everything is always good



Every one of them says “how are you?” And you always have to say “good,” even if you’re not good.


If you say things aren’t good, they’ll wonder — aloud — why you’re placing “limits” on yourself or the situation. All things are possible through God and enough prayer.

This does not stop when you grow up.

This does not stop when you leave Christian Science.

This does not stop when they know you’ve left Christian Science — this is just proof you need Christian Science more than ever before! Because logical fallacies

So you lie and say it is “good” even when it’s not, and it becomes a habit. Everything is good.

Everything is always good*.




*Except when it isn’t, and it all blows up in your face. Then it is your fault for not trusting God enough and not reading the Lesson, and failing to pray and have the proper understanding.


the uneasy détente with the elephant: life “after” Christian Science

The other day at drop off I was chatting with some other mothers about how we spend our childfree mornings while our little ones are at school. The usual errands, cleaning, the occasional manicure or massage, sometimes a project, or various appointments. When we get back we compare notes on what we managed to accomplish, some “made it to Costco and back!” others managed to make it to yoga, or to meet with a friend for coffee. I wrote this blog post, and worked on another in-the-works ex-Christian Science project.

I don’t really talk about what I do outside the ex-Christian Science Facebook group, and my circle of friends who are former Christian Scientists themselves. It is unlikely that my work on kind-ism will ever grace my resume, or that the other project will either.

I am ashamed that I spent so much time living Christian Science, that I believed it. In some ways I am embarrassed that I am now devoting time to it, even if it is in new, different ways, offering support and resources for those who are leaving — or who have left. There are days I have considered quitting this blog all together.

I don’t want to become the Anti-Ms. Eddy, with a voluminous tome attributed to me. I started this blog to help sort out my thoughts, helping people was secondary. I’m writing about what I know, what I’ve learned, what I’ve discovered, and what I feel. Writing helps me to clarify my thoughts, and after so many years of being told how to believe I have a lot of thoughts to clarify, but at the same time I’m hoping this blog will move on, and I’m hoping the other project will help me do that.

There are days when I feel like my ex-Christian Science projects have taken over my life, this blog, and I have to remind myself that my other project are only a tiny part of what I do, and while I feel passionately about it, I’m not being paid, so I should ration my time and energy wisely. I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, granddaughter, friend, participant in society at large, and yes, all those roles take a fair bit of work. I don’t just write a blog, I cook, I clean, I garden, I sew, I bake, I encourage, I nurture, I have a black thumb of death. I build things, create things, destroy things.

Christian Science sits like the elephant in the living room, we shovel out the shit, we tiptoe around it paying lip service to the idea of respecting the other’s beliefs, but really, we want the elephant out of our living room.

Every time I schedule an appointment for the children the elephant second guesses my decisions. Every time I give them their daily multi-vitamin the elephant taunts me. I don’t know how to get the elephant to leave. I am making the best decisions I can about my care, and that of my children, and yet, there sits the elephant. Even if I was to “out” myself as an ex-Christian Science activist I don’t think I’d ever be free of the years of Christian Science programming and propaganda.

I left Christian Science for so many reasons, the largest one being my children. I’ve heard of too many women, often mothers of young children, die from undisclosed problems. I’ve seen too many failed healings to feel comfortable raising my children in Christian Science. My children are also the reason I tend to keep my activities (like this blog) quiet. I still have family and loved ones who are deep, deep into Christian Science, and I know on some level they would feel very hurt by my actions. They are aware that we don’t actively practice, that we turn to “western medicine” to solve our health problems, and that we’ve chosen not to attend church. They are disappointed.

I’m disappointed too. I’m disappointed I don’t have the courage to tell more people about this blog and my other activities. I’m disappointed that I’m scared to stand up to them and tell them how I really feel about Christian Science. Instead I am stuck in an uneasy détente with an elephant that I would much rather defenestrate than have dinner with.

Hopefully that will change.

Launching www.ExChristianScience.com

I’d like to share with you an exciting new resource for those who are doubting, questioning, leaving or have left Christian Science.

unnamed-2A group of former members of the Christian Science Church have launched a new website designed as a resource for people who have left or are considering leaving the Christian Science faith. Christian Science (not to be confused with Scientology) was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in the late 19th century and is perhaps best known as a sect that rejects medical treatment, advocating prayer exclusively for healing.

