the Unattainable perfect and clear comprehension of the living Spirit

For my Christian Science readers, I’m going to remind you of a harsh fact: Christian Scientsts die, just like everybody else. No where does Ms. Eddy claim that Christian Science will cause the MATERIAL BODY to live forever, it is Spiritual Man that is immortal.

Expressing shock and grief at someone’s passing is natural. What is not natural is the way Christian Science refuses to knowledge a person’s illness, and the death. People have friends, associates, and family who are outside the sphere of Christian Science who care deeply about the individual who passed on. They should know about a persons passing. They may want to help in some way — bringing food, making a financial donation to help offset expenses, sending a card or flowers or a few words of condolence.

The levels of secrecy surrounding illness and death in Christian Science is infuriating and saddening. People want to help. People want to know. I’ve heard the “for the privacy of the family” argument dragged out time and time again. The Principia Purpose alumni magazine has stopped running their Lovingly Remembered column citing “for the privacy of the families.”(1)

Withholding the information that a loved one has passed will not bring their material body back. Not divulging the cause of death will not make them any less dead. Christian Scientists may deny the existence of a material world, but attempting to submerge yourself in the idealistic world of Spirit will not save you from the material plane in which you are currently dwelling. You may strive to “live in the Absolute” but until you have ascended into Heaven and are as the Angels you’d better take care of the material body, regardless of how “unreal” you find it to be.

You probably take your car to a mechanic when it doesn’t work, you take it for regular smog/emissions tests as the government requires to operate it. If you have a dog or cat, you likely take them for their required rabies vaccinations, and have probably had it spayed or neutered. You feed yourself, you clothe yourself, you shelter yourself, so why not take yourself to a doctor?

Ms. Eddy herself reminds us in Science and Health on p. 388

… it would be foolish to venture beyond our present understanding, foolish to stop eating until we gain perfection and a clear comprehension of the living Spirit. In that perfect day of understanding, we shall neither eat to live nor live to eat.

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Ms. Eddy herself, never achieved this perfect and clear comprehension of the living Spirit.

Science and Health may be full of flowery language about immortality, and the perfection of Man as God’s Perfect Child, but at the end of the day, Christian Scientists shed the mortal coil just like everyone else. The biggest difference is often Christian Scientists spend weeks, months, or even years suffering unnecessarily because they refuse to to acknowledge they have a problem (that would give the problem “power”), often one that could easily be fixed by speaking with a medical professional.

I find myself in agreement with Nancy Niblack Baxter, author of Open the Doors of the Temple: The Survival of Christian Science in the Twenty-first Century:

Did Mrs. Eddy intend her followers to pursue physical healing through her methods forever, even when it was not bringing results? To die for it? It is my strong belief that by 1890 she came to be aware of the trap her church members could fall into, to say nothing of the lawsuits, so by the turn of the century, and as she finalized the revelation, she allowed for escapes in the case spiritual healing did not bring results. (page 49)

While I am not in total agreement with Ms. Baxters conclusions, I don’t think anyone should experienced prolonged suffering in the name of any religion, Christian Science included.

Christian Scientists, you, like everyone else, will one day die, however, you can choose to accept the advances in medical practices and technology, which may prolong both the quantity and quality of your life, or you may continue to rely solely on God. I’ve tired both, go with modern medicine, your doctor won’t mind if you pray, but your CSP might object if you take medication.


Other reading of possible interest:

  1. Speculation as to the reasons why abound, including that the Purpose was data-mined for a study that Christian Scientists die sooner than their non-CS peers. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-09-24/news/8901150766_1_christian-scientists-principia-college-christian-science
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Christian Science: Lobbying It or Living It?

A Christian Scientists perspective on Congressional Lobbying over healthcare and exemptions for Christian Scientists. Beautifully put and well worth the read.

