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Has anyone ever handed you an article saying something like: “Have you ever seen this from Mary Baker Eddy?!”

Several times a year I am asked if the discoverer of Christian Science wrote certain documents. In most cases she did not write them and I try to steer these inquirers back to her published writings or to documents authenticated by the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston.

I always consider this library to be the final word on what Eddy wrote and didn’t write. And there’s a lot out there she didn’t write!

Articles called “Treatment for Every Day,” “Place,” “The Carpenter Papers” and compilations from them called the “Red Book” and “Blue Book” are being widely circulated and falsely labeled as written by Eddy.

I am not a censor. People have the right to read whatever they want to read. However, I have to say that for those who want to practice genuine Christian Science this other stuff is not it!

But there is a deeper question going on here. Why is there such a desire to read these questionable materials at all?

A dear friend said to me, “Why go beyond Mrs. Eddy’s own published writings of Science and Health and Prose Works? There’s enough there to last a life time!” I agree.

If you look carefully at these spurious materials, you can see that they don’t really sound like the theology Eddy gave us. However, some get excited about finding something new and previously unread from the discoverer of Christian Science. And that causes them to be less discriminating.

In addition, we seem to live in an age of cafeteria religions where people are encouraged to take up whatever they like. And yet, just because it uses metaphysics and sounds like Christian Science doesn’t make it the same by a long shot!

Mary Baker Eddy spent many years making sure the theology of Christian Science was accurately defined and explained. For me, I want to be sure I’m studying the “real” thing.

Standing up to this world’s materialism is hard enough. I don’t want to make it harder on myself by studying stuff that moves me off the straight and narrow course. Remember, the Comforter Jesus promised us is already here. It is the Christian Science found in her published writings, not elsewhere.

We don’t need to look for “new” stuff from her. We need to find the newness in what she already gave us. I know of no better way to become the healers she expected us to become.

14 Responses to “Sticking with the real stuff”

  1. Laurel Marquart says:

    You clarified something for me. I was under the impression that Mary Baker Eddy did write “A treatment for every day” and I even have a quote from it which I include in my daily prayers. I think this is still a good idea to keep in mind even if it didn’t come from Mary Baker Eddy.
    Laurel Marquart

    • Phil says:

      I guess that’s the problem isn’t it. There is so much subtle confusion out there. From my standpoint, if the purpose was to masquerade as an MBE article, or if it adds confusion about MBE’s authorship, I would have a hard time calling it a good idea.

  2. Mary says:

    Thank you, Phil, for this reminder. I too have found articles marked “possibly by MBE” and think one of them may have been the Treatment for Every Day that you mention. But here’s a question: as long as a piece of writing is not falsely ascribed to our Leader, it may still be valuable — as are so many articles, testimonies, and poems from the periodicals. Of course we start with the Pastor, and the other published writings of Mrs. Eddy, but after that it is hard enough to read all the periodicals, much less be attracted to supposed “newly discovered” writings. I like your comment that the bona fide writings can speak to us in new ways –depending on our need of the moment. That is the reassurance of “behold I make all things new!”

    • Phil says:

      Thanks Mary. Yes, I was focusing only on MBE’s writings. The periodicals are extremely important and under the Manual to be carefully edited. That’s why I support them and participate in them.

  3. Sue Krevitt says:

    I have frequent reason to listen for what I (and some others) identify as
    “the ring of truth” when I hear or read something new. I have learned to trust my “instincts,” we might call this, as to whether something is based on the absolute spiritual facts as given to mankind by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, or not. Over the years, I have become more tuned to Truth, have learned to
    trust Truth to guide me to what is the best for me. I have more to do, in this regard, but
    …the ring is there to lead me as I go. Thank you, God!

    Phil, I appreciate your blog! The “ring” is loud and clear. Thank you!

    • Phil says:

      Thanks Sue. The problem is that many were convinced that the above titles and compilations were written by MBE because they sounded good. To me, that’s why the MBE library is so important and for us to not get drawn into the frenzy of “new” stuff purported to be from her. MBE often had to guide and correct her own pupils and household members from getting off “true north” into other things. Shouldn’t we be just as cautious.

  4. Shireen says:

    Thank you for this post Phil. I am sharing it with other friends in Science. Should the need arise for verification, who does one contact at the MBE Library?
    Thanks also for today’s uplifting Daily Lift.

    • Phil says:

      Hi Shirleen,
      The lead researcher at the MBE library just left a comment on how to contact them.
      So glad this and the lift were helpful to you.

  5. Gail Drake says:

    Thanks for the very interesting article. For many years, I believed that “A Treatment for Every Day” was written by Mrs. Eddy. At first, I found it exciting. It was a side to Mrs. Eddy I hadn’t seen before. And it was filled with positive, hopeful ideas. Still, although I didn’t know why, it never seemed quite right. Somehow, when I included it as part of my daily treatment, I felt like I was using shortcuts or cheating. Finally, I became uncomfortable enough with this material that I called the MBE Library to check. I was really surprised to learn the truth because the copy of the article that I had even gave a date for which Journal it had supposedly been published in. There is something very strange about why anyone would claim something was written by Mrs. Eddy when it wasn’t.

    • Phil says:

      Thanks so much Gail.
      Very helpful!
      I’m sure your journey from excitement to doubt to dismissal will be helpful to others too.

  6. Judy Huenneke says:

    The website of The Mary Baker Eddy Library has some good articles on these pieces. And don’t hesitate to contact the Library’s Research Room if you’re given a piece whose authenticity seems questionable. The email is research@mbelibrary.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

  7. Mark Rogers says:

    Phil:
    I had a phone conversation with the late Robert Peel years ago and he told me that often times after reading an unpublished manuscript or letter of Mrs. Eddy’s he would find himself thinking out loud, “Now why in the world isn’t that in Science and Health?” And then he told me he would almost always eventually realize that the passage in question WAS in Science and Health or Prose Works but just in different wording. I think Mr. Peel was onto something here. Do you agree?

    • Phil says:

      In many cases, I would agree. S&H covers the full theology of CS.
      In other cases, though, when reading manuscripts or letters from MBE we need to consider both context and whether it is the theology of CS that is being shared or a mere opinion or just a comment on her life style. For instance, the example of every pin being carefully placed in her pin cushion was not included in S&H. And yet, many seem to think of this as a vital aspect of the CS theology. In my view it is about her Victorian life style not theology.
      So I conclude that letters and manuscripts, even when authenticated to be by MBE, must carefully considered before assuming they should be in S&H.