Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ, Interview with Lauren Hunter

Lauren Hunter grew up in a fourth generation Christian Science home but struggled to understand and implement successful physical healing. Like many who have left Christian Science, she sought out others who had also left to gain clarity. After being out of CS for nearly 20 years, she hoped to help others cross the chasm of leaving this religious cult by sharing her story, as well as the stories of nine others she interviewed. Her book, Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ, was released in 2020. 

Hunter’s book examines stories from 10 different people who left Christian Science and started walking a Christian path, following Christ Jesus as their guide. 

In the following post, Contributor Jodi interviews Lauren Hunter about her experience writing the book:


Jodi: What compelled you to write a book about various people’s stories of how they left Christian Science? 

Lauren: I’ve always loved the power of story and felt that the impact of pulling away from the Christian Science faith would be stronger as told not only through my own story, but also through the stories of others who left. 

When I first left Christian Science in 2001, I knew no one who was a “former Christian Scientist.” I became a member of the Fellowship of Former Christian Science (FFCS) group in 2015. Through that group, I met so many new friends with incredible stories. Each person’s tale blew me away and encouraged me. I thought, if I can compile a whole book of stories of people who left, there’s a lot of power–all in one book.

Jodi: What kind of power are you talking about here? 

Lauren: It’s easy to shirk off one story of someone who left CS. Followers will often say, “they just couldn’t understand it” of someone who left. They look down on people who leave because there’s this sense of baked in narcissism–that CS is a special knowledge that only they have. I felt there was power in sharing 10 stories of people who all left. There’s no book available with this many exit stories in one place.

Jodi: How did you come up with the list of people to interview? Did you know all of the people before you approached them to write the book? Were people referred to you? 

Lauren: I worked with Katherine Beim-Esche of the Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists to help me locate people who had various stories to fit the theme of each chapter. I had an idea of what themes to include, but these changed as I did my interviews.  I did preliminary research, short email interviews, then long Zoom recorded interviews for each person’s chapter. It was tricky to pull out distinct themes for each story, but it all came together as I had hoped, which was great. 

Jodi: How did you come up with the questions you asked them, in order for them to tell you their story? 

Lauren: I really love interviewing people. Initially, I made a list of questions asking about the person’s upbringing, history in the Christian Science church, etc., and sent this in advance. When we sat down for the interview, I made sure to ask many of the same questions, but each person had such a unique story that some questions emerged as we were doing the interview. It was a wonderful process and I feel very honored that these individuals would entrust their stories to me. 

Jodi: Are there thread(s) that you see each story sharing? 

Lauren: Great question. I spoke about all these different threads in the recent FFCS presentation I did entitled: “My story, your story, and God’s story.” (YouTube Link Here) Some common threads are:

  • Struggling with the dual reality of having to deny the physical world while living in it. 
  • Guilt and shame over “trying” medicine when healings didn’t happen
  • Shame over imperfections in health as well as imperfections in beauty
  • Dissociation from physical needs including noticing pain, anxiety, or fear
  • Trouble recognizing boundaries, limits, and identifying needs

Jodi: Tell me about the ‘dear one” sections of the book, where you write a comforting letter to the readers of the book. Did that come naturally for you? Was it easy to hear their stories and come up with a comforting letter?

Lauren:  In the “dear one” letters at the end of each chapter, I tried to invoke the kind of gentle and loving mother many of us wished we had growing up in CS. I am a mom, and I can’t imagine watching my kids suffer as many did in their childhoods. It’s really heartbreaking. I had more trouble processing several of the stories because they dealt with issues that hit close to home for me. I really loved writing these ‘dear one’ sections and hope that my concern and care for the reader came through. 

Jodi: How long did it take for you to compile the stories? To write this book? 

Lauren: It took me about two and a half years from idea to publishing. This was my first full-length nonfiction book and I was squeezing it in around running a full-time business (and raising my family). I learned so much during the process and treated it like a learning experience. My second book, due out this winter, is a step-by-step guide to help people write their own stories. 

Jodi: Did any particular story stand out to you as either typical of all the stories, or different in some major way from all of the other stories? Which one? What made it different or the same? 