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

The letter of Science plentifully reaches humanity to-day, but its spirit comes only in small degrees. The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love. Without this, the letter is but the dead body of Science, – pulseless, cold, inanimate. – Mary Baker Eddy.

***

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy defines “Church” as the “structure of Truth and Love” and says the role of Church is to rouse “the dormant understanding… to the apprehension of spiritual ideas…” 

Lately some members of the Christian Science church have been busy lobbying their politicians for exemptions for Christian Scientists from health insurance and laws regarding child neglect. And I’m sorry, but I have to ask – how is exempting Christian Scientists from health insurance laws and child neglect laws in any way going to help rouse anyone’s…

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Christian Science, the Affordable Health Care Act & Congressional Lobbying

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 9.33.45 AMThe Christian Science Church has a special Committee on Publication’s U.S. Federal Office:

Located in Washington, DC, this office works with U.S. Congressional, executive, and regulatory offices to help them and the public gain a more accurate understanding of Christian Science. We follow developments in health care and insurance, and we work to ensure that spiritual health care services and the public’s access to them are not adversely affected by any law.

I was always under the impression people were welcome to pray for themselves at any time — separation of Church and State, the State can’t tell me not to pray, so I’m really not sure why the Christian Science Church feels they need to be involved. The State can, and does, request that I pay taxes, our taxes go to schools, roads, public services (police, fire, etc.), and that we have insurance (car, house, etc.). Render unto Caesar and all that good stuff.

Ms. Eddy was clear that Christian Scientists follow the laws established by the State, which is interesting, because The Christian Science Committee on Publication’s U.S. Federal Office has been hard at work — again, lobbying Congress for health care exemptions — this time for an exemption to the Affordable Health Care Act. I’m NOT saying the Affordable Health Care Act is the answer, but health care in the United States is a mess, and the reforms with the ACA are a step towards at least doing something about the problem. Perhaps that is a little over-simplified, but if Christian Science prayer worked as well as the Christian Science lobbying machine we’d have a peaceful, disease-free utopia.

A few things to keep in mind:

The Christian Science Church has an EXTENSIVE ACA FAQ at http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office/health-care-reform/frequently-asked-questions. My FAVORITE of the FAQ:

Isn’t there a religious exemption from the ACA’s requirement to purchase health insurance?

Yes, but it applies primarily to the Amish and certain Mennonites. This is because the current exemption (on page 326 of the linked PDF) has the following requirements:

  • The individual must be a member of a religious group whose tenets and teachings establish that its members are conscientiously opposed to receiving any insurance benefits, including Social Security and Medicare benefit
  • The individual must waive all Social Security and Medicare benefit
  • The religious organization must pay for the health care and disability costs of its members.

I don’t see Christian Scientists giving up their Social Security or Medicare benefits any time soon. If anything, they actively encourage members to seek out Medicare assistance to cover the cost of treatment at Christian Science Nursing care facilities.

The EACH Act (HR1814 & S.862) should be opposed for many reasons (via CHILD)

  • It’s unenforceable. There is no way the IRS would be able to accurately determine what a person’s religious beliefs are, much less how “sincerely held” they are. Therefore, ANYONE, whether they really refuse medical care or not, will be able to say they have religious beliefs against medical care and use that as an excuse to be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to buy health insurance. It would gut the Act.
  • Many sincere religious people object to only SOME kinds of medical treatment. Christian Scientists, for example, have broken bones set, get pre-natal and birth care, and often end up rushing to the emergency room when their prayers fail to heal them. If they are not covered by insurance, taxpayers must fill the gap.
  • Even those objecting to ALL medical intervention will still receive it when they are unable to refuse it, say, after a car accident, and taxpayers must then pay the entire cost of that care also.
  • The CBO has just released a fiscal analysis indicating that the bill could increase the number of uninsured by 500,000 persons each year and cost $1.5 billion over ten years.
  • The House bill has been pushed forward without due process, with no public hearing, no committee markup, no fiscal analysis
  • Parents who send children to religious schools are not exempt from taxes that support public schools. Religious people shouldn’t be exempt from this tax either.
  • Children in uninsured families are particularly at risk. It’s one thing for an adult to refuse medical treatment for himself, but children should be insured and therefore able to receive lifesaving care until they are old enough to decide for themselves

