|Founder||Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910)|
|Texts||Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy and Bible|
Estimated 106,000 (1990);
400,000 (2008) claimed by the church
100,000 (2008) independent sources
|Beliefs||"Basic teachings", Church of Christ, Scientist|
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|Alternative and pseudo‑medicine|
Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements.It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her 1875 book Science and Health that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone. The book became Christian Science's central text, along with the Bible, and by 2001 had sold over nine million copies.
A new religious movement (NRM), also known as a new religion or alternative spirituality, is a religious or spiritual group that has modern origins and is peripheral to its society's dominant religious culture. NRMs can be novel in origin or part of a wider religion, in which case they are distinct from pre-existing denominations. Some NRMs deal with the challenges posed by the modernizing world by embracing individualism, whereas others seek tightly knit collective means. Scholars have estimated that NRMs now number in the tens of thousands worldwide, with most of their members living in Asia and Africa. Most have only a few members, some have thousands, and a few have more than a million members.
New England is a region composed of six states of the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and north, respectively. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the south. Boston is New England's largest city as well as the capital of Massachusetts. The largest metropolitan area is Greater Boston with nearly a third of the entire region's population, which also includes Worcester, Massachusetts, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.
Mary Baker Eddy established the Church of Christ, Scientist, as a Christian denomination and worldwide movement of spiritual healers. She wrote and published the movement's textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and 15 other books. She started several weekly and monthly magazines—the Christian Science Sentinel, The Christian Science Journal, and The Herald of Christian Science—that feature articles on Christian Science practice and verified testimonies of healing. In 1908, at the age of 87, she founded The Christian Science Monitor, a global newspaper that has won seven Pulitzer Prizes. Eddy's book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures has been a best seller for decades, and was selected as one of the "75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World", by the Women's National Book Association. In 1995 Eddy was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 2002, The Mary Baker Eddy Library opened its doors, giving the public access to one of the largest collections about an American woman.
Eddy and 26 followers were granted a charter in 1879 to found the Church of Christ, Scientist, and in 1894 the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was built in Boston, Massachusetts.Christian Science became the fastest growing religion in the United States, with nearly 270,000 members by 1936, a figure that had declined by 1990 to just over 100,000. The church is known for its newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor , which won seven Pulitzer Prizes between 1950 and 2002, and for its public Reading Rooms around the world.
The Church of Christ, Scientist was founded in 1879 in Boston, Massachusetts, by Mary Baker Eddy, author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and founder and discoverer of Christian Science. The church was founded "to commemorate the word and works of [Christ Jesus]" and "reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing". Sunday services are held throughout the year and weekly testimony meetings are held on Wednesday evenings, where following brief readings from the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, those in attendance are invited to give testimonies of healing brought about through Christian Science prayer.
The First Church of Christ, Scientist is the administrative headquarters and mother church of the Church of Christ, Scientist, also known as the Christian Science church. Christian Science was founded in the 19th century in Lynn, Massachusetts, by Mary Baker Eddy with the publication of her book Science and Health (1875).
The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$15,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal.
Eddy described Christian Science as a return to "primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing".There are key differences between Christian Science theology and that of other branches of Christianity. In particular, adherents subscribe to a radical form of philosophical idealism, believing that reality is purely spiritual and the material world an illusion. This includes the view that disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder, and that the sick should be treated not by medicine, but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health.
In philosophy, Idealism is the group of metaphysical philosophies that assert that reality, or reality as humans can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, Idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In contrast to Materialism, Idealism asserts the primacy of consciousness as the origin and prerequisite of material phenomena. According to this view, consciousness exists before and is the pre-condition of material existence. Consciousness creates and determines the material and not vice versa. Idealism believes consciousness and mind to be the origin of the material world and aims to explain the existing world according to these principles.
The church does not require that Christian Scientists avoid all medical care—adherents use dentists, optometrists, obstetricians, physicians for broken bones, and vaccination when required by law—but maintains that Christian-Science prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine.Between the 1880s and 1990s, the avoidance of medical treatment led to the deaths of several adherents and their children. Parents and others were prosecuted for, and in a few cases convicted of, manslaughter or neglect.
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Several periods of Protestant Christian revival nurtured a proliferation of new religious movements in the United States.In the latter half of the 19th century these included what came to be known as the metaphysical family: groups such as Christian Science, Divine Science, the Unity School of Christianity and (later) the United Church of Religious Science. From the 1890s the liberal section of the movement became known as New Thought, in part to distinguish it from the more authoritarian Christian Science.
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.
Unity, known informally as Unity Church, is a New Thought Christian organization that publishes the Daily Word devotional publication. It describes itself as a "positive, practical Christianity" which "teach[es] the effective daily application of the principles of Truth taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ" and promotes "a way of life that leads to health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind."
The New Thought movement is a movement which developed in the United States in the 19th century, considered by many to have been derived from the unpublished writings of Phineas Quimby. There are numerous smaller groups, most of which are incorporated in the International New Thought Alliance.
The term metaphysical referred to the movement's philosophical idealism, a belief in the primacy of the mental world.Adherents believed that material phenomena were the result of mental states, a view expressed as "life is consciousness" and "God is mind." The supreme cause was referred to as Divine Mind, Truth, God, Love, Life, Spirit, Principle or Father–Mother, reflecting elements of Plato, Hinduism, Berkeley, Hegel, Swedenborg and transcendentalism.
In philosophy, the concept of The Absolute, also known as The (Unconditioned) Ultimate, The Wholly Other, The Supreme Being, The Absolute/Ultimate Reality, and other names, is the thing, being, entity, power, force, reality, presence, law, principle, etc. that possesses maximal ontological status, existential ranking, existential greatness, or existentiality. In layman's terms, this is the one that is, in one way or another, the greatest, truest, or most real being.
Platonism, rendered as a proper noun, is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In narrower usage, platonism, rendered as a common noun, refers to the philosophy that affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to "exist" in a "third realm" distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness, and is the opposite of nominalism. Lower case "platonists" need not accept any of the doctrines of Plato.
George Berkeley – known as Bishop Berkeley – was an Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism". This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers and, as a result, cannot exist without being perceived. Berkeley is also known for his critique of abstraction, an important premise in his argument for immaterialism.
The metaphysical groups became known as the mind-cure movement because of their strong focus on healing.Medical practice was in its infancy, and patients regularly fared better without it. This provided fertile soil for the mind-cure groups, who argued that sickness was an absence of "right thinking" or failure to connect to Divine Mind. The movement traced its roots in the United States to Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802–1866), a New England clockmaker turned mental healer, whose motto was "the truth is the cure." Mary Baker Eddy had been a patient of his, leading to debate about how much of Christian Science was based on his ideas.
New Thought and Christian Science differed in that Eddy saw her views as a unique and final revelation.Eddy's idea of malicious animal magnetism marked another distinction (that people can be harmed by the bad thoughts of others), introducing an element of fear that was absent from the New Thought literature. Most significantly, she dismissed the material world as an illusion, rather than as merely subordinate to Mind, leading her to reject the use of medicine, or materia medica , and making Christian Science the most controversial of the metaphysical groups. Reality for Eddy was purely spiritual.
Christian Science leaders place their religion within mainstream Christian teaching, according to J. Gordon Melton, and reject any identification with the New Thought movement. ... acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God ... [and] acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God's image and likeness." When founding the Church of Christ, Scientist, in April 1879, Eddy wrote that she wanted to "reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing". Later she suggested that Christian Science was a kind of second coming and that Science and Health was an inspired text. In 1895, in the Manual of the Mother Church, she ordained the Bible and Science and Health as "Pastor over the Mother Church".Eddy was strongly influenced by her Congregationalist upbringing. According to the church's tenets, adherents accept "the inspired Word of the Bible as [their] sufficient guide to eternal Life
Christian Science theology differs in several respects from that of traditional Christianity. Eddy's Science and Health reinterprets key Christian concepts, including the Trinity, divinity of Jesus, atonement and resurrection; beginning with the 1883 edition, she added with a Key to the Scriptures to the title and included a glossary that redefined the Christian vocabulary.At the core of Eddy's theology is the view that the spiritual world is the only reality and is entirely good, and that the material world, with its evil, sickness and death, is an illusion. Eddy saw humanity as an "idea of Mind" that is "perfect, eternal, unlimited, and reflects the divine", according to Bryan Wilson; what she called "mortal man" is simply humanity's distorted view of itself. Despite her view of the non-existence of evil, an important element of Christian Science theology is that evil thought, in the form of malicious animal magnetism, can cause harm, even if the harm is only apparent.
