Recently, this news story came across my Facebook newsfeed courtesy of one of the ex-Christian Scientist groups I’m in. I ask that you give it a read before continuing with this post. Go ahead…I’ll wait.
There–finished the article? Great! What did you think? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, via e-mail–or if you’re up to it, go ahead and write a guest post. I’ll take a few moments now to share some of my thoughts, since this is my blog, after all.
Christian Scientists, as Linda Osmundson does, blithely ignore the 800 pound gorillas in their rooms all too often. In this case, as it often is, it’s a very visible and hideous growth on their face or some other part of their body. Throughout my childhood and adult life in Christian Science, I remember many older men and women with unsightly growths on their faces and bodies. I know first-hand of one who definitely died as a result of the growth on her face. In her latter days, I remember this growth consuming well over half of her face, obstructing her eye and ear. Even as a Christian Scientist, when I’d see these growths, I could not understand why the people didn’t just at least get them removed. But, I was always more of a ‘CS-lite’ as many of my ex-Christian Scientist friends call those Christian Scientists who are not overly radical reliers on Christian Science.
What truly puzzles me with Osmundson is that she has a diagnosis of what the growth is. She doesn’t share it, so we’re left to speculate. I’m certain it’s a form of skin cancer, as many such growths are. I also know that most skin cancer, if caught early enough, is usually treatable. A relative of mine had a melanoma removed from his back over a year ago, and is doing perfectly fine. I regularly check myself for anything that seems awry, and don’t hesitate to raise any concerns with my doctor if something alarms me. Better to ask a dumb question than suffer and regret later.
Osmundson is very obviously living in a deep state of denial and delusion, and the comments on this story reflect that perception on the part of readers. It saddens me to see her going down with the ship this way, and down she will likely go. This thing isn’t going to get better, no matter how much she denies the reality of the lump consuming her face. You can’t pray it away. It’s only going to get worse. She also completely ignores the gravity of her other symptoms, which she mentions, but seems to just skip merrily on.
Linda Osmundson is as bad an advertisement for Christian Science as there possibly could be. She openly ignores, denies, and glosses over something that is truly alarming to almost any normal human being. On the surface, she appears to be in a deep state of delusional denial. It really is sad. This is not the public face (pun not intended) that the Christian Science Church wants, but this is the true face of Christian Science. This is the unvarnished truth of what this horrible religion is and what it makes people do. If Osmundson has done one service by her public exposure, it is to lay wide open for all to see, the real truth about Christian Science and how it clouds the mind to reality, and causes people to do such horrible things to themselves, and in some cases, others. While Osmundson is an adult and entitled to her own choices, tragically, many children fall victim to the delusions of their Christian Scientist parents. Don’t believe me? Check out this link.
Over and above what Linda Osmundson is doing to herself, one thing I find truly sad about this whole story is how Osmundson’s condition and the distraction it causes, has–at least in the context of this news story, distracted from the cause that she and the organization she leads serves–the protection and provision of services to battered women. Osmundson is a survivor of domestic violence, and could be an incredible spokesperson and advocate for this important issue, but I’m afraid most people will find it difficult to see past the very obvious ‘800 pound gorilla’ on her face. This is one of the two tragedies in this story.
Dear reader, I ask you to educate yourself on the issue of domestic violence, recognize the signs of domestic violence, and learn how to act when you encounter it. Support organizations in your area that help the victims of domestic violence if you feel moved to do so. Be an advocate, do whatever you can, or find other ways to help your community. You can start with the links I provide below.
- Community Action Stops Abuse (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA)–the organization led by Linda Osmundson
- Hot Peach Pages – a worldwide listing of agencies supporting victims of domestic violence
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (United States)
- Domestic Violence Hotlines (United States)
- Domestic Violence In Gay Couples (United States)
- Women’s Aid (United Kingdom)
- Women’s Link Worldwide (Spain & Latin America)
- UN Women (United Nations)
The Church is going to throw her under the bus, CS did not fail, the party line of they “allow” people to visit the Dr. and/or get treatment if they want to, she choose not to. Behind closed doors she will be blamed for going to the Dr. because it acknowledged that was was material (not spiritual) and that ALWAYS leads to the Unholy CS Trinity of Sin, Disease and DEATH. When she eventually passes on, it will be because she did not hide herself away with the books to work out this problem, she put herself out in the world and exposed her bandaged face to all the questioning, MAM and aggressive mental suggestion that came with it. She simply could not over come it all.
The Church cares only about itself, and many Christian Scientists (especially the one I took Class instruction from) care only about Christian Science and/or the Church. Care about people? Hell no! It’s all about Christian Science! It must look good! Yeah right. No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig.
It is very sad to watch someone suffering and dying like this of a condition that is likely treatable. I saw it happen to my mother, who died waiting for her cure in Christian Science. Even if Linda Osmundson were to be healed of this condition by Christian Science or other means, she will ultimately die from some other medical issue, and she will die without accepting the free forgiveness of her sins that Christ offers her.
Why? Because Christian Science teaches that sin, evil, sickness and death are not real. Her physical health issues are one thing; the loss of her eternal soul is the greater tragedy here. Both are preventable and senseless. I pray that God frees Linda from Christian Science soon. Her suffering serves no purpose except to prove the reality of all that she thinks is unreal.
This story served to prove to me (as if I needed any more convincing) that Christian Science DOES NOT WORK. I don’t think any new converts will be won with this story.
