Adam & Eve

By Jodi, a blog contributor

I was taught that the biggest difference between Christian Science and Christianity was that we viewed the Creation and Adam & Eve story differently from them. 

I remember explaining to so many different people over the years, what this means, and I figured I should share this in this blog, too. 

There is so much to share about this part of the Bible, and it encompasses only 2 chapters. 

The Holy Bible starts with the chapter, Genesis. And Genesis Chapter 1, starts with “The Creation Story.” It talks about how God created the universe. In the original, it uses the name “Elohim” for “God.” It talks about how Elohim divided the waters from the firmament (or ground). It talks about creating 2 lights in the sky – one for the day (the sun) and one for the night (the moon). It’s a beautiful chapter, full of creation of the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, every living creature that moves upon the face of the Earth. 

It talks about how “God created man in his own image, male and female created He them.” 
It’s interesting to think about when this chapter was written. It was actually written after the Adam & Eve story. The Israelites were in the desert, escaping slavery in Egypt. They wandered around for a good 40 years (it may not have been exactly 40, but it was a very long time). And the Rabbis with them had to get creative in their story telling. 

To the Children of Israel, “In the image of God” meant “royalty.” Only Kings and Queens were “made in the image of God.” But the Rabbis wanted the Children of Israel to also see how holy and special they were, so they said, in this story, that they were made in the image of God, too. How special they must have felt, to hear the words that they were holy children of God too, as marvelous as royalty!

If you go to Genesis 2, verse 11, this is the first place where the word “But” appears in the Bible. Before this, it was established that men and women were created and in charge of all the things on the brand new planet. 

Suddenly, in Genesis 2, verse 11 it says: “But there went up a mist from the ground and watered the face of the earth.” 

After this, the God referred to as “Elohim” goes away, and it turns into “Jehovah.” Jehovah is translated as “Lord God,” instead of as “God.” And it’s a whole new story of creation — the Adam and Eve story. 

This story predates the story of Creation in Genesis, Chapter 1. This story is the one most commonly referred to, I think, as the first man and woman on the planet. The Lord God created a man (Mary Baker Eddy defines “Adam” in her Glossary chapter in Science and Health as “A man”). 

The Lord God walks around on the Earth and creates a man, called Adam, and then “causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.” Then the Lord God takes a rib from Adam and uses it to create a woman, and names her “Eve.” 

It’s a completely different story from the one in Chapter 1. This story is complete with a talking snake and tree that bears the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, whereas Genesis Chapter 1, seems to only convey good things. Nothing “evil” in there. Nothing evil shows up at all in the Bible until we meet this serpent who talks about this tree that The Lord God said they could expressly not eat from.

The story goes that the serpent “beguiled” Eve and made her want to eat of the tree. She takes a bite of the fruit and gives some to Adam. Adam eats of the fruit too. 

Both people are suddenly aware that they are naked. They hear The Lord God (Jehovah) walking around and go hide themselves. Jehovah is suspicious of their behavior and then punishes them when He finds out what happened. 

One of the punishments is that Adam must now till the ground (farm) to find food. It will no longer be easy to get to, from the trees in the Garden of Eden. Eve is punished forever to have painful childbearing experiences. She gets the punishment of monthly blood, and pain simply for being a woman. Before this, people were created by God or The Lord God (Elohim or Jehovah). Now, they must come through woman and it will be a painful and awful experience for women for the rest of time.

I want to point out something that gets glossed over to everyone I have talked to who was never a Christian Scientist but who was familiar with these stories: 

There’s that part where The Lord God causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. The part where The Lord God takes out Adam’s rib, in order to create woman or Eve. 

Remember that part? In Christian Science, this is a key part of our faith. The fact that Adam was put to sleep. As far as I know, no other religion focuses on this detail. But it’s a key factor in the core beliefs of Christian Science. 

You see, the Bible never mentions that Adam woke up. 

Christian Scientists believe that “we are all in the Adam dream.” That’s right, they believe that Adam is still dreaming, and we are all inside this dream. None of us is real. We are all illusions inside Adam’s dream. 

