Mary Baker Eddy, Her Early Life

and the Founding of Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy monument, Mt. Auburn Cemetery

Part I


Most people have heard of Christian Science founded by Mary Baker Eddy, especially if they were a part of the "I AM" Movement or the Summit Lighthouse. In the Handbook of Today's Religions the authors have Christian Science listed as a cult. The Encyclopedia Britannica has Christian Science as a religion: "Christian Science, religious denomination founded in the United States in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy." 

One well-known newspaper states: "It is a religion in the sense that there is a church—the Church of Christ, Scientist—that supports the practice of Christian Science throughout the world, and it is based on the Bible, especially the teachings of Jesus. However, it is also a system of spiritually-based health care that is studied and practiced by people of all backgrounds."

One Evangelical website states:

The idea of Christian Science came in 1866 when Mary said she discovered the "Science of metaphysical healing". She organized it in 1879 and it was founded on her book, "Science and Health (with Key to the Scriptures)" the last part of the title was added later. She claims to have received divine revelation in writing this book but not believing in a personal God; it makes one wonder how could she then get divine revelation? Mary simply took eastern mysticism (e.g., Hinduism) and pantheism (all is God) and called it Christian Science. The lure to draw people in was to call it "Christian" Science because people living in the United States even if they didn't like Christianity, still had strong roots to it.

In a future article I will focus on Christian Science whether it is a religion or cult but first one has to have an understanding of the individual who created this new belief system. Many, many books have been written by Christian Scientists, by dissenters of the Church and by those who claim to be impartial about Mary Baker Eddy. The subject of Eddy and the church she founded, what it was and is today, is very complex. Many who were close to Mary adored and worshiped her. They thought she was a representative of God. Many others who knew her, or lived with her, told of their experiences that presented a woman who was over-bearing, haughty, extremely critical and fearful. Those who tried to write impartial stories about her often leaned one way or the other, and could not stay impartial.

After reading several books both by her adoring subjects, as well as by former members who had bad experiences as a Christian Scientists, and many articles and news articles, as well as her biography, I feel for those who have tried to remain impartial as they attempted to write about her. Both sides were very convincing in their view of who Mary was. Some books claim that the "other" books are not completely factual, even with references provided. Therefore I tried to read as many views as possible to ferret out the truth, yet that proved difficult for several reasons, which I will speak more on later. I watched a video on Mary's life many years ago and I came away from it feeling very sorry for her life's experience, which they portrayed as filled with sorrow from the loss of loved ones, suffering from illnesses and bedridden for years, deserted by her second husband, experiencing lawsuits against her and in the end leading a quiet, lonely last twenty years of her life. There was much more to Eddy than those experiences, and depending on which biography you read, Mary's responses and actions surrounding these incidences changed.

In the footnotes there is a list of books I have read and studied on Mary Baker Eddy, and the church she founded. Those that have a link to them are available to read from my reference section of this website. Several books have been repressed by the church where they actually bought out the copyright and destroyed the printing plates. Some have entered public domain once again. The church got a bill passed through the Nixon administration to restore the copyrights on Eddy's books for another 75 years. The bill was unconstitutional and 15 years later legal proceedings challenging the bill, set in motion by Christian Scientists who opposed the Church Board, went through the U.S. Court of Appeals and they won with the court stating it was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.

I had a special interest in Mary Baker Eddy because when I first became a messenger for the "masters" one of the early dictations (messages) I took stated that the messenger taking the dictation (myself) was well capable of being a messenger because she was the embodiment of Mary Baker Eddy. I was embarrassed to put out such a dictation, but I did. I just as quickly archived those early dictations and that dictation never got published again.

I had heard of Christian Science through the Summit Lighthouse and knew of their dictations by Theosophia, Goddess of Wisdom, which they claimed was Mary Baker Eddy who supposedly ascended after that embodiment. Elizabeth Prophet only took three dictations that were said to be from the Goddess of Wisdom. Considering Elizabeth was a Christian Scientist in her youth it is surprising nothing in those dictations mentions anything about Christian Science. Elizabeth became a former Christian Scientist when she discovered Eddy's main belief "matter is not real" was not true. But where did that idea originate in Mary's crystallizing of the Science of Mind?

