Ask a Nurse: What to expect when calling 911

Ask a Nurse The ExCS site has teamed with a registered nurse and paramedic with a background in healthcare education and public health. Married to a former-CS, the Nurse would like to share their experience with the healthcare system, and answer any questions former-CS may have!  The Nurse will NOT get involved in diagnosing or giving medical advice, but if there are questions folks have related to going to a doctor, explaining medical terminology, how to advocate for yourself in healthcare, and so on, they might have a perspective that can help.  


Navigating the intricacies of the healthcare world can be difficult, and that’s for those of us who work in the healthcare system! For people who aren’t employed in healthcare but have a fundamental understanding of the system, especially in the US, it can still be daunting.  For those folks who may have never interacted with, (or worse, been made to fear), the healthcare world, it can be downright overwhelming.  I’m a registered nurse and paramedic, though I didn’t grow up in CS, I’m married to someone who did.  As we dated and eventually married, I discovered just how ill-informed and unfamiliar she was with the healthcare world.  Ironically, the healthcare world is very ill-informed and unfamiliar with CS.  In nursing and paramedic school I learned all about Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I had never even heard of Christian Scientists until I met my wife, at which point I had been working in healthcare for nearly a decade. When I would ask friends and colleagues if they had ever heard of Christian Science, many of them would say, “Of course! Isn’t Tom Cruise a Christian Scientist?”  

I’m hoping to use this forum to bridge this knowledge gap and provide a conduit for ex-CS’ers to have a safe space to ask healthcare related questions and get accurate and reliable answers.  I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’m experienced in the healthcare field, I understand the lingo, and I definitely have access to experts.  One thing I can’t do is diagnose or give much medical advice beyond telling you to go see a doctor.  That said, I can help with terminology, how to speak with medical providers, and help you find your way through this crazy system.  

As a new contributor, I want to make this as useful and relevant as I can.  In addition to being a nurse and paramedic, I also have a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on public health.  Having met several ex-CS folks and having read several books and articles on Christian Science, I realized the value of having someone who can help guide those less familiar through the healthcare system.  Questions posted through the site will be routed to me and I’ll answer them.  Of course, this is not a rapid system, if you have a healthcare concern you think requires immediate assistance, go to the hospital or call 911, speaking of, what happens when you call 911?


What to expect when calling 911

Calling an ambulance can bring on a fair amount of anxiety.  With rare exceptions, most people don’t call an ambulance very often in their lives.  When they do, it’s because they need emergency care for themselves, or a loved one.  Now when you dial those three numbers, like you’ve probably seen on TV, someone answers the line asking “911 what’s your emergency?”  After ascertaining the nature of the emergency, other dispatchers will begin to direct the appropriate ambulance to your location.  Once the ambulance arrives, the responders will begin asking you questions.  Most will be pretty easy to answer.  Obviously, they are going to ask why you called 911, they’ll ask for your name, date of birth/age, and, (now we get into the tricky part), if you have any medical history (which you may or may not know).  They’re also going to ask if you have allergies to any foods or medicines (which again, you may or may not know).  They’re going to ask if you take any medicines routinely. As you’re already in a vulnerable state, a ton of emotions are probably flowing through you.  Fear, pain, embarrassment, & shame are all possible emotions and feelings you may have.  You also may not want to get into the intricacies of CS and Mary Baker Eddy.  So, if you don’t know your medical history, the easiest thing to do is tell the EMS providers that you grew up in a family that didn’t use medicine, and you either don’t know or are unsure of your medical history or allergies.  They might raise an eyebrow for a second, but believe me, we’ve encountered stranger things (I won’t mention the guy I picked up once, with the thing, in the place, it shouldn’t be), so not knowing your medical history won’t shock us.  

There are some patients that believe calling an ambulance will speed up the process to see a doctor.  I can tell you for a fact, this isn’t true.  I have definitely brought patients into an ER, via my ambulance, and been told to bring those patients to a chair in the waiting room.   Others may believe if they call 911 for a loved one, the ambulance has to take them to the hospital, also not true.  If you call an ambulance for a loved one, and the person is over 18 years of age and of sound mind, if they tell the EMS providers they don’t want to go to the hospital, they can’t take them.  They may be bleeding out all over the street, but if they say they don’t want to go, and EMS takes them against their will, that’s kidnapping.  Legally, the EMS providers can be arrested and charged.  Now, this isn’t to discourage you from calling 911 if you need it.  You should absolutely call 911 if you think you need help. 

Point is, most of us who got into healthcare did so because we genuinely want to help people.  So, when you tell us you’re not sure of your medical history, most healthcare providers are simply going to note that fact, and continue treating you.  One thing to never do, is be afraid to ask questions.  If a provider is saying something that doesn’t make sense or is unclear, ask them to clarify.  Tell them to explain it to you like you’re a 5th grader.  We throw around jargon almost as badly as the military (the first time I worked in an ER someone had written next to the patient’s name “SOB,” which I thought was a bad attempt to warn staff of a difficult patient, actually it means “short of breath”).  