You know how when you’re dreaming, and you find something you like, perhaps a treasure or a journal or food or who knows what. And you want to keep it forever. But then you wake up, and it’s gone? Because it was never real – it’s gone. I remember as a kid, having a dream that I was in a cafeteria line. I thought for sure if I held onto my plastic ware hard enough with my hands, that I could manifest it when I woke up. I woke up and my fingernails were digging into my hand, but I didn’t have any plastic ware in my hand. It wasn’t real. It was an illusion.
This is what Christian Scientists believe at their core – that everything around them is as real as that plastic ware that I tried to hold onto in my dream.

When they have an illness, it’s common for a Christian Science Practioner to say, “you just need to know the truth.” What’s the truth? That the illness is an illusion. It’s not real. Just know the truth. Wake up to the reality of everything – just wake up. Once you wake up, you will be healed. 

This belief system had the effect on me that I learned to dissociate at a very young age. I even practiced it. Dissociating can also be experienced as depersonalization or derealization. I can’t quite remember the difference between all of them – I do all of them. One of my medical doctors even diagnosed me with this – dissociation. It means that I don’t stay present in my body. 

I have talked with enough Ex Christian Scientists now that I know a lot of us do our best to ignore our pain. It’s what we were taught. We were taught to not pay attention to it, since it’s not real. Ignore it, downplay it, pretend it isn’t there. Basically, get your focus on something else (God in particular) and your pain will go away because you’re not focusing on it. 

I remember in third grade, being bored with what was going on around me, and I remember just trying to grasp the idea that I wasn’t actually in my body, that I was a spiritual soul that was made in the image and likeness of God. What would that look like? I remember trying to deliberately detach myself from my body, as if I was a spirit floating above my body. That was my real self, not this dream that had 5 senses. 

That reminds me to share that we were also taught that the 5 senses (seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling, hearing) are not real either. Anything we could sense with one of the 5 senses also wasn’t real, because it was inside the Adam Dream.

Are you seeing yet how crazy all of this is? Everything you can see, hear, taste, touch, smell isn’t real because it’s just made up by some guy who fell asleep aeons ago? 

All of this sounds like a Science Fiction plot to me now. Like a short story I read in Jack Finley’s book, “About Time,” about a world that created glass globes. In his science fiction story, people created worlds for a competition. All these little entities inside the globes were tiny people walking around, building things. Ultimately to be destroyed by the creator at the end of a year long competition. (I didn’t describe that very well; suffice it to say it’s a very good story.) 

I am learning, since leaving Christian Science, that my body is actually real. I have had to have heart surgery and need to take a daily medicine to control my heart further so I don’t pass out when I walk too fast or get too excited or nervous about things. 

Growing up in Christian Science, too many of our parents took the Christian Science teachings of “your body is not real, it’s just a dream,” too seriously and denied all medical care. In my experience, I was also denied any practical, material remedy. I wasn’t allowed honey to soothe my sore throat. I didn’t dare ask for crutches when I had a painful toe dislocation in high school. I had been taught that my needs weren’t valid. My needs weren’t important. Not just physical, but emotional too. 

If I was ever sick, I was sent to my room as if I was being punished – to go read my Bible and Science and Health. To pray and read only. No tv, no remedy. I was allowed to nap, thank goodness, when I was sick. I always worried that I would get in trouble for napping when I was sick. Thank goodness I never was. It wouldn’t surprise to me to hear some day that someone else was punished for that – not reading enough of their holy books to get a healing. 

I also wasn’t given words to define my emotions. I was allowed to feel joyful, happy and grateful. But I wasn’t allowed to feel sad or angry or frustrated. It took years of therapy to be able to put words to emotions I had buried my entire life. 

There is one other thing that I want to share about the Adam and Eve story and how it relates to my own experience. I often heard of friends having painful periods and cramping once a month. I had friends who could hardly get out of bed because the cramping was so bad. I felt somehow superior because I didn’t have these issues – that I had overcome the falsity of the Eve story. Eve being punished. Since I knew it was a dream (she is inside Adam’s dream too, if you think about it), then I knew the period issues didn’t have to affect me. It gave me a complete lack of empathy for people who had cramping with their monthly cycles. They didn’t “know the truth.” They were “asleep in Adam’s dream.” Their pain wasn’t real, they just believed it was. Why would I have any kind of empathy for people experiencing a dream? It’s what I had been taught – no empathy for people in pain or distress. 

