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Helen Wilmans, was a journalist and publisher who wrote and advocated for the New Thought movement teaching the principles of mind over matter. She published a feminist newspaper, The Woman's World, and a weekly magazine, Freedom.
Links to Helen Wilmans's Works:
Wilmans suffered through difficult circumstances for twenty years, her husband was a farmer and like many farmers was constantly struggling. Wilmans decided to leave her husband and pursue her dream of becoming a member of the 'literati' She took off for San Francisco with the family savings and soon secured a position at a newspaper. Through her job, she earned enough money to live in a style that made her feel more comfortable.
While in San Francisco she noted the great attraction that Mental Science & Eastern Esoteric religions had for so many in the United States. This led her to hone her talents and write several books. She soon realized that in addition to writing, teaching was extremely lucrative. She began teaching mental science and performing healings. Her efforts in these areas helped her to become very wealthy. She cited her own example of using her intellectual talents as opposed to physical endowments to achieve wealth in her book, "The Conquest of Poverty."
Wilmans, like many of the early New Thought Leaders, was a student of Emma Curtis Hopkins. the famous "teacher of teachers" who inspired and taught hundreds of teachers and healers and was a formative force in the nascent New Thought movement.
Wilmans began her publishing adventure living among stranger. She had no assets and no management experience, but her publishing concern made money from the start.
In her own words:
"It may not be amiss here to speak a word concerning my own experience--it often happens that the experience of another fires him who hears it to a new effort--and I want to tell how all things have conspired to push and kick and starve me into my present position of thought. "My temperament is lymphatic. I like my ease. I could amuse myself with small pleasures. I could bear much inconvenience and endure bad treatment, finding compensation in books, embroidery, and other small enjoyments.
"But it seemed as if everything I touched turned to ashes--as if nature were in conspiracy with fate to drive me on. I lost my home, where I would have been content to raise poultry for a living. I was driven into newspaper work from my very hunger.
"I was successful in this work only a few months. My ideas ripened too fast and I began, without knowing it, to write ahead of the demand made by the class of readers who took the paper I was on. Then this door shut in my face, and other doors did the same, until I stood, one sleety November day, out in the Chicago streets with twenty-five cents in my pocket, and not a soul on earth from whom I felt free to ask a dollar.
"And now note this: I was stripped of every dependence save that which I had in my lone self. And oh, what a position it was! I shall never forget it. Do you imagine that I was frightened? The first attempt I made to analyze my feelings brought me the fact that I was not frightened at all.
"Then came such a consciousness of power as I never had had before in my life. Everything was swept from me and I stood alone in my own strength. And this naked strength is a tremendous thing to stand in. There is nothing equal to it.
"For the first time in my life I was perfectly erect; I touched no one at any point. I felt myself an unfathomable abyss of mighty potencies. I was glad my purse was empty; the thought of money should never master me again. I started toward my boarding house, with the exultant freedom of a bird. I held a power in my hands that nothing could quell; that power was the absence of fear--the sense of freedom, and the consciousness of my own independent and unaided strength.
"I went to my room and began to write; and that article was the most emphatic declaration of the right of the 'I' that was ever put in type. Looked at from a conventional standpoint it was utterly lawless. But when it came out, it touched the people like a shock of electricity. It said for them what they wanted to say but dared not. Hundreds of journals copied it, and it ran through public feeling like wildfire.
"I had just finished writing it when there came a rap at my door and my landlord came in. He was a man who looked carefully after his own interests.
"You came home early," he said, "and if you do not care I want to know why." I told him that I had lost my position.
"What will you do?" he asked.
"I will make a paper of my own that shall be free from the fear of public opinion," I said.
"And then I read the article I had written. Now this man was almost a stranger to me. I simply knew him by sight. When I read him what I had written he stood up to go. At the door he turned and with a manner as respectful as if he had been addressing a queen, asked if he might have the privilege of furnishing the money necessary to get the paper out.
"But it was not necessary. I finished writing the other articles to be used and then took them to the largest newspaper publishers in the city. I told them I wanted twenty thousand copies of the paper. They asked no questions; the paper came out in a few days and was sent to such addresses as I could command. The bill for the paper was never presented to me. I called for it some four weeks later and paid for it out of the money that flowed in on me in subscriptions, and I have never lacked for a dollar since.
"I have told this for a purpose, as the student may guess. I want to show that the basis of success rests in a person's power to stand alone; and no man will ever be the magnet to attract success until he can stand alone, straight and tall as a liberty pole, glorying in the position; free from fear; independent of public opinion, and daring to be himself. Here is the strength that draws still greater strength; here is that which all men adore, and before which all false assumptions of greatness doff their tinsel crowns."
