History of Unity School, Association of Unity Churches, and The Federation of Independent Unity Churches
Unity School is the world headquarters for the Unity movement founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. Charles Fillmore was bankrupt and crippled; Myrtle was seriously ill with tuberculosis. In 1886 they discovered affirmation prayer. This approach is offered today in the Unity School of Christianity as a curative in many areas beyond physical healing. Unity Schools is not a church or denomination, but a nonsectarian religious educational institution devoted to demonstrating that following the teaching of Jesus Christ is a practical way of life. The “true church is a state of consciousness in man.”
The Fillmores held that whatever a person wants he/she can have by voicing his/her desire in the right way into the Universal Mind. The Fillmores studied the Bible, Christian Science, Transcendentalism of Thoreau and Emerson, New Thought, the Quakers, Theosophy, the Rosicrucian, Spiritism, and Hinduism. Out of their studies cam an ideology build on ancient truth and concepts.
After Myrtle Fillmore's remarkable healing utilizing prayer and affirmations, many who were seeking help became interested in how she accomplished this healing. From small prayer circles in living rooms, Unity grew. The first issue of UNITY magazine was published in 1889. The teaching of the practice of prayer, through classes and correspondence, led to the establishment of Silent Unity, the Unity School for Religious Studies Continuing Education Program and Ministerial Education Program and the Retreat programs. Through its threefold ministry of prayer, publishing, and education, Unity School serves millions of people in more than 150 countries. Unity School publishes inspirational magazines, books, audio and videocassettes, CDs, and pamphlets for adults and children.
The Independent Federation of Unity Churches, also an independent but related organization of unity churches, to the teachings and expansion of the Fillmores and Emily Cady’s work. The Association of Unity Churches, an independent but related organization of ministers and licensed teachers evolved out of the Fillmore’s work. The Association ordains ministers, provides education and administrative support and is self-supported through its more than 60 member churches. Unity School trains its own ministers.
Unity School does most of its work through “Silent Unity” – a large staff in Unity Village, near Kansas City, Missouri – where the staff prays for people based on special prayer requests. By offering this service of prayer and affirmations, many are helped and causes are put into motion in the Universal Mind.
The founders of Unity, Myrtle and Charles Fillmore, wrote a collection of books, never copyrighted and available to the general public. Their works include the following titles:
- Atom Smashing Power of Mind by Charles Fillmore
- Christian Healing
- Dynamics for Living
- Myrtle Fillmore's Healing Letters
- Mysteries of Genesis
- Jesus Christ Heals
- Mysteries Of John
- Keep A True Lent
- Lessons In Truth
- The Revealing Word
- Talks on Truth
- Teach Us To Pray
- The Twelve Powers of Man
When Charles published his writings, he did not copyright them because he felt the truth should be free to all. He was always using the latest technology to spread the truth he had proved for himself, so that it could benefit others. His ideas have benefited countless lives over the last 100 years.
Unity teaches that God is “Principle, Law, Being, Mind, Spirit, All Good, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Unchangeable, the Creator, Father, Cause, And Source of all that is. The meeting ground of God and Man is man’s mind. God’s goodness flows through man. God is about, in and through man.
The Trinity is mind, idea, and expression. The Father is the Principle, the Son is the Principle revealed in the creative plan. The Holy Spirit is the executive power (subjective mind) of both Father and Son carrying out the creative plan. Jesus Christ is a spiritual man, the direct offspring of Divine Mind: God’s idea of the perfect, God realized man.
We are all children of God, with the potential for Christ realization or Christ consciousness. Through Christ realization or Christ consciousness we gain eternal life and salvation. However, salvation means the attainment of true spiritual consciousness, becoming Christ-like. This transformation takes place not in any hereafter, but here, while on earth, through a process of unfoldment and regeneration.
There is no final death, only a transition. A person changes into increasingly higher states of consciousness until they become Christ realized.
Unity seeks to find God’s truth in all life and as a result is very open. There are no strict dogmas or creeds. Unity finds good in all religions and teaches that we should keep our minds open to receive “goodness” from all sources. Unity recognizes that our true nature and reality is spiritual. The realization of spiritual truth enlightens and heals us. Also, prosperity follows. Replacing negative, heath-inhibiting emotions such as anger, hate, or despair with positive emotions (love, joy) and thoughts (self-confidence, belief/conviction) raises consciousness and promotes health.
Affirmations, prayers, guided visualizations and meditation are basic tools used by Unity to raise consciousness and help members attain their goals or desires, be they healing, abundance, or love. Relaxation techniques in conjunction with positive affirmations of spiritual truth are used raise consciousness and connect to Universal Mind.
