|According to Fundamentalist teaching, if you don't respond well to suggestion,|
then you won't have a "Salvation" experience.
And if you don't have a "Salvation" experience,
then no matter what ELSE you do, you won't get into Heaven!
Carrollton, Georgia, is a small to medium-sized city located approximately fifty-five miles west of Atlanta. It is regarded by both students and townspeople as being part of the "Bible belt," and most (though certainly not all) of the churches in the area have a Fundamentalist Christian orientation. Fundamentalists take quite literally the scriptural statement, "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2: 8-9). The "salvation sermon" first leads the prospective convert to feel the tremendous burden of guilt which one bears for one's past misdeeds and failure to repent; and this is followed by a great wave of joy as the convert feels his or her sins being "washed away" and is "born again" as a "new creature in Christ."
This salvation experience, however, is not considered to be voluntarily attainable, since it is the result of "grace," or the unmerited favor of God. Should an individual seek to join a particular Fundamentalist congregation merely because one is convinced of the truth of Christian teachings, many members would be inclined to doubt that he or she is truly a member of the "elect of God" and, not being able to have such an experience, is probably fore-ordained to burn in Hell regardless of what kind of life one may be leading.
From a scientific point of view, it may be postulated that the degree to which an individual is able to have a salvation experience such as the one described is a function of the degree to which that person is suggestible, and that there is therefore a direct relationship between the ability to be "saved" and the ability to be hypnotized. After giving a questionnaire to high and low responders on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (Shor & Orne, 1962) concerning the nature of their personal religious experiences, De Jarnette and I (Gibbons & De Jarnette, 1972) found that there was no significant relationship between hypnotic susceptibility and a previous change in denominational preference, or between susceptibility and the perceived religiousness of one's father. However, the low-susceptible subjects were less likely to perceive their mother as being moderately religious or deeply religious. Comparing high- and low-susceptible "saved" Protestants with high- and low-susceptible "unsaved" Protestants, the "saved" group contained significantly more subjects who were highly susceptible to hypnosis. In follow-up interviews, the reasons for the differences between high and low-suggestible subjects became glaringly apparent. The high susceptibles said things like, "I began to feel a warm tingling glow inside of me. The next thing I knew, I was down in front of the altar, and I was crying," or, "It was like the Hand of God came down and touched me. I felt so happy. I never felt joy like I felt it that day." But when the few low-susceptibles who indicated that they had been "saved" were asked about their experience, they said things like, "I had been going to that church for about six months, mainly because my girl friend went there, but I never 'went forward.' Then one day the preacher accepted all those who had accepted the Lord to put up our hands, and we both put our hands up and that was it."
If relatively enduring changes in personality and behavior can result from the suggestions contained in a "salvation sermon," then people who respond well to suggestion should also be able to experience such changes in response to strongly worded suggestions in therapeutic settings. After taking my hypnosis clients "down" into hypnosis and then :up" into hyperempiria (Gibbons & Lynn, 2010) and dissolving them into the infinite love of the Multiverse, the universe of all possible universes (Gibbons & Woods, 2016), fundamental changes in deep-seated beliefs concerning the self, the world, and the future which are the professed aim of cognitive psychology (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979) can sometimes occur in a single session, occasionally accompanied by tears of joy, as was the case with a high school senior whom I hypnotized a few days ago. after taking her in hypnosis to the multiverse, I told her with considerable elaboration that she was dissolving into the infinite love of the multiverse itself When she emerged from hypnosis, she expressed surprise that she found herself wiping tears from her eyes. The next time I saw her, she told me that she wanted to pursue a college degree in hypnosis; and after I told her that no such program existed and we had discussed the situation she decided to major in social work instead.
In summary, people who respond well to suggestion and are ready for a meaningful life change which is in accordance with their preexisting beliefs and values may find that either a salvation sermon or a hypnotic trip to the Multiverse can provide the catalyst for such a transformational change to take place.
Gibbons, D. E. & De Jarnette, J. (1972). Hypnotic susceptibility and religious experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 11I2), pp. 152-156.
Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2010). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. In Ruhe, J. W.,
Lynn, S. J., & Kirsch, I. (Eds.) Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Assn.
Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016). Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse.. Amazon Books
Shor, R. E. & Orne, E. C. (1962) Harvard group scale of hypnotic susceptibility, Form A. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.