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Author: TriSec    Date: 08/08/2020 10:10:10

Welcome aboard everyone, my name is Cubbie and thanks for riding with us today.

As we’re passing the base of One Dalton Place, look to your right. We’re passing along the edge of the Christian Science Plaza. Christian Science is a local religion, founded here by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879, and it’s based on the power of prayer. At the center of the plaza, you’ll find the world headquarters of the religion, the Mother Church, or First Church of Christ, Scientist. It’s said to be a half-scale replica of Saint Peter’s from Vatican City.


Somewhat simplistic, but I pass by the site so quickly on my tour, and we’re not supposed to talk about religion anyway. But it is a magnificent building, and also home to a quirky attraction in Boston called the Mapparium.

But what is it?

Christian Science is one of the few world religions founded by a woman. It is true – Mary Baker Eddy was living in Swampscott in the winter of 1866, and took a header on some ice so badly that it made the local papers.

Mrs. Mary Patterson, of Swampscott, fell upon the ice near the corner of Market and Oxford streets, on Thursday evening, and was severely injured. She was taken up in an insensible condition and carried into the residence of S. M. Bubier, Esq., near by, where she was kindly cared for during the night. Dr. Cushing, who was called, found her injuries to be internal, and of a severe nature, inducing spasms and internal suffering. She was removed to her home in Swampscott yesterday afternoon, though in a very critical condition. – Lynn Reporter, February 3, 1866

Her prospects for recovery were somewhat grim, due to the primitive nature of the days’ medicine. In the days after her fall though, she spent considerable time reading the Bible and praying, and she was able to find herself a miraculous cure.

Christian Scientists call this "the fall in Lynn" and see it as the birth of their religion. Decades later Eddy wrote that, on the third day after the fall, she had been helped by reading a certain Bible passage. In several editions of Science and Health she identified it as Mark 3, but later said that it had been Matthew 9:2–8, a passage about Jesus healing the paralytic at Capernaum: "As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed."

In the years after the Civil War, these teachings found a willing audience, and the religion began to spread. Christian Science is very different from Scientology (as I often have to tell tourists in this city). The faith is currently described on their official website thusly:

1. As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.
2. We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God. We acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God's image and likeness.
3. We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts.
4. We acknowledge Jesus' atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man's unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.
5. We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter.
6. And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.

That seems benign – but remember, the core of this particular belief system is the healing power of Christ Jesus. Officially, they are not opposed to modern medicine. Nevertheless, this religion is among the primary practitioners of faith-based healing today.

In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus says, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…" (John 14:12, New International Version). Christian Scientists fully accept and believe this promise of Jesus. By following his teachings and understanding the spiritual laws he practiced, they are committed to spiritual healing that includes both physical cures of disease and dysfunction as well as the reformation and restoration of lives.

The Bible gives us a standard of healing resting on timeless and universal spiritual laws. Mary Baker Eddy’s work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures shows how the healings in the Bible were accomplished, and how we can claim that same healing for ourselves, our families, and our world.

By understanding the complete goodness of God and our inseparability from that goodness, inspired men and women found answers to the wide spectrum of human needs as well as transformation of character and lives. These experiences were “not supernatural but supremely natural,” (Science and Health, p. xi) as Christian Science explains. Anyone can learn and apply these spiritually scientific ideas to the contemporary demands we face and find resolution that proves God’s goodness.

This unique approach to healing has proven effective for generations of Christian Scientists, many times after a medical diagnosis indicated a condition was incurable. Christian Science healing is not faith healing, positive thinking, or self-hypnosis. It calls for Christian faith in and understanding of God as unconditionally and dependably good, to whom nothing is impossible. Its practice is Christian—living according to Jesus’ teaching and example. And its practice is scientific—living according to the spiritual laws of God that can be learned, understood, and proven through healing and regeneration.

Christian Scientists are always free to choose for themselves and their families the kind of health care that meets their needs. However, by practicing Christian Science, many have lived happy and healthy lives free of drugs and other systems of physical care.

Great, TriSec, but when did Four Freedoms become a religious blog? Well, we haven’t. There’s all kinds of things we all believe in. But I bring all this up to make a point. Given that Christian Science is based on faith and prayer, and a reluctance to use modern medicine of any kind…you can be forgiven for thinking that visiting the Mother Church in Boston is a blessedly mask-free experience and great crowds are always welcome to visit the library and tour the church.

Sorry, no.

While they don’t specifically reference the Covid-19 restrictions in this Commonwealth, the website for the Mother Church, Mary Baker Eddy Library, and the Mapparium all feature the same banner ad:

We are closed for all tours and on-site visits.
However, our online research services continue. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and join our email list.

Ya know, if a church based entirely on prayer and faith-healing is closed to visitors until further notice…shouldn’t that be an eye-opener to the rest of us?


1 comments (Latest Comment: 08/08/2020 14:42:40 by Will in Chicago)
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