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Unity is a link in the great educational movement inaugurated by Jesus Christ; our objective is to discern the truth in Christianity and prove it. The truth that we teach is not new, neither do we claim special revelations or discovery of new religious principles. Our purpose is to help and teach mankind to use and prove the eternal Truth taught by the Master.
- Unity Co-Founder Charles Fillmore, as quoted on page 1 of every Unity magazine

While almost any Christian church would agree to describe itself using these words of Charles Fillmore, it is the myriad interpretations of "truth" which differentiate the denominations. What makes Unity's interpretation of the truth different from other Christian churches, especially the fundamentalist churches which call Unity heretical? The charges of heresy stem from Unity's belief concerning who Jesus was. Rather than being the only son of God, Unity teaches that Jesus was a "wayshower," one of many "sons of God" who was able to overcome his humanity by fully manifesting the Christ spirit within him. According to Unity, we are all children of God, with the same potential for manifesting our innate divinity. In addition to teaching about the life of Jesus, Unity concentrates on what it sees as the lessons that Jesus taught. Much of what Unity teaches is built upon the creative power of the mind, in which thoughts are powerful tools which can create health, prosperity and success. Unity is focused on prayer, which can be described as a process to supercharge an individual's powerful thoughts by connecting them to the divine will. Prayer and meditation are concentrated on developing a connection to God, or a personal experience of the divine. In addition, Unity embraces many of the "truths" found in other religions, and it looks upon reincarnation as a theory worthy of consideration. Overall, Unity aims to be a positive and optimistic religion which shuns fear, damnation and religious authority. Unity encourages people to believe its interpretation of the truth of Jesus not because the church teaches it but because they have been able to prove it in their daily lives.

[TruthUnity note: the paragraph above is a foundation for the proclamation we make that "Metaphysical Christianity is an authentic and distinct expression of the historic Christian faith." Click here to read more.]

Although Unity is small compared to mainline Protestant churches, it has experienced a steady increase since the movement started in 1889. Unity's recent popularity is significant. The number of ministries doubled in less than nine years, from 440 in 1984 to more than 880 in 1993. At the end of 1996, Unity reported that there were almost 1,000 ministries, including churches, centers, satellite ministries and study groups. Some Unity churches rival the Protestant mega-churches, holding services for more than 2,000 people. In addition, Unity reaches more than 2.2 million people of all faiths and religions each year through Silent Unity, its 24- hour prayer ministry. The organization's most popular daily devotional magazine, Daily Word, is published in English, Spanish, Braille and 12 other languages, and reaches more than 1.1 million subscribers (Unity School of Christianity, 1997).

Although little sociological research has been done on Unity and New Thought, the need for such study has been recognized. Historian Sidney Mead (1950), for example, wrote the following in a review of Charles Braden's These Also Believe: A Study of Modern American Cults and Minority Religious Movements:

Mr. Braden's work should stimulate several lines of serious inquiry regarding these movements: what are the reasons for and nature of the revolt against organized religion on which they thrive? what is the nature of their positive appeal? what actually is their body of doctrine? is it subject for serious analysis and criticism? can the churches meet it on a popular level? should they try to do so? and so on. Failure to make such serious inquiry may be to overlook an important aspect of the shape of things to come. (p. 144)

Answers to these questions as they pertain to Unity will be evaluated from several angles. The underlying framework for this discussion will be a new paradigm for the sociological study of religion as described by R. Stephen Warner (1993). The new paradigm provides a more cogent explanation for the pervasiveness of religious belief and practice in America than the secularization thesis which is the basis of the old paradigm. Secularization arguments contend that increasing rationalization and scientific modernization would cause religion either to fade away or become individualized and privatized. Despite this theory, Americans when polled consistently express belief in God, say they practice prayer and attend church in relatively high numbers. The new paradigm, which provides an answer for this American anomaly, assumes that religion operates in an economic marketplace, in which competition creates a drive to meet the consumer's religious needs. As these needs are met, participation in religion grows. In Europe, on the other hand, religious monopolies have had no incentive to meet the changing needs of the people, and therefore have experienced a decline in religious participation (Stark & lannaccone, 1994; Warner, 1993). Warner describes Hatch's (1989) supply-side theory of the democratization of religion: "what is important about religious markets from this perspective is not so much the diversity of alternatives available to consumers as the incentive for suppliers to meet consumers' needs, which is maximized when the religious economy is wide open to energetic entrants, none of whom has a guaranteed income (1993:1057)." This paradigm also includes corollary theories which contend that the American religious marketplace is pluralistic, and churches are structurally adaptable and empowering to individuals and groups.