Mark Baker Glover Patterson Eddy's Youth
In Mary's youth she was the apple of her mother's eye, the youngest of six children. Mary told the story several times that her mother felt the babe in her womb (Mary) was holy and consecrated. Her father, Mark, was the definite ruling force in the Baker home. Mark Baker's community saw him as very strong willed, domineering, had life-long quarrels with his family, and carried extreme views on religion and politics which caused arguments and his lording over other church members, bringing charges against them if he believed they were not fulfilling their obligations. Mary only had one thing to say about her father's character in her biography Retrospect and Introspect, and that was "My father possessed a strong intellect and an iron will." In regards to his religious beliefs she said, "My father's relentless theology emphasized belief in a final judgment day, in the danger of endless punishment, and in a Jehovah merciless towards unbelievers..."

As an infant Mary was hard to pacify and would cry a lot. As a child she was known for having fits, convulsive attacks of a hysterical nature. She was diagnosed on various occasions as suffering from such things as spinal irritation, neuralgia, dyspepsia, and ulcers. Historians and critics call her childhood symptoms psychosomatic.

Some have cited that she had a histrionic personality disorder, exhibiting an exaggerated display of emotions instigated by the need to have excessive attention or to avoid work. Her seizures usually following some thwarting of her desires. As a result, it became easier for the Baker family to allow Mary her own way than to try and oppose her. In The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy: The Rise and Fall of Christian Science by Martin Gardner, he describes Mary's fits, writing that Mary quarreled with her father because she would not go along with his fundamentalist doctrines. Yet Mary's fits began before she even started clashing with her father's will, they began in infancy.

I did not wonder at why Mary's family gave in to her demands in the attempt to avoid her traumatic fits, because I experienced my youngest child getting her way as well. When you are going through an ordeal that no personal action seems to eliminate, and any opposition of wills seems to aggravate, you slowly adapt your behavior to avoid the traumatic situations, eventually allowing the child to have their way. I was reprimanded by a counselor for my behavior with my daughter. It is easy for someone outside the situation to judge another, believing they could handle the situation better, especially a psychologist who is trained on human behavior. Many books and theories have abounded on childrearing, some with fantastical ideas about children's minds and emotional makeup, like Freud's, which parents would take up to the detriment of their children and family lives.

One biography on Eddy wrote the family doctor described Mary's fits as “hysteria mixed with bad temper.” During an attack Mary would scream and writhe on the floor, and sometimes go into a cataleptic state lasting for hours. Only rocking in a cradle pacified her. Sometimes the family thought she was dying and would send for the doctor. Sometimes she was given a shot of morphine. Although these episodes receded in her teens, she occasionally had them all her life. Later in life one of her staff found her lying rigid with foam on her lips.

As Georgine Milmine, (later it was revealed Willa Cather was the true author) described in her book The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy, while researching for her book she went to Mary's hometown and interviewed those who knew her. Mary's schoolmates and neighbors described her as always dressing fashionably, having a superior air, and that she loved to impress people using big words and telling stories about herself and family. She did not get much schooling because her father kept her home, and she was ill a lot, but she said she read a lot of her older brother's books.

Mary married for the first time when she was twenty-two, to George Washington Glover. In seven months he contracted yellow fever and died, leaving Mary with child. Mary later told her church that he was wealthy and owned slaves and she freed them because she did not believe in slavery. Researchers have found no slaves listed in the extant records of George Glover’s estate. Mary's supporters theorize that possible George used hired slaves and that is why they were not a part of his estate records. They also state that Mr. Glover was a successful contractor at the time of his death in 1844. He was a member of St. Andrews Lodge No. 10 and of Union Chapter No. 3 of Royal Arch Masons. Robert Peel, who was a Christian Scientist for 70 years, wrote a three-volume biography on Eddy, which the Church endorses as the official biography on her life. Peel wrote in one of his volumes that he found an entry in the records of the Masonic lodge to which Glover belonged to which described him at the time of his death as “in indigent circumstances", contradicting Mary's comments to her congregation that her husband was wealthy. Caroline Fraser, in her book God's Perfect Child, said Mary was an unapologetic revisionist of her own history. Mary wrote in her biography Retrospection and Introspection, "Mere historic incidents and personal events are frivolous and of no moment..."

