Christian Science was founded by a woman named Mary Baker Eddy. She was born Mary Ann Morse Baker in New Hampshire in 1821. (She died in 1910). She was the daughter of a New Hampshire Congregationalist church member. As a child, she was frequently ill and highly emotional. She is said to have been "domineering, quarrelsome, and extremely self centered."1 At age 22, she married George Glover. He died seven months later. She then married Dr. Daniel Patterson, but that marriage failed in divorce. In 1862, while suffering from an illness, she visited a man named Phineas Quimby. He taught a system of healing dealing with the mind. He taught that the mind had the power to heal the body. He exerted a significant influence on her thinking regarding spiritual matters.
In 1866, she fell and was seriously injured, and she was not expected to recover. She apparently read Matt. 9:2 ("And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee") and experienced a miraculous cure. It was this experience that convinced her of the truth of Christian Science.
She first published "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" in 1875 when she was 54. She claimed it was the final revelation of God to mankind and asserted that her work was inspired of God. The word, "Key," in the title of her book is in reference to her being the woman of Revelation 12--that she is the key to unlocking the Bible which she called a dark book. She claimed the Bible had many mistakes and that her writings provided the "Key" spoken of in Rev. 3:7.
She married Asa Eddy in 1877.
In 1879, four years after the first publication of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy and some of her students voted organized the Church of Christ (Scientist) in Boston, Massachusetts. Of course, like all cults, it claimed to be the restoration of the original New Testament Church.
In 1881, she opened a metaphysical college and charged $300 for 12 healing lessons.
The Church was reorganized in 1892, and the Church Manual was first issued in 1895 which provided the structure for church government and missions.
She died in 1910--a millionaire.
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- 1. Meyer, F. E., The Religious Bodies of America, Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1961, p. 532.