The Info List - New Thought

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The New Thought
New Thought
movement (also "Higher Thought"[1]) is a religious movement which developed in the United States
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in the 19th century, considered by many to have been derived from the unpublished writings of Phineas Quimby.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
New Thought
Alliance.[2][3] New Thought
New Thought
holds that Infinite Intelligence, or God, is everywhere, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect.[4][5] Although New Thought
New Thought
is neither monolithic nor doctrinaire, in general, modern-day adherents of New Thought
New Thought
share some core beliefs:

or Infinite Intelligence is "supreme, universal, and everlasting"; divinity dwells within each person, that all people are spiritual beings; "the highest spiritual principle [is] loving one another unconditionally... and teaching and healing one another"; and "our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living".[4][5]

The New Thought
New Thought
movement originated in the early 19th century, and survives to the current day in the form of a loosely allied group of religious denominations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of beliefs concerning metaphysics, positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualization, and personal power.[6] The teachings of Christian Science
Christian Science
are in some ways similar to Quimby's teachings. Its founder, Mary Baker Eddy, was a student and patient of Quimby's but she later disavowed his influence on her Christian Science.


1 Overview 2 History

2.1 Origins 2.2 Growth 2.3 Major gatherings

3 Beliefs

3.1 Evolution of thought 3.2 Theological inclusionism 3.3 Therapeutic ideas

4 Movement 5 See also 6 References 7 Bibliography 8 External links

Overview[edit] William James, in The Varieties of Religious
Experience, described New Thought as follows:

...for the sake of having a brief designation, I will give the title of the "Mind-cure movement." There are various sects of this "New Thought," to use another of the names by which it calls itself; but their agreements are so profound that their differences may be neglected for my present purpose, and I will treat the movement, without apology, as if it were a simple thing. It is an optimistic scheme of life, with both a speculative and a practical side. In its gradual development during the last quarter of a century, it has taken up into itself a number of contributory elements, and it must now be reckoned with as a genuine religious power. It has reached the stage, for example, when the demand for its literature is great enough for insincere stuff, mechanically produced for the market, to be to a certain extent supplied by publishers – a phenomenon never observed, I imagine, until a religion has got well past its earliest insecure beginnings. One of the doctrinal sources of Mind-cure is the four Gospels; another is Emersonianism or New England transcendentalism; another is Berkeleyan idealism; another is spiritism, with its messages of "law" and "progress" and "development"; another the optimistic popular science evolutionism of which I have recently spoken; and, finally, Hinduism
has contributed a strain. But the most characteristic feature of the mind-cure movement is an inspiration much more direct. The leaders in this faith have had an intuitive belief in the all-saving power of healthy-minded attitudes as such, in the conquering efficacy of courage, hope, and trust, and a correlative contempt for doubt, fear, worry, and all nervously precautionary states of mind. Their belief has in a general way been corroborated by the practical experience of their disciples; and this experience forms to-day a mass imposing in amount.[7]

History[edit] Main article: History of New Thought Origins[edit] The New Thought
New Thought
movement was based on the teachings of Phineas Quimby (1802–1866), an American mesmerist and healer. Quimby had developed a belief system which included the tenet that illness originated in the mind as a consequence of erroneous beliefs and that a mind open to God's wisdom could overcome any illness.[8] His basic premise was:

The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in [...] Therefore, if your mind had been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth, I come in contact with your enemy, and restore you to health and happiness. This I do partly mentally, and partly by talking till I correct the wrong impression and establish the Truth, and the Truth is the cure.[9][10]

