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The Profits of Religion by Upton Sinclair

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for ye have received your consolation!--Verily, I say unto you,
that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of
Heaven!--Woe unto you also, you lawyers!--Ye serpents, ye
generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"

"And this man"--I quote from "The Jungle" again--"they have made
into the high-priest of property and smug respectability, a
divine sanction of all the horrors and abominations of modern
commercial civilization! Jewelled images are made of him, sensual
priests burn insense to him, and modern pirates of industry bring
their dollars, wrung from the toil of helpless women and
children, and build temples to him, and sit in cushioned seats
and listen to his teachings expounded by doctors of dusty


The Church of the Merchants

Mammon led them on--
Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold,
Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed
In vision beatific.....
Let none admire
That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane.

The Head Merchant

Ours is the era of commerce, as its propagandists never weary of
telling us. Business is the basis of our material lives, and
consequently of our culture. Business men control our politics
and dictate our laws; business men own our newspapers and direct
their policy; business men sit on our school boards, and endow
and manage our universities. The Reformation was a revolt of the
newly-developing merchant classes against the tyrannies and
abuses of feudal clericalism: so in all Protestant Christianity
one finds the spirit, ideals, and language of Trade. We have
shown how the symbolism of the Anglican Church is of the palace
and the throne; in the same way that of the non-conformist sects
may be shown to be of the counting-house. In the view of the
middle-class Britisher, the nexus between man and man is cent per
cent; and so in their Sunday services the worshippers sing such
hymns as this:

Whatever, Lord, we lend to Thee,
Repaid a thousand fold shall be;
Then gladly will we give to Thee,
Who givest all.

The first duty of every man under the competitive system is to
secure the survival of his own business; so on the Sabbath, when
he comes to deal with eternity, he is practical and explicit:

Nothing is worth a thought beneath
But how I may escape the death
That never, never dies;
How make mine own election sure,
And when I fail on earth secure
A mansion in the skies.

Just as the priest of the aristocratic caste figures God as a
mighty Conqueror--

Marching as to war
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before

so the preacher to the trader figures the divinity as a glorified
Merchant keeping books. This Head Merchant has a monopoly in His
line; He knows all His rivals' secrets, so there is no getting
ahead of Him, and nothing to do but obey His Word, as revealed
through His clerical staff. The system is oily with protestations
of divine love; but when you read the comments of Luther upon
Calvin and of Calvin upon Luther, you understand that this love
is confined to the inside of each denomination. And even so
restricted, there is not always enough to go around. Recently I
met a Presbyterian clergyman, to whom I remarked, "I see by the
papers that you have just finished a church building." "Yes," he
answered; "and I have had three offers of a new church." I did
not see the connection, and asked, "Because you were so
successful with this one?" The reply was, "They always take it
for granted that you want to change when you've finished a new
building, because you make so many enemies!"

The business man puts up the money to build the church, he puts
up the money to keep it going; and the first rule of a business
man is that when he puts up the money for a thing he "runs" that
thing. Of course he sees that it spreads his own views of life,
it helps to maintain his tradition. In the days of Anu and Baal
we heard the proclamation of the divine right of Kings; in these
days of Mammon we hear the proclamation of the divine right of
Merchants. Some fifteen years ago the head of our Coal Trust
announced during a great strike that the question would be
settled "by the Christian men to whom God in His Infinite Wisdom
has given control of the property interests of this country". And
on that declaration all pious merchants stand; whatever their
denominations, Catholic, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist,
Presbyterian or Hebrew, their Sabbath doctrines are alike, as
their week-day practices are alike; whether it is Rockefeller
shooting his Bayonne oil-workers and burning alive the little
children of his miners; or smooth John Wanamaker, paying
starvation wages to department-store girls and driving them to
the streets; or that clergyman who, at a gathering of society
ladies, members of the "Law and Order League" of Denver, declared
in my hearing that if he could have his way he would blow up the
home of every coal-striker with dynamite; or the Rev. R. A.
Torrey, Dean of the Bible institute of Los Angeles, who refused
to employ union labor on the million dollar building of the
Institute, declaring that "the Church cannot afford to have any
dealings with a band of fire-bugs and murderers!"

"Herr Beeble"

The business of the Clerical Department of the Merchants' and
Manufacturers' Association is to justify the processes of trade,
and to preach to clerks and employees the slave-virtues of
frugality, humility, and loyalty to the profit system. The depths
of sociological depravity to which some of the agents of this
Association have sunk is difficult of belief. Twelve years ago I
was invited to address the book-sellers of New York, in company
with a well-known clergyman of the city, the Reverend Madison C.
Peters. This gentleman's address made such an impression upon me
that I recall it even at this distance: a string of jokes spoken
with an effect of rapid-fire smartness, and simply reeking with
commercialism. I could not describe it better than to say that it
was on the ethical level of the "Letters of a Self-Made Merchant
to His Son". Again, I attended a debate on Socialism, in which
the capitalist end was taken by another famous clergyman, pastor
of the Metropolitan Temple, the Rev. J. Wesley Hill. He was so
ignorant that when he wished to prove that Socialism means free
love, he quoted a writer by the name of "Herr Beeble"; he was so
dishonest that he garbled the writings of this "Herr Beeble",
making him say something quite different from what he had meant
to say. I could name several clergymen of various denominations
who have stooped to that device against the Socialists; including
the Catholic Father Belford, who says that we are mad dogs and
should be stopped with bullets.

Or consider the Reverend Thomas Dixon. This gentleman's
pulpit-slang used to be the talk of New York when I was a boy;
and when I grew up, and came into the Socialist movement--behold,
here he was, chief inquisitor of the capitalist Holy Office. I
had a friend, a man who saved my life at a time when I was
practically starving, and to whom therefore I owe my survival as
a writer; this friend had been a clergyman in a Middle Western
state, and had preached Jesus as he really was, and so was hated
and feared like Jesus. It happened that he was unhappily married,
and permitted his wife to divorce him so that he might marry the
woman he loved; for which unheard of crime the organized
hypocrisy of America fell upon him like a thousand devils with
poisoned whips. The Reverend Dixon's holy rage was fired; he
applied his imagination to my friend's story, producing a novel
under the title of "The One Woman"; and it is as if you were
reading the story of Jesus and the Magdalen transmitted through
the personality of a he-goat. Of late years this clerical author
has turned his energies to negrophobia, and militarism, making
millions out of motion-picture incitements to hatred and terror.
The pictures were made here in Southern California, and friends
in the business have described to me the pious propagandist in
the position of St. Anthony surrounded by swarms of cute and
playful little movie-girls.

Or take the Rev. James Roscoe Day, D. D., S. T. D., L. L. D., D.
C. L., L. H. D., a leading light of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, who offers himself as comic relief in our Clerical
Vaudeville. Dr. Day is Chancellor of Syracuse University, a
branch of the Mental Munitions Department of the Standard Oil
Company; his function being to manufacture intellectual weapons
and explosives to be used in defense of the Rockefeller fortune.
It is generally not expected that the makers of ruling-class
munitions should face the dirty and perilous work of the
trenches; but ten years ago, during a raid by an active squad of
muckrake-men, Chancellor Day astonished the world by rushing to
the front with both arms full of star-shells and bombs. He
afterwards put the history of this gallant action into a volume,
"The Raid on Prosperity"; and if you want the real thrill of the
class-war, here is where to get it!

The Chancellor is a quaint and touching figure; an enthusiast and
dreamer, idealist and martyr, in whom the ordinary human virtues
have been fused, absorbed, transformed and sublimated into a new
supreme virtue of loyalty to Exploitation, patriotism for
Profiteering. He began life as a working-man, he tells us, in the
good old American fashion of hustle for yourself; but he differed
from other Americans in that he had an instant, intuitive
recognition of the intellectual and moral excellence of
Plutocracy. The first time he met a rich man, he quivered with
rapture, he burst into a hymn of appreciation. So very quickly he
was recognized as a proper person to have charge of a Mental
Munition Works; and the ruling classes proceeded to pin medals
upon the bosom of his academic robes--D. D., S. T. D., L. L. D.,
D. C. L., L. H. D.

The Chancellor knows the masters of our Profit System, those
"consummate geniuses of manufacture and trade by which the earth
has yielded up her infinite treasures." And having been at the
same time in intimate daily communion with the Almighty, he can
tell us the Almighty's attitude towards these prodigies. "God has
made the rich of this world to serve Him.... He has shown them a
way to have this world's goods and to be rich towards God ....
God wants the rich men ....Christ's doctrines have made the world
rich, and provide adequate uses for its riches." Also the
Chancellor knows our great corporations, and gives us the
Almighty's views about them; they mean that "the forces with
which God built the universe have been put into the hands of
man." Likewise by divine authority we learn that "the sympathy
given to Socialism is appalling. It is insanity." We learn that
the income tax is "a doctrine suited to the dark ages, only no
age ever has been dark enough." Somebody raises the issue of
"tainted money", and the Chancellor disposes of this matter also.
As a Deputy of Divinity, he settles it by Holy Writ: "Paul
permitted meat offered to idols to be eaten in the fear of God."
And then, to make assurance doubly sure, he settles it with plain
human logic; and you are astonished to see how simple, under his
handling, the complex problem becomes--how clear and clean-cut is
the distinction he draws for you:

Every boy knows that one cannot take stolen goods without being a
partaker with the thief. But the proceeds of recognized business
are quite a different thing.

Holy Oil

And here is Billy Sunday, most conspicuous phenomenon of
Protestant Christianity at the beginning of the twentieth
century. For the benefit of posterity I explain that "Billy" is a
baseball player turned Evangelist, who has brought to the cause
of God the crowds and uproar of the diamond; also the commercial
spirit of America's most popular institution. He travels like a
circus, with all the press-agent work and newspaper hurrah; he
conducts what are called "revivals", in an enormous "tabernacle"
built especially for him in each city. I cannot better describe
the Billy Sunday circus than in the words of a certain Sidney C.
Tapp, who brought suit against the evangelist for $100,000
damages for the theft of the ideas of a book. Says Mr. Tapp in
his complaint:

The so-called religious awakening or "trail-hitting" is produced
by an appeal to the emotions and in stirring up the senses by a
combination of carrying the United States flag in one hand and
the Bible in the other, singing, trumpeting, organ playing,
garrulous and acrobatic feats of defendant, by defendant in his
talk leaping from the rostrum to the top of the pulpit, lying
prone on the floor of the rostrum on his stomach in the presence
of the vast audience and from thence into a pit to shake hands
with the so-called "trail-hitters" and the vulgar use of
plaintiff's thoughts contained in said books. Said harangues and
vulgarisms of said defendant and horns, drums, organs and singing
by said choir and vast audience which are assembled by means of
said newspaper advertisements for the purpose of inducing a habit
of free and copious flow of money through religious and patriotic
excitement produced by and through the vulgarisms, scurrility,
buffoonery, obscenity and profanity of defendant pretending to be
in the interest of the cause of religion through what he
denominates "hitting the trail", the real object being to induce
a religious frenzy and enthusiasm which he announces in advance
is to result in large audiences composed of thousands of people
generously contributing vast sums of money on the last day and
night of the so-called revival which is invariably appropriated
by the defendant and through which scheme and device defendant
has become enormously wealthy.

