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 dreamed in a red haze all night.

The following has been submitted by “Anonymous Guy in Ohio.”


In general, I was a very healthy child growing up in our Christian Science household, so many of the intricacies about CS’s distaste for modern medicine avoided my awareness.  Never had a broken bone.  No allergies.  Outside of a few severe seasonal colds, I never missed school. 

My parents skirted around CS expectations in a curious manner…I got the mandatory vaccinations for school, I went to the dentist regularly–including getting fillings when needed (?) but everything else was off the table.

I very much liked Christian Science growing up.  I remember being disappointed as a kid to find out that it was a lay ministry, meaning that leading services wasn’t a full time job.  If they would have had priests or ministers, I probably would have considered that as a career path.  

I don’t know why, but in my youth I was highly susceptible to testicle torsion.  This is essentially when your testicle twists backwards and circulation is cut off.  Very common sports injury.  Some, like me, just seem to have a predisposition for it–like some people having “bad knees”, I guess. 

 It starts off innocently enough.  A feeling like your leg is falling asleep, except it’s high up in your groin…usually I would go for a short walk, nature would take its course, it would untwist itself, and I wouldn’t think anything of it. 

Then one day shortly before my fourteenth birthday, it happened again–and this time it didn’t turn back.  This is the WORST.  Nausea sets in as the most sensitive part of the male body starts dying.  Worst pain you’ll ever feel.  If I think about it hard enough, even 25 years later, I get nauseous all over again.  

After vomiting for an hour, my mom said that I needed to “get back to God” and start praying.  (I was a mouthy 13 year old–aren’t we all?!)

Several hours later it was now 1am and I was writhing in pain as I vomited off the bedside.  The pain was too great to walk, so running to the toilet was out of the question. 

My mom decided to read “Science and Health” to me….I didn’t hear a word she said.  I told her my balls hurt.  She told me that it was part of puberty and “I didn’t know what boys my age were supposed to look like” when I told her I could feel the swelling in my scrotum.

Finally I punched the wall.  I was out of ways to process the pain.  My mom closed the book and walked out of the room, telling me to get some sleep. 

 I thought about going to the hospital myself, but at 13 years old, I would have to walk there.  In my small town, that was definitely possible, but in my condition, not practical.   

I dreamed in a red haze all night. 

For the next week, I felt part of myself die inside.  They both swelled up to the size of a tennis ball as they fought for circulation.   I was bullied in school for “walking funny”.   I’m pretty sure the Guidance office & a few teachers pulled me aside to investigate, but I was programmed not to discuss family business with them.  If only I had. 

Eventually, one testicle shriveled up and died.

That’s when I fell out of love with Christian Science.  There’s no coming back from that.

A few years later, I got an infection “down there”–this is a common thing if you’ve had this kind of trauma in the nether regions.  It was a different pain, but similar enough that I was certain the whole thing was happening again.

I already only had one testicle–was I now a Eunuch at age 16? 

I demanded to go the doctor.  My mom said, “We can’t, you need to pray, this is what you get for falling away from the Church.”

I told her I was going with or without her because I had a driving permit now, and I didn’t care if I got arrested for not having an adult in the car. If she took the keys, I would walk, because it wasn’t as bad as the last time.   Realizing that I had her, and that a minor showing up at the hospital without their parent’s consent would probably get Children’s Services involved, she relented and agreed to go with me.

My mom refused to sit in the appointment, because the Church would be disappointed.  She said she was only doing this to humor me.

The doctor was done in about 10 minutes.  “Here’s an antibiotic for the infection in your right testicle.  No, your left testicle is never going to grow back.  We’ll schedule a follow up test, but at this point it’s more dangerous to remove your testicle than to leave it.”

I told him that he didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already suspect about my condition, but I would need him to tell my mom because she thought I was only here because I was having a growth spurt and lacked a working knowledge of puberty.

He agreed, brought her into the exam room.  He minced no words.  I will never forget the look on her face as he told her that I was intimately scarred for life, and there was no remedy.

“It’s okay to cry,” she told me as we got back in the car, with tears in her eyes. 

“I ran out of tears a long time ago,” I said.  ” All that’s left is anger now.” 

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.

Santa Claus Isn’t Coming to Town

This post was written by Contributor Jodi B.

One thing I have learned as I have left and watch others leave Christian Science, is that while there are some beliefs that are strong with the Christian Science belief system (for instance: there are exactly 7 names for “God” in Christian Science – they are known as “the Seven Synonyms.” The Synonyms are: Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth and Love.) There are also other things that apparently varied from household to household – drinking coffee, wearing band-aids, going to doctors, and getting immunized, among many others, I am sure.

