Thanksgiving 2019

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 so grateful that since leaving Christian Science I don’t have to inconvenience the whole family by never being able to start our dinner prep until I get home from church. And they don’t have to worry about disappointing me by declining my invitation to help me fill a pew. (Ah the pride!!!! Look everybody, see my wonderful family!) – Jaycie


I am grateful that I am no longer a Christian Science practitioner. I am grateful to no longer be seen (or see myself!) as part of a spiritual elite who have some sort of advanced “spiritual understanding.” I am grateful to no longer be beholden to a system wherein my value is only as much as my last “successful” treatment. I am grateful that I was never made a Teacher or a Lecturer, and that I wasn’t hired to work in Boston – I am grateful that I am not bringing people into Christian Science, or further encouraging people to deepen their beliefs in CS. I am grateful that I am no longer perpetuating lies that are actively hurting people through denying the reality of our bodies, our minds, and ours hearts, and thus denying medical, emotional, and psychological help. I am grateful that I am not in a system that has such a hollow, empty, superficial, and ultimately harmful view of what it means to love one another. I am grateful that I am no longer being asked to ignore or cover-up lies, corruption, and abuse in the name of serving “The Cause.” I am grateful that my first allegiance is no longer to Mary Baker Eddy, her teachings, and her church. I am grateful that I am no longer engaged in twisting and warping, contorting and corrupting, every verse of the Bible to try to make it conform to Mrs. Eddy’s completely baseless interpretations. I am grateful to be free of the endless perpetual cycle of trying to be good enough, judgment, self-condemnation, guilt, and shame.

I am grateful to be in a new, real, Christian community now, one based in the gracious love of a God who really does know you and love you. I am grateful to be in a new church community where there are no elites, where honesty and integrity are more important than the organization. I am grateful to be in this new community where we can actually accept and love one another, not because of how good we are, or what we can do for one another. Instead, we love each other as real people, broken, messy, full of mistakes, but also gloriously beautiful, amazing, wonderful people – all at once! I am grateful to be in a church community where love and forgiveness are freely given. I am grateful to be in a community where we can laugh together and weep together, where people are actually there to help one another in every way, and where genuine love is truly freely given. – Tanner Johnsrud


I am glad I bailed forty odd years ago, in my twenties. I still pack crap, but have been glad of good medical care in the time since then. I have been able to control allergies with antihistamines, OCD, ADD, and depression with appropriate medications. Twenty years ago, a surgeon removed half of the medial meniscus in my right knee as I had torn it some fifteen years prior to that but just lived with it. Lately, I have begun reading about cs and mbe from writers who have not taken the blue pill, and am strengthened to be learning more about what an insanity cs is and what a complete nutcase mbe was, and how tmc has continued the delusion while the religion fades into well-deserved oblivion. I am especially grateful for the Ex-cs website and the facebook group. – Ron S.


I’m thankful to be FREE of Christian Science. I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful for the ability to begin to care for my physical, emotional, and mental health, with the support of a wonderful counselor and a good doctor. And most importantly (with respect for those ex-CS who oppose religion, either for now or for always), I am thankful for the real Christian gospel of salvation through Jesus, a supportive church community, beautiful/real hymns, and the hope of heaven.  – Hillary


I’m grateful for modern medicine. I’ve just had a surgery that I’ve been wanting for a long time that will increase my quality of life and reduce my risk of cancer. I’m also grateful for my lifelong (non-CS) friends who still love me despite the fact that I was completely brainwashed when we met. – Spice of Life


I am so grateful to be out of Christian Science. While I was in CS, I sustained numerous concussions. I had 3 after i became a parent in my 30s. I never had any of them checked out medically.

One time I was trying to tell a testimony at a CS Wednesday church service about the most severe concussion I ever had. The First Reader shut me up. She completely invalidated me. It hurts like hell to be invalidated.

This year, in therapy, I learned that vision therapy is a “thing.” I learned that my plethora of eye problems is likely due to all the concussions I have had.

I am grateful for my therapist who validates me. I am grateful for my vision therapy team.

I am grateful to not have to sit through church today.

I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. – Jodi


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.

I was told that I had the Best Life

The following was submitted by Beverly via email. It is shared here with permission.

I was born and raised on both Principia Campuses, Upper School and College, in the late 1940’s.  We lived in a tiny Faculty House, very isolated, on the Prin College Campus where my Dad (WWII Veteran) was a Professor of Political Science.  Both my parents were also raised in C.S. Dysfunctional Families and my Dad’s mom was a very weird, 300 Lbs. overweight C.S. Practitioner.

When I was 9 yrs. old we moved to the Prin Upper School Campus where my Mom taught Pre-School.  Again, very isolated community….you had to be a C.S. to live in our Neighborhood behind the School.

I remember that whenever any of us kids (5) got sick – we were told that we really weren’t sick and often felt guilty just for getting sick.  We got no Medical or Doctor attention (if my folks had gone to the medical, they probably would have lost their jobs at Prin.)  Also, since they didn’t have much money, my parents hardly ever called C.S. Practitioners – we little kids just had to “tough it out” on our own!  We all remember lying in bed with Fevers, etc. and getting no relief or help at all.  They just put on a Record of C.S. Hymns.

When my oldest sister was 10 she contracted Polio, but my folks just thought she had a headache and put her to bed.  They may have called some dinky little practitioner in Elsah for a while…..but nothing was really done for her and she had to endure a lot of pain, screaming at night, on her own.  When she finally got out of bed, one of her legs was withered and she has hobbled with a disfigured leg ever since.  No wheelchair or aides for her!  Now, her leg has deteriorated so much that she really can’t walk at all.

I suffered from periods of Deep Depression when I attended Prin College, but had no idea why.  Then I got my first Flashback and broke down crying, saying “I don’t think I love Mom and Dad any more.”  I had no idea why I was saying that.
Fast forward to my late 40’s.  Again I was very Depressed, and thought maybe it’s because I had left C.S. years ago and maybe I should start studying it again.  As I did…..thru a series of “Higher Power” orchestrated events….it was finally revealed to me that I had been sexually abused by my Dad when I was about 4 or 5 – in my bed at night.  My Mom knew about it, but did nothing, as she needed to stay married to Dad and they needed the money from Prin.

I found Co-Dependents Anonymous and a Fabulous Sponsor which saved my Life!  I’ve been a 12-Stepper every since!  My problem is I still find it difficult to completely leave C.S. and get hooked back into it.  I have done some Therapy, but no Therapist really understands how C.S. works and what it does to you…especially a child!

