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Swedenborg: Mystical Cowboy

Country Available: Canada, USA

The Swedenborgians in Canada had two main beginnings: in Western Canada as a split from the German Mennonite immigrants from Russia during the 1874-1880 treks; and in Ontario when a German book-binder named Mr. Enslin who settled in Berlin, Ontario in 1833 just happened to read Swedenborg's Apocalypse Revealed.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was an accomplished scientist, engineer, and philosopher before his "spiritual eyes" were opened in 1744.

Was he a mystic or a cowboy of spiritualism?

As a hotbed of new thought, Swedenborg's writings appealed to the thinkers of the time who were dissatisfied with the "Old Churches." It especially appealed to those brought up in rigid, literal-based religions such as Mennonites and Lutherans. Mysticism, spiritualism, and a search for ancient truth were not uncommon topics during this period of time; and so those seeking truth would read Swedenborg's writings.

They wanted to know what the inconsistencies and stories of the Bible really meant, as they did not believe the Bible could be read as a literal history. And there were questions about the Trinity, hell, the source of evil, life after death.

This is a film that takes a look at the influence of Swedenborgian thought in Canada through a third generation reader, Michael Hamm, grandson of one of the founders of the movement in Western Canada. We're going to look at the movement across Canada and examine the thoughts of this mystical cowboy.

View a printer friendly version of this page...Copyright Date: 2005 Length: 48 minutes School Audience:
  • Grades 10-12
  • Post-Secondary
  • Subjects:
  • Religous Studies
  • Candian History
  • Formats Available:
  • DVD