Lauren: John Andrews’ story about struggling to let go of Mary Baker Eddy as Leader with a capital “L” was something that many people struggled with. In Christian Science, we were taught to put Eddy on a platform above God and Jesus Christ. This is something a lot of people struggled with. 

This is where mind control comes in. The only way followers will do what an organization says is if they buy into the (often narcissistic) leader who proclaims they are a prophet — most of us “drank the Kool-aid,” and believed that Eddy’s words were holier than the Bible. 

Dixie Baker’s story of surviving the measles epidemic at Principia College was so difficult for me to stomach. It was a completely different topic and included physical, emotional, and medical neglect–her account rocked me and was very unique that someone from within was brave enough to detail what happened while under CS nurse care.

Jodi: Is there something you would like to share with people who read our blog, who are looking for a path to leave Christian Science and are scared to do it? 

Lauren: Interestingly, you use the word “scared” in your question. When I was growing up in Christian Science, I felt scared all the time because I never knew what was wrong. So much of the Christian Science belief system deals with allaying fear. Well, we wouldn’t have all been so afraid if we’d gone to the doctor to find out what was wrong! I now feel huge freedom not practicing CS. If I have a medical issue, I email my doctor, get a test done, and figure out a plan. I no longer have massive amounts of fear to deal with surrounding my body. I have to ask questions, look things up, and learn as I go–and I’ve been out of CS for 20 years! I’m just grateful that I left before having my four kids. I can’t fathom dealing with all the childhood illnesses without medical care. 

So I guess my advice is to ditch the fear, allow yourself a care team that includes a good trauma-informed therapist, a former Christian Scientist who has adjusted well, and a good doctor who will listen to you and take you seriously. 

Jodi: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? 

Lauren: I’m working on a new book called Write Your Journey that will help people write their stories about their family, faith, or career. The idea came to me when people read my book and wanted to share their stories with me. Info on this book will be available at https://laurenhunter.net


Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ by Lauren Hunter (Veritable Books, 2020) is available on Amazon

If you have left Christian Science and are seeking others who have taken a Christ-centered path, we highly recommend the Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists.

Ask a Nurse: What to expect when calling 911

Ask a Nurse The ExCS site has teamed with a registered nurse and paramedic with a background in healthcare education and public health. Married to a former-CS, the Nurse would like to share their experience with the healthcare system, and answer any questions former-CS may have!  The Nurse will NOT get involved in diagnosing or giving medical advice, but if there are questions folks have related to going to a doctor, explaining medical terminology, how to advocate for yourself in healthcare, and so on, they might have a perspective that can help.  


Navigating the intricacies of the healthcare world can be difficult, and that’s for those of us who work in the healthcare system! For people who aren’t employed in healthcare but have a fundamental understanding of the system, especially in the US, it can still be daunting.  For those folks who may have never interacted with, (or worse, been made to fear), the healthcare world, it can be downright overwhelming.  I’m a registered nurse and paramedic, though I didn’t grow up in CS, I’m married to someone who did.  As we dated and eventually married, I discovered just how ill-informed and unfamiliar she was with the healthcare world.  Ironically, the healthcare world is very ill-informed and unfamiliar with CS.  In nursing and paramedic school I learned all about Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I had never even heard of Christian Scientists until I met my wife, at which point I had been working in healthcare for nearly a decade. When I would ask friends and colleagues if they had ever heard of Christian Science, many of them would say, “Of course! Isn’t Tom Cruise a Christian Scientist?”  

I’m hoping to use this forum to bridge this knowledge gap and provide a conduit for ex-CS’ers to have a safe space to ask healthcare related questions and get accurate and reliable answers.  I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’m experienced in the healthcare field, I understand the lingo, and I definitely have access to experts.  One thing I can’t do is diagnose or give much medical advice beyond telling you to go see a doctor.  That said, I can help with terminology, how to speak with medical providers, and help you find your way through this crazy system.  

As a new contributor, I want to make this as useful and relevant as I can.  In addition to being a nurse and paramedic, I also have a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on public health.  Having met several ex-CS folks and having read several books and articles on Christian Science, I realized the value of having someone who can help guide those less familiar through the healthcare system.  Questions posted through the site will be routed to me and I’ll answer them.  Of course, this is not a rapid system, if you have a healthcare concern you think requires immediate assistance, go to the hospital or call 911, speaking of, what happens when you call 911?