Getting out of Christian Science and taking the (very scary) step to start going to doctors*, I found that medical nurses and doctors actually CARE about people. They listen when you say, “I’m not feeling well,” and they ask questions. “Is it a sharp pain? A dull pain? Where is it? Does the pain come and go? Is it throbbing? How intense is it?” And they listen to the answers. They administer medicines and bandages and other aids as necessary to help ease my physical body. 

For years, when I went to a hospital or care facility, I would cry. I couldn’t help it. Others I know have had this same response too. We are so unused to having someone be kind to us when we are suffering, that it is overwhelming and we cry in response to the kindness. It’s a shock to our system to be tenderly cared for when we aren’t feeling well. 

I am at the very beginning of learning how others see these 2 stories. As far as I understand it, these 2 stories are viewed as the same story. One gives the people names, and the other does not. I think this is how it is. I am not entirely sure, actually. One talks about where people start – like the family tree header. Maybe there were people before that, but history is started with these two – Adam and Eve. 

I went to a Catholic wedding one time and the Adam and Eve story came up. The priest told the story. I was baffled why a story that punishes women so badly would be at the center of a marriage. It just shows the different perspective a Christian Scientist has.

I want to also share that once I got out of Christian Science and learned what it felt like to receive true empathy, I learned to have empathy myself. I now know how to listen to people when they talk about their distress, or their emotions. I can try to soothe as I am able. I am able to comfort my own children when they aren’t feeling well. 

It’s a complete shift in my brain to have empathy. 

I hope all the folks still in Christian Science will get out sooner rather than later. I want them all to learn how to take care of their body and not die from something painful due to long term medical neglect. 

I am actually grateful to know that while I don’t know about Adam and Eve being a real story or not, I am grateful to know my own body is actually real. I am learning, over time, how to take care of it. 

*I had been taught to be afraid of doctors. That they make mistakes and kill people all the time. I was genuinely afraid of going to a hospital or doctors, thinking it would make me less of a child of God, unworthy of being healed ever again.

Additional Reading that May be of Interest

Chrystal’s Story: The Year I Left Christian Science

Chrystal's Story header image

This is part of an on-going series, for all posts in this series see the tag Chrystal’s Story.

A Wedding at Principia During my Reunion Weekend

A few years ago, I went to my brother’s wedding weekend at Principia College’s Chapel (it’s a beautiful campus, with buildings designed by nationally renowned architect, Bernard Maybeck. See: ). We were there for several days. It happened to also be my class reunion that weekend. The way Principia does their reunions, they do two classes at the same time, and then every 5 years above that, two more classes go for their reunion too, all the way to the 1920s or so. Potentially, it could be 100s and 100s of people showing up, of all ages. (Like: 2000, 2001, 1995, 1996, 1985, 1986, 1975, 1976…) I showed up for my reunion, and it was also for the students who were a class ahead of me. I would not have attended the reunion, except that it was my brother’s wedding that weekend too, so I figured, “why not, I’ll go 1 day early and catch some of my reunion.” No one, and I mean that literally, no one else from my class or the class ahead of me showed up for our reunion. Zero. I was the only one. And even I wouldn’t have been there (despite it being my 20th reunion), if my brother hadn’t been getting married in the Chapel that weekend, and I really love my brother. (Can you imagine it’s your 20th college reunion and NO ONE shows up except you?  #Awkward )

On Sunday morning, after the wedding, we all agreed we would attend the Chapel service. It was super hard to sit through. I remember the days when I was a Practitioner and I would love to hear “The inspired word of The Bible” and “correlative passages from Science and Health,” but this day at the Principia Chapel just felt tedious (no matter how much I love that Chapel as a building  and I love looking at the architecture). The organ felt too loud and blasty, the Readings were tremendously long, the solos always grate at my ears. I realized I no longer fit in this sort of church experience at all. I was so glad it was only an hour and I was so glad when it was over!

