New Thought – New Woman

EMMA2I can’t let March go without writing this… New Thought deserves a very special place in Women’s History. Did you know that New Thought was the first church  to have women ministers? Did you know Emma Curtis Hopkins was a leader in the women’s movement?        

One reason I was attracted to New Thought in the first place was that women had an equal voice and there were a so many women ministers in our churches.

Recently I read that since the beginning of time, women have been more interesteed in religion than men are. I don’t know if that is true but I do know that I’ve never attended any church anywhere when there weren’t more women that men in the pews. Nevertheless, I’m almost positive we remain the only denomination with more women than men behind the pulpit.

New Thought was started in the 1880’s when the women’s movement was gaining steam but the real reason we allowed women equal power in our churches is because of what we teach – our basic theology. We define God as Creative Intelligence that is present everywhere, and is all powerful and all Good.

God is not an old man in the sky fighting a big battle with a smaller man in a smokin’ red suit from down below. God is neither male nor female but encompasses everything. Since God lives fully present in each of us, we all have equal access to the Power For Good and we can all use it.

Women have been the leaders in our teaching since the very beginning. One early leader, Emma Curtis Hopkins (1855-1925), is credited with being the founder of New Thought by many scholars. I am in that camp. I believe Hopkins was the true founder because she clearly articulated the ideas of the teaching as religion and her writing is still taught in our churches.

Others say Phineas P. Quimby who learned about Anton Mesmer’s early hypnotism and experimented with the principles of mental healing was the founder, but although he believed in mental healing, he did not believe in organized not religion.  It was his student, Mary Baker Eddy, who combined his mental healing techniques with religion and who founded Christian Science. Her churches are not considered New Thought.

Emma Curtis Hopkins was a former school teacher who was a divorced woman with health and financial problems. Hopkins studied with Eddy and split away to form her own teaching. Over a period of years, she built a wide-spread work and earned the title, Teacher of Teachers.

She taught thousands of people including the founders of the three major New Thought denominations; Unity, Divine Science and Religious Science. She also taught Anna Rix Militz who founded the California-based Home Truth and many others who founded large works at that time.

Emilie Cady was in Hopkins’s first class and Cady is author of the famous Unity text, Ten Lessons in Truth. Later Hopkins taught Unity founders Myrtle and Charles Fillmore . She also taught Malinda Cramer, and the other founder, Nona Brooks, learned from a student of Hopkins. Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, studied with Emma Curtis Hopkins later in her life.

I have always been fascinated by Hopkins and her colleagues because they lived in a time when women were pushing for the vote and for equal opportunity. Most of these New Thought pioneers were divorced or widowed women who travelled from town to town, staying in people’s homes and teaching any beginners they could attract. They were truly very brave.

Some of them, like Hopkins, were charismatic enough to draw big crowds (as much as a thousand) and even start schools. Others labored in the vineyards with little notice, crisscrossing the nation by railroads and opening minds and hearts.

They were teaching philosophy and religion in a time when most women worked at uneducated, menial jobs and/or housework. They were harbingers of the New Age of Women. Some, like Helen Wilmans and Hopkins, were active in the Women’s Movement and others were simply active women.

Wilmans was active in the labor movement as well as creating a mail order books, lessons and distance prayer business in the town she built in Florida. She was hugely successful for a while and  known as a political activist as well as a prosperity teacher. No one knows much about her today.

Emma Curtis Hopkin’s fame remains but people don’t know she taught leaders of the Suffrage Movement.  Of the 22 graduates of in her first graduating class, 20 were women. One was Helen Wilmans. Two others were the very active, well known suffrage activists, Louisa Southworth and Elizabeth Boynton Harbert.

What’s more, Hopkins Metaphysical Association had a booth in the Women’s Pavilion of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair!

Over the years, I have heard many comments bewailing the lack of men in our churches (mostly from women). Almost no one comments about the wonder of having so many fabulous women leaders. We need to look at that and pay more attention to our history.

