In the third and final part of our interview with Dr. Marilyn Leo—she details all of the hard work, highlights key volunteers, that aided her throughout the years, what kinds of materials they discovered in the old files, the publication of books with “NEW” old material, and the main problem facing the Archives and Library today—RELIABLE FUNDING FROM DONORS AND SUPPORTERS OF SCIENCE OF MIND. Please come back and read the rest of this great interview!
Final Installment of a Three-Part Interview with Dr. Marilyn Leo, Founder of the Science of Mind Archives
DR. LEO WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING THE ARCHIVES IN 2012? WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO KEEP “GROWING” AND “DEVELOPING” THE ARCHIVES?
“At present, the biggest challenge for the Archives is financing. We are a designated non-profit organization, financially independent of CSL. The biggest ongoing challenge for the Archives is financing it and keeping it alive. We do not have a benefactor, and we are completely dependent on personal gifts. We have created a very special support program to address that need. 1st Circle is a wonderful annual membership program for practitioners, practitioner students and ministers. The 1st Circle annual membership contribution is only approximately $10 a month, or $125 a year. Just 1,000 people participating in this program would cover our annual operating expenses. Then much-needed additional programs could begin: transferring reel-to-reel tapes of Ernest Holmes radio programs into CD albums or onto other media, copying other New Thought works that we have the Library as well.” Of course all donations in any amount are welcome.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ITEM IN THE ARCHIVES?
“The archives is filled with wonderful and exciting treasures: books, photographs, magazines, manuscripts, class materials, legal documents, the minutes of RSI and UCRS, now all one organization; they are all housed in the Archives. Copies of all the Science of Mind magazines, Creative Thought, and other publications are there. Some of these are now available on the archives website: www.somarchives.org.
“I cannot say that any one item in the archives is my favorite. It has always been great fun finding items of a personal nature. I once found, at the bottom of the box, a little handwritten note written to Ernest Holmes from his mother, Anna Holmes. I thought that was a real find!”
WHO ARE SOME OF THE KEY VOLUNTEERS THAT AIDED YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND IN ESTABLISHING THE ARCHIVES AND LIBRARY THROUGHOUT THE YEARS?
In the beginning, we had many volunteers. Some would come one time, help us for that day, have lunch, and not return. Others would come several times. And still others would come week after week for many months. The people loved being there and we would all ‘celebrate’ when a special object was found, and read, and shared with all of us. Finding not-before published works was the most fun. You would hear someone say, ‘Listen to this!’ or ‘I didn’t know this.’ and then read the information to the rest of us.
“However, I will say, that one of the rules was to NOT read more than was necessary in order to decide in what folder the document should be filed. That was very hard to do. Someday, I would love to just be able to sit and read everything. There have been three people who spent many hours above and beyond any other volunteers in the archives. They were: a woman from the Whittier church, I believe she was a practitioner. Unfortunately I don’t remember her name. She had to quit working in the Archives so she could tend to her husband who was very ill. Rev. Jackie Holland while we were still in Los Angeles was a tremendous help. And, Rev. Ann Rea was key when we moved to Burbank; and she was a ministerial student at the time! Rev. Jackie was a fast reader, so she was able to sort papers pretty quickly. And Rev. Ann was a computer whiz and helped set up the Burbank’s’ Archives and put the inventory information into the computer.
I made reports to Dr. Kathianne Lewis, International Board of Trustees Chair, and gave her the names of volunteers and the hundreds of hours they spent in the archives.”
WHERE IS THE ARCHIVES LOCATED? OR SHOULD I SAY WHERE ARE ALL THE PLACES ARE THE ARCHIVES HAVE BEEN LOCATED?
“Since that beginning with many hundreds of hours and volunteers, there have been many changes. Much of the correspondence, photographs, tapes, books, recordings, class curriculum, magazines, music, greeting cards, poetry by Holmes, and thousands of other papers have been inventoried and set up in archival form with acid-free folders, boxes, and envelopes. This was in the 1990’s. From the Los Angeles basement storage room we moved to Burbank to another storage- like room. The Los Angeles room was tiny and stuffed, and when we moved to Burbank we were put into another small room without windows, air conditioning or heating. I “borrowed” fans during the summer and heaters in the winter that I would find around the other offices and not being used to make it comfortable enough to work in.
“The United Church of Religious Science (UCSL) was going to move to Golden, Colorado. It was during this time that we formed an independent corporation with the agreement with UCSL and International Centers for Spiritual Living (ICSL), that we would be stewards of the precious contents of the Archives. The Science of Mind Archives had a board of seven people representing both UCSL and ICSL; we wanted to stay in California when the home office (UCSL) moved to Golden, Colorado. We were offered to lease a building on the Encinitas, CA church property, but two years later it was decided that we would move the Archives and the Library to Golden. We now lease the lower east wing of CSL headquarters in Golden, Colorado.”
