Book II - Chapter VII
THE PASTOR EMERITUS
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About the time of the reorganization, Mrs. Eddy retired from her position
of pastor of her Church, abolished the office of pastor in all branch
Churches, and appointed her book, Science and Health, to be pastor-
universal. Mrs. Eddy did not disconnect herself from the office
entirely, when she retired, but appointed herself Pastor Emeritus. It is
a misleading title, and belongs to the family of that phrase "without a
creed." It advertises her as being a merely honorary official, with
nothing to do, and no authority. The Czar of Russia is Emperor Emeritus
on the same terms. Mrs. Eddy was Autocrat of the Church before, with
limitless authority, and she kept her grip on that limitless authority
when she took that fictitious title.
It is curious and interesting to note with what an unerring instinct the
Pastor Emeritus has thought out and forecast all possible encroachments
upon her planned autocracy, and barred the way against them, in the By-
laws which she framed and copyrighted--under the guidance of the Supreme
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
For instance, when Article I. speaks of a President and Board of
Directors, you think you have discovered a formidable check upon the
powers and ambitions of the honorary pastor, the ornamental pastor, the
functionless pastor, the Pastor Emeritus, but it is a mistake. These
great officials are of the phrase--family of the Church-Without-a-Creed
and the Pastor-With-Nothing-to-Do; that is to say, of the family of
Large-Names-Which-Mean-Nothing. The Board is of so little consequence
that the By-laws do not state how it is chosen, nor who does it; but they
do state, most definitely, that the Board cannot fill a vacancy in its
number "except the candidate is approved by the Pastor Emeritus."
The "candidate." The Board cannot even proceed to an election until the
Pastor Emeritus has examined the list and squelched such candidates as
are not satisfactory to her.
Whether the original first Board began as the personal property of Mrs.
Eddy or not, it is foreseeable that in time, under this By-law, she would
own it. Such a first Board might chafe under such a rule as that, and
try to legislate it out of existence some day. But Mrs. Eddy was awake.
She foresaw that danger, and added this ingenious and effective clause:
"This By-law can neither be amended nor annulled, except by consent of
Mrs. Eddy, the Pastor Emeritus"
The Board of Directors, or Serfs, or Ciphers, elects the President.
On these clearly worded terms: "Subject to the approval of the Pastor
Therefore She elects him.
A long term can invest a high official with influence and power, and make
him dangerous. Mrs. Eddy reflected upon that; so she limits the
President's term to a year. She has a capable commercial head, an
organizing head, a head for government.
TREASURER AND CLERK
There are a Treasurer and a Clerk. They are elected by the Board of
Directors. That is to say, by Mrs. Eddy.
Their terms of office expire on the first Tuesday in June of each year,
"or upon the election of their successors." They must be watchfully
obedient and satisfactory to her, or she will elect and install their
successors with a suddenness that can be unpleasant to them. It goes
without saying that the Treasurer manages the Treasury to suit Mrs. Eddy,
and is in fact merely Temporary Deputy Treasurer.
Apparently the Clerk has but two duties to perform: to read messages from
Mrs. Eddy to First Members assembled in solemn Council, and provide lists
of candidates for Church membership. The select body entitled First
Members are the aristocracy of the Mother-Church, the Charter Members,
the Aborigines, a sort of stylish but unsalaried little College of
Cardinals, good for show, but not indispensable. Nobody is indispensable
in Mrs. Eddy's empire; she sees to that.
When the Pastor Emeritus sends a letter or message to that little
Sanhedrin, it is the Clerk's "imperative duty" to read it "at the place
and time specified." Otherwise, the world might come to an end. These
are fine, large frills, and remind us of the ways of emperors and such.
Such do not use the penny-post, they send a gilded and painted special
messenger, and he strides into the Parliament, and business comes to a
sudden and solemn and awful stop; and in the impressive hush that
follows, the Chief Clerk reads the document. It is his "imperative
duty." If he should neglect it, his official life would end. It is the
same with this Mother-Church Clerk; "if he fail to perform this important
function of his office," certain majestic and unshirkable solemnities
must follow: a special meeting "shall" be called; a member of the Church
"shall" make formal complaint; then the Clerk "shall" be "removed from
office." Complaint is sufficient, no trial is necessary.
There is something very sweet and juvenile and innocent and pretty about
these little tinsel vanities, these grave apings of monarchical fuss and
feathers and ceremony, here on our ostentatiously democratic soil. She
is the same lady that we found in the Autobiography, who was so naively
vain of all that little ancestral military riffraff that she had dug up
and annexed. A person's nature never changes. What it is in childhood,
it remains. Under pressure, or a change of interest, it can partially or
wholly disappear from sight, and for considerable stretches of time, but
nothing can ever permanently modify it, nothing can ever remove it.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
There isn't any--now. But with power and money piling up higher and
higher every day and the Church's dominion spreading daily wider and
farther, a time could come when the envious and ambitious could start the
idea that it would be wise and well to put a watch upon these assets--
a watch equipped with properly large authority. By custom, a Board of
Trustees. Mrs. Eddy has foreseen that probability--for she is a woman
with a long, long look ahead, the longest look ahead that ever a woman
had--and she has provided for that emergency. In Art. I., Sec. 5, she
has decreed that no Board of Trustees shall ever exist in the Mother-
Church "except it be constituted by the Pastor Emeritus."
The magnificence of it, the daring of it! Thus far, she is
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College;
Board of Directors;
and future Board of Trustees;
and is still moving onward, ever onward. When I contemplate her from a
commercial point of view, there are no words that can convey my
admiration of her.
These are a feature of first importance in the church-machinery of
Christian Science. For they occupy the pulpit. They hold the place that
the preacher holds in the other Christian Churches. They hold that
place, but they do not preach. Two of them are on duty at a time--a man
and a woman. One reads a passage from the Bible, the other reads the
explanation of it from Science and Health--and so they go on alternating.
This constitutes the service--this, with choir-music. They utter no word
of their own. Art. IV., Sec. 6, closes their mouths with this
"They shall make no remarks explanatory of the Lesson-Sermon at any time
during the service."
