I had given plenty of time for the ‘work’ to ‘work’

By Paul, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

As a kid, I had serious physical issues that arose from horse-riding accidents, playing sports, as well as dental procedures, etc., that all went off without the benefit of pain relievers or medical attention. The only time I was afforded medical care was when I broke my forearm. I consumed an adult beverage before I’d had so much as an Advil.

I remember one night I woke up about 2:00 AM and was itching like crazy. I couldn’t stop no matter what, and it was everywhere. Before the start of school I furtively bought some Noxema because I was so damn tired of having an unnecessarily poor complexion and felt I had given plenty of time for the Christian Science ‘work’ to ‘work’. So I decided to use my right to seek other treatment—as all of us in Christian Science were assured we could, so long as we never intended to actually follow through! I have no idea why, but I decided to slather that stuff all over myself, and it was a friggin’ miracle! That belief of itching stopped almost instantly!

I will say that generally, my parents and family must have been extraordinarily compassionate as Christian Scientists go, because I never was made to feel as if I was being a pain in the ass for ‘seeming to experience a belief of sickness’. That’s not to say that there aren’t dozens of other ways that I don’t feel as if I am constantly waging a battle in my head. It’s strange, in fact, how often I find myself having to explain that I grew up a Christian Scientist because I don’t share a common reference point or I have an issue with something that’s still a problem all these years later. Anxiety and depression were companions while I was still putting up the facade of trying to practice Christian Science, but it wasn’t until many years later that the big breakdown came and a tidal wave of pain and trauma came flooding out of me.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. Everybody does it.”

By Marion, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

I was 42… over forty years ago now. I was teaching at a university thirty miles from my home, and had four kids, aged nine to nineteen. The stress level was pretty high, and during the Christmas break I observed the unmistakable signs of breast cancer.

I remember quite vividly the reasoning I went through one night, taking the premises of Christian Science down to the basics. At its heart, they are that human life is illusory, and physical evidence is meaningless. That is, it doesn’t matter whether or not you seem to die. With four children, a husband, a teaching job I loved, and an appreciation of the beauty of this life, I decided that it did make a difference to me whether or not I continued to be here. I gave myself the time to ‘un-see’ it. If the evidence was still there at that time, I would go for surgery.

Just before Spring Break, I told the administration that I would be out for a time after the break and told them why. The response: ”Why didn’t you give us more notice?” I told them that I was a Christian Scientist and that I had hoped to solve the problem metaphysically. Talk about people looking at you funny. A substitute was found, and I was out for the break time and about a month after. Since the university and my home community were quite separate, almost no one in the home or church community knew about it.

The wake-up call for me was after I had chosen to have the mastectomy. Having acted on that decision, I confided to another church member that I had broken the faith’s directives, and that I felt that I should resign my membership. This is the response that angers me still: a whispered response, ”Oh, don’t worry about it. Everybody does it.”

I had been on the verge of risking my life. I believed these people were sincere and committed to what they professed. I should have known. Eddy was ‘committed’ until it became inconvenient for her. I may well have known about her dental work and morphine use even then, but still, the sense of betrayal was overpowering.

Doctors Showed Me Compassion

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science group about experiences seeking medical care and interacting with medical professionals.

I have health insurance now, but I still am hesitant to even get check-ups. I gave birth to my son a year ago and the whole medical aspect was really a nightmare for me. It’s still almost impossible to not think of health care professionals as the enemy. I also had a horrifying incident about a month ago where a ‘vascular mole’ on my baby’s face popped and wouldn’t stop bleeding. It was the middle of the night and I was there trying to staunch it with tissues and towels and sheets for hours until I finally shook myself, looked at the blood-soaked mess and said, “are you effing crazy? He’s going to bleed to death, call 911!” I’m sad to report, had that been me my mother probably would have let me bleed to death. The baby’s just fine after being stitched up in the ER, thankfully.

– Hilary


This might resonate with some of you…I developed a small lesion on my forehead a few weeks ago which didn’t heal up. I tried ignoring it for a while, and that didn’t work. Then I tried putting antiseptic on it, and that didn’t work. Then I took to the internet and by week 3 was completely convinced I had, probably inoperable, skin cancer. I made an appointment to see a dermatologist, basically expecting to find out how long I had left, and woke up on the morning of the appointment to find said lesion diminished in size.

“It’s a wart, nothing to worry about. You can make an appointment to have it frozen off,” she said. Following day, it had mostly disappeared. Imagine what this is doing to my post-Christian Science neuroses!

– Anonymous


I’ve learned my lesson about healthcare. When an exam by an optometrist revealed I had cataracts, I had double cataract surgery. I’d worn glasses since I was in my twenties, but I don’t need them now. I can even read small print on my iPhone! And, when the girl who cuts my hair noticed something funny on my ear, she recommended I have it looked at. Rather than saying it was ‘perfect’ I went to a dermatologist. She said it was skin cancer, and I had it removed surgically. It took me a while, but I finally caught on.

– Anonymous



I went to the doctor for the first time when I was 23 years old. I got an x-ray done of my tail bone, which was revealed to have been broken when I was ten. My folks didn’t take it seriously enough to have it treated, so it healed in an ‘L’ shape. I also asked for advice and a treatment plan to preserve my destroyed right knee, which I had injured seven years previously and which had never healed.

– Heidi


I went travelling for a year with my wife. A small lump developed on my back which I worried about endlessly. I tried to self diagnose on the net and came to the rational conclusion it was probably benign, but nonetheless my conviction that it was a tumour grew. I decided it would spoil our holiday if I had it looked at and rationalised that the best thing to do was completely ignore it. Eventually, I could contain my anxiety no longer and told her about it. A few hours later I was sitting in front of a Thai doctor in Bangkok, “Yeah. It’s a cyst,” he said. “We’ll just remove it under local anaesthetic, will take ten minutes.” Since then, I try to catch things earlier.

– Anonymous

 “I went to the doctor” Madeleine’s Story

By Madeleine, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

When I finally decided to leave Christian Science after thirty years, what I knew for sure was that if I no longer believed that it healed, then it was my responsibility to take care of my body and see a doctor; I couldn’t just sit on the fence and not believe anymore but also not take care of my body.

For many, many years I had been convinced that there was something wrong with my heart. I was very scared about my symptoms of shortness of breath, dizzy spells and what felt like heart palpitations. Of course I had prayed and gotten help from a practitioner, and I would feel better (which I thought was a healing) and then the symptoms would return. This had gone on for years.

Continue reading ” “I went to the doctor” Madeleine’s Story”