In a journal article by Steven Stein, Retrospection and Introspection: The Gospel According to Mary Baker Eddy, he explains her biography, Retrospection and Introspection, was written within a scriptural framework in line with the Gospel stories of Mary and Jesus. The parallels are there from chapter to chapter. If it was not intentionally written to compare her life to Jesus’ it still supported the belief to her following that she was God’s gift to humanity. It also personally gave meaning to her life and what she experienced with suffering so many losses and illnesses the first half of her life.

The Suppression of the Truth
Mrs. Eddy's personal secretary for the last two years of her life was Adam Dickey. She made him promise to write down his experiences he witnessed with Mary. He kept a diary of many of his experiences and after her death he began writing a book with the intent to share what he experienced with her. He never finished it. He died seventeen years after Mary. His widow went ahead and published his book called, Memoirs of Mary Baker Eddy. She distributed it to fellow Christian Scientists. In it he explains Mary asked him, ""will you promise me that you will write a history of what has transpired in your experiences with me, and say that I was mentally murdered?"

For Mrs. Dickey's efforts to fulfill this request, the church Board of Directors rebuked her. While not doubting the accuracy of Dickey's claims they said these revelations about Eddy’s private life would fall into the hands of the enemies, details about her unhealed illnesses and supernatural doings. They wrote to everyone who received a copy and requested the book be returned to them. To understand their actions is to understand the control Christian Science had on their members, a control that was established first by Mary Baker Eddy and outlined in her Manual of the Mother Church published in 1895. The Board concluded that Dickey's book violated the Manual bylaw against "publications unjust".

It is understandable that Eddy wanted to keep the Church under her control because she believed her teachings as outlined in her book Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures, first published in 1875, was the Comforter promised in Revelation Twelve. Mrs. Eddy understood herself to be the one chosen of God to bring the promised Comforter to the world, and therefore, the revelator of Christ Truth in this age. She herself was not the Second Coming of Christ, she said, but her teachings—that she alone had revealed to the world—was the fulfillment of the Second Coming.

Bliss Knapp, son of two of Eddy’s loyal followers and one of Eddy's best healers, Ira and Flavia Knapp, was himself a Christian Science practitioner, teacher, and lecturer for several decades. He was also severely chastised by the Board in 1948 for writing a book, The Destiny of the Mother Church, which contains a biography of his parents and a first-hand account of the establishment of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. What was his crime? He shared the belief of his parents, and Mary Baker Eddy's, that she was the woman referred to in Revelation Twelve. But there was a controversy in this belief. During a libel suit in 1892 Ira Knapp had been serving as chairman of the Christian Science Board of Directors and was called to the witness stand where he denied that Eddy ever taught this interpretation herself. The problem was, she eluded to it in the indirect way she wrote and talked about her science discovery. Those closest to her knew what she believed about herself. The Church believed that to have this fact of Mrs. Eddy being deified and "up there" equal to Jesus Christ, would meet with universal condemnation of her and her church. The Board and the Church would never condone this as their official view.

Delving Into Spiritualism
It is hard to determine when Mary first began to formulate the idea that she was special because she would alter the facts of her past, whether intentional to make a better presentation of her "revelation", or whether she did not remember correctly, no one can determine except where testimonies from other individuals around her refute her facts about her past. After Mary's first husband died she returned to live in her family home, penniless, and pregnant, where she gave birth to her only child, a son. She named him George. After her son’s birth Mrs. Glover began to exhibit a chronic state of invalidism, so much so that she could not nurse her son. He was given to a woman to nurse who had lost one of her twins.

Mrs. Glover began having attacks of hysteria again, and often her father would rock her in his arms like a child to calm her. When the strain grew to much for the Bakers they sent Mary to her sisters. At either her father's house or her sisters, the only way the family could sooth her to help her sleep was with rocking. There, the rocking continued, and sometimes morphine was given, but she would react violently to that and those around her would be afraid she would harm herself. The slightest noise would disturb her. Eventually, her sister's husband built a cradle for her with a rocking chair attached, so she could be rocked while someone sat in the chair. Then a swing was built in her room. Some of the boys in neighborhood would get paid to rock her. Neighbors and others would take care of her son. Sometimes when all else failed to calm the overwrought nervous Mary, a mesmerist was called in. He could always sooth her because she was highly susceptible to mesmerism influence. Mesmerism was becoming popular with Charles Poyen's visit to New England in 1836, then in 1848 another New Englander was dabbling in mesmerism and wrote articles in the newspapers on his observations, so most New Englanders were familiar with the practice.

