Chapter 17: Christian Science-Metaphysical Family
Christian Science-Metaphysical Family
Consult the "Contents" pages to locate the entries in Part III, the Directory Listings Sections, that comprise this family.
Christian Science and New Thought are two movements that generally do not like to speak of each other. They are now two very distinct movements with a number of obvious differences. Yet while distinct, they also are related. They both emerged within a few years of each other in the United States and then internationally. They shared historical roots both in the idealistic philosophy of the nineteenth century and in the search for alternative means for healing at a time when the healing arts were still in a primitive state. In combining these two roots, they found some agreement concerning the role of "Mind" as the agent in healing. As a matter of fact, it is the confusion between the movements, and the intense polemics concerning their separation, that led in large part to the mutual denial of their common roots.
The first movement to appear was Christian Science. It took its main embodiment in the Church of Christ, Scientist, founded by Mary Baker Eddy. However, within a few years of its launching, teacher-practitioners of Christian Science appeared claiming to be true to the memory and teachings of Eddy, but not affiliated with the church she headed. While bearing little continuity from generation to generation, there has always existed a group of such independent Christian Scientists.
Also, from the first years of Christian Science, there appeared a growing number of practitioners-teachers who had started their careers with the Church of Christ, Scientist, and/or the writings of Eddy, but who differed with her on one or more important issues. The most important of these people was Emma Curtis Hopkins, a former student of Eddy's. Around her, originally under the label of Christian Science, grew a movement that soon departed on an increasing number of points from Eddy. By the end of the century it had left the world of Christian Science and had become known as New Thought. Freed from its attachment to Eddy, New Thought quickly developed as a national movement in its own right.
THE FORERUNNERS. Christian Science and New Thought brought together insights from several traditions in nineteenth century America that had sought an alternative to the growing materialism that dominated both public discourse and religious thought. Although it frequently tried to appropriate the dominant Christianity of its culture, it also deviated at a number of important points, especially (in its New England context) from the larger Puritan worldview embodied in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Cambridge Platform. The alternatives asserted the reality of a spiritual world, the importance of mystical experience, and the healing value of invisible forces operating on the mind and body. This tradition is often called the metaphysical tradition and is defined best by the ideas of the several writer-thinkers who dominated the tradition as it developed through the early nineteenth century: Franz Anton Mesmer, Emanuel Swedenborg, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Warren Felt Evans.
Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815), an Austrian physician, discovered what he claimed was an amazing healing force. Astrology and the forces that made it work, an important element in eighteenth century medical training and the subject of his doctoral dissertation, became the launching point of his discovery. Asked to summarize his teachings for the French Academy of Science in the 1780s, he produced the "21 Propositions." In this brief statement, he described a subtle fluid universally diffused through nature. This fluid had the property of receiving and communicating impulses between material bodies. The fluid could be used for the cure of all diseases (those of the nerves immediately and others over a period of time) and to produce a somnambulistic state or mesmeric trance.
Though rebuffed in his attempt to find acceptance within the Academy, Mesmer's ideas found many disciples during the next decades. Scientists tried to refine his theory and discover convincing ways of demonstrating the existence of the magnetic force. Disciples of mesmerism appeared in America throughout the 1830s. Popular lecturers toured the country speaking about and demonstrating the unusual properties of animal magnetism. Eventually, the mesomeric sleep was separated from the rest of the phenomena and the theories about fluids discarded. The magnetic state survives today as the hypnotic state, an altered state of consciousness brought about primarily by suggestion. Spiritualism perpetuated the theories of mesomeric healing fluid or force. The theories still exist, though slightly altered by reference to more recent science. The fluid has been transformed into electro-magnetic energy, part of the invisible light spectrum.
An early contemporary of Mesmer's, Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) is most noted for his communications with angelic beings, the results of which filled many volumes of theological treatises and biblical commentaries. Systematized, his thought became the basis of the Church of the New Jerusalem. The church, founded in England shortly after Swedenborg's death, was brought to the United States just after the American Revolution and spread throughout the Northeast. By the middle of the nineteenth century, it had reached the Midwest and one church had even been planted in San Francisco. [See the more complete discussion of Swedenborg and the movement that grew up around his teachings in chapter 17 below.]
It is frequently hard to understand Swedenborg's popularity in the last century in light of his being so ignored in the late twentieth century. However, one cannot understand Spiritualism without reference to his thought and his metaphysical assumptions, which would become major building blocks taken over by Mary Baker Eddy and her students. First, he championed the notion of the priority of the world of Spirit over that of matter. Spirit was the ultimately real, matter only a frail shadow of secondary existence. Matter assumed its reality only in its possession of a correspondence to the spiritual. Second, based upon the priority of Spirit and the "law of correspondence" between the spiritual and the material, Swedenborg offered a true spiritual interpretation of scripture to enhance the more mundane literal (i.e., materialistic) interpretation. Often adding lengthy glossaries to his books, Swedenborg proposed a spiritual meaning to various individual concepts, people, and events in the Bible. Although differing in content, both Eddy and Hopkins would follow a similar method in interpreting scripture. Within New Thought, the method of metaphysical interpretation would lead to the monumental Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (1932) compiled by Charles S. Fillmore of the Unity School of Christianity.
