The pains and discords of human experience are not sent from God. But they do indeed
stand as tests of how much God we have. Emma
Picture from INTA Archives
Background Notes on Emma Curtis Hopkins
Provided by Rev. Marjory Dawson
In the mid 1800`s, new philosophies were born through the work of Quimby, Emerson,
Eddy, Thoreau and Whitman. These people were part of a group called the Transcendalists.
They based their philosophy on the ancient idea of the law of correspondence or,
in other words, as the microcosm reflect the macrocosm. They gathered together with
the purpose of leaving the old ideas behind. This new philosophy proclaimed the
dignity and the worth of the individual. This idea of the worth of the individual
was new. This new message carried a possibility of hope and a love of God.
Josephine Emma Curtis was born into this atmosphere of change in a small town in
Connecticut on September 2nd, 1849, although most publications have her birth year
as 1853. Emma was the oldest of nine children and was raised on a farm. The Curtis
family valued education and, apparently, Emma was an excellent student.
In 1874, when Emma was 25 years old, she married George Hopkins. George was a high
school English teacher. They had a son who died at the age of 30. Emma and George
lived separate lives beginning in the mid 1880`s. Eventually, George filed for divorce
on the grounds of abandonment.
In the early 1880`s Emma had an ailment related to breathing and came to a Christian
Science practitioner. Out of that healing experience, she contacted Mary Baker Eddy
and began working and studying with Ms. Eddy in Boston. Emma became the editor of
The Christian Science Journal. In 1886, without cause, Mrs. Eddy relieved Emma of
this position. Probably that termination came out of Emma`s broad education. It
is known that she continued to read any and all material. Mrs. Eddy believed that
Christian Science was revealed only to her and that it should be considered the final
word. Emma felt that the truth had been revealed to many people throughout history
and that truth was available to everyone.
After the split with Mrs. Eddy, Emma went on to establish her own school in Chicago.
It was called The Emma Curtis Hopkins College of Christian Science and it graduated
its first class in 1886. In Chicago, her innovative ideas and policies built the
foundation that provided the organizational structure of the New Thought Movement
in the United States.
Emma established many study groups in the east and the west, from New York City to
Seattle to Milwaukee to San Francisco to Washington, D.C. She visited these groups
frequently and became known as the Teacher of Teachers. She also had study groups
in Europe and traveled there. There were seventeen branches of the Hopkins Metaphysical
Association from Maine to California. On one of her trips to San Francisco, she
taught 250 students. In 1918, Emma was voted honorary president of the International
New Thought Alliance. That organization is active today.
Emma had a unique approach to her teaching. For one thing, she insisted that her
students already knew everything that she was telling them. It wasn`t a matter so
much as learning but as recalling or remembering the spiritual instinct that is born
within us. She had a great sense of integrity toward her students for she felt equal
with her students because all are the expression of God. To her the teaching was
more important than the teacher. She showed great enthusiasm for the high principles
She insisted upon discipline - to train the mind to think in a certain way at all
times. She challenged her students to prove out the truth principles in their lives.
During this time, women were discounted and it was thought their places were in the
home. Emma did not fit into this mold. It is reported that Emma taught over 50,000
individuals. She ordained women as ministers. Another 30 years passed before women
gained the right to vote. Some of her students went on to establish schools and
churches - Divine Science, the Home of Truth, Religious Science and Unity. Her students
included H. Emily Cady, the Fillmores, Ernest Homes and many others.
Ernest Holmes was Emma`s last student. He studied with her in 1924 and she died
in 1925. Holmes described her as a stately woman who always wore a long dress, an
elegant hat and white gloves.
Emma acknowledged three sciences: (1) the material or physical science that declares
laws; (2) mental science, as all that we are IS made up of our thought; and (3) mystical
science, which she emphasized. She drew from the bible, the non-Christian scriptures
like the Bhagavad Gita, the Avesta Zoroaster, ancient Greek and Roman mythologies
and the world`s great philosophies and saints.
Emma was the first to bring in the concept of the Divine Feminine. She claimed the
“Mind-Principle” is the “Fatherhood of the Trinity” - The “Sonship” symbolizes the
children who are “creations of the mind” - “The Holy Ghost” is the “Mother-Life.”
Emma has been called a New Mystic. She has been described as an introvertive type
of mystic who let go of the empirical ego so that the pure ego merged into the Light
- or what we might call an experience of Unitive Consciousness.