What to expect when calling 911

Calling an ambulance can bring on a fair amount of anxiety.  With rare exceptions, most people don’t call an ambulance very often in their lives.  When they do, it’s because they need emergency care for themselves, or a loved one.  Now when you dial those three numbers, like you’ve probably seen on TV, someone answers the line asking “911 what’s your emergency?”  After ascertaining the nature of the emergency, other dispatchers will begin to direct the appropriate ambulance to your location.  Once the ambulance arrives, the responders will begin asking you questions.  Most will be pretty easy to answer.  Obviously, they are going to ask why you called 911, they’ll ask for your name, date of birth/age, and, (now we get into the tricky part), if you have any medical history (which you may or may not know).  They’re also going to ask if you have allergies to any foods or medicines (which again, you may or may not know).  They’re going to ask if you take any medicines routinely. As you’re already in a vulnerable state, a ton of emotions are probably flowing through you.  Fear, pain, embarrassment, & shame are all possible emotions and feelings you may have.  You also may not want to get into the intricacies of CS and Mary Baker Eddy.  So, if you don’t know your medical history, the easiest thing to do is tell the EMS providers that you grew up in a family that didn’t use medicine, and you either don’t know or are unsure of your medical history or allergies.  They might raise an eyebrow for a second, but believe me, we’ve encountered stranger things (I won’t mention the guy I picked up once, with the thing, in the place, it shouldn’t be), so not knowing your medical history won’t shock us.  

There are some patients that believe calling an ambulance will speed up the process to see a doctor.  I can tell you for a fact, this isn’t true.  I have definitely brought patients into an ER, via my ambulance, and been told to bring those patients to a chair in the waiting room.   Others may believe if they call 911 for a loved one, the ambulance has to take them to the hospital, also not true.  If you call an ambulance for a loved one, and the person is over 18 years of age and of sound mind, if they tell the EMS providers they don’t want to go to the hospital, they can’t take them.  They may be bleeding out all over the street, but if they say they don’t want to go, and EMS takes them against their will, that’s kidnapping.  Legally, the EMS providers can be arrested and charged.  Now, this isn’t to discourage you from calling 911 if you need it.  You should absolutely call 911 if you think you need help. 

Point is, most of us who got into healthcare did so because we genuinely want to help people.  So, when you tell us you’re not sure of your medical history, most healthcare providers are simply going to note that fact, and continue treating you.  One thing to never do, is be afraid to ask questions.  If a provider is saying something that doesn’t make sense or is unclear, ask them to clarify.  Tell them to explain it to you like you’re a 5th grader.  We throw around jargon almost as badly as the military (the first time I worked in an ER someone had written next to the patient’s name “SOB,” which I thought was a bad attempt to warn staff of a difficult patient, actually it means “short of breath”).  

As intimidating as it might be, do your best to get clarification if you don’t understand something.  Providers may get frustrated, especially if they believe they already clarified something, but as I tell my wife, push the person to give you an answer that you understand.  Some ex-CS’ers I know never attended biology class or sex education in high school or college.  There may be things we in healthcare assume everyone knows, but if you haven’t even taken a high school biology class, you may have a severe blind spot.  

Truth is, even though you’ve called 911 for an emergency, rarely is something such an emergency that providers don’t have time to answer questions.  I once treated a patient who was CS, and was as close to dead as you can get while still alive.  The patient’s spouse allowed me to treat their loved one, and despite how sick this person was, I was still able to provide the necessary care while explaining everything to the spouse and ensuring they were comfortable with the treatment I was providing. 

In any case, calling EMS can provoke some anxiety, but it’s better to call them and find out later you didn’t need to, than to not call them, but realize later you should have.  To quickly summarize:

  1. Understand the EMS provider may be a little thrown when you mention your background.
  2. Despite that, they should still treat you respectfully and with compassion.  
  3. Get clarification and ask questions.  

