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Fenwicke L. Holmes

Religious Science Leader,
Lecturer and Writer

Regarded by some as the dean of the metaphysical movements throughout the world, Fenwicke L. Holmes, Ph.D., had a broad background of scholarship, creative writ­ing and lecturing. He received his B.A. from Colby College, Maine, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa; attended Hart­ford Theological Seminary and was or­dained in the Congregational ministry. He was the editor of Uplift Magazine; co-owner and director of the Metaphysical Sanitarium, Long Beach; pastor of Divine Science Church of the Healing Christ, New York; and former president of the Inter­national College of Mental Science. He wrote more than twenty books, lectured for fifty years in America and abroad and was a frequent radio and television speaker.

Fenwicke Lindsay Holmes was born in 1883 on a farm in Maine, one of nine boys including his younger brother, Ernest (1887–1960), the founder of the Religious Science or Science of Mind movement. The family's financial hardship prevented most of the boys from receiving a higher education. There was no public high school in town, but much to their mother's satisfaction the older boys were admitted to a pri­vate school that was called Gould's Academy. Now that it is rich and famous it is known as Gould Academy. At that time there was only one weather-worn, two-story frame building while today there is a college-sized campus and million of dollars' worth of buildings. Meager as the accommodations then were, the tuition cost seven dollars a term, with three terms a year, and Fenwicke was held back a couple of years because his family had no money to pay for it.

Fenwicke found a letter from his Greek teacher at Gould's, urging him to go to Colby College. He could arrange Fenwicke's tuition on the basis of his scholarship and find a job for him. So Fenwicke decided to go. He worked his way through the first two years of college by cooking in a lunchroom, shoveling snow and carrying coal; the last two years, with some assistance from his father, he earned his living by tutoring.

Fenwicke received his B.A. at Colby and later attended Hartford Theological Seminary, but in 1910 was compelled by ill health to leave. The doctor held out the hope of recovery in a warm climate, and so Fenwicke secured a job on a ranch through a schoolmate whose father lived in Ventura, Cali­fornia.

Later he moved to the Los Angeles suburb of Venice where he established a small Congregational church and served as its minister. His brother Ernest joined him in California in 1912. While there the brothers were strongly influenced by the work of Thomas Troward, a New Thought practitioner whose revolutionary ideas about the mind diverged from mainstream New Thought ideas.

In 1913 Fenwick and Ernest began to get into local politics. It was a campaign to prohibit prize-fighting in Venice, which, as a Congregational minister with a young flock in the area, Fenwicke supported; for several weeks there was a debate between the Holmes brothers and the promoters, which was carried on in the daily press. Fenwicke wrote their arguments and rebuttals for the Venice Daily Vanguard, and the brothers took the lead in the campaign and even­tually won, the vote being heavily their favor.

Late in 1915 Fenwicke and Ernest subscribed together to a course of studies by mail with New Thought leader Christian D. Larson, whose The Path­way of Roses,was given Fenwicke by a deacon of his church. The reading of that book had as much of an influence on Fenwicke as The Ideal Made Real had had on Ernest some 6 years before. In Fenwicke's own words:

"I was in something of a quandary, now, with my ear becoming more and more attuned to this new truth, my eye on its great possibilities and my feet planted in the Congrega­tional Church. The stirring new concepts began to creep into my sermons, some members of my flock hearing it gladly, others, including our mother, watching me with wary eyes. My heart was fully dedicated to God and service, but the way, for now, was not clear."

Fenwicke had been minister of the church for over five years and wished to undertake some greater enterprise. He decided to resign and either broaden his education at Harvard Theological Seminary or join Ernest's activities publicly. For some time Ernest had been eager to have the two of them work together as a team. Ernest thought that Fenwicke had already passed the deadline of orthodoxy and said, "You know you don't believe in it any more. Why try to preach it?" So on June 10, 1917, Fenwicke resigned.

Together they began to lecture and teach classes in the Los Angeles area and also founded Uplift, a magazine somewhat critical of traditional New Thought.  Ernest and Fenwicke begun their public appearances together at the Strand Theater in downtown Los Angeles speaking on Sunday mornings to a good-sized congregation. Ernest would speak one Sunday and Fenwicke the next.
Within the next two years Ernest alone gained a national reputation as a speaker.

Meanwhile, Ernest was writing his first book, Creative Mind, and at the same time Fenwicke was locked away in his suite at home, writing his own first book as well. Fenwicke, the acknowledged more intellectual brother, published his first two books, The Law Of Mind In Action and How to develop faith that heals, in 1919, the same year that Ernest's Creative Mind was published. Fenwicke went on to write many other books including three of his own poety and The Voice Celestial: Thou Art That, An Epic Poem written with brother Ernest. Also included is a little-known work of fiction, Joan's Voices. His most well-known book is Ernest Holmes: His Life and Times which was published in 1970, ten years after Ernest's passing.