The mystical science deals with the hidden, unspoken and invisible. Emma writes
in a way that we can relate this mystical science to everyday living.
the ministerial thesis of Rev. Ferne Anderson
Searching revealed little about the personal life of Emma Curtis Hopkins. Her dedication
to learning, writing, and teaching left little time for a personal life. Also, it
appeared that her controversiality, as a woman going against upbringing, family,
and husband, caused her to be looked upon as a black sheep. She even rebelled against
the equally controversial Mary Baker Eddy!
Emma Curtis Hopkins was born in Killingly, Connecticut, on September 2, 1853. Her
parents, Rufus D. and Lydia (Phillips) Curtis, had two more daughters after Emma,
one of whom was named Estelle Curtis Carpenter. Rufus D. Curtis was a landowner,
a part-time real estate agent, and harvester of sap from maple trees.
Both of Hopkins` parents were well educated and particularly well read in history.
Hopkins grew up with books; she even learned Greek as a child and and studied ancient
writings in their original language.
Several sources claim that Emma Curtis Hopkins attended Woodstock Academy at Woodstock,
Connecticut, entering the school shortly before her fifteenth birthday and, after
she graduated, joining the faculty as an instructor.
On July 19,1874, when Emma Curtis was nearly twenty-two years old, she married George
Irving Hopkins who was an English professor at Andover College Emma and George, were
divorced; the date is not known. They had one child, a son named John, who died in
Emma Curtis Hopkins died on April 8, 1925. Dr. Raymond C. Barker provided this
valuable note on her passing: This information was given to me in the early 1940's
by the Reverend Eleanor Mel, Minister of the Boston Home of Truth on Commonwealth
Avenue in Boston. Miss Mel had been a close friend and student of Annie Rix Militz.
She had also studied with Mrs. Hopkins and had been a close friend.
Mrs. Hopkins was at her High Watch Farm in Kent, Connecticut, attended by her sisters.
Intuitively knowing that her death was near she asked her sister to have Eleanor
Mel come to see her. Miss Mel drove at once from Boston to Mrs. Hopkins' home. She
was met at the front door by the sister and taken upstairs to the bedroom of Mrs.
Hopkins. Mrs. Hopkins greeted her in a normal voice from her bed and told Miss Mel
that she was going to make her transition almost immediately and asked that Miss
Mel read to her from metaphysical books. About an hour later she said to Miss Mel,
"Open the Bible and read it to me." Miss Mel opened the Bible to John 17 and read
the first verse "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said,
Father, the hour is come: glorify thy son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." During
the reading Mrs. Hopkins passed in peace. Then, Miss Mel left the house.
Her sister had an Episcopalian Church service in Boston for Mrs. Hopkins who was
buried in Killingly, Connecticut. Miss Mel was the only Teacher of Truth present.
An Episcopalian Church service would not have been a problem to Mrs. Hopkins. She
believed God was everywhere present.
After Emma Curtis Hopkins died, her sister Estelle Curtis Carpenter, and Eleanor
Mel continued her work. Ethelred Folsom, a companion and student of Hopkins', married
a Mr. Helleg These four set up an organization on a farm in Connecticut called Joy
Farm. They incorporated as “the Ministry of the High Watch. Charles Wade was teaching
classes at Joy Farm when Mrs. Bogart (secretary to Myrtle Fillmore) came to study.
She searched out various periodicals that contained Mrs. Hopkins' writings and had
them published. When Mrs. Carpenter died, she willed the books to Leon Wilson who
published them for awhile then sold out to Mr. and Mrs. Bogart, who later moved to
Roseville, California. When Mrs. Bogart died, Dr. Carmelita Trowbridge gathered up
the materials. She has been teaching from Emma Curtis Hopkins' materials and has
been keeping the books in print.
Relationship with Mary
Given her natural curiosity to read and study and her interest in new ideas, it was
not surprising that the course of events brought Mr. Hopkins to Mary Baker Eddy and
Christian Science in December 1883. Mrs. Hopkins was known as a true skeptic until
she had totally studied an idea to her own satisfaction. Once she made up her mind,
she held no doubts. When Mary Baker Eddy taught Hopkins, Eddy was impressed with
Hopkins' dedication to this new-found religion. Eddy was so impressed, in fact, that
Mrs. Hopkins advanced to the position of Assistant Editor of the Christian Science
Journal in only one year's time.
