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The First Church of Christ,
Scientist, in Boston,
Massachusetts

 

Two Schools of Teaching in the CS Movement
Appendix A

 

Dr. Philip Schaff on the Historic Inevitability of Two Schools
All the Christians of the first generation were converts from Judaism or heathenism. It could not be expected that they should suddenly lose the influence of opposite kinds of religious training and blend at once in unity. Hence the difference between Jewish and Gentile Christianity throughout the apostolic age, more or less visible in all departments of ecclesiastical life, in missions, doctrine, worship, and government. At the head of the one division stood Peter, the apostle of the circumcision; at the head of the other, Paul, to whom was intrusted the apostleship of the uncircumcision. In another form the same difference even yet appears between the different branches of Christendom. The Catholic church is Jewish-Christian or Petrine in its character; the Evangelical church is Gentile or Pauline. And the individual members of these bodies lean to one or the other of these leading types.

Wherever there is life and motion in a denomination or sect, there will be at least two tendencies of thought and action — whether they be called old and new school, or high church and low church, or by any other party name. In like manner there is no free government without parties. It is only stagnant waters that never run and overflow, and corpses that never move.

The relation between these two fundamental forms of apostolic Christianity is in general that of authority and freedom, law and gospel, the conservative and the progressive, the objective and the subjective. These antithetic elements are not of necessity mutually exclusive. They are mutually complemental, and for perfect life they must coexist and cooperate. But in reality they often run to extremes, and then of course fall into irreconcilable contradiction. Exclusive Jewish Christianity sinks into Ebionism; exclusive Gentile Christianity into Gnosticism. And these heresies were by no means confined to the apostolic and post-apostolic ages; pseudo-Petrine and pseudo-Pauline errors, in ever-varying phases, run more or less throughout the whole history of the church.

(History of the Christian Church. Seven Volumes. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914. Volume I, pp. 336-337)

History repeats itself
"'History repeats itself.' As the early Christian era went into apostasy, so in this period, there will be a great falling away . . ."

J.P. Filbert, CSD
The Christian Science Journal
December, 1891, p. 376

  

A False Estimate of God's Messenger
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, has reversed its original position and rejected Mary Baker Eddy's place in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. This is one more indicator illustrating the degree to which the school of divergent teaching has permeated the Christian Science Movement.

In his book, The Years of Authority, Robert Peel presents Mrs. Eddy as "the weakest of mortals," a mere human employee of a divine purpose, but not "one chosen of God." This is a long standing concept of the variant teaching that anyone could have discovered Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy just happened to be the one to do it. The natural conclusion to be drawn from this is, of course, that likewise anyone can add to, enlarge upon, and improve on Mrs. Eddy's teaching.

Mrs. Eddy, according to this view, is just another human being, like Mr. Kimball and Mr. Peel. Consequently, the leaflet "Mrs. Eddy's Place" has been discontinued for sale by the Christian Science Publishing Society. As Mr. Peel says, "Those of her followers who pictured her as a semidivine creature serenely removed from all ills missed the true magnitude of her achievement" (p. 326). That is, "the true magnitude of her achievement" was, according to Peel, the discovery and founding of Christian Science as a frail mortal, -"the weakest of mortals," with no serious connection with Scriptural prophecy.

This is not the "true estimate of God's Messenger," as referred to on page 560 of Science and Health, which is so essential to the understanding of the divine Principle and to the preservation of the divine message.

Mrs. Eddy's Place

The 1943 official position of The Mother Church

Mary Baker Eddy--The Window

Learn more about God's messenger to this age.

Extracts from the Dittemore Letter "Spiritual Organs"
The compelling, sustaining, and only purpose of the composite consciousness named Church of Christ, Scientist, is spiritual unfoldment. This unfoldment reveals man as image or idea, in fact as 'spiritual understanding,' and annihilates forever the fable of the ages that the 'image and likeness' of boundless, limitless, and exhaustless Principle can be organic or structural. But because Christian Science is the battle-axe that breaks into pieces the most cherished illusions of personal sense and its counterfeit claim of 'manhood' masquerading under a legion of names and claims, it calls forth at each advancing footstep some new and false presentation freshly disguised and intended to 'deceive the elect,' and for a little longer time perpetuate the claim of matter as the reality of substance.

Mrs. Eddy's human experience encountered new phases of the counterfeit all along the way. And it is not surprising that toward the end of her personal ministry there should appear a phase of evil more subtle than any which preceded it or that after her personal departure it should develop into one of the most menacing deceptions of the hour. I refer, of course, to that abomination of teaching called 'spiritual organs' which attempts to confer upon the fading forms and outlines of mortal belief and its counterfeit physical mechanisms the reality belonging to spiritual ideas of divine Love.

Example of the variant teaching:

"Stomach is an idea of God and whatever stomach is, as God's idea, it is spiritual and perfect."

Edward A. Kimball
Normal Class Notes, p. 20
(Notes used to teach the first Normal class
in the Christian Science Board of Education in 1899. Distributed by the Rare Book Company)

Although there is a tendency among some Christian Scientists who recognize this evil to treat the subject in lighter vein, it really constitutes an overshadowing menace to the preservation and extension of Christian Science in its purity. Mrs. Eddy covered this subject conclusively and finally many years ago in correspondence with a well-known teacher. The Trustees under her will own one of the most valuable of documents definitely and specifically settling the matter so far as Mrs. Eddy's views on the subject are concerned. This 'spiritual organ' teaching is a phase of Theosophy which operates more subtly, but not with essential difference from the operation of so-called Mental Science, New Thought, and other systems of suggestion and belief.

Another example of the variant teaching:

". . . There is but one heart, one stomach, one bowels, one each of every organ of man and every organ and function of the body is an idea of God . . ."