I hope this quick snapshot was helpful.  If it was, leave a comment and feel free to ask me questions.  Like I said in the beginning, I want to make this as relevant and helpful as I can for you; so, if there are questions or specific topics you’d like to be covered, let me know.  

Thanksgiving 2020

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 grateful for finally realizing the extensive, deep trauma my time in Christian Science has left me with, so that I can finally get the help I need. I’m grateful for my wonderful therapist, who showed me that prayer was not the only way to heal. Lastly and most importantly, I’m grateful for the opportunity to finally see the world as it truly is—completely and entirely REAL—and that I can finally allow myself to experience the purely human existence we all deserve.

– Sarah R.


I am thankful for the friendships that I’ve made with people who push me out of my comfort zone. I never would have made these friendships in my CS days because I would have worried that these people and their diverse and interesting ideas would somehow ruin my immaculate thoughts. I’m grateful that I know how to think for myself now, and that I have relationships that bring me joy as a result.

– Anon.


I want to express my gratitude today and every day for having medical care now.

But I will get back to that in a moment. One thing I was taught in Christian Science was black and white thinking. This means that “if we think good thoughts from God, then we will experience only good things in our life!” vs. “if we think thoughts that aren’t from God, like feelings of imperfection and sickness, then we won’t be able to get the good things from God in our life.”

We were constantly told, in Christian Science, to “align our thoughts with God!” And we were taught that bad things don’t exist because there is no room for bad things to exist, because God, Good, fills all space! If we find ourselves feeling less that God-like, then we must have changed our thought and lost our focus on God.

This is not something that Christian Scientists do only on Sundays during church, and then forget about the rest of the week. No, this is something they strive to do 24/7. “Pray without ceasing.” It’s a command, to constantly align our thoughts with God. We were never allowed to feel frustrated, angry, weak, “less than,” sick, pride, sadness, grief…. we were only allowed to ever feel grateful, happy and joyous. That’s IT. No emotional spectrum that is normal for healthy humans to feel.

When I left Christian Science, I had this erroneous belief that medical science must be the cure all, since Christian Science prayer and “treatment” hadn’t healed me. I had been taught you can ONLY do medial or Christian Science treatment, not both together because they would cancel each other out. I had always chosen Christian Science treatment.

I rejected Christian Science for myriad reasons, some of which were long standing problems that wouldn’t yield simply to my God-like thought.

So, naturally, I assumed that now I was pursuing medical care, that it would completely fix me. I have seen this from so many other Ex Christian Scientists. We are often stunned when medical science can’t cure us in one visit, or give us a magical pill that will cure us after a period of time. It took some learning on my part to realize that medical science is an ACTUAL Science. It takes time to figure out problems, it takes time to hypothesize what might be wrong. Tests need to be done which may or may not bear out the theory. And maybe operations or medicines get tried over the course of finding help for our long standing problems that honestly never had any care despite that we were taught that Christian Science Treatment “is the best care.” (It’s actually just ignoring a problem and thinking good thoughts at it; it’s not effective in any way. Christian Scientists would argue me on this point, but they are actually wrong. The human body has an amazing ability to heal a whole lot of its problems without interference. The human body is quite an amazing miracle!)

Anyway, so I am so grateful for medical care. I had heart surgery almost 2 years ago now and it helped me so much. I now know when my heart is jumping around and being weird, that it won’t actually kill me. Before the heart surgery, I was at danger of being killed by my heart. But now most of that problem has been fixed with a surgery that I got to go home from at the end of the day.

I have had several different heart medicines to mitigate the rest of the problem. I have been enduring a different lasting heart problem post-surgery for the last year, because I have been on the wrong medicine. Last week, my doctor heard me and I felt like I saw a light bulb go on over his head, he finally understood the scope of the issue I have been dealing with multiple times per day. He read my entire chart – what medicines I have been on, how I have responded to them, when I had the surgery …. And then he prescribed a different medicine for me!

I have been on this new medicine for about a week now, and it is so promising. I am not having the problem I have been experiencing for the last year post-surgery. Not like I was. I imagine in 2 months he will increase my dose. But for now, I need to be on this smaller dose while my body adjusts to this medicine.

