New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 79

     in the East Room of the White House that year, next to the Christmas tree. Two more scenes were added in 1957. You can follow Glencairn Museum on social media, which already has more than 7,000 followers and tries to post new material twice a day, and through the Glencairn Museum News, which has more than 5,000 subscribers. To subscribe visit glencairnmuseum.org. See photos of illustrations from Brian’s talk on pages xxx and xxx.) Dark and Light: Psychological and Swedenborgian Perspectives on Human Behavior Dr. Soni S. Werner Dr. Soni Werner has explored both the “darkness and light” of human behavior, working in prisons and teaching in Bryn Athyn College, including a new course on altruism. All of it is filtered through the Lord’s teachings in the Writings. What we know about the brain, she said, is changing all the time, which affects her work in the extremes of human behavior. She focused for the first two days on the dark side – informed both by her studies and her volunteer service in prisons. Right now that involves working with women coming out of prison, helping them to re-establish with family and community and get a job. Her focus is particularly on forensic psychology, which looks at how to prevent people from turning to crime, how to intervene when appropriate, and how to rehabilitate those involved in crime. The guiding philosophy is that it is never too late to try to save someone. Soni worked in a maximum security prison for five years. In addition to mentoring women now she is also an advocate for foster children and a mediator with people needing help. To do this effectively, she studies what is known about the minds of criminals and how the Writings shed light on relevant issues – such as regeneration and conscience. For her teaching she wrote an e-book, Conscience: Forensic Psychology, which can be accessed at www.smashwords.com/books/view/590834. Dealing with criminals takes judgment and mercy. We need both but it’s a delicate balancing act. The brain can be impacted by many external factors, including concussions, 145