Myrtle Fillmore Talks about Her Life
(Many persons asked Myrtle Fillmore about her personal life and background. She answered these inquiries in several letters, which we have pieced together in order to offer a brief autobiography.)
1. You asked me to tell you about myself! My, I have been here so many summers that if I once opened up and began telling you the happy and interesting experiences I have had, I would soon have a little book written!
2. My family for generations had been members of the church. They were God-fearing people. So I was carefully reared in a Christian atmosphere. But I found that my dear ones did not have an understanding of God, who ruled in their lives, that satisfied me.
3. My mother was a very spiritual woman. She always kept the principles of right and love before us by her own example. She accepted the church creed and had such a devotional spirit that she felt that if her God saw fit to punish, or to do any of the many things that were attributed to God, He must have a reason for it and it was all right. I have marveled that my wonderful mother, who loved so devotedly, could have worshiped a God who punished, or took the lives of His children.
4. I remember my school days, and my eagerness to read and learn what others knew. I always wanted to read the books that were supposed to be for big boys, and the grown-ups; but little girls were not encouraged to do such reading, so I had to take my brother’s books quietly and go secretly to a little corner to enjoy them. I have never been able to understand why the folks felt those books were unsuited to my eager mind. Why, they told of wonderful things, and they opened my mind until I could think things which I have been all these years fully understanding and harmonizing with the life we live day by day!
5. I liked the old myths, the fairy tales, histories, and scientific works. I have found that those stories, and the visions of scientists of those days and of hundreds of years ago, all have to do with our present-day life. We are discovering that the writers of myths were becoming aware of the power of the human soul, and of the ways in which we train and develop those powers. I also liked to read books which in symbol and allegory I have since learned were efforts of the authors to picture the experiences of the human soul. Then, I dearly loved the poets and I liked to write rhymes.
6. I delighted in getting out in the garden, or walking in the woods. I loved to touch a tree, and felt that it was truly intelligent. I received something very satisfying from my close contact with nature. I know now that I was feeling and responding to the omnipresent Spirit of God. The abundant life of God was pouring out to me from everywhere, and my hungry soul and body were drinking it and rejoicing to express it.
7. During my childhood there was no real understanding of God as the health of His people. So I did not know how to disconnect myself from the hereditary thought of weakness. Some of the members of my family had been weak, and some succumbed to the belief in disease. Because I was a bit diiferent, some of them no doubt began expecting me to show signs ©f weakness. So I may not have had what a child should have to enable him to develop a sturdy body.
8. I continued to be happy with my books, my lessons, and the lovely things of the outdoors. I went on with my studies which led me to teaching school. I was not any older than some of my pupils; and I was looked upon by some of the parents of those pupils as a “girl,” and they were not at all sure that they wished their big boys to go to a "girl” teacher. I smiled, down inside; for I always could see the funny side to things. I felt sure that I understood boys well enough to get along with them—and I did. We had wonderful times in those schools. I wish I had the time to tell you about them.
9. My first school was 'way down South. A small school was arranged for me. The building was on a battlefield. It was not so long after the Civil War, 181 and the parents of those children had been in the war. I had to live in the homes of some of the children and had a wonderful opportunity to learn the differences in the ways of living—for many of the Southern customs were very unlike those of the Northeastern states.
10. Well, after several schools, and the wonderful years of coming in close touch with the many boys and girls and their parents, Mr. Fillmore came along. He was the man who was destined to catch the spiritual vision with me. When he saw me, he decided that he was going to have me for his companion. Of course, he had not yet consulted me, but apparently I did not have much to say about it! He was awfully nice, and I suppose I was a little hungry to have a home of my own, and my very own boys to help as I would like to do. And so, we were married. But I kept on with my studies, and my love for the beautiful and the things of wisdom increased. Owing to lack of understanding of the health law, neither of us was as strong as he should have been to manage a home and rear children. I suffered, the children suffered, and the burdens affected Mr. Fillmore’s health, which had never been really good. And yet, when my boys came they opened a wonderful new life. We had such good times together.