During the late 19th century, the metaphysical healing practices of Quimby mingled with the "Mental Science" of Warren Felt Evans, a Swedenborgian minister.[citation needed] Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, has sometimes been cited as having used Quimby as inspiration for theology. Eddy was a patient of Quimby’s and shared his view that disease is rooted in a mental cause. Because of its theism, Christian Science
Christian Science
differs from the teachings of Quimby.[11] In the late 19th century, New Thought
New Thought
was propelled along by a number of spiritual thinkers and philosophers and emerged through a variety of religious denominations and churches, particularly the Unity Church and Church of Divine Science
Church of Divine Science
(established in 1889 and 1888, respectively), followed by Religious Science
Religious Science
(established in 1927).[12] Many of its early teachers and students were women; notable among the founders of the movement were Emma Curtis Hopkins, known as the "teacher of teachers", Myrtle Fillmore, Malinda Cramer, and Nona L. Brooks;[12] with many of its churches and community centers led by women, from the 1880s to today.[13][14] Growth[edit] See also: List of New Thought
New Thought
writers New Thought
New Thought
is also largely a movement of the printed word.[15] In 1906, William Walker Atkinson (1862–1932) wrote and published Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World.[16] Atkinson was the editor of New Thought
New Thought
magazine and the author of more than 100 books on an assortment of religious, spiritual, and occult topics.[17] The following year, Elizabeth Towne, the editor of The Nautilus, published Bruce MacLelland's book Prosperity Through Thought Force, in which he summarized the "Law of Attraction" as a New Thought principle, stating "You are what you think, not what you think you are."[18] These magazines were used to reach a large audience then, as others are now. Nautilus magazine, for example, had 45,000 subscribers and a total circulation of 150,000.[15] One Unity Church
Unity Church
magazine, Wee Wisdom, was the longest-lived children's magazine in the United States, published from 1893 until 1991.[19] Today, New Thought magazines include Daily Word
Daily Word
published by Unity and the Religious Science magazine, Science of Mind, published by the Centers for Spiritual Living. Major gatherings[edit] The 1915 International New Thought Alliance (INTA) conference – held in conjunction with the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a world's fair that took place in San Francisco
San Francisco
– featured New Thought speakers from far and wide. The PPIE organizers were so favorably impressed by the INTA convention that they declared a special "New Thought Day" at the fair and struck a commemorative bronze medal for the occasion, which was presented to the INTA delegates, led by Annie Rix Militz.[20] By 1916, the International New Thought Alliance had encompassed many smaller groups around the world, adopting a creed known as the "Declaration of Principles".[12] The Alliance is held together by one central teaching: that people, through the constructive use of their minds, can attain freedom, power, health, prosperity, and all good, molding their bodies as well as the circumstances of their lives. The declaration was revised in 1957, with all references to Christianity
removed, and a new statement based on the "inseparable oneness of God
and Man".[12] Beliefs[edit]

New Thought



Omnipresent God Ultimate Spirit Higher consciousness


Law of attraction Life force ("energy")


Affirmations Affirmative prayer Creative visualization Personal magnetism Positive thinking


v t e

The chief tenets of New Thought
New Thought

Infinite Intelligence or God
is omnipotent and omnipresent. Spirit is the ultimate reality. True human self-hood is divine. Divinely attuned thought is a positive force for good. All disease is mental in origin. Right thinking has a healing effect.

