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Discernment of Private Revelation

Claims of Private Revelation: True or False?
An evaluation of the claimed Divine revelation to Mary K Baxter about Hell

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Mary K Baxter, a born again Protestant Christian, claims that Jesus appeared to her and, over the course of 40 consecutive nights, took her on a tour of Hell and Heaven. She claims that Jesus explained to her what happens to souls in Hell. But these explanations, and the sights that she claims she saw in Hell, are contrary to what the Catholic Faith teaches.

A list of doctrinal errors in the claimed visions of Mary K Baxter about Hell

1. She portrays the souls in Hell as being repentant for their sins.

This is a doctrinal error because the souls in Hell do not have grace, so they cannot be repentant.

2. She portrays the souls in Hell as sinning.

This is a doctrinal error. The souls in Hell are not permitted by God to sin. It would be unjust for God to permit the innumerable devils and souls in Hell to continue sinning unceasingly forever. Hell is a place of the eternal justice of God, not a place of eternal sinning. Also, if they could sin, they would deserve more punishment; then as their sins continued to increase, their punishment would increase forever, to such an extreme degree as to be unjust. Again, this is not possible, since Hell is a place of proportionate just punishment.

3. She portrays the souls in Hell as having bodies.

This is a doctrinal error because the souls in Hell do not have bodies until after the general Resurrection. Then after the general Resurrection, the damned are thrown into a new Hell, called 'the second death' (Rev 20:14), one fit for the punishment of body and soul. But these visions explicitly state that this is a vision of Hell prior to the Judgment at the general Resurrection.

4. She portrays fallen angels as if they were free to move in and out of Hell, as if they leave Hell to tempt persons on earth, then return, at will.

This is a doctrinal error because Hell is like a prison, where the inmates are being punished justly for their sins. The fallen angels and the damned souls are all prisoners being punished. Neither the fallen angels, nor the damned souls, are free to leave and return at will.

5. She portrays fallen angels in Hell as if they were not being punished there. She describes the fallen angels as talking and laughing among themselves, as going to and from Hell at will, and as tormenting the souls there, but not being tormented themselves.

This is a doctrinal error for the reason stated above, and because the punishments of Hell are not given by fallen angels, but by God. If fallen angels inflicted the punishments of Hell, then those punishments would not be just. But as it is, God punishes the souls in Hell, and so the punishment is perfectly just, and is even merciful.

6. She portrays the sufferings of Hell as extreme punishments for all souls.

This is a doctrinal error because God is just; the punishments of Hell are a proportionate punishment according to the degree and type of sins committed by each person. The Magisterium teaches that the punishments in Hell are unequal, and that some persons suffer only the punishment of the deprivation of Heaven, and not other types of torments.

Pope Innocent III: "The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting Hell…."

Council of Florence: "But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains."

7. She portrays the souls in Hell as being punished by the fallen angels.

This is a doctrinal error because Hell was created by God to punish the fallen angels. They are not in charge of Hell, nor in charge of punishing the souls in Hell. It is the Justice of God that punishes both damned souls and fallen angels in Hell.

8. She portrays the fallen angels as if they have physical bodies. This is a doctrinal error since angels are spirit only; they have no bodies.

9. She claims that Jesus said witchcraft is real.

"On earth this woman taught many witches, both white witches and black witches, to do their magic. One of her magical tricks was to change from a young woman, to a middle-aged woman, to an old woman -- even to an old man. It was fun in those days to make the change and frighten lesser witches with her magic. But now she suffers the pains of hell, and her flesh is ripped away with each change. She cannot control it now, and keeps changing from one form to another, but her real form is the misty soul inside her skeleton."

" 'Witchcraft is real,' said Jesus."

This is a doctrinal error because only God can perform miracles. Witchcraft and magic are not real. What is here described as 'magic' and 'witchcraft' would only be possible by miracles. Therefore, these claims are false.

10. She portrays Satan as being in charge of Hell.

"She screamed in pain as a large black book was brought for Satan. He opened it and ran his finger down the pages till he found her name. " 'Oh, yes,' Satan said, 'you did serve me well on earth. You brought me more than 500 souls." He lied and said to her, "Your punishment will not be as bad as the others.' "

This is a doctrinal error because God created Hell as a place of just punishment for both fallen angels and damned souls. God is in charge of Hell, not Satan. Also, Satan is not presently in Hell, but on earth, tempting sinners.

11. She portrays persons who die as being immediately dragged into Hell by fallen angels.

"If you are a sinner when you die, you go immediately to a burning hell. Demons with great chains will drag your soul through the gateways of hell, where you will be thrown into the pits and tormented."

This is a doctrinal error because the Church teaches that everyone receives a particular judgment by God immediately after death. Then God sends the person's soul to Hell, or to Purgatory, or to Heaven. The fallen angels are not in charge of sending persons to Hell, nor of taking them there. The justice of God sends persons to Hell, not the wicked fallen angels.

12. She portrays Hell as having a "fun center" where Satan torments souls for his own enjoyment.

"Jesus told me that there is a place in hell called the "fun center." … The fun center is shaped like a circus arena. Several people who are to be the entertainment are brought to the center ring of the fun center…. When they were alive on earth, they deceived many and caused them to follow Satan and to sin. The ones who had been deceived and were caused to fall into sin came and tormented their deceivers. One by one they were allowed to torture them…. Every imaginable method of torture was allowed. The souls being tormented cried out for death, but that is eternal death. Satan gave the orders for all this to be done. That is his fun center."

There are numerous doctrinal errors in the above quoted claim. Hell is a place of punishment; there is no fun or enjoyment there, neither for the devils, nor for the souls. The punishments of Hell are from the Justice of God. Neither the fallen angels, nor the souls, are allowed to punish souls or to extract revenge (as is claimed above). Also, the punishments of Hell are just; it is not true that anyone suffers without limit in Hell. And since Satan is tempting persons in this life, he is not in Hell. But when he will be sent there, he will not be giving orders; he will be punished.


In my humble and pious opinion as a faithful Roman Catholic theologian, the claimed private revelation to Mary K. Baxter cannot be from Jesus Christ. The many serious doctrinal errors described above are more than sufficient to show that the claimed private revelation to Mary K. Baxter is false. She was not taken by Jesus to Hell, and Jesus did not present these many doctrinal errors to her as if these were true. Her claims about Hell are either based on her own imagination, or on false private revelations from fallen angels, who wish to lead people away from the true Gospel by teaching falsehoods about the afterlife.

by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
March 25, 2010

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