Shortly after the publishing of these first books, Fenwicke took the step that was destined to alter the course of their lives and eventually lead them into the national and international field. When Dr. Julia Seton, noted New Thought lecturer and author, had urged one of the brothers to attend the International New Thought Alliance in Boston, they had given it much thought. Ernest did not wish to leave his writing and lectures, and it was therefore decided for Fenwicke to go. Him and his brother debated on whether he should take his speech from the book he had just written or write a new one. It turned out that he wrote "The Passing Of Spirit Into Form," the basis for his second book, Being And Becoming, which he after­ward published in pamphlet form and sold at their first New York lectures.

It is interesting to note here that "publish or perish" was more applicable in those days to the metaphysical lecturer and teacher than the academic professor. New Thought was still new and, after a brief talk or lecture, the seeker wanted something to take home and study. The audience was hungry and thirsty for truth, and these books were manna in the wilderness to them. Both Ernest and Fenwicke were eager to have their teachings in print, but it seemed equally important for one of them to attend the congress and take their place among those of like mind around the world. In Boston Fenwicke was received cordially, and so was his speech; but he was new to the move­ment, and I did not linger long.

From Boston he went to New York, and through the influence of Dr. Seton, found himself a special lecturer at the League for the Larger Life, an organization of New York and Brooklyn leaders and writers. He spoke three times a day, and the place was crowded at every meeting, people sitting on the platform and stairways. Here he met many notables in the field who became lifelong friends. It was here, too, that he met Katharine Eggleston (Junkermann), a very successful fiction writer, who a year later became Fenwicke's wife and mother to an orphan boy named Louis that he had adoped some years earlier. In spite of the fact that Katharine had long ago determined not to marry a small man, a blond or a minister. She got all three in Fenwicke!

In 1927 Fenwicke helped Ernest found the Institute of Religious Science and School of Philosophy as a means of spreading their teachings. This was a very important milestone in both their careers. He later went on to become pastor of Divine Science Church of the Healing Christ, New York. After a number of most reward­ing years as pastor of the Church of the Healing Christ, in 1934 Fenwicke resigned his pastorate to return to his greater love, the lecture platform.  Later that year him and his wife Katharine bought a home in Santa Monica as a headquarters to meet increasingly heavy demand for his correspondence courses. He became president of the Inter­national College of Mental Science, and continued lecturing for a great many years.

Fenwicke Holmes was an influential figure in the development of the Japanese New Thought organization Seicho-No-Ie during the 1950s. He collaborated with Dr. Masaharu Taniguchi in writing the book The Science of Faith. There is in the book no indication of which author was responsible for any specific section, though internal evidence will sometimes indicate rather clearly the authorship. Curiously enough, Fenwicke Holmes had never been in Japan and had never met Dr. Taniguchi in person, but Seicho-No-Ie had published Holmes' Law of Mind in Action and others of his books, so it was natural enough that they should have joined in writing The Science of Faith. Holmes' Calm Yourself has had a wide distribution in Japan also.

Although much overshadowed by his more charismatic brother Ernest, who he considered to be a spiritual genius, Fenwicke was nonetheless a very important figure in the development of the Religious Science and Science of Mind organizations that his brother founded, and in the development of the New Thought/Mental Science movement in Japan in particular.

Fenwicke Holmes' published works include:

Healing at a distance (1917, w/ Ernest Holmes); The law of mind in action: daily lessons and treatments in mental and spiritual science (1919); How to develop faith that heals (1919); The unfailing formula (191?); Being and becoming; a book of lessons in the science of mind showing how to find the personal spirit (1920); Practical healing (1921); Songs of the silence and other poems (1925); Text book in the science of mind : psychology and metaphysics applied to everyday living (1925); Religion and mental science Lyrics of life and love (1930); Joan's voices (1934); How to solve your personal problem: the God-law and the key to power (1938); Text book of practical healing : the "Just how course" in healing the mental science way (1943); Healing treatments in verse (1943); Tiny textbook of meditation and the Lord's prayer (1951); Tiny textbook of mental healing (195?); The science of faith: how to make yourself believe (1953, w/
Masaharu Taniguchi); Ernest Holmes: his life and times (1970); Philip's cousin Jesus: the untold story (1981, ed. Margaret McEathron); Portrait in poetry of Fenwicke Holmes (compiled and arranged by Margaret McEathron, 1990)

The following books by Fenwicke Holmes are available to purchase in eBook form for immediate download. They may then be read on your computer and printed out. The eBooks are in Adobe Acrobat Reader (.pdf) format.

Excerpts from the following books can be read online:

The Law of Mind in Action

The Twenty Secrets of Success

How to Develop the Faith That Heals

Ernest Holmes: His Life and Times

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The Law of Mind in Action
Being and Becoming
Visualization & Concentration

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