The Unity Movement

Its Evolution and Spiritual Teachings

Neal Vahle

Prayer meetings held in 1889 in the Kansas City living room of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore were the beginning of what grew to be an international religious and educational movement. This book is an in-depth study of the people and beliefs that shaped it into one of the fastest growing movements of our time.

Neal Vahle documents the lives of the spiritual visionaries who created, organized, and led the Unity movement: Myrtle Fillmore, the 40-year-old wife and mother who was inspired by a Christian Science practitioner to cure herself of tuberculosis; Charles Fillmore, who had planned a business career but found, through study, prayer, meditation, and dream analysis, that he had another calling; H. Emily Cady, a New York City homeopathic physician whose book on Unity teachings, Lessons in Truth, was published in 1901, and has sold more than 1.6 million copies; Lowell Fillmore, eldest son of Charles and Myrtle, who clarified and popularized Unity teaching; and the other descendants of Myrtle and Charles, each of whom made immeasurable contributions.

He explores the key factors that led to the steady growth of the movement: the creation of the Unity School of Christianity; the development of Unity Village in Missouri; the evolution of "Silent Unity"; the publication program; the training of students; the development of centers and churches; and he presents and analyzes the controversies and debates within the organization. Vahle concludes the book with a look at the challenges facing the movement in the twenty-first century.

Foreword by Connie Fillmore Bazzy / vii

Acknowledgements / ix

Introduction / xiii

Part I: The Unity Teachings: Yesterday and Today

1. Myrtle Fillmore: Spiritual Visionary / 5

2. Charles Fillmore: Spiritual Teacher and Leader / 33

3. H. Emilie Cady: Articulator of the Unity Teaching / 71

4. Lowell Fillmore: Clarifier and Popularizer / 95

5. Unity’s Spiritual and Intellectual Antecedents / 121

Part II: The Growth and Development of the Unity Movement

6. Organizing and Financing Unity School of Christianity / 145

7. W. Rickert Fillmore and the Development of Unity Village / 181

8. The Fillmore Family and the Operation of Unity School / 190

9. Silent Unity and the Practice of Spiritual Healing / 207

10. Training Unity Students / 256

11. The Development of Unity Centers and Churches / 289

12. The Role of Women in the Unity Movement / 369

13. The Participation of Blacks in Unity Work / 375

14. Unity and New Thought / 383

15. Unity and the New Age / 398

16. Perspectives on Unity: Commentaries from Other Spiritual and Religious

Vantage Points / 405

17. Unity in the Twenty-First Century: Challenges to Be Met / 425

Notes / 427

Bibliography / 469

Publications of the Unity School of Christianity / 471

Index / 473