More from CHILD: Christian Science bills endanger children (http://childrenshealthcare.org/?page_id=2165), and statements from organizations opposing prayer-based treatment of children:

More on the Legislation in Question

More on the Christian Science Church’s efforts:

Other concerned Parties:

From the blogs:

What is The Mother Church’s policy on sexuality and membership?

A regular reader shared the following piece from the February 2014 issue of The Christian Science Journal, the piece is part of The Christian Science Journal’s columns “Your Questions & Answers” (1).

The following is a screen shot from facebook group where the article was copied and pasted in full (2).

TMC policy

I have also uploaded it here as a PDF from the actual site: What is The Mother Church’s policy on sexuality and membership? : The Christian Science Journal


Further reading of interest:

  1. http://journal.christianscience.com/columns/your-questions-answers
  2. links to the actual article: http://journal.christianscience.com/issues/2014/2/132-02/what-is-the-mother-church-s-policy-on-sexuality-and-membership, http://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/22ia3yueq24?s=f
  3. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/06/25/christian_science_teacher_banned_after_lesbian_marriage/
  4. https://kindism.org/2014/01/22/mary-baker-eddy-and-christian-science-perspectives-on-sex-homosexuality-marriage/

Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science Perspectives on Sex, Homosexuality & Marriage

The following is a list of resources for those who wish to further explore the topics of Sex, Homosexuality, and Marriage within the context of Christian Science and Ms. Eddy’s views. It is by no means an extensive list of resources, merely a starting point for further reading.

All links shared below worked at the time of posting. More information can also be found on the “Resources” page as listed in the header, and in the category “resources” in the right hand column.


Open Letters to the Board of Directors of the Mother Church regarding their stance on homosexuality

LGBTQ-Friendly CS movements

Emergence International Articles of Interest http://www.emergence-international.org/

Articles, Blog Posts, Pamphlets & Books

Rolf Wizsche

Kindism.org

MKHuggins’ Understanding Mortal Mind An unauthorized examination of Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science, and the “New Thought” movement

Discussion boards & Forums

Christian Way Forum discussions

TMC-Sanctioned Forums & Statements

Principia College’s perspectives & Policy on Homosexuality

Policy at Principia: What are they afraid of?

Although I have not written much about Principia’s policies recently,  Jesus couldn’t go to Principa College continues to be a popular post. It was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek piece pointing out that even the Son of God (or God himself depending on your theological perspective) wouldn’t stand a chance with Principia’s Admissions Department, but it recently acquired a comment which I felt was worth sharing and remarking on, the initial comment has been edited here for brevity and emphasis in bold is mine.


Your clever point about Jesus not meeting Principia’s admission criteria is wonderful but hypothetical. Not hypothetical is the fact that many highly qualified, moral, and deserving young people are unwelcome to apply simply because they are not Christian Scientists–even if their Prin roots run deep.

[long standing family background with many Principia credentials]

Notwithstanding this long-term association with Principia, my own daughter would not be welcome to apply. I left Christian Science many years ago, and we raised her in a different religious faith. But the truth is, I would have loved for her to have been able to attend Prin if it had been open to students from other faiths. I believe that exposure to peers from other religious traditions would be a good thing for Principia students and better prepare them to integrate successfully into the world outside the gate.

Anyway, my daughter attended a college similar to Principia in many ways: a small university in the rural midwest with a connection to a religious tradition. Like Prin, the academics were solid and the teaching supportive, and it required students to adhere to a strict code of conduct. [Praise of daughter’s achievements].

And Principia keeps sending me requests to donate. Why should I resume donating when my children and grandchildren will be excluded?

