Christian Science really screwed up my connection to ME


By Heidi, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

I was raised in Christian Science, but I was not enthusiastic about it when I enrolled at Principia College. Prin made me look at Christian Science differently—not good, not bad, just different—and after I left Prin, I got more into Christian Science before waffling my way back out again. I knew the beginning of the end was near either my freshman or sophomore year. It took me almost another six to eight years to officially work up the guts to move beyond, “well, I’m just not an active Christian Scientist; I live too far from a church to attend services, and there are medications I take which are helpful to me, so Christian Science is just not really working for me.” So, I was in it deep for 22 years, backed out slowly for four, and I have been truly out for three.

My dad died last year, and mom is in the deep end of the crazy. She maintains a rabid devotion to a church that did nothing for her except sap her time and energy while pretending my dad and his health crises didn’t exist. Ultimately, the reason for my departure from Christian Science was a combination of watching my parents flounder after my dad’s health crisis with a pseudo-medical approach to not really getting better, and the discovery, with age, that there are lovely humans out there who know that doctors are also god’s critters. My former in-laws are Baptists, and I couldn’t feel smug about being a Christian Scientist around them because they were so much better people than every Christian Scientist I ever knew: non-judgmental and super supportive. And I’ve met atheists who were just as lovely.

Christian Science really screwed up my connection to ME, and I am still picking up the pieces. With every retelling of my experiences growing up in Christian Science comes a bit more perspective. Sometimes it’s fear, or shame; sometimes anxiety, other times, disbelief. These days, I like evolution and physical reality more than ‘god’s perfect idea’ of reality.

I can just sit here and think it all better

By Heidi, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

I just spent eleven days alone in the remotest parts of Big Bend National Park on a research project, and in my down time, I was reading ‘Fingerprints of God’ because while I am agnostic, I think there’s an awful lot of coincidence out there. It has been an interesting read.

I am really struggling at the moment. Prayer used to be a quiet, normal thing, a few conversations a day in my head, where I neatly tucked my fears and doubts and then went on to face the world with confidence. I really can’t quite talk to my husband about Christian Science. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to be raised in Christian Science; he was raised Baptist. So while he has ditched religion entirely, and he can pick apart a sermon with the best of them, it’s MY religion that he doesn’t know, but is picking at.

On top of a 200 foot mesa, with little more than a day pack, water, park radio (incoming stuff heard, outgoing calls apparently not going through) and a little GPS spot unit to save my ass in case of emergency, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh, cry, pray, curse, be comforted, or just say f*ck it and let park staff come find me. I am in over my head, I am surviving and learning, but I no longer have the convenient Christian Science ‘logic’ to compartmentalize my otherwise rational fears. ‘Chemicalization of thought,’ my ass.

Right now, I have a massive sinus infection which is going untreated other than cough syrup and a decongestant. I hope to change that tomorrow. I live in a place with zero cell service, so calling from home is out. I need to drive three miles to get a signal to call to make appointments. Bottom line, no wonder Christian Science is appealing: I don’t have to lift a finger, a phone, call a doctor or pharmacist. I can just sit here and think it all better. And if you trick yourself successfully, you’ll do it again next time. Odd epiphany, that.

A friend of mine pointed out that in lieu of prayer, I procrastinate. And then he pointed out that it is essentially the same thing: waiting for something, anything—’the right thing’—to happen. I was very upset by the conversation.

I don’t want to keep praying about something when a simple trip to the doctor will give things context. I don’t want to dismiss my own life’s experiences as unreal because this is the only life that I have. I am not willing to suffer years of discomfort because I was simply too afraid to go ask a professional whose life’s goal is to understand the human body. I’m done with fear. I’m OK with calculated risk. I will not endorse guilt due to circumstances outside of anyone’s control. We should each live our own lives according to our consciences and leave everyone else the hell out of it. Thus, I am never stepping foot into a Christian Science church ever again. It is a soulless, cold religion. A few gems of insight are not worth the whole package.