Thinking about Christian Science and not only what it did to me and my family, but what I’ve seen it do to others, and/or make them do to themselves, I feel varying mixtures of anger and frustration. Too many people needlessly suffer and sometimes die while they pray in Christian Science for an ever-elusive healing.
As you regular readers may know, I’m conducting a survey of former Christian Scientists (if you haven’t taken the survey, please click here). My last question is sort of an “essay” question, where people can describe in their own words why they left Christian Science. I’ve got to tell you, some of the answers are heart-wrenching, as are some of the stories I see in the ex-Christian Scientist Facebook groups I’m in.
Many have shades of similarity to my own story, which sadden me and make my heart heavy; but, there are others that just make me angry at Christian Science and the intractable mindset it creates. The stories generally are like this: a relative, or in some cases the person is relating their own story, suffers from some sort of physical ailment. There is lots of prayer, endless studying of Christian Science books & literature, and lots of calls and fees paid to a Christian Science practitioner–or in many cases a number of different Christian Science practitioners. Yet, there is no healing. In some cases there is tragically death or permanent disfigurement or other effects. It is later found out, either from an autopsy if the person dies, or a doctor’s visit if the person comes to their senses before death, that the condition is (or was) something that could have been treated routinely and quickly in the doctor’s office.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
~attributed to Albert Einstien
I read stories like this and I just, quite frankly, get pissed off. Dogged and strict adherence to a religious faith and unnecessarily “going down with the ship” as it were is just plain insane, and it just pisses me off how Christian Science makes people do insane, stupid things. It’s brainwashing to a high degree, with a nice intellectual veneer. I’m not so sure Mary Baker Eddy wasn’t just a wee bit insane herself. After all, she was convinced that she would be “mentally murdered” (p. xlv).1 She also thought her third husband’s death was caused by “mesmeric poison” (p. 286).2 I am not making this stuff up, trust me. I think plenty of Eddy’s own insanity and odd compulsions have permeated the DNA of Christian Science and its adherents. It’s a whole different level of crazy sauce, and I marinated in it for 40 years–from birth until I finally saw the light and got out.
Anyways, it’s just frustrating to think of the people who insanely dedicate and sacrifice themselves to a system of healing that does not work. I realize in our Western society, each individual is a free agent with the right to make their own decisions, how ever stupid that decision may be. But, it’s still frustrating–especially to family members who have to stand by and watch someone they love and care for slowly and painfully waste away.
1 Dickey, Adam H. Memoirs of Mary Baker Eddy. Ed. Tom Girtin. Old Isleworth, Middlesex, England: Butter Field Books. 1986. Print.
2 Milmine, Georgine. The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science. New York, New York: Doubleday. 1909. Print.