Among the people most affected by the mesmerist movement was Phineas P. Quimby (1802–1866). As a young clockmaker in Belfast, Maine, Quimby attended a mesmerist lecture demonstration by Dr. Robert Collyer in 1838. Fascinated, he began to experiment with mesmerism and found a suitable subject in Lucius Burkmer, a person who easily slipped into a trance state. While entranced, Burkmer would frequently diagnose and prescribe for illnesses of people brought before him. Quimby noted on several occasions that people were healed by taking a prescribed medicine that had no real medicinal value. Gradually, Quimby discarded any hypotheses about magnetic fluid and attributed the healing agency to what he termed "mind."
Quimby equated God with Wisdom, Science, or First Cause. Wisdom contains all truth, ideas, and knowledge. Wisdom, his favorite term, gives forth an essence that fills all of space, much as perfume fills a room with its odor. This essence is not Wisdom, but has the character of Wisdom. Matter is created out of this essence, and matter then condenses into the various forms and elements. Out of the most gross matter, man was created and breathed with the essence of God, or mind. Quimby compares the individual with a locomotive. The body is the locomotive itself. Mind is the steam that drives it forward. Wisdom is the engineer.
Quimby saw mind as a separate independent reality apart from matter. It is invisible and intelligent. Disease is a malfunction of mind caused by error (a false idea) condensing into the material. The major sources of error, in Quimby's opinion, were religion, reason, and medicine, and he frequently denounced clergy, teachers, and doctors who perpetuated the wisdom (or more correctly, the opinions) of the world and taught people they were sick and going to die. Such diseased ideas led to illness and eventual death. Through the use of the mind, however, Quimby could convince people of the error of false opinion and replace it with the Truth of Wisdom or Science. Once the truth was implanted in the mind of the patient, it could operate directly upon the body to heal. This science was the same as that taught by Christ and could properly be called the Science of the Christ.
Toward the end of his life, though Quimby took a few students, he could by no means be said to have started a movement. One of his students, Warren Felt Evans, to be discussed below, began a healing practice but did not take students of his own. Two of Quimby's students, Annetta and Julius Dresser, did little with what they had learned from him until some years later, after the fourth student, Mary Baker Eddy, had begun a movement developing ideas concerning health and healing.
Though living as contemporaries of each other, there is no evidence that Quimby and Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) took particular note of each other. Their life's works moved in different arenas. Emerson had left the ministry to develop a kind of nature mysticism and to work as a writer/lecturer. In the process he became the most noted spokesperson for the Transcendentalist Movement. During the 1830s, having been inspired by Sweden-borg (from whom he frequently drew his concepts), having absorbed some of the basics of Hinduism through the Bhagavad Gita, and having adopted the new Romanticism from Europe, he argued for a united world view based upon the priority of mind. To Emerson, the world was the product of one mind (God) that is everywhere active (i.e., immanent in nature). Whatever opposes that one mind eventually comes to naught. Good is positive, is real. Evil does not really exist, it is merely the privation of good, not an opposing reality in itself. All things proceed out of the same spirit-mind-good, and our alignment with that good brings strength. The realization of this truth, concluded Emerson, awakens within humanity the religious sentiment.
Most people, even that vast majority who disagreed with his conclusions, read Emerson. In him, the metaphysical tradition found its most significant nineteenth century propagandist, and through him and his colleagues reached a vast audience.
Warren Felt Evans (1817–1887) had been a student of Quimby, but before that he had become a devotee of Emanuel Swedenborg, so much so that he forsook his Methodist training and became a minister in the Church of the New Jerusalem. But Evans was a sickly man, and along the way he turned to Quimby, under whom he was returned to a degree of health. After Quimby's death, Evans moved to a Boston suburb and opened a healing practice. However, while acknowledging a certain debt to Quimby, he quietly discarded Quimby's ideas and methods. Instead, he found in the broader Swedenborgian world view a more adequate framework to conduct his therapeutic work. In developing a Swedenborgian interpretation of healing and health, he expanded the tradition in a direction that Swedenborg had never explored. In the end, Evans returned to a mesmeric model, identifying Swedenborg's concept of the divine "influx" with the healing power.
The issue of the extent to which the major figures in the metaphysical tradition referred to or even knew about each other is a matter of intense scholarly debate. It is known, for example, that Emerson read Swedenborg, and Quimby absorbed the magnetist tradition. The well-read Evans seems to have taken ideas from numerous sources, including Hinduism. But there is little to link Mesmer and his contemporary Swedenborg, or Emerson and his contemporary Quimby. Together, however, Mesmer, Swedenborg, Quimby, Emerson, and Evans created a common language, a concern for healing, and an emphasis upon the reality and immanence of the spiritual, which undergirded the work of Mary Baker Eddy and the students who would come after her.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE. "At the commencement of the study of Metaphysical science, we must acquaint ourselves with its Principle whereby to gain the demonstration of this Principle in healing the sick. For the sake of brevity, these first lessons are arranged in questions and answers.
"Question–What is God? "Answer–Jehovah is not a person. God is Principle. "Question–What is Principle? "Answer–Principle is Life, Truth and Love, Substance and Intelligence.
