote for a new NEC the present officials would soon be replaced. Mike.

  24. Oh how history repeats itself with the snu . They screwed up psychic news only to have Maurice Barbanell rescue it from their incompetence and when they got their hands on it again they screw it up for the second time!
    They threw out past honorary president wilfred watts after a lifetime dedication to the union for daring to have an opinion and now it looks like they are following the same path with Eric Hatton! When will the membership of the union wake up to the fact their church has no interest in them as individuals? Their views or opinions as spiritualists, even their most admired and respected!

  25. Seems strange to me the SNU are banning this book from there shelves but do not have the back bone to actually say why. I think it is a sad day for the SNU and it makes me wonder on times why more Churches don’t break away from it. Why be dictatorial there is no need of it. The committee should be listening to it’s membership not itself. They are supposed to be representing us not dictating to us.

  26. This is shocking. I am forced to reconsider my membership of the SNU affiliated church I attend. We are not here talking about just one incident, but now several shameful incidents in the less than a year that David Bruton has been the President of the SNU. The SNU are very good at giving us rules, telling its committees and its membership what it must and must not do, but they have never told us our rights against them. They have given us no book of rules by which we can judge them. They have given us no procedure by which we can call them to account, at least if they have I have never received it. I still do not know how they were voted into their posts, if they were voted in. I do not know how we can get rid of them, but I feel it would be in the best interests of Spiritualism that we do. We need a fully accountable, democratically elected leadership, elected by all its members in all affiliated churches or centres, not just by those rich or important or committed enough to be granted Class B membership. We need open and transparent leadership that commands the confidence and respect of the broad mass of SNU membership. From the soundings I make, the present leadership do not command that confidence and respect and we are losing members up and down the country as a result. Their whole handling of the Psychic News debacle alone, should, in any properly run organisation, have called for public scrutiny and demands for explanations and apologies.
    Instead there was a bristling silence. The leadership said just the bare minimum. But there have been other incidents since, and this is just the latest. That is why there has been this swift outpouring of disgust and outrage in response to Sue’s article.
    I think that spiritual people, for their own good, must never lose sight of the fact that spiritual and religious organisations will be always be attractive to unspiritual people, who will drive, cajole, charm and force their way to the top, not because they have great vision and expertise, not because they are saintly and altruistic and good, not because they will lead others to fairer horizons, but because they desire to hold power over others, and because the exercise of that power gratifies their over-large egos.
    The seemingly undemocratic structure of the SNU, or at least the insufficiently democratic structure of it, lays itself wide open to this sort of abuse. This whole issue needs urgent attention. This is the place that rules really need to be laid down.

  27. How about a vote of “NO CONFIDENCE” for the SNU NEC?

    The Spiritualists’ National Union is a UNION and everyone is equal under that union. Therefore the NEC have to account for their actions to their membership.

  28. Catherine Russel

    I can only agree with Richard. The news of the banning of Eric Hatton’s book really is shocking, and as Richard says it is just one in a series of shameful events to happen during the brief presidency of David Bruton. I wholeheartedly agree that it is in the best interest of spiritualism to get rid of the present crowd. There has been nothing but controversy since Mr Bruton came to office and the movement is being dragged into ever deepening disrepute under his leadership. In common with Richard I hear so many murmurs of discontent but there seems to be a genuine fear of speaking openly, which in itself is a damning indictment of a a group supposed to be spiritual. Richard is also right that groups like the SNU will always attract people who will fight their way to the top for reasons having nothing to do with spirituality. For some people there appears to be a seductive power attached to leadership and its associated control over others. I agree that there is urgent need for action in this situation, not just concerning Mr Hatton, but concerning a whole range of matters. If enough of us that care deeply for our movement speak out surely something can be done.

  29. Please print off this article and post on your church notice board.
    And send your letters of disgust to the president at his home address, available on the SNU website.

  30. i cannot comment on most of above not being qualified so to do i feel really sorry for people who for whatever reason cannot/ do not access internet because we no longer have Psychic News i am looking for a home/church circle in london/surrounds pref afternoon or pms honest and reliable jillrocks2@rock.com

  31. The posters who have referenced the fact that this banning of Eric Hatton’s book, and the appalling mistreatment of this well respected Spiritualist is just the latest act of atrocity on the part of the NEC under the presidency of David Bruton make a very valid point.

    Since his presidency began, indeed, even before he was formally appointed, but stood in the wings aware of his upcoming role, Mr. Bruton and his collegues, who now are also on the NEC, had been playing a key role in the downfall of Psychic News.

    Just what were the real motives for their actions in regard to Psychic News, or in banning Eric Hatton’s book, or for the various other actions they have taken over the past year? We cannot say with any certainty. We cannot because Mr. Bruton and his colleques seem unwilling to let anyone know what the purpose of their actions was, or why they do not see the need to let the SNU membership know.

    If there is any justification for their actions, in failing to make that rationale clear, Mr. Bruton and the other members of the NEC have left themselves open to criticism and to speculation. It seems they do not care to be held accountable for their actions. If this perception is incorrect, now is the time for them to speak up. The time for them to come clean and explain their actions and be willing to be judged on the merits of their decision making.

    Up to now, whatever they have believed they were doing, whatever justification they have held as valid, their method of dealing with issues has shown only an apparent total disregard for the union’s membership and the broader Spiritualist community. They are being judged and found lacking. Lacking in spirituality. Lacking in ethical conduct. Lacking in openness and accountability.

    This is a very sad time for Spiritualism and one must fear whether the movement itself is doomed when we have such secretive, unaccountable, and apparently arogant people in power.

  32. The response from ‘Lis’ seems to suggest I am saying things I have not.
    At no time did I say that people should not question the SNU and I would never suggest that be the case.

    I repeat- I find comparisons to Nazi actions-of which book burning is often used to illustrate that ghastly and murderous regime not only a rediculous exageration but highly offensive. It’s probaly also quite demeaning to Eric Hatton himself.

    I think we all agree that the manner in which the SNU has not contacted Eric Hatton personally to inform him of the ban of his book at the SNU bookshop is extremely rude given his history.

    As a SNU representative responded to a web newsaper editor about that decsion with the probable knowledge that their response would be published, they really have opened a can of worms of their own making which will most like prove uncomfortable for them in the long run.

    Certainly given their repsonse- Eric Hatton deserves a far better personal response from them.
    I also believe exagerations that this decsion by the SNU (good, bad or otherwise) is ‘censorship’ is sensationlist and unhelpful. If the SNU had attempted to have Mr Hatton’s book pulled from all bookstores then the claim could be made. They do not appear to have done that.

    They also appear to be fairly woeful when it comes to public relations.

    • Hi Oscar J. Thank you for your response. May I offer my apology if I have wrongly attributed to you an attitude or remark.

      In regard to the issue of ‘censorship’ I think it an error to suggest that only had the SNU attempted to have Eric Hatton’s book pulled from all bookstores could the claim of censorship be made.

      Censorship is about a person or organization with power to suppress whole or parts of books. That power may extend to the suppression of a publication from all possible venues, or may only apply to the capacity to suppress within a more limited parameter.

      Wide-ranging or more narrow in scope, the act remains one of censorship, and in this case, censorship based on as yet unsubstantiated allegations of Hatton’s book containing references “to the Union’s activities which were inaccurate, misleading and denigratory of the Union” which were “unfounded statements and derogatory innuendoes about the Union” and “baseless and unwarranted assertions and insinuations” against the Union and its governing body.

      The extent of the Union’s power to censor may be limited to the removal of Hatton’s book from the bookshelves of the AFC, yet that act of censorship has a wide-ranging impact within Spiritualism, and is not limited to only SNU members.

      Many who attend the AFC are not SNU members. They are people who come from all around the world as well as from within the UK. The banning of the book from the AFC gives a very strong message of unacceptability of Mr. Hatton and his book, and this has the capacity to be a far-reaching and seriously adverse impact on people’s attitudes towards Mr. Hatton.

      Those who do not know him, may merely accept the SNU’s edict of unacceptability – of Mr. Hatton having denigrated and and provided false information, insinuations and innuendoes damaging to the reputation of the Union. Those who are members of the SNU may well feel obliged, if not actually ordered by the NEC not to read the book, to consider it inflammatory material.

      That is a harsh action to take against a much awarded, and much loved ‘elder statesman’ of Spiritualism. It is especially so when the man has not been personally contacted and given an opportunity to defend himself.

      Censorship of unacceptable material is no doubt the right of an organization. But it is a right that should be exercised very carefully, only when no other options exist, and only after significant consideration of all the issues. Perhaps the NEC believe they have considered all the issues, but if so, it is apparent from the reaction of many that their decision is not viewed favourably and the rationale of the decision is neither understood or agreed with.

      When an organization bans a book, without acting in a proper, reasoned manner, it leaves itself open to criticism, and to the charge of acting in a dictatorial manner. Whether we are comfortable with the viewpoint or not, it is censorship.

  33. The Spiritualists’ National Union NEC requires a vote of no confidence. It just needs a few strong people to voice their opinions who are not worried about the consequences of being banished.

    But everyone is too scared to publicly complain about the SNU, and that says what?

  34. I agree with all your comments above Lis, but would just change the emphasis in your last paragraph. This is a very sad time for Spiritualists who have felt committed enough to the cause of Spiritualism to decide to become members of their SNU affiliated church or centre.
    But don’t lose heart! Spiritualism is much more than the SNU and much more than SNU Spiritualism. There are many other Spiritualist organisations both in the UK and in the wider world. There are also many fellow travellers in mainstream Christian churches, in other religions and in all the various New Age movements, who share similar convictions about the immortality of the soul and the continuation of life after physical death. Surveys have shown consistently that about 70% of the population in the UK either have these convictions or count them a distinct possibility. Globally the figure is certainly much higher. Why? Because we are all spiritual beings tied to a physical frame, and all of us who have not suppressed our innate intuitive faculties by too much intellectualism, or too much “left-brained” activity, will have from time to time, psychic, mystical and mediumistic experiences. They are not only given to mediums or SNU Spiritualists. The SNU, for all its posturing, cannot claim a monopoly of such experiences, or dictate to us how those experiences should be interpreted.
    In the course of a year, hundreds of different people come through the doors of our church. Some stay with us for quite some time. Only a tiny fraction of that number become members. Of those who do become members, many drop away and become lapsed members after just a year or two. Compared to the number of people who have been involved with our church over a period of years, the percentage who remain faithful, long-term members is miniscule.
    Why is this? I feel that the autocratic nature of the SNU has a lot to do with it. People question. They see that we are controlled and dictated to by an organisation whose machinations are opaque, whose leaders the church membership never voted into power and over whom they have little or no control. They see a greedy organisation taking most of a church’s membership fees for itself, and then squandering them on an ivory tower like Stansted, or privileges for its leaders, or making other decisions about the use of their money, which they strongly disapprove of. They see a union burdening a church’s finances with a mortgage, then taking the church property into its own real estate when the mortgage has been paid, in some cases selling the church property over the heads of its members to make a handsome profit. I am told that this happened to Waterloo Spiritual Centre, when the mortgage was paid, the centre was sold to create a restaurant giving a handsome profit for the SNU but giving little back to its members who had worked hard to pay off the mortgage.
    If I decide not to renew my SNU church membership, I will not cease to be a Spiritualist. I will still want to support the church, its members and Committee, who are kind, friendly and well meaning. I will give the church an annual donation, thereby ensuring that the SNU does not get a significant rake-off, and that it all goes to the church and its members.
    If the SNU withers and dies because of its own misdeeds, Spiritualism will not die with it. It will live on in people’s hearts, minds and homes, because there is a human need for it, and because the Spirit World will respond to that need. People will still come together to sit with Spirit in circles or to give each other spiritual healing. They will be free of the diktat, control, rules and regulations of an overweening and over-mighty organisation who are unelected by, and unaccountable to, the vast majority of affiliated church members who contribute to their funds, and who are disliked and mistrusted by so many of them.
    If the SNU withers and dies because of its own misdeeds, it will deserve to die, and we should welcome its departure. Hopefully then other spiritualist organisations will begin to flourish. Maybe a new, regenerate, reformed, democratic SNU will arise to take its place. In its present state the SNU is a stumbling block to Spiritualism, but please, let no-one confuse Spiritualism with the SNU. The SNU is a small (in global terms), archaic, flawed human organisation with little mass appeal. As it moves further and further away from a spiritual direction, so will it be deserted by Spirit and its actions will cease to represent the Spirit World. Spiritualism is inspired and guided by Spirit, and in its many varieties it has universal appeal.
    Thank you Catherine for your endorsement.

    • I must amend a section of what I wrote above: “They see a church burdening a church with a mortgage and then taking the church back into its own real estate ……………. giving little back to its members who had worked hard to pay off a mortgage”
      That is inaccurate. Probably the church is taken into trust when the mortgage is paid. It can only be sold by agreement between the SNU trust and the full membership of the church. I don’t know about the workings of this in any particular case, but reported what I have heard. These rumours fly around and do the SNU no favours. It is up to the Union to quash them with clear, simple to understand information about what a church’s relationship is to the Union in respect of affiliation and trust holdings, and ensure that all full (Class D) church members receive it.
      I understand that there were moves a few years ago to allow all Class D members voting rights in elections of candidates to the NEC. It was dropped for legal reasons, but I don’t know what they were. I would be in favour of this being urgently reviewed. We surely have the moral right, if we are financial contributors to the Union as Class D members, and are bound by SNU rules made by the NEC, to elect who is governing us.
      In the present system one class A member per church carries a block vote of 5 votes to District Council meetings and AGMs
      This is inequitable because:
      a) church sizes vary
      b) not all churches exercise their voting rights
      c) a block vote does not reflect the distribution of opinion among the church membership
      In addition each class B member in a church can carry 1 vote to District Council meetings and AGMs. To become a Class B member costs currently £40 in the first year and £25pa thereafter. This could be construed as members paying extra to be allowed a vote, and discriminates against members who either:
      a) do not have the money to become a class B member
      b) do not have the time or ability to attend District Council meetings.
      Greater openness and accountability will only come when all full members are made aware of their rights and are eligible to vote.
      We must move towards this situation with urgency.
      If there are any inaccuracies in the above I am sorry, but “The Memorandum of Articles of Association and Bye-Laws”, which is tucked away on the SNU website, is complicated and legalistic, and does not make for easy reading.

  35. I had read Eric’s book a few months ago and when this furore arose could not recall anything likely to have caused offence. Having delved back into it, as many people will now do, it is possible to discover the events described which have possibly caused the problem. To me and to many hundreds of Spiritualists, Eric is a friend and a great man of integrity. It is tragic that action like this should affect the future of the Spiritualist movement, but I have to say to all those posting who are not SNU members, save your righteous criticism of the SNU and leave us to deal with these issues ourselves. As was said by one poster, if you resign you are giving up your power. The members will have their say when all the facts are known and do have the right to express their opinions. It is easy to criticise those who serve on the NEC or DC or even Church Committees, as volunteers, but not so easy to do the hundreds of hours of grinding work that keeps Spiritualism alive. There may be some who do this for the kudos or the power but when the day is done and the worker sinks exhausted to bed, they must often ask themselves “Why on earth am I doing this?” They do it because they believe in the message and, thank God have the ability and the energy to carry on. Our pioneers had these qualities and that’s why we are still able to follow this religious path. If the Internet had existed in the 1800′s I bet Emma Hardinge would have had some detractors!

    • Roy Candy, you are viewing the SNU through rose coloured spectacles. The SNU is a union and everyone is equal under that union. The NEC or any other SNU committee should be accountable to its members. I appreciate the hard work that some of these committees undertake, but there are some very bad apples, even in your district!

