CHAPTER XITheir Healing Work "Heal the Sick"
Unity began when Myrtle Fillmore received the idea,
"I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness," and was healed by the power of God in her. The first fruit of Unity was the healing of the friends and neighbors who came to her with their physical ills and saw these dissolved through prayer. Unity has always emphasized healing through Christ.
When the sick heard, back in the 1880's, that a woman named Myrtle Fillmore had been healed of tuberculosis through her prayers and was having success in bringing healing to others, it was natural that they should start beating a path to her door. They have been coming down that path in increasing numbers ever since.
It was through searching for health that the Fillmores themselves discovered Truth. Although Myrtle Fillmore quickly found her wholeness, Charles Fillmore spent untold hours of the day and night, during the last sixty years of his life, working in prayer for healing for himself and others.
He never accepted the withered leg as a handicap that he would have to put up with all the days of his life; he believed that his leg could be made whole and strong and perfect, and he worked in prayer to make it so. Those who knew him over a long period of time attest that as the years went by Charles's leg responded to the faith of the man, for they saw it grow in strength and vigor; they saw him dis-
card cane and braces; they saw the leg become more nearly like the other. Charles Fillmore practiced the prayer that he taught.
The Fillmores never insisted that those, who came to them for help give up medicine or other medical aid. They left their students free, and today Unity is glad to pray with those who are taking medical treatment. H. Emilie Cady, author of the basic Unity textbook, Lessons in Truth, was a physician and continued for many years to practice medicine. Other doctors have written for Unity. Many have subscribed for the magazines and have not only put them in their waiting rooms for their patients to read but have advised their patients to subscribe for them and study them at home. The Fillmores knew that people were at all stages of spiritual development and that everyone had to live according to his own faith. They were glad to add their prayers to the ministrations of the doctors. For themselves, however, they felt that prayer alone was enough to keep them whole.
At one time, Charles Fillmore was in an automobile accident. A doctor was called who treated the other persons involved in the accident.
Charles Fillmore was in a great deal of pain, but when the doctor came to treat him, Charles said to him, "Just leave me alone, please, I'll do this my own way" and he motioned the doctor aside.
"There," said the doctor, "is a man." Charles recovered very quickly.
This atmosphere of faith in God as the source of healing pervaded the Fillmore household from the early days of Unity. Once, Lowell had the mumps, and Rick caught them in one jaw. That day his mother found him playing barefoot in the rain. When she reprimanded him, he asked, "Don't you believe what you say?" Of course, Myrtle Fill-
more believed what she taught, and Rick suffered no ill effect.
The Fillmore boys did not worry much about getting sick. Their mother wrote: "Yesterday, there were about four inches of snow on the ground, and from my study window I saw Royal with bare feet and with legs bared to the knees taking a run in the front yard. 'Just to see how snow feels,' he said."
When people came to the Fillmores for help, they caught the simple faith of this believing family, and soon a constant-stream of the sick were coming to the Unity offices. By the time the Fillmores moved their offices to the house on McGee Street, a crowd was coming every day to see if some of the healing faith of these two praying people might touch and restore their bodies. By the time Charles arrived at 10 or 11 in the morning, there were always at least a dozen persons waiting for him in the reception room, which was used for the meetings on Sundays. He had his office in the front parlor. There he took these persons one by one and listened to them and prayed with them. He knew that he of himself could do nothing, but his whole prayer and his whole life were consecrated to gaining a spirit of oneness with the God of life whose power can bring perfection to mind and body.
All day long, into that little office went aching, often despairing, men and women. Perhaps they had suffered pain for years, perhaps they had been told that they had no chance to live. They went into the office fear-racked and suffering, and they found there a little, quiet, kindly man who invited them to sit down beside him and to tell him what was wrong.
Charles Fillmore said that often it seemed to him that he said very little. Sometimes the patient spent the whole time telling him what was wrong. But this Charles Fillmore always silently denied. And always he prayed. Usually he
managed to get the one who was asking help to pray also. They would sit still together and in that creative silence they would speak the powerful words of Truth that, as Charles Fillmore had come to know, carried healing.
When those people rose to go, fifteen minutes or a half-hour later, often they were not the same persons who had come slumped and desperate through the door. Almost always, they went forth renewed in spirit and often they went forth renewed in body too; for in this small office in Kansas City the miracles of which the Bible speaks were coming to pass again: The lame were being made to walk, the dumb to speak, and the blind to see.
