Johnsen claims that it was not mind cure, or Phineas P. Quimby (evaluated in detail) that influenced Mary Baker Eddy; rather it was the profoundly shifting Puritan tradition which infused the 19th-century “New England mind” and was the religious milieu out of which Christian Science emerged. Johnsen demonstrates how Eddy, with her Congregational background in tow, “carried forward certain essential dimensions of [Jonathan] Edwardsian thought and piety.”View Annotation
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Johnsen presents a Christian Science point of view in the context of Rita Swan’s work with the CHILD organization. He clarifies that he has no intention to rebut Swan’s painful personal experience, nor does he represent an official church line on health choices, but speaks from his personal experience of healing which brought about a close relationship with God.View Annotation
Simultaneous with the interest in spiritual healing among mainstream and fundamentalist Christian denominations in the 1970s and 1980s was the concern about the legal basis for such healing practices. Johnsen addresses these concerns by providing a contextual background of the evolution of the ministry of healing in the Christian Science Church from its founding up to the writer’s day.View Annotation
Johnsen acknowledges the profound and troubling issues of responsibility and conscience some court cases have raised for state legislatures and the Christian Science Church. The Church needs to think through the relation between the deep faith and spiritual commitment that underlie their healing ministry and the essential common sense and common humanity that Mary Baker Eddy identified with this ministry.View Annotation
Johnsen’s 1980 overview of the multi-decade controversy over a forgery is a response to the enduring nature of the false accusations against Mary Baker Eddy as a plagiarist. Research leading to the discovery of forgery was not difficult, because handwriting experts quickly detected the astonishingly crude and obvious fraud that served as a basis for the accusations.View Annotation
Johnsen lamented one-dimensional portraits of Eddy either eulogizing her (Church’s sycophantic authorized literature), or demonizing her (attacks from ministers, physicians, press, disaffected students) because they were prone to report gossip as gospel. Due to the heavily guarded Church archives before the opening of the Mary Baker Eddy Library, perceptions of scholars were ruled by a tyranny of preconceptions.View Annotation