Unity teachings are based on universal spiritual principles that run like a thread through the world’s religions. These are laws that seem to govern humankind no matter where we live, how we view the Divine, or even whether we are aware these principles exist. They have been expressed in many ways through thousands of years, but the essence of them is this:
1. God is all there is, present everywhere, and absolute good.
2. Human beings are created in the image of God and our very essence is divine; therefore, we are inherently good.
3. We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
4. Our lives can be changed and transformed through the power of prayer.
5. Knowing these principles is not enough; we must live the truth we know.
Introduction to New Thought
Our Unity founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore married in Clinton, Missouri, on March 29, 1881, and the newlyweds moved to Pueblo, Colorado, where Charles established a real estate business with the brother-in-law of Nona Lovell Brooks, who was later to found the Church of Divine Science.
After the births of their first two sons, Lowell Page and Waldo Rickert Fillmore, the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Two years later, in 1886, Charles and Myrtle attended New Thought classes held by Dr. E. B. Weeks. Myrtle subsequently recovered from chronic tuberculosis and attributed her recovery to her use of prayer and other methods learned in Weeks' classes. Subsequently Charles began to heal from his childhood accident, a development that he, too, attributed to following this philosophy. Charles Fillmore became a devoted student of philosophy and religion.
A Growing Movement
In 1889, Charles left his business to focus entirely on publishing a new periodical, Modern Thought. In 1890 they organized a prayer group that would later be called "Silent Unity" and in the following year, the Fillmore's Unity magazine was first published. On December 7, 1892, Charles and Myrtle penned their Dedication and Covenant.
We, Charles Fillmore and Myrtle Fillmore, husband and wife, hereby dedicate ourselves, our time, our money, all we have and all we expect to have, to the Spirit of Truth, and through it, to the Society of Silent Unity.
It being understood and agreed that the said Spirit of Truth shall render unto us an equivalent for this dedication, in peace of mind, health of body, wisdom, understanding, love, life and an abundant supply of all things necessary to meet every want without our making any of these things the object of our existence.
In the presence of the Conscious Mind of Christ Jesus, this 7th day of December A.D. 1892.
Dr. H. Emilie Cady published a series titled Lessons in Truth in the new magazine. This material later was compiled and published in a book by the same name, which served as a seminal work of the Unity movement. Although Charles had no intention of making Unity into a denomination, his students wanted a more organized group. He and his wife were among the first ordained Unity ministers in 1906. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore first operated the Unity organization from a campus near downtown Kansas City. Unity began a formal program for training ministers in 1931.
Myrtle Fillmore died in 1931. Charles remarried in 1933 to Cora G. Dedrick who was a collaborator on his later writings. Charles Fillmore made his transition in 1948.
Unity Began With Healing Prayer
Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, a Kansas City, Missouri, couple with three young boys, had suffered lifelong physical ailments and constantly sought healing. They heard a lecture by a metaphysician named E.B. Weeks, and Myrtle came away with a startling new idea: “I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness.” In two years of prayer and meditation, she healed her body of tuberculosis. Charles also began to investigate spiritual principles and healed a leg that had been damaged in a childhood ice skating accident.
The Fillmores were devotees of Ralph Waldo Emerson and studied with the leading teachers of the day, including Mary Baker Eddy and Emma Curtis Hopkins. To share the exciting spiritual teachings they had learned, the Fillmores didn’t start a church but began to publish a magazine. The first issue of Modern Thought came out in 1889 and is now called Unity Magazine®.
The next year, in 1890, Charles and Myrtle formed a prayer group that is now Silent Unity, a 24/7 prayer ministry that responds to 2 million people a year through letters, telephone, and email.
Book publishing began with Lessons in Truth, still a Unity classic, and Unity Books is still active. A second magazine was initiated in 1924, Daily Word, which now circulates around the globe.
Classes taught by the Fillmores grew into a seminary, Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute, with about 600 churches and study groups worldwide.
The farm they initially established to grow produce for their vegetarian restaurant in downtown Kansas City is now Unity Village, Missouri, a 1,200-acre incorporated town and the world headquarters for the enduring Unity movement.