As intimidating as it might be, do your best to get clarification if you don’t understand something.  Providers may get frustrated, especially if they believe they already clarified something, but as I tell my wife, push the person to give you an answer that you understand.  Some ex-CS’ers I know never attended biology class or sex education in high school or college.  There may be things we in healthcare assume everyone knows, but if you haven’t even taken a high school biology class, you may have a severe blind spot.  

Truth is, even though you’ve called 911 for an emergency, rarely is something such an emergency that providers don’t have time to answer questions.  I once treated a patient who was CS, and was as close to dead as you can get while still alive.  The patient’s spouse allowed me to treat their loved one, and despite how sick this person was, I was still able to provide the necessary care while explaining everything to the spouse and ensuring they were comfortable with the treatment I was providing. 

In any case, calling EMS can provoke some anxiety, but it’s better to call them and find out later you didn’t need to, than to not call them, but realize later you should have.  To quickly summarize:

  1. Understand the EMS provider may be a little thrown when you mention your background.
  2. Despite that, they should still treat you respectfully and with compassion.  
  3. Get clarification and ask questions.  

I hope this quick snapshot was helpful.  If it was, leave a comment and feel free to ask me questions.  Like I said in the beginning, I want to make this as relevant and helpful as I can for you; so, if there are questions or specific topics you’d like to be covered, let me know.  

FAQ About Christian Science (CS), and the CS Experience

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!
Continue reading “FAQ About Christian Science (CS), and the CS Experience”

Get Wise Webinar: Why is Christian Science STILL Influencing My Identity

The Get Wise webinar sponsored by the Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists in collaboration with the Ex-Christian Scientist is now up on YouTube! We welcome back cult recovery experts Bob and Judy Pardon and consider ways Christian Science continues to influence our sense of identity even years after leaving. The Pardons explain how this worldview is psychologically damaging along with providing tools for recovery.  

In Christian Science there was no room for personality. We strove to be “God’s Perfect Child” to the point of denying our very humanity. As a result, after leaving Christian Science we wonder where to begin in rebuilding our lives. Understanding how we are uniquely wired is a great starting point. The Pardons will introduce and discuss the Myers-Briggs personality assessment which is a helpful tool for someone with a background in Christian Science in their recovery journey.

Click here for more information about Bob and Judy Pardon.

Click here to find out more about the Get Wise Project.

I stumbled out of that conversation, and never went back.

By an Anonymous Contributor via email, shared with slight modifications to more fully protect the privacy of the contributor.


Although I never became a full member of the Christian Science Church, I would like to share my story. I appreciate this opportunity!

My introduction to Christian Science first came when I bought a used copy of Science and Health when I was around ten years-old. It was on sale at my hometown library. I loved the beautiful cover and construction of the book. I couldn’t understand its contents, so I kept it on the shelf.

Fast-forward 30 years, and my husband and I were visiting my parents. I suddenly developed a 24-hour flu. Resting in bed, I idly picked up Science and Health and read the first few pages. Although I’d been to divinity school, it had never occurred to me to simply accept God’s infinite love during an illness. I tried this, and the results were astonishing. I felt perfectly well the next day, and even went on a seven-mile hike! My illness had been severe enough to cause vomiting. Usually I would rest for two or three days after this kind of thing.

I read the rest of Science and Health and thought it was wonderful. I’m one of those people for whom Mary Baker Eddy’s writing just clicks. I started attending services at the Mother Church, and was really inspired.

I was having a really hard time connecting with church members. They didn’t have a meet-and-greet of any kind. Everyone scattered after the service, and I couldn’t figure out how folks got to know each other. I began to attend a branch church near my home, and there I had more success. The members reached out to me. Conversations consisted of standing awkwardly between the pews, but it was better than the socialization I found at the Mother Church.

After attending this branch church for several months, I wanted to explore membership, so I met formally with the Director of Membership, a kindly man who had taken me under his wing. The introductory conversation was a disaster. I thought the room was spinning.

First, he told me that people can’t be members if they choose to go the “medical route”. I’ve heard of churches disallowing certain things, but those things are rarely a positive good. Asking people to refuse medical care is more along the lines of asking people to stop being kind to their grandmothers. I was amazed.

Apropos of nothing, this director then brought up cases where Christian Scientist children died in their parents’ care, and the parents incurred criminal charges (and in some cases, convictions) because of failure to get their children adequate medical care to address preventable conditions. He took the parents’ side in this. He said: “We have our own beliefs and treatment.”

