Gods Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church by Caroline FraserFrom a former Christian Scientist, the first unvarnished account of one of Americas most controversial and little-understood religious movements.
Millions of americans-from Lady Astor to Ginger Rogers to Watergate conspirator H. R. Haldeman-have been touched by the Church of Christ, Scientist. Founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879, Christian Science was based on a belief that intense contemplation of the perfection of God can heal all ills-an extreme expression of the American faith in self-reliance. In this unflinching investigation, Caroline Fraser, herself raised in a Scientist household, shows how the Church transformed itself from a small, eccentric sect into a politically powerful and socially respectable religion, and explores the human cost of Christian Sciences remarkable rise.
Fraser examines the strange life and psychology of Mary Baker Eddy, who lived in dread of a kind of witchcraft she called Malicious Animal Magnetism. She takes us into the closed world of Eddys followers, who refuse to acknowledge the existence of illness and death and reject modern medicine, even at the cost of their childrens lives. She reveals just how Christian Science managed to gain extraordinary legal and Congressional sanction for its dubious practices and tracks its enormous influence on new-age beliefs and other modern healing cults.
A passionate exposé of zealotry, Gods Perfect Child tells one of the most dramatic and little-known stories in American religious history.
Dying the Christian Science way: the horror of my father’s last days
A two-year old baby girl, dies of a treatable lung infection, as her mother " In Florida, a family withheld "insulin" from their "diabetic daughter" which resulted in her death El Paso Times, December 6, , p. In , Natalie, an 8-month-old child died " These are but a few of the countless cases, in which members of this nationally recognized Church, have died as a result of refusing to seek medical treatment. In the 20th Century, an age when science is making such strides in medical technology, why would people refuse medical treatment for their own children?
Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements. Eddy described Christian Science as a return to "primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing". The church does not require that Christian Scientists avoid all medical care—adherents use dentists, optometrists, obstetricians, physicians for broken bones, and vaccination when required by law—but maintains that Christian-Science prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine. Parents and others were prosecuted for, and in a few cases convicted of, manslaughter or neglect. Several periods of Protestant Christian revival nurtured a proliferation of new religious movements in the United States. The term metaphysical referred to the movement's philosophical idealism , a belief in the primacy of the mental world.
Christian Scientists are part of an anti-medicine cult that teaches members that they can heal anything — including death itself — with nothing more than simple prayers. Several parents have allowed their kids to die of preventable deaths because they chose prayer over doctors. I once interviewed a Christian Scientist who had a lazy eye.
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David and Ginger Twitchell, a Christian Science couple from Massachusetts who relied on prayer rather than on doctors as their young son lay dying from an obstructed bowel, were convicted of involuntary manslaughter last month. It was a stunning verdict, coming as it did in the very shadow of the Mother Church in Boston. But the death of 2-year-old Robyn Twitchell and the conviction that followed was only the latest of a number of successful prosecutions of Christian Scientists whose children died agonizing deaths after spiritual healing failed. The prosecutions, like many historic constitutional cases, represent a clash of apparent absolutes: of religious liberty and parental autonomy on the one hand and the right of the states to protect children - and the rights of the children themselves - on the other. While the tenets of the church, particularly its reliance on prayer in lieu of standard medical treatment, remain fundamentally unchanged since Mary Baker Eddy founded it in Boston in , they have come under intense attack in courtrooms and state legislatures. In the last 15 months Christian Scientist parents have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, felony child abuse or child endangerment in two California cities, as well as in Arizona and Florida. Other prosecutions, in Santa Monica, Calif.