Every year around this time, the whole topic of “is Santa real?” comes up in conversation. I think the last few years it has also come up on the Ex Christian Science Facebook group. A few points got made there recently, and it made me remember my own history of what I was and wasn’t taught about Santa, and it all has to do with the attitudes of my parents towards Christian Science. 

My dad was a staunch believer in Christian Science. He taught me that “we Christian Scientists don’t lie to our kids, so I let you know that Santa isn’t real.” 

When I was about 3 years old, my mom worked as a chef in a girl’s college dorm. A day or so before Christmas, she  spent all day making a lasagna. She curled my hair with a curling iron to be especially pretty that night and dressed me in my only dress (which happened to be red), and then we went to the dorm to serve the lasagna to the girls. Santa was there. I have a Polaroid of me with Santa. I don’t remember anything else that night – just the lasagna, my curled bangs, and a photo with Santa. 

My mom was also raised in Christian Science, but had left it before I was born. One Christmas, she put a gift for me under a simple tree in her living room – it was a Raggedy Ann coloring book! I was maybe about 4 or 5 years old. It was such a thoughtful gift, to me. I loved Raggedy Ann, and my dad wouldn’t let me have coloring books. She barely had money to survive, and it was a big deal to me that she had spent the money to buy me a gift. I felt sad when she said it was from Santa. Because I knew how hard she worked and I knew that money was so tight for her. I wanted to thank HER for the gift, but had to sit there and figure out how to respond nicely, since she obviously wanted me to believe Santa had brought it to me. I never had the heart to tell her that I didn’t believe in Santa, but I definitely appreciated that she tried to have this sweet story for me to believe in. 

My younger brothers were also taught, “Santa isn’t real.” One of my brothers had a Jewish playmate. They definitely enjoyed being able to talk with each other about Santa’s “non existence.” If Santa is a real person who brings gifts, how come no one seems to realize that he only brings gifts to kids who celebrate Christmas? This whole, “he visits EVERY child in one night” is ridiculous, but as far as I know, it’s NOT “every child” who receives a gift from Santa in one night. I am certain there are so many people who would agree with me on this, and not just the Jewish children.

I am pretty cynical now about Mary Baker Eddy, the creator of Christian Science (which is neither “Christian” nor “Science.”) Eddy probably came up with this whole “we don’t lie to kids in regards to Santa, because she wanted to sell her own book. “Christ and Christmas.” It was illustrated by someone who had to sit there, drawing, as she specified exactly how the art should be done. She was quite meticulously picky about the imagery in that book. I was even told by a Practitioner that “people have been healed, just by looking at the pictures in that book!” 

“Methinks the loving parents and guardians of youth ofttimes query: How shall we cheer the children’s Christmas and profit them withal? The wisdom of their elders, who seek wisdom of God, seems to have amply provided for this, according to the custom of the age and to the full supply of juvenile joy. Let it continue thus with one exception: the children should not be taught to believe that Santa Claus has aught to do with this pastime. A deceit or falsehood is never wise.”

Mary Baker Eddy, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,  261:2-10

Some time in High School I came across the article called, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” I read it and it resonated so beautifully with me.  Read the article here from the Newseum. It was also around this time when I came across a catalog that had a wooden statue of Santa wearing green, and coming to town in a small boat like a canoe. I also found that the Coca-Cola Company was responsible for mainstreaming Santa wearing red with white trim, as a marketing thing. It added fuel to my own internal belief system about why we didn’t need Santa, and that  “we bow down to God, not a fictional character, Santa.” 

I was still in Christian Science when I became a mom. I weighed my own experience with Santa, my absolute belief in Christian Science, and the article I mentioned above, and decided that I also “don’t lie to our kids”, and taught my kids that Santa isn’t real. I also told them, as I had been told, “don’t tell other kids, it will make them sad.” So, of course, one of my kids (I can’t remember which one), marched over to the neighbor kids and blabbed at them, “Santa isn’t real.” Oh my gosh, does EVERY kid do this? I got a prompt phone call from the other kids’ dad letting me know what had happened. He said, “they didn’t seem to hear your son, and I am glad, because I want them to figure it out organically, the way I did.” Organically? Yup, that’s what I remember him saying. 

One of our Christmas ornaments has long been an elf that sort of looks like a beaded Santa. It has floppy legs (no, it is not that “Elf on a Shelf” thing which I never even heard of until what, 3 years ago, and now suddenly “everyone” has one and “they have ALWAYS” had one. Where do people come up with this stuff?) Ours is just a beaded-leg, felt elf that hangs up as a pretty ornament. I guess that’s our only “Santa-like” thing we have. Oh, and one time I got a  little felted clothes-line from Avon. I hang it up in our window. It looks like what Santa and Mrs. Claus would wear if they were fairy sized. I like fairies and think they are fun and pretty. I love that they feel like happy, creative, imagination. So, I like this little fairy-sized clothes line in my window. 

