call an automobile, a printing press, a
newspaper, or even a Christian Science
church edifice a divine idea would
certainly be to present a strange sense of
the spiritual objects in the heaven of
Soul. Even though an automobile may seem
to be carrying a Christian Scientist on a
loving, merciful mission; although a
printing press and newspaper may be used
as a temporary means for proclaiming great
statements of Truth; although a Christian
Science church edifice may be filled with
men worshiping God; nevertheless, the
belief of a material agency, even though
it be a better human concept, cannot be
called a spiritual idea."
W. Hoag, CSD
The CS Journal
Schools of Teaching
in the Christian Science
more than one school of Christian Science?
Christian Science is demonstrable. There can,
therefore, be but one method in its teaching. Those
who depart from this method forfeit their claims to
belong to its school, and they become adherents of
the Socratic, the Platonic, the Spencerian, or some
other school. By this is meant that they adopt and
adhere to some particular system of human opinions.
Although these opinions may have occasional gleams
of divinity, borrowed from that truly divine
Science which eschews man-made systems, they
nevertheless remain wholly human in their origin
and tendency and are not scientifically
Mary Baker Eddy
following extract is from the first issue of The
Christian Science Standard, written by Stanley
school" Hanna and Knott
The "Chicago school" Kimball and Young
In 1977 the Christian Science Headquarters in
Boston reported in their official church history
The Years of Authority by Robert Peel
a situation known to but few people for many
decades: Near the close of her earthly life Mrs.
Eddy discovered "two variant" interpretations of
her teachings that had become entrenched within her
Church's Manual-governed teaching system. For Mrs.
Eddy to have exposed it then, according to the
history, would have "divided the field," and
destroyed the organization so essential at that
In the words of
Peel: "It was one more lesson she had learned from
coming to grips with a concrete situation which
threatened to divide the field" (p. 252). By this
"lesson" is meant the conflict and strife generated
by "two variant 'schools' of Christian Science
teaching (sometimes known as the Boston school and
the Chicago school) of which [Judge Septimus
J.] Hanna and [Edward A.] Kimball were
presumed to be the chief representatives" (p.
In 1889 Mrs. Eddy
closed the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. Nine
years later, in 1898, she established a Board of
Education, under her auspices as President of the
college. This Board was composed of Judge Septimus
J. Hanna, C.S.D., Mrs. Laura Lathrop, C.S.D., and
Mr. Edward A. Kimball, C.S.D., teacher of the
Normal class. After the first Normal class in 1899
Mrs. Eddy wrote Judge Hanna that she had wanted him
to be President of the Board of
In 1903 Mrs. Eddy
called Mrs. Annie M. Knott, C.S.D., to Boston as an
editor of the periodicals "to see that her
teachings were strictly adhered to in the articles
which went out." (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Third
Series, p. 87) Mrs. Knott was of the "Boston
school" as shown below.
In 1958 Dr. Charles
Braden published his book Christian Science
Today (Dallas: Southern Methodist University
Press; 432 pages, hardback). In contrast to Robert
Peel who had full access to the Archives of The
Mother Church, Dr. Braden was not permitted any
access to the material at the Boston Headquarters.
Consequently, he turned elsewhere and found the
most complete collection of Christian Science
historic material in the libraries of adherents of
the "Chicago school" of Christian Science, who were
the leading exponents of this school and well known
throughout the Field. In the view of those early
students of the Kimball school Mrs. Annie M. Knott
was known to be the chief representative of the
"Boston school." And Dr. Braden speaks of
"officialdom, in the person of Mrs. Knott" (p.
311), and identifies her thus.
For two decades
after the departure of Mrs. Eddy in 1910, the
Boston Headquarters maintained the "Boston school"
in their Normal College and editorial policy. At
her passing Judge Hanna succeeded Mrs. Eddy as
President of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College
(different from the office of president of the
Board of Education; cf. Manual. Art. XXVIII. Sect.
1) with life tenure at the appointment of Mrs.
Eddy. In March, 1919, Mrs. Knott was chosen to be
the first woman member of The Christian Science
Board of Directors. In July, 1921, Judge Hanna
passed on, and in 1934 Mrs. Knott retired from the
Board of Directors in Boston. After her departure
the Kimball variant became the more popular and was
adopted by the Headquarters as the official
teaching for the Normal College and the editorial
policy of the periodicals.
In a written
statement which she gave Calvin Frye to preserve,
Mrs. Eddy in her final years stated: "In answer to
oncoming questions will say: I calculate that about
one half century more will bring to the front the
[entity] that God has equipped to lift
aloft His standard of Christian Science." (First
published by the Mother Church director to whom was
given the paper by Mr. Frye, in The
Christian Science Watchman. January, 1928, Vol.
IV, No. 5, pages 103-6; and three years later
published in Since Mrs. Eddy by Altman K.
Swihart. New York: Henry Holt and Co. 1931. page
The above statement by our Leader (kept secret by
Mr. Frye) in our view is intended by her to provide
the remedy for the "concrete [doctrinal]
situation" which existed in her time as reported by
Robert Peel and we hold ourselves committed to the
restoration and promotion of the displaced teaching
or "school" (the furled standard) of
which Judge Septimus J. Hanna and Mrs. Annie M.
Knott are the representatives.
It is obvious if a
doctrinal "standard" needs to be lifted "aloft"
after a half century it must necessarily be from a
"down" or furled position. "Aloft"
and "furled" clearly are variant positions
in the case of a doctrinal "standard" they
represent "variant schools," or teachings. Mrs.
