Biography: Frederick Rawson

Frederick L. Rawson
Influential English New Thought Leader


Frederick L. Rawson was a brother to a great engineer in England. F. L. Rawson took 100 men into world war one. They all returned without a scratch on any of them. “There is nothing but God.” was his statement to that miracle. “There is nothing but God in God’s perfect world. Man is the image, the likeness, passing on God’s ideas to his fellow man with perfect regularity and ease.”

F. L. Rawson, like many other leaders in the field of New Thought, was not a clergyman. He was an engineer and businessman. Born in England in 1859, he became a distinguished practicing engineer, had achieved a marked success in his profession as consultant and as businessman, and had retired before he founded the Society for Spreading the Knowledge of True Prayer.

Among other things, he was a pioneer in the field of the practical use of electricity and engineer of the first company in the field of electric lighting. He laid the first electric railway in England. He was also interested in other things and drew up plans for the first gas-driven automobile and was consulting engineer for the first airship built in Britain. He had the respect of serious minded scientists of his day. He also excelled at various sports and was first violinist in an orchestra for more than a dozen years.

He was widely read in the fields of science and philosophy, and it was through his scientific interest in the remarkable claims made in the area of religion and the occult which led to him studying them to discover for himself whether or not the claims were true, and if they were, what scientific basis there was for them.

Christian Science had come to Britain in the late 1880’s with considerable success, and its claims of ability to heal the most stubborn of diseases could not fail to attract the attention of thoughtful people. The London Daily Mail resolved to find out the facts concerning these claims and publish them. The paper commisioned Rawson to make a study of the new cult and write a series of articles on it. Rawson accepted the assignment and began a study of Christian Science, with the result that far from exposing its errors, he was convinced of its truth and became an ardent Christian Scientist.

Eventually though, his brilliant creative mind could no longer yield itself to the rigid, authoritarian organization that Christian Science had become and he parted ways with the church and began his own work, which ultimately grew into one of the most active and influential metaphysical healing groups in England, and affiliated itself with the growing New Thought Movement.

In 1912 he wrote a book entitled Life Understood, which was to be revised and edited again and again, used as the textbook of the movement he founded, and studied far beyond the limits of his own groups of metaphysical healers the world over. He attended the first meeting of the International New Thought Alliance, held in London in 1914. Rawson was personally acquainted with another very influential English New Thought teacher, Thomas Troward.

During the first war his groups took to adopting “absent treatment” for the protection of soldiers, and some remarkable results began to appear with testimonies coming to him from persons benefited by the treatments, and in 1916 he began a weekly publication called Active Service where he published these testimonies. At the masthead of the first were the words: “A weekly paper devoted to the spreading of the knowledge of the truth. YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE.”

In 1917 he set up an organization called the Society for Spreading the Knowledge of True Prayer (SSKTP); the method of prayer was to be that of the realization of and conscious communion with God. He lectured to large audiences throughout the British Isles and in 1920 made an extended tour of the USA and Canada, lecturing and giving class instruction and treatments, with the result that a goodly number of SSKTP centers were established in American and Canadian cities. Rawson was arrested in St. Louis in 1920 near the end of his tour of teaching and healing. He was charged with practicing medicine without a license and was released and the charges were dropped when he promised to do nor more healings.

Although Rawson was distinctly Christian Science in his basic outlook, he co-operated enthusiastically with the New Thought groups. Great scientist that he was, Rawson entertained a number of ideas that find no acceptance among the majority of scholars. One of these was that the British and the Americans were the true Israel–that is, he held the expounded Anglo-Israel theory, which commended itself to a good many within New Thought and the metaphysical field in general, as for example Mary Baker Eddy.

Rawson died in 1923, but the SSKTP movement went on and Active Service continued publication weekly up until August 1940 when it became a monthly, and was still in publication in the 1960’s.

The following book by F.L. Rawson
is available to purchase in eBook form for immediate download. It may then be read on your computer and printed out. The eBook is in Adobe Acrobat Reader (.pdf) format.

Life Understood from a Scientific and Religious point of View

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