The growth of Unity is not only applicable to this theory, but Unity philosophy is, in part, based on this marketplace paradigm. Greg Barrette, the minister of Christ Unity Church in Albuquerque, explained in a sermon that the diversity of religions in the world is the result of differences in individual and cultural ways of looking at the same God. Barrette went so far as to say that Americans should be consumers when it comes to religion:

What is your relationship with your higher power, with God? Have you ever considered that it's up to you to decide upon it? This is kind of strange, but all these denominations are out there to serve us. Theology, while useful, really isn't all that important compared to our relationship with God. Theology is secondary. This frees us from focusing so much on non-essentials and allows us to look for the first time at the question, "Does my religion serve me?" This is my belief system: I serve God, but my religion serves me, meaning it's a set of beliefs that I use to access God. . . .

I was hearing in the news about a woman who had read somewhere that dogs should have a tablespoon of cod liver oil in order to be healthy and have a nice shiny coat. So she would grab her dog, wrestle it to the ground and force the cod liver oil down the dog's throat every day. This went on for weeks and months. Finally one day the dog was struggling with her in such a way that the bottle fell over and spilled all over the floor. She was really exasperated, but before she could get a cloth to clean it up, the dog had lapped it all up. The dog liked the cod liver oil, but just didn't like the method she was using. And religion is like that for us as well. If we face religion in such a way that it serves us, our subconscious minds will not rebel. (Oct. 27, 1996)

As a religion which draws most of its members from other Christian denominations, Unity's growth depends on the American consumer-oriented church-shopping mentality. Unity's success in the marketplace, although small compared to long-established churches, has important implications for denominations whose members are buying what Unity has to sell.

Using theories from both the old and new paradigms, as well as information obtained through participant observation, personal interviews and a written survey, this thesis analyzes the reasons for Unity's growth as an organization and the individual reasons people give regarding why they choose to worship with this community of believers. After a brief overview of the organization of this thesis, I review my role as a participant observer and introduce the reader to ten Unity participants who are quoted throughout the paper. Chapter II provides a history of the Unity movement, and is followed by a demographic overview of Unity participants in Chapter III. Chapter IV looks at Unity as a distinctly American religion using Harold Bloom's (1992) description of the country's unique form of Christianity which recognizes divinity in all humanity and is Biblical, creedless, pragmatic, experiential and individualistic. Chapter V analyzes reasons for Unity's growth, which has come at a time of decline for most of the mainline Protestant churches and a time of growth for fundamentalist and conservative churches. These trends have been analyzed in depth by such scholars as Wade Clark Roof and William McKinney (1987) in American Mainline Religion; Roof (1993) in A Generation of Seekers; and Dean Hoge, Benton Johnson and Donald Luidens (1994) in Vanishing Boundaries: The Religion of Mainline Protestant Baby Boomers. While much sociological thought has focused on the trends of mainline churches, the growth of Unity has not been considered. Chapter VI offers concluding remarks as well as directions for further research.

As a participant observer, my own religious story is relevant. I was church shopping in 1994 when I first attended a Unity church. My husband and I had recently moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and were looking for a place to hang our spiritual hats. As the first song rang with the words, "I behold the Christ in you," I was filled with wonder that my long-held belief of the spark of divinity inside each person was being affirmed in a Christian church. My reading of the material passed out to newcomers assured me that many of my untraditional spiritual beliefs had found a community of worshipers.

As a child I went to two churches every Sunday. Catholic because it was the tradition of my father and United Methodist because it was handed down to my mother. Both felt strongly enough about their religions (or at least about not converting to the other) that my brothers and I were exposed to both and allowed to make our own decisions. My brothers opted out of church membership, and I chose to confirm Methodist beliefs. My decision was not because I perceived great differences between Catholicism and Methodism. If anything, my attendance at two churches taught me to cherish the similarities of the two, and it served as an introduction to my long-held belief that there is more than one path to God. The main difference I saw, as an eighth grader making this decision, was that the Methodist church was more open and tolerant. The one line from the Catholic service which reverberated in my mind was "Lord, only say the word and I shall be healed." This is said just before communion and heals people so they are worthy enough to receive the sacrament. The only thing I knew was that, according to the Catholic church, the Lord never said the word for my Methodist mother or for me because we were not Catholic. In the Methodist church, I knew the Lord spoke for me as well as for my Catholic father, and He did it not because we were members of a church but because we believed in Him.

