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Universal Church of the Master

Universal Church of the Master

The Universal Church of the Master, one of the largest Spiritualist churches in the United States, especially on the West Coast, was founded in 1908 in Los Angeles by Dr. B. J. Fitzgerald (d. 1966) and others. The church was incorporated in 1918 and during its first generation was largely confined to congregations on the West Coast. Fitzgerald was the author of the church's basic textbook, A New Text of Spiritual Philosophy and Religion. In 1930 the church's headquarters moved to Oakland, California, and then in 1966 to San Jose. The church was headed for many years by Birdie Peterson, who passed away in 1994.

The church has a statement of faith that affirms the father-hood of God and the brotherhood of man; the necessity of living in harmony with nature; life after death; communication [through mediumship] with the unseen world; the Golden Rule; individual responsibility; the continual possibility of improvement; prophecy; and the eternal progress of the soul. The implication of the emphasis on the laws of nature defies any supernaturalism in the communication with the dead or other psychic phenomena. The church also suggests the use of The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, a channeled work by Levi Dowling, as a source for teachings.

In the 1980s it had over 300 associated congregations. The church is headquartered at 501 Washington St., Santa Clara, CA 95050.

Sources:

Dowling, Levi. The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ. Los Angeles: Leo W. Dowling, 1925.

Fitzgerald, B. J. A New Text of Spiritual Philosophy and Religion. San Jose, Calif.: Universal Church of the Master, 1954.

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