A History of the New Thought Movement
THE development of the mental-healing movement in the early years was largely due to the teaching of various leaders whose students in turn became leaders, many of them founders of different phases of the movement in the East, the Middle West and far West of the USA. Thus, as already indicated, the instruction given by Mrs. Stuart of Hyde Park, Mass., led to pioneer work in Hartford and New York. In the same way Mrs. Emma Curtis Hopkins became a teacher of leaders in Chicago and San Francisco. Among the latter may be mentioned Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, who established the branch of the movement known as Practical Christianity, published Thought, now called Unity, Wee Wisdom’s Way, the first mental-healing magazine for children, and founded other departments of the work of The Society of Silent Unity, Kansas City; Charles A. and Josephine Barton, editors of The Life, Kansas City; T. J. Shelton, editor of Scientific Christian; Helen Wilmans, editor of Wilman’s Express and author of The Blossom of the Century and other volumes; and Ella Wheeler Wilcox, the well known New Thought writer. Another of Mrs. Hopkins’ students was Mr. Paul Militz, who with Mr. Shelton, was the first to teach Mrs. Elizabeth Towne, editor of Nautilus, Holyoke, Mass., and author of many excellent books on the New Thought. Still another was Miss Annie E. Rix, who later became Mrs. Militz, in turn one of the leaders of the movement on the Pacific Coast.
The history of the movement in California dates from 1887, when Mrs. Hopkins, formerly one of Mrs. Eddy’s students, went to San Francisco at the request of interested people and taught a class of 250 people, including Mrs. Sadie Gorie, Miss Harriet Hale Rix, and Mrs. Militz, then Miss Rix. * The name for mental healing employed at first was Christian Science, but the first society was known as The Pacific Coast Metaphysical Bureau, later called the Christian Science Home, then the Home of Truth, the name which has been retained for mental-healing centres on the Pacific coast. The Home of Truth in Alameda was established in 1893. Later, similar centres were opened in Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Berkeley, and Sierra Madre, California; also at Victoria, B. C., and Walla Walla, Washington.
*The first book was by Julia Anderson Root, The Healing Power of Mind, San Francisco, 1884.
Mrs. Militz, who became the leading teacher in California, moved in 1896 to Los Angeles and established the Home of Truth there. Mrs., Militz was also the leader in the establishment of the other Homes of Truth in California. The Master Mind, the monthly periodical representing this branch of the movement, was begun in 1911. The Home of Truth idea has gradually been extended to other parts of the country, and has become a widely recognized plan for New Thought work and propaganda.
The work of the original Home of Truth in San Francisco is typical of this work at its best. The location of the Home was changed several times, and in the great fire of 1906 the building with all its contents was destroyed. “The constructive spirit of San Francisco showed itself in the activity of the Home, which almost immediately went to work arranging for its meetings in the homes of students until a suitable place could be found for its permanent housing. Besides the thousands of adults who have been taught the true life and who have been freed from poverty and all manner of disease, especial attention has been given to children, the Sunday-school class-work for them forming an important feature in the Home. Several true visions have been launched, supported by free-will offerings for a few years, then passed into the invisible, there to be strengthened until the race is ready to receive them back in full force, such as a kindergarten, a woman’s exchange, Homes of Truth for children, and centres where unhoused men may find the atmosphere of a true home and comfort.
“There are two Rest Homes in connection with the work, one in San Jose and the other in Garvanza, where students and patients abide while being delivered from limitation. A beautiful expression of this inspired work is now in full activity under the supervision of Mrs. Militz, in connection with the Los Angeles Home, known as ‘The University of Christ,’ where teacher- students are trained to open and minister in Centres of Truth.
