After-death communication and the biblical fruits of the spirit: An online survey.

In after-death communication (ADC), a living individual experiences direct contact with a deceased entity. Research has shown such experiences to be common and overwhelmingly beneficial. However, clients in counseling–particularly conservative Christian clients–have expressed reluctance, distress, rejection, and/or avoidance of such experiences, considering them evil or “of the Devil.” Using the Biblical litmus test for determining Holy Spirit as source of phenomena–whether they yield the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control–the authors conducted an Internet survey of ADC experiencers. Participants were 164 adults ranging from 21 to 86 years of age, with a mean age of 57.7; 85.4% female, 14.0% male, and 0.06% genderqueer/nonbinary; 93.3% White, 0.6% African American/Black, 1.2% Asian, and 4.9% multiracial/other; and 92.7% representing disproportionately every U.S. geographic region, and 7.3% living outside the United States. With their only or self-identified most impactful ADC in mind, they indicated the extent to which the ADC changed their sense of each of the fruits, with opportunity to provide narrative explanation of any changes. Results revealed answers skewed strongly in the direction of increasing their sense of the fruits, with only 0.4% of responses indicating any lasting decrease of a fruit. The authors discuss limitations, including a religiously/spiritually liberal-leaning sample, criteria for concluding whether the results indicate that ADC is “of the Holy Spirit,” suggestions for future research that the results seem strongly to warrant, and implications for counselors working with clients who report ADC and for religious scholars considering the spiritual source of ADC. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)