Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is it a New Thought or just Ancient Wisdom in modern clothing - Part Six

Emma Curtis Hopkins: Teacher of Teachers

Sell all, let all move aside – let go, and give to the one Poor, the Unencumbered First Cause, the Unknowable Absolute, the Unhindered God, the Unweighted I AM, the Predicateless Being. This is the universal insistence of inspired mystics. We have only one thing to give, namely, our attention.[1]

This Scientific Christian, also called an “inspired mystic,” “the mother of New Thought,” and “New Thought’s forgotten founder”[2] was an “ardent feminist who believed in the goodness and innate spirituality in women … ordained [over] 111 of her advanced graduates (male and female) … [and] another 350 or more … as healing practitioners”[3] at the Emma Hopkins College of Metaphysical Science in Chicago, Illinois. Among her students were many who later became prominent teachers and leaders within the New Thought movement, including Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, H. Emilie Cady, Frances Lord,[4] Annie Rix-Militz,[5] Malinda E. Cramer, New Thought poetess Ella Wheeler Wilcox, New Thought publisher Elizabeth Towne and, considerably later, Ernest Holmes. She was born Josephine Emma Curtis in Killingly, Connecticut, in 1849 to Rufus Curtis[6] and Lydia Phillips Curtis.[7] She married George Irving Hopkins[8] on July 19, 1874. Their son, John Carver, was born in 1875 and died in 1905. Proving her “teacher of teachers” status was entrenched in her DNA, at fifteen years old she entered Woodstock Academy (Connecticut) as a student and because of her genius was soon given a place on the faculty. Little else is known about her younger years, except she had studied and was well versed in many of the great religions of the world and the Greek scholars; even learning Greek so she would not need a translator. So it is here that we will jump to the year 1883 when, at 34, she met Mary Baker Eddy.

After hearing Eddy speak, Emma wrote her saying, “I want to tell you that the beautiful theory you advanced has taken … so firm a hold of my heart … I am now anxious to learn more of the science … directly from your own lips.” Thus began a not quite two year journey into Mary Baker Eddy’s teachings of Christian Science, and a continued study into mental healing,[9] where she became a practitioner in the organization and the editor of the Christian Science Journal. In a rift that was exacerbated by Eddy’s “closed at the top”[10] leadership style – including the claim that Christian Science came to her in a personal revelation - and Emma’s writings on ancient religious philosophy in the Journal, a huge no-no to Mrs. Eddy, these two titans of Thought Science clashed. Emma was kicked out of the organization. When asked about Emma’s claim that Mrs. Eddy teaches mesmerism, Mrs. Eddy claimed Emma “is not qualified to teach Christian Science and is incapable of teaching it.” [11] However, Reverend Marge Flotron[12] had this to say about Emma’s abilities:

When she left Christian Science, Mrs. Hopkins left with a greater and grander view of Truth teachings of the Christ than either Quimby or Mary Baker Eddy had. She saw no separation between God and Man. She saw no two Powers, no duality – this is good and that is non-good. She did not see that. She gave us New Thought which is devoid of guilt complexes, of people developing guilt complexes, for she knew that the true teachings of God, through the Christ, lays no burden on Man and does set free. She said, “God is Good ... Good is God. There is only God; therefore, there is only Good, and there is no evil. There is nothing to fear; there is nothing to hate. There is no power to hurt; there is no matter with its laws.” In other words, matter has no Power: matter has no Law. We give matter power!

This understanding came through her never-ending dedication to the analysis and assemblage of the ideas of all the great teachings of the Greeks,[13] Egyptians[14], Spinoza[15], the Zend-Avesta[16] and others, and most noticeably empowered and entrenched in what she called, ‘the twelve doctrines of Jesus Christ’. These doctrines gave a solid foundation to what she called the Science of Life, Health, Strength, Support, Defense or Protection, Truth, Love, Substance, Intelligence, and Spirit[17], Science of Mind[18] and New Thought Movement[19] as described in her magnum opus, High Mysticism:

1. Repentance-The Silent Edict: “All the everlasting pages struck off by men under the white flames of inspiration, have been the result of knowing or unknowing obedience to the Soundless Mandate of the Lofty One inhabiting Eternity: “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”[20]

2. Remission: “One who had been utterly set free from the might of the flesh and its death, rose, an untrammeled Being, and said, “Preach Remission.”[21] Preach the removal, the putting away of the consequences of the downward vision, which appear as evil, matter, lack, pain, decay.”

3. For-giveness: “I am for-given and governed by Thee alone, and I cannot sin, I cannot suffer for sin, nor fear sin, sickness or death.”

4. Faith: “Faith is man's El Shaddai[22], his risen recognition of himself as Jehovah Soul, seeing the mystery of Divine Obedience everywhere awaiting the kingly rise of his heaven-planted boldness to command, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me!”[23] “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.”[24]

5. Works: “It was practicing inborn authority over the Universal Servitor, when the wonderful Jesus cried … [and] Abraham was practicing inborn authority over the Invisible Servitor, when he said … [and] David was practicing innate authority over the Universal Obedience, when he said ... “When thou shalt make his Soul an offering . . . the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper.”[25] “For it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[26]

6. Understanding: “This Sixth Study is a lesson in invocation...Whatsoever we desire we are invoking it, and sooner or later it arrives upon us. Let a man draw himself to himself, and leaving all else choose what he will, and so it shall be unto him...our own inspiration or inbreath of the Breath of Brahma.”

