Thomas Parker Boyd

Founder of the Society of the Healing Christ

WHO WAS THOMAS PARKER BOYD? Thomas Parker Boyd was born in Manfordville, Kentucky in 1864 and grew up working with his two brothers in the
tobacco fields during the summer months and attended school during the winter. His parents, Thomas and Mary, decided to relocate the family to Texas while Thomas was in his early teens, and they later relocated again, this time to Oregon where they owned and operated a flower mill.

In his late teens Thomas decided to move to California in order to study theology as he wished to become a minister. He attended the University of California and earned a Doctorate in Divinity in the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Dr. Boyd later studied psychology at Berkeley, earning himself another Doctorate. He was particularly interested in healing and studied and practiced hypnosis along with other professors at Berkeley, and later became what would now be termed a hypnotherapist.

For a period of fifteen years Dr. Boyd had been a student and practitioner of mental and spiritual medicine, generally cooperating with the physi­cian, but often proceeding without one in cases where the cause appeared to be of a nervous char­acter, in which the physician had seemingly ex­hausted his skill. In the earlier years of practice, his method was simply that of religious conver­sation, inspiring the patient with hope of recovery through his faith in the goodness of God, whose love could only provide the best things for his children. This was accompanied with prayer and the laying on of hands in the name of the Lord. After some years of practice, Dr. Boyd's reading and experience brought to him the conviction that the law of suggestion lay at the basis of this and every method of mental and spiritual healing. Following this up he found that purely mental methods were insufficient, and that the spiritual factor must enter in for decisive and permanent results. Then it became clear that mental and spiritual forces could not reach, or at least did not affect to any extent, certain classes of cases, and his practice had been in accordance therewith.

In around 1905-1906, The Emmanuel Movement arose at the Emmanuel (Episcopal) Church, Boston, Massachusetts, which recognized the value of body, mind and spirit in the treatment and healing of illnesses, including alcoholism. The Emmanuel Movement was an attempt to combine spirituality with a kind of simple lay psychotherapy. But it began simply as a medical mission carried out by two clergymen, both trained psychologists, the Rev. Elwood Worcester and Dr. Samuel McComb, which focused on the treatment of tuberculosis in Boston's slums. Out of their collaboration emerged the Emmanuel Movement, one of the early spiritual healing movements in mainline Protestantism (later superseded by the Order of St. Luke). A weekly gathering allowed for fellowship among the people who came to them. When they added a "Class for the Treatment of Mental Disorders" with the help of Dr. Isador H. Coriat, a psychiatrist, they began moving into new areas of work. They soon discovered that a substantial number of these impoverished men were alcoholics, and began to develop special techniques for working with them. It was found that it was the combination of spirituality, very simple psychological treatment, and fellowship all three which got people sober and kept them off the bottle. The similarities to the later Alcoholic Anonymous movement were substantial.  

In 1906 Dr. Boyd formed the Society of the Healing Christ and later became involved in the Emmanuel Healing Movement, holding his own Wednesday evening study class in the Ascension Church, Vallejo, California from 1908.
The Emmanuel Healing Movement was the subject of Dr. Boyd's first book The How and Why of the Emmanuel Movement, published in 1909. In his book , Dr. Boyd showed the art of healing had been practiced from earliest times, from the witch doctor of old driving out the devil, to the modern therapist. “Between these extremes of development are all the pathies, shrine cures, bones of the saints, holy waters, quackery, charlatanism, allopath, homeopath, isopath, osteopath, electric, botanic, magnetic, Christian Science, mind cure, divine healing and what not.”

As late as 1907 Americans knew little of psychotherapy. The word itself was virtually nowhere to be found in either professional or popular literature. Talking cures were not talked about. Despite growing medical and cultural awareness of mental suffering, few physicians made any effort to treat such states by appealing to mind. Indeed, for more than three decades, American physicians--particularly those who specialized in the treatment of nervous and mental disorders--had scoffed at anything even remotely resembling mental therapeutics. By 1910 this situation changed dramatically. Whereas decades of vigorous internal professional debates had failed to generate a consensus among American physicians and academic psychologists regarding the scientific legitimacy and clinical efficacy of mental therapeuitcs, in two short years the Emmanuel Church Healing Movement had forced both physicians and psychologists to confront squarely and publicly a subject that they had long avoided. Lasting from 1906 to 1910, this popular movement was the primary agent responsibile for the efflorescence of psychotherapy in the United States.

Dr. Boyd lectured widely for more than twenty years, visiting most of the cities and larger towns in the USA. as well as England and Scotland and various cities in Canada. He also founded the London Truth Forum. He became involved in the International New Thought Alliance, including serving as its president between 1930-32. Dr. Boyd retired
In 1934, naming his student and loyal follower Dr. Edna Lister his successor as head of the Society of the Healing Christ. 

He published many books.including The Emmanuel Movement, The How and Why of The Emmanuel Movement, Hypnotism, The Finger of God, The Principia of Spiritual Life, The Evolution of Human thought, The Law of Suggestion and Its Practical Uses, The Voice Eternal, Prospectus of Life in the University of Hard Knocks, The Mental Highway, Borderland experiences
, The Law and the Testimony, The Christ Science of Being, Doing and being: The A.B.C's and X.Y.Z's of Spiritual Healing, and an autobiography, "Te-Pe-Be."

Thomas Parker Boyd passed on in 1936.

The following books by Thomas Parker Boyd 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.

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The Finger of God

The Voice Eternal

The Mental Highway

The Evolution of Human Thought

The Principia of Spiritual Life

Prospectus of Life in the University of Hard Knocks

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How and Why of the Emmanuel Movement
The Law of Suggestion and Its Practical Uses

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