"Question–Is there more than one Principle? "Answer–There is not. The varied manifestations of science have but one Principle, for there is but one God. All science expresses God, and is governed by Principle" (Mary Baker Eddy, The Science of Man by Which the Sick Are Healed [Lynn, MA: Luther C. Parker, 1879]). Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the discoverer of Christian Science and founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, grew up in a devout New England Congregationalist home. Her early formal education had been limited by her poor health, but she recovered enough in her teen years to attend Holmes Academy. She married in 1843, but her husband died just months before the birth of their child, an event that signaled another period of poor health for her.
She married again in 1853. Her husband, George Patterson, joined the Union Army during the Civil War, during which he was captured. Meanwhile, Mary had heard of Phineas P. Quimby and in 1862 she traveled to Portland, Maine, to receive treatment. Within a month she was seemingly cured and wrote in praise of Quimby to the newspaper in Portland. Her first stay in Portland, which lasted for three months, began the most crucial and controversial period of her career. It is evident that Quimby had opened up a new direction for her and that she initially gave him enthusiastic credit for an improvement of health. In later years Eddy's critics would quote her words of appreciation as a means of discrediting her own unique contributions. Hence her relation to Quimby bears close scrutiny.
Her years as a student-associate of Quimby were ones of fluctuating health. After an initial improvement, her health would fail, only to improve when she returned to Maine. Also, while obviously engaged in the study of Quimby's ideas, and enthusiastically using his methods on others, she was not an uncritical student. Like Evans, she had trouble accepting the concept of mind as spiritual matter, and she could not reconcile Quimby's hostility to religion with her own continuing Christian faith. In spite of these differences, Quimby helped her, and she continued her association with him until his death on January 16, 1866. A few days later she wrote her oft-quoted poem in his memory, "Lines in the Death ofP. P. Quimby, who healed with the truth that Christ taught, in contradistinction to all isms."
The death of Quimby, however, was to be immediately followed by the events that were to move her into a distinct realm of thought and practice and separate her forever from Quimby's ideas and ways. On February 1, 1866, while visiting in Lynn, Massachusetts, Eddy fell on the ice. The next day she was found to be suffering from severe internal spasms. Taken back to her home in Swampscott, she was confined to her bed. Those in attendance varied in their opinion about her recovery, some even doubting its possibility. Then on February 4, given a Bible to read and left to meditate alone, she was overwhelmed with the conviction that her life was in God and that God was the only Life, the sole reality of existence. In that discovery came her healing. She got out of bed, dressed, and walked into the next room to the astonishment of all present.
The next months and years would be ones of personal turmoil, punctuated by her divorcing her husband for desertion, and her growing comprehension of the implication of the insight received at the time of her healing. During the next decade she would engage in intensive Bible study, struggling to understand the implications of God as healer versus Quimby's notion of mind as healer. In 1870 she formed a partnership with Richard Kennedy as a practitioner and teacher, and in August held her first class. She also began the writing that would eventually become Science and Health with Key to the Scripture, the first edition of which was published in 1875 (as simply Science and Health).
In 1876 the Christian Scientist Association was formed as a fellowship of Eddy's personal students, among whom was Asa Gilbert Eddy, whom she married in 1877. In 1879 the Church of Christ, Scientist was organized, and two years later Eddy was ordained by her students as its pastor. In 1882 she moved from Lynn to Boston and opened the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. At the college, she taught the basic classes, the successful completion of which allowed students to become Christian Science practitioners. As the classes proceeded, students opened Christian Science offices in Boston, in the nearby cities, and gradually in urban centers around the United States and Canada. Chicago quickly arose as the strongest center for Christian Science outside of New England.
As a result of the circulation of Science and Health and the work of Eddy's students, Christian Science began to blossom. Before it could establish itself, however, Eddy had to deal with a situation that has distorted the entire history of the Church of Christ, Scientist, and those movements derived from it. The events began with the resignation in 1880 of Edward J. Arens, a former student of Eddy's, from the Christian Scientist Association. Before the year was out he published a pamphlet entitled, The Science of the Relation Between God and Man and the Distinction Between Spirit and Matter. It seemed to rely heavily upon The Science of Man, a booklet originally used as her textbook, and Science and Health. Eddy considered filing suit, but at first rejected the notion.
Then in 1882, another former student of Phineas P. Quimby's, Julius Dresser (1838–1893), returned to Boston after having spent several years in California. He took a Christian Science class from Arens, and in February of 1883 launched an attack upon Eddy in the Boston Globe in which he accused her of stealing the thought of Quimby, and presenting his ideas as her own under a new label of Christian Science. Eddy answered him. Dresser wrote a second article, which Eddy again answered. In the wake of the series, Eddy filed suit against Arens for plagiarism. Arens tried to refute the charge with a counter charge. Since Eddy had plagiarized from Quimby, he could not be held accountable for any copying from Eddy. He lost the case, and the court ordered the destruction of 3,000 copies of his pamphlet.
Though Eddy won the case, she did so in the absence of Quimby's unpublished papers, as Quimby's son refused to release them for the trial. As a result, Eddy's critics claimed that Arens lost only because he was unable to produce the crucial Quimby manuscripts. The lack of the manuscripts allowed Julius Dresser and his wife, Annetta Dresser, to continue the attack upon Eddy for the rest of their lives. And their son Horatio Dresser (1866–1954) perpetuated the controversy for decades to come. He would in later years be called upon to write the history of New Thought, the movement that grew out of Christian Science, and in his 1919 work he would enshrine Quimby and largely bypass Eddy. Then a few years later, when the Quimby Manuscripts finally became available, Dresser was chosen to edit the published version.