7-12. Ministry: “...recognition of the Angel of God's Presence as the original Self of every man, woman, child .....”Seek ye the Lord and his strength, Seek his face evermore,”[27] will not be a beautiful sentence on a page, but a living fact according to high science .... Practice of the Presence of the Most High, the Great Countenance of the Absolute, the Ain Soph,[28] caused Nahum the prophet to cry out [in 2:1], “Watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy powers mightily!” For the loins do show strength by reason of high watch, and the “l Am Strength” is our giant truth .... Victor Hugo wrote about the mysteries because his hidden Self knew the mysteries as our hidden Self knows mysteries—Mysteries which we may tell forth as new music or new life comes to register on our outer forms; as everything we declare soon registers on our outer forms .... The Eleventh and Twelfth Lessons are the Eschatology[29] of the Mystical Science.”

Evolving from the Mental to the Mystical to the Absolute, she believed, similar to the first two steps of Treatment in Religious Science[30], “We train our realizations first, and then demonstrations follow.”

Whether reading her first book, Scientific Christian Mental Practice, or her other more than two-dozen works, every page is chock full of quotes from the Bible and the other sacred texts of the world, Eastern and Western. She sought to reveal the Truth that runs through all of them by illustrating her translations, interpretations and commentary on the subjects of the Divinity of Man and our ability to use this mystic ability for healing:

My god is working with me, for me, by me, and through me, to make me a living demonstration of the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient good, in the form of health, prosperity, success, and wealth! There is a sure helper in every man, woman, and child, who will give you and I the desires of our heart, if we turn to no other source but the spirit. Now for you, who have been so good and true, and who have prayed and prayed ... Nothing seems to happen.

Get quiet.

Sit down.

Watch and wait . . .

There will come an hour when the tree of life will burst into flower and cast at your feet the most glorious shower of things far grander than you ever knew! Ye are above the wheel of matter and the net-work of mind. Ye are light of the world--free, flawless, immortal.[31]

[1] High Mysticism, Emma Curtis Hopkins, “Remission,” pg 31:6.

[2] New Thought’s Hidden History: Emma Curtis Hopkins, Forgotten Founder, J. Gordon Melton, Institute for the Study of American Religion (Santa Barbara, CA) – paper presented at the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting in Boston, 1987. Emma brought a focus to the movement in 1886.

[3] Harley, Gail M. Emma Curtis Hopkins: Forgotten Founder of New Thought. 2002, Syracuse University Press

[4] Brought Christian Science to England and author of several books.

[5] Author and founder of Home of Truth, a New Thought spiritual community in Alameda, California. She was the professor of “Scripture Revelation” at the College.

[6] Successful dairy farmer, part time realtor, and Civil War hero (lost a leg in War).

[7] Emma’s mother (1828-1920) bore four children, three of whom died before the age of 13.

[8] A high school teacher who divorced Emma in 1900 claiming abandonment (they hadn’t lived together in 15 years).

[9] Mary Baker Eddy was once a patient of P. P. Quimby’s. Though she eventually disavowed his influence on her work, it is quite evident and has been proven that her beliefs were based on his work with her. We will not go into the facts of that here nor do we desire to belittle her contributions to Mental Science.

[10] References Ernest Holmes’ intention that we stay “open at the top” for revelation and the Divine Emergence of the teaching.

[11] Eddy, Mary Baker. Christian Science Journal, April 1887, “Questions Answered,” p. 25

[12] Rev. Marge Flotron at the INTA Congress in July 1989. She founded Ministry of Truth International, which was dedicated to keeping the works of Emma Curtis Hopkins alive and spreading the “Good word of God” through her books and teachings.

[13] For example, Plotinus and Porphyry.

[14] She knew that the Denials and Affirmations came out of the Egyptian teachings and that Moses’ "I AM THAT I AM" came out of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

[15] Baruch Spinoza, later Benedict Spinoza, (1632 – 1677) was a Portuguese Dutch Jewish philosopher. In his magnum opus, Ethics, he opposed Descartes' mind–body dualism. He is considered to be one of Western philosophy's most important philosophers.

[16] Ancient Persian texts of Zarathustra of Zoroastrianism (600 BCE), which teaches there is one universal and transcendent God and that active participation in life through good thoughts, good words, and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay.

[17] Emma Curtis Hopkins, Scientific Christian Mental Practice (Cornwall Brige, CT: High Watch Fellowship, 1958), p. 12.

[18] A term she uses within her books.

[19] A reason why she was considered the “forgotten founder” of the New Thought Movement.

[20] Isaiah 45:22

[21] Luke 4:18

[22] One of the Judaic names of God, translated as God Almighty.

[23] Genesis 32:26

[24] Matthew 6:13, also known as The Lord’s Prayer

[25] Isaiah 53:10

[26] Luke 12:32

[27] Psalm 105:4, 1 Chronicles 16:11

[28] Translated from the Hebrew as “no end,” “unending,” “there is no end,” or “Infinite;” it is the divine origin of all created existence

[29] A branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind.

[30] As defined by Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind, it is “the time, process and method necessary to the changing of our thought.” Also described as an affirmative prayer.

[31] High Mysticism, Emma Curtis Hopkins, DeVorss & Company

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