Thanksgiving 2022

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.

This “Thanksgiving” (which I now observe as an Indigenous day of mourning), I’m so grateful to live in reality — having escaped from the cult of Christian Science (I was 4th generation) and its toxic, nonsense, magical thinking. Cult recovery and C-PTSD healing are a long road, especially when all my current health problems as an adult are the direct results of childhood medical and emotional neglect and abuse at the hands of my CS parents and grandparents, as well as adults at CS camp, school and boarding house, and my CS ex-spouse. But I’m so thankful now for the ability to see all that horrific abuse for what it was, to know that CS has always been pure evil, and to know it will never again have a place in any part of my life, my heart, or my body — all of which are very real. I only wish I believed in hell, because Mary Baker Eddy certainly deserves to burn for all eternity, but thankfully death and destruction are also real. I hope and pray that CS, TMC, branch churches, camps, schools, “nursing” facilities, etc. all follow her as soon as humanly possible. Amen.

  • EG

There are many things I am grateful for (including the word ‘grateful’ that I am working to reclaim from Christian Science). Among the best decisions I ever made was to finally leave Christian Science after spending the first 42 years of my life swimming around in what I call the ‘Krazy Sauce’. My gratitude for having left Christian Science came clearly into focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. I can’t even begin to imagine the inner conflict I would have felt in having to deal with a pandemic that could not be denied, in the face of a faith that would have demanded that I deny it despite the public health mandates that would have demanded that I acknowledge at least some sort of “pandemic reality”. I am grateful that I effortlessly, and without even a second thought, received an entire course of the COVID-19 vaccine (I have had the initial two shots, plus two boosters). As a Christian Scientist, I would have been in the deepest mental and emotional turmoil even just getting the jab in the arm or wearing a mask. Not having to work through the cognitive dissonance that Christian Science theology imposes while dealing with the undeniable reality of a pandemic, is also something I am tremendously grateful for. I’m also grateful that I do not have to sit in idle boredom, listening to readings from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures anymore.

  • Jeremy

It is wonderful to be a part of this special, annual service. I am so grateful to read all the testimonies from those of us who left Christian Science. It brings me so much joy to find community with folks who have found freedom.

I feel so thankful today for having left Christian Science. My life has become amazing after realizing Christian Science was all an elaborate hoax.

I left Christian Science almost a decade ago now. I launched on a big self-healing journey: I walked away from my god, my church, my friends, my community, my still-in-CS family (thankfully I have mended fences with my family; I love them very much). After that, I walked away from my marriage. I am in a new relationship with MYSELF! I am finally doing things that make me feel happy – like writing books, and cooking good food. I wasn’t able to do those things while trapped in previous circumstances.

I am also finally taking care of my body. I have had to play “catch up” with medical care. Having had zero vaccinations growing up, I have had to go to the local Health Department where I live to get vaccines for all the things. I am so grateful to the health care folks there who can figure out my doses.

I just got my Shingles vaccine, and next week I get my first shot for Polio. I also want to say I am grateful for mundane things that symbolize that I am human and happy – I love my morning cup of black tea with vanilla creamer. I love taking my daily medicines that help control my heart rate and my migraines. I love being able to take pain relief pills when I need them.

I love being in a new relationship with someone who takes care of me when I am sick. I love being in a relationship that gives me all the affection I have been desperate for, my entire life. I get all the hugs and cuddles I ever wanted and never got. My human side is acknowledged every day, and honored for its basic needs. It’s quite fun, being human.

There are times when it’s terrible, too, though. I fight severe anxiety and depression every day. More and more, I am starting to win that battle.

I want to express one more thing I am thankful for – ice cream. I am starting to buy a new flavor every time I need to buy ice cream. I am having so much fun trying all the flavors of ice cream. There are so many – and I love most of them. It is so delightful to take pleasure in a taste. Tasting matter. Matter is real and so enjoyable. There – I said it.

I am so grateful to be finding pleasure and happiness in my life, now that I fully acknowledge that matter is actually real and tangible. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Just Jodi

It wasn’t until I left CS that I could truly heal and come into my own. I gradually moved away from CS in my early 20s. Finding a (psychological) therapist and going on appropriate medication for me was life-changing. Imagine being able to take Advil for a budding migraine and that migraine not really appear! How wonderful that an SSRI can help with the crippling anxiety that prayer was utterly ineffective against. I now have a wonderful husband, child, and career, and I know I couldn’t have done it with CS! I am so grateful!

