I have wondered, are there any conditions under which a family could possibly bring up happy and healthy children while indoctrinating them with the tenets of Christian Science and living by those tenets?
- The parents hide any failures from the children. In effect, they lie to them in the interests of not ‘contaminating the children’s thought’ because of the parents’ failures.
- The differences children perceive between their practices and beliefs and those of their companions are cast as ignorance on the part of the majority, and the children are taught to view that ignorance with compassion.
- The children are lucky in that they have no serious illnesses or accidents.
- The children are academically gifted, and have strong reinforcement from teachers and authority figures; they achieve recognition for accomplishments in music, spelling, mathematics and other areas.
- Parents are liberal in the sense that they excuse regular practices…eating well, having good hygiene and appropriate schedules as temporary accommodations to the weight of human belief.
- The parents are good actors, passing off as certainty what might be questionable, maintaining continuously a kindly, even temperament.
These qualifications pretty much describe my husband’s Christian Scientist family. Incongruities were treated with humor, and there were definitely exceptions made to the rule. My husband was a very effective dental researcher, while in his religious beliefs he denied the physical evidence.
He and I were Christian Scientists while our children were growing up, and the kids went to Sunday School, but, given some ‘non-demonstrations’, we concluded that, while the truth was the truth, we weren’t good enough to demonstrate it, and they all had medical care.