I have now been in the Quaker Meeting as a member for almost 2 years, and my beliefs continue to mold and change, and I love that I have complete freedom and support from my Quaker Friends to be Me. They love me for who I am, and they support me 100% as my beliefs change. I feel completely accepted and loved and cherished. I finally have friends, and I don’t feel like “I am better than anyone.” I feel at peace and equal with everyone. I have a Friend who was incarcerated for a minor offense. And it is good for me to learn his challenges, so I can be educated.

Quaker Women

I have many Friends who are women, and we go out to lunch. We laugh, we cry, we share everything. I can share absolutely anything, and they empathize with me. They support me. They bring me food if I need help, and I take them food when they need help. We mail each other cards that say, “I love you and I am thinking of you.”

I got a card from one of my new good Friends, a year after my dad died. I opened it, read the compassionate note, and just cried and cried. It was so loving of her to remember my dad’s death and send me a compassionate card a full year after his death. I never received cards from Christian Scientists upon my dad’s death, but the Quaker Friends sent me multiple cards. I had barely walked in the door at the Quaker Meeting, and a few short months later, my dad got really sick and died. The doctor had given him a clean bill of health (other than the Parkinson’s) just a month before. 


He had predicted my dad could easily live another 10 years. Then, he was gone within a month. My new Quaker Friends mailed me cards and attended our Memorial service in my dad’s Christian Science church (the one I mentioned that never used to allow memorial services or weddings). That church has had a couple of memorial services now, which I think is wonderful and appropriate. Both members died way too young. (What kind of church doesn’t love its members enough to honor important moments in their members’ lives?)

At my dad’s memorial service, the church was so filled – there were so many people standing at the back, and the foyer doors were opened, and the whole entry way area was completely filled, and people even had to stand on the stairs going down down to the Sunday School. That’s the last time I set foot in a Christian Science church. I don’t know if it will be my last, but it was amusing (or sad?) to see it filled to the absolute brim. I think there was only a handful of Christian Science church members there at that service. All the rest of the people attending were friends, family, neighbors, and my Quaker Friends who had never even met my dad.

Feeling Real Grief

After my dad died, I was grief-stricken. He was the only parent I had who had been with me and cared for me my whole life. Everyone else in my life had come and gone, or come in later. My dad meant the world to me. Christian Science teaches us we can’t grieve, because death isn’t real. 

My emotions were so squashed for so many years, though, that I couldn’t help but grieve. Two friends who had left Christian Science suggested that I go to therapy for grief. This was a radical concept to me. I was afraid, and it is against Christian Science. I can’t explain what I was afraid of, but it was definitely not an idea that I was comfortable with.  

I knew that in Christian Science, I had always been taught that to counteract grief and depression, it’s necessary to sit down and write “gratefuls.” I challenged myself to write 100 things I was grateful for, and I figured it would heal my grief over my dad. I sat down and without stopping for any breaks, I easily wrote 112 things I was grateful for. I decided that was enough things, and I put my pen down. My mood hadn’t changed. I was still as depressed and grief-stricken as ever. I decided it was time to get real counseling. I didn’t want to futz around, so I did a search for a high rated female counselor, covered by my insurance. I went in, told her I was grieving over my dad, and we began weekly counseling sessions. She was a phenomenal person. She sat by me and helped me figure out my next path. It turned out that she helped me realize Christian Science was no longer a path that worked for me. She helped me gain courage to tell my family, to tell The Mother Church, and to leave my Christian Science Teacher.

Becoming an Ex Christian Scientist

Meanwhile, the two friends who had suggested that I go to counseling and I were talking more and more about our experiences growing up in Christian Science. We had many parallels, and it was incredibly validating to realize we had so many of the same traumas and experiences. It was almost eery. One of my friends did a search for “Ex Christian Science” and came across this blog and the Facebook group. We all joined very quickly, and found a whole new set of friends. This set of friends have been the most validating group of people I have ever known.

I have learned wonderful words – a whole vocabulary that was denied me in my Christian Science upbringing. I had learned big words like “equipoise,” “extemporaneous,” “perspicacity,” “necromancy,” “self-immolation,” but didn’t know practical words like “boundary,” and “narcissist,” “anxiety,” “immunizations.”  