I’m so grateful to have found this website and could really use the support that is offered here.  

Anyway, that’s basically my story and I still have a hard time believing that I was raised and abused in a Cult – when all the time I was told that I had the Best Life because I was being raised in C.S. and going to Principia!

I never received childhood vaccinations.

By ExCS group contributor Jodi B. This is part of a series of first hand stories about vaccinations and Christian Science.

I never received childhood vaccination. I was religiously exempted by an easily obtained form in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I was protected by herd immunity my whole life and mistakenly thought it was my parents’ prayer (and later, mine), keeping me safe from measles and polio and such “out there.”

At the age of 16, I was away at Cedars Camps in Lebanon, Missouri, and there was a measles outbreak there. The State of Missouri kicked in and said “all those campers need to either be quarantined or go home and be quarantined there at home.”

I wanted to take my stand about staying proud of never having been given a shot. I wanted to go home. My parents wouldn’t let me.

The Missouri Health people came in and gave those of us who stayed, shots for the Measles. Another counselor friend of mine told me “it’s just ‘water in, water out,’ and for some reason, that helped me with my prayers on my fear of getting a measles shot.

I was so afraid I then had the actual measles and I told one of my older campers. She was probably 15 at the time. I didn’t want her to sit by me at dinner lest she get the measles from me. She was so disappointed that I would dare think she wasn’t spiritual enough to resist getting the measles.

I felt sad that I had made her feel disappointed. She sat with me anyway, in an awkward dinner. She never got the measles. I didn’t, either.

5 years later, I was about to graduate from Principia College. It was 1994. A few weeks before graduation. Word came around campus that 3 seniors might have the measles. They had never had the measles shot. There was a measles epidemic on campus. Everyone who had been vaccinated could leave campus – come and go freely. Anyone who had not been vaccinated needed to either go home and be quarantined or be quarantined on campus.

A lot of us had been vaccinated at Cedars Camps. Maybe 30 of us on a campus of maybe 600 students. Principia wrote to Cedars and obtained our vaccination records, because none of us had our own records.

I felt so proud that I could come and go off campus. So I did it just because I could, though I rarely left campus at any other time. I think my friend who had traveled to Korea and had all of her vaccinations and I drove to the store to buy donuts. Just because we could and she had a truck.

The 3 seniors were quarantined in a beautiful, well kept old house on campus that had since been needlessly neglected and then condemned, never got the measles. I was so glad those 3 students didn’t get the measles. We all graduated on time.

After becoming a mom of two elementary school boys, I subsequently left Christian Science due to mounting issues increasing in severity that were most decidedly NOT being healed in Christian Science.

We got one of my kids tested. He was found to be on the autism spectrum.

One of my sisters-in-law is a medical nurse and had a newborn son. I was scared of vaccinating my elementary school boys. She assured me that her newborn was vaccinated and would be given all shots on schedule.

She also taught me that term “herd immunity.” I had been protected by herd immunity and never by prayer.

I got my sons and me vaccinated using an alternative vaccination schedule. My boys’ schedule was set up by their brand new pediatrician. Mine was set up by the Department of Health in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We have also gotten the flu shot every year too. We all used to get the flu every single year. We haven’t gotten it since starting to get the flu shot (except for this past year when the flu was particularly aggressive, but the shot kept people from dying even if they still got the flu after getting the shot).

I have gotten and continue to get professional help so I can be a better parent to my son on the spectrum. He is thriving now as a person unlike the traumas he was going through while on the spectrum, and attending Christian science Sunday school.

The vaccination had zero affect on either of my boys in regards to autism. And I am so grateful all 3 of us have our complete vaccinations now.

How to get Vaccinated

This post has been submitted by an ExCS group contributor. If you have questions about vaccinations, please ask your Doctor or other healthcare professional. For more posts about Healthcare see Healthcare Resources


As someone raised in Christian Science, you may not have received recommended vaccinations as a child. This can leave you vulnerable to preventable diseases, and can also make you a carrier who could transmit these diseases to people who are unable to get vaccinated. Many ex-Christian Scientists view getting vaccinated as an important step in their recovery.

In this blog, I use the terms immunization, vaccine, and shot interchangeably. I also provide resources for the United States because that’s what I’m familiar with, but similar resources for vaccinations standard in other countries are easily found online.

Immunizations are covered at 100% by health insurance because they are classified as preventative care. So, they will not cost you anything out of pocket if you have health insurance. There are several different types of vaccines that you will need to catch up on and get in the future. There is a standard set that all children in the US should receive, there are vaccinations that adults need, and there are also vaccinations that you should get every year, like the influenza (flu) vaccine. There are also specific vaccines either recommended or required if you are traveling to certain countries. When preparing to travel out of the country, you should check the CDC website to find out which vaccinations are recommended. In some cases such as for the yellow fever vaccine, you will not be able to re-enter the US without proof that you received a particular vaccine. Don’t worry, your doctor will tell you which ones you need.

I want to tell you about my experience with vaccinations to illustrate why it is important to get them now. I got the measles at CedarS Camps, a major summer camp for Christian Scientists, when I was a small child. There have been many measles outbreaks at Christian Science camps and Principia College. Every time, the CDC comes in and shuts it down, and the children’s parents make the choice of either having their child receive the measles vaccine or going home. Unfortunately, many faithful, well-meaning, but woefully and willfully ignorant Christian Science parents expose their children to complications including pneumonia, encephalitis of the brain, and death by skipping this one vaccination.

My family moved several times when I was growing up. Every time we moved and I had to enroll in a different school, my mother had to scramble to produce notarized documentation that exempted me from vaccinations for religious reasons, which was legal in the state I grew up in. Every time, either she had to find these documents after having just moved or get new ones notarized and this always caused a scramble and an awkward delay. This happened again when I was registering for college classes and the delay caused me to miss getting in to some of the classes I needed because of the time it took to get forms notarized and physically sent to the college. I also had to deal with this awkwardness when traveling internationally for a job. So, by getting vaccinated, you can avoid situations like these for times you need to produce an up-to-date shot record.