By the time that the Quimby Manuscripts were published, the controversy that began in 1883 had taken on proportions equal to the two parties involved. Christian Scientists frequently tried to argue that Eddy's connection to Quimby was inconsequential, while advocates of New Thought argued that she was totally Quimby's student who merely presented his ideas in a distorted version. Both positions have become untenable in the light of the publication of the Quimby papers and the subsequent historical work. On the one hand, it is impossible to dismiss the role of Quimby in giving direction to Eddy's thought and in providing her a language not otherwise available. At the same time, to equate Quimby's and Eddy's thought is to distort both. They had a profound disagreement on most issues vital to each, such as the existence of matter and the role of religion. More definitively, there is a basic distinction between the thorough-going idealism of Eddy as contrasted with the mind-material dualism of Quimby.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST. Surviving in spite of the Quimby controversy, Eddy built a national and international church. In so doing she tried to create a body that adhered as far as possible to the Congregationalism of her childhood. Its tenets affirmed the inspired Bible as the sufficient rule leading to eternal life, the one supreme and infinite God, salvation through Christ, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. One oft-quoted summary of the basic perspective is called the Statement of Being:
"There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestations, for God is All-inall. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and the eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."
Ministers from more traditional Christian churches rejected her formulation of doctrine arguing that she had poured such new meaning into the affirmations and placed them in such a foreign context as to make them say something completely different from traditional Christianity.
Christian Science progressed through the 1880s. The sale of Science and Health necessitated new printings that allowed for its constant revision. In 1883 the first issue of the Journal of Christian Science appeared. In 1884 Eddy added an advanced class to the Metaphysical College's curriculum. Graduates of these "normal" classes were certified not only to be practitioners, but to hold their own classes and train new practitioners. Many formed Christian Science institutes in cities across the United States. By 1886 these institutes had produced enough new practitioners to create the National Christian Scientist Association (the Christian Scientist Association being limited to personal students of Eddy's).
Then, almost as soon as the organization was established, Eddy had second thoughts about attempts to organize the movement at all. In the fall of 1889 she took action by successively disbanding the Christian Scientist Association, the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and the Church of Christ, Scientist. Earlier in the year she had turned the journal over to the National Christian Scientist Association, but after its 1890 meeting its members did not gather. Around the country, however, Christian Science churches were being organized and buildings erected. While she reconsidered the structure of the movement, she worked on a major revision of Science and Health.
In 1892 the manifestation of the new direction for the organization of the movement began to appear. In 1892, in Boston, she formed The First Church of Christ, Scientist, generally known as The Mother Church. Twenty students became the first members. Tenets, rules, and by-laws were adopted. The Mother Church then assumed the central organizational role in the Christian Science movement. Around it the older remnants (branch churches, for example) of the movement would be reoriented, and from it new elements (the Board of Lectureship, for example) would grow. Membership in The Mother Church became essential for anyone wishing to be active in the movement, as it was a requirement for anyone wishing to take the basic Christian Science class. Local churches continued to exist as autonomously governed bodies, but followed the organizational rules and procedures as laid down in the Church Manual of The Mother Church. After 1892, The Mother Church and those in communion with it constituted the center of the Christian Science movement. However, there were always those who were attracted to the teachings and practice of the church but who rejected its organizational formation.
INDEPENDENT CHRISTIAN SCIENCE. Almost from the beginning of her work, Eddy was faced with students who defected but who wished to continue practicing what she had taught them. In some cases these were students who disagreed on one or two points of belief, but appreciated Eddy's teachings as a whole. More often, students rejected the demands of the organization and/or the lack of variance in belief it allowed. In any case, as early as 1880 former students of Eddy's established offices and retained their previous designation as Christian Science practitioners.
The first significant former student to establish offices was Edward J. Arens, slowed but not stopped by the loss to Eddy in court. He founded the University of the Science of Spirit and authored his own textbook, The Old Theology. Even before the 1883 trial, Arens had been making Christian Science history in Chicago. One of his students, George B. Charles, was the first Christian Science practitioner active in Chicago. In 1882 Charles introduced Christian Science to the Sherman family. After their study with him, Bradford Sherman, his wife, Martha Sherman, and their son, Roger Sherman, traveled to Boston and in 1883 took the basic class in Christian Science directly from Eddy. After their return to Chicago they operated for many years as her authorized representatives.
On October 23, 1881, eight students of the early Lynn group resigned from the Christian Scientist Association, among them Amanda Rice and Elizabeth Stuart. Both continued to practice what they had been taught. Rice introduced Christian Science on the West Coast, while Stuart taught throughout New England and is most remembered as the teacher of some of the most prominent of the New Thought leaders– Leander Whipple and Charles Brodie Patterson.