While the Christian Science and Seventh Day Adventist Churches were American religions founded by women during the same era, those leaders who the founders were male.  Our leaders have included both genders throughout our history. The first president of the International New Thought Alliance was the noted writer and magazine editor, Elizabeth Towne.

Some people know that Quaker women played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights but not many know that New Thought women were also involved. Other people associate the Unitarian-Universalist Churches with social action and that is certainly true. It is also true that they had very few women ministers until the 1960’s.

Both Unitarian and New Thought teachings are descended from the Transcendentalists and we both claim Emerson as one of our ancestors. I am also very proud to also claim early feminist, Margaret Fuller, first editor of the Transcendentalist magazine The Dial as my ancestor as well.

Unitarians and the Quakers have been well known for their social activism, while we have been quietly making history for the last century and a half. When I began studying Religious Science, the President of Religious Science International was a woman named Earlene Castellaw. Dr. Arlene Bump was president later. The Rev. Dr.Cathy Hearn headed United Religious Science for many years.

I believe New Thought people should be very proud of our women’s history heritage and make it known. I still have a few copies of a book I wrote ten years ago. I plan to rewrite one of these days and add more about these ideas and new facts. Meanwhile, contact me if you are interested. The book is called New Thought – New Woman, a survey of Women and Spirit from Goddess to New Thought.

Ask Yourself

Why was I led to this teaching?

How do I feel about a majority of women in my Center?

Am I proud of our New Thought history?

Do I have friends I want to tell about our history?

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Prayer Works Like Magic

MaryLou feels trapped in a low-paying job and asks for prayer treatment. As a part of my prayer, I say, “All things are possible with God. Since God is all powerful and present everywhere, everything is possible for MaryLou. God is Divine Givingness and Mary Lou’s new job is already present in the mind of God. I accept that her wonderful new job is here now. Thank you God.” Out of the corner of my eye, I see MaryLou smiling.

         Unlike traditional prayer, Religious Science practitioners do not kneel and plead to God. We open our hearts and minds to accept whatever we are praying for. The key to effective prayer is that, “It is done to us as we believe”.

Our process of praying is based on the belief that everything comes from God and God is Love working through Law. When we envision, believe, and accept our desires, God (working as spiritual law) makes a way to bring them into being.

We “claim” rather than “plead”, and we often get marvelous results. The most important factor in how quickly we get those results depends on how and what we believe. If we believe it will be difficult, that will slow us down. So will hidden beliefs about being unworthy or unfit.

Not only must we envision but we must believe before we see the desired changes. We can deeply desire something without believing it is attainable. We can also believe it is attainable but that it requires  struggle and hard work. That slows it down. Good prayer work can speed up the process.

Prayers do work very simply sometimes but you can’t just wish and make it so. You usually have to release old beliefs that stand in the way. We all have limiting beliefs. Try and convince a poor person that he can claim a fortune by thanking God in advance. Or tell a sick person that faith will make him well. These old beliefs can be like the burrs sticking in a hound dog’s ears after a romp in the woods.

Here’s another burry fact. Beliefs may be unknown as well as long-standing. Because they know how complicated the human mind can be, many students of Science of Mind begin to focus on uncovering the reason for the problem rather than envisioning and claiming the solution. They approach their prayer work as though they were Sherlock Holmes .

Sometimes it is better not to have too much information. Years ago our center had a visitor from a bigger, older church with a famous minister. The visitor asked me for prayer after the service. She was a 37 year old woman who desperately wanted to marry and have a child. According to her, she and her minister had prayed and counseled for years but neither could figure out exactly which hidden, frustrating belief was keeping her stuck.

We only had the one session so I didn’t know her well. That turned out to be a good thing because I wasn’t intrigued by her history.  I guided her away from looking for clues and into describing her ideal marriage. The next week she met a young man on the tennis court in her local park. They dated for a short time and married. That greatly desired baby arrived before her 38th birthday party. Last time I heard, she had another child and a very happy life.