I was shocked by this statement. The People’s Temple also had their own beliefs and “treatment”, but this wouldn’t constitute a legal defense for what happened in Jonestown. Also, you really can’t be a parent unless you can understand the world around you and behave appropriately with regard to it.

I wanted to explain that these children were real, and their happiness mattered. He was a nice person, and I’m sure he would have understood this, but he didn’t appear to understand that treatment is evaluated by whether or not it works, and efficacy is determined by well-designed studies, because the child’s life is really the most important thing.

He also told me about a lesbian Christian Science teacher who came to Massachusetts to get married in 2004; an act of disobedience he called “disgusting”. Apparently, she didn’t have Church approval, and got married right under their nose. Oddly, there was no mechanism to request approval anyway, as the Christian Science Church has no involvement in marriage. This director didn’t appear to believe that Christian Science teachers can have a private life. Apparently, this (lesbian) teacher lost her certification, as did all of her students, an outcome which he tried to portray in a positive light.

This director also told me that the church would have a meeting regarding my membership request, as to whether LBBTQ+ people can join. I happen to have very short hair, but I’m married to a man. I didn’t say anything, as to say that I’m not LGBTQ+ would have been disgraceful. The whole thing was ridiculous.

He also said that people are not allowed to join the church if they smoke or drink, and he referred to someone who puts out his cigarette right before entering the church. I know the tone of this message should be as respectful as possible, but I have to confess, I struggle with this one. Refusing church membership to people who require medical care, or those with nicotine dependence, doesn’t seem helpful at all. Their philosophy of pastoral care seems to be: “Come back when you’re better!”

I stumbled out of that conversation and never went back.

The First Rule of Christian Science

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

The Second Rule of Christian Science is you do not talk about Christian Science.

Talking about Christian Science, even with Other Christian Scientists, is Frowned Upon.

You have to do your Prayerful Protective Work, and Guard Your Thought against Error/Malicious Animal Magnetism/Sin. You have to make sure your Thought is Correctly Aligned with God, because if it isn’t that’s when Error creeps in.

What is Error? Error is sin, disease and death. It is the opposite of God and all of God’s Divine Reflection — Life, Truth, Love, Principle, Soul, Spirit and Mind — the Capital Letters Are Important here, those are the Seven Synonyms of God. Error is unreal. Error is also the bogeyman always out to get you. Other religions have the Devil and eternal Hell and Damnation, in Christian Science you make your own Hell here on earth when you don’t properly align your thought with God.

You must Radically Rely On God for Healing and Demonstrations of Supply. The more bountiful your supply, the Better you are Demonstrating Christian Science. If you’re having a hard time demonstrating supply, put on the appearance of Demonstrating it, if you appear to be demonstrating supply then supply will come. You should be doing your Prayerful Protective Work so that you will not need to have healings.

You should not turn to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy only when you face a “challenge,” you should be spending time daily with the Books doing your Work.

If you must read books about Christian Science and/or the founder M.B. Eddy, please choose from the selection available at your local Reading Room. If you must read news or magazines, please choose from a selection of the Monitor Online, and various Church-authorized periodicals.

Studying the Weekly Bible Lesson alone is all you need for your Spiritual Growth. If you do go to a CS Association, only discuss that with your Teacher. If you die, destroy your Class Notes or return them to the Association. They are not fit for public consumption.

Please do not discuss Christian Science, beyond what inspiration it has brought you, and then please limit this to the Standard Format of the Weekly Testimony:

Thank you for the Readings. I found them quite inspiring, particularly [insert quote from Bible or S&H or Hymn verse or passage from the Desk here]. Share vague problem or situation you may have overcome, or not, just gratitude for the resolution is sufficient. Profusely thank the Desk for the Readings, and give gratitude for Christian Science and the Beloved Discover and Founder Mary Baker Eddy.

Children should learn the 10 Commandments, Beatitudes, and a few Bible Stories. They should be obedient. They should be Filled Up Full with Thoughts from God, in that way they can not be mad or sad or bad. Censoring children’s books is fine, the Very Hungry Caterpillar could never be sick after eating his way through all that food, no, he just felt “very full!”

Every child should learn the story of sickly Mary, often bed bound as a child, who always read her Bible. One day as a young woman she fell on the ice and doctors told her she was going to die! She lay in her bed reading her Bible, after a time, she had a Revelation and Discovered the Healing Truths. She wrote them all down in a book, and this Science — it is a Science because it Can Be Demonstrated — became Christian Science.

Can it be Demonstrated under laboratory conditions in double-blind tests? No, that would undermine its efficiency. Other’s Thoughts would Influence the outcome. You must keep Christian Science to yourself. Others want Christian Science to fail, particularly the Catholics. Why the Catholics? Malicious Animal Magnetism radiates from the Vatican, and the Pope wants M. B. Eddy and Christian Science to fail.*

If someone is suffering from the belief of an illness or lack, they are not Demonstrating Christian Science properly.