      The bad apples exist through bullying and the good people start to act like sheep, towing the party-line for fear of excommunication, or possibly because they have a distorted view of reality!

  36. At last we are all catching on. The NEC is a dictatorship and has been for years but under the new president has gone into overdrive and if not careful the current NEC will bring the SNU down – nobody wants that. This is just the tip of the iceberg as more horror stories will now emerge about the unsavoury way the NEC deals with its members and anyone who dares to criticise them. Actually there is no point in having rules or bye-laws as the NEC can veto anything they like under their so called “special powers” and do exactly what they like. Thank goodness they did close the PN down as this web site would not exsist and together with Roy Stemman’s excellent Paranormal Review site the current culture of the NEC driving the largest spiritual organisation in the world will eventually be found out.
    We need a attitude of “Hopeful, Generous, and Forgiving.” – or is this too much to ask?

  37. Freddie Giddings

    I once commented some time ago that if you sup with the SNU you need a very long spoon indeed. But this time I do think they have picked a fight with somebody so superior to the pygmies that are presently running the NEC that they are in serious danger of imploding. Anyone who has met Eric Hatton knows instinctively that here is a man that stands out head and shoulders above his peers. I think it would be wise of the SNU to try to extract themselves from the very big crater they have dug themselves and find a suitable scapegoat to blame and sack. I was at the open day at Stansted on Sunday and stayed for the service in the evening. Were I and my partner the only ones that thought that the Spirituality had gone out of the place?

  38. Roy Candy said, “but I have to say to all those posting who are not SNU members, save your righteous criticism of the SNU and leave us to deal with these issues ourselves.”
    The whole point is that those who are members of the SNU are not dealing with the problems caused by their elected representatives.
    Instead, by their inaction, they are being tarred with the same brush.
    Those on the outside have every right to raise concerns because of the detrimental effect these descisions have on the lay persons perception of Spiritualism as a whole.

    • In reply to Bystander. Your point is so important and it reaches into the heart of the issue. It isn’t just about SNU members or their dodgy NEC it is about the damage the SNU are doing to the public image of spiritualism. That concerns ALL PEOPLE who call themselves spiritualists or have a dedication to a spiritual way of life. Is SNU members are too frightened to call the NEC to order then others will have to do it for them. I would really like to know why they all seem so afraid though.

      • Mike Goodall

        Gerry, in answer to your question… “Is SNU members are too frightened to call the NEC to order then others will have to do it for them. I would really like to know why they all seem so afraid though”. The answer is simple. The SNU is an organisation where no criticism of their rules or actions is allowed. You will be chucked out if you dare to think of doing such a thing. What goes on behind closed doors of the NEC we will never know but I am sure that the main point of these meetings is to maintain their status quo and fight off any criticism.
        Over the decades they have made more and more rules; many of them deny you the right to criticise those in power; indeed you have to sign when joining to agree not to bring the SNU into disrepute; in other words don’t rock the boat. The rule book for churches is now 69 pages long and tells churches how to run their finances, committees, services and extra fund raising events. Small churches who are affiliated can’t run them any longer in a way to meet the needs of their visitors, they are dictated to by the Union. Any deviation of the rules and the President and Committee will come in for a roasting. I’ve been there myself, as a past President and Committee member for many years; I’ve seen it all. We are allowed to openly criticise our politicians but not the members of the NEC; they seem to think that they have a right to do anything they like and have no come-backs. If the SNU does survive perhaps it can start again, scrap the rule book and be an open democratic institution. We can but pray.

  39. Why am I not surprised at what the organisation (made up of persons known and unknown) will do to one of its own. If you wish to belong you must not in anyway criticise or go against the SNU. Individuality is no longer allowed when serving in our Churches. After twentyfive years of breathing living SNU Spiritualism…I have walked away…handed in Class B and declining after twenty five years rostrum work…as I found out how blinkered I had become. I for one will want a copy of Eric Hatton’s book to read….suppressed individuals are fighting in the Middle East…when are we going to do the same for our freedom of expression and truth

  40. I am a class B member and I pay my dues to the snu. I have also had the privilege of meeting MR ERIC HATTON. His church, and staff, are always eager to greet you at the door, there is always a lovely atmosphere in the church. Mr Hatton is such a lovely inoffensive polite man… full of knowledge, experience, and the people he has been fortunate to meet -some of spiritualisms finest people. I have only heard him speak of the movement with high regard and his endless work in the promotion of our movement. I wish his church was my local, I would be there all the time, my local could take more than a leaf out of their book. We try to get to their sunday sevice when in the area. Mr Hatton very kindly signed my book even though he was visibly not well. I also purchased a book about Alec Harris which Eric also signed for me, as he said he would only put his name to such things that promoted spiritualism. We need to tell the snu WE PUT YOU THERE. If the snu are sticking to rules then they need to enforce them in their churches!!!!!!! A message for the snu…buck up your ideas and act, as you will bring the whole of the snu to its knees. It may take a long time to climb the ladder but its a quick and mighty drop on the way down… Think on….

  41. Thank you Hope. I hope you will find peace and fulfillment in your new-found spiritual freedom. Rousseau said “man is born free but everywhere he is in chains”. In the western world it is we ourselves who create most of those chains. In the spiritual life we should not do this, but as the Buddha taught, “let us ever strive after freedom.” “Personal Responsibility” necessitates personal freedom. The Divine and the Spirit World allow us that freedom, knowing that we can only grow by learning from our mistakes, about which they are compassionate and understanding. It is the manipulative section of mankind that would take freedom away from us. It is our responsibility to stand up to them and not allow them to do it.
    I have two criticisms of SNU Spiritualism as I have perceived it:
    1) There is too much emphasis on Spiritualism being a religion, and insufficient recognition of the alternative view of it being a form of spirituality. Religion is man made. Spirituality can only be found within, because it is fed and nurtured by the Divine within the soul.
    As the psychologist Dorothy Rowe said when I asked her about her treatment of religion in her books, “Religion is about keeping people under control.” She was so right. In their increasingly controlling and manipulative behaviour, the SNU leadership are showing themselves to be acting in the time-honoured fashion of all religions. Those who view Spiritualism as a form of spirituality are going to be disappointed by SNU Spiritualism.
    2) In SNU Spiritualism there is too much attention given to the mediums, and mediumship, and learning that craft, and insufficient attention given to the interior spiritual life and nurturing that. This priority is wrong. When we cross over we will all be competent mediums. Almost instantaneously we will be able to have mind to mind contact with our loved ones in Spirit and our Spirit guides. Our standing in the Spirit World will be determined by our conduct and level of spirituality in this world, for which spiritual freedom is essential. It will not be determined by our mediumship abilities here, or the letters after our name, or the honours we confer on each other.
    I think our movement and in particular our leadership need to reflect on these points.

  42. I read this article and comments with interest. There was serious conflict about management and freedom of thought in the Victorian Spiritualist Union (VSU) in Melbourne, Australia just over a year ago. The conflict had awful consequences for the organisation and for many individuals.

    I hope you manage to sort it out before too much damage is done.

  43. No apology necessary Lis.
    I believe we are seeing some spirited responses here and that in itself is a good thing.
    I want to make it clear that I believe that this is a most disappointing decision by the SNU .
    We can see the passion it has created.
    I do not know Eric Hatton but his reputation is highly regarded and again, this is so insulting to a person who has given so much for all the right reasons.
    I still believe the SNU has certain rights to it’s actions but now having had a representative respond as they did, they really must explain their position.
    Others are saying the members are lying a bit doggo. This is can be a real problem in any organsiation and if the reputation of someone like Eric is not defended then it will rebound on all.
    Members must always stay vigilant and question committees, managers etc as to their actions. Without members there is no organisation.
    In particular the SNU has been built up by decades of hard work by dedicated souls like Eric Hatton.
    Current managers should always be aware of those who trod the path before them but in today’s harsh climate that isn’t always the case.
    But good on Spirit of Psychic News for taking on the challenge.

  44. Peter Raggett

    I does seem as though certain members within the SNU are becoming paranoid about criticism and are overreacting as a result. An incident within Eric Hatton’s book that would probably have passed with hardly a raised eyebrow had no one drawn attention to it has now been blown up out of all proportion.

    I had decided not to buy any more biographies of Spiritualists but in view of the furore created by the ban my interest has been aroused so I will probably buy just one more now.

    Talk about shooting ones self in the foot. The SNU kills off its only effective mouthpiece (over which it probably had a certain amount of control) to the outside world by closing Psychic News and antagonising its staff then finds itself on the receiving end of the reincarnated versions reporting which appears to be truly independent and able to criticise its actions without let or hindrance.

    I think its time someone with authority (culpable would probably be a more apt word) within the SNU started talking to the Spirit of Psychic News and explain themselves, hopefully together with plans for an overhaul of ethics and ethos , before the whole thing gets further out of hand.

    Are we to see within the SNU the equivalent of a Caine Mutiny I wonder? If things continue on their present course I think one is probably due because parallels can be drawn and it would be a shame to see the whole enterprise permanently damaged due to poor leadership and misdirection.

  45. Sole Brother

    It is clear that you cant ask questions of the Spiritualists National Union. This is why alot of people dont attend their churches anymore. Even the Prime Minister answers questions, and he has a lot more legal and national security issues to deal with than the SNU. A radical change in the way the SNU treat their members is long overdue. Being told that you are not allowed to know something is very patronising and insulting, it happens at all levels of the organisation and needs to stop.
    If there are inaccuracies in Eric Hatton’s book then surely the SNU should have firstly asked Eric to have it corrected for the second edition?
    If the SNU wish to continue as a charity then they should start acting like one before people start reporting their unspiritual actions to the Charities Commission.
    I wouldnt worry too much Eric, you will sell a lot more books because of this and Stansted will become a Hogwarts for foreign visitors. Its interesting that the grand purchase of Stafford church in the West Midlands happened just as a new West Midlands president and new West Midlands finance director took charge of the NEC ? £500,000 to buy a factory unit?????

  46. Roy Candy wrote: “It is tragic that action like this should affect the future of the Spiritualist movement, but I have to say to all those posting who are not SNU members, save your righteous criticism of the SNU and leave us to deal with these issues ourselves.”

    It would appear that Mr. Candy believes that people who are not members of the SNU should not make comments about the actions of the SNU Executive. The SNU membership should be left alone to deal with the issues that arise within the operation of their Union.

    I would have some sympathy with this argument were the matters in dispute purely internal issues that did not impact on anyone but the members. But this is not the case. The actions of the Executive impinge on the broader Spiritualist community as well as affecting its own members.

    Their actions reflect badly on Spiritualism as a whole, and the outside world, observing the actions of the SNU Executive over the past 12 months, would undoubtedly view Spiritualism as being brought into disrepute. The general public will not make this fine distinction between SNU Spiritualists/Spiritualism, and non-SNU Spiritualists/Spiritualism. When some Spiritualists behave badly, sadly all Spiritualists are tared with the same brush.

    In reality, when an organization acts, as the SNU did, in shutting down Psychic News, it affected many, many, Spiritualists who were not SNU members, but who were, nevertheless, committed, dedicated, and hard-working Spiritualists. When the SNU treated those who had worked hard to produce two books on the philosophy and religion of Spiritualism, that many besides SNU members could find value in, it damaged not only those individuals, but also devalued their work, and their poor treatment causes many Spiritualists, SNU members and non-members, embarrassment and shame. When the SNU treats a respected member of the whole Spiritualist community, like Eric Hatton, with such disdain and rudeness, it affects members and non-members alike.

    Yes, it is the members of the SNU who must ultimately stand up and be counted. It is they who must find their voice and call on the NEC to be answerable for their actions. But, and it appears to be a very sad fact, there are many SNU members who are afraid to voice their opinions of the actions of the current NEC. There are many who are hesitant to speak out for fear of retaliation. And such fears are not unreasonable, especially when one sees what the SNU Executive have done to the staff of Psychic News, those on the past Ethics and Philosophy Committee, Eric Hatton, and even their own most recent past President who felt obliged to resign as chairman of the AFC because of the way the NEC handled matters.

    I would encourage SNU members to speak up, to write to their Executive requesting answers, information, and justifications of the NEC’s actions. But I will also fiercely defend the right of any other Spiritualist to voice their opinion, ask questions, and challenge the actions of people whose conduct would at this time appear to be less than what many Spiritualists would consider as rational, reasonable, ethical or spiritual.

    To say non-members should shut up, is like arguing that only people who are actually members of the Labour Party (or the Conservatives, or the Government, Red Cross, the Royal Family, etc, etc) should have the right to speak about, question or criticise the actions of the party/government/organization/group, even though those actions affect many more people than just their members. Such an argument is of course ridiculous. People have a right to comment on, question and criticise whether they are members of that particular group or organization or not.

    Why should the operation of the SNU be any different?

    • Lis I have to admit that I my original post was rather OTT as regards the right of non-SNU Members to comment. I naturally uphold the right of anyone in a free society to speak their mind. The real thrust of my point was that the SNU NEC will no doubt only feel accountable to the Members, albeit that “public opinion” may ultimately have some influence.

  47. Thank you Richard for your kind comments – I have found peace, it was hard to find and this was after my own personal battle with the closing of ranks in the SNU when I dared to criticise and ask for information under data protection. Suddenly the “brotherhood” had a totally new meaning….
    As we are told “truth will out in the End” Well done to Eric Hatton for trying to give us his truth

  48. This is typical of the snu. Unfortunately this organisation is so far out of touch from reality, this is just another way of banning those who speak out or have different opinions than theirs. How you can treat someone who has been a beacon for spiritualism all his life like they have? It is shocking but it seems this nec and president are so far detached from the people whom they claim to represent. What has happened to the freedom of speech? or in this case it does not exsist if you a member of the snu.

  49. I was really hoping to see I reply or statement from Mr Eric Hatton regarding the decision to ban his book, in this column. Perhaps Susan Farrow can persuade him to give us some sort of reply following Charles Coulston’s statement.
    I’m sure it will do wonders for sales.
    Despite telling myself I really must not buy any more books I just couldn’t resist ordering this one to find out why this action has been taken, especially as Eric Hatton has always been such a respected member of our movement.

  50. Peter Raggett

    I was never interested in the SNU, least of all its internal squabbles although I had occasionally encountered people who were scathing in their criticism of the organisation. I sometimes used their website as a source of reference but apart from that I was overwhelmed with indifference towards them. However, once it impinged on my life due to its disgraceful handling of Psychic News I found myself unavoidably involved.

    There is no doubt that the attempt by the SNU to claim ownership of the archives and masthead of PN was a gross and costly error as the decision of the liquidators has proved. Had no one opposed that claim a grave injustice would have been done. I doubt anyone within the SNU would have objected effectively. It appears those outside of its influence were instrumental in seeing justice was done.

    As for banning books. The Vatican used to have a list of prohibited books. Even that dreadful organisation ceased the practice in 1966 I think. Perhaps the SNU are going to compile a list of books they think the great unwashed should be banned from reading.

    Then the next logical step will be to excommunicate Eric Hatton and for the new president to declare himself infallible and issue ex cathedra statements about doctrine. Then prospective officers will be expected to affirm their belief in certain dogma before appointment. Just as well its no longer the done thing to burn people at the stake nowadays.

  51. I believe it also needs to be clearly stated, for those who have suggested, or might think, that the critical comments that have been expressed on this forum constitute “SNU bashing” – that this is entirely untrue. There is no desire to bring the SNU down. It is, however, a desire to express concern, make comment, and question the apparent conduct of the current president and executive of the SNU.

    However much that executive may believe that they have been given the power to govern, that governorship is subject to the intrinsic right of power given to them by the membership. Abuse that power at your peril.

