In its 150-year history, “Christian Science” managed to shoot to fame and get lost in outer space.
The line between what religion and legend have to say are worth looking at.
Religion: Born in 1821, the woman who was to become Mary Baker Eddy, the leader of Christian Science, had the faith that God could heal spiritually. In 1866, this New England woman had a liberating epiphany that faith can be coupled with divine knowledge as the foundation of mindful healing. Her discovery was dubbed Christian Science, the law of a healing God.
Legend: There was nothing quick, certainly not instant or final, about establishing Christian Science in the 19th century. The New England woman spent twenty years prior to 1866, trying to trace physical effects to a mental cause.
Only until Mary started helping herself, by thinking and experimenting like a scientist, did she transform her faith into understanding. Otherwise, she was a dependent, a woman with little umph. She had lousy health and a lousy marriage.
Religion: Stirred by her new thinking, Mary’s health improved. She taught the principles of Christian Science to one student, then more students. Some of the students became public practitioners, who applied spiritual truths until the human mind and body of their clients yielded to the divine Mind, God ad was healed.
Legend: Not everyone was healed by the application of Christian Science. Not all relationships were made-in-heaven. Eddy herself continued to have relationship and health troubles to deal with.
As for her marriage, although Eddy touted a loving God that can heal marriages, her second marriage ended in a divorce. She later remarried, Asa Gilbert Eddy, the source of her famous name.
Religion: In 1875, Mary wrote and published the Christian Science textbook titled, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” Eddy’s book is from God.
Legend: The book published in 1875 was titled, “The Science of Man.” Mary Baker Eddy revised her book hundreds of times continuously until she died in 1910. The book was originally written for the public as a tool to learn spiritual, scientific Mind-healing. She may have been inspired when writing, however she continued to correct and clarify the book her entire life.
Science and Health didn’t evolve into a textbook for a church until 1895. The ideas in the book may be sacred, but the words are not, because human language is inadequate to voice the sacred spiritual.
Religion: Christian Science became popular and Mary Baker Eddy began preaching. She then took on the responsibility of leadership and organized a Christian Science church in 1879, calling it, The Church of Christ, Scientist. The religious organization became very prosperous, with branches around the world, at the turn of the 20th century.
Legend: Christian Science was defined by Eddy as the law of God, of good, interpreting and manifesting universal harmony. Christian Science is not synonymous with a religious organization. Just as Science and Health is not synonymous with Christian Science.
Religion: The Church of Christ, Scientist, is dying in the world today. Empty branch edifices are being closed and sold. Mary Baker Eddy’s, Science and Health isn’t being read, let alone studied by very many people.
Legend: Christian Science, as taught by Mary Baker Eddy is a spiritual idea that has existed forever. Many other people have discovered this law of God without reading her book because spiritual truth comes from within. It’s a divine force found with God and is still being interpreted and understood today in multifarious expressions. The ideas in Science and Health are not restricted to words written 150-years ago and that is one beauty of religion and legend working together.
Religion and legend are not at loggerheads. We can look at both to determine a line of spiritual progress. We can appreciate the facts and experience God.