A House of Cards

A blog I’ve recently discovered (well the blogger actually found me and I have begun to explore her blog), has piqued a latent interest of mine in regards to Christian Science. In the work that I do now, I frequently deal with people who suffer from various mental illnesses, and I’ve had some training in what is known as “mental health first aid”. This by no means make me an expert in any way on the subject of mental illness, but it does give me a frame of reference as I look back now on my past faith path.

I am pretty much convinced now that Mary Baker Eddy was at the very least delusional–I’ll skip the details for now and speak in generalities: she was particularly obsessed by the possible mental malpractice of a former student of her’s (or a few), she made claims about her early childhood and adulthood which are dubious at best (but are strong parts of the Christian Science “mythology”), and she was persistently convinced that various people (especially Catholics) were actively working against her. Sounds a whole lot like conspiracy theory to me. Strong belief in conspiracy theory is one telltale sign of possible mental illness. She out and out lied about the circumstances of her son being taken from her, and her’s (and hence the “official” Christian Science Church’s) version of the infamous 1866 “fall on the ice in Lynn” does not exactly match up with available public and other records of the incident and its aftermath–re-writing of her own history to suit her evolving purposes. So, she was probably definitely delusional in some way, and perhaps a pathological liar. As I look back now on the things I have accepted in the past as “fact”, I realize now that the actual fact is that Christian Science was founded by someone who suffered from some form, or perhaps multiple forms of mental illness.

As I was doing a lot of thinking over the weekend about my life as a Christian Scientist, I began to wonder about how this whole religion was possibly built around the ravings of someone who seriously needed some professional help, and how I and so many others have been and continue to be sucked in for over a century. A few years ago, this conclusion would have scared the crap out of me and shaken to the core my whole sense of reality. Now, it all sort of makes sense and on a certain level, I feel sort of nonchalant about it personally. What blows my mind is how I bought into it for so long (or at least tried to), and how thoroughly so many people I’ve been close to did, and continue to.

This is also somewhat why, unlike many who’ve left Christian Science, I do not hold much animosity towards Mary Baker Eddy. Mental illness is a health issue, just like cancer is. I can no more feel anger towards a mentally ill person than I could towards someone with cancer. However, BIG difference here, the cancer sufferer is not likely to harm others due to their condition, the mentally ill person unchecked, especially as one thinks on the damage Christian Science has done, especially to children, can inflict much damage. I just wish people could see it for what I believe it actually is, and quit harming themselves and others with their radical reliance on this “house of cards”.

These are just my brief musings on the topic. My new friend does a much better job and goes into much greater depth of research on the whole subject than I ever will. I recommend checking her blog out. It’s called “Understanding Mortal Mind“.

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5 thoughts on “A House of Cards

  1. The instability of MBE, including the lie about her fall and many other incidents, was the final step in my deprogramming. It was reading Caroline Fraser’s “God’s Perfect Child” that opened my eyes to this situation and I needed to read this book twice to realize that I had been duped by a mentally unstable woman from the 19th century. I don’t think anyone could read that book and stay in CS. I hadn’t thought about having empathy for her for a condition she had since a child. That is probably fair but I agree that it is too bad that her unchecked mental state has inflicted so much pain. It would be difficult today for someone with MBE’s condition to organize such a successful religion. The press came after her somewhat but today she would be laughed out of town by all press and social media!

    • I too am reading her book. So informative! I started it awhile ago, got distracted away from it, but am back. It has clarified so many things that used to puzzle or outright bug me about CS for many years, such as why dental and vision care were OK, but you’d be ostracized and virtually committed to Hell if you went to a doctor. Her research is so thorough and exhaustive, making her points much harder to refute. That’s probably why she’s public enemy #1 with many a Mother Church official.

  2. I have to read it too. I am in the middle of a differential diagnosis of MBE and didn’t realize something similar it has been done before, as I do not buy books until they cost about a penny. So I am still back at Milmine and Peel. With Gil arriving soon. This habit has left me hopelessly behind what is in print now, but I see I can come to similar conclusions without the latest breakaway book.
    The official put downs of this book are so snide and so arch and so snotty, I had to laugh. Why do they go on the defensive, why not try to understand someone who went to the trouble to write a book?

    • Yes, the denouncements are petty of those who speak out. Even the Milmine and Cather stuff still rankles, and that’s gotta be 100+ years old by now. I’ve seen that pettiness comes out when one doesn’t have solid arguments to refute what the target of said pettiness is saying. Oh, how I used to buy into all those arguments. I’m so glad I woke up and saw reality. If you do have a chance, I highly recommend “God’s Perfect Child”. It’s put so much into perspective for me, and I’ll repeat what many others have said, that it’s helped immeasurably in my own “deprogramming”.

      • I ordered it. Maybe if I had read it first, I wouldn’t have had the need to write my way through as I have, LOL.

        I am coming to see I have no new ideas and most everything has already been said about her by people who actually did some hardcore research. I am loving the reading though. It all confirms thoughts I have already had.

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