I have healed and changed so much in the last two years since my dad died. It’s quite remarkable. I am finally finding happiness for real, and I’m able to express an appropriate amount of anger or sadness instead of constantly being on the verge of stifled tears that won’t stay stifled any more. I am a much more emotionally balanced and healthy human being. I no longer struggle thinking “that’s not a part of me, I better heal it, or someone will judge me, and I will be yelled at.” I feel centered and calm. I am a much better mom, spouse, friend, co-worker. My life is so much better than it was when I was a Journal-listed Practitioner – the goal I had wanted to have my whole life.

Chrystal’s Story: Finding My Way to the Quaker Path (Part 2)

Chrystal's Story header image

This is part of an on-going series, for all posts in this series see the tag Chrystal’s Story.

A note from Chrystal: I was born a fourth-generation Christian Scientist, and finally left the religion when I was in my 40s. In this blog series, I will do my best to share with you my 40+ year journey. I have done my best to make the journey sequential, but it’s also themed to a large extent, and sometimes it has been necessary to take things out of sequence to share a theme. 

Finding My Way to the Quaker Path (Part 2)

At my particular Quaker Meeting, there are two of us who were raised in Christian Science. (The other one is the dad of that boy, J.V., from my 8th grade private school class!) Several people are medical doctors, and a few are atheist or something like it, though they don’t use that word. There are many of us who aren’t sure how to put our beliefs about a god-type-entity into words. I do know I no longer believe in the God that Christian Science taught me about – the one who inflicts pain and suffering when you are “far away from Him/Her,” and won’t heal you until “you change your thought.” I watched this version of God inflict 25 or so years of Parkinson’s on my amazing, kind, smart, creative, funny dad, and I watched my step-mom victim blame him. “If you only prayed more, if you only read Christian Science literature, you would be healed.” (In the end, my dad died a sudden death-by-starvation, due to not wanting a feeding tube. At that point, though, all he could do was curl up in a fetal position on the bed, and I know he wouldn’t have wanted to live longer with a feeding tube too. It breaks my heart that my amazing dad had to die that way. My dad fully expected to be healed, even as he started to enter the coma he never woke up from.)

My dad dying, as far as I can figure, was my final straw towards leaving my Mother Church membership. I had joined The Mother Church in Boston – “The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts” when I turned 12. About 2 months after my dad died, I withdrew my membership. As I type this, I realize this was me rejecting Mary Baker Eddy as “my leader.”

Alertness to Duty: “It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to defend himself daily against aggressive mental suggestion, and not be made to forget nor to neglect his duty to God, to his Leader, and to mankind.” – “The Manual of The Mother Church,” by Mary Baker Eddy, Article VIII, Section 6.

In 2015, I wrote to The Mother Church through their website and never got a confirmation that I am no longer a member. I don’t get mail from them any more at least, including no more requests for the annual money from members. So that’s good! The Quaker Faith was fine with me being a member of the Christian Science Church and still attending the Quaker Meeting. I have learned that probably most Christian churches are fine if you are members at two or more, or are a member at one and attend another. The Christian Science church makes you choose only their version of “church.”

Christian Science, as far as I have witnessed it, teaches people to victim blame and chastise and judge each other. Any time someone wants to go to a doctor, they have to lie about it – lying by omission. They don’t tell their church family, they are so scared of going to a doctor, and they go because they need care, and don’t have anyone to support them. If they come home and need meals or care at all, they have nowhere to turn. If they admitted, “I went to a doctor,” they might likely be kicked out of the church, or at least ostracized. “If you only prayed more, you would have your healing,” they are told over and over again by people who truly think they are being loving when they are really judging and victim-blaming.

I no longer believe in a merciless god like that. I don’t know if I believe in a god or not. I have stripped myself to my core, and have laid everything I have in front of myself, and am examining my inner most beliefs to determine what I believe. At this point, I know I believe in Mother Earth and Father Sky. I see so much beauty in Nature, and so much beauty in the Sky. I love that my Quaker brothers and sisters recycle and compost their food, they push each other to be more kind, to be kind to the earth, to be kind to animals. I love the peaceful protests. I have heard a woman give talks about all the times she was arrested as a peaceful protester – she loved being arrested with her dad growing up. It was something they did. They would peacefully protest war or whatever was wrong, and get arrested and thrown in jail for it. Now she loves protesting with her daughter.

