Charles Fillmore (Unity Church)

Last updated
Charles Sherlock Fillmore
Charles Fillmore (Unity Church).jpg
Born(1854-08-22)August 22, 1854
DiedAugust 5, 1948(1948-08-05) (aged 93)
Spouse(s)
Myrtle Page (m. 18811931)

Cora G. Dedrick(m. 19331948)
Part of a series of articles on
New Thought

Charles Sherlock Fillmore (August 22, 1854 – July 5, 1948) founded Unity, a church within the New Thought movement, with his wife, Myrtle Page Fillmore, in 1889. He became known as an American mystic for his contributions to spiritualist interpretations of biblical Scripture.

Unity Church

Unity, known informally as Unity Church, is a New Thought Christian organization that publishes the Daily Word devotional publication. It describes itself as a "positive, practical Christianity" which "teach[es] the effective daily application of the principles of Truth taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ" and promotes "a way of life that leads to health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind."

The New Thought movement is a movement which developed in the United States in the 19th century, considered by many to have been derived from the unpublished writings of Phineas Quimby. There are numerous smaller groups, most of which are incorporated in the International New Thought Alliance.

Myrtle Fillmore American writer

Mary Caroline "Myrtle" Page Fillmore was an American who was co-founder of Unity, a church within the New Thought Christian movement, along with her husband Charles Fillmore. Prior to that time, she worked as a schoolteacher.

Contents

Biography

He was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota on August 22, 1854.

St. Cloud, Minnesota City in Minnesota, United States

St. Cloud is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the largest population center in the state's central region. Its population is 67,984 according to the 2017 US census estimates, making it Minnesota's tenth largest city. St. Cloud is the county seat of Stearns County and was named after the city of Saint-Cloud, France, which was named after the 6th-century French monk Saint Clodoald.

An ice skating accident when he was ten broke Fillmore's hip and left him with lifelong disabilities. [1] In his early years, despite little formal education, he studied Shakespeare, Tennyson, Emerson and Lowell as well as works on spiritualism, Eastern religions, and metaphysics. [2] [3]

Ralph Waldo Emerson American philosopher, essayist, and poet

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.

He met his future wife, Mary Caroline "Myrtle" Page, in Denison, Texas in the mid-1870s. After losing his job there, he moved to Gunnison, Colorado where he worked at mining and real estate. [4]

Denison, Texas City in Texas, United States

Denison is a city in Grayson County, Texas, United States. It is 75 miles (121 km) north of Dallas. The population was 22,682 at the 2010 census. Denison is part of the Texoma region and is one of two principal cities in the Sherman–Denison Metropolitan Statistical Area. Denison is known as the birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States.

Gunnison, Colorado Home Rule Municipality in Colorado, United States

The City of Gunnison is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 5,854. It was named in honor of John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer who surveyed for the transcontinental railroad in 1853. Gunnison is a Home Rule municipality which reserves the right to choose how it is governed.

He married Myrtle in Clinton, Missouri on March 29, 1881 and the newlyweds moved to Pueblo, Colorado, where Charles established a real estate business with the brother-in-law of Nona Lovell Brooks, who was later to found the Church of Divine Science. [4]

Clinton, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Clinton is a city in Henry County, Missouri, United States. The population was 9,008 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Henry County.

Pueblo, Colorado City in Colorado, United States

Pueblo is a home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Pueblo County, Colorado, United States. The population was 106,595 in 2010 census, making it the 267th most populous city in the United States and the 9th largest in Colorado. Pueblo is the heart of the Pueblo Metropolitan Statistical Area, totaling over 160,000 people and an important part of the Front Range Urban Corridor. As of 2014, Pueblo is the primary city of the Pueblo–Cañon City combined statistical area (CSA) totaling approximately 208,000 people, making it the 134th largest in the nation.

The Church of Divine Science is a religious movement within the wider New Thought movement. The group was formalized in San Francisco in the 1880s under Malinda Cramer. "In March 1888 Cramer and her husband Frank chartered the 'Home College of Spiritual Science'. Two months later Cramer changed the name of her school to the 'Home College of Divine Science'." during the dramatic growth of the New Thought Movement in the United States.

Introduction to New Thought

After the births of their first two sons, Lowell Page Fillmore and Waldo Rickert Fillmore, the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Two years later, in 1886, Charles and Myrtle attended New Thought classes held by Dr. E. B. Weeks. Myrtle subsequently recovered from chronic tuberculosis and attributed her recovery to her use of prayer and other methods learned in Weeks' classes. Subsequently, Charles began to heal from his childhood accident, a development which he too attributed to following this philosophy. Charles Fillmore became a devoted student of philosophy and religion. [5]

Kansas City, Missouri City in western Missouri

Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 488,943 in 2017, making it the 37th most-populous city in the United States. It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri state line. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850 the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory. Confusion between the two ensued and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon after.