As I write, the evangelist is in Los Angeles, and twice each day
he holds forth to a crowd of ten or fifteen thousand; in addition
the newspapers print literally pages of his utterances. The
entire Protestant clergy for a score of miles around has been
hitched to his triumphal chariot, and driven captive through the
streets. Here in this dignified city of Pasadena, home of
millionaire brewers and chewing-gum kings, all the churches have
been plastered for weeks with cloth signs: "This Church is
Cooperating in the Sunday Campaign." To give a sample of the
intellectual level of the performance, here is what Billy has to
say about modern thought:

All this blasphemy against God and Jesus Christ, all this
sneering, highbrow, rotten, loathesome, higher criticism,
wriggling its dirty, filthy, stinking carcass out of a beer-mug
in Leipzig or Heidelberg!

Whether willingly or reluctantly, the preachers sit upon the
platform and smile while Billy thus slangs the devil; and being
themselves, poor fellows, at their wits end to draw the crowd,
they watch and see how he does it, and then return to their own
churches and try the same stunt; so the manners of the baseball
diamond spread like a contagion. I open my morning paper, and
find a picture of an intense-looking clerical gentleman, the Rev.
J. Whitcomb Brougher, pastor of the Baptist Temple. He is
discussing certain slanderous rumors which he has heard about
Billy Sunday, and he offers ten thousand dollars reward to anyone
who can prove these things; though, as he says,

The dirty, low-down, contemptible, weazen-brained,
impure-hearted, shrivelled-souled, gossipping devils do not
deserve to be noticed..... Scandal-mongers, gossip-lovers,
reputation-destroyers, hypocritical, black-hearted, green-eyed
slanderers..... Corrupt, devil-possessed, vile debauches.....
Immoral, sin-loving, vice-practicing, underhanded sneaks.....
Carrion-loving buzzards and foul-smelling skunks.

You will be prepared after this to hear that when the Socialists
were near to carrying Los Angeles, this clergyman preached a
sermon in support of the candidate of "Booze, Gas and Railroads".

In so far as Billy Sunday is trying to keep the neglected youth
of our streets from drinking, gambling and whoring, no one could
wish him anything but success; but his besotted ignorance, his
childish crudity of mind, make it impossible that he could have
any success except of a delusive nature. He is utterly devoid of
a social sense; utterly unaware of the existence of the forces of
capitalism which are causing depravity ten times as fast as all
the evangelists in creation can remedy it. So he is precisely
like the Catholics with their "charity", cleaning up loathsome
and unsightly messes for a thousand years, and never stopping to
ask why such messes continue to come into existence.

More than that, I question whether the spirit of commercialism
which he fosters does not help the development of evil more than
his preaching hinders it. The newspapers always report the cost
of the tabernacle, of the "free-will offering", which amounts to
hundreds of thousands of dollars in each "campaign", In each city
the expenses are guaranteed by men who are generally the most
sinister exploiting forces of the community; they welcome and
fete him, and he visits their homes, and is in every way one of
the crowd. After the big strike in Paterson, N. J., the
employers, Jews and Catholics included, all subscribed a fund to
bring Billy Sunday to that city; and it was freely proclaimed
that the purpose was to undermine the radical union movement.
This was never denied by Sunday himself, and his whole campaign
was conducted on that basis.

Later Billy came to New York, where he met a certain rich young
man, perhaps a thousand times as rich as any that lived in
Palestine. This young man came to Billy and said: "What shall I
do to inherit eternal life?" And Billy told him to keep the
commandments--"Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal,
Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother." The
young man answered; "All these have I kept from my youth up." And
Billy said: "Yet lackest thou one thing; sell all that thou hast
and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in
heaven; and come follow me." And when he heard this he was very
sorrowful, for he was very rich.

--No, I have got the story mixed up. That is what happened in
Palestine. What happened in New York is that Billy said, "I am
delighted to meet you, Mr. Rockefeller." And Mr. Rockefeller
said, "Come be my guest at my palace in the Pocantico Hills; and
then we will go together and you may preach submission to my
wage-slaves in the oil-factories at Bayonne and elsewhere." And
Billy went to the palace, and went and preached to the
wage-slaves, telling them to beware the "stinking Socialists",
and to concentrate their attention on the saving of their souls;
so the rich young man was delighted, and he sent for all the
newspaper reporters to come to his office at 26 Broadway, and
told them what a great and useful man Billy Sunday is. As the New
York "Times" tells about it:

Mr. Rockefeller seldom gives interviews and certainly he has
never been charged with having an excess of verbally expressed
enthusiasm on any subject. But he talked for an hour and a half
about the evangelist. He was full of the subject of Billy Sunday.
"Billy did New York a lot of good," he said. He went on to tell
of 187 meetings held in 100 different factories, attended by
50,000 men. "That's good work." And he expressed his satisfaction
with Sunday's theology: "He believes the Bible from cover to
cover and that is good enough for me." The Sunday campaign had
cost $200,000, and "If it had stopped here, if it was not kept
up, it would be poor business; a poor dividend on the $200,000
and the work invested. But we expect to get dividends in the next

Again you note the symbolism of the counting-house!

Rhetorical Black-hanging

It is the duty of the clergy, not merely to defend large-scale
merchants while they live, but to bury them when they die, and to
place the seal of sanctity upon their careers. Concerning this
aspect of Bootstrap-lifting I quote the opinion of an earnest
hater of shams, William Makepeace Thackeray:

I think the part which pulpits play in the death of kings is the
most ghastly of all the ceremonial: the lying eulogies, the
blinking of disagreeable truths, the sickening flatteries, the
simulated grief, the falsehood and sycophancies--all uttered in
the name of Heaven in our State churches: these monstrous
Threnodies which have been sung from time immemorial over kings
and queens, good, bad, wicked, licentious. The State parson must
bring out his commonplaces; his apparatus of rhetorical

And this, of course, applies not merely to kings of England, but
to kings of Steel, kings of Coal, kings of Oil, kings of Wall
Street. When a certain king of Western railroads died, a
Methodist clergyman, afterwards Bishop, likened his heir to the
boy Christ; a statement which requires for its appreciation a
mention of the fact that this heir died of syphilis. In the year
1904 there passed from his earthly reward in Pennsylvania a
United States senator who had been throughout his lifetime a
notorious and unblushing corruptionist. Matthew Stanley Quay was
his name, and the New York "Nation", having no clerical
connections, was free to state the facts about him:

He bought the organization, bribed or intimidated the press, got
his grip on the public service, including even the courts;
imposed his will on Congress and Cabinet, and upon the last three
Presidents--making the latter provide for the offal of his
political machine, which even Pennsylvania could no longer
stomach--and all without identifying his name with a single
measure of public good, without making a speech or uttering a
party watchword, without even pretending to be honest, but solely
because, like Judas, he carried the bag and could buy whom he

Such was the lay opinion; and now for the clerical. It was
expressed by a Presbyterian divine, the Reverend Dr. J. S.
Ramsey, who stood over the coffin of "Matt", and without cracking
a smile declared that he had been "a statesman who was always on
the right side of every moral question!"

In that same year of 1904 died the high priest of our political
corruption, Mark Hanna. He had belonged to no church, but had
backed them all, understanding the main thesis of this book as
clearly as the writer of it. In his home city of Cleveland the
eulogy upon him was pronounced by Bishop Leonard, in St. Paul's
Episcopal Church; while in the United States Senate the service
was performed by the Chaplain, the Rev. Edward Everett Hale. This
is a name well-known in American letters, as in American
religious life; it was borne by a benevolent old gentleman, a
Unitarian and a liberal, who organized "Lend-a-Hand Clubs" and
such like amiabilities. "Do You Love This Old Man?" the signs in
the street-cars used to ask when I was a boy; and I promptly
answered "Yes"--for my mother took the "Ladies' Home Journal",
and I swallowed the sentimental dish-water set out for me. But
when I read the Rev. Edward's funeral oration over the Irrev.
Mark, I loved neither of them any longer. "This whole-souled
child of God," cried the Rev. Edward, "who believed in success,
and knew how to succeed by using the infinite powers!" You
perceive that the Chaplain of the Millionaires' Club agrees with
this book, that the "infinite powers" in America are the powers
that prey!

The Great American Fraud

Among the most loathesome products of our native commercial greed
is the patent medicine industry, "The Great American Fraud," as
its historian has called it. In 1907 this historian wrote:

Gullible America will spend this year some seventy-five millions
of dollars in the purchase of patent medicines. In consideration
of this sum it will swallow huge quantities of alcohol, an
appalling amount of opiates and narcotics, a wide assortment of
varied drugs ranging from powerful and dangerous heart
depressants to insidious liver stimulants; and, far in excess of
all other ingredients, undiluted fraud. For fraud, exploited by
the skillfullest of advertising bunco men, is the basis of the

One by one Mr. Adams tells about these medical fakes:
habit-forming laxatives, head-ache powders full of acetanilid,
soothing-syrups and catarrh-cures full of opium and cocaine,
cock-tails subtly disguised as "bitters", "sarsaparillas", and
"tonics". He shows how the fake testimonials are made up and
exploited; how the confidential letters, telling the secret
troubles of men and women, are collected by tens and hundreds of
thousands and advertised and sold--so that the victim, as he
begins to lose faith in one fake, finds another at hand, fully
informed as to his weakness. He quotes the amazing "Red Clause"
in the contracts which the patent-medicine makers have with
thousands of daily and weekly papers, whereby the makers are able
to control the press of the country and prevent legislation
against the "Great American Fraud."

There are a thousand religious papers in America, weekly and
monthly; and what is their attitude on this question? Mr. Adams
tells us:

Whether because church-going people are more trusting, and
therefore more easily befooled than others, or from some more
obscure reason, many of the religious papers fairly reek with
patent medicine fakes.

He gives us many pages of specific instances:

Dr. Smith belongs to the brood of cancer vampires. He is a patron
and prop of religious journalism. It is his theory that the
easiest prey is to be found among readers of church papers.
Moreover he has learned from his father-in-law (who built a small
church out of blood-money) to capitalize his own sectarian
associations, and when confronted recently with a formal
accusation he replied, with an air of injured innocence, that he
was a regular attendant at church, and could produce an
endorsement from his minister.

