WHAT IS REALLY THE MISSION OF NEW THOUGHT
I really must take issue with Neal Donald Walsch. We do not need to “seek to change the world entire”. For on doing research for the “Founders of New Thought”, I came across some interesting aspects of just what was the intention of New Thought.
Raymond Charles Barker produced a very popular little booklet called “How to Change Other People” and of course it contained projects to change yourself. The change has to come from within each person and then it will radiate out to the world. This is how our early founders spread the word. THEY were changed and then they went out to spread their radiance to others traveling all over the world.
Time after time I am reading of those early New Thought luminaries going to Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Africa. This long before the time of air travel, in order that a brief stop could be made and move on in haste.
Nona Brooks gave up her time at the Denver School to spend a year teaching in Australia. Annie Rix Militz traveled widely abroad. (Dr. Frederick Rogers and I spent two years in Australia taking a Unity Group to Church status.)
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.
Emma Curtis Hopkins herself went to England, Europe and Australia.
Today it seems that many of the current crop of ministers just want to spend time isolated within their own ministries. A big fish in a little pond. Not even prepared to spread their light to wider New Thought thinkers beyond the locality of their own ministry. (Exception here to be made for the groups going to Russia, and doing sterling work there.) But right here in Ohio there are large expanses with no ministries at all. Yet, within those areas there must be many eager to hear more.
The current attitude of companies to put auto answering machines that urge you to say yes or give a number to a recorded voice is proliferating. Or a voice message machine on which you leave a request for a call that is never returned. This attitude is beginning to infect our churches. It is even difficult to get to a human voice on some of these. This is why it is the human being going out and creating small groups with their presence that is needed.
I have experienced graduates from the various ministerial schools who actually expect to walk into vacant churches demanding totally unrealistic salaries. Instead they should be proving their worth by starting their own ministry where there is none, just as our founders did. They may actually have to take an ordinary job to begin with – how anti-abundance is that! Against all their expectations and teachings. Unfortunately Churches now have to hire a minister making it a business just like anything else. New thought is NOT a business it is an avocation, and I use that word advisedly.
For it is the workers in the field that will spread the Truth by proving it. . James Edgerton in his famous 1918 speech at the 4th INTA Congress said, “… this is not a new religion. It is not an institution seeking to build itself up for the mere sake of the institution. We do not ask anybody to leave the Church – far from it. We have members of the Alliance, of the New Thought centers, that are members of churches and of no church. We ask them to become better members of their churches than before. The New Thought is designed to make people better and more efficient in whatever relation of the life they may find themselves – if a man is a teacher, a soldier, or an accountant, to make him a better teacher, soldier, or accountant.”
This is one reason why we have individual member of the International New Thought Alliance – AN ALLIANCE NOT an organization, as some seem to be under the impression as to its purpose.
The impression a teacher makes on a small group is forever. A person can walk into a church and hear a lesson and forget it as soon as they walk out of the door. Except for maybe a misleading buzz word.
The same interchangeable use of terms was 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. (President of New Thought Metaphysical Alliance in 1905) 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 New-Thought movement in Cincinnati, Ohio, owes its origin to Christian D. Larson, (a great influence on Ernest Holmes), 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 accomplished in building up a society, which had lost headway. 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."
What a lesson in the use of principle?
Currently The Temple is a wonderful facility humming with activity and the largest in Ohio. But the city is situated in the southern most part of Ohio right on the border with Kentucky, and fronting the Ohio river.
Rev. P. Joanna Rogers
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