Religious science and the occult | John Ankerberg Show

Religious science and the occult

By: The John Ankerberg Show
By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999
In Religious Science, personal involvement in the occult is simply left up to the dictates of an individual’s communion with “divine Mind.” The term “occult” may be frowned upon, but occult activity is permitted, and even encouraged, although under different names.

Religious Science and the Occult

Like other psychics, Ernest Holmes’ life was supernaturally “guided.” As a result, he was prepared for the proper psychic instruction when his teacher, Emma Curtis Hopkins, appeared and taught him mysticism. (Hopkins also influenced the Fillmores of Unity, and many others.[1])

The Religious Science periodical Science of Mind, also shows its acceptance of the occult by articles it has carried. For example: “Awakening Your Psychic Power” (July, 1982); “Magic and Matter” (Nov., 1978); “Healing at a Distance” (Oct., 1979); “The Experience of Higher Consciousness” (May, 1979); “Awaken Your Intuition” (April, 1979); “What Meditation Does” (Dec., 1978) and “Energy Healing—How It Works” (Feb., 1979). Other Religious Science [RS] writers are also generally sympathetic to the occult. J. H. Krimsky, M.D., discussed the importance of particular areas of psychic research,[2] and the noted Marcus Bach discussed his numerous séance experiences. [3]

Religious Science conferences may include mediums and psychics and discussions of various occult topics. For example, the 1978 and 1979 Holmes Center Symposiums included a discussion by Ivan Tors about his spirit guides and lectures by medium Olga Worrall, psychic W. Brugh Joy, parapsychologists Thelma Moss and Robert Miller and spiritist sympathizer Gerald Jampolsky.[4] The late Elisabeth Kubler-Ross also spoke of her spirit guides.[5]

In the end, personal involvement in the occult is simply left up to the dictates of an individual’s communion with “divine Mind.” The term “occult” may be frowned upon, but occult activity is permitted, and even encouraged, under phrases like: receiving divine illumination, guidance or inspiration.

Reginald Armors’ biography observed of Holmes’ own spiritual searching what has become a typical approach for many, if not most, of his followers:

His constant search led him to feel very close to the Infinite Presence. He spent many hours and often days in meditation and communion with It. He believed firmly that everyone can commune with this Presence, talk to It, and receive definite guidance in their lives.

His feelings at such times of meditation and communion, he said, could not be described in words…. In his later years, in those many hours each day of meditation, some of his experiences bordered on the purely mystical, and I am sure he was aware of flashes of so-called cosmic consciousness…. He did not talk about these glimpses of Reality and would not admit to being classified as a mystic, but his inspirational writings are evidence that, in truth, he was.[6]

Spiritistic Revelation as Literary Inspiration

The above reference to Holmes’ “inspirational writings” is relevant. In our Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs several chapters discussed how spiritistic revelation was the source for much modern New Age literature.[7] Similarly, it seems that at least two of Holmes’ books were spiritistically inspired, and probably more. The Voice Celestial, by Ernest and his brother Fenwick, has four principal characters that often mimic modern spirit guides:

1. “The Farer or Wayfarer.”

2. “The Presence or The Voice Celestial, becoming audible to all who develop the inner ear” (psychic perception).

3. “The Scribe or observer who reports the conversations between the Farer and the Presence or Voice.”

4. “The master of the ages who appears to the Farer while he is in higher states of consciousness.”[8]

In another book, Your Invisible Power—Part III, the “author” is obviously not Holmes, although the book bears his name. It is a revelation from a spirit being claiming to be God. The spirit speaks to the reader, saying, “Therefore, you may trust what I shall do, for I Am God.”[9] Armor points out that even in his lectures, Holmes “was aware often that his mind would open to the creative influx of this Divine Presence, and at such times he was aware of Spirit speaking through him at levels far beyond his intellectual understanding at the moment. He believed in this inspirational type of speaking.”[10]

