Thursday, January 8, 2009

Book Review: Glimpses Of The Devil

Glimpses Of The Devil

By M. Scott Peck, M.D.

ISNB 0-o7432-5467-8

It is not often that I totally pan a book but after reading Glimpses Of The Devil, I’m somewhat speechless. This book is written by a best selling author and renowned psychiatrist and yet, I just cannot agree with many of this man’s assumptions.

First of all, Dr. Peck takes it upon himself to personally exorcise demons from people. One of them is a woman named Jersey, 27, who had been going through a deep depression. She had two young daughters and her husband was obviously, according to Dr. Peck was extremely abusive. Well, it seems she lost interest in taking care of herself, her children or her home. No big surprise there. Any woman who is being abused and is too afraid to leave usually crawls in a corner somewhere and tries not to be noticed for fear of retribution. Been there, done that!

To soothe her soul, Jersey begins attending a spiritualist center where she learns about Edgar Cayce, the famous seer and channeler. If you are familiar with him, you know that his readings were often of a medical nature and he helped thousands of people during his lifetime. She also learned about energy – the fact that it never just disappears but changes form.

Now Dr. Peck is a devout Christian, so anything esoteric or spiritual in nature is simply not a part of his mindset. In fact, he saw Jersey’s dabbling in spiritual matters as a basis for his diagnosis of demon possession.

“I suspect that was the moment when your possession began,” he told. “The moment when you chose to believe a lie.”

Well, just slap me sideways! If that were true, there would be quite literally thousands upon thousands of possessed people out there. Anyway, back to the book.

Dr. Peck saw Jersey’s case as a “struggle against darkness and evil.” During the exorcism several unrelated characters spoke through her but always in her voice. I find this strange. Generally, when another spirit is present, the voice will be very different. In fact, I have experienced this myself. Also, Dr. Peck gave each character a name. For instance, if the spirit seemed confused, he called it the demon of confusion. He noted that a demon of confusion attempts to take away “the mystery” and that humans were “not meant to have all the answers.
When it appeared that the first round of sessions over a couple of days didn’t change Jersey enough and she had shown no signs of humility, Dr. Peck decided to take another stab at it. After beating down every theory or idea that Jersey might have had, he deemed the exorcism a success. Jersey, however, felt violated and I don’t blame her. As one reads on, it is also learned that Dr. Peck even wonders himself if the so-called exorcism wasn’t just a means of brainwashing or deprogramming her.

It is quite possible that Jersey was possessed by demons. It can happen. However, the cause of Jersey’s unstable mental condition more likely stemmed from the abuse of her husband coupled with sexual abuse years earlier by her father and unfortunately, her husband and mother were thrilled when Jersey resumed her role as wife and mother. I say unfortunately, because it seems she is doomed to have mental problems in such an environment and according to Dr. Peck, she still continues to hear voices. Too bad one of them wouldn’t tell her to take her children and get out!

Sorry, Dr. Peck. I am also a Christian but I find your reasoning very flawed. I fear that you are only attempting to push your views on others and if they do not agree with you, then they must be mentally ill.

M. Scott Peck is also the author of The Road Less Traveled (1978), People of the Lie (1982), The Different Drum (1987), Further Along The Road Less Traveled (1993) and Denial of the Soul (1999).

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