Do you think it just might be possible that Principia will change its policy some day so that good, moral, motivated students from other faiths will be welcome? What are they afraid of?


I will start by sharing some excerpts from Principia’s website (emphasis in bold is mine)

  • The Principia shall seek to serve the Cause of Christian Science through appropriate channels open to it as an educational institution. (Policy 1)

Noticing a theme here?

The simple fact of the matter is that Principia has no interest in highly qualified, moral and deserving young people who are not Christian Scientists. As they point out, all students, faulty and staff are expected to be practicing Christian Scientists. Principia does not admit practicing Christian Scientists who are openly gay, or relying on any kind of medication, regardless of how devout they may be, or what their Principia pedigree is.

The commenter openly admits to having left Christian Science for a different religious tradition. Clearly something in Christian Science must have given them lingering doubts. I wonder how the conversation with Admissions, or with fellow students would go: “So your parents were Christian Scientists, but they left and raised you in a different religion? Why?” That kind of thinking would be dangerous and undermine the Cause of Christian Science – if they were but they left, what were the reasons? Why would they leave? Christian Science is Divinely Authorized and the One True Religion! Panic.

I agree, it is important to expose people to other religions traditions, but that would cause questioning, after all, there is only one RIGHT and TRUE religion – Christian Science, and you can only circle back to CS so many times before it gets old. You could also argue that Principia is not trying to prepare students for life outside, they need to churn out more Good Little Christian Scientists to become CS Nurses, CS Practitioners, CS Camp Staff, Mother Church workers, and more Principia Staff.

Going from a Principia Student to Principa Staff comes with a benefits of their own. “Highlights of Principia’s Benefits Package” include such amazing features as:

  • reimbursment for many of the costs associated with Christian Science care and treatment, including most charges for long-distance phone calls to practitioners
  • discounted tuition for children admitted to Principia at any academic level. Discounts are often as high as 20% of the employee’s annual salary (not totally sure how that works)
  • many employees qualify for two weeks’ paid leave for the purpose of taking Christian Science class instruction from an authorized teacher of Christian Science (when class occurs during regularly scheduled work time).
  • Graduates of Principia College may reduce their student loan debt through employment at Principia.
  • discounts on things in the bookstore (because everyone needs another Prin hoodie!)

That’s all well and good, but these benefits are aimed at Christian Scientists.

What Principia fails to mention is that not everyone can financially afford to work for Principia. Many of the support jobs – clerical, administration, etc. don’t pay enough to break even on living expenses, and Principa employees often take on additional jobs (occasionally off-campus) to make ends meet.

Principia also fails to mention not everyone has a Christian Science spouse who can find work at the college, or in the Elsah, IL/St. Louis, MO area. In some cases, one spouse (usually the mother) will move to Principia (often with children so they can attend), while the other flies in on the occasional weekend to see their family.

Principia hires the best people who are Christian Scientists, who want work for them, to live in the St.Louis/Elsah area, and who can financially afford to work for them (independently wealthy, have financially secure spouses, or have nothing more to lose and really need a job). It is a small pool candidates. Most of Principia’s hires are former students, often directly out of Principia, or a year or two later (perhaps they’ve had a year or two of grad school) to come teach or coach.

I question the use of the “academic excellence” to describe education at Prin. Yes, some departments are solid but others, are a more grey area as long experienced teachers retire, or are moved into more demanding administrative positions, and are replaced by former students fresh out of grad school. Financial cuts have caused faulty cuts which leaves the remaining professors over-worked on multiple committees. The switch from the quarter to semester system has also caused strain on the professors, as has the bookstore’s new policy of not carrying textbooks.

Academics aside, there are a few other issues, administrative reform, outbreaks of contagious disease, and the perpetual issue of Principia’s gay policies.

If a non-Christian Scientist wants to go to a small private college in the midwest, there are plenty of them. If morals are important, there are colleges which make Principia look almost socially progressive.

