I dreamed in a red haze all night.

The following has been submitted by “Anonymous Guy in Ohio.”

In general, I was a very healthy child growing up in our Christian Science household, so many of the intricacies about CS’s distaste for modern medicine avoided my awareness.  Never had a broken bone.  No allergies.  Outside of a few severe seasonal colds, I never missed school. 

My parents skirted around CS expectations in a curious manner…I got the mandatory vaccinations for school, I went to the dentist regularly–including getting fillings when needed (?) but everything else was off the table.

I very much liked Christian Science growing up.  I remember being disappointed as a kid to find out that it was a lay ministry, meaning that leading services wasn’t a full time job.  If they would have had priests or ministers, I probably would have considered that as a career path.  

I don’t know why, but in my youth I was highly susceptible to testicle torsion.  This is essentially when your testicle twists backwards and circulation is cut off.  Very common sports injury.  Some, like me, just seem to have a predisposition for it–like some people having “bad knees”, I guess. 

 It starts off innocently enough.  A feeling like your leg is falling asleep, except it’s high up in your groin…usually I would go for a short walk, nature would take its course, it would untwist itself, and I wouldn’t think anything of it. 

Then one day shortly before my fourteenth birthday, it happened again–and this time it didn’t turn back.  This is the WORST.  Nausea sets in as the most sensitive part of the male body starts dying.  Worst pain you’ll ever feel.  If I think about it hard enough, even 25 years later, I get nauseous all over again.  

After vomiting for an hour, my mom said that I needed to “get back to God” and start praying.  (I was a mouthy 13 year old–aren’t we all?!)

Several hours later it was now 1am and I was writhing in pain as I vomited off the bedside.  The pain was too great to walk, so running to the toilet was out of the question. 

My mom decided to read “Science and Health” to me….I didn’t hear a word she said.  I told her my balls hurt.  She told me that it was part of puberty and “I didn’t know what boys my age were supposed to look like” when I told her I could feel the swelling in my scrotum.

Finally I punched the wall.  I was out of ways to process the pain.  My mom closed the book and walked out of the room, telling me to get some sleep. 

 I thought about going to the hospital myself, but at 13 years old, I would have to walk there.  In my small town, that was definitely possible, but in my condition, not practical.   

I dreamed in a red haze all night. 

For the next week, I felt part of myself die inside.  They both swelled up to the size of a tennis ball as they fought for circulation.   I was bullied in school for “walking funny”.   I’m pretty sure the Guidance office & a few teachers pulled me aside to investigate, but I was programmed not to discuss family business with them.  If only I had. 

Eventually, one testicle shriveled up and died.

That’s when I fell out of love with Christian Science.  There’s no coming back from that.

A few years later, I got an infection “down there”–this is a common thing if you’ve had this kind of trauma in the nether regions.  It was a different pain, but similar enough that I was certain the whole thing was happening again.

I already only had one testicle–was I now a Eunuch at age 16? 

I demanded to go the doctor.  My mom said, “We can’t, you need to pray, this is what you get for falling away from the Church.”

I told her I was going with or without her because I had a driving permit now, and I didn’t care if I got arrested for not having an adult in the car. If she took the keys, I would walk, because it wasn’t as bad as the last time.   Realizing that I had her, and that a minor showing up at the hospital without their parent’s consent would probably get Children’s Services involved, she relented and agreed to go with me.

My mom refused to sit in the appointment, because the Church would be disappointed.  She said she was only doing this to humor me.

The doctor was done in about 10 minutes.  “Here’s an antibiotic for the infection in your right testicle.  No, your left testicle is never going to grow back.  We’ll schedule a follow up test, but at this point it’s more dangerous to remove your testicle than to leave it.”

I told him that he didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already suspect about my condition, but I would need him to tell my mom because she thought I was only here because I was having a growth spurt and lacked a working knowledge of puberty.

He agreed, brought her into the exam room.  He minced no words.  I will never forget the look on her face as he told her that I was intimately scarred for life, and there was no remedy.

“It’s okay to cry,” she told me as we got back in the car, with tears in her eyes. 

“I ran out of tears a long time ago,” I said.  ” All that’s left is anger now.” 

My wife will nudge me, “hmm, are you doing your prayerful work?”

By Elizabeth, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

My wife and I have a little joke because she noticed early on that when there is any kind of crisis, from a blown tire to a major financial snafu, my initial reaction is always silent, calm and expressionless. I’m not normally like that, and I worry plenty when it’s more of an ongoing problem, but in the moment, my first reaction to crisis is still to think (pray?) my way out it. For example, say I oversleep. First reaction after waking? None. So my wife will nudge me, “hmm, are you doing your prayerful work?”

I think that Christian Science harbors and deepens psychological problems, which we all have to some extent. I have a very laid-back approach to life, and adding a Christian Science mindset to this has resulted in my problem, which is severe inertia with taking care of the physical matters in life, the realities of life. I became so skilled at adapting to circumstances, coping with pain and discomfort mentally, believing that we can just think away problems, and frankly, overusing my denial mechanism.

About ten years ago my sister was visiting, and we were walking back to my apartment from the grocery store. There was very slick ice, and I fell and broke my arm dramatically. I had to have surgery to repair it, the break was extremely obvious. My sister and I walk in the door and start asking my wife what we should do.


Our reaction was something along the lines of, “really? Are you sure?”

She’s like, “YES OH MY GOD!! GOOD GOD IN HEAVEN WHAT HAPPENED TO IT??!” My sister and I still marvel over this. We really did think maybe it would just go away… or something? Neither of us was a Christian Scientist anymore, but when you’re in a crisis like that those deep tendencies surface I guess!

The best suggestion I have for partnering with someone to support you in dealing with medical issues when they arise is to have an agreement in place with someone you’re close to on a daily basis. My wife knows that if I show a symptom, and then get quiet (in the short or long-term) she needs to interrogate me.

So for example, if I mention that my throat is sore, my wife will begin asking daily questions about how my symptoms are progressing, what my thoughts are about those symptoms, and how to handle the illness. She’ll inevitably uncover the crazy (“well, I’ve just been thinking to myself, I know I caught this cold because I volunteered to hold the sick baby last week at my nursery job, so I’ve been maintaining that no harm can come from doing good.”) I know it’s nuts when I hear it in my head, but at the same time it makes sense to me on a gut level, and I don’t confront the fact that I’m still trying to use Christian Science until I say it out loud. Then she’ll proceed with, “Honey, you have a tendency toward strep throat. Can I look at your throat? Okay, I don’t like the way your throat looks. It’s time to go to the doctor. Pick up your phone and call the office. Nope, I’ll pause the movie, let’s just do it right now.”

I’m getting to where I can do this for myself now. She jumps in when she sees I’ve gone off the rails.