Eddy viewed God not as a person but as "All-in-all". Although she often described God in the language of personhood—she used the term "Father–Mother God" (as did Ann Lee, the founder of Shakerism), and in the third edition of Science and Health she referred to God as "she"—God is mostly represented in Christian Science by the synonyms "Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love". ... on its own premises, but rather preventative of ill health, accident and misfortune, since it claims to lead to a state of consciousness where these things do not exist. What heals is the realization that there is nothing really to heal." It is a closed system of thought, viewed as infallible if performed correctly; healing confirms the power of Truth, but its absence derives from the failure, specifically the bad thoughts, of individuals.The Holy Ghost is Christian Science, and heaven and hell are states of mind. There is no supplication in Christian Science prayer. The process involves the Scientist engaging in a silent argument to affirm to herself the unreality of matter, something Christian Science practitioners will do for a fee, including in absentia, to address ill health or other problems. Wilson writes that Christian Science healing is "not curative
Eddy accepted as true the creation narrative in the Book of Genesis up to chapter 2, verse 6—that God created man in his image and likeness—but she rejected the rest "as the story of the false and the material", according to Wilson.Her theology is nontrinitarian: she viewed the Trinity as suggestive of polytheism. She saw Jesus as a Christian Scientist, a "Way-shower" between humanity and God, and she distinguished between Jesus the man and the concept of Christ, the latter a synonym for Truth and Jesus the first person fully to manifest it. The crucifixion was not a divine sacrifice for the sins of humanity, the atonement (the forgiveness of sin through Jesus's suffering) "not the bribing of God by offerings", writes Wilson, but an "at-one-ment" with God. Her views on life after death were vague and, according to Wilson, "there is no doctrine of the soul" in Christian Science: "[A]fter death, the individual continues his probationary state until he has worked out his own salvation by proving the truths of Christian Science." Eddy did not believe that the dead and living could communicate.
To the more conservative of the Protestant clergy, Eddy's view of Science and Health as divinely inspired was a challenge to the Bible's authority."Eddyism" was viewed as a cult; one of the first uses of the modern sense of the word was in A. H. Barrington's Anti-Christian Cults (1898), a book about Spiritualism, Theosophy and Christian Science. In a few cases Christian Scientists were expelled from Christian congregations, but ministers also worried that their parishioners were choosing to leave. In May 1885 the London Times' Boston correspondent wrote about the "Boston mind-cure craze": "Scores of the most valued Church members are joining the Christian Scientist branch of the metaphysical organization, and it has thus far been impossible to check the defection." In 1907 Mark Twain described the appeal of the new religion:
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy, circa 1853
|Born||July 16, 1821|
Bow, New Hampshire
|Died||December 3, 1910 89) (aged|
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Born Mary Morse Baker on a farm in Bow, New Hampshire, Eddy was the youngest of six children in a family of Protestant Congregationalists. Her father, Mark Baker, was a deeply religious man, although, according to one account, "Christianity to him was warfare against sin, not a religion of human brotherhood."In common with most women at the time Eddy was given little formal education, but said she had read widely at home. From childhood she lived with protracted ill health, complaining of chronic indigestion and spinal inflammation, and according to biographers experiencing fainting spells. The literary critic Harold Bloom described her as "a kind of anthology of nineteenth-century nervous ailments."
Eddy's first husband died just before her 23rd birthday, six months after they married and three months before their son was born, leaving her penniless; as a result of her poor health she lost custody of the boy when he was four, although sources differ as to whether she could have prevented this.Her second husband left her after 13 years of marriage; Eddy said that he had promised to become her child's legal guardian, but it is unclear whether he did, and Eddy lost contact with her son until he was in his thirties. (Per the legal doctrine of coverture, women in the United States could not then be their own children's guardians.)
Her third husband, Asa Gilbert Eddy, died five years after they married; she believed he had been killed by malicious animal magnetism.Six years later, when she was 67 and apparently in need of loyalty and affection, she legally adopted a 41-year-old homeopath as her second son.
Eddy was by all accounts charismatic and able to inspire great loyalty, although Gillian Gill writes that she could also be irrational and unkind.According to Bryan Wilson, she exemplified the female charismatic leader, and was viewed as the head of the Christian Science church even after her death; he wrote in 1961 that her name—Christian Scientists call her Mrs. Eddy or "our beloved Leader"—was still included in all articles published in the Christian Science journals.
It was in part because of her unusual personality that Christian Science flourished, despite the numerous disputes she initiated among her followers. "She was like a patch of colour in those gray communities," McClure's wrote, "She never laid aside her regal air; never entered a room or left it like other people." ... the most interesting woman that ever lived, and the most extraordinary."Mark Twain, a prominent critic of hers, described her in 1907 as "vain, untruthful [and] jealous," but "[i]n several ways
Eddy tried every remedy for her ill health, including a three-month stay at the Vail's Hydropathic Institute in Hill, New Hampshire.She told the Boston Post in 1883 that, for the seven years prior to 1862 (most of her second marriage), she had been effectively confined to her bed or room.
In 1861 Eddy heard of a healing method developed by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a former clockmaker in Portland, Maine.Self-styled Dr. P. P. Quimby, a practitioner of the "Science of Health," Quimby had become interested in healing after recovering suddenly from a condition he believed was consumption (tuberculosis). After attending a lecture in Maine in 1837 by the French mesmerist Charles Poyen, Quimby began to practice mesmerism himself. Mesmerism was named after Franz Mesmer (1734–1815), a German physician who argued for the existence of a fluid through which bodies could influence each other, a force he called animal magnetism. Quimby and an assistant, Lucius Burkmar, traveled around Maine and New Brunswick giving demonstrations; Burkmar, in a trance, would offer mind readings and suggestions for cures.
Quimby abandoned mesmerism around 1847 when he realized that it was suggestion that was effecting the apparent cures. He came to the view that disease was a mental state.When Jesus healed a paralysed arm, he had known, Quimby wrote, "that the arm was not the cause but the effect, and he addressed Himself to the intelligence, and applied His wisdom to the cause". In so doing Jesus had relied upon Christ, a synonym for Truth, Science and God, a power that Quimby believed all human beings could access. Quimby referred to this idea, in February 1863, as "Christian science," a phrase he used only once in writing. He wrote:
By 1856 Quimby had 500 patients a year.He would sit next to them and explain that the disease was something their minds could control; sometimes he would wet his hands and rub their heads, but it was the talking that helped them, he said, not the manipulation. Quimby began to write his thoughts down around 1859—his work was published posthumously as The Quimby Manuscripts in 1921—and was generous in allowing his patients to copy one of his essays, "Questions and Answers." This became an issue, from 1883 onwards, when Eddy was accused of having based Christian Science on his work.
When Eddy first met Quimby in Portland in October 1862, she had to be helped up the stairs to his consulting rooms. ... changes the currents of the system to their normal action ..." In a second letter she offered to supply quotations from Quimby's "theory of Christ (not Jesus)." Between then and May 1864, Eddy returned to see Quimby several times, staying for weeks in Portland and visiting him daily. She wrote to him regularly, and composed a sonnet for him, "Mid light of science sits the sage profound."She spoke highly of him the following month in a letter to the Portland Evening Courier: "This truth which he opposes to the error of giving intelligence to matter and placing pain where it never placed itself
Eddy first used mental healing on a patient in March 1864, when one of Quimby's patients in Portland, Mary Ann Jarvis, suffered a relapse when she returned home to Warren, Maine. Eddy stayed with her for two months, giving Jarvis mental healing to ease a breathing problem, and writing to Quimby six times for absent treatment for herself. She called the latter "angel visits"; in one of her letters to Quimby, she said that she had seen him in her room. In April she gave a public lecture in Warren, contrasting mental healing with Spiritualism, entitled: "P. P. Quimby's Spiritual Science healing disease, as opposed to Deism or Rochester Rapping Spiritualism."
Quimby died on January 16, 1866, three months after Eddy's father. Eddy wrote a poem on January 22, "Lines on the Death of Dr. P. P. Quimby, Who Healed with the Truth that Christ Taught, in Contradistinction to All Isms," which was published in a local newspaper.Two weeks later, on February 1, she slipped on ice in Lynn, Massachusetts, injuring her head and neck:
Christian Scientists call this "the fall in Lynn," and see it as the birth of their religion. Decades later Eddy wrote that, on the third day after the fall, she had been helped by reading a certain Bible passage. In several editions of Science and Health she identified it as Mark 3, but later said that it had been Matthew 9:2–8, a passage about Jesus healing the paralytic at Capernaum: "As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed."The physician who treated her at the time, Alvin M. Cushing, swore in an affidavit in 1907 that the injury had not been a serious one, and that Eddy had responded to morphine and a homeopathic remedy; she had not said anything to him about a miraculous healing.
