By Zachary Apperson, Camille Yost, and Benjamin Rodriguez
The Church of Christian Science, also known as the Church of Christ, Scientist, is a lesser known religion that derives from the teachings of Christianity. They take from the readings of the Bible as well as the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science and author of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” Abiding by the word of these two books, the church relies on prayer and love to overcome sickness, ranging from physical ailments to mental as well as everyday problems that may occur.
Christian Science was established in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy. Appearing to be very ill she founded Christian Science amongst the pain and personal turmoil she experienced within her own life. According to one of Eddy’s biographers, Robert Peel who worked for the Church of Christian Science, “she would end in a state of unconsciousness that would sometimes last for hours and send the family into a panic,” he wrote in 1966. Fits like these were often and it’s said that sickness was what paved her pathway to God, enlightening her to the teachings Jesus relayed but also the healings he conducted, claiming they too were meant to be learned and studied as she believed through prayer all can be cured.
After visiting a branch church (as opposed to the “Mother Church” located in Boston), we learned briefly about the religion and observed an informal meeting held every Wednesday at 7:30pm—a relatively small congregation, not to be confused with their sermons held on Sundays at 10am. A fundamental difference between Christian Scientists and other sects of Christianity, is the lack of a pastor. They believe in removing the human aspect of traditional Christianity, in an essence what is said to be the corruptible and biased portion of religion. Rather than be taught, or swayed, by any certain individual, Christian Scientists believe in reading straight from the text of the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” Although they don’t necessarily believe in ministers, they do however elect “Readers.”
Readers are elected personal with the sole purpose of reading from both these texts aloud to the congregation. They hold their term for a year, may be elected up to three times, and conduct these meetings in what are called “Reading Rooms.” Wednesday nights simply consisted of lessons rather than sermons and testimonials presented by their very own. The consensus drawn of the group, was that of a disciplined, devoted, and loving people. Although some may not agree or even find their teachings implausible, the members study vigorously and delve in scripture and literature. One of the “practitioners,” a dedicated member of the church who has actually attended schooling in efforts to further educate themselves on the religion and devote time to healing people, shared a testimonial of her mother whom suffered from a restricting stomach illness. She claimed that while in Hollywood her mother had been introduced to a practitioner and was subject to a healing. While on the drive home, her mother underwent urges to eat foods she had never been able to stomach beforehand and sure enough downed “popcorn, candy, and soda pop” effortlessly. Not to mention, she never experienced stomach problems again. While growing up in a Christian Scientist household, the practitioner admitted to exploring other religions in an attempt to find her own way. But despite the search for a purpose in what may have shed a new light under a different set of rules whom may have belonged to an even entirely different god, she asserted “it’s something that just kinda speaks to you” and that something remained the Church of Christ, Scientist.
When I first walked into the church I instantly felt comfortable in this little room. The people were so nice to us and genuinely happy to see us. They wanted to know our religious background and how we found out about the church.We were each given pamphlets and encouraged to come again. If you’d like to learn more about the church, visit the website. They meet every Wednesday and Sunday at 12381 Newport Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92705. There will be a seminar about the church at Orange Coast College on Saturday March 4 at 10am and April 8 from 9am to 12pm.