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That Was Ernest: The Story of Ernest Holmes & the Religious Science Movement Paperback – June 1, 1999
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Armor notes that "Mr. and Mrs. Powers took an immediate liking to Ernest and in a sense adopted this grown-up little farmboy... he would go home with a borrowed copy of this Christian Science textbook ] and pore over it with diligence and fascination. But his reaction to the healing philosophy was that anything that anyone had ever done, anyone else could do. There could be no secrets in Nature." (Pg. 27-28) He observes that "whereas Mrs. Eddy had her own 'revelation' theology, and exclusive church organization, New Thought made no such claims. It was looser, more open, and based as much as possible on RESULTS rather than on the additional element of somebody's theology and revelation." (Pg. 32)
When Holmes was talking with a university professor, he was asked, "Just what IS Religious Science, anyway?" and Holmes replied, "Religious Science if a correlation of the laws of science, the opinions of philosophy, and the revelations of religion applied to the human needs and the aspirations of man." (Pg. 65-66)
He admits, "There is no certain way of measuring Nona Brooks' influence on Ernest; but perhaps one measure of it is that when, later, it became time for Ernest to acquire his own, increasingly necessary, ministerial credentials, they would be in the Divine Science tradition; and Agnes Galer---the Divine Science minister who was also a sometime member of the Holmes household---would perform the ordination." (Pg. 75-76)
He explains, "Ernest felt, in synthesizing the wisdom of the ages, that he had something better; that each one could go DIRECTLY TO THE SOURCE; that one needed no priesthood or intermediary to intercede on one's behalf or act as a 'middleman.' The Science of Mind concept is rather that each one maintains one's individuality in consciousness and thus each has a 'hotline' to the Father-Mother... each one of us is an individualization of the One." (Pg. 84)
Armor notes, however, that in 1934, "we moved Sunday services to the Wiltern Theatre, which seated 2800... it wasn't too long before we were turning away 400-500 people on Sunday. There was just no place to put the crowd that came to hear Ernest during those years... still he would not consider the term 'church.'" (Pg. 87) He adds, "By 1939 we felt it necessary to credential our workers. This would help stem the numbers of those who could bring criticism on the name of Religious Science." (Pg. 98)
He recounts, "When the International Association of Religious Science Churches had been chartered... there seemed to be clashes of personality, resulting in friction between Ernest and some others. I would not attribute it... to any resentment of Ernest's insistence on tight control. The sudden turbulence, crystallizing at the January 1954 meeting... I could not comprehend at the time why the International wanted full Institute authority to license ministers and practitioners. This was certainly at complete variance with Ernest's entire concept, and he walked out on it. I had no choice but to follow. Science of Mind magazine, which only a few months earlier had listed 58 churches, showed 16 fewer in the October 1954 issue. Half of these later returned to the fold." (Pg. 120-121)
This is a very insightful historical portrait of Holmes and the Religious Science movement, that will be of great interest to students of related and sympathetic spiritual paths.
If you have, this book is for you. If you're not into Religious Science's change your mind/change your life philosophy this book will still offer some revelations. If you are into it or involved with it, it is a must-read/must-own.
Author Reginald Armor, who died in 1977, was a mere 12 years old when he met the older Ernest Holmes, who even as a young man in his 20s had embraced the philosophy for which he was to become famous. This book traces their lifelong friendship, Holmes' evolution, and the church's growth, from their first meeting (Holme's treatment helped cure Armor's warts) to Holmes' final years.
Don't expect a long, ponderous detailed book. This book is not that at all. It's a simple account of a friendship that lasted until Holmes' 1960 passing. In sections tracing the steps of how Holmes' institute evolved into a church it resembles at times more of a history book than a memoir. These sections are the least interesting.
But Armor also traces how Holmes' carefully considered and precisely articulated spiritual and metaphysical philsophy sparked a movement that would later have profound influences throughout the 20th century. Indeed, many classic and contemporary self-help books and motivational speakers are heavily influenced by his philosophy (the power of visualization; affirmative prayer; and "releasing" an affirmation and having complete faith in it after you make it).
Armor also reveals several fascinating facts: even as a small child Holmes would never stop constantly asking questions (an answer meant he would ask another question), which is how he developed his thought; Holmes started as a public speaker because he truly loved speaking and sharing his philosphy about how applying what he called Universal Law could manifest a person's best good; and Holmes resisted until the very last his associates' attempts to create an church. He prefered a person's one-ness to and with God and felt organized religions' middleman institutions were unncessary. Plus he felt there were "too many religions" already. He made it clear he had no intention of founding a new religion.
In the end, though, Holmes went along with the idea of a church (which today has some members who still maintain their previous religions even as they practice the all-inclusive Religious Science) to help spread his ideas...which he felt were really not HIS ideas, but ideas from a Higher Source.
The bottom line: this is a simply written book which answers some key questions about who Holmes was, what motivated him, and how the then-innovative thoughts that he voiced led to the creation of an actual church.
A MUST if you're interested in the lives of spiritual thinkers.