Tag Archives: Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy: Finding the Love that makes us well

The following piece was written by Thomas Mitchinson, who is a Christian Science practitioner, teacher and Committee on Publication for Illinois.

Many individuals comment on the power of love to make us well. One of my favorite observations comes from Dr. Larry Dossey, M.D., who wrote in his book, Healing Words, “If scientists suddenly discovered a drug that was as powerful as love in creating health, it would be heralded as a medical breakthrough and marketed overnight – especially if it had as few side effects and was as inexpensive as love.” (p. 109)

Christian healer, Mary Baker Eddy, also found that love was extremely valuable in making individuals well. One of her students once quoted her as saying this in response to a question about healing through prayer, “Just live love – be it – love, love, love. Do not know anything but Love. Be all love. There is nothing else. That will do the work. It will heal everything; . . .Be nothing but love.” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, p. 134)

Eddy also knew that human love, while important, was variable and inconsistent. She looked for something deeper than human love – and found it in The Bible – in the book of First John – where it states, “God is Love.” She found the invariable, deep love for God that restores, redeems, forgives unconditionally, and heals disease. She found this more reliable and powerful than just human love, and used Love (with a capital L – see again her above quotation) as a synonym for God.

Her Bible study led her to write the book Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, which she wrote to help others understand this Love that heals.

She wrote, “’God is Love.’ More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 6) She knew that it takes devotion, and sometimes hard work, to keep one’s thought filled with this love of God. The world can mightily test one’s faithfulness to Love. It certainly tested Mary Baker Eddy. . . At one time she was faced with a lawsuit that challenged her integrity. A group of newspaper reporters were sent to her community of Concord, New Hampshire, to see if something sensational could be written about her.

Eddy gave the responsibility for talking to the reporters to a member of her staff, Irving C. Tomlinson. In a book he wrote about his years of service to her, he wrote, “The chief man among this group, representing a big New York newspaper, was known as a particularly hard-boiled reporter and a steady drinker. He had been afflicted for some years with a cancerous growth of the throat, which was extremely painful and at times overwhelmed him completely.

“One evening as they were all sitting in his room at the Eagle Hotel, drinking and smoking, bored with their stay, this man was suffering with his throat; he had lost his voice entirely and was unable to speak a word. Mrs. Eddy had asked me to call these men by telephone and inform them that it was impossible for her to see them. But she cautioned me at the same time, ‘Be sure to ask for the leading man and speak directly to him.’”

Tomlinson was told that the head man could not speak to him. Eddy – who characteristically embraced even her enemies in the unchanging and universal love of God – had told Tomlinson to insist on speaking to this man – that if he could not speak, at least he could listen. He did – and he was healed.

Tomlinson continued, “the healing stirred these men. . .[They] had believed Mrs. Eddy to be only a humbug, and the reputed healings of Christian Science to be a great hoax. Their whole position was overthrown by this proof offered before their very eyes. They packed their bags and left.

“Some years later a relative of this man called at my office in Boston, and gave me the following message: ‘My uncle requested me to see you and to tell you that in his last days he turned to Christian Science, and he knew that he owed a debt of gratitude to Mrs. Eddy for his healing in Concord.'” (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 63-65)

Love. It is a vital ingredient in defeating illness.

©2013 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois – used with permission

Woman’s Place

Today is International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month. The following piece was written by Virginia Harris, CSB, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher from Weston, MA and Center Harbor, NH.

“A native of New Hampshire, a child of the Republic, a Daughter of the Revolution…”

Oh, Mary Baker Eddy loved to describe herself as a daughter of New Hampshire! She represented generations of family and neighbors who tilled its soil to birth communities, create schools and churches to nurture individual and communal support, devote lives to freedom and independence, and shape its government and laws. New Hampshire natives created functioning societies where there were none, and made meaningful contributions to the state’s progress and its stature in the newly-formed United States of America. New Hampshire was one of the original 13 colonies that declared independence from Britain in 1776.

By the turn of the 20th century, Eddy reminded the thousands of readers of her publications of what New Hampshire had already achieved:

“The enlightenment, the erudition, the progress of religion and medicine in New Hampshire, are in excess of other States, as witness her schools, her churches, and her frown on class legislation…”

So I think that Mary Baker Eddy would be pleased to know that her New Hampshire has another notable achievement in the annals of civilization’s progress due, in all likelihood, to its legacy: it is the first state in the country to elect all women as its highest leadership. These are the federal delegation (2 Senators, 2 Congresswomen), the Governor, the Speaker of the State House and the chief justice of the State Supreme Court.

