From Spiritualism to Salvation
Jesus is the answer to our deepest questions.
by Candi Long as told to Muriel Larson
When I was a freshman in college, an atheist lived on my floor in the dorm. What a shame, I thought. Somebody ought to tell her about God.
I went to the girl’s room. “Terry, I heard you’re an atheist,” I said, “and I think you should believe in God.”
“Why should I?” Terry sneered. “Have you ever seen Him?”
My mouth fell open in surprise. I had no answer.
Doubting God’s existence
As I returned to my room, questions assailed my mind. Who is God? How do we know He exists? Can we be sure of Him?
For the first time in my life, I began to doubt God’s existence. Unfortunately, the college chaplain didn’t seem to have any satisfactory answers to my questions. So all through my college years, I alternately rejected God and searched for the truth.
A different path
After completing college, I went on to graduate school. While there I became friends with a medium named Jane, who interested me in spiritualism. Jane loaned me books about Edgar Cayce and other psychics.
I read everything I could concerning spiritualism. The material seemed to prove that God existed, and I yearned to be sure. Jane’s immoral life troubled me, though.
After a year of graduate school, I returned home to Orlando, Florida, to teach high school English and writing. Still interested in the occult, I started taking a course in metaphysics at a nearby spiritualist community. I also began singing and playing my guitar once a week in a local nightclub.
Then I attended the engagement party of a childhood friend, Cinny, whom I thought had recently become “disgustingly religious.” I kept up my guard against what I considered fanatics, yet was amazed at how happy the guests were. What do they have? I wondered.
At dinner I sat near Cinny. She told me how she had asked God to forgive her sins. She had also begun experiencing His presence every day.
“Oh, Candi, He’s made such a difference!” she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling. “I have so much peace and happiness and closeness to God!”
I wish I had what she has, I thought wistfully.
Talking about Jesus
I also became acquainted with Karen, who sang with Cinny in a Christian group called New Folk, associated with Campus Crusade for Christ. Later we three went to Cinny’s bedroom and talked about God for an hour.
“I believe I have a relationship with God,” I said, “but Jesus doesn’t fit into my picture. Spiritualists don’t say much about Him.”
So Cinny and Karen talked to me about Jesus Christ: who He was, who He claimed to be, and how much He loved me. Before I left, Cinny gave me some literature, including the booklet The Four Spiritual Laws.
I went home and read through it. As I read, I realized that God loved me so much that He had sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for my sins.
I bowed my head. “Jesus, I need You,” I prayed. “If You are all You say You are, then I want You to come into my life and make me the kind of person You want me to be. I accept You as my Savior and Lord and thank You for forgiving my sins.”
As I lifted my head, a peace I had never known filled my heart. I knew Jesus Christ had brought me a spiritual rebirth. At last I knew for sure that God was real!
That summer I attended an evangelical Bible school. But even though I learned a lot about the Bible there, I still held to some teachings of spiritualism, such as reincarnation. I did that until I met Andre Kole, another Christian who had also been into spiritualism before he became a Christian. After talking to Andre, I realized that Jesus Christ and spiritualism don’t mix.
A new song
The following summer I joined the same singing group that Cinny sang with. Later, Campus Crusade for Christ sent me out alone to sing, play, and share my story. I traveled for five years to women’s colleges, groups, and churches. And then God gave me my husband, Tom Long, who became the campus minister at a college in Georgia.
Besides being a wife and mother now, I continue to sing for Jesus. I also use my musical and creative skills in writing and producing TV and radio spots and in other endeavors.
Following God’s will
Although Jesus Christ made a marvelous change in my life, I have found it isn’t always easy to have the faith a Christian should have. For some time I went through a period of depression because it seemed as if God had closed the doors for me in songwriting and singing for Him. But this caused me to reevaluate my understanding of God’s will.
I suddenly realized that He hadn’t necessarily said, “No” and that I was just to trust Him with my future completely. Since then the Lord has opened all kinds of doors for service. Through such experiences, I have learned who I am as a writer, singer, and producer: a woman with a Christ-centered worldview!