It’s Just a Shot Away |

TBC Staff

Cult leaders often leave a trail of embarassing documentation. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science sought to deal with the accusation that she had used morphine to control the pain which her religion would have her deny.

“The opium falsehood has only this to it: Many years ago my regular physician prescribed morphine, which I took, when he could do no more for me. Afterwards, the glorious revelations of Christian Science saved me from that necessity and made me well, since which time I have not taken drugs, with the following exception: When the mental malpractice of poisoning people was first undertaken by a mesmerist, to test that malpractice I experimented by taking some large doses of morphine, to see if Christian Science could not obviate its effect; and I say with tearful thanks, "The drug had no effect upon me whatever." The hour has struck,—"If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them" (Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 248:8-26 np).

To the contrary, other researchers have found the evidence too great to ignore: “As everyone from Mark Twain to the police detective who investigated the case of Ashley King* has noticed, Christian Scientists wear eyeglasses, go to dentists, use canes. Mary Baker Eddy suggested that Church members who did not find healing through her methods might go to a doctor. She herself did. Robert Peel, who wrote the definitive biography of Eddy, documented her use of morphine to ease the pain of kidney stones.” (Fraser, Atlantic Monthly Online, April 1995).

*Ashley King, 12, died a hideously prolonged death of bone cancer in a Christian Science nursing home (which provided only nonmedical care) in 1988. “When she was taken to Phoenix Children's Hospital, she had a tumor on her right leg that was forty-one inches in circumference. Her hemoglobin count ... was "almost incompatible with life. Her heart was enlarged from the burden of pumping blood to the tumor, her pulse was twice normal, the cancer had spread to her lungs, and she was in immediate danger of dying from congestive heart failure. Immobilized by the tumor, she had been lying in the same position for months. Her buttocks and genitals were covered with bedsores” (Caroline Fraser, Suffering children and the Christian Science church, Atlantic Monthly 275-4-April 1995, 105-120).