ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Christology Connection follows Rev. Will's well-received Present At The Beginning in offering exploration into the life and works of Malinda Elliott Cramer at the height of her career, just months before she would transition in the wake of the Great San Francisco earthquake of April 1906.
Rather than allow her work to languish in the dusty volumes of Harmony and the works about and by Mrs. Cramer long-hidden in the equally dusty volumes of Oliver Corwin Sabin's Washington News Letter I determined that the material and new information deserved the light of day after so many years out of reach of those who have come to appreciate her work. Not only do the new materials expand our understanding of Mrs. Cramer, the passionate woman who brought an entire New Thought denomination into existence essentially by force of will; but also explore some of her lectures and messages that ring with us as though they were written for us.
Mrs. Cramer's writings are clear and accessible -- and you will marvel at the "modern" New Thought concepts she was expressing as far back as 1890.
Included in this volume are the pertinent essays and speeches from the 1899 International Divine Science Association (IDSA) Conference as well as a more indepth look at the works she did in Washiongton DC in January 1905.
REV. RUTH L. MILLER, PhD
Rev. C. William Mercer is a remarkable scholar whose tireless explorations of the teachings and principles of his chosen spiritual path and ministry have enriched the lives and practice of all who encounter him and his work.
In this volume, Rev. Mercer has put together a unique collection of materials from previously unknown sources, making this a remarkable contribution to the history of the peculiarly American religious movement known as New Thought.
Through these pages, he helps us to understand more fully the life and works of Malinda Cramer, living in the Pacific Coast city of San Francisco, California, and introduces us to a heretofore unknown contributor to her work, Colonel Oliver Sabin, living on the other side of the continent, in Washington, D.C. We see that they were co-presenters at the International Divine Science Association meeting in 1899, during the last year of Mrs. Cramer’s work with IDSA and early in Rev. Sabin’s ministry. In the process we discover that together over the next six years they helped to bring the budding New Thought movement to a new level of inclusion and maturity.
To understand New Thought as a spiritual movement, we must understand the religious culture of the U.S. in the late 1800s. A tradition of local formation and control of churches, begun in New England over 200 years earlier, combined with the federal government’s strict adherence to the doctrine of separation of church and state, made it possible for any American called to share a spiritual message to form a religious organization and ordain ministers to serve that organization. The popularity of a certain philosopher-poet from Massachusetts provided fodder – Ralph Waldo Emerson’s carefully worded essays and lectures offered an alternative to the “damnation or salvation” message common among the Christian churches of the period and, in fact, encouraged a very different kind of relationship with the inner Self and the divine Oversoul.
A powerful method for reducing suffering, documented by a clockmaker in Maine named Phineas P. Quimby, had made it possible for thousands to be relieved of distressing symptoms through the power of clarity expressed in the spoken word. In addition, the translation into English of the great books of wisdom that inform the religions of Asia sparked a whole new level of intensity among seekers of alternatives to the traditional messages of religion and medicine.
At the same time, the women’s suffrage movement was making it clear that women could speak and write and manage effectively, and that the concerns that women held – for healing and wellbeing, for harmony and order, and for a life based on love and peace – were relevant to the lives of men in the general culture as well as in the intimacy of the household.
It was in this context that Mary Baker Glover Eddy was able to travel through New England as a homeopathic physician, later to teach the healing methods she had learned and adapted from Phineas Quimby, and still later to form first the Massachusetts Metaphysical College and later the First Church of Christ, Scientist. It was this context that made it possible for her student, Emma Curtis Hopkins to edit several popular journals, write for a Chicago newspaper, and found a college – and later seminary – of her own. And it was in this environment that Malinda Cramer was able to form a school and publish a magazine, and later join with Nona Brooks and her sister Fannie Brooks James, to launch the various colleges and churches of Divine Science.
These women were at once the beneficiaries and the epitome of America’s unique religious culture at that time. And, as often happens in such seminal periods, they launched a new kind of religious culture in the process.
Their practice and doctrine was based on a different understanding of who and what divinity is, and how divine power works in the lives of individuals. True, they did not work in a vacuum, but always in partnership with men. The basis of their understanding had been set forth in the works of two men: Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, whose mental healing methods formed the practical basis of their spiritual work, and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s explanations of Transcendentalism. They were also encouraged and supported by the men in their lives, such as Mary Baker Glover Patterson’s last husband, Asa Eddy, Malinda Cramer’s husband, Charles, and Myrtle Fillmore’s husband Charles – and now to this list we may add the newly discovered efforts of Colonel Oliver Sabin. Still, it was these women who systematized a set of teachings and practices and organized the institutions that would preserve and promote that work for the future.