I have a new Quaker Friend who is a District Attorney, who works for all the cases of people who are thrown in jail protesting outrageous things. There were riots due to racism in a city not too far from us, and she gathered everything she needed to head into the rioting city, to prepare the legal documents and cases to help get the people inevitably get out of jail the next day. She gathered granola bars, lanterns and batteries (in case of power outage), snacks, her suit for court, paperwork and specific books. I love that the Quakers fight for the freedoms of people. She talked about how it felt, being a white person driving into a city that had protests and police locking down black people. She saw her privilege right then and there – laid before her. She drove easily through police checkpoints in the middle of the riot to reach her District Attorney’s Office so she could stay up all night, preparing to get the protesters out of jail the next day.

I thought “Quakers are peaceful, and they are conscientious objectors,” and that was initially what drew me to the Quaker Faith. But there is so much more to it. The Quaker Testimonies are nothing at all like Christian Science Testimonies. The Quaker Testimonies mean “Quaker Values.” The acronym for the Quaker Testimonies is “SPICES.” It stands for: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. (See:

(By the way, The Quakers also have a “Journal.” It’s a monthly publication. The first time my dad’s wife saw my copy of the Quaker Journal sitting on my kitchen counter, she said, “That’s cute.” As in: “oh, they must have copied the Christian Science Journal by doing that.” Ahem. Quakers have been in this country for over 350 years. It predates Christian Science by at least 250 years – IN THIS COUNTRY.)

Quakers were an integral part of the Underground Railroad. We sing black gospel hymns like, “Follow the drinking gourd” in our Meeting. I have found out these hymns have hidden messages meant to help the slaves navigate the Underground Railroad. I feel like I am part of something really big. I am on a committee dedicated to helping work out the horrendous Mass Incarceration problem in our country. A Friend I know is working hard to create transitional housing for people who are being released from jail and don’t have an ID and can’t get a driver’s license or a job. Transitioning from jail to freedom is not easy at all. And there is no ½ way house for most of them. Feel free to look up the Friends Committee on National Legislation. They do very cool things. I am just starting to get active with this organization, and it’s very exciting.

I don’t know that I necessarily think that Quakers are peaceful in the same way of what I thought it meant when I first walked in the door; Now I know they do fight – they absolutely fight – on the side of Justice. They are actively out in the community, fighting for people’s rights and freedoms, and they know that it takes time to change laws, but they work toward it (sometimes for decades, among huge resistance) and they don’t give up. Laws cannot be changed overnight, some can take years or decades, but the Quakers fight diligently and make progress on issues of injustice.

I am finally learning how to be an activist. I am finally learning how to help my community. Quakers have also always accepted folks from the LGBTA+ community. So many kinds of churches turn away LGBTQ+ folks. I know a transgender woman, and she is fully accepted as a woman in the Quaker community – she attends our Annual Quaker Women’s Retreat. It is hard for us to rent a facility that meets our needs and also accepts LGBTQ+ folks. We have gay women who are married to each other who attend our retreat, and they are not welcome everywhere. But we work hard to find facilities that will rent to our retreat so these women will be accepted and able to attend. Friends of mine marched in the 2016 Washington, DC LGBTQ+ parade with banners held high from the different area Quaker Meeting Houses. And they manned a Quaker booth the next day at the LGBTQ+ festival.

During my Christian Science branch church membership, I was always discouraged from going out into the community to find out what the people need and help them as a face of the Christian Science church. We wanted to do our annual lecture, to an audience of mostly other Christian Scientists, and the members felt like, “this is us fulfilling our duty.” They thought I was ridiculous to suggest that we actually DO something for the community. What should we do? I didn’t know. I had no guidance and didn’t know the issues. Everything I suggested was shot down again and again. In the Quaker Meeting, I hear about so many different things they are working on and being activists to help people in need. We even have the kids learning to be activists – they make 240 sandwiches and 120 lunches, once a month for the local homeless shelter. The kids love the activity, and it’s teaching them to do GOOD for the community. I love that all of the kids in the Meeting House are learning to serve the Community. It’s wonderful.

