ExChristianScience.com is dedicated to helping those who left, but we often find that friends and family reach out to us with concerns and questions about Christian Science (CS), hopefully this is a starting point.  

As former Christian Scientists whose mission is to help those who have left/are leaving Christian Science, we will do our best to broach this topic without too much bias and personal prejudice, but we’re not going to make any promises. We do not speak for every CS, or former-CS, but we can highlight some common themes and trends we have seen over the years, in our Facebook support groups, and from emails to our website. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we strongly encourage everyone to check out the additional links and resources.


This FAQ addresses the following:

  • What is Christian Science?
  • What do Christian Scientists believe?
  • Why do people join Christian Science?
  • Why might someone join Christian Science today?
  • Why might someone have joined Christian Science in the late 1800s/early 1900s?
  • Why do people stay in Christian Science?
  • Why do people leave Christian Science? 
  • Can you actually ever truly leave Christian Science?
  • Is Christian Science a Cult?
  • Is Christian Science the same as Scientology? 
  • Is Christian Science a Bible-based Christian religion?
  • What is the Christian Science stance on medical care and vaccinations? 
  • I have a friend or loved one that I care about who is deeply into Christian Science and I don’t know what to do and could use some support!
  • I am a former Christian Scientist and I could use some support! 
  • I have so many more questions!
  • I have a question that was not answered here!

What is Christian Science?

Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements.[n 2] It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her 1875 book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science)

The wikipedia pages on these topics are pretty comprehensive and well footnoted. You can also check out the official church websites, starting with https://www.christianscience.com.


What do Christian Scientists believe?

The Official Answer from the Mother Church outlines the Tenents of Christian Science https://biblelesson.christianscience.com/related-information/tenets-of-christian-science 

But really, The First Rule of Christian Science is you do not talk about Christian Science.


Why do people join Christian Science?

Most people do not “join” CS, most people are born into CS.

In the 2016 survey of former CS, over 95% of people were either born into a family already practicing CS (90%), or their parents converted to CS while they were still a minor (5%). (https://exchristianscience.com/2016/04/03/ex-christian-scientist-survey-part-one/

  • Why might someone join Christian Science today?

People who join Christian Science are often looking for something more. Christian Science makes promises of a loving God, healing, and spiritual and material needs being met.

You can also do a google search for “why do people join cults” and get some ideas. People are looking for answers and belonging, for some, CS offers answers. 

For the extra curious, there is a wikipedia page of people who converted to CS from various other religions.

  • Why might someone have joined Christian Science in the late 1800s/early 1900s?

Most reasons someone’s great-great (usually) grandmother joined CS have been lost to time, but we can take a few educated guesses.

There are probably more reasons, but by the time you go back 3-4 generations most of the people have died and you can’t ask them anymore. 


Why do people stay in Christian Science?

They believe it and don’t see it as a problem, they think it is a perfectly fine religious choice. 

Pressure from families. It is the only religious system they have known. Leaving is scary. 

You can also do a google search for “why do people stay in cults” and get some ideas. 


Why do people leave Christian Science? 

So many reasons. Common ones include (but are not limited to) health issues sometimes from medical neglect as a child, or health issues as an adult, untreated/unresolved health issues in family members and/or loved ones, prolonged and unnecessary suffering, theological differences (“finding Jesus”), watching CS completely fail to deliver on its promises of healing/demonstration. 

“It didn’t work” and “it was all a lie” are also popular, if somewhat oversimplified, reasons. Take your pick, the site is full of stories, there is something for everyone. 


Can you actually ever truly leave Christian Science? 

We’re not sure about that one either. It can be like an insidious game of whack-a-mole with CS thoughts popping up from time to time at inopportune moments. 

Good news, you can resign from your branch church, The Mother Church, and your CS Association (if you joined any of those). https://exchristianscience.com/index/withdrawing-mother-church-membership/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlvGl3V3Jmw – the Pardon’s Why is CS Still influencing my life?


Is Christian Science a Cult?

Christian Scientists will say no. Some former CS will say no. Some former CS will say yes. It really depends on where people are with their path away from CS, and their comfort in using the term “cult.” 

The ExCS Team is fairly firmly in the “yes” camp. 

Does CS fit mind control expert Robert Jay Liftons’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform? Yes. Christian Science is a Cult

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK_zRnRWlgI – Linda Kramer’s talk (Christian themes in the second half)


Is Christian Science the same as Scientology? 

No. Scientology has Tom Cruise and L. Ron Hubbard. Christian Science has Val Kilmer and Mary Baker Eddy. 

We recommend Wikipedia for the finer details:


Is Christian Science a Bible-based Christian religion?

Short answer: no? 

Long answer and further explanation: The ExCS Team has taken a secular path, for Christianity-related questions, we recommend you check out the Fellowship of Former CS and their excellent FAQ and resources. https://ffcsministry.org/frequently-asked-questions/#cs 


What is the Christian Science stance on medical care and vaccinations? 

The official church stance is that the Church does not require that Christian Scientists avoid all medical care, and enjoys pointing out that many adherents use dentists, optometrists, obstetricians, physicians for broken bones, and vaccination when required by law.* The official church stance also maintains that Christian Science prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine.

* Christian Scientists have lobbied extensively for exemptions from mandatory vaccinations on religious grounds. 

ABOUT THAT: 


I have a friend or loved one that I care about who is deeply into Christian Science and I don’t know what to do and could use some support!

Former Christian Scientist & Friends – https://www.facebook.com/groups/451339881882874

This group is for those who were once followers of the religion known as Christian Science, their families, spouses, partners, and others who may have a connection to, or interest in, those who were once Christian Scientists.


I am a former Christian Scientist and I could use some support! 

There are several facebook groups for former Christian Scientists, message us at our facebook page, or check out the Community & Support resources! 

https://www.facebook.com/the.ex.christian.scientist


I have so many more questions!

That’s great, we have a whole website of resources and a list of Recommended Books you can read!

Answers to the most frequently asked Five Questions about CS & the Principia College Experience: https://exchristianscience.com/tag/five-questions/


I have a question that was not answered here!

Leave a comment and we’ll try to do another FAQ post soon!