“A vital Men’s Meeting conducted by men only has found true devotion and highest results in aiding men to feel at home in the truth. There is one in the San Francisco Home and one in the Los Angeles Home, with weekly gatherings. As the Home idea may not be confined to a house with many rooms and servants, but may find expression in a flat, apartment, hotel, boat-house, cottage or room, so the Home of Truth idea has found ideal expression in many small centres of truth known by various names such as ‘The Down Town Centre,’ San Francisco, with its ‘Noon-day Talks.’ ”
The idea of the Home of Truth has been expressed by one of the leaders as follows: “A presentation of Jesus Christ’s teachings and practice is offered to the world in these Homes that is believed to be the primitive ministry of Christianity which was given to the world for man’s healing or salvation–body, mind, soul, and estate. The chief teacher and founder is Jesus Christ; the great authority for our belief is the Holy Spirit within each one; and the church is the whole body of divine humanity everywhere, visible and invisible, all being brothers and sisters, with one Father-Mother whose name is God.
“The text-books are: first, the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Iuke and John, especially the words of Jesus Christ; second, the remaining books of the Bible; and third, all other Scriptures and writings that have blessed humanity. We do not organize, have formed no new church or creed, but recognize that the homes of the nation are the spiritually natural places for worship and for the healing and teaching ministry. The true home is the beginning of heaven on earth, promised by the Spirit and prophesied by the Christ.
“The Home of Truth teaches the absolute doctrine of the Allness of God the Good, and that love to God and to the neighbor is one. It teaches the divinity of man and his unity with God; that heaven is within and is to be proved in thought, word and deed. It teaches that health, joy, and prosperity are spiritual and belong fully to those who know truth and live the life.
“The healing ministry is the same as that of Jesus Christ, who healed through knowledge and by speaking the word of truth, silently and audibly. No charge is made for any of its ministrations, for all the gifts of God are free; therefore we are not under the law of barter. According to the law of love we give freely and receive freely, under the free-will offering plan. Each Home is independent of all the others financially and in the use of methods, and yet all are in perfect harmony as to the main purpose. Each Home aspires to be one of all the Homes of Truth throughout the earth. Its most earnest desire is that every home shall be a healing centre where anyone who loves the truth may find spiritual refreshment, instruction and counsel, ‘without money and without price’; where they may be healed physically and morally, and become themselves instruments of blessing, to hasten the day of a redeemed world.
“There is a Sunday-school for children connected with each Home, Bible classes, healing meetings, devotional services, daily individual healing and class-instruction. The Metaphysical Library in San Francisco, situated at 126 Post Street, is a product of the Homes of Truth, and is managed by a committee containing several of its devoted workers.”
Mrs. Militz taught classes in Chicago, 1898-1902, when she was leader of the Chicago Truth Centre and speaker for the Prentice Mulford Club. She also taught classes in Boston, Brooklyn and New York City, and then began a two years’ teaching tour of the world, spending seven months in Japan, four in India, and six in England. In 1913 Mrs., Militz made a second tour of the world, accompanied by three students, Miss Grace Wilson, afterward secretary of the International New Thought Alliance; Mrs. Anna. C. Howlett, and Miss Florence N. Johnson. During this tour Mrs. Militz taught in Honolulu, in the four largest cities of Australia, in Paris, England and Scotland.
In Denver, Colorado, the first phase of the therapeutic movement to become generally known was due to the teachings of Melinda E. Cramer, Fannie B. James, and other Divine Scientists. The Colorado College of Divine Science, located at 730 East 17th St., was incorporated in 1898, “for the purpose of instruction in the law and order of Divine Healing as declared by Jesus Christ, and for the promotion of the religious, educational and ethical principles [of] the system known as Divine Science.” Miss Nona L. Brooks is president, and Mrs. Ruth R. Smith, secretary-treasurer. The books used include Truth and Health, by Fannie B. James; Studies in Divine Science, by Mrs. C. L. Baum; and Divine Science and Healing, by Mrs. Cramer. The ninth annual assembly of the college was held Feb. 4-6, 1919. The activities of this branch of Divine Science include the Missouri College of Divine Science, under ·the leadership of H. H. Schroeder, St. Louis, Mo.; Rev. Mr. Murray’s First Divine Science Church of New York City; and Glints of Wisdom, edited by T. M. Minard, Portland, Oregon.
