here, take back your bullsh*t

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science collective about leaving Christian Science.


One of my favorite moments of my Christian Science departure was packing up a shopping bag with all my Christian Science literature and leaving it on the doorstep of a Reading Room. My friend described it as ‘here, take back your bullsh*t!’

– Hilary

Every puff I take on my asthma inhaler, every antibiotic and pain medication I’ve taken, and every visit I’ve made to the doctor or hospital, has been my giant f-you to Christian Science.

– Jeremy

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a difficult pregnancy and I was under a doctor’s care. My grandmother insisted on hiring a Christian Science practitioner for me. She lived out of state, and during a phone ‘treatment’, she told me a story of her infant dying at home and how she just left the room, completely serene and unaffected. Her child was dead that was no big deal. She just knew the truth. Lo and behold, her daughter revived and she went about her normal activities. I was completely freaked out and never looked back at Christian Science. That was 20 years ago.

– Renee

I’ve always wondered

The following is a collection of musings from members of the Ex-Christian Science collective about Christian Science.

One thing I’ve always wondered is how Christian Science looks to a new, adult convert. I was born into it, so I knew nothing else, but how does an adult read Science and Health for the first time and think it’s amazing, and not crazy? That always puzzled me.

– Hilary

I always used to wonder why going to the dentist, or getting glasses was OK, but going to the doctor was like a grievous sin. I had an argument with my Dad once about his and other Christian Scientists’ weird obsession with ‘malicious animal magnetism’, if it was, as Christian Science teaches, not real.

– Jeremy

The Catholic Thing

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science Group dealing with paranoia about Catholicism.

A collection of rosaries, photo courtesy of Katie J.


My family had creepy stuff: manuals carefully transcribed on onion-skin, with articles by Bicknell Young and other sources. They describe Jesuits secretly devoting their lives to the destruction of Christian Science, and ‘mental malpractice’ in general. They warn against even being near a Catholic, since they are ‘unwitting transmitters of animal magnetism’. It was paranoid! Funny how it wasn’t even theologically consistent— wasn’t everything supposed to be good in Christian Science?

– Anonymous

I used to have a Catholic friend who accused us of ‘worshipping’ Mary Baker Eddy, and I was so offended. Now I realize he was right.

– Hilary

I am curious if this aspect of my Christian Science upbringing was unique, or was it also experienced by others: that is, the way I was taught to view the Catholic church as something very dark, evil, and negative, to be avoided at all costs. I was taught that ‘the other churches, they are just ignorant—but the Catholic church, they are the ones actively using Error to try to bring down Christian Science.’ I was told that Catholic leaders pray for the downfall of Christian Science and even that they pray ‘the anti- Scientific Statement of Being,’ i.e., that they pray “There IS life, truth, intelligence and substance in matter…” etc., and I was taught that it’s one of the things a Christian Scientist should pray about every day, that ‘there is no power in the Catholic church.’ I was taught that the ‘spiritual wickedness in high places’ passage in the Bible was a reference to the Catholic Pope. I was taught that no Christian Scientist should ever have a close personal friendship with any Catholic, because Error could use that relationship as a way for the Catholic church to attack Christian Science. My grandmother learned this deep fear of Catholicism from her own Christian Science Teacher.

– Ashley

As for the Christian Science antipathy toward Catholicism, I was quite unaware of it until, as the chairman—and, in our small church, the sole member—of the music committee, I hired a Catholic friend to be the soloist. It was common for the soloists hired to not be Christian Scientists. She did admirably at the first service and, as innocent as I, she revealed her Catholic faith while chatting with church members. Imagine my chagrin and deep embarrassment when I was required to tell her that she would not be allowed to sing at my church again.

– Anonymous

I was wondering: did anyone else have the experience of being lectured about the dangers of Catholics? That was another thing that was constantly drilled into me. I really believed that all Catholics were practicing malicious animal magnetism towards Christian Scientists and I should stay away from them.

– Sharon

What do people mean by the term ‘God’ anyway?

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science collective about religious choices after Christian Science.

