October 28, 1997
[Editor's note: As part of the symposium, "Great Religions in a Pluralistic Society," The Harbinger has solicited articles about the lesser-known religions practiced in Mobile other than the mainstream. In the last issue, Betty Gartman wrote about Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mobile.]
by Rev. Susan Berent
Mobile Church of Religious Science
Religious Science is a teaching for looking at life in a new way. We call it a teaching rather than a preaching because we teach about what one can do to live life more fully, not what one should do.
Religious Science is also called the Science of Mind. It is not a religion in the traditional sense; it is a science. It is a science that studies how each of our individual minds operate as part of the One Mind, Perfect Intelligence. "Do you believe in God?" is a question that is often asked of Religious Scientists. The answer is a resounding "Yes. That is all we believe in." We believe that everything was created by God, the omnipotent Intelligence, out of Itself (what else was there to create from?) Thus everything and everyone is a part of God expressing in their own unique way, interdependent with everything else. Our whole premise is Perfect God, Perfect Man, Perfect Being.
The word Religion comes from the Greek/Latin "religare" which means to "connect back"; connect back with Source, God. Thus we are a science of connecting back with God by the power of our minds. We affirm what our founder Ernest Holmes wrote: "There is a power for good in the Universe, greater than you are, and you can use it!" We believe that God the Divine Intelligence is only for good; it is perfect love, peace, harmony, beauty, joy, health, creative expression, etc. By aligning with the Law of the Universe by way of our thought and the choices we make, we can create in our personal experience a demonstration of higher experiences of love, peace, harmony, beauty, joy, health, etc. We can heal our health. We can heal our finances. We can express our lives more creatively and with much more conviction. We can heal what ever ails us, beginning with how we think.
Religious Science has its roots in the New Thought Movement that began in the mid to late nineteenth century. The movement consisted of thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Phineas Parker Quimby and Mary Baker Eddy. These people found that the traditional religions of the time did not support their idea of an all-loving God. Many of them came to this new way of thinking after having life-threatening illnesses. Both their physicians and clergy pronounced seeming death sentences on them. "Something within them" (Intelligence) urged them to know that God was all loving. It was their thoughts that created their experiences. By finding a better way to think and making different choices in their life based on their new thinking, they were physically healed. The next question we are often asked is "Do you believe in medical doctors?" Yes, we do. Believing that God is everywhere, in everyone, then it would be natural to assume that God can and does work through the doctor's mind and body as well as through medicine, but the ultimate goal is for us to understand that it is our thinking that creates all conditions in our bodies and the body of our affairs. As we grow in awareness of this truth, we know a time will come when we are fully aligned with the power and presence of God within us and there is no need for medical attention.
Most people today are becoming more aware of how their thoughts are creating their experience. Good Housekeeping magazine recently carried an article entitled "Think Your Way to Better Health." Almost every Oprah show deals with a transition in thinking and taking personal responsibility for it.
I'm often asked if we believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the teacher Jesus was one of the most enlightened beings to have lived on this planet. We believe that he actually taught the science of mind. He said in essence, "What I can do, you can do and more." We as Religious Scientists are very interested in obtaining the consciousness of Christ, of fully understanding that we are already love, abundance, joy, beauty, compassion and all the good that we attribute to God. We have failed to recognize this. The time to recognize it more fully is now.
Being a science, we have a formula that when all the conditions are in order, we will have a definite outcome, a demonstration. This formula, called Spiritual Mind Treatment, is a scientific prayer. We do not pray to ask God for "something." We are communicating with our own consciousness and mind about what is true about us: we are One with God, One with Good.
This teaching of Religious Science has been available here in Mobile for over 21 years. While it flourishes all over the world (over 500 churches) it has been tenaciously held together here in Mobile by some very loving people. I am the first full-time minister that they have had in many years. I am committed to seeing this teaching grow as an alternative for those who feel a spiritual connection but whose own traditional teachings are no longer nourishing them. Our teaching is "open at the top," which means our knowledge, as in any science, is ever expanding. We come together, all as students, to grow in this knowledge by our own experimenting with it. Our church focuses on empowering each individual uniquely to express himself at his highest level. We have a Sunday Celebration with upbeat and creative music led by our music director, Dudley Slay, whose specialty is jazz. If you would like more information please call at 438-9843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your questions.
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