My early years were blessed by religion. Through high school I was very involved in the youth group at the Methodist church. My family regularly participated in the Appalachia Service Project, a Methodist-sponsored home repair mission. I gained moral and emotional strength from my association with this community of believers. It wasn't until I went to college and took classes in religion that I began to question my beliefs. I doubted the veracity of the Bible and began to see it as a book which was flawed by human intervention and interpretation. I searched, but could not find a church community where I was comfortable. I missed the belonging I had felt at the Methodist church, but my theological questions kept me away. For several years I gave up spirituality altogether and immersed myself in college and work. Occasionally, I would feel a yearning, and I would answer it with books on philosophy, healing, channeling, astral travel, reincarnation, psychic experiences and meditation, as well as books about Christianity and other religions.

Many of the books which helped me to formulate my beliefs were recommended by my mother, who questioned traditional beliefs while remaining in the Methodist community. It is through her that I saw my first clear example of religious individualism. She is a seeker with a deep faith and a desire to understand. Although many of her beliefs differ from textbook Methodism, she is stimulated and comforted by the community she finds at the Methodist church, and therefore continues to attend and be involved. Today she attends a Unity church, as well as the Catholic and Methodist churches. She finds God in all three churches, as well as in Native American drumming ceremonies and the chanting of Tibetan monks.

By 1988 I had established a strong belief system, but had no place to celebrate it. Because some of my beliefs contradicted traditional teachings, I shunned the church and my religious practice turned inward through meditation. Despite my feelings of being connected to God, I found religious individualism to be a lonely affair. I spoke of my true beliefs to just a very few close friends so as not to offend anyone or invite ridicule of my own faith. I have never felt a need to convince others that my faith is the only true way, and I tried to keep myself out of situations where I (or anyone else) would be put on the defensive about my beliefs.

It was during an emotionally difficult time in my life that I decided I needed to go back to church. My return was for the community rather than for confirmation or acceptance of what I really believed. I found a Methodist church and became quite active by leading the youth group, coordinating the church's participation in the Appalachia Service Project, serving on committees, teaching Sunday School and more. I toed the Methodist theological line and no one there ever knew I believed in reincarnation, the Christ within each person and that the second coming of Christ was an individual matter which referred to the recognition of and perfection of that Christ spirit in each person.

I write this thesis as one who has believed many — but certainly not all — of the teachings of Unity long before I knew Unity existed. I do not pretend to offer a completely unbiased view of Unity's beliefs, although I have tried to be objective. By their very nature, beliefs are prone to bias, and a researcher who does not believe Unity's "truths" would simply have a bias that leans the other way. It is my hope that I will be able to present a complete and accurate picture of this organization since I understand Unity's beliefs better than a complete outsider would. Although they are not extensive, specific arguments against Unity's beliefs may be found in Christian circles, particularly in fundamentalist books on cults1. But rather than focus on the veracity of the beliefs, my interest lies in what brings people to Unity and what makes them stay. Although I am not a Unity member, it was a tremendous relief and inspiration to me to find a community in which I don't feel that I have to hide my true beliefs. My personal philosophy meshes well with the optimistic, positive, prayerful religion of Unity. It is impressive to me that Unity makes a sincere attempt to not belittle other religions, even though all Unity ministers and participants do not succeed at this goal. Although I am not a Unity member, I have attended a Unity church about twice a month for more than two years. I also attend a non-denominational Christian church which is more aligned with my husband's beliefs, which attests to the importance of family in making church decisions.

My own story inspired me to look at this sociological issue through the stories of others who are involved with Unity. Many people I talked with or surveyed expressed a similar relief that they had found a church which actually teaches what they had believed for years. It comes as no surprise that many who are involved with the organization have lives which are quite different from mine. While I discovered Unity after a lifetime of relative ease and optimism, many respondents reported that they have always been pessimistic and really have to work at the positive approach that Unity advocates. Many people come to Unity at times of personal hardship, whether it is divorce, overcoming alcoholism, depression or the death of a loved one. This research has allowed me to gaze at Unity through the eyes of many people: those who are members, those who attend but are not members, and those who have left Unity for another path. I conducted personal interviews with 10 participants, and received completed surveys from 982. Although every person in any church has their own religious testimony, the following brief personal accounts provide an overview of some of the people who will be referred to in this paper and how they were drawn to or from Unity. (Some names have been changed at the request of the individuals.)