Throughout the 1880s, as the Church of Christ, Scientist was spreading across the country and becoming a national church body, an increasing number of individual students defected. Possibly the greatest loss was Emma Curtis Hopkins, editor of the Christian Science Journal, who moved to Chicago and founded the Hopkins Metaphysical Association and the Christian Science Theological Seminary, the seed organizations from which New Thought emerged. Even before Hopkins arrived, both A. J. Swartz and Joseph Adams had established rival offices and begun publishing periodicals, The Mind Cure Journal and the Chicago Christian Scientist. Luther M. Marston, a graduate of Eddy's first normal class, remained in Boston as head of the Boston College of Metaphysical Science and editor of the Mental Healing Monthly. Mary Plunkett, who had left for Chicago with Hopkins in 1885, moved to New York City several years later to form the International Christian Science Association and another rival journal.
Looking out to see all these independent organizations flourishing, Eddy turned in 1888 to face another mass defection of students in Boston. The occasion for the disruption was the case of Abby H. Corner, a practitioner who was working with her pregnant daughter. At the time of the delivery, both the daughter and the baby died. Corner was indicted for manslaughter. The Christian Scientist Association defeated a motion to contribute to the defense (Eddy preferred contributions come from individual Christian Scientists). In response, Sarah Crosse, a member of the association's Committee on Publication and a relative of Corner's, attacked Eddy and the association's leadership. She gained some support but not enough to take over the association, so with her supporters she withdrew. Crosse founded the Boston Christian Scientist. Crosse's defection was all the more devastating as it came on the heels of the loss of one of the most prominent Chicago practitioners, Ursula Gestefeld (1845–1921), who would later associate with the New Thought Movement.
Among the last breaks between the church and a prominent student prior to Eddy's death was the case of Augusta Stetson (1842–1928). In 1886 Eddy had sent Stetson to New York to lead the work. The work grew under her able care, and around the turn of the century the members built a large Christian Science Institute (teaching facility) on Central Park West with an adjacent home for Stetson. Then in 1902 Eddy limited the terms of first readers, the position Stetson formally held in New York, to three years. She resigned but remained the popular leader. Then in 1909 she was accused of both deviating in her teachings and of building a personal following. She was dismissed from the church on Eddy's orders.
When Eddy died without reinstating her, Stetson turned the institute, of which she had remained in charge, into the headquarters of what was termed the "Church Triumphant." She continued to preach, teach, and write for the rest of her life.
INDEPENDENTS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. Eddy's death in 1910 created a new series of problems for the church and led to even more independent Christian Science organizations. This second set of groups grew out of the organizational crisis created by the Church Manual. The , which set the rules for the Mother Church and those individuals and organizations related to it, left many actions (such as filling vacancies in church offices) dependent upon the approval of the pastor (Eddy) who died without naming a successor. Eddy also left two separately created corporations that seemed to have overlapping jurisdictions.
Among the first publicly to discuss the problem of trying to operate the church according to the Manual was a British Christian Scientist, Annie C. Bill. She suggested a novel solution. The church must be dissolved and reorganized under a new manual (or constitution). She declared herself to be Eddy's successor, based in part upon her articulation of both the problem and the solution. At this time Bill had been an ex-member of the church for several years, having resigned in 1909. Unsuccessful in having the board of directors of The Mother Church recognize her (though one former member of the board, John V. Dittemore, did join her), she formed the Christian Science Parent Church. Interestingly enough, after Bill's death, her church underwent a change of leadership similar to the one she had advocated for the Church of Christ, Scientist, and emerged as the Church of Integration, which survived into the 1950s.
Quite apart from Bill, in 1918 the organizational crisis in the church resulted in a legal case between the board of publication and the board of directors of the Mother Church. This period, known as the time of the Great Litigation, finally resulted in the court declaring the board of directors to be the ultimate authority in the church. The litigation also led to the dismissal of Herbert W. Eustace (d. 1957), a member of the board of publication, who went on to become a popular writer and practitioner among independents.
During the twentieth century any number of practitioners left the church to develop their own work independently. Unlike Bill, they have generally refrained from attempting to organize anything resembling a church. Rather they have adopted a notion suggested by Geoffrey Hamlin in his 1922 booklet Notes on the Manual and Trust Deed. Hamlin argued that since the organization of the Mother Church depended so heavily on Mary Baker Eddy, possibly she intended that the church should dissolve after her death. Henceforth, Christian Science should continue without the centralized structure, through the many autonomous churches and practitioners, tied together only by their mutual loyalty to Eddy. For many of the practitioners who became independent, that idea, coupled with a bad experience with the board of directors, served to prevent their creating large church-like organizations. Most independents merely continued quietly as practitioners. Some privately published and circulated their own writings. A few formed small informal organizations that facilitated their personal (and necessarily limited) healing work and/or published and distributed independent Christian Scientist writings. Few of these organizations had any continuity from generation to generation, but as they died (with the retirement or death of the individual head) new ones arose.
Among the prominent practitioners asked to leave the Church of Christ, Scientist, have been Peter V. Ross (d. 1947), Alice L. Orgain, Glenn A. Kratzer, William W. Walter, and Lillian de Waters. Others who left, often in the midst of controversy, include Margaret Laird, Hugh A. Studdert-Kennedy, Edward A. Kimball, Bicknell Young, Arthur Corey, Frederick Dixon, John Doorly, and possibly the most famous outside of Christian Science circles, Joel Goldsmith (1892–1964). Goldsmith's work continues under the name Infinite Way. In 1955 the International Metaphysical Association was founded as an umbrella organization for many of the former Christian Scientists. It circulated the works of Ethel Schroeder, Peggy Brooks, Max Kappeler, and Gordon Brown. Closely related to the association was the Rare Book Company of Freehold, New Jersey, which continues to publish and distribute the books and writings of the independents.
