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Also known as Higher Thought, the New Thought movement originated in the 19th century United States and was probably derived from the writings of Phineas Quimby, and American spiritualist.

Although the New Thought movement exists today in loosely affiliated denominations and associations, its membership is difficult to determine because of the variety of belief and practices represented among New Thought groups. Some New Thought groups consider themselves to be Christians.

At its core, New Thought is a mind-healing movement based on various religious and metaphysical presuppositions.

Quimby was the son of a blacksmith in Maine. He received little formal education as a child, which was customary for his family's social status and income levels in the early 1800s. He also suffered from tuberculosis in his youth, and the medication he was given for his illness caused serious problems with his teeth so that he experienced frequent severe toothaches.

Although it is unclear what it was, he is said to have developed his own cure, not only for the toothaches but for tuberculosis as well.

As a young man, he became an apprentice to Charles Poyen, a French mesmerist who was touring New England, becoming proficient at hypnotism.

After touring as a hypnotist for a time, Quimby began claiming to be able to cure people of sicknesses that doctors were unable to cure, teaching that disease was the result of false beliefs.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, was a patient of Quimby's, and his influence can be seen in the beliefs and practices of Christian Science, although Eddy later refused to acknowledge any dependence on him.

Adherents of New Thought do not follow Mary Baker Eddy's teachings, and New Thought teachings are not in opposition to medical science, as are those of Christian Science.

His teachings also influenced various aspects of the New Age movement.

Although it is unlikely that Quimby studied Plato, there are elements of Platonism in New Thought, particularly its stance that the realm of ideas is more real than that of matter. A more likely influence on the beliefs of Phineas Quimby is Emanuel Swedenborg, the theologian, and mystic who inspired Swedenborgianism. Hegelianism and Transcendentalism may have also had an influence.

The principles of New Thought stress the everlasting omnipresence of God, but also that humanity is divine. New Thought also teaches that sin and disease are matters of incorrect thinking and that human can live in oneness with God in love, truth, peace, health, and prosperity. Some New Thought groups recognize Jesus as teacher and healer, and that Christ's kingdom is within a person. However, references to Jesus and Christ were omitted in the principles of the International New Thought Alliance when it was revised in 1954. In recent years, New Thought leaders have increasingly stressed prosperity as a result of New Thought.

There are implications of monism in New Thought, with its views on the oneness of the world, but there are also tones of Gnosticism. While New Thought is held to be available to everyone, spiritual healings and strength of mind and body are only available to those who have developed the insights, and who have been initiated into the movement.

A practice that is common to several New Thought bodies include a form of breathing exercise known as Breath Vibration, a type of rhythmic breathing taken from Eastern religions.

Some followers of New Thought renounce all allegiance to form and symbol, holding that they act as barriers to the development of the soul, but others argue that they are necessary.

Many followers of New Thought believe in telepathy, thought-transference, clairvoyance, and other such phenomena.

There are no strictly established patterns of worship, services generally involve New Thought teachings, testimony of healings, prayer for the sick, and music.

Today, the largest New Thought denomination is Seicho-no-le, a Japanese denomination. Others include Jewish Science, Religious Science, Divine Science, Centers for Spiritual Living, the Universal Foundation for Better Living, and Unity. Three main organizations include the United Centers for Spiritual Living, the Affiliated New Thought Network, and Global Religious Science Ministries.

Unity regards its philosophies as being Christian New Thought and uses the Bible as one of its main texts, although not interpreted literally.

The Arnulf Seminary of Theology and its sponsor, the American Christian Universal Life Church, are strongly influenced by New Thought ideology.

Obviously, the focus of topics found in this category should be on the New Thought movement. Denominations, schools, and associations affiliated with New Thought are appropriate for this category.


Divine Science

Religious Science

Unity Church



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