Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Practical Theology

First Advisor

David R. Schmitt

Scripture References in this Resource

John 18:36; John 3:7; John 14:2; Matthew 5:4; Galatians 1:6-7; John 9:1–12; 1 Corinthians 2:4; Philippians 4:7


Miller, William D. “Lived Kardecism: A Phenomenological Approach to Understanding Brazilian Spiritism.” Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2019. 327 pp.

This dissertation addresses a problem that faces the researcher of Brazilian Spiritism, namely that there is a need for a particular kind of account that takes the lived experience of religion as its foundation; an account of the lived experience of Spiritists who practice Spiritism as a religion in the Brazilian context and find value in it for their spiritual journey. This study answers the question as to how Spiritists articulate what is spiritual, relate to religion, and experience spiritual significance and change in their life. In so doing, this study bridges the previous sociological treatment of Spiritism by North American sociologist David Hess and the theological treatment of Spiritism by Brazilian pastor and theologian Ingo Wulfhorst. A qualitative approach to the study that captured interviews of Spiritists from Central Brazil was used that employed a modified Husserlian phenomenological approach. Complete interview transcripts are included. The narratives that arise from these interviews provide an insider’s perspective on the largest religious movement in Brazil behind Roman Catholicism. They paint a picture of individuals who understand their spiritual journey as primarily marked out by traumatic events that send them searching for answers to the brokenness they encounter in life. And they show that a fruitful missiological response to Spiritism as lived religion lies in the church's ability to take on a posture of pastoral engagement that listens to Spiritists according to their own stories.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.