Why is this so significant? Why is it important to mark this achievement in the year 2013 – 237 years after the country’s declaration of independence? Because it is evidence of progress in the rights of all mankind to advance due to merit, and not to be held back by bias – in this case by gender.

The New Hampshire example shows this: these leaders proved their merit in different political parties, followed different paths to election and were chosen in different election cycles. They are individuals who earned their way all the way, proving at every step that bias has no place in a democratic society.

There are still battles to be waged and won, here in the US and the world, of gender-based civil rights, for example in education, healthcare, and fair pay. All the more reason to acknowledge and celebrate evidence of progress in New Hampshire.

Mary Baker Eddy’s rich and productive life challenged the 19th century image of women and formed a new model of womanhood that transcended her time and still sets a high standard for the 21st century. She authored a manifesto that continues to revolutionize thinking about the unconditional basis of each individual’s spiritual being, and how this knowledge breaks any and every limitation in life. Her publishing company communicates the practical application of her ideas for everyday living and her global church has adherents serving their communities in 130 countries.

In Eddy’s seminal book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she devotes several pages to the divine mandate for equality of the sexes, always referring to the Bible for her inspiration. In the second chapter of Genesis, Gihon is mentioned as one of the four rivers of the Garden of Eden – perhaps metaphorically the cradle of civilization. Eddy makes a point of redefining Gihon with a practical meaning and purpose – a mandate – for our time:

Gihon (river). The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially.

New Hampshire’s leadership shows the progress that has been made toward achieving this ideal.

When Mary Baker Eddy returned to her beloved New Hampshire later in life she was probably the best-known woman in the United States. The local leaders enjoyed reminding their citizens that she was a native daughter, and hung a portrait of her in a place of honor in the capital’s seat of government, the State House…a woman’s place.

Doctored – Interview with Dr. Stephanie Mills

Love and compassion for everyone, not the making of greater and greater profits, are the high motives for prayer and healing. We see this love exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ, who was ever about his Father’s, divine Love’s, business (see Luke 2:49) and who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). We see this throughout history in the dedicated and selfless efforts of many doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers to do their best to relieve suffering above all other concerns. Yet the example of selflessness that Jesus left us is not yet the universal model.

Physician and writer Lisa Rankin, Md recently wrote a blog titled, “Has the health care industry lost its moral compass?” Dr. Rankin writes that health care professionals are spending too much time and money on procedures that are not helping, that may be hurting patients, rather than being supportive to patients by taking the time to talk with them, a practice which has been proven to help and heal.

Dr. Rankin writes, “Our health care system is seriously broken. Yet, those in power do not want the system to be fixed. Most of the money in health care dollars is going into the hands of medical device companies, HMO’s, and pharmaceutical companies, not doctors or hospitals. These companies have powerful lobbies and big budgets to ensure that Congress doesn’t enact laws that limit their power and profits.”

In the recent film Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, renowned physician Dr. Andrew Weil comments that “We don’t have a health care system in this country, we have a disease management system.” And medical writer Shannon Brownlee states, “We’re in the grip of a very big industry and it doesn’t want to stop making money.”

According to Escape Fire and Dr. Rankin, United States citizens spend $2.7 trillion per year on health care, which amounts to $8,000 per person per year. Globally, the average health care expenditure is $3,000 per person per year. We spend more than $300 billion per year on pharmaceuticals, almost as much as the rest of the world combined. About 50% of Americans take drugs and they consume about 50% of the drugs produced worldwide even though Americans represent only 5% of world population.

One safeguard against such problems is the prevention of medical monopoly. Mary Baker Eddy, a New Hampshire native, was a nineteenth century spiritual thinker seeking solutions to health. As Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Eddy saw great danger in monopolies. In our day, some governments still restrict freedoms to the detriment of the well-being of its citizens. Religious and democratic freedoms enshrined in the United States Constitution need to be upheld to improve the US health care system. A free market system – freedom of competition – is necessary to reduce health care costs.