Tuberculosis Infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Philosophy intellectual and/or logical study of general and fundamental problems

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

In 1889, Charles and Myrtle began publication of a new periodical, 'Modern Thought', notable among other things as the first publication to accept for publication the writings of the then 27-year-old New Thought pioneer William Walker Atkinson. In 1890, they announced a prayer group that would later be called 'Silent Unity'. In 1891, Fillmore's 'Unity' magazine was first published. Dr. H. Emilie Cady published 'Lessons in Truth' in the new magazine. This material later was compiled and published in a book by the same name, which served as a seminal work of the Unity Church. Although Charles had no intention of making Unity into a denomination, his students wanted a more organized group. He and his wife were among the first ordained Unity ministers in 1906. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore operated the Unity organizations from a campus near downtown Kansas City. [3]

Death

Myrtle Fillmore died in 1931. Charles remarried in 1933 to Cora G. Dedrick who was a collaborator on his later writings. [4] Charles Fillmore died in 1948. Unity continued, growing into a worldwide movement; Unity World Headquarters at Unity Village and Unity Worldwide Ministries are the organizations of the movement. [6]

Tenets and Beliefs

In a pamphlet called "Answers to Your Questions About Unity", poet James Dillet Freeman says that Charles and Myrtle both had health problems and turned to some new ideas which they believed helped to improve these problems. Their beliefs are centered on two basic propositions: (1) God is good. (2) God is available; in fact, God is in you. The pamphlet goes on to say that: [7]

About a year after the Fillmores started the magazine Modern Thought, they had the inspiration that if God is what they thought - the principle of love and intelligence, the source of all good - God is wherever needed. It was not necessary for people to be in the same room with them in order for them to unite in thought and prayer.

In his later years, Fillmore felt so young that he thought that he might be physically immortal, as well as believing that he might be the reincarnation of Paul of Tarsus. [8] Charles and Myrtle Fillmore were vegetarians.

Books

See also

Related Research Articles

Seicho-no-Ie

Seichō no Ie, is a syncretic, monotheistic, New Thought Japanese new religion that has spread since the end of World War II. It emphasizes gratitude for nature, the family, ancestors and, above all, religious faith in one universal God. Seichō no Ie is the world's largest New Thought group. By the end of 2010 it had over 1.6 million followers and 442 facilities, mostly located in Japan.

Arnold Eisen American historian

Arnold M. Eisen, Ph.D. is an American Judaic scholar who is Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 1986, he taught at Tel Aviv University and Columbia University.

José Quintero Panamanian theatre director

José Benjamín Quintero was a Panamanian theatre director, producer and pedagogue best known for his interpretations of the works of Eugene O'Neill.

Joseph Murphy was an Irish born, naturalised American author and New Thought minister, ordained in Divine Science and Religious Science.

H. Emilie Cady American writer and physician

Harriet Emilie Cady was an American homeopathic physician and author of New Thought spiritual writings. Her 1896 book Lessons in Truth, A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity is now considered one of the core texts on Unity Church teachings. It is the most widely read book in that movement. It has sold over 1.6 million copies since its first publication, and has been translated into eleven languages and braille.

Nelson Glueck American rabbi, academic and archaeologist

Nelson Glueck was an American rabbi, academic and archaeologist. He served as president of Hebrew Union College from 1947 until his death, and his pioneering work in biblical archaeology resulted in the discovery of 1,500 ancient sites.

Malinda Cramer American writer

Malinda Elliott Cramer was a founder of the Church of Divine Science, a healer, and an important figure in the early New Thought movement.

Nona L. Brooks American writer

Nona Lovell Brooks, described as a "prophet of modern mystical Christianity", was a leader in the New Thought movement and a founder of the Church of Divine Science.

Affirmative prayer is a form of prayer or a metaphysical technique that is focused on a positive outcome rather than a negative situation. For instance, a person who is experiencing some form of illness would focus the prayer on the desired state of perfect health and affirm this desired intention "as if already happened" rather than identifying the illness and then asking God for help to eliminate it.

Masaharu Taniguchi was a Japanese New Thought leader, founder of Seicho-no-ie.

Annie Rix Militz was an American author and spiritual leader. An early organizer of the New Thought Movement, she is best known as the founder of Home of Truth. With her sister Harriet Hale Rix, Annie Rix Militz was a founder of the West Coast Metaphysical Bureau, a group whose aim was to study philosophies and religions.