It seems a simple little thing. One is not startled by it at a first
reading of it; nor at the second, nor the third. One may have to read it
a dozen times before the whole magnitude of it rises before the mind. It
far and away oversizes and outclasses the best business-idea yet invented
for the safe-guarding and perpetuating of a religion. If it had been
thought of and put in force eighteen hundred and seventy years ago, there
would be but one Christian sect in the world now, instead of ten dozens
There are many varieties of men in the world, consequently there are many
varieties of minds in its pulpits. This insures many differing
interpretations of important Scripture texts, and this in turn insures
the splitting up of a religion into many sects. It is what has happened;
it was sure to happen.
Mrs. Eddy has noted this disastrous result of preaching, and has put up
the bars. She will have no preaching in her Church. She has explained
all essential Scriptures, and set the explanations down in her book. In
her belief her underlings cannot improve upon those explanations, and in
that stern sentence "they shall make no explanatory remarks" she has
barred them for all time from trying. She will be obeyed; there is no
question about that.
In arranging her government she has borrowed ideas from various sources--
not poor ones, but the best in the governmental market--but this one is
new, this one came out of no ordinary business-head, this one must have
come out of her own, there has been no other commercial skull in a
thousand centuries that was equal to it. She has borrowed freely and
wisely, but I am sure that this idea is many times larger than all her
borrowings bulked together. One must respect the business-brain that
produced it--the splendid pluck and impudence that ventured to promulgate
ELECTION OF READERS
Readers are not taken at hap-hazard, any more than preachers are taken at
hap-hazard for the pulpits of other sects. No, Readers are elected by
the Board of Directors. But--
"Section 3. The Board shall inform the Pas. for Emeritus of the names
of candidates for Readers before they are elected, and if she objects to
the nomination, said candidates shall not be chosen."
Is that an election--by the Board? Thus far I have not been able to find
out what that Board of Spectres is for. It certainly has no real
function, no duty which the hired girl could not perform, no office
beyond the mere recording of the autocrat's decrees.
There are no dangerously long office-terms in Mrs. Eddy's government.
The Readers are elected for but one year. This insures their
subserviency to their proprietor.
Readers are not allowed to copy out passages and read them from the
manuscript in the pulpit; they must read from Mrs. Eddy's book itself.
She is right. Slight changes could be slyly made, repeated, and in time
get acceptance with congregations. Branch sects could grow out of these
practices. Mrs. Eddy knows the human race, and how far to trust it. Her
limit is not over a quarter of an inch. It is all that a wise person
Mrs. Eddy's inborn disposition to copyright everything, charter
everything, secure the rightful and proper credit to herself for
everything she does, and everything she thinks she does, and everything
she thinks, and everything she thinks she thinks or has thought or
intends to think, is illustrated in Sec. 5 of Art. IV., defining the
duties of official Readers--in church:
"Naming Book and Author. The Reader of Science and Health, with Key to
the Scriptures, before commencing to read from this book, shall
distinctly announce its full title and give the author's name."
Otherwise the congregation might get the habit of forgetting who
(ostensibly) wrote the book.
This consists of First Members and their apostolic succession. It is a
close corporation, and its membership limit is one hundred. Forty will
answer, but if the number fall below that, there must be an election, to
fill the grand quorum.
This Sanhedrin can't do anything of the slightest importance, but it can
talk. It can "discuss." That is, it can discuss "important questions
relative to Church members", evidently persons who are already Church
members. This affords it amusement, and does no harm.
It can "fix the salaries of the Readers."
Twice a year it "votes on" admitting candidates. That is, for Church
membership. But its work is cut out for it beforehand, by Art. IX.:
"Every recommendation for membership In the Church 'shall be
countersigned by a loyal student of Mrs. Eddy's, by a Director of this
Church, or by a First Member.'"
All these three classes of beings are the personal property of Mrs. Eddy.
She has absolute control of the elections.
Also it must "transact any Church business that may properly come before
"Properly" is a thoughtful word. No important business can come before
it. The By laws have attended to that. No important business goes
before any one for the final word except Mrs. Eddy. She has looked to
The Sanhedrin "votes on" candidates for admission to its own body. But
is its vote worth any more than mine would be? No, it isn't. Sec. 4,
of Art. V.--Election of First Members--makes this quite plain:
"Before being elected, the candidates for First Members shall be approved
by the Pastor Emeritus over her own signature."
Thus the Sanhedrin is the personal property of Mrs. Eddy. She owns it.
It has no functions, no authority, no real existence. It is another
Board of Shadows. Mrs. Eddy is the Sanhedrin herself.
But it is time to foot up again and "see where we are at." Thus far,
Mrs. Eddy is
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College;
Board of Directors;
Future Board of Trustees;
Proprietor of the Priesthood:
Dictator of the Services;
Proprietor of the Sanhedrin. She has come far, and is still on her way.
In this Article there is another exhibition of a couple of the large
features of Mrs. Eddy's remarkable make-up: her business-talent and her
knowledge of human nature.
She does not beseech and implore people to join her Church. She knows
the human race better than that. She gravely goes through the motions of
reluctantly granting admission to the applicant as a favor to him. The
idea is worth untold shekels. She does not stand at the gate of the fold
with welcoming arms spread, and receive the lost sheep with glad emotion
and set up the fatted calf and invite the neighbor and have a time. No,
she looks upon him coldly, she snubs him, she says:
"Who are you? Who is your sponsor? Who asked you to come here? Go
away, and don't come again until you are invited."
It is calculated to strikingly impress a person accustomed to Moody and
Sankey and Sam Jones revivals; accustomed to brain-turning appeals to the
unknown and unendorsed sinner to come forward and enter into the joy,
etc.--"just as he is"; accustomed to seeing him do it; accustomed to
seeing him pass up the aisle through sobbing seas of welcome, and love,
and congratulation, and arrive at the mourner's bench and be received
like a long-lost government bond.
No, there is nothing of that kind in Mrs. Eddy's system. She knows that
if you wish to confer upon a human being something which he is not sure
he wants, the best way is to make it apparently difficult for him to get
it--then he is no son of Adam if that apple does not assume an interest
in his eyes which it lacked before. In time this interest can grow into
desire. Mrs. Eddy knows that when you cannot get a man to try--free of
cost--a new and effective remedy for a disease he is afflicted with, you
can generally sell it to him if you will put a price upon it which he
cannot afford. When, in the beginning, she taught Christian Science
gratis (for good reasons), pupils were few and reluctant, and required
persuasion; it was when she raised the limit to three hundred dollars for
a dollar's worth that she could not find standing room for the invasion
of pupils that followed.