The fall in Lynn in 1866 was one of several experiences Eddy associated with the development of mental healing. In the first edition of Science and Health (1875), she wrote that she had "made our first discovery that science mentally applied would heal the sick" in 1864, while she was seeing Quimby, and in 1883 told the Boston Post that she had "laid the foundations of mental healing" in 1853, when she was practising homeopathy.Elsewhere in the first edition of Science and Health she attributed the discovery to her difficulties with chronic indigestion as a child. In other editions she attributes the same difficulties to someone else. Eddy first linked the fall in Lynn to Christian Science in 1871, in a letter to a prospective student:
Whether Eddy considered herself healed at the time is unclear. Two weeks after the fall she requested treatment from another patient of Quimby's, Julius Dresser. ... she slipped and fell, causing serious personal injuries, from which she has little prospect of recovering, and asking for pecuniary recompense for the injuries received." In February 1867 Eddy and her husband, Daniel Patterson, a dentist, filed a lawsuit against the city to recover damages.In June that year the Mayor of Lynn told the city Eddy had sent them a letter "in which she states that owing to the unsafe condition of [the streets]
In March 1866, a month after the fall, Eddy and her husband (then married for 13 years) moved into an unfurnished room in Lynn. At some point her husband left and Eddy was evicted, unable to pay the $1.50 weekly rent. He appears to have returned briefly—they moved to a boarding house in July, and in August he paid Dr. Cushing's bill from the fall—but the marriage was over. He sent her $200 a year for a time, and they divorced in 1873.
Her first student was Hiram Crafts, a shoe worker in whose house she stayed, who advertised for patients himself in May 1867, offering a cure for "Consumption, Catarrh, Scrofula, Dyspepsia and Rheumatism." Eddy asked Crafts to set up a practice with her, but the plan came to nothing.In addition to teaching, Eddy had started to write; toward the end of 1866 she began work on an allegorical interpretation of Genesis, intended as the first volume of a book (never published), The Bible in its Spiritual Meaning.
In the summer of 1868, while lodging with spiritualist Sarah Bagley in Amesbury, Eddy advertised for students in a Spiritualist magazine, the Banner of Light , as Mary B. Glover (her first husband's surname). The ad promised a "principle of science" that would heal with "[n]o medicine, electricity, physiology or hygiene required for unparalleled success in the most difficult cases".Sally Wentworth, another Spiritualist, offered Eddy $300-worth of bed and board in Stoughton if Eddy would treat her daughter's lung condition and teach Wentworth the healing method. Eddy stayed there for two years, from 1868 to 1870, teaching Wentworth with Quimby's unpublished essay, "Questions and Answers." She acknowledged that the manuscript was Quimby's, and spoke often of how she had promised to teach his healing method, which at the time she called Moral Science.
Eddy was asked to leave the Wentworths' in early 1870. They fell out over several issues, including her request that they pay a printer $600 to publish her Genesis manuscript, which apparently ran to over 100,000 words.
She returned to Amesbury to stay with Sally Bagley, where she resumed contact with Richard Kennedy. Kennedy had been a fellow lodger two years earlier when he was working in a box factory, and had become one of her earliest students. She now asked him to join her in opening a Moral Science practice in Lynn; he would see patients and she would teach.He agreed to pay her $1,000 for the previous two years' tuition. Kennedy rented rooms in Lynn in June 1870, and placed a sign in the yard, "Dr. Kennedy"; he was 21 and Eddy 49. The practice became popular. McClure's wrote that people would say: "Go to Dr. Kennedy. He can't hurt you, even if he doesn't help you."
Lynn was a center of the shoe industry and most of Eddy's students were factory workers or artisans. She charged $100, raised a few weeks later to $300, for a three-week course of 12 lessons (reduced in 1888 to seven).Eddy based the lessons on a revised version of Quimby's "Questions and Answers" manuscript, now called "The Science of Man, by which the sick are healed, Embracing Questions and Answers in Moral Science," and on three shorter manuscripts, "The Soul's Inquiry of Man," "Spiritualism" and "Individuality," which she had written for her classes. "Questions and Answers" began: "What is God?" The answer: "Principle, wisdom, love, and truth." Two books on mental healing appeared around that time that may have influenced Eddy's thinking: The Mental Cure (1869) and Mental Medicine (1872), both by Warren Felt Evans, another former patient of Quimby's.
Eddy allowed her students to make copies of the manuscripts, but they were forbidden, under a $3,000 bond, from showing them to anyone. The students agreed to pay Eddy 10 percent annually of income derived from her work, and $1,000 if they failed to practice or teach it.She at first taught them to rub patients' heads, to "lay [their] hands where the belief is to rub it out forever"; Kennedy would manipulate each student's head and solar plexus before class in preparation. The head rubbing was abandoned when the women complained about having to take their hair down, and the stomach rubbing held no appeal for them either. Eventually Eddy told them to ignore that part of the manuscript, and from then on Christian Science healing did not involve touching patients.
In 1879 Eddy sued two of the students (unsuccessfully) for royalties from their practices. They testified that she had claimed she no longer needed to eat and had seen the dead raised. Eddy told the judge she meant she had "seen the dead in understanding raised."
Kennedy decided toward the end of 1871 to end his business partnership with Eddy. She had accused him in front of others of cheating at cards; it was one of several scenes she had caused between them and he walked out on her.There was a temporary reconciliation, but he was unhappy about the abandonment of head rubbing, and after a dispute between Eddy and a student over a refund was played out in the local press, he decided to go his own way.
Once Kennedy and Eddy had settled their financial affairs in May 1872, she was left with $6,000.Peel writes that at this point she had already written 60 pages of Science and Health. She was renting rooms in Lynn at 9 Broad Street, when 8 Broad Street came on the market. In March 1875 she purchased it for $5,650, taking in students to pay the mortgage. It was in the attic room of this house that she completed Science and Health.
Shortly after moving in, Eddy became close to another student, Daniel Spofford. He was 33 years old and married when he joined her class; he later left his wife in the hope that he might marry Eddy, but his feelings were not reciprocated. Spofford and seven other students agreed to form an association that would pay Eddy a certain amount a week if she would preach to them every Sunday. They called themselves the Christian Scientists' Association.
Eddy placed a sign on 8 Broad Street, Mary B. Glover's Christian Scientists' Home.According to McClure's, there was a regular turnover of tenants and domestic staff, whom Eddy accused of stealing from the house; she blamed Richard Kennedy for using mesmerism to turn people against her. According to Peel, there was gossip about the attractive woman, the men who came and went, and whether she was engaged in witchcraft. She was hurt, he wrote, but made light of it: "Of course I believe in free love; I love everyone."
Eddy copyrighted her book, then called The Science of Life, in July 1874.Three of her students, George Barry, Elizabeth Newhall and Daniel Spofford, paid a Boston printer, W. F. Brown and Company, $2,200 to produce the first edition. The printer began work in September 1874, but stopped whenever the advance payment ran out, so progress was slow. The book—Science and Health by Mary Baker Glover, with eight chapters and 456 pages—finally appeared on October 30, 1875, published in the name of the Christian Science Publishing Company.
The book was positively received by Amos Bronson Alcott, who in 1876 wrote to Eddy that she had "reaffirm[ed] in modern phrase the Christian revelations," and that he was pleased it had been written by a woman.The printer's proofreading had been poor. Martin Gardner called the first edition a "chaotic patchwork of repetitious, poorly paragraphed topics," with spelling, punctuation and grammatical mistakes.
Eddy changed printers for the second edition, which was also poorly proofread, and for the third edition in 1881 switched again, this time to John Wilson & Sons, University Press, Cambridge, MA. John Wilson and his successor, William Dana Orcutt, continued to print the book until after Eddy's death.To the 6th edition in 1883, Eddy added with a Key to the Scriptures (later retitled with Key to the Scriptures), a 20-page glossary containing her definitions of biblical terms. The book sold 15,000 copies between 1875 and 1885.
In August 1885, on the advice of John Wilson, she hired one of his proofreaders, the Rev. James Henry Wiggin, as an editor and literary adviser.The issue of how much Wiggin contributed to Science and Health is controversial. A former Unitarian clergyman, he was the book's editor from the 16th edition in 1886 until the 50th in 1891—22 editions appeared between 1886 and 1888 alone—and according to his literary executor, speaking after Wiggin's death, said he had rewritten it. Robert Peel wrote that Wiggin had "toned up" Eddy's style, but had not affected her thinking. In a letter to Wiggin in July 1886, Eddy wrote: "Never change my meaning, only bring it out."
Eddy continued to revise the book until her death in 1910. In 1902 she added a chapter, "Fruitage," recounting healing testimonies from the Christian Science Journal and Christian Science Sentinel.There were over 400 editions (the final ran to 18 chapters and 600 pages), seven of them major revisions, according to Gottschalk, and members were encouraged to buy them all. Other income derived from the sale of rings and brooches, pictures of Eddy, and in 1889 the Mary Baker Eddy souvenir spoon; Eddy asked every Christian Scientist to buy at least one, or a dozen if they could afford to. When the copyright on Science and Health expired in 1971, the church persuaded Congress to extend it to 2046. The bill was supported by two of President Richard Nixon's aides, Christian Scientists H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. The law was overturned as unconstitutional in 1987, after a challenge by United Christian Scientists, an independent group. By 2001 Science and Health had sold over nine million copies.