She later was appointed Chief Editor and held that position for about a year. There
was a time in 1885 when Emma Curtis Hopkins saw Mary Baker Eddy as the only revelator
of truth. Writing in the Christian Science Journal, Hopkins stated that, "No student
has ever yet been qualified to teach Christian Science except rudimentarily." Mary
Baker Eddy was Hopkins` mentor. Hopkins looked to Eddy as the perfect teacher of
a perfect science. The two became very close, and Hopkins seemed to have gotten more
in touch with her mentor's life than her average student. Hopkins saw Eddy as a person
“whose life of cleansing sorrow left her the fit transparency for revelations straight
from Infinite Source. Of Eddy's standards, she observed that Eddy "teaches the science
of God and His creation in all its divine completeness."
Hopkins described her mentor in a daughter-to-mother way as she wrote; "the words
of my teacher on the theme of Spiritual Being were first as a gentle touch of a mother
lifting the world-weary form of her wayward child to bosom." Hopkins felt that all
of Eddy's students must gain as much as she from her beloved teacher. "I know that
every single student that has ever studied under 'this teacher sent from God has
realized it all." Even before Hopkins wrote that statement in an article, she was
really concerned for her teacher. At first, Hopkins and Eddy seemed to have almost
instant rapport. Eddy admired Hopkins' education and polish, so that she became "an
apt pupil and was quickly recognized by Mrs. Eddy." The two had a private relationship,
a closeness which Eddy rarely had with others. Eddy demanded respect and reverence
from her students; however, Hopkins was able to see behind that aloofness. Eddy appreciated
Hopkins' empathy and sensitivity to this contrast in her public image and her private
self. Hopkins protected Eddy's public image in print, and at the same time wrote
touching personal letters to her mentor. In April of 1884, she wrote, "I want to
see you only just when I am cheerful for I know you are one 'of sorrows and acquainted
with grief like your Master and we must not add one care or anxious thought as your
Eddy no doubt appreciated this private support for she saved another letter from
Hopkins written in July of 1884, which read, "You seem so often like a tired sobbing
body to me. Then again you are like the archangel Gabriel as you peel forth doom
to error." There was a subtle shift in the Hopkins tone from a child-to-mother relationship
at first to a mother-to-child feeling as she said, "But no mood moves me to other
than a 'sheltering tenderness' for one whose life has been so stormy.
By the end of 1886, Mary Baker Eddy and Emma Curtis Hopkins had a difference of opinion.
Hopkins being well-read from childhood continued to read any and all materials she
could find on related subjects. This did not sit well with Eddy because she felt
that the Christian Science truth had been revealed only to her and therefore was
to be accepted as the final word. Hopkins felt that the truth had been revealed to
many people throughout history and that it was there for any to accept!
Mary Baker Eddy saw herself as the revelator of special information (“truth,”) as
she called it), while Emma Curtis Hopkins saw herself as the teacher of a wisdom
that always was and always will be. A clearly unified instruction that runs in almost
verbatim language through all the sacred or charmed books of the world." Hopkins
saw the "truth" in all religions; some religions and their books were “insulated
by absurd dogmas and ungodly imaginations." The "way of salvation," as Hopkins saw
it, was to get back to the basic "truth." An article in Christian Science Journal
in April 1884 indicated the beginning of the split between the two. Mary Baker Eddy
did not immediately drop Emma Curtis Hopkins, but the differences over the sources
and mediators of wisdom would eventually come to a head. "The study of metaphysical
literature outside of Christian Science," Hopkins declared, "could deepen one's grasp
of the essentially similar mystical principles common to them all." With that statement,
indicated an independence of thought. To her, the idea was more important than the
channel through which it came, However, Eddy was becoming inflexible about being
the only channel. In fact even the words “Christian Science were to Hopkins a general
term that could be used to describe a method of healing embracing metaphysics and
mysticism. P. P. Quimby had used the term before and with Mary Baker Eddy when she
was his patient. Hopkins knew that Eddy had learned from Quimby, that she did not
receive her insight directly, that she, too, depended on sources and mentors.
