Phil Donahue Saved Me from Religion

donahue“Animal Magnetism, Mesmerism and Hypnotism Denounced” was the subject twice a year in Sunday at Norwood First Church of Christ Science. I was born a third generation Christian Scientist, a designated ‘cult’ group by the Christian establishment. I dutifully carried a note to the school nurse every time shots were to be administered because taking medicine in any form was against my religion. Being a Christian Scientist was always an embarrassment. Why couldn’t I have been born a Presbyterian or even a Catholic.

Phil Donahue on his very first show in November 1967 had Madeline O’Hare, the Atheist, as his guest. The Christian Science parents who refused medical treatment for their dying of cancer, 12 year-old daughter, appeared sometime in the late eighties. I had survived childhood, college, the Marine Corps, five DUI qualified car wrecks with only a band-aid for knee injury and aspirin for my numerous hangovers. If I had needed a blood transfusion as Jehovah’s Witness’s child or some serious illness as a CS’er, my parents, thanks to Donahue, could have gone to jail.

Looking back it seems to me that each religion freezes a moment in time and claims the future through their philosophical lens. What they didn’t tell me in Sunday school was the fact that Phineas Parkhurst Quimby was the author of all that “Animal Magnetism, Mesmerism and Hypnotism” stuff and Mary Baker Eddy had been his patient. What Esther, the true believer and Marion, the go along for the ride, parents didn’t tell my sister and I was we were just flotsam in the evolution of New Thoughtism. We were on the leading edge of metaphysics and my future heroes, Napoleon Hill, “The Law of Attraction,” Louise Hay and Deepak Chopra were all the wave of the future. You could read there books and ascribe to their philosophy even if you were a Presbyterian or even a Catholic.

img-39Astrology Among Indo-European peoples, astrology has been dated to the 3rd millennium BC, with roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications.[1] Until the 17th century, astrology was considered a scholarly tradition, and it helped drive the development of astronomy. It was commonly accepted in political and cultural circles, and some of its concepts were used in other traditional studies, such as alchemymeteorology and medicine. By the end of the 17th century, emerging scientific concepts in astronomy, such as heliocentrism, were irrevocably undermining the theoretical basis of astrology, which subsequently lost its academic standing.

jewsJudaism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions and was founded over 3500 years ago in the Middle East. Jews believe that God appointed the Jews to be his chosen people in order to set an example of holiness and ethical behavior to the world.

The Bible By the 2nd century BCE, Jewish groups had called the Bible books the “scriptures” and referred to them as “holy,” or in Hebrew כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ (Kitvei hakkodesh), and Christians now commonly call the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible “The Holy Bible” (in Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια, tà biblía tà ágia) or “the Holy Scriptures” (η Αγία Γραφή, e Agía Graphḗ).[14] The Bible was divided into chapters in the 13th century by Stephen Langton and into verses in the 16th century by French printer Robert Estienne[15] and is now usually cited by book, chapter, and verse.

The oldest extant copy of a complete Bible is an early 4th-century parchment book preserved in the Vatican Library, and known as the Codex Vaticanus. The oldest copy of the Tanakh in Hebrew and Aramaic dates to the 10th century CE. The oldest copy of a complete Latin (Vulgate) Bible is the Codex Amiatinus, dating from the 8th century.[16]


Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (February 16, 1802 – January 16, 1866) was an American spiritual teacher. Quimby was a philosopher, magnetizer, mesmerist, healer, and inventor, who resided in Belfast, Maine, and had an office in Portland, Maine. Quimby’s work is widely recognized as leading to the New Thought movement.[1][2] nature of animal magnetism and its powers. Poyen admitted that with proper training, anyone could become adept at administering hypnotism.


The New Thought movement is a philosophical movement which developed in the United States in the 19th century, following the teachings of Phineas Quimby. There are numerous smaller groups, most of which are incorporated in the International New Thought Alliance.[1][2]1870 Christian Science, 1879,


Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements.[n 2] It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her book Science and Health (1875) that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone. The book became Christian Science’s central text, along with the Bible, and by 2001 had sold over nine million copies.[4]


Unity was founded in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1889 by Charles Fillmore (1854–1948) and Myrtle Fillmore (1845–1931) after Mrs. Fillmore had been cured of her tuberculosis, she believed, by spiritual healing. This resulted in the Fillmores’ studying spiritual healing and being influenced by Emma Curtis Hopkins and Mary Baker Eddy (the founder of Christian Science).

grow rich

Napoleon Hill (October 26, 1883 – November 8, 1970) was an American author and impresario who cribbed freely from the new thought tradition of the previous century to become an early producer of personal-success literature.[1] At the time of Hill’s death in 1970, his best-known work, Think and Grow Rich (1937) had sold 20 million copies.[2] Hill’s works insisted that fervid expectations are essential to increasing one’s income.[3][4] Most of his books were promoted as expositing principles to achieve “success”. Hill was an advisor to two presidents of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.[5][6]


Louise Hay said that about this time she found the First Church of Religious Science on 48th Street, which taught her the transformative power of thought. Hay revealed that here she studied the New Thought works of authors like Florence Scovel Shinn, who claimed that positive thinking could change people’s material circumstances, and the Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes, who taught that positive thinking could heal the body.[2]

By Hay’s account, in the early 1970s she became a Religious Science practitioner. In this role she led people in spoken affirmations, which she believes would cure their illnesses, and became popular as a workshop leader. The Science of Mind is a book by Ernest Holmes. It proposes a science with a new relationship between humans and God. Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, originally published it in 1926.