Fraternal Spiritualist Church was incorporated May 11, 1932 by Dr. H. Robert Moore, our founder.

Who is Dr. H. Robert Moore Life?

Dr. Moore was born in Dayton, Ohio, on December 25, 1865 and Crossed to the free side of life December 13, 1944. He stated that his parents were poor, relatively unknown people, who were avowed atheists. He was a chubby little boy whom his playmates called “Butch.” He told me that when he was nine years of age, peculiar psychic phenomena began to occur in his presence – such as rappings and jerking off of bedclothes when asleep in bed, and while others were present. These phenomena aroused a great deal of interest among people in his community, and a wealthy couple in his home town became interested in the boy, and offered to educate him. Not having the means to give him these advantages, his parents accepted the offer and from then on, he was placed in the charge of his foster parents. 

At this time the Modern Spiritualist Movement was given great impetus and was receiving wide publicity, especially in England. A few years later the British Society for Psychic Research was founded in London by a group of eminent scientists, and other notables, for the purpose of collecting and studying all phases of psychic phenomena on a scientific basis. The first publication of their proceedings was in 1889, and former president of the Society include many eminent names such as Professor Henry Sidgwick, the Earl of Balfour Professor William James of Harvard University, Sir William Crookes, co-discover of the x-ray, Sir Oliver Lodge, Arch Bishop Boyd Carpenter and Lord Royleigh, among others. 

In 1878, when Dr. Moore was 13, his adopted parents took him to London at the invitation of leaders in the Society for Psychic Research where demonstrations were given before prominent people, including Professor Zellner, Sir Oliver Lodge, the eminent physicist, and Alfred Russell Wallace, co-founder with Darwin in the Theory of Evolution. From London, Dr. Moore was invited to Paris where he met Europe’s most noted spiritualists and for six weeks was a guest in the home of the great Louis Pasteur. 

Dr. Moore traveled extensively and made four trips around the world, also traveling in Australia and in South America. As a very young man, during his second trip around the world, he remained in India for several months and studied under an Eastern teacher. He stated he was in South America when Theodore Roosevelt made his expedition to discover the “River of Doubt,” and was once lost in the jungle and had to subsist on roasted ant larvae given to him by the Indians. 

Several incidents in Dr. Moore’s life may be of interest. In the 1890’s he was in Sydney, Australia, where he met Bailey, a famous “Apport” medium and for two weeks attended séances in Bailey’s home. People from all over the world attended these séances, including the well-known American financier, Leland Stanford. Dr. Moore stated that Bailey was chained hand and foot, seated in a small cubicle enclosed in heavy wire netting and securely locked. On one occasion Bailey’s control requested a large tub to be placed in the center of the room and filled with water. At the conclusion of the séance when the lights were turned up, the tub was found to be filled with rare specimens of live fish from the four quarters of the globe. On another occasion rare flowers from the Artic, the tropics, the Sahara Desert and other distant parts of the world were apparently dropped from the ceiling. 

Also, he stated that he saw for himself the trunks of large trees uprooted and brought into the circle with damp earth still clinging to their roots. He affirmed that a competent group of investigators had thoroughly satisfied themselves on the solidity of the walls, floors, and ceilings and had stood guard at the only exit, which was securely bolted during the demonstrations so that such objects would not have been brought in by human means. 

Dr. Moore affirmed that this psychic had lived and died in comparative poverty, never being allowed or willing to accept such “Apported” articles, but of the many rare vases, urns, jewelry and other antiques which had appeared in these circles, a great number were given to Leland Stanford. In his will, or in remarks to others, Mr. Stanford had requested that a room in the museum of the University (which bears his name) be set aside for the display of these articles. 