Hopkins' continued use of the term "Christian Science" after the break was another
significant irritation to Mary Baker Eddy. By 1887 Hopkins was being attacked by
Eddy but Hopkins refused to rebut the attack publicly, probably because she did not
want to "give it energy," and with her attitude toward this philosophy, she saw Eddy
as just another version of age-old truths. The only rebuttal Emma Curtis Hopkins
ever made in answer to Eddy's numerous charges was in a personal letter to her friend,
Julia Bartlett, "Rest your loving heart in peace. I know you too well to think for
a moment that you are any other than a friend, whatever you may be called upon to
express to the contrary in appearance. . .I agree with you that our experiences in
C.S. are helpful. Mine have been. I shall never serve a cause or a person without
sharp business arrangements again." Hopkins could have been talking about being "released"
from the services of Eddy or she could have been thinking of her short-lived partnership
with Mary Plunkett. Hopkins and Plunkett were friends when they were both associated
with Mary Baker Eddy. They worked together for a few months, then Mary Plunkett went
to New York City, and Hopkins went to Chicago. In New York, Plunkett published the
magazine Truth, and each published articles by the other in their respective magazines.
Hopkins showed her self reliance when she said in the letter to Julia Bartlett, "I
shall hold strong guard over personal reverence and worshipful feeling at every point."
Mrs. Hopkins had by this time come a long way from rebel and wife to worshipful adoration
toward her beloved Mary Baker to independent thinking and an organization of her
own. Through the Hopkins Association Mrs. Hopkins became the beloved teacher. Her
impact is still felt today through her students. Most of the research sources claimed
that Mrs. Hopkins taught 50,000 students during her teaching career. She set up
study groups all over the United States (as many as twenty eight were recorded in
cities from San Francisco and Seattle to New York City and Washington, D. C.) and
visited those groups regularly. Her magazine had a publication distribution of 10,000
copies. Her students also started groups and wrote many books, some of which are
still in use today. Two large church denominations are in full swing and as a direct
result of her teachings
Even though Divine Science is recognized as a direct off-shoot of Emma Curtis Hopkins
teachings by most New Thought historians, contemporaries at Divine Science now see
only indirect influence. They say that Mrs. Katie G. Bingham studied only three weeks
under Mrs. Hopkins and then went on to teach the people who really started Divine
Science. However, Mrs. Bingham is mentioned in a list of graduates and is also written
up in the Christian Science Magazine.
Of all the Unity history sources, Myrtle Fillmore, Mother of Unity, gave Hopkins
the most credit: The influence of Emma Curtis Hopkins on the Fillmores during the
last few years of the nineteenth century cannot be overstated. After Dr. Weeks spoke
his healing words to Myrtle Fillmore in 1886, eleven other speakers from Mrs. Hopkins
Institution spoke in Kansas City. Right after she spoke in Kansas City, Mr. and Mrs.
Fillmore enrolled in a study course in Chicago with Mrs. Hopkins. This course, which
entailed several visits to Chicago, led to their ordination as ministers. On June
1, 1891, both Mr. and Mrs. Fillmore were ordained.
The Fillmores and she kept up a correspondence for the next thirty years. Myrtle
Fillmore was speaking of Hopkins when she said, "I know of no other writings which
mean so much to me as hers do." Hopkins influence was strong, for the Fillmores put
the principles to work in their lives. Both demonstrated healings and prosperity
which have endured and are growing.
Dr. Emilie Cady, one of Hopkins' students, first became a teacher, then went on to
become a homeopathic physician with a practice in New York City. Myrtle Fillmore
asked Dr. Cady to write some simple lessons for Unity students. Dr. Cady did so,
and her book, Lessons in Truth, is to this day Unity's best seller.
Ernest Holmes was Emma Curtis Hopkins` last student. He studied with her in 1924;
she died in 1925. In a taped recollection, Ernest Holmes described her as a stately
woman who always wore a long dress and a hat. It took Hopkins until their sixth lesson
to unbend. From then on, he would stay after the lessons, and they would have long
conversations. He called her witty, cheerful, and lovable,
Like his teacher, Ernest Holmes felt that there was a common denominator of mysticism
among all peoples and religions, and that each individual applied that principle
to his own life that. He identified Hopkins' mysticism expressed in terms applicable
to healing. Mysticism was defined as the awareness of or the belief in the Indwellingness
of God; there was no separation between God and people, events and things.
Ernest Holmes learned from Mrs. Hopkins how to use mysticism as a complete philosophy.
He recognized her broad education that included Oriental literature, Hebrew Scriptures,
New Testament, philosophy of the Greeks, and historical knowledge of all nations.
