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Book Review of The Castaways, 2015

Newborn baby boy in bed. New born child playing on a white blanket. Children sleep. Bedding for kids. Infant napping in bed. Healthy little kid shortly after birth. Clothing for kids.

The_Castaways_Cover_for_KindleAfter the Roe vs Wade court ruling on January 22, 1973, many believed the abortion debate to be categorically over. However the pro-life movement has since been steadily picking up steam. With the cultural and political trial of the national abortion giant Planned Parenthood, 2015 was a landmark year for the movement, thus suggesting that the debate is still very much alive.

Up to this point, many pro-lifers have rallied around scientifically measurable outcomes. For example when the Center for Medical Progress exposed its slew of evidence that Planned Parenthood centers all around the country were guilty of trafficking “fetal tissue” and organs of pre-born human babies, support for the movement skyrocketed. When the courts ruled in favor of Laci Peterson and her pre-born son Connor, convicting Mark Peterson on two counts of murder, it was a major victory for pre-born personhood that further ignited the collective pro-life effort. Advancements in ultrasound technology and 3-D imaging have given the public additional scientific proof of pre-born personhood by highlighting the developmental stages of life within the womb. This and many other examples of scientifically backed evidence have propelled the pro-life movement forward.

Although, scientifically based arguments have been key in bolstering the pro-life movement and have breathed new life into the debate since 1973, is it possible there is more evidence to support the sanctity of human life that hasn’t been fully tapped into yet? I would like to suggest that indeed there is. There is a world of “spiritual evidence”, a wellspring of additional reinforcements which have yet to be openly talked about. Moreover, once this evidence is shared and culturally accepted, I believe the pro-life movement will progress even further.

I first met one of the leading researchers of “spiritual evidence”, author Sarah Hinze, when she reached out to me and my organization Big Ocean. We had a lovely discussion and I soon felt a strong connection to her because we both spoke the same “spiritual language.” We have since worked together and will both be traveling to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women with our Big Ocean delegation this March to speak to an international audience on these very issues.

I had the privilege and honor of interviewing Sarah regarding her beautiful book, The Castaways: Real-Life Accounts of Aborted Souls (2015). In it she accounts her own personal journey after she was inspired to ask the question, “What happens to the spirits and bodies of the aborted?” From a young age, Sarah recalls being spiritually guided to fulfill a mission of protecting the most innocent and vulnerable in our society.  Her hope for others in reading her book is that people can become more aware that their actions and choices in this life have a direct impact on the future of many generations of spiritual beings who are waiting for their turn to experience physical lives of their own. As Sarah stated, “The spirits not born yet have a story to share, and they are pressing us at this moment in time to listen, and then be their voice.”

Sarah Hinze

Sarah has thus been inspired to gather testimonies from hundreds of women throughout the world who have had personal experiences with the spirits of their aborted babies or who had themselves been nearly aborted. As she did so, she quickly became aware just how many women from all walks of life and from all quarters of the globe had strong feelings and personal experiences that testified of their connection to the spiritual. When Sarah collected her data, all spiritual experiences, dreams, impressions, feelings, emotions and intuitions were valued. She realized that many women across the board yearned to speak of their spiritual experiences, and that their spirituality was an authentic and defining aspect of their identities. For some, it had been the first time they had openly shared their experiences and doing so was cathartic and empowering for them.

The outcome of these hundreds of interviews and case studies is they have become a new kind of evidence, spiritual proof of the beautiful realities of the eternal nature of our spirits, and the connection between our actions on earth and their effects beyond this life.

In recent months, several ardent pro-choice feminists have literally “come out of the closet” in mourning due to their miscarriages and/or inability to conceive They have questioned why they have felt a lack of support from their traditional feminist philosophy. Many have felt disavowed from their very real and powerful feelings, impressions, and spiritual experiences. They have felt like philosophical castaways in a society that doesn’t give weight to women’s spiritual inclinations and experiences. This is very interesting to the abortion debate and one of the many reasons I believe Sarah’s work is of the upmost importance. For starters, it affirms women’s spiritual and intuitive capacities. It is a powerful affirmation of the strong spiritual connection between mother and child. Truly, if a pre-born child is just a clump of cells, how is it that so many women feel such a sense of loss when they are no longer pregnant, or cannot get pregnant? Could it be there is something true in our feelings and intuitions? What would happen if more and more women (and men) were to openly share their spiritual experiences?