Paul, a 34-year-old doorman who is trying to break into the entertainment industry, first encountered Unity in 1987 when he kicked his drug and alcohol habit. He started reading books on psychology and metaphysics after he decided that his healing was going to be up to him rather than the drugs his psychiatrist was giving him. A friend loaned him a tape by a Unity minister on A Course In Miracles, and he sought out a local Unity bookstore to purchase the Course. He attended classes at the church on the Course In Miracles, and later began attending services. Paul said he was drawn by the message about love that was given through both the Course and through Unity. "Either we're in love or we're in fear, and by shifting our perception, the world around us changes," he said. Paul soon started working at the church, which he did for several years before he became disheartened by behind-the-scenes political wranglings and quit. Paul isn't as interested in the community that a Unity church offers as much as the message. He fulfills his needs for personal support through a 12-step program, his therapist, friends and occasional retreats at Unity Village, the movement's headquarters, near Kansas City. Interestingly enough, it was Unity teachings which caused Paul to feel less of a need for going to church. "I started realizing certain Unity principles," he said. "Wherever I was, God was. I didn't have to be at a church to get it any longer. I could go anywhere and connect with God. . . . It's good to be in that celebration with other people, but to realize that I don't have to go to a church to get God. I think that was a very liberating point." (Paul was interviewed on April 11, 1996.)

Cora is a 46-year-old African-American social service director who is married and has a teenager. As a child she attended a Baptist church and was quite evangelical. She later questioned the "hellfire and damnation" preaching, and stopped attending church in college. When she lost her first child during pregnancy, her mother sent her a subscription to Daily Word. She then started going back to her Baptist church, but she only goes now when she feels like she needs a "spiritual jump." She explained, "I'm not a regular churchgoer, but I've never felt that church makes you closer to God. I've always felt it's how you live and that you don't need to preach it as much as you need to live it." Cora has a prayer session every day and reads Daily Word. "I never feel separated from God," she said. She believes in the power of prayer, and several times has called Silent Unity. In 1996 Cora attended a retreat at Unity Village because she was going through a particularly stressful time at work. Although she is not a member of Unity and has never been to a Unity church, Cora feels that the Unity philosophy is compatible with her beliefs. (Cora was interviewed on April 13, 1996.)

Isabel is an optimistic 78-year-old retired widow living in Tampa, Florida. She spent her childhood in the Catholic and Episcopal churches before becoming a Presbyterian as a teenager. She attends church nearly every Sunday and gets up at 5 a.m. every day to pray. She believes intensely in the power of prayer, and it is the prayerfulness of Unity which appeals to her. "They don't have the kind of meditation in other churches that they have in Unity. . . . In church it's more ritual," she said. Isabel was exposed to Unity as a child through Daily Word, which she said was popular with her mother, her aunt and other Latinos since it was published in Spanish as well as English. Although she is not a member, she has attended Unity churches in Tampa and at the Lincoln Center in New York, where she used to live, and where her son lives now. Isabel has remained a member of the Presbyterian church because she values the community she has found there. When asked about the differences in philosophy between the two churches, Isabel said they mesh together, "more or less, but I still like Unity better. I've been reading so much about it all my life. . . . I've been reading the (Unity) books, and I just like it very much. I don't have as many friends in Unity as I have in the Presbyterian Church. But if I get back to New York, I want to join (Unity)." (Isabel was interviewed on April 12, 1996.)

Raymond is a single, 47-year-old Canadian who practices numerology — the study of the meanings of numbers — at New Age and psychic fairs. He was raised in a Catholic family and was involved with a metaphysical communal group for six years before finding Unity in 1991. His first experience with Unity came at a time of emptiness and hardship in his life, and he said the philosophy made it easier to cope with his problems. Raymond likes Unity because it gives practical answers to how to live life day to day. He is searching for the experience of God that is the center of Unity principles, but so far he has not been able to find that connection. Although Raymond is a member of a Unity church, he does not see Unity as a religion. "It's better than organized religion. You're freer. It's more natural," he said. "It's much closer to the truth than any religion is. ... There is no dogma involved. No set rules like in other churches, religions, where you have this dogma and commandments and teachings where this is it, this is the way we do it, and the other guy's way is not good. Here they accept people from other religions, because it's not a religion. It's a truth center." (Raymond was interviewed on April 9, 1996.)