Edward A. Kimball
Letter to His Students
(Reprinted by The Bookmark,
PO Box 801143, Santa Clarita, CA 91380)

More than three years ago this subject became one of the most acute issues in the Christian Science organization. Some of the present and former Directors and the then Editors were greatly aroused and denounced the use of the periodicals for anything savoring of such teaching. Unfortunately many of those who a few months ago were clear and outspoken on this vital subject are now quiescent and willing to let the matter go in the fatally mistaken belief that to not raise this question will aid in establishing 'peace'!' There is much more that needs to be said on this subject and which must and will be said at no far distant day.

Life not "organically spiritual"
"...Flesh and blood cannot inherit
the kingdom of God..."

I Corinthians 15:50

* * * *

"It is contrary to Christian Science to suppose that life is either material or organically spiritual."

Mary Baker Eddy
Science and Health, p. 83

  

The Corrected Manuscript
To read an enlarged reproduction of part of a manuscript written by Edward A. Kimball and corrected by Mrs. Eddy, click here.


Something different

"'My father [Edward Kimball] always said,' quotes Mrs. Wait, 'that if you are seeing something any different [i.e., from Mrs. Eddy's own statement of Christian Science], you had better keep it to yourself!'"

Edna Kimball Wait
Quoted in Christian Science Class Instruction
by Arthur Corey (p. 156)

  

The Kimball Tribute
A number of students, based on their prior Primary class instruction from Mrs. Eddy, thought there was a decided difference between Mr. Kimball's teaching in the Board of Education, and that of Mrs. Eddy's in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. As one biographer writes:

Edward Kimball, writing to Judge Septimus J. Hanna as late as November 29, 1907, lamented that there were those prominent enough to command the Leader's ear who were beating a constant pathway to her door to carry the evil insinuation that his [Kimball's] teaching was wrong... How could anyone, however great, be wholly unmoved by the constant stream of provocative reports, unrelieved by any counteracting statements? (Mrs. Eddy by Hugh A. Studdert-Kennedy, p. 387)

"Unrelieved by any counteracting statements . . ." Unrelieved, that is, until the Kimball tribute. When Mr. Kimball passed away on August 13, 1909, Mr. McLellan, the Editor, wrote a dignified, compassionate tribute which appeared in the Sentinel of August 21, 1909. Two weeks later, in the Sentinel of September 4, there appeared the belated tribute attributed to Mrs. Eddy with the words "clear, correct teaching of Christian Science," and which now appears in Miscellany (p. 297:18). Many believe this is Mrs. Eddy's authorization of Mr. Kimball's teaching. This is not so.

Mrs. Eddy did not write the tribute or want it published. It was written and "put through" by her secretary, Adam H. Dickey, who had taken two classes under Mr. Kimball. Mr. Dittemore published a brief, one-paragraph summary of a four-page report of events which took place in Mrs. Eddy's home in 1909 and 1910:

Statement by Adelaide Still, Mrs. Eddy's personal maid, dated January 4, 1919, four pages, relating to events and experiences in Mrs. Eddy's home during the term of her service and especially just before Mrs. Eddy's decease, covering details of household life, a sensational experience connected with one of Mrs. Eddy's secretaries, description of conditions the last time Mrs. Stetson was a caller at Chestnut Hill, comments on activities and methods of Messrs. Rathvon and Tomlinson, unsuccessful efforts to get Mrs. Eddy to remove her name from Manual in places where her consent was demanded, description of how Mrs. Eddy's published statement in connection with the decease of Mr. Kimball was put through, and various other matters of similar import. (The Christian Science Watchman, Vol. 4, No. 5, p. 106. emphasis added)

The phrase "was put through" indicates Mrs. Eddy did not write the article and signed it against her will. If she had, it would not have to be "put through." It would appear that Mrs. Eddy's labors to eliminate the variant teaching and to preserve her own teaching of Christian Science would now be reversed. Would not her signed declaration that Mr. Kimball's teaching was "clear" and "correct" have, in time, the effect of condemning her own teaching? She took steps to correct this by excluding the tribute from the manuscript for her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany.

Eight days after the decease of Mr. Kimball, and before the signed tribute was published, an official report states: "On August 21st, 1909, Mrs. Eddy sealed up the package of prepared articles [for her future book Miscellany] and wrote on the wrapper: 'Nobody shall open this or read its contents during my lifetime without my written consent.'" (Report of the Committee on General Welfare. New York. 1920. p. 21) The tribute to Mr. Kimball was never in the package, but was added three years after her passing in 1913 by The Christian Science Board of Directors (Mr. Dickey was a Board member at the time). (Mary Baker Eddy's Six Days of Revelation, Compiled by Richard Oakes. p. 534)

A significant point to consider is that, while Robert Peel supported the variant teaching, yet he made no mention of this tribute in The Years of Authority. Why would he omit this important "documentation" in support of all that he was endeavoring to present in the line of the Kimball doctrine?

Dr. Charles S. Braden in his book Christian Science Today writes:

Recently in conversation with a distinguished teacher the remark was made that Mrs. Eddy was very adverse to Kimball and his teaching. How, then, account for her letter commending to the world his presentation of Christian Science as clear and correct? 'Oh, that' she said, 'was written by Mr. Dickey.' Adam H. Dickey was a Kimball student and, at the time, was Mrs. Eddy's chief secretary. 'But,' I said, 'she signed it.' 'You must remember,' the teacher replied, 'that Mrs. Eddy was very old and that she signed many things.' (p. 324)

Six months after Mr. Bicknell Young taught the 1937 Normal class, Mrs. Annie M. Knott, C.S.D., a pupil of Mary Baker Eddy and former member of The Christian Science Board of Directors from March 17, 1919 to January 4, 1934, made an important disclosure to Mrs. Marie K. Larkin, C.S.B., when the latter was having a visit with her in Mrs. Knott's home in Boston on June 23, 1938. The visit lasted two hours and a written memorandum was prepared within the hour after the conclusion of the visit. The following is an extract from the memorandum: —

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.