After several decades with few new prominent independent centers being created, a new wave of independence began on October 11, 1975, when Reginald G. Kerry, a worker at the church center in Boston, sent a lengthy open letter to all the practitioners and branch churches listed in the Christian Science Journal. He noted with alarm the decline in membership during the previous two decades and a financial crisis because of overspending on the new center building. He charged gross mismanagement of funds in the treasurer's office, abuse of authority in the Department of Branches and Practitioners, immorality among all levels of the church's staff at the center, and negligence on the part of the board of directors. He demanded membership action. Responses included further accusations of problems within the church and its center in Boston.
Practitioners who left the church came forward, and a court case ensued. In 1977 the Plainfield, New Jersey, congregation had its name removed from the listing in the Christian Science Journal. The Mother Church asked it to discontinue use of the name "Christian Science." It went to court and won the right to continue as an independent Christian Science church. Another group of independents organized as the United Christian Scientists and filed suit to have the textbook, long past its normal 56-year copyright allotment, declared in the public domain. They won the case. As the Kerry letters continued to arrive, Ann Beals, a practitioner from Pasadena, California, opened The Bookmark, a publishing and mail order distributing company with a branch in England, to assist in the circulation of the materials in the cause of the independent movement.
Kerry, The Bookmark, and the recent independents represent a new generation of independent Christian Science, many of whom have only a passing acquaintance with the earlier independent literature. The Bookmark largely distributes a distinct set of literature from that offered through the Rare Book Company. While lacking association with the earlier independents, the new wave has accepted their thesis concerning Eddy's desire to have The Mother Church dissolve and turn Christian Science into a decentralized movement.
Independent Christian Science has continued as a decentralized movement with different people and organizations taking the lead at various times. Among the prominent independent structures as the new century begins are Healing Unlimited (PO Box 1168, Priest River, ID 83856), which sponsors the Christian Science Library and publishes Our Holy Heritage, a periodical; and the Christian Science Endtime Center, an independent organization in Denver, Colorado. The Rare Book Company in Freehold, New Jersey, continues to serve the movement as publisher and distributor of unofficial literature.
NEW THOUGHT. By the mid-1880s, an array of healers, most of them in some manner related to Christian Science, were functioning in America, especially in the immediate vicinity of Boston, the other northern urban centers, and a few places in the Midwest, most notably Chicago. Itinerant healers reached almost every American community of any size at some point during the year. Among the large number of Christian Science practitioners radiating from the centers in Boston and Chicago, the independents ranged from those who tried to stick firmly to what they had been taught as members of the Church of Christ, Scientist to those who merely used Eddy as a point of departure. Among the causes of their deviation was their interaction with other nonconventional religious healers, most notably Spiritualists (such as W. J. Colville), theosophists (such as M. J. Barnett), and even a few Christian healers such as A. B. Simpson and Charles Cullis. Quimby student Warren Felt Evans practiced in a Boston suburb and authored a number of books, while the Dressers, making common cause with the independents, continued their attack on Eddy. Into this chaotic situation stepped Emma Curtis Hopkins (1853–1925).
Hopkins first encountered Christian Science in 1881 and two years later moved to Boston to study with Eddy. After taking Eddy's primary class, she was invited to assume editorial duties for the Christian Science Journal in early 1884 as Eddy was preparing for an extended trip to Chicago. Her work on the journal continued until November 1885 when she had a sudden break with Eddy, the church, and the Christian Scientist Association. She moved to Chicago and the next summer opened the Emma Hopkins College of Metaphysical Science (modeled on the Massachusetts Metaphysical College) and offered her first classes. Her work was an immediate success, and during the fall enough students had gathered around to form the Hopkins Metaphysical Association.
As word spread about her work, students began to travel to Chicago to study with her, and she began to travel to other places– Milwaukee, San Francisco, New York City. By the end of 1887, she was bringing order out of the chaos by bringing the scientists and students into a string of associated centers that stretched from Maine to California. Not yet content, in 1888 she transformed the college into the Christian Science Theological Seminary and offered advanced training for students planning to enter the Christian Science ministry. (At that time Eddy was the only person ordained within Christian Science, and since her death the movement has continued to be led by lay people.) In January 1889 she held the first graduation ceremonies from the seminary, and assuming the office of bishop, she became the first woman to ordain others to the ministry in modern times.
The ordination service highlighted the unique innovation that Hopkins was making in the whole Christian Science milieu. First, Hopkins attracted primarily women to her school. Among the 22 graduates ordained in that first service in 1889 only two were men, both husbands of women who were ordained. Second, the service highlighted Hopkin's innovative approach to Christian Science itself. Her theology now assigned women a key position in God's activity in history, especially notable in her consideration of the doctrine of the Trinity. She adopted a form of Trinitarian thought first articulated by Joachim of Fiore (1145–1202) in the twelfth century. Joachim pictured God's distinct manifestation through the different periods of history. God the Father, the first aspect, exemplified the ancient patriarchal ideal. The second era, which began around the time of the birth of the Nazarene (i.e., Jesus), was a time for the masses to free themselves from oppression. The third period, that of the Spirit, the Truth-Principle, or the Mother-Principle, was the time for the rise of women. While Eddy has been cited as a woman who assumed a role usually denied women, and is credited with creating a new public role for women, Hopkins now articulated a thorough-going feminist theology and opened the Christian ministry to her female students. After ordaining her students, she sent them to create new churches and ministries around the country.