He called her "a veritable encyclopedia!" Ernest Holmes also was well-read.
Holmes described what it was like to be a student of Emma Curtis Hopkins:What she
said was it and that was that; and like some ancient seeress, dispassionate but not
cold, she powered it with a conviction so great that it imparted something - a definite
impartation, in fact, so great that at times it was almost like a wind, like the
"psychic breeze," a phenomenon familiar to inquirers. It was something alive, animated
and inspiring. It was due neither to her words nor to her manner. She awakened an
awe which was at once personal and impersonal, identified with her and yet something
Emma Curtis Hopkins as Administrator
In 1887, Emma Curtis Hopkins opened her school, first called the Hopkins Association,
later changed to Christian Science Theological
Seminary. At first she operated it out of her home; eventually, she moved the school
to larger quarters. The Dedication of the Seminary, "to the absoluteness of the Good,"
took place on December 1, 1887.
A controversy arose over the name "Hopkins Metaphysical Association" in 1890. The
Executive Committee proposed the change to "Christian Science Theological Seminary,"
and it was discussed at the November 26 meeting and voted on at the December 30 meeting.
Mrs. Hopkins was willing to leave details to the Committee. "The President reminded
them that all such matters had been delegated to the Executive Committee, and it
could be easily decided by the whole membership." This sounds like the Executive
Committee had a lot of power; however, further into the minutes of the meeting, Mrs.
Ida A. Nichols stated that the change had been proposed by Mrs. Hopkins. Emma Curtis
Hopkins was obviously the mastermind of the organization. The change was voted on
at the December 30 meeting and it passed. The President, Emma Curtis Hopkins, reminded
them that there had been two attempts to change the name before, and now the third
attempt was a success.
The Seminary published a catalog to attract students and to fully explain what it
had to offer. The Seminary's purpose was "To hold daily sessions for the free expression
of the extreme conclusions to which Scripture propositions lead." Bibles and nations
were compared, and miracles shown to be the results of a particular order of reasoning.
The teachings of "many inspired writers" were studied and proved to be common to
The catalog welcomed ministers, teachers, and any interested persons to attend the
twelve noon daily services and explained that the Christian Science Theological Seminary
was supported by the Church of the same name. The faculty and the office address
were listed. The year of the catalog (1893), 350 persons were registered for the
first session of twelve lessons. One hundred and eleven ministers were ordained after
the theological course. Of those 111, fifteen were listed as having since gone on
to become authors, four editors, and four publishers within the ministerial service.
We believe that: (1) Jesus Christ is now present. (2) Jesus Christ is absent from
nowhere. (3) Jesus Christ in man is all there is of man. (4) Jesus Christ is as obedient
to man as man is obedient to Jesus Christ. (5) The invisibility and silence of Jesus
Christ are the meekness of Jesus Christ. (6) The name Jesus Christ holds all science
within it. (7) Pure discernment or the discernment of purity, is Jesus Christ. (8)
The true light that now shineth is Jesus Christ. (9) Pure motive is Jesus Christ
triumphant. (10) The power of Jesus Christ is the Holy Ghost Substance, equally present
everywhere. (11) Judgment is Jesus Christ. (12) The name within Jesus Christ is free
grace, justification, hidden manna for the whole world.
Emma Curtis Hopkins came from the Jesus-oriented teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. Even
though her investigation of other sources (religions and philosophies) was the cause
of her split from Eddy, this did not really show up in Hopkins' teachings until she
had dropped the seminary and gone on to writing and teaching private students. The
Fillmores were among her first students. The “Christian-ness of Mrs. Hopkins revealed
itself through the “Unity School of Christianity” that the Fillmores organized. Mrs.
Hopkins' last student was Ernest Holmes who founded Religious Science. Hopkins philosophical
change showed up in The Science of Mind, written by Holmes. It was more a philosophical
work and contained a step-by-step technique for getting in touch with "the God Within."
The catalog stated its "plan of education" as being different from other schools
in that the Seminary believed that the students already knew "all that is to be known"
and that the purpose of the class was for the students to realize this. The teachers
would stimulate the student's awareness of his/her own divine intelligence.This philosophy
is similar to Gibran's in his teaching essay.
The regular seminary classes were "convened by the President" (Hopkins) through the
year. The price was $50.00, with tuition reduction made in special cases.
