Collection Spotlight: The Moral Re-Armament Papers

The Northern Michigan University and Central Upper Peninsula Archives has recently finished processing a collection containing a number of books and plays published by the Moral Re-armament. The Moral Re-armament (MRA) grew out of the Oxford Group founded by Frank Buchman in the 1930’s. It was founded on ‘the four absolutes’, moral standards that had been directed by God. They were; honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love.

The MRA grew in response to the military rearmament leading up to the Second World War. Eventually, Buchman launched a worldwide evangelistic campaign based on God’s guidance, the four moral absolutes, and individuals who changed their lives in order to serve God and believed in the motto ‘Change yourself and you can change the world’.


orange-Good_Road-8“The Good Road”, one of the many melodramatic Moral Re-Armament theatrical productions. ( Source:

For a brief time the movement held conferences and put on plays at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island beginning in 1942. By the early 1950’s the MRA owned a large part of the island. They constructed a training center, theatre, and sound stage there. As the movement grew internationally, many celebrities and influential people began to take notice. Supporters of the organization included, Presidents Nixon and Eisenhower as well as the pope and many celebrities including Glenn Close. After the death of Buchman in 1961, Peter Howard took over the MRA and continued to spread the idea of morality and the four absolutes.

Following the end of the Second World War, the MRA workers returned to the task of establishing a lasting peace. In 1946, fifty Swiss families active in the work of MRA bought and restored a large, derelict hotel at Caux, Switzerland. Today, the Moral Rearmament lives on by the Up with People (UWP) and Initiatives of Change (IofC) organization still based in Switzerland.

Some published works by the Moral Rearmament that can be found in the Archives collection include;” Remaking Men”, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, and “Moral Re-Armament- What is it?” Play scripts include “The Diplomats”, “Music at Midnight” and many more!

Written by Morgan Paavola


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