Sometimes Mrs. Glover would spontaneously fall into a trance, even in the middle of social calls, so the mesmerist decided to put her in trances, or hypnotize her, to see if she could find hidden or lost objects. She was not very good at that. Spiritualism was also finding its way into their local lives. Mrs. Glover delved into taking messages herself and became a writing medium, and having séances in her home.

Mary's mother died in 1849 and her father began looking for a new wife. After he remarried a year later, when little George was about seven, it was arranged that he should live permanently with Mary's former servant. Her father did not want George around, and her sister had her hands full with her own children and Mary. Some relate the story that Mary willingly gave up her son. Mary herself said she did not. Nevertheless, she could not take care of him with her health and nervousness and sensitivity to noise, and other family members were no longer willing to be burdened.

Then in 1853 Mary married Daniel Patterson, an itinerant dentist. She spent most of her first thirteen years married to him continuing her invalidism. When the Pattersons moved to an isolated place in the mountains, Mary only had her housekeeper around to take care of her while Mr. Patterson was away working. Still having her attacks of hysteria and sensitivity to noises when her husband was home he sometimes was even sent out to kill the frogs. One time while he was away Mrs. Patterson was depressed and went into one of her hysterics and a neighbor was called. They were told she was dying and Mary requested to send for her husband. The neighbor traveled all night in wintry weather to find Mr. Patterson. When he returned Mary was up and cheerful. Consequently, the community around Mrs. Patterson began to lose their patience with their demanding neighbor and her husband became much the wiser that things were not as serious as they seemed. Many years later, when the dedication of the Christian Science Church was occurring in Concord, N. H. (Concord is only forty miles from this community where Mary had lived), a correspondent for the area wrote in the paper:

With the announcement of the dedication of the Christian Science Church at Concord, the gift of Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy, the thoughts of many of the older residents have turned back to the time when Mrs. Eddy, as the wife of Daniel Patterson, lived in this place. These people remember the woman at that time as one who carried herself above her fellows. With no stretch of the imagination they remember her ungovernable temper and hysterical ways, and particularly well do they remember the night ride of one of the citizens who went for her husband to calm her in one of her unreasonable moods. The Mrs. Eddy of to-day is not the Mrs. Patterson of then, for this is a sort of Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll case, and the woman is now credited with many charitable and kindly acts.

Meeting Phineas Quimby
The Pattersons had to move a lot, as money was not always there to pay his bills, yet when Mr. Patterson heard of a new healer, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a mesmerist, was coming to Concord to heal the sick and cure those who were incurable, with longstanding illnesses, he wrote to Quimby to please see his wife for a spinal disease. Dr. Quimby did not make it to Concord so Mrs. Patterson eventually went to him in Portland. He was 62 when he first began to work on her and she immediately had results with her spinal affliction disappearing. She also complained to Quimby of stomach trouble, backache, and constipation.

Dr. Quimby was not a real doctor, he had no university degree. His healing he learned from Poyen. He gave no drugs or remedies, did not go into trances or hypnotize his patients, or even use mesmerism (aka animal magnetism) any longer after he discovered his new science of healing. He healed only with his mind. After years of working with a clairvoyant Quimby discovered that the clairvoyant was not seeing the diseases in others that he diagnosed, but rather he would reproduce what was in the sick person's mind, their belief about themselves, or their doctor's diagnosis. Quimby also discovered that no matter the remedy given, as long as people believed the remedy was the cure, they would be cured. In other words, the placebo effect. If people believe something is going to relieve them of pain, heal them, or give them something they need, their minds can create the effect even without any real substance involved.

There began Quimby's science of mind discovery, where he dropped mesmerism and his clairvoyant, and set up practice treating thousands with great success. After he would quietly do his mind focus work, and talking to the patient he he would sometimes dip his hands in water and rub the patient's head. Quimby believed, without a doubt, that he had solved the riddle of life, and that the world would ultimately accept this healing method, just as Mary Baker Eddy believed about her healing methods in the following years after meeting Quimby. She was obsessed with her new method that at first she gave credit to Quimby for, but after he died three years after meeting him, she eventually took credit for all the teachings he taught her as her own discovery from God.

