Incorporating Christian Science Research Library
"In the spirit of Christ's charity, - as one who 'hopeth all things, endureth all things,' and is joyful to bear consolation to the sorrowing and healing to the sick, - she commits these pages to honest seekers for Truth.
Dear "honest seekers for Truth":
It was with this spirit and commitment that the Compendium, "The Continuity of the Cause of Christian Science," was first issued in 1992. The enclosed Supplement is offered in the same spirit.
Each of the four parts draws attention to Mrs. Eddy's practical guidance for all Christian Scientists as they move forward with a clearer understanding of what it means to be members of "The Church of Christ, Scientist."
The first part relates to her message on the occasion of the dedication of the original edifice.
The second concerns her message on the occasion of the dedication of the extension, entitled "Choose Ye." This title reminds us of Joshua's covenant with the children of Israel, as they prepared to progress without him and establish themselves in the Promised Land.
The third refers to the encouragement and warning Mrs. Eddy gave to her College students and Church members to establish themselves in "the land of Christian Science" (see S&H 223:14-228:19).
The fourth part is a testimony by a former church member who has successfully continued in Christian Science practice. It was written to encourage fellow-students to take the steps Mrs. Eddy left for us to move forward "in order to gain spiritual freedom and supremacy" (Ret 45:12).
The divine requirements for progress are found in many places in Mrs. Eddy's writings, but can be summed up in a paragraph headed "Fulfilment of the Law":
"Love fulfils the law of Christian Science, and nothing short of this divine Principle, understood and demonstrated, can ever furnish the vision of the Apocalypse, open the seven seals of error with Truth, or uncover the myriad illusions of sin, sickness, and death. Under the supremacy of Spirit, it will he seen and acknowledged that must must disappear" (S&H 572:12).
This paragraph is followed by excerpts from chapter 21 of Revelation, concerning a new heaven and new earth, the first marginal heading being "Man's present possibilities." What more encouragement do we need?
Yours in Love and Truth,
Trustees of Christian Science Foundation
P.O. Box 440, Cambridge CB4 3BH, England
Registered Charity No.295685
THE CONTINUITY OF THE CAUSE OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE
Supplement No 3
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST
1. Dedication of the original Mother Church, 1895
In the Preface to Pulpit and Press Mrs. Eddy writes:
"Three quarters of a century hence, when the children of to-day are the elders of the twentieth century, it will he interesting to have not only a record of the inclination given their own thoughts in the latter half of the nineteenth century, but also a registry of the rise of the mercury in the glass of the world's opinion.
"It will then he instructive to turn backward the telescope of that advanced age, with its lenses of more spiritual mentality, indicating the gain of intellectual momentum, on the early footsteps of Christian Science ....
Viewed literally this would take us to 1970, and yet another thirty years have passed and these statements still confront us. Has there been a "rise of the mercury in the glass of the world's opinion"? Have we arrived at a more "advanced age"? Are we using the "lenses of more spiritual mentality"? Is there a "gain of intellectual momentum"?
If we cannot honestly answer, Yes, to these questions as they relate to the progress of Christian Science, then we must ask, Why not? and be prepared for much thoughtful examination in seeking an answer.
It is well understood in Christian Science that when working out a problem one must start from Truth, from present perfection - the spiritual fact. Working from this foundation, this rock, the light of understanding will shine and analyze and uncover the errors of belief, which can then pass painlessly away.
Looking into Mrs. Eddy's address on this occasion, we find her likening the beauty of the Mother Church edifice to the house which Solomon built, and quoting the response from the Queen of Sheba, "Behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard." But immediately, in the next paragraph, we read: "Nevertheless, there is a thought higher and deeper than the edifice. Material light and shade are temporal, not eternal"; and then she refers to the "'house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens' .. . the real house in which 'we live, and move, and have our being."' Thus we find here a clear distinction being made between the edifice itself and the spiritual idea which it symbolizes, the one being temporal, though beautiful and prosperous, and the other being eternal, a citadel of safety, a sublime fortress and abundantly satisfying. Is not Mrs. Eddy encouraging us to allow the material sense to be transformed so that the spiritual reality might appear? (see Pul 2).