Power, a monthly magazine edited and published by Charles E. Prather, Denver, contains a Higher Thought directory of Truth Centres and Divine Science Centres. Mr. Prather’s Power School of Truth, incorporated 1916, is in part an outgrowth of the Unity movement in Kansas City. His magazine bears the sub-title “The Higher Thought Magazine of Practical Christianity.” Thus the several names and terms prove to be virtually interchangeable, and the term New Thought may once more be taken in its representative sense as standing for Divine Science, the Higher Thought and Practical Christianity.
The same interchangeable use of terms is to be observed in the case of one of the most vigorous of the New Thought periodicals, Now, published in San Francisco, Cal., described in its sub-title as “a Monthly Journal of Positive Affirmations, devoted to Mental Science and the Art of Living.” This magazine was established by Henry Harrison Brown, in 1900. Its basic affirmation is, “Man is spirit here and now, with all the possibilities of Divinity within him and he can consciously manifest these possibilities here and now.” Mr. Brown was well known as the author of New Thought Primer, San Francisco, 1903, and other volumes on mental healing. He was succeeded by Sam E. Foulds as editor of Now. The kind of mental science implied in the above mentioned sub-title is that of the New Thought in general, after the use of affirmations pertaining to every phase of life came into vogue.
The World’s Advance Thought, edited and published by Mrs. Lucy A. Mallory, Portland, Oregon, was the pioneer mental-healing publication in the far Northwest. In the state of Washington, interest early appeared in Helen Wilmans’ type of mental science, and a Mental Science Association was organized in Seattle. The first convention was held in Seattle in 1899. The second convention representing this mental science was held at Seabreeze, Florida, in 1900.
Prior to 1907, W. K. Jones was a leading pioneer in making the New Thought known in Portland, Oregon. In 1907, Benj. Fay Mills held a series of meetings and classes on Emerson, Whitman, and the Bhagavad Gita. From these classes there followed a society known as the Fellowship Society of Portland, Oregon, with the late Clara Bewick Colby as president. There was also a council of five appointed, Dr. J. J. Story, Perry Joseph Green, Mrs. O. N. Denny, Dr. Mary Thompson, and T. O. Hague, with Florence A. Sullenberg, secretary. Tuesday evenings were set apart for the study of Emerson’s Essays, and out of these groups came the present Emerson Study Circle, which meets at the Metaphysical Library. Other centres developed from the Fellowship Society and adopted the name New Thought.
Rev. Victor Henry Morgan of Tacoma, Washington, a Universalist pastor in good standing, preaches from his pulpit the New Thought philosophy, and practises mental healing; but prefers to stay in the organization to which he belongs. A considerable movement has emanated from the teachings of Mrs. Agnes Galer in Seattle, Washington. She has taught for several years, organized a school and church, educated several teachers, and workers who in turn have organized classes, and the general movement is known as Divine Science, while the classes are generally called Truth Centres.
Mr. Granville Lowther reports that there is “a widespread influence, not so well organized, growing out of the teachings of Mrs. Militz and Harriet Hale Rix through their magazine, Master Mind. This type of teaching is like Christian Science in that its adherents believe that mind is the only reality. In philosophy they would be called subjective idealists. They deny reality of matter. Unity has a considerable number of readers, and a few Unity classes are organized. They too teach subjective idealism, but I have generally found that the average reader does not fully understand the difference between the two philosophies of subjective and objective idealism. What they want is something to help them in the practical duties and responsibilities of life. Nautilus, edited by Mrs. Towne, has a larger number of readers than all other New Thought magazines in the district. Mrs. Towne’s philosophy is that of objective idealism, that is, she believes in the reality of matter. . . .
“One of the largest movements in the district perhaps is located at Spokane under the leadership of Rev J. K. Grier. Mr. Grier was once pastor of a Universalist church In Spokane. There seemed to be some conflict between himself and the leaders of his church on the question of healing. He adopted what is practically our New Thought philosophy, but prefers not to be called by that name. He has organized a good church, erected a good church building with large audience poem, class rooms, healing rooms, basement and kitchen. The machinery of his church is working with splendid energy. He has an assistant pastor, Rev. E. Edward Mills. They are holding considerable missionary work in sending out teachers and workers in different directions.”