I am just so grateful for medical care and actual science that may take time to sort out what is wrong, but then finds a solution over time. I may not have the “perfect” body that works as well as it did when I was in high school, but I am grateful to have medical care that is helping me live a better life than I would be without it, and relying only on my thoughts and exclusive, unending positivity.

– Former Christian Science Practitioner


This is my first testimony of any kind, and it will probably be my last. I am grateful to Christian Science for coming to me in my life where I needed to learn that religion and life could be a positive experience. I am equally grateful that I am no longer a Christian Scientist, as I have moved on. Among the positive things that Christian Science taught me was about how love is unlimited and that we all are part of a much larger spiritual world that we cannot see. I moved beyond Christian Science when I felt the religion, and religion as a whole limited my ability to further understand where I (we) fit in the universe that extends beyond existence in this material, physical world. I am married to someone who is still practicing CS and I support her in her quest for understanding, as she supports me in mine. It was probably much easier for me to move on from CS as I was not raised in the religion. I married into a CS family where more than half of the extended family members have moved on from CS as well. Some have left for reasons that are expounded by members on this FB page, and some have left for reasons like mine. CS just did not answer their questions. The move beyond CS can be done. It has been done. It is not easy. I have family and friends that have discharged themselves from true cults that gaslight their members and dwell in the realm of hyper-negativity. One’s truth can be found anywhere, and I believe it is up to each individual to find their own truth, and not be constrained by peer and family pressure. I respect everyone who are working to find their true path in the uncovering and developing of their spirituality. Even if this path is in a church that I no longer support. Blessed be.

– CWL


On this beautiful Thanksgiving morning, I want to thank all the testifiers for sharing. I thank the admins of this website for giving us this space to share with each other every year.

In Christian Science, I was taught to constantly be grateful about everything, no matter what. Be grateful for severe pain in my back, because it taught me to pray to God. Well, I have known someone for 2 decades now who has never washed their hands with soap. This morning, as I washed my hands for the 5th time in less than 30 minutes (I was doing the dishes and cleaning my sink and preparing food … lots of hand washing during kitchen activities), I was suddenly grateful to realize that the Corona Virus has scared this person into finally washing their hands with soap and wearing a real mask! At first, they were wearing a flimsy cloth covering, but now is a proud owner of an actual, industry prepared mask. So I am grateful to the Corona Virus for teaching this person to wash their hands with soap and to wear a proper mask and respect something other than themselves – respecting science and a virus.

I look forward to medical science and government distribution planning to get everyone the vaccine. I am grateful to medical science – all the Lab Coat Heros – the scientists who wear lab coats who are working so hard to find a cure and to find a vaccine. They are doing good work and I look forward to getting my vaccine when it’s available to the American Public.

– Chrystal C


I am grateful for every single material cell in my material body and for materia medica for finding material treatments for material disease that have enhanced and prolonged my material life. I’m also grateful for Stephen Sondheim, whom I choose to call God. But that’s just me.

– Mike L.


I am grateful for medical science and for advances in mental health treatment. Having lived unhappily for nearly seventy years as a male, I was somewhat stunned when the dam broke last year and I began to transition to female. With help from supportive doctors, counsellors, and my wife, I am now living full time female. I am undergoing facial and body electrolysis, and my hair is growing out to show more clearly my femininity. I take testosterone suppressants and estrogen, and hope, when I have been on hormones for a year, that I will be able to have genital re-purposing surgery (my term).

With my cs background, I had lived my life denying this truth about myself. In childhood, my Sunday School education helped load my brain with mbe’s inhumane ideas about the unreality of matter and the unreality of unhappiness. Because of cs, I buried my pain with humor and superficiality in relationships. Now, rather than paying practitioners peddling preposterous propositions plagiarized from Phineas Quimby, I regularly receive real reinforcement from recognized, registered therapists. I am so grateful to be free of mbe’s insanity, and grateful to know so much more of the terrible truths about cs.

– Linda


My kids and I are enjoying our annual viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade while we eat our annual Thanksgiving feast of nachos and I am so happy not to have the exhausting work and cleanup of endless cooking after Christian Science church service.