Some readers might think that was beginner’s luck. She insisted I knew a magic formula, but neither explanation is true. My advantage was probably because I didn’t have a history of failure, nor did I know much about her. It was not magic. It was spiritual law in action.

As a Religious Science minister, I have seen all sorts of results that might look like magic or miracles to outsiders. Spots on lungs showed up on an x-ray one month only to disappear the next. A “dying” man checked out of the hospital two days later.  A woman climbed a flight of stairs two days after her double knee replacements.

The truth is very ordinary. We are connected to a Power For Good that is Love working through spiritual law. Since this power is unlimited, we are connected to unlimited power. That connection works better when we pray. When we pray we have a trained mind making conscious connections, that focus on the Infinite Power to achieve definite results.

This is the month to enroll in Science of Mind classes to train your mind to pray more effectively. You can learn how to do positive prayer work in a local Center For Positive Living or take classes online. You can even begin by reading. My book, Science of Mind Skills covers the basic ideas. Anyone can train his or her mind to achieve powerful things.

Today, I’ve written a snapshot of how affirmative prayer works. But it is only a snapshot. There are many sayings that offer shorthand descriptions. One phrase you hear in every Science of Mind Center is “Change your thinking and change your life.” Another way to explain the process is to say, God mirrors our beliefs.

I’ve see so many dreams come true in my 23 years in the ministry. I’ve seen amazing successes for people in every area of their lives. These ranged from finding a job as a substitute teacher to building a huge business depending on the goals of the person involved. For the Creative Power of the Universe, one success was as easy as the other because God can do anything.

I’ve seen dying bodies healed, dying relationships recovered, money earned, a million won, grade averages raised and homes refinanced. You name it, you envision it and prayer can accomplish it. God is simply unlimited and says yes.

I was a true believer long before I became a minister. I built my own very successful writing career (80 teen books as Jane Claypool Miner & Veronica Ladd) when I was a beginning SOM student.  I saw prayer work like magic because I wrote unsuccessfully for ten years and then I started to pray. What was an impossible goal all those years became as easy as pie. I achieves “overnight success”!

I didn’t go down on my knees and beg. Instead. I spent my time and energy opening up a new level of acceptance. SOM practitioners know that God is the Creative Energy of the Universe and can create anything we can envision, believe and embody in consciousness.

The trick is to find ways to accept more and there are lots and lots of ways to do that. Increasing our level of acceptance is the true purpose of classes. Whether it is a basic Science of Mind class that teaches how God works through spiritual laws or a background class on Emerson and the Transcendentalists, the aim of the teacher is to help students open up to more good in their lives.

Ask Yourself

Do I know how to pray?

Do I want to take a class?

Do I want to read a book?

What more do I desire in life?

What do I believe about that desire?


Prosperity Is Normal

When my sister visits, we talk about many things including politics, the media, friends, our children and grandchildren. Sometimes we talk about the early years, although neither of us dwells on the past. This morning, one of us said, “We learned early not to ask for much money. It wasn’t there.”

We all develop ideas about money very early in life. The economic positions and attitudes of our parents, combined with the economic times to help us form impressions and beliefs about the availability and uses of money.

Like many people my age, I learned “Money doesn’t grow on trees” and if I wanted to get ahead I should, “Work hard and save every penny”.

As a small child, everyone I knew was poor. Even after World War Two, when I was in high school, my family was still living in a government housing project and I thought other kids were rich because they lived in real houses.

My grandmother used to tell me that my face was my fortune and she meant that I was pretty enough to “marry up”. My mother, who seldom agreed with my grandmother about anything, said, “It’s just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man.”

Even as a kid, I could see that they had pretty faces themselves. It was clear that it wasn’t so easy to find a rich man to love.

In those days, if anyone had tried to explain prosperity principles to me, I would have laughed in their faces. Later, when I finally had a good job as a schoolteacher and attended Redondo Beach Religious Science Church, I laughed at Dr. Richelieu’s money ideas.