    I say once more, if the NEC have valid justifications for their actions they need to start telling people what they are. Why? Because in failing to do so they appear to be uncaring, uninterested in the opinion or concerns of others, and arrogantly dismissive of any viewpoint but their own.

    They might want to take the position that concerns and criticism as expressed on this forum are irrelevant, a minority opinion, or the views of malcontents, troublemakers or fools. I don’t think we are. I think those who have dared to express an opinion are brave and committed spiritualists who really care about what is happening in Spiritualism.

    But, even if, the NEC were right in their viewpoint about those who have posted, a wise executive would still respond, to give their perspective, to explain their actions, to reassure people of their sincerity of purpose and desire to protect the SNU.

    From my perspective, as a Spiritualist for over 45 years, that is what a Spiritualist, and a Spiritualist organization worthy of the name, would do.

  52. I am somewhat surprised that the NEC have not yet applied for a “super Injunction”

  53. Sole Brother

    £1,000,000 for a place in Edinburgh.
    £500,000 to buy a factory unit in Stafford.
    £55,000 to fix the factory unit roof.
    £0.00 to help out Psychic News.
    £0.00 to buy a stamp for a letter to Eric Hatton.

    The SNU…… priceless!

  54. Somebody who has no computer has asked me to post the following on there behalf.

    If you are an SNU church member or Class B and want to show the NEC that you can vote with your feet, then BOYCOTT the AFC in Stansted, Stafford and Edinburgh. There are plenty of workshops and education in the local churches who will at least appreciate your money and membership!

  55. Robert Collier-James

    Nothing surprises me anymore with regard to the SNU, this is a complete disgrace! How low can it go, can’t even put into words at how disgusting an act this is, no wonder I don’t get involved with the AFC anymore and it’s carry on. Arthur Findlay College and the SNU have lost it’s SPIRIT!!!!!!

    An absolute disgrace, shame on them…

  56. Reading Charles Coulstons statement to Sue Farrow left me feeling cold, especially the first sentence. Has our union really reached a stage wher e no one can ask a question? That can’t be right. The union is ours and everything is done in our name. I am more than angry that this has been done to Eric in my name. In my opinion we should fight this decsion.

  57. I have known Eric for many years as an honest and gentle man, his integrity beyond reproach. Since David Bruton has taken on the roll as President he has shown that he and those who he has gathered around him are not leaders capable of running the union.
    My advice to Mr Bruton is that he should take responsibility for the actions of his committee and resign before the members demand he goes. Then the membership can elect people who give our union and those in the spirit world an opportunity to show us the way. The way it should be.

  58. I really cannot see the point in boycotting SNU training establishments or resigning your membership of the SNU. Surely it is better to fight for something you do not agree with when you are a member of the organisation than from the outside where it will be virtually impossible.

    This organisation has been going for a long time now and these decisions are being made by people in a relatively short term of office. If nothing else is resolved, the members will have the opportunity to make their opinions clear at the end of their term of office.

    Surely, the logical answer to this situation is for the NEC to be more specific about what they believe is “unfounded statements and inaccurate innuendos”, giving Eric Hatton the opportunity to defend himself or amend what he had written.

    There are enough people out there who would love to see the demise of our movement and I find it very sad that we seem to be giving them the opportunity to see that happen.

    • Jenny Gough

      Steve,the article asks the NEC to explain what is wrong in the book. Maybe Sue could tell us if she hears any more from them.

      • In reply to Jenny, I have received no further statement from the SNU. In the event that I do, I will of course post an update on my article. Sue.

    • Steve, the point has been made by Lis above that it is not us that is giving the world the opportunity to see the demise of SNU Spiritualism, but the present NEC, or at least its leaders, who are trampling roughshod over the feelings and opinions of their greatest past servants, their most loyal membership and all those Spiritualists of different persuasions who made contact with the broader movement through the pages of Psychic News and found support and information there.
      I respect your opinion that we should stay and fight within the organisation if we disagree with its decisions. That is certainly a valid option and one which I respect. You are right to speak up for that option. I hope many will do what you suggest. Will it be effective? I am not so sure. I think it will be a long hard fight. I can’t even begin to enumerate the obstacles that stand in the way of giving every Class D member, (full member of an SNU affiliated church), the right to vote for their leaders, which is the only way to ensure transparency of motives and accountability for actions of all who govern.
      But it is not the only way to act in response to what has been going on. Temporary withdrawal of financial and membership support will be noticed. It will make an impact. Withdrawal of support as a means of protest has been used very effectively in many situations.
      The SNU does not have a monopoly on Spiritualism. There are other organisations and there are independents. My guess is that there are many more independent Spiritualists than there are SNU Spiritualists. Where you stand on this depends on where you feel your greatest allegiance lies. Is it to a religion, or is it to your own spiritual pathway? Mine is to my own spiritual pathway, which is lit by my conscience and, I trust, Divine and Spirit guidance along the way that I feel is right. I thought that the SNU were, like the Unitarians and the Quakers, the champions of individual conscience, but their actions are proving me wrong.
      I must evaluate how my time and energies can be used most effectively. It is my personal responsibility to make that decision all the time – in this case: to stay and fight, or to leave and continue to work for Spiritualism outside the SNU. Personal responibility demands that I make that decision alone. No-one else can make it for me.
      It is not an easy decision, but I shall continue to work for Spiritualism whether within the SNU or outside it.

    • Steve, I think the point of boycotting training at the AFC establishments is to give the SNU NEC something to think about. Whenever a question is asked of them – regardless of membership status – the SNU at every level clam-up and refuse to comment or dodge the issue. This is insulting and unnecessary behaviour, even if the SNU rulebook allows for treating people like mushrooms! An organisation that refuses to answer questions is a dictatorship.

      There’s plenty of workshops out there with SNU tutors who quite frankly will work in any church, independent or SNU. I bet if you called up any of the Stansted tutors and offered them money, they’d teach you in your garden shed.

      The banning of a book has opened up a wider preexisting debate about the common denominator in just about every problem connected with the Union. If you wrote a letter to your MP, they would most likely attempt to give you a sensible reply. But the SNU fall short of looking after their membership by not responding to their concerns. The book banning is just a recent example of the condescending, elitist bureaucracy that need to be surgically removed from the SNU.

      This is not trial by internet, this is not an SNU bashing exercise, this is the truth and the internet allows for a coming together of opinions. It’s easy to control people who are isolated spiritual people. People who don’t want to cause trouble by complaining. Because they see what happens to those who complain, they either get ignored or removed from their posts.

      I dearly love the SNU, which is why I am upset to see the swelling injustices and festering nepotism in its ranks.

      “LIGHT, NATURE, TRUTH??”

      The NEC now have the opportunity to change the way they deal with complaints and the press. Because a Charles and David, you’re not infallible, you’re just a couple of human beings who make mistakes just like the rest of us. Show us that you’re capable of taking constructive criticism. You’re not the CIA, you’re not MI5, there are no lives at risk from you adopting a normal communications strategy! It’s polite to answer people when they ask you something, otherwise you spawn endless conspiracy theories and also fertilise the ground for bullies who can push around their fellow Spiritualists without fear of consequences from the SNU.

      I’ll spell it out one more time – YOU FAIL TO DEAL WITH DISPUTES, QUESTIONS AND COMPLAINTS PROPERLY – just in case you’d slipped back into ignore-mode again while you were reading this.

  59. I am sure many feel like boycotting the SNU but it would surely take large numbers of members to have an effect.

    I must admit I have heard nothing but disappointing tales about the SNU lately. I really cannot find amonsgt the Spiritualist that I know in the UK, one that has a kind word to say about it.

    I have Eric Hatton’s book on order and yesterday I decided to buy 4 more to give as presents. The more one thinks about this banning of the book by the SNU, the more strange it seems and the more it seems likely to backfire on whoever made the decision. I hope.

  60. Thank you to my grandson who enables me to write here today.

    Having been a Spiritualist from my teenage years in 1956 it never ceases to amaze me how little things have changed, not just within the Spiritualists’ National Union, but with Spiritualists’ in general. As a member of the SNU for almost 50 years I have supported the organisation through many troubles and strifes.

    People should check facts and establish evidence before writing here, heresay has always been the currency of communication in the SNU Churches and among Spiritualists in general as much today as it was in my early years.

    Firstly, I wish to clarify errors by people who have posted on your forum some of whom do not appear to understand some of the duties of the trustees of the SNU (i.e. the NEC).

    The SNU is not buying premises in Scotland for one million pounds, that is untrue! It may be that the SNU Trust, a totally independent organisation and business to the SNU, are doing so. This FACT means that it has nothing to do with the members of the SNU.

    My friend at Stafford tells me that the committee and membership willingly gave fifty five thousand pounds towards the refurbishment of the roof at Stafford, because they wished to and it was in their interest.

    Now, as for Stafford and the purchase made by the Union. The trustees (NEC) of the Union have a charitable duty to maximise the funds of the Union in any legal way possible, this is how it has always been. Funds are finance and assets. The David Jones Centre (Stafford) was purchased for around half a million pounds, it’s current market value is around eight hundred thousand an increase to the asset value and Union funds of three hundred thousand pounds. Where did the money come from? The SNU has funds that are restricted in use by charitable law, money that can not be used for everyday business or to fund other bodies, which will have sat gathering no interest for a long period in the current economic climate. To turn around this dead money and make three hundred thousand pound in the process for the SNU’s funds, at the same time providing a secure future for Stafford church, a centre for learning away from the Arthur Findlay College shows very good business acumen and I for one congratulate the NEC for this move. I hope that the people of the Midlands will support it too.

    Too many people have axes to grind for various reasons, professional and personal. People make mistakes in their choices and judgement both individually or collectively. What I have read here and on Mr Stemman’s website reports nothing of the positivism that is around right now in this great time of change. The Editor of Spirit of PN and Mr Stemman seem fixed upon getting their pound of flesh from the Finance committee of 2009/10 where the decisions bringing about closure of Psychic News occurred, namely Mr Bruton and Mr Hadley. They may achieve their aims but sadly at the expense of the credibility of Spiritualism as a whole by washing everyone’s dirty and clean laundry in public.

    This article is about Eric’s book, which I have read. I can’t speak for accuracies of stories I was not there, should the book have been withdrawn from sale, probably not. I believe in awarding titles for recognition and I did take slight offence at the dismissive comments Eric wrote about his Honorary title given by the SNU, especially when he then went on to accept Honorary President of Stourbridge (a position that has no meaning because it hasn’t constitutionally existed for some years!) But once again we are all human and make mistakes, even Eric who himself would tell you that he has been at the sharp end of tittle tattle, things true things false, just as we can read here on many occasions over many years.

    I would say to all, think carefully about your motives and the emotions that drive your actions and thoughts, whatever they may be or however they are expressed they DO have an effect; though we may not see it in this world, the truth is there for all in the next.
    God bless

    • Thank you Gladys for finally bringing a bit of common sense into these discussions. I agree with you that all too often in this movement there is far too much ego tripping, backstabbing and criticism with ulterior motives by people who do not have the full truth.
      I for one, will reserve judgement until more evidence is made available.

  61. I have been a spiritualist and healer for over 30 yrs now and in my beginnings I was a member of a SNU church in Wakefield. during an Easter GM the gap between Spiritualist and Unionist was made glaringly apparent. And subsequently dissolved a very popular church congregation.
    I learned from this that Spiritualist are not always unionists and Unionists are not always spiritualist.
    This disgraceful attitude toward Mr Hatton has further reinforced my own experience and (with deep regret) I will no longer support a unionist Church.
    My ongoing support to our spiritual and healing community is however as strong as ever .
    Yours sincerely D K Heald

  62. Gladys has made some valid points in explaining the Unions motives regarding Stafford etc.
    If only the Union would be more up front with their communications and explain the reasoning behind descisions, as Gladys has for them, then at least some of the sting would be drawn from the criticisms leveled at them.
    Instead they prefer to sit on their lofty mountain hurling thunderbolts at those who dare to question the merit of their ways.

    • Galdys Hain

      Dear Bystander, as that television program used to say “The Truth is out there”, some on the SNU website, some in the minds and experiences of those involved in various matters. Sometimes it not who you ask it’s how and what. I am far to long in the tooth to have not gained the experience to read between the lines, but knowing what questions to ask means understanding the organisation that is the Union, how it operates, what it is about. I do agree that simple communications stop heresay, specualtion and conspiracy theories; but also by my long experience they have often caused more trouble than they are worth because there will always be some in favour some against, such is the diversity of Spiritualism. As for the NEC of yesteryear and of today, what ever they chose to say in any statment or report on any matter or choice (and this issue was a very poor choice) they are damned if they do and they are damned if they don’t. I have never envied their thankless jobs even in the days of Eric or Gordon, when the waters of decision ran as rough and smooth as they do know.

  63. Gladys Hain

    Dane, I understand your sentiment, but anyone as a Spiritualist, as a healing or evidentail medium or simply as a human being in life, when carrying out the work for the higher divine source it is about casting aside those feelings and serving everyone in the light of compassion where there is a need. To choose to deny one over the other is not the true nature of the Spirit within or of Spiritualism, people are people with their infallibilities and I don’t believe it comes down to Union Spiritualists or non-Union Spiritualists… it is down to individuals and how they act, react and interact with one another. I my time I served wonderful Union Churches and awful ones, I have served wonderful private Churches and awful ones, each filled with the same politics decades ago that exist the same today. All organisations are good on paper, they only falter when you put people in them at every level.
    Gladys

  64. Gladys, you explained things beautifully, thank you. It’s a shame that we had to wait for Gladys to enlighten us about the David Jones Centre.

    I repeat my point though, the SNU need to communicate more effectively. It’s only polite to respond to people who are interested enough to ask questions, even if it’s just an acknowledgment. There’s no big conspiracy, but they fuel the fires of hearsay by not giving straight forward answers in plain English.

    I am past caring who said what about who. The whole book banning debate has highlighted the need for clearer communication. Hearsay is filling a void that exists by the SNU habit of minimalist communication, where the assumption is made that the press and anyone with questions are not entitled to have answers.

  65. How strange that Gladys Hain is the only person not on the NEC who knows what they are up to? Even some long-standing church presidents have been in the dark about recent activities!
    I have a few concerns about Gladys’ comments:
    A – Regarding who is purchasing a property in Edinburgh, how can saying ‘It may be that the SNU Trust, a totally independent organisation and business to the SNU, are doing so. This FACT means that it has nothing to do with the members of the SNU.’ How can this be a’ FACT’ if you are suggesting that it ‘may be’ the Trust? This would suggest that you don’t know – or do you?
    B – The whole of Gladys’ comments (and terminology) are precisely what I would expect someone on the NEC – or very close to it – to want to be put out as an informal statement to supress the tidal wave of public opinion about what they are up to – more about that later.
    C – By saying that she thinks the editor of Spirit of PN (and Roy Stemman) are just out for their ‘pound of flesh’ is an absolute insult. They are just reporting the facts. The general public are adding their own opinions. Does Gladys not think that the banning of this book at the AFC – authored by, let’s not beat around the bush, one of the people who financially saved the college – is a complete travesty? She says she doesn’t like the decision – but is that enough? Just take a minute to think about the way the NEC has treated their former president and current honorary president. If they will indeed treat Eric Hatton in this manner, it is now time to sit up and listen to all the others who have been saying they have been treated badly. They have never before had the chance to publicly voice their concerns and opinions. The behaviour of the NEC is a disgrace, and the world should be told that so-called Spiritualists are capable of such disgusting treatment of fellow Spiritualists.
    Something that has been bothering me for a while is Duncan Gascoyne’s resignation, and the interview he gave. In it he suggested that he understood the NEC want ‘to take the College in a new direction. From that, I understood they want to take it up-market and do different things. And I said, well, it can’t be done. You’ve got a building that’s antiquated; you can’t make it a five-star hotel, and as it’s running successfully now and it’s making a profit for the Union, and people are happy, why change it?’
    This maybe suggests that there are plans to turn the AFC into a five-star hotel. I know I wouldn’t be able to afford five-star accommodation at the College as regularly as I currently do. Well they would be able to do it easily – Andrew Hadley, the new chairman of the College, is a property developer.
    At first I thought this was going too far – even for the NEC. Yet, at the Presidents’ Day during Open Week, David Bruton is reported to have said that Stansted Hall is soon to be ‘gutted’. I don’t want to be sensationalist, so many people around the world love the College, but does this mean it is the end of the Arthur Findlay College as we know it. Will we be priced out of spending glorious weeks of learning in the stately home that was given by Arthur Findlay for this very purpose. Will we now have to spend a week in a ‘commercial unit’ – however nice it has been made – while the privileged wealthy few enjoy Stansted Hall? Please do not say it is so.
    Finally, my motives, Gladys, are for Spiritualists to no longer have to feel suppressed by their own kind, to live a spiritual life, and glory in the wonder of the Spirit World without contempt coming from a man-made organisation proposing to work for Spirit.

