“I Want to Believe: A Short Psychobiography of Mary Baker Eddy”
Dean, Taylor Wilson. “I Want to Believe: A Short Psychobiography of Mary Baker Eddy.” The Journal of Psychohistory 44, no. 1 (2016): 60-72.
Dean, in 2016 a graduate student in Theological Studies in American Religious History, examines the life of Mary Baker Eddy through a psychological lens—”her desires, her fears, the way in which she came to this [Christian Science] doctrine, and her state of mind throughout her life” (61). His aim is to humanize Eddy beyond the stereotypical views of her as either saint or fraud. Dean begins with Eddy’s childhood religious experiences which signaled to Eddy that she was chosen for greatness. Later, in Eddy’s earlier adulthood, Dean sees trauma-induced clinical depression resulting from all her losses, poverty, and ill health. Eddy’s search for a health cure brought her to mesmerist Phineas Quimby, but with his death she began her own search of the Bible as she formulated her doctrines into what became Christian Science. Dean sees the cause of Eddy’s health and vitality at this time of her life as the effect of having a purpose. He also examines Eddy’s concern that mind healing could be misused into doing harm—what she called ‘malicious animal magnetism.’ He claims that Eddy’s fear of harm was longstanding throughout her later life, as a result of her continuing struggles.
PubMed ID: 27480014
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