I was so busy struggling with money issues myself that the idea that it was normal to be prosperous seemed absolutely fantastic – even a bit insane. But I did work hard and eventually got at least some of what I wanted in life.

Later, I met people who inherited wealth and I noticed that they took their riches for granted. Instead of being obsessed by lack and limitation, they seemed to focus on more interesting things and simply expect the money to be there. I was fascinated by anyone who had an expectation of prosperity. For me, it was an exotic and amazing mindset.

Over the years, I also met people who made a lot of money through creative work. They seemed to be more grateful for what they had. I admired people who found work that made them wealthy and happy. I wanted to join their ranks but I was beset by old ideas that made me fearful. I was ambitious but I turned down a lot of opportunities because I couldn’t imagine myself in a position of wealth and power.

Ambition was a good beginning for acquiring wealth. But ambition alone didn’t do the job. Over the years, I have had to release a lot of limiting ideas about finances and accept some new, more expansive ideas about the nature of the Universe. It took work to even begin to solve the puzzle of why my hard work didn’t automatically bring big bucks.

While I’ve never had a whole lot of enough money, I’ve done all right and I’ve lived a prosperous life. The most important financial lesson I’ve learned is to be grateful. If we judge ourselves by looking at what we want and don’t have, we will always be unhappy.

Nothing builds finances as well as expressing simple gratitude for what you already have. It will make you healthier and happier just to count your blessings. It will also set the law of attraction in motion and bring more prosperity. It is true that, “What you think about, comes about.”

Many of us learned that there “wasn’t enough” about the time we learned to walk. That’s a deeply buried belief. Moving from belief in lack to belief in abundance is quite a trip.

The first step is to accept that no matter what your current bank account is, you are working with spiritual laws of unlimited possibility.

This is the time of year when you local church is starting new basic classes and when you sign up you will learn all about spiritual laws and how they work in your life. Go to the  Center For Spiritual Living website to find a nearby center, There are also classes on-line.

Anyone can use gratitude as a daily tool to build a new prosperity consciousness. Wake up and make a list of your financial blessings with your first cup of coffee. No matter what your current situation is, you have blessings and it helps to notice them by counting.

Start with the basics. List your home, whether it a mansion, or a couch in your friend’s living room. List your food whether it is a gourmet feast or from the McDonald’s dollar menu. List your transportation, whether feet, thumb, bus or car. Gratitude starts where we are. Spiritual laws kick in and create more.

All you have to do is remember to keep your thoughts on the sunny side of the street. Staying in the state of continuous gratitude works continuously to increase your wealth. You will be aware that your habits of thought are changing because you will be happier and people will be nicer and more generous.

It is especially important to acknowledge all gifts and accept all offers.  Thanking people for their gifts ensures that the gifts keep coming. Thanking God for the financial abundance in your life every morning sets the tone for the whole day. Genuine gratitude greases the wheels of life!

What we need is a new idea of success to replace any old idea of failure. What we want is to accept prosperity as natural and normal. If we do our daily spiritual work our habits of thinking change and so will our financial situation.

Here are some simple gratitude suggestions. Let them become habits.

  1. Keep a daily gratitude list and include financial items.
  2. Give an extra tithe to your church to express gratitude for what the church teaches you about prosperity.
  3. Send thank you notes for all gifts. Include lunch invitations and hand me down clothes.
  4. Take someone you love to lunch or give a gift.
  5. Share your wealth by giving away old clothes and other inused items.

Ask Yourself

What do I currently believe about money?

What would I like to believe about money?

How can I express gratitude today?

What other wealth building steps I am willing to take?

 

 

 


Does Money Really Grow On Trees?

Money certainly didn’t grow on any trees in my childhood.  I had very little money and I didn’t have any trees at all. I lived in a housing project that was all stucco and sidewalks. Everyone I knew was poor. I thought my high school friends who lived in actual houses were rich. It was not an auspicious beginning for a prosperity teacher.