At first, the Fillmores did not publish many testimonials of healing in their magazine because, as they said, they wanted to place the emphasis on the teaching and on the spiritual results rather than on physical ones. Finally, in response to many requests for testimonials, Mr. Fillmore began to publish a column of them regularly every month under the title, "The Signs That Follow." At one time, he published a magazine by this name for the sole purpose of printing the testimonials.
Charles Fillmore wrote:
From that time on, thousands of letters describing the healing of almost every known physical condition
"It has not been our custom to sound our own praises, nor even to print the tons of good words of help received by those who have co-operated with us. Recently there has been a real demand for a sight of the unsolicited testimonial letters we are so freely receiving. People say it helps them to believe when they see how many are being benefited; so it is for your encouragement that we print a few of the hundreds of letters we are constantly getting."
have appeared in the pages of Unity's magazines. Since the Unity work is strictly confidential, no names are ever mentioned in the letters and permission to reprint them is requested before they are used.
The number of persons to whom the Fillmores have pointed out the way to health is impossible to estimate. To this day, people are writing to Unity, or sometimes visiting headquarters, who say that thirty, or forty, or fifty years ago they were ill and they came to Charles or to Myrtle Fillmore, or they wrote to them, and were healed through prayer.
Recently a visitor came to Unity School in a taxi from Kansas City. When Lowell Fillmore accompanied this visitor out to his waiting taxi, the driver said: "You probably don't know me, Mr. Fillmore, but my brother came to your mother years ago and was healed through her. He is well and working now." And he gave Lowell his name. It was a name that Lowell remembered well. It was one of the first cases of healing that his mother had had, and Lowell had often wondered what had become of the man.
There were many healings in those early days. One woman had a tumor. The doctors wanted to operate on her, but she kept putting them off as she was afraid that an operation would be fatal. Finally she set a time for the operation — Saturday morning. Friday night, weeping, she called on Mr. Fillmore. "For God's sake help me if you can," she cried. She had not slept for many nights but that night when she went home she fell asleep and slept until morning. When the doctors examined her the next day, they found no tumor.
A woman who had been told that she would not live until fall came with tuberculosis of the lungs. A few months later, she was able to tell Mr. Fillmore: "I am a strong, healthy woman, doing all my own housework."
Her husband was one day brought home with a strangulated hernia and rushed to the hospital where the head surgeon told the wife he would probably die within three days from blood poisoning. She wired for help to Charles Fillmore. As the man went under the surgeon's knife, he kept repeating,
"I am, I am God." On the third day, there was no fever, and on the fourth day, the wound was completely healed.
One woman who had had one operation after another came to Myrtle Fillmore. After four sessions of prayer, she was completely well.
Another woman with tuberculosis came to Mrs. Fillmore. While they were praying, the woman had a coughing spell. They prayed together about that. The coughing stopped. Then the woman said in a surprised voice, "What did you do to my ankle?" Several years before, she had dislocated one of the small bones in her ankle and had not been able to put her foot flat on the ground since then. While Myrtle Fillmore and she had been praying about the coughing, she had felt a strange sensation in this foot, and when she rose from her chair she found that she could walk on this foot as well as on the other. In less than a year, her tuberculosis was gone.
There was a state legislator who, on applying for an insurance policy, had been told that he had an advanced case of diabetes. He attended one of the classes in Truth principles taught by Charles Fillmore. During the fourth lesson, he said that he suddenly received the assurance that he was healed. From ninety-two pounds, he went up in one month to one hundred and thirty-two pounds in weight. He was able to discard the diet he had been following, and tests showed that the diabetes had disappeared. His right arm, withered and over one inch shorter than the left, had
been useless for seventeen years. One day, he found to his astonishment that the right arm had become the same length as the left and was almost as well-developed.
By the early 1900's, the Fillmores had become so busy that they could not continue as they had in the past spending most of each day taking up the healing needs of individuals who came to them for help. However, they never entirely ceased this practice, and there were probably few days when they were not praying with someone about his healing needs.
Years later, they were still having experiences such as the following one described in a letter to Unity:
"I was very ill in Kansas City, Missouri where I had been living and doing office work for several years. I had been doctoring for about six weeks but steadily getting worse.
"One morning, when I was very low, my doctor brought a specialist with him, and after consulting together for some time, they told me I had to be removed at once to a hospital and operated on, or I would not be alive twelve hours from that time.