Medical monopoly has been studied since 1995 by Registered Nurse Sue A. Blevins who founded the “Institute for Health Freedom.” In a report published by the Cato Institute, Blevins wrote:

Nonphysician providers of medical care are in high demand in the United States. But licensure laws and federal regulations limit their scope of practice and restrict access to their services. The result has almost inevitably been less choice and higher prices for consumers. . . . Studies have repeatedly shown that qualified nonphysician providers–such as midwives, nurses, and chiropractors–can perform many health and medical services traditionally performed by physicians–with comparable health outcomes, lower costs, and high patient satisfaction. . . . Licensure laws appear to be designed to limit the supply of health care providers and restrict competition to physicians from nonphysician practitioners. The primary result is an increase in physician fees and income that drives up healthcare costs. . . . Eliminating the roadblocks to competition among health care providers could improve access to health services, lower health costs, and reduce government spending.

A recent educational film shows how some freedoms have been won back by alternative medicine. “Doctored” is a new documentary by Jeff Hays that shows how chiropractors have freed themselves from attempts to monopolize health care. For decades chiropractors were labeled dangerous quacks and prevented from collecting insurance funds for their treatments. The film states, “There’s been a deliberate campaign to label anybody who doesn’t sell or distribute drugs, surgery or radiation as a quack.”

“Doctored” reviews the Supreme Court case of Wilk vs. The American Medical Association. In 1984, the AMA was found guilty of an illegal conspiracy to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession, and was ordered to stop. Since then the chiropractic profession has grown to be more accepted.

Dr. Stephanie Foisy Mills from the Concord area helped produce “Doctored.” Dr. Mills founded Crossroads Chiropractic in Pembroke. We spoke to Dr. Mills and asked her about the film “Doctored” and alternative care.

What role did Dr. Mills play in the birth of this documentary?

Dr. Mills said that she had heard about the project from the producer, Jeffery Hays, who had visited New Hampshire. He needed a financial backer and Dr. Mills stepped in.

What led Dr. Mills to become “an activist,” if you will?

Dr. Mills was adverse to taking medications when she was a small child. She said in the movie there is a segment about a boy in Utah, Parker Jenson, who was told he had cancer. Parker told his parents that he felt fine. He was told he had “invisible cancer.” The parents had never believed that he had cancer and fought to avoid the recommended chemotherapy. The doctor then told authorities that the boy had only two weeks to live and went to court to force his treatment. An independent MRI showed that the boy didn’t have cancer at all. The film states that the doctor was looking for a 12 year old boy to complete a clinical trial.

What does Dr. Mills see as the dangers inherent in a medical monopoly in America?

“It’s frustrating from a provider’s standpoint to see how the insurance companies are forcing the care being given,” she said. “For instance, x-rays are required before a patient is approved for MRI’s, even if an x-ray is not necessary. There was an anti-trust lawsuit by the AMA against chiropractors to eliminate them all together. It took 11 years. AMA is a powerful force – it’s amazing that chiropractors won. It was turned around when some medical doctors came forward with documents that showed what AMA’s motive was – to destroy their chiropractic practice.”

Do you think we will ever be able to return to a society in which powerful lobbies are not calling the shots?

“We will not win at higher levels since there is not enough money to battle the lobbyists. We may have some successes when different officials are elected, but elections can go the other way as well.”

How can the average American work to promote and support an environment of choice in health care?

“We need grass roots involvement to educate the public that there are alternatives and that these alternatives work. Moms and Dads need to speak up to governments.”

Who else is working on this issue of patient choice? What do you think is the leading edge of this conversation?

“There are a lot of alternative folks and groups who are working on this. Much comes of individual sharing and educating.”

In your experience, have you seen prayer or a spiritual approach to health care to be beneficial factors in recovery?

“On an individual basis – absolutely.” Dr. Mills says that she has seen patients who have a belief system and positive attitude that definitely do have better outcomes. She mentioned a story about a woman who was operated on and when the doctors opened her up, they saw that there was nothing to be done and that she would live only briefly after the operation. The daughter begged them not to tell her mom this, so they told the woman the operation was successful. She lived way beyond what they had expected. “The operation had done nothing, but her expectation brought amazing results.”

What role do you think spiritual care might play in a broader view of health and health care treatment? What keeps this approach from being more widely accepted? And, how does access to information or lack thereof – because of health care monopolies, play a role?

