A Secular Christmas

[Image description: A still life display of several kinds of Christmas cookies on a white plate, surrounded by 2 mugs of steaming tea, a white ceramic Christmas tree, a vase of bright red, green and white flowers, a tall leafed plant, a red and white striped candle, and a crystal lamp that casts rainbows on the table in front of the cookies. The still life display is in front of a window that has a holly berry and pine needle wreath hanging from it.]

By Jodi

Happy December, everyone!

I have written many posts on this blog. Two of the past posts I have done have been about celebrating Christmas or Yule or the Winter Solstice, after leaving Christian Science.

I have talked about how my Christian Science parents taught me that “Santa Claus isn’t real,” because “we don’t lie to our children.” See “Santa Claus Isn’t Coming to Town.” When I was a bona-fide Christian Scientist, I was one of the biggest champions of the message, “Christmas is about Jesus’ birth! Tell everyone!” 

After leaving Christian Science, I thought I became Pagan. I learned of the celebration of “Yule,” on December 21. I have since learned more things and realized I don’t want to celebrate “Yule,” because I think I understand now that it’s a Wiccan thing, and I am not Wiccan. Last year, we celebrated the Winter Solstice, which I will continue to do, and for me, it’s separate from Yule. 

My beliefs have changed many times now, and every year, I sit back and re-evaluate what’s important to me. I have done this annual evaluation – since my kids were younger. We even evaluated which Christmas ornaments we liked in our collection, donating the ones we didn’t like, keeping the ones we did. 

This year, I finalized a divorce from my kids’ dad. Both of my kids are in their late teens and have chosen to stay at their dad’s house due to good Internet access and their friends being there. I could no longer afford rent in that area and have chosen to move to a different state and start a new life where things are much more affordable for me. 

I am flying my kids to see my family in a few days, and we will have an early celebration without a name to it. I will have our little ceramic light-up tree, and stockings I bought for them, filled with things. I am also making all their favorite seasonal cookies. 

My larger family (all Christian Scientists) will be there the next day, and we’ll have a big Christmas celebration, opening gifts to each other and having brunch and a special evening meal after spending a day together. That will be a lot of fun. 

On the actual Christmas Day, I think it will just be my partner and me and my dogs, like it is every other day of the year. I’m expecting we may have a nice meal we think up (for Thanksgiving this year, my partner grilled us nice steaks, and I made us mashed potatoes and cookies). It’s nice to do things simply, and just focus on who you are with and what is going right in our life right now, rather than having to fuss and work and stress about making it a perfect holiday like we remember when we were kids. 

I am making enough Christmas cookies to share with my larger family, my partner’s larger family, and my neighbors. It is fun to just go to homes and wish them a happy day and share cookies. I look forward to doing that with my local neighbors one of these days. 

On the Winter Solstice, I will probably still go out and see the sunset. I live in a tiny house now, and don’t have a fireplace or a firepit. So I’ll probably light a candle and maybe burn some tracing paper that has my wishes on it. We shall see. Fire safety is super important to me, I do not want to start a wildfire, so I am always extremely cautious when lighting a candle or a fire. One year, we whispered our wishes into pine cones and placed the pine cones back where we found them, for fae folk to carry our wishes forward. Maybe I will do that this year, too. Who knows. We shall see. 

I invite you to consider figuring out what works for you each holiday season, and what doesn’t work for you. Do what you love and don’t do so much that you stress badly about it. 

Will you please leave a comment with something you love to do during this season? I would love to see what others do this time of year. 

I send you wonderful light and joy for this holiday season! 

We Celebrate because Celebrations are Fun

We Celebrate because Celebrations are Fun was originally shared on kindism.org, it is shared here with permission.

With Easter around the corner, we wanted to give some thought about what, how, and why we choose to celebrate.


I don’t remember where I first heard about Sasha Sagan’s book For Small Creatures Such as We, Finding Wonder and Meaning in Our Unlikely World, but I do remember it sitting in my online cart for months before I finally caved and bought a gently used second hand copy, somehow I ended up with an uncorrected proof for limited distribution, but that has not hampered my enjoyment.

