Tag Archives: mary baker eddy

Common Quirky Belief

Why am I told to the way to heaven is to believe Christ Jesus died for my sins? This dogma doesn’t compute; it needs a major overhaul. A serious piece of information is missing. I have no problem with believing in Christ Jesus or that his resurrection proved life eternal. In fact, I study his words and works all the time. However, I learn Christ Jesus lived and died to show me how to live; how to experience heaven within consciousness now. There is no gimmick belief that will produce a ticket to heaven.

Here is my reasoning.

First: it’s impossible for someone else to do my work for me. I cannot assume it was the death of Christ Jesus that allows forgiveness and heaven because people before his time were forgiven. People who lived centuries before Christ Jesus, walked with God and did just fine, some even ascended (Enoch, Gen. 5:24; Elijah, II Kings 2:11). So, I must live my own life of a spiritually progressive consciousness. I can’t assume the great work of others is enough to save me.

Second: the first reason is enough. I don’t have time to come up with more reasons because as far as I can tell, I have a ton of spiritual work to do. To say I believe on Jesus and that he died for my sins does not offer me a clean, white robe. He showed me how to get my act together and wash my own filth. Me, I, have to replace self-righteousness,  bitterness, and laziness with humility, spiritual courage, and health.

Fortunately, a heavenly life is a science to demonstrate, not some sketchy speculation or free ride.

Heaven isn’t a physical location, but a state of mind. Having the Mind of spiritual Truth, a.k.a. Christ, is the avenue to harmony, a revealed consciousness of heaven on earth—this computes.

Today’s teachings must keep up with the increased spiritual understanding and demonstrations of humanity. Christ Jesus did prove the necessity of sinlessness and forgiveness in a big way, however, we will not understand and live a more God-like life every moment by repeating some belief or following some code or ritual. Working out our salvation with God is a vital personal responsibility, is a right.

It’s not easy working out our salvation with God, but it helps to realize if Christ Jesus can do it, we can. This helps remove the tendency to give up, thinking Jesus did the job for us, or that Jesus was the only person who could do what he did. Life, truth, and love are impartially allowing us all to manifest God, good.


Dubious Disciple’s Review of 21st Century Science and Health

Click here to read Dubious Disciple’s book review of “21st Century Science and Health”

November 2021: Click here for 6th edition of 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scripture: A modern version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health

Dear Readers

We are aware that Shakespeare’s writings have been kept alive because of interpretations and revisions. The list of Shakespearean cultural creations is endless and includes paintings, television, music, and dance. Modern versions of Shakespeare’s writings have been cast in today’s vernacular and settings—“The Taming of the Shrew” resulted in “Kiss me Kate,” and “Romeo and Juliet” was transformed into “West Side Story.”

For this reason, 19th century’s classic book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was revised. Its author, spiritual leader and healer, Mary Baker Eddy gives a seminal interpretation of God to all seekers of truth. The teachings found in Science and Health has proven to substantiate spiritual healing through the study and practice of divine Science.

Unlike Shakespeare, whose writings have been kept alive for almost 400 years, Eddy’s writings have been buried—and in a matter of only one hundred years—under a false utopia of literal conservatism upheld by religious tradition. The fatal mistake of regurgitating 19th century words indirectly disallowed the collective readership, educated in the 20th century, from actually reading or interpreting the spirit of Science and Health. The repetition of outmoded terminology and references snowballed into dissatisfaction and readers dispersed.

At the turn of the 21st century, a self-governing, yet liberal society of readers revisited Science and Health with the courage and accountability to read and interpret the spirit of Eddy’s writings, minus the attached addendum of religious authoritarianism. The readers negotiated a new language, revised the vernacular, discovered the teachings of divine Science, and experienced the intended healing. True to God, our selves, and the English speaking world, an updated version of Eddy’s Science and Health was adopted and titled 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

In the beginning, 21st Century Science and Health was authorless, a collaborative work in progress. Other readers joined the effort to bring meaning to passé language, until it was admitted that I, Cheryl Petersen, had the strongest inspired conviction to manifest one of the “the requisite revisions of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” (Quote from Eddy’s Science and Health, page 361) For legal and practical reasons, my name stands connected to 21st Century Science and Health, now in its 4th edition.

