Birth of Divine Science Part I
by Rev. Christine
Today I'm speaking on the birth of Divine Science as a New Thought movement, in particular the spiritual experiences of Melinda Cramer. Melinda was the seventh of eleven children, born June 12, 1844 and died August 2, 1906; resulting injuries from the San Francisco earthquake. The Elliots were Quakers who had migrated to the farming country of southeastern Indiana from North Carolina. In 1870, Malinda migrated to San Francisco hoping that the climate would cure her ill health that had plagued her for ten years. Malinda married in 1872, and had three children, but only one lived to adulthood. She went through 23 years of medical treatment before having a profound spiritual experience. The following account is from Malinda Cramer's book Divine Science and Healing. This is her story in her own words, and I hope you enjoy it as I have. Although a bit long, I found myself unable to cut it any shorter. It was early one morning in the year of 1885, during an hour of earnest meditation and prayerful seeking, that I asked myself the following questions; they were asked with faith, believing they would be answered, and with a willingness to abide the decision whatever it might be: "Is there any way out of these conditions; is there any Power in the vast Universe that can heal me?" An immediate and all-convincing reply came. The reply was an intuitive response from the depths of Being, which embodied its very nature. The realization pervaded the body thoroughly throughout, illuminating and vivifying its every atom with newness of Life and strength. Instantly Omnipresent Spirit was realized and everything was transformed into Spirit. What I had heard of Spirit, with the hearing of the ear, from early childhood became an actual reality, a conscious living presence. From the depths of this knowledge of the conscious presence of Spirit, or God as all, I felt and knew to a certainty that "If I ever got well it would be by the power of Holy Spirit." I quickly arose from my chair, and walked the floor, saying: "If, if, if I ever get well it will be by the power of Spirit. Then there is one way of out these conditions; I must seek that way, the Truth of the presence of Spirit." At that time I had been under medical treatment the greater part of 23 years out of 25 of invalidism. During that period I had received the best of medical advice, which I endeavored to obey implicitly. For the first time I had given up hope of obtaining relief from medicine or through any material means and was determined to do the best I could without it. My good husband and several friends who were anxious for my recovery were urging me to see another physician, a specialist. My case had baffled the best physicians both in the East and in California; 12 had pronounced me incurable. The verdict of physicians, as well as of the best magnetic healers, electricians and the majority of my friends, was, "She is incurable." Being unwilling to experiment further with medical treatment I found myself opposing their suggestions. My answer was: "I thought you were my friends. I will see no other physician." One morning shortly after this experience, my husband anxiously inquired what I intended doing in the matter, to which I replied: "Get well, of course; but I will not see another physician." After he had gone to business I thought, "Why did I speak in that positive and determined manner?" I had never before spoken so decidedly in opposition to his suggestion. So I went to my room to contemplate the nature of my conduct and to criticize if I found it merited criticism; but, to my surprise I grew all the more determined to abide by my decision not to see another physician. It was during this contemplation that I asked myself the above questions and concerning my healing and received the all-convincing response of realization. The last physician employed, who treated me about two years, said: "The only hope I have of your recovery is based in your remarkable patience and willingness to endure pain and suffering." Quite different this, from the opinion of one of the best and most prominent magnetic healers and physicians who, after having treated me several weeks, wrote: "I would have hope of your recovery if you were not so patiently enduring your conditions, and so submissive to your sufferings; you are altogether too resigned." The answer to my earnest inquiry, as to whether there was any power that could heal me, was an all-absorbing realization of a presence and power not before realized. This presence was more than personal, it was omnipresence; it was more than any visible object before me; it was real and permanent. It was so vivifying and illumining I knew that I was one with it. I realized it to be my life; the very being, knowledge, health and power that I am. It was as a "Consuming fire." in that all things became It and were this One Presence manifested. Simultaneously with finding myself in God, I experienced the indrawing of all things, that all are in the embrace of one eternal Good. As I looked out over creation, I beheld a "New heaven and a new earth, old things had passed away." That hour was the beginning of my realization of the oneness of Life, a gleam of its truth flashed across my mental vision at that time which I now understand to be the at-one-ment of the whole, Creator, creative action and creation. From that moment I have not questioned concerning "The Way," nor have I known or taught any authority but self-evident Truth. Prior to this experience, the presence and omnipresence of God had been but a vague belief; it was with me, as it is with many others, a mere hope, or Truth unrealized. If any one had asked me if I believed that absolute good was everywhere present, that the Infinite Life was manifest perfectly within all living, in that there is one God and Father of All, who is in all, and through all, and above all, my answer would have been, "I do not, I have no realizing sense of it." This is the test of realization or non-realization. At that time I had no thought of healing and teaching others, or doing any of the work in which I am now engaged. This realizing sense of things was to me, going unto God. I then knew I must think and speak from His standpoint, would I abide in Him and demonstrate that Good is all in all. I was certainly changed, mentally, in the twinkling of an eye, and each succeeding day I was able to say, understandingly, "God hath begotten me;" I am here to testify of the Truth of Being. In most convincing and satisfactory ways have I realized and enjoyed the freedom of Truth. I certainly know that I have everything to be thankful for. Through living the Truth, I have cast mountains of seeming difficulty into the sea of oblivion. With the first realization of the omnipresence of Supreme Being, I made my first promise, which was essentially this: That if I could be healed through a knowledge of Truth - which to know makes free - I would, with singleness of purpose, endeavor to proclaim the Truth to the best of my ability. I was ready to affirm that as much Truth as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel. I was conscious that the One to whom this promise was made was expressed in all living. When the full import of the promise dawned upon me, it was somewhat startling, but I said, "Truth will present its