The website, called The Ex-Christian Scientist (www.exchristianscience.com), is maintained by an informal group of about fifty former Christian Scientists “who strive to assist those questioning their commitment to Christian Science as well as those who have already left it.” Individual members of the group left Christian Science for varying reasons. Some are still religious, some are not. All, however, are united in their desire to help those who are questioning Christian Science to decide if there is a more appropriate path for themselves, and to provide an inclusive and understanding community for those who leave the faith.

Continue reading

Former Christian Scientists In Their Own Words

Former Christian Scientists in their own words, unplugged, and uncensored. Gripping reading I tell you, and very close to home.

Emerging Gently

An interesting discussion thread emerged in one of the ex-Christian Scientist Facebook groups. A friend thought it might be fun to share some of that discussion with a wider audience, and I agree. I now share with you, dear readers, former Christian Scientists in their own words, unplugged, and uncensored.

View original post 947 more words

on wisdom and teeth

1013374_479246245492724_714511161_nSome time ago, when I finally picked a dental office to work with, they did a new patient exam which included a 360 x-ray (180? not sure it was most impressive) of my head to see all my teeth. The hygienist noticed I had two remaining wisdom teeth: one was horizontal and un-errupted, while the other sat around doing nothing. Over the course of our conversation she mentioned she’d recently taken her teenage son to have his wisdom teeth removed as she put it, they “knocked him out and pulled all four at once.”

At the time, I thought that course of action was barbaric. All four teeth at once? That’s cruel! Knock them out for a simple dental procedure? That’s crazy.

Then, not too long ago, I found myself reassuring my oral surgeon that don’t worry, “I haven’t gone without local anesthetic since the late 1980s/early 1990s” and that “it was only two, maybe three that were filled without it and they were baby teeth.” Then he mentioned how he would likely need to chisel the remaining wisdom tooth out — the roots ran very deep, and asked what sort of anesthetic I’d picked for the extraction.

My other wisdom teeth had been extracted with local, they’d needed to come out quickly — they were impacted, at least one was infected, and I remembered the experiences very vividly. In the past, had been an urgent phone call to the office, not a consultation to discuss the best course of action — and what would be most comfortable for me. In my mind, it was “a routine extraction” and I’d toughed out two before, why would this one be different?

When I scheduled the consultation and appointment, I’d initially picked local, but after hearing chisel I decided to deffer to his thirty-plus years of expertise and I decided to go with general instead.

I called a friend of mine who used to work as a dental surgical assistant, she talked me through the process and assured me that I would not remember anything. There would be no pain, and I would not remember anything. I could go home and sleep for a few hours, take my prescription pain medication and I would be okay.

It was liberating to know that I didn’t have to be awake for the procedure. It was comforting to know that the oral surgeon was compassionate — sure, he could’ve taken care of the tooth while I was awake, but I would probably still be curled up in bed in tears. In the past I would’ve said selfish, I’m sure it is easier for him to extract teeth from people who are out cold, but I have to agree, it is a win-win, he can work without fear of them freaking out, and the person who is out does not remember the procedure.

I admit, I did a fair bit of crying. Crying because I was terrified of a chisel being used on my tooth, terrified of being put under, terrified of being in pain. Talking to my friend helped with the terror, and the tears turned to tears of anger. If there really was a less painful, less traumatic way to take out wisdom teeth why hadn’t my dentists offered it before? Why hadn’t my parents offered it?

I think it may have been because we didn’t have dental insurance growing up (much less health insurance, pfft, that’s like asking God to cause problems for you), and I already had a well-established terror of dentists, and medical procedures. Dr. Do-it-all didn’t do oral surgery (at the time of my first extraction some were still below the gum line and un-errupted) and I would’ve had to be recommended to an oral surgeon.

I went to my oral surgery appointment with a mix combination of trill and terror. Thrill, that if the oral surgeon and my friend were right, I wouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure and I wouldn’t remember any of it. Terror, because it is dental work, and that’s what happens.