Mrs. Ursula M. Pim, C.S., secretary to Judge Hanna's Association, in a personal discussion with her at Laguna Beach, California, during a visit in July, 1962 made the statement to Stanley C. Larkin that she had seen a letter written by Mr. Dickey stating that he and not Mrs. Eddy had written the Kimball tribute which appears in Miscellany, page 297.

In order to provide some insights into Mr. Dickey's personal traits, an observation or two from workers who held positions in the Headquarters in Boston during Mr. Dickey's tenure may help.

A memorandum Mr. Larkin made in March, 1941, of a visit from one of the workers reads: "Mrs. Eddy did not want to confer the degree of C.S.D. on Mr. Dickey, but, to use a friend's words, 'he made her life miserable until he got it.' He had not been in her home three years." (The Manual provision required that a worker in Mrs. Eddy's home had to be there for three years in order to receive the degree of C.S.D. His total time was approximately two and three quarters years.)

Another memorandum Mr. Larkin made, (dated July 24, 1961), during a visit with a worker who was in the Administration Building of the Boston Headquarters in the 1920's and who was close to Mrs. Knott stated:

Mrs. Knott liked Mr. Dickey and he always liked her. . . . One time when Mrs. Knott did not think about a matter like the rest of the Board was thinking, Mr. Dickey said to the others, 'Let's listen to Mrs. Knott. She's just as big a man as the rest of us.' People who worked with Mr. Dickey, however, thought he was self-willed about some things.

At Annual Meeting day, Monday, June 2, 1924, (the Board meets in the morning of Annual Meeting day to make all appointments) Mr. Dickey was Chairman and the first thing he proposed was that the Board go back to the cabinet form of government under which they had functioned until 1917, and he would not allow any other business to go on until this was acted on. This had not been talked over before, and was brand new to all, and no one had worked about it, so all were unprepared to vote, but he insisted that it be done. This caused a great stir, as the Annual Meeting was being held at 2 p.m. that afternoon and there was much work to be done. But Mr. Dickey would not yield.

Finally as Mrs. Knott worked about it the thought came to ask, 'When was the Board form of government changed from the cabinet form? Was it on an Annual Meeting day?' They got out the minutes and found that it was not. That broke the deadlock, and they proceeded with the business.

Mr. Dickey, however, seemed never the same after that day and was out of the office for extended periods. . . . He had a summer place in Maine and spent much time there. During this period he devoted time to working out his diaries, and to prepare his book for publication. He had his wife carry this out after he was gone. . . .

These points are brought into this thesis to illustrate the personal traits of the man who was Mrs. Eddy's chief secretary and who wrote the tribute for her to sign.

From the statement made by Miss Still, — Mrs. Eddy's personal maid, — we see that the secretaries (Mr. Dickey, Mr. Rathvon, Mr. Tomlinson, etc.) exerted considerable pressure on Mrs. Eddy during her last years. Some of their efforts were unsuccessful, others were successful. One thing is clear from this description of the statement of Miss Still, and that is that the published Kimball statement attributed to Mrs. Eddy "was put through."

  

"The Science of Christian Science" or a Variant?
Many Kimball students believe his teachings are an advance beyond Mrs. Eddy’s. When questioned by Dr. Braden about the tribute being written by Mr. Dickey and not Mrs. Eddy,

Mr. Herbert Eustace, eminent Kimball student, insists Mrs. Eddy’s endorsement of Kimball must be taken at face value. In his classes Eustace always said that Edward Kimball’s advent had brought about a change in Mrs. Eddy’s published writings. Asked what this change was, Eustace answered: ‘She had been waiting for years to see if anyone would really be able to dig out the science of Christian Science from what she had written in Science and Health. What a joy to have found at last one who had actually been able to catch her real meaning. It was after she was assured of this fact — the fact that she had written the book so that it could be dug out — that she changed her statement in Christian Healing, page 14, to its present wording. (Letter of September 15, 1951).’

Checking back on this, I find that up through the 1896 edition (p. 13), the passage in question read: ‘I have never yet had a student who has reached this ability to teach; it includes more than they understand.’ The passage was revised for the next edition to express Mrs. Eddy’s recognition of a teaching level of understanding not before achieved in the field. Eustace points out that it was at ‘this time that she opened her College work again and started it out on a metaphysical basis with Mr. Kimball in the chair.’ (Braden, pp. 324, 325)

Dr. Braden is quoting Mr. Eustace here to authenticate the Kimball students’ views of the tribute “endorsed” by Mrs. Eddy. That because Mr. Kimball “dug out” of Science and Health views that had not been held or taught by other Christian Science teachers, Mrs. Eddy regarded this as finding at last someone who had been able to catch her real meaning! As a result, she changed her statement in Christian Healing after 1896, and “opened her College work again and started it out on a metaphysical basis with Mr. Kimball in the chair.” Notice that it is to be “on a metaphysical basis,” Mr. Kimball supposedly having attained what no one else had ever achieved!

However, Mr. Eustace’s use of the statement in Christian Healing as evidence to support his theories regarding Mr. Kimball’s metaphysical attainments is totally fallacious for this reason: the statement in Christian Healing referred to by Mr. Eustace reads today: “I waited many years for a student to reach the ability to teach; it included more than they understood.” (p. 14:22)

Mr. Eustace states that Mrs. Eddy changed the former rendering to read this way right after 1896, after appointing Mr. Kimball to teach the Normal class in the Board of Education in 1899. However, he is wrong. Mrs. Eddy did not change that statement at that time. We have a copy of Christian Healing dated 1903, and that reference still bears the former rendering: “I have never yet had a student who has reached the ability to teach; it includes more than they understand.” Mrs. Eddy stopped Mr. Kimball teaching Normal classes in 1902, so according to Mr. Eustace’s “evidence,” she did not find “a student who had reached the ability to teach” up to the year 1903.