Predictably, 21st Century Science and Health is taken as a threat to those who regard themselves as purists, loyal to Eddy. This attitude automatically assumes anything other than the 19th century language of Eddy is contaminated or incorrect, even dangerous. However, the attitude that insists on the letter actually paralyzes itself from really reading or expressing the spirit.

Hindsight could claim that creativity, spirituality, and dignity, as expressed in revisions and contemporary versions, were actively rebelled against in the 20th century under the guise of keeping Eddy’s words pure. Gatekeepers were allowed to guard Science and Health, which in turn unwittingly circulated the claim that only a select few can understand and teach from the book.

Fortunately, at the turn of this century, readers threw off this claim and reclaimed their right and responsibility to think and interpret for themselves with God. The reclamation not only dissolved fears of wrongdoing, but also exposed the non-existent safety net of believing the letter has more power than the spirit, or that church rituals have more power than living life for others and not just a few likeminded purists. We readers today are dynamically praying when we are reading. New perspectives are coming to light and energizing us to shine in the world with multifaceted forms of love.

Classics would not be studied or taught on a tangible useful level were it not for revisions, crib notes, and cultural creations. Eddy’s 19th century language was intended to teach divine Science. The insidious notions that Eddy’s writings are pure, or that a revision changes the spirit of a teaching, are destructive and hypocritical, implying that no one could ever discuss or express divine Science in other words or art form other than what was produced in the 19th century.

Readers of 21st Century Science and Health are sharpened to the reality that Eddy’s writings are only her interpretation, inspired that it is, but that every reader is also interpreting what they read, see, feel, hear, taste, and know. We can courageously stand by God, divine Spirit, and assert our freedom to discover and experience divine Science, spiritually interpreting God, Life, practical to our everyday situations and wonderings.

Finding Signs of Renewal in My Oft Maligned Religion

Every Sunday morning when I was a child, my parents would take my brothers and sisters and me to Sunday School. This ritual continued through my teen years and includes memories of learning Bible stories and hanging out with people who didn’t complain a lot, surely the ripple effect of us studying the religious denomination of Christian Science, which seemed to practice the philosophy of positive thinking, however I’d learned enough in the Christian Science Sunday School to know Christian Science is not rooted in positive thinking, but in the abstract soil of spiritual understanding which evidently can produce moral courage, wellbeing, and happy purpose through metaphysical means.

At the age of 12 years old, I became a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and 5 years later I had the opportunity to visit Boston and attend a church service in the regal First Church of Christ, Scientist, constructed in 1906. After the service, I walked around outside on what has been dubbed The Christian Science Plaza which includes a colonnade, a reflecting pool, and a fountain. I also toured the Christian Science Publishing Society with its famous Mapparium, a 30 foot tall stained glass globe of the world map built in 1935. It was magical, walking inside the lighted concave Mapparium and viewing the world map from the inside out, however tourism aside, it was a bit disconcerting to notice the political boundaries were frozen circa 1935, representing pre-World War II views. But, vacation time was up and I returned home.

After graduating High School in Washington State, I entered Colorado State University in the year 1979. The 1200 mile distance between me and my home circle did not break my embedded habits. I found another branch church of First Church of Christ, Scientist, and attended church, with a dwindling congregation, on a fairly regular basis. A question posed itself in my mind, How can a religion that had once been a national leader in Christian Science in the early 20th century reinvent itself as a community of spiritual power in the 21st century?