Let us consider in this light the development of the Christian Science church, which today is giving rise to much discussion and soul-searching regarding its proper government and way forward. Varying views are being expressed as to Mrs. Eddy's intentions regarding her church and its development. The phrase, 'Mrs. Eddy's intentions,' is increasingly being used to project an air of assurance and authority. We can be on safe ground only when we assume that Mrs. Eddy intended what she said. Facing the present situation prayerfully, we naturally turn to the definition of church in the "Glossary" of Science and Health where we find first an absolute statement:
"CHURCH. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle."
This church has no beginning and no end. It is neither founded nor instituted by anyone at any time. It is entirely Spiritual and eternal.
The second part of the definition refers to:
that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick."
Clearly, this relative sense of church is transitional. For example, in 1879 Mrs. Eddy organized "a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing" (Man 17:10). This church she dissolved in 1889, and made several instructive statements at the time explaining why she did so, and the benefits which followed. (See Exhibits 5:B & 5:C in the Compendium, "The Continuity of the Cause of Christian Science.")
After a three-year period, which she described as "spiritually organized" (see Ret 44:30), she reorganized her church to satisfy popular demand, but this was done only after she bad found a statute whereby the organization was not 'incorporated' (not corporeal in nature). This meant it was not "under the law" i.e. it was not under human law but under divine law. She clearly stated that she had "rescued [it] from the grasp of legal power" and that "it must be put back into the arms of Love, if we would not be found fighting against God" (Mis 140:22). In March 1892 she was also very specific in saying that "If our church is organized, it is to meet the demand, 'Suffer it to be so now"' (Mis 91:8). In other words it was to be temporary.
Carol Norton, a prominent Christian Scientist, wrote an article entitled 'The Pure In Heart,' published in the Christian Science Journal in January, 1893. In it he says,
"The expression 'Suffer it to be so now' is not infrequently subverted and used as an excuse for remaining in the realm of sense; thus the radical steps which are necessary ere we rise above the claims of the senses arc often deferred, and spiritual growth is sacrificed to the indulgence of temporary and material conditions of matter."
Furthermore, we should also note the statement in the Manual at the end of the Historical Sketch where Mrs. Eddy says that the reorganized church
"is designed to be built on the Rock, Christ; even the understanding and demonstration of divine Truth, Life, and Love, healing and saving the world from sin and death; thus to reflect in some degree the Church Universal and Triumphant."
This is a comprehensive statement of church which includes the original purpose. It indicates that, in the same way as Jesus had to lay down a material sense of body in order to demonstrate his Christly nature to the full, so the material organization of the church body has to be put off in order to attain its aim of "saving the world from sin and death."
There is much in Mrs. Eddy's published and 'unpublished' writings on the question of organization which we must take seriously, even if we find it painful. In Retrospection and Introspection pp 43-45 under the title "College and Church" she takes great care to explain the divine impulsion behind her actions. She also says "material organization has its value and peril"; that "organization is requisite only in the earliest periods in Christian history"; and that "continued organization retards spiritual growth." A careful study of these statements, and many others, will answer the urgent questions with which church members are wrestling at the present time.
It seems clear, therefore, that organization is necessary in the 'earliest' stages, just as a mother is needed for the initial education of a child. But if the child clings to the mother's apron strings and the mother does not take steps to release the child, it will not grow up and learn to stand on its own feet, and its growth will be 'retarded.' Has this happened in church organization?
In considering Mrs. Eddy's definition of church in its entirety, could we say that the institution of church is a way forward to make it possible to reach the absolute, eternal sense of church through progressive human footsteps? Remembering that "Every step of progress is a step more spiritual" (Peo 1:2), we acknowledge that we cannot take the "burdensome baggage" of material organization with us, but have to be willing to leave it behind and increase "the speed of mortals' transit from matter to Spirit - yea, from sin to holiness? This is indeed our sole proof that Christ, Truth, is the way" (see Message '02 10:12-24). Is not this the movement that is Christian Science?