In some ways, coming out of Christian Science, which is decidedly devoid of wonder and meaning, and working towards being a secular humanist (godless unchurched heathen), didn’t feel like much of a shift. I stopped going to church, but I wasn’t going all that often anyway. I had never gotten into the habit of attending Wednesday night services, and I certainly didn’t mark the books or read the lesson on a daily basis. The only notable service on the CS calendar is Thanksgiving, and aside from some truly spectacular testimonies, taking almost two hours of prep time out of your Thanksgiving day for an otherwise dull service really messes up the timing of the turkey.

Christian Science has no birth rituals, or concept of confession or atonement. There are no birthdays or anniversaries. No wedding celebrations, certainly no sex, and death is seen as a failing of the deceased. There are no feasts or fasts. There is the Lesson — you should read this daily, and there are The Books, and there is the Sunday Service and the Wednesday night Testimony Meeting and really, you should be there, what more do you need?

Leaving Christian Science opens the door to a world of possibilities for celebration and ritual. What do we want to celebrate, commemorate, or do and why?

Do we choose to celebrate Christmas as we did before, with the occasional Prin Holiday Sing, cookie-swap circuit for those church ladies who felt so inspired (we didn’t), and vague attempts at sharing the Nativity story and tying it in with CS? Or do we embrace secular-Christmas and celebrate family, togetherness, and add a bit of Solstice celebration in as well, with the return of light and warmth?

How do we celebrate Easter? What do we celebrate? Why? As children we would usually get new, often matching, outfits for church, having long outgrown the previous year’s floral abominations. My children still get new outfits, not for church, but because the seasonal shift usually needs new clothes. We celebrate with chocolate bunnies, an egg hunt, and brunch. Why? Why not? Because chocolate bunnies make me happy, and egg hunts are fun.

We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and some weeks we celebrate the simple fact it is finally the end of the week and work and school is done.

So why do we celebrate? I’ve struggled a bit with this, the children celebrate seasonal changes at school, and it made sense to acknowledge these events at home as well. Some things we celebrate out of a sense of tradition. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, a few calendar holidays – some with “religious“ origins. Does every celebration have a deeper meaning? No. Sometimes we celebrate because celebrations are fun, and people have celebrated for things for centuries, why stop now?


Related content:

Seasons Greetings

winter sunset – photo by the author

By Jodi, an Ex-Christian Scientist group contributor.


“The Manual of The Mother Church” written by Mary Baker Eddy, has a guideline about not celebrating Easter. As far as I remember, it has no such thing about Christmas. 

I think each Christian Science family does their own thing about Christmas. Some folks celebrate with meals, family and gifts. Some do a gift exchange, some parents (like my dad) teach their kids that “Santa isn’t real.” My family also did lots of Christmas Cookies, because one of my grandfathers was German, and Christmas cookies are a German tradition.

Every year, my grandmother showed up with at least 5 large tins of Christmas cookies, fudge, sweet squares and candies that she made. Everyone had their favorite cookies. I loved the “Cathedral Window” cookies. They were made with colored marshmallows, chocolate and coconut on the top. Cut in squares to look like pretty glass windows. (Later in this blog, I share my Christmas Cookie recipes link.) 

I was still an active Christian Scientist when I became a mom. We chose to continue the tradition of having a Christmas tree, ornaments, presents on Christmas morning with our kids. I made cinnamon rolls and put them on a Hallmark Christmas tray. Dinner would be a special meal with family coming over or us going to their house, complete with present opening.

Every year, we went to our local Washington, DC area Principia Chapter for the Christmas Sing. (This was usually the weekend preceding Christmas.) People made Christmas cookies and brought savory appetizers for everyone to enjoy. A lot of years, this sing took place at the local Christian Science “nursing” home – called Lynn House of Potomac Valley. The residents there were welcome to come in and sign with us too. I’m not sure that any did. Though the Christmas music was probably piped into their rooms for them to listen to. 

