"The Lord looseth the prisoners"

         A Christian Science lecture was given in a large prison before an audience of approximately eight hundred men who were spoken of as "exceedingly attentive and appreciative." The introduction to this lecture, and some excerpts from letters sent to the lecturer, are presented as being of general interest. The chairman of the Christian Science committee in charge of the services and the distribution of Christian Science literature at the prison, who has, in connection with this work, been making personal visits to the men for the past two years for the purpose of imparting some of the truths of Christian Science and ministering to the wants and welfare of all interested in Christian Science, in introducing the lecturer, spoke as follows: —

         "Friends: When Christian Science was first called to my attention about fifteen years ago, I read the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, in a very critical way, and then proceeded to mark a good many articles that did not appeal to me. After rereading a number of these articles carefully, I concluded that I had no foundation whatever for criticism against Christian Science.

         "About one year later I suffered from intense pains in my side. I decided to call on a friend of the family, who was a resident physician of one of the largest hospitals in San Francisco, to be examined for the purpose of ascertaining the name given by materia medica, to the disease from which I was suffering. After a very thorough examination my friend, the doctor, told me I had a very severe case of rupture. He stated that I should undergo an operation immediately; and, knowing my habits, said this condition had been brought about by horseback riding. I told him that I would not be able to undergo this operation just then, as I had been reading and studying Christian Science for some time and desired to either prove or disprove the efficacy of Christian Science for myself. He then pleaded with me, both as a friend and a physician, and stated positively that I could not be healed of my affliction by Christian Science. I said that I firmly considered this my opportunity to make a test of Christian Science; that I had heard of the many healings which had been effected by Christian Science, and now I wanted to be convinced myself; that after giving Christian Science an honest, fair trial, if I were not healed I would then submit to an operation and not waste any further time on the study.

         "It is needless to say, however, that I was completely and permanently healed and restored to my natural health through Christian Science, and that I suffered no ill effects or inconvenience whatever, and furthermore, I continued to ride horseback as usual throughout the entire experience. My healing was not fast, for which I am grateful, because the time was spent in studying Christian Science to obtain my healing and it developed a good understanding of the truth. It is your privilege this afternoon to gain the same understanding of Christian Science by hearing a lecture from one who is well qualified to speak on this subject."

         There were distributed at this lecture some four hundred Sentinels, about five hundred pamphlets containing lectures and the like, fifty Journals, and about three hundred Monitors, all of which were very much appreciated, especially the Monitors, which are very much in favor.

         Some quotations from letters follow: —

         "I wish to thank you for the message of hope and cheer that came from your lecture, and in so doing I only voice the opinion of every man who heard you speak. I am very interested in Christian Science and realize more and more each day that there is nothing that replaces with hope and a true faith the self-pity and condemnation in a sore heart as do the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. No doctrine has ever accomplished what Christian Science has in the prisons of this country, and my earnest wish is that this institution may again have the honor of hearing a Christian Science lecture."

         "Knowledge of Christian Science is rapidly becoming universal. In every civilized clime it is today growing by leaps and bounds. And while what is often designated as 'organized society' is coming very rapidly to a full understanding of divine Principle, we, who by the great masses are considered outcasts of society, are not a step behind our brethren who maintain their physical freedom. Though high and massive walls surround our present place of abode, there are not a few of us here who are learning that even here we may possess freedom as full as is our knowledge and practice of divine Science."

         "Up to the time of coming in here about six months ago, I knew absolutely nothing of the teachings of Christian Science. I immediately became interested in the study through the help of the chairman of your committee. I need not tell you that this wonderful experience so changed my views of life that I now consider my stay here an opportunity instead of being a great loss, as I first thought, for no doubt I would never have found myself without having come to a place such as this. There will come a time some day when I will be through with prison life, but I will always be interested in and anxious to know more about Christian Science, for through that understanding I know that within myself I'm free."

         "I was one of the many men present in our assembly hall to hear your lecture and address on Christian Science. This was my first time to hear the teachings of Christian Science fully and clearly explained. Since that Saturday afternoon I have found myself on many occasions thinking of the subject of your lecture, and something prompted the writing of this letter. I fully realize that everything must have a cause — a sufficient cause, a cause big enough to produce the whole effect, — and for this something that has prompted the writing of this letter there must be a cause; after listening as intently as possible with a desire of absorbing every word of your lecture, and then thinking over that portion — the real essence of the lecture — which was retained, I am brought face to face with the cause, and upon close examination I find that cause lies within myself. Your lecture, therefore, brought to me this 'awakening,' and has caused me to do some real thinking along the trend of your lecture.

         "When I came to this place I was down in sin of mortal mind, wrong in my living and thinking. Someone asked me if I had ever studied Christian Science. I replied I had not. I went to service the next Sunday, and on the following Saturday had a long talk with one of your workers. I began studying, and have kept it up for sixteen months, and now I would not give up Christian Science for anything. I had better not say any more about myself but of the message which you left us here. You made things so plain to those who wished to understand the truth, and right living and thinking. Your tender message touched many a man's heart, and set him on the right way of thinking; the result, therefore, will bring him much good and harmony."

         "I went to the lecture expecting to hear a great deal which I could not understand, but wishing to get what I could from it. Needless to say, I was very much pleased to find that either your way of stating the truths or else the fact that you adapted the lecture to men of my understanding, enabled me to get a firm grasp and thorough understanding of many points with which I had been struggling in my efforts to discern wherein I was in error. It was the first lecture I have ever attended on Christian Science, but I sincerely hope that it will not be the last."

         "It gives me the greatest satisfaction to tell how much I have appreciated the wonderful lecture which helped to open the way that leads to true happiness. When Christian Science comes to a man bound hand and foot with evil, as he tries to improve himself he gains in so many different ways. It is such a glorious sensation. I do not need to dwell on the joy that came to me; there entered such a peace, such a calmness. It is impossible to explain or express my gratitude for all that Christian Science has done."

         "While I found myself interested right from the start, nevertheless I paid special attention to that part of your lecture wherein you made it applicable to everybody, in every clime and in every walk of life, even to the man confined behind prison walls. This was one of the many points that came home to me, because I am interested in anything that can help me to 'brace up' and be the man that my mother intended I should be. It may occasion you some surprise to learn that you seemed directing every word of your lecture wholly to me. Every word uttered seemed to have been chiseled to fit somewhere in my 'make-up,' and as I said before, you caused me to examine myself carefully and thoroughly — and in some, yes many, places, I found myself smarting; but I let it smart awhile and did not try to escape it, because on several other occasions when I tried to make this same examination, I found later on that I had only used a whitewash to cover up my weak spots. What I really needed was an 'awakening' so that I might discover these spots and either correct them or root them out, and your lecture has given me the insight and the inspiration as to how I can and must go about my task. I sincerely trust that the good people supporting this prison work may in reading this letter feel that their efforts toward the uplifting of mankind have not been in vain."


"The Lord looseth the prisoners"
Christian Science Sentinel, July 27, 1918

| Home | Library |

Copyright © 1996-2007 CSEC