Ruth’s Story: Turn to Medical Hospice

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.
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This is the story about my mother’s turn to medical hospice in the final weeks of her life. She is not alive to tell the story herself, but I believe she would approve my account of it here.

My mother (her name is Ruth) was a devoted, life-long Christian Scientist who practiced ‘radical reliance.’ She would tell you that she experienced many wonderful healings in Christian Science.

In her mid-80s, Mother began experiencing worrisome symptoms that did not yield to Christian Science treatment. She worked diligently to heal the problem, and she had the help of one, and then another, Christian Science practitioner. In time, her condition worsened to the point that she could not eat, and she decided to admit herself into a Christian Science nursing facility.

Her condition deteriorated, and she finally acknowledged that she was not going to ‘meet’ the problem and that she would ‘pass on’. Mother was not afraid of dying, but she was disappointed in herself. She had sometimes said that, “Christian Scientists should not get sick and die.” Rather, she believed that when the time came to die, they should demonstrate a quick and painless passing from a healthy human state to their next plane of existence. But that’s not how it worked out in her case.

The Christian Science nursing staff at the sanatorium made no adjustments to my mother’s care as her distress, exhaustion, and pain increased. They continued to place a full tray of food in front of her three times a day, even though she could not keep any food down. Neither could she sleep. My brother and I smuggled some sleeping pills to her, which she was grateful to have.

One morning she telephoned, begging me to transfer her to a medical hospice. Later that day, I and a social worker from the hospice accompanied an ambulance to the Christian Science nursing facility to accomplish her move. The director was at first reluctant to release her, but after a discussion she was allowed to leave.

Mother was admitted to the hospice and was made comfortable in a room by a medical nurse. The attending physician came by to interview her and explain what care they would provide to ease her through the death process. Mother asked a few questions and seemed satisfied. After the physician left, she turned to me and said, “these people are so much more professional.” Those are her exact words. Mother died peacefully under palliative medical care about two weeks later.

Mother remained committed to Christian Science to the end. In her view, her turn to palliative medical care in her final days was consistent with Mary Baker Eddy’s provision for relief from extreme pain as stated in Science and Health (p. 464). As I reflect on her experience, I am at a loss to understand how the Christian Science community can avert its eyes from the suffering of their faithful members as they go through the human death process.

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.

Katie J.’s Story (Part 1)

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By Katie J., an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

 

To say that I was literally born into Christian Science would not be an exaggeration. I was born on a cold January morning in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at my grandparents’ house. My parents were in the middle of going through a divorce, which, according to Oklahoma law, could not be final until I was born. Because all of this was happening amidst a legal proceeding, my father had been required to provide my mother with medical care during her pregnancy, which she completely ignored. There was a doctor set to deliver me at a local hospital, and a plan to avoid said doctor and local hospital. I would be born, then the doctor would be called to be informed that he had missed the whole thing—it had all just happened so fast. My grandmother’s name appears on my birth certificate, but that was only done to protect the identity of the real attendant, a Christian Science nurse.

As luck would have it, the Christian Science nurse had been a legitimate obstetrics nurse before converting to the religion. This was lucky for my mom because there was some complication with the separation of the placenta—and this nurse knew how to deal with that—something that the average Christian Science nurse wouldn’t know anything about. And so I came into the world, the placenta was dealt with, and my mom and I were both healthy and came through the ordeal with no medical intervention whatsoever. I never had medical care and I wouldn’t be seen by anyone from the medical field until I was sixteen and snuck off to get birth control pills at the local Planned Parenthood clinic.

Continue reading “Katie J.’s Story (Part 1)”

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.