Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 9, 1950

The Christian Science Question -- No. 1

Thomas Allen Robertson, McLean, Texas

In the spring of 1879, a little band of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy's students, diligently studying her doctrines of "Christian Science", went into deliberation over the question of whether or not they should form a church. Finally, on the motion of Mrs. Eddy herself, this "Christian Scientist Association" voted to organize itself into a church. This action was taken April 19, 1879.

Mrs. Eddy was appointed on the committee to draft the "Tenets of the Mother Church", — "the chief cornerstone whereof is that Christian Science, as taught by our master, casts out error, heals the sick, and restores the lost Israel: for 'the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner'." (Church Manual, 89th edition, page 18)

A charter for the church was obtained in June, 1879, and the same month the members, twenty-six in number, extended a call to Mary Baker Eddy to become their pastor. She accepted the call, and was ordained in 1881.

Mrs. Eddy's History

Mary A. Morse Baker was born at Bow, New Hampshire, on July 16, 1821. She was married three times; but in her later years took only the names of her first husband, Glover, and her third, Eddy, excluding her divorced second husband, Patterson. She referred to herself as "Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy." Her only education consisted of a very meager and imperfect course in the district grade school. Her writings were the despair of type-setters and compositors, as she was blissfully and totally unaware that there was any way to spell a word except the way it sounded to the ear. Syntax, grammar, and punctuation marks were obviously diabolical devices of some evil spirit, and so could never be expected to cumber the writings of one who had overcome evil by her right thinking! From childhood, Mrs. Eddy suffered much from an abnormal condition of the nerves. Endowed with a particularly unstable and unreliable nervous system, she was the victim of many heartaches, nausea, and other distressing symptoms. She attracted some attention in early woman-hood by reason of her susceptibility to mesmeric influences, and for a time was rather notorious as a spiritualistic medium. Her health was wretched all her life, even though, like many semi-invalids, she lived to an extremely ripe old age.

In 1862 Mrs. Eddy came under the influence of a mental healer, Dr. P. P. Quimby, who experimented in healing by mesmerism and hypnotic suggestions. He was unusually successful in relieving Mrs. Eddy of some of her disorders, and she became an ardent and enthusiastic advocate and supporter of his teachings. Quimby died in 1865, and very shortly thereafter Mrs. Eddy claimed to have received a revelation from heaven which set forth the basic teachings of "Christian Science." These teachings she incorporated in a book called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." After copyrighting the material, she sold it through many editions, reaping a very handsome profit from each new issue.

In her beginning years, Mrs. Eddy frankly admitted that her theory was the same one advertised and practiced by Dr. Quimby. But later she denied this, claiming originality for her teachings. However, even a casual reader who compares "Science and Health" with Dr. Quimby's "Science of Man" cannot fail to see their relationship—many of Mrs. Eddy's precepts being almost verbatim quotations from Quimby.

Early in her career, Mrs. Eddy recognized the power of money. She was a prolific writer, and her writings had always a ready-made market. Her "Church Manual" stated in no uncertain terms that, "It shall be the privilege and duty of every member, who can afford it, to subscribe for the periodicals which are the organs of this church." She never forgot about the money. For a woman who did not believe in reality she had a remarkable ability to gather to herself real money! Reaping handsome profits from healings, lessons on healing, sale of Christian Science spoons, books, and other remunerative merchandise, she was reputed to be worth more than three million dollars when she died.

Matter Does Not Exist

One of the major doctrines of Christian Science is the non-existence of matter. "Matter or body is but a false concept of mortal mind." (Science and Health 177:10.) So when God causes Moses to write, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," he caused him to write something that was not so. For God did not create "earth". Since "earth" is matter, it does not exist; it is but a false concept of mortal mind!

Again Mrs. Eddy says, "Matter and mind are opposites; hence cannot both be real" (Ibid 270:5) This is almost as sensible as saying black and white are opposites, and therefore cannot both be real. Actually every positive has a negative. All bilateral objects have opposite sides. Male implies female; north implies the reality of south; up of down. Mrs. Eddy says, "Matter, examined in the light of divine metaphysics, disappears." (Ibid 274: 31, 32) "Matter and its effects. . . are not facts of mind. They are not ideas but illusions." (283:8,11) Now, if matter is but an illusion, then all objects composed of, or pertaining to, matter are illusions. Thus the sun, moon, planets, and the earth with its trees, houses, automobiles, bank accounts and material substances are but illusions of the imagination!

Once Mark Twain fell off a cliff, and was visited by a Christian Science practitioner. She spent her time telling him that matter did not exist, that he had no broken bones because he had no bones to break, no bruised body because there was no body to bruise, etc. etc. After some weeks when Twain had recovered (through medical treatment), the practitioner presented him with a bill for her services. Twain remarked, "A crate of broken bones mended in two hundred and thirty-four places—one dollar per fracture. Tell me, does anything exist save minds?" "Nothing," replied the Christian Scientist, "all else is substanceless, all else is imaginary." Whereupon, Twain says, "I gave her an imaginary check, and now she is suing me for substantial dollars. It looks inconsistent!" (Christian Science by Mark Twain, page 38)