Some of the most common misunderstandings people have are assumptions about the faith of others. I’m a Christian Scientist. Christian Science is sometimes confused with Scientology and/or Tom Cruise, although they have nothing in common.
Christian Science is Bible based, founded in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy. Eddy, an influential American author, teacher, and religious leader, is noted for her groundbreaking ideas about spirituality and health, which she named Christian Science.
She articulated those ideas in her major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, first published in 1875. Four years later she founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, which today has branch churches and societies around the world. In 1908 she launched The Christian Science Monitor, a leading international newspaper, the recipient, to date, of seven Pulitzer Prizes.
I had begun reading the Bible as a teenager. In college the search for more meaning in my life continued. A friend invited me to attend the college class in a Christian Science Sunday School - which I enjoyed. As a religion, it made sense to me the same way the Bible did. Initially I thought I had life all figured out, medicine for my body (I was in pre-med classes) and Christian Science for my head. Up to that point in my life, prayer was a way to experience peace.
But a call from an insurance adjuster was the beginning of quite a change in my view of prayer and its transformative effect on the body. Reviewing the damage done to my car shortly after being rear-ended, the adjuster said he had never known anyone to just walk away. He thought my body was in a state of shock and had not yet begun to feel the effects of the trauma that would have been caused by the sudden blow to my car and its collapse against the driver’s seat. He asked me to have a complete physical before I signed a release of liability for the claim.
The moment I had awakened from the impact of the accident, I prayed as I had been learning in Christian Science. I knew I needed to focus on God, not the problem, and began to ponder a passage from the Bible. My strength returned and my neck normally supported my head again. In fact the adjustments that took place were so gentle I assumed there had not been an injury. Following the insurance adjuster’s request, I went to my family doctor for x-rays thinking they would show nothing had occurred.
However, the physician pointed out in the x-ray he took of my neck a white ridge indicating the vertebrae had knit back together. He said, “The way this has healed, you will not feel the effects of this accident for the rest of your life.” Needless to say, I was stunned.
At the time I thought I was alone, even odd, in leaving the study of medicine to be free to pursue more deeply an understanding of healing through prayer. The studies, books, and university courses on the role of spirituality in healing that exist today were rare 40 years ago.
I continued to rely on Christian Science for my healthcare needs as well as everyday concerns. At a certain point in my business management career, I was offered the opportunity to pursue a MBA program. Trying to decide what to do, I perused a file I had kept for several years of letters of thanks from people who had found healing after asking me to pray with them. Reading through it filled me with humility and joy.
So instead of pursuing the MBA, I decided to devote my life to the public practice of Christian Science becoming professionally listed as a practitioner in 1997. Christian Science practitioners provide spiritual treatment through prayer that results in healing. Based on the Bible, it includes the idea that there is one, all-good God, who loves and cares for each of us. I am supported by my healing practice (not my church) just as others are in the healthcare field. And as it is a public practice, my patients may represent many faith backgrounds or those of little faith – but either way they are people simply seeking health and well being.