PODCAST: A Little-Known Country, Part 23 (Ordained Chaplains: Out of the Depths #74 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III. I am the president of Gospel Light Society University. We are going through the book “Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience” by one of the pioneers of chaplaincy, Dr. Anton T. Boisen. This is episode #74.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Isaiah 41:10 which reads, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from John Green. He said, “There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Chapter 4: A Little-Known Country” (Part 23):

The following letter of February 14, 1921, to my old comrade-in-arms, Norman Nash, then teaching at the Episcopal School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers additional evidence of the growing interest in the mental hospital as my future field of work. It reveals also an excessively critical attitude.

Dear Norman:

Your inquiry as to my present whereabouts is not easy to answer. You will readily understand this when I tell you that I am at present an inmate of a hospital for the insane, where I was committed last October. As measured by the ability to work, to think straight and to maintain a fair degree of cheerfulness and confidence, I am now, so far as I can judge, as well as I ever was. But here I am, and no relief is in sight.

The cause of it all was an abnormal condition, similar to others I have had on four previous occasions. Each one of these has marked a turning-point in my life and, along with abnormal and pathological elements which I have always recognized, it has brought me what I have regarded as most sacred and most authoritative. This time I became bewildered and terrified until my sister in turn became frightened and I found myself committed. For three weeks I was in a violent delirium, which nearly proved fatal. Then on October 29, I seemed to wake up and in two more weeks I was as well as ever. But I am now in the hands of doctors who do not understand and with whose view-point I am quite at variance.

This catastrophe has of course destroyed my hopes and plans. I came back last July with the intention of taking a pastorate. From that I am now turned aside. My present purpose is to take as my problem the one with which I am here confronted. I believe that many forms of insanity are religious rather than medical problems and that they cannot be successfully treated until they are so recognized. The problem seems to me one of great importance not only because of the large number of sufferers involved, but also because of the religious and psychological and philosophical implications which inhere in it. I am sure that if I can make to it any contribution whatsoever, it will be worth the cost.

The hardest thing is to realize that those of us who are here are practically counted as among the dead. We have no standing in the eyes of the law. We have no rights. Our word counts for nothing, and our wishes, our feelings, our judgments are only so many reasons for doing otherwise. If I had to describe this place, I would say it is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, where the light is gone and the loved ones cut away, while those in control are industriously engaged in suppressing the symptoms which might lead to recovery, all too often through the agency of devils with the pitch-forks of authority in their hands. Over the door I would write, “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate.” [All hope abandon, ye who enter here.]

Perhaps this is a bit strong, and yet I feel that it is not far from the truth. This is indeed a place of lost souls and the methods of treatment are nil. It is just a great prison which they call a “hospital.”

I am not complaining of my present treatment. I am living very comfortably, too comfortably. I am accomplishing nothing. I am rusting, and sometimes I get very impatient.

In our next podcast, we will continue with Part 24 of Chapter 4, “A Little Known Country”.


Now, if you have come across this podcast, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, God bless!