The most fervent followers of the religion believe that illness is the result of an incorrect belief about oneself or others in relation to God. Consequently, any problem with the human body should be healed by changing one’s thoughts. Easier said than done. When I grew up, my family still went to doctors but we didn’t mention that at church. I must have been in junior high when one of my Sunday School teachers asked how we would adjust our thinking to heal someone who believed he had a heart condition. I can’t remember what we came up with, but it was probably something like: Realize that the person was the image and likeness of God and that even his heart had to reflect perfection. Later that teacher died of a heart attack on the golf course.
I’ve talked to many former Christian Scientists and we all have known people who’ve passed away because of their refusal to use medicine. It seems a shame now, but wasn’t so much when the religion was invented in the late 1800s. My father put it in perspective. At that time would you have been better to try to heal illness, or to go to a hospital? Despite the advances of modern medicine, I still see some truth in the religion. The sympathetic nervous system influences many organs, including the heart, lungs, stomach, and intestines. Christian Science says to change one’s thinking to a more positive outlook in order to make the body better. Who says that can’t help?
I lapsed in my fervor when I went to college. There was an on-campus Christian Science organization called Org at Stanford. Two of the members were John Ehrlichman’s sons. Ehrlichman was one of Nixon’s chief advisors. H.R. Haldeman was Nixon’s chief of staff and also a Christian Scientist. Both men went to prison because of Watergate.