The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science collective about how death is ‘handled’ in Christian Science.
I have found Christian Science’s ‘do not grieve, there’s nothing to grieve about’ instruction to be particularly damaging. It leads those who have lost loved ones to feel ashamed—the deeper the love, the greater the shame. And it leads others to ignore grief in the guise of pretending that it doesn’t exist. We’re providing prayerful support to the grieving person so we don’t have to, you know, acknowledge the loss or do anything practical to help.
I think I remember one memorial service from when I was young that may or may not have been for a Christian Scientist. But, generally people just didn’t show up at church anymore and nobody ever asked. Why would you mourn someone? What does it matter that they’re dead? Christian Science tears apart the human psyche. It devalues and denies the empathy and compassion that makes us human.
A woman I knew from the local Christian Science branch church, who was about three years older than I was, suddenly vanished. I asked my Christian Scientist mother about her and got double-talk. Later I was alone with my non-Christian Scientist father and he told me she had appendicitis and was under the care of a practitioner, and her appendix burst and she died. When I asked my mother about it she told me, “people are dying in hospitals all the time!”
This site offers support resources to help individuals negotiate a transition in a manner that best fits their needs and convictions. We do not advocate any one particular path but acknowledge that there are many legitimate pathways that can be personally and spiritually fulfilling.
4 Replies to “Do Not Grieve, There is Nothing to Grieve About”
I am not ready to share my story quite yet. However I am glad to find this site and can say that I am not a CS yet my sister became one and then raised her daughter that way. They are both dead. I had no idea they were about to “pass on”, one at 59 the other at 47 leaving a 10 year old daughter. It’s been almost a year since my niece’s death. I am starting to unfreeze. It’s like a suicide in the family. And I agree with the comment above since the memorial was delivered by her CS friends, and still, there is this odd sense of denial of feelings to those behind.
I was having a normal, weekly conversation with my mother one day. After we had discussed what was new with my children, how my work was going, and other typical topics, she said she had to go.
Then, as an afterthought, she said “Oh, your aunt Frances passed on today.” I was stunned. Aunt Frances was my favorite aunt. I felt so guilty about talking about everyday life with my mom when all the while my aunt was dead! After that she wasn’t mentioned again.
Oh my. I had a similar experience with my favorite aunt– I said I was going to go visit her, and everyone got quiet, and my mom said, “oh, well, um, she’s not there,” and went on to say she’d died a while back.
Lorna, I am so sorry for the loss of your sister — leaving a 10 year old daughter. I completely relate to the “I am beginning to unfreeze” sentiment. Lots of love to you & your niece. I am glad you found this resource to explain the bizarre and twisted, also!
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