My husband drove, I filled out the paperwork, reassured them that I’d not eaten in “at least 8 hours.” I was taken to one of the rooms in the back, hooked to some monitoring equipment and fitted with an oxygen mask that just covered my nose. I cried a little, oxygen masks make me a little uneasy. My husband told me I looked like a 747. The oral surgeon came in and fitted me with an IV (full disclosure, that part did hurt a little – needles make me squeamish), told me to wiggle my right foot and “think happy thoughts.”

My husband remembers this a bit differently, apparently I was simply panicked: I lay in the chair, frozen in fear, my heart rate and blood pressure climbed — I’d like to blame the wrist-monitors, beeping monitoring machine, and freaky nose-mask. He talked to me, and the numbers went down a little, and as the anesthetic kicked in I slowly started to go limp and the numbers dropped to more acceptable levels.

That’s really about all I remember, except for some very vivid dreams about sand worms on Dune (it was like an odd surreal comic from the Oatmeal), and then waking up with everything surprisingly in focus — they’d put my glasses back on for me, and very tired. I came home, had some liquid yogurt, took some hydrocodon (to keep the pain at bay) and then crawled into bed and slept for two solid hours. Then I watched Nazi documentaries on Netflix, because losing Berlin to the Russian’s is far worse than having a nearly-pain-free wisdom tooth extraction and I wasn’t feeling up to indulging in the pint of comfort ice cream in the freezer just yet.

My husband commented that I looked a lot better than I did the last time, and I reminded him, the last time I was still a Christian Scientist, had been fully aware of what was going on, in pain because it was impacted (and infected), and then I’d gotten to take public transportation home because he couldn’t get off work (in his defense he also wasn’t aware of how deep my dental issues ran at that point, we’d only been married a few months). I also did not hallucinate, because this time the pain medication is worked and I did not have an unpleasant reaction. I also went to an experienced oral surgeon, not Dr. Do-it-all’s East Coast Twin.

The longer I am out of Christian Science, the more I realize that I’m not “giving up” by “giving in” to “materia medica.” I have had enough, I’ve had enough unnecessary and untreated pain, enough infections, enough dental terror. I don’t think dental work under general anesthetic is practical all the time (child care and a day of downtime are not always easily obtained), but for things like wisdom tooth extraction, it was definitely the right choice for me.

House of Horrors

The following is a guest post by long-time reader and fellow former-Christian Scientist Dr. Spock. For more, please visit the Guest Posts & Contributors tab at the top of the page.

I frequently visit Victoria, British Columbia, a place that stirs a lot of memories for me, and I recently got back from a week there with family and friends. I partially grew up there, as I often spent my summers as a kid in the area with my cousins, and it was tradition at Christmas to go to my aunt and uncle’s place for a large family Christmas gathering, where I learned fast, as the youngest able-bodied cousin, to eat quickly if I wanted seconds on turkey and stuffing. I always remember the corner store where, when I was around nine or ten years old, my cousin and I spent our allowance one hot summer day on a box each of about a dozen Twinkies, on which we gorged ourselves while sitting on the store’s stoop. Before we were able to pedal all the way back home, we were throwing up in a ditch by the side of the road. The store isn’t there anymore, long ago swallowed up by condos and cookie-cutter yuppieish boutiques and coffee shops as urban development spread into the once semi-rural area where my cousins lived. Sometimes I drive by the house my cousins lived in, and try to find some of the other landmarks from my childhood summers as they occasionally emerge from the mists of my memory. Along with the fun memories of childhood, also come some darker ones. Victoria is also the place where my mother went to die in the worst pain I can imagine, in a Christian Science nursing facility. It is also where my father and I scattered her ashes at the seashore; and where, less than a year later, I scattered his. These memories burn brightly as if it were yesterday when it all happened.