    • Gladys says that maybe the SNU trust is buying the new premises in Edinburgh. I thought the trust funds consisted of money that the union’s members have invested. Can anyone confirm if this is correct? If it is then shouldn’t the members have a say in the spend of a million pounds?

  66. There are always two sides to any issue that is raised and that is certainly true of matters that have been discussed on SpiritofPN and my own website. The problem is that, until now, it has been one-sided because there has been a distinct lack of (even refusal to provide) responses from the SNU. Now, however, Gladys has started to provide some answers, but on whose behalf? And who is Gladys? How does she know so much (assuming what she says is accurate)? Her contributions are interesting but they simply serve to highlight the lack of official communication from the Union’s officials. When will we start to hear from the people who are actually making these decisions?

    • Galdys Hain

      Oh dear, I thought a simple explanation of what I knew would enlighten a few people and yet I seem to have put the cat amongst the pidgeons. My information comes from my old friends at Stafford who have been privy to what is going on there. I think perhaps I am in a different circle of the ‘grape vive’ to those who do not know that the SNU Trust may be buying somewhere, I certainly know that a number of people know this out in the wider world, hence I shared that with you all on here. It wasn’t my intention to upset anyone but to put some records straight and I apologise if I have. I agree with Mr Stemman that such information should be readily available from those responsible for the SNU, but considering the response that I received from sharing my knowledge and trying to help and the reaction to it I wish I hadn’t. To our friends who think I know someone on the NEC or have a mole somewhere, I don’t, I simply talk with my friends especially being housebound now the telephone is my life line and I am learning the Internet.
      As for people understanding the SNU Trust, obviously from the responses here they still dont! I always have believed in understanding fully what you are a part of and findout out what you don’t know by asking questions until you do understand and I am still learning these many decades on!
      Sincere best wishes to all

      • I don’t know Gladys but then I don’t know one single person replying on here.
        I think the decsion to ban the book was wrong without an explanation to Mr Hatton at the very least.
        However some replies-and I know of Roy Stemman seem to question Gladys as though she is a ‘plant’ and not imparting her genuine beliefs because she takes an opposite view of most of the posts on here.
        That same standard is not being applied to others who post. And that is not right.

        • Gladys appeared to know so much about what is going on in the SNU, whilst others who perhaps ought to know are in the dark, that it is understandable suspicions were raised. Clearly, from her helpful reply, she just happens to be a well-connected individual Spiritualist whose friends (who are in the know) keep her well informed. Perhaps the NEC would like to appoint one of these friends as the Union’s public relations officer, then we would all know what it is happening.

  67. Margaret Stirling

    I’m stunned after reading the strange comment as to how the SNU trust has nothing to do with it’s members. The tone feels as if we’ve had a telling off! Firstly you must be an affiliated member of the SNU to take out a loan, or to invest. Obviously larger sums of money produce the best results e.g. 50k +. The members collective investments are then used in some way ( the ppty market?) to increase overall profits, interest is then paid to investors at various rates, above banks and building society’s, who only pay around point 5%, this is to do with charity law, and also increases it’s own financial position 5 million at present. See the SNU Trust website for information and actual figure. It calls itself a type of building society, but does not have share holders instead it has members. Surely members have a right to know how the interest is being earned on their investment at least in a moral sense. for example B.P. and various oil companies come to mind and the third world, but as long as the share holders are happy never mind the moral stage. Over the top you say? Well not really would be the stance of those churches who have lost their properties due to articles of association that are full proof in favour of the SNU. In the case of Waterloo SC. of which all court transcripts have been removed from the internet, the court judge who found for the SNU, likened them to ICI with members instead of shareholders, but the charities commission where in favour of Mr K.West of Waterloo S.C. How can they be a separate body they are even called The SNU Trust. This implies union, but with whom if not the members? And who actually monitors the practices of such a large charity? is it self governing answering only to itself? Please forgive and correct me if my personal research is misinformed, but I cannot agree with the statement of G.Hain.
    Just a reminder of the purpose of this thread, please have a look at the link below. Bless you Mr Eric Hatton and Thankyou for being you.

    • Margaret-there is real food for thought in your post. Thank you.

    • Jo Lawrence

      Thanks for posting that lovely video Margaret. I do agree with Simon its amazing the SNU couldn’t get the name right of its honorary president. Doubt this is deliberate. More likely just amateur and incompetent. Whichever its very unfortunate.

  68. Thank you Gladys for your reply to my earlier comment.
    I have taken your advice, and reading between the lines have come to the following conclusion:
    The NEC or the powers that be have decided not to reveal the reasons behind the banning of Eric’s book because, it is better to remain silent and be thought arrogant and foolish, than to publish the facts and remove all doubt.

    • I do know why the book was banned Bystander but silence just creates drama and helps spread rumours (or the truth). Common decency says that Eric Hatton is entitled to a person response from the SNU.

  69. Margaret,
    Thank you for this post. A very inspiring conversation.

  70. Galdys Hain

    Dear Margaret,
    Please allow me to clear up any mis-understanding, my response was to a previous persons comments. The members I referred to in my message above were the SNU’s Class B membership. If a church has an investment in an SNU Trust account it is a member body as you rightly say and that church may send it’s representative to the AGM of the SNU Trust where they can question and comment on the activities of the Trust. I hope that that clears up my meaning.
    Sincere regards

  71. I am a Class B member and have held various positions in the Union. I am for the Union and their future but not in its current form. The hard facts of life are that the SNU Rules and Bye Laws are NEC watertight. Under so called “special powers” the NEC can do what it likes and some of their actions particularly at church level have been brutal with no compassion or flexibility and totally lacking in any spirituality. The problem is that the ordinary member’s voice cannot be heard and the NEC held to account for its unspiritual actions – and there are so many, but more since the recent change in President.
    MAYBE THIS IS THE TIME FOR CHANGE.
    Eric Hatton’s situation has become the catalyst for members to voice their contempt, via this and other websites, of the recent actions and decisions taken by the current officers and NEC members. How can we make our voices mean something?
    Can I suggest that someone creates a website which members can visit to record a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN DAVID BRUTON AND THE CURRENT NEC as we need to stop this rot now. This needs to be done perhaps before the AGM and whilst it is too late for a motion the members should insist on a debate. If a large number of members go to the website and vote then David Bruton should resign and steps taken to stop the total non transparency of NEC actions.
    Is there anybody out there…?? Be the change.
    P.S. I have not signed my name as my Class B membership would be taken away from me by the NEC under current Bye Laws!

  72. My grandson taught me how to use this website yesterday and said it would allow me to join in discussion and debate and bring me a sense of being in what he called the on line community, but sadly I haven’t enjoyed the experience.
    I had hoped to simply share what I know and have been told, to help fellow Spiritualists here and to help understand some of the things they may not know or understand about the SNU, knowledge gained by my many years of quietly standing on the sidelines, paying attention, listening , watching and knowing the ‘strange creature’ that is the SNU. It was interesting to read responses, some a little hurtful in their inference if I am honest, but that’s probably me being over sensitive. Over 40 years a healer and 50 years a member of the SNU, I shall continue for now and at 70 years young I think I shall return to my telephone and letters, it’s a gentler way of keeping in touch with the world, I think this way is too fast and furious for me and I’ll let the new generation keep this one. Thank you for allowing me to take part in the debates, I know they will continue for a long time, let us pray for change in a positive way for Spiritualism and for the Union and to remember that we don’t ‘fight’ alone, let us hope that divine presence can find it’s way onto the NEC. At this time also take a moment aside from this to send that healing thought to the man that this is all about, Eric Hatton. God bless.

  73. Thank you for posting the video of Eric. It’s wonderful to see and hear him speak.
    However, the video is credited to SNU videos and the interviewer is clearly Steven Upton – and let’s not forget that Eric is the SNU Honorary President – yet they have managed to spell his name incorrectly! Or has Eric changed his name from Hatton to Hatten.
    Doesn’t it say it all?

  74. Margaret Stirling

    Bless you Gladys, please don’t take any remarks personally though. Just like you we do care with a passion for the future of Spiritualism, it is our main contact medium for the Spirit World to speak it’s beautiful and sometimes harsh truths. However we cannot allow them to be squeezed out of H.Q. that was bequeathed for purpose. Spiritualists such as you have given much of themselves, and because of this we wish to maintain continuity for the future great mediums to come, especially the trance mediums and the most valuable rescue and cleansing workers and of course all administrators who give freely for the right cause. Spirit await to bring great physical proof and teaching this I know. So surely we need an harmonious environment with openness and honesty.
    Kind Regards
    Margaret

  75. Andrew Hadley (new Chairman of AFC) is a property developer.
    Julia Almond (new Finance Director and West Mids President) is a member of Stafford church.

    Now consider two problematic buildings. Stansted Hall and Stafford church, both in need of repair. The West Midlands sees the opportunity to purchase a church they’ve been renting and the SNU see the opportunity to divert business to Stafford whilst they develop Stansted into an upmarket hotel.

    It all seems logical so far.

    They could be turning Stansted into a theme park, a tasteless Graceland, a Hogwarts, a hotel or even a housing estate. If there are plans, why have they not shown the world what they are up to? Why is it all so cloak and dagger? Because cloak and dagger is exactly how it looks from the outside.

    The debatable standard of teaching at the AFC was glossed over by a majestic historic building set in beautiful grounds. It was more about the building than the teaching, so nobody complained too much. But how on earth are they going to convince people to visit a run-down Midlands washing machine factory in the middle of an industrial estate with no accommodation?

    I assume they are putting out all this construction work to tender as the churches are supposed to do? Or is Andrew Hadley’s company doing the work? It would be double standards for the NEC not to put all this work out for tender.

    Apologies for all my questions, but I find that asking questions is a great way of arriving at the truth.

    • I know nothing of the inner workings of the SNU but your mere mention of
      property developer” rings alarm bells for me !

      • Indeed, Oscar.

        Hadley is a property developer who is now the Chairman of the AFC, the AFC and SNU Trust representative on the Financial Committee and ordinary member of the NEC.

        Oh well, perhaps with his contacts in the property development world he will be able to get a special deal for the SNU for the very extensive alterations and expansion of buildings planned for the afc. These include building a 10 single rooms with ensuite building, new shop, creating ensuite accommodation in the main building, etc, etc. Mr. Hadley has himself told the friends of AFC to this effect in a newsletter. No question about it – a transformation of AFC to four star accommodation. Wonder how many people will be able to afford the costs of going there after all that work has been carried out.

  76. One more important thing.

    Journalists provide an invaluable service to society. Failing to engage with them correctly is naive and short sighted. Journalism stops rumours and hearsay by printing the known facts and informing people in an orderly manner.

    The internet is a little different, but the reason this whole debate is spiraling in a direction that is derogatory towards the SNU is because Spiritualism now lacks a newspaper. Spiritualism is about people, not books or buildings.

    As I said before, there is now a void, and this whole web site is the result of that void. Psychic News provided information to people. Without this line of communication there only remains a grapevine that is unreliable, unedited and sometimes dangerous, and this is reflected within the comments section of this article.

    • Just to enlarge on your comment:
      ……………and if the SNU NEC had not shot themselves in the foot by closing down Psychic News they would still have a forum in which they could have resolved this issue of Eric Hatton’s book in a peaceful, less contentious way, which would not have caused all this incredulity and outrage. The President could have made a brief statement to the paper that the NEC did not agree with certain statements in the book, while at the same time welcoming Eric’s sharing of experiences, gleaned from over 60 years of outstanding service to the SNU and Spiritualism. That could have been the healing, mollifying course that should have been the end of the matter.
      But no! They chose the extreme and divisive measure of banning. This was, even without a forum like Psychic News, an unnecessary action; if you like, a shot in the other foot. This from the leadership of an movement that prides itself on being liberal, forward-looking, progressive and rational.
      I cannot believe that they did not foresee the reaction to their action. If they didn’t they are naive. If they did foresee it, but carried out the action regardless, they are callous and divisive. Either way you look at the this action, they deserve censure. To act in this way towards their greatest living servant is nothing short of monstrous.

      David Bruton said in his acceptance speech at the last AGM:
      “What we achieve we will achieve only by working together, building on out collective strengths for the good of the whole community and society beyond.”
      “Let’s put behind us suspicion, rumour, misinformation and instead concentrate our time and energy on moving forward together.
      I recognise the NEC holds a considerable responsibility within this. Too often we fail to communicate the decisions we make and the thinking behind them. This feeds rumour and into the void we have created mistrust and let mizunderstanding flourish unchecked. I spoke earlier about starting a debate. I feel we now have the tools to better inform our members and churches of what we are trying to achieve. If you don’t understand why something is being done, then ask. We need to foster a culture of openness and accountability.”
      “Let us work with the guidance of higher minds to unite Spiritualists everywhere with truth at the forefront of our minds, allowing the light to shine from our hearts and developing a caring nature that truly embraces all for the greater good.”

      Fine words. It is hard enough to pen fine words. It is harder still, I know, to live the life of our fine words. But to act in a way that seems to run completely counter to them?

      • Dear Richard
        You have beautifully summed up everything that has been expressed on this website. It is the fact that the new president seems to have acted or allowed others to act towards Mr Hatton in a way that is completely opposite to the words he delivered so passionately at last years conference. We have seen the very opposite of openness and accountability, the very opposite of a caring nature, in fact the very opposite of almost everything Mr Bruton committed himself and his NEC to in that speech. Surely he must be able to see that his actions have given the lie to his words? It is a sad day when someone in whom we placed so much faith and hope is found to have let us down so completely. Sheila

        • Mike Goodall

          Sheila, I dare say he has been railroaded into making decisions by the NEC officers that maybe he was not that happy making, and I doubt he would be allowed to make a statement without their approval. It appears to be what we called in the old days a ‘closed shop’. He may not actually be such a bad character as he’s made out but simply dictated to by the others. Not knowing him personally I can only surmise.
          It doesn’t matter how much of a do-gooder he may have been when taking office, it’s the will of the NEC that rules that organisation and anything discussed behind closed doors stays there so unfortunately we may never know. They do seem to have shot themselves in both feet in the past year, and their misguided idea that all this will blow over (PN closure and the ban of Eric’s book) is certainly unlikely to happen. Perhaps members attending the next AGM will be allowed to ask questions, but I rather doubt they’ll get any satisfactory in-depth answers.

  77. Thank you Richard for quoting David Bruton’s acceptance speech, which was so full of good intentions, but is so contradictory of what has happened since that speech.