Many years, I did the children’s activity, or played violin for a song during the Sing. Or I was master of ceremonies for it, too. It was always a fun time. I enjoyed the Principia Christmas Sing. The best year was one of the last that I went – my entire family all played a musical instrument and led the group in the song, “Let there be Peace on Earth.” 2 of my family members played piano, I played violin, my dad played harmonica, my step-mom played guitar and I think one of my brothers played ukulele and another may have played recorder. We’d never done any family music performances like that before, and it was fun. 

One year, my dad (who had just been placed on hospice) slipped into a coma on Christmas Eve and died on New Years Eve. The next year, I left Christian Science. I was heart-broken over losing my dad. Christmas time was coming, and I was so deep in grief, I just couldn’t imagine finding Christmas spirit at all. I didn’t want my boys to miss out, though, so I worked hard to find something that would work for me and also for them. 

After leaving Christian Science, I came to terms with the fact that Christian Science isn’t actually Christian. While I had been taught that Christian Science “is the highest form of Christianity,” I had to make peace with the fact that I had never actually been Christian. Eddy, the creator of Christian Science, had taken words like “Christ,” “Holy Ghost,” and other Christian terms and changed their meaning to suit her own interest. I didn’t understand Christianity at that point, but I did know I wasn’t one. I was in an In-Between with my faith, trying to figure out what my next belief system would be. My Sundays had a huge void in them – I was so used to going to church every Sunday morning. I felt like I was flailing about, with no focus, no guidepost. 

I decided to figure out what I actually believed in. After a week or a month of paying attention, I realized I believed in Mother Nature. I loved trees and flowers and rocks and bodies of water and mountains. I decided to honor what I believed in. It was the only truth about my beliefs that I could come up with. 

I tried to see if there was a name for my beliefs. The closest I found was “Pagan,” which, in early days of the word, meant simply, “not Christian.” There are scads of ways people can express being Pagan these days. For me, though, it’s a love of Mother Nature. 

Extending my love of nature, I decided to celebrate the solstice. I learned there is a holiday called “Yule.” Yule is a holiday that dates way back in time. It’s a time that’s after the last harvest (that time is around Halloween. Think: pumpkins and apple cider and corn and warm fresh baked bread). And it’s before Spring, when plantings and sunshine happen. Yule is when the sun is up in the sky the least amount of time. It’s when the nights are longest. The cold weather is here. In ancient times (and even in current times), people knew that the elderly among us may not survive the winter. It’s dark, cold, and can feel very lonely. So people gather together for Yule to share a last big meal with each other, share their warmth, their fire, the company of all the people together, laughing and enjoying, sharing memories and camaraderie. It’s a lovely holiday, steeped in tradition. 

Now the first year I did Yule, I only had about 2 weeks before it happened to cobble together any kind of ritual. It worked out very nicely, though. 

On December 21, Yule, my boys and spouse (at the time I was still married) all went to watch the sunset. I have had a long time passion of collecting pine cones. It reminds me of being a little girl with my grandmother, collecting pine cones by the side of the road. She put these in flower arrangements and even made little table top conical trees with red ribbons from them. So, my family and I each took some tracing paper and wrote our wishes on the paper and rolled them up into the pine cones. 

Then, we went inside to our fire place and put the pine cones stuffed with wishes into the fire. We watched as they burned and carried our wishes up into the air. It felt calming and serene. 

Then, we had some warm apple cider and each of us opened a gift. I got my boys each a nature-themed gift. I gave my one son some clay. He loves to sculpt and make things. And I gave my other son a locally artisan made glass kaleidoscope. (I love that glass is made from sand, a natural element.) 

This small tradition has become only a slightly larger tradition for us in these years hence. We still go out and watch the sunset. One year, it rained, and we watched from our living room window instead of being outside watching it. We got to see a Rainbow that I dubbed a #YuleBow. That was pretty cool. I love rainbows!

