Mary Baker Eddy

 

1821 - 1910

The discoverer of the divine Principle of scientific mental healing. 

Mary Baker Eddy was born on a homestead in New England, USA. Her discovery of what she termed "Christian Science," was made many years later, in 1866, at the moment of a great personal trial, when apparently near death, due to injuries caused by a fall on an icy street. In moments of deep spiritual intimacy with God, contemplating the nature of Jesus' work of Christ-healing, she found herself suddenly well. She stepped off what would have been her death bed and set out to discover the science of the divine Principle that had healed her.

For nine years after her discovery, she worked to document her unfolding discovery. The work became the Christian Science textbook, first published in 1875. The work was published as two volumes, under the title Science and Health, for the first volume, and Key to the Scriptures for the second volume. (the two volumes are combined in a single book)

During the early years she also taught her science in her own school of Christian Science Mind-healing, which she started with one student 1967 (one year after her initial discovery).

Later, in 1881, she opened the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, chartered for medical purposes, in which she taught over 4000 students. 

In the background to all this, in 1879 she extended the call to her followers to organize a church. 

To organize a church designed to commemorate
the word and works of our Master, which
should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost
element of healing.

Mrs. Eddy was appointed on the committee to
draft the
Tenets of The Mother Church - the chief
corner stone whereof is, that Christian Science, as
taught and demonstrated by our Master, casts out
error, heals the sick, and restores the lost Israel: 
for "the stone which the builders rejected, the same
is become the head of the corner."

The charter for the Church was obtained June,
1879, and the same month the members, twenty-six
in number, extended a call to Mary Baker Eddy
to become their pastor. She accepted the call,
and was ordained A. D. 1881.... (Man. Historic Sketch)

The term Mother Church appears to have been first used in obtaining the charter of the first Christian Science church in 1879, as noted above. The term "Mother" appears to be built on a flood of healing that resulted from Mary Baker Eddy's early work on the pulpit, before founding her own church. 

See: Retrospection and Introspection 

The term Mother Church appears to be closely linked to the reinstitution of the process of Christ healing as had been previously demonstrated by the Master, the historic 'Mother' of the scientific process of divine healing. The early identification of the Christian Science church as "The Mother Church" may also have a still deeper root, referring to God as the 'Mother' of us all, as she states in her "spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer," expanding the sense of "Our Father..." to "Our Father-Mother God..." The mothering principle the unfolds the divine promise into fruition appeared to be important to her, as this promise was being fulfilled in healing.

In 1889, Mary Baker Eddy closed her College in order to be able to devote the next two years of her time to a major revision of Science and Health, which she published in 1891. Then, in the following year, she moved that the church that had been chartered in 1879 be dissolved and be reorganized, which happened in late summer.

On the twenty-third day of September, 1892, at
the request of Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, twelve
of her students and Church members met and reorganized,
under her jurisdiction, the Christian
Science Church and named it, THE FIRST CHURCH
OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST. (as above)

In the immediate timeframe after the original Mother Church had been reorganized in 1892, operating now under its new legal title, THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, two mayor major efforts were undertaken by her. One was the completion of her metaphorical infrastructure for the Mother Church in the form of an illustrated poem of 16 verses, with the title, Christ and Christmas. The book was published in 1893. 

The second major effort in this timeframe was for the construction of the first Mother Church edifice that gave her church its own edifice (now known as the Original edifice). The call for laying the cornerstone was made by Mary Baker Eddy in September 1893. The enormous construction effort, which was completed in a year and a half, furnished a grand edifice, seating 900. The construction was completed on the last day of 1894. The edifice was dedicated in January 1975. The edifice was constructed on a triangular plot, which may have been done intentionally, since the triangle is geometric construct that has no opposite sides.

See: The triangular plot for the Mother Church edifices

In the same year in which the edifice as dedicated, in 1895, the Manual of the Mother Church was published. This was also the year when Mary Baker Eddy declined the call to serve the new church as its pastor, when she suggested the title of "Pastor Emeritus" instead, saying that she was already speaking to each one in the field through her textbook. 

Shortly thereafter, in 1889, she reopened her College as an auxiliary to her church, with herself remaining as its President, which remains in perpetuity.

In the same year, in 1898, the first standardized Christian Science Bible Lessons were initiated.

The next major burst of unfolding began in 1901, in the aftermath of the assassination of President McKinley. 

In this timeframe a second major revision of the textbook was undertaken, which among other changes, brought the chapters into their direct sequential relationship with the Christ and Christmas sequence. The revision was completed in 1902. 

In the same year a suggestion was put forward to construct a larger edifice for The Mother Church, so as to accommodate all who would come on Communion Sunday. The result of it became Extension edifice, seating 5000, which she referred to as a "temple." Over 30,000 came to the dedication of the magnificent, great temple of Christian Science, on June 10, 1906. 

Mary Baker Eddy states in the preface of her textbook, that until precisely one year after the dedication date, she had never read the textbook throughout consecutively in order to "elucidate her idealism." At the beginning of the year following this event, in her 86th year, she moved her entire household to Boston in order to be able to start the Christian Science Monitor, the daily newspaper designed with the mission to bless all mankind and to injure none.

Mary Baker Eddy passed on, on December 10, 1910. At this point the world was still at peace.

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Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, BC, Canada - 2010 - public domain - Rolf A. F. Witzsche