With fine astuteness she goes through the motions of making it difficult
to get membership in her Church. There is a twofold value in this
system: it gives membership a high value in the eyes of the applicant;
and at the same time the requirements exacted enable Mrs. Eddy to keep
him out if she has doubts about his value to her. A word further as to
applications for membership:
"Applications of students of the Metaphysical College must be signed by
the Board of Directors."
That is safe. Mrs. Eddy is proprietor of that Board.
Children of twelve may be admitted if invited by "one of Mrs. Eddy's
loyal students, or by a First Member, or by a Director."
These sponsors are the property of Mrs. Eddy, therefore her Church is
safeguarded from the intrusion of undesirable children.
Other Students. Applicants who have not studied with Mrs. Eddy can get
in only "by invitation and recommendation from students of Mrs. Eddy....
or from members of the Mother-Church."
Other paragraphs explain how two or three other varieties of applicants
are to be challenged and obstructed, and tell us who is authorized to
invite them, recommend them endorse them, and all that.
The safeguards are definite, and would seem to be sufficiently strenuous
--to Mr. Sam Jones, at any rate. Not for Mrs. Eddy. She adds this
"The candidates be elected by a majority vote of the First Members
That is the aristocracy, the aborigines, the Sanhedrin. It is Mrs.
Eddy's property. She herself is the Sanhedrin. No one can get into the
Church if she wishes to keep him out.
This veto power could some time or other have a large value for her,
therefore she was wise to reserve it.
It is likely that it is not frequently used. It is also probable that
the difficulties attendant upon getting admission to membership have been
instituted more to invite than to deter, more to enhance the value of
membership and make people long for it than to make it really difficult
to get. I think so, because the Mother. Church has many thousands of
members more than its building can accommodate.
AND SOME ENGLISH REQUIRED
Mrs. Eddy is very particular as regards one detail curiously so, for her,
all things considered. The Church Readers must be "good English
scholars"; they must be "thorough English scholars."
She is thus sensitive about the English of her subordinates for cause,
possibly. In her chapter defining the duties of the Clerk there is an
indication that she harbors resentful memories of an occasion when the
hazy quality of her own English made unforeseen and mortifying trouble:
"Understanding Communications. Sec. 2. If the Clerk of this Church
shall receive a communication from the Pastor Emeritus which he does not
fully understand, he shall inform her of this fact before presenting it
to the Church, and obtain a clear understanding of the matter--then act
in accordance therewith."
She should have waited to calm down, then, but instead she added this,
which lacks sugar:
"Failing to adhere to this By-law, the Clerk must resign."
I wish I could see that communication that broke the camel's back. It
was probably the one beginning: "What plague spot or bacilli were gnawing
at the heart of this metropolis and bringing it on bended knee?" and I
think it likely that the kindly disposed Clerk tried to translate it into
English and lost his mind and had to go to the hospital. That Bylaw was
not the offspring of a forecast, an intuition, it was certainly born of a
sorrowful experience. Its temper gives the fact away.
The little book of By-laws has manifestly been tinkered by one of Mrs.
Eddy's "thorough English scholars," for in the majority of cases its
meanings are clear. The book is not even marred by Mrs. Eddy's peculiar
specialty--lumbering clumsinesses of speech. I believe the salaried
polisher has weeded them all out but one. In one place, after referring
to Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy goes on to say "the Bible and the above-
-named book, with other works by the same author," etc.
It is an unfortunate sentence, for it could mislead a hasty or careless
reader for a moment. Mrs. Eddy framed it--it is her very own--it bears
her trade-mark. "The Bible and Science and Health, with other works by
the same author," could have come from no literary vacuum but the one
which produced the remark (in the Autobiography): "I remember reading, in
my childhood, certain manuscripts containing Scriptural Sonnets, besides
other verses and enigmas."
We know what she means, in both instances, but a low-priced Clerk would
not necessarily know, and on a salary like his he could quite excusably
aver that the Pastor Emeritus had commanded him to come and make
proclamation that she was author of the Bible, and that she was thinking
of discharging some Scriptural sonnets and other enigmas upon the
congregation. It could lose him his place, but it would not be fair, if
it happened before the edict about "Understanding Communications" was
The By-law book makes a showy pretence of orderliness and system, but it
is only a pretence. I will not go so far as to say it is a harum-scarum
jumble, for it is not that, but I think it fair to say it is at least
jumbulacious in places. For instance, Articles III. and IV. set forth
in much detail the qualifications and duties of Readers, she then skips
some thirty pages and takes up the subject again. It looks like
slovenliness, but it may be only art. The belated By-law has a
sufficiently quiet look, but it has a ton of dynamite in it. It makes
all the Christian Science Church Readers on the globe the personal
chattels of Mrs. Eddy. Whenever she chooses, she can stretch her long
arm around the world's fat belly and flirt a Reader out of his pulpit,
though he be tucked away in seeming safety and obscurity in a lost
village in the middle of China:
"In any Church. Sec. 2. The Pastor Emeritus of the Mother-Church shall
have the right (through a letter addressed to the individual and Church
of which he is the Reader) to remove a Reader from this office in any
Church of Christ, Scientist, both in America and in foreign nations; or
to appoint the Reader to fill any office belonging to the Christian
She does not have to prefer charges against him, she does not have to
find him lazy, careless, incompetent, untidy, ill-mannered, unholy,
dishonest, she does not have to discover a fault of any kind in him, she
does not have to tell him nor his congregation why she dismisses and
disgraces him and insults his meek flock, she does not have to explain to
his family why she takes the bread out of their mouths and turns them
out-of-doors homeless and ashamed in a strange land; she does not have to
do anything but send a letter and say: "Pack!--and ask no questions!"
Has the Pope this power?--the other Pope--the one in Rome. Has he
anything approaching it? Can he turn a priest out of his pulpit and
strip him of his office and his livelihood just upon a whim, a caprice,
and meanwhile furnishing no reasons to the parish? Not in America. And
not elsewhere, we may believe.
It is odd and strange, to see intelligent and educated people among us
worshipping this self-seeking and remorseless tyrant as a God. This
worship is denied--by persons who are themselves worshippers of Mrs.