11. All this while, I kept feeling that there was a way of life which would be discovered that would insure happiness, health, and plenty. We had an opportunity to investigate spiritual science. My receptive mind and heart kept me catching at the idea, which appealed to my reason and my intuition. After a while I was convinced that God would not create a world in which sickness, sorrow, and lack had a part.
12. I knew that God, whom I could call Father, would not create imperfect children. As I thought of it, I began to realize that I was truly God’s child, and that because of this I must of necessity inherit from Him. Then, because the very Spirit of God is in man, I began to wake up, and the Spirit began to illumine my consciousness, and I saw that the life that is in us is the life of God. Therefore, I reasoned, the plan of God must be an inherent part of the mind of man. Since I had learned to live in books, and with the trees, I began to live with God, and to talk with Him just as I had talked with these familiar things about me.
13. God revealed to me that my body was intelligent; that I could direct it and praise it, and it would respond. I just assumed that God was hearing me and answering my prayers. He was giving me His life, substance, and intelligence, and I was to use them, even more freely than I had used the blessings my earthly father had given me.
14. I did not get entirely well and strong all at once. There were a few times, after my first discoveries and healings, when I felt the need of holding on tight. There was one time, when the household duties fell upon me with the small children to care for. I felt the old familiar heaviness, pain, the smothering in chest and the aching all through the body which meant pneumonia. I do not know why I felt that I should throw myself into the housecleaning with all the strength I could muster. But that is just what I did. I went upstairs, swept room after room; I rearranged and set in order all that part of the house, with windows wide open and perspiration flowing. I noted that I began to feel relaxed, and to breathe easier. I kept holding that God, my Father, was my health and strength. The result was that I did not have pneumonia. (However, I am not advising that others take this as a suggestion in the treatment of such appearances!)
15. Along with the tubercular trouble in my lungs, I had disorders through the abdominal walls. At times, hemorrhoids made life miserable for me. Because this abdominal trouble had a definite cause in the realm of my own mental attitudes, it was necessary for me to grow in understanding and to make definite changes to bring about the healing. The trouble did not respond to ordinary faith and prayer. I finally asked the Lord just why it was that I did not get well. I explained that I had gone all through my consciousness to see what it was that held me, and that I had tried to find the fault.
16. The Spirit said to me, "You have looked among your faults; now look among your virtues.” I thought that strange, but soon it came to me that I had tried to keep my feelings to myself, taking great pride in the fact that I never let anyone know just how I felt when anything displeased me or hurt me. I found that I did not feel as sweet and poised on the inside as I seemed outwardly. I began to watch, and to redeem this state of mind. I determined to handle all that came to me, before I "swallowed it” and allowed it to irritate, cut, and weaken my nerves and organs. As I gained real poise, and the ability to keep my thoughts and feelings truly free, I was healed and restored to strength and normal functioning.
17. I will say that in those early days, I hardly knew just what was taking place as the healings were accomplished. I only know that my experience was much like that of the blind man whom Jesus healed: "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
18. I simply had great faith that God, the loving Father, had marvelously revealed himself to me as my help in every need, and my faith inspired others to have faith. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
19. 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 is of God, and we are inseparably one with the Source; that we inherit from the divine and perfect Father. What that revelation did to me was not at first apparent to the senses. But it held my mind up 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 in health and understanding. Others saw that there was something new in me and asked me to share it. I did. Others were healed and began to study.
20. My husband continued his business, and at first took little interest in what I was doing. After a time, however, he too became absorbed in the study of Truth. Then 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.
21. I was always glad to pray for those who sought my help. I do not think that the success of the prayers was due to their word formations. Sometimes I merely assured those who came that I believed God could and would help them. At that time, healing seemed the most important thing in life to me. I loved seeing folks get well and happy. I do yet; but I have learned that the spiritual awakening and the daily development of Christ powers are more important. The soul must be awakened and brought to a realization of the Truth, and encouraged in the righteous use of all the God-given faculties and powers. The individual must be helped to unify his spirit, soul, and body, in harmonious spiritual living here and now. Health is a result—the outpicturing of Christ ideas in thought, word, and act.