Prayer meetings held in 1889 in the Kansas City living room of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore were the beginning of what grew to be an international religious and educational movement. This book is the first in-depth study of the people and beliefs that shaped it into one of the fastest growing movements of our time. Today there are 170,000 Unity students who are members of Unity centers and churches and attend Unity classes both in the churches and at Unity School. More than 70,000 people subscribe to Unity ...
Prayer meetings held in 1889 in the Kansas City living room of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore were the beginning of what grew to be an international religious and educational movement. This book is the first in-depth study of the people and beliefs that shaped it into one of the fastest growing movements of our time. Today there are 170,000 Unity students who are members of Unity centers and churches and attend Unity classes both in the churches and at Unity School. More than 70,000 people subscribe to Unity magazine, and 1.2 million subscribe to Unity’s Daily Word. The Association of Unity Churches provides services to over 1,000 ministries worldwide. Unity’s 24-hour prayer ministry responds to more than 2 million prayer requests each year, including approximately 1.1 million phone calls and 1 million letters. Neal Vahle documents the lives of the spiritual visionaries who created, organized, and led the Unity movement: Myrtle Fillmore, the 40-year-old wife and mother who was inspired by a Christian Science practitioner to cure herself of tuberculosis; Charles Fillmore, who had planned a business career but found, through study, prayer, meditation, and dream analysis, that he had another calling; H. Emily Cady, a New York City homeopathic physician whose book on Unity teachings, Lessons in Truth , was published in 1901, and has sold more than 1.6 million copies; Lowell Fillmore, eldest son of Charles and Myrtle, who clarified and popularized Unity teaching; and the other descendants of Myrtle and Charles, each of whom made immeasurable contributions. He explores the key factors that led to the steady growth of the movement: the creation of the Unity School of Christianity; the development of Unity Village in Missouri; the evolution of “Silent Unity;” the publication program; the training of students; the development of centers and churches; and he presents and analyzes the controversies and debates within the organization. Vahle concludes the book with a look at the challenges facing the movement in the 21st century.
About the Author
Neal Vahle has served as publishing director of Heldref Publications in Washington, D.C., and as editor of several periodicals, including World Affairs, Current, New Realities, Re-Source, and Unity Magazine. He holds a Ph.D. in American History from Georgetown University and has taught at The American University, The Catholic University of America, and George Mason University. He is also the author of Open at the Top: The Life of Ernest Holmes and Torchbearer to Light the Way: The Life of Myrtle Fillmore. He lives in Corte Madera, California.
The Unity School of Christianity, once a tiny movement within the larger rubric of New Thought, has evolved into a significant international religion with more than 170,000 members. Its basic teachings about bodily regeneration and healing, spiritual progress and the divine nature of every person have appealed to individuals from many walks of life. In The Unity Movement: Its Evolution and Spiritual Teaching, Neal Vahle provides a balanced and serviceable account of the movement's origins, beliefs and practices. The tone can be dry and pedestrian at times, and Vahle offers little in the way of analysis. However, the study still represents a great step forward, considering the paucity of source material available on this increasingly visible religion. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The Unity Movement grew out of the mental healing and New Thought movements of the late 1890s. In the 100-plus years of its existence, it has grown to only a reputed 170,000 members, but its active publishing program extends its influence to a wider audience. Even though its history spans and connects 19th-century New Thought and 20th-century New Age movements, it has often been overlooked in American religious history. This encyclopedic work by Vahle, former editor of Unity magazine and author of Torchbearer To Light the Way: The Life of Myrtle Fillmore, attempts to fill that gap and succeeds in providing a breadth, if not a depth, of information. Chapters cover the early founders (including Fillmore) and philosophies, some information on influences and parallel movements, the activities of the Unity School and auxiliary organizations, and the role of women and of African Americans. Because much of the historical record is limited to Unity publications, this account tends to be more descriptive than analytic. It provides useful fact, but Vahle does not present any critical theory or place Unity within the broader context of other religious and social movements. Strong on data but weak on writing, this is recommended with caution for public libraries and religion collections. Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.