"I made up my mind that I was not going to be operated on and I told the doctors to go away. My sister, who had come from the West Coast to be with me, asked me what I wanted to do. I had myself carried downstairs to the telephone, and they left me alone.
"I called up Silent Unity, and the young lady at the telephone could not understand me, as I could not speak above a whisper.
"In a minute she said, 'Oh, hold on a minute, here comes Charles Fillmore. You are very blessed that you can get him to help you.' I had been to several Sunday meetings at Unity and had heard Mr. Fillmore speak and had faith that he could help me.
"As soon as he spoke, I told him the doctors had told me I was going to die if I was not operated on at
once. He asked me what the doctor said was the matter with me. I told him.
"He was very firm, and said: 'You are not going to die.' He had me repeat after him the words of the last verse of The Prayer of Faith, although that was the first time I had ever heard it. Many times since then, through the years, that prayer has helped me over a hard place. " 'Now,' he said, 'you go to sleep and rest.'
"I said, 'O Mr. Fillmore, I haven't slept except by fits and starts for over three weeks.'
" 'Well," he said, 'you will now. Just repeat those words I told you, and go to sleep.'
"I went right to sleep and dreamed that I was in heaven and a beautiful angel was bending over me and smiling. I opened my eyes, and it was night. Standing there was a lovely girl smoothing my forehead. I said, 'Who are you, an angel?'
"She said, 'No, I'm not an angel. I'm Myrtle Fillmore's secretary, and we thought you might like to see me.
"She stayed a little while and left, and I slept fine the rest of the night. In three weeks from that time, I was back at work at my desk in the office and four years later, in another city, I was married. Later, I brought my husband and year-old baby daughter to Unity in Kansas City, and Mr. Fillmore held my baby in his arms and blessed her."
Although they themselves no longer had the time to spend each day handling the healing needs of individuals, the Fillmores had gathered about them a group of devoted persons who they believed had a high spiritual consciousness, and these persons took over this phase of the work. Finally there were twelve of these counselors, or healers, as they called themselves. Myrtle Fillmore herself remained in charge of their activities, and every morning at 10 o'clock, she led this group in a healing meeting.
Mr. and Mrs. Fillmore together often conducted the healing meeting that Silent Unity held each morning at 11 o'clock. Together, too, they conducted every Wednesday evening at 8 o'clock a healing meeting that was open to the public. They always stopped this meeting exactly at 9, when they asked everyone to join them for fifteen minutes in silent healing prayer. This nine o'clock healing service was the one they had asked people to participate in when they first formed Silent Unity. They were faithful to it always.
Charles and Myrtle Fillmore had learned to pray at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances and they never let what was going on around them keep them from praying. Sometimes on Sunday morning after the service, Charles Fillmore would come down from the platform and see someone who was in need of prayer. Right there in the front row of the chapel with people talking and laughing and milling about them, he would have the one who needed help sit down beside him, and it would be as if the two of them were completely alone. In the midst of the confusion, he would sit quietly, close his eyes, and speak words of prayer with the one in need.
Usually the Fillmores opened a healing meeting with a song. After the opening song, Mrs. Fillmore led a silence, which is what Unity calls a period of meditation. She would take up the theme of the meeting, discuss the affirmation that she was having the group use in prayer, lead them in declaring it and in meditating silently on the Truth of it. Then Mr. Fillmore would rise and give a talk based on the healing prayer, after which he would lead the group in further meditation, using the prayer as a basis for it. Usually he gave the benediction at the close of the meeting.
It was not what was done at the meeting, it was not the words that were spoken or the prayers that were used
that mattered; it was the spirit of the two who conducted it. As they took turns speaking and as they sat together in the silence, a compelling spirit radiated from the platform that all who were attuned to it felt. As the sick and the lonely and the troubled of heart sat in that small chapel and listened to the quiet words and looked into the gentle faces of the two before them, it was as if the healing Spirit of the Christ passed among them.
Here were two who had dedicated their lives to the living God. With adamant faith, they spoke from the silence of their hearts the words that they believed to be the truest words that could be spoken of a human being, words that proclaimed his divinity, words that affirmed his wholeness in Christ. Earnestly, faithfully, thankfully they prayed and prayed again until the words they spoke were no longer words; they were living symbols of God's healing life, and all who heard them and joined in speaking them in prayer felt the power of them too, felt it not only with their minds but in their bodies.
When, at the end of the meeting, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore passed from the room something of them still remained — the consciousness of life that they had kindled in the minds and bodies of those who had been praying with them. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).