In Los Angeles, Cal., the Metaphysical Library was founded by Eleanor M. Reesberg, in 1902. Miss Reesberg, who was one of the pioneer lecturers in California, issues a Metaphysicians’ bulletin. The May-July number, 1919, contains the announcement of the sixteenth annual Metaphysicians’ May Festival, which was held in Los Angeles, May 1-3. The speakers included Harriet Hale Rix, Florence Crawford, Swami Paramananda, Edward B. Warman, W. Frederick Keeler, Jessie W. Boerstler, Henry Victor Morgan, and James E. Dodds.
The Aquarian Ministry, “a Christ-ministry devoted to healing, teaching and the awakening of the latent soul-powers,” Geo. B. Brownell and Louise B. Brownell, healers, is another branch of the therapeutic movement in Los Angeles. The Universal New Thought Studio and Lecture Room is in charge of Miss Grace Wilson, formerly secretary of the New Thought Alliance, The activities of this centre include Sunday services, class instruction, a New Thought singing school, healing meetings, and “fundamentals of New Thought for children.” District conferences of the Alliance are held under the auspices of Miss Rix, who is vice-president for Southern California and Arizona, assisted by the teachers and members of the Alliance.
In Chicago and New York, as in other large cities, the movement has passed through all the phases from mental science in its early forms to the New Thought of the present day, and the societies are too numerous for special mention. Among recent organizations of note in these cities, The League for the Larger Life, New York City, is most notable, since it endeavors to bring together all centres and leaders in a common interest. The officers of the League when incorporated were Orison Swett Marden, president; Miss Mary Allen, first vice-president; Mrs. Maud P. Messner, second vice-president; Eugene Del Mar, third vice-president, since chosen president; Dr. Julia Seton, fourth vice-president; Mrs. Laura G. Cannon, secretary; Charles Crapp, auditor; with Walter Goodyear, Miss Edith A. Martin, Mrs. Clara Barstow, and Mrs. D. L. Hunt, as additional officers. The League issues a directory of leaders of the New Thought in Greater New York, holds regular Sunday services addressed by the leaders, with classes and healing meetings during the week. A Union Meeting is held the second Sunday of each month. At its headquarters, 222 W. 72nd St., the League furnishes teachers and speakers for public meetings, and supplies books through a circulating library and store.
The League is incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, and its purposes are, “to spread a knowledge of the fundamental principles that underlie healthy and harmonious living, and which will prevent or alleviate human suffering–mental, moral, financial and social; to assist the individual in the solution of personal problems; to encourage self-reliance, self-mastery and efficiency through constructive thinking and correct psychological and physical methods. The League aims to provide a place where strangers as well as members may obtain reliable information about The Larger Life Movement–its centres, lectures, teachers and literature.”
Another branch of the therapeutic movement owes Its origin to the work off Dr. Julia Seton (Sears), who chose the name Church and School of the New Civilization. The first church was founded in Boston by Dr. Seton, in September, 1905, now under the leadership of Miss Emma C. Poore. The second centre was founded in New York in 1907, with Dr. Seton as minister; the third in Brooklyn, N. Y., May Cornell Stoiber, minister; the fourth in London, England, Muriel Brown, minister. Other churches were established in Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, N. Y.; Chicago; Denver, Colo.; and one in California. These churches are organized on the basis of twelve fundamental principles. The school is a regular part of the work, and has departments devoted to metaphysics, philosophy, mysticism and music.
The central statement is that the “New Civilization Church came because mankind built it with its desires. It is the deep of supply answering to the deep of need. It will remain because mankind can use it as sane, sensible, spiritual substance, with which he can pass his life into higher manifestation of health, wealth, love, service and worship. This church believes in all churches, all creeds and all people, without regard to class, creed or color, Anyone can come into the new church and learn its fundamentals and principles and return to his own church, his own country, his own class, his own people and better fulfill his life’s destiny.
“The New Thought church . . . knows no evil. It has only the wisdom of a perfected universe, in perfect situations, among perfect people; there are no errors in the great eternal plan. What [man] calls dark and damned is to him wholly significant of God–God is All–there is no life but God. God had only one substance out of which to make the world and that was Himself. . . .
