From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Honest Admission of Facts
One morning, when a member of the household appeared before her with the symptoms of a severe cold, Mrs. Eddy asked her how she felt, and the student replied, “I am all right.” Immediately, this pseudo-scientific affirmation was met with the rebuke from Mrs. Eddy, “Tell the truth about the lie.”
To which did Pilate refer when he asked that momentous question, “What is truth?”—the truth about the Truth or the truth about the lie? Today, Christian Science reveals unequivocably that he wanted to know the truth about the Truth. However, such a desire can never be fulfilled, for no one can understand the truth about the Truth, until he understands the truth about the lie. To substantiate this reasoning, we have Mrs. Eddy’s words in Science and Health, “A knowledge of error and of its operations must precede that understanding of Truth which destroys error.” Page 252.
Truth is the spiritual understanding that automatically comes to man when the illusion, produced by mesmerism, has lifted from him. On the other hand, mesmerism would change man’s conception of all things from a spiritual to a material standpoint, a standpoint from which not one iota of reality or truth can be perceived, free from distortion. The deduction is, therefore, that the truth is not only spiritual understanding, but also the knowledge of the correct method of releasing man from this human mesmerism; that is, it is not only the truth about Truth, but the truth about the lie. Once having grasped and demonstrated the truth about the lie, man automatically emerges into the understanding of the absolute Truth.
Learning the truth about the lie, is the method of unfolding error, so that man can be released from its influence. Mrs. Eddy recognized that this student wanted to skip this not-to-be-omitted step, and go right into the absolute Truth before she was ready to do so.
Pilate wanted to know the truth about Truth. Yet, there is no answer to his question for the world because, although the world will listen to what you have to say concerning the truth about the Truth, it cannot comprehend it. Then, when you attempt to tell the truth about the lie, which would open the way for the world to gain the truth about Truth, it will not listen. The world is ready to listen to what you have to say about God. However, chemicalization comes, when you attempt to expose what it worships, which is such a misconception of God as to make it a truism, that the God of mortals is the devil. In other words, mortal mind worships its own objectivation.
Ignorance of animal magnetism spells bondage to animal magnetism; and under such bondage, no one can ever understand Truth. Hence, Pilate’s questioning cry will ring down the ages, unanswered, until man is ready to listen to the truth that will enable him to release himself from the mesmerism that, at present, makes him incapable of understanding the least particle of Truth. In Christian Science, the understanding of the truth about the lie must precede the understanding of the truth about Truth.
This statement, “Tell the truth about the lie,” which I heard from the lips of our Leader, illustrates how she could set forth in a few words metaphysical truths of infinite moment. This one admonition, alone, if understood by all students of Christian Science today, would be a light shining in darkness.
In the first chapter of Proverbs we read, “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets.”The streets are those places where people congregate and converse with each other; whereas houses are where people dwell and are hidden from sight. In like manner, the mental streets of humanity represent the clearinghouse where the thoughts of individuals come to light, are recognized and known by others.
The significance of a clearinghouse in metaphysics is deduced from the fact, that so much of mortality is perpetuated through the deception whereby people hide their burdens and secret sorrows in their mental homes, and appear on the streets smiling and apparently happy, just as if human life were one grand sweet song. If it was not for living this lie, the world would discover much more quickly the unsatisfactory nature of existence on a material plane. An example of this deception is the newspapers, which depict the daily movements of the rich, characterizing them as a privileged class, and assuming that money and social position bring the happiness to which everyone aspires.
When students endeavor to hide their undestroyed errors under the cloak of scientific statements, it creates an unfortunate deception which would tend to rob the honest inquirer of a right perspective. If the young students think the path is always smooth for the more advanced ones, they will become discouraged when they are not able to achieve the same demonstration. But if the older students would swallow their pride, come out into the mental streets and be willing that the facts be known; namely, that the path of Science is one continuous struggle, but, with the right solution always at hand, then, wisdom would be found in the streets. In other words, the students would be telling the truth about the lie, and this right exposure would be a right basis which would be the beginning of wisdom.
Mrs. Eddy would stand for no nonsense when unhandled errors were lurking in the mental home of the student. She demanded that we tell the truth about the lie, but, when we did, to realize that it was a lie. At that point, wisdom uncovers the error in order that it may be destroyed. On April 17, 1890, she made the following statement: “When we understand the truth of a lie, then we shall understand God, and not until then.” She also said, “Calling or thinking error a lie, relieves it of any personality whatever.”
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.” This is a Biblical admonition that error must be unmasked before it can be destroyed. In Miscellaneous Writings we read, “Error found out is two-thirds destroyed, and the remaining third kills itself.”
A man buys a vacuum cleaner because there is dirt in his home. Yet, in Science, the truth about Truth means that there is no dirt. Hence the truth about the lie was a remarkable discovery on Mrs. Eddy’s part, since it gives the student a target to shoot at. Yet he must finally realize, that what he is shooting at is nothing, and that it is eliminated only when it is recognized as nothing.