Mary Ann Morse Baker was born in Bow, NH in July 1821 to strict Congregationalist parents. Mary was frequently ill with both physical and emotional ailments until she was 22-years-old. At that time she married businessman George W. Glover, whose sister was married to Mary’s oldest brother. According to Walter Martin, in his book Kingdom of the Cults, Glover’s “untimely death of yellow fever in Wilmington, South Carolina, some seven months later, reduced his pregnant wife to an emotional and highly unstable invalid, who, throughout the remaining years of her life, relied from time to time upon the drug morphine as a medication.” (p.150)
Mary moved back to her father’s home and had a son not long thereafter, naming him George after his father. When Mary’s mother died in 1849, George’s custody became an issue. Her father remarried and did not want the boy staying with them, so he lived with a series of relatives.
In June of 1853, Mary became the wife of a dentist, Daniel M. Patterson, who was a relative of her father’s second wife. He did not want Mary’s son, so the son lived with friends in Minnesota.
The history of the religion of Christian Science actually starts with a fellow named Phineas Parkhurst Quimby of Portland, Maine. P.P. Quimby developed a system of “mental healing” in the 1850s which he called “The Science of Man,” and used the terms “The Science of Christ” and “Christian Science” to refer to his system. Another term he used for his system was “Science of Health.” He was essentially a hypnotist and faith healer.
Mary met Dr. Quimby in 1862 when she and her husband moved to Portland, and Mary sought Quimby’s care for “spinal inflammation.” Most of Mary’s writings and ideas are stolen from Quimby’s writings and teachings, with much of her work being direct plagiarism from him. More of her writings have been proven to be plagiarized from other authors’ works.
As with other false prophets, Mary Baker Eddy’s claims of how her religion originated were put down in writing long after the fact, and mostly after Quimby was dead and unable to expose her. She claims to have discovered her system in February 1866 (the month after Quimby died) after a fall on a slippery sidewalk when her attending doctor said she was “incurable,” with only three days to live. On her third day, she called for a Bible and read Matthew 9:2 and was suddenly healed. Supposedly, convinced that God had healed her, she then spent the next several years studying the Scriptures and “rediscovered” the faith-healing secrets the church lost when it supposedly apostatized.
The doctor who supposedly diagnosed Mary, Alvin Cushing, stated under oath in a 1000-word statement that he never gave such a diagnoses, and that Mary was in good health and that he treated her later in August of 1866 for other ailments. It was during this period in 1866 that Mary’s husband, Daniel, left her. Seven years later she divorced him on the grounds of adultery.
Mary had been teaching from the Quimby manuscripts in Stoughton, MA and then moved to Lynn, MA where she finished her book, Science and Heath, in 1875. This is the Christian Science religion’s primary “scripture.” In 1877, when she was 56, Mary entered her last marriage to Asa G. Eddy, who had come to her for treatment. He would died after only five years of marriage, in 1882.
In 1879 Mary chartered her new church in Charlestown, MA, “The Church of Christ, Scientist.” This church was established "to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing." Mary claimed she found hundreds of errors in the Bible, and that her teachings were the “final revelation of God for mankind.” Of course, Mary was the pastor of this new church.
After a revolt among her students, Mary moved to Boston where she started what became known as “The Massachusetts Metaphysical College, where she taught beginning in 1881. After Asa died, Mary continued teaching in her college until 1889 when she closed it to revise her book, which now was called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Mary claimed it came by revelation from God: "I should blush to write a Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as I have, were it of human origin, and I, apart from God, its author; but as I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of heaven in divine metaphysics, I cannot be super-modest in my estimate of the Christian Science textbook."
Boston became the headquarters for her new church. There, in 1888, she opened a reading room for her writings. Mary completed her church manual in 1895, establishing procedures for governing the organization. Mary reopened her college in 1899.
As with other cults, Mary’s real purpose seems to have been to make money off of her religion. As Mark Wheeler on “Catholic Answers” website (http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1992/9202prof.asp) notes, “Mary Baker Eddy wished to acquire wealth. The original edition of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was advertised as ‘a book that affords an opportunity to acquire a profession by which you can accumulate a fortune.’ Her followers were commanded to buy and sell copies under pain of excommunication. They were forced to buy each new edition, even though only a few words might have been changed. Eddy, who started her religion without a penny, died a millionairess.”
Mary Baker Eddy died in December 1910.
Mary’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, is divided into two sections. The first section is Science and Health where-in she gives her theological teachings in regards to her health teachings. The second section, Key to the Scriptures, is her explanation of Genesis, Revelation and Psalm 23.
A very good way to start looking at Eddy’s teachings are to look at what she called “erroneous postulates.” In these postulates she makes it clear that matter only exists as illusion. Let’s take a look at these, as cited in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures chapter 4:
"The first erroneous postulate of belief is, that substance, life, and intelligence are something apart from God.
“The second erroneous postulate is, that man is both mental and material.
“The third erroneous postulate is, that mind is both evil and good; whereas the real Mind cannot be evil nor the medium of evil, for Mind is God.
“The fourth erroneous postulate is, that matter is intelligent, and that man has a material body which is part of himself.
“The fifth erroneous postulate is, that matter hold in itself the issues of life and death, - that matter is not only capable of experiencing pleasure and pain, but also capable of imparting these sensations. From the illusion implied in this last postulate arises the decomposition of mortal bodies in what is termed death.”
Doctrines: References to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures will be abbreviated as “S&H” with the page numbers from the soft-cover. I’m going to cite several passages under each section, but these are only a portion of the many that could be cited.