“The new church is filled with a congregation who have been redeemed out from all countries, all races, all peoples, and all colors into the ONE life that is in All and through All. Into this great religion has come the evolved Brahman, the evolved Buddhist, the evolved Jew, the evolved Mohammedan, and the evolved Christian, bringing with them all that was worthy to exist in the old. These united in a purpose of it higher humanity, have formed a fulcrum of spiritual power through which the upper masters of the spheres can drag onward the whole human race.”
After the organization of the Metaphysical Club in Boston, the next step was to start similar societies in other cities in New England, and then to bring the various New Thought Centres into a central organization. Meanwhile the movement had been growing rapidly and there was a general desire for a society to represent New Thought interests as a whole. Steps were taken toward the formation of such a society in the summer of 1908. The first meeting of the representatives from the New England states was held in the Metaphysical Club Hall, Boston, November 14, 1910. Mr. R. C. Douglass, who was present in behalf of the National New Thought Alliance, advocated a federation of centres in New England, although the work of a federation would be different from that of the Alliance. The society was organized under the name of the New England Federation of New Thought Centres, with Mrs. Sara G. M. La Vake, Brookline, Mass., president pro tem., and Mrs. Frances Tillinghast, Portland, Maine, secretary pro tem. It was voted to meet semi-annually.
The second conference was held at Worcester, Mass., March, 1911. The speakers included G. Stanley Hall, president of Clark University, and Mrs. May Wright Sewall. Mrs. La Vake was elected president, three vice-presidents were chosen; Miss Harriette Bragee, Boston, was elected secretary; and Miss Ardella Farnam, Worcester, treasurer. Succeeding conferences were held in Portland, Maine, November, 1911; Boston, 1912, when Dr. Anna B. Parker of Boston, was elected president, Miss Alice E. Strong of Boston, secretary, and Mrs. La Vake was made honorary president; Lynn, Mass., November, 1912; Cambridge, Mass., November, 1913; April, 1914, when Mrs. Mary E. Chandler of Providence, R. I., was elected president. In November, 1914, the Federation met at Hartford, Conn.; in April, 1915, at Boston, Dr. G. C. B. Ewell, president; in November, 1915, at Stoughton, Mass.; in April, 1916, at Boston under the auspices of the Church of the Higher Life, when Mrs. Mary E. Thayer of Boston was chosen president; in November, 1916, at Springfield, Mass.; and in April, 1917, at Boston, in co-operation with the New Thought Forum.
There were then 33 New Thought Centres in New England represented in the Federation, “banded together in loyal comradeship . . . adding the zest of a social touch which makes us members of one family dwelling together in brotherly love.” The secretary reported that the “smaller centres have been greatly strengthened, with the incentive of individuality in a broad cooperation; and the larger centres have extended their interest through acquaintance with many New Thought neighbors they would never have known except through affiliation. For the keynote of our assembling is for mutual aid in living and presenting the truth to each other and the world. . . . Many times the smallest circles give rich return in our heart-to-heart counsel, for the spirit is not measured by numbers.” In 1915, the Federation delegated the president, Mrs. La Vake, to represent the Federation at the congress in San Francisco.
The Metaphysical Guild of Boston was organized for the “Promotion of Spiritual Understanding,” and the first meeting was held April 4, 1915, the first interest being to meet the need for a New Thought meeting in Boston on Sunday evenings, and to give an opportunity to visiting teachers to address audiences at Metaphysical Hall. The speakers have included Walter Devoe, Henry Victor Morgan and T. J. Shelton. The members assist the New Thought work in various ways, corresponding with people in state prisons, visiting the sick, opening homes for those in need of friendly service. The Guild was organized by Mrs. Clara Haven Wallace. The New Thought Library and Reading Room, 120 Boylston St., the most recently organized Society in Boston, is devoted to the same activities as those of the Metaphysical Club. The New Thought Forum is a free platform for the discussion of liberal questions of all types. There is also a Home of Truth. Sunday services are held by Miss Poore, Mrs. C. E. C. Norris and other leaders.