    The SNU NEC talk like philosophers, but act like fools.

    When I die, I will be leaving all my money to an animal charity, and I bet Arthur Findlay is now wishing he’d done the same. :-(

  78. Peter Raggett

    Well, this forum has certainly been an eye opener for me regarding the SNU, the NEC, and the machinations within its ranks. I never realised there was so much discontent within the union.

    Lets face it, if Psychic News had carried on in its original form, subsidized and controlled by the SNU, then I doubt much of the underlying dissatisfaction within the ranks of the membership of the SNU would have come to light, or if any of it had surfaced it would have been sanitized for public consumption. So unwittingly, the SNU by closing the paper, has been instrumental in producing a truly independent user friendly and widely circulated media outlet and unleashed a backlash that, given the right impetus, could have a beneficial reforming effect within the SNU.

    Mind you, I doubt this would have happened if those responsible within the union had acted equitably regarding the sale of Psychic News so that it had not created bad feeling all round.

    It would appear the chickens are coming home to roost. Lets hope they all return home before too much damage has been done and what would seem like the promised long overdue reform is undertaken within the SNU so that it can flourish in an open form truly acceptable to the majority of its membership.

    I don’t think anyone wishes the SNU any harm. They just want it run by the people for the people and for the Arthur Findlay College aims to be in accord with the purpose for which it was donated

  79. Margaret Stirling

    To Oscar J, Joe, Tom, and Simon who commented and/or spotted the spelling error on the video of the lovely Mr Eric Hatton and all who enjoyed seeing and hearing him speak at the AFC , which incidentally fits him ‘like a glove’ he belongs there.
    The irony is, I believe this is a fairly recent recording to promote Spiritualism with one of it’s most loved and knowledgeable I just wanted to share this utube video before the powers that be possibly remove it. (from www) I have observed this is the way with all things contradictive, embarrassing or controversial, whether it’s on the internet or previously, PN.

    Thanks to the J.V. Trust. I spent a very contemplative week at the AFC, that was 1n 2005. It was the Hatton’s and a small number of tutors I remember mostly, by their beautiful energy which will continue to permeate and enhance those halls of learning. As we know energy is all, don’t we? Sadly those of the business head only class cannot comprehend the importance of clean harmonious energy and friendship. Yet good and moral business minds with the guidance of Spirit, can work together as a kind of co-operative for one cause one objective. Democracy can be flawed, as we have discovered when it becomes a closed shop. Knowledge for the few and obtained in secrecy can never lead to goodness.
    I apologise if I digress a lot, but it all ties up along the way.
    In this dysfunctional family that is the SNU can we please put back the Spirit of learning, study, science and truth naturally, by nominating honourable men and women who are spiritual, who have earned the right to be known as Spiritualists.
    They are known to us by their actions, their energy.

    Finally a big thank you to Spirit of PN and of course I must mention ‘Paranormal review’ too. for creating a place of free speech and a valuable point of communication.
    Margaret S.

  80. Margaret, thank you for contributing comments to this article, and for your kind words about Spirit of PN. Regarding the film of Eric, it was certainly available on the internet in April 2010 because I noticed the misspelling of Eric’s name at that time and mentioned it to a member of the NEC, who assured me that a correction would be made. Let’s hope that will happen before too long. Sue

  81. As a Class B Member and a Church President of many years, I am very angry about this action and will seek my answers at the AGM in July.
    I am equally annoyed by many comments on here from Members on other matters about communication from the current President and NEC, I’m not referring to public communications but to members.
    No doubt as usual it will be those members who hurl stones of criticism who haven’t left the sanctity of their own domains to attend District meetings and Open Forums, where during the past year in every district I believe, David Bruton and NEC representatives have been doing question and answer sessions and explaining their plans, face to face! The church and member apathy syndrome. Those of us who did learned a lot!
    Also the Presidents day last week at the AFC where more open discussion and information were shared with the chance to ask questions during the day, again we learned a lot. Do these members not read the Unions circulations and magazines that go out to them or look at information on the website, probably not. Those who attended the AFC last week will know that, as one ‘poster’ stated here, the college isn’t being gutted and turned into a hotel, the bedrooms and bathroom facilities are being upgraded, that’s what we were told and having spoken to others who were there, it is what was said; and I say about time too! Sharing a room with two snoring strangers was not my ideal week there back in 2005.
    There have been decisions in the recent past that may not reflect well in many ways, I understand and accept that, but we can only speculate on the reasons for them and some would be confidential if they are about appointments to positions or not as the case may be. But what a sorry shame about this incident which blots the copy book once more.
    I still have hope that we are moving forward and change is coming as promised and I will be patient and tolerant, Rome wasn’t built in a day and bad habits and cultures of the old ones are not eroded in an instant. I have considered that we know at church level new committees inherit the bad habits and cultures of the old ones and they take time to shake off – I hope the past two Annus horriblis under both Duncan Gascoyne and David Bruton will come to an end at the AGM and that this dreadfully shaky first year for the new President and NEC move more positively into the year 2011/12 and things will change. IF they don’t, then the membership can use it’s power, the vote (if they can be bothered – wake up membership!)

    • Dear Jean,

      I have been informed that it was David Bruton that actually used the term ‘gutted’.
      Also, at the Presidents’ Day, I am informed that if people wanted to ask questions they had to write them down on a card first. This gives room for any awkward questions to be vetted, therefore not publicly aired. This would give attendees a far more harmonious view of proceedings. I do trust the source of my information – but if you have any other recollection it would be good hear it.

      • Simon, questions were written and submitted, yes. I do recall the use of the word gutted, but this was not about the college it was during talking about the bedroom accomodation, I hope that explains a little more.

  82. Linda Bullock

    I wonder if, when Andrew Hadley had Erics book removed from the AFC bookshop shelves, it was his decision, or he was persuaded by a member of the NEC and therefore the NEC would feel they had to back the decision of any of their members in either case. Or whether he was instructed by the whole NEC.
    I wonder if someone may be worried about certain disclosures in the book showing them in their true light, even though Eric did not name names.
    Does anyone know.

  83. Jean, you said, “Those who attended the AFC last week will know that, as one ‘poster’ stated here, the college isn’t being gutted and turned into a hotel -

    The whole of the SNU membership were not in attendance at the AFC last week, were they? Although the information may be available, whoever is orchestrating it needs to find a vehicle to reach everyone concerned, not just the people who were lucky enough to actually be at the AFC.

    I admit there is misinformation, but this is because the SNU are not communicating properly. I am hearing all kinds of rumours, most of which are not even worth mentioning here. If you read my posts above you will see that the main point I am making is about poor communication. And it has to be clear communication in plain English. How much ink and paper has been wasted on showing us photographs of the NEC and telling us what they do. TELL US WHAT THEY ARE DOING!!!

    Whatever you’ve heard from the membership, remember that the majority will not complain or highlight problems, because they are scared of the SNU taking damaging action against them. Believe me, there is real fear out there, and no matter how spiritual their intentions are, the SNU is not geared up to deal with complaints effectively.

    An example would be if you bought satellite TV from a commercial company and you had a complaint about the service, you would telephone them or write to them and they would sort out the issue within a realistic timescale. But complain to the SNU and not only will they ignore your complaint, they may even revoke your access codes and leave you without television.

    This is the 21st century and the SNU needs to operate more responsively. It’s very easy to talk the talk, but they can’t walk the walk. I can think of numerous examples of Orwellian decisions that simply could have been sorted out by getting everyone around the table for a chat and a cup of tea.

    Is it spiritual to turn the other cheek? No, because if you allow individuals to bully their fellow spiritualists then your organisation sends out a clear message that bullying is acceptable, and before long it becomes a widespread tool. And those who have suffered are no longer in the loop to inform anyone, thus concentrating the culture of keeping your mouth shut and ignoring problems.

    I do hope Stansted and Staffsted prosper but this will require an adjustment of culture to mend the SNU’s bad reputation. If you don’t believe it has a bad reputation, then go and ask anonymously at grass roots level; don’t expect the truth if people think you are an officer of the SNU.

    Criticism is not a bad thing, learn to embrace it and use it to improve. Eric Hatton’s motivation for writing frankly about the SNU NEC may have been down to him not caring about the consequences of telling the truth anymore.

    And there were consequences!

    From the SNU point of view their minutes didn’t match Eric’s recollections. So why didn’t they attempt to correct the 2nd Edition by talking to Eric about it? No, they decided to be sneaky and hope nobody of any consequence would notice. Well, it took them 4 months to read a 250 page book, so I wonder if their literacy is up to the job of taking accurate minutes?

  84. Dear SNU members,
    Please do not be afraid to post your comments here. I also run a blog on WordPress and no one apart from myself can see the e-mail address of people who post comments on my site. The SNU will not be able to find out who you are. So if you are afraid to comment because of reprecussions, please do not worry. I mention this because the suggestion of fear has been mentioned in various postings.
    I do agree wholeheartedly that Spiritualists worldwide should print off the article about the banning of one of our modern-day pioneer’s book and display it in their church or centre. Only if we unite can we get rid of this blight on modern Spiritualist history.
    Together we are strong!

    • The S.N.U. are fine as long as you dont question them or bring a complaint. Once you have crossed that line they close ranks and attempt to stop you working in their churches. Nothing is ever put in writing so there is never any evidence. Alot of good people have been victimised/alienated.

      • Giles Dawson

        Certainly agree with Healer about complaints and criticism being off limits but stopping people working in churches? Sounds a bit extreme. Is it hearsay or do you know someone this happened to?

        • Giles, what Healer says is true. I know of several cases where mediums have been stopped from working one or multiple churches, because they have complained or reported a problem. The modus operandi is to tell the booking secretaries that the medium in question has said something inappropriate from platform or some other fabrication.

          If a medium is taken out of the loop, then what chance do they have of correcting the lies which they are not even aware, are being told about them.

          • I can name two O.S.N.U’s and an assortment of other mediums of the S.N.U. who have all been prevented from working in churches by means of unfounded lies from rotten apples that eventually came to light and that is just in one district council area. Sadly the rotten apples are still in the barrel.

    • Yes some are afraid Richard. I heard of a healer who was reported by his patients for molesting patients. They wrote letters to their committee and were threatened with the healer’s lawyer. The SNU investigated after a year and found the President (who stills remains) was putting salt under the carpets to keep away evil spirits. Money was going missing from the church and most of the healers were not trained. They did nothing about the healer who was accused of molestation as he had already left, but did they revoke his healing card? The healer in question in now an advisor for a very popular Spiritualist magazine and the patients who said they were molested didn’t even get an apology! Yes……some of us are afraid of the power of the SNU and what they will hide to make them look good.

      • In fact, the same healer in question writes for this paper also and the zerdin magazine……and probably many more. Sadly all are unaware of how dangerous he is. I was told he threatened to strangle one of the patients for telling on him.

        • John, you make very serious allegations and I have attempted to reply to you by email. Unfortunately, it seems the email address you supplied to this website was not a valid one and therefore my reply has bounced back. To the best of my knowledge I have not commissioned any article from a working healer. Spirit of PN is committed to upholding the highest standards of truth and integrity in all forms of mediumship, including healing. If you have information concerning known wrong-doing on the part of a “spiritual” worker, you should contact that person’s representative body (if he or she has one) and go to the police. If, however, you do not have concrete evidence of malpractice, it would be wise to avoid making serious and unsubstantiated allegations. Sue

  85. Starting with the banning of Eric Hatton’s book this article has extended o encompass a lot of other issues. It is clear from all of the comments made, even from within the few in support of the NEC, that there is a major problem. The reality is this is not just about a failure on the part of the NEC to communicate it appears to be something inherent in the way the governance of the SNU is conducted. Being the largest Spiritualist organisation in the world the SNU is bound to receive much scrutiny, especially as it tries to make itself an International body via the SNUi.

    Members and non members will watch and observe the way the NEC acts and behaves. The comments on this article show that many people find this behaviour wanting. The events of the last twelve months have soured my view, not of the SNU itself but of those who are running it and the means by which they exercise control. I feel that in the last twelve months the actions of the NEC have done considerable harm to both the reputation of the SNU and of Spiritualism. It is not us writing comments here, or on other forums and discussing the issues who cause the damage. The fundamental damage has been caused by those actions and the way they have been handled subsequently afterwards.

    It is not right to dismiss the critical comments about the NEC as either hearsay, or a result of Members failing to seek to become informed about issues. There clearly is a sizeable problem, which the number of comments on this topic and the variety of the subject matter highlight. Indeed many people have correctly said that if there had been free communication then there may be no problem to deal with.

    It is also clear that there is an issue about people being able to check facts. The comments show, all too clearly, that people are concerned that asking a question may be interpreted as criticism with ensuing punishment, that information has been withheld and (or) presented in a less than candid way.

    As to earlier comments that the NEC is damned if they share and damned if they don’t share information with either the members or the public I would just quote from Mr Bruton’s incoming Presidents speech“I recognise the NEC holds a considerable responsibility within this, too often we fail to communicate the decisions we make and the thinking behind them, this feeds rumour and into the void we have created mistrust and misunderstanding flourish unchecked.”

    He was clear and unequivocal in promising an open channel of communication.

    Well everyone reading these comments would surely think that this promise was soon forgotten. Indeed secrecy and mistrust has been built from many issues, not just this terrible issue about banning Eric Hatton’s book. We have the whole terrible story of Psychic News plus several other examples to look at.

    Indeed the latest surprise news, revealed in these comments, is the quite startling statement from Mr Bruton, at the Emma Hardinge Britten Open Day, that Stansted Hall will soon be gutted. There appear to be direct witnesses to the fact that that Mr Bruton said these words but we now see variations about what this means in practice.

    In terms of communication it seems that even internally the NEC cannot get it right. Duncan Gascoyne indicated that it was the lack of communication about NEC decisions concerning the AFC which was a major cause of his resignation as AFC Chairman. It seems strange to think he may not have had any hand in the planning of changes in the running of the AFC after all of his experience guiding it to its current level of stability. However Mr. Hadley’s own comments “I feel it marks a positive turning point at the College with new exciting things ahead to come”, made at the Emma Hardinge day, indicate a feeling the NEC wanted a totally new direction and may not have truly shared his view about the organisation’s actual achievement.

    I did notice that Gladys Hain claimed that Roy Stemman and the Editor of Spirit of PN want their “pound of flesh” because of the closure of Psychic News. I do not think the general tenor of this article, or the comments made on it have been about that matter at all. However it is always there in the background, in my opinion it is one of the most appalling sequences of events I have ever seen. Suffice to say it is a story all of itself which casts a very bad light upon the NEC and their secrecy.

    Please remember that the staff of Psychic Press (1995) only received money because the UK Government paid them, well after they were terminated by the NEC, after much hardship. Remember also that by that time the NEC were in fact acting as de facto directors of that company. However another story for another time but a cast round the internet will enlighten anyone who may still be unaware of this.

    I think the previous attempts to try and explain the separation of the SNU Trust from the SNU members is more about semantics than reality. It is virtually impossible to separate such a trust from its position within the SNU and importance to its members. Whichever way we look at it the trust has pitched one million into the Edinburgh Building and 500,000 into Stafford. The funds are surely to help to develop SNU Spiritualism but the reality is they exercise this right on behalf of the Members. If this is not the case and the members, or members of a Church within the Trust, have no rights or say in what happens then I think all members need that clearly spelling out.

    Now a trustee has to safeguard the money in trust and ensure that it generates a return on investment. Now this duty may be mitigated by the terms of the trust and the objective which the money is intended to achieve. However the larger the amount of money involved then the more onerous the duty to ensure that it is used wisely and that a return is made to the trust.