Barbara is a 61-year-old pediatric nurse living in Tampa, Florida. She was raised in a small, rural Methodist church and later attended a larger Methodist church with her husband. During her life, Barbara answered several altar calls and had been "saved," but she never felt spiritual. After she and her husband divorced 13 years ago, Barbara started looking for another church. A patient of hers had introduced her to Daily Word, so she looked in the phone book for a Unity church. "The very first time I went there I felt love and acceptance," she said. Barbara became a member of her Unity church in 1996, after being involved for 12 years. "I never felt any need to be a member, they never put any pressure on you about anything. That's one of the neatest things. No pressure." Barbara describes the Unity philosophy as a practical tool that she uses every day, and it has helped her through difficult times in her life. In fact, it was the death of the man she was involved with that prompted her to become more deeply involved with the church. Even though she had trouble dealing with her friend's death, she doesn't believe another philosophy would have helped her more. Like Raymond, Barbara doesn't consider Unity a religion because she says it doesn't have the dogma and ritual. "You can be any denomination and go to Unity or practice Unity. It's truth. For me, it's just truth." (Barbara was interviewed on April 10, 1996.)

Maria is a 35-year-old African-American physician, artist and stay-at-home mom. She grew up in Unity but now goes to the Episcopal church because the Unity church where she lives has taken on too many "New Age" trappings for her liking. She described her childhood experience at Unity as a practical faith with positive and uplifting sermons about everyday life. "It was Unity, but it wasn't far out. Lots of people that were there were Christian. It was kind of a middle-class congregation. It wasn't really seekers," she said. "It was practical Christianity and didn't stray too far from the teachings of Jesus and the roots of Christianity." Maria stopped going to church for a while, but she has always practiced prayer and has always felt connected to God. When it was time to take her child to Sunday School, Maria tried her local Unity church but was uncomfortable with many of the changes in Unity which she says have taken the church in a "New Age" direction. She decided to attend the Episcopal church in order to give her child a firm grounding in the scriptures. Maria believes in the power of prayer, and likes the fact that Unity is based on prayer. She says her prayer for Unity is "Please, Unity, don't go off with these folks (New Age). . . . And as far as these New Agers go, they've got crystal camps and New Age camps. What do they need to take Unity for?" (Maria was interviewed on April 11, 1996.)

Annemarie is a 59-year-old writer, musician and mother of five grown children. She grew up in Germany, where she took Lutheran religion classes until they were outlawed by the Communist Party after World War II. Annemarie described herself as an angry, suicidal child who didn't believe in God because it didn't make sense to her. When she came to the United States at the age of 21, she and her husband took their children to church because it was an American custom, but she never really believed or understood religion. During a time of emotional upheaval as her children were getting older, Annemarie remembers saying, "If there is a God, you better speak to me." She lived near a Unity church and was invited to attend a class. She went and was amazed that the message applied so well to her life and helped her cope. She continued attending and later began taking classes at Unity Village. Annemarie has gone through periods of enthusiasm and doubt with Unity because her background in communist East Germany made her suspicious of the possibility of brainwashing. Annemarie's own family — including a son-in-law who is a Presbyterian minister — has tried to dissuade her from attending Unity. Although she believes all religious paths are valuable, Annemarie is confident that Unity is a good path for her. "I just know it has been a great stepping stone in my life," she said. "It's not just something on the outside where I go on Sundays. For me it's a daily inner awareness of being aligned at all times." (Annemarie was interviewed on April 7, 1996.)

Billy is a 64-year-old retired administrator who grew up in the Southern Baptist church. His childhood religious memories are colored by sin, damnation and fear. After a period of absence from the church, he and his wife decided to return to get religious education for their children. They searched, but could not find a church that made them feel comfortable. Then five years ago, after the children were all grown, Billy's wife began to attend and became a member of a Unity church, and he attended with her. He said he liked the acceptance, lack of demands and emphasis on love at Unity, but never wanted to join. After Billy and his wife retired, they traveled around the country and would visit Unity churches in cities where they stopped, in addition to attending a retreat at Unity Village. He said the retreat prompted his decision to become a member of the Unity church once they return to their home in Washington state. What does he like about Unity that other churches didn't give him? "The openness, the acceptance, particularly of what you are, the human being that you are," he said. "They (Southern Baptists) take the Bible absolutely literally. There are no 'ifs' 'ands' or 'buts' about it. There's only one way, and if you don't believe it, buddy, you're going to hell. You don't have a chance. I have trouble accepting that." (Billy was interviewed on April 11, 1996.)