And here is the "Church Advocate", of Harrisburg, Pa., which
publishes quack advertisements disguised as editorials. One of
them Mr. Adams paraphrases:

As Dr. Smith is, on the face of his own statements, a
self-branded swindler and rascal, you run no risk in assuming
that the Rev. C. H. Forney, D. D., L. L. D., in acting as his
journalistic supporter for pay, is just such another as himself!

And again:

Will the editor of the "Baptist Watchman" of Boston explain by
what phenomenon of logic or elasticity of ethics he accepts the
lucubrations of Dr. Bye, of Oren Oneal, of Liquozone, of Actina,
that marvelous two-ended mechanical appliance which "cures"
deafness at one terminus and blindness at the other, and all with
a little oil of mustard?

And again:

The "Christian Observer" of Louisville replied to a protesting
subscriber, suggesting that the "Collier" articles were written
in a spirit of revenge, because "Collier's" could not get patent
medicine advertising. When I asked the Rev. F. Bartlett Converse
for his foundation for the charge, he said that one of the
typewriters must have written the letter! Doubtless also the same
highly responsible typewriter imitated the signature with
startling fidelity to Dr. Converse's handwriting!

And here is--would you think it possible?--our "Church of Good
Society"! It has an organ in Chicago called the "Living Church",
most dignified and decorous. You have to study quite a while to
ascertain what denomination it belongs to; it will not tell you
directly, for the Anglician pose is that it is the church

Elect from every nation,
Yet one oer all the earth,
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one Faith, one Birth;
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And toward one Hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

And this one holy institution was found setting at its peak the
black flag of the trader, the "Jolly Roger" of the modern
commercial pirate--"Caveat emptor!" To quote the precise words:

The editors and publishers of the "Living Church" assume no
responsibility for the assertions of advertisers.

And so it threw open its columns to the claims of America's
champion labor-baiter, the late C. W. Post, that his "Grapenuts"
would prevent appendicitis, and obviate the need of operations in
such cases!

And here is the "Christian Endeavor World", organ of one of the
most powerful non-sectarian religious bodies in the country. Some
one wrote complaining of its medical advertising, and the answer

To the best of our knowledge and belief, we are not publishing
any fraudulent or unworthy medical advertising ...... Trusting
that you will be able to understand that we are acting according
to our best and sincerest judgment, I remain, yours very truly,
The Golden Rule Company, George W. Coleman, Business Manager.

Whereupon the historian of "The Great American Fraud" remarks:

Assuming that the business management of the "Christian Endeavor
World" represents normal intelligence, I would like to ask
whether it accepts the statement that a pair of "magic foot
drafts" applied to the soles of the feet will cure any and every
kind of rheumatism in any part of the body? Further, if the
advertising department is genuinely interested in declining
"fraudulent and unworthy" copy, I would call their attention to
the ridiculous claims of Dr. Shoop's medicines, which "cure"
almost every disease; to two hair removers, one an "Indian
Secret", the other an "accidental discovery", both either fakes
or dangerous; to the lying claims of Hall's Catarrh Cure, that it
is "a positive cure for catarrh", in all its stages; to "Syrup of
Figs", which is not a fig syrup, but a preparation of senna; to
Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root, of which the principal medical
constituent is alcohol; and, finally, to Dr. Bye's Oil Cure for
cancer, a particularly cruel swindle on unfortunates suffering
from an incurable malady. All of these, with other matter, which
for the sake of decency I do not care to detail in these columns,
appear in recent issues of the "Christian Endeavor World".

Riches in Glory

There came recently to Los Angeles a "world-famous evangelist",
known as "Gipsy" Smith. There was a shirt-waist strike at the
time, and the girls were starving, and they sent a delegation to
this evangelist to ask for help. They told him how they were
mistreated, exposed to insults, driven to sell their virtue
because their wage would not support life; and to their plea he
made answer: "Get Jesus in your hearts, and these questions will
take care of themselves!"

So we see the most important of the many services which the
churches perform for the merchants--taking the revolutionary hope
of Jesus, for a kingdom of heaven upon earth, and perverting it
into a dream of a golden harp in an uncertain future. To
appreciate the fullness of this betrayal, take the prayer which
Jesus dictated--so simple, direct and practical: "Give us this
day our daily bread", and put it beside the hymns which the
slave-congregations are trained to sing. In my neighborhood is a
one-roomed building with a plate glass front, upon which I
observe a painter inscribing in red, white and blue letters the
sign "Glory Mission". I approach him, and he drops his work and
welcomes me with eager cordiality. Am I "living in grace"? I
answer that I am. I have to shout the good tidings into his ear,
as he is very deaf. He presents me with his card, which shows
that he bears the title of "Reverend", also the sobriquet of
"Mountain Missionary". I ask him to permit me to examine the
hymn-book which he uses in his work, and with touching eagerness
he presses upon me a well-worn volume bearing the title "Waves of
Glory". I seat myself and note down a few of the baits it sets
out for hungry wage-slaves:

O, there's a plenty, O, there's a plenty,
There's a plenty in my Father's bank above!

Riches in glory, riches in glory,
Royal supply our wants exceed!

Feasting, I'm feasting,
I'm feasting with my Lord!

Beautiful robes, beautiful robes,
Beautiful robes we then shall wear!

Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest!

Yes, I'll meet you in the city of the New Jerusalem,
I'll be there, I'll be there!

Blest Canaan land, bright Canaan land,
I love to be in Canaan land!

Oh, Beulah land, sweet Beulah land,
As on the highest mount I stand,
I look away across the sea,
Where mansions are prepared for me!

In the sweet bye and bye
We shall meet on that beautiful shore--

I stopped there, being reminded of Joe Hill, poet of the I. W. W.
who was hanged three or four years ago in Utah, and who used this
tune in his little red book of revolutionary chants:

You will eat, bye and bye,
In the glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die!

Captivating Ideals

In one of the writer's earlier novels, "Prince Hagen", the hero
is a Nibelung out of Wagner's "Rheingold", who leaves his
diggings in the bowels of the earth, and comes up to look into
our superior civilization. The thing that impresses him most is
what he calls "the immortality idea". The person who got that up
was a world-genius, he exclaims. "If you can once get a man to
believing in immortality, there is no more left for you to
desire; you can take everything he owns--you can skin him alive
if it pleases you--and he will bear it all with perfect good

And is that merely the spiritual deficiency of a Nibelung--or the
effort of a young author to be smart? Would you like to hear that
view of the most vital of Christian doctrines set forth in the
language of scholarship and culture? Would you like to know how
an ecclesiastical authority, equipped with every tool of modern
learning, would set about voicing the idea that the function of
the teaching of Heaven is to chloroform the poor, so that the
rich may continue to rob them in security?

Here under my hand is a volume in the newest dress of
scholarship, dated 1912, and written by Professor Georges
Chatterton-Hill, of the University of Geneva. Its title is "The
Sociological Value of Christianity", and from cover to cover it
is a warning to the rich of the danger they run in giving up
their religion and ceasing to support its priests. It explains
how "the genius of Christianity has succeeded in making the
individual suffering, the individual sacrifices, which are
indispensible for the welfare of the collectivity, appear as
indispensible for the individual welfare." The learned professor
makes plain just what he means by "individual suffering,
individual sacrifices"; he means all the horrors of capitalism;
and the advantage of Christianity is that it makes you think that
by submitting to these horrors, you are profiting your own soul.
"By making individual salvation depend on the acceptance of
suffering, on the voluntary sacrifice of egotistical interests,
Christianity adapts the individual to society". And this, as the
professor explains, is not an easy thing to do, in a world in
which so many people are thinking for themselves. "The only means
of causing the rationalized individual to consent to the
sacrifice...... is to captivate him with a sufficiently powerful
idea!" And the professor shows how beautifully Jesus can be used
for this purpose. "Jesus, the so-called humanitarian, never
ceased to insist on the necessity of suffering, the desirableness
of suffering--of that suffering which a weak and sickly
humanitarianism would fain suppress if it could."

You get this, you "blanket-stiff", you "husky", or "wop", or
whatever you are--you disinherited of the earth, you proletarians
who have only your labor-power to sell, you weak and sickly ones
who are condemned to elimination? There has come, let us say, a
period of "overproduction"; you have raised too much food, and
therefore you are starving, you have woven too much cloth, and
therefore you are naked, you have finished the world for your
masters, and it is time for you to move out of the way. As the
sociologist from Geneva phrases it, "Your suppression imposes
itself as an imperious necessity." And the function of the
Christian religion is to make you enjoy the process, by
"captivating you with a sufficiently powerful ideal"! The priest
will fill your nostrils with incense, your eyes with
candle-lights and images, your ears with sweet music and soothing
words; and so you will perish without raising a finger! "Here,"
reflects the professor, "we see how magnificently the teaching of
Jesus applies to all classes of society!"

Somebody has evidently put up to our Christian sociologist the
embarrassing fact that so many of those who survive under the
capitalist system are godless scoundrels. But do you think that
troubles him? Not for long. Like all religious thinkers, he
carries with his scholar's equipment a pair of metaphysical
wings, wherewith at any moment he may soar into the empyrean, out
of reach of vulgar materialists, like you and me. "Inequality
signifies inequality of capacity," he explains; but the standard
whereby we judge this capacity "cannot be the standard of the
moral law."

The laws which govern the biological evolution of man are known,
but those which govern his moral nature cannot be known; the
moral nature appertains to the Absolute, and hence is not subject
to the law of inequality!

As an exhibition of metaphysical wing-power, that is almost as
wonderful as the flight of Cardinal Newman when confronted with
the fact that his divinely guided church had burned men for
teaching the Copernican view of the universe; that infallible
popes had again and again condemned this heresy ex cathedra. Said
the eloquent cardinal:

Scripture says that the sun moves and the earth is stationary,
and science that the earth moves and the sun is comparatively at
rest. How can we determine which of these opposite statements is
the very truth till we know what motion is?

Spook Hunting

Do not imagine that it is only in Geneva that Christian
professors realize this peril from the loss of faith. It is never
far from the thoughts of any of them--for, of course, no man can
look at the present system and not wonder how the poor stand it,
and more especially why they stand it. There have been many
thinking men who have given up the miracle-business quite
cheerfully, but have stood appalled at the idea of letting the
lower classes find out the truth. You note that idea continually
in the writings of Professor Goldwin Smith, who was a
free-thinker, but also a bourgeois publicist, with a deep sense
of responsibility to the money-masters of the world. He was about
as honest a man as the capitalist system can produce; he was the
beau ideal of the New York "Evening Post", which indicates his
point of view. He wrote:

It can hardly be doubted that hope of compensation in a future
state, for a short measure of happiness here, has materially
helped to reconcile the less favored members of the community to
the inequalities of the existing order of things.

