The Holy Order of MANS is a non-denominational, non-sectarian spiritual mystic school. Incorporated in 2012, the Order headquarters is located in Corte Madera, CA. The school curriculum is taught in person and through online classes, which are accessed through its website The Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are available. The Order ordains both men and women into the Priesthood. The school curriculum is available for study on its website The Order publishes books for student use and the general public based on its curriculum.

Logo for the Holy Order of MANS

History edit

The Holy Order of MANS was initially incorporated in July 1968 by its founder, Earl Wilbur Blighton, a retired electrical engineer and minister, who used the honorific Rt. Rev.[1] was also known as Master Paul or Father Paul. A number of his previous religious associations included the Roman Catholic Church, Spiritualism, New Thought and the Rosicrucian Order.[2][3] The stated mission and purpose of the Holy Order of MANS was to guide all mankind and the churches of Christ to union with the Divine Self of God within, the Divine Spark. According to Blighton, the Christ is returning now. 'The Golden Force, in-house published book. HOOM. San Francisco, CA. 1970. Chapter 11 – The Blind Man Sees.</ref> A willing intellectual and emotional assent to religious doctrine was not enough. Full experiential knowledge (gnosis) of God beyond merely intuitive spiritual insight was true redemption.[4] The principal means of effecting this was by the praxis of theurgy and bhakti.[5]

Interest in the classes grew, and in 1968 Dr. Blighton and his wife Helen Blighton, known as Mother Ruth, established a monastic seminary with a specific curriculum, incorporated in California, which was named the Holy Order of MANS (HOOM). It continued to be non-sectarian, and not affiliated with any religion. It became an international organization with Order Houses of members in almost every state of the United States and several were abroad.

The Holy Order of MANS was a religious order grounded in what it viewed as the esoteric teachings of "The Great Christ" through "The Master Jesus", which identifies it as New Age.[6] The order was founded in the 1960s "in the culturally innovative milieu of San Francisco", USA. The Order has been described as "apostolic catholic", and some used the term "Pauline catholic or Paulean catholic", in its claim of possessing received esoteric apostolic doctrine without the necessity of canonical ordination in the line of Orthodox Catholic apostolic succession.[7]

Father Paul died in 1974, and the Order continued to operate until the late-1980’s.

Ella Hoffman Rigney joined the Order in 1975. An accomplished philanthropist, fundraiser, and volunteer, she had taken hold of the struggling American Cancer Society in 1927 and turned it into an educational and fundraising juggernaut by the time she retired in 1957. Her second career was building an expanded Holy Order of MANS Raphael House homeless family shelter in San Francisco, which exists today. Mrs. Rigney was intrigued by the first Raphael House, located on Gough and McAllister Streets in San Francisco and started by the Holy Order of MANS, a non-sectarian group of volunteers dedicated to service to the community. The first iteration of Raphael House served homeless women and children.

Inspired by their work in the community, Ella joined the Holy Order of MANS at the age of 82, taking life vows at the age of 83. Ella retained her membership at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Recognizing there was no homeless shelter for whole families in Northern California before Raphael House, she said, “I felt we had to do something to keep families together to help them as a whole.” Her vision was to build a social service agency that she and other volunteers from the Order would be willing to live in, which she did. Ella led 47 Order members in building a “working household” where families ate and lived together as a community.

Needing more space to house families together, they moved to the current location at 1065 Sutter Street, formerly a private hospital. Relocating to the former Golden Gate Hospital at 1065 Sutter Street, the group worked hard to renovate the space to accommodate 51 beds in 17 bedrooms. Opening Thanksgiving week, 1977, Raphael House became the first homeless shelter for families in Northern California. Mayor Dianne Feinstein declares the week of Thanksgiving to be Raphael House Week in San Francisco. Since its inception, Raphael House has provided over 20,000 parents and children personalized family-centered solutions to build brighter, independent futures. [8]

In 1988, the remaining members and hierarchy of the Holy Order of MANS joined the Eastern Orthodox Church under the new name Christ the Savior Brotherhood (abbreviated CSB). [9][3][10] In 1988, the Holy Order of MANS seminary school curriculum, Ordinations of men and woman and Order Sacraments were discontinued.