The theological course was open to all graduates of the regular seminary classes
with each student receiving individual training. No discount of the price of the
course was considered. This implied that by the time the student was ready for the
theological course, his/her principles must be demonstrating in his/her life well
enough to afford the whole price. (If you could not afford the class, then you were
not ready for it!)
It is interesting to note the comment in Myrtle Fillmore, Mother of Unity, that no
discounts were given to couples. Mrs. Hopkins saw people as individuals, not couples.
No "family rates" or "discounts for spouses" in her school! Mary Baker Eddy, however,
did have such discounts, as stated in early editions of Christian Science Journal.
Reviews for theological students only were given twice a year (August and January)
with ordination to follow. These reviews appeared to be a form of "oral exam." The
catalog included a ritual-like twelve-noon meditation, each person silently proclaiming,
"I am free." Unity has, to this day, at twelve-noon, the Lord's Prayer in Charles
Fillmore's voice. It comes over the speaker system, followed by a silent meditation
time. The catalog also listed morning and afternoon affirmations for Monday through
Three other classes were listed: (1) Reviews (could be testimonials) , (2) Scripture
Revelation ("to awaken demonstration of spiritual perception"), and (3) Pure Metaphysics
(discussion of six various propositions of Principle), with brief rundowns of what
they had to offer. '
Housing and eating facilities were mentioned, and the catalog ended with a description
of the seminary. The “theology” means “discourse of God,” which Hopkins described
as “awakening in men the realization of Christ Principle - the God in them and all
things. Mrs. Hopkins declared that "we do not establish the 'chairs' usual with
religions of this day" because she felt that History, Dogmatic Theology, Exegesis,
and Homiletics were not important as a means to teach pure Christ-doctrine. Also,
she did not look to Letters as of prime importance, or even necessary. "But to be
directly God-taught is all-important whether in the matter of Letters or what."
Mrs. Hopkins felt that churches had departed from Jesus' commission to preach the
Gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead. Most of Mrs. Hopkins'
students probably came from traditional (for that day) religions. A person was born
into a particular denomination and then grew up in it. For those people to break
with tradition ("But, our family has always been Lutheran") and join with a religion
that was being criticized from the pulpits was a much bigger jump than for today's
young people, whose families had no religious affiliation, to join an offbeat church.
Perhaps that was why both Hopkins and Eddy referred to some of the motives of the
religions of the day and why both were constantly responding to criticisms. Their
students needed to bounce off something. That "something" was well defined in the
rejecting of traditional Christianity and then reinterpreting what was not rejected.
Much of that comparison showed up in the baccalaureate address which became a tradition
for Hopkins' seminary.
The baccalaureate address was first given in 1889. A version of it was presented
at every graduation after that and given to each graduate in pamphlet form. The pamphlet
was eighteen pages long. The authority of God Within was emphasized and the graduates
told they need not quote authorities. Hopkins quoted Jesus, "The words that I speak
unto you, it is not I that speak, but the Father that dwelleth in me. He doeth the
works." Jesus was used as an example to walk bravely, "Along lonely and untrod ways,
teaching and helping the ignorant and unfortunate." Hopkins told the graduates to
teach the “powerfulness of evil and the unreality of the material universe,” and
then to prove that demonstration of evil daily. They were told not to beg people
to recognize such teaching, but to boldly state the Truth and thereby fulfill the
prophecy by doing so. The Lord`s Supper, baptism, and marriage were suggested as
not necessary, but the students were to understand the true meaning behind the symbols.
The "flesh and blood" of the Last Supper were said to be only symbols of the thought
and word of the Christ. Baptism was the symbolic cleansing word of denial of all
evil. Marriage symbolized the Father-Mother principle of the Godhead.
Hopkins closed the baccalaureate with, "You have been tried and not found wanting."
She told the graduates to "Heal the sick by the word of your speaking," that they
were the restitution of the full ministry of the times of old. They were not to be
afraid of what people said nor were they to "seek the world's favor," but to spread
the word boldly because that was the faith of the Father's that the Apostles delivered.
Maybe Hopkins more fully realized the necessity of a "rites of passage" for her students,
and that was why she chose to have an ordination ceremony, whereas Mary Baker Eddy
only named her graduates "practitioners."
Emma Curtis Hopkins had a lot of faith to start a school to prepare students to usher
in the new age. She had to overcome animosity from both traditional religions and
her sister branch of metaphysicians.