This is one of the explanations that the members of the variant school give to justify their view that Mr. Kimball went beyond Mrs. Eddy; they contend that what others see as a divergence in his teachings actually represents an advancement beyond Mrs. Eddy’s teaching; that because students in the early days could not understand her teachings she had to wait for the time for the teacher who could carry on her work in its more advanced metaphysics.

Mrs. Eddy, however, and her faithful followers did not regard it in this light at all, but quite the reverse. What Mr. Kimball “dug out” of Mrs. Eddy’s writings was not her meaning.

  

Mrs. Eddy's Action Invalidates Peel Theory
The theory advanced by Robert Peel in The Years of Authority (see pp. 249-252), that it is all right to have variant or divergent interpretations entrenched in the Church's teaching system, since Science and Health is "the ultimate authority," is not valid.

Mrs. Eddy's actions, when she discovered a variant teaching in her Church's teaching system, disprove Peel's statement. She discontinued Mr. Kimball's teaching of Normal classes after the one held in 1902, and in 1903 she established a General Association of Teachers to meet annually. Its purpose was stated in the By-Laws: "Uniformity in Teaching and Practice Required." This Association met annually for three years and then the By-Law was quietly rescinded.

An insight into Mr. Kimball's attitude

Arthur Corey, an adherent of the variant teaching, explained the use of prayer formulas (though not advocating them) involving the "...linking up of various errors — like cancer-vindictiveness, eczema-vanity, glasses-criticism . . . workers have been known to assemble long tables of supposedly correlative errors. Mrs. Eddy at one time told Mr. Kimball that she would have to put a prohibition in the Manual to cover this if it was not stopped in New York, and he laughingly said he would be lost without his list!" (Christian Science Class Instruction, p. 171)

Mrs. Eddy tried to correct Mr. Kimball, as he indicates in a letter he wrote to Judge Hanna immediately before Hanna was to teach some of his (Kimball's) pupils in a 1907 Normal class, and, to some, the letter indicates that Kimball did not understand Mrs. Eddy's explanations.

On page 251 of The Years of Authority, Peel writes:

But while Kimball continued to feel the termination of his position with the Board of Education and his return to full-time lecturing as in some measure a rejection by her — and to suffer from it accordingly — Mrs. Eddy saw it as a larger necessity for the future of the movement. 'You should see the wisdom of rotation in Teaching as well as reading in Church," she wrote him.

Peel is saying here that Mr. Kimball felt a rejection by Mrs. Eddy since his position with the Board of Education was terminated and he was given no other position, other than to return to his former activity of lecturing; that in fact it was merely an establishing of the policy of rotation in office for teachers in the Board of Education.

The fact is that Mr. Kimball was not mistaken. It was a rejection, and it was done in the most loving and tactful manner. She could have easily promoted him to the vice presidency of the College, replacing Judge Hanna. Also, from 1903 to the time of his passing there were three directorships vacated or created, but were filled by other men.

Twice Mr. Peel mentions this point of Mr. Kimball's awareness of his rejection, the other reference being on page 252: "What had seemed to Kimball for a time to be a waning of her full confidence in him was, on these terms, a dawning recognition of the overriding value of rotation in office." So twice Mr. Peel mentions the rotation in office, as though to emphasize and cover up the fact that Mrs. Eddy did relieve him for cause.

Mr. Peel does admit by implication, however, that there were other reasons, since in the notes he quotes Mr. Kimball writing to a friend in May, 1904, these words: "'Your sweet letter falls into my daily life as the gentle shower falls on the ground which is accustomed to the fierce blast of heat.' The heat continued for some time." This "heat" was generated by something other than Mrs. Eddy's instituting rotation in office for teachers, and supports the evidence that his rejection by Mrs. Eddy was for other reasons, — something that generated a blast of heat that continued for some time, as Mr. Peel says.

On page 251, Peel writes:

The successor (as teacher in the Board of Education) was Eugene H. Greene of Providence, Rhode Island, who had studied with Mrs. Eddy twenty years earlier. A man who seems to have had considerable grace of spirit though less teaching ability than Kimball, Greene served acceptably for three years. Meanwhile, Mrs. Eddy took the further drastic step of reducing Normal instruction to a single term held once every three years, with a different teacher each time and a class restricted to thirty pupils.

Interestingly enough, her choice for teacher in 1907 was Hanna and for the next class Kimball. By these two choices she showed her continued and impartial support of each of the two men and struck a blow at the tendency in some quarters to speak of two variant 'schools' of Christian Science teaching (sometimes known as the Boston school and the Chicago school) of which Hanna and Kimball were presumed to be the chief representatives.

What Mr. Peel is saying here in the first paragraph is that Mr. Greene was inferior to Mr. Kimball, but acceptable. Mr. Greene taught in Mrs. Eddy's method of presentation. He is also saying by extension that Mrs. Eddy's method not only did not improve on Mr. Kimball's, but did not even achieve parity.

Mrs. Eddy required Mr. Greene to teach a primary class in 1904 and again in 1905. Not until December, 1906, did Mr. Greene teach the Normal class. Does this not indicate that she gave herself and others plenty of time in which to observe his work before entrusting him with the Normal class?

The following year, in June 1907, Judge Hanna received appointment to teach a Normal class that December. Judge Hanna, although Vice President of the College, had never taught a class in Christian Science. Mr. Peel does not comment on his ability or results. His absolute silence on this point could give an impression of an effort to be charitable.

