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Science of the Mind, also called Religious Science is a religion formed by Ernest Holmes in the early 20th century. Most adherents to this church call their principles and philosophy Science of the Mind and refer to themselves as Religious Scientists. The belief structure of this religion is based on the theories of Science of the Mind explained by Holmes in several books, and in church meetings he began to hold in various theaters in the Los Angeles area.
Religious Science is not Christian Science, and though Religious Scientists believe some may be healed or helped by prayer, they do not reject traditional medicine. They see medical treatment from doctors as God’s work, since things designed to heal are part of God’s plan. If prayer helps, that’s all well and good, but if it doesn’t, then medical treatment is not showing a lack of faith in the divine.
One of the basic tenets of Science of the Mind is that the way you think specifically affects your life. Attitude toward life should be one of gratitude, of positive energy, of faith in a supreme and loving God, and of thankfulness for God’s gifts to you. People who become indoctrinates of Science of the Mind are said to undergo Spiritual Mind Treatment.
This sounds a little scary and perhaps cultish, but it is really not so. Spiritual mind treatment is meant to help people accept the God within and without themselves, accept the beauty of life, and understand that the Supreme Being has assigned a natural order to the world, which if we follow, will grant us peace and happiness. Most Mind Treatment is done in the manner of church services with ministers and with spiritual counselors.
It can be hard to grasp the belief structure of any religion, but the following loosely outlines some of the major Science of the Mind beliefs:
- 1. The Universe if ordered by God and came to be through God.
2. God is infinite, personal, and loving.
3. How we act and think determines the way our lives will be led, (cause and effect). Therefore, belief in positive things will change our reality.
4. God is manifest in all persons and all things.
5. There is no hell, and people living are already immortal, because they contain within them the spirit, which is part of God.
6. Healing may sometimes be accomplished through power of the mind.
7. Prayer is heard and received by God.
The extent to which “God” in the Religious Science sense is based on the Christian take of God really depends from church to church. Some churches are quite Christian in origin, view Christ as God’s son and the one in which God was most manifested. Other churches explore the different world religions, recognizing that most hold very similar basic tenets. Religious Science does not affirm itself as the only religious path but sees good and purpose in all religions since they are manifestations of God.
There are two branches of Science of the Mind, also called Science of Mind after Holmes’ first book: the United Church of Religious Science and the United Centers for Spiritual Living. The church split into these two sects in the 1950s due to some organizational differences. Both have churches in many major cities throughout the US, and they do work together on joint events. Religious Scientists in general tend to have active churches, with great youth groups, and many community outreach programs.