There isn’t ANYTHING that Christian Science doesn’t promise

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

People like to see things the way they want to see them, and spiritualizing it with a theology called ‘Christian Science’ gives a pseudo-rationale to the otherwise preposterous thought that we can have everything perfect just by imagining it so. That’s quite a selling point, isn’t it? All your problems can just vanish if you follow Christian Science’s dogma.

Christian Science leads to huge arrogance; at least it did in my family. We were well-to-do, which simply added to this attitude. Christian Scientists believe one is as smart as they want to be, one is privy to the most advanced understandings—which Jesus allegedly stumbled upon accidentally back in His day, and which Mary Baker Eddy would later ‘perfect’—and you’re just plain better than everyone else! No suffering, no sin, no poverty or shortage – heck, you won’t even die. There isn’t ANYTHING that Christian Science doesn’t promise!

If the thought that all this is unrealistic—or, heaven forbid, untrue—comes into your mind, that’s Animal Magnetism; banish the thought, and double-down on your Science & Health. It’ll all make sense someday. And, since Christian Science is, by definition, ‘Truth itself,’ anything that doesn’t support it is clearly untrue! Why would one waste their time? It’s what I call the Christian Science put-down: ‘no, you misunderstand…’ usually used when they can’t explain to you what they’re talking about. It’s a way to dodge a rational debate, and cop an attitude of superiority at the same time.

Why I’m doing this

It was two days before my thirteenth birthday when the first of my grandparents died spectacularly and unnecessarily, traumatizing the whole family. The story includes the classic Christian Science elements of not even his spouse knowing until… then not even his sons knowing until… not getting him to the hospital until… and he’s yelling Christian Science BS at his sons and wife while they’re trying to save him. I loved him most in the world, and the feeling was mutual, but in Christian Science culture it wasn’t ‘appropriate’ for me to know what was going on.

When I found out he was dead, I also found out that he had been dying horribly and mysteriously for the past two days, one state away. I will never forget the crushing, screaming grief I felt; not because I’m stuck there, but because I have never felt any emotion approaching its strength since. It amazes me that I felt something so keenly once. It was felt for no one’s benefit, alone in my room, sobbing endlessly, endlessly. Because I should have been able to cry on his face in the hospital, at least. I don’t think anyone cried on his face, while he was dying.

Two years later, my other grandfather, just as beloved, had a massive stroke in the middle of the night after a year of warning signs. His practitioner had advised him to take a break from work but not to see a doctor. His family had pled with him in every way they could think of. Still, I cannot get my mind around my grandmother’s phone call to the local Christian Science nursing facility instead of 911, with her husband convulsing and speechless on the floor, his last words having been, “Something’s wrong.”

After refusing all medical treatment before and after the stroke, all that happened anyway was he kept having strokes until his son defied his father’s will to get him medical treatment. By then, all the damage had been done and my grandfather spent another decade trapped on earth taking all the pills he had been so afraid of and never getting his speech back and never walking at more than a slow crawl again, and it was a giant failure in the middle of our family. I didn’t visit him enough. At all. It is a great regret. I numbed myself to him even though he was a consistently dedicated, gentle, loving, witty, patient, formative mentor to me until the moment the stroke erased his personality.

I couldn’t help them. I couldn’t help my family.  I was too young, I couldn’t see through the CS fog.

Maybe I can help someone now.

Elizabeth

Content Editor & Community Coordinator
The Ex-Christian Scientist

If people were doing something different I internally judged them

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

I felt God’s hand was in everything that unfolded for me. I couldn’t take a step without praying about it, and all right decisions, activity, or relationships would have the appearance that fit perfectly with the moral, spiritual, and generally white-bread codes dictated by Christian Science.

If people were doing something different I internally judged them as heading in the wrong direction or being wrong. ’Reality’ in the human material world had to fall within the Christian Science parameters or it wasn’t real or wouldn’t contribute to spiritual progress in the Scientific plane of existence. When you are born into a cult like this it is not your fault. But it is hard to think differently. Christian Science programs thought at such a primal level.

I was hardcore for about forty-five to fifty years. My greatest sadness now, is that I brought my children up in Christian Science. My kids wised up before I did. My husband is not a Christian Scientist and has been very patient for over thirty years. But I had such a strong family influence growing up—third generation on both sides. And I didn’t really feel free to decide for myself until after my mother’s death. Now, I feel like I was let out of my cage. But daily, I have to give myself permission to think whatever I like.

So many Christian Scientists mimic each other. It really is a cult, as dangerous as the Jim Jones thing. I believe there is mind control going on. I never realized it before but that has to be how practitioners work. They kind of mentally rearrange your furniture upstairs.

Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine

Bad FaithBad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine, Paul Offit, M.D.

Paul Offit is professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a board member of Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD).


Despite the title, Paul Offit’s latest book is not anti-religion. He argues that compassion is the core of Christ’s teaching and that much good is performed by many religious organizations, but the notion that medical treatment conflicts with reliance on God persists in many sects, resulting in unnecessary suffering and tragedy, especially to children.

The struggle to repeal religious exemptions in US federal and state legislation is part of the story Offit tells, with much credit to Rita and Doug Swan for their perseverance in that cause. This is an important book, painful to read in places, about an issue that has been under-reported far too long. Of special interest to Christian Scientists is Offit’s discussion of the psychological factors that keep people devoted to cultish systems.

– Bruce


[Paul Offit] reports on the tragedies of faith healing, anchoring the book by beginning and ending with Rita Swan’s story.

It is compelling and informative, and if you weren’t upset before reading it, you will be afterwards. (Most of us are already upset.)

He gives the appalling history of child abuse, covers incidents I didn’t know about, and gives a Christian-based rationale for rejecting faith-based health care.

– Marion