Since 1988 the HOOM curriculum was followed in many groups, including the Science of Man in Oregon, which was led by Blighton's wife, Mother Ruth, until her death in 2005,[11] and the Gnostic Order of Christ, founded by HOOM "Master Timothy" Delbert Harris.[12]

In February 2012 the Holy Order of MANS was incorporated in the State of California as a religious non-profit in California and maintains two websites and a YouTube channel where the original Order curriculum[13] of study, a calendar of classes, including on Zoom, and events, and literature for sale may be found. The Order was assisted in its corporate filing at the California Secretary of State’s Business Programs by Ernesto Resurreccion, Corporate Documents Examiner. The Order continues to actively teach the original Order curriculum created by Earl W. Blighton.

Order books are now available for sale by the Holy Order of MANS through several distributors, including Amazon. The Holy Sacraments, Vows, Initiations of Baptism, Illumination, Self-Realization, Ordination of Priests, and Master Teachers with the Power to Ordain are currently performed by the Holy Order of MANS. Over the years former Order members have continued the work of the Order in locations across America.[14]

Scholarship edit

As Sarah A. Riccardi-Swartz explains, "very little is written" about the order, though it has been written up in a few studies of new age religions. The one monograph on the order which was available by the time of Ricccardi-Swartz's study is Philip Lucas's 'The Odyssey of a New Religion: The Holy Order of MANS From New Age to Orthodoxy (Indiana UP, 1995).[15]

References edit

  1. ^ "Rt. Rev." title of a Master Teacher of the Holy Order of MANS—"Trials of Founder of Order of Mans", Rev. Lester Kinsolving, San Francisco Chronicle, December 24, 1972.
  2. ^ Lucas, Philip Charles. Profile: Holy Order of MANS. Profiles of Religious and Spiritual Groups, World Religions & Spirituality Project VCU, David G. Bromley, Project Director.
  3. ^ a b Latin, Don. "Suddenly Orthodox", This World, May 31, 1992.
  4. ^ Holy Order of Book of Alchemy. Chapter 11.
  5. ^ Holy Order of Book of Order and Book of Alchemy. Also Transcribed Lectures and Classes given by Father Paul Blighton. Initiation and Ritual. Lecture by Father Paul. Tape 814.
  6. ^ Lucas, Phillip. The Odyssey of a New Religion: The Holy Order of MANS from New Age to Orthodoxy: Indiana University Press: Indianapolis, IN, 1995
  7. ^ Plummer, John. The Many Paths of the Independent Sacramental movement, 2nd ed.: Apocryphile Press, Berkeley, CA, 2006
  8. ^ "Our Founders". Raphael House.
  9. ^ Lucas, Philip (1998). "From Holy Order of MANS to Christ the Savior Brotherhood: The Radical Transformation of an Esoteric Non-sectarian Holy Order". In Miller, Timothy (ed.). America's Alternative Religions. SUNY Press. pp. 141–48. ISBN 9780791423974.
  10. ^ "Holy Order of MANS sect changes name, joins Eastern Orthodox Church". Christian Research Journal. Summer 1988.
  11. ^ Mary K. Greer's Tarot Blog: Holy Order of MANS Tarot. July 18, 2008.
  12. ^ Athitakis, Mark. Awkward Christian Soldiers, San Francisco Weekly, 12/12/1999.
  13. ^ "Holy Order of MANS Curriculum – Holy Order of MANS".
  14. ^ "Where Do We Come From? – Holy Order of MANS".
  15. ^ Riccardi-Schwartz, Sarah A. (10 November 2016). "Holy Order of MANS". In Kurian, George Thomas; Lamport, Mark A. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States. Vol. 5. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 1122–24. ISBN 9781442244320.

Works cited edit

  • Partridge, Christopher (2006). "The Holy Order of MANS". In Partridge, Christopher (ed.). Uusien uskontojen käsikirja: Uudet uskonnolliset liikkeet, lahkot ja vaihtoehtoisen henkisyyden muodot [Encyclopedia of New Religions: New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities] (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kirjapaja. pp. 88–89. ISBN 951-607-327-1.