What You Will Not Find at a Spiritist Center
The following is an excerpt from an article entitled "Esclarecendo Duvidas" [Clearing Doubts], published in the Brazilian Spiritist Journal "Reformador" in June of 1953.
"Spiritism differs from all known religions, by demonstrating the logic of its teachings through scientific studies and experiments, and by presenting a philosophy that is also based on experimentation and observation, as documented by a multitude of intellectuals of universal renown.
A scientific and philosophic religion of teachings that are basic to all religions, Spiritism does not intend to demolish those faiths which came before it, and instead recognizes their necessity for a great part of Humanity, as humanity's evolution takes place slowly yet inevitably.
A religious doctrine without so-called dogmas, rituals, symbols, or an organized priesthood, and to the contrary of almost all other religions, Spiritism does not adopt any of the following as port of its meetings or practices :
special adornments, vestments or other clothing;
wine or any alcoholic beverages;
incense, myrrh, smoke or other substances that produce smoke;
alters, images, andors, candles, or any other material objects that would aid in the attraction of the public;
hyms or songs in exotic or antiquated languages (hyms and songs, when used, are in the language of the country, and are used exclusively for festivities held for children and youth and in special sessions, when required, for certain physical effects);
dances, processions, and other similar acts;
activities and practices that answer to material or dissolute interests;
payment for any type of favor o assistance given to another;
talismans [inscribed charms], amulets [good luck objects/charms], miraculous prayers, scapulars, or any other similar objects or things;
administering of sacraments; concession of indulgences, assigning of noble titles;
horoscope reading, card reading, fortune-telling, astrology and kinds of predictions
extravagant rituals or stagings designed to impress the public;
exotic or strange terms for the designation of beings and things;
promises or acts of witchcraft, the making of the sign of the cross, in other words, a long series of material acts dating back to old and primitive religious concepts.
Psychic (or spiritual) phenomena can arise in any religious or non-religious environment, and its appearance can lead one to Spiritism, but the consolidation of the belief, the knowledge of the laws that preside over the destiny of man, and the perfect assimilation of the Spiritist Doctrine can only be reached through the study of the works of Allan Kardec and those who have followed him."