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.
This site offers support resources to help individuals negotiate a transition in a manner that best fits their needs and convictions. We do not advocate any one particular path but acknowledge that there are many legitimate pathways that can be personally and spiritually fulfilling.