Science and Health expanded on Eddy's view that sickness was a mental error.People said that simply reading Science and Health had healed them; cures were claimed for everything from cancer to blindness. Eddy wrote in the New York Sun in December 1898, in an article called "To the Christian World," that she had personally healed tuberculosis, diphtheria and "at one visit a cancer that had eaten the flesh of the neck and exposed the jugular vein so that it stood out like a cord. I have physically restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and have made the lame walk." Eddy wrote that her views had derived, in part, from having witnessed the apparent recovery of patients she had treated with homeopathic remedies so diluted they were drinking plain water. She concluded that Divine Mind was the healer:
She argued that even naming and reading about disease could turn thoughts into physical symptoms, and that the recording of ages might reduce the human lifespan.To explain how individuals could be harmed by poison without holding beliefs about it, she referred to the power of majority opinion. Eddy allowed exceptions from Christian Science prayer, including for dentistry, optometry and broken limbs; she said she had healed broken bones using "mental surgery," but that this skill would be the last to be learned. But for the most part (then and now), Christian Scientists believe that medicine and Christian Science are incompatible. Medicine asserts that something needs to be fixed, while Christian Science asserts that spiritual reality is perfect and beliefs to the contrary need to be corrected.
In the 1890s Richard Cabot of Harvard Medical School studied the healing testimonies published by the Christian Science Journal, which Eddy founded in 1883, for his senior thesis. ... the victims of obscure nervous ailments."He wrote in McClure's in 1908 that the claims were based on self-diagnosis or secondhand reports from doctors, and attributed them to the placebo effect. In 1900 medical lecturer William Purrington called the beneficiaries "hysterical patients
Rodney Stark writes that a key to Christian Science's appeal at the time was that its success rate compared favorably with that of physicians, particularly when it came to women's health. Most doctors had not been to medical school, there were no antibiotics, and surgical practices were poor. By comparison the placebo effect (being treated at all, no matter what the treatment was) worked well. Stark argues that the "very elaborate and intensely psychological Christian Science 'treatments' maximize such effects, while having the advantage of not causing further harm."
In January 1877 Eddy spurned an approach from Daniel Spofford, and to everyone's surprise married another of her students, Asa Gilbert Eddy.Eddy already believed that her former student and business partner Richard Kennedy was plotting against her. Weeks after the wedding Spofford was suspected too. She had hinted in October 1876 that he might be a successor, but instead he was expelled from the Christian Scientists' Association for "immorality" after quarrelling with her over money. She filed lawsuits against him and others for royalties or unpaid tuition fees. McClure's wrote that Eddy required "absolute and unquestioning conformity" from her students.
The conviction that she was at the center of plots and counter-plots became a feature of Eddy's life. She believed that several students were using what she called "malicious animal magnetism," or evil thought, against her.(She also referred to it as An. Mag., Mes., M.A.M., m.a.m., mesmerism, malicious mesmerism, animal magnetism, mental malpractice, malicious malpractice, and mental influence.)
Wilson writes that the concept of malicious animal magnetism was an important one in Christian Science.In 1881 Eddy added a 46-page chapter on it, "Demonology", to Science and Health. From the 16th edition in 1886, when James Henry Wiggin became the book's editor, the chapter was reduced and renamed, and in the final edition is a seven-page chapter called "Animal Magnetism Unmasked". Eddy spoke openly about it, including to the press. When her husband died in 1882 she told the Boston Globe that malicious animal magnetism had killed him.
While Eddy argued that reality was entirely spiritual (and therefore entirely good), it remained true that human beings were affected by their belief in evil, which meant it had power, even if the power was an illusion. Evil was "like a bankrupt to whom credit is still granted", writes Wilson.To defend herself against it, Eddy organized "watches", during which students (known as mental or metaphysical workers) would give "adverse treatment" to her enemies. This was called "taking up the enemy in thought". According to former students, Eddy would tell them to say (often with Richard Kennedy in mind): "You are affected as you wish to affect me. Your evil thought reacts upon you," then to call Kennedy bilious, consumptive or poisoned by arsenic.
Eddy set up what she called a secret society of her students (known as the P. M., or private meeting) to deal with malicious animal magnetism, but she said that the group only met twice. In her later years, Wilson writes, Eddy came to see animal magnetism as an impersonal force and concluded that individuals ought not to be "taken up in thought". From 1890 she felt that her students were focusing on it too much, and thereafter public discussion of malicious animal magnetism declined, although Gottschalk adds that it continued to play an important role in the teaching of Christian Science. Adam H. Dickey, Eddy's private secretary for the last three years of her life, wrote that hour-long watches were held in her home three times a day to protect her against it. The Manual of the Mother Church forbids members from practising it, and requires that Christian Science teachers instruct students "how to defend themselves against mental malpractice, and never to return evil for evil".
In May 1878 Eddy brought a case against Daniel Spofford, in Salem, Massachusetts, for practicing mesmerism. It came to be known as the second Salem witchcraft trial. The case was filed in the name of one of Spofford's patients, Lucretia Brown, who said that he had bewitched her, though Eddy appeared in court on Brown's behalf.In preparation for the hearing, Eddy organized a 24-hour watch at 8 Broad Street, during which she asked 12 students to think about Spofford for two hours each and block malicious mesmerism from him. She arrived at the court with 20 supporters, including Amos Bronson Alcott (a "cloud of witnesses," according to the Boston Globe), but Judge Horace Gray dismissed the case.
The attempt to have Spofford tried was not the end of the dispute. In October 1878 Eddy's husband and another student, Edward Arens, were charged with conspiring to murder Spofford. A barman said they had offered him $500 to do it; after a complex series of claims and counter-claims, the charges were dropped when a witness retracted his statement.Eddy attributed the allegation to a plot by former students to undermine sales of the second edition of Science and Health, just published. Her lawyer had to apply for an attachment order against her house to collect his fee.
On August 23, 1879, 26 members of the Christian Scientists' Association were granted a charter to form the Church of Christ (Scientist).Services were held in people's homes in Lynn and later in Hawthorne Hall, Boston. On January 31, 1881, Eddy was granted a charter to form the Massachusetts Metaphysical College to teach "pathology, ontology, therapeutics, moral science, metaphysics, and their application to the treatment of disease." The college lived wherever Eddy did; a new sign appeared on 8 Broad Street.
In October 1881 there was a revolt. Eight church members resigned, signing a document complaining of Eddy's "frequent ebullitions of temper, love of money, and the appearance of hypocrisy." Only a few students remained, including Calvin Frye, who became Eddy's most loyal personal assistant. They appointed Eddy pastor of the church in November 1881, and drew up a resolution in February 1882 that she was "the chosen messenger of God to the nations."
Despite the support, the resignations ended Eddy's time in Lynn. The church was struggling and her reputation had been damaged by the disputes. By now 61 years old, she decided to move to Boston, and in early 1882 rented a house at 569 Columbus Avenue, a silver plaque announcing the arrival of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College.The college's prospectus, published in 1884, offered three diplomas: Christian Scientist (C.S.) for Christian Scientists' Association members; Christian Metaphysician (C.M.) for Eddy's 12-lesson course and three years' practice; and Doctor of Christian Science (D.C.S.) for C.M.s whose "life and character conform to Divine science." Students could study metaphysics, science of the scriptures, mental healing and obstetrics, using two textbooks, Science and Health and the Bible. Between 1881 and October 1889, when Eddy closed the college, 4,000 students took the course at $300 per person or married couple, making her a rich woman. Mark Twain wrote that she had turned a sawdust mine (possibly Quimby's) into a Klondike.
Eddy's husband, Asa Gilbert Eddy, died of heart disease on June 4, 1882, shortly after the move to Boston. She invited the Boston Globe to her home on the day of his death to allege that he had been killed by malicious animal magnetism, courtesy of "certain parties here in Boston, who had sworn to injure them." The Globe wrote:
A doctor performed an autopsy and showed Eddy her husband's diseased heart, but she responded by giving more interviews about mesmerism.Fraser wrote that the articles made Eddy a household name, a real-life version of the charismatic and beautiful Verena Tarrant in Henry James's The Bostonians (1885–1886), with her interest in spiritualism, women's rights and the mind cure. Shortly after the death, Eddy moved next door to 571 Columbus Avenue with several students. The following year, 1883, she founded the Journal of Christian Science (later called the Christian Science Journal ), which spread news of her ideas across the United States.
In 1885 Eddy was accused of promoting Spiritualism and pantheism by the Reverend Adoniram J. Gordon, in a letter read out by Joseph Cook during one of his popular Monday lectures at Tremont Temple in Boston. She demanded a right of reply, and on March 16, 1885, she told the congregation that she was not a Spiritualist, and that she believed in God as the Supreme Being and in the atonement. She described Christian Science healing as "Christ come to destroy the power of the flesh."Stephen Gottschalk wrote that the occasion marked the "emergence of Christian Science into American religious life."