When I was a student in Columbia University, I took a course
called "Practical Ethics", under a professor by the name of
Hyslop. The course differed from most of the forty that I tried,
in that it gave evidence that the professor was accustomed to
read the morning paper. He had learned that American politics
were rotten; his idea of "Practical Ethics" was to outline in
elaborate detail a complete scheme of constitutional changes
which would make it impossible for the "boss" to control the
government. I think I must have been born with a charm against
bourgeois thought, for the good professor never fooled me an
instant; I remember I used to smile at the idea of how quickly
the "boss" would brush through his constitutional cobwebs. The
reforms required an elaborate campaign of publicity--and of
course long before they could be put into practice, the
politicians would be ready with devices to make them of no

Soon after this, my ethical professor resigned and went to
hunting spooks. I don't want to be unfair to him; I know that he
is a determined and courageous man, and it seems possible that he
may really have bagged some spooks. All I wish to point out here
is the method he uses in seeking to persuade the heedless rich to
support the spook-hunting industry. The very same argument as we
got from the University of Geneva and the University of Toronto!
Says our head spook-hunter:

There has been no belief that exercised so much power upon the
poor as that in a future life. The politicians, men of the world,
have known this so well as to postpone the day of political
judgment by it for many years.

And again:

The Church, having lost all its battles with science, and having
abandoned a strenuous intellectual defense of its fundamental
beliefs, has lost its power over the poor and the laboring
classes..... The spiritual ideal of life has gone out of the
masses as well as the classes, and nothing is left but a venture
on a struggle with wealth.

And again, more menacingly yet:

The rich will learn in the dangers of a social revolution that
the poor will not sacrifice both wealth and immortality.

What is to be done about this? The question answers itself: Step
up, ladies and gentlemen, and empty your purses into the
Psychical Research hat! So that we may accumulate statistics as
to the cost of milk and honey in Jerusalem the Golden!

You read what I had to say about Bootstrap-lifters, and the
Wholesale Pickpockets' Association making use of their
incantations. You admired my ability to sling language, but not
my taste; and you certainly did not think that I would back my
rhetoric with facts. But what do these quotations mean, unless
they mean what I have said? Are not these three professors men of
culture? Are they not as "spiritual" as any men of learning you
can find in our present-day society?

And now stop for a moment and put yourself in the position of the
young student of the working-class, who goes to these books and
discovers that truth is not truth, but only a bait for a snare.
Who discovers that professors of ethics, practical or
impractical, are not interested in justice among men, but only in
collecting funds for their specialty; that in order to get funds,
they are willing to teach the rich how to paralyze the minds of
the poor! Do you wonder that such young students conclude that
bourgeois thinkers do not know what honesty is, but are
prostitutes, retainers and lackeys, to be kicked out of the
temple of truth?

Running the Rapids

And now, can you form to yourselves a clear concept of what it
means to society that practically all its moral teaching should
be in the hands of men who are incapable of clean, straight
thinking? That all the intellectual prestige of the Church should
be lent to the support of vagueness, futility, and deliberate
evasion? Here we are, all of us, caught in the most terrific
social crisis of history; I search for a metaphor to picture our
position, and I recall a canoe-trip in the wilds of Ontario,
hundreds of miles down a long swift river. You sit in the bow of
the canoe, your partner in the stern, watching ahead; and there
comes a slide of smooth green water, and you go over it, and into
a torrent of foaming white, which seizes you and rushes you along
with the speed of a race-horse. With every sense alert, You watch
for the rocks, and when you see one, you dip your paddle on one
side or the other and with a quick motion draw the canoe clear of
the danger. If by any chance you fail to do it, over you go, and
your partner with you, and all your belongings go down-stream,
and maybe you are sucked into a whirlpool, and not seen for
several hours afterwards. Precisely like this is the voyage of
life, for the whole of society and for every individual. The
paddle which would save us from the rocks is experimental
science; but in most of our canoes we put a man who has no
paddle, but a Holy Book; and he casts up his eyes and murmurs
words in ancient Greek and Hebrew, and now and then, when he sees
an especially formidable obstruction--a war, or the gonococcus,
or the I. W. W.--he casts a holy wafer upon the foaming torrent.

And mind you, it isn't as if I could save myself and you could
save yourself; we are all in the same canoe, and we all go
overboard together. You, perhaps, have a son who is drafted into
the trenches in winter-time, and drowned in blood and mud,
because in Europe the Catholic party supported militarism, and
kept aristocratic criminals in control of states. Or you find
yourself involved in a marital tragedy, and in order to free
yourself from unendurable misery, you are obliged to go to
law-courts dominated by the tradition of Paul, the Roman
bureaucrat, who despised women, and regarded marriage as a means
of gratifying an unclean animal desire. "It is better to marry
than to burn," he said, with unmatchable brutality; and so of
course those who think him a voice of God can form no conception
of the dignity and grace of love, and if you want sound and
wholesome sex-conventions, you will be as apt to find them among
the Ashantees or the Kamchadals as among the followers of the
Apostle to the Gentiles.

You go to a so-called "divorce-court," which is dominated by this
Christian taboo, and exists for the purpose of barring you from a
second chance at the gratification of your unclean animal desire.
You are not permitted to tell your own story, for that would be
"collusion;" you listen while your intimate friends recite the
pitiful and shameful details of your domestic misfortune, under
the cross-questioning of lawyers who have suppressed for the time
whatever decent instincts they may possess, and follow blindly
the details of a prescribed procedure, at the cost of all
sincerity, humanity and truth. The next morning you find that the
privacy guaranteed you by law has been taken from you by corrupt
court officials, who have sold copies of the testimony to the
newspapers, so that all the intimate details of where you slept
and where your wife slept and what you saw your wife doing have
been thrown out to journalistic jackals, who scream with glee as
they rend the carcass of your dead love. And in the end, perhaps,
you find that you have gone through this horror for nothing--the
august court with its Roman Catholic judge throws out your
petition, its suspicions having been excited by the fact that
when you discovered your domestic tragedy, you sought to behave
like a civilized person, with pity and self-restraint, instead of
like a sultan in Turkey, or a basso in an Italian grand opera.

Birth Control

I assert that the control of our thinking on ethical questions by
minds enslaved to tradition and priestcraft is an unmitigated
curse to the race. The armory of science is full of weapons which
might be used to slay the monsters of disease and vice--but these
weapons are not allowed to be employed, sometimes not even to be
mentioned. Consider the misery which is piling itself up in the
slams of our great cities---the degenerate, the defective, the
insane, who are multiplying as never before in history. There
exists a perfectly harmless and painless method of sterilizing
the hopelessly unfit, so that they can not reproduce their
hopeless unfitness; but religion objects to this operation, and
so the law does not make use of this knowledge. There exists a
simple, entirely harmless, and practically costless method of
preventing conception, which would enable us to check the blind
and futile fecundity of Nature, and to multiply as gods instead
of as animals. Consider the festering mass of misery in the slums
of our great cities; consider the millions of terrified,
poverty-hounded women, bearing one half-nurtured infant after
another, struggling desperately to feed and care for them, and
seeing them drop into the grave as fast as they are born-until
finally the mother, worn out with the Sisyphean labor, gives up
and follows her misbegotten offspring. Consider how many women,
in their agony and despair, make use of the methods of the
primitive savage, to escape from Nature's curse of fecundity. Dr.
Wm. J. Robinson has estimated that in the United States alone
there are a million abortions every year; and consider that all
this hideous mass of suffering--a bloody European war going on
continually, unheeded by any newspaper correspondent--might be
avoided by the use of a simple sterilizing formula, which we are
not permitted to give! The Federation of Catholic Societies have
placed a law upon the statute-books of the nation, and of all the
states as well; the whole power of police and courts and jails is
at the service of religious bigots, and a young girl is sent to
prison and forcibly fed with a tube through the nose for telling
poverty-ridden, slum-women how to keep from becoming pregnant!

And go among the sleek, cynical men of the world, the judges and
district attorneys, the commissioners of correction and doctors
who perpetrated this infamy under a so-called "reform"
administration in New York City--and what do you find? The first
thing you find is that they themselves, one and all, practice
birth-control with their wives or their mistresses. The second
thing you find is that the statute-books are crowded with other
laws which they make no pretense of enforcing; for example, the
law which forbids the saloons to be open on Sunday--which law
they take the liberty of understanding to mean that the saloons
shall not have their front doors open on Sunday. You will find
that they are not at all afraid of the religious taboos; they are
afraid of the religious vote--and even more they are afraid of
the campaign contributions of sweat-shop manufacturers and
landlords, who cannot see what would become of prosperity if the
women of the slums were to cease to breed. So once more we
discover the wolf in sheep's clothing, the trader, making use of
Tradition-worship; hiding behind the skirts of devout old maiden
aunts and grandmothers, who repeat the instructions which God
gave to Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the
earth." As if God were as blind as a Fifth Avenue preacher, and
could see no difference between the Garden of Eden, full of all
fruits that grow and all creatures that run and fly and swim, and
a modern East Side tenement-room, with an oil stove and no
windows and no water-closet, and the price of cabbage seven cents
a pound!


There are more than a hundred thousand Protestant churches in
America. They own more than a billion dollars' worth of property,
and in the West and South they dominate the intellectual life of
the country. I do not wish to be unfair in what I say of them.
They are far more democratic than the Catholic Church; they fight
valiantly against the liquor traffic and those forms of graft
which are obvious, or directly derived from vice. There are among
their clergy many men who are honestly seeking light, and trying
to make their institutions a factor for progress. But they are
caught in the spirit of Lutheran scholasticism, narrow and
ignorant, dogmatic and jealous; and they cannot help it, because
they are pledged by their creeds and foundations to
Tradition-worship; they have to believe certain things because
their ancestors believed them, they have to act in certain ways,
because of certain facts which existed in the world three
thousand years ago, but which now are known only to historians.

You are familiar with the habit of a herd of sheep to follow the
example of their leader; if this leader leaps over a stick, all
the rest will leap when they come to that spot, even though the
stick may have been taken away in the meantime. The scientist
explains this seeming-foolishness by the fact that sheep once
lived in high mountains, and fled from their enemies in swiftly
rushing herds; when the leader leaped across an abyss, the others
had to leap, without waiting to see in the dust and confusion.
Now there are no mountains and no enemies, but the sheep still
jump. And in exactly the same way the tailor still sews buttons
at the back of your dress-coat, because a couple of hundred years
ago all gentlemen wore swords; in the same way our railroad
builders make cars narrow and uncomfortable and liable to
overturn, because a hundred years ago all cars were hauled by
mules. In the same way the Orthodox Hebrew will eat no pork, in
spite of the fact that the microscope affords him complete
protection against disease; the orthodox Catholic will not eat
meat on Friday, because he thinks Jesus was crucified on that
day; the orthodox Anglican will not marry his deceased wife's
sister, because of something he reads in Leviticus; the orthodox
Baptist requires total immersion in a climate quite different
from that of Palestine; the orthodox Methodist refuses to enjoy
fresh air and exercise on the Sabbath.