In the second paragraph, Mr. Peel is making his most subtle claim of all. In order to impute to Mrs. Eddy the responsibility and authority for the adoption of the Kimball teaching as the official doctrine of the Church, the role of chief representative of her own teaching method must first be removed from her. So this was shifted to Judge Hanna, Vice President of the College, whom Mrs. Eddy appointed to teach the 1907 Normal class.

Next, it must be claimed that Mrs. Eddy selected Mr. Kimball to teach the Normal class the following term. Article XXVIII, Sect. 2, of the Manual provides that "the teacher shall be selected every third year by said Board (of Directors)." The teacher could not be elected before 1910. Judge Hanna was notified in June, 1907 for the December, 1907 Normal class. But Mr. Kimball passed away sixteen months before the December, 1910 Normal class was scheduled to convene!

If the above two points, however, can be established, it can be said that Mrs. Eddy placed the two teachings side by side and approved them both. But the facts in the case do not support Mr. Peel's conclusions.

Mr. Horatio H. Wait, grandson of Mr. Kimball, writes in a brief biography of his grandfather whom he never knew, the following:

On arrival from an European lecture tour in 1909 the Kimball family was met in New York by two of the Christian Science Board of Directors, delegated by Mrs. Eddy to ask Mr. Kimball to teach the Normal class of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in December, 1910. Mr. Kimball accepted this appointment, but he passed on before reaching his Chicago home.

Such an "appointment" in July, 1909, is contrary to the Manual, and therefore the accuracy of the account is subject to question. This incident of the reputed delegation of two Directors appointed by Mrs. Eddy traveling to New York to ask Mr. Kimball to teach the Normal class almost a year and a half later would have been a very unusual procedure.

On page 345 of The Years of Authority, Mr. Peel relates that in May, 1909, when the Directors were filling a vacancy on their Board and came up with the name of John V. Dittemore:

she (Mrs. Eddy) told the Directors they would have to appoint him on their own responsibility. Reminded that the Manual required her approval of the appointment, she reluctantly gave the needed signature but again emphasized that they must take responsibility for their choice.

Mr. Dittemore was later expelled from the Board of Directors.

Is it not reasonable to conclude that if in May, 1909, Mrs. Eddy regarded so important an appointment as a directorship to be solely the responsibility of the Directors, that she would not likely two months later, in July 1909, take out of the hands of the Directors a responsibility placed on them by the Manual and in their stead appoint a teacher for the Normal class, and then name as "her choice" one whose teachings she regarded as neither clear nor correct? Also, would she further set aside her Manual By-Law which reads: "the teacher shall be elected every third year by said Board, and the candidate shall be subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus," and make the appointment in the second year, and in addition delegate two Directors to go to New York in fanfare trappings to give an oral notice? This is an unusually irregular and aggressive procedure, and if it occurred as narrated it would seem to indicate a concerted effort by certain other persons than Mrs. Eddy. The whole incident is suspect to say the least.

There are, of course, not two variant schools of Christian Science teaching. By definition, variant requires an original standard from which another statement or doctrine can vary. The original standard is Christian Science as taught by Mrs. Eddy.

On page 252, Peel writes:

So far as Mrs. Eddy was concerned, the ultimate teacher of Christian Science was Science and Health. The educational system of her church was bigger than any one teacher appointed to conduct a Normal class for the Board of Education. She herself would not always be present personally to make even-handed choice of competent Christian Scientists for that office and to keep any particular emphasis or interpretation of Christian Science from entrenching itself in the church's teaching system.

Mr. Peel is saying he believes Mrs. Eddy felt that, since she would not always be here to choose competent teachers for the Board of Education, it therefore did not matter to her if incompetent teachers were chosen, or what "particular emphasis or interpretation by a teacher of a Normal class" might be put forth and become entrenched in the church's teaching system, just so long as Science and Health continued to be published as she had issued it in its final revision.

According to this logic we could say that it would make no difference what interpretations and emphases are made by the professors in the various educational institutions in regard to the Christian teachings of Jesus, because the Bible is the ultimate teacher! There are many different denominations and sects today because of varying interpretations and emphases as to what Jesus meant in his teachings.

Also, would not a teacher whose false teaching became entrenched in the church's teaching system claim Science and Health as the authority for his false teaching?

It is difficult to understand how Science and Health can be the "ultimate teacher" when a Normal class teacher can present false interpretations which become entrenched in the teaching system. If they become entrenched, then Science and Health is a failure as an "ultimate teacher." How often and where in history are we shown that entrenched divergences have been eradicated by a book as an "ultimate teacher." Rather has it required a "reformation."

The work of an educational institution is to correct false interpretations through teaching, rather than allowing the individual student to misunderstand Science and Health.

In her "Reminiscences" Mrs. Knott has written of an experience that occurred in a class on metaphysical obstetrics conducted by Mrs. Eddy. The members of this class were experienced Christian Scientists. Most, if not all, had received the Normal course and were teachers. Mrs. Knott writes:

At one of these lessons a member of the class said that in treating a patient she always tried to hold the perfect body in thought. Mrs. Eddy expressed surprise at her statement and asked where she got that impression, and the lady replied cheerfully that of course she had got it from Science and Health. Mrs. Eddy said that she was mistaken in saying so, but the lady offered to read the passage and proceeded to do so. The statement is to be found on page 407 of Science and Health, lines 24-26, and reads: 'Let the perfect model be present in your thoughts instead of its demoralized opposite.' Mrs. Eddy asked the student if she thought that meant the body, and the lady replied that she certainly did, and others in the class said that they also had accepted it in that way. Mrs. Eddy however went on to explain that the perfect model was never the body but man as God's spiritual idea, which is incorporeal, and she reminded us of the statement on page 313 of Science and Health, where the word 'character' is used in connection with the phrase 'express image.'

