Why God didn’t heal her vision problems?

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

A long time ago, a friend who was trying to convince me that leaving Christian Science was just animal magnetism told me about her ‘healing’ of an eye infection which had been exacerbated by contact lenses. She had terrible symptoms and finally went to an eye doctor who prescribed antibiotic eye drops. She used the drops, but prayed really hard too. Three weeks later she saw a different doctor who said her infection was gone. A Christian Science healing, she said!

I asked why God didn’t heal her vision problems, too? She said she was still working that part out. Years later, after leaving Christian Science, she went to an eye doctor who asked her, “Did you ever have an eye infection? I’m seeing lots of scar tissue in there.” In my experience, all so-called ‘healings’ are of this nature.

The church touts its ‘verified’ testimonies, but the verification process includes EITHER “I saw the healing,” or “I didn’t witness it but I know you are a good Christian Scientist.” That’s not verification. That’s what I call ‘none of us want to see anything other than a success,’ especially when you consider that no one in the church ever tells stories of Christian Science failing to work.

I was really struggling with the injustice of having this Error-fuelled injury

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

I had pulled a muscle playing some kind of chasing game that was popular in my school one year. Because of Christian Science, I could not ask my mother for help or advice, and because I didn’t want to miss out on the game, as for once I was included in something the other kids liked and was enjoying not feeling like a total outsider, I kept playing it every day until I could barely walk normally. Every lunch time, I would race around and for a bit the pain would go, although I was a lot slower. I assumed the reason it came back worse each afternoon was due to my thinking.

One weekend, I was walking in to the village with my mother, literally hobbling behind, when she turned and started berating me for all the usual Christian Science BS. I got a bit annoyed myself, as it really did hurt very badly. I think I kind of thought this chasing game was God’s answer to how lonely I had always been at school, so I was really struggling with the injustice of having this ‘Error-fuelled’ injury that was stopping me from playing it. I really couldn’t understand it.

A few years prior to that, I had complained that when we moved to that area I had never fit in once with the kids and was lonely. “Well you know what to do about that don’t you?” I was told roughly, and that was that. And now this physical injury, which felt related to the earlier hurt. My mother snapped back at me something about how if it was that bad that I had let it get to the point that I couldn’t even walk, then maybe I would have to go and see ‘the Doc.’ The way she said ‘the Doc’ was just infuriatingly dismissive. Like the only alternative to Christian Science was bloodletting or something similar. I hobbled along behind her in mute silence, fuming, partly at her indifference and partly at her useless non-suggestion that I see a doctor.

Relief eventually came when a PE teacher saw me virtually crawling onto a basketball court, asked me why, then patiently explained that you need to rest muscle injuries. I believe he thought I was an overzealous athlete! I followed his advice and was better in a couple of days.

My mother’s response: “It’s like you’ve given up.”

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

My mother was convinced sun protection was unnecessary for her fair skinned blonde baby. The sun is made by God and we are made by God so…how can God hurt God? That wouldn’t make any sense, right?

So fast forward to my teens. I fell asleep on the beach in direct sunlight during a heatwave for a couple of hours. No sunscreen, start of the summer, totally white. Agony that night, next morning I looked like the swamp monster. I mean I still remember it now. The sight was horrific and I was actually in tears. Also, with no comprehension of why it had happened. I was in bed for a week physically unable to walk as my legs were too burnt to allow movement. My face was a mess with blisters everywhere and I should have been seeing a doctor.

A few days into this my door flies open and my enraged mother appears. Her idiot practitioner friend has been ‘working’ for me and I am not responding and just laying in bed, because I can’t actually walk. My mother’s response: “It’s like you’ve given up.” Door slams. Actually, I remember at some point into my confinement, a pink bottle of moisturiser appeared and was banged down out of my reach. I was told that if I really had to resort to medicine, I should use it. I left it where it was. No way was I going to mess up my miraculous week-long agonising healing with a bottle of moisturiser.

The only sympathy I had through this week was from my school. My symptoms were being reported to them each day and I eventually found out they were very concerned and said it must have been awful for me. I was kind of pathetically grateful to hear this. I got burned at the start of every summer. Not as bad as in this case, but I literally thought Christian Science would work each year and protect me. I hate Christian Science.