Helen Wilmans business success was followed by more success. She seemed to be destined to carve her name into the bedrock of history. She was the Oprah of her day. She built a city, then founded a Mental Science "colony" all the while expanding her fortune while writing and publishing a library of Mental Science which seems for the most part to have vanished into dust. She also healed hundreds of patients of various diseases and ailments and Wilmans taught New Thought to thousands of students enabling them to heal, vitalize and liberate themselves.
People in the state of Washington were extremely enthusiastic about Helen Wilmans' approach to New Thought and soon a Mental Science Association was organized in Seattle. It was not long until the first Mental Science convention was held in Seattle in 1899. The second convention representing Mental Science was held in Seabreeze, Florida the next year.
Wilmans success soon yielded a backlash, which many say was prompted by her disputes with a wealthy citizen of Seabreeze. Some said he was a fundamentalist who had taken umbrage with Wilmans beliefs. Others said he was upset because he felt that Wilmans was taking away business from him. But whatever the reason, the value of Wilmans' prayer treatments was being called into question and the U.S. Post Office had become involved in the dispute.
In the words of Eugene Del Mar who had been a student of Wilman's and established the New York branch of the Mental Science Temple in 1899, and had become the president of the League for the Larger Life being actively connected with the New Thought movement since 1898:
"It was my good fortune to know Helen Wilmans intimately, first visiting her at Sea Breeze, Fla., as her guest, and subsequently taking up my residence there for six months, lecturing and writing for her magazine, Freedom.
"Helen Wilmans was one of the most broadminded of the leaders of the movement, with pioneer spirit and courage, and when others accepted or compromised with the arbitrary and bureaucratic methods of the Post Office Department she defied them and fought to the end. Her resistance endured to the great ultimate advantage of the movement, even in the face of the criticism and condemnation with which she was greeted by some of the New Thought leaders.
"The Post Office Fraud Order was placed on Helen Wilmans without even prior notice. There was no hearing, no trial, no conviction. It was instituted by the jealousy of the man who dominated Sea Breeze, Helen Wilmans having established her 'City Beautiful" a few miles distant, and thereby taken away the post office and other privileges that this Sea Breeze magnate had previously enjoyed. He happened to be an intimate of the then senior U.S. senator from Maine, who was very close to the President; and on motives of jealousy and revenge, and at the instigation of political intrigue, the Post Office Department was set in motion in true Russian autocratic manner."
"Helen Wilmans was cut off from the world without chance for redress and condemned publicly without hearing or trial. After this had been done, she was indicted on a charge of 'fraud,' the U. S. Government contending that her claim of cure by absent treatment was necessarily fraudulent because it was impossible to be done. Her claim was false because absent cure was impossible, and it was fraudulent because she must have known that it was impossible. The United States district judge so instructed the jury as follows: 'The foundation of the contention of the Government is that what was promised to be done could not have been intended, because the fulfillment was known to be impossible, by the means proposed by the defendant, viz. the transfer of the power of her thought to the person of the client with a curing influence sufficient to accomplish the changes in condition that were declared to be accomplished."
"The United States Supreme Court reversed this decision and finally--after Helen Wilmans had been impoverished, her business ruined, and her spirit broken--the matter was dropped. When, not long after this, her husband died, she felt that she had no further desire to go on with her work, and she passed away."
"Helen Wilmans was one of the many wonderful women that the New Thought movement has produced. She was much misunderstood and maligned by those who either did not know her or were prejudiced by her pioneer methods. I shall indeed be glad if at this late date some measure of justice is done to her memory."
The issue of the efficacy of prayer has been argued for millenia whenever freedom allowed for usch argumentation to be voiced. Such issues concerning beliefs could never be settled in a U.S. Court so long as said court adhered to the U.S. Constitution.
Whether we call prayer Spiritual Mind Treatment or Affirmative Prayer, or simply prayer or any other name, there are many methods of prayer and today the validity of the Mind / Body connection is no longer in dispute. Prayer can be done in person. Prayer can be done on the phone. Prayer can be done on a computer. Quantuum physics teaches that two distinct and separate objects can affect each other without visible contact.
Today self help books, affirmations, prayer and psychology are used by billions of people to surmount business challenges and build better lives. It would be hard to imagine a modern world without Deepak Chopra or Andrew Weil. The freedom to explore such truths was championed by Helen Wilmans.