The Peace Mission Movement, Part III. As A Contemporary Religion



(This article is the conclusion of a series of three articles.)






The twentieth century has brought with it an era of scientific development, educational advancement and a desire for Christian unity such as non other has. Yet, even as mankind comes closer to conquering poverty, disease and crime than ever before in the history of the world, he lacks the solution to the moral problem and a better understanding between man and man. He still has not found his Utopia, his Shangri-La, his Heaven on Earth. While he gets nearer perfection scientifically, he falls away from it morally and spiritually. Where is the missing link?

A look toward the Peace Mission Movement could answer this question. FATHER DIVINE, in His establishment of heaven on earth, has answered every problem which confronts man today, not theoretically, but in practice.

How much unnecessary trouble is created in the search when the truth is so simple

'Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them . . .'

It is this exemplification of the Golden Rule that fills the very atmosphere wherever a follower of FATHER DIVINE is found and that creates that wonderful feeling of peace and security among them.

Speaking on bringing the Presence of GOD closer to man, which should be the aim of religion today, FATHER DIVINE said:

'It is a privilege to realize, the very Mission of CHRIST, yea, the Mission of CHRIST as a Person in the name of Jesus, was to bring about a close relationship between GOD and man. That relationship that had been severed from the time Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden. By his disobedience and by his ignorance, humanly speaking, he went away from GOD'S Presence, according to his version. He did not actually go away from GOD'S Presence in reality, for GOD is Present everywhere, but he merely went away from GOD'S Presence according to his version. He thought he would hide himself in among the trees of the Garden, that he could not nor would not be seen. Because his version was that he had gone away from HIM, GOD verified his version and made it real, for GOD confirmed the same by driving him from His Presence.

"Since that time, man in mortal consciousness has been far away from GOD, but the Mission of CHRIST in the name of Jesus was to bring man back to the conscious realization and the recognition of the Presence of GOD, and to make them or to cause them whichever, to be one with their Maker and closely related by nature and other expressions; becoming to be spiritual while they are physical, and causing GOD to become to be Physical while HE was Spiritual."

The Work and Mission of FATHER DIVINE and its effect upon the world is more far-reaching than the average person realizes. It is true Christianity, brotherhood and Americanism put into action. Churches speak of these things, FATHER DIVINE is and always has been doing them; sacrificing His Life for this Cause and to this end. An educator caught a glimpse of the work of FATHER DIVINE when he said:

' FATHER DIVINE is doing the Work of GOD and no man in America can do this Work HE is doing. FATHER DIVINE is the Lighthouse of Christian Civilization.'

The fact that millions declare FATHER DIVINE to be GOD by revelation of the spirit within and that heaven is a state of consciousness to be enjoyed here on earth, is a statement which certainly stirs the curiosity of people to the extent that they desire to become better acquainted with the Movement. FATHER, extending HIMSELF to all mankind, said:

'I was just thinking about this wonderful Truth, how thousands and thousands of people, if they partially knew, could make their mental and spiritual contact and be abundantly blessed. As any place where you are helped by the hand of nature, from a natural, physical point of view even, you do not ask the conditions, you just partake of them. You can partake of ME. I AM life. I AM health. I AM wealth.'

These are the basic needs sectarian congregations are beginning to demand. They want salvation now.

Infinitely impersonal in His outlook, FATHER DIVINE expressed His determination to accomplish His endeavors.

'They can prosecute or persecute ME,'

HE said,

'or even send ME to the electric chair, but they can never keep ME from you or stop ME from doing good.'

The impact of this remark has become stronger during the years and greater and greater has been this powerful force for good, for integration, for abundance and for true religion.

A Practical Answer

Surely at one time, men would have called anyone unreasonable who stated that the heart could be operated on or that computers would be more accurate than man or that man would penetrate outer space, but today it is true. As civilization advances, so must man himself advance in the knowledge of GOD'S Presence, if he is to survive.

The Movement, constantly progressive, advances and adapts both materially and spiritually to the times. FATHER DIVINE said in 1940 that

'. . . your spiritual and inspirational advances must be effected and must be in evidence in your experience to compete with the advances science and invention are making scientifically to compete with time and seasons. For GOD in the temples and bodies and understanding of the children of men, transcends the barriers of orthodoxy, tradition and ancestry, for they are limited . . . the very Spirit of GOD'S Presence did not find the invention of electricity orthodoxly, or traditionally; did not find it ancestrally by the ancestors, did not find it ancestrally but they found the inspiration transcending tradition, transcending ancestry ancestor, transcending orthodoxy, transcending the barriers and the limitations of those who criticized the inventor.