My grandmother used to tell me that my face was my fortune and she meant that I was pretty enough to “marry up”. My mother, said, “It’s just as easy to love a rich man as a poor man.” That wasn’t statistically true but I tried. At age 18, I dropped out of college to marry the richest boy in my poor town.

That didn’t work out well for me financially but eventually, I my world grew wider. As time went on, I met people with inherited wealth and I noticed that they took their riches for granted. Instead of being obsessed by lack and limitation, they simply expected the money to be there. Although I had achieved some financial success, I was usually broke because I carried my poor girl mentality with me. Expecting money to be there was an amazing and exotic mindset to me.

Over the years, I also met people who created a lot of money through their work. The ones who were able to hold on to it seemed to be both cautious and grateful for what they had. Although I’d mastered the art of creating wealth through money, I hadn’t mastered the art of caution or gratitude. Like many people, I was beset by old limiting ideas that made me fearful and erratic. Ambition was a good beginning but it wasn’t enough to create a happy ending.

Since I became a New Thought minister, I have found that many people come into our teaching because they are experiencing very similar prosperity problems. That’s fine because there is nothing as clear as how Change your thinking and change your life works.

Prosperity principles may sound preposterous but there is no area of living that is as easy to prove. Releasing old ideas about money and expanding your vision to accept more wealth brings definite results you can count them.

We have to accept some new, more expansive, ideas about the nature of the Universe before we can begin to solve the puzzle or why hard work and/or thrift doesn’t automatically bring big bucks. If we are stuck in a mentality that keeps telling us that money is scarce or that, “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, the Universe will find a way to make money scarce.

Once we accept that the only Source of all Good is God, we can begin to assume the mental attitude of expectation that those fascinating people who inherited their wealth had. Affirmations help to turn our heads around so why not start your day with an affirmation like this one, “I expect great things today and that includes more money”. Expectation is important.

Gratitude is also really important. Consistently appreciating what you have rather than bemoaning what you are lacking will really help build your emotional and financial health. Learn to see the glad half-full rather than half-empty and you are on you way. Here’s another affirmation you can use. “I am grateful for all the abundance in my life.”

Spiritual laws are always working and they will create more of whatever you are thinking about. That means that you need to expect the best and feel gratitude as much as you possibly can. Worry really won’t help. Feeling grateful really will help. No matter what your bank account is, changing your thinking so that you point the Law of Attraction in the direction you want to go can increase the balance.

Actually, I believe gratitude is the most powerful tool in your repair kit. You can use gratitude to create more positive living in every area of your life. All you have to do is remember to keep your thoughts on the sunny side of the street. Staying in the state of continuous gratitude is a great way to live.

One of the simplest ways to express gratitude is to say thank you. Many people do a gratitude prayer of spiritual mind treatment before they pay their bills. Some even write little notes, such as “Thanks for the great service,” on their checks.  This puts the writer in a prosperity mindset. Thanking people sets the law of attraction in motion and brings more money and better service to you.

It is especially important to acknowledge all gifts and accept all offers.  Thanking people for their gifts ensures that the gifts keep coming. Thanking God for the financial abundance in your life every morning sets the tone for the whole day. Genuine gratitude greases the wheels of life!

Dare to dream of being solvent! Expand your thinking so that you can envision yourself as a wealthy person. Dare to imagine yourself as rich! Let your God- given intelligence work for you instead of against you. You can do it.

Here are some simple suggestions for greater financial expression that will work if you focus on them long enough to create habits.

  1. Keep a daily gratitude list and include financial items.
  2. Give an extra tithe to your church to express gratitude for what the church teaches you about prosperity.
  3. Send thank you notes for all gifts. Include lunch invitations and hand me down clothes.
  4. Take someone you love to lunch or give a gift.
  5. Share your wealth by giving away old clothes and other items.