Myrtle Page Fillmore was known as the "Mother of Unity”. By her mothering spirit of love and faith and service, in cooperation with her husband Charles, she molded Unity School and upheld it during the years of its growth. Unity’s History is reflected in her letters:
“You see, dear, we just feel rather modest--really we haven't much to say, as to when the work was started, and how it was done! We just received from the Father some ideas that proved wonderfully helpful in our own family; then we shared them with others, and they too were helped. Since those of like faith are drawn together, we soon found ourselves in a little society, which was formed for the study of Truth and the practice of its ideas. We grew. After a time it seemed that the other folks went their various ways, and only we were left to continue what we felt to be important enough to develop and to devote ourselves to. Unity School unfolded and continued to grow.”
“I was once an emaciated little woman, upon whom relatives and doctors had placed the stamp "T.B." [tuberculosis]. And this was only one of the ailments--there were others
considered beyond help, except possibly the changing of structures through an operation. There were family problems too. We were a sickly lot, and came to the place where we were unable to provide for our children. In the midst of all this gloom, we kept looking for the way out, which we felt sure would be revealed. It was! The light of God revealed to us--the thought came to me first--that life was of God, that we were inseparably one with the Source, and that we inherited from the divine and perfect Father. What that revelation did to me at first was not apparent to the senses. But it held my mind above negation, and I began to claim my birthright and to act as though I believed myself
the child of God, filled with His life. I gained. Others saw that there was something new in me. They asked me to share it. I did. Others were healed, and began to study. My
husband continued his business, and at first took little interest in what I was doing. But after a time he became absorbed in the study of Truth too. We consecrated ourselves to the Lord, and kept doing daily that which we felt led to do. We began to prosper, a little at a time, and our health continued to improve. Life became sweeter and more interesting, and we began to see a new world. In all these years, our interest has not lagged, and we have continued to enjoy the unfoldment of God's plan in our lives…”
“Show the Father that you are ready to do your best, and He will keep increasing your ability and will place you where you will be blessed and where your work will bless others.”
Of Jesus Christ’s healing abilities, Myrtle writes: “Few have dared even to suggest that Jesus applied universal law in His restorative methods; for on the one hand it would annul the miracle theory and on the other it would be sacrilegious to inquire into the miracles of God. So it has been generally accepted that Jesus' great works were miracles and that the power to do miracles was delegated to His immediate followers only. But in recent years a considerable number of Jesus' followers have had the temerity to inquire into His healing methods, and they have found that they were based on universal mental and spiritual laws that anyone can utilize who will comply with the conditions involved in these laws. This inquiry has led to the conclusion that man and the universe are founded on mind and that all changes for good or ill are changes of mind.”
Some extracts of Charles Fillmore teachings include:
- There is but one Mind in the universe.
- Human mind, or intellect, makes mistakes because it gathers much information from without.
- Universal Mind sees and speaks from within; it is all Truth.
- Our way of thinking makes our happiness or unhappiness, our success or nonsuccess. We can, by effort, change our ways of thinking.
- God is at all times, regardless of our so-called sins, trying to pour more good into our lives to make them richer and more successful.
- What everyone desires is to have only the good manifested in his life and surroundings--to have his life full of love; to have perfect health; to know all things; to have great power and much joy; and this is just exactly what God wants us to have. All love is God in manifestation, as we have learned in a previous lesson. All wisdom is God. All life and health are God. All joy (because all good) and all power are God. All good is God coming forth into visibility through people or some other visible form. When we crave more of any good thing, we are in reality craving more of God to come forth into our lives so that we can realize it by our senses. Having more of God does not take out of our lives the good things--it only puts more of them in. In the mind that is God there is always the desire to give more, for the divine plan is forever to get more good into visibility.
- Intellectually we may see the fact of our own God-being, which never changes. What we need is to realize our oneness with the Father at all times. In order to realize it we deny ourselves and others the appearances that seem contrary to this--deny them as realities; we declare that they are not true.
- There are four common error thoughts to which nearly everyone grants great power. Persons who have grown out of sickness and trouble through prayer have found it good to deny these thoughts, in order to cleanse the mind of the direful effects of believing them. They can be denied like this.
- There is no evil. There is but one power in the universe, and that is God--good. God is good, and God is omnipresent. Apparent evils are not entities or things of themselves. They are simply apparent absence of the good, just as darkness is an absence of light. But God, or good, is omnipresent, so the apparent absence of good (evil) is unreal. It is only an appearance of evil, just as the moving sun was an appearance. You need not wait to discuss this matter of evil or to understand fully all about why you deny it, but begin to practice the denials in an unprejudiced way, and see how marvelously they will, after a while, deliver you from some of the so-called evils of your daily life.
- There is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence anywhere.. We have seen that the real is the spiritual. "The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). By using this denial you will soon break your bondage to matter and to material conditions. You will know that you are free.
- Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot master me, for they are not real.
- There is nothing in all the universe for me to fear, for greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world.