Maya Angelou: ‘God Loves Me’ – ‘That’s Why I Am Who I Am’

Michael W. Chapman | May 28, 2014 | 3:50pm EDT
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Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014). (AP)

( – Celebrated author and poet Maya Angelou, who died on Wednesday at age 86, said in an interview last year that after studying at the Unity church, she came to fully realize that “God loves me,” that God made the physical world and human beings, and that this is why she, Angelou, exists and she is “amazed at it and grateful for it.”

Angelou (1928-2014), who experienced a very difficult childhood, which included sexual abuse and rape by her mother’s boyfriend, wrote seven autobiographical works, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She also wrote numerous volumes of poetry, several children’s books and eight plays.  She was a liberal Democrat who recited a poem at the presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton in 1993, and she campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries. Angelou eventually supported Barack Obama.

In a May 12, 2013 interview on the Oprah Winfrey program, “SuperSoulSunday,” Angelou discussed her spiritual beliefs, explaining she had started an online course at Unity church and it helped her to better understand God’s love.

“I’m a student of Unity, Unity Church,” Angelou said.  “ I took a course in Unity about two years ago, online. Not to become a member, a minister, but just to understand more deeply. There’s a book called Lessons in Truth. And in the book there’s a line, which is ‘God loves me.’ And when I came to read it to my then-mentor, Frederick Wilkerson, the late Frederick Wilkerson, I read, ‘God loves me.’  And he said, ‘read it again.’”

She continued, “I said, ‘God loves me.’ He said, ‘read it again, read it again.’ And finally, I said, ‘God. Loves. Me.’”  Angelou then became emotional and leaned over for a moment.

Regaining her composure, Angelou told Winfrey,  “It still humbles me, that this force, which made leaves and fleas and stars and rivers and you, loves me -- me, Maya Angelou. It’s amazing! I can do anything, and do it well, any good thing, I can do it.”

“That’s why I am who I am,” she said.  “Yes. Because God loves me and I’m amazed at it and grateful for it.”

The Unity church, or Unity belief system, is a non-denominational organization that was founded in 1889 by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, and is loosely based on Christian teaching.

On its website, Unity lists the five basic ideas that make up its belief system. These include the following:

1. God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.

2. We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.

3. We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.

4. There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our awareness of God.

5. Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.

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