If Christian Science is important, you can always either attend the local CS Church, or find the Christian Science Organization (CSO) on campus.

As a fellow alumnus of Principia, they continue to request I contribute as well. I have politely explained that I have paid off my student loans in a prompt and timely manner and they will not receive a penny more until they overhaul their social policies and dangerous view of radical reliance on prayer.

I’m not sure if it will bring any comfort to the above commenter, but I find it reassuring that my children, who are most assuredly NOT being raised as Christian Scientists, will be unable to attend Principia. I have taken steps to ensure that my children are not immersed in religious extremism, and that includes the variety of Christian Science practiced by Principia. I want them to be proud to have attended their Alma Mater, and not silently dreading the question, where did you go to college?

Final Generation 2

I was inspired by the comments on the previous post to share a little more about my background. Everyone says they were “encouraged to explore and question,” my father (selectively) encouraged my exploring and questioning. I did a lot of exploring and questioning, which is of the lovely, and often problematic, things about Christian Science: on one hand people are “free to explore and question” on the other hand, people’s experiences can vary widely to the point I wonder if we were all practicing the same religion.

I was raised by people who converted to Christian Science. Sometimes I think converts are the most dangerous type of CS, because it is new and exciting and anything is possible.

Although my family was not Catholic (I think they tended towards Episcopalian – at least some of the extended family still does), my father attend private Catholic schools as a boy, and found/converted to Christian Science in the mid-to-late 1960s.

The story, as my father told it, goes a little like this: he was having vague, nondescript health problems (probably stress and other life-style induced issues) and went to the family doctor, the doctor told him nothing was wrong, and that he should consult with his priest – perhaps something was weighing on his mind. My father then went to the family priest, and after a conversation, the priest recommended he go to his doctor. At this point, my father decided to look outside both the medicine of the day, and the religion he was familiar with, and found Christian Science. The details of exactly how he came to CS are vague, but he credits CS with healing him of drinking and a several-pack-a-day smoking habit. My father went through class instruction in 1970.

My mother was raised in a relaxed northern-European protestant tradition (religious around Easter, Christmas, the appropriate King Cake parties/activities around Lent), and converted to Christian Science around the time she married my father, because it “was easier than attending two different churches.” My mother went through class instruction, probably in the late 70s, or early 80s.

As a child, I was permitted unlimited access to the family bookshelves which housed a variety of fiction and non-fiction/historical works. I was actively encouraged to read, as questions, and explore my relationship with God. My father and I used to go for walks after dinner, we would talk about religion (not just Christian Science), history, school, my plans for the future, my friends, travel, etc.

I regularly frequented bookstores and picked up books on a wide range of topics, the only one that were truly frowned upon was Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, as that was “dangerous” and “occult nonsense” yet they tolerated my dabbling with a Celtic Magic book as “just a phase.” Interestingly, they didn’t blink an eye when I brought home heavy reading about memory manipulation, a pseudo-scientific book about Atlantis, dystopian fiction, or my phase of obsessively reading novels with heavy medical undertones (The Best Little Girl in the World, and Coma which proceeded to give me nightmares and instill a deep terror of the medical community).

Most of my friends outside of Sunday School were of the Bible-thumping hellfire-and-brimstone “have you been saved?” variety of Christianity. At least one of them fell to their knees, pulling me with them, to “pray for” my “eternal salvation.” I compromised and we exchanged books to read. After she read a few passages of Science & Health, and was assured that I did “believe in Jesus” she let up a little bit.

I was also friends with a few Catholics, there was one in particular who regularly joined me sitting in the library as an opt-out from the school taught “sex-ed” program (mostly showing scary photos of “sexually transmitted diseases”). He also “gave up Catholicism for Lent” and we often commiserated about our religious baggage.