In this book, building on his previous book, Present At The Beginning, Dr. Mercer offers another glimpse of Malinda Cramer’s life and her determination to bring the Divine Science of New Thought into the lives of all. We also get to read her contributions to Col. Sabin’s News Letter, which have not been made available to modern readers before. In them Mrs. Cramer shares more stories of her experiences and presents some of her concepts in new ways, making this a useful tool for both scholar and seeker.
I’m certain she would join me as I offer many thanks to Dr. Mercer for making the effort and sharing this important material with the rest of us!
Rev. Ruth L Miller, PhD.
Gleneden Beach, Oregon
REV. DR. HELEN W. CARRY
You are about to "meet" Malinda Cramer, Colonel Oliver Sabin, Fannie Brooks James and Nona Lovell Brooks, not from mere paragraphs about them but much information about what they did to introduce people to the importance of Divine Healing and the establishment of the International Divine Science Association.
As you read you should act as if you are present at the events and activities taking place. There are letters, testimonials, lectures, manuscripts and photographs that show the great work done by these New Thought pioneers.
Cramer's letters teach Principle. Her lectures given at conventions teach Principle. Testimonies given by people at meetings teach Principle. In reading their testimonies, you will become aware of how the principles have worked for others and that they can work for you.
Cramer's original Record of Myself gives her personal account of her life - a life that expressed the Truth that she taught. The added insights from her later testimonials add even more illumination to the nature of her experience on earth.
This book will give you great joy as you read and believe the message of Jesus as presented by Malinda Cramer and shared with us by Dr. Will Mercer.
Rev. Dr. Helen W. Carry
Christ Universal Temple, UFBL
As I was preparing PRESENT AT THE BEGINNING for publication last year, more material about and by Malinda Elliott Cramer was revealed. Important in its own right, it had no strong connection with the subject matter of that book. Within a context that it deserves for your appreciation, the voice of Mrs. Cramer is clearly heard in this volume. Several different collections of materials from the period of 1899 through 1906 are provided for framework, context and exploration of original Divine Science teachings.
During this period Mrs. Cramer forged an important new relationship with Colonel (soon to be Bishop) Oliver Corwin Sabin of the Evangelical Christian Science Church and the Washington News Letter in Washington D.C.. Col. Sabin was a Christian Scientist who rebelled against the ways of the Mary Baker Eddy. In the immediate wake of these events Mrs. Cramer opened doors for his Reform Christian Science movement within New Thought as an early advocate of the activity he developed under the name Christology.
Further research revealed that Unity joined Divine Science in supporting Col. Sabin’s break with Mrs. Eddy’s Church in 1899. Writing a notice directly under the Unity banner and an essay under the pen name “Leo Virgo,” Charles Fillmore and company endorsed Bishop Sabin’s activity in Unity. Col. Sabin, ever the marketeer, reprinted both the notice and the essay directly in his own Washington News Letter. (Appendix D)
Once examined, I determined that the previously veiled spiritual relationship between Mrs. Cramer and Bishop Sabin should be explored. Research centered on references from the popular literature of the day as well as Harmony for Mrs. Cramer in San Francisco and the Washington News Letter for Bishop Sabin in Washington.
For Mrs. Cramer 1905 truly was a capstone year. The full cycle of vitality, travel and forward thinking was her great joy, much as it had been for some eighteen years. As the train arrived in Washington on a crisp January day Mrs. Cramer was ready to give this new audience her best in bringing Science to bear on their consciousness of the Divinity in their lives; and to share her “Christ Method of Healing.” It is a great joy to recall this timeless fruit of Mrs. Cramer's noteworthy journey on earth.
“Upon receiving Rev. Will Mercer’s new book, THE CHRISTOLOGY CONNECTION, I couldn’t take my eyes off the pages as I read. Born into a Unity family, I always have had an interest in the origins of New Thought. Each time I read about a specific titan in New Thought I felt close to a kindred spirit upon whose virtual shoulders I stand today. None minced words -- Truth was told and there wasn’t any equivocation. I enjoyed reading Will’s book and would recommend it to anyone who might be interested in broadening their understanding of the roots of New Thought.”
Rev. Larry A. Swartz,
President, International New Thought Alliance
Minister, Unity of Tucson
“In his research and rediscovery of the materials used in THE CHRISTOLOGY CONNECTION, Dr. Will Mercer has treated us to a much more complete picture of the founder of Divine Science, Malinda Elliott Cramer.
In the talks quoted from Harmony and the Washington News Letter, Mrs. Cramer shares both that fierce adherence to the truths she learned in the incandescent moments of her spiritual illumination, as well as the warmth of the stories of healing and wondrous changes that took place in her hours of ‘treatment.’
We see another dimension of her that is sorely lacking elsewhere; her joy, comfort and certainty of God's reliability as we turn to Him, believing. These lectures are Malinda Cramer, both at her most accessible, and her greatest spiritual maturity.