  • EQ

I am so grateful for modern medicine. My father had a knee replacement this summer that has allowed him increased mobility and independence as he heals. My meds keep me healthy and sane on a daily basis. My sister and her family are able to travel around the world, because they are protected by the vaccinations and regions specific medications that their doctors were able to give them before they left. My son did not suffer any long-term complications from a head injury this fall, other than a scar on his eyelid! I am always uncomfortable, thinking about how all of these situations would have resolved if we were all still practicing Christian scientists.

  • Wendy

As of this year I’ve been out of CS longer than I was in it. Every time I think I have it all out of my system I find another legacy of the collective make-believe that is CS. As annoying as that is, I’m grateful for the struggle to meet the world as it really is while getting to be and admit who I really am… and for benadryl.

  • Kjestell

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

Feeling Emotions

By Jodi, a Blog Contributor

I am positive it’s been said elsewhere on this blog, multiple times, that Christian Science teaches that “there are bad emotions.” I am positive, also, that Christian Science is not the only belief system to teach this. I read an article recently that talked about Mary Baker Eddy being the forerunner of the “Positive Thinking Movement” that still abounds around the country. Christian Science, however, takes this “Positive Thinking” to the absolute most dangerous extreme. Get in a fatal crash? Keep your thoughts positive, and you’ll not only come back from the dead, all by yourself with no help from an ambulance, but you’ll be instantly healed the way Jesus was when he came out of the tomb! Your entire “Being” be glowing!
I was hanging a lamp today with a friend, and the heavy chord from the ceiling fixture pulled the entire porcelain fixture on to the floor. It was still encased in the bubble wrap in which it arrived, but it shattered. I stared at it, in disbelief, and my friend so nicely said, “I’m sorry.” (Meaning he knew I was looking forward to this new lamp in my kitchen for so many reasons, and now it was broken.) At his comment of sincere sympathy and kindness, I felt tears well up in my eyes.
And those tears in my eyes are what inspired this blog post.
I grew up as the daughter of a Christian Scientist perfectionist, and she was also the daughter of a Christian Scientist …. and so it goes back to Mary Baker Eddy’s day, I think. Thankfully, I left. I wish I had left in my 20s the way most of my peers did, but, it just matters that I finally left.
I remember one time when I was in college, and my younger brother was probably in grade school. He did something in the kitchen and a glass bowl slipped from his hands and shattered to the floor. My first thought was, “oh no, he is going to be a wreck about this for hours, because he will feel so terrible about having broken this bowl! Then we won’t get anything done!” It turned out, he was so calm about it. Our mom and I praised him to the hilt about being calm in this situation. We cleaned up the broken pieces and went about our day as if nothing had happened.
I mean, part of that is good; he wasn’t in any trouble. He just had a little accident and the bowl shattered. He hadn’t done it intentionally. He wasn’t a bad person, and we didn’t want him to feel guilty and incredibly sad as if he was going to be in severe trouble over an accident.
That reminds me of the quote from Mary Baker Eddy’s book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” The quote says: “Accidents are unknown to God.” (Page 424.)
I am sure that at the time I was able to do some mental gymnastics that this bowl breaking wasn’t an accident, because “There are no accidents in God’s Kingdom!” Of course, we also probably KNEW that this bowl wasn’t actually real. (I wish that was sarcasm, I’m not sure what to make of that now, but that’s part of the process of being in Christian Science – nothing that has a material presence is real. If you can feel, see, taste, touch or smell it, that proves it’s not real!) So that probably helped with our denial about the whole experience, because something that wasn’t even real couldn’t actually break.
What got me today, while we were still dealing with this lamp this morning, is that sadness is actually a normal emotion to feel for accidentally breaking something. We aren’t robots. we are human beings having a human experience. And: emotions are a key part of the human experience. They are as real as music, tree branches, cut grass, cat purrs, perfume, and the sound of the ocean waves.
When my brother broke that bowl, our mom and I both immediately remembered that a year before an almost identical situation had occurred, and he had been uncontrollably sad, and crying. He was probably in maybe 2nd grade or something that first time, and maybe he was in 3rd or 4th grade for the second time. He had been nearly inconsolable for a long time. Maybe an hour. Maybe longer. Instead of letting him feel his emotions, I am positive we probably tried to talk him out of having them. We had to teach him that he wasn’t sad, but that he was safe and ok and didn’t need to be sad. The [whatever that broke the first time] wasn’t real and was easily replaced. Because things that are real can’t be hurt or damaged.