Many will claim this post is not what Christian Science is, which is a delightful strawman because while it may not be what Christian Science is, it certainly aligns with how many people actually experience(d) Christian Science.


*fuck all if I know, that reason sounds about as good as any other I’ve heard

Thanksgiving 2020

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. We do not advocate any one particular path but acknowledge that there are many legitimate pathways that can be personally and spiritually fulfilling.

All Thanksgiving posts are tagged Thanksgiving. Comments are moderated and closed automatically after 30 days.


I’m grateful for finally realizing the extensive, deep trauma my time in Christian Science has left me with, so that I can finally get the help I need. I’m grateful for my wonderful therapist, who showed me that prayer was not the only way to heal. Lastly and most importantly, I’m grateful for the opportunity to finally see the world as it truly is—completely and entirely REAL—and that I can finally allow myself to experience the purely human existence we all deserve.

– Sarah R.


I am thankful for the friendships that I’ve made with people who push me out of my comfort zone. I never would have made these friendships in my CS days because I would have worried that these people and their diverse and interesting ideas would somehow ruin my immaculate thoughts. I’m grateful that I know how to think for myself now, and that I have relationships that bring me joy as a result.

– Anon.


I want to express my gratitude today and every day for having medical care now.

But I will get back to that in a moment. One thing I was taught in Christian Science was black and white thinking. This means that “if we think good thoughts from God, then we will experience only good things in our life!” vs. “if we think thoughts that aren’t from God, like feelings of imperfection and sickness, then we won’t be able to get the good things from God in our life.”

We were constantly told, in Christian Science, to “align our thoughts with God!” And we were taught that bad things don’t exist because there is no room for bad things to exist, because God, Good, fills all space! If we find ourselves feeling less that God-like, then we must have changed our thought and lost our focus on God.

This is not something that Christian Scientists do only on Sundays during church, and then forget about the rest of the week. No, this is something they strive to do 24/7. “Pray without ceasing.” It’s a command, to constantly align our thoughts with God. We were never allowed to feel frustrated, angry, weak, “less than,” sick, pride, sadness, grief…. we were only allowed to ever feel grateful, happy and joyous. That’s IT. No emotional spectrum that is normal for healthy humans to feel.

When I left Christian Science, I had this erroneous belief that medical science must be the cure all, since Christian Science prayer and “treatment” hadn’t healed me. I had been taught you can ONLY do medial or Christian Science treatment, not both together because they would cancel each other out. I had always chosen Christian Science treatment.

I rejected Christian Science for myriad reasons, some of which were long standing problems that wouldn’t yield simply to my God-like thought.

So, naturally, I assumed that now I was pursuing medical care, that it would completely fix me. I have seen this from so many other Ex Christian Scientists. We are often stunned when medical science can’t cure us in one visit, or give us a magical pill that will cure us after a period of time. It took some learning on my part to realize that medical science is an ACTUAL Science. It takes time to figure out problems, it takes time to hypothesize what might be wrong. Tests need to be done which may or may not bear out the theory. And maybe operations or medicines get tried over the course of finding help for our long standing problems that honestly never had any care despite that we were taught that Christian Science Treatment “is the best care.” (It’s actually just ignoring a problem and thinking good thoughts at it; it’s not effective in any way. Christian Scientists would argue me on this point, but they are actually wrong. The human body has an amazing ability to heal a whole lot of its problems without interference. The human body is quite an amazing miracle!)

Anyway, so I am so grateful for medical care. I had heart surgery almost 2 years ago now and it helped me so much. I now know when my heart is jumping around and being weird, that it won’t actually kill me. Before the heart surgery, I was at danger of being killed by my heart. But now most of that problem has been fixed with a surgery that I got to go home from at the end of the day.

I have had several different heart medicines to mitigate the rest of the problem. I have been enduring a different lasting heart problem post-surgery for the last year, because I have been on the wrong medicine. Last week, my doctor heard me and I felt like I saw a light bulb go on over his head, he finally understood the scope of the issue I have been dealing with multiple times per day. He read my entire chart – what medicines I have been on, how I have responded to them, when I had the surgery …. And then he prescribed a different medicine for me!

I have been on this new medicine for about a week now, and it is so promising. I am not having the problem I have been experiencing for the last year post-surgery. Not like I was. I imagine in 2 months he will increase my dose. But for now, I need to be on this smaller dose while my body adjusts to this medicine.

I am just so grateful for medical care and actual science that may take time to sort out what is wrong, but then finds a solution over time. I may not have the “perfect” body that works as well as it did when I was in high school, but I am grateful to have medical care that is helping me live a better life than I would be without it, and relying only on my thoughts and exclusive, unending positivity.

