FATHER DIVINE'S Movement Expands

Signs of the TIMES



Newspaper reprint from the NEW YORK TIMES, Sunday, July 2, 1939 Section 4, page 10 E,
Review of the Week and Editorial Section as Found in The New Day: July 6, 1939 A.D.F.D., Pg. 16

Ed. note: At the top of this article appears a three- column- wide picture, the caption of which reads, "THE WORD OF FATHER DIVINE CROSSES THE OCEAN." The picture itself shows, FATHER on the steps of one of the many houses at "KRUM ELBOW." HE is surrounded by a happy group of the Followers. A facsimile of the name, "THE NEW DAY," as it appears on the front cover, is shown at the top of the picture and a reproduction of "DER NEUE TAG" is at the bottom. The copy under the picture reads, "FATHER DIVINE and some of HIS flock on the porch of their KRUM ELBOW `heaven'"--and copies of two of the movement's publications, one issued in New York and the other in the German language in Switzerland, are represented, by the upper parts of their front covers.

Another photo at the end of the article has the caption, "PARADING FOR FATHER DIVINE." Two signs displayed by the marchers read, "FATHER, I thank YOU, for I have paid $175.80 to Home Relief. ALL HONOR to GOD--FATHER DIVINE" and "FATHER DIVINE has set before the Whole Creation AN OPEN DOOR. PEACE--ENTER IN."

( The photos shown here are not the original NEW YORK TIMES photos. )

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His Followers Are Active Buyers of Hudson Estates



Taken From Section 4. Review of the Week and Editorial Section--The New York Times,
Sunday, July 2, 1939 by Robert S. Bird

Greenkill Park

Greenkill Park






Recent large-scale real estate transactions in Ulster and Westchester Counties have turned attention anew to Father Divine, the Harlem evangelist, and his band of followers. In Ulster alone from the first thirty-four acre farm acquired for $7,000 in 1935 Father Divine's "Promised Land" has grown to a flourishing domain of some thirty properties embracing more than 2,500 acres and representing a cash investment of more than $250,000 over the four- year period. It is estimated that $100,000 more has been spent on improvements of these lands and buildings. Every cent of mortgages has been paid off and not a penny is owing in taxes.

In this huge community that has facilities for feeding and lodging perhaps 10,000 persons at one time, where no person may smoke, drink or curse, there are cultivated farms, resort hotels, country clubs, estates, scores of houses and dormitories, all manner of restaurants, stores, gasoline stations, tailor shops, barber shops, garages and even two large docks with boathouses on the Hudson river, capable of accommodating the largest excursion steamers.

Any person, whether a follower of Father Divine or not, may live here in cleanest surroundings and eat veritable banquets three times a day upon the payment of $2 a week for lodgings and 15 cents a meal. If he has not the money to pay he need only contribute a little of his time and labor toward the upkeep of the establishment, for this Empire of Peace operates entirely on a cooperative basis.


German Publication

German Publication






Father Divine's movement first began to attract attention about fourteen years ago in Sayville, L. I. For years it met with the most determined opposition, and Father Divine frequently was haled into court. He was unperturbed.

The movement seemed to thrive on opposition. So-and-so persons--the movement does not recognize distinction of race, creed or color--began to join the flock. Growth increased with each passing year. "Heavens" and "extensions," as the followers call the various meeting places, sprung up in cities all over the United States and in most of the countries of Europe.

What is unique about this astonishing movement is that it has no formal organization--no administrative staff, nothing except Father Divine and his staff of secretaries.

The most careful scrutiny by a half dozen official agencies supports the Father's contention that he owns nothing. All of his far flung properties are purchased, owned and operated by groups of followers who seem spontaneously to fill each need as it arises within the movement.

Nobody, least of all Father Divine, can estimate the number of disciples. Certainly most of them are drawn from the underprivileged so-and-so people of this country.

The properties which are wholly owned or leased by followers and exclusively given over to the uses of the movement are almost all situated within the Greater New York area and states adjacent to New York. In the South, the Middle West and on West Coast the movement flourishes chiefly in the homes of individuals, who band together for meetings and for readings of the Father's messages.

He accounts for the huge financial investment represented in the Ulster Country properties by explaining simply that his followers, inspired by his message of Love and Peace and the godly life, are moved to invest their savings, whether large or small, in such land and buildings as strike their fancy and seem fit for the communal life which characterizes the movement. They band together in sufficient numbers to make each individual's contribution relatively small. Each shares in the expense of the upkeep.

Father Divine's professed aim is to bring the "Kingdom of Heaven" to men on this earth. He tells his followers constantly that Heaven is right here if they will but realize it. HE exhorts them to lead the moral life, to promote Peace, to live in harmony and love with their fellow-men; to dismiss from their minds any thought of distinctions between peoples as to class, race, creed. He does not believe in smoking or drinking because, he says they waste the body and mind. He forbids the reading of newspapers because these, he holds, employ false concepts; for instance, his own press never uses the word "c..." or "w...," and when quoting articles in which these words are used, always translates them "so- and-so."

His followers worship him as God. In answer to the question recently: "Your followers do not call you a God-like man or a godly man, they call you God?" he replied to this interviewer: "Unadulterated!"

He explained that he considers himself one with the divine Spirit and therefore his words are divinely inspired and his actions those of omnipotence. He further explained, however, that he believes that his state of divinity is conceivably attainable by others, although he knew of no "competitors in the Universal Mind substance where I am."








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