Victoria is a beautiful city, and I always enjoy my visits with family and friends in the area. On the other side of the coin, it’s not always easy to be there. One ritual I always perform when I’m there is to visit the seaside park where my parents’ ashes were scattered. It’s the one place where I can physically go and “visit” them. It’s a spectacularly beautiful spot with a view over Juan de Fuca Strait towards Washington State in the USA. Dad and I chose that spot to scatter Mom’s ashes because of its beauty, and the fact that it combined, as best as possible, two places she loved: Vancouver Island (where Victoria is located), and in view of Washington State. After we scattered Mom’s ashes, Dad declared to me his desire to have his ashes scattered there as well, saying that when the time came, he “wanted to be with her”. Previously, for many years, he’d expressed a desire to have his ashes scattered in the Canadian Rockies.

Not far from where my parents’ ashes were scattered, is the place I consider to be a true House Of Horrors a.k.a. Wayside House. It’s the Christian Science nursing facility where many good Canadian (and maybe a few American and other) Christian Scientists go to suffer and often die–without even the most basic pain mitigation allowed to soften the blow. Wayside House is where my Mom died under Christian Science “care”. I’ve often driven past this place over the years, usually never stopping; trying not to give the place much more than a second thought, but this time, it was different. I drove around the block to circle back in front of the driveway into this despicable place. I pulled over to the side of the road and just sat there and looked on for a few minutes. It looked peaceful and serene at the House Of Horrors. In fact, it looked like nobody was there at all, but I knew otherwise. Beneath that serene exterior, I knew there were people in there in excruciating pain, dying of god only knows what awful diseases they chose not to have treated or even diagnosed.

I remember a visit to the House Of Horrors early in childhood when my grandmother worked there as a Christian Science nurse. I distinctly remember hearing a woman moaning in pain or some sort of discomfort from a room down the hall as I accompanied my grandmother on her rounds. I don’t remember if I asked Gram about what I heard, but I do remember it. I wonder now what sort of pain that poor woman was in. The only comfort the “nurses” would’ve been able to offer would have been to shift pillows, offer water or juice, or read from the Bible and/or the writings of Mary Baker Eddy or other Christian Science literature. Not even an aspirin is permitted in these houses of horrors, and people often enter these facilities with advanced cancer or other serious diseases eating away at their bodies. Before Christian Scientists will acquiece even to care at a Christian Science nursing facility, they will often have suffered at home on their own with whatever ailment they’re dealing with for quite some time. Any admission of advancement of a disease is an admission of failure in your practice Christian Science, and many Christian Scientists are loathe to admit such.

Thankfully, the House Of Horrors is on its last few remaining financial legs, as far as I know. Each year it manages to remain in operation amazes me. Unlike Christian Science nursing facilities in the United States, this facility receives no government funding for patient care, although it is licensed as a “private hospital” under the laws of the province of British Columbia. Canadian Medicare, unlike Medicare/Medicaid in the United States, wisely does not fund care in non-medical facilities, and I don’t know of any private insurance here that does either. If you go to this place, you’re there on your own dime and for what you get, it’s not cheap. Some financial aid is apparently available. As I settled out my parents’ estate, I begrudgingly wrote a cheque for over $1,000.00 to settle up the last payment for Mom’s so-called “care”. For her hard-earned cash, Mom got a room, a nicely made bed each morning, and nicely prepared food, which the large tumour growing in her abdomen pretty much prohibited her from eating. Her pillows were probably fluffed and shifted as needed, and she had a phone for her use. Other than that, the nurses would have only read from “the books” (the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures), some other writings by Mary Baker Eddy, and maybe some Christian Science periodicals. Apparently, one nurse was a good piano player and sung hymns with her in the common room. They also filled Dad and I up with sunny reports of Mom’s “progress”, including one story of her “dancing” in the hallway (I’ve heard different versions of that anecdote from others, so I wonder if it’s part of some script that Christian Science nurses learn in their training). I later learned from my non-Christian Scientist cousin, who visited Mom frequently at the House of Horros, that the only progress Mom was making in her last weeks there was towards the grave, and that she appeared to be in excruciating pain most of the time. The sunshiny, rose-petaled denial that Christian Scientists retreat to in the face of serious illness is deeply maddening to me now.