The work of Sarah Hinze affirms and provides a home for such grief as related to abortion and or the loss of our pre-born children. Her research is critical for another reason as well. Too often the voice of international women within their cultural-spiritual frameworks go largely ignored because their experiences don’t fit into the current science-entrenched culture. For many ethnically diverse populations throughout the world, speaking in spiritual terms is a part of their every day. Knowledge of life beyond the mortal experience is deeply embedded into the language and mode of acceptable expression. As one who was born in another country that openly discusses God, dreams, and spiritual impressions in daily public life, I very much appreciate the space Sarah Hinze has created for such language and discussion. In fact this is one of the main goals and purposes of Big Ocean, and why Sarah and I were so quick to connect.

One of my favorite stories Sarah shares in The Castaways is the story of the African tribal tradition, when a child is yet still growing in the womb prior to birth, it is the duty and pleasure of the mother to learn her child’s song. They believe that each individual pre-born child is in communication with her mother by teaching her his/her song. This song is then taught to the rest of the village community. When the child passes from this life, the entire village sings their song in a farewell ritual. When I first read this excerpt from Sarah’s book, I wept with love at the sacred beauty and reverence for life displayed by this culture. I also wept in rejoicing for a community that embraced this very real and important aspect of the female identity which gave space for women, followed by her community, to fully celebrate the birth of another human life and to likewise mourn the loss of that life. Sarah’s work has sought to value and give voice to such cultural traditions, and this is something tremulously noteworthy in a society that is increasingly compartmentalizing women’s spiritual identities. Other accounts can be found here.

The prolife movement has gained many victories since 1973, yet there is still much ground to cover if we are to create the kinds of cultural changes that will inspire the end of abortion once and for all. I believe the work of Sarah Hinze, including her book The Castaways, is a powerful tool in creating a cultural awareness and sensitivity that can inspire this end. What would happen if more and more women and men began openly discussing and sharing their heartfelt experiences related to their children and families from a spiritual perspective? The hundreds and thousands of personal experiences and testimonies could not be ignored, nor contained. Speaking out within this context would give room for new discussions, which would enable a pivotal move towards a culture that values and validates life from a spiritual perspective.

Twins, 21 Months Apart

My wife and I got married late in life. At the time of our marriage, I was 32 years old and she was 28. I said that if I had searched for 30 years, I couldn’t have found a better wife for me. Terri prayed that after we got married, we would have kids right away. I prayed that we would wait a couple of years before having our first kid. Since our first birth was nine months and four days after we got married, we can tell who has a better connection Above.

As with most fathers to be, I was very concerned for my wife’s welfare during the pregnancy. Being new to the role of husband and father, I was worried about how things progressed. I felt that things were tougher on my wife than normal for a pregnancy, and that also gave me feelings of concern, and even guilt, because my wife was going through this. Morning sickness, aches and pains, headaches, muscle spasms, all showed me my wife was going through a major trauma, and there was nothing I could do to alleviate her suffering.

A few weeks after her initial diagnosis of being pregnant, our obstetrician announced to us that he believed that my wife was carrying twins and that was why the pregnancy was so hard for her. He promptly scheduled an ultrasound for her, and the conclusion was that indeed, she had twins. What a way to start our marriage out with a bang. My concern for her and my new family’s welfare greatly increased.

Then, her sufferings magnified. Her illness increased so much the previous suffering she had gone through was as nothing in comparison. I prayed night and day that Heavenly Father would protect her. Four months into our marriage I was greatly concerned that I was about to lose my wife. The doctors informed us that being sick during pregnancy was normal, but this was far beyond normal in my opinion. I spent many restless and virtually sleepless nights worrying about her, frustrated that I could do nothing to help her.

