An interesting discussion thread emerged in one of the ex-Christian Scientist Facebook groups. A friend thought it might be fun to share some of that discussion with a wider audience, and I agree. I now share with you, dear readers, former Christian Scientists in their own words, unplugged, and uncensored. I have only edited the comments to preserve privacy, for grammar, for general clarification, or to clarify terms and expressions that may be unfamiliar to those who know little or nothing about Christian Science or its culture.
The discussion followed on this post:
I was in Christian Science for 30 plus years, and have been out for nearly 10.
For me, I feel free every day and my favorite moments are getting up in the morning and having coffee and the news like a normal person, instead of getting up and reading the dreaded [Weekly Bible Lesson] with that stupid blue chalk and doing my “protective work” for the day. Ugh!!!! I still cringe at that particular shade of blue! [I’m] curious what others really appreciate about the day-to-day…
Here are some of the responses, shared with permission:
- I well remember the horrible blue chalk and the rattling metal markers [for marking the Weekly Bible Lesson] and the protective work! Now, I’m happy to enjoy my actual REAL body every day!
- I never had books that could be marked — I had the paperback ones. I marked them once, when I was maybe 7 or 8, I think the Bible *still* has the little blue chalk lines…
- While I still don’t drink wine (long story), I do enjoy cooking with it. I’ve also come to appreciate ibuprofen during certain times of the month; it helps me function as an almost-reasonable human being! That & no longer carrying around the stupid monthly Bible Lesson pamphlet in it’s holier-than-thou cozy.
- I use the books’ carrying case for grocery coupons, shopping lists and so forth. Handy in the grocery cart.
- I HATED the [Weekly Bible Lesson]. Oh. My. Lord. It was sheer torture having to read that mind-numbingly BORING drivel every single g-d day, first thing, before I could get on with my life. And if I didn’t, I lacked “protection” and was in danger of some horrible fate befalling me. And it took forever to read it because I had ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] (undiagnosed, of course) and couldn’t move on to the next passage until I had thoroughly digested each. However, I was completely enamored of the little blue velvet pillows for erasing the chalk. Sometimes my mother and I would read it [the Weekly Bible Lesson] together like the Readers in church — one of us reading the Bible and one Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. We both always preferred the Bible… small wonder. LOL.
- [Response]: I don’t remember the pillows. I had a crappy piece of chamois.
- [Response]: I had crappy chamois for awhile, then I upgraded–when you got pillow, you didn’t go back…ahh…but mostly I used the full-text [version of the Weekly Bible Lesson]
- I loved the full text monthly editions [of the Weekly Bible Lesson] because I could scribble all over them and tote them around and try to pry modern relevance out of archaic, deluded words. Then I could throw it in the recycling bin. Perfect for travel. Without those I probably would have been out a lot sooner – was never going to mark the books and hated the services.
- When I was a committed Christian Scientist, I thought it great having the same readings no matter where you traveled. Since leaving Christian Science, I’ve come to realize the [Weekly Bible Lessons] were boring and repetitive. Imagine if we had access to every [Weekly Bible Lesson] from Day 1, I bet we wouldn’t have read even a quarter of the Bible. But we would have read way too many times about the forlorn woman who didn’t age a day after her lover rejected her, or about the young baby tossed in the water and swimming only months old. Yeah, riiiiiiight. Now when I go to church–United and Anglican services only minutes apart–I get different interpretations of similar readings every week. Can’t fall asleep in church anymore. I had the occasional beer while in Christian Science, only during the summer or school breaks from Principia. Maybe a half-dozen. It’s nice when you’re sick now that you don’t have to recite inanities by Mary Baker Eddy. Like now, I’ve been under the weather for a day or so, so I probably won’t work tomorrow.
- Being able to say “I feel sick”, and not feel guilty about it; taking ibuprofen for pain, antibiotics when I have an infection, inhaler for asthma…I could go on…oh, and enjoying a beer once in awhile, and not feeling like I’m committing a sin.
- Not feeling guilty is huge.
- I was always perplexed that so many Principia profs lauded Mary Baker Eddy’s writings. It’s unintelligible gobbledygook. She couldn’t put a sentence together to save her life.
- [Response]: Maybe that was part of their instructions to keep their job?
- It was 30 years [ago] but the decision to leave was instant, sitting in The Mother Church. Soon after, I got my butt to the doctor, had a glass of wine, and gathered up all my Christian Science books and put them out in the garbage in the rain!
- My declaration of independence from Christian Science came the second semester of college in North Carolina when I burned Science and Health on the sidewalk in front of my fraternity house. And I had been the Reader in the Christian Scoemce Organization. Sixteen years later I returned to Christian Science after a physical and mental low, but although I quit drinking, I keep on going to the doctor and even became a volunteer EMT on the local ambulance squad. I quit Christian Science for good eight years later, after both my parents had died.