“So many opportunities are available. Telling the stories on an individual basis is really important. Individual experiences are key. Speak up to your neighbors and friends and strangers. This is what we need to overcome the monopolies.”

Thank you Dr. Mills for sharing your insights and experience.

Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Unconstitutional and unjust coercive legislation and laws, infringing individual rights, must be ‘of few days, and full of trouble.’ The vox populi, through the providence of God, promotes and impels all true reform; and, at the best time, will redress wrongs and rectify injustice. Tyranny can thrive but feebly under our Government. God reigns, and will ‘turn and overturn’ until right is found supreme.” (Miscellaneous Writings, page 80)

Studies show that spiritual care is the most popular alternative care method used by the public – about 50% of us pray for spiritual healing. It improves lifestyles, wellness, and health outcomes. Christian Science treatment uses the power of Mind, God, to heal. It is available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

© 2012 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

Christian Science health care insurance update

The Federal Office of the Christian Science Committee on Publication held a Town Hall Forum this summer to discuss the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Health Care Reform Law of 2010, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This post is to summarize what was discussed regarding the implications of this law for Christian Scientists, how the Committee is responding, and what you can do to help.

Last week, Milford Assistant Committee on Publication Don Alusic attended a local event sponsored by United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen and asked a staff member for an opportunity to discuss Christian Science health care insurance coverage. This led to a meeting between Senator Shaheen’s staff and the Federal office to ask for support for a Congressional bill that would exempt Christian Scientists from the Federal mandate to buy health insurance (similar to Massachusetts’ religious conscience exemption).

According to the new Federal ACA law, by 2014 all Americans must have or purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty. If you are covered by Medicare (for those 65 or older), Medicaid (for those with low income), Tri-Care (for those in the military), a Veterans’ insurance plan, or an employer plan, you will meet the requirement. The government will subsidize the cost for those less able to afford it. The penalty starts out small the 1st year ($95 or 1% of the family’s income), but increases to $695 or 2.5% by 2016.

At present, there is neither accommodation for nor exemption from these requirements for Christian Scientists. The Federal Office of the Committee on Publication, with the support of the Christian Science Board of Directors, has been working diligently on Capitol Hill however, and that dialog is progressing. They are proceeding patiently and prayerfully. They have garnered support from many legislators either to include Christian Science treatment and care in the benefits offered or to exempt Christian Scientists from the health insurance requirement.

By 2013, States are required to set up Exchanges or insurance marketplaces where individuals may “shop” for insurance coverage. New Hampshire voted to let the Federal Government set up the exchange instead. The New Hampshire Committee has been involved with the group helping to implement the exchange. We have received some support for the inclusion of Christian Science care in the benefits offered. Our goal is to be included in at least one of the insurance plans.

How can you help? Most importantly by giving this your prayerful attention.

Nathan Talbot, the chairman of The Christian Science Board of Directors, addressing Christian Scientists during the Town Hall Forum, asked them to affirm the God-given qualities belonging to each individual involved in the process, whether in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of government; qualities such as wisdom, patience, intelligence; and to recognize and celebrate the presence of the Comforter as providing the ultimate care for mankind, knowing that the human scene will find its appropriate adjustment.

Please see the Christian Science website for more information (FAQ), and to sign up for the periodic Federal newsletter: http://christianscience.com/federal

Olympic health

The Olympics usually inspire me to run. This year’s Olympics has inspired me to think. Why have they grown so big in thought, in financing, and in global participation? Even Muslim women are competing this year. (See this article.) Perhaps the Olympics are more important than simple sports activity. There is some serious history here.

When the ancient Olympia games started some 2788 years ago, a national truce – ekcheiria – was observed throughout Greece. Athletes and spectators were allowed to travel in safety and to celebrate the Greek religious festival with which the Olympic games were closely connected. These truces provided a common basis for peace and national unity for the Greeks.

The first Olympics was a festival held in 776 B.C. and was dedicated to Zeus, the chief Greek god. A 200-meter footrace was held. Greeks gathered every four years for the next millennium in Olympia to honor Zeus through sports, sacrifices, and hymns. Wrestling, boxing, and horse racing were added to the Olympic roster. They complemented devotional sacrifices, hymns, celebrations, and visiting family.