This kind of experience is fairly common among psychics, mediums, gurus and occultists. Edgar Cayce, Sun Myung Moon, H. P. Blavatsky, Ram Dass and hundreds of others have spoken openly in similar terms of their inspiration by spirits. Further, Armor cites that Holmes admitted not always understanding what he was talking about when he was speaking “inspirationally,”[11] which is another common theme in spiritistic communication. In fact, it is possible that the basic Religious Science philosophy, as outlined in The Science of Mind and other texts, was first received spiritistically (“inspirationally”) and later edited, because it could be argued Holmes was not capable of producing such philosophical works. Holmes “never believed he was an outstanding author, [but] he acknowledged that pure inspiration played a significant role in his literary efforts.”[12] Much of what Armor documented about Holmes leaves no doubt about Holmes’ heartfelt interest and participation in spiritistic activities. Consider the following:

[Holmes believed] that revelation was a matter of one’s desire to receive enlightenment or inspiration on some given idea. When man places himself in a position to listen or accept, he opens his mind to receive from Spirit, that One Source, the desired inspiration or wisdom.[13]

The Originating Power descends into the consciousness which meditates upon It and receives It. The intellect then abandons itself to the Divine.[14]

Ernest was very interested in spiritualistic mediums and psychic phenomena…. After the passing of his beloved wife, Hazel, he tried to establish a definite, conscious contact with her through a medium, but he told me privately after several of these attempts that he was never satisfied. Although ‘contact’ had been achieved, he was never quite convinced that it actually was Hazel who was speaking to him.[15]

I believe we have to give the spiritualist movement credit for trying to demonstrate objectively what we, as Religious Scientists, believe in—that is, the immortality of the soul and the continuity of life…. In so-called communication with departed persons, there is, in my estimation definitely a mingling of consciousness of the individual who has gone on and those who are left behind—I believe this is possible and that it often takes place.[16]

Spiritistic involvement apparently often took place with Holmes. An examination of the glossary of The Science of Mind reveals familiarity with numerous spiritistic-mediumistic and occult topics: apparition, channel, clairaudience, clairvoyance, cosmic consciousness, discarnate, esoteric, ether, familiar spirits, Father-Mother God, ghost, illumination, levitation, maya, medium, mental medium, mental plane, mysticism, psychic phenomena, planes, psychic, psychometry, psychic world, telekinetic energy, telepathy, theosophy,[17] trance. The 1926 edition of The Science of Mind contained an entire chapter on the law of psychic phenomena; however, it was deleted in 1936 because it was seen as developing into a separate field.[18] Also, in Letters from Other Dimensions, by medium Margaret McEathron, it is said that “Ernest Holmes” ostensibly communicated from “the other side” and reportedly gave his brother Fenwick evidence that he could not deny.[19] All this is proof of the occult nature of Religious Science.


  1. Fenwick Holmes, Ernest Holmes: His Life and Times (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1970), pp. 196-200.
  2. Joseph Krimsky, The Wonder of Man—A Doctor’s Soliloquy (Los Angeles: Science of Mind Publications, 1972), p. 55.
  3. Marcus Bach, The Will to Believe (Los Angeles: Science of Mind Publications, 1977), pp. 121-130, 172.
  4. Science of Mind, June-July, 1979, pp. 8-13 and 46-50.
  5. Science of Mind, April, 1978, pp. 40-46.
  6. Reginald C. Armor, Ernest Holmes, the Man (Los Angeles: Science of Mind Publications, 1977), pp. 4-6, emphasis added.
  7. See our Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions chapters on A Course in Miracles, Angel Contact, Channeling, New Age Inner Work, New Age Intuition.
  8. Ernest Holmes and Fenwicke Holmes, The Voice Celestial (Los Angeles: Science of Mind Publications, 1978), “list of characters.”
  9. Ernest Holmes, Your Invisible Power—Part III (Institute of Religious Science, 1940), p. 39.
  10. Armor, p. 33
  11. Ibid., p. 32.
  12. Ibid., p. 87.
  13. Ibid., p. 34.
  14. Ibid., p. 94.
  15. Ibid., pp. 35-36.
  16. Ibid., pp. 34-35.
  17. Ernest and Fenwick Holmes both declared, “Our message was in [general] harmony with Theosophy” (The Science of Mind, p. 167). Theosophy is a heavily spiritistic, occult religion.
  18. Fenwick Holmes, pp. 201, 253.
  19. M. McEathron, Letters from Other Dimensions, Foreword.

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The John Ankerberg Show

Founder and president of The John Ankerberg Show, the most-watched Christian worldview show in America.
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