Much light will be thrown on this whole question by reading the Dedicatory Sermon in Pulpit and Press, before proceeding to the Address on the occasion of the dedication of the extension (My 3).
2~ "Choose Ye" - Dedication of the Mother Church Extension, 1906
Re-reading the Foreword to The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany (v-vii) one is struck first by the dynamic momentum of the Christian Science movement at that time as expressed in the first paragraph, and how favourably it compares with the state of things today. Secondly, one is impressed by the "historical facts," the listed achievements of Mrs. Eddy which, of course, made possible this success. Thirdly, by the final two paragraphs:
"Strive it ever so hard, The Church of Christ, Scientist, can never do for its Leader what its Leader has done for this church; but its members can so protect their own thoughts that they are not unwittingly made to deprive their Leader of her rightful place as the revelator to this age of the immortal truths testified to by Jesus and the prophets.
"Deeds, not words, are the sound test of love; and the helpfulness of consistent and constant right thinking - intelligent thinking untainted by the emotionalism which is largely self-glorification - is a reasonable service which all Christian Scientists can render their Leader."
What are the deeds referred to? What constitutes consistent and constant right thinking which all Christian Scientists can render their Leader as a reasonable service?
No doubt many of us can find ready answers within our own thinking which would seem plausible. However, Mrs. Eddy's answer, contained in her address on the occasion of the dedication of the extension, is quite specific: it bears the title "Choose Ye" (My 3-6). What is this choice which all Christian Scientists must make in order that Christian Science is extended to the whole world - the world recognizing its true spiritual identity, "[saved) from sin and death"?
The title comes from the final chapter of the book of Joshua. Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the wilderness for forty years, but he was not to lead them over the Jordan and into the Promised Land. This crossing was achieved under the leadership of Joshua (saviour). When the journey had been concluded and each tribe established in its territory, Joshua also had to depart. Why? Because Christian Science teaches that external, personal leadership has to give way to internal self-government. "Christian Scientists, be a law to yourselves that mental malpractice cannot harm you either when asleep or when awake." "The Christianly scientific man reflects the divine law, thus becoming a law unto himself." (S&H 442:30 and 458:23.)
However, a great leader does not leave his or her flock without guidance. Moses gave the law, which included the Ten Commandments. Jesus left his disciples with much teaching, and after the resurrection "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself' (Luke 24:27).
What then of Joshua? In reading chapters 23 and 24, we find Joshua speaking in a most solemn manner to "all Israel" exhorting them, "Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left" (23:6) and explaining the dire consequences of disobedience. After a concise history in chapter 24, we come to verse 15:
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
There follows a discussion after which Joshua says, "Ye cannot serve the Lord and serve strange gods" and the people say, "Nay; but we will serve the Lord." Joshua responds, "Ye are witnesses against yourselves," and he makes a covenant with the people "and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem." He "wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord." He "said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us: for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God" (see 24:19-27).
These two chapters at the end of Joshua have all the solemnity of giving evidence under oath in a courtroom. But what happens as we enter the book of Judges? Almost immediately apostasy (the act of renouncing one's faith or principles) enters. Judges are appointed to deliver Israel from her sins, but she suffers from internal struggles and disagreements in the attempt to be obedient.
The story moves on to Samuel and the demand for a king, a desire, once again, for external rule rather than internal. There are bad kings and good kings. David is, of course, the "great king." Why? Because he "loved his enemies." (See Mis 8:8 - 13:12.) As a consequence, under his kingship, Judah and Israel are united. But his son Solomon, although he builds the temple, is disobedient. He marries "a daughter of Egypt," surrounds himself with a thousand foreign wives and concubines, and his heart is turned from the Lord (see I Kings 11:9). As a result the kingdom splits into two and warfare ensues. The answer to this spiritual drought is given through the well-known story of Elijah and Elisha. But Judah and Israel do not respond and the ten tribes of Israel are overrun by Assyria, and the two remaining tribes, Judah and Benjamin, are taken into captivity in Babylon.