Wow. The mental gymnastics is mind-boggling to me now. I was seriously brainwashed to believe that all of this gobble-de-gook was true.
I remember being taught by my Christian Science Teacher that it was bad to feel emotions other than joy, happiness and gratitude.
Getting out of the Christian Science belief system, I learned that emotions are all real. I had a steep learning curve, learning what emotions feel like and how to label them. I learned that it’s important to name each emotion. A basic meditation practice has a person name whatever comes in to their thinking. If they feel anger, they say, “that’s anger,” or acknowledge it in some way and let it go on. I had to identify these emotions I had never been given words for. (See the website link, below, that talks about mindfulness practice.)
In therapy, I learned of horrible abuse to someone I love dearly – I learned that something that had happened in the past was actually abuse. This person I loved so much had been abused. And I sat there, with a blank expression on my face. I had no idea what emotion to feel. My therapist said to me, “if that had happened to someone I care so deeply about, I would feel sad.” And I realized it: Yes! I felt sad! I let myself feel sad for as long as I needed to. I think I still feel it now, and it’s been a few years.
During those years, I also realized I felt anger about that situation. I have felt more emotions than just sad, too, come to think of it. My emotions have included feeling: frustrated, angry, sad, hateful, depressed, frustration mixed with fury, outrage and even hatred at the abuser. I can’t even go back and fix the situation. It’s all over. The one who was abused has since died and I can’t go hug him and make it all better. This “not being able to go back and fix the situation” brings back the onslaught of emotions.
My emotions about something so horrible are perfectly normal. They are reasonable responses to feel in response to a heart-breaking, terrible situation. It is completely ABNORMAL to feel joy and gratitude about an abusive situation!
You know what? As I spent decades of my life in Christian Science, I had emotional outbursts at different times. Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played the emotionless “Spock” on Star Trek, struggled to stay constantly in a state of “non-emotion” for his character. He felt strong emotions after months of being this emotionless character. There are videos of him, feeling these strong emotions, in-between takes.
A human body needs to feel emotions. Otherwise, they build up to an intense level and come bursting out when it’s inconvenient and out of proportion. That’s why we need to feel the emotions as they happen. Name them. Express them when they are small so they don’t become out of control, strong, and downright frightening.
When I was taking photos of the shattered lamp part to send to the company to start the process of getting a replacement, I did shed 2 tears. I brushed them away, and kept working. I know that whatever happens, whether we buy this piece again or if they take pity on us and send us this part as a free replacement, it will work out. I will get the lamp installed and I will love this lamp in my kitchen until I move out of the house. Two tears over a broken lamp isn’t a big deal. It’s a healthy response to a frustrating situation. I feel grateful, actually, to have had this small response to a small broken lamp piece, instead of burying it down inside me to outburst at some later time.
My friend called me today to say her dad died. I cried more for that than I did for the broken light bulb. In fact, I felt generally sad for the rest of today, and also planned to take her dinner, a thoughtful potted plant, a bottle of wine, and a bunch of hugs for her whole family. We delivered the meal and sat with her and her family while they talked and hugged us as much as they needed to. I wasn’t an unfeeling robot about it. And I didn’t melt in to an emotional puddle for 24 hours. I’d say I handled the broken lamp piece and my friend’s parent’s death in about the right proportion for each of those circumstances.
In the words of a cigarette company from my youth – “We’ve come a long way, Baby.”

Additional Reading
I found this website which explains “Mindfulness” beautifully, about 3/4ths of the way down.
A book I read when I was about to embark on leaving Christian Science, though I didn’t know yet that life circumstances would propel me in this new direction. It took me a long time to get through this book. It helped me learn to feel and name my emotions, and begin on the journey towards balance instead of severe intensity with my emotions. “Discover Your Soul Signature,” by Panache Desai.
This is one article about Christian Science started the Positive Thinking Movement, but it’s not the one I read. There are probably dozens of these sorts of articles that trace Positivitiy back to Mary Baker Eddy & Christian Science,

Why do Christian Scientists go to the dentist (but not doctors)?

One of the most common questions the Ex-Christian Scientist site gets is “Why do Christian Scientists go to dentists but not doctors?” Yeah, that is a good question. While we were raised in Christian Science, practiced Christian Science, and have since left Christian Science, the “logic” eludes us too, but we’re giving it a try. 