The House Of Horrors survives largely on bequests, donations, and in the past by sales of its formerly extensive real estate holdings. It’s located in a high-value neighbourhood of Victoria, and once comprised several acres of open space. I’d estimate the property they sold off was probably worth a few million dollars over the years. I’m not certain how much of their endowment still exists, but several years back I remember overhearing a conversation my uncle-in-law was having (he was on their board of directors at the time), and it sounded like the money was getting thin. Like the Christian Science Church and other Christian Science affiliated organizations, the House Of Horrors is a dying corpse that survives by cannibalizing itself by selling off assets, and benefiting from the bequests of dead Christian Scientists. Fortunately, no Christian Science-related organization got any bequests from my parents’ estate–they left it all to me exclusively, and there’s no way in hell will I give one dime to a Christian Science-affiliated organization. However, if I had pre-deceased my parents, a branch church, The Mother Church, and Principia would have equally split the proceeds from their estate. It’s a good thing I’m a survivor, I guess. I’d hate to think of any of my parents’ estate helping to sustain anything connected with Christian Science, despite their own [misguided] dedication to it, especially as I think on the horrific ways their dedication to Christian Science ended up killing them. Each year, I make a gift to the Salvation Army during their Christmas Drive in quiet honour of my Dad who did the same during his lifetime.

I sat there in my car looking on at the House Of Horrors, and raised my middle finger in a quiet salute to this awful place. Through my open window, I said “fuck you!” It felt good as I drove away. Nobody, except maybe the neighbour in whose driveway I’d stopped, would have heard me, but it still felt good. I said my peace to that place. I told them what I thought of them and what they do there. It was also my “fuck you” to Christian Science. Sometimes, you just need to do things like this.

renew a focus on our primary resources for spiritual growth – shut down the questioning

It seems the “Circle of faith” community at christianscience.com is closing down. While I never spent much time there, I did enjoy the idea that The Mother Church would permit “open idalogue among Christian Scientists, their fellow Christians, and people of other faith traditions.”
Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.58.00 PMThe reason given?

we feel this is an opportunity to pause with some of our online activities and renew a focus on our primary resources for spiritual growth — our Pastor: the Holy Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

Fear not little flock, the Circle of Faith blogs will remain up — you’re still welcome to comment there, but the discussion boards? Those will be gone as of August 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.57.49 PMIn skimming through them earlier, I found some great “conversations” including

And gems like this:

Understanding illusory nature of matter is essential and indispensable for Christian Science. An idea of unreality of matter is not a new one. It is as old as Hinduism, or at least 4000 years old. Hindu religion teaches that material world is an illusion – Maya, a dream of mind based on sensory perception. Buddha 500 years earlier than Jesus also taught about the nature of material world. To Western thought unreality of matter can be explained from subject-object frame of reference. If we look at the tree from one side and then change our subjective position, the tree will remain the same even in case subjective picture has changed. The tree can be dry from one side and wet from the other. It can have more branches on visible side, but lack branches on the other. Based on subjective perception, can we say that the tree is dry or wet? Can we count all branches just looking at the tree from one side? What subjective picture of mind can we create on the basis of our sensual perception?

They go on at some length and then conclude:

To understand all miracles of Jesus, it is crucial to realize that not only “matter” is unreal and subjective, but the whole world is unreal. It seems a very radical idea and a far stretch . But consider the fact that the “world” depends on self and its subjectivity. The world can be one for one conscious self identity and different for the other. There is a world of a schizophrenic and a world of a saint. The world of the same tree is different whether it is a botanist who looks at the tree, or a tree chopper. The world can contain all sorts of projections, attachments, fears and beliefs, which are not real. So, if the world is unreal, what is real? God is real, Spirit is real. God is much bigger than any world our perception and imagination can grasp. And Spirit belongs God, comes from God and returns to God. Spirit is permanent and immovable in the world. There is only one Law Spirit obeys before God. It is described in the words of Jesus, “Give to God what is God’s.”

With all these delightful variations, interpretations, and legitimate questioning of what Ms. Eddy’s claims, it is no wonder that they’re closing down the forums and limiting comments to CSP-authorized posts.

I highly recommend checking out the forums before they’re closed in August! https://community.christianscience.com/community/ecumenical_and_interfaith