She also agreed with the women's movement by emphasizing a "Unisex God." Her pamphlet,
"The Ministry of the Holy Mother," stressed that as did her magazine articles and
books. In her belief of the oneness of God, Mrs. Hopkins could see *no distinction
of sex in God.” There was “One Life, One Mind, One Good,” therefore male and female
were two expressions of the same God.24 Her seminary and magazine gave women more
than "equal time" in the religious view of that day. Louisa Southworth wrote in an
article entitled "The Baccalaureate" (probably the speech given by her at an ordination
ceremony): "It is my privilege to be present at this ceremony of the New Era, the
ordaining of women by a woman." Ms. Southworth commented on the current changes taking
place in religious beliefs, the need to "supplant human dogmas with more rational
conceptions." One of those beliefs was that the "creation of woman was an afterthought
of God." She felt that this "fable" taught "feminine subordination." She saw that
"radical error" corrected by the new ministry candidates who were women, teaching
the "Divine Truth. . .to give woman her proper station in the world." Even though
Christian Science was termed a woman's religion in a deprecating manner, it did not
bother Ms. Southworth.
The Quimby Manuscripts commented on "Man and Woman" in the chapter called "Science,
Life, Death." Quimby said, "As the earth is composed of different kinds of soil,
so man varies from lowest grade of animal intelligence to that higher state of consciousness
which can receive Science." Quimby saw the female as the teacher of science because
"The mind of the female contains more of that superior substance required to receive
the higher development of God's wisdom." Because of the brute strength of man, woman
"must be content with what man chooses to assign her." However, as woman grows in
consciousness, she will gain control over matter and will have the power to change
it. Quimby believed that "women are religious from science naturally" and that men
did not have the patience to teach the children and sit by the sick. He saw woman's
true position "as a teacher of the Science of Health and Happiness."
Mrs. Hopkins, herself, expressed the femaleness of God. She felt that there were
two ways to have the good things in life, one way by "material performances" and
the other by "spiritual processes." The latter, she said, was a metaphysical process
called "prayer." The noise of the world drowned out the spiritual way - it had to
be heard by the inner-ear. That Spirit was the Holy Mother which could not come in
contact with the "fret and turmoil of matter" because God the Father protected the
Mother. Father God made Himself known through miracles and outside, showy things,
but Mother God was the inward healing, comforting way to experience God.
EMMA CURTIS HOPKINS AS AUTHOR
The writings of Emma Curtis Hopkins were produced over a period of about thirty years,
from 1890 to 1920. Her earlier writings sounded like an extension of Mary Baker Eddy
and contained a lot of biblical quotes; As she grew away from Eddy, Hopkins quoted
less from the Bible and more from philosophers. Hopkins' belief in the necessity
of reading many sources of Spiritual Truth was the very thing that caused the split
between the two women.
Emma Curtis Hopkins wrote text-book style, though, not in a particularly scholarly
manner. She seldom named the source of her quotes and never used footnotes. Her books
seemed to be directed to the general New Thought readers, some of whom would be reading
the material for their own use and others who were preparing to be teachers, practitioners,
All her main writings-contained twelve steps, called chapters or lessons, most of
which seemed to progress in an orderly fashion. One main source of her material was
not step-oriented - the International Sunday School lessons published in the Chicago
Inter-Ocean News. Emma Curtis Hopkins gave her own metaphysical interpretations of
One distinguishing feature of her material in addition to the twelve steps, was her
technique of using many words and phrases to describe or name of God, such as High
and Lofty one, Absolute, Supreme Self, Universal Servant, all of which she capitalized.
The main premise of Emma Curtis Hopkins teachings was that God was Within. From that
basic idea, she led the way to use the God-Within principle. She quoted Bible passages,
such as One God and father of all, who is above all and through all and in all of
us (Ephesians 4:6). She gave credit for the basic idea of God Within to many philosophers.
"That Light that is the Original One was called 'The Abysmal Nothing by Jacob Boehme.
That Light from which sprang all things and which is shining through all things was
called 'The Divine Dark' by Tauber. It was called 'The One Substance' by Spinoza.
It was called 'The Unconditioned Absolute' by Kant. It was called 'The Unknowable'
by the Brahmins and Buddhists. Even Spencer calls it 'The Unknowable."