To vaccinate was to allow a belief of possible harm to enter thought

By Marion, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

When I was a Christian Scientist, our older child contracted diphtheria, and this fact was published on the front page of the local big city newspaper. Many people asked why we had not immunized him. This was my answer, and it made sense to me at the time:

If we were to have vaccinated him, he would have been protected from diphtheria, but still in danger from many other things, like accidents or other illnesses. But if we had been successful as students of Christian Science, he would have been protected against every thing that could hurt him.

In my thinking at the time, since to vaccinate was to allow a belief of possible harm to enter thought, the protection against every ill would have been compromised. That is, vaccinate, and you endanger your child by compromising the protective thought. He then could be hit by a car, or be subject to any number of tragedies.

Conditions under which a family could possibly bring up happy and healthy children while indoctrinating them with the tenets of Christian Science

By Marion, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

I have wondered, are there any conditions under which a family could possibly bring up happy and healthy children while indoctrinating them with the tenets of Christian Science and living by those tenets?

Some ideas:

  1. The parents hide any failures from the children. In effect, they lie to them in the interests of not ‘contaminating the children’s thought’ because of the parents’ failures.
  2. The differences children perceive between their practices and beliefs and those of their companions are cast as ignorance on the part of the majority, and the children are taught to view that ignorance with compassion.
  3. The children are lucky in that they have no serious illnesses or accidents.
  4. The children are academically gifted, and have strong reinforcement from teachers and authority figures; they achieve recognition for accomplishments in music, spelling, mathematics and other areas.
  5. Parents are liberal in the sense that they excuse regular practices…eating well, having good hygiene and appropriate schedules as temporary accommodations to the weight of human belief.
  6. The parents are good actors, passing off as certainty what might be questionable, maintaining continuously a kindly, even temperament.

These qualifications pretty much describe my husband’s Christian Scientist family. Incongruities were treated with humor, and there were definitely exceptions made to the rule. My husband was a very effective dental researcher, while in his religious beliefs he denied the  physical evidence.

He and I were Christian Scientists while our children were growing up, and the kids went to Sunday School, but, given some ‘non-demonstrations’, we concluded that, while the truth was the truth, we weren’t good enough to demonstrate it, and they all had medical care.

“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.