I got caught up on childhood vaccinations in my 20’s so that I could travel internationally, even though I was still sort of a Christian Scientist then. However, I stubbornly did not get the flu vaccine every year even after getting the recommended childhood vaccinations. One year, I traveled to my home state to visit extended family and got sick while visiting. It was miserable, and I remember being sick like that several times before. When I got home, I went to the doctor and they tested me and told me that I had the flu. During my trip, I had interacted with an infant and an elderly person while visiting my extended family, and felt horrible for exposing those vulnerable populations to an easily preventable, but potentially fatal, disease. I’d also exposed two planes full of people while traveling home. I felt incredibly stupid. Now, I am proud of myself every time I get my flu shot every year.

When you go to your primary care doctor, tell them that you were not immunized as a child and that you would like to get caught up on your shots. If you are comfortable doing so, you can let them know that your parents raised you without medical care. After some initial surprise, they are usually pretty understanding and relieved that you would like to get immunized now.

First, you need to find out which shots you need. You can choose to either go ahead and get all of them, or you can request an Immunity/Vaccine/Antibody Detection test. Because you were not immunized as a child, you may have gotten some diseases and already have immunity to them and therefore do not need a vaccination for those diseases. If so, you can avoid the soreness that occurs from getting an unneccesary shot and any potential side effects. You will also learn more about your childhood by finding out which diseases you had. For example, I got chicken pox and measles as an unvaccinated child raised in Christian Science. That meant that I did not need the chicken pox vaccine. I did still need the MMR (measles, mumps & rubella) vaccine in order to get immunity to mumps & rubella. I remember having the measles, but I don’t remember having the chicken pox. It’s also good to know for your health history, and having this data on record will contribute to statistics which inform public policy.

The doctor’s office will need to draw your blood for the Antibody Detection test or refer you to a lab for bloodwork. So, you will need to wait for the results before you can find out which vaccinations you need. At your follow up appointment, you will find this out and can now decide how to proceed. (You don’t have to get this test if the additional step will be inconvenient or if it’s not covered by your health insurance.)

Here is a common list of vaccinations:

Your doctor will tell you which ones you should get based on your age, health history, risk factors, etc. Some shots need to be gotten in a series of two or three within a certain period of time, like 30 days or < 6 months. If you need a series, it’s important that you come back to get the subsequent shots within the specified time period so that the immunization will be effective. There may be some vaccinations that came about more recently that your doctor might recommend for you, like the HPV vaccine, that may not be covered by your health insurance because they have not yet been added to the CDC’s list for your age group. So there is a chance that the cost for these additional vaccines might not be fully covered by your insurance, but you can call them to check beforehand. Even if there is an out-of-pocket cost, it is a good idea to get them if you can afford to do so.

Now that you know which shots you need, you can decide on the timeline for how to get your immunizations. You can get several at once or spread them out. I personally recommend that you plan to get one vaccination per month, but it may be more convenient for you to get most of them all at once and then only return for the series shots, or spread them out to get a few at a time with your series shots. For example, military members are often given 8+ vaccinations at once. Either way you choose, it should not make a difference on the cost (free).

The nurse administering the shot will ask you where you would like it. The most common place to get a shot is in the upper part of your non-dominant arm. They may also be able to give it to you on your hip. You might want to consider which side you sleep on and get the shot on the opposite side.

You may have a choice in vaccine delivery mechanisms. Anything that can be breathed in will be more pleasant than receiving it as a shot. There are also “live” vaccines, which may not be recommended if you have small children in your household, are pregnant, or live with someone who is pregnant. You might be advised to wear long sleeves to sleep in for some period of time while the vaccine is absorbed. Your doctor or nurse will go over all of this with you and send you home with a pamphlet containing all of the information you need.

The annual flu shot is available at pharmacies for convenience and you can use your health insurance and skip the doctor’s appointment if that works better for you. A nurse at the pharmacy will administer the shots.

Be aware that there are potential side effects from vaccinations. The FDA has concluded that the benefits outweigh the downsides. Read the information you receive thoroughly. I personally experienced a swollen lymph node from the MMR vaccine. This happens in 15% of children who receive it. If you are self-aware and informed about what could happen to you as a result of getting particular vaccines, you can recognize when you are experiencing a side effect and find ways to reduce the impact of these side effects. You can also call your doctor’s office for advice on how to handle side effects if you experience them. For my swollen lymph node, I read that it helps to sleep on the opposite side so that the lymph node gets less blood flow. After I did this, the swelling went down. Even though I had this unpleasant side effect for about two weeks, I am still glad that I got that shot. Most of the time, the area where you received the shot is simply sore for a few days to a week and there are no side effects. I’ve gotten probably fifteen shots total and only had this very minor side effect with one.

Now that you have been vaccinated, you can feel good about participating in a free public health benefit and display your new shot record proudly. You will get sick less often, and can no longer be a potential carrier endangering infants, elderly, or people otherwise unable to get vaccinated with easily preventable diseases. Now you can rest assured that you won’t get a debilitating disease that is easily preventable. You will also no longer need to feel awkward about a misinformed religious exemption imposed on you by well-meaning parents. Your shot record will come in handy when you apply to live in a college dorm or for certain jobs.

Thanksgiving 2018


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.

– Michele


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.

– Judith


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!

– Anon.


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!

– Michael


This concludes our Thanksgiving post. Please feel free to contribute any additional testimonies in the comments below.

Please note any comments left on Thanksgiving day will be approved on Friday 11/23. All comments are screened, please view our Comment Policy if you have any questions.

Unashamed ExCS

By m.rose, submitted via email. m.rose is a pseudonym. For more information about how to share your story, please visit https://exchristianscience.com/about-2/share-your-story/


I am a former student of Principia. I was raised in Christian Science my whole life, and my mom is one of the most respected CS nurses in New England. My father attended Principia College, but later left Christian Science. At the time I was graduating high school, he had lost his job, and told me Prin was the only affordable option because of the scholarships I received. After moving around and attending 4 different highs schools, part of me was relieved that I would be with people I knew–so I was obedient.

Early on in my freshman year, I went through an experience that would now be labeled as date-rape. I swept it under the rug until several people urged me to come forward. I waited until school ended that year, because I didn’t want negative visibility for me or the gentlemen involved.

That summer I attempted to process what had occurred, but after struggling from depression off and on throughout my life, I quickly fell into a dark place. The guy I had accused said many hurtful things to me, but when he called me a cunt, it completely broke my heart.

I started seeing a therapist and taking prescription anti-depressants. I was not planning on returning to Prin, but at the time it was my only option. The dean of students treated me like a heroine addict, and took my medication away from me. For a while, the resident counselor (with absolutely no medical background) was doling the pills out to me at night. Eventually the school told me I needed to stop taking them or leave.