The first church building was erected in 1886 in Oconto, Wisconsin, by local women who believed Christian Science had helped them.For a down payment of $2,000 and a mortgage of $8,763, the church purchased land in Falmouth Street, Boston, for the erection of a building. Eddy asked Augusta Stetson, a prominent Scientist, to establish a church in New York. By the end of 1886 Christian Science teaching institutes had sprung up around the United States.
In December 1887 Eddy moved to a $40,000, 20-room house at 385 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. equivalent to $2,789,000in 2018). By 1890 the Church of Christ (Scientist) had 8,724 members in the United States, having started 11 years earlier with just 26.She had been teaching four to six classes a year, and by 1889 had probably made at least $100,000 (
Eddy's debt to Phineas Parkhurst Quimby became the "single most controversial issue" of her life, according to Gillian Gill.Quimby was not the only source Eddy stood accused of having copied; Ernest Sutherland Bates and John V. Dittemore, Bryan Wilson, Charles S. Braden and Martin Gardner identified several texts she had used without attribution. For example, an open letter from Eddy to the church, dated September 1895 and published in Eddy's Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 (1897), is almost identical to Hugh Blair's essay "The Man of Integrity," published in Lindley Murray's The English Reader (1799). Eddy acknowledged Quimby's influence in her early years. When a prospective student asked in 1871 whether her methods had been used before, she replied:
Later she drew a distinction between their methods, arguing that Quimby's involved one mind healing another, while hers depended on a connection with Divine Mind.In February 1883 Julius Dresser, a former patient of Quimby's, accused Eddy in letters to the Boston Post of teaching Quimby's work as her own. In response Eddy disparaged Quimby as a mesmerist and said she had experimented with mental healing in or around 1853, nine years before she met him. She wrote later: "We caught some of his thoughts, and he caught some of ours; and both of us were pleased to say this to each other."
The issue went to court in September 1883, when Eddy complained that her student Edward Arens had copied parts of Science and Health in a pamphlet, and Arens counter-claimed that Eddy had copied it from Quimby in the first place.Quimby's son was so unwilling to produce his father's manuscripts that he sent them out of the country (perhaps fearing litigation with Eddy or that someone would tamper with them), and Eddy won the case. Things were stirred up further by Eddy's pamphlet Historical Sketch of Metaphysical Healing (1885), in which she again called Quimby a mesmerist, and by the publication of Julius Dresser's The True History of Mental Healing (1887).
The charge that Christian Science came from Quimby, not divine revelation, stemmed in part from Eddy's use of Quimby's manuscript (right) when teaching Sally Wentworth and others in 1868–1870.Eddy said she had helped to fix Quimby's unpublished work, and now stood accused of having copied her own corrections. Against this, Lyman P. Powell, one of Eddy's biographers, wrote in 1907 that Quimby's son held an almost identical copy, in Quimby's wife's handwriting, of the Quimby manuscript that Eddy had used when teaching Sally Wentworth. It was dated February 1862, eight months before Eddy met Quimby.
In July 1904 the New York Times obtained a copy of the Quimby manuscript from Sally Wentworth's son, and juxtaposed passages with Science and Health to highlight the similarities. It also published Eddy's handwritten notes on Quimby's manuscript to show what the newspaper alleged was the transition from his words to hers.Quimby's manuscripts were published in 1921. Eddy's biographers continued to disagree about his influence on Eddy. Bates and Dittemore, the latter a former director of the Christian Science church, argued in 1932 that "as far as the thought is concerned, Science and Health is practically all Quimby," except for malicious animal mesmerism. Robert Peel, who also worked for the church, wrote in 1966 that Eddy may have influenced Quimby as much as he influenced her. Gardner argued in 1993 that Eddy had taken "huge chunks" from Quimby, and Gill in 1998 that there were only general similarities.
In 1887 Eddy started teaching a "metaphysical obstetrics" course, two one-week classes. She had started calling herself "Professor of Obstetrics" in 1882; McClure's wrote: "Hundreds of Mrs. Eddy's students were then practising who knew no more about obstetrics than the babes they helped into this world."The first prosecutions took place that year, when practitioners were charged with practicing medicine without a licence. All were acquitted during the trial, or convictions were overturned on appeal.
The first manslaughter charge was in March 1888, when Abby H. Corner, a practitioner in Medford, Massachusetts, attended to her daughter during childbirth; the daughter bled to death and the baby did not survive. The defense argued that they might have died even with medical attention, and Corner was acquitted.To the dismay of the Christian Scientists' Association (the secretary resigned), Eddy distanced herself from Corner, telling the Boston Globe that Corner had only attended the college for one term and had never entered the obstetrics class.
From then until the 1990s around 50 parents and practitioners were prosecuted, and often acquitted, after adults and children died without medical care; charges ranged from neglect to second-degree murder.The American Medical Association (AMA) declared war on Christian Scientists; in 1895 its journal called Christian Science and similar ideas "molochs to infants, and pestilential perils to communities in spreading contagious diseases." Juries were nevertheless reluctant to convict when defendants believed they were helping the patient. There was also opposition to the AMA's effort to strengthen medical licensing laws. Historian Shawn Peters writes that, in the courts and public debate, Christian Scientists and Jehovah's Witnesses linked their healing claims to early Christianity to gain support from other Christians.
Vaccination was another battleground. A Christian Scientist in Wisconsin won a case in 1897 that allowed his son to attend public school despite not being vaccinated against smallpox. Others were arrested in 1899 for avoiding vaccination during a smallpox epidemic in Georgia. In 1900 Eddy advised adherents to obey the law, "and then appeal to the gospel to save ...[themselves] from any bad results." In October 1902, after seven-year-old Esther Quimby, the daughter of Christian Scientists, died of diphtheria in White Plains, New York (she had received no medical care and had not been quarantined), the authorities pursued manslaughter charges. The controversy prompted Eddy to declare that "until public thought becomes better acquainted with Christian Science, the Christian Scientists shall decline to doctor infectious or contagious diseases," and from that time the church required Christian Scientists to report contagious diseases to health boards.
In 1888 Eddy became close to another of her students, Ebenezer Johnson Foster, a homeopath and graduate of the Hahnemann Medical College. He was 41 and she was 67, but apparently in need of affection and loyalty she adopted him legally in November that year, and he changed his name to Ebenezer Johnson Foster Eddy.
A year later, in October 1889, Eddy closed the Massachusetts Metaphysical College; according to Bates and Dittemore, the state attorney was investigating colleges that were fraudulently graduating medical students. She also foreclosed the mortgage on the land in Boston the church had purchased, then purchased it herself for $5,000 through a middle man, though it was worth considerably more. She told the church they could have the land for their building on condition they formally dissolve the church; this was apparently intended to quash internal rebellions that had been bothering her.The following year she dissolved the National Christian Science Association. Wilson writes that the dissolutions allowed her to create a central church controlled by a five-person board of directors that answered only to her, which gave the church a stability that helped it survive her death.
The cornerstone of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, containing the Bible, Eddy's writings and a list of directors and financial contributors, was laid in May 1894 in the Back Bay area of Boston.Church members raised funds for the construction, and the building was finished in December 1894 at a cost of $250,000. It contained a "Mother's Room" in the tower for Eddy's personal use, furnished with rare books, silks, tapestries, rugs, a dressing gown and slippers, though she spent only one night there and it was later turned into a storage room. The archway into the room was made of Italian marble, and the word Mother was engraved on the floor.
Within two years the Boston membership had exceeded the original church's capacity. By 1903 the block around the church had been purchased by Christian Scientists, and in 1906 the Mother Church Extension, accommodating 5,000 people, was completed at a cost of $2 million.This attracted the criticism that, whereas Christian Scientists spent money on a magnificent church, they maintained no hospitals, orphanages or missions in the slums.
Christian Science went on to become the fastest-growing American religion in the early 20th century. The federal religious census recorded 85,717 Christian Scientists in 1906; 30 years later it was 268,915.In 1890 there were seven Christian Science churches in the United States, a figure that had risen to 1,104 by 1910. Churches began to appear in other countries too: 58 in England, 38 in Canada and 28 elsewhere by 1910.
Mark Twain was a prominent contemporaneous critic of Eddy's. His first article about Christian Science was published in Cosmopolitan in October 1899.Another three appeared in 1902–1903 in North American Review, then a book, Christian Science (1907). He also wrote "The Secret History of Eddypus, the World Empire" (1901–1902), in which Christian Science replaces Christianity and Eddy becomes the Pope.
