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Visions of angels and protection during WW1

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Principled, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

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    A hundred years ago today, on the 23rd August 1914, the phenomenon that has been called the "Angels of Mons" appeared on the battlefields of Mons.

    What was called “The Great War” had begun less than three weeks earlier, on the 4th of August and the lightly-armed British Expeditionary Force were sent to France. Towards the end of August, they were trapped near the Belgian town of Mons, by a superior force of the German Army, three times their size. The newspapers at home had already prepared their headlines for the news of certain defeat. There were no reserves, the troops were overwhelmed and the situation appeared utterly hopeless.

    A National Day of Prayer was called back at home. Churches and other holy places were open all day and there was a steady stream of visitors praying for deliverance. On August 23rd 1914, according to many accounts given by soldiers and officers on both sides, the Germans just laid down their arms and fled, their horses reared up and wouldn't go further after seeing white horses with white soldiers advancing towards them, (there are cases like that in the Bible - surely the best "warfare"!)

    French soldiers reported seeing Joan of Arc, the Irish saw St Michael, others saw a bright shining light with luminous beings, a cross in the sky, a shining cloud in the form of an angel and a voice. The phenomenon caused a lull in the fighting and the German army to retreat in disorder, thus allowing the British and their allies time to escape, re-group and dig trenches. This was widely reported in the newspapers of the day and became known as the Angels of Mons. Most of these accounts seem to have been given to nurses in hospitals, or later to family members, the men explaining that they did not want to make official reports, for fear of being thought insane and shot.

    I came across this video of outstandingly beautiful music by the composer Patrick Hawes, to commemorate the Angels of Mons and there's a little bit with the daughter of a soldier who saw one of the manifestations.

    Today, in our secular and cynical world, these accounts have largely been left out of the history books, but even back then, people were divided in their opinions, some saying that this phenomena could be explained by extreme fatigue, hallucinations, mass hysteria and the publication (after the first sightings) of a work of fiction or as deliberate propaganda to boost the morale of the troops; but that doesn't explain how a poorly armed force stopped a far superior, better armed and three times larger army, or the moral and spiritual transformation and the new courage and inspiration to face the years ahead that many of the men experienced as a result of seeing the angels.

    Here are some fairly recent observations:

    "An employee of the author's grandfather was totally convinced that he had seen the angel; and although before the war he was known as a man over-fond of hard-drink, after Mons he became not only teetotal but a pillar of the community, apparently for no other reason that what he claimed to have experienced on the retreat." (Philip J Haythornthwaite, The World War One Source Book 1992)

    Even the Western Front Association admit on their website: “If the self-professed numbers of eyewitnesses are to be believed - and even recently centenarian ex-Great War soldiers were seen on television still telling their stories of personally seeing the Angel of Mons - these events certainly happened…” http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/great-war-on-land/general-interest/71-angel-mons.html (they go on to explain that it was probably mass hysteria)

    I also came across a discussion forum where this was the topic a few years ago. The writer had done hours of research in the Imperial War Museum to help a friend with his book on the angels, but also: "... because I had a personal interest in the story. My Uncle Billy was in the Royal Munster Fusiliers and had actually witnessed the angelic phenomenon!"

    ...I can not say without a doubt that angels appeared that day....I wasn't there. However, I heard the eye-witness account of my Uncle Billy, and I can say without a doubt that he believed absolutely that he saw Saint Michael the Archangel there at Mons, and that St Michael had everything to do with their survival." From: Irish soldiers and the Angel of Mons http://www.celticwomanforum.com/index.php?topic=15324.0;wap2

    I've just come back in because the video led me to another titled "Spirits of War: War Angels of Mons" and one of the comments below it was this, from a lady called Dianne:

    "I believe 'The Angels of Mons' to be a true event. Some 28 years ago I worked very briefly in an old peoples home for three weeks, aged 21.
    During this time I helped care for a lovely dear gentleman, around 80 years old. On my last shift I went to say goodbye to him. He took hold of my hand and looked at me with such an intensity and told me of his story of The Angels of Mons, a story which I have never forgot.
    'I was there and I saw them. They came down and saved us. Don't ever let anyone tell you it didn't happen because I saw them they saved us. Don't you forget this story and you tell them I saw them, they saved us.'
    He was so intense and genuinely pleading, that I should remember this story. I know he was telling the truth."

    This has inspired me to research the many dozens of testimonies in the Christian Science periodicals of World War 1, containing remarkable experiences of protection through prayer (didn't find any specific Angels of Mons ones though.) Several men lived moment by moment with the 91st Psalm and found protection, not only for themselves, but everyone around them. Today, when so many people around the world are also facing great danger and may be overtaken by a sense of fear and hopelessness, it is good to be reminded that there is an answer and that answer comes through turning to God in prayer.

    Love and peace,

    Judy
     
    #1 Principled, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2014
  2. scommstech

    scommstech Active Member

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    I was on You Tube a couple of days ago, reading an article when something in the comments caught my eye. Some one had added their comments and also told of an American company, regiment or such called the 91st, who saw action in France during WW I. They got this name because their commanding officer got them to read the 91st Psalm daily. The writer went on to talk of an engagement where other American troops had losses but this 91st lot had non.
    I have no idea if this is true but it certainly made me think.
     