Jeanne is a 68-year-old retired executive assistant who lives in Minnesota. She was baptized Roman Catholic, and was raised by her grandmother, who practiced many of the principles of Christian Science. She became Episcopal after she married because it was the religion of her husband, and she didn't believe in the rigid rules of the Catholic church. After 20 years of marriage, Jeanne and her husband divorced. She tried going back to the Catholic church and getting counseling, but she didn't feel well-received. Her introduction to Unity was through Unity magazine, which a friend sent to her. "When I opened them up, the first thing I saw was 'Whatever pattern I set up in my mind, order ensures that the effect will follow perfectly.' At that point in my life I was thinking very negatively, and it was really coming into being. I felt that my life was over, that I couldn't work, that I was too old," she said. "I started using affirmations and sent for literature from Unity Village. . . . And immediately my life got better. The positive affirmations really worked." Jeanne then found a Unity church in her town, and said she felt like she had come home. In 1987 Jeanne moved to Kansas City and worked at Unity Village for a year. During that time, she and some other Unity workers started attending a Baptist church which focused on healing. Although she attended that church for some time, Jeanne said she does not hold Baptist beliefs. After several years, she moved and was unable to find a comfortable church home. In 1996 she attended a Unity retreat because, "at this time in my life, after retirement, I'm finding that I'm needing some extra help again and I'm gravitating toward Unity again because the principles do work in my life." Jeanne said she has seen some changes for the better in Unity since she attended in the 1980s. For example, she said Unity's focus on optimism and positive thinking once made it difficult for people to deal with the negatives in their lives. Jeanne said she is relieved to see that negative emotions are now more accepted in Unity. (Jeanne was interviewed on April 10, 1996.)

Patricia is 66, a retired food service worker from Chicago. She was born to an Irish-Catholic family, but her mother suffered from an emotional-mental illness which broke up her family. She lived in a Catholic orphanage and then in a foster home which had no religious affiliation. She and her husband became Presbyterian after they decided to return to church to get religious education for their children. After her marriage fell apart 18 years ago, she was introduced to the Church of Religious Science, where she was a member until she dropped out two years ago. She now gets spiritual nourishment through Alcoholics Anonymous and reading Daily Word. Patricia has had much experience with prayer, including what she calls a miracle of healing after she was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. Because of disappointments with the organization and leadership at the Church of Religious Science, Patricia is wary of organized religion, but knows that she needs a community with which to worship, and is considering Unity after attending a retreat. "I don't want to go it on my own. I need structure in some areas, especially this idea of prayer meditation and who God is to me. . . . But I want to be picky and choosy about who I'm listening to. I don't want to go every Sunday and go to classes and hear pabulum, pre-mixed stuff. I want someone who comes from the gut and tells it like it is, even telling you the hard things you don't want to know." (Patricia was interviewed on April 12, 1996.)

These stories present a glimpse into the lives of several people who are involved with the Unity movement. Their comments and views point to many issues which pertain to sociological theories about church attendance and membership. These issues include the amount of authority a church has over individuals, the power of personal beliefs and tradition in making religious decisions, the demands churches make of members, the attitude toward church hierarchy and organization, and the ability of a church's philosophy to be practiced in everyday life. Before delving into the pertinent sociological issues, this thesis first reviews the history of the Unity movement and provides some descriptive statistics of who is involved with Unity and why they say they switched.

  1. What's Wrong With Unity School of Christianity by Louis T. Talbot (1956), the chancellor of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, presents a good overview of the conservative argument against Unity. He writes that "back of the lovely Unity facade of 'sweetness and light' with which all of their work is thoroughly saturated are some of the most soul-destroying and Scripture-denying doctrines ever foisted upon the world" (p. 8).
  2. See the Appendix for a full description of research methods. Throughout the thesis, individuals who were interviewed personally will be referred to by first name only. Responses quoted from the written survey are identified by respondent number following the quote.

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