W. John Murray


Rev. Murray founded the Church of the Healing Christ in New York City in 1906. A dynamic speaker, Rev. Murray presided over the largest New Thought church in the city at that time. He affiliated with the Divine Science movement in 1917 and received permission from the Divine Science organization in Denver to also call his church The First Divine Science Church of New York in addition to its original name.

Arrested in 1915 for “Practicing Medicine Without A License” by two undercover NYPD detectives who observed him praying over an individual for healing  (N.Y. Times, Dec. 17, 1915), Rev. Murray went on to author numerous books on spirituality and man’s relationship to God.

Rev. Murray’s many books include:

The Astor Lectures, 1917.  (Online here)

New Thoughts on Old Doctrines, 1918.  (Online here)

The Sanity of Optimism, 1918.

The Realm of Reality, 1922.  (Online here)

Mental Medicine, 1923.   (Online here)

The Necessity of Law, 1924.

The Murray Course in Divine Science, 1927.   (Online here)

Short Writings:

Cause and Cure in the Realm of Mind


The Law of Proper Beginning (New Year Resolution)

Rev. Murray is also mentioned in several books, including:

Braden, Charles S. Spirits in Rebellion: The Rise & Development of New Thought. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1967.

Brooks, Louise McNamara. Early History of Divine Science. Denver: First Divine Science Church, 1963.
(Identified in error on p.94 as Rev. John T. Murray)

Deane, Hazel. Powerful is the Light: The Story of Nona Brooks. Denver: Divine Science College, 1945.

Holmes, Fenwicke L. Ernest Holmes: His Life and Times. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1970.


“Dr. Murray had an unusual background. A man of short, square build, with black hair, a frank, open face and a very forceful, positive delivery; there was yet an air of gentleness and spirituality about him.

“He had been a Catholic priest but left the church of Rome to educate himself in spiritual sciences. He also had studied with Emma Curtis Hopkins and had been ordained by Nona Brooks [Divine Science] before undertaking independent metaphysical work in New York. He attracted a large number of people who came to him for healing, and it is said that he was so intent on study that he read books as he walked on the sidewalks of New York. In the early days of his work, the metaphysical movement was subject to hostility from the medical profession, and on one occasion Dr. Murray was arrested and put into jail for practicing without a medical license. Having drawn many prominent persons into the movement, including attorneys, he was soon released, and there was no recurrence of this kind…He had moved some years earlier from small halls and midweek meetings in his own home into the great ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, which was filled to capacity every Sunday morning. On Sunday evenings he took the train to Philadelphia and spoke in the ballroom of the best hotel.

“His Waldorf lectures were taken down in shorthand and became the substance of many books, and it was reported that ministers of evangelical churches frequently attended in the effort to learn his method of reinterpreting the Scriptures.”
(Holmes, pp. 185-186)

* * * * *
“In the summer of 1917 [Nona Brooks] gave part of her vacation to help with a center that had been started in Buffalo, New York. She had planned to go on east from there, and down the coast to West Virginia, but when she received a telegram from W.John Murray in New York City, asking her to occupy his pulpit there in order that he might have a much needed vacation, she consented at once. Nona loved New York, and at Dr. Murray’s request the center there has been given permission by The Denver College to be called The First Divine Science Church of New York City as well as its secondary name, The Church of the Healing Christ.”
(Deane, pp. 151-152)

* * * * *
“Rev. Nona Brooks took charge of Rev. Murray’s work in New York for several months in 1917 while Rev. John Murray was in London taking the work of Judge Troward.”
(Brooks, p. 94)

* * * * *
“In Kansas City, Unity widened its activities. In New York, W.John Murray returned to his pulpit to talk on Sunday and every week-day noon to packed crowds in the magnificent old Waldorf Astoria. His “Astor Lectures,” published in book form, went far toward welding the various contingents of New Thought into a unitary whole.
(Deane, pp. 153-154)

* * * * *
“Albert C. Grier himself eventually left Spokane and took over a small Unity group in Pasadena, California, forming it into a Church of the Truth. When he was later called to New York to succeed Dr. W.John Murray of the Church of the Healing Christ, one of a succession of New Thought leaders to have captured popular interest in New York City…Dr. Grier eventually left the Church of the Healing Christ, to be followed by Emmet Fox, and started de novo a Church of the Truth, which he led until his retirement.”
(Braden, p. 317)

* * * * *
“…The late Dr. Emmet Fox, pastor of the Church of the Healing Christ, founded by Dr. W. John Murray in 1906 and called also the First Church of Divine Science, in New York City…

“Dr. Murray had a numerous personal following. He had spoken for years to one of the large congregations in New York, meeting in the great ballroom of the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria. At his passing he was succeeded for a time by Dr. A.C. Grier…and Emmet Fox was called to succeed him.”
(Braden, p. 352)

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