Thus Hopkins, somewhat reluctantly, created the very thing most independents eschewed, a growing organized movement. Then, having trained more than 100 ministers, in 1895 Hopkins retired, closed the seminary, and moved to New York City. She spent the rest of her years taking students on a one-on-one basis. Her former students scattered across the United States and Canada to establish their own variations on Hopkins' thought, just as she had made numerous alterations on Eddy's.
THE DEVELOPING MOVEMENT. As Hopkins' students established their own centers they began to differentiate themselves from the Christian Science with which they had begun. The search for other names began. Myrtle and Charles Fillmore in Kansas City adopted the name Unity, possibly inspired by the Unity Publishing Company, the publishing arm of the International Christian Science Association. Melinda Cramer, one of Hopkins' students in San Francisco, renamed her work Divine Science. Faculty member Helen Van Anderson moved to Boston after the seminary closed to form the Church of the Higher Life. Faculty member Annie Rix Militz established the Homes of Truth on the West Coast. George and Mary Burnell formed the Burnell Foundation in Los Angeles. Clara Stocker introduced Albert C. Grier to Hopkins, and he in turn founded the Church of the Truth. One of Hopkins' last students, Ernest S. Holmes, founded the Institute (later, the Church) of Religious Science. In the early twentieth century, these students passed their lineage to the next generation of students. Each ultimately derived their authority for ministry from Hopkins and Eddy, and they eventually found a modest degree of unity in the name of New Thought. First suggested in the 1890s, by the beginning of World War I it was the generally accepted designation.
New Thought distinguished itself from Christian Science in a variety of ways. First, it came under the leadership of an ordained ministry, though many lay teacher-writers (such as Clara Stocker and Harriet Emilie Cady) did yeoman service. Second, it developed a decentralized movement that celebrated its diversity of opinion. Third, almost from the beginning it developed an emphasis upon prosperity. Without losing the healing emphasis of Christian Science, New Thought leaders reasoned that poverty was as unreal as disease and taught students to live out of the abundance of God. Fourth, while some of the groups, such as the Unity School of Christianity, retained a specifically Christian emphasis, the movement as a whole moved to what it saw as a more universal position that acknowledged all religious traditions as having value.
Significant in the developing presentation of New Thought was Thomas Troward. A retired judge who had served many years in India, Troward developed what amounted to a second career as a New Thought lecturer. His importance came in the introduction of new psychological concepts into the movement in the early twentieth century. Specifically, he argued for the differentiation of the mind into its objective (waking consciousness) and its subjective (unconscious) aspect. In so doing he opened the movement to the new concept of the dynamic subconscious, a concept missing in both Eddy and Hopkins. Holmes would take Troward's main insights and use them in creating Religious Science.
After several abortive attempts to unite the various New Thought groups, the International New Thought Alliance was finally formed in 1914. It quickly moved to produce a statement of agreement that became its first Declaration of Principles. A revised statement was adopted in 1957. While showing some similarity to the idealistic thought of Eddy, it had moved considerably away from some of her ideas and made no specifically Christian affirmations. It affirmed the belief in God as Universal Wisdom, Love, Life, Truth, Power, Peace, Beauty, and Joy; that the universe is the body of God and that human beings are invisible spiritual dwellers inhabiting bodies and that human beings continue, grow, and change after death. This statement highlights what is often thought of as the main difference between Christian Science and New Thought. While not leaving the common idealism, New Thought has assigned a more positive role to the body and the material world. Matter is not mortal error; while the material is secondary, it is also the manifestation of spiritual reality. One can begin to see the distinctions by comparing the Christian Science Statement of Being, (quoted above) and that of Divine Science:
God is all, both invisible and visible. One Presence, One Mind, One Power is all. This One that is all perfect life, perfect love, and perfect substance.
Man is an individualized expression of God and is ever one with this perfect life, perfect love, and perfect substance.
Both Christian Science and New Thought look to a manifestation of the Truth they teach in the individual's life. That manifestation is usually referred to as "demonstration." To move from sickness to health is to demonstrate healing. To move from poverty to wealth is to demonstrate abundance.
To aid in demonstration is the role of the practitioner, a professional who has been trained in the arts of healing prayer. While each church trains its practitioners in slightly different ways, and advocates slightly different techniques by which they are to work, all of the churches discussed in this chapter provide their membership with the assistance of healing prayer specialists. To pray for healing or some other concern is frequently spoken of as "treating" for health or the improvement of relationships or prosperity. In New Thought churches some practitioners specialize in assisting the manifestation of abundance. (The Unity School of Christianity is a major exception. It has no practitioners, though it does have licensed Unity teachers, which are somewhat analogous.)
Sources–Christian Science-Metaphysical Family
The study of the metaphysical groups is given focus by the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion, Box 37, New Port Richey, FL 34656-0037. It publishes JSSMR, The Journal of the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion.