Twain described Eddy as "[g]rasping, sordid, penurious, famishing for everything she sees—money, power, glory—vain, untruthful, jealous, despotic, arrogant, insolent, pitiless where thinkers and hypnotists are concerned, illiterate, shallow, incapable of reasoning outside of commercial lines, immeasurably selfish."
Science and Health he called "strange and frantic and incomprehensible and uninterpretable," and argued that Eddy had not written it herself."There is nothing in Christian Science that is not explicable," he wrote, "for God is one, Time is one, Individuality is one, and may be one of a series, one of many, as an individual man, individual horse; whereas God is one, not one of a series, but one alone and without an equal." Eddy apart, Twain felt ambivalent toward mind-cure, arguing that "the thing back of it is wholly gracious and beautiful." His daughter Clara Clemens became a Christian Scientist and wrote a book about it, Awake to a Perfect Day (1956).
The first history of Christian Science appeared in McClure's magazine in 14 installments from January 1907 to June 1908, preceded by an editorial in December 1906. The essence of the articles, which included court documents and affidavits from Eddy's associates, was that Eddy's chief concern was money, and that she had derived Christian Science from Quimby. The material was also published as a book, The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science (1909).It became the key source for most non-church histories of the religion. The editor-in-chief assigned five writers to work on the series, including the novelist Willa Cather as the principal author. The book was kept out of print from early in its life by the Christian Science church, which bought the original manuscript. It was republished in 1971 by Baker Book House when its copyright expired, and again in 1993 by the University of Nebraska Press.
In March 1907 several of Eddy's relatives filed an unsuccessful lawsuit, the "Next Friends suit," against members of Eddy's household, alleging that she was unable to manage her own affairs. Calvin Frye, her long-time personal assistant, was a particular target of the allegations. The New York World's front-page story in October 1906, headline "Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy Dying; Footman and Dummy Control Her," said that Eddy was housebound and dying of cancer, that her staff had taken control of her fortune, and that another woman was impersonating her in public.
The newspaper persuaded Eddy's family (or "next friends") to file a lawsuit. Several joined the action, including Eddy's biological son, George Glover, and adoptive son, Ebenezer J. Foster Eddy.Eddy was interviewed in her home in August 1907 by the judge and two psychiatrists, who concluded that she was mentally competent. In response to the McClure's and New York World stories, Eddy asked the church in July 1908 to found the Christian Science Monitor as a platform for responsible journalism. It appeared in November that year, with the motto "To injure no man, but to bless all mankind," and went on to win seven Pulitzer Prizes between 1950 and 2002.
Eddy died two years later, on the evening of Saturday, December 3, 1910, aged 89. The Mother Church announced at the end of the Sunday morning service that Eddy had "passed from our sight." It said that "the time will come when there will be no more death," but that Christian Scientists "do not look for [Mrs. Eddy's] return in this world."Her estate was valued at $1.5 million, most of which she left to the church.
A census at the height of the religion's popularity in 1936 counted c. 268,915 Christian Scientists in the United States (2,098 per million).With the movement in decline, the church has sold buildings to free up funds; it closed 23 of its churches in Los Angeles between 1960 and 1995, and in 2004 it sold the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Manhattan, to the Crenshaw Christian Center for $14 million. (The building was sold again in 2014 to be converted into condominiums.)
There were an estimated 106,000 Scientists in the United States in 1990 (427 per million), according to Rodney Stark.In 2009 the church said that for the first time more new members had been admitted from Africa than from the United States, although it offered no numbers. While the Manual of the Mother Church prohibits the church from publishing membership figures, the church does provide the names of Christian Science practitioners (members trained to offer Christian Science prayer on behalf of others). In 1941 there were 11,200 practitioners in the United States, against 965 in 2015 (1,249 worldwide). Stark writes that clusters of practitioners listed in the Christian Science Journal in 1998 were living in the same retirement communities.
|Number of Christian Science practitioners in the United States, 1883–2015|
|Christian Science practitioners||per million||Christian Scientists||source|
Stark attributes the rise of the movement in the late-19th and early-20th centuries to several factors, chiefly that medical practice was in its infancy. Because patients often fared better without medical treatment, Christian Science prayer was favorable in comparison.Other factors included that the church retained cultural continuity with Christianity by stressing that it was Christian and adopting its terms, despite the new content Eddy introduced. It was not puritanical. Members were expected not to drink or smoke, but could otherwise do as they pleased, and several exceptions to the avoidance of medicine were permitted.
In 1906, 72 percent of Christian Scientists in the United States were female, against 49 percent of the population.The church was attractive to women because it offered professional opportunities when it was difficult for women to find work outside the home. As Christian Scientists they could become practitioners after just 12 lessons. Of the 14 practitioners listed in the first edition of the Christian Science Journal, 12 were women.
The increased efficacy of medicine around World War II heralded the religion's decline. Stark charts the use of sulfonamide to kill bacteria, the availability of penicillin in the 1940s and breakthroughs in immunology.Other factors were increased career opportunities for women, and that much of the membership was elderly. In 1998 30 percent of Christian Scientists were over 65. Eddy was in her sixties by the time the movement began to spread. Stark writes that the "characteristics of the earliest members of a movement will tend to be reproduced in subsequent converts." A significant percentage of Scientists remained single (Eddy placed little emphasis on marriage and family), or became Scientists when their children were adults and unlikely to be converted. Christian Science did not have missionaries, so it relied on internal growth, but the conversion rate within families was not high. In a study cited by Stark, of 80 people raised within Christian Science just 26 (33 percent) became Scientists themselves.
Christian Scientists avoid almost all medical treatment, relying instead on Christian Science prayer.This consists of silently arguing with oneself; there are no appeals to a personal god, and no set words. Caroline Fraser wrote in 1999 that the practitioner might repeat: "the allness of God using Eddy's seven synonyms—Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, Soul, Principle and Mind," then that "Spirit, Substance, is the only Mind, and man is its image and likeness; that Mind is intelligence; that Spirit is substance; that Love is wholeness; that Life, Truth, and Love are the only reality." She might deny other religions, the existence of evil, mesmerism, astrology, numerology and the symptoms of whatever the illness is. She concludes, Fraser writes, by asserting that disease is a lie, that this is the word of God and that it has the power to heal.
Christian Science practitioners are certified by the Church of Christ, Scientist, to charge a fee for Christian Science prayer. There were 1,249 practitioners worldwide in 2015;in the United States in 2010 they charged $25–$50 for an e-mail, telephone or face-to-face consultation. Their training is a two-week, 12-lesson course called "primary class," based on the Recapitulation chapter of Science and Health. Practitioners wanting to teach primary class take a six-day "normal class," held in Boston once every three years, and become Christian Science teachers. There are also Christian Science nursing homes. They offer no medical services; the nurses are Christian Scientists who have completed a course of religious study and training in basic skills, such as feeding and bathing.
The Christian Science Journal and Christian Science Sentinel publish anecdotal healing "testimonials," which must be accompanied by statements from three verifiers: "people who know [the testifier] well and have either witnessed the healing or can vouch for [the testifier's] integrity in sharing it."Philosopher Margaret P. Battin writes that the seriousness with which these are treated by Christian Scientists ignores factors such as false positives caused by self-limiting conditions. Because no negative accounts are published, the testimonials strengthen people's tendency to rely on anecdotes.
The church published 53,900 such accounts between 1900 and April 1989. A church study, published in 1989, examined 10,000 of them, 2,337 of which the church said involved conditions that had been medically diagnosed, and 623 of which were "medically confirmed by follow-up examinations." The report offered no evidence of the medical follow-up.The Massachusetts Committee for Children and Youth listed among the report's flaws that it had failed to compare the rates of successful and unsuccessful Christian Science treatment.
The main criticism Christian Scientists face is that their children are denied equal protection under the law.Sick and disabled children have been told that the only thing wrong with them is "incorrect" thinking, and practitioners have told parents that the parents' thoughts can harm their children. The church maintains that members are free to choose medical care, but several have said they fear ostracism. The American Academy of Pediatrics regards failure to seek medical care for children as "child neglect, regardless of the motivation."
In the United States the Christian Science church has persuaded federal and local government to create and maintain religious-exemption statutes, using the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. ...." Many of the exemptions say that in life-threatening situations children must have access to medical care, but without early access the seriousness of an illness may not be recognized, in part because Christian Scientists are discouraged from educating themselves about physical ailments.The Free Exercise Clause (italicized) reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
After the conviction for manslaughter in 1967 of the Christian Scientist mother of five-year-old Lisa Sheridan, who died without medical care in Cape Cod, Massachusetts,the church lobbied the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) to add a religious exemption to the Code of Federal Regulations. Added in 1974, this stated that parents who did not provide medical treatment for a child for religious reasons would not be considered negligent. States were thereafter obliged to include exemptions or lose funding; the wording of the exemptions made clear that they referred to Christian Science.