Soon I fell into the adverse effects of withdrawal, far worse than anything I have ever experienced. The mental anguish was as painful as being stabbed. The dean of students told me I needed to go on medical leave, but it was a contentious time in my family and I felt I had nowhere to go. Eventually I tried to overdose on the sleeping pills I hid from the school. My roommate found me unconscious and called the school nurse. Luckily, after hours, I woke up. No one had called an ambulance, and no medical attention was given. It frightens me to think of how easily I things could’ve gone the other way—and I wonder why I wasn’t worth a 911 call.

I left at the end of the semester after the dean of students met with me and my father and told us that I could come back the next semester, without needing to reapply, and that my scholarship would still be in place.

I did as she said, but I was never admitted back into Prin, and was told I wasn’t allowed on campus. No reason was provided.

I remember the dean of students (at Principia) asking me to be more realistic when I said I might want to apply to a school like Boston College or Northeastern. I currently attend Northeastern University and work full-time in marketing. I am up for a second promotion, despite not having my bachelors yet.

Recently I met up with that same roommate, in NYC, when we were both visiting family, and we got into the topic of the school now allowing students to take medication. I became upset and said “well, where’s my apology”?! She told me it was my fault for attending the school, and that I just blame everyone else for my problems. It is this kind of ignorance and judgement of those who take medication, that make it really hard for me to be around Christian Scientists. What happened at Prin was deeply painful, but I suspect me not being CS made me unworthy of compassion.

I returned to work that Monday, feeling totally defeated, only to find I had been promoted to a full time employee “for far exceeding the expectations for an intern, and for an incredible work ethic.” Interesting that they left out my characteristic lack of accountability.

I don’t drink or do drugs, but I take medication every day for allergies, Birth control, etc. I don’t identify with any theology, but I am passionately vegan and advocate compassion for all living beings. In the eyes of Christian Science and Principia, I am morally inferior. In the eyes of everyone else, I am someone deserving of respect.

You know, it’s funny that I eventually got a heartfelt apology from the guy who assaulted me, but I never got a word of remorse from the school that almost killed me.

Musings on Zombies

The following is are musings about Christian Science and zombies by Ex-Christian Scientists, Chrystal and Zosh. Happy Halloween.


Chrystal: I have noticed in recent years that folks in the general United States population seem to be fascinated by zombies. I don’t remember this being a “thing” when I was younger. Witches, skeletons, Frankenstein – all of these were things. But it wasn’t so much a “thing” with the zombies until recently, unless, of course, my head was truly in the sand. (Which, undoubtedly, it was.)

Zosh: yeah, I’ve noticed that people are interested in zombies. Definitely.

Chrystal: I have never been fascinated with zombies. At all. They sort of creep me out, but not in the same way as the giant snake in Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets does. That’s just big and scary, but clearly imaginary. There is something different, to me, to the zombie experience.

Zosh: Years ago, when I was still trying to attend the Christian Science church, I took my girlfriend to a church service. She looked around and said, “They look like walking zombies.“

Chrystal: Oh my gosh, my boyfriend who is now my husband calls it “The White-Haired Church.” And now that you mention that, it’s so clear. So many of the Christian Science church goers & church members have bandaids on their faces, or visible deformities.

Zosh: They totally do.

Chrystal: It’s like walking through a graveyard there. Some of the people are alive and smiling. And others are just like the walking dead. Every week, I expected to see some of them suddenly walk in, completely healed from the ailments they have literally carried on their body.

All of us can see their deformities. It’s right there, in plain sight! But we were always supposed to pretend we couldn’t see it.

Zosh: We were supposed to “rise above it.”

Chrystal: It makes me so sad to think about these people. Some of them are genuinely good, kind, creative people. And they have something that definitely needs a doctor to look at. But they refuse to get medical care.

Zosh: “Yeah all of them seemingly trapped in their own head with no one willing to listen.”

Chrystal: I keep hearing stories of people dying due to face cancer. As in: cancer on their face. Their nose, their neck, their cheek. It eats them alive. And they never get care. It breaks my heart.

Zosh: They are totally mind zombies for sure. Plus rather than sucking the life out of you they proverbially suck the life out of your mind. Stripping it of the ability to do what it should be doing naturally, feeling.”

Chrystal: I now go to doctors and get an annual skin check up. It’s in my line up of annual checkups. I get the annual physical with a regular doctor. I get the annual skin check up with my dermatologist. I get the annual pap smear with my gynecologist, and she refers me to a practice where I get my annual mammogram. And then I’m good to go for another year. There’s no medicine in any of it, it’s easy to get all of this done. I wish everyone did it, everyone — including Christian Scientists.

Zosh: Annual checkups weren’t a thing for us growing up. But I am going now and so glad to be learning normal self-care. We didn’t grow up with it. That’s for sure.

Chrystal: I hope you have a nice Halloween and don’t encounter any real-life zombies!

Zosh: Haha, you too. Happy Halloween!

 

Dear Christian Science Teacher

As the end of the school year winds down, many people are expressing their thanks to the teachers in their children’s lives. This Ex Christian Scientist felt inspired to share her appreciation for all the unexpected lessons her Christian Science Teacher gave her.


Dear Christian Science Teacher, CSB,

It’s teacher appreciation week. So I thought I might share my gratitude to you in this letter.

When I interviewed you, I remember you name dropping all the “famous” people who had taken Class Instruction with you and who attended Association every year. That clinched it for me, that I should go through with you, even though my mom told me she found you to be cold and uncaring.

Thank you for telling me you would give me a 3” 3-ring binder of notes during Class Instruction. I found that material bit of information to be comforting. It is a binder that is chock full of quotes from All The Holy Books Of Top Secret Knowledge.

So, I was vegetarian when I went through Class Instruction with you. I’d been raised to “take no thought for your body what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.” You told us that you would hire a chef to cook us a special lunch every day. I remember the first few days of lunch – every day it was bacon or ham. Something pig. Every meal. I kept my mouth shut. For 3 days.

I remember holding up a greasy, nearly raw piece of bacon on day 4. I asked my Classmates “do people in this geographical area eat some kind of pig EVERY DAY?” I held up the greasiest, most gross thing I had ever seen, and showed it to my Classmates. None of them seemed to think it was a geographical area thing. This was the moment they realized I was having a hard time with the constant bacon at every goddamned meal. I said, “do you eat this part of the bacon?” One student said, “I would.”