Chrystal’s Story: What’s Next?

Chrystal's Story header image

This is part of an on-going series, for all posts in this series see the tag Chrystal’s Story.

A note from Chrystal: I was born a fourth-generation Christian Scientist, and finally left the religion when I was in my 40s. In this blog series, I will do my best to share with you my 40+ year journey. I have done my best to make the journey sequential, but it’s also themed to a large extent, and sometimes it has been necessary to take things out of sequence to share a theme. 

My Second Lump. (Part 1)

After that first cyst was removed in high school, over the years I had many cysts develop in various places on my body, and melt. I got used to them. I always prayed and they always went away. I always thought they were “healed.”

Somewhere before I became a church member (early 2000s?), I started having shoulder issues. I went to a massage therapist weekly trying to get the pained muscle to loosen up. I am not sure massage worked. (I felt like such a rebel, since massage is also not allowed in Christian Science.) I started having shoulder cartilage issues. I chalked it up to being a lifetime violin player. I tried physical exercise and massage therapy and nothing worked. At some point, a lump appeared, and while I am forgetting all the specific history, I remember finally going to a dermatologist.

He said it was fatty tissue probably, and I paid him to remove it. He used only novocaine, and the procedure hurt like he was tearing my skin, though he assured me he wasn’t. It hurt so badly. The next day, the lump was back. The lump was back the next day. In my Christian Science thinking, this meant that I had clearly not healed my thought about it, thus, painful surgery was for naught. I have since deduced that there must have been 2 lumps, and the 2nd one was never removed and simply moved over to the space that was now vacant after surgery. It took me years to become ok getting it removed again. In the meantime, it grew and grew and wreaked havoc all over my whole shoulder, neck and arm area (see: My Second Lump – Part 2). And I prayed and prayed in Christian Science to no avail.


Church Hopping

Starting in maybe 2009, I started church bouncing to other denominations. I tried a Quaker church near that 3rd branch church and went there for 6 weeks. It was just too far.

I went to a Unitarian Universalist Church, and the anti-Christian sentiment there was too strong for me. I never complained about it, but I heard other Christians complaining about it. I asked them if I could have a Christian Science Thanksgiving service there on Thanksgiving, and the ministers said, “it’s just not our mission.” And I felt shoved out. I thought it was a church that was supposed to accept all beliefs, but it wasn’t my experience when I was there. They accepted Ex Jews, Ex Catholics and Buddhists as far as I could tell, and I wasn’t any of those categories. I tried Unity next, and had a falling out that I repaired recently (3 years later) with the woman who leads the children’s education. So, Unity (an offshoot of Christian Science – you can google it ,*Version*=1&*entries*=0 ) didn’t work for me either. At Unity, I learned that Christian Science is part of the “New Thought Movement,” though I know that Christian Scientists would absolutely disagree about being placed into any category like that. (Christian Scientists say they hate categories.)

Interestingly enough, the first time I walked in the door, someone pointed out someone else who had found Unity as an Ex-Christian Scientist. I introduced myself to him and he said, “Well, you know, Mary Baker Eddy’s writings are all plagiarized from Phineas Quimby.” I was horrified! My dad had written a paper at university with research by Robert Peel all about how she did not plagiarize (this paper can be found in the Mary Baker Eddy Library archives: After my dad’s death, I have learned the truth: yes, she did. Absolutely. (And I went through heartbreak that my dad had been completely fooled by Robert Peel all those years ago.) The whole “divinely authorized” thing is completely bogus. Sorry to break it to any CS folks reading this, but there are documented resources. Quimby’s own writings for side-by-side comparison can be found cheaply on Amazon.