Charles Fecher was an American author and editor who is best known for his works about Jacques Maritain and H.L. Mencken. Fecher also wrote about issues concerning the Catholic Church. He won awards from the Catholic Press Association in 1977 and 1978 for his weekly column entitled "Books in Review" that appeared in the Baltimore Catholic Review.

Raymond Charles Barker American spiritual writer

Raymond Charles Barker was a leader and author in the New Thought spiritual movement and, specifically, in Religious Science. He was born in Rochester, NY, to George Elbert Barker and Harriet Whitbeck Barker. Presbyterians, they became interested in New Thought upon attending lectures related to this spiritual philosophy and movement. In 1916 both parents became very actively involved with the Unity Center formed in Rochester that year, with Raymond attending the Sunday School. The minister, Cora French, Williams, exerted a great influence on the young Raymond, who soon became her "crown prince." Very early he participated in Center activities, and in his teen years he was already assuming responsibilities at the Center afternoons after school. This was the beginning of his functioning at a young age in quasi-ministerial capacities. He quickly accepted a call to the Assistant Ministry of the Church of Universal Truth in Toledo, Ohio, followed by a return to the Rochester Unity center, where he spoke Sundays and Wednesdays. It is from 1934 that he always dated his true ministry. In 1935 he began his formal studies one month each summer, 1935-1938, at Unity headquarters, Lee's Summit, MO. While still formally a student, he organized a Unity Center in Syracuse, N.Y. In June 1940 he was ordained at Unity School by Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore. However, later that year his visit to Los Angeles and his meeting with Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes exerted the next big influence on his life, one that attracted him to Religious Science and, in 1944, acceptance of a co-ministry with Elizabeth Carrick-Cook at the San Francisco Institute or Religious Science. This he resigned in 1945, later that year to begin the formalization, at Dr. Holmes' request, of a Religious Science ministry in New York City. On February 1 1946, he founded the First Church of Religious Science in Manhattan. By 1949 services were being held at New York's prestigious Town Hall. Three years later the new church acquired the building at 122 W. 55th St. and in 1966 moved from there to ownership of the still more desirable 14 East 48th St, around the corner from 5th Avenue. Even these generous accommodations were not sufficient for the hundreds attending Dr. Barker's meetings and classes, so arrangements were made in 1969 for the Church to hold its Sunday meetings at Alice Tully Hall in the city's famous Lincoln Center. Dr Barker also had a weekly program on New York City's metropolitan-area radio station WOR. Some of his students included future Religious Science leaders Stuart Grayson and Louise Hay. He was a president of the International New Thought Alliance (1943-46) and of Religious Science International (1954-57). Upon Dr. Barker's retirement from the ministry in 1979, he was succeeded by Dr. Stuart Grayson. Dr. Barker took up residence at Rancho Mirage, Calif., where he continued actively as a writer and guest speaker until his decease on January 26, 1988. Memorial services were held for him at the New York and Palm Desert (Calif.) churches of Religious Science. At the latter church, Dr. Robert Bitzer, founder of the Hollywood Church of Religious Science and one of the Religious Science movement's earliest workers and organizers, eulogized Dr. Barker as having done more for Religious Science than anyone since founder Ernest Holmes himself.

Horatio Dresser American spiritualist

Horatio Willis Dresser (1866–1954) was a New Thought religious leader and author.

The history of New Thought started in the 1830s, with roots in the United States and England. As a spiritual movement with roots in metaphysical beliefs, New Thought has helped guide a variety of social changes throughout the 19th, 20th, and into the 21st centuries. Psychologist and philosopher William James labelled New Thought "the religion of healthy-mindedness" in his study on religion and science, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

References

  1. Vahle, Neal (2002) The Unity movement: its evolution and spiritual teachings, Templeton Foundation Press, p. 33-34.
  2. "Charles Sherlock Fillmore" in Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 5th ed. Gale Group, 2001. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009, accessed September 2009.
  3. 1 2 "A Timeline of Unity History", Association of Unity Churches, accessed September 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 Gale Publishing Group, "Charles Fillmore" in Religious Leaders of America, 2nd ed. Gale Group, 1999. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008., accessed September 2009.
  5. Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 4: 1946-1950. American Council of Learned Societies, 1974, reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008., accessed September 2009.
  6. See, e.g., Ferm, Vergilius (ed). An Encyclopedia of Religion; Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (1976; 1st ed. pub. 1945 by Philosophical Library); pg. 805.
  7. Answers to Your Questions About Unity James Dillet Freeman, Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO.
  8. Charles S. Braden. Spirits in Rebellion: The Rise and Development of New Thought, p. 260.