Soul Survivor
The Reincarnation of
A World War II
Fighter Pilot

Bruce and
Andrea Leininger
With Ken Gross

(Grand Central)
In 2000, James Leininger --- then two years old --- began to wake up with nightmares having to do with the wreck of an airplane. The airplane was a Corsair F4U from the Second World War, being attacked by something James referred to as a "Tony" --- later revealed to be similar to a German Messerschmitt. James even remembered the name of the downed pilot: James Huston.

The boy's mother and father began to research that name and the events from 1945 having to do with Bonin Island in the South Pacific, along with the Natoma Bay, an aircraft carrier. Ultimately, everything fell into place: The boy's nightmares seemed to duplicate, uncannily, events from sixty-five years ago. The Leiningers visited reunions, tracked down other airmen from the Natoma, called and e-mailed any who might have known or flown with Huston.

    The knowledge that Bruce's son had of airplanes and flying was uncanny; the battles in the Pacific were real, and the veterans vouched for details.

The major drama in Soul Survivor seems to revolve around the fact that Bruce Leininger is a practicing Christian. Evangelical Christians have denounced reincarnation as heretical and, according to one source, "maintain that any phenomena suggestive of it as deceptions of the devil." Thus, rebirth is not compatible with contemporary Christianity, for, as Bruce states, "it would threaten the biblical promise of salvation." The very concept of reincarnation minimizes the concept of "Christian salvation." It also undermines the dogma of the church.

The death-knell for the doctrine of reincarnation in early Christian history came in 553 AD, with the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople where it was officially denounced.

"I have personally realized the true power of prayer," reports Bruce. "I prayed for a second chance after my first marriage failed because I was spiritually lost."

    I prayed for a wife with green eyes --- and one who was Asian --- and my second wife, Andrea, has green eyes and her mother is one half Filipina.

The conflict between father and son is not resolved in Soul Survivor. It probably will not be over and done with for another twenty years or so.

--- Richard Saturday
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