When Did ‘New Thought’ Start?

New Thought, also known as Higher Thought is a movement that started in the USA during the 1830s. The teachings were mostly focused on well-being, the mind, and the workings of the universe. One of the main concepts behind revolved around the idea of ‘as we change our minds, we change our lives.’ New Thought is rooted in universal science which is a branch of metaphysics.

Although you may not be familiar with the New Thought movement, you’ve more than likely come across the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction found its origins within the New Thought movement and is a major aspect of universal science.

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New Thought Beliefs

  • The divine is in all things.
  • The mind is more real and more powerful than matter.

There’s a version of God that exists within the New Thought movement, however, it may not be God as you know him to be. Those who followed this religious practice thought of God as a spiritual force or intelligence, but not a complete entity. Although his nature remains mysterious, it’s believed that God exists inside every human being. This closely relates to the Pantheism concept of God; in Pantheism, people believe that God is the universe itself.

International New Thought Alliance

The International New Thought Alliance (INTA) is an umbrella organisation that acts as a hub for the various branches of the New Thought movement.

Phineas Quimby (February 16, 1802 – January 16, 1866)

Phineas Quimby is one of the founders of the New Thought movement. His inspiration for the movement arose after falling ill with tuberculosis; when no medicine could ease his suffering, Quimby started to use the power of his mind to cure himself. He enrolled in activities like horse riding and positive thinking which seemed to do the trick. It’s still a mystery as to how he recovered, but it was from then on that he fully accepted the belief of mind over matter.

Emma Curtis Hopkins (September 2, 1849 – April 8, 1925)

Emma Curtis Hopkins was a spiritual author and a founder of the New Thought movement. Before joining/ founding the New Thought movement, Hopkins was a student of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, a set of beliefs that state that illness is nothing more than an illusion that can be remedied by prayer. It’s important to note that Eddy was once a patient of Quimby and credited him for his hypnotic treatments. Although Quimby is regarded as being the founder of the New Thought movement, it wasn’t until after he died that Hopkins saw to its official creation.

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Charles Fillmore (August 22, 1854 – August 5, 1948)

Charles Fillmore formed a church by the name Unity that existed within the New Thought movement. He did this with the help of his wife, Myrtle Page Fillmore during the year 1889. It was in the year 1886 that Charles and his wife joined the New Thought movement. Similarly to Quimby, Myrtle was cured of tuberculosis, a miracle she attributed to classes she was taking within the movement. Charles, who broke his hip during an ice-skating accident as a child was also showed signs of recovery; it’s no wonder as to why the loving couple were in such a hurry to join.

Malinda Elliott Cramer (February 12, 1844 – August 2, 1906)

Malinda Elliott Cramer founded the Church of Divine Science, a religious group within the New Thought movement. The group operates under the belief that God is a pure spirit, changeless, and eternal. God is present in everything that exists and transcends above and beyond the physical realm. They believe that evil will only exist for as long humans believe that it does. Cramer began practising faith-healing in 1888, and in 1892 formed the International Divine Science Association which became a part of the International New Thought Alliance.

Prentice Mulford (5 April 1834 – 27 May 1891)

Prentice Mulford played a big role in the development of the New Thought movement. He was the first person to formally conceptualise the Law of Attraction and talks about it in detail in his essay, The Law of Success.

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