Christian Science Church--The First Church of Christian Science--discusses various aspects of religion and faith.

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The church I chose for my report is the First Church of Christ, Scientist. I interviewed a church member, Robert Jeffrey, who is a Christian Science practitioner, a former lector, and a Sunday school teacher of grades three through five. A Christian Science practitioner has devoted his or her entire life to the healing of the sick by praying for them and with them and cannot obtain any other profited occupation. Jeffrey makes himself open to phone calls every day of the year for patients yearning to be healed without medical exercise. A lector is one of sixty people chosen by the Mother Church in Boston to address people around the world about Christian Science. Jeffrey is the leader of the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Michigan. Every state has one and is chosen for a year. It is a public information office, and his duty is to notify and clarify to the public any misinterpretations of Christian Science they might encompass. He is clearly a devout Christian Scientist, and he was very generous with his time and information during the interview.

Robert Jeffery's contact is as follows:

Home phone: 248-350-0004

Church phone: 248-626-5369

a) Historical Background

Mary Baker Eddy, a Congregationalist and a devout Christian, was born in 1821 in New Hampshire. All members of her family were spiritual Bible students and Bible scholars. She was born a very unhealthy child and remained sick until she was forty-five years old. She had reached out for help with her illness by trying many medicines, but finally found relief in homeopathy, which Robert Jeffery referred to as "the cure of people without medicine," better known today as the Placida effect. Although doctors prescribed to her several drugs, she slowly began reducing the dosage because she was afraid of harmful side effects. Eddy then decided to take in drops of pure water, cutting her medicine intake completely. The more she decreased her intake, the better she became, and she was temporarily healed by drops of water.

In 1866, Eddy suffered through a near-death experience. When she was on her deathbed and everyone had given up on her, she reviewed one of the healings of Jesus in the New Testament. She finally discovered that Jesus was not only a miracle worker, but he was applying the laws of God when he healed the sick. This understanding instantly healed her and directed her to the realization that it is thought along with the power of the mind, body and spirit that heals. For the next three years, she searched the Bible for the laws of God applied to healing, or what Jeffery referred to as "the science of Christ." She began to protest against the idea that pain and suffering are God's will. After miraculously healing a patient dying of Pneumonia, the patient's doctor suggested to Eddy that she write a book about her theory and teachings. And so she wrote a book in 1875 titled Science and Health--With Key to the Scriptures, which is currently published in sixteen different languages including Braille. Eddy thought everyone would believe in her truth and accept it, regardless of one's religious tradition.

Although she had no intention of starting a new church, in 1879 the Mother Church in Boston became the first church of Christian Science. There are two thousand branches of Christian Science churches throughout the world today.

b) Important Practices

The Christian Science Church considers the sacrament of healing to be the most important. According to Jeffrey, healing is viewed by the Christian Science Church as "an outward sign of inward grace of not only understanding truth but also spiritualization of thought and living." They believe in Baptism, but they do not view it as submergence in water, rather submergence of spirit and a purification of thought. This is why they do not immerse people in water, instead they turn them to thought, allowing individuals to be Baptized many times a day. They do not have any rituals or customs...
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