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Seeking Unity: A Sociological Analysis Of Factors Which Draw Spiritual Seekers To The Unity Church Of Christianity

Seeking Unity:
A Sociological Analysis of Factors
Which Draw Spiritual Seekers to the Unity Church of Christianity

Rebecca Gittrich Whitecotton

Bachelor of Science, Journalism, Northwestern University, 1986

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
The University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
May, 1997
© 1997, Rebecca Gittrich Whitecotton


This research was funded in part by a Graduate Research, Project and Travel Grant through the Office of Graduate Studies at The University of New Mexico.


The Unity School of Christianity, founded as an educational institution in 1889, is a Biblically-based religion which embraces the truths in all religions and recognizes an innate divinity in humanity. Although it is Christian, Unity's metaphysical interpretation of the Bible often draws charges of heresy from those in the historic church. In 1997, Unity has a worldwide reach through its prayer ministry, daily devotional magazine and almost 1,000 churches, centers and groups. Making use of a written survey, personal interviews and participant observation, this thesis investigates the growth of Unity through the eyes of individual participants. Chapter I describes the underlying sociological framework of a religious free market system, which will be used throughout the paper to analyze Unity's appeal and growth. Chapter II presents a brief history of the movement. Chapter III reviews the demographic survey data, which show that Unity appeals disproportionately to women, divorced people, the highly educated, and professionals and managers. Chapter IV uses sociological and

© 1997, Rebecca Gittrich Whitecotton
All rights reserved by the author.
Reprinted with permission.