International Federation of Spiritualists
International Federation of Spiritualists(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Headquartered at Maison des Spirites, 8 rue Copernic, Paris, France, the International Federation of Spiritualists (ISF, also known as International Spiritualist Federation) was founded by Jean Meyer. Meyer was a French industrialist and enthusiastic follower of the teachings of Allen Kardec. He also founded the institut Métapsychique International. E. W. Oaten, former editor of Two Worlds magazine, was the first President of the ISF. Honorary Presidents have included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1925–1930) and Lady Doyle (1931–1940). The Federation grew rapidly with affiliated associations in Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Today there are both individual and group members of the Federation in thirty-five countries.
According to Kay Rumens, Members’ Secretary in London, England, “We are the Spearhead uniting Organizations and Individuals in many lands all seeking Spiritual knowledge.” One of the members is the National Spiritualist Association of Churches in America, which has been a member for more than fifty years. The basic principles of International Spiritualism are defined in the Constitution of the ISF as, “Spiritualism is founded on the facts of (a) personal survival of bodily death, and (b) communion between this world and the Spirit world.”
World Spiritualist Conferences were held in Barcelona (1888), Paris (1889) and Liverpool (1901). Several attempts to form an international federation were made and almost succeeded when they were interrupted by the 1914–1918 war. The war led to the rapid development of Spiritualism in many parts of the world and this in turn provided further incentive to concentrate forces under a single banner, which was finally successful in 1923 at Liège, Belgium. Subsequent Congresses were held in Paris, London, The Hague, Barcelona and Glasgow until World War II stopped all international work. In 1947, a new start was made and in July of that year a special conference was held in Bournemouth, England, when a small number of delegates from Great Britain, France, South Africa, Canada and Sweden attended at the invitation of the Spiritualists’ National Union of Great Britain. All the records of the original organization had been lost from the Paris headquarters of the ISF due to the war, and a complete reorganization was necessary. The enthusiasm for international unity was demonstrated by the fact that no fewer than forty-two nations were represented at the first post-war Congress, held in London the following year. Congresses have been held in many countries since 1948 including Sweden, France, Denmark, Scotland, England, Holland, Spain, and the United States.