What is the relevance of all this for today? It might be tempting to think that it has none! But if that were the case, why should Mrs. Eddy refer us to the story in such an important address? Is she not leading us? Are we to follow (obey), or shrug our shoulders and ignore the message? Looking again at the first paragraph of her address, we find a quotation from the last chapter in the Bible: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev 22:14).
Here we cannot fail to notice that there are twelve tribes to enter the Promised Land; twelve gates through which to enter the city; "the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb" are in the foundations of the gates; and there are twelve stars in the crown on the woman's head (see Rev 21:14, 12:1 and S&H 562:11). Mrs. Eddy is guiding mankind by pointing to the parallel between the children of Israel and their challenge to enter the Promised Land and our challenge today to enter the holy city "through the gates." This holy city of Revelation is the city which Paul describes as "Jerusalem which is above [and) is free, which is the mother of us all" (Gal 4:26).
In Divinity Course and General Collectanea (the 'Blue Book'), we read on page 252:
"Mr. Kimball asked Mrs. Eddy what would happen to the Christian Science movement if she should pass on. She replied: 41t would degenerate into material prosperity.' He then asked what would happen if she ascended. She hesitated, before answering with a beatific smile, 'The Mother Church would be dissolved."'
Do we regard Mrs. Eddy, the revelator of Christian Science, as having ascended? or do we believe she is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery? If the latter, how can we "have right to the tree of life" and so enter the city? The future of the Christian Science movement therefore is determined by our view of Mrs. Eddy and her final demonstration. Is she the woman of prophecy fulfilled? Does she represent the bride, wedded to the Lamb of Love? If not, we are wasting our time. But if we do recognize that she is - and she must be - we have no option but to obey her commands even if "it seem evil unto [us]" (Josh 24:15), because this seeming evil is the resistance of the human mind to the divine demands.
Are we, then, prepared for "The Mother Church [to] be dissolved"? - that is, to be seen in its divine reality and not restricted to its temporary organizational form. Let us consider:
(1) Does this involve the destruction of the Mother Church, as has been claimed?
Surely not! If our view of the mother ascends, then our sense of church is transformed. Instead of representing "Jerusalem" it is translated and becomes "New Jerusalem" (see the strikingly different "Glossary" definitions).
In other words, church is seen as the holy city of Revelation 21, the "mother of us all." No membership forms, no approval by church authorities, no excommunications! Only the laying down of material sense and the acceptance of spiritual sense (see "Glossary" definitions of wilderness, prophet, and particularly Elias). A significant point to note here is that Mrs. Eddy introduced her exegesis on the holy city in "The Apocalypse" chapter in the important fiftieth edition of the textbook published in 1891, before re-organizing her church in 1892.
The dissolving of the Mother Church is not its destruction, it is its fulfilment as prophesied in the book of Revelation. This fulfilment appears as we allow human organizational motherhood to drop away. When we are willing to accept God's motherhood operating within each individual, we are brought into obedience to the Church Manual.
"The effects of Christian Science are not so much seen as felt. It is the 'still, small voice' of Truth uttering itself. We are either turning away from this utterance, or we are listening to it and going up higher. Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea.
Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, - this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony. The purification of sense and self is a proof of progress. 'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Marginal Heading: Childlike receptivity. (S&H 323:28.)
(2) Are we doubtful? Are we afraid? Have we the moral courage to make the right choice?
The directors of old and their lawyers in particular were adamant and chose material sense and human methods, so that within twelve years of Mrs. Eddy's passing the church organization was back in "the grasp of legal power." "The determination to hold Spirit in the grasp of matter is the persecutor of Truth and Love" (S&H 28:6).
What we need now are the spiritual qualities which David represents. Not only did he love his enemies and write many of the Psalms (praise), but he was also an important link in the direct line of Jesus, "thou son of David," and gave his name to the Key to the Scriptures, "the key of David" (S&H 499), and to the holy city, Zion, the "city of David." Mrs. Eddy defines Zion as "Spiritual foundation and superstructure; inspiration; spiritual strength. Emptiness; unfaithfulness; desolation" (S&H 599:6). Which sense of Zion are we giving birth to? David is the key!