  1. Extreme Christian Scientists often choose not to go to the dentist
  2. Mary Baker Eddy’s reasoning allowed for loopholes to avoid lawsuits and CS taking the blame for failure, you may need to so some mental gymnastics, but as a Christian Scientists, you’re used to that, and you can make it work
  3. Dentistry was a well-established comparatively evidence-based practice in the 1800s.
  4. Mary’s second husband (she had three husbands), Daniel Patterson, was a dentist. They were married in 1853.

1) One is fairly self-explanatory, Extreme Christian Scientists often choose not to go to the dentist, pointing to S&H 167:12We cannot serve two masters nor perceive divine Science with the material senses.”

2) The right use of temporary means” loophole, and other excuses that have been used.  

Depending on how you read Science and Health, you can find loopholes that “allow” for medical treatment. You may need to do some mental gymnastics, but as a Christian Scientists, you’re used to that, and you can make it work. 

If Christian Scientists ever fail to receive aid from other Scientists, – their brethren upon whom they may call, – God will still guide them into the right use of temporary and eternal means S&H p. 444:7-10

Other reasons CS have used: 

  • For routine visits: It is “just” a cleaning, you wash your body, you brush your teeth, going to the dentist for a cleaning is fine.  — Never mind Mary Baker Eddy repeatedly rails on about hygiene being ineffective: “Drugs and hygiene cannot successfully usurp the place and power of the diving source of health and perfection.” S&H p.167 12-14
  • Having teeth removed, repaired and replaced is acceptable, as teeth are bones, and “Until the advancing age admits the efficacy an supremacy of Mind, it is better for Christian Scientists to leave surgery and the adjustment of broken bones and dislocations to the fingers of a surgeon, while the mental healer confines himself chiefly to mental reconstruction an to the prevention of inflammation. S&H p. 401 27-32 This excuse is often also used to deny numbing during procedures, or follow-up pain relief and antibiotics, as “you can pray about that part.” Pro tip: if you can’t “pray enough” to fix the tooth, don’t try and pray about the pain
  • Using braces on teeth is fine as they are “aids” to “assist” us until we reach a higher level of understanding & are better able to heal ourselves. S&H 56 3-6 “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness,” Jesus’ concessions (in certain cases) to material methods were for the advancement of spiritual good.” (Yes, we know this is from the chapter on Marriage, but it applies to so many things). 
  • Ms. Eddy is known to have used dentists in her time, if it was OK for her, it is OK for current-day Christian Scientists. 
  • As of 2010, The Mother Church has openly encouraged the notion that Christian Science has made a “Truce” with doctors (NYTimes, March 23, 2010) and medical care (including dentistry) is acceptable. 

3) Dentistry was a well-established comparatively evidence-based practice in the 1800s.

Per the American Dental Education Association website: 

“By the 1700s, dentistry had become a more defined profession.  In 1723, Pierre Fauchard, a French surgeon credited as the Father of Modern Dentistry, published his influential book, The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth, which for the first time defined a comprehensive system for caring for and treating teeth.  Additionally, Fauchard first introduced the idea of dental fillings and the use of dental prosthesis, and he identified that acids from sugar led to tooth decay.” (

For more about Pierre Fauchard,,

By Mary Baker Eddy’s day, dental practices had been around for well over 100 years, and were far more evidence-based than the questionable notions of humors being used by doctors of the day (see additional resources). 

4) MBE’s second husband, Daniel Patterson, was a dentist, so dentists must be OK?

They were married in 1853. It does not sound like a particularly happy marriage, as they spent much of their time separated. It ended with a divorce in 1873.

Final Thoughts

It is worth noting that while MBE is quite set against mesmerism, hypnotism, homeopathy, drugs, hygiene, minor curatives, material medicine, chemists, botanists, druggists, doctors, nurses, vegetarianism, hydrotherapy, narcotics, cataplasms, whiskey, apothecaries, man-midwifes, and material hygiene to name a few. Interestingly, dentists don’t get an obvious mention, leaving them open as a possible acceptable option for Christian Scientists to partake in.

Additional Resources 

Christian Science in Historical Context – Further Reading 

History of Dentistry – Further Reading 

19th Century Medicine – further reading 

Christian Science Links – Science & Health in full text as a searchable PDF

Adam & Eve

By Jodi, a blog contributor

I was taught that the biggest difference between Christian Science and Christianity was that we viewed the Creation and Adam & Eve story differently from them. 