Evolution of thought[edit] Adherents also generally believe that as humankind gains greater understanding of the world, New Thought
New Thought
itself will evolve to assimilate new knowledge. Alan Anderson and Deb Whitehouse have described New Thought
New Thought
as a "process" in which each individual and even the New Thought
New Thought
Movement itself is "new every moment". Thomas McFaul has claimed "continuous revelation", with new insights being received by individuals continuously over time. Jean Houston
Jean Houston
has spoken of the "possible human", or what we are capable of becoming.[22] Theological inclusionism[edit] The Home of Truth has, from its inception as the Pacific Coast Metaphysical Bureau in the 1880s, under the leadership of Annie Rix Militz, disseminated the teachings of the Hindu
teacher Swami Vivekananda.[23] It is one of the more outspokenly interfaith of New Thought organizations, stating adherence to "the principle that Truth is Truth where ever it is found and who ever is sharing it".[24][not in citation given] Joel S. Goldsmith's The Infinite Way incorporates teaching from Christian Science, as well. Therapeutic ideas[edit] Divine Science, Unity Church, and Religious Science
Religious Science
are organizations that developed from the New Thought
New Thought
movement. Each teaches that Infinite Intelligence, or God, is the sole reality. New Thought adherents believe that sickness is the result of the failure to realize this truth. In this line of thinking, healing is accomplished by the affirmation of oneness with the Infinite Intelligence or God.[citation needed] John Bovee Dods (1795–1862), an early practitioner of New Thought, wrote several books on the idea that disease originates in the electrical impulses of the nervous system and is therefore curable by a change of belief.[citation needed] Later New Thought
New Thought
teachers, such as the early 20th century author, editor, and publisher William Walker Atkinson, accepted this premise. He connected his idea of mental states of being with his understanding of the new scientific discoveries in electromagnetism and neural processes.[25] While the beliefs that are held by practitioners of the New Thought movement are similar to many mainstream religious doctrines, there have been concerns raised among scholars and scientists about some of the views surrounding health and wellness that are perpetuated by the New Thought
New Thought
movement. Most pressing is the New Thought
New Thought
movement’s rejection of empirically supported scientific theories of the causes of diseases. In scientific medicine, diseases can have a wide range of physical causes, from abnormalities in genes and in cell growth that cause cancer, to viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause infections, to environmental toxins that can damage entire organ systems, human physical diseases are caused by physical issues [26] [27] [28]. While it has been empirically supported that the psychological and social health of a person can influence their susceptibility to disease (e.g., stress can suppress immune function which increases risk of infection) [29], mental states are not the cause of human disease, as is claimed by the New Thought
New Thought
movement. Equally concerning is the New Thought
New Thought
movement’s emphasis on using faith and mental states as treatments for all human disease. While it has been supported that the use of relaxation therapy and other forms of alternative health practices are beneficial in improving the overall well-being of patients suffering from a wide variety of mental and physical health conditions (e.g., cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder), these practices are not effective in treating human disease alone, and should be undertaken in conjunction with modern medical therapies that have empirical support [30]. This rejection of scientifically supported theories of disease and disease treatment is worsened by the New Thought
New Thought
movement’s assertion that mental states, attitudes, and faith in New Thought
New Thought
are the sole determinants of health. The New Thought
New Thought
movement has received criticism akin to that levied against the holistic health movement that in claiming that sickness is caused by a person’s attitudes, mental states, and faith, it is easy to place blame on patients for not adopting a correct attitude, thought processes, and/or lifestyle [31]. Blame can have powerful psychological effects – with stress and isolation seen in victim blaming being the largest issues that arise and the most concerning in terms of effect on patients’ health [32]. Further, holding beliefs that health and disease is controlled by faith in a higher power can create an external locus of control (i.e., believers may feel as though they themselves cannot prevent disease, and that any illness or disorder that they encounter is an act of the higher power’s will). This external locus of control can create learned helplessness in believers which has been shown to exacerbate mental and physical health conditions via several mechanisms – including reduced incidence of help-seeking behaviour [33]. Overall, the New Thought movement is not empirically supported and its position on the etiology and treatment of disease is likely to be far more harmful than helpful to followers of New Thought. Movement[edit] New Thought
New Thought
publishing and educational activities reach approximately 2.5 million people annually.[34] The largest New Thought-oriented denomination is the Japanese Seicho-no-Ie.[35] Other belief systems within the New Thought
New Thought
movement include Jewish Science, Religious Science, Centers for Spiritual Living
Centers for Spiritual Living
and Unity. Past denominations have included Psychiana and Father Divine. Religious Science
Religious Science
operates under three main organizations: the United Centers for Spiritual Living; the Affiliated New Thought
New Thought
Network; and Global Religious Science
Religious Science
Ministries. Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious
Science, stated that Religious Science
Religious Science
is not based on any "authority" of established beliefs, but rather on "what it can accomplish" for the people who practice it.[36] The Science of Mind, authored by Ernest Holmes, while based on a philosophy of being "open at the top", focuses extensively on the teachings of Jesus Christ.[37] The American Christian Universal Life Church and its theological school, the Arnulf Seminary of Theology, are also deeply influenced by the ideology of the New Thought
New Thought
movement.[38][39] Unity, founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, identifies itself as "Christian New Thought", focused on "Christian idealism", with the Bible as one of its main texts, although not interpreted literally. The other core text is Lessons in Truth by H. Emilie Cady. The Universal Foundation for Better Living, or UFBL, was founded in 1974 by Johnnie Colemon in Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
after breaking away from the Unity Church
Unity Church
for "blatant racism".[40] See also[edit]

Apotheosis Grace Mann Brown Christian Science Divinization (Christian) Idealism Iyanla Vanzant Ralph Waldo Emerson Emmet Fox Charles F. Haanel Napoleon Hill Law of attraction Joseph Murphy (author) New religious movement Panentheism Prosperity theology Ralph Waldo Trine Religious
Science Theosophy Transcendentalism Universalism Wallace Wattles