Quimby would talk endlessly about his doctrine, "the truth", as he called it, and when certain patients would come who had the same keen interest, he was delighted to share. Mrs. Patterson had a very keen interest. She regularly visited him while staying at a boarding house for three weeks, and they talked about healing methods and the power of the mind frequently. When she returned home she found some of her symptoms returning and would request to Quimby that he give her "absent treatment", especially if she felt a "spell" coming on. He would send her positive thoughts and healing affirmations. She believed he visited her in his "omnipresence", but in order to maintain her healing she became co-dependent upon Quimby.

Mrs. Patterson again visited Quimby in Portland in 1864, but this time she spent a couple of months and spent most every available afternoon Quimby had with him, and copying his manuscripts. Quimby began to write his thoughts down around 1859. His work was published posthumously as The Quimby Manuscripts in 1921. He would generously allow his patients to copy his essays, and Mary copied his "Questions and Answers". In the years that followed she taught from them, allowed her students to copy them (although she had an agreement with them that there was a huge fine if they gave them to anyone else) and included his essays in her Science and Health book. Plagiarizing Quimby's work as her own ideas became an ongoing issue starting around 1883, where Eddy was accused of having based Christian Science on his work.

According to The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy, Quimby was a prolific writer on many subjects.

He wrote copiously on Religion, Disease, Spiritualism," Scientific Interpretations of Various Parts of the Scriptures," Clairvoyance," The Process of Sickness,"" Relation of God to Man," Music, Science, Error, Truth, Happiness, Wisdom," The Other World," "Curing the Sick," and dozens of other topics. He gave all his patients access to these manuscripts, and permitted all who wished to make copies, overjoyed whenever he found one interested enough to do this.

Quimby called his "Truth" discovery the "Science of Health," or "The Science of Health and Happiness", and occasionally described it as " Christian Science." Sometimes it was "Science of Christ." Quimby wasn't interested in forming a religion of his discovery, but he believed that Christ's mission was largely to the sick; and that he had rediscovered that method. Quimby also saw Christ as a Principle separate from the man Jesus. In 1875 Eddy published Science and Health, which described her theories about religion based on the Bible with some of Dr. Quimby’s ideas. Although she later said that God was the author and that she was only the writer and that Quimby was a mesmerist and did not have the true healing method, she did not believe this way for many years prior. 

Quimby's ideas are summarized in The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy. Here is where we see Mary Baker Eddy's teachings in Christian Science that were modified to be her own teaching taken from Quimby's manuscripts.

Quimby believed that In every individual there were two persons. The first was the Truth, Goodness, and Wisdom into which he had been naturally born. In this condition he was the child of God, the embodiment of Divine Love and Divine Principle. This man had no flesh, no bones, and no blood; he did not breathe, eat, or sleep. He could never sin, never become sick, never die. He knew nothing of matter, or of the physical senses; he was simply Spirit, Wisdom, Principle, Truth, Mind, Science. This was the "Scientific Man." This first person was, so to speak, encrusted in another man, formed of matter, sense, and all the accumulated " errors " of time. This man had what Quimby called "Knowledge" that is, the ideas heaped up by the human mind. According to Quimby, this second man held the first, or truly Scientific man, in bondage. The bonds consisted of false human beliefs. The idea, above all, which held him enthralled, was that of Disease. The man of Science knew nothing of sickness. The man of Ignorance, however, consciously and unconsciously, had been impregnated for centuries with this belief. His whole life, from earliest infancy, was encompassed with suggestions of this kind."Knowledge" that is, the ideas heaped up by the human mind. According to Quimby, this second man held the first, or truly Scientific man, in bondage. The bonds consisted of false human beliefs. The idea, above all, which held him enthralled, was that of Disease. The man of Science knew nothing of sickness.

Quimby taught Mrs. Patterson that disease was merely an "error," created by man, not God, and that health was the true and scientific state. In The Quimby Manuscripts by he states

The basis of Dr. Quimby's theory is that there is no intelligence, no power or action in matter of itself, that the spiritual world to which our eyes are closed by ignorance or unbelief is the real world, that in it lie all the causes for every effect visible in the natural world, and that if this spiritual life can be revealed to us, in other words if we can understand ourselves, we shall then have our happiness or misery in our own hands; and of course much of the suffering of the world will be done away with.