Eddy. I feel quite sure that it is a worship which will continue during
That Mrs. Eddy wrote that amazing By-law with her own hand we have much
better evidence than her word. We have her English. It is there. It
cannot be imitated. She ought never to go to the expense of copyrighting
her verbal discharges. When any one tries to claim them she should call
me; I can always tell them from any other literary apprentice's at a
glance. It was like her to call America a "nation"; she would call a
sand-bar a nation if it should fall into a sentence in which she was
speaking of peoples, for she would not know how to untangle it and get it
out and classify it by itself. And the closing arrangement of that By-
law is in true Eddysonian form, too. In it she reserves authority to
make a Reader fill any office connected with a Science church-sexton,
grave-digger, advertising-agent, Annex-polisher, leader of the choir,
President, Director, Treasurer, Clerk, etc. She did not mean that. She
already possessed that authority. She meant to clothe herself with
power, despotic and unchallengeable, to appoint all Science Readers to
their offices, both at home and abroad. The phrase "or to appoint" is
another miscarriage of intention; she did not mean "or," she meant "and."
That By-law puts into Mrs. Eddy's hands absolute command over the most
formidable force and influence existent in the Christian Science kingdom
outside of herself, and it does this unconditionally and (by auxiliary
force of Laws already quoted) irrevocably. Still, she is not quite
satisfied. Something might happen, she doesn't know what. Therefore she
drives in one more nail, to make sure, and drives it deep:
"This By-law can neither be amended nor annulled, except by consent of
the Pastor Emeritus."
Let some one with a wild and delirious fancy try and see if he can
imagine her furnishing that consent.
MONOPOLY OF SPIRITUAL BREAD
Very properly, the first qualification for membership in the Mother-
Church is belief in the doctrines of Christian Science.
But these doctrines must not be gathered from secondary sources. There
is but one recognized source. The candidate must be a believer in the
doctrines of Christian Science "according to the platform and teaching
contained in the Christian Science text-book, 'Science and Health, with
Key to the Scriptures,' by Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy."
That is definite, and is final. There are to be no commentaries, no
labored volumes of exposition and explanation by anybody except Mrs.
Eddy. Because such things could sow error, create warring opinions,
split the religion into sects, and disastrously cripple its power. Mrs.
Eddy will do the whole of the explaining, Herself--has done it, in fact.
She has written several books. They are to be had (for cash in advance),
they are all sacred; additions to them can never be needed and will never
be permitted. They tell the candidate how to instruct himself, how to
teach others, how to do all things comprised in the business--and they
close the door against all would-be competitors, and monopolize the
"The Bible and the above--named book [Science and Health], with other
works by the same author," must be his only text-books for the commerce--
he cannot forage outside.
Mrs. Eddy's words are to be the sole elucidators of the Bible and Science
and Health--forever. Throughout the ages, whenever there is doubt as to
the meaning of a passage in either of these books the inquirer will not
dream of trying to explain it to himself; he would shudder at the thought
of such temerity, such profanity, he would be haled to the Inquisition
and thence to the public square and the stake if he should be caught
studying into text-meanings on his own hook; he will be prudent and seek
the meanings at the only permitted source, Mrs. Eddy's commentaries.
Value of this Strait-jacket. One must not underrate the magnificence of
this long-headed idea, one must not underestimate its giant possibilities
in the matter of trooping the Church solidly together and keeping it so.
It squelches independent inquiry, and makes such a thing impossible,
profane, criminal, it authoritatively settles every dispute that can
arise. It starts with finality--a point which the Roman Church has
travelled towards fifteen or sixteen centuries, stage by stage, and has
not yet reached. The matter of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin
Mary was not authoritatively settled until the days of Pius IX.--
yesterday, so to speak.
As already noticed, the Protestants are broken up into a long array of
sects, a result of disputes about the meanings of texts, disputes made
unavoidable by the absence of an infallible authority to submit doubtful
passages to. A week or two ago (I am writing in the middle of January,
1903), the clergy and others hereabouts had a warm dispute in the papers
over this question: Did Jesus anywhere claim to be God? It seemed an
easy question, but it turned out to be a hard one. It was ably and
elaborately discussed, by learned men of several denominations, but in
the end it remained unsettled.
A week ago, another discussion broke out. It was over this text:
"Sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor."
One verdict was worded as follows:
"When Christ answered the rich young man and said for him to give to the
poor all he possessed or he could not gain everlasting life, He did not
mean it in the literal sense. My interpretation of His words is that we
should part with what comes between us and Christ.
"There is no doubt that Jesus believed that the rich young man thought
more of his wealth than he did of his soul, and, such being the case, it
was his duty to give up the wealth.
"Every one of us knows that there is something we should give up for
Christ. Those who are true believers and followers know what they have
given up, and those who are not yet followers know down in their hearts
what they must give up."
Ten clergymen of various denominations were interviewed, and nine of them
agreed with that verdict. That did not settle the matter, because the
tenth said the language of Jesus was so strait and definite that it
explained itself: "Sell all," not a percentage.
There is a most unusual feature about that dispute: the nine persons who
decided alike, quoted not a single authority in support of their
position. I do not know when I have seen trained disputants do the like
of that before. The nine merely furnished their own opinions, founded
upon--nothing at all. In the other dispute ("Did Jesus anywhere claim to
be God?") the same kind of men--trained and learned clergymen--backed up
their arguments with chapter and verse. On both sides. Plenty of
verses. Were no reinforcing verses to be found in the present case? It
looks that way.
The opinion of the nine seems strange to me, for it is unsupported by
authority, while there was at least constructive authority for the
It is hair-splitting differences of opinion over disputed text-meanings
that have divided into many sects a once united Church. One may infer
from some of the names in the following list that some of the differences
are very slight--so slight as to be not distinctly important, perhaps--
yet they have moved groups to withdraw from communions to which they
belonged and set up a sect of their own. The list--accompanied by
various Church statistics for 1902, compiled by Rev. Dr. H. K.