This combination of Greek worship and sports led the Roman Christian Emperor Theodosius to ban the Olympics in 393 A.D. Modern Olympics revived some rituals as seen in the Olympic oath, the procession of athletes, and the lighting of the flame. In London at the 1908 games, Anglican Bishop Ethelbert Talbot declared, “The most important thing in these Olympics is not so much winning as taking part” — which has become part of the Olympic creed. He followed in the footsteps of the Reverend Henri Didon, a Catholic priest who penned the official Olympic motto “citius, altius, fortius” – faster, higher, stronger.

The founder of the modern Olympics, Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, restored the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 after excavations at Olympia renewed public interest in the Olympics. Coubertin had other national reasons of peace and brotherhood, yet he wrote: “The first essential characteristic of the Olympics, both ancient as well as modern, is to be a religion.” His motive was to glorify God. He was educated by Jesuits and influenced by muscular Christianity. Muscular Christianity shaped the modern programs of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and its devotees used sports to strengthen their faith. Today, muscular Christianity inspires professional athletes such as Tim Tebow.

Athletic exercise is a wholesome activity that glorifies God when done for the right reasons. Even the Bible declares, “For bodily exercise profits for a little while: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (I Tim. 4:8) And, “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31)

I’ve been associated with athletics since running track and cross-country in high school. My exercise isn’t done for health reasons, but for joyful sports participation. Bible study and prayer help to keep me from being obsessed with exercise and it is these things and not the exercise that give me health. And I’ll tell you why.

Health comes from something more spiritual than exercise or matter-based thinking. It comes from understanding one God, infinite Spirit. Jesus taught, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

God is the source of strength and health, whether or not we believe in the one God – who is divine Mind – that Moses, Jesus and others have proclaimed. It’s not simply matter muscles that give us strength. There’s thought behind muscles. And it’s more than mind over matter. It’s divine Mind, God, over matter. (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 199) In previous blog posts you can find some examples of spiritual healings through this line of thinking and prayer.

New Hampshire has a special connection to this year’s Olympics. Concord High School graduate Guor (Majak) Marial came to the United States as a refugee from South Sudan. He literally ran for his life when he escaped the war-torn region and made his way to Concord. He is not yet a US citizen and year-old South Sudan republic has not qualified to field an Olympic team. But Guor qualified for the men’s marathon through discipline and hard work. The Concord High School graduate was selected by the International Olympic Committee to run the men’s marathon this Sunday.

Guor’s response, which can be found here, was: “If God gave me this talent and this education and I can be able to dedicate my life every single day to this kind of thing, one day God will give me the chance to support, to help my people, the people of South Sudan.” More stories about Guor’s inspired life story can be found here.

Guor isn’t the only athlete participating to glorify God. (For example, see this article and this article.) We can be grateful that a festival that began in ancient Greece to honor the god Zeus of mythology has today become an Olympian effort in which some athletes are conscientiously declaring their choice to glorify the one Almighty God through their participation. This is an attitude that should be encouraged.

George Reed is a former runner for Team New Balance, USA and still holds the outdoor one mile record at the University of New Hampshire, where he received a degree in mechanical engineering. He currently is a Christian Science practitioner, and the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Scientists in New Hampshire.

Healing hepatitis

Recently over two dozen patients were accidentally infected with hepatitis in a New Hampshire hospital. There is no known medical cure for this disease and it is thought of as a life sentence.

How is Christian Science treating this tragedy? With the power of God. Because God does not cause disease, healing is possible through prayer. Christian Science treatment starts with gratitude to God and allays fear as proclaimed in the Bible by the Psalmist: “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Ps. 56:4)

What is the antidote of fear? The realization that God is Love as the Bible declares Him to be: “God is Love. . . There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” (I John 4:16,18) Understanding God, which is a step beyond trust, helps us to overcome fear. Gratitude and Love help us to destroy fear.

What is the next step in our Christian Science treatment? Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, states that if we wholly remove the fear, there will be healing. (p. 411) So we must fully destroy the fear.

Because Christian Scientists have been taught to allay fear, they are aware of the contagious nature of fear. While the medical profession tends to look almost exclusively at material and physical causes, Christian Scientists will be quick to offer prayers that heal the belief of mental, fearful contagion that would spread from person to person.