– Former Christian Science Practitioner


This is my first testimony of any kind, and it will probably be my last. I am grateful to Christian Science for coming to me in my life where I needed to learn that religion and life could be a positive experience. I am equally grateful that I am no longer a Christian Scientist, as I have moved on. Among the positive things that Christian Science taught me was about how love is unlimited and that we all are part of a much larger spiritual world that we cannot see. I moved beyond Christian Science when I felt the religion, and religion as a whole limited my ability to further understand where I (we) fit in the universe that extends beyond existence in this material, physical world. I am married to someone who is still practicing CS and I support her in her quest for understanding, as she supports me in mine. It was probably much easier for me to move on from CS as I was not raised in the religion. I married into a CS family where more than half of the extended family members have moved on from CS as well. Some have left for reasons that are expounded by members on this FB page, and some have left for reasons like mine. CS just did not answer their questions. The move beyond CS can be done. It has been done. It is not easy. I have family and friends that have discharged themselves from true cults that gaslight their members and dwell in the realm of hyper-negativity. One’s truth can be found anywhere, and I believe it is up to each individual to find their own truth, and not be constrained by peer and family pressure. I respect everyone who are working to find their true path in the uncovering and developing of their spirituality. Even if this path is in a church that I no longer support. Blessed be.

– CWL


On this beautiful Thanksgiving morning, I want to thank all the testifiers for sharing. I thank the admins of this website for giving us this space to share with each other every year.

In Christian Science, I was taught to constantly be grateful about everything, no matter what. Be grateful for severe pain in my back, because it taught me to pray to God. Well, I have known someone for 2 decades now who has never washed their hands with soap. This morning, as I washed my hands for the 5th time in less than 30 minutes (I was doing the dishes and cleaning my sink and preparing food … lots of hand washing during kitchen activities), I was suddenly grateful to realize that the Corona Virus has scared this person into finally washing their hands with soap and wearing a real mask! At first, they were wearing a flimsy cloth covering, but now is a proud owner of an actual, industry prepared mask. So I am grateful to the Corona Virus for teaching this person to wash their hands with soap and to wear a proper mask and respect something other than themselves – respecting science and a virus.

I look forward to medical science and government distribution planning to get everyone the vaccine. I am grateful to medical science – all the Lab Coat Heros – the scientists who wear lab coats who are working so hard to find a cure and to find a vaccine. They are doing good work and I look forward to getting my vaccine when it’s available to the American Public.

– Chrystal C


I am grateful for every single material cell in my material body and for materia medica for finding material treatments for material disease that have enhanced and prolonged my material life. I’m also grateful for Stephen Sondheim, whom I choose to call God. But that’s just me.

– Mike L.


I am grateful for medical science and for advances in mental health treatment. Having lived unhappily for nearly seventy years as a male, I was somewhat stunned when the dam broke last year and I began to transition to female. With help from supportive doctors, counsellors, and my wife, I am now living full time female. I am undergoing facial and body electrolysis, and my hair is growing out to show more clearly my femininity. I take testosterone suppressants and estrogen, and hope, when I have been on hormones for a year, that I will be able to have genital re-purposing surgery (my term).

With my cs background, I had lived my life denying this truth about myself. In childhood, my Sunday School education helped load my brain with mbe’s inhumane ideas about the unreality of matter and the unreality of unhappiness. Because of cs, I buried my pain with humor and superficiality in relationships. Now, rather than paying practitioners peddling preposterous propositions plagiarized from Phineas Quimby, I regularly receive real reinforcement from recognized, registered therapists. I am so grateful to be free of mbe’s insanity, and grateful to know so much more of the terrible truths about cs.

– Linda


My kids and I are enjoying our annual viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade while we eat our annual Thanksgiving feast of nachos and I am so happy not to have the exhausting work and cleanup of endless cooking after Christian Science church service.

I want to share my thanks for my family members who are still Christian Scientists who, for whatever reason, are respecting the state laws and suggestions around the Corona Virus. I am so grateful they are wearing masks and understanding my rules around having socially distant, outside, small group visits with them. Sitting outside, far apart from each other, and still wearing our masks. My Christian Science family members are being kind and considerate of my understanding of the science behind the Corona Virus, even if they believe that this virus and disease is fake and a figment of mortal mind or something like that. I am so glad they are being honest with me when I ask them about their own social distancing that they do during the week. They are being kind and understanding not to invite my family to large holiday gatherings this year.

I also want to share my huge joy at medical care for keeping my Grandpa, a lifelong Christian Scientist, around. We celebrated his 99th birthday right before this Corona Virus issue cropped up. And in a few short months, he will turn 100. It is our hope that a cure and a vaccine will be available in the spring so we can throw him a proper 100 year old birthday party. How often does our grandparent turn 100?