What, then, is the significance of David? The name David means 'beloved.' As we have already seen, he loved his enemies, and so was able to unite Israel and Judah into one nation. Spiritually, this symbolizes a balanced unity of true womanhood and true manhood, or the ideal man of God's creating (see S&H 517:8- 14 & 566:15-24). In this unity the twelve tribes represent a whole, healthy body, an inviolate entity. But when womanhood seems to lose its manhood, there is nothing to protect it. Consequently in the Bible story Israel cannot resist the aggression of Assyria; it is overrun and taken off to be scattered, dispersed throughout the world. Thus Israel is lost, until in Christian Science it is restored (see Man 17:18).
Similarly, when under Solomon the nation splits into two, and manhood is separated from its womanhood, it loses its vision, its inspiration. It becomes egotistical, aggressive, domineering, full of human will and selfish ambition. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov 29:18). Spiritual sense is pushed aside and human planning takes over. This leads to "moral and physical death" (S&H 101:25) - Judah is taken into captivity in Babylon. However, after seventy years, a remnant returns to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the walls and gates, as described in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Do we not have a parallel situation in the Christian Science movement today? Certainly there are differing opinions within the church organization. These started while Mrs. Eddy was still with us, notably when aggressive mental suggestion, acting as the male element, wanted to take over direction from her and pressed her to make certain changes (see Manual 42:4-10 and Compendium, Part 9:1-2). This throws light on Mrs. Eddy's statement: "It took a combination of sinners that was fast to harm me.
Dictated to Laura Sargent and signed by Mrs Eddy:
"It took a combination of sinners that was fast to harm me" [signed] Mary Baker Eddy, November 28, 1910.
After her passing, this Adamic element, shorn of its womanhood, lost no time in riding roughshod over the consent clauses in the Manual, which Mrs. Eddy had, at God's command, so carefully and lovingly put in place to act as estoppels once she was no longer with us. The material, man-made law states that any consent clause in a legal instrument may be ignored at any time that it becomes impossible to fulfil. But to do so means that spiritually this becomes an act of disobedience. "God never ordained a material law to annul the spiritual law" (S&H 273:21). These clauses in the Church Manual are there not only to guide us but indeed to stop us from making wrong choices. Christian Scientists can no longer afford to be disobedient through resort to human, man-made law. "The foundational facts of Christian Science are gathered from the supremacy of spiritual law and its antagonism to every supposed material law" (Mis 200:17).
Continued disobedience has led to a progressively worsening situation, including serious Splits and excommunications. Many of those who have been released from organization, whether voluntarily or through excomrnunication, have continued their work free from the control of Boston,' with the result that today there could well be as many Christian Scientists outside the organization as there are inside. Some individuals are partly outside and partly inside.
Another parallel with the children of Israel is that Moses gave the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh land to the east of Jordan, outside the Promised Land. Before they could finally claim their inheritance, however, they had to go armed, with all the other tribes, across the Jordan into the Promised Land and face and conquer the enemy within, together. When this had been accomplished, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh who had inherited land east of Jordan, were allowed to depart and take up their inheritance, but not before the accusation of the remaining tribes that they were setting up their own altar and turning from the ways of the Lord had been resolved. This was done when they all agreed that there was no division among them. "Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord...it is a witness between us and you (Josh 22:28).
The 'David' attitude to all this would be to "include all mankind in one affection" and "Come now, and let us reason together." It is wholly wrong for inside and outside to regard one another as enemies. Christian Science unites us all in spiritual purpose, the ultimate goal, with the same guiding Principle and rule. (See No 39:18 and Isa 1:18.)
"Drifting into intellectual wrestlings, we should agree to disagree; and this harmony would anchor the Church in more spiritual latitudes, and so fulfil her destiny.
"Let the Word have free course and he glorified. The people clamor to leave cradle and swaddling-clothes. The spiritual status is urging its highest demands on mortals, and material history is drawing 10 a close. Truth cannot he stereotyped; it unfoldeth forever. 'One on God's side is a majority;' and 'Lo, I am with you alway,' is the pledge of the Master" (No 45:21-2).