Largely as a result of lobbying by Children's Healthcare is a Legal Duty, the government eliminated the HEW regulation in 1983,but 39 states, Guam, and the District of Columbia still had religious exemptions in their civil codes on child abuse and neglect as of February 2015. Three states (Arizona, Connecticut and Washington) say that offering a child treatment from a Christian Science practitioner, "in lieu of medical care", is not regarded as neglect. Forty-eight US states allowed religious exemptions for compulsory vaccination as of June 2015. In Australia the Christian Science church was the only group with a religious exemption for vaccination as of April 2015; the government said that it planned to remove it.
In over 50 cases between 1887 and the early 1990s, prosecutors charged Christian Scientists after adults and children died of treatable illnesses without medical care.The death in 1967 of five-year-old Lisa Sheridan of pneumonia, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was the first of several in the 20th century known within the church as the "child cases," according to Fraser. Her mother was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years' probation. It was after this prosecution that the church began lobbying for religious exemptions.
In 1977 16-month-old Matthew Swan died of bacterial meningitis in Detroit, Michigan, after his parents were persuaded not to seek timely medical care; they responded by founding Children's Healthcare is a Legal Duty (CHILD) in 1983. 41-inch (1,000 mm) circumference; her parents pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment. A prominent case in Massachusetts was Commonwealth v. Twitchell in 1990, which saw the parents of two-year-old Robyn Twitchell convicted of involuntary manslaughter after he died of peritonitis. The conviction was overturned; the appellate court ruled that the couple had "reasonably believed" they could rely on Christian Science prayer without being prosecuted.Between 1980 and 1990 seven Christian Scientist parents in the United States were prosecuted; there were four convictions, two overturned. In 1988 12-year-old Ashley King died in Phoenix, Arizona, after living for months with a tumor on her leg that had a
The first time the church was held liable (overturned on appeal) was in 1993 after 11-year-old Ian Lundman died of hyperglycaemia in Minnesota in 1989.The church sent a Christian Science nurse to sit with him; doctors testified that he could have been saved by an insulin injection up to two hours before his death. The mother and stepfather were charged with manslaughter, but the charges were dismissed. The boy's father, Douglass Lundman, sued the mother, stepfather, practitioner, nurse, nursing home and church. He was awarded $5.2 million compensatory damages, later reduced to $1.5 million, and $9 million in punitive damages against the church. The Minnesota State Court of Appeals overturned the award against the church and nursing home in 1995, finding that a judgment that forced the church to "abandon teaching its central tenet" was unconstitutional, and that, while the individuals had a duty of care toward the boy, the church and nursing home did not.
In the hierarchy of the Church of Christ, Scientist, only the Mother Church in Boston, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, uses the definite article in its name. Otherwise the first Christian Science church in any city is called First Church of Christ, Scientist, then Second Church of Christ, Scientist, and so on, followed by the name of the city (for example, Third Church of Christ, Scientist, London). When a church closes, the others in that city are not renamed.
Founded in April 1879, the Church of Christ, Scientist is led by a president and five-person board of directors. There is a public-relations department, known as the Committee on Publication, with representatives around the world; this was set up by Eddy in 1898 to protect her own and the church's reputation.The church was accused in the 1990s of silencing internal criticism by firing staff, delisting practitioners and excommunicating members.
The church's administration is headquartered on Christian Science Center on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Huntington Avenue, Boston. 690 ft × 100 ft (210 m × 30 m) reflecting pool.The 14.5-acre site includes the Mother Church (1894), Mother Church Extension (1906), the Christian Science Publishing Society building (1934)—which houses the Mary Baker Eddy Library and the church's administrative staff—the Sunday School building (1971), and the Church Colonnade building (1972). It also includes the 26-story Administration Building (1972), designed by Araldo Cossutta of I. M. Pei & Associates, which until 2008 housed the administrative staff from the church's 15 departments. There is also a children's fountain and a
Eddy's Manual of The Mother Church (first published 1895) lists the church's by-laws.Requirements for members include daily prayer and daily study of the Bible and Science and Health. Members must subscribe to church periodicals if they can afford to, and pay an annual tax to the church of not less than one dollar.
Prohibitions include engaging in mental malpractice; visiting a store that sells "obnoxious" books; joining other churches; publishing articles that are uncharitable toward religion, medicine, the courts or the law; and publishing the number of church members.The manual also prohibits engaging in public debate about Christian Science without board approval, and learning hypnotism. It includes "The Golden Rule": "A member of The Mother Church shall not haunt Mrs. Eddy's drive when she goes out, continually stroll by her house, or make a summer resort near her for such a purpose."
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The Church of Christ, Scientist has no clergy, sermons or rituals, and performs no baptisms, marriages or burials. Its main religious texts are the Bible and Science and Health. Each church has two Readers, who read aloud from those texts during services, and select hymns from the Christian Science Hymnal . There are Sunday morning and Wednesday evening services. Members offer testimonials during the Wednesday meetings about any success they attribute to Christian Science, including recovery from ill health.
Notable Scientists have included Directors of Central Intelligence William H. Webster and Admiral Stansfield M. Turner; Richard Nixon's chief of staff H. R. Haldeman; and Chief Domestic Advisor John Ehrlichman.The viscountess Nancy Astor was a Christian Scientist, as was naval officer Charles Lightoller, who survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
There used to be a concentration of Scientists in the film industry, including Joan Crawford, Carol Channing, Doris Day, Colleen Dewhurst, Cecil B. DeMille, Horton Foote, George Hamilton, Mary Pickford, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, Jean Stapleton and King Vidor.Robert Duvall and Val Kilmer are Christian Scientists. Those raised by Christian Scientists include jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Henry Fonda, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, James Hetfield and Robin Williams. Actor Anne Archer was raised within Christian Science; she left the church when her son, Tommy Davis, was a child, and both became prominent in the Church of Scientology.
The Christian Science Publishing Society publishes several periodicals, including the Christian Science Monitor , winner of seven Pulitzer Prizes between 1950 and 2002. This had a daily circulation in 1970 of 220,000, which by 2008 had contracted to 52,000. In 2009 it moved to a largely online presence with a weekly print run.In the 1980s the church produced its own television programs, and in 1991 it founded a 24-hour news channel, which closed with heavy losses after 13 months.
The church also publishes the weekly Christian Science Sentinel , the monthly Christian Science Journal , and the Herald of Christian Science , a non-English publication. In April 2012 JSH-Online made back issues of the Journal, Sentinel and Herald available online to subscribers.
The church faced internal dissent in 1991 over its decision to publish The Destiny of The Mother Church . Written and privately printed in 1943 by Bliss Knapp, former president of the Mother Church, the book suggested that Eddy was the Woman of the Apocalypse of the New Testament.Knapp and his family bequeathed $98 million to the church on condition that it publish and authorize the book by 1993; otherwise the money would go to Stanford University and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The church published and made the book available in Christian Science reading rooms. One senior employee was fired for failing to support the church's decision, and 18 of the 21 editorial staff of the religious journals resigned. In the end the other parties disputed that making the book available in Reading Rooms constituted authorization, and the bequest was split three ways.
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Ernest Sutherland Bates and John V. Dittemore, 1932: Eddy was not able to attend Sanbornton (Tilton) Academy when the family moved there in 1836, but was required instead to start at the district school on the lower floor of the same building. She started at the beginning with the youngest girls, but withdrew after a month because of poor health. Thereafter she received private tuition from the Reverend Enoch Corser. She entered Sanbornton Academy in 1842.According to Robert Peel, Eddy "may have attended Holmes Academy at Plymouth in 1838 and certainly attended Sanbornton Academy in 1842." She may have attended during other terms, and may also have attended another school called Woodman Sanbornton Academy. Gillian Gill, 1998: "In November 1842, at age twenty-one, she completed her formal schooling, having done three full semesters at the Sanbornton Academy under Dyer Sanborn."
Stewart W. Holmes wrote in 1944 that this passage was probably the source of Eddy's "scientific statement of being" in the "Recapitulation" chapter of Science and Health (p. 468): "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."
"There was, to my knowledge, no other physician in attendance upon Mrs. Patterson during this illness from the day of the accident, February 1, 1866, to my final visit on February 13th, and when I left her on the 13th day of February, she seemed to have recovered from the disturbance caused by the accident and to be, practically, in her normal condition. I did not at any time declare, or believe, that there was no hope for Mrs. Patterson's recovery, or that she was in a critical condition, and did not at any time say, or believe, that she had but three or any other limited number of days to live. Mrs. Patterson did not suggest, or say, or pretend, or in any way whatever intimate, that on the third, or any other day, of her said illness, she had miraculously recovered or been healed, or that, discovering or perceiving the truth of the power employed by Christ to heal the sick, she had, by it, been restored to health."
Eddy, March 7, 1883: "We had laid the foundations of mental healing before we ever saw Dr. Quimby; were an homeopathist without a diploma. We made our first experiments in mental healing about 1853, when we were convinced that mind had a science, which, if understood, would heal all disease."
