So how does one actually leave the Mother Church?
Unsurprisingly there is very little information about how to leave the official site. There are several pages dedicated to TMC membership as well as how to join a branch church, although it should be noted that “membership requirements are unique to each branch and do not imply or require membership in The Mother Church.”*
In short, TMC’s website has lots of information on how to join. How to leave? Nothing.
The Church Manual is just as unhelpful:
Members who once Withdrew. Section 1.
Individuals who have heretofore been members
of this Church, or were members of the Church
of Christ, Scientist, organized in 1879 by Mary
Baker Eddy, but who have voluntarily withdrawn,
may be received into this Church on one
year’s probation, provided they are willing an
anxious to live according to its requirements and
make application for membership according to
its By-Laws. If, at the expiration of said one
year, they are found worthy, they shall be received
into full membership, but if not found
worthy their applications shall be void.
It goes on to address members who have been dismissed, etc. The manual also discusses all the different things you can do to be dismissed, but apparently dismissal rarely happens and most people end up simply being members who are not “in good standing.”
While this blog might tip me over into “not in good standing” that would take time, effort, and I’d have to tell them who I am. I’ll pass. I guess I’ll have to “voluntarily withdraw” my membership.
Hopefully, I can keep things simple: I’m not a branch church member (never got involved with them), nor do I have a “teacher” to break up with (I never took class instruction – more on that later). I don’t have to report my TMC membership (or lack there of) to anyone. This should be easy… right?
*It must be nice for TMC to be able to point to local churches and say “nope, they’re just crazy” if/when they go against any “official” practices. They stay pretty quiet about any number of issues, the big exception is perpetually lobbying to get CS “care” covered by insurance/Medicare and Medicade.
To the best of my knowledge, TMC has no official policy on homosexuality (CS churches don’t marry people, so “gay marriage” is a bit of a non-issue), or any of the views/policies practiced at Principia or the summer camps- they’re not an “official” TMC entity, they’re just founded on a person’s interpretations of the teachings of Christian Science. Some of the branches/”inspired” entities often tend to be more conservative. It must be hard for TMC, on one hand they’re trying to convince the public they’re OK with CS going to doctors, while on the other hand they’ve got all the CS camps and Principia saying NO MEDICINE!