The long drawnout story of the children of Israel shows time after time the blessings of obedience and the disasters of disobedience.
Over one hundred years ago Mrs. Eddy proclaimed: "The present is ours; the future, big with events. Every man and woman should be to-day a law to himself, herself, - a law of loyalty to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount" (Mis 12:11-14). In this Sermon Jesus says,
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all he fulfilled" (Matt 5:17,18).
"Only he thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Josh 1:7,8).
Ever since December 1910, members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., branch churches throughout the world, and thousands of individual Christian Scientists have pondered and even agonized over obedience to the Church Manual.
Countless books and articles have been and continue to be written on this subject. Articles appearing in the Christian Science periodicals have been accepted by church members as having authority. Other statements therefore are branded as incorrect and often labelled as the surmising of dissidents. Any Christian Scientist who is not a member of the church is mistakenly assumed to be determined to destroy the church. However, no honest, practising Christian Scientist is going to support any move to destroy what Mrs. Eddy has established. Why, then, is obedience to the provisions of the Church Manual such a controversial question?
In December 1910 there was a great stir among Christian Scientists and the onlooking world, widely reported in the newspapers, for they believed that with Mrs. Eddy's passing the church could not continue (see Supplement No 1). Because the Church Manual made no provision for anyone other than Mrs. Eddy to consent to crucial By-laws, it would - in their opinion - bring everything to a halt. Within a few days the Board determined that leaving these clauses in place was no oversight on Mrs. Eddy's part. It is reported that when she had previously been asked about this situation she had consulted a lawyer. She was informed that common law did not require obedience to any clause that became impossible to obey. Despite this knowledge Mrs. Eddy had not chosen to change any of these clauses. She was concerned with God's law, not human law, and they had to make the choice between these two. It may be noted that in the Deed of Trust for the Christian Science Publishing Society there is provision for such a time when her consent could not be obtained. Why did she not do the same in the Manual, unless she meant it to be obeyed as she had left it? The Board of Directors had accepted the same legal advice and therefore falsely concluded that the Manual gave them authority "for the government of the organization in all its affairs" (from text of press release, see Exhibit 9:E).
Not every Christian Scientist was convinced that this was a correct deduction. Thus there were two interpretations, one that satisfied the human mind, the other that Mrs. Eddy had meant what she said - what God, the divine Mind, had told her. Those who held the first view could not envisage any continuity of the church organization resulting from total, or literal, obedience. Those who held the second view trusted that God's law would ensure the continuity of The Church of Christ, Scientist.
In 1901 in an interview with the New York Herald Mrs. Eddy had affirmed that this continuity was assured without any change "in the rulership." Such a thing was only possible if the rulership was vested in God, both before and after Mrs. Eddy's passing. In this same interview she was pressed further on the question of her successor. Her last word on this subject was issued two weeks later to the Associated Press - in other words, to the whole world. (See My 341:17-347:5 for this whole interview and the statement which follows on "what remains . . . to reveal my successor.")
While Mrs. Eddy was here to give or withold her consent she effectively controlled both Church and Publishing Society as God's messenger. After her passing God did not relinquish control, because the Church Manual is God's law and must be obeyed - "Of this I am sure, that each Rule and By-law in this Manual will increase the spirituality of him who obeyes it... "(My 230:10). In addition, the two boards, the Christian Science Board of Directors and the Trustees of the Christian Science Publishing Society, each had its own legal Deed of Trust which should have enabled them to continue in harmony.
A few years after Mrs. Eddy's passing, with the Board of Directors in control by ignoring the clauses that required Mrs. Eddy S consent, this Board began to put pressure on the trustees of the Publishing Society to accept the directors' claim to supreme power. After numerous meetings, joint conferences and letters between the two boards that brought no resolution, the Board of Directors tested their assumed authority by voting to remove a trustee from office. The trustees determined that this presented them with no alternative but to test the legal interpretation of their Deed in the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. The trustees therefore filed a "Bill in Equity." The case was referred by the Supreme Court to be heard by a Master. A year later he handed down his final report in favour of the trustees. The directors immediately appealed to the full bench of the Supreme Court. Twenty months later the Court handed down its decision. It upheld the findings of the Master in all respects, but reversed the judgment he had handed down, finding in favour of the Board of Directors. It must be asked why, if the findings were upheld, was the judgment reversed?