Eddy was also accused, by Walter M. Haushalter in his Mrs. Eddy Purloins from Hegel, Boston: A. A. Beauchamp, 1936, of having copied material from "The Metaphysical Religion of Hegel" (1866), an essay by Francis Lieber.
Eddy, 1889: "Mr. Quimby's son has stated ... that he has in his possession all his father's written utterances; and I have offered to pay for their publication, but he declines to publish them; for their publication would silence the insinuation that Mr. Quimby originated the system of healing which I claim to be mine."
Eddy, 1891: "In 1870 I copyrighted the first publication on spiritual, scientific Mind-healing, entitled The Science of Man. This little book is converted into the chapter on Recapitulation in Science and Health. It was so new—the basis it laid down for physical and moral health was so hopelessly original—that I did not venture upon its publication until later ...". "Five years after taking out my first copyright, I taught the Science of Mind-healing, alias Christian Science, by writing out my manuscripts for students and distributing them unsparingly. This will account for certain published and unpublished manuscripts extant, which the evil-minded would insinuate did not originate with me."
In 1972 128 students at a Christian Science school in Greenwich, Connecticut, contracted polio and four were left partially paralyzed. In 1982 a nine-year-old girl died of diphtheria after attending a Christian Science camp in Colorado. In 1985 128 people were infected with measles, and three died, at Principia College, a Christian Science school in Elsah, Illinois. In 1994 190 people in six states were infected with measles traced to a child from a Christian Science family in Elsah.
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby was an American spiritual teacher, magnetizer, mesmerist, and inventor. His work is widely recognized as leading to the New Thought movement.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the central text of the Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy described it as her "most important work." She began writing it in February 1872 and the first edition was published in 1875. However, she would continue working on it and making changes for the rest of her life.
The Christian Science Publishing Society was established in 1898 by Mary Baker Eddy and is the publishing arm of The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.
McClure's or McClure's Magazine (1893–1929) was an American illustrated monthly periodical popular at the turn of the 20th century. The magazine is credited with having started the tradition of muckraking journalism, and helped direct the moral compass of the day.
Robert Peel was a Christian Science historian and writer on religious and ecumenical topics. A Christian Scientist for over 70 years, Peel worked for the Church of Christ, Scientist's Committee on Publication, set up by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the religion's founder, to protect her own and the church's reputation.
Septimus James Hanna, an American Civil War veteran and a judge in the Old West. He was a student of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science church. Giving up his legal career, he became a Christian Science practitioner, lecturer and teacher. Hanna occupied more leading positions within the church organization than any individual, serving as pastor, then First Reader of The Mother Church, as editor and associate editor of the periodicals, member of the Bible Lesson Committee, he served two terms as president of The Mother Church, he was teacher of the Normal (teachers) Class of 1907, later vice president and then president of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College.
Eschatology is a Christian movement founded by American writer and practitioner William W. Walter after Walter left Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science church in 1912. He named his organization "The Walter Method of Christian Science"; the term Eschatology as a trade mark for Walter's teaching was not used until the 1920s.
The Salem witchcraft trial of 1878, also known as the Ipswich witchcraft trial and the second Salem witch trial, was an American civil case held in May 1878 in Salem, Massachusetts, in which Lucretia L. S. Brown, an adherent of the Christian Science religion, accused fellow Christian Scientist Daniel H. Spofford of attempting to harm her through his "mesmeric" mental powers. By 1918, it was considered the last witchcraft trial held in the United States. The case garnered significant attention for its startling claims and because it took place in Salem, the scene of the 1692 Salem witch trials. The judge dismissed the case.
Ernest Sutherland Bates was an American academic and writer. He taught English and philosophy at Oberlin College from 1903 to 1905, the University of Arizona until 1915, and the University of Oregon from then until 1925.
The history of New Thought started in the 1830s, with roots in the United States and England. As a spiritual movement with roots in metaphysical beliefs, New Thought has helped guide a variety of social changes throughout the 19th, 20th, and into the 21st centuries. Psychologist and philosopher William James labelled New Thought "the religion of healthy-mindedness" in his study on religion and science, The Varieties of Religious Experience.
Julius A. Dresser was an early leader in the New Thought movement. Along with his wife Annetta, Dresser was the first proponent of the "Quimby System of Mental Treatment of Diseases", named after Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. Julius and Annetta were also the parents of prolific New Thought author Horatio Dresser, who, along with them, led a long-time dispute against Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy over whether she used Quimby's teaching unattributed in her writing.
The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science was published in November 1909 in New York by Doubleday, Page & Company. Mostly ghostwritten by the novelist Willa Cather, the book is a highly critical account of the life of Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the founder of Christian Science, and the early history of the Christian Science church in 19th-century New England.
Calvin Augustine Frye was the personal assistant of Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the founder of Christian Science.
John Valentine Dittemore was an American biographer and writer. He was a director of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, the Christian Science church, in Boston from 1909 until 1919. Before that he was head of the church's Committee on Publication in New York, and a trustee for ten years of the estate of Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the founder of Christian Science.
Sibyl Wilbur O'Brien Stone, best known as Sibyl Wilbur was an American journalist known for her biography of Mary Baker Eddy.
Samuel Putnam Bancroft, best known as Samuel P. Bancroft was an American Christian Scientist.
Adam Herbert Dickey, best known as Adam H. Dickey was a Christian Scientist and private secretary to Mary Baker Eddy.
Also see Charles Poyen, Progress of Animal Magnetism in New England, Boston: Weeks, Jordan & Co, 1837.
Alan Gauld, A History of Hypnotism, Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1992, p. 193; Hazen 2000, pp. 118–119.
Eddy, Science and Health, 1875, first edition.
"Mark Twain indorses exposure of Mrs. Eddy", The New York Times, November 5, 1906.
For a letter from Wiggin to a friend about Eddy and Christian Science, dated December 14, 1889, Cather and Milmine 1909, pp. 337–339 (p. 336 for the date).
Also see Eddy, "Authorship of Science and Health," The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 317–319.
"Christian Science Text's Copyright Is Ruled Illegal by Appeals Court", The New York Times, September 23, 1987.
Also see E. B. S., Jr., "Book review: Christian Science by William A. Purrington", The American Law Register, 48(6), June 1900, pp. 380–381; and William Purrington, "Manslaughter, Christian Science and the Law," American Lawyer, 7, 1899, pp. 5–9.
Also see Wilson 1961, p. 126, n. 7, citing Gilbert C. Carpenter, Watches, Prayers, Arguments Given to Students by Mary Baker Eddy.
Bates and Dittemore 1932, p. 274; for the college closing in October 1889, Peel 1971, p. 252.
Dresser's reply, February 23, 1883; Eddy's reply, March 7, 1883, in Dresser 1919, p. 58.
Also see Horatio Dresser (ed.), The Quimby Manuscripts, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1921, p. 433; Bates and Dittemore 1932, pp. 233–238; Peel 1971, p. 130.
There was also an article, George A. Quimby, "Phineas Parkhurst Quimby", The New England Magazine, 6(33), March 1888, pp. 267–276.
For more on the manuscripts, S. P. Bancroft, Mrs. Eddy as I Knew Her in 1870 (1923); for the history of the Science and Man manuscript, Peel 1966, pp. 231–236, and Fraser 1999 , p. 468, n. 99. Several versions of Science and Man can be found in "Essays and other footprints left by Mary Baker Eddy", Rare Book Company, Freehold, New Jersey, p. 178ff.
"Christian Science Killed Her", The New York Times, May 18, 1888; "Mrs. Corner on Trial", May 22, 1888; "The Christian Scientist Held", May 26, 1888; "The Christian Scientist Not Indicted", June 10, 1888.
Twain, "Christian Science", North American Review, December 1902; Twain, Christian Science, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1907. He had earlier written about mental healing in "Mental Telepathy," Harper's, December 1891.
Eddy, "Reply to McClure's Magazine," The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 308–316.
"Look for Mrs. Eddy to rise from tomb", The New York Times, December 29, 1910.
Beth Rapp Young, "Defending Child Medical Neglect: Christian Science Persuasive Rhetoric", Rhetoric Review, 20(3/4), 2001 (pp. 268–292), p. 270. Also see Fraser (Atlantic) 1995.
"Christian Scientists Found Liable in Death", The New York Times, August 19, 1993.
John Roberts, "Religion should not put a child's health at risk", British Medical Journal, February 3, 1996.
State v. McKown, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, October 16, 1990; State v. McKown, Supreme Court of Minnesota, September 20, 1991; Lundman v. McKown, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, April 1995; Lundman v. McKown, Hennepin County District Court, October 28, 1997.
"Sunday church services and Wednesday testimony meetings", and "Online Wednesday meetings" Archived 2014-01-30 at Archive.today , First Church of Christ, Scientist.
Books by former Christian Scientists