Carroll--was published, January 8, 1903, in the New York Christian
Adventists (6 bodies), Baptists (13 bodies), Brethren (Plymouth) (4
bodies), Brethren (River) (3 bodies), Catholics (8 bodies), Catholic
Apostolic, Christadelphians, Christian Connection, Christian Catholics,
Christian Missionary Association, Christian Scientists, Church of God
(Wine-brennarian), Church of the New Jerusalem, Congregationalists,
Disciples of Christ, Dunkards (4 bodies), Evangelical (2 bodies), Friends
(4 bodies), Friends of the Temple, German Evangelical Protestant, German
Evangelical Synod, Independent congregations, Jews (2 bodies), Latter-day
Saints (2 bodies), Lutherans (22 bodies), Mennonites (12 bodies),
Methodists (17 bodies), Moravians, Presbyterians (12 bodies), Protestant
Episcopal (2 bodies), Reformed (3 bodies), Schwenkfeldians, Social
Brethren, Spiritualists, Swedish Evangelical Miss. Covenant
(Waldenstromians), Unitarians, United Brethren (2 bodies), Universalists,
Total of sects and splits--139.
In the present month (February), Mr. E. I. Lindh, A..M., has
communicated to the Boston Transcript a hopeful article on the solution
of the problem of the "divided church." Divided is not too violent a
term. Subdivided could have been permitted if he had thought of it. He
came near thinking of it, for he mentions some of the subdivisions
himself: "the 12 kinds of Presbyterians, the 17 kinds of Methodists, the
13 kinds of Baptists, etc." He overlooked the 12 kinds of Mennonites and
the 22 kinds of Lutherans, but they are in Rev. Mr. Carroll's list.
Altogether, 76 splits under 5 flags. The Literary Digest (February 14th)
is pleased with Mr. Lindh's optimistic article, and also with the signs
of the times, and perceives that "the idea of Church unity is in the
Now, then, is not Mrs. Eddy profoundly wise in forbidding, for all time,
all explanations of her religion except such as she shall let on to be
I think so. I think there can be no doubt of it. In a way, they will be
her own; for, no matter which member of her clerical staff shall furnish
the explanations, not a line of them will she ever allow to be printed
until she shall have approved it, accepted it, copyrighted it, cabbaged
it. We may depend on that with a four-ace confidence.
THE NEW INFALLIBILITY
All in proper time Mrs. Eddy's factory will take hold of that
Commandment, and explain it for good and all. It may be that one member
of the shift will vote that the word "all" means all; it may be that ten
members of the shift will vote that "all" means only a percentage; but it
is Mrs. Eddy, not the eleven, who will do the deciding. And if she says
it is percentage, then percentage it is, forevermore--and that is what I
am expecting, for she doesn't sell all herself, nor any considerable part
of it, and as regards the poor, she doesn't declare any dividend; but if
she says "all" means all, then all it is, to the end of time, and no
follower of hers will ever be allowed to reconstruct that text, or shrink
it, or inflate it, or meddle with it in any way at all. Even to-day--
right here in the beginning--she is the sole person who, in the matter of
Christian Science exegesis, is privileged to exploit the Spiral Twist.
The Christian world has two Infallibles now.
Of equal power? For the present only. When Leo XIII. passes to his
rest another Infallible will ascend his throne; others, and yet others,
and still others will follow him, and be as infallible as he, and decide
questions of doctrine as long as they may come up, all down the far
future; but Mary Baker G. Eddy is the only Infallible that will ever
occupy the Science throne. Many a Science Pope will succeed her, but she
has closed their mouths; they will repeat and reverently praise and adore
her infallibilities, but venture none themselves. In her grave she will
still outrank all other Popes, be they of what Church they may. She will
hold the supremest of earthly titles, The Infallible--with a capital T.
Many in the world's history have had a hunger for such nuggets and slices
of power as they might reasonably hope to grab out of an empire's or a
religion's assets, but Mrs. Eddy is the only person alive or dead who has
ever struck for the whole of them. For small things she has the eye of a
microscope, for large ones the eye of a telescope, and whatever she sees,
she wants. Wants it all.
THE SACRED POEMS
When Mrs. Eddy's "sacred revelations" (that is the language of the By-
laws) are read in public, their authorship must be named. The By-laws
twice command this, therefore we mention it twice, to be fair.
But it is also commanded that when a member publicly quotes "from the
poems of our Pastor Emeritus" the authorship shall be named. For these
are sacred, too. There are kindly people who may suspect a hidden
generosity in that By-law; they may think it is there to protect the
Official Reader from the suspicion of having written the poems himself.
Such do not know Mrs. Eddy. She does an inordinate deal of protecting,
but in no distinctly named and specified case in her history has Number
Two been the object of it. Instances have been claimed, but they have
failed of proof, and even of plausibility.
"Members shall also instruct their students" to look out and advertise
the authorship when they read those poems and things. Not on Mrs. Eddy's
account, but "for the good of our Cause."
THE CHURCH EDIFICE
1. Mrs. Eddy gave the land. It was not of much value at the time, but
it is very valuable now.
2. Her people built the Mother-Church edifice on it, at a cost of two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
3. Then they gave the whole property to her.
4. Then she gave it to the Board of Directors. She is the Board of
Directors. She took it out of one pocket and put it in the other.
5. Sec. 10 (of the deed). "Whenever said Directors shall determine
that it is inexpedient to maintain preaching, reading, or speaking in
said church in accordance with the terms of this deed, they are
authorized and required to reconvey forthwith said lot of land with the
building thereon to Mary Baker G. Eddy, her heirs and assigns forever,
by a proper deed of conveyance."
She is never careless, never slipshod, about a matter of business.
Owning the property through her Board of Waxworks was safe enough, still
it was sound business to set another grip on it to cover accidents, and
she did it. Her barkers (what a curious name; I wonder if it is
copyrighted); her barkers persistently advertise to the public her
generosity in giving away a piece of land which cost her a trifle, and a
two--hundred--and--fifty--thousand--dollar church which cost her nothing;
and they can hardly speak of the unselfishness of it without breaking
down and crying; yet they know she gave nothing away, and never intended
to. However, such is the human race. Often it does seem such a pity
that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.
Some of the hostiles think that Mrs. Eddy's idea in protecting this
property in the interest of her heirs, and in accumulating a great money
fortune, is, that she may leave her natural heirs well provided for when
she goes. I think it is a mistake. I think she is of late years giving
herself large concern about only one interest-her power and glory, and
the perpetuation and worship of her Name--with a capital N. Her Church
is her pet heir, and I think it will get her wealth. It is the torch
which is to light the world and the ages with her glory.