I imagine what my mother would have done and then do exactly the opposite

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

I could fill a book with all the horrible experiences a Christian Science childhood provided. The alienation from my peers, the anxiety of never knowing when I’d prayed enough to stop the other shoe from dropping…

I remember laying awake with an ear infection. They say you can’t remember pain, but I remember it very well, and it was excruciating. My non-Christian Scientist grandmother usually kept completely quiet about my mother’s parenting choices, but I remember even her complaining that I should have some pain killers. The few times it happened, it mercifully went away on its own after a day or two, which of course was a great ‘healing’. I was genuinely absolutely terrified of getting it again.

I was saved from the worst deprivation of medical care because the rules regarding parental jurisdiction over their kids’ medical treatment are a bit different in the UK than in the US. Doctors can override parents’ wishes to withhold treatment, and if social services believe the lack of medical treatment amounts to abuse the child can be taken into care, which terrified my mother. Still, I didn’t get to see much preventative care and I barely knew what an aspirin was until I was fourteen.

One of my biggest challenges is learning to forgive my mother for my effed-up Christian Science childhood. I’m afraid so far I have made limited progress. It has provided me an excellent template when bringing up my own little boy, though. In any given situation, I can just imagine what she would have done and then do exactly the opposite.

In fact, they are radiant with health and full of energy on the inside

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

Heaven was a big deal to the actual Christians that we knew when I was growing up, so I always thought it was a bit odd that it was rarely mentioned as part of my Christian Science learning. Christian Scientists themselves seemed to have little to no expectations of life after death at all.

It began to dawn on me that if you follow Christian Science, then you kind of have to accept that you have attained heaven here on earth. When I grew to be a teenager, I began wanting to ask questions. My mother’s chief tormentor, aka her best friend, was a ‘qualified’ (I seem to use a lot of quote marks when talking about Christian Science) practitioner, and I was told that I had been given permission to pass questions on to her with my mother as an intermediary. I believe I was meant to understand that I had been afforded a great privilege.

Q. Are there grass and trees in heaven, because isn’t everything down here that isn’t a person or a pet meant to be an illusion of mortal mind?

 

A. Nothing useful can be lost to God.

 

Q. If someone is bald on earth do they get their hair back in heaven?

 

A. If hair is useful to them as a reflection of God, then their divine personification will have hair.

(Why would hair be ‘useful’? No one needs hair, it just looks nice. Is heaven cold?)

The church I went to as a kid was one of those where the people in their sixties were considered young. The oldest members could barely walk, or see, and were obviously afflicted with any number of age-related ailments. They waited like human pennies in those shove ha’penny machines to be randomly shunted off their precipice and never seen or spoken of—or to—again in the church; presumably when they either died or were too frail or embarrassed to make the journey in.

Q. Why is everyone I know who does Christian Science so old and doddery?

 

A. They only appear like that; in fact they are radiant with health and full of energy on the inside.

Considering what an enormous amount of claptrap Mary Baker Eddy fabricated about basically every other subject, it is curious that she never got around to proscribing anything about the afterlife or lack thereof. I always found it a curious omission. Hadn’t Mary Baker Eddy known everything? I asked another practitioner once, who looked shocked and then muttered something about that being covered in the Bible.

Buddhism didn’t seem like much of a stretch for me.

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor

 

Leaving Christian Science is a journey that takes a long time for some people. In my case, I found it very easy to turn my back on it, but very hard to let go of the CS fanaticism. I took up Eastern Religion and Buddhism with immense enthusiasm when I left. But instead of listening to the simple message of accepting how things are and letting go of my sense of self importance, I spent hundreds of hours reading and searching for examples of healings and miraculous transformations. I was so brainwashed by growing up in Christian Science that my way of evaluating spiritual effectiveness was whether there was any evidence of physical healings.