He wouldn’t have made 80 years old if it wasn’t for heart surgery to put in a pace maker. I am so grateful for the medical science that has kept my grandpa alive through a few kinds of cancer and heart issues. I am grateful that my grandpa has turned to medical care over the years and not just succumbed to the cancers and heart problems he has endured. He has expressed guilt to me for not understanding Christian Science enough, but I am glad he has done the right thing and gotten the care. He is such a great man and I am glad my kids have gotten to know him over the years.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

– Jodi Rose


If you would like some completely optional additional reading to accompany today’s testimonies, Rethinking Gratitude without God by Brian Peck has provided some food for thought this Thanksgiving season.


Thank you everyone for your Thanksgiving Testimony contributions, this concludes our post. Should inspiration strike, the comment section will remain open for 30 days.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season. The ExCS Admin Team.

Get Wise Webinar: Emotions!

EMOTIONS! How do we deal with the full range of emotions when we were only taught to be “happy” and “grateful?” Sometimes it’s difficult to even feel our emotions after years of denial. What do we do with our emotions when they are so intense? This can be all the more challenging around the stress of the holidays.

In this Get Wise webinar, Why is Christian Science STILL Influencing my Emotions? Jeana Roth, LPC walks us through how to engage with our emotions using a trauma informed approach along with practical skills from Dialectical Behavior Therapy. This webinar is safe for both Christian and secular ex-Christian Scientists.

Your feedback is really helpful as we plan future events. Please click here to access the form. 

We want to thank Jeana Roth for sharing her time, resources, and expertise with us. Here are links to some of the resources she mentioned:

Additional Resources

If you’d like to help support this Webinar and future “Get Wise” events, we invite you to consider making a tax-deductible donation. Click here to be directed to the FFCS giving page.

Christian Science is a Cult

Originally published on kindism.org, reprinted with permission. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of kindism.org and ExChristianScience.com


Christian Science is a cult, not occult1, a cult. Some of you will probably stop reading now, or will immediately start composing comments that Christian Science is NOT A CULT. Cool.

If you’re not ready to call Christian Science a cult, that’s okay too, I find “cult” really shuts down the conversation. When I first started questioning and leaving, the posts screaming that Christian Science was a cult (usually for Biblical reasons) were a huge turn off. If you’d like to explore the Biblical reasons2 that Christian Science is wrong, I’ll link some resources at the bottom of the post, that’s not my area of interest.

So if you’re not willing to read about Christian Science being a cult, perhaps you’ll read about Christian Science as form of mind control. Or you might stop reading now, I don’t know.

Former Christian Scientist, now Christian, Linda Kramer, has written a book clearly laying out how Christian Science is a form of mind control, it is called Perfect Peril: Christian Science and Mind Control, and it talks through mind control expert Robert Jay Liftons’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform.

Lifton wrote Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China. I tried to read it a while back, but it is a dense book, and focused on brainwashing of political prisoners. I didn’t really connect with it, as most Christian Scientists are born into it3, so it isn’t so much brainwashing as it is our reality from day one. I got about a third of the way into it, bogged down, and I think it ended up at the local library book sale (this was pre-COVID19).

So what are Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform? As listed in, and heavily paraphrased from, Perfect Peril p. 55-57, they are as follows:

  1. Milieu Control – information management – you should only read authorized material, and goodness knows what untruths Eddy’s contemporaries might have written about her!
  2. Mystical Manipulationleader claims divine authority — Eddy’s case some people claimed she was the Woman in Revelation
  3. Demand for Purity – strive to achieve the unattainable, nothing like failing to make a “demonstration
  4. Cult of Confession – over emphasis on confession
  5. Sacred Science – beliefs and teachings are considered sacred, it says on the cover, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and the Weekly Lesson is “divinely authorized.” Logically all enlightened thought must eventually work its way back to CS.
  6. Loading Language – group has its own jargon, so much jargon. Don’t worry, you’ll learn about Aggressive Mental Suggestion during Class Instruction. Or not.
  7. Doctrine over Person – experiences contradicting doctrine must be ignored – you didn’t have a healing, you must have been doing it wrong, please don’t share it with us.
  8. Dispensing of Existence – elitist attitude often results in shunning of members who chose to leave. This is fairly self explanatory.

I found Kramer’s book much more relatable and far easier to read. It is a slim volume, under two hundred pages, with the last forty or so devoted to Kramer’s personal journey out of Christian Science, and Biblical arguments. Kramer works through Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform one at a time, pointing out how Christian Science fits each one, and uses authorized Christian Science sources. I now await comments about how the Devil can quote scripture for his own uses.

For those of us who were (or are) entrenched in Christian Science, stepping back and critically examine Christian Science in relation to these eight points is not always easy. Devil quoting scripture or not, Kramer lays out very solid, often relatable examples of each of the eight criteria. As a former Christian Scientist herself, she also acknowledges that these don’t necessarily feel like a problem when we are actively involved in Christian Science. It feels normal.