I think she once prized money for the ease and comfort it could bring,
the showy vanities it could furnish, and the social promotion it could
command; for we have seen that she was born into the world with little
ways and instincts and aspirations and affectations that are duplicates
of our own. I do not think her money-passion has ever diminished in
ferocity, I do not think that she has ever allowed a dollar that had no
friends to get by her alive, but I think her reason for wanting it has
changed. I think she wants it now to increase and establish and
perpetuate her power and glory with, not to add to her comforts and
luxuries, not to furnish paint and fuss and feathers for vain display. I
think her ambitions have soared away above the fuss-and-feather stage.
She still likes the little shows and vanities--a fact which she exposed
in a public utterance two or three days ago when she was not noticing--
but I think she does not place a large value upon them now. She could
build a mighty and far-shining brass-mounted palace if she wanted to, but
she does not do it. She would have had that kind of an ambition in the
early scrabbling times. She could go to England to-day and be worshiped
by earls, and get a comet's attention from the million, if she cared for
such things. She would have gone in the early scrabbling days for much
less than an earl, and been vain of it, and glad to show off before the
remains of the Scotch kin. But those things are very small to her now--
next to invisible, observed through the cloud-rack from the dizzy summit
where she perches in these great days. She does not want that church
property for herself. It is worth but a quarter of a million--a sum she
could call in from her far-spread flocks to-morrow with a lift of her
hand. Not a squeeze of it, just a lift. It would come without a murmur;
come gratefully, come gladly. And if her glory stood in more need of the
money in Boston than it does where her flocks are propagating it, she
would lift the hand, I think.
She is still reaching for the Dollar, she will continue to reach for it;
but not that she may spend it upon herself; not that she may spend it
upon charities; not that she may indemnify an early deprivation and
clothe herself in a blaze of North Adams gauds; not that she may have
nine breeds of pie for breakfast, as only the rich New-Englander can; not
that she may indulge any petty material vanity or appetite that once was
hers and prized and nursed, but that she may apply that Dollar to
statelier uses, and place it where it may cast the metallic sheen of her
glory farthest across the receding expanses of the globe.
A brief and good one is furnished in the book of By-laws. The Scientist
is required to pray it every day.
THE LORD'S PRAYER-AMENDED
This is not in the By-laws, it is in the first chapter of Science and
Health, edition of 1902. I do not find it in the edition of 1884. It is
probable that it had not at that time been handed down. Science and
Health's (latest) rendering of its "spiritual sense" is as follows:
"Our Father-Mother God' all-harmonious, adorable One. Thy kingdom is
within us, Thou art ever-present. Enable us to know--as in heaven, so on
earth--God is supreme. Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished
affections. And infinite Love is reflected in love. And Love leadeth us
not into temptation, but delivereth from sin, disease, and death. For
God is now and forever all Life, Truth, and Love."
If I thought my opinion was desired and would be properly revered, I
should say that in my judgment that is as good a piece of carpentering as
any of those eleven Commandment--experts could do with the material after
all their practice. I notice only one doubtful place." Lead us not into
temptation" seems to me to be a very definite request, and that the new
rendering turns the definite request into a definite assertion. I shall
be glad to have that turned back to the old way and the marks of the
Spiral Twist removed, or varnished over; then I shall be satisfied, and
will do the best I can with what is left. At the same time, I do feel
that the shrinkage in our spiritual assets is getting serious. First the
Commandments, now the Prayer. I never expected to see these steady old
reliable securities watered down to this. And this is not the whole of
it. Last summer the Presbyterians extended the Calling and Election
suffrage to nearly everybody entitled to salvation. They did not even
stop there, but let out all the unbaptized American infants we had been
accumulating for two hundred years and more. There are some that believe
they would have let the Scotch ones out, too, if they could have done it.
Everything is going to ruin; in no long time we shall have nothing left
but the love of God.
THE NEW UNPARDONABLE SIN
"Working Against the Cause. Sec. 2. If a member of this Church shall
work against the accomplishment of what the Discoverer and Founder of
Christian Science understands is advantageous to the individual, to this
Church, and to the Cause of Christian Science"--out he goes. Forever.
The member may think that what he is doing will advance the Cause, but he
is not invited to do any thinking. More than that, he is not permitted
to do any--as he will clearly gather from this By-law. When a person
joins Mrs. Eddy's Church he must leave his thinker at home. Leave it
permanently. To make sure that it will not go off some time or other
when he is not watching, it will be safest for him to spike it. If he
should forget himself and think just once, the By-law provides that he
shall be fired out-instantly-forever-no return.
"It shall be the duty of this Church immediately to call a meeting, and
drop forever the name of this member from its records."
My, but it breathes a towering indignation!
There are forgivable offenses, but this is not one of them; there are
admonitions, probations, suspensions, in several minor cases; mercy is
shown the derelict, in those cases he is gently used, and in time he can
get back into the fold--even when he has repeated his offence. But let
him think, just once, without getting his thinker set to Eddy time, and
that is enough; his head comes off. There is no second offence, and
there is no gate open to that lost sheep, ever again.
"This rule cannot be changed, amended, or annulled, except by unanimous
vote of all the First Members."
The same being Mrs. Eddy. It is naively sly and pretty to see her keep
putting forward First Members, and Boards of This and That, and other
broideries and ruffles of her raiment, as if they were independent
entities, instead of a part of her clothes, and could do things all by
themselves when she was outside of them.
Mrs. Eddy did not need to copyright the sentence just quoted, its English
would protect it. None but she would have shovelled that comically
superfluous "all" in there.
The former Unpardonable Sin has gone out of service. We may frame the
new Christian Science one thus:
"Whatsoever Member shall think, and without Our Mother's permission act
upon his think, the same shall be cut off from the Church forever."
It has been said that I make many mistakes about Christian Science
through being ignorant of the spiritual meanings of its terminology. I
believe it is true. I have been misled all this time by that word
Member, because there was no one to tell me that its spiritual meaning
AXE AND BLOCK
There is a By-law which forbids Members to practice hypnotism; the
penalty is excommunication.
