New Thought Branches: Science of Mind and Ernest Holmes

Ernest Holmes: Science of Mind

Ernest Holmes: Religious Science

Ernest Holmes (1887-1960) founded the International Religious Science movement, wrote The Science of Mind and numerous other books on metaphysics, and originated the international periodical Science of Mind magazine, which has been in continuous publication since 1927. Holmes' Science of Mind teaching, recognized today as one of the leading viewpoints in modern metaphysics, is a spiritual philosophy that has brought to people around the world a working cosmology - a sense of their relationship to God and their place in the Universe - and a positive, supportive approach to daily living (“Ernest Holmes” wwwhubs).

Platform speaker of metaphysical truth

Holmes combined an endless enthusiasm for understanding and synthesizing metaphysical truth with excellent skills as a platform speaker. In 1914, at the age of 25, Ernest moved to Venice, California. He discovered the writings of Thomas Troward, which fed the flame ignited by his earlier studies of metaphysics. Almost casually, he began speaking on Troward's writings to small but ever-growing groups. Braden's chapter on Religious Science (:285-292) describes Holmes' reading of Emerson, Thomas Troward and others. Braden says (:289) that “the first lecture he ever gave was to a group of people in a private home in Venice, California, in which he explained passages in The Edinburgh Lectures by Troward.” When he began his public speaking it was evident that he combined the understanding of Troward with the enthusiasm of Emerson. Emerson's influence on Holmes is evident in his desire to travel and to reach audiences through dynamic platform speaking, as Emerson had done a century earlier. Without ceremony, his lifetime ministry had begun. Later, as his audiences grew, he was ordained as a minister of the Divine Science Church.

Science of Mind Beliefs and Teachings

In general, the term "Science of Mind" applies to the teachings, while the term "Religious Science" applies to the organizations. However, adherents often tend to use the terms interchangeably. Ernest Holmes stated "Religious Science is a correlation of laws of science, opinions of philosophy, and revelations of religion applied to human needs and the aspirations of man." Braden (:292-294) has a short summary of the RS/SOM beliefs, which is based on an ultimate objective Mind, which expresses an individual subjective mind in man, who can “make use of Universal Law of Mind and cause It to do things for us.”

Religious Science Merges as Centers for Spiritual Living

The organization that represents Science of Mind is now known as Centers for Spiritual Living. But for most of it's history, the movement was known as "Religious Science" and was represented by two separate organizations, a result of differences in polity rather than beliefs. Ernest Holmes did not originally intend for RS/SOM to be a "church", but rather a teaching institution. Braden (:294-311) discusses how there came to be two “official” Religious Science movements. After fifty-seven years, and a eight-year process, the two organizations merged to become known as Centers for Spiritual Living.

Eric Butterworth on Ernest Holmes (Antecedents: Fox-Holmes)


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