Mary Baker Eddy, of course, ripped off a lot of Eastern religion when she started Christian Science, mostly the non-duality aspect around letting go, so Buddhism didn’t seem like much of a stretch for me. Except of course, she changed this simple and rewarding practice of letting go into something corrosive that makes people go steadily mad as they keep trying to let go inside to effect an outside change. A change that never happens, which makes them start obsessing about holding on to letting go so they can experience God’s love in their bodies, bank accounts, social lives etc. ‘Have I let go enough yet? No healing, must let go more!’ Repeat until insane.

They say that the only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing. That’s the polar opposite of CS where we are taught from birth that we know everything, and the more we know the more we can control everything and everyone else. It took me a long time, but I eventually, by a process of endlessly walking into the same hole and floundering around trying to get out, realised all over again that Christian Science does not work, and that’s when I finally mostly freed myself of it. And it wasn’t that long ago either.

I would still say I am Buddhist—the simple forest tradition, mostly, which just focuses on awareness of impermanence and letting go. I like that it doesn’t make any attempt to explain why the world is like it is. CS put me off metaphysical explanations of reality. I just don’t think anyone knows. Though I don’t necessarily disbelieve in God, I can’t begin to imagine what God might mean. On the plus side, when I did finally accept this the feeling of relief was tremendous. Like finally laying down a very heavy burden.

Buddhism actively tells you to question it.

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

I am rather a lapsed Buddhist at the moment but I would call myself that rather than anything else, and an old (doubtless now out of print) library book called The Heart of Buddhism by Guy Klaxon, that contained nothing otherworldly at all, led me out of Christian Science when I was a teenager, which I have always been very grateful for.the Heart of Buddhism

There are a lot of different ‘flavours’ of Buddhism that have taken on the cultural aesthetics of the countries they originated from. The thing that appeals to me is that the Buddha (allegedly) said to give his teaching a try and if you find it doesn’t work then discard it. I found that very refreshing after having tried to cram Christian Science blind faith cognitive dissonance into my head to the point I thought I would go mad, and that’s really the thing that put me off theistic religions in general. I just cannot make myself go back to trying to believe something I can see no evidence for. Not again.

In the end I settled on SE Asian (Hinayana, or the so called ‘Lesser Vehicle) Buddhism as it is very straightforward. There is no official stance on reincarnation, the Buddha is presented as a regular person who figured things out on his own rather than having been born from a magical tusk or whatever, and it is not in any way supernatural.

Buddhism is the only religion—although more a philosophy—I have found that actively tells you to question it while you are practising, rather than just believe something and get a reward after death which, like I mentioned, was important to me after Christian Science.

Continue reading “Buddhism actively tells you to question it.”

She was considered barely manageable because she occasionally asked questions

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

There was only one other occasional Christian Scientist kid who came to my church, a girl called Sean. Sean was unpopular amongst the old ladies who taught Sunday School as she was considered barely manageable. This was because she occasionally asked questions and preferred to talk about what she had seen on TV and which pop stars she liked instead of listening to them.

One day, one of the old ladies in the main service had a heart attack, and Sean and I were whisked outside so quickly our feet barely touched the ground, where we were made to sit on a wall by the entrance to the church. Our parents and the Sunday school leaders were abjectly horrified that we would see the ambulance that they had called, or the ambulance men ‘doing things’, and wanted us out of the way.

We saw the paramedics arrive and take one of those heart electrocution things inside with a stretcher. Sean didn’t know what it was, but I was proud of myself that I could tell her as I had seen it on TV. She seemed very interested that such a thing existed. I concurred that it was extremely cool all the things that medicine on TV dramas could do, especially as Christian Science didn’t appear to be able to do anything, evidenced by the fact that one of their number appeared to have actually died during a service and none of their colleagues could think of doing anything other than calling the emergency services.

We were then rushed back inside and quarantined back in the Sunday School room. This is because the medics were going to carry Mrs. X out and we were to be saved the traumatic sight of human beings giving another human being basic care. Mrs. X’s fate was never alluded to, or her identity. Other than by trying to work out who it had been like a game of geriatric ‘Guess Who,’ the following week we were never to know. Was she in a better place? I suspected in my heart of hearts that if she never had to go back to that awful stultifying church again, she probably was.

But it was obvious it had scared all the adults badly, and none of them appeared to be getting any comfort from their beliefs.