Time for me to take this “going to doctors thing” a bit more seriously…


Earache Story (Part 2)

A few years after leaving branch church membership, I wasn’t feeling well. I may have had the flu or bronchitis brought on by allergies that got worse every year (though I never knew they were allergies; I just knew it was what I called in my head “seasonal issues”); they were starting to come twice a year now instead of once a year, and were getting prolonged for weeks. My son who had the ear issues from years before (remember the painful ear that never drained the next day?), also wasn’t feeling well. He did not want to go to the doctor with me, but I felt it was the right idea. So I made him go with me. We were both so scared. But we went anyway. The doctor diagnosed both of us with bronchitis, and gave us a prescription for antibiotics. Then she looked at my son and said, “does anything else hurt?” He said, “my ear hurts sometimes.” She pulled out the thing they use to look in ears, and saw something in there that didn’t belong. She showed me. She tried to get it out, but it made him scream in pain.

She said, “we need to get that out of there.” She said it was resting on his ear drum, so every time they barely touched it, it hurt him terribly. So she said, “we need to put him under so we can get it out of there.” Oh my gosh, I was so scared. I mean: really scared.

I thought they were basically telling me, “we are going to kill your son, when would you like to make the appointment for?” It took a whole lot of faith to be ok with this appointment, and to trust that he would wake up after having been “put under.”

I cannot emphasize enough how scared I was about it. I made the appointment for like 2 days later and did my best not to live with a high heart rate and panic mode the whole time. I took him to the hospital, having followed instructions about food and such. They told him the sleeping gas would “smell like smelly shoes.” And he laughed. When they put the mask on his face, he shoved it away so hard and started yelling at them and yelling for me. I went into panic mode to save my son, and they had to usher me out of the room. I was a complete wreck. About 11 minutes later, they came to get me, and told me it had all been done in under 2 minutes, and he was waking up now. I was so relieved! He was fine!! They showed me what had been in his ear: it had been a very small pirate coin from a toy pirate set ( ). My husband (who is a magician), joked, “he is the first person to actually take a coin out of his ear!” We still have that coin in a surgical container around here somewhere.

Around that point, I also started going to a dermatologist for skin issues I have always had. I have keloids on my shoulders. I have some moles on my back that are pretty big, thanks to “not believing in sun block.”  I also have acne, and have had acne since 4th grade. I was never allowed to use benzoyl peroxide. That was completely forbidden. The amount of teasing “why don’t you take care of that, it’s so easy!” And my stubborn sense that “no, if I do that, it won’t be healed! I have to heal it!” Is such a bunch of silliness. Why let a child be tortured for decades when a solution is so easy? Now that I am over 40 years old, almost 45, I have discovered Noxema and benzoyl peroxide. Wow. What a miracle cure! (And I keep forgetting to use it! #NoThankYouChristianScience)

I had prayed and prayed about the lipoma on my back. It had come back immediately after that first surgery, and it was not being healed in Christian Science. This was such a big struggle for me. I fervently felt like “God must want me to have this, so it’s not being healed, so it is here so that I can grow spiritually and heal it.” And at some point, after having worked with so many practitioners and also my Teacher on this issue for years, I finally decided to walk away from branch church membership and walk towards “going to doctors.”

Isolating ourselves with stagnant ideas because they feel comfortable…

By Elizabeth, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

Christian Science’s system of denial is like an army tank that we can climb up and into and then roll through our lives crushing anyone and anything—illness, pain, personal failings, dysfunctional relationships—that makes us feel any unpleasant emotions.

Naturally, when someone contemplates leaving Christian Science, pretty much the first step is trying to climb down out of that powerful tank that’s been encasing them. And guess what’s waiting outside? A flood of unpleasant emotions which that tank of a belief structure has been keeping away: often suppressed symptoms of disease, fear and anxiety, regret, uncertainty (oh, that’s a huge one Christian Scientists don’t like). Someone who isn’t capable of breaking free from Christian Science yet, will view that heightened awareness as proof that Christian Science has legitimately been protecting them all along. In their perception, it’s ‘error’ they’re now feeling; mortal mind invading their consciousness.

But we’ve pushed through it, those of us in the ex-Christian Scientist community. We are embracing the uncertainty that the Christian Science tank was shielding us from. We have set ourselves to the tasks of responding to the emotional cues our loved ones send us, even if we feel unsure; asking for help from the medical field when we feel symptoms in our bodies which we do not understand; staying connected to the diverse people of the world and their best, newest ideas, even though life feels uncertain, rather than isolating ourselves with stagnant ideas because they feel comfortable.