Here is an instance of a false interpretation by several of Mrs. Eddy's students for which they claimed Science and Health ("the ultimate teacher") as the authority. Science and Health was not the ultimate teacher for them.

Mrs. Eddy remained vigilant to guard the classroom teaching of Christian Science and the teachers' interpretations and explanations of Science and Health. The ultimate teacher of Christian Science, according to her Deed of Trust, was and is Mary Baker Eddy.

Mrs. Eddy was well aware that "she herself would not always be present personally to" choose "competent Christian Scientists for that office and to keep any particular emphasis or interpretation of Christian Science from entrenching itself in the Church's teaching system," and this fact was her sole aim and reason for appointing the Christian Science Board of Directors. There is no other reason — in the 1921 findings of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts — for the existence of the Church and its Directors than that single purpose. Otherwise there was no reason why the Trustees of the Publishing Society could not operate independently.

On pages 251-252, Peel writes:

Deeply concerned though Mrs. Eddy was with the proper teaching of Christian Science, her work as founder necessarily embraced considerations of far greater complexity than the classroom presentation of its metaphysics. In this respect it resembled Paul's work as a founder of the Christian Church, which had involved much more than the apostolic task of preaching the gospel. "For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?" he had asked, then went on to point out to the divided Corinthians that he had planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase — indeed, that Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and all things present and to come "are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." At which point of spiritual democracy, doctrine and polity merged.

Peel is saying here that while Mrs. Eddy was deeply concerned with the proper teaching of Christian Science, her work in improving and perfecting the organization was to her of more concern than the doctrine; that Paul was required to spend a great deal of time in the organizational end of the Church, and because of this he enjoined his followers to merge the variant doctrines of Apollos and Peter with his own without concern as to what interpretations or emphases or false teaching became entrenched in the teaching system of the early Church!

This is an utterly fallacious interpretation and specious reasoning. The Bible record shows that Paul withstood Peter to the face on false doctrine, and his epistles give a great amount of space to the correcting of false interpretations and teachings.

"Spiritual democracy" here means that any interpretation is all right; just merge them all together! Is it not logical to conclude that only that doctrine which is free from any divergence is Christian Science?

Scripture informs us that not only did Paul withstand Peter over doctrinal issues but he also withstood the authorities of the Mother Church in Jerusalem who shared Peter's divergent views and would have confined Christianity to a mere sect of the Jewish religion.

The fact is, Mrs. Eddy's greatest concern was for the classroom teaching. The other "complexities" were to achieve her purpose for the teaching.

On pages 248-249, Peel writes:

By 1904 Edward Kimball had been teaching the Normal classes of the Board of Education for several years [Note: Actually, Mr. Kimball taught four Normal classes in the Board of Education: — 1899, 1900, 1901, and 1902—after which Mrs. Eddy discontinued the Normal classes for four and a half years] and had turned out some hundred-and-fifty new teachers.... Rumors had been stirring as to the nature of Kimball's teaching, together with suggestions that he considered it to be metaphysically in advance of Mrs. Eddy's own — a suggestion which he repudiated with the full force of a notably straightforward character. Two months later (i.e., July, 1903) he wrote Mrs. Eddy of the opposition of some older teachers to the new ones who had come out from his classes.

The wording here tends to make the reader sympathize with Mr. Kimball and his students; it sounds as though the pupils of Mrs. Eddy might be a little jealous of the pupils of Mr. Kimball — thereby tending to suggest that Mr. Kimball's pupils were metaphysically in advance of Mrs. Eddy's. This was not, however, the reason for the "opposition," as Mr. Peel calls it. The real reason for the so-called opposition is explained by William Lyman Johnson (the son of the first Clerk of the Mother Church, William B. Johnson, a student of Mary Baker Eddy) in his History of the Christian Science Movement (Brookline: Zion Research Foundation. 1926). He writes:

With the birth of the conception that the old and veteran students and workers who had been with Mrs. Eddy were antiquated in their ideas; that the young Scientist was working in what he called a modern method which gave speed and efficiency, the past with all its glorious achievements, was forgotten by many, and there came about that insidious and tempting argument which would bury the efforts of the past beneath the surface achievements of the present. This, though Mrs. Eddy carefully guarded her students against it, was the cause of the many offshoots from her teaching. The desire of an easier method of obtaining results by a short cut; to reach by a cold and mathematical process the point she urged her students to attain through humility and love of the character of Jesus, brought about the reign of personality. And this it must necessarily do since there can be no attraction in the teaching of mental healing, except through the overpowering influence of a teacher’s personality. The more the spirit of Jesus is left out of the teaching of Christian Science, the greater becomes the field for a dominating will. Teaching will still go on, but healing alas, will decline until there comes the realization of the necessity of making

‘My prayer some daily good to do
To Thine for Thee,
An offering pure of Love whereto
God leadeth me.’

In about 1901 statements were put forth that the students of Mrs. Eddy were not up-to-date in the latest methods of teaching, lecturing and carrying on the Cause, and that active blood was needed which would bring into the work the most modern type of business methods, and these believed that they should be placed upon the Board of Directors, and into other positions of importance. It was found, however, that the man who was most efficient in a large business way, was not a successful person in the important positions of the Mother Church and near Mrs. Eddy. To be so it was necessary for him to give his attention to but one thing, viz.: Christian Science. To learn to live and demonstrate it in every-day work, requires constant study and practice, and the fledgling in Science, astute business man though he may be, has and will find pitfalls and troubles. As in every other undertaking, the preserved veteran, with caution, and prayerful consecration to the duties before him, will prove to be a person of the best type for membership of the important Boards of the Cause. (Volume II, pp. 85-86)

As evidenced by this specimen, the opposition was on the part of the Kimball students against Mrs. Eddy's, not on the part of Mrs. Eddy's. Mr. Peel had the situation turned around. Mr. Kimball's teaching was distinctly different from that of Mrs. Eddy's and the Kimball students were more aggressive in their opposition.