1. If a member is found to be a mental practitioner--
2. Complaint is to be entered against him--
3. By the Pastor Emeritus, and by none else;
4. No member is allowed to make complaint to her in the matter;
5. Upon Mrs. Eddy's mere "complaint"--unbacked by evidence or proof, and
without giving the accused a chance to be heard--" his name shall be
dropped from this Church."
Mrs. Eddy has only to say a member is guilty--that is all. That ends it.
It is not a case of he "may" be cut off from Christian Science salvation,
it is a case of he "shall" be. Her serfs must see to it, and not say a
Does the other Pope possess this prodigious and irresponsible power?
Certainly not in our day.
Some may be curious to know how Mrs. Eddy finds out that a member is
practicing hypnotism, since no one is allowed to come before her throne
and accuse him. She has explained this in Christian Science History,
first and second editions, page 16:
"I possess a spiritual sense of what the malicious mental practitioner is
mentally arguing which cannot be deceived; I can discern in the human
mind thoughts, motives, and purposes, and neither mental arguments nor
psychic power can affect this spiritual insight."
A marvelous woman; with a hunger for power such as has never been seen in
the world before. No thing, little or big, that contains any seed or
suggestion of power escapes her avaricious eye; and when once she gets
that eye on it, her remorseless grip follows. There isn't a Christian
Scientist who isn't ecclesiastically as much her property as if she had
bought him and paid for him, and copyrighted him and got a charter. She
cannot be satisfied when she has handcuffed a member, and put a leg-chain
and ball on him and plugged his ears and removed his thinker, she goes on
wrapping needless chains round and round him, just as a spider would.
For she trusts no one, believes in no one's honesty, judges every one by
herself. Although we have seen that she has absolute and irresponsible
command over her spectral Boards and over every official and servant of
her Church, at home and abroad, over every minute detail of her Church's
government, present and future, and can purge her membership of guilty or
suspected persons by various plausible formalities and whenever she will,
she is still not content, but must set her queer mind to work and invent
a way by which she can take a member--any member--by neck and crop and
fling him out without anything resembling a formality at all.
She is sole accuser and sole witness, and her testimony is final and
carries uncompromising and irremediable doom with it.
The Sole-Witness Court! It should make the Council of Ten and the
Council of Three turn in their graves for shame, to see how little they
knew about satanic concentrations of irresponsible power. Here we have
one Accuser, one Witness, one Judge, one Headsman--and all four bunched
together in Mrs. Eddy, the Inspired of God, His Latest Thought to His
People, New Member of the Holy Family, the Equal of Jesus.
When a Member is not satisfactory to Mrs. Eddy, and yet is blameless in
his life and faultless in his membership and in his Christian Science
walk and conversation, shall he hold up his head and tilt his hat over
one ear and imagine himself safe because of these perfections? Why, in
that very moment Mrs. Eddy will cast that spiritual X-ray of hers through
his dungarees and say:
"I see his hypnotism working, among his insides--remove him to the
What shall it profit him to know it isn't so? Nothing. His testimony is
of no value. No one wants it, no one will ask for it. He is not present
to offer it (he does not know he has been accused), and if he were there
to offer it, it would not be listened to.
It was out of powers approaching Mrs. Eddy's--though not equalling them
--that the Inquisition and the devastations of the Interdict grew. She
will transmit hers. The man born two centuries from now will think he
has arrived in hell; and all in good time he will think he knows it.
Vast concentrations of irresponsible power have never in any age been
used mercifully, and there is nothing to suggest that the Christian
Science Papacy is going to spend money on novelties.
Several Christian Scientists have asked me to refrain from prophecy.
There is no prophecy in our day but history. But history is a
trustworthy prophet. History is always repeating itself, because
conditions are always repeating themselves. Out of duplicated conditions
history always gets a duplicate product.
READING LETTERS AT MEETINGS
I wonder if there is anything a Member can do that will not raise Mrs.
Eddy's jealousy? The By-laws seem to hunt him from pillar to post all
the time, and turn all his thoughts and acts and words into sins against
the meek and lowly new deity of his worship. Apparently her jealousy
never sleeps. Apparently any trifle can offend it, and but one penalty
appease it--excommunication. The By-laws might properly and reasonably
be entitled Laws for the Coddling and Comforting of Our Mother's Petty
Jealousies. The By-law named at the head of this paragraph reads its
transgressor out of the Church if he shall carry a letter from Mrs. Eddy
to the congregation and forget to read it or fail to read the whole of
Dishonest members are to be admonished; if they continue in dishonest
practices, excommunication follows. Considering who it is that draughted
this law, there is a certain amount of humor in it.
FURTHER APPLICATIONS OF THE AXE
Here follow the titles of some more By-laws whose infringement is
punishable by excommunication:
Departure from Tenets.
Violation of Christian Fellowship.
Violation of By-laws. (What is the difference?)
Official Advice. (Forbids Tom, Dick, and Harry's clack.)
Unworthy of Membership.
This looks as if Mrs. Eddy had devoted a large share of her time and
talent to inventing ways to get rid of her Church members. Yet in
another place she seems to invite membership. Not in any urgent way, it
is true, still she throws out a bait to such as like notice and
distinction (in other words, the Human Race). Page 82:
"It is important that these seemingly strict conditions be complied with,
as the names of the Members of the Mother-Church will be recorded in the
history of the Church and become a part thereof."
We all want to be historical.
The Hymnal. There is a Christian Science Hymnal. Entrance to it was
closed in 1898. Christian Science students who make hymns nowadays may
possibly get them sung in the Mother-Church, "but not unless approved by
the Pastor Emeritus." Art. XXVII, Sec. 2.
Solo Singers. Mrs. Eddy has contributed the words of three of the hymns
in the Hymnal. Two of them appear in it six times altogether, each of
them being set to three original forms of musical anguish. Mrs. Eddy,
always thoughtful, has promulgated a By-law requiring the singing of one
of her three hymns in the Mother Church "as often as once each month."
It is a good idea. A congregation could get tired of even Mrs. Eddy's
muse in the course of time, without the cordializing incentive of
compulsion. We all know how wearisome the sweetest and touchingest
things can become, through rep-rep-repetition, and still rep-rep-
repetition, and more rep-rep-repetition-like "the sweet by-and-by, in the
sweet by-and-by," for instance, and "Tah-rah-rah boom-de-aye"; and surely
it is not likely that Mrs. Eddy's machine has turned out goods that could
outwear those great heart-stirrers, without the assistance of the lash.