I want to share my thanks for my family members who are still Christian Scientists who, for whatever reason, are respecting the state laws and suggestions around the Corona Virus. I am so grateful they are wearing masks and understanding my rules around having socially distant, outside, small group visits with them. Sitting outside, far apart from each other, and still wearing our masks. My Christian Science family members are being kind and considerate of my understanding of the science behind the Corona Virus, even if they believe that this virus and disease is fake and a figment of mortal mind or something like that. I am so glad they are being honest with me when I ask them about their own social distancing that they do during the week. They are being kind and understanding not to invite my family to large holiday gatherings this year.

I also want to share my huge joy at medical care for keeping my Grandpa, a lifelong Christian Scientist, around. We celebrated his 99th birthday right before this Corona Virus issue cropped up. And in a few short months, he will turn 100. It is our hope that a cure and a vaccine will be available in the spring so we can throw him a proper 100 year old birthday party. How often does our grandparent turn 100?

He wouldn’t have made 80 years old if it wasn’t for heart surgery to put in a pace maker. I am so grateful for the medical science that has kept my grandpa alive through a few kinds of cancer and heart issues. I am grateful that my grandpa has turned to medical care over the years and not just succumbed to the cancers and heart problems he has endured. He has expressed guilt to me for not understanding Christian Science enough, but I am glad he has done the right thing and gotten the care. He is such a great man and I am glad my kids have gotten to know him over the years.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

– Jodi Rose


If you would like some completely optional additional reading to accompany today’s testimonies, Rethinking Gratitude without God by Brian Peck has provided some food for thought this Thanksgiving season.


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.

Christian Science is a Cult

Originally published on kindism.org, reprinted with permission. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of kindism.org and ExChristianScience.com


Christian Science is a cult, not occult1, a cult. Some of you will probably stop reading now, or will immediately start composing comments that Christian Science is NOT A CULT. Cool.

If you’re not ready to call Christian Science a cult, that’s okay too, I find “cult” really shuts down the conversation. When I first started questioning and leaving, the posts screaming that Christian Science was a cult (usually for Biblical reasons) were a huge turn off. If you’d like to explore the Biblical reasons2 that Christian Science is wrong, I’ll link some resources at the bottom of the post, that’s not my area of interest.

So if you’re not willing to read about Christian Science being a cult, perhaps you’ll read about Christian Science as form of mind control. Or you might stop reading now, I don’t know.

Former Christian Scientist, now Christian, Linda Kramer, has written a book clearly laying out how Christian Science is a form of mind control, it is called Perfect Peril: Christian Science and Mind Control, and it talks through mind control expert Robert Jay Liftons’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform.

Lifton wrote Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China. I tried to read it a while back, but it is a dense book, and focused on brainwashing of political prisoners. I didn’t really connect with it, as most Christian Scientists are born into it3, so it isn’t so much brainwashing as it is our reality from day one. I got about a third of the way into it, bogged down, and I think it ended up at the local library book sale (this was pre-COVID19).

So what are Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform? As listed in, and heavily paraphrased from, Perfect Peril p. 55-57, they are as follows:

  1. Milieu Control – information management – you should only read authorized material, and goodness knows what untruths Eddy’s contemporaries might have written about her!
  2. Mystical Manipulationleader claims divine authority — Eddy’s case some people claimed she was the Woman in Revelation
  3. Demand for Purity – strive to achieve the unattainable, nothing like failing to make a “demonstration
  4. Cult of Confession – over emphasis on confession
  5. Sacred Science – beliefs and teachings are considered sacred, it says on the cover, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and the Weekly Lesson is “divinely authorized.” Logically all enlightened thought must eventually work its way back to CS.
  6. Loading Language – group has its own jargon, so much jargon. Don’t worry, you’ll learn about Aggressive Mental Suggestion during Class Instruction. Or not.
  7. Doctrine over Person – experiences contradicting doctrine must be ignored – you didn’t have a healing, you must have been doing it wrong, please don’t share it with us.
  8. Dispensing of Existence – elitist attitude often results in shunning of members who chose to leave. This is fairly self explanatory.