Over the years, we have evaluated to find out what is right for our family, and we keep deciding this Yule ritual we do is perfect for us. I also make everyone’s favorite Christmas cookies – I still make the cathedral window cookies because they are so pretty, and I make the green corn flake Holly Berry Drops with red cinnamon candies, and I make a cookie we call “Bird’s Nests.” It’s chow mein noodles with melted chocolate and butterscotch and chopped nuts. That’s my boys’ favorite cookie. And I also love to make gingerbread this time of year too. It’s warm and comforting and full of flavor. You can see my Christmas Cookie Recipes on a blog I used to write – here – http://jodis-recipes.blogspot.com/search/label/christmas%20cookies

Our ritual still includes writing our wishes, things we want more of, things we want to let go of, on tracing paper and rolling it up to put in pine cones. We still have a Yule fire we put the pine cones into. And I still give my boys nature themed gifts. I also give each of them a sketchbook every year for Yule. My older son loves the sketchbooks. My younger son told me last year that he doesn’t like them. I had no idea! So this year I am going to have to figure something else out for him. Maybe I will give him clay again. He really does love to make little figurines and other things out of clay. 

One year, my sons gave me a moonstone necklace. It’s such a beautiful necklace. I wore it every day for years, until it broke. 

There have been years we have added in smoke cleansing to the ritual. (Some people might call this “smudging,” but I am not a Native American and I have not been invited by the Native American people to be able to practice smudging.) I use whatever herbs I find in Mother Nature around me to do smoke cleansing. It’s a way to wash off the previous year and welcome in the new year. This is how we view Yule – it’s our version of a new year, since it’s based on the Solstice. 

One year, I got together with another friend who celebrates Yule, and we made dried orange slices on a string to decorate the windows. They were beautiful! 

These last few years, we haven’t really celebrated Christmas in addition to Yule, because we don’t really feel like we need it. I love the idea of doing what’s right for OUR family, not what we think everyone else does. I love that we talk with each other and figure out what is right for us, from year to year, and are open to changing. I don’t have to make 15 kinds of cookies and decorate the house with things I have to store all year. I don’t have to spend oodles of money I don’t really have, to buy a ton of expensive gifts for my kids that they won’t really play with, that will junk up the house and turn into clutter. 

I do personally love lights on a house, so I have a set of rainbow lights I put up sometime in the Fall and leave up until about Valentine’s Day. They are not Christmas lights to me, but they probably are to my neighborhood. I just like the pretty rainbow lights lighting up my house. 

I love the time after the sunset – it embodies the perfect family bonding time for me. We get time with each other out in the cold, watching the sunset, and going inside where it’s warm and we have a fire and something warm to drink, and gifts to open – to me this is the perfect kind of low key, low stress holiday. 

We usually watch the classic movie, “White Christmas” together while the Yule fire burns, sipping our hot, spiced apple cider. 

I also want to add one other detail: we had a fake Christmas Tree for years that we would decorate and then put away / store for a year, and bring it out every year. One year, we fostered some kittens and their exuberant antics broke our tree. I have done various things to create a Yule tree since then. One time we were at Walt Disney World, so I used hotel towels and draped them from the dresser in such a way as to create an evergreen triangle shape. Another year, I hung ribbons up to make the triangle shape. Several years I have used green construction paper to tape a triangle shape on the wall. My boys have said this is their favorite Christmas tree. We also like that it’s recyclable! We can tape the lighter weight ornaments to the tree and put the heavier ornaments down on the floor in front of the tree. 

A friend of mine has a wooden Christmas tree that she and her family made. I hope to be handy and organized enough to make one of those for my family some year. I love the idea of not doing a traditional Christmas tree, but rather doing something that fits into your own space and fills your own needs. Two years ago, I bought a small, live, table top tree. Last year, we had a foot tall ceramic tree. This year, I bought a small potted rosemary plant, because I am now living in a very small home and have less space than ever. I love to make rosemary bread, and look forward to using fresh rosemary in it this winter. You can see my rosemary bread recipe here – http://jodis-recipes.blogspot.com/2019/12/rosemary-bread-machine-recipe.html 

More than anything, I hope this blog post has given some ideas for any reader(s) having thoughts about what to do with this upcoming season. Also, there are so many other Winter holidays to choose from. You can also create your own, basing it on things that have meaning to you inside your own heart. 

