The Inside Scoop

Katy Koontz

Catherine Ponder (the subject of this issue’s “Listening in With …”) ran into some unusual challenges in writing her first book, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity (Prentice Hall, 1962). The initial hurdle happened when a personal secretary she hired to type the manuscript became quite taken with the material she was typing. The secretary imparted the information to her husband, a salesman, and his sales soon took off. The salesman ended up doing so well that his wife no longer needed the job and resigned.

Happy for her but still in need of assistance, Ponder hired a second secretary to type the rest of the manuscript, only to have the same scenario unfold again. The second woman’s husband had been out of work when she accepted the job. She, too, shared the intriguing information she was reading every day with her spouse. The man ended up getting an excellent engineering position, which meant the couple had to move out of state.

Still, more upheaval lay ahead. Ponder also happened to have a housekeeper at the time. The woman had not read the manuscript, nor had she attended the weekly prosperity classes Ponder had been teaching at Unity of Birmingham, Alabama. However, she was curious about the book her boss was writing and one day asked Ponder to explain the project. Ponder was happy to oblige and shared some of the book’s main ideas. Soon after, the housekeeper excitedly announced she was leaving to become a dressmaker, which had long been her dream. Before she left, she offered to take Ponder on as one of her first customers.

“I finally learned that if I wanted to keep a staff,” Ponder wrote in her memoir, A Prosperity Love Story (DeVorss, 2003), “I had better keep quiet about that prosperity class and its teachings.”

Three strikes may make an out in baseball, but in this case they served as evidence that Ponder was about to hit a home run—the book became a best-seller and launched her career as a prosperity expert. Now 90 and still active, Ponder has written 17 books, enjoyed a robust speaking career, and founded three Unity churches.

In our discussion, Ponder highlights some pertinent prosperity principles and shares some memories from her decades as a Unity minister, teacher, and author. However, I must warn you, read this interview at your own risk! Putting the principles to work may result in unexpected major life changes!

Speaking of prospering, this issue sees the debut of a new semiregular series called “Unity Masters,” written by Rev. Thomas Shepherd, D.Min. (better known around Unity Village as Dr. Tom). With each installment, Dr. Tom will delve into a different interesting figure from Unity history. He kicks off the series with a look at Ernest C. Wilson. Among other tidbits, Dr. Tom shares the story of how Wilson had possibly the shortest ordination ceremony on record as well as how he became a Los Angeles television personality (with the help of actress Betty White).

Katy Koontz, Editor