The New-Thought movement in Cincinnati, Ohio, owes its origin to Christian D. Larson, who in January, 1901, organized the New Thought Temple, at his residence, 947 West Seventeenth St. In September of that year Mr. Larson began to publish Eternal Progress, for several years one of the leading New Thought periodicals. In November, 1902, Sunday morning services were inaugurated. At this service fifteen minutes’ silence was a leading feature, A little church building seating three hundred people was secured in 1904. Mr. Larson resigned in 1907, and was succeeded by Paul Tyner, in November, 1908. Harry Gaze was the next leader, and then Miss Leila Simon, in 1912.
Miss Simon’s report of the situation in Cincinnati at the time, after a lull in the work there, indicates the kind of work sometimes accomplished in building up a society which had lost headway. Miss Simon says: “I found the New Thought Temple Society struggling along without a leader, disorganized, inharmonious, with forty-seven members on the roster, about one-half of which were active. They were without adequate funds, and found difficulty in paying the small expense of $30.00 per month rent for a hall for Sunday services. Besides this deplorable internal condition, New Thought in Cincinnati had neither recognition nor standing in the community. It was thought to consist of long-haired men and short-haired women, who were queer, erratic, crazy fork. Today we have about nine hundred members, call out an audience of fifteen hundred, own property amounting to $26,000.00, besides having more than $3,500.00 in the bank. We have gained the respect of all Cincinnati, and number among our members the most cultivated and prominent men and women of the city.
“My first New Thought service brought out an audience of less than twenty-five people. Two years later I spoke constantly to from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred people.
“From the outset, I considered the work of The New Thought Temple entirely separate from personality. It was not mine, but impelled by the Spirit of God, and it is this conviction and consecration that is the moving Power of The New Thought Temple. My first thought from the beginning of my ministry and today is ‘If you believe in God’s power, prove it.’ If you teach health, harmony and prosperity, furnish the actual proofs. . . .
“My first move was to refuse to recognize the poverty-stricken consciousness of the New Thought Temple actually. I firmly set aside all gratuitous invitations from members who offered to lend their homes for classes, etc., and also refused to house the activities in cheap rooms. As we had no money this was a radical step. My first classes were held in my own apartment, situated in the best part of Cincinnati. The Sunday services were held in a hall seating one hundred people. In less than three months we had outgrown this hall, and my apartment classrooms. Before the end of the first year, we had audiences of five hundred and were finally crowded out of a large auditorium and compelled to rent the Orpheum Theatre, (at a weekly rental of $55.00), with a seating capacity of fifteen hundred, to accommodate the people who wished to attend the Sunday services. For two years we held services in this theatre with capacity audiences. . . .
“After the first two years, the New Thought Temple financed easily without deficit, an expense account of $10,000.00 a year. We kept to our initial, inflexible rule of paying bills on sight, and called into operation the Law of Giving and receiving, by making no definite charges either for healing or classes. The third year we bought a lot for $12,000.00, paying for it in a little more than a year’s time. On October 22nd, 1918, we moved into the lower structure of The New Thought Temple, which has been erected at a cost of $14,000.00, having all indebtedness discharged on the day we accepted the building from the contractors, an unprecedented feat for any church in the city.
“The New Thought Temple is thoroughly but flexibly organized, with a Board of Trustees of eleven men. It is the only church in the country, I believe, whose membership outnumbers its seating capacity, thus necessitating two Sunday services to separate congregations. There is a marvelous spirit of harmony, cooperation and fine unselfish service. Among its activities last year  and the year preceding, were a free bread-line where more than six thousand men a week were fed, and an established mission. We have a splendid Sunday-school, weekly classes, and give free lectures to the public at intervals in one of the largest theatres in the city. Many thousands of people here have been influenced and benefited by the New Thought message.”
In St. Louis, Mo., the movement known as Practical Christianity was the first to be established, also a German branch of the movement under the leadership of H. H. Schroeder, editor since 1893 of Das Wort, a periodical devoted to mental-healing for German-Americans. The first New Thought Centre was organized September 23, 1910. A few People who had been meeting once or twice a month at a private house met on that occasion for a public statement of the principles for which they stood. Everett W. Pattison was chosen president and the name adopted was Metaphysical League. Later, the name was changed to New Thought League, with Miss Harriet C. Hulick, manager. Meetings have been regularly held on Sunday and Friday evenings. The resident speakers have included Charles T. Kenney, Charles P. Tiley, P. M. Bruner, and Miss H. C. Hulick.
