(Church of Christ, Scientist)
American sect chartered by Mrs Mary Baker Glover (Patterson) Eddy at Boston, Massachusetts, in 1879.
It teaches a theosophic, therapeutic system of "healing," rejecting doctrinal belief as a religious basis, and claims, through a revival of the Apostolic healing of Christ (hence the name Christian), to depend on the application of scientific rules (hence Science) in the accomplishment of its work.
The foundress, Mary A. Morse Baker (1821-1910), passed her childhood amidst the religious unrest then characteristic of New England.
Subject to hysterical and cataleptic attacks, she had a meager common school education, unable often to attend.
She married George Washington Glover in 1843 and, after his death, Daniel Patterson in 1853, separated from him in 1866, and was divorced in 1873.
Four years later she married Asa G. Eddy who died in 1882 of heart disease; according to Mrs. Eddy he died of "mesmeric poison mentally administered."
In 1862 Mrs. Eddy applied for treatment to Dr P. Quimby, one time follower of Charles Poyen, French mesmerist, who now had discarded all medicines, adopting a "mental treatment" of healing, and declaring "Truth" to be the healer.
Mrs Eddy after three weeks treatment declared herself cured and began to study Quimby's methods and ideas.
She based her teachings on a manuscript said to have been written by Quimby, although she later denied any dependence on his teachings.
In 1875 appeared her first edition of "," and although poorly received, two years later the second edition appeared and since that time several editions, the only identification being the year of publication.
The "" was added in 1884.
Although at first apparently not intending to found a church, in 1876 with eight students Mrs Eddy formed the Christian Scientists Association.
Three years later under a state charter, her first church organization was founded in Boston, "The Church of Christ, Scientist," with 26 charter members and Mrs Eddy as pastor.
She built the original "Mother Church," 1894-1895, when the Bible and "" were "ordained" as pastor of the church, Mrs Eddy holding the position of Pastor Emeritus until her death.
Many lawsuits having arisen since 1919, the entire organization is in a parlous condition because of doubt as to where the authority in the church rests.
Since 1906 Christian Scientists have refused to make public their membership statistics.
The entire criticism of Christian Science may be neatly comprised in the statement that it is neither Christian nor scientific.
New Catholic Dictionary