^ Dresser, Horatio Willis (1919), A History of the New Thought Movement, TY Crowell Co, p. 154, In England the term Higher Thought was preferred at first, and this name was chosen for the Higher Thought Centre, the first organization of its kind in England. This name did not however represent a change in point of view, and the movement in England has been similar to the therapeutic movement elsewhere.  ^ Melton, J. Gordon, Jerome Clark & Aidan A. Kelly. New Age Almanac; New York: Visible Ink Press (1991); pg. 343. "The International New Thought
New Thought
Alliance, a loose association of New Thought institutions and individuals (approximately 350 institutional members), exists as a voluntary membership organization [to advance New Thought
New Thought
ideals]." ^ Conkin, Paul K. American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity, The University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, NC (1997); pg. 269. "An International New Thought Alliance still exists, with offices in Arizona, a periodical, and around 200 affiliated societies, some of which still use the label 'church'". ^ a b Declaration of Principles, International New Thought
New Thought
Alliance, retrieved 2008–09  Check date values in: access-date= (help). ^ a b "Statement of beliefs", New Thought
New Thought
info, retrieved 2008–09  Check date values in: access-date= (help). ^ Lewis, James R; Peterson, Jesper Aagaard (2004), Controversial New Religions, p. 226 . ^ James, William (1929), The Varieties of Religious
Experience, New York: U Virginia, pp. 92–93 . ^ "Phineas Parkhurt Quimby". MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved Nov 16, 2007.  ^ Phineas, Quimby (2008). "Christ or Science". The Quimby Manuscripts. Forgotten Books. p. 183. ISBN 1-60506-915-9. Retrieved 2011-05-08.  ^ "The Quimby Manuscripts". New Thought
New Thought
Library. Retrieved 3 June 2015.  ^ ‘Quimby’s son and defender said categorically, “The religion which [Mrs. Eddy] teaches certainly is hers, for which I cannot be too thankful; for I should be loath to go down to my grave feeling that my father was in any way connected with ‘Christian Science.’...In [Quimby’s method of] curing the sick, religion played no part. There were no prayers, there was no asking assistance from God
or any other divinity. He cured by his wisdom.” (Dresser, Horatio W., ed. The Quimby Manuscripts. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company Publishers, 1921. - p436). " Christian Science
Christian Science
is a religious teaching and only incidentally a healing method. Quimbyism was a healing method and only incidentally a religious teaching. If one examines the religious implications or aspects of Quimby’s thought, it is clear that in these terms it has nothing whatever in common with Christian Science.” (Gottschalk, Stephen. The Emergence of Christian Science in American Religious
Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973 - p130). A good composite of both Quimby, and the incompatibility of his ideas and practice with those of Eddy, can be found in these sources: Taves, Ann, Fits, Trances, & Visions: Experiencing Religion
and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James. Princeton University Press 1999 (pp 212-218); Peel, Robert. Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery. Boston: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966 (chapter, “Portland 1862”); Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Books, 1998 (pp 131-146 & 230-233). ^ a b c d Lewis, James R.; J. Gordon Melton (1992). Perspectives on the New Age. SUNY Press. pp. 16–18. ISBN 0-7914-1213-X.  ^ Harley, Gail M.; Danny L. Jorgensen (2002). Emma Curtis Hopkins: Forgotten Founder of New Thought. Syracuse University Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-8156-2933-8.  ^ Bednarowski, Mary Farrell (1999). The Religious
Imagination of American Women. Indiana University
Indiana University
Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-253-21338-X.  ^ a b Moskowitz, Eva S. (2001) In Therapy We Trust, The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 978-0-8018-6403-2, p. 19. ^ William Walker Atkinson. Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction. Advanced Thought Publishing. 1906. Full text public domain version online. ^ "William Walter Atkinson", WorldCat. Retrieved June 10, 2011. ^ MacLelland, Bruce, Prosperity Through Thought Force, Elizabeth Towne, 1907 ^ Miller, Timothy (1995) America's Alternative Religions, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-2397-4, p. 327. ^ Dresser, Horatio, History of the New Thought
New Thought
Movement, 1919 ^ "New Thought". MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved Nov 16, 2007.  ^ Houston, Jean. The Possible Human. 1997. ^ The Home of Truth, Our History ^ Home of Truth home page. Retrieved on 2007-09-20 from http://thehomeoftruth.org/. ^ Dumont, Theron, Q. [pseudonym of William Walker Atkinson. Mental Therapeutics, or Just How to Heal Oneself and Others. Advanced Thought Publishing Co. Chicago. 1916. ^ Cohen, M. (2007). Environmental toxins and health: The health impact of pesticides. Australian Family Physician, 36(12), 1002-4. ^ Playfair, J., MyiLibrary, & ProQuest. (2007). Living with germs in health and disease. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press. ^ Tsiftsoglou, A., NATO Scientific Affairs Organization. Scientific Affairs Division, & NATO Science Institute "Regulation of Cell Growth, Differentiation, Genetics in Cancer". (1996). Tumor biology : Regulation of cell growth, differentiation, and genetics in cancer (NATO ASI series. Series H, Cell biology ; v. 99). Berlin ; New York: Springer. ^ Friedman, H., Klein, T., & Friedman, Andrea L. (1996). Psychoneuroimmunology, stress, and infection. Boca Raton: CRC Press. ^ Taylor, S., Thordarson, D., Maxfield, L., & Fedoroff, I. (2003). Comparative efficacy, speed, and adverse effects of three PTSD treatments: Exposure therapy, EMDR, and relaxation training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(2), 330-338. ^ Gilovich, T. (1993). How we know what isn't so : The fallibility of human reason in everyday life (1st Free Press paperback ed.). New York: Free Press. ^ Hortulanus, R., Machielse, A., & Meeuwesen, L. (2006). Social isolation in modern society (Routledge advances in sociology ; 19). London ; New York: Routledge. ^ Henninger, D., Whitson, H., Cohen, H., & Ariely, D. (2012). Higher Medical Morbidity Burden Is Associated with External Locus of Control. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 60(4), 751-755. ^ Goldberg, P. (2010) American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga
and Meditation
How Indian Spirituality
Changed the West. Random House Digital, Inc. p 62. ^ "Masaharu Taniguchi." Religious
Leaders of America, 2nd ed. Gale Group, 1999. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. ^ Vahle, Neal (1993). Open at the top: The life of Ernest Holmes, Open View Press, 190 pages, p7. ^ Holmes, Ernest (1926) The Science of Mind
ISBN 0-87477-865-4, pp. 327–346 "What the Mystics Have Taught". ^ Register listing ^ [http://www.christian-church.net Website explaining the New Thought influenced believes of the Christian Universal Life Church ^ DuPree, S.S. (1996) African-American Holiness Pentecostal movement: an annotated bibliography. Taylor & Francis. p 380.