  3. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

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    Hi Scomm, that's very interesting! It certainly COULD be true, but in all the research I've done over the past few weeks regarding WW1, it seems that anything that can't be explained through material logic gets excluded by the historians. All I've found on this account is here:

     
  4. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

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    I've so far come across 10 testimonies from WW1 where the soldiers mention the 91st Psalm - the Psalm of Protection.

    Thought you might like to read these excerpts - and I've included the links to the full testimonies. (Don't forget they were written 100 years ago.)

     
  5. scommstech

    scommstech Active Member

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    Hi Principle

    May be it was a British regiment. I am going by memory, or the writer may have got it mixed up. It is gratifying that you found an actual reference to the 91 psalm, and WW I. All too often myth becomes fact, and equally facts get ignored.
    I also remember reading many years ago that during the first world war the army experiments with images shone onto the clouds by search lights to try and frighten the enemy. Some say that this is what the soldiers saw. Who really knows. Lets just hope that nobody else has to undergo the horrors that those men faced irrespective of which side they were on..
     
  6. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

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    People are undergoing those horrors still.
     
  7. scommstech

    scommstech Active Member

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    That crossed y mind as I pressed the post button. We do seem a hopeless case. You would wonder how it all went wrong.
     
  8. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

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    EXACTLY Crowan!

    As the Vietnam protest song said, "when will they ever learn?"

    Pete Seeger
     
  9. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

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    Always good to hear Pete Seeger.
    The problem is, many things can be learned from war - the easiest lesson being to 'hit back first'.
     
  10. Nah¬meed

    Nah¬meed New Member

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    Politicians don,t have to learn from its them that kill soldiers not soldiers.
    That came from a Captain who witnessed the bloody sunday trouble.
    It was a politican who told the paras the protesters had weapons.
    Say weapon to a soldier in that situation he,s trained to assume its a firearm.
    I also learned to dig shell with my hands and hug the floor as if it was my daughter through fear.
    Also if you can hear bullets going past you then your lucky so to speak.
     
  11. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nah-meed - good observation about politicians.

    I see that you're a Buddhist and a Shaman. Considering how many different nationalities and religions were represented in WW1, I would love to be able to include some experiences of protection from soldiers other than Christians - and in my case, Christian Scientists. Do you know of any? Does anyone?

    I started this thread because we're having a daily menu of anger, retaliation, blame, hatred, death and destruction in our media - and that's just the current conflicts! Then there's the coverage of WW1 and while there are stories of heroism, most of it is, quite understandably, about the needless suffering and loss of life. I just wanted to show through the many WW1 testimonies of protection, that right there, in the midst of all that terror and might of weaponry, there is a higher power that can render harmless the destructiveness of matter. In fact, I feel one coming on right now! ;)

    Love and peace,

    Judy
     
  12. scommstech

    scommstech Active Member

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    As you said Principled it would be interesting to hear from sources other than Christian Science as regards God's protection at work.. Psalm 91 was written well before we were given Christian Science. There must be an equivalent concept of Divine protection in any belief that can trace its faith back to the one God.
     
  13. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

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    Although the two mentioned by Judy - Buddhism and shamanism - don't trace their faiths back to 'the one god'.
     
  14. scommstech

    scommstech Active Member

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    Is it possible to have the type of protection as described in psalm 91 if you are a Buddhist or practice Shamanism.
    The protection described in psalm 91 is only available because it has the authority of the highest level. If Buddhism or Shamanism accepts a supreme authority then any protection offered would I suspect be similar to that which is described in psalm 91
     
  15. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

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    That's a big 'if'
     
  16. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

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    Here's a modern version of Psalm 91:
    https://www.bible.com/bible/116/psa.91.nlt

    And this is the version that the soldiers of WW1 would have prayed with:

    https://www.bible.com/bible/1/psa.91.kjv (I'll include a few lines)

    91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
    2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
    3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
    4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
    5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
    6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
    7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

    Love and peace,

    Judy
     
  17. Principled

    Principled Well-Known Member

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    This account has a lovely angel experience:

    * the full poem (based on the 91st Psalm)
    http://www.worldprayers.org/archive/prayers/celebrations/o_gentle_presence_peace.html

    Love and peace,

    Judy
     
    #17 Principled, Aug 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2014
  18. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

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    One thing that somewhat bothers me about this - what about all the people who prayed and did not get helped?
     
  19. scommstech

    scommstech Active Member

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    My understanding is that many people confuse what is generally accepted as prayer (asking for something) with having an actual understanding of the situation.
    I personally am not too sure that someone is actually listening and consequently in a position to answer our prayers. Understanding is a different approach. It is knowing something is correct and therefore it can't be changed, or damaged.
    This is where the belief in a creator comes in. If you believe that the creator made you perfect then you are perfect and there is no other authority that can change that state of being (unless mentally you let it)
    The idea is not to allow other concepts of imperfection to have access to your thoughts.
    .
     
  20. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

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    This sounds as if you don’t believe in a ‘over-everything’ god – as opposed to a creator. (Interestingly, when I first came across the concept of ‘God’ – at Primary school – the idea of a being who both created and had a day-to-day concern with us seemed highly unlikely.)

    But – while I follow what you are saying - I find it hard to accept that everyone in a particular regiment had the necessary understanding ‘not to allow other concepts of imperfection in’. After all, the generally taught idea of creation is not that we are perfect but that we are flawed. You may have come to a different conclusion but many others haven’t and a hundred years ago the idea of being born into sin was more prevelant.

    Also, this isn’t exactly what I’m picking up from Judy’s posts.
     

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