In ancient Judea, you see, the people lived an open-air life,
tending sheep and working the fields; so it was an excellent
thing for them to rest from labor one day of the week, and to
gather in temples to hear the reading of the best literature of
their time. But nowadays the city slave spends his week-days shut
up in an office, poring over a ledger, or in a sweat-shop,
chained to a sewing-machine. Obviously, therefore, the thing to
do on the seventh day is to lure him into the open air, and
persuade him to run and play. But do we do that, we human sheep?
We write ancient Hebrew laws upon our modern statute-books, and
if the city slave goes into a vacant lot and tries to play
base-ball, we send a policeman and take him to jail, and next
morning he is fined five dollars, and probably loses his job.

In the city where I live, a city supposed to be free and
enlightened, but in reality heavily burdened with churches, there
are tennis courts built and paid for out of public funds, my own
included; yet I cannot use these tennis courts on Sunday, because
of the ancient Hebrew taboo. My mail is not delivered to me, the
swimming pool in the park is closed to me, the library is closed
nearly all day. If I enquire about it, I am told that it is
desirable that city employees should have one day's rest a week;
but when I ask why it might not be possible to relay the
employees, so that they might all have one, or even two days'
rest a week, and still give the public their rights on Sunday,
there is no answer. But I know the answer, having probed our
politics of hypocrisy. There is a "church vote" at which all
politicians tremble; there are clergymen, humanly jealous when
their peculiar graft is threatened, and hoping that if the law
enforces a general boredom, the public may be more disposed to
endure the boredom of sermons.

In New York City the theaters are closed on Sunday; but moving
pictures having come into being since the days of Puritan rule,
the picture-shows are free to keep open. The law permits "sacred
concerts"--which, under the benevolent sway of Tammany, has come
to mean any sort of vaudeville; so what we have is a free rein to
the imbecilities of "Mutt & Jeff" and the obscenities of Anna
Held and Gaby Deslys--while we bar the greatest moralists of our
times, such as Ibsen and Brieux.

I speak with some crossness of this Sabbath taboo, because of an
experience which once befell me. In the second decade of this
century of enlightenment and progress, in our free American
democracy, whose constitution proclaims religious toleration, and
forbids the establishment by the state of any form of worship, I
was made to serve a sentence of eighteen hours in the state
prison of Delaware for playing a game of tennis on the Sabbath. I
was duly arrested upon a warrant, duly sentenced by a magistrate,
duly clad in a prison costume, duly set to work upon a
stone-pile, duly locked up over night in a steel-barred cell full
of vermin--in a building housing some five hundred wretches,
black and white, thirty of them serving life-terms under
circumstances which never permitted them a breath of fresh air
nor a glimpse of the sunshine or the sky. They had no exercise
court to their prison, and the inmates were not permitted to
speak to one another, but ate their meals in dead silence, and
walked back to their cells with folded arms, and had their only
occupation working for a sweat-shop contractor; this on the
outskirts of the capital city of Wilmington, with no less than
ninety-one churches! The writer was informed that he would return
to this institution regularly every week unless he abandoned his
godless habit of playing tennis on a private club court on
Sunday; he only escaped the painful punishment by making the
discovery that at the Wilmington Country Club it was the custom
of the leading officials of the city and state to play golf every
Sunday, and by threatening to employ detectives and have these
mighty ones arrested and sent to their own prison. Which shows
again the importance of understanding the relationship of
Superstition and Big Business!


The Church of the Quacks

They may talk as they please about what they call pelf,
And how one ought never to think of one's self,
And how pleasures of thought surpass eating and drinking--
My pleasure of thought is the pleasure of thinking
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

Tabula Rasa

Nature has given us a virgin continent, a clean slate upon which
to write what we will. And what are we writing? What is our
intellectual life? I came to the far West, which I had been
taught by novelists and poets to think of as a place of freedom.
I came, because I like freedom; I am staying because I like the
climate. I find that what freedom means in the West is the
ability of ignorant and fanatical persons to start some new,
fantastical quirk of scriptural interpretation, to build a new
cult around it, and earn a living out of it.

My first contact with that sort of thing was when I went to the
Battle Creek Sanitarium to investigate hydrotherapy, and found
myself in a nest of Seventh-day Adventists. Three generations or
so ago some odd character hit upon the discovery that the
Christian churches had let the devil snare them into resting on
the first day of the week, whereas the Bible states distinctly
that the Lord "rested on the seventh day". So here is a million
dollar establishment, with a thousand or two patients and
employees, and on Friday at sundown the silence of death settles
upon the place, and stays settled until sundown of Saturday, when
everything comes suddenly to life again, and there is a little
celebration, like Easter or New Year's, with what I used to call
"sterilized dancing"--the men pairing with men and the women with

They are decent and kindly people, and you learn to put up with
their eccentricities; it is really convenient in some ways,
because, as not all the city shares their delusions, there are
some stores open every day of the week. But then you discover
that the Sanitarium is training "medical missionaries" to send to
Africa, and is teaching these supposed-to-be-scientists that
evolution is a doctrine of the devil, and not proven anyhow!

You get the shrewd little doctor who is running this
establishment alone in his office, and he will smile and admit
that of course it is not necessary to take all Bible phrases
literally; but you know how it is--there are different levels of
intelligence, and so on. Yes, I know how it is. You have an
institution founded upon a certain dogma, and run by means of
that dogma, and it is hard to change without smashing things. It
is especially convenient when servants and nurses have a
religious upbringing, and do not steal the pocket-books of the
patients. People will come from all over the country, and pay
high prices to stay in such a sanitarium; you can make
vegetarians of them, which you think more important than teaching
abstract notions about their being descended from monkeys. Also
you can manufacture vegetarian foods for them, and build up an
enormous business--so obtaining that Power which is the thing
desired of men.

This is but one illustration of a sort of thing of which I could
cite a hundred. The city in which I live is headquarters of
another sect, the "Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene"; primitive
Methodists, Bible-worshippers not content with the King James
version, but going back to the Sinaitic MS. They have a
"University", located in one of the most beautiful spots that
Nature ever made; an institution with seventy-five students. A
couple of years ago I happened to meet the "president," who was a
preacher with grease on the ample expanse of his black broadcloth
waistcoat, and a speech full of the commonest grammatical errors,
such as "you was" and "I seen". The past year witnessed a split,
and the founding of a brand new church and "University"--because
one of the preachers insisted upon preaching so much that the
students got no chance to study; also because he sent home a rich
man's daughter whose shirt-waists revealed too much of her
fleshly nature.

And there is an even stranger phenomenon in the locality, taking
you back to the Libyan desert and the time of Thais. A lady
friend of mine, generously blessed with this world's goods, asks
me have I seen the hermit. "Hermit?" I say, and she replies,
"Didn't you know there was a hermit? He lives on a mountain, in a
cave, and never has anything to do with the world. He has no
books; he contemplates spiritually." I picture my friend with her
large limousine, a rolling palace full of ladies, drawing up at
the door of this hermit's cave. "He received you?" I ask. "Yes,
he was quite polite." "And what was your impression of him?" "Oh,
how he stank!" I answer that this is the odor of sanctity, and my
friend thinks that I am enormously witty; I have to explain to
her that I am not jesting, but that there are definite
physiological phenomena incidental to the ecstatic life.

The Book of Mormon

Or let us take a trip to Salt Lake City, the headquarters of a
still stranger cult.

On the morning of the 22nd of September, 1827, the Angel of the
Lord delivered unto Joseph Smith, Jr., an ignorant farmer-youth
in a "backwoods" part of New York State, some plates which had
"the appearance of gold". As we know from the scriptures, it is
the habit of the Angel of the Lord to appear in unexpected places
and to make miraculous revelations to men in humble walks of
life; so, as devout believers, we hold ourselves in readiness. In
this case the plates were written in "reformed Egyptian"; but the
Angel thoughtfully provided Joseph Smith, Jr., with Urim and
Thummim, two magic stones with which to read the records. They
proved to deal with a mystery which has haunted the minds of
Bible students for centuries--the fate of the "lost ten tribes
of Israel", who were now revealed to have been the ancestors of
the American Indians. The Angel told Smith to found a new
religion, and gave him prophecies concerning things in general;
so, on the 6th of April, 1830, in the town of Manchester, N. Y.,
there was formally launched the "Church of the Latter Day
Saints." Smith turned over to his followers his translation of
the miraculous plates, called "The Book of Mormon"; obviously
genuine, for it read precisely like the books which we already
know are the revealed word of God. But, on chance that this might
not be sufficient, we were offered in the preface two documents,
the "Testimony of Three Witnesses", and the "Further Testimony of
Eight Witnesses". The latter being the shorter, may be quoted:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, unto
whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith Jr., the translator
of this work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been
spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the
leaves as the said Smith hath translated, we did handle with our
hands; and we also saw the engravings there-on, all of which has
the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. And
this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith
has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a
surety that the said Smith hath got the plates of which we have
spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness that
which we have seen, and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

Christian Whitmer
Jacob Whitmer
Peter Whitmer, Jr.
John Whitmer
Hiram Page
Joseph Smith, Sr.
Hyrum Smith
Saml. H. Smith

The subsequent career of the Church of the Latter Day Saints bore
out the Angel's prophesies and proved conclusively its divine
origin; it was persecuted as the saints of old were persecuted,
and its followers proceeded to massacre the nearby unbelieving
populations, just as the divinely guided Hebrews had done. Driven
from place to place, they built at Nauvoo, Ill., a beautiful
temple, according to plans revealed in a vision, exactly like
Solomon. Finally they settled in Utah, where they have a
magnificent marble tabernacle, and some 300,000 followers. The
United States government, not being entirely Biblical, objected
to their practice of allowing the patriarchs of the tribe to have
as many wives as they could support; the government confiscated
the church's property, and forced it to conceal the practice of
polygamy, as is done by elderly church members in other parts of
the country. Recently the head of the church, who bears the title
of "Prophet, Seer and Revelator", was persuaded to permit an
examination of one of its secret plates, the "Book of Abraham",
by egyptologists, who found that it was ordinary Egyptian
hieroglyphics, not "reformed", but containing prayers to the
sun-god. But this will of course make no difference to the devout
followers of Joseph--any more than it has made to devout
Catholics and Episcopalians that German scholars have proven that
the Bible legends and ritual have come from the Babylonians, and
that the four gospels date from the second and third centuries
after Christ.