Here’s just one last tidbit. We never taught my kids about the Easter Bunny being a “thing,” though we did hide Easter Eggs for fun, colored Easter Eggs, because they are pretty. And my kids also knew that the Tooth Fairy is really mom. Who forgets to put gifts or money under the pillow. My younger son asked me one time to dress up like the tooth fairy and give him the money while he was still awake. That was fun. I have a pair of fairy wings and a pretty yellow dress, and a funny magic wand. I did a “silly walk” into his room and talked with a funny voice. He wanted me to do this several more times, too. This is what fun childhood memories are made of, right, when we are goofy with our kids? It meant a lot to him, so of course I did it. 

So, what were your memories of being taught, or not taught about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy? 


Green Santa image provided by the author.

I was Deprived of Medical Care

Note: The Ex Christian Scientist does not advocate any one particular path but acknowledge that there are many legitimate pathways that can be personally and spiritually fulfilling. The views and opinions expressed by our individual contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the The Ex-Christian Scientist.


I’m happy to share! Maybe my experience, strength and hope will help someone else. I’m not exactly sure how my mother got involved with CS, I think she met a woman at her job when I was about 4 and started talking with her, and somehow she became convinced that it was true. I do recall her saying she was looking for a church that I could go to as a child but that made no sense, because there were plenty of others she could have chosen. So really it was something that I was forced to participate in from age 4 until I turned 18 and got out of there. I can’t say that I really believed it but it was just like any other unhealthy situation we grow up with, until we can do better. I was deprived of medical care, glasses, and anything else that was needed because going to the doctor or taking medicine was Animal Magnetism and Materia Medica. She had glasses though and said that’s because she hadn’t made her demonstration and wanted me to make mine. I got glasses when I was in Middle School because the school called her since I had to sit right at the blackboard to see. I had bad acne that went untreated and female problems that went ignored.

But I digress…When I was 12 I used to go to the Baptist church for youth services and knew something was different. My mother didn’t like for me to go and discouraged me so I stopped. But I always remembered how different it was. In High School I was in the choir and was around a lot of kids who also went to the Baptist church and I wanted to be like them. I started reading the Bible by itself on my own. So as soon as I got out of High School, went through I revolutionary period where I hung out with people from different religions and threw away every book and piece of literature I had from CS. I was angry and hated her and them. I think that parents who deprive their kids of medical treatment should be charged with neglect and abuse.

Finally at 23, I accepted Christ the Bible way, was baptized, and moved on with my life. I go to the doctor when I need to although I try to live healthy without the FDA. I believe that The Bible is true and there is no key to understanding outside of the Holy Spirit. Doctors are gifted men and women who help us when we are sick. I believe God heals, but it’s through His Word and not some method that a delusional woman made up. My mother resents me to this day for leaving CS but I don’t care. There’s a lot more I could say but it’s all in the past now. We live in the USA and can practice any religion we want, or none.

Peace and Blessings to all!

Anonymous

 

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!

 

The World Was Real All Along

By Michael, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor. Michael is a pseudonym, to ensure anonymity.

I want to take a moment to talk about reality.

I was raised to believe that the world around me, the world that I perceive with my physical senses, is not real. I was told that I live my life swaddled in illusion, and that I should constantly struggle to break through that illusion. I was completely sold on this idea. I craved reality. As a teenager, I vowed to dedicate my life to breaking through the illusion. I didn’t expect to succeed in this lifetime, but hey, death was unreal, so there was no deadline. I planned to keep “adjusting my thought” until someday the illusion melted away and I could finally see the real world.

After I left Christian Science, I gradually came around to the idea that the world that I perceive with my senses IS the real world. It was shocking. It was unnerving. It was electrifying. All my life, I’d been struggling for access to reality, and suddenly I found that I had this access…  that I had always had this access.

By analogy, it was as if I’d been told all my life that I lived inside a shell, and that the “stars” were just dots painted on the inside of the shell — and then, one day, I discovered that there never was any shell, and the stars were actually gigantic distant balls of plasma, and I COULD SEE THEM JUST BY LOOKING AT THEM.

It blew my mind. It continues to blow my mind every day. All I have to do is stop and think to myself “I have direct access to reality!” and instantly I’m filled with joy. It’s like remembering that I have a superpower.