Whatever holiday(s) you choose to celebrate this winter season, I wish you a lovely and love-filled one. I send you the Season’s Greetings and Warm Wishes. 


Admin note: this is the last post of 2021. We at the ExCS Team wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.

Thanksgiving 2021

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 am so thankful I left CS in high school. I never really believed, but I couldn’t quite get over the feeling that I was wrong for not being able to hack it in CS. I finally gave up and refused to go to church when I was 17. My father especially was fanatical and probably would have let me die as a child in Mary Baker Eddy’s name if it had ever come to that. I am so grateful that I braved his profound disappointment and left the cult behind. It was scary but the best thing I have ever done. – Becca R


I’m glad I got out. I’m glad I’m reclaiming my life and my self. I’m glad I’m imperfect and don’t need to “heal” that. I’m glad for my body, including the parts I don’t always like. I’m glad I’m human. I’m glad I’m physical. I’m glad for time and space. I’m glad for matter, gravity, energy, atomic force. I’m glad the time for thinkers is over. I’m glad for sensation and feelings. I’m glad the Christian Science church is dying. Not glad in a sadistic way, but glad that others will not be gaslighted the way so many of us were. I’m glad for the ability to stand up to, and to reject, systems of thought control, both religious and political, that are abusive and dictatorial. – Mike Lambert


I am very grateful to be out of CS. I am grateful for the medical care I have received. Without it I would not be alive today. I am also grateful for the Dear Leaders of the Anti-CS Movement, especially the Ex-Christian Scientist,,Katie B of the Ex Christian Scientists for Christ, and Rita and Doug Swan of C.H.I.L.D. Childrens Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, all of which have helped me in my journey out of CS. – CRS


I am grateful this year for proper scientifically-based medical care. It has successfully treated a bladder infection, ear infection, and a severe dislocation of a thumb joint in an accident (and accidents ARE real). No, it doesn’t cure everything, but unlike Christian Science, it doesn’t claim an ability to heal anything it is not proven to heal. I am grateful for doctors, surgeons, nurses, antibiotics, and hospitals. I am also grateful to live in a country that provides universal access to healthcare. – Jeremy


I’ve long suffered from sinus infections. Every cold turned into a sinus infection that would drag on for weeks and weeks. It was miserable and made me dread colds and as I had young kids who started to get colds with frequency, everything seemed worse and worse. As I transitioned out of Christian Science, I began going to a dr and getting treatment for the sinus infections. Antibiotics worked and I was hooked. After weeks of suffering, my nose would clear and I would finally feel better just a day after starting antibiotics.

However, I wasn’t comfortable with how many antibiotics I needed! Why did this happen to me but not my friends around me? My OB recommended that I go see an ENT. I did and I decided to mention that I had been a Christian Scientist and so had not really had medical treatment for this issue though it had been going on my whole life. He asked if I’d had my childhood vaccinations and of course I had not. He mused that it was possible I might need the one that prevents pneumococcal disease. Apparently it’s recommended as a child and again at 65+, but in rare cases, midlife adults need it if they get excessive sinus infections. We did some tests to see if my body had developed resistance to these diseases on its own and indeed it had not. I took the vaccine and retested to find that post vaccine, my body’s resistance to each of these strains had gone up by many 100%.

I have not had another sinus infection since getting that vaccine in the summer of 2019. With covid, I haven’t had as many colds but the number hasn’t been zero, and still, no sinus infections. I can feel it coming when I’m sick but then literally feel my body fight it off. I don’t know if that’s all in my mind, but I’ll take it. I love medicine and the ways that it has helped me live a happier, healthier, more free life. I will be forever grateful to that OB for pushing me to see an ENT and that ENT for thinking critically about my situation. Even though I’ve told them, they don’t really understand how much they improved my life. – Anon.