Each of us in reality has a spiritual immunity, which means that our spiritual identity includes a spiritual toughness that protects us from contagious disease and strengthens us to overcome its symptoms. Our task is to understand and accept this spiritual fact. Reading the Scriptures and Science and Health teach us how.

Some cases of healing by spiritual means are quick. In other cases there seems to be resistance and the healings take longer. In the ministry of Jesus, a father brought to the Master his child, who probably today would have been diagnosed as having epilepsy. The disciples, according to the account in Matthew, could not heal the case. But Jesus did. When asked afterward by the disciples why their efforts had not been met with success, Jesus replied, “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matt. 17:14-21)

When there is not quick healing in Christian Science, treating disease is much like a court argument. Such argument would include both “prayer” – the deeply grateful acknowledgment of God’s presence and power, and of His creation of man in his own image and likeness, and “fasting” – denial of the possibility that man, as God created him, can possibly be subject to anything unlike perfect good. (Gen. 1:26,31)

In Science and Health (p. 430), there is an allegory that shows how such treatment heals a case of “liver-complaint,” or what today might be called hepatitis. This allegory comprises 13 pages of Science and Health. Generations of readers of this part of the Christian Science textbook have learned that in God’s court, God’s law overcomes so-called human health laws of disease through Christian Science treatment. In the Supreme Court of Spirit, man is found to be innocent, healthy, strong, and free.

The spiritual realization of God’s allness, of Love’s allness, completely wipes out fear and disease from thought – and eventually from body. This has been demonstrated to be the case. There have been several reports of the healing of hepatitis over the years in the Christian Science periodicals. I’ll conclude with one that was published in the November 12, 1955 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. (Click to view it on JSH-online.)

A Christian Science Minister for the Armed Services received a telephone call from a woman who seemed full of fear. She explained that her husband, an Air Force officer, was in the hospital at his air base. The doctors had diagnosed his condition as viral hepatitis. Claiming that there was nothing more they could do for him, the doctors had stopped giving him medicine and had placed him on the danger list. At this point the officer’s wife asked a doctor if he thought her husband should try Christian Science. He acknowledged that it might prove helpful. Accordingly, she went to her husband, who knew very little about Christian Science, and recommended that he try it. After receiving his consent, she called the Christian Science Minister.

That very day the Minister visited the officer in the Air Force hospital and found him in an extremely weakened condition due, in part, to the fact that he was not receiving solid food but was being fed intravenously. The Minister worked to uplift the officer’s faith by quoting inspiring and comforting Bible passages. At the end of the interview the officer seemed more cheerful, hopeful, and strong.

During his second visit the Minister read over with the officer “A mental court case” (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, pages 430-442), which deals with a patient suffering from liver complaint. The officer genuinely enjoyed this allegory and derived much good from it. Not long afterward the doctors placed the patient on solid food and then transferred him to an Army hospital.

The Minister continued to visit the patient and recommended that he start reading Science and Health from the beginning. When he was about one third of the way through the textbook, all the yellow color left the officer’s skin and eyes. Soon he was discharged from the hospital completely healed through Christian Science.

© 1955 The Christian Science Publishing Society (http://jsh.christianscience.com). Reproduced with permission.

© 2012 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

“The Next Big Decision on Health Care . . .”

Christian Science Committees on Publication Manager Russ Gerber has written an insightful piece about watching our thought to maintain our health. It’s aptly titled, The Next Big Decision On Health Care May Be Your Own. You can read it here.

A Pew study found that about 80% of internet searches are on the subject of health. The correlation of thought to health is well established in the Bible. For example, Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you.” This might perhaps be paraphrased today as “Health and holiness, which come from God, are in your thinking and prayers.” Scriptures also state that God is the countenance of our health. As we increase our understanding of God, we can establish wholesome health on a spiritual basis.

Another Pew study found that about 50% of us turn to prayer to improve our well being. Much of this prayer is mixed with medical care, yet studies have found that inspired prayers for health are beneficial.

In his book, The Healing Power of Prayer, Duke University professor and physician Dr. Harold Koenig, M.D. writes, “Over five hundred studies have now documented correlations between religious practices like prayer and better health. I have also seen the powerful effects of faith in the lives of my patients, and what a tremendous difference prayer has made in their healing – physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. There is power in prayer – there is little doubt about that.” (p. 19)

New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, also wrote a book about prayer and health. Eddy titled it Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures because she discovered the spiritual basis of true health from her study of the Bible, and found that this God-given health can be scientifically demonstrated. Through consistent healing of almost every disease known to mankind by herself and by her students, Eddy proved that prayer is more than an art.