I remember explaining to so many different people over the years, what this means, and I figured I should share this in this blog, too. 

There is so much to share about this part of the Bible, and it encompasses only 2 chapters. 

The Holy Bible starts with the chapter, Genesis. And Genesis Chapter 1, starts with “The Creation Story.” It talks about how God created the universe. In the original, it uses the name “Elohim” for “God.” It talks about how Elohim divided the waters from the firmament (or ground). It talks about creating 2 lights in the sky – one for the day (the sun) and one for the night (the moon). It’s a beautiful chapter, full of creation of the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, every living creature that moves upon the face of the Earth. 

It talks about how “God created man in his own image, male and female created He them.” 
It’s interesting to think about when this chapter was written. It was actually written after the Adam & Eve story. The Israelites were in the desert, escaping slavery in Egypt. They wandered around for a good 40 years (it may not have been exactly 40, but it was a very long time). And the Rabbis with them had to get creative in their story telling. 

To the Children of Israel, “In the image of God” meant “royalty.” Only Kings and Queens were “made in the image of God.” But the Rabbis wanted the Children of Israel to also see how holy and special they were, so they said, in this story, that they were made in the image of God, too. How special they must have felt, to hear the words that they were holy children of God too, as marvelous as royalty!

If you go to Genesis 2, verse 11, this is the first place where the word “But” appears in the Bible. Before this, it was established that men and women were created and in charge of all the things on the brand new planet. 

Suddenly, in Genesis 2, verse 11 it says: “But there went up a mist from the ground and watered the face of the earth.” 

After this, the God referred to as “Elohim” goes away, and it turns into “Jehovah.” Jehovah is translated as “Lord God,” instead of as “God.” And it’s a whole new story of creation — the Adam and Eve story. 

This story predates the story of Creation in Genesis, Chapter 1. This story is the one most commonly referred to, I think, as the first man and woman on the planet. The Lord God created a man (Mary Baker Eddy defines “Adam” in her Glossary chapter in Science and Health as “A man”). 

The Lord God walks around on the Earth and creates a man, called Adam, and then “causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.” Then the Lord God takes a rib from Adam and uses it to create a woman, and names her “Eve.” 

It’s a completely different story from the one in Chapter 1. This story is complete with a talking snake and tree that bears the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, whereas Genesis Chapter 1, seems to only convey good things. Nothing “evil” in there. Nothing evil shows up at all in the Bible until we meet this serpent who talks about this tree that The Lord God said they could expressly not eat from.

The story goes that the serpent “beguiled” Eve and made her want to eat of the tree. She takes a bite of the fruit and gives some to Adam. Adam eats of the fruit too. 

Both people are suddenly aware that they are naked. They hear The Lord God (Jehovah) walking around and go hide themselves. Jehovah is suspicious of their behavior and then punishes them when He finds out what happened. 

One of the punishments is that Adam must now till the ground (farm) to find food. It will no longer be easy to get to, from the trees in the Garden of Eden. Eve is punished forever to have painful childbearing experiences. She gets the punishment of monthly blood, and pain simply for being a woman. Before this, people were created by God or The Lord God (Elohim or Jehovah). Now, they must come through woman and it will be a painful and awful experience for women for the rest of time.

I want to point out something that gets glossed over to everyone I have talked to who was never a Christian Scientist but who was familiar with these stories: 

There’s that part where The Lord God causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. The part where The Lord God takes out Adam’s rib, in order to create woman or Eve. 

Remember that part? In Christian Science, this is a key part of our faith. The fact that Adam was put to sleep. As far as I know, no other religion focuses on this detail. But it’s a key factor in the core beliefs of Christian Science. 

You see, the Bible never mentions that Adam woke up. 

Christian Scientists believe that “we are all in the Adam dream.” That’s right, they believe that Adam is still dreaming, and we are all inside this dream. None of us is real. We are all illusions inside Adam’s dream. 

You know how when you’re dreaming, and you find something you like, perhaps a treasure or a journal or food or who knows what. And you want to keep it forever. But then you wake up, and it’s gone? Because it was never real – it’s gone. I remember as a kid, having a dream that I was in a cafeteria line. I thought for sure if I held onto my plastic ware hard enough with my hands, that I could manifest it when I woke up. I woke up and my fingernails were digging into my hand, but I didn’t have any plastic ware in my hand. It wasn’t real. It was an illusion.
This is what Christian Scientists believe at their core – that everything around them is as real as that plastic ware that I tried to hold onto in my dream.

