School of Radiant Living

Page 6 – Origins of Radiant Living

An international movement

Radiant Living emerged from the American-based philosophical movement New Thought, which gained popularity in the late 19th century. The 'father' of New Thought was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866) who practised what he believed was the healing method of Jesus. Other names associated with New Thought are Mary Baker Eddy (who founded Christian Science), the transcendentalist writers Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, the theologist Levi H. Dowling (who wrote about the Aquarian Age and the Gospels), and Ernest Shurtleff Holmes. There were also links with the new European psychological theories, particularly those of Carl Jung, and nutritional ideas later publicised by Gayelord Hauser and others.

The International New Thought Alliance was formed in 1914 as an umbrella organisation for the many parts of the New Thought movement and is still active today. It had a significant influence on the development of the 12-point plan now used in treating addictions.

New Thought activist Phoebe Holmes travelled the world lecturing about Radiant Health Clubs. She advocated an Eliminating Diet which in a later form was to become an essential part of Radiant Living. She apparently visited New Zealand in the 1920s and 1930s. Christchurch's Radiant Theatre was built at this time by Thomas Edmond of baking powder fame. In Australia Herbert Sutcliffe, who was also active in the Radiant Health Club movement, came to her attention. Through her influence he was invited to attend the 1931 New Thought Alliance conference in Ohio. He went from there to complete a doctorate of divinity at a Divine Science Church (part of New Thought) in New York State and later that year set up his first School of Radiant Living in Providence, Rhode Island.

How to cite this page

'Origins of Radiant Living', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012