A World-Wide Influence
"That They May Have Life"
The work of Unity is going right on. [At the time of this writing, 1951,] Two decades have gone by since Myrtle Fillmore's passing. Charles Fillmore has been gone for three years. Yet the organization that they built grows on; the ideas that they taught have an ever-lasting influence.
Because Charles and Myrtle Fillmore built on the rock of principle instead of on the sands of personality, they are as much alive today as they ever were. They live in every prayer uttered at Unity School; they live in the words of this book and in all the words of all the magazines and books that go forth in the name of Unity; they live in the lives of all — perhaps you are one — who have changed their lives by using Truth.
How shall we measure the influence of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore? Can it be measured by the Unity literature?
From twelve printing presses, often running night and day, come millions of pieces of Unity literature each month. There are seven English language magazines: Unity, Weekly Unity, You, Good Business, Daily Word, Wee Wisdom, and Unity Sunday-School Leaflet. There is also a Spanish magazine, El Sembrador, which is distributed to Spanish-speaking persons. These eight magazines carry the Unity message into more than a million homes every month. Besides the magazines, Unity publishes dozens of books and hundreds of pamphlets.
Unity's literature has penetrated into the farthest corners of the earth. Sheep ranchers in the interior of Australia and Eskimos in Alaska subscribe for its magazines, read its books and pamphlets. To meet the demand from foreign countries, Unity publishes literature in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Ibo, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.
During World War II, Unity printed a peace prayer in sixteen languages, but they were not enough to meet the needs of all its students. A letter came to Unity headquarters from a small town in the interior of India. A copy of Daily Word containing the prayer had reached there and a man who had read it wrote in to ask why the prayer had not been printed in Hindustani. He sent a translation of it in that tongue.
Although no one from Unity headquarters has ever visited Nigeria, for the many Nigerians who study Unity literature, Unity prayers are published in Ibo, the Nigerian tongue. A Nigerian, visiting the United States, liked the Unity literature, took it home with him, and it turned out to be popular with his fellow countrymen. A few years ago, a geologist making notes in Nigeria wrote that there is even a drum beat that signifies Unity.
Through Silent-70, the literature goes free of charge to about eight thousand public institutions in this and other countries. Lessons in Truth, Finding the Christ in Ourselves, Daily Word, and Wee Wisdom are printed in Braille and distributed free to the blind. Into leper colonies, into orphanages, into prisons, and into hospitals the Unity message, freely given, goes to bless hundreds of thousands of the sick and unfortunate in every part of the earth.
If we measured the influence of the Fillmores by the scope of the Unity literature, we should conclude that their
influence goes far. But their influence goes beyond the printed word.
Their influence goes beyond the spoken word too. Today in Unity centers in hundreds of cities, classes in Unity are taught, Unity lectures are given, Unity services are conducted. In 1934, radio station WOQ was discontinued, but today the Unity message goes out from more than fifty stations, not only in the United States but in Australia, New Zealand, and Cuba, to a rapidly growing radio audience, which is estimated to be more than three million.
Yet the influence of the Fillmores is even wider than this. Countless numbers of writers and teachers and ministers have absorbed the Unity idea, and from pulpits and books that have no avowed connection with the Unity movement, the Fillmores' idea goes forth.
How then shall we measure Charles and Myrtle Fillmore's contribution to humanity? The contribution of some people can be measured by the buildings they left behind them. Can we understand the Fillmores better by looking at the buildings they built to house the Unity work?
Sixty years ago Charles and Myrtle Fillmore dreamed of having a place where those in need could go to be ministered to in prayer. Today at Forty-seventh and Jefferson Streets, on the Country Club Plaza in the southwestern section of Kansas City, the Unity Temple is the fulfillment of their spiritual vision. The first services in the Temple were held in Fellowship Hall, which is the Sunday-school assembly room, in 1947. This hall has a seating capacity of about eight hundred, and many times that number thronged through the beautifully decorated corridors. The Sanctuary, which seats fifteen hundred, was used for the first time on Easter Sunday, 1950. It was filled to overflowing twice that morning and hundreds were turned away.
Costing more than one million dollars, the Temple has two large auditoriums and numerous Sunday-school rooms. Besides the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall, there are two chapels. The Charles Fillmore Chapel is a place of beauty, and the small Myrtle Fillmore Chapel is a place for quiet prayer. Charles Fillmore would have loved to have Fellowship Hall with its wonderful equipment, for the games and dinners and parties and shows that the Unity Society put on when he was at its helm. The many spacious and colorful rooms of the Sunday school, especially designed to meet the needs of the children, would have thrilled the heart of Myrtle Fillmore. "Who will take care of the children?" she asked in her vision long ago. This Sunday school is Unity's latest answer.
Yet the contribution of the Fillmores cannot be measured by this temple. It cannot be measured by the more than 1200 acres that are Unity headquarters near Lee's Summit, Missouri.