HOW DID THE BOOK LOVE AND LAW COME ABOUT FROM THE ARCHIVES’ MATERIAL?
“UCSL was looking for some additional funds, so they approached Tarcher-Penguin about some new publications based on Ernest Holmes writings. Three books were published by Tarcher at that time: Love and Law, The Essential Ernest, 365 Days of Science of Mind. I wrote Love and Law; I had offered the papers I had found and compiled and edited the chapters for Love and Law. Tarcher published 5000 copies in hardback, and it has had more than one printing in paperback. Only in recent years did I learn how well the book had sold. I am very pleased.”
IF THE ARCHIVES AND LIBRARY IS NOT A DEPARTMENT OF CENTERS FOR SPIRITUAL LIVING, HOW IS IT ORGANIZED?
“I was afraid that the Archives and Library would move to Golden, Colorado and never be heard from again, and I did not want this to happen. So, I decided to venture forth with the idea of a corporation for the Archives and Library. I approached the Hefferlin Foundation with the idea of creating a foundation to serve as stewards of the Archives. President, George St. Johns was willing to test the idea and we met with representatives from ICSL, UCSL, and Hefferlin. At the first (test) meeting there were two representatives from each of the three organizations including: Dr. Candice Becket, Dr. Kathy Hearn, Rodney Scott, George St. Johns, Tom Sannar and myself.
“The Archives and Library Foundation is a living entity. We are constantly receiving materials from families of ministers and other active members of Religious Science who have transitioned. We also invite authors and musicians to donate copies of their work. One copy will go the Archives and one copy will be in the Library.
“As I have said before, we “live” completely on financial donations from individuals. We hope that one day soon, we will have a benefactor, a bequest, an annuity, or a steady stream of prosperity to underwrite the efforts needed to maintain all of this history.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER PROJECTS IN THE WORKS? YOU WROTE ANOTHER WONDERFUL BOOK ABOUT ERNEST HOLMES CALLED IN HIS COMPANY: ERNEST HOLMES REMEMBERED. ARE YOU WRITING ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE CHURCH OR ERNEST?
At the present time, I am finishing up the book, Chronicles of Religious Science. It is the history in chronological order, of the events and personalities that originally created the Institute of Religious Science in 1926, and continues to this day to love and support the teaching of Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind, through Centers for Spiritual Living. I have shared the celebrations, and the challenges throughout these many years. Particular subjects seemed to be more interesting than others, and so that I wouldn’t have 20 volumes, I chose to tell about the beginning, the separation of Church of Religious Science and International Association of Religious Science Churches in the 1950s, the trials and tribulations of United Church in the 1980s, the reorganization of United Church, the financial woes of both organizations, and the growth of Science of Mind and Creative Thought magazines, and the formulation of the Holmes Institute, Science of Mind around the world, and most importantly, the integration of our two beloved organizations. The foreword was written by Dr. John Waterhouse, President of Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL). It will be available in 2013.
You may be interested in knowing thatChronicles has been a project of love of Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind, and all the people who helped form it and still do. A Hefferlin Foundation grant helped pay for my expenses, mostly travel to Golden, Colorado. Claudia Abbott, Editor-in-Chief of the Science of Mind magazine shared her home with me on my many visits there. I have given ownership and the copyrights of the book to the Science of Mind Archives and Library Foundation.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY PROJECTS BEYOND CHRONICLES OF RELIGIOUS SCIENCE?
I have been saying that this is my last big one, but other ideas crop up. Just last night, while going to sleep, I had an idea for a children’s book. I have interviewed about 80 people for my two books: In His Company and Chronicles of Religious Science, and I have heard many stories of healings, that’s another possibility. Also, I have been writing for many years my thoughts, affirmations, treatments, realizations, and, perhaps, I’ll begin to review those. At the moment, I just want to do nothing. I have worked on the book for two years, and it is time for a rest.
Some people think I should write a book about my life, but I don’t think that is necessary and there would need to be a lot left out!
THANK YOU DR. LEO FOR ALL OF YOUR WONDERFUL YEARS OF SERVICE. AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR MEMORIES AND THE HISTORY OF THE ARCHIVES FOR OUR READERS!
We hope you have enjoyed this interview with Dr. Marilyn Leo. Not all of us can volunteer to give our time to support the Science of Mind Archives, but we are sure that you wish to see it continue, expand, and support Science of Mind ministers, practitioners, lay people, and lovers of this precious teaching. Perhaps, this is the time to make a yearly donation to the Archives to make sure it is a resource upon which we can all rely. Check out the Website and press the Donate Heading to aid us in supporting this website and the physical location of the Archives and Library in Golden, Colorado. Thank you for your contribution!!
Dr. Marilyn Leo