Most of the time I got into trouble for questioning things was in Sunday School. I questioned why God punished the Egyptians, I questioned what made the Tribes of Israel so special, I questioned if Jesus really had to die. I questioned the stories, I questioned the interpretation, I questioned “the appearance of evil” even if nothing “evil” was happening – someone might think something was happening, I questioned the entire Jesus story, I questioned why healing didn’t always work, I questioned the authority of the Sunday School teacher, and later I questioned why I should be there at all.

In retrospect, I am amazed I came out of my childhood as unscathed as I did. I didn’t break any bones, or sustain many long-lasting injuries. I had the chickenpox, I wretched an ankle or two, I fell off my bike/scooter/roller skates a few times, but over all I escaped with only a few lasting scars, and a crippling fear of dentistry.

At an early age I had an accident in which I broke some teeth. This required extensive reconstructive work, and many, many hours in a dental chair. My mother had, initially, emphasized that “we are Christian Scientists” and we “don’t need” local anesthetic, antibiotics, or post-work pain relief. She later changed her stance to “we use local anesthetic to make the dentist more comfortable.” She never changed her mind on antibiotics, or post-work pain relief (1).

I tried very hard from a very young age to overcome my fear of dentistry. The fluoride made me gag and puke, the dentist never seemed to believe that I was REALLY FEELING PAIN when they were drilling (even with local anesthetic it has since been determined by a more responsible dentist and better x-rays, that yes, some of my teeth have more roots/nerves), and somehow, no matter how hard I “worked to know the truth” my teeth never managed to heal themselves.

Of course, nothing was ever wrong with them to begin with, which didn’t help things any either.

My mother dragged us to the dentist twice a year. When I asked her why, she explained it was “routine maintenance” and that “teeth are important.” When I then asked why we didn’t visit doctors, she explained “doctors only want to use you as a pincushion and poison you.” As opposed to the sadistic dentists I was seeing every six months who only wanted to drill out my molars.

My fellow CS didn’t ever say much about dental work, probably because they were doing it too, or because it wasn’t noticeable. What was noticeable was when one of my friends grandfather’s died suddenly because his appendix burst, and when another older gentleman at the church had a mild stroke. The older gentleman had previously been a bastion of the church community, a sort of church elder, looked up to, and was aspiring to be a full-time CSP. He went from a pillar of church life, to semi-ostracized as he lurched around the building, mumbling, no one was quite sure what to make of it. He didn’t die, he wasn’t getting better, he was in a state of CS-purgatory. This purgatory lasted for about six months, after which point he passed away. His wife then left the church and hasn’t set foot inside since.

What was also noticeable is how they treated the children with disabilities, they were not labeled autistic (although I suspect that’s what the problem was) they were simply termed “out of control.” Clearly the mother was at fault for not raising the child properly. This may have also been a generational/regional bias, I don’t know what happened to the child, or his parents.

There was also the young man (and very close friend of mine) who, having sustained a severe head/brain injury as a child, had infrequent, severe seizures. He passed away while I was at Principia, and upon my return to church, I was “informed” by a former Sunday School teacher that my friend was “no longer with us” followed by flushing very red, and giggling in a rather embarrassed manner. My friends passing was never really talked about ever again, not in Sunday School, not at church, not at home, not ever. Christian Scientists don’t deal well with death. His mother still attends the church, but his younger siblings no longer participate in CS. Among the CS community, it is as if he never existed, our mutual-non-CS friends and I exchange remembrances usually around his birthday.

In Christian Science, we may all “read the same textbooks” and we may all agree that “2+2=4” and “God is Love” but the outcome for healing varies so wildly that I don’t feel that the term “science” can be applied. To hand the average person off the street (or even a multi-generation CS) a copy of Science and Health and then expect them to read, understand and work miracles is unrealistic and to promote such ideas is dangerous.

