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Joseph Wolpert: Classical Christianity and Unity

Background of Unity

What came to be known as Unity, for all extensive purposes began with the healing experience of Myrtle Fillmore (1845-1931). She had been a sickly child and suffered from tuberculosis well into adulthood. Mrs. Fillmore seems to have been born with an innate love for God and a desire to make the world a better place to live in.

In 1886, a doctor gave her only six months to live.

She had been searching for a means of religious expression that suited both her inclinations and her intuitions about God and humanity when she and her husband, Charles attended a metaphysical lecture in Kansas City presented by a Chicago-based teacher named Dr. E.B. Weeks.

During that lecture Dr Weeks spoke an affirmation which was to change Mrs.Fillmore's life - "I am a child of God and therefore I do not inherit sickness". Ever since a child, Mrs. Fillmore had believed that God was Good and that sickness, sin, and evil had not part in God. This aifirmation served as a catalyst for deeper understanding and realization for her.

In her own words, Mrs Fillmore said regarding this experience:

"I have made what seems to me a discovery. I was fearfully sick; I had all the ills of mind and body that I could bear. Medicine and doctors ceased to give me relief, and I was in despair when I found practical Christianity. I took it up and I was healed." (Freeman, p 47)

It took nearly two years, but finally, the ailments that had accompanied her all of her life were finally gone. And she never experienced any more than a nose "sniffle" until her death at the age of 86.

Charles Fillmore (1854-1948), seeing the transformation that was taking place in the life of his wife, decided that he wanted some of what she had found too.

A skating accident when he was around 9 years old had left an open sore wound on his hip and a leg that was almost four inches shorter than the normal one.

Grotesque medical practices in those days such as "bleeding", "cupping" and "leeching" made matters worse if anything, and he lived in constant pain.

Mrs. Fillmore seemed to have a natural faith. Mr. Fillmore needed to acquire his. He also needed to deal with what seemed to be an innate skepticism on his part. He once wrote concerning his early attitudes:

"I noticed... that all the teachers and writers talked a great deal about the omnipresent, omniscient God, who is Spirit and accessible to everyone. I said to myself, 'In this babel I will go to headquarters. If I am Spirit and this God they talk so much about is Spirit, we can somehow communicate, or the whole thing is a fraud'" (Freeman, p 52)

At his death in 1948 at the age of 94, the shortened leg had grown over two inches and Mr Fillmore could walk without a leg brace, a built up shoe, and cane.

For both Fillmores, "religion" was an "experience". Both had discovered for themselves the importance the mind plays in disease and health. They both also discovered the importance of prayer in which they sat silently and simply listened and waited for the divine to be revealed to them. Charles spent between four to six hours a day in meditation. And as well read as he was, most of his views are purported to have come directly as the result of divine inspiration.