Dr. Joseph Murphy (1898-1981)

Worldwide Expert on Mysticism and Mind Dynamics

"You were born to be rich. You grow rich by the use of your God-given faculties, by tuning in with the Infinite, and as your mind becomes productive and full of good ideas, your labor will become more productive and will bring you all kinds of material riches."--- Dr. Joseph Murphy

Early Life

Born on May 20, 1898 in a small town in Ireland, Joseph Murphy was raised in a religious Catholic household. His father, Denis Murphy, taught at the National School of Ireland, which was a Jesuit facility. He was a deacon and one of the few lay professors. Joseph enrolled in the National School. A brilliant student, he was accepted as a Jesuit seminarian, but as time went on and he reached his late teens he began to question the Catholic orthodox views of the Jesuits. He longed to explore new ideas and break out of the Catholic-dominated culture of Ireland. He decided to go to America and arrived at Ellis Island with $5 in his pocket.

Joseph located a boarding house where he shared a room with a pharmacist. At the beginning, since he spoke Gaelic and not English, he worked as a day laborer but soon his roommate got him hired as a pharmacy assistant. Joseph saw a chance to improve his life, so he enrolled in pharmacy school. He quickly went from having enough money to rent his own place to becoming a pharmacist to buying the drugstore. For a few years before World War II he ran a successful business.

Student of the Metaphysical

When the US entered the war, he enlisted and became a pharmacist for the 88th Infantry Division. This period of time sparked his renewed interest in the metaphysical. He began to read everything he could get his hands on regarding different religions and spiritual beliefs. After the war, he decided not to return to his work in pharmacy. Instead he traveled in the US and overseas and took courses. He immersed himself in the various Asian religions and went to India to study. In addition to his research regarding the major faiths, he began to extend his studies to include the great philosophers from ancient times until the modern day.

One of his mentors was Dr. Thomas Troward. Dr. Troward was a judge. He was also a doctor, a professor, and a philosopher. Joseph soaked up all the knowledge that Dr. Troward shared with him. The two men discussed theology, philosophy, and law but they also ventured into mysticism and ideas that were becoming central to the New Thought movement. With Troward's guidance, Joseph was introduced to the Masonic order. He became an active member and eventually rose to the 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite.

When Dr. Murphy came back to the US, he decided he wanted to share his beliefs about Christianity with the public, but because his views were untraditional and in many ways not in alignment with the Christian denominations, he formed his own church in Los Angeles. He called his new church The Church of Divine Science. At the beginning he didn't attract too many followers, but his message of optimism and hope was such a refreshing change from the "hell-fire-and-damnation" sermons of the typical minister that soon the number of attendees at his church increased.

The New Thought Movement

Dr. Murphy was an advocate of the New Thought movement. Developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by philosophers and spiritual leaders, the New Thought movement continues to evolve and has seen a huge resurgence in recent years. The basic tenets of this movement are:

  • The Universe is Infinite.
  • Man has Infinite Possibilities.
  • Man was made in the likeness of God.
  • Inside each person is the indwelling Presence of the Infinite.
  • This Presence is our source of inspiration, power, healing, and prosperity.
  • Through imagination, creative visualization, and prayer we can communicate with the indwelling Presence for guidance and create our own reality.

The New Thought movement flourished in the decades following World War II. The Unity Church and The Church of Religious Science preached similar tenets and Dr. Murphy frequently worked with other Churches to offer joint programs.

The Church of Divine Science Continues to Grow

Eventually, Murphy's location became too small to hold all his attendees. He rented a former movie theater, The Wilshire Ebell Theater, to hold his services. Services were attended by an average of 1500 people. Throughout the day and in the evenings, Dr. Murphy offered seminars and lectures. His Church remained at that location until 1976 when it moved to Laguna Hills, California.

As his Church grew, Dr. Murphy added a staff and started to record his lectures on tape. He also began authoring books. His administrative secretary, Dr. Jean Wright, was helping him in these pursuits and their working relationship developed into a romance. They married and worked together for the rest of their lives. At the time Dr. Murphy had started his Church, there were not too many publishers who published metaphysical materials. The Murphys found some small presses in their area and began publishing some of his teachings in pamphlet form. As the orders for these books increased, major publishers became interested and added his books to their catalogs. He also had a daily radio program that enabled him to get his message out to millions of people.

On a day when he was writing, Dr. Murphy would isolate himself in his study and write for four to six hours. His wife reported that he seemed to be in an almost trance-like state of mind. He expanded his pamphlets into full-length books. He wrote on a tablet and pressed so hard with his pencil that the imprint of his words appeared on the following sheet of paper. He was driven to share the benefit of everything he had learned to help others.

The Power of the Subconscious Mind

He was constantly seeking simple ways to discuss complex metaphysical issues. It was his goal for everyday men and women to be able to tap into these principles to improve their lives. His central theme was that the solution to any problem an individual faces is within his or her own mind. Outside factors shouldn't influence the ability for an individual to transform. In order to live a better life, an individual needs to change his or her mind and thinking patterns, not outside circumstances. In other words, the power of change exists solely in a person's mind. By using the power of the subconscious mind, transformation can become a reality.

Dr. Murphy authored more than 30 books. First published in 1963, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, was an immediate bestseller and has sold millions of copies worldwide. Many believe it's one of the best self-help guides ever written.

His wife continued his ministry after his death. She said of him: "He was a practical mystic, possessed by the intellect of a scholar, the mind of a successful executive, the heart of a poet."

A Partial List of the Books Authored by Dr. Joseph Murphy

  • The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
  • Believe in Yourself
  • The Magic of Faith
  • How to Attract Money
  • Wheels of Truth
  • Getting Results from Prayer
  • The Miracles of Your Mind
  • Riches Are Your Right
  • Step This Way for Healing
  • How to Use Your Healing Powers
  • Oct 17, 2019
  • Category: News
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