Albanese, Catherine (2007), A Republic of Mind
and Spirit, Yale University Press . Anderson, Alan and Deb Whitehouse. New Thought: A Practical American Spirituality. 2003. Braden, Charles S. Spirits in Rebellion: The Rise and Development of New Thought, Southern Methodist University Press, 1963. Judah, J. Stillson. The History and Philosophy
of the Metaphysical Movements in America. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. 1967. Review by Neil Duddy. McFaul, Thomas R (September–October 2006), " Religion
in the Future Global Civilization", The Futurist . Mosley, Glenn R (2006), The History and Future New Thought: Ancient Wisdom of the New Thought
New Thought
Movement, Templeton Foundation Press, ISBN 1-59947-089-6  White, Ronald M (1980), "Abstract", New Thought
New Thought
Influences on Father Divine (Masters Thesis), Oxford, OH: Miami University . Albanese, Catherine (2016), The Spiritual Journals of Warren Felt Evans: From Methodism
to Mind
Cure, Indiana University
Indiana University
Press .

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Thought.

has the text of the 1920 Encyclopedia Americana
Encyclopedia Americana
article New-Thought.

INTA New Thought
New Thought
History Chart, Web site . Association For Global New Thought . New Thought
New Thought
Unity and Divine Science Writings, Piscean-Aquarian Ministry . NewThought.info Global Outreach . New Thought
New Thought
Library . New Thought
New Thought
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) New Thought
New Thought
History .

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Science/Science of Mind


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Ernest Holmes

Notable ministers

Fenwicke Holmes Raymond Charles Barker Stuart Grayson Louise Hay Michael Beckwith Joseph Murphy Jean Houston Terry Cole-Whittaker William Hornaday

Largest groups

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New Thought
Network Global Religious Science
Religious Science


Ralph Waldo Emerson Emma Curtis Hopkins Thomas Troward Mary Baker Eddy Phineas Quimby Emmet Fox Church of Divine Science


The Science of Mind Science of Mind

v t e

Unity Church


Charles Fillmore Myrtle Fillmore


H. Emilie Cady Charles R. Fillmore James Dillet Freeman


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Daily Word Unity Village

v t e

Divine Science

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International Divine Science Association

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Spirituality Supernatural Symbols Truth Water Worship


Animism Deism Dualism Henotheism Monotheism Nontheism Panentheism Pantheism Polytheism Transtheism


Anthropology Cognitive science Comparative Development Evolutionary origin Evolutionary psychology History Philosophy Neurotheology Psychology Sociology Theology Theories Women

and society

Agriculture Business Clergy

monasticism ordination


evangelism missionary proselytism

Education Fanaticism Freedom

pluralism syncretism toleration universalism

Fundamentalism Growth Happiness Homosexuality Minorities National church National religiosity levels Religiocentrism Political science Populations Schism Science State Theocracy Vegetarianism Video games Violence

persecution terrorism war


and irreligion

Antireligion Deism Agnosticism Atheism Criticism LaVeyan Satanism Deconstruction Humanistic Judaism Irreligion by country Objectivism Secular humanism Secular theology Secularization Separation of church and state Unaffiliated

Overviews and lists

Index Outline Timeline Abrahamic prophets Deification Deities Founders Mass gatherings New religious movements Organizations Religions and spiritual traditions Scholars