This is a very sad story, which I have heard over and over again by and about other folks who are radically reliant on Christian Science. Linda Osmundson here is no exception. I do applaud her work with CASA over the twenty-five years of service she gave to that organization. With her interest in biking, triathlon and much walking, she is a vibrant lady so (otherwise) full of life. Now being stricken with a great tumorous growth on the left side of her face, and still denies it’s existence turns to CS for the ultimate healing.
This is what saddens me. Don’t other CS’ers who are still well take note of their fellow CS’ers during their time of need? I mean they pray for Ms Osmundson, which is only right and they “know the truth”, and some offer appropiate aid, but, what about when it all hits home for surviving CS’ers? We all have our times of need to be addressed. Just DENY DENY and DENY it’s reality is all they do. It’s the same vicious circle over and over again. Don’t CS’ers get it?? Apparently not and never will.
I can only imagine Ms. Osmundson’s current status that the hour is getting late for her and sometime in the near future may be on her death bed. I don’t know what more I can say than that has already been said. If there is any glimmer of hope for her, I hope God blesses her and rest her soul for the outstanding achievements she made, such as helping thousands of women break free from abusive relationships, the new $12 million facility for CASA and handling the demanding load she does and still serving the needs of others. She is incredible!
In closing, I would offer this advice to anybody considering joining Christian Science (there are very few nowadays that will take this step!!!): DO NOT BE IN ANY HURRY TO JOIN CS!! Be sure to check Mary Baker Eddy’s biography, history, and background. The fall on the ice at Lynn, MA headed to a temperance meeting is interesting to say the least; her marriages to three different men; and how she plagiarized Quimby’s and other authors in the “founding” of CS. Especially, read the Quimby Manuscripts (available online) and study them thoroughly. Two very informative books will also be very helpful: “Perfect Peril” by Dr. Linda Kramer and “God’s Perfect Child; Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church” by Caroline Fraser. Both books are very well documented. Another point here as far as talking directly to any Christian Scientist: Beware of what they DON’T say!!!
An acquaintance of mine developed a large growth on the lower part of her face over FORTY YEARS AGO. She has since married, raised a child, and held a responsible job as an historical archivist at the local university. She does go out in public, always wearing a stylish silk scarf tied around her face, as if she were a delicate would-be robber.
SHE is the one who has been robbed, she who no doubt wonders why the Error on her face has not “yielded” to her prayers. How long will she wait for a healing? How sad that her entire adult life has been spent behind a silk scarf.
It’s a form of mental slavery, to turn a statement from Mary Baker Eddy on its side. Yes, indeed it is.
It’s a huge relief to read blogs from others about their nightmarish experiences in Christian Science.
My mother was relentless in her prayers to get a “healing”. She employed more than one practitioner at one time to get help. My sister and I were not allowed to know what was going on because then we would be encouraging “error” if we talked about it.
I called my mother’s practitioner to find out, as a daughter how I could be of help. I was trying to be respectful to my mom’s devotion to Christian Science even though I had long since removed myself from the religion. I called the practitioner and explained that I was the daughter and that I wanted to be of any help. I was quickly told by the practitioner that I should leave my mother alone, that she was old, and that she’s doing too much. As a class taught student I found this very “un-scientific”. With some help from a relative I applied pressure to the Mother Church to release this practitioner from my mother’s care. It was my effort to intervene and get my mother back. The church finally gave in to my unceasing pressure and released the practitioner. My mother then just hired a different practitioner and it was back to square one again.
I found that Christian Science is like alcoholism…..it was the wedge that took my mother’s attention away from me and all that I needed as a child and as a human being.
My mother died not long after and it was as a result of being a diabetic.
My children were angry because they wanted and needed their grandma. They were angry because they knew that their Grandma could’ve been alive longer had she made some other choices. The true test of a belief is how it affects the people around you. Any belief that takes you away from others, alienates you from others is not healthy. It does not promote good the whole way around.
Thank you for sharing your story. Yes, it’s quite insidious what Christian Science does to people, or makes them do to others. An ex-girlfriend of mine from back when I was still in Christian Science, would routinely go through various practitioners, ever seeking the elusive healing of a chronic condition she was dealing with–something that’s unfortunately not curable medically, but it usually responds successfully to on-going treatment. People suffer needlessly at the altar of false hope offered by Christian Science.
The irony of all this is that Mary Baker Eddy never really spoke against doctors. I honestly feel that she wouldn’t have condoned letting oneself die of a curable condition.
No, she didn’t speak against doctors per se, but she did state many times that only ‘radical reliance’ was acceptable. On page 421 of Science and Health, for example, she states: “If you would destroy the sense of disease, you should not built it up by wishing to see the forms it assumes or by employing a single material application for its relief.” Her infamous line on ‘radical reliance’ is on page 167: “Only through radical reliance on Truth can scientific healing power be realized.” No, she never spoke against doctors, but she often spoke against any ‘material’ remedy for healing.
Wow. This is just stunning. I remember feeling such loathing for myself when I had a cold when I was a child growing up in CS. I knew it was obvious to the world that my sniffling and sneezing was a sign broadcasting to the world that I thought bad thoughts. I can’t even fathom this woman’s unnecessary physical and mental suffering. So sad.
Wow…the mental abuse that Christian Science inflicts upon folks never ceases to shock me–your example is one of many I’ve seen/heard of. I remember when I’d see folks like Osmundson, who had the growths, feeling a deep sense of fear of “what if that happens to me?” Deep down, I kind of always knew that Christian Science ‘treatment’ would do nothing for me, and I was deeply afraid of the medical option. Thankfully that fear of the medical has abated significantly for me.