1. A primary foundational belief is that nothing is real - everything is illusion and nothing material exists. Sin, disease and sickness are all illusions with may be overcome by the mind. “Temporal life is a false sense of existence.” (S&H, p.122)
a. “Now is the time for so-called material pains and material pleasures to pass away, for both are unreal, because impossible in Science.” (S&H, p.39)
b. “Death will be found at length to be a mortal dream, which comes in darkness and disappears with the light.” (S&H, p.42)
c. “He presented the same body that he had before his crucifixion, and so glorified the supremacy of Mind over matter.” (S&H, p.45)
d. “The ‘man of sorrows’ best understood the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good. These were the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science, which armed him with Love.” (S&H, p.52)
e. “The entire education of children should be such as to form habits of obedience to the moral and spiritual law, with which the child can meet and master the belief in so-called physical laws, a belief which breeds disease.” (S&H, p.62)
f. “The scientific fact that man and the universe are evolved from Spirit, and so are spiritual, is as fixed in divine Science as is the proof that mortals gain the sense of health only as they lose the sense of sin and disease.” (S&H, p.69)
g. “Close your eyes, and you may dream that you see a flower, - that you touch and smell it. Thus you learn that the flower is a product of the so-called mind, a formation of thought rather than of matter. Close your eyes again, and you may see landscapes, men, and women. Thus you learn that these also are images, which mortal mind holds and evolves and which stimulate mind, life, and intelligence.” (S&H, p.71)
h. “Suffering, sinning, dying beliefs are unreal. When divine Science is universally understood, they will have no power over man, for man is immortal and lives by divine authority.” (S&H, p.76)
i. “Science shows that what is termed matter is but the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind. (S&H, p114)
j. “Thus matter will finally be proved nothing more than a belief, wholly inadequate to affect a man through its supposed organic action or supposed existence.” (S&H, p.125-126)
2. God: Is called “Father-Mother God.” Other titles for God are: “Truth,” “Life,” “Love,” “Mind.”
a. “[God] is a power, something we feel and know in our hearts…God, Mind, tells us what we need to know, when we need to know it.” (Tract titled, “Our Father-Mother, God”)
b. “The Jewish tribal Jehovah was a man-projected God, liable to wrath, repentance, and human changeableness.” (S&H, p.140)
a. “To cause suffering as the result of sin, is the means of destroying sin. Every supposed pleasure in sin will furnish will furnish more than its equivalence of pain, until belief in material life and sin is destroyed.” (S & H, p.6)
b. “Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion or material sense.” (S&H, p.71)
c. “Evil is a suppositional lie.” (S&H, p.103)
4. Virgin Birth: “The Virgin-mother conceived this idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name of Jesus - that is, Joshua, our Saviour. The illumination of Mary’s spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men. The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed the pure sense of he Virgin-mother with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever an idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus, and woman perceived this spiritual idea, though at first faintly developed. … Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God.” (S&H, p.29-30)
5. Jesus: The Christian Science Jesus was not Christ, nor did He really die.
a. “Born of a woman, Jesus’ advent in the flesh partook partly of Mary’s earthly condition, although he was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure.” (S&H, p.30)
b. “Jesus mapped out the path for others. He unveiled the Christ, the spiritual idea of divine Love.” (S&H, p.38)
c. “The lonely precincts of the tomb gave Jesus a refuge from his foes, a place in which to solve the great problem of being. His three days’ work in the sepulchre set the seal of eternity on time. He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate. He met and mastered on the basis of Christian Science, the power of Mind over matter, all the claims of medicine, surgery, and hygiene.” (S&H, p.44)
d. “His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while he was hidden in the sepulchre, whereas he was alive, demonstrating within the narrow tomb the power of Spirit to overrule mortal, material sense.” (S&H, p.44)
e. “Jesus’ students, not sufficiently advanced fully to understand their Master’s triumph, did not perform many wonderful works, until they saw him after his crucifixion and learned that he had not died.” (S&H, p.45-46)
f. “The spiritual Christ was infallible; Jesus, as material manhood, was not Christ.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p.84)
6. The Atonement: Eddy’s teachings here have nothing in common with orthodox teaching. Here are samples of Eddy’s teachings:
a. “Atonement is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love.” (S&H, p.18)
b. “Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand Jesus’ atonement for sin and aid its efficacy.” (S&H, p.19)
c. “The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner’s part. That God’s wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son, is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is man-made. The atonement is a hard problem in theology, but its scientific explanation is, that suffering is an error of sinful sense which Truth destroys, and that eventually both sin and suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting Love.” (S&H, p.23)
d. “The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree,’ than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business.” (S&H, p.25)
e. “Divine Science reveals the necessity of sufficient suffering, either before or after death, to quench the love of sin. To remit the penalty due for sin, would be for Truth to pardon error. Escape from punishment is not in accordance with God’s government, since justice is the handmaid of mercy.” (S&H, p36)
7. The Holy Spirit: “In the words of St. John: ‘He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.’ This Comforter I understand to be Divine Science.” (S&H, p.55)
8. Other aberrations:
a. Audible prayer is sinful and useless - God only listens to mental prayer. (S&H, Chapter 1)
b. “The act of describing disease - its symptoms, locality and fatality - is not scientific. Warning people against death is an error that tends to frighten into death those who are ignorant of Life as God. … A scientific mental method is more sanitary than the use of drugs, and such a mental method produces permanent health.” (S&H, p.79)
Christian Science is like Hinduism in its teachings of the afterlife, in that they teach a continuance of a circle of life while reaching higher planes. “Death will occur on the next plane of existence as on this, until the spiritual understanding of Life is reached.” (S&H, p.77)
Christian Science --- Neither Christian nor science!