Unity says that true religious growth is a ‘do-it-yourself’ project … One might describe Unity as a religious philosophy with an ‘open end,’ seeking to find God’s truth in all of life” – Charles R. Fillmore, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and grandson of the founders.
Co-founded in 1889 by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in Kansas City, Missouri, Unity is rooted in this couple’s desire for physical healing. Both were well-versed in world religions. Myrtle discovered that by repeating the affirmative prayer, “I am a child of God. Therefore, I do not inherit sickness,” and praying for perfect health for two years, she was healed of terminal tuberculosis. Charles used the same type of prayer that affirmed God’s presence within him, and he was healed of injuries that had hampered him since childhood.
Their friends soon began practicing affirmative prayer, the Fillmores began writing about their beliefs, and the Unity movement was born. It was never intended to become a religion but evolved into one as interest in these gentle metaphysical ideas grew. The Fillmores never insisted that those who sought their help forsake medical attention. Unity supports the medical community and still believes in people getting help in every way they can. Unity is built on the belief in the healing power of prayer.
There are five basic ideas that make up the Unity Belief system:
- God is absolute good, everywhere present.
- Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ spirit within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.
- Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.
- Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity, and everything good.
- Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the truth that he or she knows.
Well-known Unity minister Eric Butterworth says, “Unity is not a church but an institution for scientific self-discovery and self-unfoldment. It asks not, “What is your background, your religious affiliation, your state or station in life?” Unity students are a strange and wonderful fellowship of people of all religious affiliations, of all races, of all levels of the social structure, meeting on the level of their Spiritual Unity with each other in the common quest for Spiritual Unity with God.”