Contrary to popular opinion, the term Christian Science was not originally assigned to a religion or church, but to a system of metaphysical healing based on spiritual law. In the 19th century, Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) defined Christian Science as “the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony.” (Rudimental Divine Science) Eddy discovered this new/old spiritual law, and taking a scientific approach, she learned how to tap into its power to benefit humanity. It could be said that Eddy engaged the power of Mind and spirituality through divine Science and because of her embedded proclivities to God and Christianity, the spiritual law was later juxtaposed with religion and church.

mother churchIn 1867, Eddy began teaching other people her method of Christian healing. She taught for almost a decade before publishing her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in 1875 to reach more people with her explanation of the power of Mind. Eventually in 1879, Eddy established First Church of Christ, Scientist, to promulgate Christian Science, and for the rest of her life she battled to keep the institution grounded on Christian Science, not an unrealistic human ideology.

Christian Science, in the form of religion, had a heyday during the end of Eddy’s lifetime. Even after her death, magnificent branch church edifices—filled with members of all ages and attendants from all backgrounds—dotted the land, nay more, the world. But, typical to religion, time and change crept up and began suffocating the cultural or social force that bound the Christian Science community together. Uncannily, Christ Jesus’ statement seemed to be confirmed, that “a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” (Matt. 10:36, NIV). A reliance on unwritten church rules, instead of a reliance on God and independent thought and action, set the church on a dais to be maligned, especially when it came to member’s decisions concerning medical care.

I was sensitive to the bad press mainly because I happen to be bearing and raising children during the 1980’s when a rash of charges around the nation was brought against Christian Scientists whose children died under prayer treatment. The fact that children die every day under medical treatment did not condone Christian Science and certainly did not eliminate the fear factor. Consequently, I returned to the principles of Christian Science and learned in Eddy’s Science and Health, that God can guide “into the right use of temporary and eternal means,” of healing.

I did feel God guide me, and our family experienced noteworthy spiritual healing. However, it was a decade before the upheaval in the religious organization settled down somewhat. On August 12, 1993, the Los Angeles Times printed an article titled, Court Overturns Conviction of Christian Science Couple, reading, “Between 1980 and 1990, seven Christian Science parents in the United States were prosecuted on charges ranging from murder and manslaughter to neglect. Four of those were convicted, with two convictions eventually being overturned. One set of parents pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and two cases were dismissed.”

However, the calm was besieged by more drama when millions of church dollars were spent to launch a multimedia broadcasting system. Regrettably, the executive decision from church headquarters instead launched the church membership into a divisive fury. The New York Times, Peter Steinfels, stated in his article, Plan to Expand Church Media Reveals Christian Science Rift, dated January 4, 1989, “Christian Science, a faith that has come to epitomize a quiet, disciplined spirituality, is being rent by discord provoked by the denominations’ rapid expansion into radio and television broadcasting.” My own involvement in the Church confirmed the damning conclusion, yet history has taught me that schism and religion repeatedly go hand in hand therefore I gave divine Science the benefit of the doubt and continued to look for signs of renewal.

Then, I was caught in a terrible accident in 1998 and taken to the local hospital’s emergency room. To make a long story short, I did not need the predicted surgeries or even pain relievers, and I was healed of 2nd degree burns on half of my face through Christian Science treatment, all within 3 weeks. But, more importantly my mind broke through the boundaries of religion bias and I noticed a vivid array of spiritual seekers and leaders from different denominations, or from no religious affiliation, who were welcoming people to discover spiritual principles that interpret wellbeing and happiness to the universe.

I also read books written by doctors and researchers who expounded on the benefits of spirituality. I realized, the hard and soft sciences are actually leading people to spiritual insights. Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, and Miracles, wrote,”Genes are not destiny!” Lipton now believes that, “the physical body can be affected by the immaterial mind,” a mind of love.

Cheryl today

In the year 2002, I traveled to Boston to attend a pre-opening of The Mary Baker Eddy Library and savored the sight of a renovated portion of The Christian Science Publishing Society that now houses a lending library and gallery. The multimedia venture had since gone defunct and interest in the church had changed. Although the Church more resembled a museum than a religion, I accepted the historical perspective.

History can offer a storehouse of information to understand the future of religion. Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God: The 4000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam wrote, “Human beings cannot endure emptiness and desolation; they will fill the vacuum by creating a new focus of meaning. The idols of fundamentalism are not good substitutes for God, if we are to create a vibrant new faith for the twenty-first century, we should, perhaps, ponder the history of God for some lessons and warnings.” The history of God and religion reveals how doctrines and dogma give way to new grassroots movements based in community, social justice, and spiritual experience.