I found Kramer’s book much more relatable and far easier to read. It is a slim volume, under two hundred pages, with the last forty or so devoted to Kramer’s personal journey out of Christian Science, and Biblical arguments. Kramer works through Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform one at a time, pointing out how Christian Science fits each one, and uses authorized Christian Science sources. I now await comments about how the Devil can quote scripture for his own uses.

For those of us who were (or are) entrenched in Christian Science, stepping back and critically examine Christian Science in relation to these eight points is not always easy. Devil quoting scripture or not, Kramer lays out very solid, often relatable examples of each of the eight criteria. As a former Christian Scientist herself, she also acknowledges that these don’t necessarily feel like a problem when we are actively involved in Christian Science. It feels normal.

I was initially hesitant to read Perfect Peril as I knew Kramer had taken a different spiritual path away from Christian Science than I had, and I did not want to be given yet another list of Biblical arguments against it. I was pleasantly surprised that Lifton’s Eight Criteria were the main focus. I did read the Biblical critiques, but they did not resonate with me the same way Lifton’s criteria did.

If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably find Perfect Peril at least interesting, possibly enlightening, and maybe life changing. I found it validating as Kramer identifies, labels, and provides clear examples for each of the eight criteria. Kramer also gives background on Christian Science and Eddy from Church-Approved Sources, and sources from Eddy’s time.

Perfect Peril is quite an impactful book, I found it more easily approachable than God’s Perfect Child (which is excellent for a fuller picture of the Christian Science movement as a whole, but not an easy or quick read), and far less gut-wrenching than fathermothergod (which you will need to read with a box of kleenx near by). While all three belong on the bookshelf (or in the e-reader) of an former Christian Scientist, I think Perfect Peril will be my new go-to to loan out to the never-CS in my life who have questions about it.


  1. There are some Christian Scientists who dabble in Tarot, Astrology, Numerology, esoteric mysticism and hold some really weird views about the (coming any day now) Apocalypse, I’m not going to link to them. I’d like to think they’re a fringe group of extreme-CS, but there is more than one of them and those are just the ones sharing their views on the internet.
  2. The Fellowship of Former CS has Biblical Resources about why Christian Science is wrong — if you have issues with these, take them up with someone else, in case it wasn’t already very obvious, I have not taken a “Christian” path away from CS.
  3. The 2016 Survey by ExChristianScience.com shows 90% of Christian Scientists were born into it, and another approximately 5% are introduced to it by their parents before the age of 18. 5% of people were converts, and as this was a survey of former Christian Scientists, even the converts left. https://exchristianscience.com/tag/ex-cs-survey-2016/

Get Wise Webinar: Why is Christian Science STILL influencing my life?

Our first Zoom Webinar/Collaboration with the Fellowship of Former CS is up on the FFCS YouTube channel!

Cult recovery experts, Bob and Judy Pardon spoke about why the effects of Christian Science remain even years after leaving. Drawing upon 30+ years research and experience helping people escape, deprogram, and recover from cults, the Pardons offer a wealth of information along with deep compassion and practical ideas of next steps.

We hope you’ll reach out to us, join in our online communities, and fill out the evaluation. Your feedback is really helpful to us as we plan future events.

Please leave us feedback! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FA…

Ex-Christian Scientist:

Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists:

Thanksgiving 2019

The Thanksgiving Day service is the only ‘special’ service the Christian Science church offers. The readings from the desk include the Presidential proclamation for Thanksgiving, as well as a few passages from The Bible and Science and Health. The service is then opened to the congregation for them to share ‘testimonies of healing and sharing of experiences in Christian Science.’

The following are testimonies from Ex-Christian Scientists, as they give thanks for having left Christian Science. Thank you all for your contributions!

We at The Ex-Christian Scientist offer no readings, or lengthy proclamations, merely our sincerest thanks for everyone who has contributed to our efforts. We do not advocate any one particular path but acknowledge that there are many legitimate pathways that can be personally and spiritually fulfilling.

All Thanksgiving posts are tagged Thanksgiving. Comments are moderated and closed automatically after 30 days.


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Thank you everyone for your Thanksgiving Testimony contributions, this concludes our post. Should inspiration strike, the comment section will remain open for 30 days.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season. The ExCS Admin Team.