It has since been pointed out that according to the law of the United States, no decision should be made that might jeopardize the existence of a religious body. It was considered that to deny the Board of Directors the control which they sought, might have jeopardized the church organization. The law thus effectively handed the decision back to the church. (See Compendium, Part 11:6.)
One is reminded of the dilemma of Pontius Pilate. He found no fault in Jesus, but because of the clamour of the people, he, representing the law, washed his hands of the matter, letting the people have their way, and handed Jesus back to the church authorities. Similarly, during this litigation, a great majority of church members supported the directors and thus aided in setting aside Mrs. Eddy's instructions until the thought of Christian Scientists should awake to understand God's plan.
In 1893 Mrs. Eddy gave an address entitled "Obedience," before the Christian Scientist Association, six months after the Deed of Trust for the church, incorporating the Board of Directors, had been signed (see Manual 128-135). This Association consisted of Mrs. Eddy's own students, and it was from the Christian Scientist Association that the church had originally been formed. In her address Mrs. Eddy told them:
"If in one instance obedience he lacking, you lose the scientific rule and its reward: namely, to he made 'ruler over many things' ... Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance. .. Human will must he subjugated. We cannot obey both God, good, and evil, - in other words, the material senses, false suggestions, self-will, selfish motives, and human policy. . . However keenly the human affections yearn to forgive a mistake, and pass a friend over it smoothly, one's sympathy can neither atone for error, advance individual growth, nor change this immutable decree of Love: 'Keep My commandments' . . . Insubordination to the law of Love even in the least, or strict obedience thereto, tests and discriminates between the real and the unreal Scientist" (see Mis. 116 - 120).
Seven years later, still on this subject of obedience, Mrs. Eddy made special mention in her message to the church in 1900:
"Learn to obey; but learn first what obedience is. When God speaks to you through one of His little ones, and you obey the mandate but retain a desire to follow your own inclinations, that is not obedience. I sometimes advise students not to do certain things which I know it were best not to do, and they comply with my counsel; but, watching them, I discern that this obedience is contrary to their inclination. Then I sometimes withdraw that advice and say: 'You may do it if you desire.' But I say this not because it is the best thing to do, but because the student is not willing - therefore, not ready - to obey" (Message '00 8:26).
It has been claimed that to suggest obedience to the estoppel clauses is to impute deviousness to Mrs. Eddy, but has she not made a plain, straightforward statement of her reasoning in the above quotation? When she was asked to remove these clauses, she refused and said, "It remains for the church to obey (them)" What could be plainer? (See Compendium, Part 9:2.) For church members to have obeyed the Manual in 1910 without understanding what they were doing would have retained a desire to follow their own inclinations. Until they were willing and ready to obey, it was necessary that they should not be deterred from their disobedience. Experience is the best teacher, but true progress can at times be slow, according to the "tenacity of error" (see S&H 77:13-21 and 296:14-21).
In Hebrews 11, Paul takes us through the Old Testament, pointing out how all the characters from Abel onwards, "by faith ... obeyed." Do we have the "kind of faith [that] understands divine Love and how to work out one's 'own salvation"' - the faith that is "the substance of things hoped for"? It is this faith that enables us to "take step and march on in spiritual organization" (see S&H 23:21 and Mis 138:28).
4. The Way Forward
The guidelines and requirements left by our Leader for the way forward are clearly shown in Part 12 of the Compendium, "The Continuity of the Cause of Christian Science." It also shows in detail what is meant by "voluntary association" and how fruitful that ongoing work is. See Exhibit 5B, page 2, item 4, to learn how and when our Leader first used this term for a working group of earnest students, demonstrating the true idea of church spiritually, and therefore correctly. After years of comradeship in Christian Science, working together to uphold the Branch or Society, and helping each other, church members are spiritually fitted for continuing demonstration in Christian Science, where "fetters fall" and "mental swaddling clothes" are laid off (see S&H 226:25-2 & 255:1-3).