    Therefore the duties of the Trustees in this case would be to look at the Financial Business Case for each investment and ensure the business is financially viable. A trustee has a duty to safeguard the lump sum and to earn income to achieve its aims. In the case of Stafford, if there is a true gain of 300,000 pounds in the brief time they have owned it and the market value is actually 800,000 pounds then they really should take the money and run. Alternatively the Trust should be looking to receive a market rate rental on the investment of around 56,000 pounds a year or whatever lesser sum would be acceptable within the expectations of a return on investment.

    Personally I doubt the viability of the venture into the new AFC colleges although clearly closing and gutting Stansted Hall will take business to them. However in the mean time much money will be spent there and the income created from its live in courses temporarily ceases. On top of that this move will inevitably cause angst among many Spiritualists and is bound to be a problem because of heritage listings. Even if it is restricted to updating facilities it may appear the cost will be extensive and even then the college must surely close for a short time. Is it also possible that subsequently the college may accommodate less people?

    My understanding is that we are to see other new centers and with Stansted closed the South and South West cannot be ignored. If another two new centers are purchased costing say another 1.5 million pounds, then with the refurbishment of Stansted, in a sympathetic way to meet development requirements, which could involve extensive expenditure then the SNU trust may have spent over 4 million pounds on this initiative.

    Now once again this can be seen as someone without knowledge ruminating upon potential outcomes. However, the speed the NEC are moving on all of these major initiatives shows they have decided upon the actions to take and are initiating them as quickly as possible. Why is it that? Why not share openly until after the plans have been enacted? Could this be either a failure in communication or a fear of protest about the steps they plan to take? Do members really know what is coming next when the questions can only be retrospective to the actions? Certainly only the vaguest outlines of the really big ticket items, are incorporated in the 5 year plan so they would not get enlightenment from that document, especially upon financial issues

    Every new college involves more standing costs and dilutes the potential to fill all the courses made available. I do hope the Trustees have respected their responsibilities and are vetting the financial projections carefully. It is not just the safety of the capital asset in bricks and mortar. They need to ensure an economic return to grow the trust. Instinctively I feel, both as a Medium and a man with 40 years senior business experience both within Financial and General Management, these new centers are a very high risk development. To that end I do hope that none of this will be funded by bank debt, which, if the ventures fail. would take precedence to the trust funds in any asset liquidation.

    I suppose time will tell us but I wonder if the SNU members will ever be shown the glossy brochures about how these centers will be financially viable and not become an anchor weighing the SNU down. If you saw the SNU as a businesses, as the judges did (but not the charity commissioners’) in the Dalby Rd affair, then all shareholders would be freely entitled to this information.

    However let us leave this speculation aside to just return to the point of this Spirit of PN article the banning Eric’s book. I feel it was badly done, in a mean spirited, rather spiteful way. This is not the type of act any peak leadership body should do. Least of all one which pertains to be Spiritualist

  86. Peter Raggett

    I wonder if it would be stirring things too much to suggest that Spirit of PN did an analysis of Eric Hatton’s dealings with the SNU as described in his book? I suspect in the spirit of an open press it would be regarded as good journalism. Then it could invite an official of the union to comment.

    You would not get the tabloid press tip toeing around if it thought it had a good story and was in the public interest. Mind you some of the tabloids would print whether or not it was in the public interest, but that’s another matter!

  87. Not that I am suggesting this in any way, but if someone feels so upset at the thinly veiled attempt at censorship, they may feel that they need to email the SNU Mafia – oops – management, stating their objections. They may even feel that they need to go to the AGM and vote against the current incumbents who appear to be behind this censorship. Email addresses can be found on the SNU website. http://www.snu.org.uk/ Now I must make it clear that I do not wish to cause any disharmony, but feel I need to make people aware of some of the actions available to them.

  88. Jim, you make a lot of valid points in your posting. I was at the first day of open week of the AFC and listened to the welcoming speeches. It was mentioned that they were opening this new centre and it was said that this was an expansion on what they have achieved at the AFC and depending on how successful this was they have intentions on perhaps opening more.

    I thought at the time that this is all well and good but where on earth are they going to get the additional accredited tutors from? This has been a problem for years now, especially as there is so much control of who can tutor at the college and they are no longer allowed to hire it ‘on block’.
    They have yet to retain a manager at the college for any length of time since Denny was asked to leave.
    The other issue there is that this new place does not have accommodation facilities and are having to rely on a nearby hotel.
    In the past it was rarely permitted to accept day students at the college on trance weeks etc because they wanted to keep a check on you for anything untowards. The other thing is, who is going to be wanting to be trooping backwards and forwards in the bad weather?

    I can’t help but think, like so many other things the SNU has done in the past, that this has not really been thought through and could be a very expensive white elephant.
    I know this is deviating from the original article but it is indicative of the way they do things.

  89. Mike Goodall

    Read on; it is relevant to this discussion…

    Monkey training

    If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

    As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result … all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water.Pretty soon , when another monkey tries to climb the stairs the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

    Now, put the cold water away. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

    Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment… with enthusiasm. Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked.

    Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

    Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana. Why, you ask? Because in their minds… that is the way it has always been!

    This, my friends, is how Politics and NECs operate… and is why, from time to time, all of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.

    • Peter Raggett

      You should have included in your last paragraph the major organised religions. In fact they probably started the monkey business by the invention of priestcraft! A fear that many hold I think is that the NEC are trying to turn the SNU into another Christian like religion.

      • Mike Goodall

        Heaven forbid Peter (no pun intended).

      • Mike Goodall

        I think the problem with ever getting a complete change of NEC members is that the rule book (correct me if I’m wrong) only allows Class A members to be in the NEC.

        To progress to a Class A member you have to toe the line and vow never to criticise or ask awkward questions. Thus resulting in a closed selection of the ‘monkeys’ each time there’s an AGM.

        Now if Class B members were allowed to take that office, and being that there is a very large percentage of members who are Class B compared to Class A; they could muster enough votes to elect people with new ideas and who are a little more Spiritual. But under the present rules that could never happen. Class B votes have to be given to Class A members only, resulting in a closed shop.

        • Mike, your mixing you A’s and B’s up.
          Class B’s are individual members who can hold positions on committees at district or national level.
          Class A’s are just a voting representative for a church or other body (there’s also a Class C that is the same)
          And to finish off, may as well run through them all and they’ve been mentioned previously.
          The Class D’s are not members of the Union, they are members of the church and it is the church as a body that is the member of the Union…. hence the church has it’s vote and say through its’ Class A member/s.

  90. Lynne Hames

    I am writing to express my disgust at what our fellow spirualists from Stansted Hall have done now. By banning Eric Hatton’s book in such a way without giving any reason is disgraceful. Maybe they did not fully agree with the contents of the book, which is their right, but I am sure they do not agree with every word printed in all the other hundreds of books they sell. I thought our pioneers fought for freedom of speech, apparently that has all now ceased unless you totally conform with the wishes of the SNU. Could I ask that they at least out of common courtesy give an official response as to why the book has been banned then perhaps an apology to our long serving Minister who has dedicated his life to Spiritualism and serving Spirit.
    Looking forward to their swift reply…
    Lynne Hames

  91. Laraine Killarney

    I have the great honour of following Eric Hatton as president of Stourbridge Church. I believe we are one of the largest churches, and have the greatest amount of members in the West Midlands. This includes a large number of class B members, who at this point in time I am working very hard to persuade not to cancel their Class B membership due to the disgracful decision on Eric’s book. I have been a very proud Spiritualist for 30 years. Eric has been my mentor for the last six years. The strongest point that Eric has reinforced at our church, and in many public speeches he has made, has been to promote our wonderful union. But this man is very very honest and would only state what he knows and believes is accurately true, as so many of the NEC officers have stated so many, many times. So who is the person who doesn’t really know Eric ? Who is afraid of any real truth (whatever that may be) being written about? Surely by banning this book the SNU has made so many people interested in it. So why did they take this action? What happens to the survival of the union if every one cancels their Class B membership? I want to continue Eric’s good work that Spiritualism should be proud and honest and upfront. How are the SNU now going to get this back on track? No matter how large the union, or how much money they have, they cannot get respect from members by decrying people such as Eric Hatton, who is so widely respected.

    • Eric Hatton is an honest man I have no doubt about it. The NEC need to reverse this decision or face a very embarrasing AGM at Warwick in July.

  92. john rickwood

    My late wife and I joined the Stourbridge Spiritualist Church. Wendy had a great difficulty with the word UNION, and Minister Eric Hatton very kindly spent a complete evening explaining to her that it was NOT a Trade Union but a Union of Churches, all in a like minded gathering of Spiritualism, and how many books were written on the subject, and each gave the reader the choice of furthering their knowledge, and that each should be allowed to put or indicate the author’s belief or reason without fear. Eric indicated the church library and said the books are there without fear or favour. Thus I ask myself this: what has the S.N.U got to fear? The truth of the matter is somehow the book has not been acceptable, which is a shame for it is well worth the while of reading it.

  93. Like Lorraine just said in her posting and my previous comments, I really do not believe that handing in your class B membership is the answer. Come to that, I sincerely do not believe that Eric Hatton would want that either, especially considering the amount of work he has put into this movement in the past. The issue here is with the present hierarchy of the SNU and NEC, NOT with the Spiritualists National Union as a concept.

    So many pioneers in the past have fought so hard to get the Spiritualists the recognition they deserve and now is not the time to weaken its standing, just because of some ill-conceived decisions by people who are temporarily in office.

    Because of the action they have taken this book will probably be read by far more people than it would have if this had not been banned from (only) the Arthur Findlay College bookshop.

  94. I would encourage everyone, who is concerned about the banning of Eric Hatton’s book, to attend the SNU AGM 15th to 17th July 2011, at the Warwick University, Conference Park, Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL.
    It will be convenient for the members of Stourbridge church to attend, without the need for an overnight stay.

    I would also encourage everyone to tell all your Spiritualist friends to google ‘Spirit of PN’.

    • Giles Dawson

      Members of the SNU should certainly be speaking at that AGM. But what about the many who are not SNU members and are disgusted by this laughable and insulting decision. Thank heavens they have a free voice on here despite the best efforts of the SNU to remove that free voice for ALL spiritualists when they shut down PN.

      • I imagine that the NEC will not share the view of their membership. I predict that they will have some very well rehearsed answers to all the questions being asked here. I am sure that they will be sorry that their membership feel so strongly about this issue, but will stick to their guns using the excuse that their membership cannot be privy to the complexity of thinking that goes into all NEC decisions.

        They are fundamentally calling Minister Eric Hatton a liar, and without a recorded version of the minutes – because written minutes are easily manipulated and are hardly evidence – it is their word against his.

        But I would like to ask if there is anyone out there who knows the rules regarding a vote of no confidence in the NEC and the General Secretary at an AGM? How many class B delegates does it take to replace a rather dimming light bulb?

  95. Colin & Annette Blann

    As Spiritualists we both feel very sad and wonder where Spiritualism within the higher echelons of the SNU has gone. As a couple with an SNU church committee background we have direct experience of what they can do to people. It does not surprise us their actions against a great man and a great Spiritualist. They cannot tolerate anything said against them. Their rules seem only to apply to the members and not to them. Their decisions are final and woe betide anybody who questions them when they know they are in the wrong. Regardless of the truth, which is of the utmost importance to Spiritualists, they have shown that they do not wish to search for it. To the people in power please do not take the Spirit out of Spiritualism.

  96. Marjorie & Harry Saich

    Having known Eric Hatton for over 40 years not only on a Spiritualist level but also a friendship connection we are appalled by the way he has been treated by the SNU. With no explanation afforded him or SNU members.
    His devotion to the movement has been a life’s work and his honesty and loyalty is beyond doubt. We as Spiritualists should live by the Seven Principles – where does the Brotherhood of Man fit into this action.

  97. Charles Coulston has explained that Eric Hatton’s book contained references to the Union’s activities which were inaccurate, misleading and denigratory of the Union. While it is encouraging to see people commenting passionately in the defence of Eric Hatton, we cannot accuse Charles Coulston of failing to provide an explanation, because he has.
    Eric Hatton has become a martyr in his own lifetime and I congratulate him upon this feat. It really does not matter to me what he has written, but I suspect it to be the truth. I am also in the winter of my years, and I too feel great satisfaction in telling the truth because there is nothing left to lose.
    For those of you who still have doubts about who is being honest, do not look to the SNU officers for a guiding light of truth. Do we have to throw out the baby with the bathwater?
    The system is corrupt and regardless of who sits on what committee there will never be fairness, compassion or honesty. If you remove the officers of the SNU NEC they will just be replaced by similar people, some good, some bad.
    This is the reality of any gathering of people, there are plants and weeds and a rule book to help identify what is a plant and what is a weed. We need to sack the gardener and burn the rule book because half the people serving on the committees are weeds, strangling the plants around them with their fierce competition to get to the light.
    Charles Coulston and the four NEC Officers seriously cannot remain in power considering the state of the garden.
    I have grave doubts about the integrity of the NEC with regard to issues such as the Psychic News, the vanishing AFC Chairman, the disappearance of the Philosophy and Ethics Committee, the financing of the Stafford Training Centre and now the censorship of Eric Hatton’s book.
    The SNU is being run like a commercial company and not as anything resembling a spiritual organisation, and if they truly believe in the Seven Principles, then I’m a Dutchman!

    • Faith,

      I think there is much truth in what you have written. In my researching the current set up of the SNU, I could not help but notice how a certain small group of individuals appear to have multiple roles and are on numerous committees. Often one committee these people are on, is answerable to a higher committee which these certain individuals are also on. Just how a committee of persons can independently and objectively assess the merits of the actions of another committee when they are also on that committee is beyond me. It simply does not make sense.

      The current Financial Committee is also interesting. Its chairperson is the current Financial Director Julia Almond, its vice-chair is the SNU President David Bruton, its secretary is Charles Coulston, Graham Hewitt is the Trust Property Co-ordinator representative on the committee, while Andrew Hadley is apparently the SNU Trust and AFC Rep on the Committee and Dinah Annable, the SNU Vice-President Administration is there on the financial committee as well, along with a person with the role of ‘financial liaison, whatever that might mean.

      And to whom is the Financial Committee responsible? Why of course the NEC which includes Julia Almond, David Bruton, Dinah Annable, and Andrew Hadley. Somehow I just can’t see the NEC rejecting any proposals made by the financial committee.

    • To be honest Faith most commercial organisations would be run with much more concern for their Stakeholders than the NEC is showing. They ignore their members (shareholders), treat their staff and ex members appallingly (as illustrated by the PP (1995) employees made redundant/terminated by instruction of the NEC but only paid by the UK Government insolvency scheme and teh banning of Erics book).

      Additionally they act arbitarily, entirely without communication and informing people of what they are doing. To all extents they have become a law unto themselves.

      On top of that their poor management and lack of commercial acumen shines through in everythng. For a example their determination to try and retain the masthead and archives of Psychic news. Last August remember they had teh chance to to sell the whole business to the JV Trust which would have safeguarded all the employees jobs, and entitlements. Additionally all subscribers and creditors would have been paid. No one would have lost any money. All the SNU had to do was give up a claim to ownership of the masthead and archives which they had clearly been told by those who really knew was an incorrect claim.

      Instead they tried to cling on until the Liquidator’s legal team dismissed this claim earlier this year. The cost to them, to creditors, to subscribers and most importantly to the employees was horrendous.

      Indeed in straight legal terms the directors failed in their duty, they knew the company was then insolvently trading and would liquidate in an insolvent manner. Once this happens they, as directors of the company (and by this stage the NEC had assumed all decision making over Psychic Press as quasi directors) had a duty to act in the interests of the creditors not the shareholders. Clearly selling to the JV Trust, which has Eric Hatton as chairman of course, would have safeguarded all of the creditors and employees rights. Surely a win for everyone and a responsible commercial decision.