"We would not know anymore about electricity and would not have any better use of electricity today than they had, had the inventor and all other inventors stopped at what they said. They would not have gone up in the clouds interfering with GOD and GOD'S business up in the sky. Can you not see the mystery?"

The Movement has always upheld the very strict Modest Code instituted by FATHER DIVINE HIMSELF which says:

'No smoking, no drinking, no obscenity, no vulgarity, no undue mixing of the sexes, no receiving of gifts, presents, tips or bribes.'

Each of these "habits" normally indulged in seem harmless enough but are currently being proven detrimental one by one. FATHER DIVINE has explained that smoking is not only detrimental to one's bodily health but it makes one a slave to something unwholesome and impure.

Far from being introversive, followers are a carefree and happy people, taking advantage of active sports, entertainment of a high quality provided within the Movement and activities in connection with Peace Mission Churches.

By giving up the "no harm" habits as FATHER DIVINE calls them, followers have been able to use money saved in a constructive way. Calling this surplus "fragments", FATHER said:

'The fragments have been in evidence in our present experience! You did not have the record exactly, what became of the fragments that were taken up after Jesus fed the 5,000 and the 7,000 but I will give you a slight sketch and a reflection of some of the fragments that have been bountifully supplied! After the parents had educated their children and brought them up in the way of GOD, the fragments that have been taken up were sufficient to buy hotels, apartment houses, business places and everything that life demands.'

Followers whose names never appear on city, state or federal relief rolls (conservative estimates placed the amount saved the City of New York alone at two million dollars annually at one time) equate honesty and competence with absolute independence according to FATHER DIVINE'S stipulation that to express Christianity, brotherhood and Americanism, one must be independent.

In 1929, during the days of the depression, many came to FATHER DIVINE for help, needing a lift mentally and spiritually above even their dire physical needs. FATHER extended His Hand as always, to one and all providing ease for their mind, body and spirit at the same time. In turn, they too felt it their moral obligation to extend this same godliness to others.

'. . .at one time My followers in this city here (New York City) were feeding more than three thousand daily,

HE stated,

'of the unemployed, absolutely unemployed: giving them free dinners, absolutely free, not selling to the general public at ten and fifteen cents a meal but they were feeding the general public, as many as would come running up to three thousand or more daily, absolutely gratis, without taking a penny from them.'

The Peace Mission Courtesy Employment Service, then as now, supplied followers and others with employment absolutely free to employer and employee. This provided the chance to procure work as a start up the road to independence and integrity.

Then, admonishing His followers to pay their past debts and face the world with a clear conscience, FATHER DIVINE said:

'That is why it is absurd and ridiculous to hear some talking about I receive money from My followers, when I demand them to go back and pay back every old back bill from seventy-five to one hundred years back and adjust matters satisfactorily . . . Do not try to enjoy yourself in the way of spending money for pleasure unless you first go and pay all of your just debts. Can you not see the mystery? We want a Righteous Government and a clean and a pure and wholesome environment, wheresoever we are, in which to live; by so doing we have a government and an environment and an atmosphere unsurpassed.'

During this time, when followers took advantage of boat excursions provided by the Movement up the Hudson River about a hundred miles for only one dollar, followers conscientiously abided by FATHER'S edict not to go anywhere for pleasure unless debts were paid, for they knew HE saw all they did and heard all they said.

In verification of this payment of debts, a sampling of accounts of payment have been taken at random from the pages of The New Day.

From Australia came word that the Moorefield Race Club Ltd. had received six pounds restitution from A. C. Calgowan for a dishonest deed.

In England, Miss E. McConnel contacted the New York Central System to make payment for a trip she had taken to the Niagara Falls in 1900.

The Illinois Public Aid Commission received $280.29 from Miss Rebirth Love.

The Welfare Department of New York acknowledged $200.00 from Miss True Love.

The John Wanamaker store of New York received $732.02 from a Miss Seymour.

Mr. Silvio Spagnolo paid into the Treasury $1000 $500 for back income taxes and an additional $500 to the conscience fund.

In speaking with an attorney for the John Wanamaker store in Philadelphia, a prominent clergyman asked him if he had heard about followers paying their old debts long since placed in the dead file.

'If FATHER DIVINE is teaching people to do that,'

the attorney replied,

'FATHER DIVINE'S religion steps out in front above all other religions.'

In 1931 a noted lawyer, lecturer and teacher was sent by the press to investigate FATHER DIVINE at His Sayville Home at a time when there was considerable antagonism toward HIM. Among other things, the investigator reported that,

'Only in the slightest degree, if any, do the Teachings of FATHER DIVINE account for the antagonism against HIM, for those who oppose HIM know little or nothing of His Teachings. The opposition is based on racial color prejudice incident to the sounds of worship, by alleged loss of property values. Many of His enemies are friendly to HIM Personally, and HE expresses every desirable quality and is always kind and considerate.'

