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At the beginning of the twentieth century, how many Christian Scientists believed that someday Mary Baker Eddy would die? "By universal consent, mortal belief has constituted itself a law to bind mortals to sickness, sin, and death. This customary belief is misnamed material law, and the individual who upholds it is mistaken in theory and in practice" (SH 229:15). Malpractice is practicing a mistake. "Jesus restored Lazarus by the understanding that Lazarus had never died, not by an admission that his body had died and then lived again" (SH 75:13). Jesus practiced within the framework of divine law.


No Malpractice. SECT. 8. Members will not intentionally or knowingly mentally malpractise, inasmuch as Christian Science can only be practised according to the Golden Rule: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." (Matt. 7:12)

A member of The Mother Church who mentally malpractises upon or treats our Leader or her staff without her or their consent shall be disciplined, and a second offense as aforesaid shall cause the name of said member to be dropped forever from The Mother Church. (Man 42:19)

A believer in Christian Science may be ignorant of his error and, therefore, unwittingly malpractice. Once he is admonished for this mistake, however, he is no longer ignorant. Any further infraction is literally an admission that his declaration of being a believer is a lie. "They who sin must suffer" (SH 37:2).
  Departure from Tenets. SECTION 1. If a member of this Church shall depart from the Tenets and be found having the name without the life of a Christian Scientist, and another member in good standing shall from Christian motives make this evident, a meeting of the Board of Directors shall be called, and the offender's case shall be tried and said member exonerated, put on probation, or excommunicated. (Man 50:13)

Pretense instead of practice and judgment without love is disastrous to Christian Science and to one's self. Jesus did not condemn Martha and Mary in their belief that Lazarus' body had died, but he demonstrated the life that dissolved their belief. Whatever we accept as error in another is malpractice, and, as a hypocrite, it is impossible to remove another's sin. On the other hand, a pure heart can set our neighbor free and illustrate the bedrock of church practice. Through obedience to Christ's correcting rod, the human mind patterns the divine. Christ said to the adulterous' adversaries, "He that is without sin among you, Let him first cast the stone at her" (John 8:7). This admonition humbled her foes and saved both them and the woman from egocentric justice. When people refused to follow Mrs. Eddy's explicit directions because they insisted on keeping their precious opinions, that was not her fault. Their hatred of truth was her opportunity to love. Malicious mental malpractice must be whipped out of one's temple.

  Working Against the Cause. SECT. 7. If a member of this Church shall, mentally or otherwise, persist in working against the interests of another member, or the interests of our Pastor Emeritus and the accomplishment of what she understands is advantageous to this Church and to the Cause of Christian Science, or shall influence others thus to act, upon her complaint or the complaint of a member for her or for himself, it shall be the duty of the Board of Directors immediately to call a meeting, and drop forever the name of the member guilty of this offense from the roll of Church membership. (Man 52:20)

The historic record suggests that in the fall of 1910, all of Mary Baker Eddy's closest associates, including the Board of Directors, expected her demise to be imminent. No one could resist the temptation to indulge in this travesty of ingratitude for all that they had been taught. There is no evidence to suggest that anyone in the field was upholding the immortality of their Leader either. Mrs. Eddy wrote of this time, "It took a combination of sinners that was fast to harm me." If the Pastor Emeritus, or anyone recognizing this error, had complained, would any member have escaped excommunication?

"Whoever demonstrates the highest humanity, - long-suffering, self-surrender, and spiritual endeavor to bless others, - ought to be aided, not hindered, in his holy mission" (Pan 9:16-19).

George Denninger ©

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