History of Unity

Introduction to New Thought

The Unity movement was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in 1889 as a healing ministry based on the power of prayer and the power of our thoughts to create our own reality. The Fillmores regarded Jesus as the great example rather than the great exception; interpreted the Bible metaphysically; and taught that God is present within all of us.

Our world headquarters at Unity Village, Missouri, provides a tranquil atmosphere for quiet meditation and a place for all people, regardless of faith or nationality, to worship. The prayer, publishing, education and retreat ministries allow us to provide people around the world with positive, spiritual messages of hope, healing, prosperity and peace.

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.  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.

Covenant

On December 7, 1892, Unity founders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore expressed into written words their personal commitment to the Spirit of Truth and through it, to the Society of Silent Unity. Up until that time, the Fillmores had been organizing a prayer group known as Silent Unity®. They also operated Unity Book Company, which distributed the metaphysical publications, Modern Thought and Unity magazines

The document was less about promotion of their ministry, and more about the sincere expression of their desire to discern insights from the Conscious Mind of Christ Jesus. Charles Fillmore recalled the document almost in passing in a June 1911 Unity article (vol. 34, No. 6). The actual document did not emerge until 1942 when Unity Librarian Pharaby Boileau discovered it among some historical records. Other references include: “Dedication and Covenant,” The Unity News, vol. 1, No. 4 (July 1942); “Dedication and Covenant,” Daily Word® (August 1942, pp. 23-25); Lowell Fillmore, “They Made a Contract With God,” Guideposts (September 1948, pp. 3-22).

To commemorate the recording date, editors of Daily Word chose Monday, December 7, 1942, as the statement focus for that day. The Fillmores used the “Dedication and Covenant” to guide them and their ministry. Since then, it has been the source of many articles, lessons, and radio programs.

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.

Charles Fillmore
Myrtle Fillmore