In every phase of His work, FATHER DIVINE proves superior to His accusers. From Sayville to Philadelphia and throughout the world neighbors of FATHER DIVINE find property values rising because of His Presence. The press, once unkind to the point of libel, developed a positive attitude toward HIM for they see a Light shining in the dark whirlpool of chaos surrounding mankind today. Government officials investigating the Movement have expressed the hope that this work of unification may continue.

FATHER DIVINE encourages advancement in a mental, spiritual and physical sense and while Peace Mission Churches provide schools for the convenience of adults, children are sent to the public schools. In the late nineteen thirties HE advised those of His followers who had not completed their education to return to school. In New York City alone over 3,000 enrolled in classes over night. HE then admonished them to be "model students" and to conscientiously press forward toward perfection. A principal at one of the schools where followers registered said he never saw people so eager and cooperative as FATHER DIVINE'S followers.

'FATHER DIVINE is the only influence that is causing adult Harlemites in large numbers to attend night sessions which are provided to meet the needs of the citizens,'

he said. Educators have been attracted by FATHER DIVINE'S forward look. A member of the Philadelphia Board of Education said of followers' children among students,

'Your followers are the nicest, the most cooperative and the most moral we have.'

Many of these same students later became educators themselves, thus putting back into the community what they received from it and much more.

FATHER DIVINE explained that,

'Those who had children when they gave themselves over to ME and recognized My Deity, I blessed them and their children and educated them and made all of their children graduates of high schools, and many of them are going to college . . .'

While many have come to the Movement as professional men and women, others less fortunate have, through education, brought themselves up to the professional level.

The Educational Plank of the Righteous Government Platform speaks of the "private schools" of the Movement, "established under direction of regular teachers, to care for the needs of those who are otherwise engaged during the school hours." These schools patiently work with students to give inspiration and bring out talents and qualities heretofore hidden. Aside from regular academic subjects, classes are held in commercial subjects, music, the domestic arts and what would be termed religious subjects.

Original compositions, vocal and instrumental, haven been brought out through the Music Department of the Free Schools and are used in connection with church services as are the inspirational dramatic singing of the famous Rosebud Choir, the male voices of the Crusader Choir and the hymn-like songs of the Lily-Bud Choir.

The Religious Department of the Free Schools includes facilities at a Bible Institute where bound volumes of FATHER DIVINE'S sermons, some printed in foreign languages, are studied much as the Bible is studied, with catalogued references to every subject FATHER DIVINE has spoken on. Various editions of the Holy Bible are also available here.

During commencement exercises at one of the churches of the Movement, FATHER DIVINE said:

'We are happy to have those who have graduated tonight, some of whom do not claim to be members of our churches. But if we can present to our fellow citizens and friends a way and means whereby they can qualify themselves to go out in the world and demand decent and respectable positions . . . you have a chance to yet advance and become to be executives of city, state and even federal government . . . Just look about yourselves! True followers of Mine are independent and they express their independence individually even as our country declared her independence as a nation! So then, be of good courage and be persistent in your ambition and determined in your resolve and it will be a matter of impossibility for anything to prevent you from doing whatsoever you have imagined to do.'

And so in a Movement that provides everything to bring heaven on earth, there are no moral problems, no financial problems, no political problems, no social or racial problems, no family or personal problems and no spiritual problems. Everything that has beset man at one time or another has been eradicated by a Movement that offers only the noble, the good and the true, giving purpose to life and bringing GOD within hand's reach. What more could anyone ask?

'I AM endeavoring to produce My Conviction into practical, scientific truth, that it might be good for the people, by the people, through the people, that the people who believe in this Righteous conviction might not perish from the earth,'

FATHER DIVINE said in summation of the Movement as a religion.

In the spirit of St. John 21:25 let it be said:

And there are also many other things which FATHER DIVINE has said and done, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.









GOD is a free gift to the world. Any and all of the material on this and other pages may be copied and reproduced.

Use the material freely but respect FATHER DIVINE'S intent, which was and is, to provide us all with the keys to eternal health and happiness without cost or price. HE truly came as a free gift to the world, gratis to mankind.

It is also nice to give credit where credit is due for through the Spirit and Teaching of FATHER and MOTHER DIVINE you are and can eternally be abundantly blessed.

From all of us to all of you. we wish you, peace and love, and many blessings, and may we all ever live in unity and brotherhood and the Consciousness of GOD'S Actual Ever Presence.

True Americanism, True Brotherhood, True Christianity, True Judaism and All True Religions are synonymous and truly Our GOD is One GOD. Amen

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