“Are Sin Disease and Death Real?” taught us the obvious answer: no.

 

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science collective about Church and Sunday School. 

 

 

When I was about ten, and a student of the Christian Science Sunday School since I was two, I was so indoctrinated that I thought the last sentence of the Scientific Statement of Being was “Sunday School is dismissed!”

A friend’s father died, and since we had been taught so much about the unreality of death, I decided I should handle it that way. I did not tell my parents, and was expecting to see the departed one walking around any minute. My parents found out about the death from someone else and asked me why I didn’t tell them. I explained all I learned in Sunday School about death! My non-Christian Scientist dad then gave me a talk on reality— real reality.

I was miffed! I talked to a practitioner about this later and she advised me “You don’t walk on the water.” How much should we be expected to handle—or not handle—at the age of ten? Doing some thinking, we had a lesson called ‘Are Sin Disease and Death Real?’ which taught us the obvious answer: no. It made for a very confusing childhood!

– Anonymous


I really liked Sunday School and always enjoyed talking about philosophy and religion. Most of my Sunday School teachers were nice and interesting people. Of course, I always had a nagging feeling that even though I talked the talk, I would someday disappoint everyone in terms of Christian Science.

– Marie


There was a little girl in my Sunday School class; I was shy and awkward and she was pretty and popular. She picked on me very overtly, I mean loudly made fun of me and other things that were downright mean. When I finally got the courage to ask my dad to tell the Superintendent about it, the Superintendent chose to respond by sending me a letter to my home address. She said I was letting personal sense get in the way of enjoying Sunday School, and that I must remember that “we can’t always arrange things exactly the way we would want them to be.”

– Ashley

I just believed what they told me. Because I was a kid!

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

The Christian Scientists I grew up around all pretty much disappeared the moment my mother drowned in her own bed of a mysterious lung condition after a long period of radical reliance. I can’t say I ever really missed them, though a ‘sorry’ would have been nice.

Some of the people from her church came to the funeral. They avoided me for as much of it as they could, and left as soon as it finished. I never saw or heard from any of them ever again, despite the fact I had known all of them for years, I was a teenager, and they all knew I was then left on my own.

I had tried to stage a sort of adolescent intervention in my mother’s Christian Science treatment. Her best friend was also a Christian Science practitioner, and a fairly big lifelong contributor towards my mother’s reliance on ‘Science’. My mother looked on her as a sort of contemporary Mary Baker Eddy. Of some indeterminate late age, she was a bustling dynamo of a woman who arrived in the middle of a situation, then strode around setting everyone straight and bullying them into ‘Divine Mind’ for their own good. The idea of criticising this woman was almost tantamount to blasphemy, so I was surprised that I would be granted an audience about the issue with my mother present. I stupidly thought it was because we were actually going to talk about my mother’s failing health and devise a plan for managing it.

This meeting with them—where I wanted it to be agreed that she needed to see a doctor—dawned, and I went down from my bedroom with suddenly sweating palms and hammering heart, and this woman just ran rings around me and made me feel about two inches tall. She turned all my carefully planned arguments back at me and by the end of it I wasn’t even sure if the sky was blue and grass green. To cap it off, it was implied that the lack of a healing might be due to my negative thinking. Actually to really cap it off, she finished up with explaining that our family’s poverty was down to my laziness in not applying Christian Science better and that I was now ‘in charge of the finances’ and that she expected to see results from me because it was unfair that my mother had to deal with a physical healing and a situational one while I did nothing. I left meekly agreeing that I would and feeling terrible at my own selfishness. For every day after that until my mother’s death, I felt our poverty and her ill health was my fault. I was thirteen.

I sometimes wonder what I would say to her, or them, now. I would like to give them a piece of my mind, to be honest. I had an absolutely horrible time growing up in Christian Science, and none of it was my fault. I just believed what they told me. Because I was a kid!

There was another group of friends that that my mother had made comparatively very recently through an evening class, who all turned out to the funeral and the wake and all showered me with offers of help if I needed. It was actually the first time I began to understand that people who weren’t in Christian Science were generally a lot nicer and more human than people who were.