Ernest Holmes’ Cosmic Consciousness Experience
Whittier Church Dedication, February 12, 1959
One of the most famous moments in all of Religious Science happened at the dedication of a new church in Whittier, California, where Ernest Holmes delivered one of his most well known talks. Luckily, for lovers of Ernest Holmes and Science of Mind, you can be a witness to live history because the speech was recorded on an early stenographic device, called the Grey Autograph, which recorded his talk on a plastic disk. It was transcribed onto a phonographic record and then transferred to a modern audio recording. It is grainy; it is, at times, difficult to understand, but there is the distinctive and powerful voice of Ernest Holmes recorded at the moment of the greatest personal experience of the Divine that he felt in the course of his remarkable lifetime. And you can listen to it, today, on the Archives website (click on link below).
George Bendall, who edited and assembled Ernest Holmes’ unpublished talks and papers, in Vol. 2 of his wonderful series Holmes Papers: The Anatomy of Healing Prayer, talks about accompanying Ernest Holmes to that church dedication, sitting with him on the platform, hearing that dramatic talk, chauffeuring Holmes back to his house, and sitting up with him all night talking about “the cosmic experience” that Holmes experienced as he gave that memorable speech. Bendall had been living with Holmes since the passing of Hazel in 1957. Bendall writes, “That evening Dr. Holmes experienced what has been accepted as a Cosmic Consciousness experience. He kept me up most of the night talking about it, telling me I must never tell anyone what we discussed.” (Pg. 129, Vol. 2 The Holmes Papers. George Bendall) Bendall was a young minister and a gifted engineer, who was on staff at the Institute Headquarters at this time; he was asked by Holmes to live with him because Bendall, like Holmes, was also a widower and could understand the depths of grief that was Holmes’ constant companion during these final years.
You might wonder what Bendall and Holmes discussed that night. Luckily for Science of Mind Archives’ readers, you can follow the link to the December, 1987 issue of Science of Mindmagazine, and read the outstanding article “Light, Love, and Law,” written about the final interviews given by Ernest Holmes to a family friend and famous journalist, Elaine St. Johns. She writes that Holmes seemed to be getting his affairs in order in 1959 and tapped her to do an ongoing interview with him for a future biographer in order to help keep the record straight about Holmes and his life’s work. The interviews were ongoing throughout that year as the spirit moved Holmes. In that article, St. Johns reveals that although she wasn’t present for that dedication speech, she sought out George Bendall to find out what Holmes had shared with the young minister that night they stayed up talking after that mystical experience on the platform.
Here is part of what George Bendall related to her:
George drove him home in silence. Ernest settled himself in his favorite brown leather chair thinking quietly. At last he admitted to George that he had experienced the highest degree of illumination he had ever known.
“’While I was talking, I had the semblance of everything turning into a sort of shimmering light and I imagined myself, or maybe I was, as though severed from my body, looking down at myself talking and feeling this thin. I actually had the feeling that I was part of the stars, that I was a part of everything, that I was part of the whole movement, the push and pull of the universe, but with a greater sense of self-awareness,” Ernest told him. “I thought I had had cosmic conscious experiences long before, but now I know this truly what it is.”
“There was a complete and total recognition,” he said, “that there is no death, nothing but eternal life, no sense of any mistake in his past, only an instantaneous recognition of his experience and expression as an individual. But,” he added, “however you say it, this kind of thing is usually misunderstood. You can’t tell people about it.”
George thought maybe you could – and should. Ernest was pretty sure you couldn’t – and shouldn’t.
So, if you want to share in a true moment of history that all who were there remember as unforgettable—some claiming to hear celestial music, others seeing an aura around Holmes as he became visibly overcome and seemingly mesmerized at the end of the speech—just click on the audio link below. And if you want to read Elaine St. Johns’ wonderful article about the last interview with Ernest Holmes, follow the link to the December, 1987 issue of Science of Mind magazine.
It all makes for amazing reading and wonderful listening—a sample of what the Archives provides for those who dearly love Ernest Holmes and Science of Mind!
Click here to download the Whittier Speech for $6.00:
Click here to download the December, 1987 issue of Science of Mind magazine: