≡ Menu

Florence Scovel Shinn and Dr. Ernest Holmes: Affirmative Words Meet the Science of the Mind

The journey of personal transformation and manifestation is often lit by the wisdom of remarkable teachers. Florence Scovel Shinn and Dr. Ernest Holmes, both giants in the realm of spiritual teachings, have provided countless individuals with tools for inner growth and the manifestation of their desires. Although they both belong to the early 20th century, their teachings contain timeless wisdom that still resonates deeply today. This article explores the parallels and divergences between their enlightening teachings.

Who Was Dr. Earnest Holmes?

Dr. Ernest Holmes: The Visionary Mind Behind Religious Science

In the annals of spiritual thought and the New Thought movement, few names shine as brightly as Dr. Ernest Holmes. A prolific writer, speaker, and spiritual leader, Holmes’ teachings laid the foundation for the Religious Science movement, now known as Centers for Spiritual Living. His life, marked by a deep quest for understanding the universe’s spiritual laws, has left a lasting impact on millions. Let’s delve into the life, teachings, and legacy of Dr. Ernest Holmes.

Early Life and Spiritual Quest

Born in 1887 in Lincoln, Maine, Ernest Shurtleff Holmes was the youngest of nine siblings. From an early age, he displayed a deep curiosity about life’s mysteries and an insatiable quest for spiritual understanding. His family’s Christian background provided a foundation, but Holmes quickly began exploring a wider range of spiritual thought, deeply influenced by writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mary Baker Eddy.

Discovery of New Thought

Holmes’ spiritual journey led him to the New Thought movement, where he was deeply influenced by the teachings of Emma Curtis Hopkins, Thomas Troward, and Phineas Quimby. Embracing the idea that thoughts could change reality, Holmes began formulating a systematic approach to spiritual living, focusing on the principles that would later form the bedrock of Religious Science.

“The Science of Mind” and Founding of Religious Science

In 1926, Holmes penned what would become his seminal work, “The Science of Mind.” In this comprehensive exploration of spiritual laws and their application, Holmes outlined his synthesis of Eastern and Western spiritual philosophies. His teachings emphasized that the universe is fundamentally mental and that individuals, through their thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, can shape their realities.

Inspired by the impact of his teachings and the burgeoning interest in his philosophy, in 1927, Holmes founded the Institute of Religious Science and School of Philosophy in Los Angeles. This would grow and evolve into the Church of Religious Science, an organization dedicated to the study and practice of Holmes’ teachings.

Lectures, Teachings, and Writings

Throughout his life, Dr. Holmes was an active lecturer, regularly hosting radio programs and delivering talks to share his philosophy. His magnetic charisma, combined with his deep understanding of spiritual laws, made him a sought-after speaker and teacher.

Besides “The Science of Mind,” Holmes authored numerous other books and articles, further elucidating his philosophy’s nuances and providing practical applications for daily living.

Legacy and Continued Influence

Dr. Ernest Holmes passed away in 1960, but his teachings and influence remain very much alive. The Centers for Spiritual Living, an evolution of his original Church of Religious Science, continues to teach his philosophy worldwide, with congregations and study groups embracing his vision of a world where everyone realizes their divine nature.

Many contemporary spiritual leaders, writers, and thinkers have been influenced by Holmes’ teachings, further spreading his vision of a world governed by love, unity, and abundance.

Dr. Ernest Holmes’ journey from a curious boy in Maine to a pivotal figure in the New Thought movement is nothing short of inspiring. His unwavering belief in the power of the human mind to co-create with the divine has left a legacy that continues to touch lives, teaching us that we are, indeed, powerful beyond measure. Through his writings, teachings, and the institutions he founded, Holmes’ light continues to shine, guiding seekers toward a deeper understanding of themselves and the universe.

Florence Scovel Shinn: The Power of Affirmation and Faith

Shinn’s teachings are anchored in the spiritual significance of words, faith, and divine alignment:

  • Word as Creative Force: Shinn professed that words, when articulated with intention and belief, possess the power to sculpt one’s reality. Positive affirmations can clear obstructions and usher in desired outcomes.
  • Trust in Divine Law: Central to her teachings is the idea that the universe operates on specific spiritual laws. By understanding and aligning with these laws, individuals can navigate life harmoniously and attract abundance.
  • Guidance of Intuition: Shinn emphasized the importance of trusting one’s intuition, viewing it as a beacon of divine guidance.