I just couldn’t. In my entire life, I had never liked eating pig. (Isn’t it in the Bible somewhere that we shouldn’t eat pig? Because it’s unclean matter? Is that not a part we spiritually interpret; though? Really, I’m confused. We seem to bow down to iron clad Bible verses and completely ignore other verses.) I never ate so much pig in my life before or after Class Instruction. It is most definitely the thing that stands out to me the most – how many pigs were killed and put on our plates for our personal consumption. What about that whole thing, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Does that not apply to pigs?

It was Day 14 of 14 days of Class when we were finally served a vegetable heavy meal. I was so excited to finally see GREEN things to eat! I loaded up my plate and joyfully ate all of it! Is that a healing?

Other than the bacon, thank you for the sun tea. I liked the sun tea for lunch that one day.

Let’s see, what else.

Thank you for providing a small, hot, stuffy room, with a fan blowing us from the hallway. Man, that was a hot, stuffy room. Anyone who sat on the couch had a rough time staying awake. It was interesting to see people try to avoid what should have been a comfy seat and opt for the harder chairs. Seriously. You have a huge house. And you picked that room because … it has a desk in it? I mean, that’s a very small room.

I remember that very first thing you did when you walked in to the room. We were all sitting there, and you walked in, looked at your chair, and announced to us in a breathy voice, that you had actually seen Christ Jesus sit there before you. Wow. Then you, what, sat on top of him? I guess I really don’t get this whole matter-isn’t-real thing.

That day of learning to pray with The Lord’s Prayer was riveting. I had apparently never prayed with it before. The day we learned about Animal Magnetism and how it’s not real, but we need to acknowledge then deny it just in case – glad I stayed awake for that lesson!

The most important quote you taught us was undoubtedly: “if you don’t start with god, you won’t end up with god.” See? I remember the important stuff.

Remember that moment after Class Instruction was over, and you gave each of us I think 10-20 minutes alone with you? Thank you for pulling me aside in what was supposedly going to be an extra precious and special time – one on one with my Teacher! It was in this extra holy time I clearly remember you telling me that I needed to “heal this emotionalism.”

Yeah. I tried. I really did. It just got worse because: #ItsNotScience and #HumanityIsActuallyAwesome

Thank you for gaslighting me not only to me, but also to The Mother Church. They called me up 18 months after I applied to be in The Journal, and they said you told them I shouldn’t be Journal listed, even though I had people asking me to give them Treatment before I had ever met you! Oh, and of course when I called you to say, “what was that all about?” You told me it wasn’t what had happened. This still confuses me. They told me you said I wasn’t ready. You said that’s not what you said. Someone’s story isn’t adding up. This is the definition of gaslighting, as far as I can tell.

Thank you for calling me on behalf of The Mother Church that other time, too. I was struggling with something and posted it on Facebook – a new platform for communicating with our friends at the time. I asked people to help me pray about something. Imagine that! Asking for thoughts and prayers on Facebook! Groundbreaking person that I am. My friends were helping me and correcting my thought with gusto! I was so grateful to have my thought corrected so publicly!

Someone must have called The Mother Church and turned me in for sharing my struggle in public! So you called me and told me flat out: “this is a disciplinary phone call.” Hoo boy, good times. I have never again asked for thoughts and prayers on Facebook. I learned my lesson on that one! It must be in The Manual of The Mother Church somewhere never to ask for thoughts and prayers on Facebook. Somehow, I had missed it. Thank you for setting me straight.

Thank you also for chastising me when I called a different practitioner when my son was sick. I ended up taking him to a doctor that time. The poor kid. It turns out that he is special needs and I had no clue. Because you know, he’s actually Perfect. And if he’s not perfect, then it’s my fault, of course.

Thank you for supporting the camp director at that Christian Science camp for yelling at me that time about my special needs son.

You know what happened? Kids were picking on my son. They were bullying him. Wouldn’t stop. My son does everything he can to be kind at all times. And people just come up to him and poke him and tease him mercilessly. Kids are cruel! My son begged this kid to stop. I’ve seen it so many times; kids picking on my son mercilessly until he cracks. The only way these horrible kids will stop is by being physically hit by my son. They clearly won’t listen to his words and won’t let him walk away or run away from their horrible bullying behavior. They follow and chase him and won’t stop! So, he hit that bully kid. And: who got in trouble? The kid who taunted my kid? Nope. He is the grandson of a trustee. He couldn’t ever do anything wrong. No way. It was my kid. The one with special needs and a meek demeanor. The one who keeps his hands to himself and doesn’t like being touched – ever.

That camp director made it abundantly clear that despite the fact that everyone adores my older son, I am truly a lousy parent because my younger son isn’t neurotypical. I obviously hadn’t prayed correctly for 9 months when I was pregnant with him. It feels really great to be forced by a Christian Science Camp Director to Christian Science parenting classes. My husband was especially (not) grateful to be forced to go to these classes. Because, you know, he hates Christian Science and didn’t really know what it was until he married me.

Oh wait – my son IS perfect. He is a perfect human. Perfect with all his imperfections. Just like the rest of us. I love his non-neurotypical brain. Einstein, Leonardo daVinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Lucretia Mott, Amelia Earhart, Steve Jobs, and so many others have not been neurotypical, and they didn’t need a healing! They molded the world to their thinking, rather than trying to deny their unique way of thinking and pretend to be like everybody else.

Speaking of which, thank you for the longest, most expensive Association weekends ever! I love spending all day Friday traveling, arriving for a Bible workshop, served with a cookie and decaf coffee! Then spending money on a hotel. Then getting up early. For all day Association. 7:30am-6pm is kind of long. An hour lunch (most of which is used for waiting in line) is kind of short. And the food was greasy. Every year – greasy food. But I didn’t take a thought for it.

Thank you for those sugary snacks and freezing room to help us stay awake. And those plastic bones. That’s right. That one year – it was Halloween weekend and you gave us plastic “dry bones” wrapped in curly ribbon. I wonder which Student had the wonderful task of making all of those trinkets? Those dry bones represented readings from Ezekiel or something about God breathing life into dry bones. You told us to keep those on our desk. So I did. I never knew what else to do with those.

 

Ezekiel 37:1-8 New International Version (NIV)

The Valley of Dry Bones

37:1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Oh wait, but, in Christian Science, aren’t we taught bones aren’t real?

From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 475:6

 

 

WHAT IS MAN?

Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science.