One night, about thirty minutes after going to bed, my wife was lying beside me sound asleep. I was trying to be as still as I could so as not to disturb her because she had had an extremely difficult day, and I was relieved at the temporary peace she was having while sleeping. I was, and still always am, impressed at how peaceful, childlike and angelic my wife appears while she sleeps. While contemplating this fact, I noticed that the darkness of our room diminished, and it appeared as if a light was on in the hallway, gradually increasing in illumination.

I sat up in bed, somewhat alarmed, trying to see what was happening. The light was an intense blue white, but not painful to my night-adapted eyes. Then the source of light became apparent. A youth, whose age I would put at about 20 years and quite handsome in appearance, walked gracefully into the room. The light radiated from him and filled the room brighter than in daylight, but, unlike looking into a bright light, I was able to see the youth in detail without hurting my eyes.

The youth looked softly upon my sleeping wife. Then he spoke to me.

“Dad, I have come here to tell you that my sister and I have talked together and we decided that now is not the time for both of us to come. We have decided that my sister is to come first, and I will come along after a while, when the time is right.” He smiled at me after saying this, and suddenly I felt that everything would be fine. He looked slowly around the room, then looked again at me, still with that same smile on his face, which touched my heart. Tears flowed from my eyes.

Gradually the light diminished. I couldn’t say that the youth walked away, nor could I say that he suddenly disappeared, but as the light went away, he was no longer there. I looked again at my wife, still sleeping peacefully beside me, and my heart was filled with love. Once again, I noticed the light was not from an ordinary source, because after the light was gone I had no after image still retained on my retinas. I was able to see quite well in the once again darkened room. The only after image was burned in my heart and mind, not in my eyes.

I woke my wife up and we discussed what I had seen, and what it meant for us.

A few days after this, my wife was once again having an ultra-sound image taken of the developing fetuses. After this session, the doctor reluctantly had to inform my wife that one of the fetuses within her womb was no longer viable. The other one, he said, was apparently quite healthy, and he did not feel that one was in danger. Through the rest of the pregnancy, my wife was still quite ill, her medical problems were severe, but never as bad as before the visitation.

At the time of birth, the child was born by cesarean section. The doctor helped the baby out, offered his hearty congratulations, and while holding the baby, announced that we had a beautiful redheaded baby boy! I knew instantly that was not right, and also my wife, with her restrictions and anesthetics, tried to rise to see if this was true. But the nurse stepped right in. She said, “Uh, Doctor, I think that you should look again!” He did, and said, “Oops, I was wrong! It is a beautiful, healthy redheaded baby girl!” My wife smiled and relaxed, and I accompanied my new daughter to the nursery.

Life continued on. My wife’s health returned to normal after the pregnancy, and I was astounded at my beautiful little girl. Neither my wife nor myself have red hair. But our daughter was a welcome delight into our family. She belonged there, and even those nights that I was walking the floor with her, humming softly to her, I was filled with love for this little treasure.

About a year later, my wife came to me with a question. What would I think about having a second child? I told her that I would be concerned again for her health, but if God thought it was time, then I would not fight it. I said again, let’s not rush it, but when the time is right, then we could go ahead and have another child.

Once again, my wife was far more in tune than I. Twenty-one months after the birth of our first child, we were in the hospital having another C-section. We had a beautiful redheaded baby boy! And in the nursery, it was as if the youth was talking to me again. The time was indeed right. The baby looked at me and smiled. My heart melted, and I remembered that sweet smile I had seen one night, nearly two years before.

Today is nearly nine years since my boy was born. He and his sister are beautiful, redheaded children, unlike their parents whose hair is now quite tinged with gray. The two of them are almost identical in appearance. They play well together, and quite often they seem to instantly know what the other is thinking. Their actions, voices, and appearance are nearly identical. Many people continue to ask us if they are twins.

–Don B.

from Songs of the Morning Stars, by Sarah Hinze



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