Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) discovered and founded Christian Science.
Raised in a Puritan home, she loved and studied the Bible throughout her life. Often ill growing up, she experimented unsuccessfully with multiple healthcare systems. A turning point occurred in 1866 when she had a severe fall. After three days her health was not improving, so she asked for her Bible and became completely well after reading two of Jesus’ healings. Throughout her life she’d been able to heal others, but now she began to understand the science behind the activity. Often asked how she was able to heal, Eddy explained and documented it in her primary work, Science and Health, and named her discovery Christian Science.
Eddy became a public speaker, teacher, and best-selling author. She founded a college for teaching Christian Science healing, an international church, and multiple publications, including the award-winning newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor.
Nowadays, The Church of Christ, Scientist, includes around 1,850 branch Churches and Societies. These are based in over 80 countries around the world. What’s more, there are several hundred groups of Christian Scientists in 130 countries, who are not allied with any particular branch, and who hold informal services from time to time.
Everyone’s invited to attend Church services and Christian Science lectures, and to visit the Christian Science Reading Rooms, anywhere in the world. Young people up to the age of 20 are also welcome at Sunday School.
These branches were all established as a result of the success of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (you’ll often hear this called The Christian Science Center). It is also known as The Mother Church, and it’s the administrative headquarters of the whole organisation. If you ever visit Back Bay neighbourhood in Boston, U.S.A., be sure to go see it - it’s certainly worth it. The church itself was built in the 1890s, and now adjoins the much larger domed extension which was added just after the turn of the 20th Century. If you don’t spot it from a distance, you’ll probably hear it - it boasts one of the world’s largest pipe organs, built in the 1950s. Nearby, you’ll find the 11-story building finished in the 1930s which provides the home for The Christian Science Publishing Society. Inside, it has a three-storey tall stained glass globe, called the Mapparium through which visitors can walk. The building is also home to The Christian Science Monitor (the international newspaper) and The Mary Eddy Baker Library. Altogether, these buildings give the Christian Science plaza on Huntington Avenue huge renown, and the spot is instantly recognisable to visitors. In fact thanks to its architecture, along with the Plaza’s Reflecting Pool and fountain, it’s one of Bostons most compelling attractions.
In terms of how we run our organisation, The Christian Science Board of Directors is a five-person executive entity created by the founder, Mary Baker Eddy, to administer the Christian Science Church. It’s governed under the terms defined in her version of a church constitution, called the Church Manual. This provides the guidelines for the overall structure of the Church. Branch churches are run democratically by its members.
Please note - the Church of Christ, Scientist, is not in any way connected with the Church of Scientology. For further details please read the article Scientology or Christian Science?.
The Scientific Statement of Being is a fundamental axiom of Christian Science. It explains the spiritual nature of man, which is central to our beliefs. It’s read aloud in churches (along with I John 3:1-3) and in Sunday schools at the end of every Sunday service:
“There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.”
From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 468: 8-15.