Women Writers of Unity
Women have always played a vital role in the Unity movement—ever since the first nine Unity ministers were ordained in 1906 and five of them were women, including Myrtle Fillmore. When regular ordinations began at Unity Farm in the 1930s, most graduates were women.
Throughout the years, there have been many female voices that have been at the heart of the Unity movement. From Myrtle Fillmore’s Healing Letters in 1936 to Jan Phillips’ award-winning Still on Fire: Field Notes from a Queer Mystic in 2021, for more than a century women writers in the Unity movement have been both influential and compelling.
While it would be impossible to list all the women writers in the Unity movement, in honor of Women’s History Month, we would like to share some of our favorites with you. The reader comments are taken from Amazon reviews.
Myrtle Fillmore’s Healing Letters
Myrtle Fillmore was one of the cofounders of the Unity movement, and she was afflicted with tuberculosis at a young age. While attending a lecture given by metaphysician E.B. Weeks in 1886, Fillmore discovered the power of divine healing through affirmative prayer. Given a death sentence at age 40 by her doctors, Fillmore eventually healed her tuberculosis and lived to be 86 years old.
This collection—compiled by Frances W. Foulks, a legendary Unity author in her own right—contains guidance, practical advice, and insight from the letters Fillmore lovingly sent to her correspondents in response to the countless requests she received.
What Readers Say
“I love Myrtle Fillmore! Her straightforward and undeniable approach to healing over 100 years ago gives us hope ... to become better metaphysicians and healers. She doesn’t mince words and always gives credit to the Creator (God).”
“Myrtle Fillmore was someone who believed in the power of divine presence and its healing power. This book is a real treasure—well-written, positive, and uplifting.”
Lessons in Truth by H. Emilie Cady
H. Emilie Cady was born in 1848 and became a homeopathic physician in New York City with a clear and simple approach to healing. Cady was associated with many members of the New Thought movement, such as Emmet Fox, a popular New Thought writer; Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, the founders of Unity; and Ernest Holmes, who founded the Science of Mind movement. She was inspired both by biblical teachings and the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The spiritual concepts presented in Lessons in Truth are clear illustrations of how to access our personal empowerment and discover our spiritual evolution. It is a concise and easy-to-understand representation of metaphysical Christianity and New Thought philosophy.
What Readers Say
“The woman was light-years before her time!”
“This is an amazing book. It has been around for a long time. It will change your life if you are open to the discipline, Change your thinking, changeyour life. You become aware of thought ruts you have been stuck in but not been aware of, and how to change them. As for me, this is the most important book I have ever read. This is Truth and it changes your life!”
What Are You? by Imelda Octavia Shanklin
Imelda Octavia Shanklin was one of the earliest significant women writers in the Unity movement. In 1907, Unity School of Christianity had a working staff of four people, and she was one of them. Shanklin wrote many articles for the children’s magazine Wee Wisdom®. She went on to publish many other works including The Sayings of Jesus Christ (a Unity pamphlet), Lessons for Young Students, and Treasure Box.
What Are You? is an exploration of the divinity of humankind, our true relationship with God, and the meaning of life. Through practical metaphysical insights, Shanklin explains why “you are what you think.” The chapter on nonresistance is known within Unity as a classic masterpiece.
What Readers Say
“Shanklin helps bring us back home to live from within, guided by Spirit, and to live from that place. Many with Unity backgrounds read this book every year. If you’re feeling disconnected or if you need to feel more grounded, working with truths taught in the book can make a huge difference in your life.”
God Will See You Through by Mary L. Kupferle
Mary L. Kupferle was a minister who served at churches in Missouri, Florida, California, and Kentucky. She influenced thousands through her writings, which offer positive, life-affirming solutions to everyday challenges. While she made her transition in 2003, she remains with us in her prolific body of work.
God Will See You Through is a compilation of short articles originally published in Daily Word®. The book was reprinted at the overwhelming request of Unity readers. She’s also the author of God Never Fails, Trust in the Goodness of God, and Your Help Is at Hand.
What Readers Say
“I have always loved this book, and when my world suddenly came crashing down around me, I turned to it to keep me going. It did. After one and a half years of incredible struggle and not knowing how I was going to make it through, I realized that God did see me through.”
“If you like Unity authors, you will like this book. I have highlighted and underlined many thoughts that speak to me. I routinely reread this book for the inspiration it gives me.”
“I refer to chapters of this book often. Mary L. Kupferle was an excellent, prayerful minister who made the Bible and prayer simple—easy to understand and put into practice. This book has been extremely uplifting and helpful in my spiritual growth.”
While it would be impossible to list all the women writers in the Unity movement, in honor of Women’s History Month, we would like to share some of our favorites with you.