On page 249, Peel writes:

Reports that Kimball's pupils considered themselves superior to hers continued to come from some of her old students, but she seems not to have taken them very seriously. However, the situation did point to the danger of having different interpretations of Christian Science develop and of allowing arguments over the letter of Science to impair the demonstration of its spirit.

What Mr. Peel is saying here is that there is nothing wrong with having different "interpretations" of Christian Science develop in the church's teaching system so long as you do not allow arguments over the letter of Science to impair the demonstration of its spirit. That is, do not analyze any of the church's doctrine to see if it is true Science or if it is divergent, for the church's teaching system has "merged" all "interpretations."

This conception is obviously fallacious. It was not merely an "interpretation," but a divergence from Christian Science. To say that Mrs. Eddy "seems not to have taken ... very seriously" the reports "from some of her old students" could give the impression that probably she thought her pupils were a little jealous of the new students. This was, of course, not the case. She took the matter in the most serious manner possible under the circumstances.

1st. Since Mrs. Eddy had a five year contract with Mr. Kimball to teach in the Board of Education, she did not terminate the contract, but discontinued the teaching of the Normal classes for the duration of his contract, — in fact, for four and a half years.

2nd. She established in 1903 and continuing until 1908 the General Association of Teachers.

3rd. She selected another teacher (Mr. Eugene H. Greene, CSD) to succeed Mr. Kimball after his contract terminated.

These are only a few of the corrective measures taken by Mrs. Eddy.

  

Judge Hanna on the Variant
To protect and perpetuate her own teaching of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy established in 1898 the Board of Education in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. Mrs. Eddy retained her office as President of the College during her lifetime, but she named Judge Septimus J. Hanna, C.S.D., as the President of the Board. When the original Board of Education was appointed, it elected for its President some person other than Judge Hanna. In two letters written by Mrs. Eddy in January, 1899, Mrs. Eddy stated that instead of their selection she had named Judge Hanna to be President, and this was finally done. Mrs. Eddy later assumed the presidency of both the College and the Board of Education, and appointed Judge Hanna Vice-President. As the teacher of the classes under this Board she named Mrs. Flavia S. Knapp, C.S.D., of Boston. However, before the first class convened, Mrs. Knapp passed away. Mrs. Eddy then appointed Mr. Edward A. Kimball, C.S.D., of Chicago, and engaged him with a five year teaching contract. It was said that Mrs. Eddy appointed Mr. Kimball to teach because he had been highly successful in relating to people of intellect and rank, and bringing them into Christian Science, but that she was, at the time, unfamiliar with his thought in regard to doctrine. After Mr. Kimball began teaching, there was a great complaint. Because of this, Mrs. Eddy appointed Judge Hanna to sit on the platform and evaluate Mr. Kimball's teaching. However, Mr. Kimball's supporters claimed it was because Mrs. Eddy wanted Judge Hanna to get this "wonderful teaching." Based on the evidence we have collected, it is logical to conclude that Mrs. Eddy withdrew her original designation of Mr. Kimball as an authority on her doctrines.

Although the By-laws specified that the Vice-President be elected annually, Mrs. Eddy conferred upon Judge Hanna life tenure as Vice-President and to succeed her as President of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College at her demise. During his lifetime (after 1910), no one could become a teacher of Christian Science unless Judge Hanna signed their certificate in accordance with Article XXX, Section 3, of the Manual of The Mother Church. In this respect, Mrs. Eddy placed Judge Hanna in a position of authority on the doctrine of Christian Science.

Judge Hanna disagreed (as did others) with Mr. Kimball's interpretation of Christian Science and regarded Mr. Kimball's views connecting or linking matter with Spirit, or reality, as unscientific and contrary to any teaching given by Mrs. Eddy. Judge Hanna wrote a student under date of September 17, 1917, as follows:

...If we look at the absolute, entirely ignoring the human or relative, and pursue that method we might say there never was a human Jesus, nor a human Mrs. Eddy, nor a human you nor I. We might say there is no sin, no sickness, no death, no discord, no inharmony, etc. This we do say in our mental work, but we say it only in thought if we are discreet. To do this in the secret chamber is one thing, and to proclaim it broadcast to an unready world is another. And this is where Mrs. Eddy's wisdom shines most brilliantly. She carefully studded her absolute statements with relative explanation and distinctly enjoined her students to do so. She often enjoined me in that way when I was Editor of the periodicals. One of her admonitions is entitled 'A Correction' and reported in Miscellany, page 217. Note what Mrs. Eddy says about 'improved beliefs.'

What are the qualities of the 'second degree' (page 115 of Science and Health) but human qualities, amounting to improved human beliefs? And although Mrs. Eddy groups them under the general head of mortal mind, she distinctly separates them from the qualities of the 'first degree.' These she classifies as 'depraved.' She even classifies the 'third degree' under the general head of mortal mind, notwithstanding the qualities of that degree are 'spiritual.' She explains, however, that in the 'third degree' mortal mind disappears. She evidently makes this general classification to keep the distinction clear between immortal Mind and all which is not equal to it. Nevertheless she clearly shows the different degrees of what she has classified as mortal mind.

