Let us briefly review the influence of Dr. Mesmer and the different methods he used in his medical therapy. First, he started by passing magnets across the bodies of his patients. He would make large tubs and fill them with chemicals to produce an electrical charge, placed on the tubs were iron knobs. People would stand around the tubs holding on to the iron knobs in order to receive magnetic therapy. His treatments progressed to simply passing of hands over the body.
Eventually, he used only the mind to accomplish the desired effect. The hypnotic state could be so deep that surgical procedures could be performed during the trance. To accomplish this involved not only an expert mesmerist, but also a willing, submissive person. A British surgeon, James Esdaile (1805–1859), practiced in India and used the trance state for anesthesia during surgery. He performed 261 painless operations with mesmerism as the only anesthetic. When he returned to Scotland, he found that mesmerism used as an anesthetic did not work well there.
The inducement of the hypnotic state by suggestion was used in many ways by the various practitioners who became skilled in its use. The British Medical Society, in 1893, concluded that hypnosis was a true science even though they were not able to perfectly explain it. There could be no doubt that it was much more than a sham or fake act. Great influence and results did indeed occur with its use and it appeared as though its action was only positive with little to no adverse side effects.
The American Medical Association was much slower in embracing this form of treatment. Physicians at large were not fully convinced of its value, though there was no denying that it had great power to affect a person. There was no real lasting effect on disease. It seemed to be more related to the treatment of the mind and so has not been widely used by all physicians. Hypnosis was given official sanction by the American Medical Association in 1958.
We are warned that it will be in the area of science that Satan will exert such deceptive practices in the last days. In the days of Paul and Timothy, there also existed false sciences and Paul gives us warnings concerning them:
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. (I Timothy 6:20).
Dr. Franz Joseph Gall (1757-1828) was an anatomy instructor. He was the first to show that different parts of the brain had specific functions. He carried this too far, however, and felt that the character and personality could be recognized by observing the bumps and ridges on the skull. This idea he carried even further, suggesting that the mind, character, and personality could be altered by massage to the head, or pressure applied to specific areas of the skull. This concept was named phrenology.
Phrenology was a pseudo-science and was adopted by those practicing mesmerism and other occult therapies. The spiritualist movement was attracted to phrenology and mesmerism. E.G. White had much to say concerning the practice.
Satan uses these very things to destroy virtue and lay the foundation for spiritualism.
The sciences of phrenology, psychology and mesmerism have been the channel through which Satan has come more directly to this generation, and wrought with that power which was to characterize his work near the close of probation.
In a private letter to someone in 1901, Ellen White made it clear that the false sciences of phrenology and mesmerism (hypnotism) are Satan’s own science. (Letter 130, 1901). 2 SM 349-50)
A perilous Science: We do not ask you to place yourself under the control of any man’s mind. The mind cure is the most awful science which has ever been advocated. Every wicked being can use it in carrying through his own evil designs. We have no business with any such science. We should be afraid of it. Never should the first principles of it be brought into any institution. (Written in 1901) (Emphasis added)
The theory of mind controlling mind was originated by Satan to introduce himself as the chief worker, to put human philosophy where divine philosophy should be. Of all the errors that are finding acceptance among professedly Christian people, none is a more dangerous deception, none more certain to separate man from God, than is this. Innocent though it may appear, if exercised upon patients, it will tend to their destruction, not to their restoration. It opens a door through which Satan will enter to take possession both of the mind that is given up to be controlled by another and of the mind that controls.
The business world is offered commercial mind-training courses by a variety of teachers. Some of these courses teach hypnotism even though the title of the course will not suggest so. Course titles such as Conditioning, Programming, Brain-wave Training, Alpha Training, etc., may actually be hypnosis. There can be consequential adverse effects to the student taking part in such a course. Elmer and Alyce Green (researchers in psychology), in their book, Beyond Biofeedback, state that thousands of students in these courses will sooner or later experience serious mental changes such as neurosis or even psychosis. They warn that the greatest danger, however, is obtaining psychic advisers who are assistants in the course. The Greens warn that there is the possibility of mediumistic “possession” via the influence of the advisers.