Holy Rolling

All over America you will find these weird Bible-cults, some of
them pathetic, some of them dangerous, some of them merely
grotesque. Thus, for example, there was John Alexander Dowie, who
founded the "Christian Catholic Church in Zion" and dressed
himself up in scarlet and purple robes with stars on. Through his
Zion City Bank and Zion City Realty Company he became enormously
wealthy; he finally announced himself as "Elijah the Restorer." I
remember as a boy how he brought his gospel to New York, and P.
T. Barnum with Tom Thumb and the white elephant never made such a
sensation. The ridicule of the metropolis overwhelmed the old
prophet, and he died and passed on his robes and his tabernacle
and his bank to his son; straightway, according to the rule of
all religions, the followers fell to quarrelling and splitting
up, and suing one another in the law-courts.

Also there are the "Holy Rollers" and "Holy Jumpers", ghastly
sects which cultivate the religious hysterias, and have spread
like a plague among the women of our lonely prairie farms and
desert ranches. The "Holy Rollers", who call themselves the
"Apostolic Church", have a meeting place here in Pasadena, and
any Sunday evening at nine o'clock you may see the Spirit of the
Lord taking possession of the worshippers, causing moans and
shrieks and convulsions; you may see a woman holding her hands
aloft for seventeen minutes by the watch, making chattering
sounds like an ape. This is called "talking in tongues" and is a
sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. If you come back at
eleven in the evening, you will find the entire congregation, men
and women, prostrate on the floor, or hanging over the benches;
and maybe a child moaning in terror, having a devil cast out.

You may be interested, perhaps, to know how to throw yourself
into these convulsions. Here is a paper called "Trust", which is
"published Monthly (D. V.) in the interests of Elim Faith Work
and Bible Training School." Elizabeth Sisson writes on "The
Pentecostal Baptism", and tells the story of her experiences. She
"camped on the Word of God," she declares.

I went up to Calgary in Canada, and the leader of the mission
told me, "You can go down to the mission and stay there all day.
There is plenty of wood, and you can stay there all night." I
went down, and there was plenty of "let go" in me. I cried, and
prayed all I knew, and got wonderfully loosed.....

Then the Lord said to me, "Now, no more praying!" God told me it
was mine. What was there left for me to pray about. He spoiled my
praying and I took up praising. I praised God that He who worked
in the Upper Room was working the same in me. I praised, and I
praised, and I praised. The devil said to me, "That's
mechanical." I said, "I'll praise You Lord, and if You want real
praise, You'll have to put the wind in the sails."

That's the way I came through. One morning I was just getting out
of bed, "this gibberish, this jargon" as the enemy likes to call
it, began to come. The Lord said, "Let it babble!" I let. The
babble increased, and by night I was up to my neck. I let. I
still let. That's all. Someone else does the work, and it does
not tire you.

And here is another paper. "Meat in Due Season: published
monthly, or as often as the Lord leads." The editor quotes the
Bible, "Call upon the name of the Lord," and explains that "Call
means call." The word appears to have a special meaning to these
pentecostal persons--it means working yourself into a frenzy of
agitation; as the editor puts it, "you must lay hold of the horns
of the altar." He goes on to exhort--the bold face being his:

Pray as if your very life depended upon it! The first few minutes
seemingly all the powers of hell will contend every word, the
next few, relief in a measure will come, more liberty in calling.
In a very little while you will be dead to the room, dead to the
chair, dead to everyone around you, dead to all and tremendously
alive to your desperate need and emptyness; this conviction will
grow as you increase calling upon Him. It maybe you'll weep, it
maybe you'll perspire, it maybe your clothing will be deranged,
it, maybe your throat will get sore. Never for a moment let your
mind rest on the condition of your person. Open your mouth and
God has promised to fill it. Ask persistently until the very
floor seems to sink beneath you and the fountains of the deep, of
your heart let loose. Like David, "pour out your soul" like one
would pour water out of a bucket. I have seen hundreds get
through right at this point. When self-thought, reticence,
decorum, reserve, propriety and dignity had all been thrown to
the four winds of heaven. Self was then obliterated and
consciousness of person gone. Draw near to God and He will draw
near to you saith the scripture, but you must draw near to Him

These enthusiasts derive their practices from the Shakers, a sect
which originated in England, but was driven by persecution to the
New World. The Shakers call themselves the "United Society of
True Believers in Christ's Second Coming," and were founded by
Ann Lee, who, variously termed herself the "Female Christ", the
"Holy Comforter", and the "God-anointed Woman". They might be
termed the suffragettes of religion, for they pray always to "Our
Father and Mother, which are in heaven." They were taught the
convenient doctrine that their Founder had "spiritual
illumination", so that any evidence of the senses used against
her might deceive. She governed through terror, holding that by
her mental powers she could inflict torment upon any of her
followers. Fortunately she taught absolute celibacy, and so there
are now only about a thousand of her disciples.

Bible Prophecy

This far western country swarms with those fanatics who await the
return of Christ, and find in Bible chronology positive evidence
that he is coming on a specified day. Seldom do I give a lecture
on Socialism that some eager old lady does not come up to me and
point out how futile are my hopes, because the Millenium will
come before the Revolution. Several times I have come on an item
in the newspapers, telling of a group of people, sometimes whole
villages, selling their goods and going out into the fields to
shout and sing and pray, expecting the vision of the Lord and His
Angels in the skies. I have in my hand a pamphlet entitled
"Shekineh: The Glory of God in Israel, Facts Mathematically
Foretold, of the Soon Coming of Our Blessed Lord." It is
earnestly, yearningly written, in that spirit of feeble-minded
affectionateness which the Bible-sects seem to encourage:

Now dear reader you see that these problems tell a wonderful
story which I know are the Eternal Truths of God. Jesus is soon
coming. I believe that from now on we can say, next week perhaps
our blessed Lord will return. Yet the time may not end till the
close of the A. M. year, which will be March 20th, 1897. But let
us take up the sickle of God, etc. Oh, my Christian friends, live
near the Blessed Christ, and gain eternal life through Jesus Our

In the public library I find another pamphlet, entitled "The Our
Race," which proves that the "lost ten tribes of Israel" are not
the American Indians, but the Irish! And here is a publication of
the "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society," declaring:

The great pyramid in Egypt is a witness to all the events of the
ages and of our day. The pyramid's downward passage under "a
Draconis" symbolizes the course of Sin. Its first ascending
passage symbolizes the Jewish Age. Its Grand Gallery symbolizes
the Gospel Age. Its upper step symbolizes the approaching period
of tribulation and anarchy, "Judgment" upon Christendom.

It is a Sunday morning, and I sit in the California sunshine
revising this manuscript, when a decorous-looking young man
approaches, having a sack over his shoulder. "From the
Bible-students," he says politely, and hands me a little paper,
"The Bible Students' Monthly: an Independent, Unsectarian
Religious Newspaper, Specially devoted to the Forwarding of the
Laymen's Home Missionary Movement for the Glory of God and Good
of Humanity." The leading article is headed "The Fall of Babylon:
Ancient Babylon a Type--Mystic Babylon the Antitype: Why
Christendom must Suffer--the Final Outcome." A note explains:

The following article is extracted from Pastor Russell's
posthumous volume entitled "The Finished Mystery," the 7th in the
series of his Studies in the Scriptures and published subsequent
to his death. Pastor Russell held the distinction of being the
most fearless and powerful writer of modern times on
ecclesiastical subjects. In this posthumous volume, which is
called "his last legacy to the Christians on earth," is found a
thorough exposition of every verse in the entire book of
Revelation and also an elucidation of the obscure prophecy of
Ezekiel. The book contains 608 pages, handsomely bound in
embossed cloth.

Pastor Russell used to publish a two-column sermon in some
hundreds of Sunday newspapers, together with a presentment of his
features--solemn, stiff, white-whiskered, set off with a "choker"
and a black broadcloth coat. There are five million such faces in
America, but if you have an impulse to despair for your country,
remember that it produced Mark Twain and Artemus Ward, as well as
Pastor Russell and the Moody and Sankey hymn-book. I quote one
passage from "The Finished Mystery", in order that the reader may
know what it means to "hold the distinction of being the most
fearless and powerful writer of modern times on ecclesiastical
subjects." Pastor Russell does not approve of the Methodists, and
he quotes twelve verses of Revelation, line by line and phrase by
phrase, showing how the evil course and downfall of the Wesleyan
system were divinely foretold. Thus:

"But that they should be tormented five months."--In symbolic
time, 150 years--5 X 30 = 150. (Ezek. 4:6.) Wesley became the
first Methodist in 1728. (Rev. 9:1.) When the Methodist
denomination, with all the others, was cast off from favor in
1878 (Rev. 3:14) its powers to torment men by preaching what
Presbyterians describe as "Conscious misery, eternal in duration"
came to an end legally, and to a large extent actually--Rev.

P. S. A few months pass, and while this book is going to press,
"The Finished Mystery" is suppressed by the government and
several score "Bible Students" are landed in jail for sedition.


Such are the beliefs built on the Bible. But there are other
ancient writings with strange nomenclature and ritual and
symbolism, calculated to impress the unlettered; also our
prophets have imaginations of their own, and can invent
nomenclature and ritual and symbolism never seen in heaven nor on
earth before. Thus there is Dr. Newo Newi New, who called himself
"Archbishop of the Newthot Church," and gathered about him a
harem of devoted females in San Francisco, and was landed in jail
for using the mails to defraud. Or there is "Oahspe, the Cosmic
Bible," a work of brand-new revelation with a brand-new view of
the universe and all things therein:

The reader soon discovers that he must radically revise not only
his ideas of celestial Cosmogony, but the order and significance
of names and titles commonly applied to the Transcendental
Brethren. The great provinces of Etheria are presided over by
chiefs, chosen for their superior development in wisdom and love.
For our solar system to cross one of these provinces requires
about 3,000 years, and between them are belts of high Etherian
light which take several years to pass over. The passage of each
province is a cycle of earthly history, and the crossings are
called Dawns of Dan.