I was initially hesitant to read Perfect Peril as I knew Kramer had taken a different spiritual path away from Christian Science than I had, and I did not want to be given yet another list of Biblical arguments against it. I was pleasantly surprised that Lifton’s Eight Criteria were the main focus. I did read the Biblical critiques, but they did not resonate with me the same way Lifton’s criteria did.

If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably find Perfect Peril at least interesting, possibly enlightening, and maybe life changing. I found it validating as Kramer identifies, labels, and provides clear examples for each of the eight criteria. Kramer also gives background on Christian Science and Eddy from Church-Approved Sources, and sources from Eddy’s time.

Perfect Peril is quite an impactful book, I found it more easily approachable than God’s Perfect Child (which is excellent for a fuller picture of the Christian Science movement as a whole, but not an easy or quick read), and far less gut-wrenching than fathermothergod (which you will need to read with a box of kleenx near by). While all three belong on the bookshelf (or in the e-reader) of an former Christian Scientist, I think Perfect Peril will be my new go-to to loan out to the never-CS in my life who have questions about it.


  1. There are some Christian Scientists who dabble in Tarot, Astrology, Numerology, esoteric mysticism and hold some really weird views about the (coming any day now) Apocalypse, I’m not going to link to them. I’d like to think they’re a fringe group of extreme-CS, but there is more than one of them and those are just the ones sharing their views on the internet.
  2. The Fellowship of Former CS has Biblical Resources about why Christian Science is wrong — if you have issues with these, take them up with someone else, in case it wasn’t already very obvious, I have not taken a “Christian” path away from CS.
  3. The 2016 Survey by ExChristianScience.com shows 90% of Christian Scientists were born into it, and another approximately 5% are introduced to it by their parents before the age of 18. 5% of people were converts, and as this was a survey of former Christian Scientists, even the converts left. https://exchristianscience.com/tag/ex-cs-survey-2016/

Coverups, Conspiracies & “Colonel” Glover

Everyone in the year 2020 has experience living through a global pandemic. We have all seen first hand how the corona virus and the fear of covid-19 have dominated the news and reshaped our lives. Our personal experiences living in the age of the corona virus might help us to put into context a long accepted claim by Mary Baker Eddy that her husband died as a result of a yellow fever epidemic.

Young Mary had only been married six months and was pregnant with their son when her husband George Glover died. In later years Mary Baker Eddy would refer to her first husband as Major Glover or, later on, as Colonel Glover.[1] He died June 27, 1844, just days after Mary Baker Glover wrote toasts demonizing the moderate Whigs and praising pro-slavery southern Democrats. Most biographies of Mrs. Eddy repeat her assertion that her first husband died of yellow fever. Sibyl Wilbur, who worked with Mary Baker Eddy in writing the first positive biography, breathlessly describes the scene: “In Wilmington they [George and Mary] found yellow fever raging and the city in a panic. Mr. Glover endeavored to forward his business for a speedy departure; but he was himself suddenly stricken with the fever and survived but nine days.”[2] Early Christian Science historian William Lyman Johnson describes “the harrowing scenes of suffering she witnessed during this epidemic.”[3] Former Christian Science Monitor editor Richard Nenneman claims, more soberly, in his biography, “Wilmington was having an epidemic of yellow fever, and George became ill with the disease.”[4] Even some of the most critical biographies of the Leader of Christian Science accept the claim that her first husband, Mr. Glover, died of yellow fever in Wilmington, North Carolina in June 1844. But they haven’t necessarily done the checking.

When I lived in North Carolina I had the opportunity to do a little research on this period in Mrs. Eddy’s life and North Carolina history. There was an outbreak of yellow fever in Wilmington in 1821, and then not another outbreak of yellow fever until the outbreak in 1862 that lasted for several months and killed hundreds of people in a city of less than 10,000. If there was a raging epidemic of yellow fever in 1844 which panicked the city, it did not produce enough of a panic to make it into the newspapers and histories of Wilmington. You don’t have to go to the libraries, historical societies, and museums of North Carolina and spend hours researching the subject. A simple Google search of yellow fever in Wilmington will bring up a number of articles about the devastating outbreak of 1862. If you refine the Google search to include a search for yellow fever in Wilmington in 1844 you will either be taken to articles referencing the 1862 outbreak (with 1844 omitted) or you will be taken to stories about the death of George Glover. Perhaps there was a raging epidemic of yellow fever causing widespread scenes of great suffering and the only record we have of the epidemic is the account of George Glover’s death (perhaps he was the sole victim) as recounted by Mary Baker Eddy decades later.