Dr. Ernest Holmes: Delving into the Science of the Mind

Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, offers a systematic approach to spirituality and manifestation:

  • Mind as Creative Medium: Holmes believed that the mind is a creative medium. Through deliberate thought and belief, individuals can imprint their desires onto this medium, leading to their materialization in the external world.
  • Spiritual Laws are Universal: Much like Shinn, Holmes taught that there are immutable spiritual laws. However, he detailed these laws with a scientific rigor in his seminal work, “The Science of Mind.”
  • Treatment through Affirmative Prayer: Holmes introduced the concept of “treatment,” a method of affirmative prayer. This technique involves aligning one’s thoughts with desired outcomes and impressing these upon the Universal Mind.

Comparative Insights: Shinn vs. Holmes

1. Faith and Simplicity vs. Systematic Approach: While both emphasize the power of thought and alignment with spiritual laws, Shinn’s teachings are characterized by simplicity and deep faith. In contrast, Holmes offers a more methodical and structured approach to spirituality, linking it with principles that resemble scientific postulates.

2. Divine Intuition vs. Conscious Design: Shinn often spoke of divine orchestration and trusting one’s intuitive nudges. Holmes, while not negating intuition, focused on the conscious design of one’s life through deliberate thought processes.

3. Affirmations vs. Affirmative Prayer: Both teachers believed in the power of affirming truths. However, while Shinn focused on affirmations as powerful declarations, Holmes evolved this concept into a structured method of affirmative prayer.


Florence Scovel Shinn and Dr. Ernest Holmes, though born of the same era, provide seekers with varied yet harmonizing paths to manifestation. Shinn’s heartfelt affirmations, rooted in deep faith, offer an accessible path for those looking to shape their lives with simplicity and trust. Holmes, with his methodical and almost scientific approach, provides a detailed roadmap for those keen on understanding the intricacies of mind mechanics.

By imbibing the intuitive wisdom of Shinn and combining it with the structured methodologies of Holmes, individuals can harness a comprehensive and potent toolkit for manifestation and spiritual growth.

Read about similar teachers below…

Explorers of the Ethereal: Masters of Manifestation and Spiritual Insight

The world of metaphysics and spiritual exploration is replete with visionaries whose teachings have expanded our understanding of the universe and our place within it. Stuart Wilde, with his enigmatic exploration of the esoteric, proffers a deeper grasp of the mystical, urging seekers to understand the profound nature of reality. Neale Donald Walsch, through his transcendent conversations with God, reshapes our understanding of divinity, human purpose, and our interconnectedness. Terrence McKenna delves into the union of ethnobotany, psychedelics, and consciousness, revealing a cosmos vibrating with potential and mystery.

Mike Dooley’s affirmations about the universe having our back amplify the potent idea that our intentions steer our reality. Eric Butterworth’s teachings beautifully echo the Unity Church’s principles, emphasizing an omnipresent God and our innate divinity. Claude Bristol, with his riveting “The Magic of Believing,” presents the art of belief as the very crux of manifesting desires and actualizing dreams.

Manly P. Hall, a virtuoso in occult and esoteric wisdom, decodes ancient mysteries, making them accessible to the modern seeker. Dr. Ernest Holmes, the cornerstone of Religious Science, magnifies the role of the mind in shaping our circumstances and life paths. John Kehoe’s focus on the power of the subconscious mind and visualization serves as a beacon for those aiming to harness their inner potential.

Phineas Quimby, heralded as an early proponent of the New Thought movement, intertwines health and spiritual beliefs, offering solace and healing. Emmet Fox’s spiritual discourse shines a light on the transformative power of positivity and divine alignment. William Walker Atkinson, with his deep-rooted principles of the law of attraction, further emphasizes the might of thought in creating one’s reality.

Together, this illustrious group of thinkers presents a diverse palette of insights, weaving a comprehensive narrative of personal growth, spiritual understanding, and the art of conscious creation.