Swensen documents how, in the fifteen years after the passing of Mary Baker Eddy (1910-1925), the Christian Science Board of Directors consolidated and centralized their authority both at Church headquarters and over local branch churches. Mirroring a corporate business model, church organization, administration, and standardization were merged with obedience and loyalty.View Annotation
Controversies Involving the Church Manual
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Mary Baker Eddy was among the first religious figures to research intellectual property–her activism resulted in the passage of the Copyright Act of 1909. She saw copyright “as a legal bulwark maintaining both the internal coherence of her work and its ineradicable link to her personality,” presaging her later appointing Science and Health (along with the Bible) as Pastor of the Christian Science Church.View Annotation
Swensen examines the initial flock and organization of the Church Mary Baker Eddy founded and then disbanded ten years later. The early 1880s brought new members and stability, spurring Eddy to organize. But this embattled precursor of today’s Mother Church would be irredeemably challenged by a volatile membership, unreliable preaching by invited clergy, and confusion over competing metaphysical groups.View Annotation
This report attempts to explain why Christian Science has failed to grow as its founder predicted. It claims that a faulty Church organization has been improperly governing since the death of Mary Baker Eddy, primarily because of the assumption of complete authority by the self-perpetuating Board of Directors, their interpretation of the Church Manual, and the presumed need for a church organization at all.View Annotation
Swensen documents the long-term effect of Alfred Farlow’s early crusade to protect the growing Christian Science Church from outside attacks, and muzzle an unrestrained and over-zealous faithful. He sees this protective stance as casting a long shadow over the content of future church periodicals, and the reason why members have since shown a deep reticence for personal outreach.View Annotation
Cunningham’s specialty lies with 19th-century American religious history focusing on women, institutions, money and power—perfect preparation for her PhD dissertation research on the fraught relationship of two charismatic women who rose from poverty to power and wealth: Augusta Stetson, a founding member and leader of the first Christian Science church in New York City, and Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement.View Annotation
Mary Baker Eddy’s textbook and church founding are understood by her followers as a recovery of the original Christian events. Christian Science was the rebirth of moribund Christianity, a decisive return to the original authority. Weddle interprets the tribulations of the Christian Science church founding, codified in the Church Manual, as a recapitulation of early Christianity’s struggles with dissent and authority.View Annotation
In the book’s part one, Brown argues that after Eddy’s death, the “Boston hierarchy [failed] to comply with the Church Manual’s divinely inspired estoppel clauses.” Part two is a response to the “need to evaluate … the position of Mary Baker Eddy and her great lifework in both Biblical prophecy and world history.” This part also includes histories of the “emerging remnants” excommunicated from the Church.View Annotation
Smith and Wilson, the authors of the ‘Paul Revere’ publications, circulated their materials in the second quarter of the 20th century. Contrary to harsh opposition from those not of the faith who sought to destroy the Church, Paul Revere’s strong critique sought to save the Church from its own undoing. Smith and Wilson were dropped from Church membership in 1950.View Annotation
Beasley’s biography begins with Mary Baker Eddy’s early years, her 1866 breakthrough on the nature of Jesus’s healing, and the publication of her teachings in her textbook Science and Health. The bulk of the book focuses on Eddy’s establishment of her Church and its organizational structure—her means of protecting her teachings and developing movement.View Annotation
This 2013 reprint of an article from a 1954 pamphlet emphasizes the legal opinion of Mary Baker Eddy’s intention and authority to provide for the permanency of The Mother Church and its Manual. Some had claimed that because Eddy’s personal approval could no longer be given on business matters for The Mother Church, the Church should cease to exist.View Annotation
Smith, a prominent Christian Scientist who held many senior positions in the church, brought together this collection of articles originally published in The Christian Science Journal as a series titled “Historical and Biographical Papers.” The articles are divided into three parts: biography, organization and history; including Mary Baker Eddy’s childhood and beginnings of her career as author, healer, teacher, and organizer.View Annotation
Studdert-Kennedy presents the minority (and ultimately losing) view of the legal battle that erupted 10 years after Eddy’s passing known as the ‘Great Litigation’ that nearly brought Eddy’s church and publishing arm to a halt. This three-year trial would determine whether authority rested with the Christian Science Board of Directors who governed the Church or the Trustees of the Publishing Society.View Annotation
In 1918, eight years after Mary Baker Eddy’s death, Bill and a few others started a new (‘correct’) Christian Science church. This book is Bill’s explanation and defense of her argument that she was, indeed, the new Leader of Christian Science. She argues that the necessary ever-recurring cycle of new Leaders was to be identified by self-discovery.View Annotation
Rawson claims that this book is obviously not a lecture upon, nor does it pretend to be an elucidation of, Christian Science, but is primarily an exposure of the innumerable fallacies of human theories past and present, made evident through the study of Christian Science. He represents himself as a student of scientific knowledge of natural science and practical metaphysics.View Annotation