Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion
Book Six - The Church of the Quacks
If the symbolism of the Episcopal Church is of the palace, and that of the non-conformist sects of the counting-house, that of the International New Nonsense Alliance is of Wall Street and the "ticker." What is your rating in the Spiritual Bradstreet?" asks William Morris Nichols in the publication of the "'Now' Folks," San Francisco:
Is it low or high? Is your credit with the Bank of the Universe good or poor? If you draw a spiritual draft are you sure of its being honored?
If you can answer that last question affirmatively, you are on the road to become a Master in Spiritual Financiering.
Have you an account with the First (and only) Bank of Spirit? If not, then you should at once open one therewith. For no one can afford to keep less than a large deposit of spiritual funds with that Bank.
And how do you proceed to open your account? It is very simple:
Intend the mind in the direction indicated by your desire. Seek for the Light and Guidance by which you may open up the way for your Spiritual Substance, which governs material supply, to reach you and make you as rich as you ought to be, in freedom and happiness. All this you can, and when in earnest, will do.
I turn over the advertisements of this publication of the "'Now' Folk." One offers "The Business Side of New Thought." Another offers "The Book Without an If," with your money back IF you are not satisfied! Another offers land in Bolivia for $2 an acre. Another quotes Shakespeare: "Tis the mind that makes the body rich." Another offers two copies of the "Phrenological Era" for 10 cents.
There is apparently no delusion of any age or clime which cannot find dupes among the readers of this New Nonsense. One notice commands:
Stop! A Revelation! A Book has been written entitled "Strands of Gold", or "From Darkness into Light!" Another announces:
The Most Wonderful Book of the Ages: The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, Transcribed from the Book of God's Remembrance, the Akashic Records.
And here is an advertisement published in Mr. Atkinson's paper:
Numerology: the Universal Adjuster! Do you know: What you appear to be to others? What you really are? What you want to be? What would overcome your present and future difficulties? Write to X, Philosopher. You will receive full particulars of his personal work which is dedicated to your service. No problem is too big or too small for Numerology. Understanding awaits you.
And looking in the body of the magazine, you find this Philosopher imparting some of this Understanding. Would you like, for example, to understand why America entered the War? Nothing easier. The vowels of the Words United States of America are uieaeoaeia, which are numbered 2951561591, which added make 45, or 4 plus 5 equals 9. You might not at first see what that has to do with the War - until the Philosopher points out that "9 in the number of completion, indicating the end of a cosmic cycle." That, of course, explains everything.
And here is a work on what you perhaps thought to be a dead science, Astrology. It is called "Lucky Hours for Everybody: A True System of Planetary Hours by Prof. John B. Early. Price One Dollar" It teaches you things like this:
Saturn's negative hours are especially good for all matters relating to gold-mining. ... The Sun negative rules the emerald, the musical note D sharp, and the number four. The lunar hours are a good time to deal in public commodities, and to hire servants of both sexes. ...
A recent lady visitor informed me that she had made several vain attempts to transact important business in the hours ruled by Jupiter, usually held to be fortunate, while she was nearly always fortunate in what she began in the hours ruled by Saturn. Upon investigation I found her name was ruled by the Sun negative, and that she had Capricorn with Saturn therein as her ascendant at birth, which explains.
And finally, here is a London "scientist," reported in the "Weekly Unity" of Kansas City, who proves his mental power over two-horse power oil engines which fail to act. "Going a little apart, he came back in a few minutes and said: 'The engine is all right now and will work satisfactory,' and without any further difficulty it did." We are told how Dr. Rawson gave a demonstration of his method to a newspaper reporter the other day. Fixing his gaze as though looking into space, he apparently became absorbed in deep contemplation and said aloud: "There is no danger; man is surrounded by divine love; there is no matter; all is spirit and manifestation of spirit."
You might at first find difficulty in believing what can be accomplished by "demonstrations" such as this; not merely are two-horse power oil engines made to work, but the whole gigantic machine of Prussian militarism is prevented from working. You may recall how Arthur Machen's magazine story of the Angels of Mons was taken up and made into a Catholic legend over-night; now here is a New-Nonsense legend, complete and perfect, going the rounds of our Nonsense magazines:
London, Dec. 14. - Shell-proof and bullet-proof soldiers have been discovered on the European battle-fronts. Heroes with "charmed lives" are being made every day, according to Frederick L. Rawson, a London scientist, who insists he has found the miraculous way by which they are developed. He calls it "audible treatment." "Practical utilization of the powers of God by right thinking," is the agency through which Dr. Rawson declares he can so treat a man that he will not be harmed when hundreds of men are being shot dead beside him. This amazing treatment includes a new type of prayer. It is being administered to hundreds of men audibly, and to hundreds more by letter. Nothing since the war began has aroused so much talk of modern miracles as have many of the statements of Dr. Rawson....
At the taking of a wood there were 500 yards of "No Man's Land" to be crossed. Our troops could not get across. Then Capt. _______ who practices this method of prayer, treated them for an hour before they started, and not a man was knocked out. He was the only officer left out of 80 in his brigade. He simply held out the fact that man is spiritual and perfect and could not be touched. A bullet fired from a revolver only five yards away hit him over the chest, tore his shirt and went out at the shoulder, But it never penetrated his chest. He was frequently in a hail of shells and bullets which did not touch him.
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