"O'er Waiting Harpstrings of the Mind" is pretty good, quite fair to
middling--the whole seven of the stanzas--but repetition would be certain
to take the excitement out of it in the course of time, even if there
were fourteen, and then it would sound like the multiplication table, and
would cease to save. The congregation would be perfectly sure to get
tired; in fact, did get tired--hence the compulsory By-law. It is a
measure born of experience, not foresight.
The By-laws say that "if a solo singer shall neglect or refuse to sing
alone" one of those three hymns as often as once a month, and oftener if
so directed by the Board of Directors--which is Mrs. Eddy--the singer's
salary shall be stopped. It is circumstantial evidence that some
soloists neglected this sacrament and others refused it. At least that
is the charitable view to take of it. There is only one other view to
take: that Mrs. Eddy did really foresee that there would be singers who
would some day get tired of doing her hymns and proclaiming the
authorship, unless persuaded by a Bylaw, with a penalty attached. The
idea could of course occur to her wise head, for she would know that a
seven-stanza break might well be a calamitous strain upon a soloist, and
that he might therefore avoid it if unwatched. He could not curtail it,
for the whole of anything that Mrs. Eddy does is sacred, and cannot be
BOARD OF EDUCATION
It consists of four members, one of whom is President of it. Its members
are elected annually. Subject to Mrs. Eddy's approval. Art. XXX., Sec. 2.
She owns the Board--is the Board.
Mrs. Eddy is President of the Metaphysical College. If at any time she
shall vacate that office, the Directors of the College (that is to say,
Mrs. Eddy) "shall" elect to the vacancy the President of the Board of
Education (which is merely re-electing herself).
It is another case of "Pastor Emeritus." She gives up the shadow of
authority, but keeps a good firm hold on the substance.
Applicants for admission to this industry must pass a thorough three
days' examination before the Board of Education "in Science and Health,
chapter on 'Recapitulation'; the Platform of Christian Science; page 403
of Christian Science Practice, from line second to the second paragraph
of page 405; and page 488, second and third paragraphs."
BOARD OF LECTURESHIP
The lecturers are exceedingly important servants of Mrs. Eddy, and she
chooses them with great care. Each of them has an appointed territory in
which to perform his duties--in the North, the South, the East, the West,
in Canada, in Great Britain, and so on--and each must stick to his own
territory and not forage beyond its boundaries. I think it goes without
saying--from what we have seen of Mrs. Eddy--that no lecture is delivered
until she has examined and approved it, and that the lecturer is not
allowed to change it afterwards.
The members of the Board of Lectureship are elected annually--
"Subject to the approval of Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy."
There are but four. They are elected--like the rest of the domestics--
annually. So far as I can discover, not a single servant of the Sacred
Household has a steady job except Mrs. Eddy. It is plain that she trusts
no human being but herself.
The branch Churches are strictly forbidden to use them.
So far as I can see, they could not do it if they wanted to. The By-laws
are merely the voice of the master issuing commands to the servants.
There is nothing and nobody for the servants to re-utter them to.
That useless edict is repeated in the little book, a few pages farther
on. There are several other repetitions of prohibitions in the book that
could be spared-they only take up room for nothing.
It is copyrighted. I do not know why, but I suppose it is to keep
adventurers from some day claiming that they invented it, and not Mrs.
Eddy and that "strange Providence" that has suggested so many clever
things to her.
No Change. It is forbidden to change the Creed. That is important, at
I can understand why Mrs. Eddy copyrighted the early editions and
revisions of Science and Health, and why she had a mania for copyrighting
every scrap of every sort that came from her pen in those jejune days
when to be in print probably seemed a wonderful distinction to her in her
provincial obscurity, but why she should continue this delirium in these
days of her godship and her far-spread fame, I cannot explain to myself.
And particularly as regards Science and Health. She knows, now, that
that Annex is going to live for many centuries; and so, what good is a
fleeting forty-two-year copyright going to do it?
Now a perpetual copyright would be quite another matter. I would like to
give her a hint. Let her strike for a perpetual copyright on that book.
There is precedent for it. There is one book in the world which bears
the charmed life of perpetual copyright (a fact not known to twenty
people in the world). By a hardy perversion of privilege on the part of
the lawmaking power the Bible has perpetual copyright in Great Britain.
There is no justification for it in fairness, and no explanation of it
except that the Church is strong enough there to have its way, right or
wrong. The recent Revised Version enjoys perpetual copyright, too--a
stronger precedent, even, than the other one.
Now, then, what is the Annex but a Revised Version itself? Which of
course it is--Lord's Prayer and all. With that pair of formidable
British precedents to proceed upon, what Congress of ours--
But how short-sighted I am. Mrs. Eddy has thought of it long ago. She
thinks of everything. She knows she has only to keep her copyright of
1902 alive through its first stage of twenty-eight years, and perpetuity
is assured. A Christian Science Congress will reign in the Capitol then.
She probably attaches small value to the first edition (1875). Although
it was a Revelation from on high, it was slim, lank, incomplete, padded
with bales of refuse rags, and puffs from lassoed celebrities to fill it
out, an uncreditable book, a book easily sparable, a book not to be
mentioned in the same year with the sleek, fat, concise, compact,
compressed, and competent Annex of to-day, in its dainty flexible covers,
gilt--edges, rounded corners, twin screw, spiral twist, compensation
balance, Testament-counterfeit, and all that; a book just born to curl up
on the hymn-book-shelf in church and look just too sweet and holy for
anything. Yes, I see now what she was copyrighting that child for.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION
It is true in matters of business Mrs. Eddy thinks of everything. She
thought of an organ, to disseminate the Truth as it was in Mrs. Eddy.
Straightway she started one--the Christian Science Journal.
It is true--in matters of business Mrs. Eddy thinks of everything. As
soon as she had got the Christian Science Journal sufficiently in debt to
make its presence on the premises disagreeable to her, it occurred to her
to make somebody a present of it. Which she did, along with its debts.
It was in the summer of 1889. The victim selected was her Church--
called, in those days, The National Christian Scientist Association.
She delivered this sorrow to th