From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
The Doctrine of Impersonalization
At another time during my stay at Pleasant View, Mrs. Eddy directed me to take up the following points: (In her handwriting) 1. “Better for her teaching and help, etc. 2. No relapse, etc. 3. No reversal of Truth, etc.” (In my handwriting) “No pain; no night (fear and doubt), all is joy and peace. No arsenical or mercurial rheumatism or neuralgia. No Catholic prayers to harm us, for the wrath of man shall praise Him.”
Why did she instruct me to take up Catholic prayers? Was this an order for me to attack a body of religious people and personalize evil, as if it came through innocent channels, members of another denomination? Would this not conflict with her statement, Miscellany, page 4, “A genuine Christian Scientist loves Protestant and Catholic, D.D. and M.D., —loves all who love God, good; and he loves his enemies.”
In Revelation 2:9, John speaks of those who say that they are Jews and are not. This refers to the fact, that at one time the Jews were the guardians of the most enlightened spiritual thought on earth. Thus, the name came to designate those who possessed the true Christ-spirit, just as today we have so associated the name Russian, with red radicalism, that it is hard to think of one without the other. Secret service men might be instructed to work against the activities of the Russians, when by that term would be meant no disrespect for a mighty nation, but merely the activities of those members of that nation which might be inimical to our government.
Similarly, there are those among the Catholic hierarchy who advocate the discipline of the church body through a domination that whips the membership into line through fear. This well-known fact has associated the term Catholic with the tendency to use the human will to dominate, and Catholics should not feel Mrs. Eddy’s analysis to be a personal insult, any more than a Christian Scientist is disturbed, because his religion has become associated in the minds of many with the thought, “Those are the people who say you are not sick, when you are.”
The Jews were called the chosen people. This should mean that to be a Jew, not through birth but in spirit, one must be a voluntary chooser of the things of Spirit, as opposed to the flesh. Notwithstanding, there was, and is to be found, such spirituality outside of the Jewish race, just as there is domination by fear, practiced outside of the Catholic religious system, and political radicalism advocated by those who are not Russians.
Evidently, John’s condemnation was for those who called themselves Jews, because they conformed to the outward requirements of the Jewish faith, and yet lacked this inner spirituality, much as today a Christian Scientist would be condemned, if he possessed the letter without the spirit. John knew the blasphemy of those who would claim to have a scientific and spiritual state of mind, when in reality, wrong thinking was hiding behind adherence to the letter of Truth.
Mrs. Eddy could never rightly be accused of setting forth, that Catholicism is an evil thing, even though it was revealed to her that it is an evil practice for anyone on earth to develop the aggressive and despotic features and tendencies of the human mind, no matter under what name it might be done.
Yet, because such use of the human mind is not generally considered as being evil, either by Catholics or the world, Mrs. Eddy found herself on dangerous ground, that is, as far as arraying public sentiment against her discovery was concerned. But her conviction was born of God, that the one who is seeking to attain the divine Mind as his sole basis of thought and action, must shun whatever would accentuate and inflate the action of the human will, which he is trying to starve into weakness and annihilation, in order that the divine may take its place. He must guard his thought against accepting any tendency of the human mind that might cause him to attempt to dominate others, or to permit others to dominate him.
Another point of danger in connection with Mrs. Eddy’s setting forth her discovery, was that, if she pointed to one group of religious professors as representatives of this practice, which she called an error, it might cause her students to personalize the action of the human mind, as it attempts to become more and more aggressive and dominant, a misunderstanding which would effectively betray them into the very mistake she was helping them to avoid.
At one time, my sister constructed a fierce-looking dragon to wear in a play. The performance was quite impressive, as far as the children-spectators were concerned. If one could picture this dragon suit attached to many ropes, which were in the hands of an operator high in the wings, one might gain a hint of the teaching of Christian Science as to how mortal mind, through mesmerism, dominates, animates, and completely controls the false concept called mortal man. This Science reveals, however, that this dragon, or animal concept, is not the real man, the perfect man of God’s creating. Despite this fact, if man believes the dragon to be man, and thereby identifies himself with it, he finds himself under a dominant control that is wholly foreign to his real being. From this illustration can be understood the Christian Science doctrine that comes under the term, impersonalization, where this expression represents the development which enables one to make a distinction between the dragon under the manipulation of the operator, and the man inside, who, once he has freed himself from the costume, is free to resume his normal state of activity.
Similar control of the mass as puppets, manipulated by those higher up, is strikingly evident in every department of human life. But, because it not only is practiced in the Catholic church, but is used as a God-given mode, it becomes a veritable symbol of the attempt of the human mind to usurp the prerogatives of Deity and demand to be worshipped. (This last infirmity of mortal mind must be the great red dragon of Revelation, swollen with sin, and ripe for destruction).
Hence, there was spiritual insight back of Mrs. Eddy’s instruction to take up the thought of Catholic prayers, meaning no insult to a sincere and great body of people, but recognizing the mental miasma of prayers unwittingly directed to the human mind, instead of to God. Unless one is awake to the true nature of such a situation, he might go to sleep mentally, and be content to remain identified with the dragon’s investiture, a spineless servant of sin unto death, instead of throwing off this false concept of animal magnetism, in order to come into the heritage of those servants of God who, through obedience, come into righteousness. Romans 6:16.
It is patent from the above unfoldment, why a spiritual analysis of our Leader’s life is a vital necessity. Without it, some of the noblest and most inspired pronouncements of her whole ministry, apart from her published writings, might be considered to be a blot on her memory.