      As a business man who has always endeavoured to bring my Spiritualist philosophy and ethics into my commercial world I was horrified to see such brutal and unspiritual practices at play throughout the Psychic Press (1995) issue. This was not an example of good commercial practice and has certainly cost the SNU both in funds lost on liquidation and in the respect of the Spiritualist Community.

      Then they top it up with other issues, the new AFC centres, the Philosophy and ethics committee. Finally they cap it with this terrible slight to Eric Hatton, were they pushed into that by what was in the book or just retaliating for something else?

  98. Sam wrote asking: “if there is anyone out there who knows the rules regarding a vote of no confidence in the NEC and the General Secretary at an AGM? How many class B delegates does it take to replace a rather dimming light bulb?”

    I am no expert of the rules and bye-laws of the SNU, and would encourage anyone who is to share their perspective on this, however, after again re-reading the SNU Articles and Bye-laws, I will hazard a few comments.

    There are apparently three ways in which a motion of “no confidence” may be brought. The first would be via the calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting. A requisition for such a meeting, would need to state the specific purpose for which the meeting is desired. Article 18 makes clear that such a requisition would, however, require the signature of members of the Union “representing not less than one tenth of the total voting rights of all the members having at the date of the requisition a right to vote at general meetings of the Union.”

    In other words it would require, based on the current figures for Class A and Class B membership (Churches and individual members) in the region of 1800 signatures on the request for an EGM to require the NEC to convene an EGM. Given the reality of isolation that exists – there is no obvious means by which, for example, Class B members could readily band together to get sufficient signatures, it is unlikely that such an action would be successful. Even if, by some miracle someone was able to organize it to get sufficient signatures, it is likely that the NEC would refuse to convene such an EGM on the grounds that the AGM is ready due to take place shortly.

    The second option is for a motion of “no confidence” or a motion for removal on the grounds of no confidence to be placed on the Agenda for the Annual General Meeting to be held in July. Article 20 states that “the General Secretary shall place on the agenda any motion of which notice is given him by any Class B member, affiliated body, Branch or District Council or by the NEC or Council of the Union.” The word “shall” in this provision means in legal terms “must,” however Article 20 suggests this requirement is “subject to such reasonable restriction as to form, length of notice and otherwise as may be prescribed in the Bye-laws.”

    In the Bye-laws relating to Organization & Administration bye-law 27 headed ‘Motions for Annual General Meeting’ it makes clear that a motion for the AGM may be proposed or seconded by the Committee of a Church or Kindred Body, by a Class B member, District Council or its executive committee, by the Lyceum Union or its Central Committee, or by the NEC or Council.

    This means that various members, of every class of membership, could, if they wished to, submit a motion calling for a vote of no confidence. This means that the General Secretary could receive multiple individual motions, and such multiple motions from Class A, Class B, or other forms of membership might be a powerful approach.

    To be a valid motion for inclusion on the Agenda, Bye-law 27 requires every such motion, by whomsoever submitted “shall be submitted to the General Secretary in writing and shall be signed and dated by the mover and, where appropriate, by the seconder.” All motions submitted “must also bear the name of the seconder.”

    Article 27 also makes clear that the GS shall pass on to “the appropriate committee” the motions received along with any notes of explanation submitted and that (Article 27 [3]) the ‘appropriate committee’ “shall advise the proposer whether in its opinion, they are in order and may recommend changes of form and/or of substance, or the amalgamation of motions on the same subject.”

    In other words, while motions can be submitted, they will be passed on to which ever committee the General Secretary believes the matter concerns – in the case of a motion of no confidence in the NEC – in all probability this would mean the NEC would assess and ‘advise’ on the motion! If there were multiple individual, seconded motions for a vote of no confidence, it is almost certain they would be amalgamated into a composite motion.

    If, however, the motion or motions submitted called not merely for a vote of no confidence in the NEC, or any individual member of the NEC, Article 31 headed ‘Cessation of Membership of the NEC or Council’ and specifically 31[d] comes into play. A resolution to remove an NEC member or members from office requires what is called “special notice” given in accordance with Section 42 of the Companies Act 1948.

    In essence Section 142 of The Companies Act where “special notice” is required, the resolution shall not be effective unless the notice of the intention to move it has been given to the Union not less than 28 days before the meeting at which it is moved, and the Union are required to give its members notice of the resolution not less than 21 days before the meeting.

    In other words, if what a member, or group of members want is removal from office of the NEC or any individual member, they must put such a resolution in a motion and present that to the head office of the Union, addressed to the GS, in the correct form, not less than 28 days before the AGM. All members will then be put on notice and have time to decide whether they will support such a motion or not and may do so by postal vote or by proxy vote or by attending the AGM and voting on the day.

    The third option available to members is to put a motion AT the Annual General Meeting in July. Bye-law 28 makes clear that “a motion may be proposed or seconded in general meeting by a Class A, B or C member, by an accredited representative or by a member of the NEC.”

    It is obvious that while motions can be put at the annual general meeting, a motion calling for a vote of no confidence in the NEC or any individual/s on the NEC might fail based on the argument such a motion should be classed as a ‘special notice’ motion and therefore not able to be dealt with. Also Bye-law 33 provides for the Chair, who is normally the President of the SNU, to disallow a motion or amendment at a Annual General Meeting which has not been in the circulated agenda “if in his judgement the subject matter is such that no vote ought to be taken thereon until notice has been given to the NEC or to all members.”

    This might suggest that any members unhappy with the actions of the NEC would be unwise to wait and rely on a right to put a motion of no confidence in the NEC at the AGM. If there are members who do feel sufficiently concerned about the conduct of the NEC to believe that there should be a vote of no confidence or a resolution to remove certain members of the NEC from office, they really must consider option 2, that is submitting a motion, constituting a ‘special notice’ to that effect not less than 28 days prior to the AGM. If a significant number of individual motions, all appropriately worded and correctly seconded by members entitled to vote at the AGM were submitted, this just might serve as a clear message to the NEC how strongly opposed many members were about what has gone on.

    The motion might well still fail, it is hard to guage how the majority of SNU members would vote, but it would nevertheless send a clear warning to the NEC that there was a genuine level of dissatisfaction and concern.

    • Thank you Lis for your efforts, this information is invaluable. :)

      Article 31 headed ‘Cessation of Membership of the NEC or Council’ and specifically 31[d] comes into play. A resolution to remove an NEC member or members from office requires what is called “special notice” given in accordance with Section 42 of the Companies Act 1948.

      This “special notice” requires 28 days, so we have until the middle of June to put it together.

      Does this special notice need signatures of class B members? If so, how many would it take to make them realise they need to take this seriously? Perhaps Stourbridge church could co-ordinate this special notice rather than duplicating the effort?

      • Indeed, Sam, the signature of a Class B member, or affiliated body, branch or district council, accompanied, of course, by a seconder’s signature who is also a member eligible to vote at the AGM.

        There are significant options available for members of various classes to put forward such a motion but, even if one church should do so, such an action, supported by other members, in other churches, or as individual members, would undoubtedly lend strength to such motions.

  99. As for the matter of Mr Coulston – it is important to remember he is a paid employee of the Union and while one might attempt to propose a vote of no confidence in his conduct as General Secretary I fear that this would be rejected on the grounds that it is not a matter over which the members have any right of action. It is the right of the Union to employ or to remove from employ, and not a right of the members to remove an employee.

    • So would I be correct in assuming that Mr Coulston makes no policy decisions and is therefore not party to the banning of Eric’s book?

      • I suspect it would be most unwise, even unnecessarily innocent, to think that Mr Coulston is not involved in the formulating of policy decisions. However, as a paid employee, and one that is, afterall, employed to assist the NEC in carrying out its decisions, one could hardly consider him personally responsible for those decisions, unless, of course, the decisions made were contrary to the requirements of the law, proper company practise, or the requirements of the Charities Commission, all matters of which Mr Coulston, as General Secretary of the Union should be fully cogniscant of, and have a duty to advise the NEC accordingly, to prevent them acting improperly.

        • As an experienced Company Secretary I am fully aware that it is your duty to inform your “board” or executive committee of the legal ramifications of their actions. Even if they do not like what you say it must be said. Ethically that means even if, when you are right, it costs you your employment. That same rule applies to Charles Coulston and Graham Hewitt the latter of whom should know that in even more detail.

          i wonder if, when they search their consciences they have acted in this manner?

  100. One final thought: A poster has suggested that those Class B members who contemplated resigning their membership should not do so, and instead use their right as members to express their views in the proper manner and at the AGM. Having taken the time to look at the process involved in putting forward motions, especially ones which would be considered critical of the current executive, I wonder whether the poster’s view is actually realistic.

    My personal preference in matters where as a member of an organization I had concerns would be to work within the system to try and bring about changes. It is clear, however, in respect of the SNU that the process for taking legitimate action to challenge the executive or their actions is exceedlingly complex and difficult to do. It is also very difficult, because of the fragmented nature of the organization and its membership to find the means for members to successfully band together to bring about change or to challenge the actions of the executive.

    It is for this reason that I do, in this specific situation wonder whether the resignation of a significant number of Class B members, all stating the same reasons for that resignation might not in reality be a more powerful means of bringing about change in the SNU. Of course it would take a genuinely significant number of Class B members taking this action to have an impact. But were, for example 1800 Class B members to resign this would result in the loss of 45,000 pounds of annual income for the SNU. A significant loss of income, and something the NEC would need to explain to the remaining members. Members might also consider moving an appropriate motion for inclusion on the Agenda for the AGM and when it is dismissed or refused then resign on mass from the SNU.

    I suggest this because in all probability, any member/s who put a motion for a vote of no confidence or for removal of the NEC or individuals on it would be likely to find their membership revoked before too long on the grounds they had acted in a manner that caused damage or was likely to cause damage to the SNU. I fear the current NEC would be quite ruthless in so acting to remove any and all who oppose them or who dare to question their actions.

    • I also post as purewhitelight, but I’m not logged in at the moment.

      I see your point. I made my post because it is impossible to make changes from outside any organisation. OK I accept that it’s difficult to raise points and AGM motions when there is corruption -and that’s what it appears to be – within. But if a significant number of members raised this, and allthose who did so were asked to resign / membership was revoked, then it would throw this into stark relief, and legal challenges / representations to relevant regulatory bodies could be made. Just resigning any membership gives the signal to those who are in the wrong that they can carry on being wrong. And what happens to those who resign? Do they then set up a “rival” organisation. This is wasteful, and why should people who have dedicated their lives to Spiritualism and the SNU leave. There is nothing wrong with the SNU itself, just a minority of the people who are on some of the committees. If a surgeon sees a cancer, they cut it out. That’s what we should be doing. GMH and other members promoted to spirit must be in floods of tears. Firstly because of what these people have turned the SNU into, and the inaction of some people who will not stand up to the bullies who need to be reminded of Principles 2,5 and 6.

      I stand by my call to challenge these people, and not to let them own OUR SNU.

      • Kevin, I have much sympathy with your position. As I have also said, my preference would always be to bring about change from within an organization, and to strive to ensure that those in power were accountable for their actions, rather than walking away.

        I also agree with you that in resigning members might find that those in power would simply sweep under the carpet the concerns expressed by the resigning members, and would carry on as they are, unchallenged and unaccountable.

        I also support the idea that should any members try and call those people to account at the AGM, and fail, and were subsequently removed as members they could seek legal redress through a number of different channels. One concern though, is that members who spoke out and expressed their concerns might find the revocation of their membership was worded in such a way that it would make it hard to challenge.

    • Lis, the reason why I believe that resigning your class B memberships would be counter-productive is because you yourself are suggesting a number of 1800 class B members resigning en-masse to create an impact on the decisions of the NEC. As of today’s date there are 161 postings and many of these are by the same people. I really cannot see how you anticipate contacting these 1800 members to persuade them to resign their membership. This is without taking into account the apathy and fear you are bound to experience.

      If, per chance, you manage to get some to resign, but insufficient in number to have any real impact, what is the chance of them being re-excepted after finding their resignation a fruitless exercise?

      I do appreciate the frustration in the knowledge that an important aspect of the management system within the SNU is not democratic. Unfortunately it can only become less so if you are not a member, and certainly less so if you would not be permitted to ever be a member again.

      • Steve,

        I fear you have misunderstood my postings. I am not trying to tell people to resign. I responded to a question regarding the rights of action members might have and merely pointed out that given the difficulties involved some members might feel that resigning was a valid course of action. I also merely pointed out that should 1800 Class B members resign, incidentially the approximate figure that would be required to get an Extraordinary General Meeting happening, would result in a loss of 45,000 for the SNu. This merely served to highlight that membership resignations could have a significant impact on the SNu.

  101. Celia Cuthbertson

    How interesting it is to analyse the many comments contributed on this sorry matter of the banning of Eric Hatton’s book. It is equally interesting to speculate on who might have been the primary mover in that decision.
    When one considers the make up of the current NEC it’s clear that most of them are relatively new and green. So is there perhaps one powerful motivator who might have reason for initiating such a move? And could that person be a female member who is known to be a power seeker and has held the highest office in the SNU?

    • What an interesting remark Celia.

    • If you are right Celia it looks like they went about the wrong way !

    • On considering your comments further, while acknowledging that the person to whom you have referred has undoubtedly a record of actions behind them that might justify a belief in their having played a role in the removal of Eric Hatton’s book from the AFC , nevertheless on this occasion I am not so certain of their part in it.

      First, one must again look at what Mr Coulston actually wrote to Sue Farrow. It clearly purports to be a communication written on behalf of the President of the SNU, David Bruton. The communication is full of vitriol and condemnation of a kind that seems very personal and intensely felt. Since Mr Bruton had apparently asked Mr Coulston to write the email, one must surely presume that he was fully cogniscent of what it would contain, and indeed, fully endorse the content, attitude and vitriol in it.

      The question that comes to my mind, is who/what person or committee made the decision to ban Hatton’s book, and how that decision was arrived at. Was, for example, the decision made at AFC Committee level, that is by a committee headed by Andrew Hadley, and which has Dinah Annable as its vice-chair, and Julie Almond, the Financial Director on it as well? These three are of course also on the NEC. Perhaps if the decision was made at this level, it was then passed on to the NEC for ratification.

      Alternatively, was the decision made at NEC level by their attention being drawn to the book’s alleged inaccurate content? And, if so, was it a decision made by the full 10 members of the NEC, or only by some of the NEC members? Could it, indeed, have been a decision made by just a very few persons who happen to be on the NEC – such as Bruton and Hadley, with the support of Mr Coulston?

      How the decision was made, and by whom is actually an important question. In obtaining the answer it would be possible to establish whether the decision was made in accordance with proper SNU procedure, and is a decision that those who made it can justify to the membership of the SNU at the AGM, or whether, in reality, this was a decision made by a few and out of spite and a desire for vengeance because those people are angry with Mr Hatton over some other quite unrelated matter, which has had an adverse impact on those members of the NEC.

      It is important to determine who actually made the decision and why, but in the final analysis it is Mr Bruton who must carry the responsibility for it and be answerable to the members about it. He should also ultimately hold all who were involved in the decision accountable to the members. If it can be established that the decision was wrong, or malicious in intent, or an unnecessary over-reaction that is damaging to the reputation and good name of a well-respected veteran of SNU Spiritualism, then perhaps the membership will be of the view that all involved should resign from their positions, and if they do not go willingly, to take what action is necessary to achieve their departure from power.

