The Reverend was not a kind man. Frank could not figure out why his father had it out for him. Nothing he ever did was right in his father's eyes. He was beat for the smallest of infractions. And as Frank grew, his resentment mounted over the hypocrisy between his father's vocation and his drinking, carousing and meanness.
Frank had a special affinity with his mother. He felt that he had received his spirituality from her. Frank claimed that at the age of three he said to his mother, that he "saw that the world was a shallow thing. This world is not the real world. There is another one." His mother encouraged him and with her he felt secure .
In 1888 the family moved to Long Crednon, and later to Halifax where Frank's mother died in 1894, when she was 33 and Frank was eight. Her encouragement gave Frank his only security. And when she died, Frank's only anchor was gone.
After his father remarried Ellen Haigh in Huddersfield, the situation got worse, for his new step-mother was cruel too. Frank said he could be led and reasoned with, but he would not be driven. And so he rebelled - most of his life.
He went home briefly, but was soon sent with his brother Sydney to Canada. Their father had given them a letter of introduction to a minister he barely knew. So with $2.50 each, the brothers finally got to Montreal where the minister, for whom the letter of introduction was for, turned them away. Another example to Frank of the clash between his ideals of the church and the reality. From there, Frank worked in many places, getting jobs driving teams and doing anything to survive. Once he had some stability, Frank started his search for God.
At a Baptist Bible School, his enrollment was paid for by Dr. Elmore Harris, the millionaire owner of Massey-Harris farm instruments. Dr. Harris had heard Frank preach, and wanted that fire for his Baptists. Frank did brilliantly for awhile, but again he was driven to move on because of more of that hypocrisy.
Because of a frustration at not finding God, he started drinking and the 'never ending tale' of getting drunk and ending up somewhere, getting a job and then getting drunk and losing it. Frank played this tale in Regina, Moose Jaw, Vancouver, Victoria, B.C., Portland, Seattle, Ellensburg, Spokane, and San Francisco.
He tried the Royal Norhtwest Mounted Police; joined The Salvation Army and the Navy again; logged; worked with dead horses; was a pharmacist. But like all other endeavors since bible school, he was let go or drummed out as a chronic alcoholic.
Finally, in San Francisco, while drunk, he ended up in the Army at Angel Island. Shipped to Manila where, as Frank explained it, he refused to have all his teeth pulled and was court-martialed for willful disobedience. After getting drummed out and ending up on Market Street, Frank says he gave up drinking, he had reached bottom. He discovered "The way to find God is to believe you have found him!"
Next he went to Klamath Falls, Oregon where he worked as a pharmacist. With a bit more stability and resolve, Frank met and married Pearl. Pearl calmly supported 'Robbie' throughout their time together. They moved to Tucson, Arizona where their son Alfred was born, and later a daughter, Florence.
The family moved to Portland where Frank reported a vision where he saw the house he would live in and the trials and tribulations he would have to go through in the future. Though daunting, he finally knew what he had to do.
Part of Frank's new found purpose was to find a job at a pharmacy that closed at 5pm, so he could have the time to write and start his new religion/philosophy. He found one at the Corner Drug store in Moscow, Idaho in 1928 and moved the family there.
Though he knew his purpose and what he was meant to do, it wasn't until 1929 in North Hollywood, California on Laurel Avenue that Frank had his first contact with the God he was looking for. This happened when Frank finally decided to cut loose from all religious forms. He realized that the fear of hell-fire had hindered him from reaching his goal. He finally said, "Oh, God, if I have to go to hell, I'll go with the consciousness that I went there earnestly trying to find you, God." And instead of the guilt he expected to feel, he felt at peace. He realized that "immortality is possible here and now." Now all he had to do was go home and tell the world about it. So he started his own mail order religion.
Frank had a special affinity for Moscow. He mentioned it many times in his writing. He loved the area even though he had a hard time with many of the people. One mistake that hindsight points to was the fact that he didn't want local people to receive lessons or learn anything worthwhile about what he was doing. Consequently, what people didn't know, they made up. And the stories aobut Psychiana still survive to today.
Frank was open though and even with their own religion in their own home, Pearl and the children were still members of the Presbyterian church.
Frank was called a spectacular and agressive man. With all of that energy, he also owned three drug stores, a newspaper and other real estate; travelled all over the country giving talks, and radio shows; writing newsletters, lessons, and 23 books. He spent alot of time helping people, responding to their cables and sometimes driving to see them.
Frank suffered a serious heart attack in 1940 but he continued his frantic pace. He died October 19, 1948 of a lung hemorrhage. When asked what would happen to Psychiana after his death, Frank replied that he had sown the seed and that it would never die, but continue to grow. Son Alfred and Pearl did keep the operation going until 1952 when they said escalating postage and printing costs made the operation prohibitive.
What Kind of Man?
Frank was a man of contradictions. Though he considered himself just a man who was a vessel or a teacher, at the same time he would call himself the Archbishop of Psychiana and come off sounding rather self-important. And Frank's all-embracing God would still come across, at times, like God was on his side. He was a teacher and a salesman.
Contradiction was evident when talking about his two different realms at the same time; the one of his experience - which was idealistic until everyone had experienced it; and the other, living in the physical world and dealing with the real world. In Frank's mind, lawmakers (congress, etc) were arguing over ways to deal with the fact that no one can be trusted. What difference does it make?
"To attempt to legislate human actions - to attempt to make a selfish man, or nation, good, clean, pure, unselfish, moral, by legislation or agreement is to attempt the impossible. The change will come from within if it comes at all."
Frank worked hard the last twenty years of his life to spread his ideas. He was chosen, he thought, to help the world find his true God. Considering the times, he had more perspective than most in presenting a unified view of God which he hoped would embrace everyone enough to stop the fighting and violence in the name of religion.