I took a lab science class while at Principia and we were required to keep a record of our experiments using the scientific method, our hypothesis, testing, results, etc. were all neatly block printed so we could go over our results. Every now and again my team’s results varied wildly from the class and we were able to go back and find where we deviated from the norm. In Christian Science there is no record of what was done, there is no way to double check work, there is no one to check your work, there are not others working on the same experiment with you, the results are not peer-reviewed before they are published. It is conveniently individualized so that if (or rather when) the person fails to heal themselves using Christian Science the blame rests entirely upon them and their lack of understanding.

Many people have said the way they practice CS does not exclude visiting doctors, and that not all CS they have interacted with have been radical. Many people have claimed to have amazing, occasionally doctor-documented, healing experiences, I’m happy for them. That was not my experience.

I watched my father struggle for years with increasingly debilitating strokes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and one functioning kidney. I watched my mother alternate between radical reliance on God, pseudo science from the internet, a radical lifestyle and diet makeover and the doctor-advised/prescribed “western medicine” in an attempt to prolong my father’s life. My father held on ten years longer than any one really expected, with my mother cursing the doctors who were “trying to poison him!” in an attempt from keeping his blood pressure from skyrocketing out of control.

Would he have fared better on a strictly western-medicine regimen? I can’t shake the feeling that my parent’s toxic attitude towards the medical community was more harmful than helpful when it came to dealing with my father’s situation. It did not matter that my father had been a Christian Scientist longer than many of the doctors had been alive, they’d been to medical school, and my parents had gone to them (albeit begrudgingly, and at least once with the threat of social services being called,) seeking help.

After Kid1 was born, my mother had the audacity to passively blame the cause of my pregnancy complications on my diet, and choice of going to the hospital (2). My husband unloaded on her, when the head of high-risk obstetrics and one of the best doctors in the county looks at the charts and lab results and can’t tell you what the problem was, much less what caused it, glibly saying “you needed to eat more vegetables” (when you were lucky to eat anything at all for 12 weeks) is asinine.

As a parent, I can not, in good conscience raise my children in Christian Science. I will not deny them regular health checkups, and I will call their pediatricians office if I have any concerns. When they get older, I will not be vague about my own medical history, or health problems that may arise, sheltering a small child from a problem is one thing, withholding information that a parent’s passing is imminent from a grown child in their twenties or early thirties is another matter all together. I will not send them to school congested and feverish (even if they insist on going), and I will make sure they are vaccinated, because whooping cough is miserable. I will not read them Travis talks with God, which tells children they’re not really hurt, God loves them, I will take practical steps: an ice pack, a Popsicle, a call to the pediatrician’s office, or a trip to the ER.

Mary Baker Eddy encourages us to think and question. I’ve read the Mother Church Authorized literature, I’ve read my share of “obnoxious” literature, and I’m pretty sure the Mother Church would call this blog “obnoxious” as well. I’ve worked with CSPs, and there are several that I respect deeply. I have successfully used CS techniques to overcome problems, and out of habit (sometimes to my detriment) I turn to CS ideas to work through situations.

Christian Science does not have to be deadly, but all too often I’ve seen even the most moderate of CS, when faced with health, or other challenges, take a turn for the radical and deny they have any issue what so ever. I do not ever want to go down that path.


  1. You don’t need anything after your wisdom tooth comes out! That’s what ice packs are for. The second time I had a wisdom tooth removed, I was no longer living at home, and I did take something for the pain. I had a horrifying allergic reaction and very vivid hallucinations all night. It would’ve been nice to have some idea about such allergies before they crept up on me in the middle of the night.
  2. My mother also taught me that you also only go to a hospital to die. Between that, the pregnancy issues and reading Coma while a naive middle school student, my first-ever hospital experience was even more anxiety-laden than it needed to be. My mother had several friends who had died of cancer (conveniently while in a hospital). She blamed the doctors (and later the individuals poor dietary choices), apparently if you eat healthy and avoid doctors you’ll never get cancer. That said, I strongly recommend reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.