    • And, Celia, possibly, as it tells us in Eric’s book, it is the same person who was on the NEC when they refused to let Eric withdraw his resignation as President.
      It seems to me, reading through the postings here, that those in Power at the head of the SNU have let the positions they hold go to their heads and not into their hearts and minds.
      Banning a book shows they are of the opinion they can rule by immature Force when surely they should be using mature Reason in all their decisions.
      I’m sure that more than just increased book sales will come out of this for those who have the determination to get things put right in the upper echelons of the Union.

  102. I can’t understand this ban. I bought my copy of Eric Hatton’s book through SNU publications in January. How come they are not selling it now?

    • Just to explain it in a nutshell MJT: Eric Hatton’s book contained accounts of events that differ from the official SNU accounts of events. So the SNU have stopped selling the book because they do not want people to believe Eric’s versions of events, which were allegedly derogatory of the Spiritualists’ National Union.

      The reason you were able to buy a copy in January is because the SNU only discovered the material they disagreed with quite recently.

      If their intention was to suppress Eric’s memoirs, then their actions have had the opposite effect. The gossip that I’m hearing offline is substantial; everyone is talking about it.

  103. Try as much as you like to fight these people in high places they have the power and that’s what they care about. The power that we say the Orthodox churches have over their “flock”. My past fight with the SNU NEC was futile and a waste of my energy leading me to turn to the dark side for a while. My human side wanted to carry on the fight but my Spirit said no. They will reap what they sow you can rest assured. PEOPLE just you carry on buying Eric’s book. Don’t renew your membership and don’t provide funds to them. You can still visit SNU churches (OK pay an extra pound for demo tickets) and support your local church as well as serving Spirit in other areas.
    LOVE AND LIGHT.

  104. Eric Hatton is a wonderful man a truthful man.
    how dare people who know very little cause him this at his time of life,
    remember ‘what goes around ,comes around’
    they all should be ashamed of themselves,
    I have known Eric for many years, he is a gentleman, unlike others i have met and known in the s.n.u.
    The spirit world must be ashamed of the lot of them.
    dolly.

    • The Johnsons

      Replying to Dolly. We were thinking about what the spirit people must be saying about this ban and you are right they must be ashamed of the people who made this decision. Mr Hatton has not got a bad bone in his body and we can’t believe this has been done to him.

  105. Hello,

    I am not a member of the SNU, but looking for some friends who are spiritualists.

    Recently I started being interrested in spiritualism, because of the mediumship of Leslie Fliynt, Maurice Barbanell, and David Thompson. Then I discovered the teachings of Silver Birch, which has had a major impact on my personal beliefs. It is because of these discoveries that I now consider myself to be a spiritualist.

    My problem is that I need fellowship, yet when I look at contemporary spiritualist organizations, I see so much division and politics. Spiritualism seams to be following the same disasterous route as all other major religions. This despite the desires of their greatest teachers.

    Silver Birch teaches the importance of cooperation, love, and respect for all life and individuals. Why is the Spiritualist Movement going astray?

    While it does not look like I will join the SNU, because of the things I have discovered here, and elsewhere, I do believe there are still wonderful people in this movement.

    Perhaps the best thing I have found in this article is the links on some of the commentators names. I now have some new resources to look at.

    I hope the SNU will reconsider it’s ban on Eric Hatton’s book, or at least have the curtesy of explaining why.

    I hope the Spiritualist movment will return to it’s roots in the truth.

    And, I hope I will find friends who are struggling, as I am struggling, to apply the great teachings of the Spirits who so graciously came back to teach us these invaluable truths.

    Sincerely, Radar Mystic

  106. Peter Raggett

    Surely the answer for those contemplating resigning their membership over these issues is to all band together and threaten to resign unless changes are made or certain people step down following the AGM in July. If enough people are involved, meaning the SNU can see its going to hit them hard in the pocket unless their concerns are addressed, they will have to act.

    Why not set up a petition? It could be handled on line and those who are not on line could be helped by those who are.

  107. I would like to think that the class B membership will revolt and bring about a change for the better, making the SNU more responsive to their ordinary members.

    But in reality the membership are frightened, fragmented, divided and easily conquered, which is why the SNU will always be full of nepotism and bureaucracy. :(

  108. One of the burning questions is where do we accept that this is not a systemic problem of what has become an organisation effectively behaving badly on a regular basis, as these comments show, one which is effectively controlled by only 3 elected members? At what point do its members decide its time for a change?

    If suddenly they try to say sorry we got that wrong, are we all prepared to accept this or is it important to generate a major change to the way the NEC and the SNU operate. In my eyes even if the current NEC changed their mind it would only be crocodile tears. Geez folks us NEC! we have been caught out! so we had better do the best we can to convince people that our motives were good.

    However if all of us look back at everything which has appeared in the comments in this article then nothing has been “good” and the behaviour of the NEC accross a wide range of issues has not been that which any Spiritualist could, in their heart, support.

    Reality is, to all of you who are SNU members, it’s time for a very major chamge. Those of us who are independent find it hard to give any credence to the latest incarnation of the SNU and the way it seems to operate.

    What a sad indictment of its recent Committees that the independent Spiritualists regard it with such suspicion. Personally, after the recent disasters, I believe the entire NEC should resign and apologise for their behaviour. That would be the spiritual thing to do.

  109. Where is it going to end with this ban? If they will do this to such a prominent man where will they stop? I never joined the SNU but my sister is a member and when we talked about it she said she was so disilusioned with all what is happening at the moment. They never explain anything just leave people wondering. It can’t be right how they are going.

  110. Radar Mystic, I so identify with you! I sought fellowship as well and probably projected too much hope on the spiritualist churches to model what I thought was reasonable behaviour. In Melbourne, Australia, where I live the local main spiritualist church underwent similar but much worse conflict in 2009/10. In fact a website something like this but not as good was established. It was done under the guise of anonymity and didn’t really help matters.

    I’ve come to see that in reality people are very human with all the ignorance and prejudices that go with human nature. People elected to run the churches are often not qualified or ready to run organisations but they were elected by the membership. And those who disagree with them take the conflicts immediately into the public arena where feelings flare and oppositional positions become even more entrenched. That is partly what happened in Melbourne and it has done quite serious damage to the cause of spiritualism and to individuals involved in the conflicts.

    It seems that a book was withdrawn from sale in the UK – probably a silly and unnecessary action – but looking at this long thread there seem to be many other complaints about the way the SNU is run. I don’t know the answers. In Melbourne, the Church members who wanted change didn’t get together over a long period of time to work out how to accomplish that politically within the organisation. Members just let things run along and in the end, there was a real mess. I believe this was the consequence of long term neglect and inexperience in dealing with organisations in times of change. Everyone is partly responsible, not just committee members. If you don’t look after the garden it can easily get run down.

    There are other healthy affiliates of the same Church organisation in Melbourne and these can be found by travelling around. At the same time , I think it is up to each of us to behave well and with compassion and respect, and do the best we can within our own ambit of influence. I think it was Grace earlier on who said something similar.

    Australian spiritualists have always looked to the UK to be a kind of repository of knowledge and skills in mediumship and in the training of good mediums. As far as I can see, this is still happening. I hope you manage you manage to sort out and deal with the collection of other issues out. Perhaps someone could also summarize the comments in this long thread and close it? It is becoming too confusing now, and the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down method of rating is absurd.

    Identifying some of the real issues and having a principled and organised debate about them might be more productive now.

    • Mike Goodall

      Yes Lightsnaps, this thread is getting very long now, but with respect that was what it was started for; to give Spiritualists; many of which were regulars of Psychic News, somewhere to voice their opinions over recent events, now that the original paper version of PN has disappeared. I enjoy reading the views of others, the majority of which seem to find the actions of the SNU NEC over the last year quite appalling.

      Whether or not to resign from the organisation is a matter for each and every Spiritualist’s own conscience. I could no longer stand being connected to an organisation that is acting like a multi-national company; I thought they were better than that, or at least they should be, as an organisation that is supposed to be Spiritual. The way they treated the staff of PN was truly appalling and then the follow up with the banning of Eric’s book from their book stores was just the last straw for me.

      I understand the view that it is better to fight the NEC from the inside but as has already been mentioned, with the rules as they are, it is very easy for them to brush off any criticism and make out it never existed, and expel anyone who stirs up trouble. It’s a no-win situation for anyone who wants to criticise them and their actions. I don’t necessarily want to see the end of this organisation, but unless it changes its ways and becomes more democratic and open to the members, I can see its slow decline.

  111. On 20th May 2011 Steve said: “As of today’s date there are 161 postings and many of these are by the same people.”

    While not wishing to be rude to Steve, I feel I must challenge this remark. As of today there are 174 postings. In total 78 different people have posted. They represent a wide range of views, and come from SNU members and non-members.

    62 postings have been made by 25 people while 112 postings of the 174 came from the rest – that is the other 55 people. While 53 posters have only made one comment, 95% were upset about what has been done to Eric Hatton, and a significant majority also expressed other concerns about the actions of the current NEC. When one looks objectively at those figures it is not reasonable to claim what Steve has.

    It might also be said that, when the various posts are cut and pasted, minus the extraneous symbols etc, there are currently 69 full pages of comments on this issue. That is a significant amount, and I am sure indicates that there is genuine concern and disquiet about the conduct of the NEC.

    I am also aware that there are many, many, more people who visit this site every day to read what has been posted. Those who watch number not merely in the 100′s but on occasion I am sure a 1000 or more have logged on to read on some days. Not all feel in a position to post. Fear of the consequences of revealing their identity and making their position known is a major factor.

    It would be an error of judgement, however, to think that those who have posted are just a small minority of malcontentents. There is a serious groundswell of discontent about the actions of the NEC and it would be a very sad thing if the SNU did not heed that fact.

  112. First they ensured the silence of the Psychic News, then Duncan Gascoyne mysteriously resigns as Arthur Findlay College Chairman, then they spend half a million buying a washing machine factory on an industrial estate in the Midlands, and now we have Eric Hatton’s memoirs banned! What despicable, ill considered act will the SNU NEC commit next???

  113. “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious-makes you so sick at heart-that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” Mario Savio – Berkeley – December 2, 1964

  114. It was good this morning to see that a rapprochement has been reached about Eric Hatton’s book. That is a great thing. Hopefully, other concerns can be dealt with in a way that reaches a peaceful outcome.
    s

  115. Mike Goodall

    The NEC were obviously aware of this thread and I think they adopted what our American friends call ‘damage limitation’.
    A good outcome, and thanks must go to Sue and the team from Spirit of PN for making this known to us and the Spiritualist community. The power of the press and Internet is not to be dismissed.

  116. What now? The NEC is expert at carpet sweeping. Are the members going to keep the impetus going to create a change in culture at the NEC? The Rules/Bye laws which let the NEC have absolute power must change as at the moment they are not accountable in any way for their actions. Nobody wants to see the SNU or the Spiritualist movement suffer but we must get back to running a spiritual organisation in a transparent manner that reflects our principals. This needs to be addressed before profit.
    The NEC decisions which effect people who serve the SNU must be made in a compassionate and kind way. This is certainly not the case at the moment as there are many horror stories still to come out on how the NEC have treated people and hopefully this will come out at the AGM.
    This is what the forthcoming AGM needs to address.

    • spirit1941, The complaints procedure needs to be changed. The perception is that complaining to the SNU, at any level, is a waste of time because it will hinder your progression within the organisation. The deterrent of becoming an outcast through complaining is compounded by one member of staff at Stansted who ultimately chooses which complaints are pursued.

      • And to the people who keep giving my comments the thumbs down, don’t just rate my comments, explain to me why you think I’m wrong.
        I welcome constructive criticism, do you?

        I’m simply pointing out that Eric Hatton is not the only person who has been victimised for having an opinion about the SNU, and furthermore I’m pointing out that the complaints procedure is not working as it stands.

      • William – it not the complaints procedure that needs to be changed but the Rules and Bye Laws which allow the NEC to have absolute power and over rule all the bye laws and rules for churches. With this power they have the means to close churches (a drastic step with affects so many people) take decisions, which can in some cases destroy people’s lives and generally act in a way not appropriate to a spiritual organisation. I am not saying all their actions are incorrect but the point is they have this power. Why is there no Class B representative on the NEC selected by the members? Why are the ordinary members of the NEC chosen by the existing NEC committee? Is this not a club? It also means that any complaints can be easily over ruled by this absolute power. I am not bashing the SNU but simply saying that if you give people power then some will abuse it and slowly develop a culture of them and us.
        There is no mechanism for making the NEC accountable for inappropriate actions. Only a change in the Bye Laws and Rules will facilitate this. At the moment the NEC has become the Vatican of Spiritualism.

  117. melvyn smith

    I first met eric at stanstead on a jvc week and whereas i’m not quick to pass judgement I must say that Eric is the kindest, most lovable advocate of spiritualism that you could ever wish to meet. When I met him he had recently lost his lovely wife and though deeply hurt and saddened his warmth and kindness was obvious to all.It is a disgrace to ban his book without giving any reference as to why.The powers that be should hang their heads in shame.It makes me feel like tearing up my membeship card.

  118. I don’t need the SNU to be a Spiritualist. I’ve been thinking about this scandal all week, and I’ve decided that I shall be donating the money I would have spent with them to UNICEF.

    I hereby wash my hands of the SNU.

  119. Mike Goodall

    I did that a too William; my conscience just wouldn’t allow me to be associated with an organisation that could treat people so badly, and in such a non-spiritual way.
    Over the last year they have really shown their true colour with actions that would be more appropriate being taken by a multi-national company rather than a spiritual organisation.

  120. OYAY OYAY…..Eric’s book is book on the shelf.. s.n.u. have seen the LIGHT.. I was told at a church meeting over last weekend that the s.n.u. have done a U-TURN.. so for ALL OF US WITH THE small voice.. together can make a MIGHTY ROAR !!! THANK YOU ALL FOR JUSTICE…. GOD BLESS…

  121. One final piece of information for you:

    A message came through from Gordon Higginson during a private home circle last week. It’s not totally verbatim, but it goes like this:

    How do we expect outsiders to embrace Spiritualism, when we can’t embrace our fellow Spiritualists?
    Let us move forward together, putting aside our personal conflicts, because Spiritualism needs us all to work as one. Make peace and open your minds to those you have quarrelled with.
    Let our message reach into the world, let the true mediums do their work unhindered, for they are the life blood of Spiritualism. Make peace with your enemy today!

  122. Shame on them.

  123. Hank George

    My name is Hank and I’m from Milwaukee. I am considering joining the local spiritualist community. Having been involved in politics a good bit, both public and corporate, I must say after reading what happened with the banning of a book by your elder statesman and the criteria used to make the decision I can only conclude that you are infected with a style of leadership which needs to – forgive the term – be exorcised. All I have read about the nature and purpose of your community collides with the actions taken by your leadership. You need a charismatic inspiring leader who is open to all ideas and respectful of all points of view. If I proceed to connect with the local group and encounter a similar mentality, it will be short relationship. My particular political views will be anathema to some and I intend to leave them at the door, so to speak. I would hope this is normative behavior in a spiritualist community.

  124. Sam, I am very pleased to hear that Gordon Higginson has now changed his views now he is no longer on Earth. Many years ago when Mr. Higginson was the president of the SNU I was invited by a group who had booked the Arthur Findlay College for a few days to give a lecture. My mother named me after Findlay so I was very excited about this. However, just before I took to the platform Mr. Higginson stood up and announced to my audience:

    “Ever since Michael Roll here has been writing his scientific nonsense in Psychic News I refuse to read it.”

    I replied that I was very surprised to here this from the president of the SNU because as I entered the college I saw the notice that said: “This college is dedicated to scientific advancement.”

    Within a few days the entrance notice was taken down and rewritten!

    Michael Findlay Roll

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