On page 1 of Part 12 of the Compendium, it is stated, "Mrs. Eddy, while demanding strict obedience to the Manual and its estoppel clauses, in order to save the students from the inevitable dangers inherent in a centralized organization, does not leave a vacuum, but through her writings and her example shows us the way for every forward step. " The reason why there is no vacuum when the estoppel clauses are obeyed as they are written in the Manual, is that the individual church member can move forward into the freedom of voluntary association.
Today, more than ever, this demonstration is needed for the benefit of the individual student and thus for the entire world. Working out our own salvation - our God-given freedom - is the demand of the hour, and as we do this we shall certainly find ourselves marching forward in spiritual organization." Consequently, we rise higher in "understanding" and "wisdom" (see Mis. 138:25-29 and S&H 116:1-3).
The much-needed guidance for action is given by our Pastor, the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Voluntary association provides experienced students with the essential foundation: studying together, deeply and with continuity, both these books "from beginning to end" (see S&H 559:19-21). In doing this, false encumbrances disappear, even as all that is not of God disappears. Thus the question of a vacuum does not arise, the working membership is kept together, and the true Christian Science movement reveals itself. Vital metaphysical points that arise during this study will reassure every earnest student that the destruction of church is impossible, for an idea in Mind is safe. This work leads every member to discover an ever clearer sense of church, for "We are not divided, All one body we" (see hymn 264, verse 2). From this unity arises each step forward in individual lives and in the world.
To find the courage for greater freedom in thought and action at this time, it is necessary to look carefully at the changes to the Church Manual that have occurred since Mrs. Eddy's passing, shown in Part 9, pp 9-11, and Exhibit 9F of the Compendium. It is essential to recognize and be aware of the effect that such interference has had. The last edition to contain an amendment made by our Leader was the 88th edition. The first 89th edition, dated 1911, was published after Mrs. Eddy's passing and her name did not appear in the list of Church Officers on page 21, contrary to the very first By-Law on page 25 of the Manual. That changes were made is a very difficult point to accept, for the faithful church member is convinced that this could never have happened. Unfortunately it has, and the documentation in the Compendium of these changes leaves no room for personal opinions. In particular, the addition of the words "and Branch Churches" on page 120 of the Manual, has done untold damage to the forward thrust of the movement, for church members all over the world throughout this century have gone through severe struggles to uphold what our Leader never asked them to uphold. Unknowingly they have been striving to be obedient to a Manual that our Leader never gave them. Such alterations contribute to the present dilemma in which the members of the church now find themselves.
Despite all these difficulties, practitioners who have removed themselves from the organization are experiencing that Christian Science practice is growing, for "neither red tape nor indignity hindered the divine process" (Un 11:23). It has been proved that the Bible and Science and Health and all Mrs. Eddy's writings are our teacher and that every faithful student is able to practise with assurance and success. In this, there is safety and blessing. Our Leader's requirement for absolute obedience to the Church Manual, as she left it for us, blesses all mankind, opens up the way forward, and helps every human being to discover his right to self-government and his ability to be self-governed (see S&H 106:6-11).
"FEED MY SHEEP"
Shepherd, show me how to go
O'er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow, -
How to feed Thy sheep:
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.
Thou wilt bind the stubborn will,
Wound the callous breast,
Make self-righteousness be still,
Break earth's stupid rest.
Strangers on a barren shore,
Lab'ring long and lone,
We would enter by the door,
And thou know'st Thine own.
So, when day grows dark and cold,
Tear or triumph harms,
Lead Thy lambkins to the fold,
Take them in Thine arms;
Feed the hungry, heal the heart,
Till the morning's beam;
White as wool, 'ere they depart,
Shepherd, wash them clean.
MARY BAKER EDDY