I was told that I had the Best Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter Baskets Confound Me

Contributor Chrystal

You can refer to so many posts on this page that share that “The Manual of The Mother Church” specifically states that we can have no special celebration for Easter.

I got to thinking about this last week. The religion proclaims to be Christian. And most Christians think that God gave us his “only begotten son.” And at some point along Christ Jesus’s journey, he died, laid in the tomb about 3 days, and then arose from the dead. This is a true miracle of a story. Christianity created a holiday from the Pagan tradition of Ostara, and named it Easter, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. 

And yet, Mary Baker Eddy said so clearly in “The Manual of The Mother Church” not to celebrate it. 

My new journey and studies have taught me about narcissists. Eddy was clearly a narcissistic. My thoughts took me to the clear realization recently that she didn’t want any special days of devotion to Jesus; because she wanted every day to be about her. Continuing to think about this a bit more, I remember the Weekly Bible Lesson. Where we read the imperfect Holy Bible, and then have her to interpret it to us with her book, “Science and Health.” She gets the last word in. Every day, for every Christian Scientist.

I was once yelled at for daring to find a daycare center for the children of our Sunday School to have an Easter Egg hunt. It is so ingrained in the Christian Science mind set that we do NOT celebrate Easter. 

Well, I am now decidedly OUT of the Christian Science mindset and church. 

I got together for lunch a month or two ago with some Quaker girlfriends. One of them started talking about Easter baskets. It was clear that such a thing brings her so much joy. She has grown children, and she still makes baskets for herself and for her husband. I told her I have never in my life received an Easter basket.

Unphased, she told me to make my own. I have gone to the store in subsequent weeks, to pick up bread and basics. I see the Easter basket aisles at the store, and I just stand there and stare at the stuff on the shelf. None of it is appealing to me. Well, except maybe the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I don’t care how those are wrapped, I like them. 

I had to spend some time pondering what on earth I would want in my own Easter basket. Perhaps it’s not a stuffed animal bunny toy, or candy, or chocolate or PEZ dispensers. Or whatever else I have seen at the store. I wondered if I wanted candles or spa gift cards or shampoo or soap. Did I want a pair of fuzzy socks? 

I have looked and looked at these items in the store. So many times over the week, and I just stare at it and it looks like junk to me. I don’t want a candle. I have candles. I don’t want fuzzy socks. I have fuzzy socks. I don’t need a new electronic device. I went to the spa to get my hair cut, so I am good with that. There is nothing that I want. 

I was walking out of a major retailer yesterday, and saw yet another display devoted to Easter, of things they sell at the store. Easter lillies, Orchids and freshly cut flowers. They were beautiful – at least they weren’t junk. I stood there, took some photos of them, and enjoyed their beauty in the store. And I just know – I have plants and a beautiful orchid at home. I don’t need these plants in my Easter basket either. 

It is interesting to me that this entire “tradition” of Easter is so devoted now to a culture of consumerism and spending money and junk that hurts the planet. Isn’t Easter supposed to be a time when the Earth is waking up, the way Jesus woke up from the tomb? Shouldn’t we be planting new things to enjoy for years to come — like native shade trees — instead of conusming the world’s resources — how much water and gasoline and deforestation and slave labor and shipping went in to making that toy or candy at the store, to sell it for $5 or less and become junk in some child’s room, so they have no room to dance or play with their imagination? Do we really need all this junk that surrounds us? Is that what Easter baskets are about?

These are the things I ponder as a Quaker who now thinks about the Quaker Testimonies – the SPICES:

  • S – Simplicity
  • P – Peace
  • I – Integrity
  • C – Community
  • E – Equality
  • S – Sustainability

Sustainability in my new Quaker Faith reminds me to think of George Fox saying to William Penn about his sword: “Use it as long as you can.

It reminds me not to acquire simply for the sake of acquiring. It reminds me to think and act responsibly in regards to my own consumerism. I recently learned the word “Resumerism,” which makes us think about “Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle.” Resumerism. 

May all have a delightful Sunday and all future days. 

Nothing, I believe, can really teach us the nature and meaning of inspiration but personal experience of it. That we may all have such experience if we will but attend to the divine influences in our own hearts …~ Caroline Stephen


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.