I want to share my gratitude today for the Ex Christian Science Facebook group, the Ex Christian Science website and all the testimonies shared over the years.

I am also thankful for the discoverers and founders of the Ex Christian Science website and Facebook group.

I am so thankful to have left Christian Science and learned I have a body and that my reflection of my human body is in the mirror.

I no longer live a life of denial. I live in real reality and face my problems head on, instead of ignoring and praying they will go away some day.

Also, I am grateful to have moved out of the house and have my own place with my kids. And our dog. No more spouse. This has been a healing that took a long time, and I am so grateful for it.

Thank you, Ex Christian Scientists, for helping me see what was right in front of me all these years and supporting me while I figured out how to be a human and move on to my own, new life.

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a Macy’s Day Parade and Dog Show for us kind of day! – Just Jodi


I am super thankful that this year I received the financial support to see a new audiologist and get new hearing aids. The audiologist is awesome: knowledgeable and supportive, and she explains the particulars of hearing loss in a clear and helpful way.

My new hearing aids are a vast improvement: they fit better, they are better adapted to my hearing loss pattern, and in the age of mask-wearing, they don’t get caught up in the straps. My hearing loss and tinnitus began when I was still in Christian Science, but I felt helpless because CS seemed not at all up to the task of healing me. I gave up trying to pray about it. I knew several CSists who wore hearing aids, but there was this weird acceptance/nonacceptance of it. People wore them, but they were supposed to heal themselves eventually. So it was okay not okay and just a topic to avoid.

Now I try to be open about my hearing loss. I told friends and family how excited I was to get new hearing aids. The road is still rough: hearing aids will never completely fix my loss, they will never fix my tinnitus, and the difficulty of having an “invisible disability” is real. But good audiologists and good hearing aids exist, and I can talk about them openly without CS baggage! – Casey B


A decade ago I still believed in magical thinking but since that hadn’t really worked I started down a path of actually healing.

I have complex PTSD, severe anxiety, and have experienced sexual abuse. These complex issues were making my life really difficult to navigate. In addition to being raised in Science, several family members are narcissistic as well. My family appeared highly functional but quite the opposite was and is true. I had no family support as I started relying on Veterans Administration mental health and medical care, because there was zero benefit for my family if I changed, or had a healing. And that pain has been incredibly difficult to understand but typically happens when you unpack and process childhood trauma compounded by Christian Science. My family didn’t want me to change and have not supported my healing journey.

I am grateful for the pandemic because it allowed me the space to become acutely aware of how many times I’ve put my mental health aside just to keep family in my life. So these many months have been spent unpacking all the mythologies and fairy tales I was taught as a child and have carried with me every where I go, these stories have been running in the background, my default, and they’ve kept me from knowing who I truly am and kept me from seeing my worth as a human being.

Some thoughts on mental health… Things happen to us that we have no control over, or that somehow a negative thought might’ve attracted. There are no quick cures/fixes, but there is acceptance/understanding and growing into a truly compassionate and empathetic person. The healing work/process doesn’t end, there is no magical space where one has no more work to do, where we know it all and can magically deny a thing and then get what we want. Being human takes compassion. Being human takes action, and I mean getting off one’s ass, putting down the books and go do something to create change, rather than sit and pray and then passively, arrogantly do absolutely nothing.

I am grateful for my amazing body that has allowed me to still be here because as I look back and it’s a miracle I survived my childhood!

Being human is messy and we’re meant to live it fully, feeling incredible pain and incredible joy. And to my family I don’t care if I am, never was or never will be “cool” or a good CSer. Instead I am learning to feel the goofiest full belly joy for the first time in my life and my wish is that everyone here is able to experience tremendous joy while being human. Thank you for listening. – KA


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.

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.