Spiritual Baptist Mourning

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The Spiritual Baptist religion is a religion that is a combination of elements of the African and Christian religions in which most of the customs and practiced doctrine are taken from the King James Version of the Bible. Spiritual Baptists believe their religion was derived from John the Baptist. This religion is a system of beliefs and practices e.g. baptism, pilgrimages, thanksgiving and mourning. Some of the items used within this religion include the shepherd rod, cross, tariya, lothar, water, calabash, flowers, candles and candle sticks, incense and bell. It also involves being filled with the spirit, shouting, speaking in unknown tongues, ringing of bells, and providing spiritual assistance to those in need (Peza, 1999).

To the Spiritual Baptist, mourning is held in high regard. This ritual is considered an important aspect of communicating with God, developing the soul, strengthening the spirit and achieving spiritual knowledge, wisdom and understanding while receiving spiritual gifts (Peza, 1999, 64). The spiritual gifts include positions within the church such as spiritual mother, father or leader, pointer of souls, prover, captain or teacher, and others (Peza, 1999, 64). It is characterized by fasting, meditating, entering into spiritual travels, and refraining one’s self of the freedom to move about, to speak, to eat, drink, bathe or any other comforts, and the acceptance of the naked earth for a bed, and a stone for pillow (Peza, 1999, 73). During the mourning period, the pilgrim receives spiritual instructions through visions and dreams. It lasts from Sunday to Sunday and usually takes place in a special mourner room on the church compound (Laitinen, 2002, 113).

A Baptist may receive a vision to go down on the ground to mourn (higher heights, deeper depth) and would notify the mother or leader of the church of their intentions. It may be in a dream during prayer and meditating or under directions from the pointer of the church. The...
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