Christian Science teaches that we can to turn to Mind, God, rather than matter to establish health. As Russ Gerber clearly points out, we must watch our thought, what we are thinking, to protect our well-being. This watchful thinking is much more than positive thinking. It’s spiritual thinking of Godly thoughts that inspire Godlike actions.

Metaphysically speaking, health is an attribute of God that is manifested through man. God is healthy and man is healthy. Science and Health tells us how to pray from the mountaintop of reality: “Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.” (p. 418)

This is something that we can all do. Years ago I had an asthma condition that restricted my movements considerably. I had difficulty climbing the stairs in our three story Victorian home. Yet I can honestly say that I was not afraid, even when it seemed like I was on my last breath. I knew God would heal this condition because “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind [God].” (ibid, p. 120)

I asked an experienced Christian Science practitioner to pray with me. We prayed to realize the ever-presence of God’s perfect health and to reject any claim of physiology that would try to undermine or contradict my health. We learned more clearly that divine Mind, God, is all acting. I had the courage to go for a walk, and eventually some of those walks stretched into miles. Soon I was healed.

Is it any wonder, when we consider the effectiveness of spiritual healing, that these words of the Psalmist are so dear to Christian Scientists?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.” (Ps. 103:2-6)

Health Diagnosis

My colleague from Florida, Robert Clark, wrote an insightful piece about the work of Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. Last week Dr. Welch published an Op-Ed in the New York Times titled, If You Feel O.K., Maybe You Are O.K. (Click here to read it.) Here is what Bob Clark wrote (click here to read it on Bob’s blog):

Promoting Health posted on March 1, 2012 by Robert B. Clark

“The New York Times ran an editorial on Monday with this intriguing title, “If You Feel O.K., Maybe You Are O.K.” The author, H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, is an author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. Welch’s argument, summarized in his own words, goes something like this:

● “…is looking hard for things to be wrong a good way to promote health?

● “This process (over-screening of the apparently healthy) doesn’t promote health; it promotes disease.

● “For years now, people have been encouraged to look to medical care as the way to make them healthy. But that’s your job–you can’t contract that out.

“Welch is actually joining a chorus of voices within and outside of the medical pharmaceutical complex, encouraging individuals to take a greater level of responsibility for their own health instead of depending on an overly expensive and impersonal health care ‘system’ to do it for them. And not a moment too soon!

“The cost of systematized health care, and its emphasis on overdiagnosis, has already become unsustainable. Do we have to wait for our government to solve this crisis for us? I don’t think so.

“There are many different ways to promote health which don’t include looking for or expecting disease, and don’t need to include an over-reliance on medical systems and insurance models. For me, and a growing number of others, developing a stronger and deeper sense of spiritual health has been effective in promoting and demonstrating physical health.

“Promoting spiritual—and physical— health might include the regular and disciplined study of sacred texts, prayer, meditation, practicing gratitude by keeping a ‘gratitude journal’, making time to help/serve others in your neighborhood, etc. There are probably an infinite number of ways to practice spirituality and thereby promote health.

“Promoting health—and a healthy nation—can be done one individual at a time, one day at a time. We can begin now to become, not a nation of patients, but a nation of healthy, independent thinkers.”

Bob has decades of experience in the practice of Christian Science, which teaches the following about diagnosis: “The moral and spiritual facts of health, whispered into thought, produce very direct and marked effects on the body. A physical diagnosis of disease–since mortal mind must be the cause of disease–tends to induce disease.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 370 by Mary Baker Eddy)

Mrs. Eddy discovered more than a century ago that what we especially need is a diagnosis of our mental and spiritual condition. Rather than seeking out fear-producing physical diagnosis, we can search our thinking for any disease-producing thoughts. And we can destroy them. Spiritual healing occurs when we replace these beliefs with the truth of health.