 

But, this was an important Bible verse with God talking to us about bones rattling and getting tendons… wow. I am so confused. All this contradictory stuff that Christian Science teaches. How on earth can anyone keep all this contradictory “obey this part of the Bible, but not this part, and listen to Mary Baker Eddy when she says bones aren’t real, don’t listen to the Bible when Ezekiel says The Lord made bones to rattle and you can hear it with your ears, because your ears aren’t real. We can’t spiritually interpret that part, so ignore it. And, besides, the five senses aren’t real….” Yikes. It’s a whole lot of gobble-dee-gook if you really look at it.

Oh – and one more thing. Thank you for telling me to be grateful for my husband when I really wanted to divorce him. Yeah. We’re still going strong. He’s most likely an alcoholic but I’m still in denial about that. You made me look for the good in him. I’m still looking. So, definitely thanks for that.

Oh right, you divorced your husband because he had a gambling problem. He had healed it when you first got married? But then, after what, 40 years of marriage it resurfaced again? Wow. Some healing that was. Christian Science sure works really well, doesn’t it? It feels good to stay in denial. For decades. It’s awesome staying in a marriage because – well, that’s what appearances are for, aren’t they?

What I do makes you look good. Or is it bad? I can never figure out which. Either way, I’m probably in the wrong. I know you’ll be happy to correct me!

Thank you for making sure any time I told you that I was having issues with your cold demeanor to me, that I should look at life from your point of view. Because mine didn’t matter. Only your feelings and your emotions matter. I had forgotten that valuable lesson. I guess standing up for myself hurt your feelings. Never mind the fact that you’re a grown ass woman, twice my age. You haven’t learned to heal your own emotionalism? Really? How come?  Don’t you own multiple copies of The Holy Books of Top Secret Knowledge?

Thank you also for completely humiliating me in front of the entire Association by making me stand up as a “prayer warrior” who prayed and a girl who had been kidnapped safely got back home. I did NOT want to stand up and be counted as a prayer warrior on that case. That was completely humiliating. I couldn’t stifle those tears and just snotted in front of everyone. I didn’t have a choice, since “praying for children” had been the topic I had led that previous year. So obviously, it was my leadership that brought that girl home. I cherish the humiliation of being called up in front of the whole Association with my snotty face and everything when I really just wanted to run to the bathroom, clean up, and fly home and hug my kids. That was a personal highlight of my time at Association.

Well, anyway, thank you again for everything you taught me.

I guess the biggest lesson I learned with you is – WORK. Work your ass off for your Christian Science Teacher and make sure to hide all your flaws (like that lipoma on my shoulder we prayed to heal all those years. It put my arm to sleep a lot of the time. Remember that?), and make your Teacher look good.

For heaven’s sake, if you must go to a doctor; remember that it’s your own bad prayers that have made you go there to get that lipoma removed. Eight years of bad prayer sure makes those things bigger than you might think. I am glad I figured out prayers don’t work. The doctors were pretty horrified I’d let it get that bad and hadn’t had it removed when it was much smaller. Any bigger, and I could have lost all feeling in my nerves, and then had to amputate my whole arm!

Thank you that one year when I sent you all my best, most spiritual ideas, and your response to my wide open, vulnerable heart pouring out to you was cold and unfeelingly short. Wow. Your talent to cut someone harshly in as few words as possible is epic. I admire the way you use your icy heart to bluntly hurt people in the name of Jesus.

You know that part where people say the best teachers learn from their students? Well, here’s the part where I impart my own wisdom to you:

I hope someday you wake up and don’t just smell, but also drink the coffee with its caffeine intact.

I hope you will consider embracing the “flaws” in people instead of smothering and denying them. Seriously.

If you embrace people’s so-called “flaws,” you might see that they are just humans, doing their best. No matter how beaten down they may have been, they are kind people doing their best. Some days are good, some days are bad. Like ocean tides – days ebb and flow.

We all learn to embrace each other in the good times and in the bad times. We bring each other food and comfort in the sick times.

Oh yes, and Thank you for your clear bills, letting me know very clearly how much money I owed you each month for praying for me. I loved sending you money I didn’t have, every month, for things I never saw you doing, and never got healings with, and being treated with contempt and spittle.

With sincerest best wishes that you get out of CSBS some day,

Your former student who can’t seem to get off your damn spam list-serve but is living her best life ever, now that’s she DONE with you


Note: According to The Manual of The Mother Church, once a student is taught by a Teacher, that person is their Teacher for LIFE. And they cannot “divorce” them. It’s permanent. I just want to get off the email list and calendar. I have asked them to remove me numerous times, and even submitted their emails as SPAM. And yet, i still get these emails and invitations. It’s probably easier to get off the National Phone Registry list than it is to get off a Christian Science Teacher’s email list.

The “Healing Ministry” of Christian Science Nursing

Christian Science Nursing is often shrouded in mystery, here we share a 60 Minutes interview with a former CS Nurse, as well as information from CS nursing facilities about CS Nursing practices. 

This post has appeared as a guest post at Emerging Gently and on Kindism.org, it is reprinted here with permission and minor edits. 


I was going to write a post comparing and contrasting Christian Science Nursing with modern medical nursing until I came to the Churches own page about the topic and read what Christian Science Nursing actually entails, and my desire to write a polite analysis went out the window and I had an overwhelming desire to smash my head repeatedly into a wall.

When people outside of Christian Science think of a nurse, they’re probably envisioning someone that fits the description from the American Nurses Association


– Registered Nurses –

  • Perform physical exams and health histories
  • Provide health promotion, counseling and education
  • Administer medications, wound care, and numerous other personalized interventions
  • Interpret patient information and make critical decisions about needed actions
  • Coordinate care, in collaboration with a wide array of healthcare professionals
  • Direct and supervise care delivered by other healthcare personnel like LPNs and nurse aides
  • Conduct research in support of improved practice and patient outcomes 

RNs practice in all healthcare settings: hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, ambulatory care centers, community health centers, schools, and retail clinics. They also provide health care in more surprising locations such as camps, homeless shelters, prisons, sporting events and tourist destinations. (1)


To call what Christian Science Nurses do “Nursing” is incredibly misleading. The list of what Christian Science Nurses do not do looks startlingly similar to the list of what Registered nurses do. Christian Science nursing care does NOT include the following:

  • Making a medical diagnosis or prognosis;
  • Assuming responsibility for making health care decisions for the patient;
  • Administering medication, drugs or using medicated, herbal, or vitamin-based products and remedies;
  • Using and administering medically oriented techniques or technology;
  • Manipulation, massage, physical therapy;
  • Intravenous or force-feeding;
  • Intruding on the private relationship between the patient and the Christian Science practitioner, or between the patient and his or her family;
  • Giving personal advice and counsel. (2)