The founder of the Order of the White Rose and the College of Divine Sciences and Realization, Cleveland, Ohio, Rev. J. F. C. Grumbine, began his work in Geneseo, Illinois., in 1894, and with the publication of a quarterly magazine, Immortality, in Chicago. Mr. Grumbine was a Universalist, then a Unitarian minister. He was one of the pioneer New Thought lecturers and teachers, and has taught many hundreds of students in Boston and other parts of the United States, in Australia and England. His College of Divine Sciences and Realization is a correspondence school and has taught students from all parts of the world. Mr. Grumbine calls his ideal “Universal Religion,” and endeavors to show that science is both divine and natural. He is lecturer to the Psycho Science Society, in Cleveland, whose church buildings include an auditorium and parsonage.
In Philadelphia, Pa., the pioneer teachers were Miss Ellen M. Dyer and Miss Christian. A Truth Centre flourished there for a time, and later gave place to the Unity Centre and the Truth Centre. In Washington, D. C., the pioneer teacher and healer was Miss Emma Gray, of the Christian Science Institute, now known as the National New Thought Centre, under the leadership of Miss Gray and Dr. Ricker. Miss Gray is vice-president of the International New Thought Alliance for the District of Columbia, and Maryland. Mrs. Florence Willard Day began her therapeutic work in Washington in 1898, and established The Temple of Truth in 1904.
Starting with borrowed capital amounting to $30.00, Mrs. Elizabeth Towne, then Mrs. J. H. Struble, has gradually built up a publishing house and a magazine, Nautilus, which has probably had the largest circulation of any New Thought periodical. Mrs. Towne began with the publication of a four-page pamphlet in her home in Portland, Oregon. Later, she moved to Holyoke, Mass., where with her husband, Mr. William E. Towne, she has developed the publishing business and taken an active part in New Thought propagandism. Nautilus, sold extensively on the newsstands, has taken the place of many of the earlier magazines, and is typical of the New Thought in its most popular and prosperous form.
Unity, Kansas City, is still the representative magazine of the branch of the movement known as practical Christianity. Its editors and their associates have not identified their activities with the therapeutic movement in general, but have widely extended their influence by organizing The Society of Silent Unity, which has many thousands of members throughout the world. Every day at noon and every evening at nine o’clock the members of this society go apart for a brief period of meditation on the “class thought” sent out by the magazine each month. The thought for the noon meditation for April, 1919, was “Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces,” and for the evening, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains, from whence cometh my help.” This society was organized in behalf of the absent healing department of the Unity work. Extensive work through correspondence is one of the activities centering in Kansas City, where is located The Unity School of Christianity, with a fine modern building, containing a large auditorium and class-rooms, No fees are demanded for membership in the Society of Silent Unity, but members are asked to make voluntary contributions to defray expenses. Every month the magazine prints testimonials as to the value of its work in behalf of the sick and those seeking prosperity and improved conditions. The announcement of the Society says, “You can become a member of this Society and receive its help, if you have faith in the power of God. We will pray to the Father in secret and he will reward you openly. This promise is being fulfilled daily in his work.” *
The Unity movement is operated as a corporation under the name of Unity School of Christianity. Remuneration is based on whatever those benefited are moved to give. The Unity Tract Society is the publishing department of the work. The Unity buildings cover more than an acre and the publications reach 500,000 people.
* What we have undertaken to do in this chapter is to give, not an exhaustive account of the organizations, but an account of those that are typical. Some of the omissions are due to the fact that there are organizations which have failed to give the needed information concerning their present activities. A few of the leaders have preferred to have only brief mention made of their work. Further information concerning the societies may he obtained by consulting the leading magazines, and the bulletins issued by the various libraries and centres. The historian will be glad to receive additional information from time to time concerning all the organizations and leaders.
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A History of The New Thought Movement
Free Online Book by Horatio Dresser
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