Who is Ernest Holmes?

Ernest Holmes (1887- 1959) was a trailblazer in the study and the evolution of the power of the human mind and consciousness. He was a revered New Thought leader, speaker, teacher, and the founder of the international Religious Science movement, as well as an internationally recognized author of numerous books blending metaphysics, psychology, and philosophy.   

His best-known book is “The Science of Mind,” published in 1926, which has become the textbook of Religious Science.  In 1927 he founded the international monthly periodical, Science of Mind Magazine. Both are in print and continue to inspire and influence people worldwide. His teachings of Science of Mind are recognized as one of the leading viewpoints in modern metaphysics, which is a spiritual philosophy that has brought to people around the world a sense of their relationship to God and their place in the Universe which guides them to a positive, supportive approach to daily living. He was instrumental in the teaching of the power of our thoughts, cause and effect, and Love and Law.

In 1958 Ernest Holmes said: “We have launched a Movement which, in the next 100 years, will be the great new religious impulsion of modern times, far exceeding, in its capacity to envelop the world, anything that has happened since Mohammedanism started.”

The Journey from Childhood to Spiritual Leader 

Ernest Holmes was born January 21, 1887 into poverty on a small Maine farm, the youngest of nine sons. He was raised as a Baptist, but his parents encouraged Holmes to question everything, including religion. As a young boy, even before he learned to read, he acquired the skill of repeating passages almost word for word after them being read to him only once. Reading was a favorite pastime of the Holmes family, and philosophy and religion were the subjects that his parents read the most. They would not tolerate the teaching of fear as part of religion.  

As a teenager, he spent most of his time outdoors asking himself, “What is God?  Who am I?  Why am I here?”   

He was widely known as “the eternal question mark.”  He was curious about everything and would challenge the local preachers and doubted the answers he got in church. Ernest never subscribed to the popular idea of an eternal hell.

At the age of 18, upon leaving home, he moved to Boston where he dove deeper into his journey of independent thinking. At which time, he discovered the writings and philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as Mary Baker Eddy, Phineas Quimby and Christian Larson. However, of the many philosophers he studied, the three most influential were Emerson, as well as Thomas Troward, and Emma Curtis Hopkins. 

At the age of 25, Holmes moved to California. He began assisting in his brother Fenwicke’s church. During this time he began lecturing and became an ordained minister of Divine Science.  

Through Holmes’ studies he developed his own theory of prayer, which he believed was not to convince or persuade God to grant one’s desire, but to change one’s own consciousness. When once asked to give a concise definition of the Science of Mind teaching, he said that it is a “correlation of laws of science, opinions of philosophy, and revelations of religion applied to human needs and aspirations.”

At the age of 40, Ernest married Hazel Foster.  They were married for 30 years.  Together they worked at the Institute of Religious Science and Philosophy in Los Angeles.  They had no children of their own.  Hazel made her transition in 1957.  Two years later Ernest Holmes made his transition leaving a legacy which to this day is studied and followed all over the world.

“We have within us a power that is greater than anything we shall ever contact in the outer, a power that can overcome every obstacle in our life and set us safe, satisfied and at peace, healed and prosperous, in a new light and a new life.” -Ernest Holmes

 For more in-depth information on Ernest Holmes, visit The Science of Mind Archives.

Rev. Dr. Laura Shackelford

Rev. Dr. Laura Shackelford is an ordained Religious Science Minister. She has been at the Palm Desert Spiritual Center as a minister over 20 years and has served as the Assistant Minister for 10 years. For 18 years she served as the recording secretary for Religious Science International and then for Centers for Spiritual Living. She can be reached at laurashackelford8@gmail.com