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An Interview with Betty I. Mays
At an INTA Executive Board meeting, someone asked President Blaine C. Mays, "Where is the source of your spiritual strength?" Without missing a beat, he sweetly replied, "She’s at home!" Thinking that New Thought readers might be interested in this spiritual dynamo, we decided to interview her.
Rev. Dr. Betty, in addition to being Mrs. Blaine C. Mays, is a minister at the Community Church of New Thought and an instructor at the Lola Pauline Mays New Thought Seminary. She is constantly involved with INTA in various ways, as well as being an active mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. We caught up with her one morning at the church.
New Thought: Betty, how did you first get interested in New Thought?
Mays: When I was 19 or 20 years old, I was in a serious car accident. My mother had a friend, Mary Brown, superintendent of the Unity Sunday School, who was praying for me, because I was paralyzed from the waist down. I had a visual experience with Jesus in which he came and stood at the foot of my bed and put his hands on my feet. I don’t remember what happened after that. The next morning, the doctor came in to see how I was doing. He asked, "Was there a doctor in here last night?" When I said no, he said, "Are you sure no one came in? Because it looks as if you’re going to be fine!" Shortly after that, Mary asked me, "Would you like to go work at a peaceful place? If so, apply at Unity School." So I did. I worked my way up to letter writing and doing the little pieces for Daily Word magazine. My supervisor was May Rowland, who was both in charge of letter writing and Director of Silent Unity. I learned a lot from her and from other teachers, about my great love of humankind. I also learned a lot from Blaine, a great lover of humankind and a great husband.
New Thought: Did you meet Blaine at Unity?
Mays: Yes. We would converse as he walked past my desk every day. After we had gone together for six or seven months, we were married. I took classes as he did. We started our family: four children, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Still, I always assisted him on the platform at whatever church we served, leading the meditation or just getting people to feel good. We were at Unity of Phoenix for 27 years, and now we’re at the Community Church of New Thought, adjacent to the INTA headquarters. When I’m on the platform, I’m so free that although I don’t know if they are even listening, people just look relaxed.
New Thought: And you became a minister?
Mays: First, I was a licensed teacher through Unity. Then I studied with Joseph Murphy, through his books and through correspondence. He knew me very well, and he knew that I had had a lifetime of teaching and praying. He ordained me a Divine Science Minister. I was ordained by him in San Francisco: December of 1989. I continue to apply my teaching to the seminary.
New Thought: What is your favorite form of ministering?
Mays: I like to work one-on-one with people in the hospital or on home calls. I feel that that is my real calling. For example, I visited a friend who was 103 years old, living in a home. Her teacher had been Frederick Bailes, and she knew Truth from A to Z. I had to go to a conference, so I told her that I would be unable to be present for her 104th birthday. When I returned, I learned that she had passed away on her birthday and had asked that I please conduct services for her. Other people frequently hear me talking with someone and ask me to pray with them. They say, "What I heard from your soul helped me know which direction I should go." I worked for about six months at a halfway house, teaching and reading Daily Word. I met with one of the ministers, and we would go over notes together. I enjoyed it. You learn a lot when you’re giving. You put the light around people, and it helps their lives. They and God are one; the Presence is always there. I tell them to take God’s hand and see what fun you can have. I even tell salespeople, "I bet if you’d smile, you’d feel a little better because you know, God does love you." I let God live through me and through my philosophy. Life is not all joy, but joy restores balance.
New Thought: How has your ministry interfaced with your children’s growing up?
Mays: When my children were in elementary school, I was president of the PTA for three years. People told me, "We like what you say and the way you say it." I enjoyed my children’s years of school as much as they did. One day my youngest son was very late coming home from kindergarten. When he finally showed up, his explanation was, "I stopped down at that big church and talked to a man with a black dress on. I liked him." My oldest son used to come home from a date, from enjoying life, and say, "Hey, Mom, thanks for your prayers; they work," meaning that he had been protected from harm while traveling in a car or whatever. All our children know Truth and live it. We’re so pleased that in their own way, they are showing people God. My oldest daughter is a hairdresser, and she says, "They know God when I’m through working on them." She and I have a good relationship; we get together and laugh about life. My children know, as I do, that there’s something better, more joy than people share. I’m a joy person.
New Thought: Tell us a little bit about your marriage to Blaine.
Mays: Our marriage is God-ordained, God-maintained, and God-sustained. We’ll have been married 50 years this October 2nd. We both receive some kind of help; God is working between us. I’m the Prayer Woman and the Love Woman back of the INTA President. It is such joy working side by side knowing what we know. You can’t change Truth, but you can sure help it along.
New Thought: Then you have been a part of the INTA effort since Blaine first took over as President in 1976.
Mays: Yes. In the early years, when we faced the challenge of losing the Los Angeles office, Blaine traveled by bus from our home in Glendale, Arizona to Los Angeles. He brought all the files into our home, and the children helped maintain them. The whole family helped INTA get back on its feet.
New Thought: Can you sum up your New Thought approach for us?
Mays: I get within myself and pray about any situation. Whatever the challenge, there is a solution. Be patient, not anxious; have faith in that all-knowing, loving Presence. There’s nothing that can’t be healed. My whole heart, mind, and body go into the situation. There’s a connection; there’s bonding; there’s all that wonderful good. And there’s no ego, no conceit in God’s vocabulary.