The Five Principles by Ellen Debenport
Ellen Debenport is a journalist turned Unity minister who is now combining both areas of expertise as vice president of publishing and content for Unity World Headquarters. She previously served as senior minister at Unity churches in Wimberley and Dallas, Texas. Debenport is also the author of Hell in the Hallway, Light at the Door.
The Five Principles explains how the ancient spiritual principles taught in Unity give us tools for daily living. These principles show up in every major religion and are reflected in the teachings of Jesus. Debenport also shows the reader how to apply these principles to their own lives.
What Readers Say
“I think this makes a great resource for someone who is new to Unity, but it also could make a great study/small group book. Even if you feel like you know the Unity principles and spiritual laws, this is a great reminder of the power we have within us and the importance of moving away from being a victim to being victorious over our lives.”
“Beautifully spells out the principles that New Thought followers and anyone can appreciate and practice in their daily lives. By using these principles that conceive of a universal power and presence in everyone and everything, we can live fuller and richer lives. Well done!”
Adventures in Resilience: Ignite the 12 Powers in You to Create a Radiant Life by Sharon Connors
Sharon Connors is senior minister at Unity Spiritual Center of Sun City, Arizona, and previously served churches in California, Florida, and Unity Village, Missouri. She is also the author of Adventures in Prayer and Spiritual Cliff Notes.
Adventures in Resilience: Ignite the 12 Powers in You to Create a Radiant Life includes meditations, affirmations, prayers, and reflection questions that will help readers discover how to use the 12 powers—the 12 spiritual capabilities inherent in all of us. This is the perfect resource for small groups and book discussions.
What Readers Say
“It’s as if you’re sitting down, having a cup of coffee with Sharon. The stories roll out, followed by practices (affirmations, visualizations, prayers, practices, reflections). I’m inspired to plan my spiritual practice for [the year] using these tools—one power each month for 12 months.”
“Great book! Really resonated with me—the 12 powers within each of us and clearly explains how. This is a book I will read over and over again!”
This Life Is Yours: Discover Your Power, Claim Your Wholeness, and Heal Your Life by Linda Martella-Whitsett and Alicia Whitsett
Linda Martella-Whitsett is a minister, teacher, and spiritual coach. She is vice president of the Unity Prayer Ministry and was senior minister at Unity of San Antonio, Texas, for 13 years. In 2011, she won a best spiritual author competition with publisher Hampton Roads, resulting in her first book, How to Pray Without Talking to God. She is also the author of Divine Audacity.
Her daughter Alicia Whitsett is a first-time author and lifelong student of Unity teachings. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she works with children with developmental disabilities.
This Life Is Yours is a book about becoming conscious and discovering that you are eternal and unbreakable. It is a book that will help you heal your whole self, live a light-filled life, and claim your own power through practical exercises.
What Readers Say
“I found this book a pleasant and refreshing reminder that life is about the journey and not just racing toward goals. It also helped me realize how societal programming can have us focusing on things that really don’t bring us peace or fulfillment. I really enjoyed the message that wholeness is not perfection but rather about realizing that we are already whole regardless of our problems or medical issues. This mother-daughter duo is dynamic, and the examples of the individuals mentioned in the book who came into their personal power to overcome difficulties really illustrated the concepts presented by the authors.”
“This book is a keeper! Filled with affirmations that I didn’t expect but I need, like recognizing your worth, asserting power, managing pain, and honoring your feelings. I highly recommend journaling along with this book.”
Still on Fire: Field Notes from a Queer Mystic by Jan Phillips
Jan Phillips is an award-winning author who cofounded the Livingkindness Foundation—established to provide leadership training for women, foster creative approaches to social activism, and improve educational opportunities. She is also the author of Marry Your Muse: Making a Lasting Commitment to Your Creativity, There Are Burning Bushes Everywhere, and Born Gay: Images and Reflections of an Ordinary Lesbian.
Still on Fire: Field Notes from a Queer Mystic is a funny, honest, and authentic memoir that follows Phillips as she is dismissed from a convent for “a disposition unsuited to religious life, with excessive and exclusive friendships.” She goes on to tell the stories of her one-woman peace pilgrimage, her time spent in India, and her social activism.
What Readers Say
“Jan Phillips is a terrific writer. This book starts with an LGBTQ theme as she tells the story of being kicked out of a Catholic convent because she was lesbian, then it moves on from there. She traveled the world on a one-woman peace mission and remains an activist today. This book includes some of her poetry and photography as she tells how she resolved her religious trauma and urges everyone to create their own spiritual path. I loved reading it.”
“Reading this memoir felt like a summit to the highest mountain—the views were spectacular just as her vignettes spoke truth and wisdom. I appreciate the journey inward and into this world. Always Jan answered the call to action, to get involved and to be present. She inspires each of us to bring our passion, talent, [and] abilities to life. To be of service. To be. To do. A simple recipe for a well-lived life.”