Once in El Paso, Texas, Dr. Moore was thrown into jail on a complaint that he was a charlatan. The judge was a stern jurist, very skeptical on the reality of the “so-called” phenomena and was inclined to administer a fine. Whereupon, Dr. Moore invited the judge to attend a materialization séance that night, which invitation was accepted and sentence suspended pending further evidence. Much to the judge’s surprise, an old Chinaman whom he had sentenced and condemned for the murder of his wife, appeared during the séance and conversed with the judge, who was so thoroughly convinced and amazed that the case was dismissed. 

Dr. Moore lived in New York City for several years and for many years resided in Philadelphia, the last two decades of his life being spent on the Pacific Coast, chiefly in San Diego. 

His séances were unique in that he retained control of his faculties whereas those manifestations cannot occur with most mediums except in trance state. 

With all these materialized forms the light would be brighter around the head, and usually a slight diffusion of light could be seen immediately above the head which is called the “aura” or crown, brightest in those of high intellect and attainment. It is my thought that the customary practice of medieval masters in placing a ring of halo above the heads of the saints is in some way connected with the “aura.” 

Dr. Moore was an Ordained Spiritualist Minister at the First Spiritualist Church, until he incorporated the Fraternal Spiritualist Church.  It was not long before he had a large following, consisting of many outstanding citizens in all professions. Meetings and séances were held in various halls, but the congregation wanted its own church so spirit was asked for help in finding a church. 


1938: Acquiring the Property at Second and Beech

At a séance in May of 1938, in the El Cajon home of church members Mr. And Mrs. Harry Matthews, Dr. Moore’s guide, known as Doctor Holliday, told the people assembled how the could get a grand church for a very reasonable price. Dr. Holliday instructed five men who were then present and whose names he gave, on what they should do. The men were to appear at the First National Bank in downtown San Diego at Fifth Avenue and Broadway the following Monday at 8:30 A.M. sharp and were to block the entrance to the bank until the doors opened at 9:30 A.M. They were not to let anyone by them except bank employees. When the bank opened the men were to go directly to the person in charge of the real estate department. 

The men followed the directions exactly. Upon the bank’s opening the man in charge of real estate brought the five men into his office. After introductions were made Mr. Brace, a church member, inquired if the Second Avenue and Beech property was for sale. The answer was yes. The bank officer said that the price was $7,500.00 and a down payment of $500.00 was required. This amount was not in the possession of the group. Each of the five offered all he had, however that totaled only 50% of the sum required. Fortunately, Mr. Bragg, a church member, wrote a check for the remainder. Mr. Bragg was to come to the rescue of the church many times. 

After the necessary forms were prepared and signed and the money paid over, a hard knock was heard and two gentleman walked in and were very disturbed to find that the church they had wanted to purchase was sold. They said that they had come to offer a larger cash deal. So you see, all things are possible with the guidance of spirit. 

The property on Second and Beach was the First Synagogue in San Diego and it was built in 1889, Temple Beth Israel.  We were in the building from 1938-1979.

During the time FSC was at the temple, a Marine barrack was moved to the church lot and used as a recreation hall.  The hall, known as the “Lotus Lodge” was used until it burned down in August of 1962.  

The first year after the fire and lack of a social hall became a significant problem for a previously very social congregation.  As early as 1962, the Board discussed relocating to another building.  These discussion continued through the 1960’s and 1970’s until the decision was made to sell the building back to its original owners and to retain the land.

During the 1970’s the Church worked with the County of San Diego and the Congregation Beth Israel to save and restore the structure. 

In 1979, the building was sold back to its original owners who donated it to the County of San Diego and moved to Heritage Park in Old Town. We still own the property on Second and Beech.  We rent out the parking lot to a hotel.

1979 – 1991/1992   

The church began to hold regular Sunday services at the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley.  During this period the church continued to grow and continued sponsoring classed and social events open to all. 

The church leadership expected that a new church would be located or built in just a short time. However, it took 11 years to locate a new Church home.  During these years the Church looked at in excess of 50 properties in San Diego.

In January 1991 the new and current home of FSC was purchased.  It was converted from a restaurant.