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When Lorraine Sinkler (Joel Goldsmith's long-time editor and author of the biography, The Spiritual Journey of Joel S. Goldsmith) worked with Joel he told her "There was to be a minimum of factual data because that was not the measure of the man: what counted was what he was and his work."
Joel Goldsmith was born in New York City on March 10, 1892. His parents were born in New York city also. They were married in 1891 and Joel was their first child. He had a brother two years and four months younger and a sister four years and four months younger.
His father while in his twenties was earning from $12,000 to $15,000 a year, quite a substantial amount for the early 1900's. Joel lived with his parents in a furnished ten-room apartment on Riverside Drive. There was a very close relationship between Joel and his mother. His father traveled extensively in the course of his business.
At an early age his mother told him "I know what is wrong with you, Joel. You are looking for God." He replied "Mom, how can you say that? I don't even know if there is a God." "Oh, but I know that you are looking for God." When he was nineteen, he told his mother "I have discovered you are right. There is a God, but I can't find Him. No matter to whom I talk, they don't seem to know Him.
Though his parents were Jewish, Joel received little training in religious ways except when he was twelve and a half he was sent for some instruction so that he could be confirmed at thirteen. To him confirmation was an unpleasant experience; he rebelled against the kind of prayer uttered on that day, and he never went back
Joel's formal schooling terminated after a few months in high school. When he was sixteen and a half he was taken to Europe on a buying expedition as an assistant to his father, who was a buyer of European laces and allied lines of merchandise. In 1915 on one of the buying trips his father became ill and was taken off a ship at Southampton, and rushed to Nottingham, where he was in a hospital seventy-seven days. Then the cable came "Goldsmith dying. Send for body."
That night after putting his mother on a ship for England Joel had an engagement to take a friend to dinner. He called at the home to explain the situation and the girls' father then asked, "When did your father die?" Joel replied "He is not dead yet but he is dying or he may be dead by now." "Oh, no" the girl's father said, "you are a very young man, and your father must be comparatively young, too. He doesn't have to die." That seemed a strange statement to Joel. The doctors said so and he had been in the hospital for seventy-seven days. "Well, have you ever heard of prayer and prayer healing?" "No, the only prayer I know is 'Now I lay me down to sleep.' Do you mean Christian Science?' "Yes. I am a Christian Science practitioner, and I do believe it." "If you can help him, of course, do so. It would be a marvelous thing if he could come home."
The miraculous recovery of his father led Joel to begin a study of Christian Science, in which he sought answers to the questions that naturally arose in the mind of a person who had traveled the world as he had, questions that kept plaguing him with an urgency that drove him on.
"My entire family background is Hebrew, and never in my life had I known anything of a Christian teaching. In fact, I had never known anything of any teaching except the Ten Commandments. But when I was nineteen whether it was the Voice or an impression, Something within me said, "Find the man Jesus, and you will have the secret of life." That was a strange thing to say to me because I knew nothing of Jesus Christ beyond the name and that Christmas was a holiday celebrating his birth. But from that minute on my life has been dedicated to that man Jesus and his secret."
Six months after that, this Voice or impression said, "Become a Mason and learn about God." I knew nothing about Masonry, and there was no one in my family who knew anything about it. So I learned that I would be eligible to join a Masonic Order when I was twenty-one. The Voice fulfilled Itself in Its promise because the first night in the Masonic lodge I learned something about God that I had never known before and also something about prayer." Joel's Scottish Rite affiliation was in Honolulu. During the war as a Marine he was stationed at Parris Island.
During that time he served as Second Reader in a Christian Science Society organized for a little group of Marines. It was during this time of pondering for many hours on how it was possible to follow the teaching of the Master, Christ Jesus, and go out and kill that he opened the Bible to the passage "Neither pray I for these alone." In that moment the passage was illumined for him and he saw the mistaken zeal in the practice of the churches that opened their doors to pray for victory while none of them were praying for the enemy. Suddenly he knew that he only righteous or effectual prayer anyone could pray is the prayer for the enemy, a form of prayer which from that moment on he began to practice diligently.