When they have an illness, it’s common for a Christian Science Practioner to say, “you just need to know the truth.” What’s the truth? That the illness is an illusion. It’s not real. Just know the truth. Wake up to the reality of everything – just wake up. Once you wake up, you will be healed. 

This belief system had the effect on me that I learned to dissociate at a very young age. I even practiced it. Dissociating can also be experienced as depersonalization or derealization. I can’t quite remember the difference between all of them – I do all of them. One of my medical doctors even diagnosed me with this – dissociation. It means that I don’t stay present in my body. 

I have talked with enough Ex Christian Scientists now that I know a lot of us do our best to ignore our pain. It’s what we were taught. We were taught to not pay attention to it, since it’s not real. Ignore it, downplay it, pretend it isn’t there. Basically, get your focus on something else (God in particular) and your pain will go away because you’re not focusing on it. 

I remember in third grade, being bored with what was going on around me, and I remember just trying to grasp the idea that I wasn’t actually in my body, that I was a spiritual soul that was made in the image and likeness of God. What would that look like? I remember trying to deliberately detach myself from my body, as if I was a spirit floating above my body. That was my real self, not this dream that had 5 senses. 

That reminds me to share that we were also taught that the 5 senses (seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling, hearing) are not real either. Anything we could sense with one of the 5 senses also wasn’t real, because it was inside the Adam Dream.

Are you seeing yet how crazy all of this is? Everything you can see, hear, taste, touch, smell isn’t real because it’s just made up by some guy who fell asleep aeons ago? 

All of this sounds like a Science Fiction plot to me now. Like a short story I read in Jack Finley’s book, “About Time,” about a world that created glass globes. In his science fiction story, people created worlds for a competition. All these little entities inside the globes were tiny people walking around, building things. Ultimately to be destroyed by the creator at the end of a year long competition. (I didn’t describe that very well; suffice it to say it’s a very good story.) 

I am learning, since leaving Christian Science, that my body is actually real. I have had to have heart surgery and need to take a daily medicine to control my heart further so I don’t pass out when I walk too fast or get too excited or nervous about things. 

Growing up in Christian Science, too many of our parents took the Christian Science teachings of “your body is not real, it’s just a dream,” too seriously and denied all medical care. In my experience, I was also denied any practical, material remedy. I wasn’t allowed honey to soothe my sore throat. I didn’t dare ask for crutches when I had a painful toe dislocation in high school. I had been taught that my needs weren’t valid. My needs weren’t important. Not just physical, but emotional too. 

If I was ever sick, I was sent to my room as if I was being punished – to go read my Bible and Science and Health. To pray and read only. No tv, no remedy. I was allowed to nap, thank goodness, when I was sick. I always worried that I would get in trouble for napping when I was sick. Thank goodness I never was. It wouldn’t surprise to me to hear some day that someone else was punished for that – not reading enough of their holy books to get a healing. 

I also wasn’t given words to define my emotions. I was allowed to feel joyful, happy and grateful. But I wasn’t allowed to feel sad or angry or frustrated. It took years of therapy to be able to put words to emotions I had buried my entire life. 

There is one other thing that I want to share about the Adam and Eve story and how it relates to my own experience. I often heard of friends having painful periods and cramping once a month. I had friends who could hardly get out of bed because the cramping was so bad. I felt somehow superior because I didn’t have these issues – that I had overcome the falsity of the Eve story. Eve being punished. Since I knew it was a dream (she is inside Adam’s dream too, if you think about it), then I knew the period issues didn’t have to affect me. It gave me a complete lack of empathy for people who had cramping with their monthly cycles. They didn’t “know the truth.” They were “asleep in Adam’s dream.” Their pain wasn’t real, they just believed it was. Why would I have any kind of empathy for people experiencing a dream? It’s what I had been taught – no empathy for people in pain or distress. 

Getting out of Christian Science and taking the (very scary) step to start going to doctors*, I found that medical nurses and doctors actually CARE about people. They listen when you say, “I’m not feeling well,” and they ask questions. “Is it a sharp pain? A dull pain? Where is it? Does the pain come and go? Is it throbbing? How intense is it?” And they listen to the answers. They administer medicines and bandages and other aids as necessary to help ease my physical body. 