Mrs. Patterson began to experiment with the Quimby method helping others with some success while staying with different people. Meanwhile, her husband, a known philanderer, was spending more time away from home and their marriage. Wherever Mary Patterson stayed she would initially charm her hosts and many authors shared that she would change personalities like a Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She never did chores wherever she stayed, but always had people waiting on her, sometimes even her hosts. While staying with a Mrs. Crosby, a fellow patient of Quimby's, the two ladies delved into spiritualism. Mrs. Patterson's brother had died of kidney failure a few years before her first husband died. She had adored him and would often talk about him, when one day the two ladies were together when Mary claimed she was her brother's "earthly medium" and he wanted to communicate to Mrs. Crosby that he was her guardian spirit. Mary would channel him and give messages to Mrs. Crosby. She would go into a trance, take on a mannish voice, and not remember anything she said. Messages continued for awhile from "her brother" after she left Mrs. Crosby.

Interestingly, Mrs. Eddy did not want her past to come to light, as we sometimes don't. In her Miscellaneous Writings, Chapter 4, Am I a spiritualist? Mrs. Eddy answers, "I am not, and never was. I understand the impossibility of intercommunion between the so-called dead and living." She may not have considered herself a spiritualist, but as cited here, delving into spiritualism, channeling her dead brother, and giving séances where you contact the dead, are all spiritualist practices.

Meanwhile, Quimby who had suffered from an abdominal tumor for years, retired in 1865. He wanted to devote the rest of his life to writing, but he instead grew more feeble and he felt "error" was taking control of his mind and thus grew weaker to heal himself. He died the following year. Just a few months earlier, Mary's father had died. She had returned to stay with her husband in Lynn, who was doing well with his dentistry there, and he found her a place to live. But that was short lived. Within six months Mr. Patterson deserted her, stating to friends he could no longer live with her (seven years later she filed for divorce). Subsequently, she was unable to pay her rent with a family she was staying with, but refused to leave. They had to evict her.

The Fall on the Ice
Just two weeks after Quimby's death Mary fell on the ice, striking her head and injuring her neck. This accident became a crucial point of contention between those who were loyal to Quimby, his manuscripts and discoveries, and Christian Scientists. The reason for the disputes that followed Mary for the rest of her life was that she wrote in Science and Health: Keys to the Scriptures, that she healed herself from that accident and God gave her the key to healing. She claimed it was the moment of the birth of Christian Science and happened in 1866.

However, her story did not remain the same in her published articles and teaching classes over the years, she would either change the facts, embellishing on them in order to raise herself up as having been God taught and inspired, or she simply forgot when the ideas she claimed were direct revelations from God happened. Whatever the reasons, eventually letters came forth over the years to prove that what she claimed was not true, and books were written detailing the facts. Yet her following believed what she wrote and said, how could they not? Then any books or claims that did not coincide with the established accepted facts that glorified Eddy into the "chosen one" were easily quashed by the powers to be in the Church and letter writing campaigns that was an established method of putting down any force that opposed their ideas. Stealing books from libraries, banning going to bookstores that sold any "forbidden" books, thereby effectively boycotting them and pressuring them to return "unauthorized" books on Eddy to their suppliers was rife. Making friends of politicians and government authorities, and newspapers would help them get bills passed and keep negative articles about the Church and Mary Baker Eddy to a minimum.

Mrs. Patterson wrote to the man she believed would take up Quimby's mantle, a Mr. Julius Dresser, two weeks after fell on the ice stating saying that she had fallen, hurt her back, and was told she would never walk again, but she did get up two days later, she wrote him. She was writing because she feared that she was being aggressively held by other's negative mental thoughts so that her old affliction of spinal affection was returning, and could he help her? Mr. Dresser refused because he said he was not a healer.

Five years later she wrote a letter to a student of her stating that "Dr. Gushing of this city pronounced my injury incurable and that I could not survive three days because of it, when on the third day I rose from my bed and to the utter confusion of all I commenced my usual avocations and notwithstanding displacements, etc., I regained the natural position and functions of the body."