Religion is not a statistic to control or dominate the spirit of Christian Science. Religion is full of flux as it is but a complex, human mechanism of uncertain pasts and futures, while Christian Science is a steady life force manifesting universal Love. While revisiting Christian Science, signs of renewal in religion, spirituality, and science are found—all of which bring me full circle to a feeling of coming home.

Vital Behavior in Mind Healing

Prompted by the book, Influencer: The Power To Change Anything, I searched for a vital behavior that is a driving force behind my healing experiences.

Vital behavior: I interpret.

Interpret is a verb. To interpret is to bring out the meaning of the Word of God by performance or execution. (www.Dictionary.com)

The Bible is bursting with Mind-healing.

To assume the Bible can be read as though it is literal truth, or God’s exact Word, is mistaken. Every word in that book of books is interpretation. Furthermore, readers of the Bible are interpreting the interpretation.

When I had second degree burns on half of my face, I recalled the Bible story of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego who were unhurt after being thrown in a fire from the book of Daniel.

I didn’t assume, “Those guys were lucky. God really had their backs.” I interpreted it practically, through 21st century knowledge and through my current situation. I performed my interpretation which basically amounted to: If those guys can do it, I too can come out of a fire unharmed.

My face healed by the grace of God.

I also read statements from Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, a book with an interpretation of Mind healing strategies. But, I did not go along with other peoples interpretations of Science and Health, for the sheer fact they were only their interpretation of Eddy’s interpretation.

Everything we read, see, feel, remember, is only an interpretation. Likewise, everything other people read, see, feel, or remember is only an interpretation. Not truth in and of itself.

Truth heals. We have to interpret spiritual truth and love for ourselves. When we do so with honesty, pluck, grace, and all those good things, the result is amazing.

Vital behavior: Interpret with God

Irreconcilable Differences versus Reconcilable Similarities

Last October, I blogged about one of my co-workers who was going through a divorce with a cohort of anger and blame. On the days she came to work with the “quivering chin,” I knew that the slightest nuance would set her to crying with infuriation. So, I spoke as happily as I could and we got straight to business, which was best, because to be perfectly honest she wasn’t that much fun to work with.

As you would expect, the anger spilled over into the work place. I’d nonchalantly, and sometimes bluntly, pointed out that anger is stupid and doesn’t get the story straight so maybe let it go. One day, she told me she realized she had a choice, either to listen to fuming blaming thoughts, or not. And, to listen to comforting, nice thoughts is a form of prayer for healing.

Our legal system permits a divorce when the existence of significant differences between a married couple are so great and beyond resolution that they make the marriage unworkable. But, does this mean irreconcilable differences are forever?


In the case with my co-worker, young children were involved and her and her ex finally saw that shrapnel from their firing of anger back and forth was hitting the children. So, they took a breath. They love their children.

Anger can rant and rave, but it will never reconcile itself to progress or happiness.

Forgiveness, humility, love, and honesty are reconcilable. From 21st Century Science and Health, “Christ can’t reconcile Truth to error, for Truth and error are irreconcilable.”

So, anyway, a few weeks back, my co-worker and I were busy and I could tell she wanted to say something. I listened. She told me she didn’t have to take more time off from work for her “court and lawyer appointments” because her and her ex-husband are now speaking to one another, calmly. Her chin was quivering. Was she going to cry?

We both know more challenges will come up in life, but sometimes we can take a minute to cry with happiness.

Intimacy and Rape

Sex usually comes to mind when we hear the words, intimate or rape. However, these words have much broader definitions. One can have an intimate, yet platonic friendship, kindred-spirits, so to speak. Or, the countryside can be raped. Furthermore, intimacy and rape are also relative terms. What is regarded as an intimate sexual experience to one couple can look like rape to another couple. So, what about spirituality? Are we intimate, or close, to our spirituality? Can we protect our spirituality from being raped?