And here is Koreshanity, a revelation vouchsafed by the Lord to
Dr. C. R. Teed of Chicago in the year 1889. This new seer took
the name of Koresh, which is Hebrew for Cyrus, "the Shepherd from
Joseph, the Stone of Israel, the Sun-Man; the illuminating center
of the Son of man", and went out on the streets of the city to
preach that the earth is a hollow sphere with the stars inside.
The street urchins of the pork-packing metropolis threw stones at
him, and the irreverent newspapers took up his adventures, with
the result that followers gathered, and now there is a
flourishing colony in Florida, with a dignified magazine called
"The Flaming Sword", and a collection of propaganda volumes: "The
Cellular Cosmogony, an Exposition of Koreshan Universology and
the New Geodesy"; "The Immortal Manhood, the Laws and Processes
of its Attainment in the Flesh"; "The Great Red Dragon, by Lord
Chester"; "The Coming of the Shepherd from Joseph, The Standing
of the Great Ensign, by Koresh." The "Religio-science" of this
Chicago revelator is based, first upon some precise measurements
of the earth which prove that its surface is concave; and second
upon some philological discoveries very much resembling puns.
Thus the "cross of Christ" is explained in a sense of the word
more common among horse-breeders than among theologians:

The highest characteristic of the alchemical law is the cross of
Christ with sensual man. The cross means that the Lord God, in
order to perpetuate his own being, descends into the race of

And again, when someone asks about meteors:

"The word Heaven means things heaved up, that is, heaved up from
their material basis, the earth; thus, the meteors which fall to
the earth are composed of metallic, mineral, and geological
substances, being materialized or actually created in the
atmosphere by an alchemico-organic process from zones or belts
periodically open, which precipitate their contents in the form
or shape of meteors."

And perhaps I ought also to quote the "Indicia of Human
Progress", by "Berthaldine, Matrona". I don't know what a
"Matrona" is--unless it is a female matron. This female matron
tells me that now is the "Time of Restitution", and explains that
"the prolification of the human race has reached a fruition of
the adultery of the truth and good of the Lord with the fallacies
and evils of the mortal hells"..... We have come, it seems, to
the "age of Pisces", which is "one of the greatest radical
prolification"; and what we now need is the "power of
polarization", so that we may join the "White Horse Army of the
Most High", which is the organization of the "Aquarian age",
proclaimed by Koresh on January 15th, 1891.


And here is another and even more startling revelation from
Chicago, given to a seer by the name of Dr. Otoman Prince of
Adusht Ha'nish, prophet of the Sun God, Prince of Peace, Manthra
Magi of Temple El Katman, Kalantar of Zoroastrian Breathing and
Envoy of Mazdaznan living, Viceroy-Elect and International Head
of Master-Thot. If you had happened to live near the town of
Mendota, Illinois, and had known the German grocer-boy named Otto
Hanisch, you might at first have trouble in recognizing him
through this transmogrification. I have traced his career in the
files of the Chicago newspapers, and find him herding sheep,
setting type, preaching prestidigitation, mesmerism, and fake
spiritualism, joining the Mormon Church, then the "Christian
Catholic Church in Zion", and then the cult of Brighouse, who
claimed to be Christ returned. Finally he sets himself up in
Chicago as a Persian Magi, teaching Yogi breathing exercises and
occult sex-lore to the elegant society ladies of the pork-packing
metropolis. The Sun God, worshipped for two score centuries in
India, Egypt, Greece and Rome, has a new shrine on Lake Park
Avenue, and the prophet gives tea-parties at which his disciples
are fed on lilac-blossoms--"the white and pinkish for males, the
blue-tinted for females". He wears a long flowing robe of pale
grey cashmere, faced with white, and flexible white kid shoes,
and he sells his lady adorers a book called "Inner Studies",
price five dollars per volume, with information on such subjects

The Immaculate Conception and its Repetition; The Secrets of
Lovers Unveiled; Our Ideals and Soul Mates; Magnetic Attraction
and Electric Mating.

A Grand Jury intervenes, and the Prophet goes to jail for six
months; but that does not harm his cult, which now has a temple
in Chicago, presided over by a lady called Kalantress and
Evangelist; also a "Northern Stronghold" in Montreal, an
"Embassy" in London, an "International Aryana" in Switzerland,
and "Centers" all over America. At the moment of going to press,
the prophet himself is in flight, pursued by a warrant charging
him with improper conduct with a number of young boys in a Los
Angeles hotel.

I have dipped into Ha'nish's revelations, which are a farrago of
every kind of ancient mysticism--paper and binding from the
Bible, illustrations from the Egyptian, names from the
Zoroastrian, health rules from the Hindoos, laws from the
Confucians--price ten dollars per volume. Would you like to
discover your seventeen senses, to develop them according to the
GaLlama principle, and to share the "expansion of the magnetic
circles"? Here is the way to do it:

Inhale through nostrils for four seconds, and upon one
exhalation, speak slowly:

Open, O thou world-sustaining Sun, the entrance unto Truth hidden
by the vase of dazzling light.

Again inhale for four seconds, and breathe out the following
sentence upon one exhalation as before:

Soften the radiation of Thy Illuminating Splendor, that I may
behold Thy True Being.

I have a clipping from a Los Angeles newspaper telling of the
prophet's arriving there. He takes the front page with the
captivating headline: "Women Didn't Think Till They Put On
Corsets". The interview tells about his mysteriousness, his
aloofness, his bird-like-diet, and his personal beauty. "Despite
his seventy-three years, Ha'nish evidences no sign of age. His
keen blue eyes showed no sign of wavering. There were no wrinkles
on his face, and his walk was that of a man of forty." The humor
of this becomes apparent when we mention that at Ha'nish's trial,
three or four years ago, he was proven to be thirty-five years

Being thus warned as to the accuracy of American journalism, we
shall not be taken in by the repeated statements that the
Mazdaznan prophet is a millionaire. But there is no doubt that he
is wealthy; and as all Americans wish to be wealthy, I will quote
his formula of prosperity, his method of accomplishing what might
be called the Individual Revolution:

When hungry and you do not know where to get your next piece of
bread, do not despair. Thy Father, all-loving, has provided you
with everything that will meet all cases of emergency. Place your
teeth tightly together, with tongue pressing against the lower
teeth and lips parted. Breathe in, close lips immediately,
exhaling through the nostrils. Breathe again; if saliva forms in
your mouth, hold your breath so you can swallow it first before
you exhale. You thus take out of the air the metal-substance
contained therein; you can even taste the iron which you convert
into substance required for making the blood. Should you feel
that, although you have sufficient iron in the blood, there is a
lack of copper and zinc and silver, place upper teeth over lower,
keep lower lip tightly to lower teeth, now breathe and you can
even taste the metals named. Then should you feel you need more
gold element for your brain functions, place your back teeth
together just as if you were to grind the back teeth, taking
short breaths only. You will then learn to know that there is
gold and silver all around us. That our bodies are filled with
quite a quantity of gold.

Black Magic

What all this means is that we have a continent, with a hundred
million half-educated people, materially prosperous, but
spiritually starving; so any man who possesses personality, who
looks in any way strange and impressive, or has hunted up old
books in a library, and can pronounce mysterious words in a
thrilling voice--such a man can find followers. Anybody can do it
with any doctrine, from anywhere, Persia or Patagonia, Pekin or
Pompei. I would be willing to wager that if I cared to come out
and announce that I had had a visit from God last night, and to
devote such literary and emotional power as I possess to
communicating a new revelation, I could have a temple, a
university, and a million dollars within five years at the
outside. And if at the end of five years I were to announce that
I had played a joke on the world, some one of my followers would
convince the faithful that I had been an agent of God without
knowing it, and that the leadership had now been turned over to

I would not be understood as believing that all our cults are
undiluted fakery, for that would be doing injustice to some
earnest people. There are, in this country, many followers of the
Persian reformer, Abbas Effendi, who call themselves Babists, and
who have what I am inclined to think is the purest and most
dignified religion in existence. There was a man named Jacob
Beilhardt, who founded a cult in Illinois with the painful name
of "Spirit Fruit Colony", who nevertheless was a man of spiritual
insight, a true mystic; he was honest, and so he failed, and died
of a broken heart. Also there are the Christian Scientists and
the Theosophists, so exasperating that one would like to throw
them onto the rubbish-heap, who yet compel us to sift over their
mountains of chaff for the grains of truth which will bear fruit
in future.

While we western races have been exploring the natural world and
perfecting the mechanical arts, the Hindoo students have been
exploring the subconscious and its strange powers. What Myers and
Lodge and Janet and Charcot and Freud and Jung are telling us
today they had hints of a long time ago; and doubtless they have
hints of other things, upon which our scientists have not yet
come. I have friends, perfectly sane and competent people, who
tell me that they can see auras, and use this ability as a means
of judging character. Shall I say that there are no auras, simply
because I do not happen to have this gift of seeing them? In the
same way, having read Gurney's "Phantasms of the Living," I am
not ready to ridicule the claim of the Yogi adepts, that they are
able to project some kind of astral body, and to communicate with
one another from distant places. But granting such occult powers
in a world of economic strife, what follows? Simply new floods of
charlatanism, elaborate and complicated systems of ritual and
metaphysic for the deluding and plundering of the credulous.

I have seen the thing working itself out in one case known to me.
A young man had a gift of mental healing; I know, because I saw
it work; but it did not always work, and that was annoying. He
was penniless and had a taste for power, and to eke out his
erratic endowment he got himself books of Eastern lore, and day
by day as I watched him I could see him becoming more and more
impressive, mysterious and forbidding. Today he is a full-fledged
wonder-worker, with the language of a dozen mystic cults at his
tongue's end, and the reverent regard of many wealthy ladies. I
have never tried to break through his guard, but I feel certain
that he is a deliberate charlatan.

This is an economic process, automatic and irresistible. Just as
the manufacturer of honest foods is driven out by the
adulterator, so the worker of miracles drives out the sincere
investigator. As a result we have here in America a plague of
Eastern cults, with "swamis" using soft yellow robes and soft
brown eyes to win the souls of idle society ladies. These
teachers of ancient Hindoo lore despise us as a race of
barbarians; but they stay--whether because of love of man or
woman, I do not pretend to say.

There are the Theosophists of many brands, with schools and
institutes and temples and colonies, and a doctrine as complex
and detailed and fantastic as that of the Roman Catholics. I have
already referred to the writings of Madame Blavatsky, a runaway
Russian army officer's daughter, whose career reads like a tale
out of the Arabian Nights. And there is Annie Besant, who was
once an ardent worker in the Social-democratic Federation; H. M.
Hyndman tells of his dismay when she went to India and walked in
a procession between two white bulls! Here in California is
Madame Tingley, with a colony and a host of followers in a
miniature paradise. Men work at money-lending or manufacturing
sporting-goods, and when they get old and tired they make the
thrilling discovery that they have souls; the theosophists
cultivate these souls and they leave their money to the
soul-cause, and there are lawsuits and exposes in the newspapers.
For, you see, there is ferocious rivalry in the game of
cultivating millionaire souls; there are slanders and feuds, just
as in soulless affairs. "Don't have anything to do with Madame
Tingley," whispers a Theosophist lady to my wife; and when my
wife in all innocence inquires, "Why not?" the awe-stricken
answer comes, "She practices black magic!"

