Back in May 2013 I wrote a letter to The Mother Church announcing that
I hereby voluntarily withdraw my membership The First Church of Christ, Scientist, effective immediately, and request you to remove my name permanently from your membership records.
My husband wrote a similar letter (actually, I just changed the names around and printed a second copy), but that didn’t stop The Mother Church from sending more propaganda — in October, they offered him a great deal on CS lit.
I didn’t hear anything from the Mother Church for eight months, and then in a recent trip to the mail box, the 2014 per capita tax arrived.
On one hand, I am seriously tempted to send back the per capita tax form with another letter requesting to be removed from their list, on the other hand, I’m not sure it is worth the infinity stamp that such a letter would cost.
The letter, addressed to “Dear precious Church member” goes on for half a page about the importance of contributions (mostly financial), and the importance of “contributing his or her highest sense of what it means to follow the Master.” I’m pretty sure they mean Jesus, because Mary Baker Eddy is usually referred to as “the Discoverer and Founder” or “Our Beloved Leader.” I take issues with all of these titles, and with the idea that Jesus is “the Master” even if he “was servant to all and taught us by example to love as he loved.”
The letter asserts that “what [Jesus] taught could be practiced by everyone.” I take issue with this, as Jesus’ disciples, who got first-hand on the job training failed to heal on several occasions, see Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-29, Luke 9:37-42, and Ms. Eddy herself reminds us all are privileged to work out their own salvation according to their light – which occasionally means falling back on the “right use of Temporary Means” loophole and going to a doctor.
The Christian Science Board of Directors then continues with the idea that
Our contributions to Church take many forms. The most important is our commitment to healing others and ourselves. We also share what we’ve been witnessing of Christ’s healing and saving power at Wednesday meetings and in articles and testimonies written for our periodicals. We subscribe to these print and online publications. We pray during our church services for our congregations and daily for the world. We devote time and effort to conducting services, teaching Sunday School classes, sponsoring lectures, and serving our community in Reading Rooms. We donate as generously as we can to support all our Church activities.
I think the embedded hyperlinks speak for themselves.
The Christian Science Board of directors closes with a reminder that my individual contribution to the “greatest and holiest of all causes,”* will bring “hope and healing to the world.” My contribution is to not partake in the culture of radical reliance and to work to distance myself and my family from all toxic aspects of Christian Science as much as possible.
I’m also going to keep trying to leave the Mother Church.
A few more thoughts…
On the back of the demand letter, the Christian Science Board of Directors reminds us “Giving online is the fastest and most secure way to satisfy your Per Capita Tax obligation.”
I will NOT link to the website here, but I did check it out. You can pay online, you can even set up monthly contributions from your credit card or debit card/checking account, you can contribute to other funds (MBE Library, Monitor operating fund, TMC endowment) but you can’t politely decline to contribute because you want to leave/have left the church. Jerks.
As I see it, I do not have a per capita tax obligation because I sent in my letter of withdrawal and am not “obligated” to do anything, and the worst they can do – per the Manual’s direction – is drop me from the roster of Mother Church Members. I also don’t see what the big deal is about membership, Article VIII, Guidance of Members talks about “Numbering the People” in SECT. 28. which is strictly forbidden, or perhaps that is just to outside sources.
Christian Scientists shall not report for publication the number of the members of The Mother Church, nor that of the branch churches. According to the Scripture they shall turn away from personality and numbering the people.
I have been unable to find anything further about this. The Christian Scientists, unlike the Mormons, tend to be even more secretive about these sorts of issues.
* as Ms. Eddy referred to Christian Science in remarks dated July 4, 1866 (the letter cites Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896 p. 177)
Posts about Leaving TMC:
7 thoughts on “I resigned from The First Church of Christ, Scientist (The Mother Church), but they seem to have misplaced my resignation letter”
It’s funny. I think they lost my letter too (sent in 2012). I typed up a new letter last week as a follow-up. For some reason, it’s important to me that this withdrawal is officially recorded. When I find a way to heal my printer of its current belief of brain failure, the letter will be on it’s way.
I’m on the fence about sending another one, now that I have the per capita tax thing I have the member number that I can include which may (or may not) speed up the process of getting officially removed from their rosters. I wonder how many others there are out there who simply haven’t bothered to leave because of the irritating paperwork angle.
I find it very interesting that you have to formally leave the church. I just stopped going to my Lutheran church and no one thought or said a thing about it. Since you have to write a resignation letter, do they make you put in your two weeks, too? Ha!
There are different levels, there is the Branch Church and the Mother Church, some people only join one, some join both. Many join the Mother Church, and many also join the Branch Church they attend most regularly. Branch Churches have varying membership requirements.
It can get complicated and weird pretty quickly – I joined The Mother Church in my late teens to “help” my chances of getting into Principia, and so that I’d have a “membership card” to keep in my wallet as “proof” that I was a CS just in case anyone ever tried to offer me medical treatment. THE LOGIC THERE TERRIFIES ME.
I joined TMC back in 1969, when I was in college. I wanted to attend the Biennial meeting for CS college students, but in order to do that I was told I had to apply for Mother Church membership, which I did. I had a great time at the Biennial. I got together with a lot of my friends and even a couple of cousins. Shared good times and wonderful memories.
I have given my per capita dollar each year for the next few years. I graduated from college. Then out of the blue, I stopped contributing. I believe I received 1 or 2 reminders, which I ignored. Another reminder, and that was it! TMC hasn’t bugged me since. In their estimates, for all I know, I’m either automatically withdrawn, ex-communicated, or my name just fell through the cracks. May be a remote chance they might think I have passed away and became a “non person”!!
Whatever TMC thinking is, I’m still very much alive, have been retired for 5 years, enjoying life, free from CS (I do read my Bible, standard version every day). I’m living my life the way a human being deserves to live.
All you have to do, to resign from The Mother Church, is send an email informing the Clerk that you have been received into the Roman Catholic Church. You will receive an acknowledgment with minutes, if not SECONDS! It’s a hoot!!
I think it took about 36 hours, there may have been a weekend involved.
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