Walk here among the lanes and paths, across the lawns, through the gardens and the orchards, or pause beside a wayside bench where two students are discussing some point of Truth, and you may begin to catch something of what Charles and Myrtle Fillmore mean to humanity, for there is a tranquil air about this place that blesses everyone who visits it. Here are rock walls covered with rambling roses, and rude stone bridges arching over quiet streams. Flights of stone steps climb up and down green slopes. Lanes wind past slate-roofed cottages, lanes rimmed with poplars that reach up like spires. Fountains laugh in the sunlight, and calm pools reflect the stillness of the trees that edge them round and the peace in the hearts of those who come to discourse or to meditate by their still waters. The sun sparkles on the red-tiled roofs of the many-windowed, clois-
tered buildings where the spiritual work goes on night and day. Beside the highway rises the Tower, a waymark, a guidepost, a symbol of strength, an emblem of faith, a promise of prayer.
You may come even closer to understanding the contribution of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore if you will drive along U.S. Highway No. 50 some dark night and turn off through the entrance to Unity School. From the windows of one of the rooms in the Silent Unity Building a light will be shining. These are the windows of the Silent Unity telephone room. There workers remain on constant duty, serving and praying, waiting for a call that may come from a home nearby or from the farthest ends of the earth, waiting not only for a call that may come over the telephone or telegraph but also for a silent call that may come from the sick and lonely heart of someone somewhere who in the moment of his need is silently, and from afar, turning in his mind to God through Unity. This year, more than six hundred thousand persons are calling on Silent Unity for help.
The contribution of the Fillmores is more than one of words or buildings. It is one of hearts and minds and lives rebuilt by the transforming touch of their ideas. Men have always been burdened by the belief that they were born to suffer and die, to be buffeted by evil chance. They have thought of God as far removed from them, willing suffering and death.
The Fillmores dared to set men free. They knew that God is near, as near as one's own thoughts, as near as one's own heart, as near as one's own faith and love and wisdom. They saw that men are bound not by the will of God but by the limitations of their own minds and they dared to strike off the shackles of the mind. They turned people back
to the teachings of Jesus — "Ask, and it shall be given you," "According to your faith be it done unto you," "Love one another." They showed that by the application of His simple teachings to daily living men could transform their lives.
If you wish to catch the meaning of the Fillmores, do not seek in printed page and spoken word. Look about you. Seek for their meaning in the lives they have transformed. You may find it in the life of your own neighbor.
On a ranch in western Texas, a rider dismounts from his horse. As he stands looking out across the plains, his thought turns to his wife who is ill. As anxiety starts to surge into his mind, he thinks of the words of the prayer on the card that came from Unity, and for a moment he repeats them silently.
In a room of a London hospital, a mother is waiting. Her daughter has just been taken to the operating room. The doctors have given her little hope. But the mother is not thinking of her fears; instead she has taken from her handbag a little magazine. On the cover is the name Daily Word. She opens it and turns to the lesson for the day and she reads:
"I am infolded in the one great Heart that beats for all. My mind is at peace, and I am healed."
Click here for more about The Prayer of Faith by Hannah More Kohaus.
On a ship in the Pacific, a sailor has been reading a magazine called Unity. He never heard of Unity before, but he found this magazine among those placed aboard ship for the men to read. He has read it through. Now he is reading it again. He does not know much about religion, but these ideas sound practical. He has a lot of time. He has decided he will see what prayer can do. He quiets his thoughts.
"God is my help in every need," he declares silently.
A woman sits alone in a small house in Florida. Her husband went to work disheartened despite her efforts to
cheer him up. With the rising prices, they seem to be getting farther and farther behind with their bills. Now she takes out her prosperity bank. She drops a coin into it. She repeats the prayer printed on the back of the bank:
"The Spirit of the Lord goes before me, and my health, happiness, prosperity, and success are assured." Silently she prays for God's wisdom and love to make their way clear.
In a Roman villa, a countess is preparing to go to sleep. From the drawer of the table beside her bed, she takes out a typewritten letter. It is creased and blurred from many readings; but she reads again, as she has read many times since she received it long ago: "Dear Friend: Silent Unity has received your letter and is praying with you."
In Lee's Summit, Missouri, a worker from Unity headquarters has just turned away from the telephone. When she arrived home after her day's work, she found her little girl ill. Now as she hangs up the receiver, the familiar words are ringing with reassurance in her mind: "Silent Unity will be praying with you; God is with your little girl."
Driving down a highway in California are an elderly couple on their vacation. As they drive along, they turn on the radio. Over it comes a voice: "Good morning, Friends — The Unity Viewpoint..."
A prisoner in a penitentiary in New York has been studying a book that he received from an organization called Silent-70. The name of the book is Lessons in Truth. He began to read in doubt but as he read something about this book caught hold of his imagination. This is a different kind of religion. He turns to the last lesson. "Bondage or Liberty, Which?" he reads.
If you would find the true message of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, turn into your own heart and pray. Live for a time by the Unity idea: dare to believe that God is your
health; dare to believe that He is your support; dare to believe that you have in you all the ideas that you will ever need for a happy and successful life; dare to be generous, loving, free. Then in your own liberated spirit, in your own liberated life, you will understand what Charles and Myrtle Fillmore came to teach.
"I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." (John 10:10)
"According to your faith be it done unto you." (Matt. 9:29)