I find it curious that there is an assumption that God is something you can opt in and out of. What do people mean by the term God anyway? It is a very short word used to symbolise something that is incomprehensible to any of us. As far as I can see, nothing should exist at all logically. There shouldn’t even be a space for nothing to exist in in the first place. The fact that not only do things exist but things within those things are able to be consciously aware of them is inexplicable.

What we do know is that life is short and everything is transient. Yet people seem to create God as some way to pin themselves to permanence. We don’t much like the earth, whose signal characteristic is impermanence, so we create an idea of heaven where only people like us go and nothing ever changes. It sounds a bit unlikely to me, based on what it’s like ‘down here’. What if this is what existence is like, and our purpose, in the unlikely event we have a purpose, is to learn how to live in it?

– Anonymous


After leaving Christian Science, I briefly explored some New Age ideas and philosophies, but I always came back to the same conclusion that it logically made no sense to me. I credit Christian Science with one good thing: I think I have a decent ‘BS detector’ because of it. I look for evidence to support claims, and/or I follow a path that makes logical sense to me.

I do not believe in ‘God’ at all. ‘God’ as presented in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic way makes no logical sense to me. I see plenty of evidence that there is no ‘God’, and no evidence that there is. I do believe there is a conscious ‘energy’ that we’re a part of–it makes logical sense to me, although I have no proof of it. An atheist friend of mine said once, on the subject of death and thoughts on ‘afterlife’, that she felt that consciousness is a form of energy, and the first law of thermodynamics does state that energy can’t be created or destroyed (there goes the Creation myth), it can only be transformed. So, she said that in some way or some form, our consciousness continues, and that science has not yet discovered how. I guess I largely consider myself agnostic, however I follow many aspects of Native American spiritual practice, and I also practice yoga regularly. Prayer has been replaced by meditation, and meditation is a practice that does wonders for my mental health. Meditation is simply the calming of the mind, and for me is akin to ‘defragging the hard drive (of my mind)’–it brings me mental clarity.

– Jeremy

They were trained to deny their affection

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science collective about how death is ‘handled’ in Christian Science.

When people do start to get desperate and want to turn outside of Christian Science, they generally have no idea of what help is available to them so they never ask for it, or they pretend they are just feeling a bit under the weather when they are actually on their death bed.

– Anonymous

The Christian Scientists I grew up around strongly believed and promoted the idea of it being possible for Christian Science prayer to raise the dead, and that it would become possible in proportion to our understanding of Christian Science and our spiritual perfection.

– Anonymous

My grandmother died when I was fourteen. I remember my mother telling me it ‘never happened.’ She was equally glassy when her sister died of cancer a few years ago.

– Hilary

The mental discipline that Christian Scientists use to deny this world also denies, as Eddy referred to it, ‘mere human affection.’ Trained to deny their affection, and that discipline is so powerful, that I have known those who appeared to be perfectly fine with the deaths of their spouses.

I attended a Christian Science funeral held at a crematorium, where I sat behind a couple of ladies who were observing the widow, seated in the front row. One whispered to her companion, in a disapproving tone, “Oh, look at [the widow]. She’s crying!” That was another lesson in Christian Science for me, another one that battled my instincts.

– Anonymous

My Christian Science upbringing made me unable to talk about death in any way. When my grandmother died, I was told to look at a vase of flowers and remember the ‘good and true’ thoughts about her. It’s taken me nearly fifty years to even find out where she was buried.

– Anonymous

We had a ‘celebration of life’ for my mother after she died. Most of the members of my parents’ small branch church were there; in fact, most of the people there were Christian Scientists. Only one person cried. She was the non-Christian Scientist pianist who played at the church services, and had become very close with my mother over the years. I wanted to cry too, but years of conditioning not to acknowledge the supposed ‘reality’ of death kept me from  crying. Later the same year, when my father died, I was admonished by a Christian Scientist friend of the family not to “see his death as a failure of Christian Science.” It was almost as if he could see the wheels of reason beginning to turn in my head that would ultimately lead to my departure from Christian Science.

– Anonymous