As Bob wrote, we can find true health in our Scriptural sacred texts. The Bible teaches me that health comes from understanding God. The spiritual understanding of God establishes and maintains health and well-being. It is both preventative and curative. Science and Health states, “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind [God].” (p. 120)

In summary, taking seriously the concerns raised by Dr. Welch in his Op-Ed would be one step in helping mankind to achieve successful reform that would lead to more cost-effective health care.

Placebos

To my understanding as a Christian Scientist, this week’s CBS 60 Minutes piece on placebos points to the beneficial effects of the power of thought, the power of mind, the power of love, indeed, the power of God to heal.

In the 60 Minutes investigation, journalist Lesley Stahl interviewed Irving Kirsch, the associate director of the Placebo Studies Program at Harvard Medical School. According to Stahl, “Irving Kirsch’s specialty has been the study of the placebo effect: the taking of a dummy pill without any medication in it that creates an expectation of healing that is so powerful, symptoms are actually alleviated.”

Speaking about his research into antidepressant medication, Kirsch told viewers that “The difference between the effect of a placebo and the effect of an antidepressant is minimal for most people.”

“And,” Kirsch added, referring to those people he had studied who were taking actual antidepressant medication, “the reason they get better is not because of the chemicals in the drug. The difference between drug and placebo is very, very small; and in half the studies non-existent.”

The placebo effect goes far beyond cases of depression, according to Kirsch. He went on to say that he has found that “placebos are great for treating a number of disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, ulcers, Parkinson’s disease. Even traumatic knee pain. In this clinical trial some patients with osteoarthritis underwent knee surgery. While others had their knees merely opened and then sewn right back up. And here’s what happened. In terms of walking and climbing, the people who got the placebo actually did better than the people who got the real surgery. And that lasted for a year. At two years after surgery, there was no difference at all between the real surgery and the sham surgery.”

As a Christian Scientist, I find these comments very heartening. They could serve as a springboard to a deeper study of the mental or spiritual nature of health, of how much spirituality and prayer contribute to recovery, and of the efficacy of material means and methods in bringing about genuine healing.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writing over a century ago, said that she had found that drugs were efficacious because doctors and patients believed that they were so. “Unsupported by the faith reposed in it, the inanimate drug becomes powerless,” she writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 160).

Here is how she explains her reasons for reaching this conclusion and how this radical view played an important role in her founding of Christian Science:

“The author’s medical researches and experiments had prepared her thought for the metaphysics of Christian Science. Every material dependence had failed her in her search for truth; and she can now understand why, and can see the means by which mortals are divinely driven to a spiritual source for health and happiness.

“Her experiments in homoeopathy had made her skeptical as to material curative methods. Jahr, from Aconitum to Zincum oxydatum, enumerates the general symptoms, the characteristic signs, which demand different remedies; but the drug is frequently attenuated to such a degree that not a vestige of it remains. Thus we learn that it is not the drug which expels the disease or changes one of the symptoms of disease.

“The author has attenuated Natrum muriaticum (common table-salt) until there was not a single saline property left. The salt had ‘lost his savour;’ and yet, with one drop of that attenuation in a goblet of water, and a teaspoonful of the water administered at intervals of three hours, she has cured a patient sinking in the last stage of typhoid fever. The highest attenuation of homoeopathy and the most potent rises above matter into mind. This discovery leads to more light. From it may be learned that either human faith or the divine Mind is the healer and that there is no efficacy in a drug.” (ibid., pp. 152-153)

Mrs. Eddy discovered, as Jesus had demonstrated some 2,000 years earlier, that metaphysical, spiritual prayer is the most powerful healing medicine and treatment. She found that God, divine Mind, is the best healer.

Let me give an example. Kirsch speaks of the power of the placebo effect in treating knee pain. I have found in my own experience that it is possible for a knee injury to be healed without resorting either to medical intervention or to placebos. The Christian Science Journal recently published a healing through Christian Science treatment in my own experience. I had severely injured a knee by running up and down a New Hampshire mountain. I couldn’t walk for a few days, but through prayer the knee injury was healed, and when it returned recently in a milder fashion, it was healed again through prayer so that I am able to walk, hike, run, and bike freely. You can read about this healing in the February Christian Science Journal, which will soon be available online.

Do placebos bring healing? From my study and application of Christian Science to almost every human problem (for more than four decades), a placebo may temporarily help with recovery, but it does not heal. I have found that a higher power – namely God – is the healer. The Bible promises, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)