In collaboration with my fellow blogger at Kindism, I’m answering another edition of “Five Questions”; this time, it’s the Prin edition. We have also posed these same questions to a number of other people who attended Principia, and who have, like me, left Christian Science. Those answers appear on The Ex-Christian Scientist*.
1. Why did you attend Principia?
I attended Principia College in the late 1980s – early 1990s. I chose to attend Prin because (1) I wanted a college education, (2) I wanted to get back into Christian Science after a brief hiatus from it, and (3) due to generous financial aid, I and my family could afford it. I saw Principia as the perfect opportunity for me at the time.
2. Did your experiences at Principia impact/influence your views of Christian Science?
That’s hard to say. I definitely realized quickly the kind of Christian Scientist I didn’t like: they’re the ones who have the pasted-on smile all the time, who practically answer “God is love,” for every challenge/question. I called them the ‘sunshine/rainbows/Godislove” Christian Scientists, and honestly, I wanted to throat-punch them. I wanted to be a real, honest, and genuine Christian Scientist, so I sought out those whom I thought really did ‘walk the walk’, and didn’t make a show of it, or those who didn’t care one way or the other about Christian Science. I definitely came to realize that not all Christian Scientists are good and nice people as I had previously believed. They’re all too human, for better or worse. For the first time, I saw the darker side of Christian Science and Christian Scientists.
3. If you had a ‘do-over’, would you attend Principia again? Why or why not?
Hmm…again, that’s a tough question to answer. With the perspective I have now on Christian Science, its adherents, and its related institutions such as Principia, I would have to say ‘no’. Principia takes radical reliance on Christian Science to an almost sickening extreme, and I think it’s extremely unhealthy. It’s also an extremely insular community. On the other side of the coin, some of the most long-standing friendships I have were forged there, and I had some truly wonderful experiences there–none of which I would trade for anything.
4. Would you recommend Principia to a young Christian Scientist?
5. One positive experience & one negative experience.
The positives are easy: my study abroad in the United Kingdom was an amazing experience; the life-long friends I’ve made; and the academic learning I received. Those are the big ones. If I list one particular experience that I treasure, it’s a minor one, and not really related to Prin at all other than the fact I was a student at Prin, and Principa is located along the Mississippi River in the heart of the United States Midwest. I went to a jazz club on a riverboat on the St. Louis waterfront, right below the Arch, with some friends. It was one of those places you dressed up to go to, and they played dixieland jazz there. I loved it. I felt like I was transported to a different place and time by that music and the ambiance. As a fairly new resident of the United States at the time, it felt like a quintessential American experience.
For a negative experience, please read this post: “The Matthew Code & My Experience With Hypocrisy at Principia.
- Five Questions – Principia (The Ex-Christian Scientist): other ex-Christian Scientist Principia alums answer these questions.
- Five Questions – Principia Edition – Kat’s Answers: my fellow ex-Christian Scientist blogger at Kindism answers these questions.
- The Matthew Code & My Experience With Hypocrisy at Principia: a post about an experience I had while attending Principia College.
- Emerging Gently: blog posts I’ve written regarding Principia.
- Kindism: blog posts at Kindism regarding Principia.
*In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that the author of this blog is also an editor and writer for The Ex-Christian Scientist website.