The Thanksgiving Day service is the only ‘special’ service the Christian Science church offers. The readings from the desk include the Presidential proclamation for Thanksgiving, as well as a few passages from The Bible and Science and Health. The service is then opened to the congregation for them to share ‘testimonies of healing and sharing of experiences in Christian Science.’
The following are testimonies from Ex-Christian Scientists, as they give thanks for having left Christian Science. Thank you all for your contributions!
We at The Ex-Christian Scientist offer no readings, or lengthy proclamations, merely our sincerest thanks for everyone who has contributed to our efforts.
All Thanksgiving posts are tagged Thanksgiving.
I’m grateful for another year of personal development.
I’m slowly coming to terms with being an imperfect human who makes mistakes and feels anger, sadness and other negative emotions instead of repressing them.
I’m grateful because instead of agonizing and worrying when I feel unwell, now I just book an appointment with my wonderful doctor who listens to how I feel and validates my emotions. I’m grateful for antibiotics that cured a serious kidney infection in a couple of weeks while I rested and watched movies (instead of reading the bible lesson and feeling guilty for having allowed my thoughts to make me sick).
Also, I’m grateful because my daily reading is for pleasure or education. Not to protect my thoughts from a dodgy dark entity.
But mostly I’m grateful for the freedom that comes with knowing that It’s normal to be less than perfect. I feel less guilt and more peace than I ever did before leaving the CS church.
I am thankful to the Princess Cruise Line and their medical Team, along with the Portuguese Military and the medical team in the Azores for saving my life. It is my feeling that my super high pain threshold due to past adherence to CS that made me not know that I had appendicitis. If I was aware of my “bodily matter”, I wouldn’t have inconvenienced so many people on the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Princess. I am thankful that when CS couldn’t heal, but could kill; I was able to give myself over to medical professionals to save my life.
I never gave a Thanksgiving testimony, but every year for my entire childhood, our family started with the 11 am Thanksgiving Church Service, which of course was right on the heels of the Weds. eve Testimony Service. My father was First Reader for many of those services, which we all were forced to attend, and look happy about it – no, BE happy about it – upon pain of punishment. Because if I didn’t enjoy church, clearly, there was something wrong with me that I needed to fix.
I remember one year after the service, around age 7, we at the kids’ table were given apples, toothpicks, and gummy candies to make apple “turkeys.” You pierce the gummies with the toothpicks, like little candy kabobs, stick them into the apple in a fan pattern for the tail, then add toothpicks for the turkey neck and feet.
We had just heard Baroque music at the Thanksgiving Service, and I asked the organist, What is Baroque? She said, “It’s a kind of art that is full of embellishments. There is no blank space in Baroque style, everything is filled with a flourish or an ornament.” Thus began my still-strong love affair with the music of J.S. Bach.
Her comments had impressed me, as had the Bach, and I was inspired to make a Baroque-style apple-gummy turkey! I stuck as many gummy candies as I could fit onto my toothpicks, and made the most ornate, embellished apple-turkey possible.
Suddenly, I felt an unfriendly, firm hand yank my arm away from my project. My father towered above me, and dragged me into a dark corner far away from our lovely respectable guests, where he pinched me and twisted my arm while calling me “wasteful, greedy, immature” for using too much candy on my apple-turkey. I remember staring at him with no expression – because if i showed any expression, my disdain would be visible and I’d get whipped later for sure — and I thought, “If we didn’t have guests over, you’d be beating me for this, which is totally hypocritical for a First Reader,” and then I thought, “You’re so stupid. You can’t even tell the difference between a Baroque artistic experiment and greed.” Followed by deep loneliness, because my Dad was an artist, too, and I thought that if he knew of my Baroque inspiration, he would have loved it.
It took me years to identify this kind of interaction for what it is: projection.
So, to end my fun reminiscing, I am deeply in awe of the resiliency of my own spirit, and thankful to the health professionals, spiritists (not all of them are quacks – sometimes people can see things that lie outside the experiential or socially acceptable “norm” and that doesn’t make them charlatans or crazy) … to the good friends and seekers with open minds and hearts who have witnessed me cross the bridge between brainwashed, punished and in denial of my physical experiences, into a life where I am empowered, accepted, and acknowledged for my whole human experience: body, mind, spirit, gifts, problems, blessings, the whole thing.
Thanks for listening, and Happy Thanksgiving!
With apologies to Ogden Nash and the other purveyors of doggerel poetry I loved as a kid, here is my homage to Thanksgiving and to my journey out of CS:
Thanksgiving day when I was young —
those testimonies; hymns were sung;
the Proclamation from The Prez –
Another game of “CS Says.”
But now I’m older, healthy, sane
And here to say “It’s purely gain
To leave CS, open my eyes
To Real Life – what a surprise!”
There’s good… and bad, happy… and sad,
Content… and mad, nice guy… rude cad.
I soar…. I crash, kind words… backlash,
Good health… get sick, recover… not so quick.
A friend… a foe, get more…. let go,
Smooth patch…. rough sled, run fast… in bed.
In love… alone, sweet kids…. they’re grown,
Upright… laid low, we reap… we sow.
The lights and shadows, ups and downs….
They’re ALL ok! “Who knew?” I say.
I can embrace it all, and thrive!
Our daily bread while we’re alive.
Mrs. Eddy: On this day
Of giving thanks, I’m here to say
Please take your dualistic crap
And keep it! It’s a big mind trap!
To make us think perfection’s real.
Instead of all that makes us feel?
I’m giving thanks, each day, each night
To know the truth of TRUE insight.
– Lisa M.
This Thanksgiving, I would like to express my gratitude for not having to constantly police my own thoughts.
I was raised in Christian Science. At Sunday School, they taught us that our thoughts can affect the world around us. They said that positive thoughts would have positive effects, and negative thoughts would have negative effects. Because of this, I was told, it was important for each person to police their own thoughts. This was called “standing porter at the door of thought.” I remember they taught me to continuously monitor everything I was thinking. They told me that, if a negative thought entered my head, I had to immediately reject it. If I didn’t, bad things would happen.
“Standing porter” was awful. It brought a new level of stress to everyday activities. If I went to see a play, I had to concentrate on believing positive things about the actors, for fear of causing them to forget their lines. If I watched a game of baseball on TV, I had to concentrate on believing positive things about the players. The game might be happening hundreds of miles away, but I was still afraid that I might accidentally affect the outcome of the game.
Now that I’ve left Christian Science, the fear is gone. The constant mental burden is gone. I am grateful for the real world we live in, a world in which my thoughts cannot affect the world around me — but my actions can!
This concludes our Thanksgiving post. Please feel free to contribute any additional testimonies in the comments below.
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