After the war, when Joel's business collapsed he became critically ill with tuberculosis and was given three months to die. He decided to seek help from a Christina Science practitioner, and in three months he made a compete recovery.
After Joel married Rose Robb they decided to move to Boston. Joel's Christian Science teacher, who lived in Boston, discouraged him about making this move, saying, "I can't have you in Boston; you are too good a man. I have plans for you, and you will just break your heart here. You can't make good here.
"What's wrong?"
"Well, this in New England. You have a Jewish name and Jewish face, and they are not going to like it. New Englanders are very conservative. Furthermore, they don't pay a practitioner enough to support your family the way you want to live."
He went on to tell Joel what some of the practitioners earned in Boston, some of the very good ones. So Joel said, "Well, you have forced me to move to Boston, because to me this is a principle. If it doesn't work in Boston, it isn't a principle. It's got to work even if I were cast out on the ocean or in the desert. If it doesn't , I will have to give this up and go back to business, because business does operate on principle. If you know your product and if you give good service, you can't fail, and I can always go back to business."
"Oh, that would be foolish."
"All right," was Joel's response. "Let make it more foolish. For one year I will not go inside a church or to a lecture or to any place where Christian Scientists gather. I will not permit a Christian Scientist to come into my home unless he is a patient. Furthermore, I will not enter the home of a Christian Scientist unless it is that of a patient to whom I am called. I will go to my office, and I will stay there from nine in the morning until four or five o'clock in the afternoon even if no one come to me. Then I'll go home. I will stay at home until the next morning in time to get to the office so that no one is going to know that Joel Goldsmith is in Boston and no one is going to know that he is a practitioner. If at the end of the year I do not have a good practice, I am not only going out of the practice, I am going out of Christian Science, too."
"My life has been told in two Bible passages: 'My kingdom is not of this world' and 'I have meat to eat that ye know not.'"
Joel had nothing but good to say about his experiences while in the Christian Science movement.
"I don't know of any more wonderful period of my life than the sixteen years that I was a Christian Science Journal practitioner, for I lived morning, noon, and night in the company of those engaged in that church work, and I don't mind telling you they were marvelous people."
This is just a very small portion of Joel's life as told in The Spiritual Journey of Joel S. Goldsmith by Lorraine Sinkler. In the book of this remarkable man Lorraine tells how he went on to be a Christian Science practitioner and then on to write many books that are continuing to help people find God.
Check with us about our limited selection of used early editions and occasional availablility of out-of-print books. We can usually get used copies of Goldsmith books for you. For those interested we can also custom bind in leather any of these books we offer. Inquire as to pricing of such custom orders.
Please note that Healing Unlimited does not promote Joel Goldsmith's writings as Christian Science per se, but as his own writings, under the cognomen "The Infinite Way." There is value for the student of Christian Science in much of what Goldsmith has written or taught others through his taped classes. The Early Years Letters is one of the very few items that quotes Mary Baker Eddy's writings at length and gives her complete credit. His later work was completed largely after he left the Boston church, because of the way he was treated by the church hierarchy. Goldsmith does not consistently follow the capitalization Mrs. Eddy employs in her writings, nor does he in his later works give her proper recognition as might be more appropriate, although he dearly loved and respected Mrs. Eddy. It is our understanding that he was threatened with legal action by the church should he mention Mrs. Eddy and/or Christian Science in his teaching or writings--perhaps this is the reason he was led to call what he does, "The Infinite Way." It is our expectation that our readers are well-grounded in Mary Baker Eddy's writings and teachings sufficiently to discern between that which is truly scientific and that which is not, no matter what publication or tape they may partake of from our offerings on our site or in our catalog or elsewhere. It is our desire to offer that which is in harmony with Christian Science and promotes effective, practical, scientific healing. Joel Goldsmith's publications, tapes and classes offer much of value to the Christian Scientist in this regard, filled with love and a desire for the realization of the Christ-consciousness in a practical healing way.