Let me add that I do not say that she practices black magic. I do
not believe that she could practice it, even if she wanted to--I
do not believe in black magic. My purpose is merely to show how
theosophists quarrel: going back to the days of Anu and Baal and
the bronze image of the Babylonian fire-god:

Let them die, but let me live! Let them be put under a ban, but
let me prosper! Let them perish, but let me increase! Let them
become weak, but let me wax strong!

Mental Malpractice

This is the other side of the fair shield of religious faith.
Why, if there be a power which loves and can be persuaded to aid
us, may there not also be a power which hates, and can be
persuaded to destroy? No religion has ever been able to answer
this, and therefore none has ever been able to escape from
devil-terrors. Even Jesus was pursued by Satan, and the Holy
Catholic Church has its ceremonies for the exorcising of demons,
and a most frightful formula for cursing. And here are our
friends the Christian Scientists, proclaiming the unreality of
all evil, their ability to banish disease by convincing
themselves that they are perfect in God--yet tormented by a
squalid phobia called "Mental Malpractice", or "Malicious Animal

Christian Science is the most characteristic of American
religious contributions. Just as Billy Sunday is the price we pay
for failing to educate our base-ball players, so Mary Baker
Glover Patterson Eddy is the price we pay for failing to educate
our farmer's daughters.

That she had a power to cure disease I do not doubt, because I
have a little of it myself. At first my opinion was that her
"Science" made its way by curing the imaginary ailments of the
idle rich. If a person has nothing to do but think that he is
sick, you can work easy miracles by persuading him to think that
he is well; and if he has nothing to do but think that he is
well, he will help you to build marble churches and maintain
propaganda societies. But recently I have experimented with
mental healing--enough to satisfy myself that the subconscious
mind which controls our physical functions can be powerfully
influenced by the will.

I told the story of some of these experiments in Hearst's
Magazine for April, 1914. Suffice it here to say that if you will
lay your hands upon a sick person, forming a vivid mental picture
of the bodily changes you desire, and concentrating the power of
your will upon them, you may be surprised by the results,
especially if you possess anything in the way of psychic gifts.
You do not have to adopt any theories, you do not have to do it
in the name of any divinity, ancient or modern; the only bearing
of such ideas is that they serve to persuade people to make the
experiment, and to make it with persistence and intensity. So it
has come about that "miracles" of healing are associated with
"faith"; and so it comes about that scientists are apt to flout
the subject. But read of the work of Janet and Charcot and their
followers at the Salpetriere; they have proven that all kinds of
seeming-organic ailments may be entirely hysterical in nature,
and may be cured by the simplest form of suggestion.
Understanding this, you may find it more easy to credit the fact
that cripples do sometimes throw away their crutches in the
grotto of Lourdes. For my part, I can believe that Jesus
performed all the miracles of healing attributed to him
--including the raising up of people pronounced to be dead by the
ignorance of that time. I am convinced that in the new science of
psycho-analysis we have a universe as vast as the universe of the
atom or of the stars.

The Christian Scientists have got hold of this power; they have
mixed it up with metaphysic and divinity, and built some four or
five hundred churches, and printed the Mother Church alone knows
how many million pamphlets and books. I once invested three of my
hard-earned dollars for a copy of the Eddy Bible, and let myself
be stunned and blinded by the flapping of metaphysical wings. It
is unadulterated moonshine--as the Platonist and Berkeleyan and
Hegelian and other orthodox collegiate metaphysical magi can
prove to you in one minute. What interests me about the
phenomenon is not the slinging of tremendous words, but the
strictly Yankee use which is made of them. There is no nonsense
about saving your soul in Christian Science; what it is for is to
remove your wen, to nail down your floating kidney, and to enable
you to hustle and make money. We saw in our politics the growth
of a Party of the Full Dinner-Pail; contemporaneous therewith,
and corresponding thereto, we see in our religious life the
development of a Church of the Full Pocket-Book.

It is a strict religion--strictly cash. The heads of the cult do
not issue cheap editions of "Science and Health, With Key to the
Scriptures", to relieve the suffering of the proletariat; no--the
work is copyrighted, in all its varying and contradictory
editions, and the price is from three to seven-fifty, according
to binding. Treatments cost from three dollars to ten, whether
you come and get them or take them over the telephone. And we
have no nonsense about charity, we don't worry about the poor who
fester in our city slums; because poverty is a product of Mortal
Mind, and we offer to all men a way to get rich right off the
bat. You may come to our marble churches and hear people testify
how through the power of Divine Mind they were enabled to
anticipate a rise in the stock-market. If you don't avail
yourself of the opportunity, the fault is yours, and yours also
the punishment.

As to the management of the Church, the Roman Catholic hierarchy
is a Bolshevik democracy in comparison. The Church is controlled
by an absolutely irresponsible self-perpetuating body of five
men, who alone dictate its policy. I have in my hand a letter
from a Christian Science healer who was listed as an "authorized
practitioner", and who withdrew from the Church because of its
attitude on public questions. He sends me a copy of his
correspondence with the editors of the "Christian Science
Monitor", containing a detailed analysis of the position of that
paper on such issues as the Ballinger land-frauds. He writes:

I am thoroughly convinced now that the policy of the Church is
consciously plutocratic. The only recommendation I have heard of
the latest appointee to the Board of Directors is that he is one
of the richest men in the movement.

After the Titanic disaster, Senator La Follette brought in a
carefully drawn bill to compel steamship companies to provide
life-boats and trained crews. The "Christian Science Monitor"
opposed this bill; and when my correspondent cited the fact, he
brought out a quaint bit of metaphysical logic, as follows:

One would prefer to travel on a vessel without a single boat,
rather than on some other vessels which were loaded down with
life-boats, where the government of Mind was not understood!

Science and Wealth

The truth is that the brand of Mammon was on our Yankee religion
from the day of its birth. In the first edition of her new Bible
"Mother" Eddy dropped the hint to her readers: "Men of business
have said this science was of great advantage from a secular
point of view." And in her advertisements she threw aside all
pretense, declaring that her work "Affords an opportunity to
acquire a profession by which one can accumulate a fortune." When
her pupils did accumulate, she boasted of their success; nor did
she neglect her own accumulating.

It has been a dozen years since I looked into this cult; in order
to be sure that it has not been purified in the interim, I
proceed to a street corner in my home city, where is a stand with
a sign: "Christian Science Literature." I take four sample
copies of a magazine, the "Christian Science Sentinel", published
by the Mother Church in Boston, and turn to the "Testimonials of
Healing". In the issue of August 11, 1917, Mary C. Richards of
St. Margarets-on-Thames, England, testifies: "Through a number of
circumstances unnecessary to relate, but proving conclusively
that the result came not from man but from God, employment was
found." In the issue of December 2, 1916, Frances Tuttle of
Jersey City, N. J., testifies how her sister was successfully
treated for unemployment by a scientist practitioner. "Every
condition was beautifully met." In the same issue Fred D. Miller
of Los Angeles, Cal., testifies: "Soon after this wonderful truth
came to me, Divine Love led me to a new position with a
responsible firm. The work was new to me, but I have given entire
satisfaction, and my salary has been advanced twice in less than
a year." In the issue of January 27, 1917, Eliza Fryant of
Agricola, Miss., testifies how she cured her little dog of
snake-bite and removed two painful corns from her own foot. In
the issue of August 4, 1917, Marcia E. Gaier, of Everett, Wash.,
testifies how it suddenly occurred to her that because God is
All, she would drop her planning and outlining in regard to real
estate properties, "upon which for nine months all available
material methods were tried to no effect." The result was a
triumph of "Principle".

While working in the yard one morning and gratefully communing
with God, the only power, I suddenly felt that I should stop
working and prepare for visitors on their way to look at the
property. I obeyed this very distinct command, and in about an
hour I greeted two people who had searched almost the entire city
for just what we had to offer. They had been directed to our
place by what to material sense would seem an accident, but we
know it was the divine law of harmony in its universal operation.

After this no one will wonder that John M. Tutt, in a Christian
Science lecture at Kansas City, Mo., should proclaim:

My friends, do you know that since the world began Christian
Science is the only system which has intelligently related
religion to business? Christian Science shows that since all
ideas belong to Mind, God, therefore all real business belongs to

As I said, these people have the new-old power of mental healing,
They blunder along with it blindly, absurdly, sometimes with
tragic consequences; but meantime the rank and file of the
pill-doctors know nothing about this power, and regard it with
contempt mingled with fear; so of course the hosts of sufferers
whom the pill-doctors cannot help flock to the healers of the
"Church of Christ, Scientist". According to the custom of those
who are healed by "faith", they swallow line, hook, and sinker,
creed, ritual, metaphysic and divinity. So we see in
twentieth-century America precisely what we saw in B. C.
twentieth-century Assyria--a host of worshippers, giving their
worldly goods without stint, and a priesthood, made partly of
fanatics and partly of charlatans, conducting a vast enterprise
of graft, and harvesting that thing desired of all men, power
over the lives and destinies of others.

And of course among themselves they quarrel; they murder one
another's Mortal Minds, they drive one another out, they snarl
over the spoils like a pack of hungry animals. Listen to the
Mother, denouncing one of her students--a perfectly amiable and
harmless youth whose only offense was that he had gone his own
way and was healing the sick for the benefit of his own

Behold! thou criminal mental marauder, that would blot out the
sunshine of earth, that would sever friends, destroy virtue, put
out Truth, and murder in secret the innocent, befouling thy track
with the trophies of thy guilt--I say, Behold the "cloud" no
bigger than a man's hand already rising on the horizon of Truth,
to pour down upon thy guilty head the hailstones of doom.

And again:

The Nero of today, regaling himself through a mental method with
the torture of individuals, is repeating history, and will fall
upon his own sword, and it shall pierce him through. Let him
remember this when, in the dark recesses of thought, he is
robbing, committing adultery and killing. When he is attempting
to turn friend away from friend, ruthlessly stabbing the
quivering heart; when he is clipping the thread of life and
giving to the grave youth and its rainbow hues; when he is
turning back the reviving sufferer to his bed of pain, clouding
his first morning after years of night; and the Nemesis of that
hour shall point to the tyrant's fate, who falls at length upon
the sword of justice.

New Nonsense

In a certain city of America is a large building given up
entirely to the whims of pretty ladies. Its floors are not floors
but "Promenades", and have walls of glass, behind which, as you
stroll, you see bonnets from Paris and opera cloaks from London,

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