I have previously posted some comments shared on-line by former Christian Scientists on a different topic. Click here for my previous post.
Once again, my ex-Christian Scientist friends on Facebook have proven to be a great source of material for me here on this blog. In parlance that will be very familiar to any of us who’ve sat through a Wednesday Testimony Meeting, I’d like to thank the previous testifiers for their inspiring comments.
Today’s on-line question, posed by a fellow group member, was: “What were your experiences with [Christian Science] practitioners? I dreaded talking to them.”
Here are some of the responses, shared with permission. I’ve only edited them for clarity, and to remove any identifying details. Some are funny and entertaining, and display a healthy albeit dark sense of humour that many of us share. Others however, are truly heartbreaking and make me marvel at what Christian Science practitioners get away with. Some of them are truly arrogant and completely lacking in empathy or any sense of professional or personal boundaries.
- [I] Was watching an episode of Hoarders this morning and was amazed at how much the insanity reminds me of my mother, a CSP [Christian Science practitioner], and the situation we are in with her now. I am starting to realize (with her at least) it really is mental illness.
- When my mom was dying of cancer my family’s practitioner told me that my mom was dying because my mom had not forgiven her family for abuse she experienced as a child and that she would get better if she could just forgive them. I still can’t believe she said that. Or that she said that to me. I was losing my mom and was like 15 or 16. I am horrified to think about what she might have said to my mother. Also, I didn’t know my mom was a victim of abuse, and I am appalled that the practitioner shared something confidential like that with me.
- [Response]: ^^ damn. :::hugs:::
- [Response]: [name of original poster removed] hugest hugs
- [Response from the original poster to the above responses]: “Thanks for the hugs 🙂
- I don’t remember being around them often – if ever – but the phone calls were worse than being sick. “I know… I’m gods perfect child…” Like, were they thinking I’d forgotten that??
- I think it depends on the CSP [Christian Science practitioner], some were completely unhelpful, I don’t think I ever had a physical healing after talking with one that wouldn’t have happened by letting nature run it’s course anyway. I had one really positive experience working through fears. That particular CSP was amazing and we’re still friends. I also wasn’t seeking (or expecting) a physical healing.
- [Response]: Aye, she is pretty cool, but I have to try to tune out the CS [Christian Science]
- I guess, the thing I find so concerning Christian Science practitioners is that they are authority figures for a lot of people. Although they have no medical or mental health training, people call them for guidance with serious medical and mental health questions. They put their trust in them. Unlike doctors and therapists, there is no legal accountability, no professional codes of conduct or certifying boards to hear complaints, etc. This sets up a dangerous situation and makes Christian Science people vulnerable to abuse.
- [Response]: . . . through the work I now do, I’ve had some training in dealing with mental health issues. I’ve had what’s called a “mental health First Aid” course–basically we learned how to identify common mental health issues, and triage them to some degree. These are very complex issues, and they’re public health issues, like any physical ailment like cancer or diabetes. Treating them with no training, no accountability, no licensure, is no less dangerous or unethical than would it be to practice medicine without a license.
- I remember when I was like 9 or 10, I slipped on water on the kitchen floor and jammed my leg under our stove. I think I cut myself to the bone. My mom was in a panic so she called the Christian Science practitioner to figure out what to do. Although the practitioner couldn’t see whether or not I was bleeding to death, how much pain I was in, or if I had a broken bone, yet she felt comfortable advising my mom to rely on prayer for healing. I never got a tetanus shot, stitches, pain killer, or antibiotics. I have a big scar, but no permanent physical damage. I am lucky. I am deeply perplexed why this made sense to all of the adults in the situation.
- [Response]: Wow, [name removed] you’re very lucky. Come to think of it, we all are. Ugh…
- I always question why some of my dentists went along with my mother saying I didn’t “need” antibiotics (it was impacted & inflamed) or pain killers for post-wisdom tooth extraction. They relented on antibiotics *once* — when I first needed a root canal, the dentist was quite firm about it. The rest? “No thanks, we’re Christian Scientists!”
- [Follow-on by commenter]: Or she’d sit in her own little world & pray about it… Or hand the phone with the CSP who would lecture me with abstract ideas on God & perfection blah blah blah.
- One of my former pracs [Christian Science practitioners] got mad at me because I wasn’t healed. She told me, “Mortal mind is trying to make you a jerk.” I should have told TMC [The Mother Church] what a whack job she was before they let her go through Normal Class and become a [Christian Science] teacher.