The verbatim testimonials of people who reported healings at Bishop Sabin's church were heartwarming. Mrs. Cramer's own testimony gave us more insight into the warm person behind the teacher. Her friendship with Bishop Sabin; the "timeline" of her teaching journeys; her friendships with many of the "prime movers" of New Thought and their regard for her, are all helpful in enabling us to see Malinda Cramer in greater depth and understanding.
I recommend THE CHRISTOLOGY CONNECTION most highly to all Divine Scientists and to all other lovers of Truth.”
Dr. Maurita Wiggins
Board of Directors, Divine Science Federation International
Minister, Valley Community Church, Divine Science
"Dr. Will Mercer's book is long overdue! I was first introduced to Malinda Cramer when I started taking classes in the 1980s at Christ Universal Temple for Better Living, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois where the Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon is the Founding Pastor. Following is a brief summary of what I was taught:
‘The combined teachings of two women, Nona L. Brooks and Mrs. Malinda Cramer, brought Divine Science into existence. In early 1885 Mrs. Cramer chartered the Home College of Divine Science, after receiving her healing through the teachings of Emma Curtis Hopkins. In 1898 a group was incorporated as the Divine Science College.’
I am very pleased to see that Will is taking the time to teach the world the truth about a woman who left a tremendous legacy for us to follow. I applaud the Rev. Dr. Will Mercer for his work."
Rev. Alice J. Brown
Board of Directors, International New Thought Alliance
Sr. Minister Living Truth Center for Better Living, Inc. (UFBL)
East Cleveland, OH
“Congratulations to Reverend Dr. Will Mercer! He has done it again! From PRESENT AT THE BEGINNING, he has taken us even further into the early history of Divine Science with rare insights into the Pioneers involved.
My heartfelt thanks to Rev. Dr. Will as he has brought Malinda Cramer to life and followed faithfully her instruction to ‘Speak from Divine understanding and not from inspired conditions,’ as he gives us her foundational Divine Science teachings and the definitive history of her last year of life.
The added history of Oliver Corwin Sabin’s Christology connection with New Thought makes this a must-read for all New Thoughters dedicated to seeking the history of the eternal Truth of Divine Science and the New Thought movement.”
Rev. Dr. Sylvia Eriksson
Minister, First Divine Science Church of Australia
“THE CHRISTOLOGY CONNECTION is an extraordinary addition to the history of the New Thought movement. The personal testimonies and writings of Malinda Cramer, Oliver Sabin and others create a varied tapestry of personal spiritual relationships and experiences of these founders of the New Thought movement. Rev. Will’s book demonstrates that they practiced what they preached.”
Rev. Ellen Jacobs
Minister, United Divine Freedom Church of the Healing Christ
New York, NY
“Once again Dr. Will Mercer has done his research! In his second book he shares in his engaging way the historical path from Christian Science to New Thought. Using skillfully chosen archival texts, Will demonstrates the key roles of two disaffected Christian Scientists (Emma Curtis Hopkins and Colonel Oliver Sabin) and Malinda Cramer in developing and defining a progressive and empowered theology. I highly recommend this book to all students of New Thought.”
Board of Directors, Divine Science Federation International
Founding member, New Though Vermont
“Reading THE CHRISTOLOGY CONNECTION is like sitting in the midst of an ongoing treatment. The truth expressed is as current today as when it was spoken and written in the early 1900’s. The conviction of Malinda Cramer, reminding us all that there is no place for duality, no reason for watering down our own reality: ‘We must be single to the Truth’ in our approach to life and our relationship with our Source. Thank you, Rev. Will Mercer for discovering and publishing these early writings and lectures. Those who read this book will surely feel strengthened and energized!”
Rev. Dana Winter
Founder and Pastor, Harmony Fellowship
St. Louis, MO
“I'm elated that Rev. Will Mercer has given birth to this well researched anthology of Malinda Cramer’s contributions to our New Thought movement. Since little is known of our origins today by modern self help gurus, I'm grateful for this fine resource to be made available to the world. For anyone desiring to know the Truth, Will’s book will set you free.”
Rev. Cindy Lynch Lippert
Board of Review, Divine Science Federation International
Co-Founder, United Divine Science Ministerial School
Past President, International New Thought Alliance
Cave Creek, AZ
“Rev. Dr. Mercer’s passion for the history of the Divine Science movement comes shining through his engaging writing. Weaving the tale of Malinda Cramer’s influence on and interaction with other ‘New Thoughters’ of her time is fascinating especially given the limitations of the time. The inclusion of some of her public talks gives a satisfying taste of what it might have been like to hear her during her travels. Her uncommon dedication to Truth and Oneness is steadfast and unwavering easily displacing the more common beliefs of the day.”
Rev. Dr. Paul Hasselbeck, D.D.S.
Faculty, Unity Institute and Seminary
Unity Village, MO
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THE CHRISTOLOGY CONNECTION
TIMELESS TRUTH SERIES