own simple method of expression," and it had done so in the teachings of Divine Science. At this point the question that naturally arises is, "Were you instantly healed?" The answer to this is: I at once saw the unreality of the conditions of dis-ease and was free from the belief that they had any power, or could control for either good or ill. Thus the ax was struck at the root of the tree, and the old conditions passed away as fast as I disowned the old habits of belief. When my friends heard that I was recovering health, they called to ascertain what remedy it was that was benefitting me. They found me, as they expressed it. "Looking like a new person," and asked: "Is it possible you are getting well? Is it true that you can sit up all day? Can you go upstairs alone?" etc. This enabled me to see with what strength of conviction they held me as being incurable. This determined me to free myself from their beliefs, and I saw the only way to accomplish this was to free them from their false beliefs about me. So when any of my acquaintances inquired about my health, I told them that I as quite well. I discovered that to enjoy health it was necessary to break up the habit of inquiring about feelings of ease or disease. Putting this discovery into practice enabled me to realize freedom from the beliefs of others. It was not long until my friends asked me to give them treatment, and as I believe that I should do unto others as I would have they should do unto me, and as I wanted to appear in their sight as being whole, I was glad to treat and hold them in the consciousness of being whole. Among my first patients were three cases of healing that stand out more clearly in memory than others. My first patient was a young lady friend, whom the doctors had pronounced as having quick consumption. Her friends were contemplating taking her to another physician for a special examination of the lungs. The day before the examination was to take place, she called to see if it were true that I was getting well, and I persuaded her to come to me every day for a week, before going to the doctor, which she did; and before the expiration of that time she realized perfect healing, and has been free from that condition ever since, and is a well women today. My next patient was one who had been an invalid for seventeen years. She was thoroughly healed; and from that time has demonstrated the freedom of Truth in perfect health for herself and family. After the healing of this case, the wife of a physician who had attended her for several years, asked me how I came to heal her. She said: "How did you do it? What did you call her disease? What as the matter with her? My husband believed her to be incurable." To which I replied: "Truth made her whole, and I neither saw nor named disease." The third case was one that had suffered extreme pain, at times, for more than five years, and had tried the remedies of the best physicians. She was faithful in coming to me every day for three weeks; at the expiration of that time she suddenly realized relief. I then decided to set apart one afternoon each week for free treatment and invited all to come who would. The number that generally came was from 15-20. After experiencing good results from the treatment they requested me to instruct them in my method of healing. My effort to comply was the beginning of my teaching. I found myself ready and willing to do whatever was requested. I felt just as though previous preparation had been made. The principle thought that I held while treating the 17 cases as the Infinitude, Omnipresence and Allness of God; that God is Spirit - hence, all that is, is Spirit; that the Holy Spirit comprised the whole, whose law is Love. I affirmed that the perfect demonstrations of God were before me and that His love reigned everywhere in all living. Upon retiring that evening I was blessed with a realization that was more than a mere mental conception. It was a knowledge of being Omnipresent Mind. As soon as I laid my head upon the pillow I consciously withdrew from the body and looked upon it lying on the bed, and realized it to be a thought within My Mind. I then said inquiringly: "Where am I, and what am I?" Simultaneous with this question, I saw a white, ethereal form, vapory and cloudlike. This form enveloped the body lying on the bed, and pervaded it through and through. They were both perfectly transparent. MY realization was beyond all question that all form was a thought in my Mind. Then, with increased earnestness, I thought, "Where am I, and what am I?" In this answer to my question there was a center of light, something like unto a six-pointed star, pure and clear as diamond light; its center as calm and as transparent as pure crystal. This center was radiating the light of Life - the pure intelligence or consciousness of the one Self-existing Omnipresence. It was an inseparable individualized center of the One Presence. Again, I knew to a certainty that it was a thought in my Mind. I intuitively knew its connection with the body and with Omnipresent Mind. Then I said with even more emphasis: "Who am I, and what am I?" Simultaneous with the asking of this question the third time, was completed the realization unto full consciousness of Being. I was that Omnipresence which lies back of all form; the Divine Mind which contains within Itself the things that are seen; the mind not see, but which Itself is Consciousness. I was not only conscious, but was consciousness Itself. As soon as I thought of the immensity of Omnipresence and of my being it, form appeared within me, and I pervaded it. Then I knew that God never thought without producing form; that the universe of form was within Omnipresent Being. Then the whole of visibility was transparent and I embraced, pervaded and lived all. I had outpassed all forms, and was the Source and Cause of them. This consciousness of Being was the actualization of the Truth of the Allness of God, which I had with earnest conviction claimed for the patients I had treated during the day. In this realization I experienced the true relation existing between Cause and effect. I saw the Unity and at-one-ment existing in the Mind Infinite, its action, and the result of action. As my attention was again directed to the body lying on the bed, and I opened my eyes on the world of form, my experience was that the state of Being is the most blissful peace imaginable; my feelings were harmonious beyond compare. This Consciousness of Being has been the one and only basis for all the work in which I am now engaged, or have been instrumental in inaugurating. This was 1885, and by 1887 Malinda Cramer incorporated the Home College of Divine Science, and published the magazine Harmony. 1891, she traveled and taught in Denver, Chicago at Emma Curtis Hopkin's Christian Science Theological Seminary and other metaphysical groups, Kansas City with the Fillmore founders of Unity, and in Indiana where 350 Quaker students welcomed her. Also, she traveled to Salt Lake City, St. Louis, New York and Boston. In 1892 formed the International Divine Science Association, the prototype for later metaphysical groups. However, on April 18, 1906, the San Francisco earthquake and fire devastated the Divine Science Home College, and all it held. Malinda being injured in the earthquake made her transition August 2, 1906.