For years, when I went to a hospital or care facility, I would cry. I couldn’t help it. Others I know have had this same response too. We are so unused to having someone be kind to us when we are suffering, that it is overwhelming and we cry in response to the kindness. It’s a shock to our system to be tenderly cared for when we aren’t feeling well. 

I am at the very beginning of learning how others see these 2 stories. As far as I understand it, these 2 stories are viewed as the same story. One gives the people names, and the other does not. I think this is how it is. I am not entirely sure, actually. One talks about where people start – like the family tree header. Maybe there were people before that, but history is started with these two – Adam and Eve. 

I went to a Catholic wedding one time and the Adam and Eve story came up. The priest told the story. I was baffled why a story that punishes women so badly would be at the center of a marriage. It just shows the different perspective a Christian Scientist has.

I want to also share that once I got out of Christian Science and learned what it felt like to receive true empathy, I learned to have empathy myself. I now know how to listen to people when they talk about their distress, or their emotions. I can try to soothe as I am able. I am able to comfort my own children when they aren’t feeling well. 

It’s a complete shift in my brain to have empathy. 

I hope all the folks still in Christian Science will get out sooner rather than later. I want them all to learn how to take care of their body and not die from something painful due to long term medical neglect. 

I am actually grateful to know that while I don’t know about Adam and Eve being a real story or not, I am grateful to know my own body is actually real. I am learning, over time, how to take care of it. 

*I had been taught to be afraid of doctors. That they make mistakes and kill people all the time. I was genuinely afraid of going to a hospital or doctors, thinking it would make me less of a child of God, unworthy of being healed ever again.

Additional Reading that May be of Interest

MBE’s Lasting Influences & Modern Day Impacts

A non-exhaustive Book List

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Most CS who have been out for a few years have read at least one heart-wrenching former-CS memoir, one eye-opening unauthorized biography, and one book that talks about how CS is a cult (if you haven’t, here’s a book list).

We agree, looking at MBE’s origin story in context is important, and we feel it is equally important to call attention to how MBE (and her teacher PPQ) have helped shape and influence American culture this day. To that end, the ExCS team has compiled a non-exhaustive list of books that discuss how strands of PPQ and MBE’s works have worked their way through New Thought, New Age, Positive Thinking, Prosperity Gospel, Manifesting your Reality, pop psychology and American culture at large.

Each Mind a Kingdom, by Beryl Satter firmly places Ms. Eddy in the historical context of the New Thought movement, as an undeniable student of Quimby, and inspiration for several prominent New Thought leaders (aka renegade students), one of whom, Emma Curtis Hopkins, went on to inspire a much larger group of prominent individuals in the New Thought movement.

One Simple Idea, How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, by Mitch Horowitz, which charts the history of the positive thinking movement from Quimby and Eddy, to modern day prosperity-gospel televangelists.

Horowitz discusses, at length, the Quimby-Eddy-Dresser triangle over who wrote what and when. Quimby published “almost nothing during his life.” Quimby’s writings were held by the Dresser family after his death, and his “edited notebooks did not begin to see publication until 1921.”

Bright Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Bright-sided discusses the impact of the positive thinking movement on several areas of our lives. The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, is neither optimist nor pessimist but is a realist. She explains the origins of positive thinking as a reaction to Calvinism, while still maintaining the Calvinist belief of “self-examination.” Beginning in the late 19th century, some philosophies and religions began to move towards the idea that regular, intentional positive thought (or prayer) breeds positive experiences. 

Today this idea has been enlarged it to the point it touches practically every aspect of our lives. “Wonderful,” you may say. But as Ehrenreich explains with wry humor and clarity, positive thinking also places responsibility for everything that happens in the hands of those who believe. It’s important to understand the manipulation that exists in these positive thinking methods, and that seems to be the author’s primary goal.

Lingering vestiges of Quimby and Eddyism continue to thrive in modern times. While they may have taken on new terminology, the tangled relationships of social and religious reforms alternative religions and medicine, and psychology persist. Pull at the threads, do a quick search, and you may find the answer is actually repackaged 18th century nonsense, that has been repackaged again several times. Take what works for you (or not), and proceed with care.

Do you know a book or resource that could help make this list more complete? Leave a comment, or if comments are closed, drop us an email!