Archives for Christian Science and related movements are located at the Church of Christ Scientist headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. A significant collection of Christian Science material has been donated by William Braden to the Perkins School of Theology Library in Dallas, Texas. There are several archives of New Thought material, among the most significant are those included in the American Religions Collection at the Davidson Library of the University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California; the library of the Unity of School of Christianity, Unity Village, Missouri; the library at the headquarters of United Church of Religious Science, Los Angeles, California; and the archive of the New Thought movement at the International New Thought Alliance, Mesa, Arizona.
Fuller, Robert C. Mesmerism and the American Cure of Souls. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982. 227 pp.
Judah, J. Stillson. The History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1967. 317 pp.
Melton, J. Gordon. A Reader's Guide to the Church's Ministry of Healing. Independence, MO: Academy of Religion and Psychical Research, 1977. 102 pp.
Meyer, Donald. The Positive Thinkers. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980. 396 pp.
Parker, Gail Thain. Mind Cure in New England. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1973. 197 pp.
Podmore, Frank. Mesmerism and Christian Science. London: Methuen, 1909. 299 pp.
Zweig, Stefan. Mental Healers. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1962. 363 pp.
The Forerunners–Quimby and Evans
Clark, Mason Alonzo, ed. The Healing Wisdom of Dr. P. P. Quimby. Los Altos, CA: Frontal Lobe, 1982. 127 pp.
Dresser, Annetta Gertrude. The Philosophy of P. P. Quimby. Boston: George H. Ellis, 1895. 114 pp.
Dresser, H. W. The Quimby Manuscripts. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1921. 474 pp.
Evans, Warren Felt. The Divine Law of Cure. Boston: H. H. Carter & Co., 1884. 302 pp.
——. Esoteric Christianity and Mental Therapeutics. Boston: H. H. Carter & Karrick, 1886. 174 pp.
——. The Mental Cure. Boston: Colby & Rich, 1869.
——. Mental Medicine. Boston: 1873. 15th ed.: Boston: H. H. Carter & Co., 1885. 216 pp.
——. The Primitive Mind Cure. Boston: H. H. Carter & Karrick, 1885. 215 pp.
——. Soul and Body. Boston: H. H. Carter & Co., 1876. 147 pp.
Hawkins, Ann Ballew. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. Los Angeles: DeVorss & Co., 1951. 56 pp.
Quimby, Phineas Parkhurst. Immanuel. Mokelumne Hill, CA: Health Research, 1960. 109 pp.
Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science
Beasley, Norman. The Continuing Spirit. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1956. 403 pp.
——. The Cross and the Crown. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1952. 664 pp.
Braden, Charles S. Christian Science Today. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1959. 432 pp.
Christian Science: A Sourcebook of Contemporary Materials. Boston: Christian Science Publishing Society, 1990. 345 pp.
Eddy, Mary Baker. Science and Health. Boston: Christian Scientist Publishing Co., 1875. 456 pp. Authorized edition: Science and Health with Key to the Scripture. Boston: Trustees Under the Will of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1906. 700 pp.
——. The Science of Man by Which the Sick Are Healed. Lynn, MA: Luther C. Parker, 1879. 22 pp.
Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. New York: Perseus Press, 1999. 714 pp.
Gottschalk, Stephen. The Emergence of Christian Science in American Religious Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973. 305 pp.
Knee, Stuart E. Christian Science in the Age of Mary Baker Eddy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. 158 pp.
Leishman, Thomas Linton. Why I Am a Christian Scientist. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966. 245 pp.
Peel, Robert. Christian Science, Its Encounter with American Culture. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965. 224 pp.
——. Mary Baker Eddy. 3 Vols. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966, 1971, 1977.
Studdert-Kennedy, Hugh A. Christian Science and Organized Religion. Los Gatos, CA: The Farallon Foundation, 1961. 170 pp.
Swihart, Altman K. Since Mrs. Eddy. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1931. 402 pp.
What Makes Christian Science Christian. Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1982. 30 pp.
Anderson, Alan. Horatio W. Dresser and the Philosophy of New Thought. Boston: Boston University, Ph.D. dissertation, 1963. 356 pp.
Anderson, C. Alan, and Deborah G. Whitehouse. New Thought: A Practical American Spirituality. New York: Crossroad/Herder & Herder, 1995. 154 pp.
Beebe, Tom. Who's Who in New Thought. Lakemont, GA: CSA Press, 1977. 318 pp.
Braden, Charles S. Spirits in Rebellion. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963. 571 pp.
Dresser, Horatio. A History of the New Thought Movement. London: George G. Harrap & Co., n.d. 352 pp.
——. Spiritual Health and Healing. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1922. 314 pp.
Harley, Gail M. Emma Curtis Hopkins: Forgotten Founder of New Thought. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002.176 pp.
Koopman, William. Talking Lightly: Interviews with Leading Personalities of New Thought. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1995. 363 pp.
Larson, Martin A. New Thought: A Modern Religious Approach. New York: Philosophical Library, 1939. 458 pp.
Maday, Michael A., ed. New Thought for the New Millennium: Twelve Powers for the 21st Century. Unity Village, MO: Unity Books, 1998. 235 pp.
Satter, Beryl. Each Mind a Kingdom: American Women, Sexual Purity, and the New Thought Movement, 1875–1920. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. 394 pp.