The New Thought Movement, or New Thought, is a spiritual movement which developed in the United States during the 1800’s and emphasizes metaphysical beliefs. It consists of a loosely allied group of religious denominations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of metaphysical beliefs.
The earliest identifiable proponent of New Thought
was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802–1866), an American philosopher, and healer.
Quimby developed a belief system that included the tenet that a mind open to
God's wisdom could overcome any illness. During the late 1800’s the metaphysical
healing practices of Quimby mingled with the "Mental Science" of Warren Felt
Evans, a Swedenborgian minister.
"There are various sects of "New Thought," but
their agreements are so profound that their differences may
"In its gradual development
during the last quarter of a century, it has taken up into
itself a number of contributory elements, and it must now be
reckoned with as a genuine religious power."
"The leaders in this faith
have had an intuitive belief in the all-saving power of
healthy-minded attitudes… Their belief has in a general way
been corroborated by the practical experience of their
disciples; and this experience forms today, a mass imposing
~ William James
Varieties of Religious Experience
New Thought was propelled along by a number of
spiritual thinkers and / or philosophers and emerged through a variety of
religious denominations and churches, the most easily recognized
today would probably be Unity Church and Religious Science.
By 1916, the International New Thought Alliance had
encompassed many of the smaller groups around the world.
Dr. Paul Leon Masters
began what has evolved into
International Metaphysical Ministry.
I.M.M. has joined
Science as one of the major
metaphysically oriented movements that comes under the description of
The principle difference between
and the other major
denominations is that
ordained ministers are free to choose their own operating names. I.M.M. ordained
ministers can also choose what they teach and how they operate. The one provision is that the basic
metaphysical teachings of the organization and its founder continue to be an
integral part of what is shared with the public.
In general, modern day adherents of New Thought believe that their interpretation of "God" or "Infinite Intelligence" is "supreme, universal, and everlasting"; that divinity dwells within each person; that all people are spiritual beings; that "the highest spiritual principle is loving one another unconditionally; and that "our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living.
Adherents generally believe the following: As humankind gains greater understanding of the world, New Thought will evolve to assimilate new knowledge, with new insights being received by individuals continuously, over time.