Several years ago, CBS TV show 60 MINUTES did a segment entitled By Faith Alone (3), discussing if Medicare should cover Christian Science nursing facilities. They interviewed a former Christian Science Nurse, Leslie Saunders (4) who shed a disturbing light on the practices taking place in the Christian Science nursing facilities: 

Leslie Saunders … stopped working at Medicare-funded Christian Science facilities, agrees [Medicare should not cover CS nursing]. “Medicare pays for medical treatment under given guidelines. For Medicare to involve itself in Christian Science nursing means Medicare is trying to pay for theology,” she tells Safer. She also says the only “treatment” allowed in such facilities is praying; the rules are so strict, she says, even patients short of breath are not given oxygen. (3)

Saunders’ interview stands in stark contrast to the recent “Interview with a CS Nurse” (5) but out by the Chestnut Hill Benevolent association (6) where “Jenny Ferch shares her journey to the BA’s Christian Science Nurses Training School. Her background at Principia Upper School, working as an intern at the Mother Church, and her innate love of caring for others — all pointed her in the direction of the healing ministry of Christian Science nursing.” 

I’m not sure how denying people oxygen and not administering medication or physical therapy is a “healing ministry.” Even the top Google hit for “healing ministry” —  Christian Healing Ministries acknowledges and affirms that there is

“… value of the medical and counseling fields, since they too are ways in which God’s healing power is manifested.” (7)

While Official Church Policy states that Christian Scientists are “free to go to doctors or seek medical care” (8) the idea is laughable. To qualify for participation in Christian Science Nursing Facilities, people must abide by standards requiring them to radically rely on prayer for healing (9).  All Christian Science Nursing Facilities have a policy that clearly states guests must rely on prayer alone.

From a Florida facilities statement about care:

“… non-medical nursing facility offering care to those who actively rely on prayer for metaphysical healing and are working with a Christian Science Journal-listed practitioner. Those who come — for help are the remnant of our Leader’s seed. They are not nominal worshippers. They have set out to preclude the Adam dream by refusing to take the medical route.” (emphasis mine, 10)

From the Chestnut Hill Benevolent Association:

2. What are the requirements for admission?
You must be having treatment from a Christian Science Journal-listed practitioner on a daily basis and relying solely on Christian Science for healing. Each call is considered on an individual basis, according to the request and need, as well as the availability for admission.
(11)

The idea Christian Science refuses to acknowledge any value in the medical field preferring to rely solely on prayer alone comes directly from Ms. Eddy. During the time she was working on her 300+ editions of Science and Health, it may have been safer to wait it out (12), but in 2015 the best course of action is to at least call your doctor’s office (13). Ms. Eddy’s writing on doctors, diagnosis of disease, and perspective on hygiene is not only wrong, it is deadly (14). As Ms. Eddy was the author of numerous volumes, I’ve selected a few passages from Science and Health:

On page 370 of Science and Health, Ms. Eddy writes: “A physical diagnosis of disease, since mortal mind must be the cause of all disease, tends to induce disease.

Whatever teaches man to have other laws and to acknowledge other powers than the divine Mind, is anti-Christian. The good that a poisonous drug seems to do is evil, for it robs man of reliance on God, omnipotent Mind and according to belief, poisons the human system.Science and Health, p. 169-70

It is plain that God does not employ drugs or hygiene, nor provide them for human use; else Jesus would’ve recommended and employed them in his healing… The Divine Mind never called matter medicine, and matter required a material and human belief before it could be considered as medicine.  Mind is the grand creator, and there can be no power except that which is derived from Mind… Inferior and unspiritual methods of healing may try to make Mind and drugs coalesce, but the two will not mingle scientifically.Science and Health, p. 143-4

Christian Science Nursing facilities deny people proper medical care. In September, I had a guest poster, Dr. Spock, describe the House of Horrors Christian Science Nursing Facility were his mother spent her last days (15). I highly recommend reading the entire piece, Spock describes inhumane conditions, unimaginable pain and suffering that would not be permitted in a medical facility or hospice care.

I remember a visit to the House Of Horrors early in childhood when my grandmother worked there as a Christian Science nurse. …. . The only comfort the “nurses” [were] able to offer [was] to shift pillows, offer water or juice, or read from the Bible and/or the writings of Mary Baker Eddy or other Christian Science literature. Not even an aspirin is permitted in these houses of horrors, and people often enter these facilities with advanced cancer or other serious diseases eating away at their bodies. Before Christian Scientists will acquiece even to care at a Christian Science nursing facility, they will often have suffered at home on their own with whatever ailment they’re dealing with for quite some time. Any admission of advancement of a disease is an admission of failure in your practice Christian Science, and many Christian Scientists are loathe to admit such. 

For Christian Science Nursing to use nursing is incredibly misleading. Christian Science Nursing facilities should not be subsidized by tax payer money, and they should be very clear about what care at Christian Science “nursing” actually entails — no relief. Another guest post, My Mothers Turn to Medical Hospice (16) is the story of a Christian Scientist who turned to medical hospice care after being in a Christian Science facility that failed to meet her needs.

Perpetuating the farce that Christian Science facilities provides any level of skilled nursing care is damaging to the patients and their families.  I am horrified that Medicare pays for Christian Science nursing. Medicare pays for medical treatment (17), the Church’s position on Christian Science nursing — and the position taken by Christian Science nursing facilities — make it clear that there are no medical treatments given, means Medicare is paying for religion. The guidelines set up by the Church as to what Christian Science Nurses can and can’t do speak volumes. There is more to nursing than shifting pillows, offering juice, arranging food in a pleasing manner and reading Science and Health.


Continue reading “The “Healing Ministry” of Christian Science Nursing”

Christian Science Gaslighting

In the chapter on Christian Science Practice in Science and Health, Ms. Eddy presents an “allegory illustrative of the law of divine Mind and of the supposed laws of matter and hygiene, an allegory in which the plea of Christian Science heals the sick” which runs from p. 430 – 443 (the end of the chapter – 1). Ms. Eddy explains

  • A man is charged with having committed liver-complaint. The patient feels ill, ruminates, and the trial commences. Personal Sense is the plaintiff. Mortal Man is the defendant. False Belief is the attorney for Personal Sense. Mortal Minds, Materia Medica, Anatomy, Physiology, Hypnotism, Envy, Greed and Ingratitude, constitute the jury. The court-room is filled with interested spectators, and Judge Medicine is on the bench. (p. 430)

The trial quickly disintegrates into Ms. Eddy’s limited 19th century understanding of medicine: the witnesses, Coated Tongue, Sallow Skin, Nerve,  Mortality – Governor of the Province of Body, and Death are all called and eventually

  • Judge Medicine then proceeds to pronounce the solemn sentence of death upon the prisoner…. The prisoner is then remanded to his cell (sick-bed), and Scholastic Theology is sent for to prepare the frightened sense of Life, God, — which sense must be immortal, — for death. (p. 433).

