“Oh, don’t worry about it. Everybody does it.”

By Marion, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

I was 42… over forty years ago now. I was teaching at a university thirty miles from my home, and had four kids, aged nine to nineteen. The stress level was pretty high, and during the Christmas break I observed the unmistakable signs of breast cancer.

I remember quite vividly the reasoning I went through one night, taking the premises of Christian Science down to the basics. At its heart, they are that human life is illusory, and physical evidence is meaningless. That is, it doesn’t matter whether or not you seem to die. With four children, a husband, a teaching job I loved, and an appreciation of the beauty of this life, I decided that it did make a difference to me whether or not I continued to be here. I gave myself the time to ‘un-see’ it. If the evidence was still there at that time, I would go for surgery.

Just before Spring Break, I told the administration that I would be out for a time after the break and told them why. The response: ”Why didn’t you give us more notice?” I told them that I was a Christian Scientist and that I had hoped to solve the problem metaphysically. Talk about people looking at you funny. A substitute was found, and I was out for the break time and about a month after. Since the university and my home community were quite separate, almost no one in the home or church community knew about it.

The wake-up call for me was after I had chosen to have the mastectomy. Having acted on that decision, I confided to another church member that I had broken the faith’s directives, and that I felt that I should resign my membership. This is the response that angers me still: a whispered response, ”Oh, don’t worry about it. Everybody does it.”

I had been on the verge of risking my life. I believed these people were sincere and committed to what they professed. I should have known. Eddy was ‘committed’ until it became inconvenient for her. I may well have known about her dental work and morphine use even then, but still, the sense of betrayal was overpowering.

One comment

  • Liz

    I was raised in Christian Science and have so many negative associations with it. I am really struggling now because I am about to fly from the east coast to California to go with my mother to her first appointment with an oncologist.

    I am so relieved that she is seeking medical treatment for her cancer. BUT, so pissed off about so many things. Like the fact that I know I have to be there to talk to the doctor because they will be useless in this process. Like so many times before, I have to be the adult to my parents because of Christian Science nonsense.

    Or how about all the anger from the times my parents denied the reality of my own illness and suffering, only to turn to medicine at the end of their lives when the stakes are high for them?

    Or the pressure I feel to respect their religious beliefs even now despite the fact that I feel they are just so insane and harmful — because to tell them how I feel would leave us with nothing because they have built their entire lives around this idiocy?

    Or how about the fact that I have worked so hard to have a good job and they chalk it all up to God’s plan, recognizing nothing of my sacrifices and achievements?

    Glad this group is here. Would like to contribute mor and connect with people who understand.