Eddy, then, must have foreseen that after her
departure a variant doctrine would become popular
until such time as some process should operate to
change that position.
More About this
To learn more about the two schools of teaching
in the Christian Science movement, please visit the
"In his November 29, 1907 letter to Judge
Septimus J. Hanna, Edward A. Kimball
insisted that he had never taught that man
has spiritual organs. But the following
page from Mr. Kimball shows that he did
hold to a theosophical notion of spiritual
is no connection between a lie and
". . . From
no possible point of view is it correct to
say that a lie is always a lie about
something. Hence I repeat that absolutely
it is not possible to lie about Truth, and
relatively it is not possible to talk
about evil at all without telling a lie
about a lie."
"When individuality is recognized as
consciousness which is ever coexistent and
coactive with God, or good, separate and
apart from the so-called material body,
with its supposititious five physical
senses, the student begins to awaken from
the Adam or animal dream."
"The distinct separation of Spirit and
matter is a vital point in this teaching,
one which it urges
Finished Work of
"It will be readily apparent that the
understanding that the real creation is
perfect, complete, finished, must have a
very marked effect on the lives of those
who possess it."
"It is God's work, which stands forever,
to which nothing can be added and from
which nothing can be taken away.
Completeness and perfection prevail in the
universe of Spirit."
"The wise Christian Scientist does not
waste his time with counterfeits in his
pursuit of the genuine. He is endeavoring
to reach beyond the illusions of sense and
grasp to some extent the realities of
"How can the vision of spiritual reality
appear by a theoretical transfiguration of
material forms and objects? Must we not,
rather, turn entirely away from material
suggestions in order to see spiritual
"As we start from the abstract or
spiritual definition only, can any
true light come to us, . . ."
"God is unchangeable, eternal, including
all that is good; and to learn what God
is, unfolds what creation is; . .
"To call an automobile, a printing press,
a newspaper, or even a Christian Science
church edifice a divine idea would
certainly be to present a strange sense of
the spiritual objects in the heaven of
"When declaring the truth for one's self
many useless arguments may be employed
because they mostly refer to a supposed
physical creation and a physical
condition, or are an attempt to
kingdom of his dear
"As one understands the unreality, the
utter nothingness, of material things, or
of the so-called material creation, one is
delivered 'from the power of
"In one of Mrs. Eddy's classes, a student
remarked that she always endeavored to
have the perfect body in her thought when
giving treatment. Mrs. Eddy at once asked
where she found her authority for such a
"The tendency of the human mind has ever
been to cling to the body, to study its
structure and constantly minister to it,
and yet the Bible counsels us to be
'absent from the body, and to be present
with the Lord,' the only mental state
which can give us assured
"Paul declared that the things seen
through material sense, were 'temporal,'
and that we should turn away from them,
throw off the burden imposed by this false
sense, and find the things which are
'eternal in the heavens.'"
the Basis of True
"When the writer first read in Science and
Health (p. 177): 'Mortal mind and body are
one. Neither exists without the other, and
both must be destroyed by immortal Mind,'
she thought the statement so radical that
for long afterwards she always turned that
leaf over quickly and read on the next
page, until she attained in some degree
the understanding which sets one free from
the mesmerism of mortal mind and
Method of Christian
"The Christian Science which God has given
to the world through its Discoverer and
Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, is the one and
only Science of healing."
taught by Mary Baker
"Our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, . . .
bequeathed and devised the bulk and
residue of her estate to The Mother
Church, The First Church of Christ,
Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in
trust, to be devoted and used by The
Mother Church for the purpose of more
effectually promoting and extending the
religion of Christian Science as taught by
"If all that is mortal is a dream or
error, is not our capacity for formulating
a dream, real; is it not God-made; and if
God-made, can it be wrong, sinful, or an
"How can I believe that there is no
such thing as matter, when I weigh over
two hundred pounds and carry about this
"Mrs. Knott said that at the time of Mr.
Kimball's passing (August 13, 1909) Mr.
Adam H. Dickey was one of Mrs. Eddy's
secretaries and wrote out the tribute to
Mr. Kimball which he intended Mrs. Eddy to
sign for publication in the
Sentinel. He took it to Mrs. Eddy
for her to sign. She refused to sign it
with those words 'clear, correct
teaching.' After the lapse of some time
and Mr. Dickey's insistence Mrs. Eddy did
finally sign it, but it was never Mrs.
Eddy's own thought, Mrs. Knott said. Mr.
Dickey told Mrs. Knott these facts himself
and he also told other people."
"Several members of the 1937 Normal class
report that there was quite a stir among
them when, at the opening session, it was
discovered that [Bicknell] Young
was to be the teacher. One of them told me
that two men, seated in front of her,
voiced great disapproval of a teacher
bearing the Kimball [stamp], and
even some horror that Kimball's daughter,
Edna, was present as a fellow student.
Others have confirmed the report, and they
add that in the field generally there was
an adverse reaction. Rumors were
circulated that the Normal class would
have to be retaught, breaking all
precedent. So insistent was the gossip
that the Board was obliged to send out a
letter to prevent further
"Glimpses of the emerging monism
[linking Spirit and matter] can be
caught in a paper written by Martha Wilcox
of Kansas City, in which she speaks of
what she gathered while a member of Mrs.
Eddy's household. Recollection is of
course a selective process, and, as Mrs.
Wilcox attended Young's 1910 Normal class,
the possibility cannot be entirely
discounted that she was influenced by this
experience in later recording the
highlights of the Eddy