Not all is lost!

  • Permission is obtained for a trial in the Court of Spirit, where Christian Science is allowed to appear as counsel for the unfortunate prisoner. Witnesses, judges, and jurors, who were at the previous Court of Error, are now summoned to appear before the bar of Justice and eternal Truth. (p. 434)

What happens next is esoteric Christian Science reasoning at it’s finest:

  • The plea of False Belief we deem unworthy of a hearing. Let what False Belief utters, now and forever, fall into oblivion, “unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.” According to our statute, Material Law is a liar who cannot bear witness against Mortal Man, neither can Fear arrest Mortal Man nor can Disease cast him into prison. Our law refuses to recognize Man as sick or dying, but holds him to be forever in the image and likeness of his Maker. …  The Supreme Bench decides in favor of intelligence, that no law outside of divine Mind can punish or reward Mortal Man. Your personal jurors in the Court of Error are myths. (p.441-2 emphasis mine)

I find it interesting Ms. Eddy uses both Man and Mortal Man on p. 441-2. On p. 468 Ms. Eddy is quite clear that

  • There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual. (emphasis mine)

By putting MORTAL MAN on trial, she is violating her own laws of man as a spiritual idea of God. In Ms. Eddy’s view Mortal Man is no more real than his complaint about his liver. Ms. Eddy’s insistence that mortal man be spared through Christian Science is in direct contradiction to her own ideas about the true Spiritual nature of mankind.

I have no desire for mortal man to pass on before his time, however, as long as he is occupying his mortal (and material) body he should take steps to look after it. Ms. Eddy never claims that mortal man will have everlasting life — that is reserved for Man as a Spiritual Idea of God. Ms. Eddy may mean well as she grants Mortal Man a reprieve, but what about the next time Mortal Man has a complaint? Will Christian Science triumph again, or will Mortal Man succumb to some other complaint (2)?

There are plenty of documented cases where Christian Science failed to “save” Mortal Man – or mortal children (3), yet Christian Scientists are gaslighted by well-meaning fellow Christian Scientists into thinking these failures are their own fault: You’re not material, you’re spiritual! There is no sensation in matter. You must not have prayed enough. You’re bitter. Your faith was shaky. Instead of questioning the religion, they question themselves and thus begins a deadly spiral of ignoring the problem, and praying for a solution.

You feel crazy, defective, and like a bit of a wreck. You turn to Christian Science even more fully in an attempt to find answers.

Gaslighting
A common form of brainwashing in which an abuser tries to falsely convince the victim that the victim is defective, for any purpose whatsoever, such as making the victim more pliable and easily controlled, or making the victim more emotional and therefore more needy and dependent. (4)

Christian Science excels at gaslighting: I was on a phone call with a CSP who was telling me that my badly twisted ankle, which was swelling up and throbbing in pain, was “unreal” and just “mortal mind.” There was more than one night I spent trying to pray about fever-induced hallucinations knowing they were only aggressive mental suggestion trying to put me off my true spiritual path. The “unreal” mountains of kleenx that littered my dorm room as I suffered from the “unreality of the flu.” I couldn’t call in sick, I had to call in because I was “working on a demonstration.” Women’s menstrual cramps were not related an ovarian cyst, PCOS or nutrient deficiency, they were God’s way of punishing them for having impure thoughts. At the end of the day all our suffering was self-induced because our thought strayed from God.

Christian Science Gaslighting
a religious form of brainwashing in which a follower of Christian Science, tries to convince the victim/patient (usually a fellow Christian Scientist or “lapsed” Christian Scientist) that the victim/patient is God’s Perfect Child and is spiritual, not material, and therefore any problems the victim claims to have are simply mortal mind, erroneous thought, or aggressive mental suggestion. The end result of this is usually the victim/patient feels like a failure as a Christian Scientist and redoubles their efforts to heal themselves by spending even more time with the Authorized Literature often to the detriment of their physical health and mental well being.

An excellent example of “Christian Science Gaslighting” comes from a CS Nurse’s response to the question of “how do i leave christian science” (5) when she states:

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 7.38.41 PMI have no problem with encouraging someone to see the more positive side of the issue, but the attitude that when someone can be “held back by their lack of healing” that it is okay to ONLY “continue to see them the way God really made them” is harmful on every level. Serious maladies which could/should have been remedied have been overlooked because people were taught to believe that mortal life is unreal: they believe that understanding the spiritual universe created by God results in physical healing (6).

Ms. Eddy has a fair bit to say about working out your own salvation (7), and while not standing in agreement with mortal mind may help a CSN or CSP sleep better at night, it does little for the person suffering.


End notes

  1. http://christianscience.com/read-online/science-and-health/%28chapter%29/chapter-xii-christian-science-practice#anchor.1.12
  2. It is worth noting Ms. Eddy eventually died, and her body was buried http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Baker_Eddy#Death
  3. http://lizheywoodwriter.blogspot.com/, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20915F7345911738DDDAC0994D0405B8985F0D3, https://emergegently.wordpress.com/tag/deaths-in-christian-science/, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA081EFC355E12738DDDA10A94DF405B848DF1D3, https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/~shallit/Talks/cs.html, http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/flashbks/xsci/xscilett.htm – you can do a quick google search and turn up even more
  4. jebrown.us/Relationshop/Definitions/gaslighting.html
  5. http://time4thinkers.com/forums/topic/how-do-i-leave-christian-science-behind/
  6. http://secular.org/heywoodtestimony
  7. http://kindism.org/2013/06/02/suffering-is-oft-the-divine-agent-in-this-elevation/, see also http://kindism.org/?s=salvation&submit=Search

More reading on Gaslighting

  • http://thestir.cafemom.com/love_sex/159299/10_signs_your_man_is
  • http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gaslighting
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting

This post originally appeared at kindism.org, it has been republished here with permission.