Dr. Cushing, a homeopathic doctor, wrote a long affidavit 40 years later that was published first in the newspaper Union, of Springfield, Mass., and then in Milmine's book. In brief, he stated that Mrs. Patterson was semi-conscious and semi-hysterical when he was called to tend her, complaining of severe pain in her head and neck. He gave her remedies every fifteen minutes and throughout the night when not sleeping. In the morning she wanted to go home, so he gave a very small dose of morphine to ease the pain in moving her. She fell asleep and did not awake until afternoon, she being highly sensitive to morphine, which surprised him very much that it knocked her out. He continued giving her remedies and he visited, according to his records, several more times, and in two weeks she was up and about normally. He stated that he never declared her case was hopeless, (not something a qualified homeopathic doctor would do) or that she would never walk again. She also never stated to him that she had miraculously cured herself. The next month his records indicate that he visited her to treat her for a bad cough three more times and that was the last time he ever treated her.

The Birth of Christian Science and the Wandering Years
When it came to fixing the date of the birth of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy had written in 1883 to the Boston Post that she had "laid the foundations of mental healing" in 1853, (the year she married Daniel Patterson) when she was practicing homeopathy.  Eddy first linked the fall in Lynn to Christian Science in 1871, in a letter to a prospective student: In the first edition of Science and Health (1875), she wrote that she had "made our first discovery that science mentally applied would heal the sick" in 1864, while she was seeing Quimby. In later additions she said she discovered the Science of Metaphysical Healing, and named it Christian Science, in 1866. In 1887, Mrs. Eddy wrote in her Christian Science Journal that "as long ago as 1844 (the year her first husband died) I was convinced that the mortal mind produced all disease." Whether she was convinced her not, she held no sway over changing her own mental diseases that continued unabated over the subsequent years.

For the next three years after Mary returned to being "Mrs. Glover" she spent a tragic time wandering from home to home, wearing out her welcome after her charms lost effect. She later described this period in Science and Health as her "withdrawal from society". The next house she stayed for a few months they did séances together, and she went into trances. The next home she was asked to move very quickly. Another woman's home she stayed at, the woman took care of her until she started having "spells" and started ranting at the woman using violent language, and for no reason. She was asked to leave but refused to pay her back rent.

The next house she stayed out she left before she wore out her welcome and moved in with a Mr. and Mrs. Crafts where she promised to teach them the Quimby method in exchange for board. Mr. Craft then took the title of "doctor" and set up practice. The relationship between Mr. Craft and Mrs. Glover was going on so well Mrs. Craft felt she was the outcast and should leave the marriage. When Mr. Craft discovered her thoughts, he asked Mrs. Glover to leave and soon after gave up his healing practice.

Mrs. Glover then went to a Mrs. Webster who was known to have a great interest in séances, and Mrs. Glover said a spirit guided her to her house and she asked if she could stay for the night. She stayed longer, much to Mr. Webster's objections when he returned. Mrs. Webster would not accept Quimby's teachings, but they got along. Then Mrs. Webster's son-in-law came and told Mrs. Glover she must leave, something he needed to do frequently as Mrs. Webster would take in broken-down spiritualists in need of homes. Mrs. Glover had words with them about leaving and then was abruptly put out in the street, at night, and in the rain. Another visitor at the home took pity on her and led her to another spiritualist's home who was glad to have a guest and in exchange be taught this new "faith-heaing". Mary Glover had made a name for herself by advertising her healing, and all spiritualists in the area knew of her. While there she was contacted by a Mrs. Wentworth who wanted to learn this new method. She was willing to pay Mrs. Glover $300 and for her to use it in exchange for room and board. She told Mrs. Wentworth she learned this method from Dr. Quimby and he made her promise to teach it to two other people before she died.

The relationship went well for two years. Mrs. Wentworth adored Mrs. Glover and called her "a saint." The written instructions given to Mrs. Wentworth and called The Science of Man, was later found to be identical in content with the Quimby 1862 manuscript his family had acquired after his death. Included in Mrs. Glover copy was a preface by her and a section titled "Questions by Patients, Answers by Dr. Quimby". Mrs. Glover also taught to rub the patient's head as Quimby did. Things started to sour between the Wentworths and Mrs. Glover when she started asking for money to print her manuscript and didn't get it.