While there is no connection whatever between the qualities of the 'first degree' and the 'second,' there is a basis in the 'second degree' for building spiritual truth, or the qualities of the 'third degree.' Otherwise, there would have been no possibility of Jesus becoming a 'life-link' between the human and the divine, and no place for a way-shower or a mediator. We must not fly so high that we lose sight of the plain teaching of the Bible and of our textbook, not flatter ourselves that we can restate or redefine Mrs. Eddy's writings so as to make them clearer than she made them. Would you be warranted in substituting other writings for her? Let us be careful on this point, for there is at present a strong inclination to take the periodicals and study them in lieu of our Leader's writings, and even make them the basis of healing work. Mrs. Eddy was the one to explain Christian Science, and error's attempt to put her writings comparatively in the background should be a sufficient warning to make us careful along this line. It is much more important to spend our time in sincere effort to spiritualize our thought so that we shall be able to live right lives and do the works we are called upon to do.

Another example of the variant teaching
"A lie is always necessarily
a lie about the truth."

Edward A. Kimball
Letter to Judge Hanna, November 29, 1907
See Lectures and Articles on Christian Science
by Edward A. Kimball, p. 489 (1938 edition)

Evil is not a lie about anything for it never existed as a thing. It has no entity whatever. Surely no thing can be a lie about something, for that which does not exist cannot lie or do anything else. Hence if Mr. ----- cannot stand on his absolute premises he will have to abandon or repudiate his oft-repeated assertion that a lie is always a lie about something. It is only on the relative side which he so sweepingly ignores. Relatively evil exists as a claim, but what is such existence? Surely not the Truth. Jesus said the devil was a liar and the father of it. The only Father — Truth — is not its father because there is no connection between a lie and Truth. If a statement is made which has no basis in truth there is no relation between that statement and the truth. Therefore, is it in any true sense (even humanly) a lie about the truth? Is not Jesus' classification of a lie equivalent to saying that it is nothing, no thing? How then can it be related to Truth? The only possible sense in which a lie can be said to be related to truth is that a lie may be believed to be true by one not knowing any better, but does that make it a lie about the truth? If so, how? It could not be a lie about the truth unless it could in some way be considered with the truth. How could one go about making such a connection? If I were to tell you that I rode a horse yesterday when the truth is I have not been astride a horse for forty years, would that be telling you a lie about anything that ever occurred? It would simply be telling a lie about a lie, would it not? Such lies can be told in millions of ways for millions of years, but that would not make them true. Therefore 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.

In another letter to a student dated July 2, 1919, Judge Hanna wrote:

...I think your analysis of the general situation at headquarters is correct. From every human standpoint this situation is a deplorable one [the Church had become involved in litigation over whether or not the Board of Directors could dismiss a Trustee of the Publishing Society], and can be explained only on the ground you suggest, too great a departure from spirituality, and too much worldliness and materiality. The issue is not between two boards, not between two sets of officials, not between persons. It is a square conflict between Christian Science and hypnotism, or theosophy. This drift has been plain for a long time, and sooner or later these methods of error had to be forced to the surface. It is no doubt a good thing that they have been so forced. ...

The onslaught is upon Mrs. Eddy's teaching and upon the teaching of him who was her great Exemplar, Christ Jesus. Theosophy has endeavored to destroy him and is continuing its effort within our own ranks today. Nothing but an absolutely consecrated and strict adherence to his teaching as interpreted by our Leader will save our Cause; and his teaching and our Leader's teaching must be understood and applied in order to accomplish this end. When will this be? That is the question now confronting us. ...

Judge Hanna was elected to the Board of Directors in October, 1895, but after serving a month found he could not continue in this office with his other duties as Editor and Reader, etc. In July, 1897, he asked permission to resign as Editor and Reader, for reasons of health, but Mrs. Eddy urged him to continue in the work. This is evidenced in five of Mrs. Eddy's letters to him, all showing the concern she had regarding his health, and her recognition of the importance of his remaining at his post despite these attacks. About the first of June, 1902, he again asked permission to resign as Reader and Editor.

Mrs. Eddy's reply dated June 11, 1902, reads:

Pen cannot tell the comfort your last letter gives me. You are wise in your conclusions relative to an interval of retirement. Would that I could have one — that is all I would ask of earth — give me peace and rest.

If you have no objections to retiring from the Readership and the editorial chair for awhile the Board will elect the next best to be found and put them in these responsible places. But what do you think of my future? You know what I have had to do in getting things plain to a new editor. No matter how good or how well qualified he is there is much to learn and mother is mother to many only in the sense of looking to her for help, or laying her on the altar. You can give possession of my house as soon as convenient, as it goes for the use of our next Reader. O may Heaven bless you, and pity me.

To this letter, Judge Hanna replied, June 12, 1902:

Beloved Mother: —

Again I thank you for your loving permission for me to retire from the Readership and Editorship.

In retiring thus we by no means feel that we have lost one jot or tittle of interest in our great Cause, but shall hold ourselves willing to serve in any way we can.

Unfoldings are coming to me as the result of studying your recent letter which indicate the stupendousness of what is being worked out.

I fully realize how difficult it is to find just the right persons to conduct the periodicals, and know too well the trouble and annoyance to you of getting the old ones to do things rightly, to say nothing of the new, but we shall earnestly hope the temporary trouble will be more than compensated for by the result.

Again assuring you of our deep love and appreciation of what you have done and are doing, which only eternity can unfold, I remain

Your loving student,
Septimus J. Hanna

A year after Mr. McLellan was in office as editor, Mrs. Eddy in a letter dated June 23, 1903, proposed to Judge Hanna that he return to the periodicals as Editor in Chief. In a letter dated January 24, 1904, she wrote in part: "I pondered long over what was the best thing for you and when lecturing popped into my thought, I stopped satisfied that that was the very best thing for your health and unfoldment of your strong ability. Was I not correct in that conclusion?"

Judge Hanna

Read a biographical sketch of Judge Hanna.

  

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