Intimacy is extraordinary, yet maddeningly illusive to human beings. Rape is maddening. However, a bird’s eye view sees humanity compelled to pursue intimacy and put a stop to rape, even when dealing with our spirituality.

Spirituality refers to the essence of life and has been known to heal and answer the deeper questions that pester human minds.

An amazing intimacy with spirituality comes from within, not from anything outside of us. We grow close to spirituality as we love and engage attitudes such as respect, empathy, honesty, humor, gentleness, happiness, and courage, in all our life’s activities (yes, including sex or chastity). And, if at some point, we feel as though envy, loneliness, or hypocrisy raped us, we can be assured our spirituality is still intact because spirituality is full of potential, which can never be taken away or destroyed.

A familiarity with divine Spirit reveals spirituality forever ours.

Quotes from 21st Century Science and Health:

“Divine Spirit blesses its own ideas, and causes them to multiply—to manifest Love’s power. We are not made subordinate to matter/energy. We also are not made to dominate. Our dominion is to respect and care for all the symbols of God, the Maker; this is the Science of being.”

“To prevent disease or to cure it, the power of Truth, of divine Spirit, must break the dream of temporal convictions. To heal by argument, find the type of the ailment, get its name, and arrange your mental plea against the physical. Reason at first mentally, not audibly, that the patient has no disease, and conform the logic so as to destroy the evidence of disease. Mentally insist that harmony is the fact, and that sickness is a temporal dream. Realize the presence of health and the fact of spiritual being until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and balance.”

“The divine Spirit, which identified Jesus centuries ago, has spoken through the inspired Word and will speak through it in every generation and locality. It is revealed to the receptive heart and is again seen driving out evil and healing the sick.”

Spiritual Identity Theft

“Chaotic and contradictory beliefs commit identity theft, giving matter the identity of Mind.” 21st Century Science and Health, 3rd edition, page 202.

 Identity Theft is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personal information and uses them for their own personal gain. Identity Theft can be a nightmare, therefore people take measures to keep their privacy; however, while we take measures to protect ourselves, we must be careful not to become isolated, because isolation and loneliness will steal the identity of all-present Mind and cause us to spend too much time on the defense.

Don’t be intimidated by beliefs. Fearlessly stick to what you know is true, God’s identity is one, is good, and is manifest as Us. Don’t give human authoritarianism, time, idleness, or vanity the identity of God. 

What are some of the ways identity theft occurs?

  • The belief of good and evil impersonates spiritual being to further human mortals as God’s child.
  • The beliefs of sickness and depression steal the identity of Life, God, to give themselves an appearance of life.
  • The belief of inferiority or superiority imitates the allness and oneness of God to exact a human status-quo.
  • The beliefs of infatuation or hate mimics all-present Love to advocate self-loving agendas.

Think about it: beliefs work subtly and can easily take us on a downward spiraling ride unless we stand protected by manifesting Godlike wisdom.

Ironically, an effective prevention measure can be traced back to the 10 Commandments when Moses felt as though God promulgated, You shall not take my name in vain. (Exodus 20) Ultimately, we can’t steal God’s identity and use it for our own personal gain or agendas.

Protect your privacy smartly, in other words don’t keep your knowledge of God private, but preserve spiritual knowledge by sharing it forward.

It’s Time to Give Food a Break!

Okay, I want to add one more blog to my Food and Eating Series, because somebody has to stick up for food, especially with the Christmas and New Years festivities looming.

It’s time to give food a break!

Food is abused, craved, blamed, idolized, hated, obsessed over, and wasted. Why not simply appreciate food for what it is, and isn’t. Like appreciating ourselves, and others, for our spiritual qualities instead of material qualities.

What food is: 1) a nutriment for our bodies. 2) a symbol of humanity’s equality, we all eat, we all poop…

What food isn’t: 1) the source of our problems. 2) a comforter…

Have anything to add to these lists?


“Normal control is gained through divine strength and understanding.”–21st Century Science and Health

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