When Mrs. Glover wasn't getting her way she began to have angry outbursts and Mrs. Wentworth became afraid. She was asked to leave several times but did not, until one day she left when they were not at home. It took them days to discover that she was not behind her locked door. Horace Wentworth, the Wentworths’ son, would later claim in an affidavit that she had retaliated against them by destroying her bedroom, ripping up the carpets and shredding the featherbed and leaving a shovelful of smoldering coals in the closet, which thankfully did not catch fire. The official approved biography of the Church gave another view of the story. They wrote that Mr. Wentworth escorted Mrs. Glover to the train station and that the children's shoes torn up the floor matting. As far as the ashes in the closet? They were put there as part of the rubbish to be taken outside.

It was now 1870 and Mrs. Glover was fifty years old. It was during this period of turmoil in her life that she had written Science and Health. She claimed it was dictated by God, while in her outer world conflict and sickness, spells and angry outbursts abounded. What differed from the Quimby manuscripts was the addition of the denial of matter, the entire world, including man, as having no reality.

Mary Glover returned to one of her previous stays with a spiritualist and there she began a tutoring relationship with a young man who was then twenty-one, a Richard Kennedy, who had also stayed at the Webster home when she was there and with whom she had continued corresponding with since. While together at the Webster's, Mary Glover had been teaching him the Quimby method and he was very endeared to her. They agreed to forge a partnership and a contract was formed in 1870 in which Kennedy would pay her $1,000 for instruction over the next two years and then she was to receive half of all the money he made from practicing.

After Kennedy started practicing Mary Glover began advertising as a teacher of healing. At first her tuition began at $100, then it was raised to $300. The contract was tough. Those wishing to go into the practice of healing would continue to pay either 10 percent of what they subsequently earned, or a lump sum of $1,000. Three hundred dollars was “almost one-third of the average annual income of a Lynn shoe worker, shoemaking the main industry of the town Mary Glover lived in. These excessive demands resulted in some of her students demanding the refund of their tuition money; a few actually took her to court to obtain it, and Mrs. Glover actually took a student to court to get her money she believed owed to her.

Eventually Mary Glover would turn on Kennedy, who became quite successful with his healing practice, and make him her enemy when he would not yield to her ways. She was involved in many lawsuits, several she filed, as well as several filed against her. A church was founded and many more writings and "science" truths would be published by Mrs. Eddy. Eventually, the textbook, Science and Health the main teachings of Christian Science, would go through 432 editions. Mary was constantly editing "God's word" that she had received and recorded in the first edition of Science and Health. The Keys to the Scripture, Mary Baker Eddy said, came from the revelation of God to her, and was the Comforter that would restore the world to the truth that had gone awry beginning with Adam when matter became man's "reality". This was error. There is no matter, sin, disease or death, she wrote and taught. Many other strange interpretations of the Bible were proclaimed as Christian Science.

Christian Science was growing rapidly and people were turning to this new method of healing that they claimed had miraculous results, far better than the doctors of the day who lost many patients. All this and more will be discussed in the next part of Mary Baker Eddy and the Founding of Christian Science.


Books found in Reference Section and links to free online reading:

  1. Caroline Fraser, God's Perfect Child, Metropolitan Books,  The New York Times, August 1999.
  2. Georgine Milmine/Willa Cather, The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science, Doubleday Publishing Co., 1909. 
  3. Adam H. Dickey, Memoirs of Mary Baker Eddy, The Bookmark, Santa Clarita, California, 2002.
  4. Bliss Knapp, The Destiny of the Mother Church, The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1991.
  5. Historical Facts Regarding Mary Baker Eddy's Student, Bliss Knap
  6. Martin Gardner, The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy, Prometheus Books, 1993.
  7. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, edited by Horatio W. Dresser, with comments, The Quimby Manuscripts, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1921.
  8. Sibyl Wilbur, Life of Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science Publishing Society, 1938.
  9. Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896.
  10. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health: With Key to the Scriptures, Christian Science Publishing Society, 1875 edition.
  11. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health: With Key to the Scriptures, Christian Science Publishing Society, 1910 and last edition.
  12. Mary Baker Eddy, Essays and Other Notes, Rare Book Company, Freehold, NJ.
  13. Mary Baker Eddy, Retrospect and Introspect, 1891.