By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.
I grew up with my ailing radically reliant Christian Scientist mother and my grandmother—whose house it was—who didn’t believe a word of Christian Science, but never said anything to keep the peace. When I was about thirteen my grandmother started suffering from dementia, which by the time I was sixteen had progressed to late stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Because of my mother’s beliefs, and her conviction that if she called a doctor, her mother would be taken into care and the house sold from under us to pay for it, most of this time period was handled using ‘Science’. I found this time very hard to deal with. Living with an elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer is not a picnic. My grandmother was doubly incontinent and hopelessly confused and distressed most of the time. But, she was physically robust and would rampage around the house in the middle of the night pulling things apart and raving about lost children who she believed to be trapped inside the furniture.
She had no memory of me as a teenager, and would often not recognise me at all, precipitating hysterics when I walked into a room. She was also a terrible fire risk, and we had to start turning the gas off at the main spigot when we left her alone, or went to bed. My mother meanwhile could barely cope physically, let alone mentally. So yes, dealing with this as a teenager was bad enough, but of course to really inject some misery into a situation you need Christian Science.
I knew that we had no ability to heal our physical or financial problems using Christian Science, but sanity seemed like the last bastion, and it had fallen. I would read all this garbage about ‘Divine Mind’ and intelligence, and practitioners would lecture us on it. But the situation got worse and worse. I couldn’t fathom what we were doing wrong that even this simple expression of God’s perfection had failed. With no frame of reference as to what was happening and no diagnosis, I began to see my grandmother not as a poor sick woman who loved me, but as a person who through their own weakness had been possessed by some kind of demon. I wondered how long until it affected me or my mother too.
Needless to say, eventually my grandmother’s condition got so bad the world of medicine was involved, and they did more good in a few days than all the meaningless Christian Science mumbo jumbo had done in years. Nevertheless, it was not long until my grandmother was taken into hospital where she died shortly thereafter, being properly cared for and finally having some peace and dignity. And the government didn’t sequester her house and force us onto the street.