 Yellow fever was certainly a highly feared disease at the time, and so the claim that her husband died of yellow fever amidst a panic-inducing outbreak was certainly a far more sensationalized story than the cause of death given for George Glover in all the newspapers at the time, bilious fever. Bilious fever is associated with excessive bile in the blood stream, leading to jaundice, or a yellow skin tone. The claim that her husband died amidst a highly feared epidemic is far more sensational than the idea that he died from bile entering his blood stream.

The critical Bates-Dittemore biography treats the issue well.

“In the early part of June, Glover was suddenly overcome by a severe attack of bilious fever. He struggled gallantly against it for eleven or twelve days but succumbed on June 27.

“Mrs. Eddy always insisted that her first husband died, more dramatically, during an epidemic of yellow fever. But there was no epidemic of yellow fever recorded in Wilmington that year. Had there been such an epidemic, the public funeral which Glover received would hardly have been permitted. The Wilmington Chronicle, the New Hampshire Patriot, and the Masonic Magazine all attributed his death to billious fever.

“Accepting the yellow-fever myth, Miss Wilbur consistently elaborated it by the statement: ‘During his illness his young wife was excluded by his brother Masons from the perilous task of nursing him’ (p. 39). This is contradicted by Mrs. Glover’s letter to George Sullivan Baker, January 22, 1848. [In that letter, she says ‘day and night I watched alone by the couch of death.’[5]]

“In her ‘Reply to McClure’s Magazine,’ Miscellany, page 312, Mrs. Eddy gave ‘about nine days’ as the duration of Glover’s illness; the obituaries gave twelve, corrected in Mrs. Eddy’s scrapbook to eleven. The last is most probably correct.”[6]

According to Robert Peel: “The contemporary accounts all describe the disease as ‘bilious fever.’ Mrs. Eddy’s explanation was that the authorities wished to cover up the fact that the dreaded yellow fever had appeared.”[7] Perhaps this cover-up was so thorough that although the city was allegedly in a panic due to the alleged raging yellow fever epidemic and consequent harrowing scenes of death and suffering, those covering it up were able to suppress all newspaper accounts and historical records of the outbreak. This claim of a conspiracy is a consistent pattern throughout Mrs. Eddy’s life. While it is certainly possible that George Glover died of yellow fever, and it is certainly possible (though quite implausible) that there was a conspiracy to cover up a yellow fever epidemic, if so then this would be one of a very long line of conspiracies connected to what must arguably be the most conspired-against woman in history.

It may be that Mary Baker Eddy’s claims of a yellow fever epidemic and a subsequent massive cover-up of an unheard of scale are true. But for all of us who have lived through the corona virus pandemic of 2020, we know how it has shaped our lives and how it has been a central part of the news for months. The idea that there was a massive coverup that was able to suppress all news and historical accounts of an epidemic in 1844 (but not in 1821 or 1862) strains credulity. Or perhaps it is possible that George Glover died due to bilious fever, as all the contemporary accounts confirm, and yet in the retelling many decades later Mary Baker Eddy felt the need to attribute his already tragic death to a vastly more sensational yellow fever epidemic, of which there is no evidence beyond her own statements.


Tanner Johnsrud was a fifth generation Christian Scientist and a Journal-listed practitioner for over a decade. He and his wife left Christian Science in 2017 and became Christians. He is currently working on a book on the development of Mary Baker Eddy’s teaching and claims about herself.


[1] Whether or not he ever earned the title of Colonel, or whether Mrs. Eddy later referred to him as Colonel Glover is another matter.

[2] Sibyl Wilbur, p. 41

[3] William Lyman Johnson History of Christian Science Volume 3. p. 304

Johnson, the son of the Clerk of The Mother Church writes “[Mary] was married to George Washington Glover, December 12, 1843. Six months later, her husband passed away in Wilmington, Delaware [sic]. Mrs. Glover returned to her father’s home in Tilton, New Hampshire, and in the following September a son was born, whom she named after his father. The shock of her husband’s illness and death from yellow fever, the harrowing scenes of suffering she witnessed during this epidemic, ant eh coming of a fatherless child, brought about an illness which for a time looked very serious. She was not able to nurse her son, and he was nursed by a Mrs. Morrison, who had given birth to twins a few days previous to the birth of this boy.” pp. 304-305

[4] Nenneman, p. 43

[5] Mary Baker Eddy Library Accession F00035. Quoted in In My True Light and Life, p. 54.

[6]The Truth and the Tradition – Bates Dittemore biography, p. 36

[7] Peel, Vol. 1 p. 322 n. 138

Get Wise Webinar: Why is Christian Science STILL influencing my life?

Our first Zoom Webinar/Collaboration with the Fellowship of Former CS is up on the FFCS YouTube channel!

Cult recovery experts, Bob and Judy Pardon spoke about why the effects of Christian Science remain even years after leaving. Drawing upon 30+ years research and experience helping people escape, deprogram, and recover from cults, the Pardons offer a wealth of information along with deep compassion and practical ideas of next steps.

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